Our Franciscan Heritage

Rochester Franciscan Sisters carry on the legacy of Mother Alfred Moes to provide high-quality Catholic education in Rochester. The presence of the Sisters in the Rochester Catholic Schools (RCS) continues to deepen the awareness of a commitment to living a Gospel life. Faculty and students have the opportunity to intermingle with more than 15 Sisters who assist and/or teach within RCS. Their personal witness to continued ministry sends a clear message that God’s blessings sustains us in every age.

Click here to learn about our founder, Mother Alfred Moes

Rochester Catholic Schools (RCS) have provided quality faith based education in Rochester Minnesota for over 137 years. Our rich history began when our founder, Mother Alfred (Marie Catherine) Moes came to America from Remich Luxembourg in 1851 to teach Native American children. Marie Catherine felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to enter into a religious order upon which she received her customary new name… Mother Alfred Moes.

Mother Alfred founded a Franciscan congregation of women who were dedicated to education of immigrant children throughout the Midwest. As a leader, many followed Mother Alfred’s vision and she was responsible for establishing 23 schools in five states before the year 1877. Mother Alfred then moved to Rochester, Minnesota to establish an academy for girls while at the same time she founded a second order of the Sisters of St. Francis

In August of 1883, a tornado struck Rochester devastating the community. This tragedy brought together the compassionate hearts of Mother Alfred and the Sisters of St. Francis with the medical giftedness of Dr. William Worrall (W.W.) Mayo and his two sons. This collaboration helped establish Saint Mary’s Hospital and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.

As the result of her determination, vision, leadership and willingness to be guided by the Holy Spirit, Mother Alfred Moes gave the Franciscans, the city of Rochester and the world these enduring gifts:

  • Founded Lourdes Academy which is now Lourdes High School, part of the Rochester Catholic Schools.
  • Established the Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester, Minnesota    
  • Built and staffed Saint Mary's Hospital
  • Together with Dr. W.W. Mayo began the collaboration that evolved into Mayo Clinic.

Today Rochester Franciscan Sisters are returning to the new and beautiful Lourdes High School campus to carry on the vision of Mother Alfred Moes to be a Franciscan presence within the community witnessing to the Gospel way of life. One of Mother Alfred’s favorite scripture passages was found in Psalm 37, particularly the verse: “Trust in God, and do good.” Building on the legacy of Mother Alfred, Rochester Franciscans today our grateful and proud of the Rochester Catholic Schools!