The first Benedictine nuns to arrive in America came from Eichstatt, Germany in 1852. They settled in St. Marys, Pennsylvania and then, in 1856, extended their community to Erie, Pennsylvania.
In 1861, at the request of Abbot Boniface Wimmer, three of the nuns came to Chicago to teach German-speaking children. They established St. Joseph's Convent and School, originally at Chicago and Wabash Avenues in the City. In 1872, after the great Chicago fire of the previous year, their new school, Sts. Benedict and Scholastica Academy, was chartered by the State of Illinois.