Birth of the Institute
The Institute of the Capuchin Sisters was born on January 23rd, 1885 with Mother Maria Francisca Rubatto’s encouragement who had been summoned by brother Angelico (a Capuchin) for the foundation of a congregation devoted to the attention of the sick in Loano (a little town in Italian Liguria). Together with her, five other young women dressed the Franciscan habit. They began the pursuit of Jesus with all the difficulties involved in undertaking a new project.
Mother Francisca would leave the imprint in this new family and she would devote herself not only to the sick but also to the children who didn't attend school, to the fishermen who lived in utter postponement and assisting the marginalized of their time. Her missionary spirit didn’t stop and in little time she began new works in Italy: Voltri, Genoa, San Remo, Porto Maurizio, Levanto.
In 1892 following so many Italian immigrants that were going towards America, she founded houses in Montevideo (Uruguay) and in Argentina in the cities of Rosario, Buenos Aires and the little town of Sastre.
In 1899 she started a community in Alto Alegre (Maranhao) in the northeast of Brazil. This mission would be Mother Francisca’s joy and greatest pain. In 1901 the sisters, friars and laymen and laywomen were slaughtered by some members of the Guajajara tribe.
In 1904 Mother Francisca died in Uruguay, was buried according to her will among her dearest poor, in the neighborhood of Belvedere in Montevideo. Today, her remains rest in the Sanctuary that takes her name, in the same neighborhood that originally welcomed her mortal remains.
The presence of the Capuchin Sisters spread in American territory, through new foundations of Schools and Pastoral Works to provide answer to the needs of local children and youngsters, being yeast amid the needy people.
Since 2003 in Ecuador near the Sisters offer their collaboration in the pastoral care of the Basilica of Our Lady of Monserrat in Montechristi, accompanying the liturgical and pastoral activities of the Sanctuary. In 1992 we celebrated the first centenary of the arrival of Mother Frances in Latin America. With boldness and generosity, our sisters of Argentina and Uruguay are games for a foundation in Peru: the first House is open July 12 Centenary year, despite a socio-political situation of the country quite complicated. Sisters working in catechesis, helping the needy and in assisting women in prison. From there arise new presences Capuchin Land Peruvian, born from the desire to be seeds of the Kingdom in the midst of those most in need and is in trouble
After Mother Francisca's death, it would be several years till there was a new missionary presence from the Institute. In 1937 the opening began in a new continent. Africa opened its doors to the Capuchin Sisters. Between 1937 and 1942 a mission was settled in Ethiopia, which would later have to be dismantled because of the war. The sisters returned to Addis Abeba, capital of the country in 1973 and then spread their pastoral work to the cities of Meghenase, Harar, Jijiga and Shashamane.
On August 22nd, 1964 the mission of Segheneyti was born, in neighboring Eritrea, 64 Km away from Asmara, the capital of the country. The work and sacrifice of the sisters bore fruits of vocations and there are today 120 native nuns. It was erected as Religious Province under the patronage of Kidane Mehret (Our Lady of Perpetual Help).
On September 6th, 1997 a group of Sisters arrived in Kenya willing to share the gift of the charisma. They established the first presence in Nairobi and then spread their pastoral work to the villages of Embul-bul and Giakaibei.
On October 11th, 2004 the Mision of Bambili in Cameroon was born, the Sisters are involved in the life of the Parish and in several pastoral activities.
In 1963 Mother Rubatto's daughters returned to the Brazilian lands, but at first they did it through Rio Grande do Sul State, founding a mission in the municipality of Barros Cassal. From there they started several foundations in the state and then spread to the state of Mato Grosso, where they collaborated with the Capuchin Friars in a parish.
In February of 1975 the Capuchin Sisters return to the Alto Alegre Mission in Brazil, where the martyrdom of the first sisters had happened in 1901. During several years they worked with the native people, but in 1981 they and all the people had to leave the place for political reasons. The community settled in the neighbouring town of Bar do Corda, where they carried out catechism activities and assistance to the sick.
In 1985 a house was opened in São Luis do Maranhão devoted to the formation of the novices and in 1991 a new presence was inaugurated in the same city, in the neighborhood of Vila Litoranea. This one was devoted to the catechesis and the care of local starving children and the sick.
In 1999 a new foundation was born in Belen do Pará, which would later be moved to the city of Ananindeua, where the sisters carried out several pastoral activities.
The small community of Navodari in Romania was born in line with Mother Francisca's apostolic boldness, who from the very beginning had the intuition and the strength to open up generously to the mission. Our presence in Romania became a reality in 2005 after the centenary celebrations of our founder’s birth to heaven (1904-2004).