Model T adds new momentum to sisters’ ministry

Sister Baptista Faupel

In 1908, after the release of one of the first mass produced vehicles, the Model T Ford, cars on the streets of Milwaukee were a common sight. Both men and women enjoyed the freedom of being behind the wheel, and traveling by car was much quicker than waiting for the trolley. Driving was a “trend” sweeping the nation, and the sisters in Milwaukee took notice. They saw how practical it would be to own a car for transportation to and from patient homes, so by 1925 they purchased a Model T. Sister Baptista Faupel, SDS driving the car around town became a familiar sight and no one questioned why the sisters owned a vehicle. That was until Samuel A. Stritch became Archbishop of Milwaukee. He directed a very strong letter of admonishment to Mother Blanche Kinzer. The letter dated November 14, 1932 read:

My dear Mother Superior:

Will you please notify your Sisters that I absolutely forbid Sisters driving an automobile on public roads and streets and that I shall punish violations of this regulation with appropriate penalties.

With blessing,

Driving was considered inappropriate by Archbishop Stritch because sisters were not driving in Europe. Although the sisters in Milwaukee began to adapt to American customs and traditions, clerical superiors at home and in Rome expected them to continue to follow European customs. To run errands and make necessary trips, the sisters had to rely on friends and drivers for hire. It wasn’t until 1953 that the sisters once again (like Sr. Baptista) gained the independence to get behind the wheel of a car.

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 ...