The Sisters of Saint Joseph Archives

Preserving History

The SSJ Rochester Archives, located at our Motherhouse, preserves material that documents the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Western NY, beginning with their arrival in Canandaigua in 1854. Also included is information on related topics such as the Diocese of Rochester, parishes where the Sisters have served, the Catholic Church, religious life, and spirituality.

Among the Archives’ holdings are records of three Rochester orphan homes: St. Patrick’s Girls Asylum (1845-1942), St. Mary’s Boys Asylum (1864-1942), and St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum (1870-1938). Directory information in these records (e.g., child’s name, date of birth, parents’ names, dates of admission and discharge) is available to former residents of the orphan homes and to researchers working on family history. To request access to orphan home records, please complete the Archives Request form below.

Are You Doing Research?

Academic researchers, students and genealogists are welcome to contact our Archives by clicking on the link below and completing the Archive Request form.


Two Collections of Special Significance

  • The Selma Collection, which documents the Sisters’ service in Selma, AL, from 1940 to the present, including during the momentous civil rights era. A finding aid to the Selma Collection is available here.
  • The William H. Shannon Papers: Personal and scholarly files of Msgr. William H. Shannon, professor of religious studies at Nazareth College (1946-1982) and founding president of the International Thomas Merton Society. Father Shannon lived at the Motherhouse for more than 60 years and was chaplain to the Sisters from 1980 until his death in 2012. A finding aid to the Shannon Papers is available here.

    Picture Courtesy: Mike Crupi, Catholic Courier

Sisters of Saint Joseph of Rochester

Sisters of Saint Joseph of
Rochester Motherhouse
150 French Road
Rochester, NY 14618

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