Founders and Sponsors

The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Neumann University was founded by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia in 1965. To learn more about the meaning of Sponsorship, the values for sponsored ministries, and the other ministries which the Sisters of St. Francis sponsor, Learn more.

Who are The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia?

St. John Neumann with Sisters of St. Francis of PhiladelphiaThe Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia are a congregation of women religious founded in Philadelphia in 1855 by Mother Francis Bachmann under the direction of St. John Neumann. For more than 150 years, The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia have faithfully lived Mother Francis Bachmann’s mission of serving the people of God wherever a need existed. Throughout their history, the sisters have continued to respond to the needs around them with trust in God’s providential care.

Mother Bachmann’s legacy includes her inspiring counsel, which is still relevant today. She advised her sisters: “no risk . . . no gain,” and “as long as God does not stop giving to us, we shall not stop giving to the poor.” Mother Francis’s ideals remain as a challenge and an inspiration to all who continue the journey of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

Dedicated to serving others, especially those who are economically poor, marginal and oppressed, the Sisters minister in the United States in approximately 24 states and in Europe and Africa. They serve in a variety of ministries and settings: prayer ministry; education at all levels; spiritual and pastoral care; health care; service to the elderly, those who are poor, persons with AIDS, and immigrants and refugees; parish and diocesan ministry; counseling; advocacy; and leadership in national religious organizations.

Although changing circumstances in society and in the Church have inspired The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia to find new ways of proclaiming the Good News of God’s faithful presence in the world, their mission has remained constant: to live the Gospel message in the unique spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, faithful to the vision of Mother Francis Bachmann.

Accompanying the sisters on this journey are Franciscan Companions in Mission, more than 200 Christian women and men who share in and live out the spirit and mission of the congregation, within their own vocation and lifestyle. In August 2003, the Franciscan Sisters of Ringwood, New Jersey, merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, enriching the congregation with new members and new ministries.

Throughout their history the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia have been dedicated to serve those who were poor, directly and indirectly. In the Mission Statement of 1986, they reaffirmed their commitment to minister to those who are poor, marginal, and oppressed. In 1996, they recommitted themselves to be “willing to take the necessary risks to be a healing, compassionate presence in our violent world, especially with women, children, and those who have no voice.”

The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia follow the values of the Third Order Regular Franciscans. The congregation is one of approximately 80 congregations of Third Order Regular women and men in the United States. Learn more about the Third Order Regular.

Learn more about the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.