An association known as the Company of St Ursula, pioneered by twelve young women of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral Parish at Bolar, Mangalore in 1887 started by Fr. Urbun Stein S.J a German priest , was a muster seed when it was sown in Mangalore. The Company of St Ursula obtained the canonical status in 1934. The enhanced status accorded it a new name – Catechist Sisters of St Ursula.
New religious houses were inaugurated at Vorkady (1927), Bejai (1931) Madanthyar (1936), Fajir and Karopady (1938), Trikarpur, now in Kerala (1942), Panir (1943), Belthangady (1945), Shirtady and Jeppu (1947), Kallianpur (1950), Hunsur and Thirthahalli (1956), Suntikoppa (1957)…. In all these places, the Sisters rendered their service in the field of education, though in schools administered by respective parishes. Alongside imparting instruction in schools, the Sisters offered career guidance education to women in tailoring, needle work and machine embroidery, in Bejai, Jeppu, Hunsur, Thirthahalli and Suntikoppa.
The Congregation of the Catechist Sisters of St Ursula grew to be the Ursuline Franciscan Congregation in 1955 as a result of the affiliation to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins of St Francis. This historic event marked the extension of the Congregation outside the Diocese of Mangalore. The event opened avenues to open schools outside the Mangalore Diocese. Within a decade the Sisters opened schools in Mysore, Shimoga, Coorg, Chikmagalur and South Kanara districts. On June 27, 1975 Sisters of the congregation left the security of their native surroundings and started the first convent in North East at Meluri in Nagaland. The recognition as a religious congregation, obtained after a period of 47 long years can be seen as the acknowledgement of their unstinted commitment in the service of the marginalized in spiritual, physical, moral and social matters.
The new constitutions were approved on November21, 1985. As per the mandate of the eighth General Chapter decentralization of the administration of the Congregation took place. North and North East missions were created on June 1, 1986 and west Karnataka and East Karnataka regions were formed on October 7, 1986. Sr. Edilburga the Superior general of the time realized the vision of her predecessors of raising the congregation to the Pontifical Status , which was secured on January27, 1995. The foundation room was established on December 30, 2001. The Ursuline Franciscan Congregation enlisted as the 40th member of the Ursulines of the Roman Union on October7, 2002.
A dream of having a wing of Lay Associates in the congregation namely the Ursuline Franciscan Lay Association was realized during the 125th year of celebration of the foundation of the Congregation. An Association named the ‘Ursuline Franciscan Blooms’ was started for the catholic students who study in our institutions on December 8, 2016. “You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount but also a great history still to be accomplished! Look to the future, where the spirit is sending you in order to do even great things” these are the words of Blessed John Paul from Vita Consecrata (No 110). The Ursuline Franciscan Congregation has to journey a long way into the direction shown by the Holy Spirit. The Congregation has realized acceptably the ‘Unspoken Vision’ of Fr. Urbun Stein ; it has the mission of initiating a new kind of religious life by redefining its charism and rededicating itself to the service of God , God’s people and the cosmos.