In 1873, six Sisters were sent from the Convent of St. Catherine of Siena in Siena Vale, Kentucky (the first congregation of Dominican women in the United States) to Jacksonville, Illinois for the purpose of teaching a large population of immigrant children there. Living conditions were tenuous at best, and the Sisters were far outnumbered by their pupils. The Sisters believed this was a temporary assignment, yet scarcely a year later, the Sisters received direction from their superior to establish a completely new congregation, separate from the Kentucky Dominicans. The Sisters faced an uncertain future. Relying on God to guide them, they kept up their ministry.
A combination of prayer, hard work and angel benefactors enabled the growing congregation to establish its motherhouse in Springfield, Illinois in 1893.
The video below provides some insight into our history, using the stained glass window at the entrance of Sacred Heart Convent as a visual guide. Double click to view the full-size video in a new window.