Our Foundress

Left, a painting of Maria Anna Brunner. Right, the grave of Mother Maria Anna Brunner in the Salem Heights cemetery, Dayton, Ohio. Michelle Bodine photo

Maria Anna Brunner — A Legacy of Faith

In just two years, Maria Anna Brunner turned a special calling from God into a unique congregation of women religious that made its way from Switzerland to the United States and to Latin America. Her faith was strong and her inspiration to others profound. Today, we carry with us her devotion to Precious Blood spirituality and her dedication to helping others as we serve as faithful witnesses to God’s love in our world.

Mother Brunner can be an inspiration to all, for she was:

  • A single woman (she did not marry until she was 29)
  • A maid in the home of her future in-laws
  • A wife and mother (married John Baptist Brunner, had six children)
  • A widow and single mother (her husband died after only 20 years of marriage when her youngest daughter was only four years old)
  • An “empty nester” (who had to decide what would she do after her children had all grown and left home)
  • A foundress (who gathered a community of women devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus after seeking God’s will during a pilgrimage to Rome)

Mother Brunner died in 1836, but her ideals persevered as Sisters of the Precious Blood continued her ministries and devout Eucharistic prayer — living simply while reaching out to the less fortunate and offering reconciliation to the world in honor of Christ’s selfless sacrifice.

The first Sisters arrived in the United States in 1844 at the invitation of Bishop John Baptist Purcell of Cincinnati, Ohio to minister to German immigrants. Mother Brunner’s example of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, service to the poor and the needy continue to be our inspiration.

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