Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
Srs Gertrude, Angela and Gerard with Mother Gabriel
Renovo August 1971.
SR ELIZABETH ANN McGUIRE,
who had been drawn to the
teaching at their school in
In the mid-1980s there seemed to be a bright future for the Congregation in USA. In 1982, they had opened a house in Bedford, some thirty-five miles from Altoona. By 1987, when they opened a fouth convent in Johnston, there were fourteen Sisters working in Pennsylvania. Their life was thought of as "comfortable" by the rest of the Congregation. Comparatively, they enjoyed something of the American standard of living - they normally ate out on Sundays, for example - and their private fee-paying schools were pleasant to teach in, with few of the problems of poverty and unruliness found in industrial Scotland.
Many rivers have flowed under the bridge since the Sisters first set foot on American soil. In 1971 the parish priest Fr. Orlando of St Joseph’s Renovo, Pennsylvania, was looking for Sisters to continue the Catholic Primary education of his young parishioners. Having scoured America without success he turned his attention to Europe. By chance or rather providentially the Bishop’s father was Scottish and had been taught by the Franciscan Sisters in Greenock. It was he who suggested that Fr. Orlando should get in touch with the Sisters. He did so and received a positive response. That same year on the 9th July the Sisters arrived in Renovo ready to scatter the seeds of Catholic education which would take root and flourish in the future.
To the glory of God our Congregation is growing from strength to strength. We now have five of our Sisters working in USA presently.