THE ORIGINS OF the Cleveland community of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Saint Mark go back to 1845 with the foundation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Mark in the Diocese of Strasbourg. The community grew and several provinces were established including that of Saint Trudpert in Baden, Germany in 1920. Bishop Joseph Schrembs invited members of this community to come to Cleveland to take charge of the domestic department at Saint Mary Seminary. By 1926 twelve Sisters had arrived to take this ministry. In 1927 they began cared for the aged residing at Saint Joseph Hospice in Louisville, Ohio.
In the 1930's, the Nazi government persecuted religious communities, especially those with missionaries abroad. This persecution hindered the acceptance of vocations and the German community needed the services of those in America. Not knowing how the Sisters would be treated by the Americans, the German provincial requested that the Sisters return home. Bishop Schrembs was concerned not only about the ministries the Sisters had established here, but about their safety in Germany since they had become American citizens. He petitioned His Holiness Pius XI for assistance. On April 16, 1937 the Sacred Congregation of Religious replied that the Sisters would be permitted to stay in the Diocese of Cleveland. Furthermore, the Sacred Congregation had declared that the sisters were now directly subject to the General Motherhouse at St. Mark in France rather than to the German province. On September 11, 1937 the Sacred Congregation of Religious gave permission for the sisters to establish an American Province. Those who did not wish to join the new province could return to the Province of Saint Trudpert in Germany. Only two did so, the twenty-seven remaining sisters became the nucleus of the new American province.
SISTERS OF SAINT JOSEPH OF SAINT MARK
The community grew and a guild of laymen was established in 1941 to help the sisters locate an adequate site for their ministry. With prayer and the assistance of these people, the sisters purchased the Pickans estate on the top of Chardon Road hill in Euclid. On October 1, 1942 they were able to open the Mount St. Joseph Home to care for the sick and elderly. Exactly sixteen years later on that same day, the home became a licensed nursing home in of Ohio. From 1958 through 1970 the Sisters constructed a modern, fully equipped nursing home. In June of 1975 the Mount St. Joseph Home became certified to provide skilled as well as intermediate care.
During these years the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Mark still functioned as part of the French community. By 1980 the Sisters recognized that the active, more apostolic life that ministry in America demanded was becoming increasingly incompatible with the European mode of living. The demands and expenses of travel to Europe for community chapters impacted community life. Cultural and language differences were pronounced. After much prayer and study, the Cleveland sisters petitioned to become an independent American congregation. This request was granted on October 31, 1980.
On March 27, 1981, the name of the community changed to reflect its new status as an autonomous American community. Known as the Sisters of Saint Joseph of St. Mark Generalate-Diocese of Cleveland, the Sisters continue their ministry of service to the elderly, sick and dying. The charism of the community is rooted in Eucharistic Adoration. From their earliest days in France to the present, their spirituality is centered in the Eucharist.