New religious community coming to Atlantic City

Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal (CFR) at Coney Island
Sister Catherine, a member of Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, prays inside St. Adalbert Church in the Bronx section of New York in 2007. Sister Catherine was Kirstin Holum when she competed for the United States at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. She placed sixth in the 3,000-meter and seventh in the 5,000-meter speedskating races. (CNS photo/courtesy Sister Catherine) (Feb. 24, 2010)

The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal (CFR) and the Diocese of Camden are pleased to announce that the Sisters will open a convent in Atlantic City in August 2017.

Bishop Dennis Sullivan, who has long known the CFR Sisters since his days in the Archdiocese of New York, invited the Order to minister in Atlantic City. The community plans to send four professed Sisters to begin this new mission.

“I am delighted that the Sisters have accepted my invitation to choose Atlantic City as the site of their first American mission outside of New York City,” said Bishop Sullivan. “I look forward to the great witness of Christ’s love that they will provide to Atlantic City and throughout South Jersey.”

The Community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal was established in 1988 under the auspices of Cardinal John O’Connor of New York. The CFRs currently have three convents in New York City, two in the Bronx and another in East Harlem; one convent in Leeds, England, and another in Drogheda, Ireland.

The charism of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal is to live the Gospel in simplicity according to the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi, as handed on by the Capuchin tradition. The values uniting the Sisters are: a strong prayer life, including daily Mass, the Divine Office, daily Eucharistic adoration; devotion to Our Lady; imitation of Saint Francis and Saint Clare; faithfulness to the Magisterium of the Church and loyalty to the Holy Father.

The Community’s two-fold apostolic mission is “hands-on” work with the poor and evangelization. This ministry is accomplished through a variety of services for and with the poor and through Catholic programs of evangelization. As the Sisters become more familiar with the needs and the people of Atlantic City they will determine the mission most appropriate for the city as well as other opportunities for evangelization in the Diocese of Camden.

“Atlantic City has been faithfully served by many religious sisters over the years. Each brought a unique charism to build up the Church,” said Father Jon Thomas, pastor of the city-wide Parish of Saint Monica. “My parishioners and I look forward to welcoming a new group of sisters. We are excited to collaborate with the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in the great work they will do in our city.”

On Aug. 15, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the CFR Sisters will formally dedicate the new residence to be known as Saint Michael’s Convent. The building is the former Saint Michael’s parish rectory, which closed in 2015 when the church joined the city-wide Parish of Saint Monica.

The Sisters are a parallel community to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal founded by the well-known Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR. Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR is the founder of the Sisters’ community. Mother Lucille Cutrone, CFR is Community Servant (Superior General) and a founding member.

“I know the faithful of the Diocese of Camden will join me in welcoming these consecrated women religious to our diocese. It will a blessing to have them among us,” said Bishop Sullivan.

To learn more about The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, go to

For more on Atlantic City, see Father Jon Thomas’ column.