1848 to 1860s

Exiled to France – Birth of Ecclesiastical Art, Gurtweil, Germany

The congregation was forced to leave Switzerland because of the government’s growing hostility. In the summer of 1848, the exiled community found a home in Ottmarsheim, France, in the French Alsace. Because the Sisters were of German origin, they were not permitted to teach in the local schools, yet they continued their contemplative lifestyle. But in 1857 when a request for teachers came from Gurtweil, Germany, a teaching ministry resumed. At Gurtweil, the Sisters taught students to make Church vestments. It was the birth of the Ecclesiastical Art Department ministry that continues today.

In 1860, the contemplative Sisters in Ottmarsheim and the active Sisters in Gurtweil separated; the former group eventually became monastic Benedictines. The Sisters in Gurtweil continued to expand teaching and art ministries with notable success while not forgetting their contemplative roots.

Foundations in Steinberg, Switzerland (1845)
Expansion into the New World (1870s to 1900)
Growing Ministry – Global Ministry (Early 1900s to 1965)
Our Sisters in the 21st Century (1965 to Present)

For history and archival inquiries, please contact:

Sr. Barbara Payne, CPPS, Archivist
(636) 240-6010


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