Donate Now

Event Calendar

Next
S M T W T F S
29 30 31 1
Wed, Feb 1
LCWR National Assembly
2
Thu, Feb 2
LCWR National Assembly
3
Fri, Feb 3
LCWR National Assembly
4
Sat, Feb 4
LCWR National Assembly
5
Sun, Feb 5
LCWR National Assembly
6
Mon, Feb 6
LCWR National Assembly
7
Tue, Feb 7
LCWR National Assembly
8
Wed, Feb 8
LCWR National Assembly
9
Thu, Feb 9
LCWR National Assembly
10
Fri, Feb 10
LCWR National Assembly
11
Sat, Feb 11
LCWR National Assembly
12
Sun, Feb 12
LCWR National Assembly
13
Mon, Feb 13
LCWR National Assembly
14
Tue, Feb 14
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
15
Wed, Feb 15
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
16
Thu, Feb 16
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
17
Fri, Feb 17
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
18
Sat, Feb 18
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
19
Sun, Feb 19
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
20
Mon, Feb 20
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
21
Tue, Feb 21
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
22
Wed, Feb 22
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
23
Thu, Feb 23
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
24
Fri, Feb 24
LCWR National Assembly
BVM/St. Mary Immersion trip to Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador
25
Sat, Feb 25
LCWR National Assembly
26
Sun, Feb 26
LCWR National Assembly
27
Mon, Feb 27
LCWR National Assembly
28
Tue, Feb 28
LCWR National Assembly
1 2 3 4
Mary Francis Clarke Photograph
Members Login
leaves

Exploring Our Roots

BVM History

In 1831 five women in Dublin, Ireland, led by Mary Frances Clarke, came together to teach the poor children of the city. They soon migrated to Philadelphia to teach the children of Irish immigrants. There, on Nov. 1, 1833, they officially became "Sisters" with the assistance of Rev. Terence Donaghoe.

Ten years later, in 1843, at the invitation of Bishop Mathias Loras, the Sisters moved to the Diocese of Dubuque, Iowa which remains their headquarters to this day. These pioneer BVMs soon discovered the immense need for education, particularly of girls. They established a boarding school on the prairie near Dubuque. It later became Clarke University.

As the community grew, the Sisters founded and staffed elementary and high schools, including boarding schools. They began teaching in Chicago in 1867, and opened their first school in California in 1888. They opened Mundelein College in Chicago in 1931.

At each point in their expansion the Sisters attracted new members—nearly 5,000 in all—and developed a cross-country educational network from New York to Hawaii, Minnesota to Mississippi.

The Sisters also became engaged with the issues of the times: social justice, equality, inclusiveness, peace and ecology. They followed closely the Second Vatican Council and followed its call to renewal in the spirit of the founders.

Today 400 sisters serve in diverse ministries in 17 states and two foreign countries, continuing the adventurous lives of their founders.

A Timeline of Historical Highlights pinpoints significant events of the past 175 years, as do Snapshots from BVM History and a more detailed timeline.