Sisters in the USA
The zeal for the greater glory of God brought the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family to America, a country characterized by many religions. The work of congregation started with individual trips made by sisters who were invited here by their relatives or friends. The following sisters belong to the group of first missionary sisters organizing work in this country: Sr. Konstancja Selenis, Sr. Maura Puzynkiewicz, Sr. Melania Mazurowska, Sr. Euzebia Dakowicz, Sr. Celina Skutnik, and Sr. Angelina Pawelska. For few years, sisters lived in various places. In 1968, Fr. Michael Sawlewicz invited sisters to Kankakee, a city located close to Chicago, where they established their first convent. Ten years later, next convent was established in West Allis.
From the beginning, sisters started working as nurses at local hospitals. To this day, this form of service is developed the most. Sisters work on the floors that require constant sacrifice: surgical floor, oncology, intensive care units, and hospice. Through their attitude of service and self-giving, sisters earned the title of sisters with golden hearts. With friendly presence and professional help, they accompany people touched by illness or permanent disability. Sisters equally care for all the sick, despite their religion and status, and bring to them physical and emotional help. Very often, the sick who are not Catholics ask sisters to pray or bless them.
The work in hospice is especially difficult. With her presence and prayer, sister reminds about good preparation to meet God in eternity, to make peace with Him, and to trust in God's Mercy.
The proof of how sisters' work is appreciated comes in one of the letters:
"Dear Sr. Krystyna,
We appreciate the fact that you answered God's call to help the sick in hospital. We thank God for sending you to help us in our need. Leaving hospital, we knew that our son was in good hands. You are a true treasure. We pray that God blesses you just as you were a blessing to us. Your kindness will never be forgotten."
Teaching and Parish Work
Recently, sisters broaden their service to school and religion education. One sister in West Allis is a teacher in kindergarten; other is a grade school teacher at St. Martin of Tours parish. It's a Catholic school, but children of other religions attend there too. Under direction of a sister, children learn English, Math, Art, Religion, Science, and Social Studies. Parents truly appreciate the presence of sister in a habit. Children come not only to gain the knowledge, but also for spiritual help. Sometimes, children from junior high come to talk about their problems, seek advice, or simply visit. Sisters join in the parish works such as teaching religion and preparing children to sacraments. During Christmas, they prepare Christmas play. The also help priests through the distribution of Holy Communion and reading at mass. Through religion classes for children from immigrant families at St. Maximilian Colbe, sisters have an opportunity to help directly their follow Polish immigrants living in U.S.
Support for Missions
Quiet but equally important work is done by sisters working for Franciscan Fathers at Mission Center in Burlington. Though they themselves don't go to mission places, sisters support many missionaries through their daily work and prayer. Sisters help with correspondence with beneficiaries of church's missions. They participate in collecting the resources for evangelization of those who don't know Christ yet. New mission places, hospitals, orphanages, churches, and help centers for lepers are built from collected gifts and money.
Witness to Christ in Personal Life
There is another important aspect of apostolic work in America's land. In the world where the footprints of God are often erased, where there is not very well understood freedom, sisters are the live and authentic signs of Christ and God's Kingdom. Very often, they're being stopped on the street by total strangers to hear the words of appreciation and respect for a fact of being sisters, devoting life to God, and wearing a habit. Some of those people are not even Catholics, but they ask for prayer for themselves and their families. The sign of habit and consecrated life tells sisters how much they still have to do and fills them with new strength to zealous service to every person they meet.