Focus on Immigration Now and 140 Years Ago

Paul Keggington

October 25, 2009

img_6854.jpgImmigration is not something confined to one period of history.

On Saturday, October 23, 2009, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and other religious gathered for a conversation on immigration reform at Silver Lake College’s Generose Enrichment Center, Manitowoc, WI.

img_7800.jpgLater on the same day, the Franciscan Sisters joined the Catholic communities of St. Mary, Clarks Mills, WI and St. Michael, Whitelaw, WI, to celebrate Eucharist and dedicate a St. Francis Statue at a site where young immigrant women over 140 years ago lived together in the first convent of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.  

Immigration Presentation

img_6863.jpgFranciscan Federation’s Region IV representatives planned the Saturday Immigration education session. Voces de la Frantera, a Wisconsin nonprofit that educates workers about their employment rights and organizes to protect and improve the quality of life for low-wage img_6856.jpgand immigrant workers, was invited to present on ‘Immigration-Pilgrims and Strangers, The New Sanctuary Movement’. Bill and Joanne Lange, along with Jill Vonnahme represented the organization, while two other speakers shared how their lives were affected by the need for immigration to the United States. Sister Lorita Gafney, OSF and Sister Kathyrn Klackner, OSF were the on site organizers.

Commemoration of Franciscan Sisters’ Founding in 1869

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Bishop David Richen, Bishop of Diocese of Green Bay, and Father David Zimmerman presided at the festive 4 p.m. Eucharistic liturgy and special blessing which included many Franciscan Sisters, parish members and the Knights of Columbus. Deacon Tom Koch organized the celebration that included liturgical music by ‘The Living Spirits’ and a delicious social in the school hall.

img_7805.jpgHistorically, young women bearing the family names of Gramlich,  Fessler, Wahl  and Thoenig were received into the novitiate on November 9, 1869 and later became professed members of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. One year later,  two other newcomers to the United States with last names of Stich and Doyle were received as novices. The Franciscan Sisters are grateful to all the families that have supported them throughout the years, especially Jeanette and Earl Silva who donated the St. Francis Statue in memory of her parents Charles and Margaret McCulley, relatives of Sister Margaret Ann Wallander, OSF.

How have you been affected by immigration?

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