Urged by the redeeming love of Jesus and rooted in Eucharistic prayer, the Sisters of the Precious Blood proclaim God’s love by being a life-giving, reconciling presence in a fractured world. As an active apostolic community, the Sisters of the Precious Blood balance their ministry with intentional communal living and a life of prayer.
Ministering where the needs of the time call thems, the Sisters of the Precious Blood currently live and work in the United States, Chile and Guatemala. They rely on the special gifts and talents of each of the sisters to further their congregational mission. Sisters of the Precious Blood have ministered in education, health care, pastoral ministry, social services and a variety of other fields.
As women religious dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus, the sisters respond to the cry of the blood by connecting with others to address issues such as lack of education, the death penalty, migration, racism and criminal justice reform. They continue and expand their efforts regarding care of our endangered earth, and they commit ourselves to sharing their resources with others to alleviate poverty and to effect systemic change.
Their foundress, Maria Anna Brunner, was known for bringing loaves of bread to the less fortunate in her village. At the age of 29, she married John Baptist Brunner. She had six children and was widowed after 20 years of marriage. Following a pilgrimage to Rome, Mother Brunner returned to Switzerland, where her pious devotion to Eucharistic prayer inspired young women to join her. The Sisters of the Precious Blood was founded in 1834.
Mother Brunner died in 1836, but her ideals persevered as Sisters of the Precious Blood continued her ministries and prayer — living simply while reaching out to the less fortunate and offering reconciliation to the world in honor of Christ’s selfless sacrifice. In just two years, Mother Brunner turned a special calling from God into a devoted community of women religious that made its way to the United States and, later, to Latin America.
The first sisters arrived in the United States in 1844 at the invitation of Bishop John Baptist Purcell of the Diocese of Cincinnati and with the purpose of ministering to German immigrants. Ten foundations of Precious Blood sisters, brothers and priests were established in Western Ohio and Jay County, Indiana. Besides providing food and clothing for themselves and other missionaries, they opened schools and orphanages and took care of the sick.
In 1846, a motherhouse was established at Maria Stein, Ohio. Today the former convent at Maria Stein continues as a center of prayer and community events. It also houses the Shrine of the Holy Relics, which holds over 1,000 relics of the saints and the True Cross. In 1923, the congregation’s motherhouse moved to Dayton, Ohio, where it remains.
The Sisters of the Precious Blood continue to be inspired by Mother Brunner’s example of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament and her service to the poor and those in the margins of society. As Sister Joyce Ann Zimmerman, C.PP.S., has written:
“Our Precious Blood spirituality is a constant and very concrete reminder that Jesus Christ is the source of all good, the source of overcoming all want, the fount of justice and peace. We are called to be the presence of the risen Christ for all those we meet, each day of our lives. Ultimately, the challenge of our spirituality and its grounding in the Eucharist is to internalize the cry of Paul: ‘I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). Glory to the Blood of Jesus who makes this possible!”