Franciscan Holy Family Conservatory Is Moving to New Site

by Sister Julie Ann on May 21, 2013

Come Fall 2013 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity sponsored Holy Family Conservatory, Manitowoc, WI will be moving to the new Franciscan Center of Music Education and Performance being constructed at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family on Highway 151. Sunday, May 19, 2013 marked the final regular monthly concert day at the South 11th Street site where it all began in 1925, 88 years ago.

Wonder how our Sisters started Holy Family Conservatory?

Holy-Family-Conservatory-Manitowoc-WIHere’s a bit of information Sister Donna Marie Kessler weaved together largely from letters and notes of Sister Celerine, one of the founders of the Conservatory and other Sisters who have served there. Sister Celerine was a novice when the Conservatory opened. She would remain there for 27 years.

Franciscan-Sisters-Holy-Family-Conservatory-early-photoIn September, 1925, Sisters Davidica, Benjamin and Celerine went to live at St. Boniface Convent, Manitowoc. (Sisters Benjamin and Davidica had just completed a degree in music from the Bush Conservatory in Chicago.) Their object in going to St. Boniface was to stir up interest in music among the students in the school. The Sisters own joy in music indeed stirred up many students! There were so many children they had to use so much room at St. Boniface Convent that they were depriving the Sisters of their home.

Before too long Sister Davidica went to the Convent to speak with Mother Generose. Her request: May we have a separate place just for music? Sister Maureen’s father, Mr. Joyce, was our legal consultant and lived next door to the Sisters. Mother Generose asked him to look for houses for sale near St. Boniface. The present conservatory was the nearest and the most convenient…the Sisters moved in on December 10, 1925. There was little furniture but there were 3 pianos and benches moved from St. Boniface! The Sisters ate their first meals on a piano bench…

As an expression of appreciation and gratefulness to God for everyone’s part in life at Holy Family Conservatory, Sunday’s concert included a special open house and instructor performance. Sister Marcus Steede, Sister Antonice Lauer, Sister Mary Carol Kopecky, Sister Rosaire Pigeon, Sister Angela Paul, Sister Lucianna Derus, Sister Cecilia Burns and Sister Marsaia Kaster presented the program. Watch for other photos on facebook.Franciscan-Sisters-Holy-Family-Conservatory

9 thoughts on “Franciscan Holy Family Conservatory Is Moving to New Site”

  1. Sister Mary Ann says:

    The impact these Sisters, and those Sister musicians before them, have made in the lives of countless students is indescribable! The beauty of God’s love continues to touch the hearts of so many through the gift of music!!!

  2. I am grateful for the musical legacy that Holy Family Conservatory has left our community. I look forward to new ventures at the SLC site. Thank you, sister musicians, for your loving dedication to musical beauty!

  3. Sister Carol Ann Gambsky says:

    The move has taken place and we are excited for everyone to come and see the new conservatory studios. It’ beautiful!
    Sister Carol Ann Gambsky

  4. Luella Spadaro says:

    My brother and I attended the conservatory every Saturday from 1930 to 1932. We travelled 3 hours by train each way to get there. My father worked for the railroad. I remember Sisters Davidica and Benjamin from whom we took violin and voice lessons. Is there anyone besides me who is around from this time period? I am 95 years old and live in a retirement home in Hawaii. Luella (Nelson) Spadaro

  5. Sister Carol Ann says:

    In case anyone is looking for the new location and address, here it is as of August 2013:
    2406 South Alverno Road
    Manitowoc, WI 54220
    Sister Carol Ann Gambsky

  6. Susie Wagner says:

    My soster and I started lessons there 23 years ago 🙂 piano with Sister Regine Delores.

  7. Verone Leeman says:

    It is good to read how the conservatory began back in 1925. We have had great musicians and still do in the present. Very nice picture!!!

  8. Charles Szmanda says:

    Just a hi to Sr. Mary Carol. I think I was your student in Antigo in the 60s and just wanted to say thank you for everything, especially your wonderful ebullience, your love of music, and your kind tolerance of little brats like me.

    Chuck Szmanda

  9. Lydia says:

    I took violin lessons from Sister Eligius from 5th grade until my graduation in 1994. Thanks to her and sister Cecelia, who accompanied me on piano, I was able to be the concert mistress for my jr and sr high school orchestras 5 out of 6 yrs and participated in an honors orchestra and won many state metals. I am proud to say I was a student at holy family conservatory of music. If I hadn’t had the influence of these Sisters in my life I fear what may have come of me as I was an only child of a home with chronic abuse and alcoholism. I am so appreciative and thankful for all they did for my life.
    I have dreamt of being a teacher like Sister Eligius one day and even was able to teach 26 students in the Green Bay Area for about 3 yrs while in college but have not found a way to start teaching again where I live now. We will see what the future holds.
    I also thought I would share that in 2007 I completed my catholic adult catechism and chose the name Cecelia as my confirmation name due to the impact sister Cecelia and sister Eligius had on my life. I am so glad to hear the conservatory is doing well and has a wonderful new facility to enjoy and share with others. I hope to visit with my husband and children one day.

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