Arrival in the United States—July 4, 1874

If you’ve been reading these blogs, the last account told of the Sisters’ voyage to the United States in 1875. Today let’s backtrack to 1874 with a segment of the autobiography of Sister Mary Justina Rickert of German descent, who was the last of the sisters driven from Germany. Sister Mary Benedict, provincial superior of the Toledo province, asked Sister to write her autobiography. Let’s read what she writes about the Kulturkampf and the arrival in the United States:

The terrible Kulturkampf spread unrest over the country and the persecution was very gradual but deeply felt….Bible Histories were forbidden in the schools. To circumvent the ruling the children were told to study their Bible History at home, but then not to bring it back to school.

When the Sisters left for the United States in 1874, they settled in the Cleveland Diocese. This is how the city of Cleveland was chosen:

The pastor of St. James Church was a friend of Father Francis Westerholt, pastor of St. Peter, Cleveland. The latter secured from Bishop Richard Gilmour the permission to allow the sisters to settle in the Cleveland Diocese. Thus it happened that in 1874 Mother Mary Chrysostom Heck, second Superior General, with a group of sisters formerly active along the Rhine, left Germany from Port Bremen and landed in New York on the Fourth of July. When the sisters arrived in Cleveland, Father Westerhholt put them in charge of the girls of his parish.

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  1. Catherine Schneider on June 12, 2024 at 6:49 am

    Thank you for writing these!

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