Many activities are planned in 2018. An opening prayer service and reception is scheduled at The Center at Donaldson on December 31, 2017 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET to begin the year-long celebration and is open to the public.
In the aftermath of the Civil War in America, Catherine Kasper, the foundress of the Poor Handmaid congregation, missioned the first Poor Handmaids to America, in response to the invitation of Bishop Luers of Fort Wayne. Eight German Sisters were selected from among the two hundred that volunteered to come to America. These eight Poor Handmaids arrived on August 28, 1868 in Hessen Cassel, Indiana to begin their ministry with the German immigrants. By September 10, the Sisters had taken charge of the parish school, were assigned to nursing the sick in the area, and assumed the responsibility of caring for the needs of the parish church.
In the first five years of the Sister’s arrival in America they not only managed the rapidly growing Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago, they also founded St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, taught in the already existing St. Paul School in Fort Wayne and St. Mary School in Carlyle, Illinois. These were followed by nearly 400 ministries responding to emerging needs in America.
During 2018, other celebratory events that are open to the public include a presentation on the Canonization process of Blessed Catherine Kasper on April 21, 2018. On July 21, 2018, the Poor Handmaids host “Life, Spirituality and Beatification Process of Sister Aloysia Löwenfels,” a Jewish Poor Handmaid killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. A two-day event, August 18 and 19, 2018, offers several opportunities for the public to celebrate with the Poor Handmaids including a Eucharistic Liturgy with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. September 14 and 15, 2018, David Haas, who is regarded as one of the preeminent liturgical music composers in the English-speaking world, will present a Taizé Prayer Service, a retreat, and a concert. A closing prayer service and reception will be held on December 30, 2018.
More information on the Poor Handmaids and these events can be found at www.poorhandmaids.org.