The Mystery of the Sisters of Charity
August 9, 2017
Today I was searching online for an old article from a local magazine. Among all of the relevant options was a very out of place listing for The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Sisters are an order of nuns based in Iowa. This is interesting to me because a few years ago... this happened.
In 2015 I simultaneously created 5 portraits of some very exciting & interesting energies. They were like a room full of cosmic devas demanding to be created. I had no idea what I was doing and just did my best to keep up with their demands. They kept me up way past my bedtime.
They had very specific tastes individually and they clearly announced themselves as the sisters of charity.
Over the last few years I have gifted these pieces to some pretty amazing women and will always cherish the experience of creating them.
When I followed the link to the Sisters, I was surprised to see the order was founded by 5 women!
The Sisters of Charity was a group of feisty women from Dublin, who in 1831 came together to teach the poor children of the city. They soon migrated to Philadelphia to teach the children of Irish immigrants. There, on Nov. 1, 1833, they officially became "Sisters" with the assistance of Rev. Terence Donaghoe.
Ten years later, in 1843, at the invitation of Bishop Mathias Loras, the Sisters moved to the Diocese of Dubuque, Iowa which remains their headquarters to this day. These pioneer BVMs soon discovered the immense need for education, particularly of girls. They established a boarding school on the prairie near Dubuque. It later became Clarke University.
As the community grew, the Sisters founded and staffed elementary and high schools, including boarding schools. They began teaching in Chicago in 1867, and opened their first school in California in 1888. They opened Mundelein College in Chicago in 1931.
At each point in their expansion the Sisters attracted new members—nearly 5,000 in all—and developed a cross-country educational network from New York to Hawaii, Minnesota to Mississippi.
The Sisters also became engaged with the issues of the times: social justice, equality, inclusiveness, peace and ecology. They followed closely the Second Vatican Council and followed its call to renewal in the spirit of the founders.
Today 400 sisters serve in diverse ministries in 17 states and two foreign countries, continuing the adventurous lives of their founders.
I will donate a portion of the sales of this series to The Sisters of Charity
or if you'd like to support these amazing women directly without purchasing a print
Donate directly to The Sisters of Charity