U. S. Immaculate Conception Province
50 years as a province – 1959-2009
75 years of ministry – 1935-2010
A striking image at the top is that of the Mother of God of the Sign (Immaculate Conception), with Jesus blessing the faithful using the typical Episcopal blessing (both hands) since He leads and shepherds His people. Mary wears a red cloak to represent her ministry to humanity, and green, her relationship to God (liturgical colors used in the Eastern Church from ancient times). Draped around her arm is the American and Canadian flag symbolizing the roots of the American province stemming from the province of Canada.
The foundress and co-founders merge from the village of Zhuzhel. Father Cyril Seletsky encourages Sr. Josaphata, gesturing emphatically to St. Basil Seminary. Father Jeremiah Lomnitsky, OSBM blesses Sr. Josaphata and the four missioned with his ecclesial blessing and with the missionary cross presented to him by the Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII. The first four sisters entered the “New World” via Ellis Island as seen in the New York skyline beneath them and then making their way to Montreal, Canada. The next image is that of the Chateau in Stamford, Conn. where the first five sisters missioned to the U.S. provided food services and care of the seminary; they are depicted in white Alongside this, we find the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, seat of the Metropolia. Quickly the sisters ministered to the immigrant Ukrainian people, who had found work in the coal mines of PA. (as seen in the middle left side), in the shipyards and in construction. The sisters responded to their needs in education, such as shown in the top right side with summer catechism in Wilmot, N.D., in moral support to the working girls (with green cards as shown), in home visits (see town houses in the industrial city of Chicago) middle left side, in Sodality related ministry to the young and in care of the churches as seen with sisters carrying linens and garlands to the church.
In collaboration with ecclesial authorities, (Sr. Elizabeth Cassian, Provincial Superior, with a member of the clergy), the Hamilton Estate in Sloatsburg, N.Y. was purchased and converted into an academy for girls as shown in the center of the photo and Academy to its right.
The annual Dormition (Assumption) Pilgrimage is shown in detail: A Pontifical Divine Liturgy, a pool of holy water, confessions, sisters at prayer for the faithful, a sister distributing candles as a symbol of hope, and the family as the foundation of the gift of faith ( the mother encouraging her daughter with a rosary while the father honors an icon).
The lower left corner gives witness to the early life of the sisters as they collected funds in the subways of New York, stock yards of Camden and factories of Philadelphia. They became known as “angels of the subway” .
Education became an important ministry throughout the life of the SSMI in the states that is depicted throughout with computer science, geography, art, biology, music. Children’s sodalities, doing works of mercy in visiting the sick, youth organizations (Youth for Christ), altar boys along with other organizations were formed. Young men were encouraged to follow the call of priesthood. Retreats were conducted for all ages. Comfort was given to the elderly and shut-ins throughout parishes as well as in community owned institutions.
Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate commemorative