Mother Mary and the three missionary sisters have an audience with Pope Leo XIII

Attending a papal audience is a distinct honor. Pilgrims from all over the world travel to St. Peter’s square in Rome, Italy just to catch a glimpse of the Pope. Before the first three Salvatorian Sisters left for the United States of America, they joined our co-founder Mother Mary of the Apostles (Theresa von Wuellenweber) in an audience with Pope Leo XIII. A well-regarded friend of the community, Monsignor De Waal, arranged for the visit, and the four sisters felt privileged to attend the Mass for Italian and Polish immigrants. During the audience, the Pope unexpectedly allowed the sisters to speak with him, and they each received a personal blessing on the head and forehead.

Mother Mary of the Apostles

Sister Margaret Shekleton, SDS documented Mother Mary and Sister Raphaela’s reflections in her book, Bending in Season: History of the North American Province of the Sisters of the Divine Savior – 1895 to 1985.

“Oh, what a day of grace! I wept with emotion.”
Mother Mary

While Mother Mary’s response was filled with reverence, Sister Raphael’s words also revealed the fear that filled her heart for the journey ahead.

Sister Raphaela Bohnheim, SDS

“Nobody will ever understand what it cost me to tear away from our beloved Holy Father, to enter a future so dark and uncertain.”
Sister Raphaela

Our 125 Year Celebration

As we look back on our 125th anniversary of coming to the USA, we invite you to reminisce with us. We've launched all 5 time lines with historical milestones and stories that bring to life the experiences of our sisters who came before us.

Era 1: 1895-1920
Responding to Immigrant Needs

The missionary response of hearty immigrant women religious characterizes the first 25 years of Salvatorian Sisters’ presence in the United States ...

Era 2: 1920-1950
Expanding in an “American” Church

By 1920, life for a Salvatorian Sister in the USA was radically different than it had been 25 years earlier. World War I ....

Era 3: 1950-1970
Embracing Renewal

Bob Dylan’s 1964 classic, The Times They Are A Changing, captures the high energy of this era.  Change was afoot both outside and inside the Salvatorian convent walls...

Era 4: 1970-2000
Building Collaboration

Events of the mid-1960s renewed the collaborative energy that had always characterized Salvatorian life. Cloistered living ...

Era 5: 2000-2020
Searching for New Footing in a Changing World

When the new millennium arrived on January 1, 2000, Salvatorian Sisters were already five years into our second century on USA soil.  Our ...