On Sunday, March 11, SM Lois Gajewski shared with the Second Novitiate group her reflections about the five pioneer Felician Sisters who were missioned to North America in 1874.
Father Dąbrowski’s request, dated May 15, 1874, received an affirmative response and five pioneer Felician Sisters were sent to America with the blessing of Mother Mary Angela and the authority of Mother Magdalen Borowska along with $200, trunks of supplies, and perseverance in mind.
Their trip lasted 28 days and the ‘fantastic five’ arrived on the evening of November 20, in Polonia, WI, with only the Angelus bell to greet them. Their voyage was arduous and demanded women of character! Sister Lois explained that the five pioneers possessed the following complementary gifts:
Mother Mary Monica Sybilska ~ A strong personality with leadership ability and unquestioned courage.
Sister Mary Cajetan Jankiewicz ~ Very active, gentle of character, excellent in public relations, and successful at fundraising efforts.
Sister Mary Wenceslaus Zubrzycka ~ A selfless person who demonstrated first-rate leadership and administrative skills.
Sister Mary Vincentine Kalwa ~ Assisted with domestic duties, child-care and fundraising efforts. Became a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth and was given the name SM Salomea. Served as a pharmacist and hospital administrator.
Sister Mary Raphael Sworzeniewska ~ Engaged in domestic work in Polonia and later in the Felician Provincial House in Detroit, MI.
During her presentation, Sister Lois invited the three participants and two co-coordinators to select a name of the ‘fantastic five’ so that the pioneer Felicians would accompany each sister during this sacred time. The distribution of Pioneer Angels is as follows:
S Maria Lorena ~ Mother Mary Monica
SM Edna Pearl ~ SM Wenceslaus
S Felicity Marie ~ SM Vincentine
S Margaret Marie ~ SM Cajetan
S Veronica Marie ~ SM Raphael
Each of the five sisters is convinced that her Pioneer Angel is the right one for her particular disposition.
The group expressed gratitude to Sister Lois for bringing to life the rich history of the early Felicians in North America as well as hope for the future of the beloved Congregation!