After a time of struggle, sisters often had the satisfaction of standing back and looking at something they had created. Sometimes it was simple but necessary, such as the sewer system in Joplin, Missouri. Other constructs were more heroic. A statue of Mother Joseph, a Sister of Providence, stands in National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol, partly because she built the first hospitals and schools in the Northwest, literally.
A coach maker’s daughter who learned carpentry at an early age, she prowled construction sites with a saw in her hand and a hammer dangling from her belt. When her construction crews brushed aside her objections that they had built a chimney wrong, they returned the next day to see that it had been torn down and re-bricked the way she wanted.
Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America—John J. Fialka.
St. Martin’s Press. New York, NY. 2003
Those who wish to read more about these incredible women and their gift of service to the church and the world can do so in John’s book, which you can order from Amazon.com or receive directly from SOAR! for a donation of $50. This donation will support retired religious sisters and brothers through the work of SOAR! To receive the book for your donation, please contact Danielle Bell directly by email or by phone at 202.529.7627.