125 Years in the USA: 1895-2020
1895-1920: Responding to Immigrant Needs
The missionary response of hearty immigrant women religious characterizes the first 25 years of Salvatorian Sisters’ presence in the United States. The first three women, Sisters Raphaela Bohnheim, SDS, Walburga Sieghart, SDS and Agnes Weber, SDS arrived ready to roll up their sleeves and serve the largely poor, immigrant Church. Home nursing in Milwaukee, healthcare needs in small Wisconsin cities, and educating children in small-town Catholic parishes became the sisters’ ministries during these early years. These missionaries were soon joined by young women born in the USA who felt called to a community of apostolic service. Response to a need was their guiding star; creativity of ways and means enlightened the steps they took. In contrast to other religious communities who focused on one area of apostolic service, Salvatorian Sisters said “yes” to diverse needs and then sought the training necessary for the sisters to respond. This approach required much bending, both in and out of season. As their ministries evolved, the sisters grew in numbers so that by 1920, records show 313 Salvatorian Sisters serving in the USA.
Sister Carol Thresher, SDS