On September 17, I had the good fortune to attend the 150th Jubilee Mass and celebration for the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka. The Holy Spirit was definitely felt throughout the day as I learned more about the Franciscan Sisters and their commitment to service both in Indiana and throughout the world.
During a tour of the Mother House with Sister Lenore Schwartz, Principal of St. Boniface School, I learned about the rich history of the order founded by Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel in 1863. (Many of the Sisters of St. Francis, including Sister Lenore, will travel to Germany for the Beatification of their foundress by Pope Francis on November 10, 2013.) As Sister Lenore shared the history of the Sisters of St. Francis, I was intrigued by how they came to arrive in the United States. Read this excerpt from their website:
A widespread anti-clerical reaction in Germany early in the 1870’s restricted their work and the reception of new candidates. Undaunted, Mother Maria Theresia accepted the invitation of Bishop Joseph Dwenger to establish a convent within his Diocese of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Six pioneer sisters arrived at Lafayette in 1875. Within weeks a temporary hospital was organized and the poor and sick of the area began receiving the healing ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis. In 1876, St. Elizabeth Hospital was dedicated. A section of this building was occupied by the St. Francis Convent. From here, the community grew rapidly, with the founding of many hospitals, schools, orphanages, homes for the aged and homes for social work.
I was struck by the boldness of the Sisters. Within a year of their arrival, the original St. Elizabeth Hospital had been built and dedicated. The courage to take on this endeavor was truly incredible. They immediately engaged the community and began spreading the Gospel message through their work. The Sisters of St. Francis played an integral role in creating the foundation of the Greater Lafayette community we all enjoy today. I am grateful they set such a bold example for us all.
I believe we are once again at a time when we are called to be bold. Society needs Catholic education to be successful so that the Gospel message of service to others will continue to spread and our communities will continue to thrive. Every year, LCSS graduates students that have been taught to make a difference by serving others. We believe in educating the whole person so our graduates feel called to be bold and to seek greatness, as servants of God.
We recently kicked off our 12th One-In-the-Spirit Campaign. Because tuition only covers 62% of the cost to educate students, this campaign allows us to keep tuition levels reasonable, and to make a Catholic education more accessible to more families. One-In-the-Spirit is a bi-annual campaign, so the amount raised will supplement the LCSS operating budget over a two year period. The campaign allows you to choose how your support is allocated – to academic initiatives, general operations, teacher salaries, technology, or tuition assistance.
Please help us continue the long history of Catholic education in our community. Be BOLD and help us reach our goal of $700,000. Every gift counts, and your gift will make a lasting impact on our students and our community! Click here to make your Pledge.
Thank you for your continued support of Lafayette Catholic School System!