Germany and Austria - Region


In October, 1891, Mother Frances Streitel visited the vacant, run-down convent of the Augustinian nuns and the grave of Blessed Stilla in Abenberg.  She wanted to establish a new presence there, but, because of governmental restrictions, her desire was not realized until July 19, 1920 when the sisters were able to purchase the convent.  So, nine years after the death of Mother Frances, three sisters journeyed from Vienna to Abenberg to minister to the sick and elderly in the old ruins of the convent.

From this beginning, the later Hospital Marienburg was established, but had to be closed in 1994. Many other missions, outpatient services, kindergartens and today´s Seniorencentrum, St. Josef, resulted from the sisters´presence in Germany. In 1968 the Mädchenrealschule (secondary/high school for girls) was established. In 2005 sponsorship was transferred to the Diocese of Eichstatt.

Where-Germany   Germany

Today the sisters are engaged in the following ministries:


  • Seniorencentrum, St. Josef – a home for elderly persons in Abenberg, in collaboration with the laity.
  • Pastoral Care in nearby hospitals and parishes – Abenberg, Mellrichstadt, Heilsbronn,  and Gerolfing.


  • Mädchenrealschule – several sisters serve on the faculty in Abenberg.


  • Opportunities for prayer, spiritual direction and retreat, silence and contemplation, courses for making biblical figures with the sisters in Abenberg,  Pullach and Eichstätt.
  • Weekend spirituality and life programs for children 6-12 years in Abenberg
  • Days of Reflection for adolescents and adults; also for employees of the sisters in Abenberg,
  • Opportunities for dialogue with individuals from different religious denominations, as well as for sisters and laity journeying together in faith.


  • Some sisters work internally so that guests are welcomed and other sisters are free for outreach to those in need and all other kinds of ministries. People in need of rest and convalescence are welcomed at the convent in Abenberg.

Advocacy for Social Justice

  • The Region actively supports Caritas International, Action for Life, Help for Mother and Child, an organization that assists and empowers women, Solwodi (Solidarity with Women in Distress) and an organization called “Kriegskindernothilfe” in Roth that helps children in war areas.
  • The Region helps to support our congregational missions, collection donations for various projects.





Where-Austria-1Nine years after the foundation of the congregation in Rome, Mother Frances Streitel, wishing to alleviate some of the needs in other European countries, sent five sisters to Vienna.  They arrived on November 24, 1892. To their surprise they learned that the Austrian government would not allow the establishment of any additional congregations because there were already too many in Austria.

Following this unexpected refusal an accident occurred in the household of Emperor Franz Joseph I. Despite an intensive search for assistance, they were unable to find any available sisters to provide the necessary nursing care. Consequently, the offer of the SSM´s from Rome was gladly accepted.

As a result of this experience, Emperor Franz Josef gave the sisters permission to establish a mission in Austria. In appreciation for their nursing care, he, personally, gave them part of the purchase price for a house on Simmeringer Hauptstrasse. The sisters offered their services in home nursing, child care and held sewing classes for women.  Until 1914 they also devoted themselves to the sick children on the Peninsula of Istria in the Adriatic Sea.  From Vienna new missions were established in smaller villages, but, in time, had to be closed.



Today, the sisters serve in Vienna and in Bruck-Leitha in the following ministries:


  • Marienheim – a nursing home where 105 people are lovingly cared for in their retirement years in collaboration with the laity.
  • Serve handicapped people who are marginalized.


  • Have a kindergarten and daycare facility, which is managed by the Sisters of St. Francis. Several SSM’s serve there.
  • Teach in a high school
  • Work in parishes with families and young adults


  • At the Franciscan Center of Encounters people come to find silence, prayer and dialogue.  They may also participate in Bible sharing, courses for making biblical figures, meditative dance, spiritual direction and retreat.

Advocacy for Social Justice

  • Support families in need of assistance, especially regarding children’s education.
  • Help to support and participate in a parish meal program for the homeless.
  • Participate in alternative investment organizations that empower the needy.
  • Support and promote organizations that help to uncover the origins of human rights violations in the labor world.
  • Help to support our congregational missions, gathering supplies and materials for various projects.