In memoriam: Sister Merida Ramirez

We pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Merida Ramirez, who died at Veronica House/The Sarah Community, Bridgeton, Missouri, October 16, 2014, 77 years of age and 51 years of vocation.
May she rest in peace.

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, Deceased Sisters

DC mission in Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City - walking Virginia City - Wagon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Sister Margaret Ann Gainey, archivist, Daughters of Charity Province of the West, Los Altos Hills, CA. Images courtesy of Sister Estela Morales, D.C.

In October 1864, Sisters Frederica McGrath, Elizabeth Russell and Xavier Schauer left San Francisco and journeyed by steamer, train and stage to Virginia City, Nevada Territory. Sisters arrived in Virginia City five years after silver was first discovered and it was amid this young mining community that they opened St. Mary’s School and Orphan Asylum (and later, St. Mary’s Hospital).

It was with fondness that the Sisters remembered their days in Virginia City and with a sense of history that they preserved them for future generations through their writings. It is with gratitude and pride that we share an excerpt from the Annals describing the Sisters’ journey to Virginia City:

“On the fifth of October 1864, Sisters Frederica, Xavier and M. Elizabeth were missioned to Virginia City, Nevada Territory. . . . To describe the trip hither would exhaust more wit than I have at my command. Eastward from Sacramento there was then but thirty miles of the Central Pacific Rail Road complete, so that the principal part of the journey was made in stages. Our coach was a great swinging and swaging stage drawn by six handsome horses. Our journey was a remarkably safe one, for once only did the axle-tree snap in twain; and well for us it occurred on the level road, for had we been on or near the summit of the Sierras, we might never have seen Virginia City. It was nothing unusual in those days to hear of stages and their occupants being precipitated from the dizzy heights, hundreds of feet below.

When we reached Strawberry Station in California, we were obliged to remain there three hours in a dilapidated cabin. And passing from its entrance to the rear some two yards to partake of some refreshments, we stepped over three men who were sleeping soundly on the softest plank in the floor, wrapped up in their blankets. It gave us no very pleasant anticipations of mining life at our destined home!

We got into Virginia City about two o’clock. . . . . Virginia City is situated midway up the steep side of Mount Davidson, seven thousand two hundred feet above the level of the sea and in the clear Nevada atmosphere is visible for many miles. At the time of our arrival it claimed a population of some fifteen thousand; and all day long half or nearly half swarmed the streets, whilst the remainder was down among the drifts and tunnels of the Comstock hundreds of feet down. And often have we heard the faint boom of a blast down in the bowels of the earth.” . . . .

Over fifty Sisters served the people of Virginia City between 1864 and 1897. They were loved and respected in this mining community where they taught the children of the miners, nursed the men who were wounded in the mines and cared for the orphaned children when the miners died. Through the years, miners and their families generously supported the orphanage, school and hospital.

Virginia City - Rocks

1 Comment

Filed under Education, Health Care, Ministries, Sisters of Charity Federation

“We Saw The First Spade of Earth Turned” – virtual tour

Selected images from our our current exhibit, on display in Gallery 1. All images used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives. If you wish to see the complete exhibit, it is open to the public Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:30 and will be on display through January 9, 2015.

View and download the exhibit brochure.
View a video featuring memories of three Sisters who moved into the building in 1964.

Design drawing by Maguolo and Quick, architects for the Provincial House, showing three wings which were never built.

Design drawing by Maguolo and Quick, architects for the Provincial House, showing three wings which were never built.

Provincial House under construction, May 1963

Provincial House under construction, May 1963

Provincial House groundbreaking

Sister Isabel Toohey, Visitatrix, breaks ground for the new St. Joseph’s Provincial House

Groundbreaking for St. Joseph's Provincial House. As part of the groundbreaking the Sisters processed around the campus and broke ground at a number of different spots.

Groundbreaking for St. Joseph’s Provincial House. As part of the groundbreaking the Sisters processed from the old Central House to the site of the new Provincial House.

Aerial view of the former Central House and St. Joseph's College

Aerial view of the former Central House and St. Joseph’s College

Chapel at St. Joseph's Central House. The chapel still stands; it is now on the property owned by FEMA located just south of our current campus.

Chapel at St. Joseph’s Central House. The chapel still stands; it is now on the property owned by FEMA located just south of our current campus.


Campus scene showing St. Joseph's Provincial House and grounds. At the time of the move to the Provincial House, the grounds had little landscaping; Sisters remembered getting red mud on their shoes when they went for walks.

Campus scene showing St. Joseph’s Provincial House and grounds. At the time of the move to the Provincial House, the grounds had little landscaping; Sisters remembered getting red mud on their shoes when they went for walks.

A distinctive feature of the building was its long corridors, such as this one looking down F wing toward the Basilica.

A distinctive feature of the new building was its long corridors, such as this one looking down F wing toward the Basilica. Because the corridors looked so similar, getting lost was a frequent occurrence.

Drawing showing plans for the Seton Altar in the Basilica.

Drawing showing plans for the Seton Altar in the Basilica.

Elizabeth Ann Seton altar. Mother Seton's remains were moved to this spot in 1968.

Elizabeth Ann Seton altar. Mother Seton’s remains were moved to this spot in 1968.

The Sisters' Chapel, now the Basilica, opened in January 1965 Sisters are seen here exploring their newly-completed chapel.

The Sisters’ Chapel, now the Basilica, opened in January 1965 Sisters are seen here exploring their newly-completed chapel.

Crucifix with double corpus

As originally installed the crucifix at the main altar in the Sisters’ Chapel (now the Basilica) had a double corpus. One of the corpuses was later removed in response to changing liturgical practices.

Sr. Isabel Toohey

Sr. Isabel Toohey, Emmitsburg Province Visitatrix from 1944-1962, began the project to build a new Provincial House.

Sister Eleanor McNabb, Emmitsburg Province Visitatrix in 1964, oversaw the move into the new Provincial House.

Sister Eleanor McNabb, Emmitsburg Province Visitatrix in 1964, oversaw the move into the new building

3 Comments

Filed under Emmitsburg, Exhibits