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?
Here’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.
In 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.