Franciscan Sisters of Allegany
Franciscan Sisters responded to the need of the Jamaican community when after a harrowing experience on a long sea voyage from Glasgow, Scotland, the first three Franciscan Sisters disembarked at Kingston Harbour on November 5, 1857, with but two shillings and six pence in their possession. They soon found kind benefactors such as the Honourable Richard Reilly who sent them Ten Pounds (£10.00) and Mr. Henry Vendryes who made available his home as their first Convent.
In January 1858, , the Sisters opened the Immaculate Conception Academy, now ICHS and Immaculate Prep.. When the two D’Aquin Sisters joined the Franciscan Sisters, their generous father gave as their dowry the twenty-five acre “Pen” which the sisters named “Alvernia”. On this property was later developed St. Francis All-Age School, St. Joseph’s Teacher’s College and Alvernia Preparatory School.
Eventually, the Motherhouse in Scotland became unable to send any more Sisters to Jamaica. So it was that the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, New York, a young, fledgling Community barely twenty (20) years old, graciously responded to an Appeal from the Vicar Apostolic of Jamaica. In January 1879, three Sisters bravely set sail from New York Harbour to become the first American Sisters to undertake foreign missionary work.
Over the years besides the Educational Institutions already mentioned, the Franciscan Sisters have also established and continue to serve:
St. Aloysius Primary School
St. Joseph Infant School
Marymount High School in Highgate, St. Mary
They have also established several other schools in the Corporate Area, Highgate in St. Mary and Montego Bay.
In the past, the Franciscan Sisters have also served at St. Anne’s Infant, Primary and Secondary Schools and the former St. Anthony Elementary School in Kingston as well as Mt. Alvernia Prep., Chetwood Primary and Mt. Alvernia High School in Montego Bay and Marymount Preparatory in Highgate.
The Franciscan Sisters have also been involved in several outreach programmes in their various institutions and through through Franciscan Ministries as well as in conjunction with the Lay Franciscans of the Third Order.