Sesquicentennial Corner—March


St. Francis Home grew in the number of residents after its founding in 1869.  Between 1871 and 1888, the Home (Citizens Hospital and Orphan Asylum) purchased over 400 acres of land to help support and clothe all who came and to educate the orphans. By 1886 there were 215 people, including 110 orphans, living at the Home. Father Joseph Louis Bihn wanted the  Home to support itself. Some income came from the aged. The orphans were received gratis.  Only by strenuous work could the Sisters and Brothers feed and clothe their charges and themselves.  The Sisters did most of the everyday household tasks of caring for the orphans and the aged: cooking, cleaning, mending, sewing, weaving cloth from flax grown on the farm and wool from the sheep, making clothing, blankets, and carpets. The work of planting and harvesting the crops was usually done by the Brothers and older boys. With the purchase of more land, however, their work increased and required the assistance of some of the Sisters. This was difficult especially for Sisters not used to farm life. The Sisters and Brothers did not shirk from all there was to do. Along with Father Bihn they worked for the honor and glory of God, trusting in God’s Providence as they did what was theirs to do.