March 10, 2018 was a special day this year, our 125th anniversary as a religious community, Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate. A decision had been made to celebrate this year in a simple manner . The anniversary committee and general council decided that March 10, 2018 would be the day we would celebrate in a public way inviting friends and family to celebrate with us.
The celebration started with a Prayer Service at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in San Antonio. Our Motherhouse is located within the parish boundaries. The Sisters taught at the parish school for many years so the church was a good place to celebrate.
The Gospel Choir from neighboring Holy Redeemer Catholic Church set the tone for the celebration singing songs of thanksgiving before the service. The Archbishop of San Antonio, Most Reverend Gustavo Garcia-Siller , MSp.S. presided at the Prayer Service. Father Kevin Fausz, CM, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, attended. The service included singing, readings, a homily by Archbishop Gustavo and speakers from the community.
Sister Geraldine Klein, General Superior of Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate, opened the service by welcoming everyone. Sister gave a brief history of the community emphasizing how our Foundress, Margaret Mary Healy Murphy saw needs and responded whenever she could. She went on to say that the small community continued to respond to needs during all of our history.
Several speakers from the community shared their experiences with the Sisters. Rev. Herman Price, St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, worked with the Sisters as a leader in The Metro Alliance, which organizes people to bring about systemic change for the good of families in San Antonio. Mr. Tommy Calvert, Bexar County Commissioner, talked about the contribution the Sisters made by educating African Americans when they were neglected. He expressed his appreciation and acknowledged that the impact was still being felt in many ways. The other speakers; Mr. William H.(Cruz) Shaw III, San Antonio Councilman, Bishop Rosa Wilson, Greater Faith Institutional Church, Ms. Janie Whiteley, Principal of Healy Murphy High School, and Ms. Susan Sheeran, CEO Merced Housing, TX , all spoke about the contributions of the Sisters in San Antonio to education, housing, and justice issues.
Sr. Loretta Armand sang “Standing on the Shoulders” by Joyce Johnson Rouse while we all watched a presentation of photos showing our Sisters ministering, playing, praying in many places over the years. It was touching to see photos of our Sisters who have gone before us. The service ended with a hymn after Sr. Gabriella Lohan thanked people and invited everyone to the reception in the church hall.
The reception in the hall was enjoyed by everyone as people met friends. The brunch was served and people enjoyed sitting and talking. As people left the reception they received a new book about the Sisters called The Sisters of The Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate by Cecilia Gutierrez Venable and the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate.
When we talked about this day among ourselves we agreed that it was rewarding and encouraging to hear that the ministry started by Mother Margaret had made a difference in people’s lives.
Our challenge for the future is to continue
to be women of faith and trust
who live together in simplicity, humility and love
to manifest the compassion of Jesus to the poor,
especially those who are denied respect for their human dignity.
(Constitution: Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate)