Statue sparks a beautiful friendship

A statue that graces the lawn of the Sisters of the Divine Savior Community House in Milwaukee has forged a friendship between Don and Lorraine R. and the Salvatorian Sisters.

Don recalls sisters working in the kitchen from his days at the former Salvatorian Seminary in St. Nazianz, Wis., and he says, “all of us remember the statue.” The bronze sculpture was commissioned in Rome for the Salvatorian priests’ minor seminary in St. Nazianz. By the time Austrian-born artist Ferdinand Seeboeck completed the piece, WWII had closed trans-Atlantic shipping lanes. The statue was finally dedicated at the seminary in 1948, the year Don enrolled. The landmark stood tall until 1986, years after the seminary closed. In gratitude for long-time service to the seminary community, Salvatorian priests and brothers bestowed it to the sisters, and for 25 years it stood against the outside wall of the Community House chapel.

In 2011, generous seminary alumni restored the weather-worn work of art and moved it to a place of greater prominence. Classmates who steered the restoration effort invited Don and his wife Lorraine to a seminary reunion hosted by the Salvatorian Sisters after the rededication ceremony. That invitation was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Don and Lorraine couldn’t attend that reunion, but were touched by the sisters’ hospitality. Don says it rekindled rapport among former classmates, including some of his very good friends. In 2013, Don and Lorraine stopped in to view the statue that was lovingly restored by fellow alum, sculptor David Wanner. Seeing the work of art up close sealed Don and Lorraine’s newfound friendship with the Sisters of the Divine Savior. The couple has become faithful friends who gratefully share their special intentions for loved ones through our Apostolate of Prayer Ministry.

When asked about the “Salvatorian influence” from his years at seminary, Don describes a disciplined lifestyle—especially for a 14 year-old boy.

“We couldn’t talk at meals, never saw any girls, and only got to go home at Christmas, Easter and summer break. Discipline was tough,” recalls Don, “but the lifestyle prepared me for hardships in the Army. I’ve never regretted those years at the seminary, ever.”

Don left St. Nazianz in 1951 and finished at St. Norbert High School in DePere, Wis. Then he enrolled in the ROTC program at nearby St. Norbert College. Now a retired colonel, Don spent 24 years as a U.S. Army master aviator, flying helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. He and Lorraine have four grown children. With just three miles between their Wisconsin hometowns of Casco and Luxembourg, Don and Lorraine return to Wisconsin every summer from their home in Maryland to attend their high school reunions. Now the Salvatorian Sisters’ Community House is on their route.

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For over 125 years, Sisters of the Divine Savior have been a gentle presence in a variety of ministries that connect us to so many people in need. As an international religious congregation, Salvatorian Sisters serve in 26 countries on five continents, guiding people of all faiths and cultures to greater fullness of life.

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