A HIDDEN SPIRIT
by sr. sally watt
“With all this, Divine Providence has taken care of us until now.” - Mother Josephine Finatowicz
It was at the dawn of the twentieth century that Mother Josephine Finatowicz, foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, sent two Polish born nuns across the Atlantic, to do God’s work in America. Though the pair arrived in New York without employment or a place to live, an opportunity presented itself through Fr.Vitold Buhaczkowski, who was rector of a seminary established to prepare young Polish men for the priesthood. Soon the sisters were making their way to Detroit where they accepted responsibility for the domestic work at the Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
As the Poles became the largest group of European immigrants in Detroit, Mother Josephine was asked to send more sisters and within four years, the community had grown to include nine women. With the growth of the seminary, and exposure to the Polish Catholic world beyond the seminary, the sisters began to learn that Polish sisters were teaching the children of Polish immigrants. As a result, the Holy Ghost Sisters began planning to become teachers. But the obstacles facing them in Detroit were many. Therefore, it seemed, their only option was to a find new home.
The story of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit of the Diocese of Pittsburgh is one of challenge, expansion, spiritual growth, sorrow, hard work, successes and faithfulness. They built schools and hospitals, helped immigrants, took care of the aged, the poor, and children with special needs. And through the decades of accomplishment, they dealt with tremendous change that saw their numbers decline.
Throughout the decades, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit held fast to their visions of reaching those in need. They clung firmly to the promise of the Holy Spirit in calling them to this life and a city and world in need of their faithful presence. This was daily bread for them, providing sufficient sustenance to keep them open to the cry of every day and to ease anxiety for the future.