Who We Are
A Community of Women Religious
We are the Sisters of St. Casimir, a community of women religious founded in 1907, in Scranton, PA, by Venerable Maria Kaupas. Mother Maria desired to found a congregation which would sustain and nurture the faith life of the early Lithuanian immigrants in the United States. She encouraged her Sisters to do the same and then to “welcome” and care for all others who would become part of their lives.
Our Patron, Saint Casimir
The birth of Casimira Kaupas
Casimira Kaupas, later Mother Maria, born in Ramygala, Lithuania, on January 6, 1880.
Mother Maria Kaupas moves to the United States
Casimira Kaupas arrived in Scranton, PA, to be a housekeeper for her brother, Rev. Anthony Kaupas, pastor of St. Joseph Parish. It was during her four – year stay that Casimira saw Sisters for the first time and witnessed the poverty and spiritual needs of the Lithuanian immigrants.
A new director and spiritual guide
Rev. Dr. Anthony Staniukynas consented to be the director and spiritual guide for the new congregation which Casimira agreed to found. Pope Pius X granted Bishop J.W. Shanahan, Bishop of Harrisburg, PA, permission to establish the Congregation in his diocese.
Founding of the Congregation
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Casimir is founded on August 29, 1907, at the Motherhouse of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scranton, PA. The first three members professed their vows and Casimira Kaupas was named Sister Maria; Judith Dvaranauskas, Sister M. Immaculata; Antanina Unguraitis, Sister M. Concepta.
Education ministry begins
The first school opens at Mount Carmel, PA, on October 7.
The Motherhouse is built
The Sisters of St. Casimir Motherhouse was built in Chicago, IL, and served as the Congregation headquarters. It was here where almost 500 women received their formation, pronounced their vows, and were sent forth in service to God’s people. The sacred space of the chapel deepened the spiritual life of the Sisters through prayer, Eucharist, and solitude with God. The Motherhouse remains a symbol of stability and peace in the neighborhood.
St. Casimir Academy opens
St. Casimir Academy was opened under the direction of Mother M. Gabriel, IHM, who served as its first Principal and as the first Superior of the Sisters of St. Casimir.
First General Superior elected
Mother Maria Kaupas is elected first General Superior of the Sisters of St. Casimir, a position she held until her death in 1940.
Back to Lithuania
Mother Maria Kaupas founded the Lithuanian Sisters of St. Casimir.
Healthcare ministry begins.
Mother Maria was asked to staff Holy Cross Hospital to which she responded by preparing Sisters for the ministry of health care.
Villa Joseph Marie High School opens
The high school served as a school for girls and a center for retreats, continuing education, and relaxation for the Sisters of St. Casimir teaching in the eastern states.
The Sisters celebrate the 25th Jubilee of the Sisters of St. Casimir.
Mother Maria expands to New Mexico
Mother Maria expanded the educational ministry to New Mexico in response to Pope Pius XI’s request to do missionary work in the United States.
Holy Family Villa Nursing Home
At the request of the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Charities, Mother Maria agreed to take on the administration of the newly built Holy Family Villa Nursing Home in Lemont, IL. This began the Congregation’s ministry in the care for the aged.
Mother Maria Kaupas dies
Mother Maria Kaupas died on April 17 in the Motherhouse. The Congregation at that time numbered 342 Sisters, staffing 33 schools, two hospitals and one nursing home.
The Sisters of St. Casimir opened a school in Avellaneda, Argentina, fulfilling the desire of Mother Maria to minister there. Two additional schools opened later in the cities of Rosario and Cordoba.
Maria High School opens
Maria High School opened, continuing the tradition of St. Casimir Academy. It was able to accommodate over 1,000 girls with state of the art facilities.
Time of renewal
Vatican II, 1962-1965, brought about a time of renewal within the Catholic church and religious communities. Opportunities and challenges surfaced as Sisters began taking on new ways to address the needs of the world. These changes brought about much tension and questioning that led to many Sisters leaving religious life, a painful reality that continued into the 1980’s.
Beatification and Canonization Cause
On January 6, His Eminence, John Cardinal Cody, celebrated the opening of the “Beatification and Canonization Cause” of Mother Maria Kaupas.
Mother Maria Kaupas declared “Servant of God” on May 23rd.
The Sisters of St. Casimir celebrated the 100th Anniversary of its Founding with a Mass at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. Francis Cardinal George, OMI, presided along with many in attendance.
Venerable Servant of God
The Congregation of Saints in Rome proclaimed Mother Maria Kaupas a “Venerable Servant of God” on July 1.
Catalyst-Maria, a Chicago Charter School, opened at Maria High School serving girls and boys, K-12.
Maria Kaupas Center
The former Maria High School Convent became home to the Maria Kaupas Center serving the students of Catalyst-Maria with a faith-based environment and robust after-school program.
Holy Cross Hospital joined Sinai Health System
Holy Cross Hospital joined Sinai Health System and remains a Catholic hospital with the Sisters of St. Casimir as the sponsor of its religious identity.
The Sisters of St. Casimir began to relocate from the Motherhouse to Franciscan Village in Lemont, IL.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
The Sisters of St. Casimir Motherhouse was transferred to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Mother Maria Kaupas Center established
The Mother Maria Kaupas Center was established in Mount Carmel, PA.
85th Anniversary of Marie High School
Villa Joseph Marie High School celebrated the 85th anniversary of its founding.