Orphaned and neglected children roamed on the roads, the sick and destitute had no one to give them proper care, industrial workers were exploited, and the educational system was badly in need of reform. Into this situation, God called and sent Fr. Theodosius who was gifted with an extraordinary social awareness. Being a child of St. Francis, he was imbued with a profound sense of God’s universal Fatherhood and saw every human being under the sun as a brother and sister. With boundless confidence in God, he used his creative mind and dynamic personality in his efforts to alleviate the miseries of the people.His motto “The need of the time is the Will of God,” urged him to establish a Congregation of women, who would carry on, the works of mercy and give continuity to his plans. Mother Maria Theresa Scherer, the co-foundress, was filled with an active love for the poor and suffering. Love of God was her one passion and from it sprang the love of people and so she hurried at the call of every human misery. The number of Sisters increased and spread to various parts of the world, venturing into various apostolates keeping true to their charism of “All embracing love for the Crucified, and therefore compassionate love for all people, especially the poor and the underprivileged.”
The Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross was founded in 1856 by Fr. Theodosius Florentini, OFM, Cap and Mother Maria Theresa Scherer. It is affiliated with the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi and is of Pontifical Right. The members of this congregation work in almost all the continents, Europe,America (North &South), Asia and Africa.
The foundation took place in Switzerland at a time of upheaval and change. Vast numbers of people had been plunged into poverty and misery with the onset of the Industrial Revolution in Europe.