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What can a woman do? Lessons from history!

by | Feb 8, 2011 | Vincentian Family

Mother Xavier Ross (1813-1895), a convert who brought the Sisters of Charity (Leavenworth) to the West and established a whole network of institutions from New Mexico to Montana. And to think her own father asked her, “What can a woman do?”

Historian Pat McNamara provides some historical perspectives.

They arrived November 11, 1858. See what they have done in 146 years since then.Within a week of arriving in Leavenworth, the Sisters were teaching in a boys’ school. The days that followed found them opening an academy for girls and tending the sick, going into homes and wagon trains and traveling to towns during epidemics. They educated black children who had fled to the free state of Kansas, took in orphans, visited prisoners and – always – cared for the poor.

It was 1864 when the Sisters opened the first private hospital in Kansas, with the first trained nurse in the state and surely the first woman in the Western territory to run a hospital. This woman, Sister Joanna Bruner, also taught nursing to other Sisters. Since that time, professional excellence, leadership and a readiness to undertake whatever needed doing have been the hallmarks of the Community.

What can a woman do? With a gracious and loving heart and a solid faith in God, she can touch hearts and change lives. And that’s just what Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth continue to do.

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