Our heart for those in need began 152 years ago and continues today
by Sister Francis Bangert
On the third Sunday in Lent, the psalm refrain, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts,” has special meaning for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross. Our founder, the Rev. Edward Francis Daems, OSC, and his companions heard the plaintive cries of Belgian immigrants in Wisconsin, thirsting for a better life and spiritual assistance as they battled the fierce elements of an untamed land. Crosier missionaries were sent to serve the needs of the people. After several attempts to begin a Crosier foundation in the Fox Valley, Father Daems was sent by Milwaukee Bishop John Henni to pastor the people at Holy Cross Parish in Bay Settlement. There, with the help of a few women, they opened a school on Feb. 12, 1868, and helped students speaking 5 different languages learn English and their faith. The parish rectory became a center for dispensing herbs for healing. These humble beginnings birthed the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross and, in time, our first Constitutions on March 14, 1881.
This “settlement by the bay” has flourished for more than 150 years, bringing education and healing throughout the Green Bay Diocese and beyond. It is this history that Sisters and Associates will celebrate on Sunday -- Founders’ Day -- at St. Francis Convent. Through prayer, a celebratory meal, and an inspirational video of our 90 years at The Chapel (today known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help) and the numerous ministries to which we have been called, we will renew our passion for mission. In the spirit of Father Daems and our founding Sisters, we will strive to be open to: living lives in Community; being rooted in the Cross, Word, and Eucharist; proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ with the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and responding compassionately to the needs of our times through prayer, presence and hospitality.
THANKS BE TO GOD!