- Franziskanerinnen Vöcklabruck, Austria
At the roots of our community stands trust in faith's power of conversion. "Faith changes inwardly - Faith changes outwardly." These principles characterized the life and work of our Founder, Sebastian Schwarz, a priest from Lasberg, Austria.
His close intimacy with God in prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist led him to discover God's presence in Creation and in everyday life and caused him to meet others in a new manner. In 1842, he established daycares and kindergartens to protect young children in Vöcklabruck, Austria, because they were lacking food and care, and no one was meeting this concern.
In order to insure the continued existence of this Christian foundation and its organization, Father Sebastian established a congregation of Sisters following the rule of St. Francis to work with the children. The first superior was Mother Franziska Wimmer.
Our Franciscan congregation, located in three countries, Austria, the United States, and Germany, numbers 350 sisters, most of whom are in Austria.
Today, the congregation is engaged in schools, health care, pastoral ministry, retreat and social work. The congregation continues to reach out to the poor and to offer service to God and the Church in answer to the challenge of following the Gospel of Jesus in our own time, as once did Francis of Assisi.