Founded in 17th century France, the Sisters of St. Joseph first came to the Erie Diocese more than 160 years ago to minister to the sick, teach children and serve in a wide range of ministries. Our sisters also staffed many schools including Harborcreek School for Boys and they established Saint Vincent Hospital, Villa Maria Elementary School, Villa Maria Academy, Villa Maria College, St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Saint Mary’s Home of Erie, St. Patrick’s Haven and numerous other ministries.  

The sisters’ presence has moved beyond hospitals and classrooms and includes pastoral, social, and liturgical ministries in Catholic parishes, global mission projects, outreach to the elderly, campus ministry, youth ministry, and numerous other efforts.  Today, more than 350 sisters, agrégées, and associates continue to carry out the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania mission of unity of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God.   

Everything we do is in response to the ever-changing needs of our world. Our ministries change with the times and are different today than they were in the late 1800s when we first arrived in the Erie Diocese. What never changes is our spirituality and our desire to be sisters of the neighborhood working to build relationships and create unity.

The mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, its agregees and associates, is to unite all people with one another and with God by responding to the ever-changing needs of the world and serving the neighbor without distinction.