History of Religious Congregations and Communities in the Archdiocese: Sisters and nuns
Orders of Sistersand Nuns
Benedictines The original Benedictine Sisters came from Germany in 1852 and settled in Pennsylvania. Five years later six Sisters arrived in Newark. The motherhouse remained in Newark until 1887 when it moved to Maryland. Newark then became a mission house.
In 1864, Father Henry Lempke applied to the convent for several Sisters to take charge of his school, St. Michael’s, Elizabeth which had opened in September. Formal establishment of the Convent of St. Walburga occurred in 1868 when the Sisters moved from St. Michael’s to the newly built convent of the Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth where they opened an academy and boarding school for girls in 1869.
Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth The History of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth with their Motherhouse at Convent Station is closely connected with that of the Diocese of Newark.
The Sisters of Charity follow the rule of St. Vincent de Paul as approved for the foundress of the Sisters of Charity in the United States, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton. Her nephew was Most Rev. James Roosevelt Bayley who established the community in the Garden State.
When Newark became a separate diocese in 1853, the Sisters of Charity were unable to supply enough Religious to meet the need. Finally a new diocesan community was established.
In 1860 about 30 Sisters went from Newark to Convent Station, then Madison, where the permanent Motherhouse of the community was established in buildings formerly occupied by Seton Hall College.
The success of the Academy of St. Elizabeth for girls, founded in 1859, led to the demand for a Catholic college for women. In 1899 the Sisters of Charity opened the College of St. Elizabeth. It was the first college for women in New Jersey and among the first Catholic colleges for women in the United States to confer degrees.
The first Missionary Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis came to teach in Holy Family School, Union City, in 1871.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, were introduced into the Diocese of Newark in 1872.
The year 1873 saw the Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic, better known as the Dominican Sisters, come to the diocese to teach at St. Paul’s, Jersey City.
The Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order, Minor Conventual, the Sisters of St. Francis of Syracuse, came to the Church of Newark in 1875 when they opened St. Francis School, Hoboken.
That same year saw the first of the Sisters of Christian Charity, Daughters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception begin teaching at St. Augustine School, Newark and St. Michael’s School, Elizabeth.
Bishop Corrigan’s desire to provide for the aged poor resulted in the Little Sisters of the Poor coming to Newark in 1878.
The Dominican Nuns of the Second Order of Perpetual Adoration came to Newark at the invitation of Bishop Corrigan who desired a diocesan community of contemplatives.
Bishop Corrigan had become acquainted with the Nuns of the Second Order of St. Dominic in France (Cloistered). Four Sisters arrived in July 1880. In the fall of 1882, ground was broken for a monastery on 13th Avenue in Newark. The Monastery at 13th Street was closed in October of 2003 after the five remaining elderly sisters were dispersed to other communities in the Northeast.
The Dominican Sisters of Caldwell began as members of the Sisters of the Second Order of St. Dominic. Bishop Winard Wigger established them as an independent community of the Second Order at St. Dominic’s Convent and Academy, Jersey City in 1881. Mother Mary Catherine Muth became the first Prioress. The Motherhouse and Novitiate were transferred to Caldwell in 1912.
In 1927 a new school building for Mt. St. Dominic went up. In 1938 permission was granted to establish the first college for women in the Archdiocese. Caldwell College opened a year later. Caldwell College became Caldwell University in 2014.
The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark, founded in England in 1888, was received in the Church of Newark that same year.
On Dec. 21, 1891, the first community of the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary in America was founded with a convent in Union City.
Founded in Warsaw, Poland in 1855, the Felician Sisters came to Newark in 1895 from Detroit to teach at St. Stanislaus School.
The Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate, known as the Pallottine Sisters, came to Union City in 1897. They established an orphanage and Holy Rosary Academy. In 1901 the orphans were transferred to the new Sacred Heart Orphanage, Kearny.
Arriving in Newark in 1898, the Cabrini Nuns organized Mt. Carmel School which opened in the basement of a factory building. It was intended primarily for immigrant children. It closed in 1903 when the Sisters opened St. Anthony’s Orphanage in Arlington.
The Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception opened St. Francis Home, Jersey City, in 1899. The orphanage moved to Union City in 1904.
The Sisters of St. Francis of the Mission of the Immaculate Conception, Conventuals of the Third Order, came to Orange in 1905 to conduct a small 30-bed general hospital. It was the forerunner of the former St. Mary’s Hospital.
The Sisters of St. John the Baptist, had their first American establishment at St. Lucy’s Newark, in 1906.
At the request of Father Alphonse Schaeken, pastor of St. Paul’s Parish, Jersey City, the Sisters of Charity of Providence opened St. Ann’s Home for the aged in 1911.
At the request of pastors of Polish language parishes, the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception came to the diocese staffing Our Lady of Czestochowa School, Harrison; Sacred Heart School, Hudson Heights, 1917 and St. Hedwig’s School, Elizabeth, 1926.
The first missionary cenacle of the Trinitarian Sisters was established at Mt. Carmel Parish, Orange in 1915.
The Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary, Summit, an off-shoot of the Dominican Sisters Convent, Union City, established the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in 1919.
From Naples, Italy that same year, came the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth. They had been invited by the pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, Newark.
The year 1922 saw the Capuchin Sisters of the Infant Jesus come to Bayonne to staff an orphanage.
The Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus opened Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, Summit, in 1924.
The work of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God began with the opening of Ss. Peter and Paul School, Elizabeth in 1926.
In 1929 the School Sisters of St. Francis began to staff area classrooms. That same year saw the first Religious Teachers Filippini established as teachers at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Newark.
Responsibility of the St. Walburga Orphanage, Roselle, was given to the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in 1931.
In 1938, Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis came to the Church of Newark at Assumption School, Wood Ridge.
When the Archdiocese of Newark was celebrating a century in 1954, recent arrivals included Franciscan Sisters of St. Bernardine at St. Anne’s, Garwood and the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame who went to St. Rose of Lima School, Short Hills.
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