Category Archives: World War 2

August 19, 1945: End of World War II.

(Passage from Provincial Annals, August 19, 1945 used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

On August 14, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces, ending the hostilities of the Second World War. President Harry Truman proclaimed August 19 as a national day of thanksgiving for the end of the war. In Emmitsburg, Father Francis Dodd, C.M., Provincial Director, said the prayer below to the Sisters on that day. It is recorded in the Emmitsburg Province Provincial Annals.

August 19th. Second Mass, a High Mass for thanksgiving for Peace and to remember the dead who sacrificed their lives that we might be protected. Father Dodd sang the Mass after which we had Exposition all day closing with Holy Hour from 4:30 to 5:30. Father gave a very inspiring talk during the Holy Hour.

Extracts from Father’s Sermon at the Holy Hour

Today has been set aside as a day of Thanksgiving by our President, to thank God for Peace and also to be a Prayerful Memorial to our Hero Dead. This proclamation from a man who from the very beginning was not afraid to being God’s name into his message to the people. My dear Sisters, we have sought God in our need and the greatest military leaders have been those of the Sisters who have prayed to Almighty God to give victory followed by a changeless and lasting peace. We have prayed to our Divine Savior to grant this peace; we have called upon our Savior, King and Center of all hearts, to give this peace, and as we thank Him today; let us not forget that peace can be only a true and lasting peace when it comes from union of our hearts with the sacred heart of our Savior. We forget this because of our selfishness. Our neighbor has duties to God as well as we but we forget the teachings of Our divine Lord. Now let us strive more earnestly to love these teaching and live by them.

While this peace is for our land, we know that in many places the defeat of the common enemy has opened the way of civil strife. We want to beg our Divine Savior to draw all hearts to His own heart and to teach them as He alone can, how peace can be procured and preserved … He prayed for His enemies so we must ask God to forgive those who have offended, only sons among us but among all nations. Our hearts cannot meet in the heart of Christ while they harbor bitterness towards anyone. We will have peace only when our hearts beat as one with the heart of Christ.

Actual fighting has indeed ceased but there are great problems to solve by those in authority. But the mind of man is not sufficient to solve all problems that will be presented. Beg our divine Lord to give grace and light that they may have the courage to act with justice, that they may have charity for all people …

We cannot forget our debt of gratitude to those who have struggled so valiantly; who have made the great sacrifice of life for us. It is for us to pray for the repose of their soul … We also owe a great deal to those who are living, working and suffering the sorrows of separation from their loved ones, we ought particularly to pray for them now … Pray that the peace that is now being negotiated be founded on charity; that it may be enduring; that it may be a peace which will be a benefit to Holy Mother the Church, that she may spread all around and teach all nations to love our Savior and to find in love for Him charity and love, one for another, and that the coming of His Kingdom may grant us peace.”

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Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

(December 7, 1947 letter to St. John’s Hospital, Lowell, MA used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Archives)

Over the weekend we marked the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. The Provincial Annals for the following day recorded the news of the events in Hawaii.

December 8 [1941]
Our great Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated with Solemn High Mass at eight o’clock. Father Cloonan was the celebrant, assisted by Seminarians … This day is ever to be remembered, as the news was made known that the United States had declared war with Japan. It had been rumored for some days past that this dreaded news might be expected. The fighting is going on in Manila.

In the years following World War II the American provinces of the Daughters of Charity received many letters similar to the one below. In response both provinces of the Daughters of Charity in the U.S. organized war relief efforts which sent food and clothing to Sisters and poor persons in post-war Europe. This letter comes from the records of St. John’s Hospital in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Heinburg, Dec. 7, 1947
My Most Reverend and dear Sister:

The grace of Our Lord be with us forever.

Through Very Reverend Weiser, (Boston, Mass), I heard of the charity and benevolence of you, most reverend and dear Sister. Permit me, therefore, now before Christmas to knock on the door of your sympathetic heart and to beg for soap, starch, [wool] stockings, Cornette linen, and linen, etc., and whatever your kindness and generosity can spare. We are most grateful for anything, as we were completely burned out, and through the ration cards we can barely obtain the bare necessities with the greatest difficulty. Two third [sic] of our Motherhouse in Graz was destroyed by fire and for the last two years the Sisters are living in a private home, awaiting the completion of the building of the motherhouse, God willing, and hope to have it ready in the coming year. We are contented and happy due to the fact that we are working in an Orphanage connected with the mills.

May the Divine Child bless and reward you. I wish you, most reverend and Dear Sister a very blessed and holy Christmas and New Year, I remain in the love of Jesus and Mary, my dear most reverend Sister.

Your humble,
Sister Girarda Ulz,

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Birthday of Elizabeth Ann Seton

Filicchi portrait of Elizabeth Ann Seton

A version of the “Filicchi Portrait” of Elizabeth Ann Seton

(Image used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Archives. Text based on research done by Sister Betty Ann McNeil, DC)

This week we will mark the birthday of Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was born August 28, 1774. The image seen here is based on the well-known Filicchi portrait of Elizabeth Ann Seton. The Filicchi family, of Livorno Italy, were business associates of Elizabeth Ann Seton’s husband, and it was the Filicchi who introduced Mother Seton to the Catholic faith following her husband’s death.

The Filicchi Portrait is based on a left-profile engraving of Elizabeth Bayley Seton by Ceroni about 1868. Ceroni based his engraving on a right-profile one by Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin in 1797, which the Setons gave as gifts to friends and family, including the Filicchi, about 1798. Sometime after the death of Elizabeth Ann Seton’s husband, William Magee Seton, the Filicchi family commissioned a portrait of the Widow Seton based on the face but with a left profile and adding the traditional mourning garb of a black cap and cape, which became the habit of the American Sisters of Charity. Amabilia Filicchi may have provided the grieving Elizabeth with the customary dress of “widow’s weeds” worn in Tuscany at that time.

In response to a request from the Daughters of Charity for a copy of the Filicchi portrait, Patrizio Filicchi sent reproductions of her painted portrait to Emmitsburg in 1888, noting that he kept the painting “always before my eyes.” One is now exhibited in the museum of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

The original painting no longer exists; it was destroyed during World War II.

At the first meeting of the Conference of Mother Seton’s Daughters in 1947 those attending agreed on the style of the Filicchi portrait as the official one to be used for Elizabeth Ann Seton’s cause for canonization. The Conference of Mother Seton’s Daughters is known today as the Sisters of Charity Federation.

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