First classes begin at Mother of Good Counsel School in Milwaukee, Wis.
As Salvatorians became more established across the United States, the demand rose for Salvatorian Sisters to teach at Catholic schools. By the start of the 20th century, the Sisters served at 14 additional schools across the country. Most of the requests came from bishops or pastors who were not members of the Society of the Divine Savior. Then the Sisters received an invitation from Salvatorian Father Willibald Unger, SDS, who opened Mother of Good Counsel Parish on the outskirts of Milwaukee and was advised to open an attached school.
Like any fledgling institution, the Church and school struggled to cover expenses. Every bit of money was poured into the tiny school. For the first four years, not even the pastor received a salary. (It would be many years – the 1970s – before the Sisters were paid as teachers.) Enrollment the first year the school opened was 55 students.
Operation of the school relied on the Sisters’ ingenuity and creativity. The school had two classrooms filled with second-hand desks that had to be cleared away every Friday afternoon to make space for Sunday Mass. Sisters Bathilde Feder, Bernardine Hassemer and Sebastian Vogelsang taught in the first year the school opened. By 1928, the school had three classrooms and three teachers. Over the years, 160 Salvatorian Sisters have taught at Mother of Good Counsel School. Today, the school enrolls students from K3 through 8th grade.
Many adults look back fondly on their time as students taught at Mother of Good Counsel School. They recall a particular Salvatorian Sister for the impact she had on their lives. Bob M. and Warren S. are two Class of ‘66 alumni who feel fortunate for their schooling at MGC, staffed by sisters who cared about their students and having a bit of fun at the same time.
Bob recalls the time when Sister Pacelli Seeley, SDS pulled a prank on him in the eighth grade.
“At the beginning of the day she pulled me aside and told me to ‘stay in my seat after school’ because she needed to discuss something with me. I thought for sure I was going to get punished… but guess what ended up happening? She advised me to remain seated as she left the room. She then reappears and says with a smile, ‘Please thank your Mom for the delicious cake she baked us. We wanted to make sure we got back to her.’ When I asked if I had done something wrong, she laughed and complimented me on being a good student.”
Warren credits the sisters for teaching him how to properly diagram a sentence in fourth grade. He distinctly remembers the moment he needed it in his 11th-grade English class at Milwaukee Washington.
“The teacher was so upset with the students’ ability to write a sentence that she said, ‘I’m going to teach you how to diagram a sentence.’ Only two students in the class actually knew how to diagram a sentence, me and another person who also attended MGC. It was amazing to me that a lot of the concepts that the nuns had taught us in grade school were being taught to me again in high school.”
Both men are proud alumni of Mother of Good Counsel and remain forever grateful for their education by the Salvatorian Sisters. At the time they wrote their reflections, Bob was a retired police captain and Warren worked with children and adolescents in treatment programs and education.
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
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
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 ...