On September 14, the church celebrates Holy Cross Day in honor of Christ’s self-offering on the cross for our salvation. Holy Cross Day is one of the 12 great feasts in the Byzantine liturgy and remains a major feast day for the Episcopal Church.
Besides being a major feast on the church calendar, Holy Cross Day is noteworthy for the Sisters of the American Convent of the Society of St. Margaret. This day marks the establishment of the Sisterhood in the USA. For it was on Holy Cross Day 1873 at the Motherhouse in England that Sister Louisa Mary was received as the first Superior of the American House of the Society.
The Sisters first came to America in 1871 at the invitation of the managers of Children’s Hospital, Boston, which had been founded in 1869. Sister Teresa, who had trained for nursing in the Children’s Hospital in London, assumed charge of the hospital in Boston. By 1873 friends and supporters appealed to the Sisterhood in East Grinstead for a more permanent foundation. Sister Louisa Mary and Sister Jessie volunteered for the mission.
As we look back on those early days of the Society in America we give thanks for the generosity of spirit that filled the hearts of the first three Sisters in offering themselves for a life of consecrated service. And we pray that the same spirit will motivate and challenge many other women today to respond with the same generosity of spirit to the call of God to the Religious Life.