Presentation Presence from 1902-1912
St. Aloysius School
German and Bohemian were the dominant languages of the people in the area, who expected that German would be part of the curriculum. For a time one of the sisters who spoke German was able to give elementary language instruction.
When this was no longer possible, the sisters thought it would be best to withdraw, allowing the school to be taken over by a community of sisters who could better fulfill the language requirement. The LaCrosse Franciscans operated the school from 1913-1986.
Presentation Presence from January-July 1903
St. Patrick School
Sisters Mary Margaret Duggan, Baptista Hussey, Augustine Rooney and Anicetus Quinn made the trek to Audubon in January of 1903 to find that the house was less than adequate. In fact, with no indoor water, the sisters had to cross a deep ditch on a plank in order to meet their needs.
The Presentation sisters ministered at St. Patrick School in Audubon only seven months, the shortest-lived stay in any of their missions. It is not mentioned in the early community annals, and little is recorded about the adventures of the sisters there. However, Sister Mary Anastasia Burns recalled stories told by Sister Mary Anicetus Quinn who was one of the four pioneers. According to Sister Anastasia’s recollections:
“Foreign languages, of which more than one was requested as school subjects, was one deciding factor in the withdrawal of our sisters. Mother Angela Crowley, realizing the Sisters were not educated in the required languages, thought it only fair to leave the field open to a community with more foreign-born Sisters.”
Other missions quickly absorbed the sisters who left Audubon in July of 1903.
Presentation Presence from 1903-1926
St. Leonard School
When the parishioners of St. Leonard Parish in Madison, Nebraska, wanted a Catholic school, they decided to build a new church and remodel the old church to serve as a school and convent. This was accomplished by the fall of 1903. At that time, four Sisters of the Presentation took over the administration of the school.
Sisters Mary Columba O’Callaghan, de Pazzi Curtin, Clare Meagher and Boniface Reiman moved into what was described as a “rickety old building” and began their ministry with 66 students. No money and no plan for building improvements on the part of the parish, coupled with the shortage of teaching sisters, caused the Presentation sisters to withdraw in 1926. The school closed.
According to parish records, the facility was re-opened as a boarding school in 1931 by the Missionary Benedictine Sisters. A new school was built in 1955 and continued in use until 1978 when the sisters left.
Left photo: Left to right: Sisters Berchmans Flanagan, Michael Laughlin (on car), Henrietta Teff and Bertille Morgan serving in Madison, Nebraska.
Right photo: St. Aloysius School and Church in Calmar, Iowa, where Presentation sisters ministered for 10 years.