Italy and Tanzania - Region


Italy is the country where Mother Frances Streitel founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. The education of poor children and home care of the sick of Rome were some of the first ways the sisters met the needs of families.  In 1885, the first community moved from Vicolo del Falco to Borgo Santo Spirito and cared for the poor who knocked at their door and welcomed the many pilgrims, mostly German speaking, who came to visit the holy places of Rome. In 1905, while the congregation expanded to other countries, mostly in North America, Bishop Doebbing of Nepi asked the sisters to open a house in Castel Sant’Elia, to care for the children, the sick and the elderly.  In this place Mother Frances spent the last precious years of her life.


Today, the sisters in Italy, are involved in the new evangelization through:


At Holy Family School in Capannelle, near Rome, in collaboration with lay personnel, the sisters are committed to the teaching ministry of children in the kindergarten and elementary school levels. This same education ministry is also carried out in the kindergarten at Castel Sant’Elia.

Healthcare and Assistance to the Elderly

In the two St. Joseph Nursing Homes, one in Capannelle and the other in Mondavio (Pesaro/Urbino), the elderly and sick are lovingly cared for by the sisters with the help of lay personnel.


Pilgrims, visitors and friends coming to Rome to visit the city and area are welcomed in the Hospitality Houses of Borgo Santo Spirito, Casa Tabor, and Castel Sant’Elia. They find in these houses an atmosphere of peace that helps them to renew their physical, psychological and spiritual energies.

Youth Ministry

In Assisi, the sisters welcome young people and guide them in their faith journeys at the Franciscan sites; they offer opportunities for listening, prayer, reflection and vocational discernment.
Some sisters, in collaboration with the Friars Minor and other Franciscan Congregations, are also involved in missions to the people, a specific opportunity to hear the Word of God.

Service to the poor

In all of the houses of the region, as a joint commitment to the SSM charism and mission, the sisters are sensitive to those in need. In the Hospitality House of Borgo Santo Spirito, in particular, they offer food on a weekly basis and clothing, as available, to people of different nationalities who live in Rome in poverty.

The Pastoral Family Enrichment Program

As a response to the current cultural crisis of the family institution and urged by the 20th General Assembly Goals, the sisters are giving priority to journeying with families, especially young ones.  The sisters listen, accompany and support families in their difficulties. Through a monthly series of gatherings, families are welcomed in a spirit of Franciscan simplicity and joy, for a mutual experience of evangelization.






In June 2004, Ludovick J. Minde, Bishop of Kahama, invited the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother to open a mission in his diocese, located in the Shinyanga Region of northern Tanzania. After a process of congregational discernment, some sisters were sent to Ifunde, a village about 28 km from Kahama, to the parish of St. John the Evangelist, which also includes 20 other villages.

The sisters share their daily life with the local people, trying to face together the problems and challenges regarding healthcare, literacy, child education, evangelization and youth ministry.

Polluted water was immediately identified by the sisters as the major cause of disease and malnutrition and they began to plan for clean, accessible water as a human right and first priority.  The "Sister Water" project, which started with the drilling of three wells and a system of rainwater collection, is now being expanded to as many other villages as possible with the assistance of benefactors and the local people.

IfundeAround the parish there is a large territory where there are only small medical dispensaries, so, from the beginning, health care services were offered to the people who came to the sisters for assistance.  Quickly the services expanded and now the sisters offer diagnostic testing for malaria, as well as home visits to the elderly and network in collaboration with the district hospital. The local people are so eager for the services that they are collecting stones and making bricks to help build a more serviceable structure for the people in Ifunde and surrounding villages.

Another urgent need is the development of an educational plan for children to prepare them for elementary school. So, in addition to the kindergarten in Ifunde which already operates as a preschool, other small structures are being built in five villages to house and educate the children.  The people of the villages are also involved in this project by collecting the needed materials for the construction of the buildings.