When fire destroyed the novitiate house of the Oblate Sisters of Providence in 1945, building a new one was essential. But how can one raise $1 million, let alone $3 million?
One day Sister Mary of Good Counsel said to Mother William, “Mother, if you give us permission to make a million aprons, you will have a million dollars.” Aprons were selling in those days for a dollar, along with baby sets, pillow slips and any number of items which were made by the sisters and sold in the gift shop.
Permission was granted and the Apron Mart was born. In the large room in the Academy Home Ec department with its dozen sewing machines, any sister who could sew (or learn to sew) was put to work after classes. Sisters came in from the missions. Friends with sewing skills came for weeks to swell the inventory. Sales were planned by families, and the sisters went home with huge boxes of aprons, baby sets and other items that were in great demand. Finally we had raised over $1 million through sales, and the archbishop gave permission to break ground!
History repeats itself. Our great need now is an adequate nursing home for our aged and ill sisters. During the past year, 10 sisters have gone to God. Some of them died in unfamiliar nursing homes. Oblate Sister Mary Annette Beecham’s dream is a state-of-the-art nursing facility in which our aged and ailing sisters can be cared for adequately.
Oblate Sister Helene Therese Stanislaus, director of development, called a meeting to form a committee. At its first meeting a chicken dinner was planned as our first event. It is the kick-off for what will be a long line of fundraising events. It’s what the Oblates have always done. Join us (and Providence) on Feb. 28 at the Community Center, 501 Chase St. in Baltimore!
For more information visit the Oblate Sisters’ Web site, www.oblatesisters.com, or call the Development Office at 410-536-5687.