125 Years in the USA: 1895-2020
Era 3: 1950-1970 | Embracing Renewal
Bob Dylan’s 1964 classic, The Times They Are A Changing, captures the high energy of this era. Change was afoot both outside and inside the Salvatorian convent walls. The leadership of the Sisters eagerly joined in the nation-wide Sister Formation Movement sending sisters on for higher education in a variety of areas. As a result, the quality of Salvatorian apostolic service improved while at the same time the sisters were inserted, as never before, into the fast-changing secular world. In no time, many of these women already dedicated to making the world a better place would take up the cause of civil rights and begin to question the war in Southeast Asia.
Salvatorian Sisters heard the 1959 call of Pope John XXIII to open the windows of the Church to the gusty winds of renewal and change. They avidly embraced the Second Vatican Council, followed its sessions and eagerly studied its documents of renewal. Women raised on the Baltimore Catechism now delved into biblical studies and advanced theology. It was a new day for women religious. Perhaps the most visible sign of the vast changes underway was the evolution of the religious habit. The medieval dress of the past which evoked both respect and fear in the Catholic community began to disappear so that by the 1970s many sisters were opting for simple secular dress. As a result, by 1970, we can say that things both were and looked very different than they had in 1950. The 1968 Beatification of Co-founder, Mother Mary of the Apostles, by Pope Paul VI straddles the “old and the new” of this period. As one of the last single beatifications held in St. Peter’s Basilica it testified to the important presence of religious women in the church and its missionary work around the world.
If you’re viewing our anniversary timeline for the very first time, click on the link below to read how our sisters first came to the USA in 1895 in response to immigrant needs: Era 1: 1895 – 1920.
There’s a lot more to our 125-year story. Click on the link to read: Era 4: 1970-2000
We acknowledge contributions of the late Sister Margaret Shekleton, SDS, who chronicled the first 90 years of our North American Province in her book Bending in Season ©1985.
Special thanks to Provincial Archivist Sister Mary Jo Stoffel, SDS for her research assistance.