Led by the Spirit and inspired by the life and charism of
we are Presentation Women
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The Sisters of the Presentation came to San Francisco in 1854. Archbishop Joseph S. Alemany, then Bishop of California, requested that the Sisters come to San Francisco to open schools for the ever increasing numbers of children arriving with the settler families.
With the support of the Irish community in San Francisco, the Sisters within months were educating hundreds of children in their first school on Green Street. Their work prospered and by the time of the 1906 earthquake, they had flourishing schools in the downtown and North Beach areas of San Francisco and in Berkeley.
With the work of fifty-two years in San Francisco laying in ruins, the Sisters immediately set about to meet the challenge of direct service to the victims of the disaster. Within hours of the quake, they were feeding the hungry, housing refugees, caring for orphans, and participating in a variety of relief services to the destitute on both sides of the bay.
In the years following the earthquake, the Sisters extended their educational ministry to serve in a chain of parochial schools which stretched from Seattle, Washington, to Pecos, New Mexico.
The years since Vatican II and its urgent summons to religious women to widen their concern for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized have signaled new thrusts in ministry. Presentation Sisters served in a variety of ministries including parishes in catechetical and outreach programs, in education at all levels, in literacy programs for immigrants and the undereducated, in community organizing and justice work, in hospitals, in retreat and spirituality work, prison ministry and foreign missions.
Today, we acknowledge the challenge of our reality as a smaller, older community with limited resources and commit to addressing these challenges with a sense of urgency. We continue our commitment to participate in the universal mission of Jesus Christ and to follow Nano’s exhortation to love one another and spend ourselves for the poor. Filled with hope, rooted in contemplative consciousness, and committed to the
primacy of relationship.
What We Do
In the light of this commitment we call ourselves to:
Envision a new future through growth in communal prayer and dialogue.
Steward our limited resources wisely in the on-going care of members and for supporting our mission and legacy.
Intensify our efforts to care for those made poor and to care for our Earth community.
Utilize a collaborative mode as our way of being in community and ministry and in all our structures of leadership.
We, Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco are a community of Catholic women
religious committed to living and transmitting the message of Jesus Christ through
prayer and service. In the tradition of our foundress, Nano Nagle, we seek to promote
a society which respects the dignity of all persons with emphasis on compassion and
justice for the poor and oppressed.
We are Presentation women who share the charism of our foundress, Nano Nagle. We reach out in faith, in a spirit of hospitality, compassion, and simplicity to all of
creation. The cry of those made poor and the cry of the earth call us to continue the mission of Jesus to bring forth a sustainable society founded on respect for the earth, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.
We commit ourselves to deepen our passion for those made poor and for all of
creation. In our work for justice, we nurture a contemplative stance in keeping with
our Presentation identity.
We commit ourselves to strengthen the quality of our relationships in community life
and to foster partnership with other Presentation women and men to further Nano’s
In August, 2021 Sr. Rita Jovick spoke with reporter Ellen Finn of KALW radio about “San Francisco’s Modern American Nun,” discussing the arc of her life as a Presentation Sister with a life-long commitment to social justice.
By Kay Sweeney, Associate Program Facilitator Betty Canton Self is a woman (pictured) who has never allowed her heart or feet to stay still. She has been a Presentation Associate for more than twenty years. After leaving Texas, where she lived after escaping the civil...
By Kay Sweeney, Associates Program Facilitator Presentation Associate Yolanda Santillan (pictured) has two ministries focused on caring for others. She facilitates Monday Night Bible Study at her parish church, St Gregory the Great and she assists developmentally...