ALLEGANY, N.Y. — The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany launched a year-long commemoration of their 150th anniversary earlier this month.
The community, based in Western New York, was founded in 1859 and currently has approximately 325 members. Its congregational minster is Sr. Avril Chin Fatt, OSF.
The major celebration will be held in April 2009, according to Sr. Rita Frances, OSF, local minister of St. Elizabeth Motherhouse.
A journal is being produced that will be disseminated throughout the anniversary year in conjunction with the various gatherings, according to the community’s Web site.
The journal’s theme is “Gratitude for the Past, Embracing a Future Full of Hope.”
Last fall, the sisters at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany marked the 800th anniversary of the birth of their patroness saint with a musical and a Mass celebrated by Buffalo Bishop Edward U. Kmiec. The sisters created a display about the life of St. Elizabeth, and a memorial shrine in the chapel, that is open to visitors.
The motherhouse, named for St. Elizabeth of Hungary, was established in 1859; it was rebuilt in 1959, and today houses the congregation’s generalate offices, leadership, sisters needing more care, and sisters who minister in the area.
The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany trace their beginnings to April 25, 1859, when, in the chapel of St. Bonaventure College and Seminary, Father Pamfilo da Magliano, OFM, gave the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis and the name, Sister Mary Joseph, to Mary Jane Todd.
According to the Web site of the sisters, Father Pamfilo, the custos-Provincial of the Friars Minor of the Immaculate Conception Custody, had come with three other friars to western New York in 1855 at the invitation of Bishop John Timon, C.M., of the Diocese of Buffalo and Nicholas Devereux, a Catholic layman and land owner. The friars had come to educate young men at St. Bonaventure College (now St. Bonaventure University) and carry on pastoral work in the area. Bishop Timon had also asked Father Pamfilo to “seek for Sisters of the Third Order” to provide education for the young women of the area, and his search led him to form a new congregation in Allegany.”
Shown above is an advertisement from Holy Name Province that will appear in the sisters’ journal.