Cusack was raised in the Anglican church, but converted to Catholicism in 1858. She entered the Poor Clare Sisters, and was then known as Sister Francis Clare. She worked in many forms of ministry in Ireland over the years, and was known for her writing. In 1881, she went to Knock, in County Mayo, to open a school for young woman during the day, which held evening classes for daytime land workers. Other women were inspired by this work, and this led her to decision to form her own community, the Sistes of Saint Joseph of Peace. Conflict with Church leaders in Knock caused her to seek support in England, and in 1884, with the support of Cardinal Manning and Bishop Bagshawe, she received approval for her new order from Pope Leo XIII, and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace was founded.
The order is governed as a single congregation located in three regions:
- Sacred Heart Province in the United Kingdom includes Sisters and Associates living in England, Ireland, and Scotland.
- St. Joseph Province in the Eastern United States includes Sisters and Associates living in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
- Our Lady Province in the Western United States includes Sisters and Associates living in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
In 2009, the sisters joined the mission at the Hôpital Sacré Coeur in Milot, Haiti.
- Margaret Anna Cusack, also known as Sister Francis Clare
- Sister Evangelista Gaffney (1853 - ), born Honoria Gaffney
- The Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Peace
- Steele, F., Sisters of St. Joseph, Little Daughters of St. Joseph, Fox, J., & Bagshawe, E. (1910). Sisters of Saint Joseph. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved from New Advent: Chapter Heading, "Sisters of Saint Joseph of Peace"