The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ American Province

In 1868, eight Sisters from Germany arrived in the United States to provide education and healthcare to the immigrant population. For decades, the Sisters developed ministries in four core areas:

  • Education – Sisters taught in parishes throughout Indiana and Illinois.
  • Healthcare – The Poor Handmaids established hospitals in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
  • Childcare – Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago, St. Vincent Villa in Fort Wayne, and St. John’s Home in Belleville, Illinois.
  • Care of the elderly – Nursing homes in Minnesota and Illinois

Spirituality of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ American Province

As a contemporary ecclesial community of women attuned to Mary’s fiat we are rooted in discernment led by trust in the Spirit who urges us inward, outward and forward.

We respond with a pondering and a yearning for justice and compassion for all of life, especially those denied by exclusion from the fullness of life. This echo of this call and response integrates our communal prayer, community life and ministry.

Poor Handmaids Today

Today, we Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ strive to listen attentively to the promptings of that same Spirit. We respond with courage to the daily challenge to be women of faith and vision. We live gospel values through our presence and ministry to and with others.

Today, the American Province of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ focus on serving those who are economically disadvantaged, providing education, spiritual guidance, healthcare, and social services to the communities they serve.  The sisters are also known for their commitment to sustainability and care for the environment, and advocating for social justice and the needs of marginalized communities.

We are women of deep faith.

Our lives are centered in God. Our way of life is informed by our vowed commitment and the bonds of community.

We embrace life’s adventure with joy and love.

We are open to life and the Spirit that leads us to life. The will of God is always for the flourishing of life and love.

We are ready to risk and to take bold action.

Risking and bold action takes us to “unknown country” within ourselves and in the church and the world. This new vision has the potential to turn things upside down for us.

We are called to courage of a new kind for these new days.

In the midst of rapid change and ambiguity we rely on God. We find the Spirit in our collective internal wisdom and the wisdom we invite from others and the universe.

We have many sources of guidance.

We name our guidance the Holy Spirit, our mission and vision, our PHJC values, our trust in one another, even our willingness to live in the dark for periods of time until we live through our fears and resistances.

We recognize and value each one’s gifts.

Grounded in contemplation, prayer, and the living of our charism we bring forth our diverse gifts to meet challenges and obstacles with practicality, creativity and adaptability.

We partner in the work of the Spirit around the globe.

We embrace the gift of the international nature of our congregation and the call to intercultural living. We honor our deep connection to the Associate Community and the Fiat Spiritus Community who embrace the charism of Saint Katharina. We invite and respond to opportunities for partnering with individuals and groups to further the reign of God.

We recognize as we continue together that our journey is as important as the destination.

We learn as we go, not fearing failure, embracing the prophetic nature of religious life.