Inside the CPPS Archives – Sisters in the Summer

This column showcases artifacts or documents from the CPPS Archives in each issue of Sharing & Caring.

The Sisters of the Precious Blood have always had busy summers. They celebrated, worked, took classes and more. The summer of 1939 is such an example — the Sisters’ Chronicles depict a snapshot of what life may have looked like for a busy Sister during the summer.

In June and July, 16 Sisters would travel to various parishes to teach Christian Doctrine (now known as CCD) to local children, preparing them for “the reception of the Sacraments of Confession and First Holy Communion.”

In June, 107 Sisters from the missions arrived at Salem Heights to participate in the first summer retreat conducted by a Precious Blood Father.

Other Sisters arriving at Salem Heights prepared to renew or make final vows. In July, a delegate of the archbishop conducted classes for these Sisters. Still others attended classes “in the branches offered in our school at the Motherhouse!”

On July 29, the Sisters received their “obediences” or the locations of their next mission. They had “this news conveyed to them by a note in a small sealed envelope.” The Sisters would go into the Chapel at Salem Heights and open the envelope and read it “in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord exposed in the Blessed Sacrament.”

The next day, July 30, the Golden and Silver Jubilees were celebrated with a Mass and a “festive dinner,” which “formed a pleasant feature amid the solemnities of the day.” The Sister Jubilarians were “favored by a specially prepared program consisting of instrumental selections, songs and speeches.”

On August 5, 200 more Sisters — including postulants preparing for investment and novices preparing to profess their first vows — attended a retreat, again given by a Precious Blood Father.

To end the summer, on August 15, the Congregation celebrated investment, profession and renewals of vows. “At the Communion of the Mass, 12 novices made their first Profession of Vows. Five Sisters renewed their vows for one year in the same manner, and 43 Sisters pronounced final vows.” Eleven postulants joined the Congregation, also.

In late August, the Sisters dispersed to continue their ministries or begin new ones.

According to the 1939 Chronicle, “the greatest number of Sisters present at the same time at the Motherhouse during this summer was about 350.”

— Story by Sarah Aisenbrey; photo from the CPPS Archives collection.

Sisters gather in the chapel at Salem Heights, ca. 1940.

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