Celebrating Women’s History-HER Story in the Franciscan Way

by Sister Julie Ann on March 1, 2008

Marianna by Marie Spartali StillmanSilver Lake College sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity is commemorating the public celebration of women’s history in this country which began in 1978 as “Women’s History Week” in Sonoma County, CA. In 1981, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) co-sponsored a joint Congressional resolution proclaiming a national Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress expanded the Elsie Martindale Hueffer by Madox Brownobservance to a month, and March was declared Women’s History Month.

Who were the women who most reflected God’s goodness to you? Who were the women who most inspired you? Describe a woman whose influence most nurtured your growth as a learner. Describe a woman who instilled values you hold to this day?

Portrait of Sister Minerva by Sofonisba AnquissolaReflect on these images:”Marianna” is a watercolor done by Marie Spartali Stillman 1867-1869; “Elsie Martindale Hueffer” is a pastel and pencil by Madox Brown 1895; “Portrait of Sister Minerva” is an oil by Sofonisba Anquissola 1559.

8 thoughts on “Celebrating Women’s History-HER Story in the Franciscan Way”

  1. Sister Marcolette Madden says:

    One of the women who had a major influence on my life was Sister Dolora Deem. Her message to us Junior Sisters still rings in my ears: “The capacity to love is within the very nature of women. In fulfilling this desire to love, we bring forth new life and fulfill our very being… The whole purpose of love is the good and service of someone outside ourselves… Charity is the love of goodness in another, a willingness to sacrifice fro the benefit of another… This is the goal of any woman, whether she be religious, Christian, or non-Christian.”

    What made her message so credible is that she “walked the talk.” I thank God for all the women who’ve inspired others toward loving service of others.

    Sister Marcolette

  2. Doing a bit more research myself on this National Women’s History Month, I found the theme of the 2008 celebration to be: Women’s Art: Women’s Vision. Honoring the vision of women artists, the national celebration recognizes different women gifted in painting, sculpture, weaving, pottery, embroidery and modern media art .
    Therefore, I’d like to recognize not only our own Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity artists over our 138 year history, but especially mothers everywhere who open and allow the freedom of the world of visual expression in the eyes and hands of their children.

  3. Sister Marcolette Madden says:

    What a wonderful comment, Sister Julie Ann, regarding the role of mothers in opening the eyes of children to visual expression. I remember how my Mom’s interest in crafts – especially the creation of a basket made from pine cones from our evergreens at home – caught my attention.

    Our college library has a wonderful display for Women’s History: posters, books, and some of the art work of Sister Maxine, Sister Andree, and Sister Mariella.

  4. Sr. Joellen says:

    When I think of the great women in history, I recall all those who have never been given their due. Women, from the beginning of time, have been a major influence on all that has happened. Historically it has taken centuries to recognize their labors of love.

    In my life I respect and miss the influence my mother had on all of our family. It is with great fondness that I recall so many ways that she influenced us and how that influence has now been extended to the next generations.

    I also recall a number of my elementary school teachers, those Sisters who played an extremely important role in my formation. And then there are so many others….

    Today our nation is looking at an election that certainly is “history in the making.” I just pray that decisions are made on the quality of possible service, the true values held and expressed, and not just in the spirit of feminism.

    May the greatest woman of all time, Mary our Blessed Mother, guide and direct our lives so that we may constantly do her Son’s will.

    Luv to all, Sr. Joellen

  5. Sister Pat Sevcik says:

    Our physical mothers certainly helped to birth us in many ways throughout our childhood and into adulthood. Sr. Jolyce was a deeply spiritual mother to me and my peers during our early formation. Her love for God and her life of prayer were inspirational. She was faithful and lived a simple, holy life. May each of us follow the call of God to be mothers and sisters to all. May our compassion and simplicity leave their mark on history.

  6. Sister Ann Joachim says:

    Many women have inspired and encouraged me both living and dead. Just lately I read the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Her persistence in following the special call to found the Sisters of Charity in the slums of Calcutta was unbelievable when few believed in her. Her immediate success after the founding of the order only made her more humble giving all glory and praise to God and none for herself. This she did while not feeling any closeness to God over all the 50 years after the founding. What an example of greatness!

  7. srosangela says:

    My mother had a great influence in my life. She had a deep faith which she passed on to me. She lived a simple life always thinking of others. She was very unselfish, not thinking of herself but what she could do for others. She taught me many things which I practice in my life even today. I think of her with love and gratitude.

  8. Sister Mary Bodwin says:

    My mother had a great influence on my life. When I was growing up, we lived across the street from a Catholic hospital.I remember well how every day my mother attended the 5:00 AM Mass at the hospital chapel. She set such a wondeful example that I would find it very difficult not to attend daily Mass.
    I remember her saying “it is very difficult to be a good Christian but easy to be a critic”.
    Sister Mary

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