learn about our community

The School Sisters of St. Francis have a history that is almost 300 years old. Learn more about our Prayer Life, History, and Charism.

Prayer Life

Prayer is the heartbeat of our relationship with God and the lifeblood of our community.

Our History

It all began in 1723 with one woman who responded to the call to serve.

Charism and Vision

The Charism and Vision is a guiding light
for the congregation.

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Prayer Life


"I have found the one whom my soul loves."  Song of Songs 3:4

Prayer is the life and soul of our Community. The daily schedule includes the Divine Office in common, the celebration of the Eucharist, the rosary, meditation, and spiritual reading. Private devotions include the Stations of the Cross which are an integral part of our Franciscan heritage. As a Eucharistic-centered community, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is our daily privilege. We share our life of prayer with all those we serve, and we strive to integrate our Franciscan spirituality into every phase of life. Devotion to Mary is also a primary characteristic of our life of active contemplation.

Intimacy with God enables and strengthens us to be faithful to our daily apostolate. It is only through a spousal relationship with Jesus in the interior life that we can be instruments in His hands.


We are FRANCISCANS in love with God and his people

- Be the Face of Christ Today.  Become the Gospel. - 

Characteristics of our Charism include:
* Union with God in prayer
* Missionary Spirit   
* Active evangelization and service
* Education (educare - to train or mold, educere - to lead out)
* Love for the Eucharist and Marian devotion   
* Strong community life
* Selfless love and joyful sacrifice 

Read more about our Charism Today

our history

Our Community History -- The Beginning of the Congregation

In 1723, a young woman and her mother saw the children in the streets near Salzburg, Austria that were too poor to be in the public school that required tuition. Their parents were working all day, and the children had no one to educate them or to watch them during the day. Maria Hyacintha and her mother, who were Third Order Franciscans, took it upon themselves to begin educating the young people in their home. Soon other women joined them, and so the Congregation began!

Motherhouse Moved to Vienna

In 1845, three Sisters moved to Vienna at the request of Austrian royalty to work in education. Empress Carolina Augusta asked for Sisters to come to teach the children of the military. The Bishop of Vienna later required the Sisters to establish a separate Motherhouse in Vienna. Mother M. Xaveria fulfilled the request in that same year. Since that time, our Motherhouse has been in Vienna.

Coming to America

In 1931, our Sisters decided to extend the mission to the United States. The Sisters were able to learn English, work in a seminary, teach in schools, take classes, and work as nurses and teachers in several cities, including LaCrosse, Wisconsin; Trenton, New Jersey; Youngstown, Ohio; Independence, Iowa, and other places.


In 1939, a Region was established in Argentina. The Sisters spread the Franciscan spirit through their apostolates of schools, youth ministry, a hospital, a boy's home, and various other beautiful ways. We treasure our hermanas in our Sister Region in the Americas.

Texas (back to the history in the States)

After working in many apostolates and being educated in the central and eastern United States, the Sisters were looking and praying for a place to create a Regional House for all the Sisters to live together. It happened that the bishop of the Amarillo diocese was looking for Sisters to staff a Catholic Children's Home, new Catholic schools, and eventually a new Catholic nursing home (St. Ann's opened in 1963). So in 1954, the School Sisters migrated to Texas to begin their new lives and establish the Texas Region. Since then, we have been fundamental in the opening and staffing of schools in our diocese and in other areas in the state.  The community is currently ministering to youth, young adults, families locally and wherever we are able!

The Catholic Children's Home was established in 1954, donated by the late Rose Gordon. After 40 years of loving and caring for the children that needed a temporary home, it had to be closed in 1994 due to government regulations. We have so many good memories from there! People that have lived there stop by from time to time to reminisce and to see the Sisters that used to care for them.

Today - Charism Understanding rooted in our History:

The founding grace of Mother Maria Hyacintha Zechner was Franciscan in essence and transformative in effect. She tried to be the face of Christ to many through prayer and gospel living.

The purpose of the Congregation, according to the foundress, was first for the glory of God and secondly for the sanctification of the members. Through our relationship with God and each other, we are called to bring the light of Christ to the world today.

Mother Hyacintha belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order before she founded the Congregation. This revealed her deep desire that her daughters would be rooted in the Franciscan spirit through conversion, love, hope, and joy.  Our consecration to Jesus gives us freedom to serve the needs of the world.

School Sisters of St. Francis
aka: Franciscan Sisters of Christ the Light (more on this later!)


Hide yourself in God, so when a man wants to find you he will have to go there first.

Thomas Evelyn


Daniel Mavick


John Stonner


Martin Lopez

Church Quote

"Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”

The success of our Church depends on participation from people like you. Get involved in our Ministries – it will change your life.


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