Institute of Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Formation1880; 142 years ago (1880)
FounderSaint Sr. Frances Xavier Cabrini, M.S.C.
TypeCentralized Religious Institute of Consecrated Life of Pontifical Right (for Women)
HeadquartersViale Cortina d'Ampezzo, 269, 00135 Roma, Italy
Membership (2017)
Superior General
Sr. Barbara Luise Staley, M.S.C.

The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Roman Catholic female religious congregation, founded in 1880 by Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini.


Main article: Frances Xavier Cabrini

Maria Francesca Cabrini was born on July 15, 1850, in the Province of Lodi and began her career as a school teacher. Around 1870, she became headmistress of the orphanage in Codogno, where she taught and drew a small community of women to live a religious way of life. Cabrini took religious vows in 1877 and added Xavier (Saverio) to her name to honor the Jesuit saint, Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionary service.

When the orphanage closed in 1880, she and seven other women who had taken religious vows with her founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (M.S.C.).[1] Cabrini composed the Rule and Constitutions of the religious institute, and she continued as its superior general until her death. The sisters took in orphans and foundlings, opened a day school to help pay expenses, started classes in needlework and sold their fine embroidery to earn a little more money. The institute established seven homes and a free school and nursery in its first five years. Its good works brought Cabrini to the attention of Giovanni Scalabrini, Bishop of Piacenza, and of Pope Leo XIII.[2]

In 1889, at the suggestion of Pope Leo XIII, the sisters came to New York, and opened convents in the archdioceses of Chicago, Denver, Newark, Seattle, and Los Angeles and the dioceses of Brooklyn and Scranton.[3] In 1892 they established Columbus Hospital on East 19th Street in New York City,[4] which later became Cabrini Medical Center and operated until 2008.

From 1926 to 1951, several Italian sisters coming from the United States were active in China, provinces of Henan and Zhejiang.

The sisters purchased the former Woodcrest estate in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania in 1953. Cabrini University opened on the estate in September 1957.[5]

Present day

The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are present in 15 countries and on 6 continents.[6] The general motherhouse is in Rome.


The Missionary Sisters’ current missions include service in the areas of education, healthcare and immigration.[7][8] In London, they run the St. Francesca Cabrini Catholic Primary School.[9]


  1. ^ Media, Franciscan. "Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini | Franciscan Media". Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  2. ^ "Not to the East, but to the West". Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  3. ^ MacErlean, Andrew. "Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 1 September 2021 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Walsh, James Joseph (1919). History of Medicine in New York: Three Centuries of Medical Progress, Volume 3. National Americana Society. pp. 786–787.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes Martha W. Dale and Beverlee Burnes (August 2008). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Woodcrest" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  6. ^ "Pope meets Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and recalls Mother Cabrini - Vatican News". 2017-12-09. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  7. ^ "Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC – We care for our community". Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  8. ^ Armando Machado. "Mother Cabrini's Care for Immigrants Cited as a Model". Catholic New York. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  9. ^ "St. Francesca Cabrini Catholic Primary School". Archived from the original on 2021-09-01. Retrieved 2021-09-01.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.