Our History of the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth

The Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth were founded by Saint Ludovico of Casoria, O.F.M. with the assistance of Margherite Salatino in Naples, Italy in 1862. Margherite Salatino not only served as co-foundress but was also the first Superior General of the Congregation. Our Congregation received its final Papal Approbation on July 16, 1943.
Originally Saint Ludovico’s women’s congregation was known as the Bigie or Gray Sisters. After observing the good works of some Elizabethan Sisters, Saint Ludovico placed his new community under the protection of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, the Queen Patroness of the Franciscan Third Order. Today we are known globally as the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth. We observe the Rule of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Chief among the purposes in founding this Institute of Religious Women was the caring for African children ransomed from slavery.
The Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth soon undertook more and more of the charitable works begun by this humble Franciscan Friar. We were involved in working in hospitals, orphanages, parishes, all levels of schools, homes for the poor and aging, and as catechetical instructors. Much of Saint Ludovico’s work continues today and it has expanded to circle the globe.
The object of the Congregation is the personal sanctification of its members through the imitation of the apostolic labors of their Incarnate Savior. We Sisters strive to imitate the poor, chaste, and humble life of Jesus Christ. We observe the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, the faithful imitator of Christ, and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, one of the most illustrious of the daughters of Saint Francis. We devote ourselves and all we possess to Christ the Savior as our Mystical Spouse, sacrificing to Him our heart and body by chastity, our minds and wills by obedience, and our external goods by poverty. As we strive after personal perfection, we Sisters endeavor to devote ourselves to the service of suffering humanity by the performance of our works of Christian charity and mercy, especially to the needy and suffering poor.
Our Mother House and Novitiate (Formation House) was established in Rome, Italy. Since then, convents have been set up throughout Italy, the United States of America, India, Ethiopia, Panama, the Philippines, and Indonesia.