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Who we are

We are a community of vowed sisters and covenant companions (laypersons) who live the Gospel in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi and our foundress Mother M. Clara Pfaender. Through our shared commitment to Franciscan contemplative presence and gospel service, we are collectively known as the Wheaton Franciscans.

Living the Gospel Life of Love

We are the United States Region of the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, an International Congregation headquartered in Rome, Italy.

“In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and our foundress Clara Pfaender, the mission of the St. Clare Regional Community is to live the gospel life, discovered in prayer and community. Through loving presence and service, we foster personal and community growth as we respond to the needs of the church and the times.”

Mission Statement

Continuing to Meet the Needs

As the Region becomes smaller, the Sisters’ primary ministry is prayer and presence. The Wheaton Franciscans continue to serve God’s people in collaboration with our lay partners through social and environmental justice ministries, spirituality ministries, and community building. We also collaborate with organizations that continue to support the places, issues, and concerns that have always been at the heart of our mission.

2023 – 2026

With hearts and doors open to the Spirit and each other,
   we embrace our flourishing future.
We trust we will continue to grow in grace and gratitude and
   will be creative and courageous in all we are called to be and do.

Our Vision Prayer

With Brother Francis, Sister Clare, and Mother Clara,
we humbly pray
to be a blessing in the heart of the world.
O Holy Mystery,
Open our eyes to recognize that All are One.
Open our ears to hear the cry of Earth,
our common home.
Open our minds to learn from Creation’s diversity.
Open our hearts to be a Presence
of peace and reconciliation.
Open our hands to serve in Love,
meeting the needs of our time.
Open our lives to engage contemplatively
the emerging Future.
In the Spirit of St. Clare:
What we hold, may we always hold,
What we do, may we always do
        and never abandon.

Our Heritage

Mother Clara M. Pfaender founded the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, on October 30, 1860, in Salzkotten, Germany, with the instruction to her sisters that:

“No manner of loving service for which the Lord gives them opportunity shall be excluded from their loving concern, be it for children or adults, for the healthy or the sick.”

Mother Clara, Founding Constitution p. 3

Our Archives hold our most treasured documents and tell the story of the courageous Sisters responding to the ever-changing needs of the times.

A sepia-tinted photograph of Mother Clara Pfaender shows her in full habit, holding a rosary.
Mother Clara Pfaender around 1870. It is the only picture of her known to exist.

Our home

Our campus in Wheaton, Illinois, provides a place of respite for all who visit. Surrounded by a natural prairie, wooded areas, and peaceful walking paths, it is an escape from the busyness of life.