125 Years in the USA: 1895-2020
Era 4: 1970-2000 | Building Collaboration
Events of the mid-1960s renewed the collaborative energy that had always characterized Salvatorian life. Cloistered living had never been a comfortable fit for women enlivened by the apostolic spirit of Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan and Blessed Mary of the Apostles. By 1970, collaboration would become an overarching dynamic, and by the turn of the century, the sisters embraced interaction with lay co-workers, lay financial advisors, a growing Salvatorian Family and other religious communities. As a result, the Salvatorian mission was more than ever, an expansive “WE” rather than the exclusive “property” of our vowed religious members.
Sponsorship relationships evolved at all institutions founded and served by Salvatorian Sisters. In the course of 30 years, our sisters set up corporate boards and called on competent lay people to serve on them. We established core mission values and appointed sponsorship coordinators to instill those values in the mission of each institution. By 2000, it was clear: advancing the Salvatorian mission was a joint effort between vowed religious and trusted lay collaborators.
Concern for justice issues took on a collaborative face as well. Feeding the hungry grew from the small “uncles” room at our motherhouse to engagement with Milwaukee’s St. Ben’s Meal Program and Cathedral Women’s Center. Tackling systemic injustice, the Salvatorian Sisters joined forces with other religious entities to form the Milwaukee Justice and Peace Center. With assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Salvatorian Sisters built Hadley Terrace Senior Apartments to ensure safe, affordable housing for elders from the neighborhood of our former motherhouse.
During this same time the Salvatorian Family became a reality both in the USA and globally. Salvatorian Sisters, Priests and Brothers grew in understanding of their common roots. And, after years of conversation and deep listening, Lay Salvatorian women and men became integral to fulfilling Father Francis Jordan’s founding vision of mission in the world. By the end of this era, the Salvatorian Family was well on its way to identifying as three distinct branches, sharing one charism.
Sister Carol Thresher, SDS
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 5: 2000-2020
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.