Allegany Sisters Publish Sesquicentennial History

HNP Communications Franciscan World

ALLEGANY, N.Y. — A history of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany has been produced, chronicling the 150-year-old community based in Western New York. The book traces the beginnings of the Allegany sisters, including information about the Franciscans. Photos of friars are included.

The book, titled “The Wonderful Works of God — A Sesquicentennial History of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany,” is available for purchase ($25) at the gift shop of St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany and by phone, through Colleen Prey at 716-372-5670.

The 225-page book was written by three authors — Allegany Sister Veronica Inez Rodriguez, Allegany Sister Geraldine Donovan and Father Philip Bochanski, CO — and was published by Editions Du Signe in Strasbourg, France.

The book describes the establishment of the congregation in 1859 by Pamphilo da Magliano, OFM, from the Abuzzi region of Italy. It is divided into five chapters:

  • Beginnings 1859 to 1900
  • Transitions 1900 to 1925
  • Expansion 1926 to 1957
  • Challenges 1957 to 1979
  • Renewal 1980 to 2009

01-22-09-sisters-lgAmong the photos in the book is one showing four Holy Name friars — Richard Husted, OFM, pastor of St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany; Robert Struzynski, OFM, of nearby Mt. Irenaeus; Michael Duffy, OFM, of Philadelphia; and Peter Chepaitis,OFM, of Middleburgh, N.Y.

The community will celebrate its milestone this spring with a dinner in Olean, N.Y., at which Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, will be the keynote speaker. John was based at nearby St. Bonaventure University from 1973 to 1982.

The congregation’s celebration committee is seeking stories about the sisters; those with information about their connections are encouraged to call the committee at  716-373-0200 ext. 3266.

An item in a recent bulletin of St. Bonaventure Church, said, “The sisters thank you for your support of the book project.”

Information about various aspects of the Allegany Sisters can be found on the community’s Web site; It includes Allegany Art, prayer requests, how to become a sister, justice and peace news as well as descriptions of some of the congregation’s many ministries such as Canticle Farm, the Dwelling Place, Renodin Foundation, Ritiro House of Prayer and the St. Elizabeth Misson Society. The current leader of the community is Congregational Minister Sister Avril Chin Fatt, OSF.

The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany is one of several Franciscan communities formed in the mid 19th century after the surge to the United States of European immigrants. Some of the other communities established in this era include two OFM provinces, both based in the Midwest  — Sacred Heart Province and St. John the Baptist Province.