Mother Theresa “wanted to send her daughters to the people of the New World and actively corresponded with a priest in Wisconsin, but the possibility of sending sisters never materialized during her lifetime. Mother Aniceta Regli, a successor of Mother Theresa, inherited her “enthusiasm for America.” In 1912, as a response to the request of Bishop V. Wehrle OSB, she could send sisters to staff a hospital in Breese, Illinois. In 1923 city leaders invited Holy Cross Sisters to Merrill, Wisconsin, and in 1928 the sisters dedicated Holy Cross Hospital, now Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center.
Local women joined the Holy Cross Sisters, and along with working in the three hospitals they taught in grade schools, high schools, and colleges. They also worked in an orphanage and continued to expand and serve in various ministries throughout the United States. The “Mission Territory” was made a province in 1954.
In the early 1980s, a request came from laypersons who appreciated the sisters’ charism and wanted a closer relationship with the community. In 1983 the sisters officially began an associate program to establish that relationship. At present, there are 28 lay women and men who live out the Holy Cross charism as associates.
In 1987 the Holy Cross Sisters sold their three hospitals. In 1990, responding to a rising need for elderly care, they remodeled their convent in Merrill into a community-based residential facility for the elderly. Bell Tower Residence, a sponsored ministry of the Holy Cross Sisters, provides quality care to the sisters and the public.
Communities in Wisconsin and Louisiana
The sisters of the Province are engaged in pastoral care, prison ministry, parish ministry, dementia support, administrative support services, volunteering in ministry to the poor.
Specific projects or priorities
Anti-human trafficking education, planning for collaboration among leaders of Wisconsin Women Religious.