Mother Mary Adelaide was born Anne Sandusky on October 10, 1874, in Cincinnati, Ohio. A devout Catholic, Sandusky entered the Convent of the Sisters of St. Francis, Rochester, Minnesota, on June 6, 1893. She formally became a nun on July 16, 1902. At this time, Sandusky became Mother Mary Adelaide.
On December 18, 1916, Mother Mary Adelaide and a group of Franciscan sisters from Rochester, Minnesota, arrived in Sylvania, Ohio, at the request of Bishop Joseph Schrembs of the Toledo diocese. These Catholic nuns became the original Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, in 1930. Mother Mary Adelaide was the founder of this new order. The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, dedicated themselves to charity and educational activities in northwestern Ohio, including establishing Lourdes College.
Initially, Lourdes College was to provide young Catholic women with training as nuns, but in 1969, the institution began to accept women seeking a more traditional college education. In 1975, Lourdes College admitted men for the first time. In 2005, almost 1,600 students were enrolled at Lourdes College, which was still governed by the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio. The college remained dedicated to its Catholic beliefs and encouraged its students to engage in religious and charity work.
Besides establishing Lourdes College, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, at Mother Mary Adelaide's urging, assisted the residents of northwestern Ohio in many other ways. One important contribution was the Sisters' willingness to counsel influenza patients during an epidemic in 1918. Ever since this event, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, have played an active role in providing religious instruction in local hospitals. Over 520 women have belonged to the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, and the order had 242 active members in 2005. Mother Mary Adelaide died in 1964.