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Founding Sisters

The Sisters of Divine Providence are women of varied and diverse backgrounds and talents, united by their deep trust in a Provident God who loves and cares for all creation.

In keeping with the community’s charism to make God’s Providence more visible in our world, the Sisters founded and sponsor La Roche University. A significant group of Sisters continues to be actively involved in all aspects of the University community.

Ongoing engagement with the Sisters allows our students to build meaningful relationships with women of varied and diverse backgrounds.


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, the dedication to the spirituality of Providence and the mission of the Congregation remains strong as the Sisters of Divine Providence minister in a very different world.