About Us

Historical Perspective

Blessed Maria Droste

The Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a worldwide congregation, was founded in 1835 by a young French woman, Rose Virginia Pelletier (Saint Mary Euphrasia). She was a woman of vision and compassionate understanding who believed that love for individuals would awaken in them a sense of dignity and self-worth. Her motto was:

“A person is of more value than a world."

In 1842, four Sisters travelled to Louisville, Kentucky to open the first Good Shepherd Community in the United States. In 1867, five Sisters were sent to Boston to establish a program for women in need. The Sisters opened the House of The Good Shepherd on Huntington Avenue in 1870 where they remained for 94 years serving women experiencing difficulties in family and society. In the 1960’s, the Sisters moved all their locations out to Marlboro, MA where a residential treatment center was opened in October 1964 named Madonna Hall for Girls.

“What are we doing in this world, and why are we here, if not to contribute to the well-being of our neighbors?”

 - St. Mary Euphrasia

Although Madonna Hall closed in June of 1985, Marlboro became the central location for the Sisters in the Boston area and is in use to this day as a retirement home. In 1982, the first Maria Droste Services, sponsored by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd was established in New York City. Realizing the same need for the Greater Boston area, Sr. Joanne Westwater, opened the second Maria Droste Services to provide mental health counseling in Quincy in 1992. Shortly thereafter, Maria Droste Services expanded by adding a holistic therapy component to the agency.

In 2013, Michael Shanahan was appointed Executive Director and the first lay person to lead the agency after the sudden death of Sr. Lorraine Bernier. Working with colleagues Sr. Elish McPartland and Stacey Campbell as the agency’s leadership team, together they strongly resonate with the values that the Sisters live to this day around the world. To this day, the Sisters run missions in 72 countries, always going to places where people, especially women and children, are suffering.

Today's Maria Droste Counseling Services continues the original mission of the Sisters to make outpatient mental health services available by removing cost and long wait times as barriers and providing all clients with professional, compassion-based mental health services. The number of new clients we serve grows each year as the need continues to increase and word spreads about our mission. Learn more about the Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd http://rgs.gssweb.org/. To learn more about our New York/Toronto Province, please visit:  https://goodshepherds.org/.