German Immigrants in Ohio—Sisters from Germany Welcomed

The first Sisters coming to the United States spoke German while making valiant efforts to master English. Their area of apostolate became the towns of German immigrants, for example in Delphos, Ohio, where Reverend John Bredeick, whose inheritance would make him comparable to a millionaire today, had great influence on commerce, especially railroads in the western part of the state. In 1879 German-born farmers made up one-third of the agricultural industry in Ohio and Kentucky. The first Sisters of Notre Dame received many requests to teach in the area. Bishops expected the sisters to help the children preserve the customs of their homeland, while preparing them for American citizenship.

In 1876 Sister Mary Modesta Többe accepted a ministry in Delphos, Ohio. It is in this town that the foundress Sister Maria Aloysia Wolbring taught. A history of the congregation spoke of Sister Maria Aloysia: “She who had begun the new congregation a quarter of a century earlier brought its living spirit to St. John convent. This was a spirit that makes Christ and his message the radical center of the Sisters’ lives, a spirit of simple trust that God would bring to completion the work he had begun through them.”

Sisters continue to teach and minister in Delphos today, 148 years later. Believe it or not, some doors in the convent today were transferred from an earlier convent, one in which the foundress lived. How exciting to close the door that the foundress also closed—but not so exciting that the Sisters can’t sleep at night.

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  1. Catherine Schneider on June 15, 2024 at 6:19 am

    Wonderful info!