Historical marker commemorating the first location of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.The U.S. foundation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (founded under the name Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd) began in Louisville, Kentucky, on December 1, 1842. Our Foundress Saint Mary Euphrasia chose five Sisters to form houses in the New World. The Sisters came to Louisville from the General Motherhouse at Angers, France. They ranged in age from 24 to 29 and spoke three languages among them.

Sisters arrive by sea

The Sisters came by sea on the immigration ship Utica. After 30 days of miserable traveling conditions, they eventually arrived in the southern tip of Manhattan, New York, and were processed through Castle Garden. Ellis Island became operational in 1892. From Castle Garden, the Sisters migrated to Louisville. These brave and adventurous Sisters laid the foundation for the growth of the Good Shepherd Order in the United States of America.

As decades passed missions changed and vocations dwindled, causing provinces to merge. In 2000 the remaining U.S. provinces merged into two provinces: the Province of Mid-North America and the Province of New York. A third province, Province of Central South United States, formed in 2014 when the Order of Our Lady of Charity reunited with Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

Rendering of historical New York City location for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

The province today

Today the Province of Mid-North America has ministries across the United States, including sponsored, jointly sponsored and affiliated ministries. These ministries include domestic violence shelters, programs for troubled girls, residences for women in recovery, post abortion counseling and various other services to those on the margins of society.

We are one of the few Orders that has two lifestyles. A Sister of the Good Shepherd can express her zeal for God’s people either as an apostolic or contemplative Sister. The Province of Mid-North America is part of an international congregation of Good Shepherd Sisters who perform ministries in 73 countries. Our ministries focus on social justice and human services for women, children and families.

For the early history of Sisters of the Good Shepherd, read about Saints Mary Euphrasia and John Eudes. John Eudes was a French missionary and priest who founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary and the Sisters of Our Lady of the Refuge. Sisters of Our Lady of the Refuge was the beginning of what would become the Order of Our Lady of Charity. Mary Euphrasia longed that the whole world would benefit from the saving work that John Eudes initiated. Through her work, Our Lady of Charity eventually became known as Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, better known as Sisters of the Good Shepherd.