Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia




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Mother Francis

Sister Margaret

Sister Bernardine

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The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia is an order of Catholic nuns that follow the examples of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. 1 The order engages in politically left-of-center shareholder advocacy, supporting campaigns to restrict food and lifestyle choices, to increase environmentalist regulations, and to increase gun control. The organization has signed a petition supporting the Green New Deal. 2


Maria Anna Boll Bachmann, a German immigrant, founded the order in the 1800s. Her husband was murdered by Know-Nothings in Pennsylvania in 1851. She later became a nun and was known as Sister and later Mother Francis. She was joined by her sister Barbara Boll, later known as Sister Margaret and Ann Dorn, later called Sister Bernardine, in establishing the order 1855 in Philadelphia. In December 1860, the congregation opened St. Mary’s Hospital. In 1863, Mother Agnes Bucher took over the organization as the Superior General, and became known as the “second foundress” for expanding the organization and running it until 1906. 3

Corporate Advocacy

The organization focuses investments on left-of-center corporate social responsibility practices. 4 The order is a member of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN). 5

The group strongly opposes a proposed Securities and Exchange Commission rule that would put some limits on the volume of resolutions small shareholders can push in order to change corporate policy. Nora Nash, director of corporate social responsibility for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, said: “I don’t think it will be a possibility for many institutions to be able to participate” if the rule goes into effect. 6

The organization has challenged pharmaceutical companies AbbVie, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck to lower the price of certain medicines. It has also criticized Chevron for contaminating water, accusing the oil company of violating the human right to water as recognized by the United Nations. 7

The order has also been involved with anti-corporate advocacy targeting Sturm Ruger on behalf of gun control advocates. It targeted McDonalds, Kroger, Campbell Soup and Yum brands to provide more nutritious foods. It has also leaned on the banking sector—namely Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo—to stop investing in private prisons and conventional energy companies, while also pushing these banks to provide more access to capital for disadvantaged populations. 8

The congregation has filed or joined shareholder resolutions against Amazon, Macy’s, GEO Group, and Northrop Grumman among other companies. 9

The congregation also pressured Disney and AT&T Time Warner to curb depictions of smoking in their entertainment programs after major acquisitions. 10

The group has further pushed anti-gun shareholder resolutions with Sturm Ruger, Dick’s Sporting Goods and American Outdoor Brands. 11

The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia were among several minority shareholders in Amazon that filed a resolution with the Securities and Exchange Commission proposing a ban on Amazon’s facial recognition system, Rekognition, over privacy concerns. Amazon had planned to sell the technology to the federal government, but this prompted civil liberties concerns. The shareholders are also asking for an independent report. 12


  1. About. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  2. ”Green New Deal Hub.” Influence Watch.
  3. History. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  5. Corporate Engagement. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  6. Sadowski, Dennis. “Shareholder Advocates Alarmed That SEC Proposal Would Limit Their Voice.” Catholic News Service. December 5, 2019. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  7. Corporate Social Responsibility. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  8. Corporate Engagement. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  9. Corporate Engagement. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  10. [1] Press Release. “Sisters of St. Francis and Other Investors Warn of Health and Business Risks as AT&T and Disney Acquire Youth-Rated Warner and Fox Movies Full of Smoking.” February 5, 2019. Accessed. December 21, 2019.
  11. Corporate Engagement. Accessed December 21, 2019.
  12. [1] Melton, Monica. “Amazon’s Sale of Facial Recognition to Government Has Some Shareholders Concerned.” Forbes. May 21, 2019. Accessed December 21, 2019

Supported Movements

  1. Green New Deal (GND)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1946

  • Available Filings

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

    609 CONVENT RD
    ASTON, PA 19014-1207