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|Mother Xavier Ross|
Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth
Founded on the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul, Mother Xavier Ross and St. Louise de Marillac, we partner with and serve the marginalized in our society. That’s how we started out nearly 150 years ago – and that’s how our mission continues today.
It was 1857 when a small congregation of Sisters in Nashville, Tenn., suddenly found themselves burdened with a debt not of their making. They sold nearly everything they had to pay their creditors, and a plucky handful of Sisters headed for the Indian Territory of Kansas.
Mother Xavier Ross was the leader of the little band that came from Nashville to begin a new community in Leavenworth, Kan. As a young woman, she had tried to explain to her father her desire to serve God’s people. His response: “What can a woman do?”
Within a week of arriving in Leavenworth, the Sisters were teaching in a boys’ school. The days that followed found them opening an academy for girls and tending the sick, going into homes and wagon trains and traveling to towns during epidemics. They educated black children who had fled to the free state of Kansas, took in orphans, visited prisoners and – always – cared for the poor.
It was 1864 when the Sisters opened the first private hospital in Kansas, with the first trained nurse in the state and surely the first woman in the Western territory to run a hospital. This woman, Sister Joanna Bruner, also taught nursing to other Sisters. Since that time, professional excellence, leadership and a readiness to undertake whatever needed doing have been the hallmarks of the Community.
As Sisters of Charity we commit ourselves here and now, to embrace anew the charism given us by Vincent, Louise, Mother Xavier: to love the poor to love one another, to live simply, and to unite the whole of our lives in the poor and loving Christ.