Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville

The Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville (postnominal initials: S.S.M.) was a Roman Catholic religious congregation for women based in Maryville, Missouri, which followed the Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis. Their ministry was primarily one of medical care, to which end they founded hospitals in Missouri and Oklahoma.

The congregation was founded in 1894 when Mother Mary Augustine Giesen led six other sisters to Maryville from the St. Louis, Missouri motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Mary. They then became independent of that congregation, with Mother Augustine as the first Superior General.

They founded St. Francis Hospital, the only hospital in the town and one of only two hospitals in the vast Platte Purchase area of northwest Missouri north of St. Joseph, Missouri (the other hospital is in Fairfax, Missouri).

In 1947, the order built its motherhouse, with its landmark yellow steeple, on a bluff overlooking the One Hundred and Two River. In 1963 they opened the Mount Alverno Academy for high school girls on land adjacent to the motherhouse. The high school closed in 1971.

In 1985 the congregation merged back with its parent congregation of the Sisters of St. Mary to form the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. The headquarters was moved to St. Louis.

Concerned Maryville residents seeking to preserve the landmark motherhouse tower sought various uses for it. In 1995 the Missouri Department of Corrections bought the 44-acre (180,000 m2) grounds with the motherhouse and school for the minimum security Maryville Treatment Center which began operations in 1996.

The congregation's hospitals now are operated as the SSM Health Care Institute.

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