Stevens Point, WI. – The Wisconsin Historical Society announces the listing of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis Convent Complex located in Stevens Point, Portage County, on the State Register of Historic Places. State Historic Preservation Officer Daina Penkiunas presents a certificate to Michael McQuillen.
The Sisters of St. Joseph order was established in 1901 by Polish members of the School Sisters of St. Francis who left their German-American order to serve their fellow Poles by teaching in their parish schools. The complex in Stevens Point served as the founding motherhouse and teacher training academy of the congregation, which ultimately became the largest Polish sisterhood organized in the United States. To prepare their members for teaching, the Sisters of St. Joseph established a high school, St. Joseph Academy, which later accommodated day students in addition to members of the order. The sisters also established St. Joseph Junior College within the convent.
The growth of the sisters of St. Joseph, which consisted of 46 founding members, coincided with a great wave of Polish immigration to the United States. In 1964, approximately 40,000 students were enrolled in schools administered and staffed by the order. The number of sisters in the order peaked in 1967 at 1,331. Faced with declining membership, the order sold the Sisters of St. Joseph Complex in 2019 with plans that it will be rehabilitated for residential use.
The State Register is Wisconsin’s official list of state properties determined to be significant to Wisconsin’s heritage. The State Historic Preservation Office at the Wisconsin Historical Society administers both the State Register and the National Register in Wisconsin.
Additional information for the Sisters of St. Joseph Complex is available at
To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit: www.wisconsinhistory.org.
About the Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit wisconsinhistory.org.