This column showcases different artifacts or documents from the CPPS Archives in each issue of Sharing & Caring.
In May and July, Novice Sister Juliana Wuur, Novice Director Sister Ann Clark and CPPS Archivist Sarah Aisenbrey ventured on a journey across Ohio (and a bit in Indiana) to visit the places where the Sisters of the Precious Blood laid their foundations in the United States. First-year novices traditionally take this trip.
In July 1844, the Sisters arrived in Peru, Ohio, to minister to the German immigrants in the wilds of Ohio. They established their first permanent home in New Riegel, Ohio, in December 1844. By 1856, they had 10 convents across northern Ohio and western Indiana. The Sisters lived like pioneers. They not only taught in local schools and kept nocturnal hours of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, but they also farmed the land, made their clothing and tended livestock, among many other jobs.
Most of the convents where the Sisters lived no longer exist (except the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics). Some were sold, others were destroyed by fire, and others were repurposed. Sisters are buried at many of the sites. Over the past 15 years, Sister Noreen Jutte, retired CPPS archivist, managed a project to create new markers and monuments at each cemetery. Some of the original headstones are also still in place at some cemeteries.
Reflecting on visiting the foundations of the Congregation, Sister Juliana wrote, “These wonderful places were where the first Sisters paved the way for us. I am grateful to Sister Ann and Sarah for accompanying me and explaining all of the important events in the lives of our pioneer Sisters in the Congregation. These women did great jobs for us. May their humble souls rest in peace, and may they intercede for all of us.”
Sister Juliana, a native of Ghana, said she identified with the pioneer Sisters. “They left everything they knew in Europe and came to the United States to serve God in the Precious Blood. We stand on their shoulders.”
Story and photo by Sarah Aisenbrey
Top, Sister Juliana puts flour on one of the Sisters’ grave markers at St. Joseph Cemetery in Egypt, Ohio. The flour helps fill in the letters on the weathered stone. Bottom, the Sisters established Ten Foundations across northern Ohio and western Indiana. They are located in Ohio in New Riegel, Bellevue, Maria Stein, Glandorf, near Ottawa, Cassella, Minster, near St. Henry, and Egypt, and in Indiana in Bryant.