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The Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence was founded in Germany in 1851 by Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler and Mother Marie de la Roche. The mission of the new foundation was twofold: to serve the poor, the sick, and to teach girls in the rural areas of Mainz, Germany.

The culture wars (Kulturkampf) in Germany brought many changes, not least among them was the prohibition of all religious from teaching in the schools and the expulsion of many religious orders from Germany. The Sisters of Divine Providence were affected by these wars. In 1876, six young Sisters traveled to North America to carry forth the mission of the Congregation and to spread its charism of Providence to a new land. By the early 1900s, the Congregation had grown to more than 300 women in Germany and the United States.

The needs of our times are very different from those experienced by the early members of the Congregation. Through more than 160 years of change, our dedication to the spirituality of Providence and the mission of the Congregation remains strong as we minister in a very different world.

If you have a specific question about our history, please contact our Provincial Archivist at archives@cdpsisters.org.


It is from our Founders, Bishop Ketteler and Marie de la Roche, that we have inherited our charism of trust in and openness to God's Providence.

Pioneer Sisters

Answering a call from God and a request from a priest in Ohio, six Sisters from Germany set out for the United States in 1876 to teach German immigrants.