Celebrating over 150 Years of Service to God’s People

St. Francis Home

When Father Joseph Bihn, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Tiffin, decided in 1867 to establish a home for orphans and older adults, he informed the parishioners of his plans and asked that one of the families assist him.  Mrs. Elizabeth Schaefer, a widow, offered to help and together they founded a community of Sisters to care for the orphans and older adults who came to Father Bihn seeking assistance.

In March of 1868 Mrs. Schaefer, her two daughters Mary Ann and Josephine, and Mrs. Schaefer’s father, John Grieveldinger, left their home near New Riegel, south of Tiffin, to live on the 58-acre farm purchased by Father Bihn.  The farm was on the outskirts of Tiffin, south of what is known today as St. Francis Avenue.

On June 4, 1869, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, three orphans and six elderly residents were admitted, including Mrs. Schaefer’s father, Mr. Grieveldinger.  This day also marked the beginning of the Community known today as the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio.  The Citizens Hospital and Orphan Asylum was incorporated on December 2, 1869.  The orphanage was discontinued in 1936 after having cared for over 1,700 children.  However, service to the elderly continues to this day.

In 1960, with a growing waiting list, the Sisters began plans for a new building.  St. Francis Home, an 84,000 square feet, three-story building with modern amenities, was opened on December 5, 1961.  It was designed to serve up to 112 residents.  New residents were required to walk into the building and demonstrate their ability to care for themselves.

Over the next 30 years, more residents required nursing care.  A construction project undertaken in 1994 added 40 nursing beds and 15 residential beds to St. Francis Home.  The project also enlarged the food service department, main dining room, life enrichment areas, and nursing stations, and added two elevators, a childcare center, covered front entry and entry ramp, and parking at the front of the building.  The project added 40,000 square feet of space to the building.

In 2000, the residential area was moved to a renovated area on the third floor and the former residential area was renovated to create Chiara Center, a secure, special care area for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

Elizabeth Schaefer Apartments

Elizabeth Schaefer Hall, named for the foundress of the Sisters of St. Francis, was built on the St. Francis campus in 1968 to accommodate a high school, a school of music and a preschool.  The high school was closed in 1978 after serving 593 students, and the school of music and preschool were closed subsequently.  The Sisters decided to remodel the high school into apartments.  The apartments, opened in 1980, provide independent living with an added sense of security and peace of mind for persons who are 62 years or older.  Residents have priority admission to St. Francis Home if assisted living or nursing care is needed.  The apartment building is located on the St. Francis campus, south of St. Francis Home.

St. Francis Villas

Another independent living option was added in 1990 when the first of the St. Francis Villas was opened.   The Villas are located on the St. Francis campus, south of Elizabeth Schaefer Apartments and St. Francis Home. The condominium-style residences provide a carefree, secure environment for individuals 62 years or older who are seeking a lifestyle that is free from the burdens of home ownership and maintenance.  Residents have priority admission to St. Francis Home if assisted living, rehabilitation services, or nursing care is needed.

Friedman Village

In April of 2009, the Sisters of St. Francis purchased the Friedman Village property across the street on St. Francis Avenue.  The purchase of this property added 30 independent living villas and a 20 room assisted living facility to St. Francis Senior Ministries.


St. Francis Senior Ministries is sponsored by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in partnership with the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio.

The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph is a religious community of nearly 500 vowed Catholic women and over 500 lay associates who live and minister in the U.S. and around the world.

CSJ Initiatives was created to assist in the management and development of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities to address the health care needs of the Congregation of St. Joseph’s aging Sisters and others. CSJ Initiatives reflects the Congregation of St. Joseph’s commitment to respond to the emerging needs of religious congregations, our neighbors and the world by providing vibrant senior care and living services. Through the unique lens and culture of religious life, CSJ Initiatives offers expertise in life enriching housing opportunities, compassionate health and wellness care and responsible care for congregational properties.

In 2019, the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio transferred sponsorship of St. Francis Senior Ministries to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph/CSJ Initiatives. St. Francis Senior Ministries continues to uphold the mission and values of both the Sisters of St. Francis and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph.