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Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are the founders and sponsors of Fontbonne University.

In 1836, six of the Sisters of St. Joseph traveled to the United States from LePuy, France, to teach the deaf — continuing a heritage of service begun in 1650 and characterized by values of quality, respect, diversity, community, justice, faith and Catholic presence.

The Sisters of St. Joseph would eventually establish a college to provide access to higher education for women - a need in the early decades of the 20th century. The first classes were held in 1923, at Carondelet, in South St. Louis, and then two years later at Fontbonne’s current Clayton campus.

“From the beginning, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet founded and staffed Fontbonne. They remain, as always, our founders and our inspiration. Their convictions and charism are alive and well at Fontbonne because we believe in the legacy of the Sisters, namely to serve the dear neighbor without distinction.

We have a formal sponsorship agreement that clarifies the relationship between the Sisters and the university, and reinforces our mutual commitments on behalf of those we are privileged to educate and serve.”
— Dr. Dennis C. Golden, Fontbonne University president

Learn more about our History and Mission.