With the Assumption being an International Congregation, a number of American sisters have spent much of their apostolic lives in other countries around the world contributing to the growth and development of Provinces and Churches in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Others have been called to the service of the Congregation at the Generalate located at the Mother House in Paris, France.
At the service of the Congregation
“Within the Congregation, the Superiors have received a special mission. Through the exercise of their office, they are directly and in a privileged way, at the service of the whole body and of each member. Their service contributes to the growth and holiness of the sisters, the unity and common good of the institute and its ecclesial and apostolic vocation. They work in this way, for the extension of the Kingdom.” (Rule of Life 97)
Elected at a “General Chapter”, an international meeting of delegates from all the Provinces of the Congregation, the Superior General and 4 councilors receive the mission “to govern and to animate the Congregation according to the spirit of Mother Marie Eugenie and the traditions of the Congregation.” Several American sisters have taken part in the general leadership of the Congregation.
Sr. Therese Margaret, was the first graduate of Ravenhill (’44) to enter the Assumption in 1950. She was later named Superior of Ravenhill. In 1965 she attended the General Chapter as delegate of the North American Province and there was elected General Councilor in the government of M. Marie Denyse. Sr. Therese also served as Provincial Superior from 1984 to 1994.
Sr. Clare Teresa, also a graduate of Ravenhill (’55), was delegated to the next General Chapter in 1970. She also remained behind when she was elected to the General Council of M. Hélène. Elected again to the General Council in 1976, for another 6 years, in 1982 she was elected General Superior for 12 years. In 1994 she completed a total of 24 years in the general government of the Congregation. She later served as Provincial of the United States (2000 - 2006).
We can also mention Sr. Francis Joseph for her service at the Motherhouse/Generalate in Auteuil, Paris as Secretary General of the Congregation during the Generalate of M. Helene in the 1970s. She was also the go-to person who organized, in 1975, the Beatification of Mother Marie Eugenie Milleret, the foundress of the Religious of the Assumption. Sr. Francis Joseph was the first lay principal of Ravenhill where she discovered a desire for religious life and entered the Assumption in 1953, making her first vows in 1955. She led an international life for many years, living and working in communities as disparate as Philadelphia, Paris, Osaka-Japan, Manila-Philippines and Rome. In Manila, she was instrumental in organizing, funding and building Maryville, a housing project for the very poor.
Sr. Diana, another graduate of Ravenhill (’60), entered there for her religious formation and was later principal of the Junior School before leaving for West Africa (Ivory Coast) in 1971. In Abidjan she was instrumental in the foundation of the Attiécoubé community, an insertion in a “popular neighborhood”. In 1976 she returned to the USA for studies, then went back to Africa again, this time to Burkina Faso, as a Provincial councilor of the West African Province from 1981-1987. In 1994 she attended the General Chapter as a delegate of the American Province and was elected to the General Council of Sr. Christina’s government. At the end of her mandate she returned to the USA to be part of the Chaparral foundation, but only for 6 years when in 2006 she was again elected to the General government, this time as Superior General, thus serving a total of 12 years in the Congregation’s General government.
The Missionary Spirit of the Congregation
"The missionary spirit of the Congregation is a grace and gift of the Holy Spirit ... Some of the sisters have received a special call from God to leave country, family and land to love and serve the Church among another people ... Becoming part of a new people and culture, they will appreciate the friendship of those God gives them and rejoice in 'the rich diversity of nations'. They share in the proclamation and growth of the Kingdom and in the communion between the Local Churches, through which the universality of the Church is manifested.” (Rule of Life 86) Several North American sisters have had the joy of answering this call.
Sr. Katherine Mary, from Philadelphia entered the Congregation at Ravenhill in 1950. Very soon after her vows she went to the Philippines where she remained for most of her active life, serving for many years as Superior of the community of Iloilo and College Dean at the Assumption College at Manila.
Sr. Francis Teresa, a graduate of Ravenhill (‘40) was drawn to medicine, receiving her M.D. from Tulane University before entering the Assumption in 1953. She was missioned to Africa soon after her perpetual vows in 1957, serving in dispensaries and maternities, which were actually small hospitals, in both Rwanda and the Ivory Coast.
Sr. Iris, formerly Sr. William Patrice when she was in the American Province, has been on mission in the Philippines since 1972. She entered and received her religious formation at Ravenhill where she also taught Mathematics in the Junior School. Being very gifted in everything technical like carpentry and electricity, she spent many years at St. Simon, a technical school in Mindanao – Philippines.
Sr. Michelle Emmanuel a Canadian, met the Assumption at Quebec when it was the headquarters of the AMA (Associate Missionaries of the Assumption) movement, and began her missionary experience as an AMA in San Salvador before entering in Paris for her religious formation. After her first vows in 1968 she left for the Philippines and then Japan where she spent over 30 years until returning to the American Province in 1998.
Sr. Maria Teresa (Tere) was in Guatemala for 29 years, always in “the missions” meaning - in the highlands and the low very hot parts of the country in a territory called Petén - where she worked with the indigenous Mayan peoples. Mexican by birth, Sr. Tere entered at Ravenhill for her religious and professional formation before leaving for the Central American Province in 1970. She returned to the American Province to be part of the foundation of Chaparral in 2001.
Sr. Anne Christopher, a graduate of Miami - Bayhaven (’62), was in Africa for 44 years before returning to the US province last year. Her love for African youth and belief that education is the key to development, enabled her to be instrumental in the building up and formation of education teams and the elaboration of Assumption education projects in the schools of the West and Central African provinces.