Sister Jane Behlmann, CSJ, is the archivist here at the St. Louis provincial house. She often posts information about their Sisters’ history. With her entries, Sister Jane usually includes pictures related to whom or to what she is writing about.
Yesterday's post included the following quotation taken from the CSJ Annual, 1936, a annual reporting of events within the province over the preceding year:
“Regular classes for the sisters in the St. Louis missions were held at the Provincial House [Our Lady of good Council Convent, Cass Avenue] every Saturday during the scholastic year. The summer session, which is always held at Fontbonne College, opened on June 28 and continued until August 3. Each day chartered busses took fifty-two sisters to and from Fontbonne. Nothing but a love of obedience and zeal for souls could have sustained the sisters in this daily routine of labor in the acquisition of knowledge, spiritual, cultural, and intellectual, to be used later in promoting the interests of God and Community.”
Posted is the following picture of Sisters (from several different Congregations) attending classes during the summer of 1946. Such realities of multitudes of nuns spending their summers advancing their education were not uncommon as the Sister Formation Conference took hold.
This aspect of our history as women religious in the United States is clear: there was an intentional effort from our beginnings to send Sisters to study -- to acquire the knowledge, ”spiritual, cultural and intellectual” necessary to effectively “promote the interests of God and Community.”
The challenge today is to be convinced in the depths of our souls that the ministry of service to our own elder members is in the same as any and all works of mercy – another definition of apostolic ministry – that have characterized all our ministries to others.
When that conviction becomes part of our collective consciousness, we will also see and act on its implications, only one of which is to continue our legacy of adequate, competent professional and spiritual preparation for ministry to our own