Friday, March 3, 2017

Mother Agnes Day ~ March 6 . . .

Remembering Mother Agnes ~ 1847-1905
Death Anniversary of Mother Agnes Hazotte ~ March 6 ~ Foundress

Mother Agnes – Leading through Courage, Initiative, and Inspiration

“Our sisters go out as mission sisters and we teach the poor and care for the orphans. We take such places where many other communities would not take.” ~Mother Agnes Hazotte

• Anne Marie Hazotte was born in 1847 in Buffalo, New York, the youngest child of Christoph and Mary Ann Hazotte, who had emigrated from France just in time to escape the Revolution of 1848.

• Before the age of 15, Anne Marie lost her mother, father, two sisters, and a brother – difficult trials that shaped the heart and spirit of this determined, future woman religious leader.

• On a cold January day in 1862, 15-year-old Anne Marie became the “child of destiny,” as she was called by the congregation’s founder, Father Caspar Rehrl. Two years later, at the age of 17, she took her final vows and was elected as the first superior general on the same day. She served in that capacity for the next 40 years and came to be known as Mother Agnes.

• Pioneers in the frontier territory of Wisconsin, the Sisters of St. Agnes were dedicated to the education and faith training of the children of German immigrants who had settled in the region. Father Rehrl sent his sisters to schools throughout the area, relying frequently on the hospitality and generosity of the area settlers for food, lodging, and other needs.

• Moving the congregation in 1870 from Barton to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was the culmination of ongoing tensions between Mother Agnes and Father Rehrl, whose missionary zeal and frequent absences due to his demanding responsibilities often left his candidates and sisters ill prepared for the challenges of teaching. Recognizing the need for more spiritual, educational, and ministerial opportunities for the sisters, Mother Agnes and most of the sisters made the historic move and continued to thrive under the spiritual guidance of Father Francis Haas, a Capuchin.

• As superior, Mother Agnes accepted the challenges of sustaining the congregation through prudent and innovative financial decisions. Throughout the course of her leadership, conscientious foresight and compassionate insight guided her decisions and led the congregation to become a foundational pillar of community development, both in Fond du Lac and in other communities around the nation, where the sisters were sent to teach and heal.

• Responding to the needs of the community and the requests of the doctors in Fond du Lac, Mother Agnes took up the challenge of opening and staffing St. Agnes Hospital in 1896, and purchased Cold Springs Farm on the outskirts of the city to provide fresh food for the patients and the sisters in 1899. (The current convent and motherhouse are now located at this site.) In 1903, the Henry Boyle Catholic Home for the Aged was established as the first facility for seniors in the area.

• After years of suffering from tuberculosis, diabetes, and a heart ailment, Mother Agnes Hazotte passed away on March 6, 1905, surrounded by the prayers of her sisters – leaving behind her a legacy of courage, determination, and faithful devotion to mission, and paving the way for generations of sisters who continue to inspire and transform lives.

Writings of Mother Agnes:
"Where there is union, there is strength.” (Letter to Sr. Angeline, August 20, 1902)

“Love your God, and give yourself entirely to Him.  He is the true friend.” (Letter to Sr. Seraphine)

“I shall never forget the evening when we knelt at the little altar, poor as it was, and offered our first vows to God. We were both young and inexperienced but god directed us wonderfully during these 25 years.”  (Letter to Sr. Bernardine, June 29, 1888)

St. Agnes Convent ~ Barton, WI 1858

No comments:

Post a Comment