75 YEARS AGO THE OLS ARRIVED IN LOUISIANA
The Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows celebrated 75 years of their mission in the United States! Our apostolic work includes education, catechesis, and service to the poor and underprivileged.
We currently serve in Shreveport, Alexandria, Moreauville, Lafayette, Louisiana, and in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Our celebration took place in Moreauville, LA at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with our Sisters leading the music ministry for the occasion and celebrating in gratitude for our first Sisters who came from Italy in 1947.
Please continue to join us in a spirit of prayer and gratitude to the Lord for this historical event, celebrating all the great works the Lord has done and continues to do through our beloved Sisters and through those to whom we minister. We give thanks to the Lord for the sacrifices and faithfulness of our first Italian Sisters and for all of our deceased Sisters whose lives continue to inspire us as we continue the work of Blessed Elisabetta Renzi as Sister of Our Lady of Sorrows.
At the reception, the parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrow’s Church, the first church in Moreauville, served by our sisters, donated to us a beautiful hand-painted icon of the Sorrowful Mother, in gratitude for the sisters ministering to their community, in the past 75 years.
The Pastor of Sacred Heart Church
LETTER FROM M. CARLA BERTANI, SUPERIOR GENERAL
Today we are gathered to celebrate 75 years of the presence of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows in Louisiana, 75 years of life, of dedication, of evangelization, and education.
We are here today because of the courage and foresight of Mother Zita Verni, the late Superior General of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows, and of Bishop Charles P. Greco, the late Bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana, two holy people who were attentive to the needs of their times.
As Bishop Greco was searching for a religious congregation willing to provide education to African American children of his diocese, Mother Zita, in the aftermath of World War II, had the desire to branch out of Italy and was looking for a destination. The Lord brought them together and the sisters made the long trip to come to Louisiana.
We remember with love, gratitude, and admiration the 13 pioneers who left from Naples, Italy on board of the ship Vulcania moving into the unknown with the sole desire to minister to people and to bring Christ to them. They were filled with enthusiasm and joy and were able to overcome the many obstacles they encountered: learning a new language, learning a new culture, and becoming certified teachers…, but every challenge seemed small when compared to the joy of making a difference in the lives of children and of their families. They knew they were not alone, the Lord who had called them to America was with them and they had one another. The strength of faith and community!
Now, 75 years later, our educational mission continues, and we remain committed to bringing God’s love into the world through the education and formation of young people, and by spreading the Gospel through evangelization. We give thanks to God for all the good that has been done by the sisters who joined the pioneers from the United States and other countries, and who have followed in their footsteps. We are grateful to the many ‘friends of the sisters’ who believed in their mission and helped them selflessly. Our mission continues!
We ask God to bless the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows on this anniversary day. May they remain faithful to their call and to their congregational mission of witnessing God’s love for everyone through the education and formation of young people. May they do it with selfless love desiring only to give God the glory and in communion with one another and the Church.
The Council and I, though not physically present today, are with you in spirit.
With gratitude and love,
Mother Carla Bertani, OLS