MILWAUKEE –– The School Sisters of Notre Dame will form a new province Sunday, June 12, 2011, “School Sisters of Notre Dame of the Central Pacific Province,” uniting sisters in the provinces of Milwaukee; Mankato, Minn.; Dallas, Texas; and St. Louis, Mo.

The Extended General Council of the School Sisters of Notre Dame opened Sept. 27 in Wilton, Conn., and will continue through Oct. 24.

The new province, whose name reflects the central U.S. geographic location of the campuses, ministries in the Western and Pacific coast areas and the sisters in Japan and Guam, will have more than 1,200 sisters and four campuses: the campus of Notre Dame of Elm Grove, Elm Grove; the campus of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mankato, Minn., known as the Provincial House; the campus of Dallas, which includes St. Mary of the Pines, Chatawa, Miss., and offices in San Antonio, Texas; the campus of Sancta Maria in Ripa, St. Louis, Mo., known as the Motherhouse and main address for the new province. The new School Sisters of Notre Dame province will continue have a presence at the cities’ regional offices, schools, health care facilities and ministry sites.

School Sister of Notre Dame Debra Marie Sciano, leader of the Milwaukee Province, said that these changes are necessary to answering God’s call. “By choosing to consolidate aspects of our organization, the School Sisters of Notre Dame can more easily focus on our mission, which calls us to integrate prayer, community and ministry in our daily lives,” she said in the congregation’s press release. “We continue to serve the needs of the poor, especially women and children, with an emphasis on transformative education. As we combine our respective resources in the Central Pacific Province, we will continue our presence through numerous thriving ministries.

The congregation, founded in Bavaria in 1833, has been serving in the Milwaukee area since 1850.