In Germany in the 1870s, many Catholic religious orders were suppressed and not allowed to continue their work in Germany. During this time, many Jesuits and Sisters of St. Francis left Germany and came to the United States. Many members of these two orders settled in Buffalo, New York. The Franciscan Sisters settled there in 1876.
In 1887, after Red Cloud's petition to allow the Jesuits onto the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was granted by the United States government, Bishop Martin Marty, O.S.B. requested that the Jesuits in New York establish a mission on the reservation.
When the Jesuits accepted the care of the mission, Rev. H. Behrens, S.J. applied to Mother Alphonse, Mother Superior of the Franciscan Sisters, in Holland, asking for several Franciscan Sisters to help take care of the classrooms and housekeeping duties around the mission and the school. Mother Alphonse was quite open to this idea, and within the first year, ten sisters had arrived from Buffalo to assist at the mission.
The Franciscan Sisters worked in the classrooms at Holy Rosary Mission for many years, at first teaching in the lower grades and teaching the older girls, and later teaching at many different grade levels while also serving in a number of leadership capacities.
Today, they serve Red Cloud Indian School in a variety of contexts, from fundraising and advancement efforts to teaching in our schools and ministering in our Catholic churches. Because of the involvement of the Franciscan Sisters, several other congregations have been invited to assist at Red Cloud Indian School, including the Congregation of Notre Dame and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.