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Sisters Stories

American history cannot be told without recounting the inspired and faithful service of women religious. Across centuries and decades, their efforts—abundant with creativity, compassion, and courage—have changed countless lives. From their missions to open orphanages in war torn countries, to establishing and staffing hospitals in developing urban centers, to founding schools as teachers and administrators, to marching for civil rights, WRAC ensures these Catholic sisters’ legacies.  

Here are a few of their stories:

Dorothy Kazel OSU

Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland

On October 3, 1979, shortly before El Salvador erupted in a bloody civil war that would last for twelve years, Sister Dorothy Kazel wrote the following to her friend and former missionary co-worker, Sister Martha Owen

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Sr. Lucia Perea as a young Sister of Loretto

Sisters of Loretto

Four Sisters of Loretto arrived in Santa Fe from Kentucky in 1852. In January of the next year, they established Our Lady of Light Academy, the first school for young women in the Territory of New Mexico. Dolores Perea (Sr. Lucia Perea) was an early student of the Academy.

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Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament

Although the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament was founded in 1625 by Jeanne Chézard de Matel, it wasn’t until 1852 when Bishop Odin visited France to seek Sisters for the mission territory in Texas, that God transported the Order to the New World. A small group of Incarnate Word Sisters responded, and the first house was opened in Brownsville, Texas in 1853.

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Laying of the cornerstone, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, May 1902

Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis

For a number of reasons, the time called for a gala religious and civic celebration in Stevens Point, WI. May 20, 1902, Pentecost Tuesday, according to tradition was observed as a first-class holyday and holiday by many Polish immigrants, particularly in rural areas. The new convent and academy, where the cornerstone was to be laid that day, symbolized achievement and hope for the Polish American parish communities.

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