Franciscan Sisters Commemorate Founders Day 1869-2008

by Sister Julie Ann on November 9, 2008

img_4870.jpgToday, November 9, 2008,  is the 139th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Manitowoc, WI. Four young women in their twenties and early thirties,  strong in their faith, professed their vows in 1869 and faithfully launched a religious community. This historic day in history was the first of many to begin a growing Sisterhood alive in living the Gospel and eager to serve the needs of the pioneer Church.

img_4856.jpgMost years since 1939,  a Founders’ Day Program, a sharing of remembrances in the form of some home-spun entertainment, has been part of the Motherhouse day’s festivities. Here’s a portion of Sister Chiara LaValley’s script for this 2008 Pauline year including present day Sisters, St. Paul and Teresa Gramlich, one of the first Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity:

SMJ: Journey….I remember that Sister Donna Marie told us in the Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture Class that journey is deeply rooted in the Pentateuch. Abraham is called to a new land. Jacob must find God far from home. Joseph must go to Egypt. Israel must cross the desert to find a Promised Land.

SFA: St. Paul sure had a lot of journeys! I read that be traveled over 6000 miles! Can you imagine that? It was not too convenient either or easy! In learning about our Community history, our Sisters were called to journey lots of miles, too.

St. Paul: I was born a few years after Jesus was. My parents were strict observant Jews. We lived in the city of Tarsus which tells you that my family was wealthy. We also had prestige and importance by claiming Roman citizenship.

Teresa Gramlich: I, Teresa Gramlich, was born on November 23, 1842 in Schlierstadt, Germany. I am an ordinary settler’s daughter. I was only ten years old when I came to America journeying across the Atlantic Ocean with my family.

img_4875.jpgOther activities of heart-felt warmth on this significant and holy Franciscan day are the Eucharistic Liturgy and the cemetery service, remembering all the foundresses past, present and future….

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6 thoughts on “Franciscan Sisters Commemorate Founders Day 1869-2008”

  1. Sister Marie Bernadette says:

    My, Sister Chiara,you looked perfectly wonderful in our Founders’ Garb/Habit. Your day and our day was very different from our first Sisters. We were invited to a home to enjoy an evening meal. The family has three children. We enjoyed wine (to open the taste buds!),prime rib,scalloped potatoes, a green vegetable and peach cobbler with ice cream. No comparison to our Sisters.
    Something unique did happen while the father and I went out to enjoy the colorful sunset. He told me of a deep spiritual experience he had some time earlier. Awesome Faith!

  2. To have the celebration of our Foundresses on the Feast of the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran gives me such a sense of profound history and mystery…

    Our community of Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, began here in the woods of WI ministering to the immigrant pioneers at the same time very connected with the Universal Church in Rome; living the mission of Jesus.

    The following quote is a great way of seeing the importance of being part of something much larger than oneself; something our Sisters continue to live so faithfully!

    “What was done here, as these walls were rising, is reproduced when we bring together those who believe in Christ. For, by believing they are hewn out, as it were, from mountains and forests, like stones and timber; but by catechizing, baptism and instruction they are, as it were, shaped, squared and planed by the hands of the workers and artisans. Nevertheless, they do not make a house for the Lord until they are fitted together through love” (St. Augustine, Sermon 36>).

  3. I appreciated the comparison of St. Paul’s journeys to that of our own Sisters being sent many places throughout the years. St. Paul and our Sisters listened deeply to God’s Spirit and thus were able to understand who they were and all that God called them to be. Consider our December retreat. Choose God.

  4. Great Founders Day program… I was so happy that I could attend this year. I am amazed at how many missions we have been involved in. Our history is a blessing! Thank you, Sr. Chiara, Sr. Natalie and team for all the work and time spent on making it special for us.

  5. Thank you for sharing this brief account of the Founders Day celebration. When I read all the great things happening in our community, thanks to this blog, I feel really connected and engaged.

    Arizona, Hawaii, Ohio, and all places far and near are as close as my computer. Thanks to all!

  6. Sister Rosangela says:

    I was so happy I could attend the Cemetery Service and the Program for Founder’s Day. It amazes me how our Sisters always come up with an idea for the programs. To link our Foundresses with St. Paul was unique. As I get older I appreciate our community more and more and thank God for all the blessings that we share. Many thanks to all those who helped with both of these events.

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