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A BRIEF HISTORY

CONGREGATION OF THE DIVINE SPIRIT

Archbishop Gannon at dedication of Motherhouse Chapel Erie, Pennsylvania, 1962

The nucleus of the Religious Community of the Sisters of the Congregation of the Divine Spirit was formed on the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1956 in response to the Holy Father’s (the Venerable Pope Pius XII) appeal that religious communities adapt themselves to the needs of the times. From all parts of this great country, representing twenty-five states, women gathered to become pioneers in this new facet of the church-an American foundation of consecrated women.

Archbishop John Mark Gannon (of happy memory) as Founder, Guide and Friend, appointed Fr. Michael Harding, O.F.M. as Canonist Guide and delegated Fr. Guy Brisebois, O.F.M. as the Procuratore in Rome to guide the formation from the beginning.  Archbishop Gannon appointed Mother Patricia O’Connor as the founding Superior General and Sister Ann Jeanne Chisholm as the Assistant Superior and Formation Directress.

The Congregation of the Divine Spirit received the “Nihil Obstat” from the Sacred Congregation of Religious Institutes in Rome; and on July 14, 1972, it was officially promulgated by the Most Reverend Alfred M. Watson, Bishop of Erie. The Constitutions and Book of Directives (“In Christo”) are also approved by the Sacred Congregation. On September 9, 1972, forty Sisters pronounced perpetual vows and seven Sisters pronounced temporary vows.

First Chapel 1956 – 1962

The motto of the Community is “Semper et Ubique Caritas.” It is the guide for service, harmonizing the spirit and apostolate of the Community with the mind, heart and spirit of the Magisterium.

The primary purpose of the congregation is the active cooperation of its members in the propagation of the Catholic Faith, according to the spirit of the Founder, thereby aiding in the spiritual growth of the Christian Family through education, religious education (CCD), and the care of the Aged.