Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie shares vocation correspondence between Sister Mary Frederick Gramann and Mother Perpetua Davies.
Mary came from a family of three brothers and one sister. Her brother John died at the age of two, before Mary was born. Their Mother took care of the home and their Father, also known as “Professor,” was in charge of music at St. Joseph’s Parish and had many other responsibilities at Church and School. Music was a part of the Gramann family life. In early years Mary and her twin brother, Dan, were popular entertainers in Waukesha. They were trained by their father, a professor of music. They appeared frequently at socials and club activities. They both sang and played the piano. Mary also was a tap dancer.
Mary attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Waukesha where she met the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Her Dad had a close association with the Sisters and her parents had a deep faith and respect for the Religious Life. In the spring of 1945 Mary was scrubbing one of the floors in their home when she got the call from Our Lord to be a Sister. When she told her Mom and Dad they were surprised! However, when they came to realize that their “Tom-boy” daughter was serious about her decision they were supportive.
On March 27, 1945 the following letter was written:
Dear Mother Perpetua,
For the past year I have been hoping and praying to become a nun. I have attended St. Joseph’s School for eight years so I would like to join your order if I may? If it is possible, I would like to come in August, but would you please suggest a date on which to come? I am now attending Pius XI High School at Milwaukee and will finish my sophomore year in June. I will be anxiously awaiting a reply.
Mary Ann Gramann
My dear Mary Ann. Your application was not an altogether surprise for I had heard of your desire to join the ranks of God’s chosen ones. You will be more than welcome in August 1945. I believe Sister Mary Ellen sent you the application blanks. If not, let me know at your earliest and I’ll forward them to you. Also the requisition list.
We pray daily for vocations. Do join us and if you have friends who apparently are called, try to induce them to come with you. As of old – The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Yes, too, few.
Read entire reflection: Wake Reflection for Sister Mary Frederick
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