Bringing Fuller Life to Others

The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother both serve and empower the poor by sharing God’s love through ministry and contemplative prayer. We share hope, faith and love in many ways.

Current ministries in the St. Clare of Assisi Region include:

St. Francis Residential Community - Denville, NJ

SSM Foundation - Santiago, Dominican Republic

The Flowering Tree, Inc. - Milwaukee, WI

Caribbean Catholics of North America - Silver Spring, MD

SSM Franciscan Courts - Oshkosh, WI

We founded and sponsored a national healthcare system in the U.S., Marian Heath Care, which consisted of three regional healthcare systems: Ministry Health (across Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota), Via Christi (based in Wichita, Kansas), and St. John’s Health Systems (based in Tulsa, Oklahoma). In 2013, transition of sponsorship was completed from Marian Health Systems and SSM to Ascension Health Ministries. Read more about Ascension Health here.

We also have founded and sponsored schools and other educational facilities, community centers, orphanages, a retirement community and other ministries that help bring fuller life to others and empower the poor.

Ministries our Sisters today are involved in:

  • Education 
  • Administration
  • Nursing
  • Chaplaincy
  • Counseling (family and marriage, alcohol and drug abuse, art therapists, licensed professional counselors)
  • Spiritual direction
  • Visiting the sick and homebound
  • Mission work serving the poor in various countries
  • Numerous volunteer activities

SSM has communities and ministries located in:

  • Marshfield, WI
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Oshkosh, WI
  • Denville, NJ
  • Silver Spring, MD
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Santiago, Dominican Republic

Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation

The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother have long worked for justice and peace, and for respect and preservation of the Earth. The SSM Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Committee works to support our continued goal to spread awareness of key issues and take action as appropriate to made a positive difference for those in need.

We have been involved in many areas of social justice and peace work over the years. Currently we are focusing on two primary areas, Human Trafficking and Corporate Responsibility.


Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery.  Victims of human trafficking are young children, teenagers, men and women.  Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.

Sex Trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18.

The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother supports initiatives to spread awareness of this egregious crime epidemic and collaborates on work to help support victims and survivors.


Socially responsible corporate investment is simply a screening of companies to determine whether they are engaged in activities that benefit people and the environment. The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother have been involved in responsible corporate investment for over four decades.  In the early 1970s the Sisters became members of the Corporate Responsibility Action Group (CRAG) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  In the 1980s the sisters were asked to also join the Interfaith Council on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), headquartered in New York.  CRAG has since become the Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota Coalition for Responsible Investment (WIM-CRI) and is a regional group of ICCR. It is now called Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment.

Through its relationship with this coalition, the Sisters have chosen to use corporate investments to leverage social change. The Interfaith Council on Corporate Responsibility, (ICCR) webpage states, “We harness our collective influence as shareowners in Fortune 500 companies to improve corporate decision-making on environmental and social issues.”  This involves research, preparation, and a great deal of follow-up, referred to as persistence.  Engagement strategies include dialogues, resolutions, shareholder proposals, investor letters and appearances at corporate meetings.  Engagements with corporations are in regard to the social impact of corporate operations and policies.  It is usually economically vulnerable people whose rights are being sought by these actions.  The work follows the U.S. Bishops guidelines in how to use investments to bring about greater social justice on many issues from human rights to environmental integrity and is grounded in the values and principles of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother.


Our decisions are based on Catholic Social Teachings and our Franciscan Values.


There are seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching. The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother’s Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Committee (JPIC) bases its decisions and activities on these themes, and they are also used for theological reflection.

The themes are:
– Life and Dignity of the Human Person
– Call to Family, Community and Participation
– Rights and Responsibilities
– Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
– The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
– Solidarity
– Care for God’s Creation

Read more about Catholic Social Teaching on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site here

Foundational Catholic Social Teaching Documents – review them here

Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions – read here


The Congregation of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother is a Franciscan community, Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi. This means we believe in and follow the values St. Francis established. These Franciscan Values include:

– Community

– Compassion

– Peacemaking

– Respect

– Service

– Integrity

– Reverence for All of Creation

– Read more about the life of St. Francis of Assisi here

– Read more about the life of St. Clare of Assisi here

The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother are involved in social justice ministries in Italy, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Tanzania – Africa, the United States and the Caribbean islands of the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad/Tobago.

– Read more about SSM’s international activity in justice, peace and care of creation on our international Web site here


Learn more about social justice and peacemaking issues at the following resources:

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):

Franciscan Action Network:


– Resources for Health Care Providers, Social Service Organizations and Law Enforcement Officers:

– Polaris Project:
Tracks federal and state legislation, provides research, training, and client services, including the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-3737-888 OR TEXT “INFO” TO: BeFree (233733)

– Shared Hope International:
Faith-based organization that rescues and restores victims of sex trafficking worldwide

– Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Consortium:
Wisconsin Human Trafficking Protocol and Resource Manual 

– Stop Trafficking:
A faith-based free monthly e-newsletter

– U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Migration and Refugee Services, Anti-Trafficking
The program includes:

The Amistad Movement, a human trafficking education and awareness campaign for immigrant communities.  The SHEPHERD Campaign, a campaign to help Catholics learn more about human trafficking, as well as work with their parish community to address this issue.

– Catholic Relief Services:

 – Catholic Charities:

– U.S. Health and Human Services Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking:
Contains fact sheets and toolkits on human trafficking for the public, health providers, and law enforcement.

– U.S. Department of Homeland Security:
Contains information on the Blue Campaign to combat trafficking, and includes on-line resources, public service announcements, and informational materials.

– U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons:
Directs the United States’ global fight against human trafficking.

– Sisters of the Divine Savior (SDS, aka Salvatorians).
Based in Milwaukee, the SDS offer a wealth of resources, including prayers, films, and action guides:  See especially their 33-page Parish Resource Packet:


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