Important Dates and Events
1823 Birth of Elizabeth Hayes on Guernsey Is. in the Channel Islands. Both French & English languages heard in community.
1850 Elizabeth Hayes arrived and lived in Wantage until 1856.
1855 Elizabeth served as Anglican lay headmistress to Sister-in-Charge of Wantage School & Sisterhood; Elizabeth took vows made before Bishop Sam Wilberforce.
1856 Elizabeth Hayes became a Catholic in Farm St Jesuit Church, Mayfair, London. She joined Elizabeth Lockhart’s community at Greenwich.
1857 Elizabeth entered the Bayswater community.
1858 Elizabeth received Franciscan habit in London Catholic ceremony in presence of Dr. H. E. Manning.
1859 Elizabeth made her profession of 4 Vows (poverty, chastity, obedience; missionary service) with Franciscan Sisters Glasgow before Bishop Murdoch & Sisters. Left for mission in Jamaica immediately via Southampton on the ‘Atrato’
1863 Elizabeth (who took the religious name Sr. M. Ignatius) left Jamaica for Europe with Bishop Murdoch’s permission hoping to join another Franciscan Community.
1864 Elizabeth left England for France, searching for a mission with Archbishop of Paris & Bishop of Orleans involved; Elizabeth travelled to Rome to gain validity of Glasgow Constitutions. Requests from Glasgow & Bayswater Sisters to rewrite their Constitutions, supervised by Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda & Franciscan Friars.
1866 Elizabeth opened a convent, a school for boarders, and accepted postulants in Sevres outside Paris.
1870 Outbreak of Franco-Prussian War forced closure of Sevres mission; Elizabeth headed for Germany with Sr. M.Clare & Fanny Montgomery to serve under the Red Cross. Ministered to sick & dying French prisoners in Spandau prison with Carmelite Fr Herman Cohen .
1872 Elizabeth travelled to mission on St Thomas Island with Sr. M. Clare; faced difficulties & sickness; travelled to New York.
1873 Foundation of the Institute of Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception by Elizabeth Hayes in Belle Prairie, MN. She was now 50 years old. On 1st Jan. St. Anthony’s Academy opened. Travelled to California in summer to consult Santa Barbara Franciscan re Elizabeth’s plan to begin a monthly English Franciscan journal.
1874 Elizabeth published first edition of the Annals of Our Lady of the Angels in Brainerd printery 25 miles north of Belle Prairie. Another school also began here. The Annals continued for 100 years. On June 12, Elizabeth left for Europe to look for vocations. Away 16 months.
1875 Elizabeth arrived in New York on Oct. 13, with 2 Poor Clare nuns & Franciscan Friar. They did not go on with her to Minnesota as planned.
1876 Establishment of novitiate. Reception of 4 Canadian women & A. Chaffee from Chicago. 1879 Expansion of community to the Isle of Hope Savannah, Georgia. Bp Goss involved.
1881 Permission granted by Leo XIII to establish a house in Rome. under the jurisdiction of Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide. (See below) Letter of approbation for the zeatrices, papal audience, house in Assisi. Dec 8, official opening of Generalate in Rome on Via Alfieri.
1882 First Italian women entered the Institute. May 25, Convent came under Sacred Congregation of Propaganda. Official confirmation on July 20.
1888 ‘Villa Spada’ purchased for the community.
1889 Belle Prairie convent and school burned. Very significient consequences.
1891 Sixteen Sisters formally separated from the Institute and established a Diocesan Institute, the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls. Official documents written by Elizabeth indicate her outstanding ability as a learned, capable woman. Leader, 25 professed sisters, 5 novices. New group of zelatrices return to USA, Annals printed in Rome, financial stability regained.
1893 June, Elizabeth left Rome for Naples on way to New York. Severe sickness.
1894 Death of Founder Elizabeth Hayes, Mother M Ignatius of Jesus, on May 6 in Villa Spada. Burial in San Lorenzo Cemetery, Rome.
1896 Mother Chaffee, 2nd Mother General, oversaw the construction of St. Michael’s Mortuary Chapel in St. Laurence Cemetery, Rome.
1898 Mission established in Fayoum, Egypt. Mother Chaffee responded to Franciscan Friars’ request. Sent 5 sisters.
1899 Mission opened in Jersey City, N.J. Part of Elizabeth Hayes’ dream.
1901 Convents & ministries in Assisi, Naples, Fayoum, Jersey City & Savannah.
1902 St. Anthony’s School for Italian children of St. Leonard’s Parish, North End. Sisters lived nearby, then in Boston Convent.
1905 Decree of Affiliation with the first and second orders of St Francis.
1906 Decree of Praise (This is the official acknowledgement with which the Holy See grants to institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life the recognition of ecclesiastical institution of pontifical right.)
1907 Inauguration of Mission in Cairo, Egypt. Mother Doucet sent 2 sisters. Community moved into new Roman Motherhouse.
1909 Belle Prairie reactivated. Property regained by Mother Doucet.
1910 Decree. Approbation of the Institute and the Constitution for Ten years.
1912 Mission established in Montreal, Canada
1914 Printing & processing of the Annals transferred to Union City, N.J.
1923 Decree. Definitive Approbation of the Constitutions.
1930 Mission established in Kedron, Australia.
1933 Novitiate established in Bloomfield, Ireland with opening of Juniorate.
1949 Mission from Australia established in Sissano, Papua New Guinea.
1964 Twenty-six Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception from English foundation of Elizabeth Lockhart amalgamated with Elizabeth Hayes’ Institute. Braintree complex also transferred.
1970 Mission established in Bolivia by Sisters of the United States
1985 Mission established in Peru by the Sisters of the United States.
1991 Mission established in Tchad in Africa by Canadian Province with one Sister from the Australian Province.
1992 Decree. Revised MFIC Constitutions approved.
2001 The General Chapter mandated a restructuring for the future. Over the new two years all Provinces were disbanded and those countries/regions wishing to remain “independent” entities with the same level of self governance as a province were given the new title of “Circle.” Each of these Circles drew up a Circle Governance Plan which best reflected the needs and context of the Sisters. These Governance Plans were ratified by the General Leadership Team. The newly established Governance Circles were the United States Circle, the Canadian Circle, the Australian Circle, The Papua New Guinean Circle, the Latin American Cirle (Peru and Bolivia). Those countries which opted to governed by the General Administration included England, Ireland and Egypt.
2006 The General Chapter approved the changes to our Constitution and Statutes that were necessary to allow our new form of governance to proceed.