Lay professionals reinforce “footing” for Salvatorian Mission in New Millennium

Lori Graff, Director of Mission Advancement, speaking with our 2015 Woman of Faith

For many years our Salvatorian Sisters seemingly did it all. We helmed our sponsored institutions, controlled financial decisions, engaged new members, raised funds and managed communications for the congregation. From an outsider’s perspective, everything ran like a well-oiled machine. Internally, however, we came to realize we could no longer go it alone.  Gradually, the successful collaborations with lay people we had always cherished became the norm to meet the expanding needs of our Province and SDS-sponsored institutions.

Lay staff member, Linda Szatkowski, with Sisters Mary Jo Stoffel and Susan Staff (left to right)

It wasn’t just our sponsored institutions that benefited from the integration of lay staff, but also administrative responsibilities at our Community House in Milwaukee.  By the early 1980s, Marquette University College of Business Professor Frank Probst was serving as Province Financial Advisor.  In 1984, Dr. Probst and Sister Maureen Hopkins, SDS were appointed Sponsorship Coordinators. In 1985, we hired Kathie Daily to give new impetus to province communications and public relations efforts.  Before long, additional lay professionals filled the expanding needs of the province in development, administration, the SDS Art Gallery, finance and new membership.  By the 2000s, a competent lay staff was essential to the ongoing life of the province.  Today, Dr. Probst is the longest-serving lay staff member in his role as Province Financial Advisor and as one of three Sponsorship Coordinators.

Kathie Daily’s family with Sr. Carol Thresher at Kathie’s posthumous Woman of Faith Ceremony

For 25 years, Kathie Daily served the sisters with grace, humility and a profound understanding of our Sisters’ mission. She passed away from cancer in 2011 and was posthumously honored with our Woman of Faith Award that same year. In nominating Kathie for the annual award, Sister Mary Lee Grady, SDS described her special dedication to the Salvatorian mission. “During her 25-plus years, Kathie consistently showed extraordinary Gospel-inspired service to her co-workers, children, friends and others. Her life was one of generous service and constant faith in God. During her struggle with pancreatic cancer, Kathie never lost her faith in God. Prayer continued to be her mainstay.”

To commemorate our 125 years in the USA, Kathie’s daughter, Katie Daily Pickart reflected on how Salvatorian Sisters have influenced her life. Katie is a graduate of Divine Savior Holy Angels High School and now serves on the DSHA faculty.

Kathie Daily

Divine Savior Holy Angels High School (DSHA) has formed me, as well as generations of women in my family. I am a 1984 DSHA graduate. My ties to the school originate with my mom, Kathleen O’Brien Daily, who graduated in 1960 from the former Divine Savior High School (DS). My mother worked for DSHA’s religious sponsor, the Sisters of the Divine Savior, in several capacities for more than 25 years, including as director of public relations.  Two of my maternal aunts also graduated from DS, and my younger sister graduated from DSHA. Our oldest daughter, Lily Pickart, graduated from DSHA in 2017, and we think of our younger daughters as future Dashers – Maeve has been accepted into the Class of 2023, and we hope Lucy will be a member of the Class of 2025.

Luckily, I married into a DSHA family. My mother-in-law is a 1950 graduate of Holy Angels Academy. Both of my Pickart sisters-in-law are DSHA graduates as well.

I enjoy volunteering at DSHA in parent focus groups, the Parents Fine Arts Association, as well as organizing our 30th class reunion. I have served on the DSHA Board of Trustees for two terms beginning in 2014. In the past four years, I also have worked as a long-term substitute teacher in the English and Theology departments. I am invested in DSHA, and I believe in and actively support its educational mission to nurture the whole person.

It absolutely makes a difference to me that the Sisters of the Divine Savior sponsor DSHA. The Salvatorian mission to make known the goodness and kindness of Jesus anchors the school and guides the school community forward. Everything DSHA does should be rooted in and reflective of this mission. I think the Salvatorian mission provides a higher call and an integrity to DSHA that distinguishes it from other Catholic and private high schools. I appreciate that the school has endeavored to integrate the Sisters’ mission into the culture of DSHA, as well as into the formation goals for the students. When I was a student, I was less aware of the important role the Sisters played in sponsoring DSHA. Today, the administrative team and Campus Ministry prioritize the Salvatorian mission and continue to weave it into the DSHA culture. It is in the students’ best interests that we model ourselves after the Sisters’ example of loving service. Our world needs to know the kindness of Jesus.

Sisters of the Divine Savior who serve on the DSHA Board reinforce the invaluable roles Salvatorians play in the culture of our school. The sisters keep us focused on a higher mission. They always bring a sense of history and a gentle wisdom to our discussions. They model for me what it means to be servant leaders.


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 ...