The Leadership Team of the Sylvania Franciscans, with an ice sculpture of St. Francis, at a celebration Saturday are, from left, are Sister Theresa Darga, assistant congregational minister; Sister Sharon Derivan, councilor and congregational secretary; Sister Rachel Nijakowski, councilor; Sister Patricia Gardner, councilor and congregational treasurer; and Sister Mary Jon Wagner, congregational minister.
Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania Enlarge
The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania celebrated the 96th anniversary of the founding of their Congregation on Saturday.
Responding to a request in 1916 from then Toledo Bishop Joseph Schrembs, the Rochester Franciscans from Minnesota sent 23 Sisters to teach Polish immigrants in three Catholic schools in the city. In 1917, the Sisters purchased 89 acres in Sylvania, where they established their Motherhouse.
Today, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania serve in 11 states and the island country of Haiti ministering in education, social work, health and human services, religious, parish and spiritual direction.
“The official celebration of the Sisters of St. Francis began in a thunderstorm in the Toledo railroad terminal on Dec. 7, 1916 when four sisters, including Mother Adelaide, the foundress of our community, arrived from Rochester, Minn.,” said Sister Mary Jon Wagner, Congregational Minister of the Congregation.
“From that celebration to this celebration, we Sylvania Franciscans continue to minister to God’s people in response to a need and call. Sisters then and now bring their hearts and skills to their various ministries and share the love of God with all His people.”
In honor of the occasion, more than 100 Sisters from the local area attended Mass at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel to give thanks.