In 1872, a young novice, Sister Marie, appeared at the door of the private study of Napoleon Perche, archbishop of New Orleans. This was not Sister Marie's first visit to the archbishop's residence. As a member of the religious order “last in rank” in the city, she was regularly called on to perform housekeeping duties for the archbishop and had worked for him in this capacity first as a postulant and later as a novice. Today, the reason for her visit was different: she appeared before him for the first time in a religious habit, which her order's mother superior, Josephine Charles, had designed and made. Mother Josephine was one of three founders of the Soeurs de Sainte-Famille or Sisters of the Holy Family (SSF), the order lowest in rank in New Orleans because its members were women of African descent.