"We exalt Your Providences, O Lord!
And we commit ourselves
to making Your Providence more
visible in our world"

About us

The Congregation of Divine Providence has its Generalate in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The congregation is comprised of three provinces and a mission in Peru. These are Emmanuel von Ketteler Province in Germany, Marie de la Roche Province in the United States and the Caribbean, St. Joseph Province in South Korea, and San Miguel Mission in Peru. Every five years the members of the Congregational Leadership Team are elected by the delegates participating in the Congregational Chapter. The members of this leadership team serve the community and work together to enhance unity, interdependence, internationality, common mission projects, and communication among the various governing units and their members. The Congregational Leadership Team consults and collaborates annually in a variety of ways. Twice a year they meet with the leaders of the provinces through the Congregational Leadership Board. The members of this Board continue to seek new ways to strengthen their internationality, intercultural understandings, spirituality and mission.

The Leadership
Barbara McMullen, Congregational Team Member, (Marie de la Roche Province, United States/Caribbean)
Sister Rosa Eunsoon Kim, Congregational Team Member (St. Joseph Province, Korea)
Sister Maria Youngmi Kim, Congregational Team Member (St. Joseph Province, Korea)
Sister Mary Francis Fletcher, Congregational Team Member (Marie de la Roche Province, United States/Caribbean)

Houses of the Congregational leadership

“The same way as religion has need for freedom, freedom needs religion."

Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler




Spirit, Charism, Mission
"The spirit of the institute is, above all, the spirit of Jesus Christ Himself." (Constitutions, 1852) This simple sentence in the original Constitutions set a clear path of trust, compassion, witness and service for all those who claim identity as Sisters of Divine Providence. The members of the community, aware of their call and encouraged by those who went before them, seek to live as Jesus did, striving always for "that mind which was in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5)

As an apostolic congregation, the Sisters serve others especially through their participation in Jesus' ministry of teaching and healing. Joyfully witnessing to the faith vision of their founders, Bishop William Emmanuel von Ketteler and Mother Marie de la Roche, the Sisters today serve those in need through ministries in education, health care, and in parish, pastoral, and social services. In all their ministries, the Sisters "have a particular call to discover God's Providence and to help others discover it in all the events of life." (Constitutions #35)

From its inception, the lives and ministries of the Sisters have been "characterized by the particular response to God's providential love which is their charism - TRUST IN, AND OPENNESS TO, TO THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD." (Constitutions #1)

The mission of the congregation has been restated in contemporary language many times over the years of the community's growth and spread from their foundation in Mainz, Germany. Today the mission of the Sisters is ...

Mission Statement

170 years congregation


“I love the age in which we Iive for its mighty wrestling with sublime ideas, however far we are from attaining them."

Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler

Mission Statement

"The Spirit of the institute is above all the Spirit of Jesus Christ himself."*
We, the Sisters of Divine Providence are an international community rich in cultural diversity and united in our trust in and openness to the Providence of God. We embrace the Spirit of Jesus in our mission to be God's loving face to all creation in its joys and sufferings.

* words of our founder, Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, to our Congregation


The Congregation of Divine Providence is the legacy of Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, Bishop of Mainz, Germany, and pioneer of social justice, and of Mother Marie de la Roche, a woman of deep trust, inner strength and great compassion. Founded in Finthen, Germany, in 1851, the Community responded to the needs of the time through education and service to the sick and the poor. (Constitutions #1) Originally a diocesan community, today the Sisters of Divine Providence form an international congregation of pontifical right. The congregation has about 400 vowed members and 300 Associates, living and serving others and giving witness to the compassion and Providence of God in our world.

Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, born into a German family of the nobility on Christmas Day, 1811, was trained as a lawyer. He trusted in God’s Providence as he sought the guidance of the Spirit, read the signs of the times, and used his personal gifts, relationships, education and experience to be faithful to God’s call to service. As a simple parish priest and then as Bishop, Ketteler risked his status and reputation in the pursuit of justice when he opened his heart and his home to the poor and confronted those in civil and ecclesiastical authority. His tireless efforts in speaking, writing and helping the poor, especially the oppressed, unskilled laborers of his diocese and country, led to greater consciousness of the issues and some improvements in conditions as the workers struggled for just wages, safe factories, and days and hours which allowed time for family and church. He is known today as the „Social Justice Bishop“ and considered the founder of the German labor unions.

Stephanie Amelia de la Roche Starkenfels was a noblewoman of French heritage. She was a woman who before and after her conversion to the Catholic faith, was committed to search for the will of God and to respond to it. In her life, she was led to sacrifice her religion, her family who disowned her, her status and culture, as she prepared herself to lead the newly-formed community for service in the poor farming areas of the Mainz Diocese. Stephanie was given the title Mother Marie as the first superior of the community. Living in community, she witnessed in her being and in her activities a contemplative spirit, a generous, forgiving heart, and gentle, compassionate service.

“May the angel of peace and charity be always at your side."

Fanny de la Roche


Bishop William Emmanuel von Ketteler imagined a community of women who would teach the young girls in the poor farming areas of his diocese, where there were few teachers and the opportunities for education were limited. The farming families also had little access to medical care. Bishop Ketteler wanted the Sisters to be prepared with basic medical knowledge so they could go into the homes and attend to those in need. As the Congregation grew and as the first members were being prepared to continue the mission of Jesus into ministries of education and healing, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck rose to power. New laws were passed during the Kulturkampf, a movement of anti-Catholicism began in 1871, at which time the Sisters were removed from the classrooms and control over education was given to the government. In addition, the laws initially denied religious communities the right to accept new members. Given the deepening antagonism against Catholics and Catholic religious communities, in 1884, the Congregation of Divine Providence received approval to become an Institute of pontifical right. In these challenging times, with the blessing of Bishop Ketteler and the superiors of the congregation, six Sisters were sent in 1876 from Germany to America to settle there and to serve the needs of thousands of German families who were emigrating to the United States. The call from Pope Pius XII for all religious communities to go on mission in another country, in 1961, led the German community of Sisters, to send six Sisters to serve the needs of the poor in Abancay, Peru. In 1963, a group of young women were sent from Korea to Rome, Italy to be prepared as the first Korean members of the congregation. In 1966, three Sisters from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in the U.S. travelled to South Korea to establish the first foundation in that country. Many emerging realities led to working toward a restructuring of the governance units within the congregation. In 2001, the three provinces of Germany united into one, and the three provinces of the United States with the Region of Puerto Rico also became one.


In today’s rapidly changing world, deeper questions emerge that affect us as women religious. They challenge us to redefine our lives, our mission and our relationships at the local, regional and global levels. We, as a community, are asking ourselves to what the God of Providence, the Gospel, and the signs of the times in the 21st century call us today and in the future. Together as Sisters sharing lives together, we seek to live the gospel and to witness mutual dependence, unity, solidarity, and compassion in our Congregation, trusting in the God of Providence. To meet the needs of the people of God in our world, we wonder if, in the future, we will live and work interculturally as local groups across provincial and missionary boundaries, testing new ways of religious life and taking steps into the future.

To find answers to these deeper questions, we, the Sisters of the Divine Providence formed the four international commissions identified here.

Circle of Friends -Associates - Providence Family

Throughout our congregation, women and men, as well as whole families, have entered into processes of prayer and study with the community which has led them to make formal associate commitments with the Sisters. Since the early 1980’s, these groups have been forming in each of our central locations. Though the names and structures of these relationships differ in each country, their core, the relationships are also quite the same. In general, Associates seek to live in closer and deeper relationships with God and with the Sisters. The Associates find their lives enriched by entering into the associate relationship with the Sisters, without becoming vowed members. The Sisters also find this association enriching. The network of lay individuals who are growing into the spirit and mission of the congregation is broadened and deepened by this inclusion of laity in a formal relationship. The Associates live and witness to the charism of Providence as they integrate their personal call, gifts, energy and insights into their daily living and also into a deeper communal relationship. Associates share with the Sisters and other Associates in various ways, participating in the spiritual, communal and ministerial life of the community according to what is possible with their other relationships and responsibilities. As they learn more about the spirit, charism, history, and mission of the congregation, those who choose to enter into an associate relationship, often find deep resonance within themselves for the identity and values of the community. They also find grace and strength in the support and growth which comes to them through this relationship. The Associates witness to the charism of the congregation in their ordinary lives by living more deeply their baptismal call to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ and live in love of others, especially those most in need.

Divine Providence

Season of Creation Prayer

Creator of Life, at Your world, the Earth brought forth plants yielding seed and trees of every kind bearing fruit.
The rivers, mountains, minerals, seas and forests…
And throughout time the Earth has sustained life…
In your Wisdoms, you granted a Sabbath…
But these days our living pushes the planet beyond its limits…
During this Season of Creation, we ask you to grant us courage to observe a Sabbath for our planet. Strengthen us with the faith to trust in your province.
Inspire us with the creativity to share what we have been given.
Teach us to be satisfied with enough.
And as we proclaim a Jubilee for the Earth, send Your Holy Spirit to renew the face of creation.


Congregation of Divine Providence

12 Christopher Street
Wakefield, RI 02879
Tel: 401-782-1785
Fax: 401-782-6967
E-Mail: mffletcher@cdpsisters.org

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