HOLY NAME PROVINCE
HOLY NAME PROVINCE: 1939-PRESENT
For a time after the division of the provinces, expansion was slowed. Not only were there fewer sisters to call upon, but there were fewer sources for new sisters. However, under Mother Lidwina Jacobs (1937-1949) Holy Name Province did embark on several new enterprises—among them a new hospital (St. Mary's, Nelsonville, OH) and a liberal arts college (Rosary Hill now Daemen College).
The years under Mother Gonzaga Miller's guidance (1949-1961) witnessed a period of growth for us—both in terms of young women entering the community and in new foundations. Eleven educational institutions were accepted during her tenure of office. Some followed familiar patterns in equally familiar locations. Others, like schools in South Carolina and a House of Studies on the Rosary Hill College campus, represented all new ventures.
In the wake of Vatican II, the winds of change blowing through the church also affected Holy Name Province. Internal modifications called for by the Council, as well as general developments in life in the U.S., worked together to change forever the complexion of religious life as it had been known and lived for years. We were no different from other communities which experienced a decline in the number of women entering and an increase in the number of those seeking secularization.
While earlier years had seen a steady increase in the number of institutions staffed by the sisters, the realities of the day necessitated pulling back from some areas. Changes in population patterns in U.S. cities caused a general decrease in the number of Catholic elementary schools. This was especially true in the old, inner-city neighborhoods of Columbus, OH, and Buffalo, NY, where our convents were. Because fewer sisters were involved in education, many schools depended more and more on lay faculty and administrators. Other institutions revised their scope or focus, bringing them into line with changing demands. Thus, parish schools, province-owned academies (like Stella Niagara and St. Aloysius), St. Ann's Hospital, St. Vincent Orphanage, etc., underwent significant changes during the administrations of Sisters Isabelle Reilly (1961-1968) and Corinne Halsema (1968-1977).
Under the leadership of Sisters Paula Fox (1977-1983), Christina Pecoraro (1983-1989), Claudia Steger (1990-1995), Mary McCarrick (1995-2003), Dorothy Mueller (2003-2011), and Edith Wyss (2011- ), we have continued to move to the point where we no longer measure life in terms of physical or institutional growth. The changes in the world around us are reflected in the ways we respond through our various forms of ministry. Many of us have moved out from the more "traditional" roles of classroom teacher and nurse to such areas as parish and campus ministry, religious education for children and adults, hospital chaplaincies, and direct service with the economically disadvantaged.
A pervasive concern with peace and justice issues has been a particular hallmark of this latter period of our history. Our call to solidarity with those who are powerless has become more tangible as individually and communally we have engaged in various levels of activity. The 1984 Province Assembly, wherein we considered our Franciscan call to live and act out a preferential option for the poor, resulted in the decision to focus on the issue of human rights. Our corporate stance on refugees was adopted in 1986 and our corporate commitment to peace was accepted at the chapter of 2003. At the chapter of 2007, the sisters of Holy Name Province agreed to take concrete actions to care for and protect our "Sister Water."