Sisters of the Humility of Mary - Villa Maria, Pennsylvania
The Sisters of the Humility of Mary were founded in 1854 in Dommartin-sous-Amance, France, by Marie-Antoinette Potier. They first served poor children through an orphanage and school. She and other young women were attracted to be companions in prayer, community and service. In the 1860s, the group received an invitation from a French missionary to the United States to minister to French settlers in Ohio and, after much prayer and deliberation, the entire community accepted the call. Marie-Antoinette died before she and her community were able to leave France; Marie-Anne Tabourat was named superior of the group and ultimately founded the congregation in America.
Nine Sisters, two novices, four orphans and Father John Joseph Begel (their chaplain) journeyed to the US in 1864. Three Sisters and one of the orphans settled in Louisville, OH, while the rest settled in New Bedford, PA, near Youngstown, OH on property, which had belonged to the Cleveland Diocese. With assistance from the bishop in Cleveland, the Sisters turned swampland into productive soil for planting; clay into bricks for buildings; lumber into an infirmary for railroad workers and a school for orphaned children; thread into lace and grain into bread. They ultimately established hospitals, schools and other facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as South Dakota and Central and South America.
Today, more than 250 Sisters of the Humility of Mary are involved in a wide variety of the Church's ministries. In addition to the health ministry as one of five co-sponsors of Catholic Healthcare Partners, Sisters of the Humility of Mary are involved in all levels of academic and religious education; assisted living; parish and pastoral ministries; publishing; diocesan work; legal services; social services; housing to single parents and independent elderly; advocacy; marketing of creative arts; retreats; spirituality; counseling, and services to the deaf and to prisoners.