Sisters of St. Francis
Founded in 1929 by Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, the Sisters of St. Francis worked laboriously day and night to ensure Briar Cliff was able to serve the future leaders of the world. When the college finally open its doors the following year, it was served by 12 Franciscan sisters (often referred to as 'the 12 Apostles').
Before building began, several Sisters from Le Mars visited the site. On the way back, Lena Grennan said "To my way of thinking, this is a most unlikely place to build a college. Briar Cliff would not exist without the Sisters' perseverance and optimism, pouring their time, labor and resources into the college."
The Sisters of St. Francis were the first members of Briar Cliff's Mother Dominica Society which recognizes benefactors with a lifetime giving of $1 million. In January of 2019, they were the inaugural members of the St. Clare Legacy Society which recognizes benefactors with a lifetime giving of $5 million. The tradition of generosity found within Sisters for St. Francis has continued to be an agent for change at Briar Cliff University.