Servants of Mary
1000 College Avenue West
PO Box 389
Ladysmith, WI 54848
The Servants of Mary (Servite Sisters) of Ladysmith, Wisconsin, is a diocesan congregation of women in the Roman Catholic Church who profess public vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. We trace our remote beginnings to 1233 with the founding of the Servite Order in Florence, Italy.
The immediate origins of our community reflect the pioneering spirit of response to need in the Church in America during the early 20th century. In the summer of 1912, five members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of LaGrange, Illinois, left that community to respond to the request of the Servite Friars for sisters to serve the ministerial needs of St. Mary’s Parish School in Ladysmith, Wisconsin.
Sisters Mary Alphonse Bradley, Mary Rose Smith, Mary Evangelist Corcoran, Mary Irene Drummand, and Mary Charles Kolmesh arrived in Ladysmith in September 1912, ready to begin teaching that fall in the newly built school. These five women, along with Sister Mary Boniface Hayes, who joined the group some months later, are the congregation’s foundresses.
Under the direction of the Mantellate Sisters, Servants of Mary, from Pistoia, Italy, the Ladysmith community accepted the Rule of St. Augustine, studied the constitution and customs of the Mantellate Sisters, and embraced the traditional Marian spirit of the Servite Order.
On December 8, 1919, the Ladysmith community became an independent diocesan congregation. Bishop Joseph Koudelka of the Diocese of Superior appointed Sister Mary Alphonse Bradley the first Mother General of the new American Servite foundation. The congregation was formally affiliated with the worldwide Servite Order on November 16, 1921.
The Sisters’ initial response to ministry was service in Christian education and care of the sick. By 1918, in collaboration with the local Ladysmith community, they built a hospital that opened just in time for the 1918 flu epidemic.
With the same enthusiasm and daring spirit that characterized our foundresses, we continue to respond to the changing needs of the times through a variety of ministries. Always open to the Spirit and in imitation of Mary’s fiat, we live out our commitment to God and the Church by bringing God’s word, love, and healing touch to those we serve.