Sister Emma Cottage

Sister Emma Cottage is a special unit on the Queen Louise Home campus that provides intensive 24 hour residential foster care for children and young adults with severe developmental and physical disabilities. Many of our residents use wheelchairs and have special impairments and are medically fragile.

Sister Emma Cottage came about in the late 1980’s, as Queen Louise Home began to receive many requests for placement of children with severe physical and developmental disabilities.  The children required an intensive level of care not possible in the Home’s standard cottages, so a special cottage opened in 1996 to accommodate children with severe disabilites. It was named Sister Emma Cottage in honor of Sister Emma Francis, a Lutheran deaconess who served at the cottages for nearly 40 years.

Who is Sister Emma?

Sister Emma Francis was a native of St. Kitts who had been educated at a Moravian College in Antigua and then at a Bible House and hospital in Germany.  The school’s mission board considered Sister Emma for missionary work in Cameroon and Sudan. However, they denied posting her in these areas because they feared she would not be accepted as an equal with white missionaries there. In 1906, she was invited to the Deaconess Motherhouse in Friendenshort, a large institution that trained deaconesses and gave them opportunities for service.

She received the garb of a deaconess in 1907 and commissioned for service at one of the three orphanages run by Queen Louise Home on St. Croix. She became the first Black deaconess to serve in North America and the first Lutheran deaconess to come from the West Indies. She served at the orphanage for nearly 40 years, touching the lives of hundreds of children in the Virgin Islands, and she passed away in 1945.

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