Sisters of Charity Federation Archives

Sister Charles Miriam Strassel, SC Interviewed by Sister Judith Metz, SC March 16, 1993

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INTERVIEW WITH SISTER CHARLES MIRIAM STRASSEL
DATED 3/16/93
INTERVIEWER: SISTER JUDITH METZ
My mother was Mary Bump, I think her father was an Englishman. She was
32 years old when she married Clarence Strassel. Her first child was born on the
30th of October probably 1907. She lost him with diarrhea which we called
Summer Complaint in those days. He was only 9 months old and my mother
never got over that death. She used to have his little clothes and she always
cried whenever she saw them. Then three years later she had my brother
Charles. She always had wanted a little girl. She was 39 when I was born, and
she thought that God was very good to her. She told me that she took me and
offered me to the Blessed Mother when I was baptized. I was born on
June 10, 1912 at 11 o’clock in the morning and it was a Monday morning. She
had her tubs out to do her wash and she said: “Clarence, put the tubs away, the
baby is coming. Of course all these births were at home, so my aunt, her sister,
Aunt Katie came over and helped with birth along with the country doctor who
was down in Delhi. This was lower Delhi, it is now called Saylor Park and I was
born in a little house 114 Meridian St. down in lower Delhi.
I was named after my two grandmothers. I wish Mom would have let me have
Johanna because her mother’s name was Johanna, but she called me Josephine,
Catherine Josephine. She said I was always to carry that “J”, now, but I dropped
the “J”, I never wrote my name that way but if you punched me out in the
computer, the “J” would come up. She thought after my birth that she would
lose me because they couldn’t find a formula that was agreeing with me, but
finally they found a formula that agreed with me because I was very thin. She
was praying very hard that she wouldn’t lose me.... anyhow, I survived.
I went to St. Aloysius on the Ohio to grade school. In 1918, the time of the flu
that took so many lives, it was such a terrible winter, the Ohio River froze over.
The Oldenburg Sisters taught us. They took the whole school across the river,
we walked across the river. Mom said: “You can’t go unless your father goes
with you.” So, Dad came along and we walked across the Ohio River. She used
to put pants on me that were Charlie’s so that I would keep warm. We always
had a nice warm home, it was four rooms. We had no running water. It was
1939, I guess, before Mom ever got running water in the house. We had a
wonderful cistern outside, the water was wonderful, very good tasting water.

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I can remember when we were growing up that we had lamps, because there
was no electricity. We had no medicines at all, so when we had a bad cold, Mom
always had three barrels of wine in the cellar that she made herself. We had
elderberry wine, we had grape wine, and there was another kind that we had.
And if we had a bad cold, Mom would heat some wine and give it to Charlie and
myself. The only medicines we had was what was thrown on the porch. But, we
all survived.
Dad only went to the fourth grade in school, and Mom went to the sixth grade.
Mom was born in a log cabin close to the Ohio River in Northbend. Dad was
born in upper Delhi. Grandpa Strassel had a big farm. The farm is where St.
Atoninus is at present. I used to love to go up there and stay all night with
grandma because we had to go upstairs to bed with a lamp. What impressed
me was going upstairs, because we just had a four room house. Her little
kitchen tablecloths were blue and white and the red and white I always liked
them. They were red and white check and blue and white check. I used to love
that because we didn’t have those table cloths. Grandpa would let me ride the
horses bareback when he brought them to drink. Then we used to go into the
barn and slide down the hay. He also had a smokehouse where they smoked
their own sausage. It was a large place.
Before Grandpa’s first wife died , three children were born: William Strassel,
Louella Strassel and Clarence Strassel, my Dad. And then, Grandpa remarried
and he had about six boys, no girls. Aunt Louella married and she had three
daughters, Lillian, who became Sister Mary Donald in the Oldenburg community,
and two others. Lillian entered 7 years before I did. I had been wishing that I
could go with her, but I was just in grade school and I knew that I had to wait.
But I really knew that I wanted to be a Sister when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.
I graduated from the 8th grade at St. Aloysius in 1926. As time when on, I knew
that I wanted to enter a Community, so I asked Mom if I could come to the
Mount to school, because my cousin had graduated from the Academy in 1924
and I used to come up when she was here. Mom and I took a traction car to St.
Joseph’s stop down here below the Mount and we walked up the steps which
came out just beyond the cemetery. And so, we came up to register.
For a boarder, it was $300 a year. There were also day-students. Another girl
from my class came up as a day-student. She came up here by bus.
There were four of us that roomed in a dormitory all four years that I was here
at the Academy: Helen Kiley, Mary Sulfsted, and Mary Hesselbrock. We still are
very good friends. We get together every so often.

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WHAT DID YOUR DAD DO?
My poor Dad worked on the railroad most of the time, doing the hard work.
Sometimes jobs were so hard to find, he did anything he could, but he mostly
worked on the railroad. During World War I, they would open the railroad cars,
and people would go down there and take what they wanted out of the cars
because coffee was rationed and sugar was rationed. Even though this was
prohibition time, Mom used to sell her wine, and Charlie and I would deliver it.
We were never caught. She was also a wonderful pie baker and she used to sell
her pies also, and Charlie and I would deliver them.
WHO WERE SOME OF THE SISTERS THAT YOU KNEW WHEN YOU WERE UP
HERE IN THE ACADEMY?
When I first came, Sister Elizabeth Seton was Directress, Sister Thomas Aquinas
taught Science, and also they sent Sister Mary Leo over as a Postulant and she
taught over in the Academy. Sister Mary Bernice also taught over there as a
Postulant. Her sister was in the Academy, too. The second year, Sister Deodata
was the “angel” that meant that she was with the girls whenever they were not
in class... {here she struggled with a name... saying that this was a person with
whom she had lots of fun... they were always getting into things that they
weren’t supposed to}... then she remembered.... Margo (Margaret) Schmidter
and I were trouble makers, I guess. At least the first year at the Academy.
In the dining room we always rotated every week from one table to another.
We changed our table cloths, so we could learn how to pass the dishes, we were
also trained to be “ladies”. Margo Schmidter, this particular time, was sitting at
the head of the table, and I was to her right. She knew I loved chocolate
pudding, so instead of giving me a dish, she took the dish she had the bowl of
chocolate pudding and she was filling it for me. It was getting up there to the
rim of the dish, and I said:”Margo, stop now because it is going to run over.” But
she kept filling it, and so I put my hand over the bowl so that she would stop,
and she put it all over my hand. We had linen napkins (we always had a Sister
walking up and down the dining room) so, I took the linen napkin and put it on
my hand. Sister Marie Corona was the one walking up and down, and she saw
this. She came over and she said: “Don’t eat it, don’t eat a bite out of that dish
until I get Sister Marie Damien.” So, Margo began to cry... she could cry at the
drop of a hat...So Sister Marie Damien came and gave us a talk. She said to me
that I would get 50 in deportment, and I did that month. My mother wanted to
know what that meant, so I told her the story. Margo Schmidter was a dear
person.

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Mom and Dad had it hard, but the first year, Mom paid for me. But, I thought if
I asked the Sisters if I couldn’t work my way through so she wouldn’t have to do
it. The Sisters let me. I used to come down before meals and help put the food
on the table, and bring the pans in, because we washed dishes, just like the
Sisters did at the table and then we would take the pans out and empty them.
And then, on Saturdays I’d come down and we would take all the sugar out of
the sugar bowls and wash them, also the salt and peppers, then we would refill
them. We would crumb the tables after all the meals. So it wasn’t hard work at
all. But anyhow I wanted to do that because it was too hard on Mom and Dad.
We had a marvelous time and it was very good.
One day, eight bells rang in the Academy and that meant that everybody had to
go to the study hall. Sister Elizabeth Seton came in, and the desk was on a
platform...the study hall was where the Rose Room is. She said, “close every
door... close every window..(I was about two desks from her) and she said that
Sister Deodata (who at this particular time was “angel”) had said : “I just heard
a girl calling up from the first floor to the fourth floor, ‘Is Deo up there?’
She said, “ Do you know what that means? That means God. “ And she said:
“That Sister, that’s all she has is her name”... and she went on and went on...
And so, when I got the habit ... we did it different that year... we went in
dressed as Postulants and then we got the bundle of the habit and we went out
to the Novitiate and dressed and came back in. And then, they called out the
names, and then on our way out we got the Constitutions. Well, I got out there
and I took the bundle of the habit. The next morning, which was Easter Sunday,
1931 when I was dressing, I looked at the habit before I put it on and I thought
this is all I have, no more, just this. And so, I recalled what Sister Elizabeth
Seton had said that day.
We had a girl in our class, her name was Hildegard Durr... once we got called in
study hall for this too...she was steaming her hair and that was out of order too.
But with it all, we had lots and lots of fun.
In 1929 we had the hundredth anniversary of the Community. And all the girls
had to go to one end of the hall on the fourth floor to give up our rooms to the
Sisters who would come in for the 3-day celebration: one day was for the
religious, and then one was for the public, and the other for the priests, I guess.

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Mom always liked the Sisters of Charity because they were always out-going, and
I liked that too. The Oldenburg Sisters were more reserved. I thought that if I
went to Oldenburg, I would miss the Mount. Now I didn’t know Oldenburg
itself, so I thought, I am going to the Mount, because I couldn’t miss Oldenburg
because I didn’t know it. I graduated June 5, 1930. We always gave a class
play. We had a Miss Cook who was the dramatic teacher, and the name of the
play was Pharaoh’s Daughter. She picked me to play the part of Pharaoh’s
daughter. I had 10 pages (I could memorize like anything in those days). She
gave me 10 legal size sheets that I had to memorize. So, we practiced, and
practiced and practiced. The play went OK, I found Moses in the basket. My
dear little mother was there for it. After it was over, we went out to bow and all,
and Mom came up and gave me a bouquet of flowers...that cost her money, and
I said “Mom, you didn’t have to do that” and I kissed her. But she was always
so proud of me. I was raised on much love, and I think that means so much to
a person later in life.
I went to S. Thomas Aquinas before I left school and I told her that I would like
to enter and so she arranged for Mother Irenea to meet me in the parlor. So, I
saw Mother Irenea and I told that I wanted to come in September. I knew that
if I stayed home longer than September, I wouldn’t have been able to come I
don’t think. Then she gave me the papers and I filled them out and I sent them
back. It was only about a week later when I got papers that I was accepted. So,
we did a lot of things together (Mom and I) and she got somebody to make my
clothes... a dear friend down there so that I didn’t have to bring all these bolts of
things because we were poor and I didn’t have to bring $100 either.
Sister Thomas Aquinas had in her mind that I should take all this Science things,
and I hated Chemistry and Biology I could have done without that too. But, she
felt that I was fit for this and so she insisted that I take it in the Academy. And
she insisted that if I wanted to be a Sister of Charity I had to take Chemistry. So
I took it. And when I entered, I had to take it too. She had in mind, I guess,
medical technology or something like that.
I was told to be here at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon on September 6. Now,
September 6 was a Saturday, she had to teach school. So I guess that was the
reason for it. So I told my Mom that I would have to be up there at 3 o’clock. I
don’t even remember who brought me. I know that Mom came with me. Dad
didn’t want me to come although he loved me very much.

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So, September 6th I came in and I asked to see Sister Thomas Aquinas. They
put us in the parlor and she told me that she would take me over to get dressed.
There was green carpet out there in front of the chapel and no one could ever
go over that green carpet so that was quite a thing for me.
She took me in the back of the chapel and told me to make my offering now. So,
I made my offering of my life. Then she took me upstairs to get dressed and
then I went back down ( I have all these pictures of that) and I was very happy.
So then we sat there for a little while and then Mom left.
SO YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE THAT ENTERED THAT DAY?
Yes. Somebody came in on the 7th . Julienne came before me, because I am
between them in priority. Mom never missed visiting Sunday. She asked me
what she should call me now. I said, “Mom, call me what you have always called
me, you don’t have to say Sister.” (of course, I had had my pre-novitiate in the
Academy, because we couldn’t talk after the De Profundis at twenty minutes to
nine, and if you talked you had to sit out in the hall. It was almost like a
novitiate in those days But, I was happy. I’ve been happy all my life because I
received so much love.)
WHAT WAS THAT STORY YOU TOLD ME THE OTHER DAY ABOUT THE SISTER
FROM THE ACADEMY WHEN SHE FOUND OUT YOU WERE ENTERING?
I came up the summer before I entered. I came up to see Sister Thomas
Aquinas about my clothes and about all this other stuff. Sister Elizabeth Seton
was Directress, and she was down in her office when I passed, I could see her
there, because the door was kind of ajar. During our conversation upstairs, Sister
Thomas Aquinas asked me if I had told Sister Elizabeth Seton. I said that I had
not. We were always scared of S. Elizabeth Seton... we had to get all these
permissions and we were wondering what she was going to say whenever we
went into her office... so I told T.A. that I would see her when I went back down
because I knew that she was in the office. She told me that that was a courtesy
and that I should do so.

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So, she was still in there, so I rapped on the door and she opened the door and
said: “Oh, Catherine, how are you?” I told her that I was fine and she invited
me to sit down and we talked a little bit, then I said that I had come to tell her
something. I told her that I was going to enter in September and she said:
“Enter where?” and I told her that I was going to enter her Community. She
said: “Catherine, you’re too young, you’re too immature, you’ll never stay. You
won’t stay three months” I said, “Well, Sister, I don’t know the future, but I
have given this lots of thought and I’m coming to stay. I realize that I don’t
know what is in store for me, but I want to come and I have thought a lot about
this.” So we left it at that.
I GUESS YOU PROVED HER WRONG !
Yes, I’ll be in 63 years soon. I did respect her and she was quite a lady. She’s
not a person that I would “fall in love” with. I admired Thomas Aquinas very
much, she was a good teacher. I, myself, was drawn to T.A.
One time, before I entered, we had a riding academy down here below the
Mount. I kinda wanted to ride a horse. If we weren’t dressed properly, this
lady, (T.A.) had us use the back stairs. And, so, I had knickers on to go riding,
and when I came back from riding, who did I meet on the stairs but T.A. And,
she said : “look at you”. And I said, “I’ve always wanted to ride a horse before I
entered”, and so I passed it off like that.. and that’s all she said to me. I was
using the right stairs anyway. (I’m going back and forth as things come to me)
And then during my novitiate they sent me over to the College and I had to take
all that science stuff after the canonical year. I got the habit on April 4, 1931
and by October I had lost 50 lbs. Now I didn’t know that I had lost 50 lbs, I was
too busy working and I wasn’t sick. So, one night, on my stand in the novitiate, I
found a glass of milk and I thought that this must have gotten in the wrong
place. It was sacred silence so I couldn’t do anything about that, so I drank it.
A few days after that, Sister Mary Emma called me and told me that I was to go
over to Sister Mary Carlos’ office...Mary Carlos was not a nurse, she was
treasurer of the Community. I had to go up to her office, up there on the
second floor. The parlor to the left as you go in the front door was the
Treasurer’s Office. She told me to sit down and open my mouth, and she had a
spoon that she put on the top of my tongue and told me to say ahhh, and so I
did. Nobody had said anything to me, I didn’t know that I had lost weight. Then
she said for me to tell Sister Mary Emma to send me to (not sure about these
next few words) Giles DeCourcy?? and so I went to Giles De Courcy.

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Little Sister Mildred, God love her, she was hardly able to walk, but she was to
be my companion. I told Giles DeCourcy that I was not sick, but he examined
me and told me that I had an exothalmic {spelling?} thyroid and it has to come
out. I asked him to write this on a piece of paper, I have to give this to the
Superior. When I came back...Mother Mary Florence was Assistant Mother, so I
told her and I told Sister Mary Emma. He had also told me to see Joe De
Courcy, his brother. I went to Joe and he said the same thing, an exsothalmic
thyroid and it had to come out. There was no room at the Good Samaritan
Hospital, so I had to wait. I was given Sister Mary Agnes McCann’s room. They
called my mother and she came up, she was worried sick. I was operated on,
October 6, 1931 and I’ll never be colder even when I’m put in the grave than I
was on that cart going up there. I had never had anything wrong with me.
My mother kept saying to my father to go faster because she was afraid I
would be in the Operating Room and they wouldn’t be there. I told my Mom not
to come to see me the first day, but she could come after that. I was told that
the operation was done fifteen minutes. She came the next day and wanted me
to go home with her to get built up again. I told her that I couldn’t do that, if I
leave the Community, I could not come back. I told her that I was very happy
here and that the Sisters are very good to me. I asked her to let me recuperate
with them. She understood, but she came every day to see me. I was only in
there about 8 days, I didn’t break my Canonical Year
At the end of my Canonical Year, Mother Mary Regina, elected in 1931, came
into the Novitiate to tell us what we were going to be doing the second year of
Novitiate ... I think that was the first time we had a second year Novitiate...this
was preparing us for what we would be doing. So, Mother Regina called
everybody’s name. When she called my name she told me that I would be going
to the Good Samaritan, and go into training to be a nurse. I was delighted. I
had been doing a lot of fasting so that I could be a nurse, because I didn’t think
I was material to be a teacher.
Sister Mary Emma was giving out black veils so we could go out, but she didn’t
give me a black veil, so I went up to her and said that I thought Mother had said
that I supposed to go in training. Then she told me that it had been changed.
Then, I asked what it had been changed to.

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And she told me that I had to ask Sister Mary Corona. So, I went over to her
office and she wasn’t there, so I went over to her bedroom. When she opened
the door she said: “Catherine, how are you?” So, I told her that I was fine, and I
went through all this again. Then she told me that I was going to the hospital to
relieve a laboratory technologist. At that time I didn’t even know that a hospital
had a laboratory technologist. So I went to college and got another semester.
Then, I was a Junior in good standing when I went to the hospital.
Sister Ellen, God love her, she had charge of the laboratory, and she told me to
just stand there and observe. Well, it took me 10 minutes to observe and to say
that I didn’t want to do this. There were 100 urines there to be examined. There
was the smell of paracytology {spelling??} There were cultures, Lord, it smelled
terrible. I thought to myself, I can’t do this. So, standing there, I thought that if
I said anything I’d probably be sent home, I guess I could try it. I tell people
now that I tried it 45 years. That was a blow that almost killed me. So, I worked
with Sister Ellen. She loved me to death, I didn’t know this, but she was always
so very kind to me that I didn’t know she thought that much of me until Jean
Clare went in after me. As soon as Ellen saw Jean Clare, she said that she would
never be a Charles Miriam. Jean Clare told me this later. Now Ignatius loved Jean
Clare and I don’t think she could stand me. I thought I’d be there a year, and I
got into the work even though I didn’t like it, but I thought that I could try it.
That following August, I didn’t come out to hear the mission list read. I went
downstairs and S. Dorothy Ann was there outside of the chapel reading this list
and I said, just for fun, “is my name on that list?”and I looked over her shoulder
and my Lord and my God I saw my name there. No less, to go to Colorado
Springs to the Glockner That was after 6 months at Good Sam, from January to
August.
I then thought of my mother. It was customary to go home for a day if you were
from the East and you were missioned West. So, I called my mother to tell her
that I had been missioned West to Colorado Springs. That poor soul didn’t know
where Colorado Springs was. I told her that it was customary that I could go
home for a day before I go. I asked her which day would be good for her. She
said I could go home any time. I suggested the 16th of August, the day after I
came out of retreat. She said, that was fine. So, the 16th of August came and
my brother came up for me. At that time we weren’t even supposed to get in a
car with our brothers or fathers. It was alright to go in a taxicab not knowing
the man at all, alone, that was OK. So I asked Charlie where Mom was. He said
that ever since I had called Mom’s had been cleaning and cooking. He said that
I was going to have to eat everything I ever liked. That was another problem.
So I said,”Jesus, Mary and Joseph, don’t let anybody see me get into this car
alone with my brother.”

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I had made vows by then. I made vows in 1933 and we made them for 3 years.
(back to the story of her brother and the car) I sat in front with him because I
thought it was crazy to sit in the back. But, see, your family were good enough
for you when you were home, but it didn’t make sense. But, anyhow, I got in
with Charlie and we went home. And now, before I knew about Mom cooking all
that stuff, I had asked if it was alright to eat. I was told that if they had a cold
drink or some cookies I was to take it. She didn’t say a thing about a meal.
When I got home, Mom had been slaving . We had always eaten at the kitchen
table, the four of us, but she had the dining room all set up. She had linen
napkins and the four of us were there for dinner. She had everything I ever
liked. And I thought to myself, Jesus is the only one that’s here, and I’m not
going to hurt my mother, I’m going to eat anything and everything. And I did.
So we had this beautiful meal and then they took me back at the end of the day.
We left for Colorado Springs toward the last part of August, because we got
there on Retreat Sunday, the first Sunday of September. We went to Cincinnati
to board the train. Earlier, I had been told that I was going alone and another
Sister was going to get on in Indianapolis. She had been to visit her family. She
was going to Albuquerque. Well, my mother was at the depot with this care
package, all kinds of food, jellies, etc. And she asked my why I had not told her
that I was going {at this point Sister’s voice got very soft, almost a whisper and
could not be heard clearly}.
Sister Margaret Jane had given me some tips about travelling. Margaret Jane
came into my life when I went to the Good Samaritan. There were 72 nuns
there at that time. After night prayers she used to wait at the door of chapel
and she would invite me to go take a walk on the roof. Coming from the
Novitiate, here I was with all these people around me, and there was nobody
there. She was very kind to me.

11
When I got on the train, I remembered that Margaret Jane told me that the
busman would come to the car and take me over to the other station because
we were to transfer to the Santa Fe station. So, Sister got on at Indianapolis.
She told me that she was glad she was coming with me, because she knew we
would have a good time. Her name was Helen Miriam, she was a cousin of one
of our Sister. But, Helen Miriam didn’t stay in the Community.
Margaret Jane had told me that they give plenty of food on the train, and that if
I asked for only one helping there should be enough for both of us. Well, I
thought I could not do that...asking for a plate for her and then ask for only one
helping?... I can’t do that... We just let things go on as usual, but when the size
of the helpings came Helen Miriam said that she could not eat all of that. I told
her that if she couldn’t eat it, I would eat it.
Mary Carlos had only given us one berth. We had one berth for both of us to get
into and we had all these clothes. She had just made her first vows and she had
her good habit with her. So, I said for her to get in first, then I got in. We had
to drape all these things around us, veils and all these things, in one berth. Well,
some time during the night, I felt something itching me in my back. Finally, she
woke up. So, I got out of the berth, covered with the curtain, and realized that
it was her cap and veil, the starchy thing was scratching me. She was so upset.
I asked her if she had another cap and we would go into one of these vacant
rooms and I would drape your veil. So, we got up early and we went into one of
those rooms and I fixed her veil. Well, there was no air conditioning in those
days if you opened one of the windows on the train, you got all this soot coming
in on you. I had three guimps and one was not usable because we had been in
the diner one night and I spilled a cup of coffee all over myself. So, that one
was gone.
We were a sight to be seen when we reached Colorado Springs. We were two
nights and a day on this train. I didn’t know where I was going, so if it wasn’t
for signs all around in the station we would never have gotten here.
DID ANYBODY MEET YOU ?
Oh, yes.

12
So when we were pulling in to Colorado Springs, S. Mary Harrison who was the
Superior/Administrator was there. And, if there was any woman that I dearly it
was her, she was a real mother. She was a lovely lady.
CAN YOU SAY SOME MORE ABOUT SISTER MARY HARRISON?
She was such a sweet person, she was so dear.
I was there two years, and at the end of the two years I was supposed to make
my perpetual vows... in 1936... Two days before I was supposed to go to Pueblo
to make my retreat and perpetual vows,I had not yet gotten the letter of
permission. When Mother Regina had come before, I had knelt down and asked
her to make perpetual vows.
I went to Sister Mary Harrison and I told her that I had not received the letter.
She asked me if had mailed it, and I said I had. Then she said that I would not
have to worry. Mary was always so dear, she’d take us up in the mountains to
get trees for Christmas. She was always taking us out to the mountains for
picnics etc. She was very kind to all the Sisters. She was very compassionate,
everybody loved her. So any how I got permission so I went to Pueblo. My
mother and my brother came out for the ceremony. My father did not come, he
really didn’t want me to enter. He had said that he would never come to see me,
but he did.
The ceremony was held at the old St. Mary’s hospital in August of 1936. Sister
Jane Theresa was Superior/Administrator there. There were five us that were all
from the East, but they did not bring us home that year. There was Martina,
Mary Canice, Mary Jude who was on mission in Santa Fe, and it was known that
she was a tubercular so she had been held back. Sister Marie Genevieve was
her Superior and told her that she had to go rest every afternoon. And, because
she rested, she was held back. And then there was Sister Adeline who came
from St. Rita’s. Each one of us said our vows as we knelt at the Communion Rail.
Sister Mary Angus Barry also made that retreat.
At the end of the retreat I was missioned to Trinidad. The day I got there, we
had some reading and then she (Sister Mary) rang the bell and announced that
the new Sisters had arrived and she proceeded to introduce us. So, she
introduced Sister Helen Miriam first and said that Sister was going on to
Albuquerque, and Sister Charles Miriam is staying here to help Sister Thomas
and she is also going to learn X-ray.

13
I thought to myself, I haven’t taken physics, I’ll be electrocuted, I’m sure.
I was helping Sister Thomas and there was also a lay person there who was
excellent at her work and she taught me everything I know about X-ray. So I
was both lab tech and x-ray and I took night call when needed.
To me, to be holy, was not to say anything unless somebody asked me a
question. Well, that didn’t last long. I had a couple of people working for me.
I had to go into the x-ray room and practice what I was going to say because I
was not sure just what I was doing.
The x-ray unit there at that time must have been on Noah’s ark, it was horrible.
Whenever I put my foot to take a picture, it would spark over. It was a real old
one. In those days, we had to take the wires down and attach them to the tube,
and we had three different tubes, a 100, a 30 and a 10, according to whatever
you were taking, you had to change the tube and that was different for me had
never had to do that at Glockner. At times, I didn’t know whether I’d be killed or
the patient on the table would be killed. So, I went to Sister Alexander who was
the Superior. She was a lovely lady, she was wonderful, she loved the poor.
Any how I went to her and told her that we just had to get another x-ray unit.
She told me that we didn’t have any money. I asked her if I could get the
money, would it be OK. And she said yes. So, I went in and out of every store
in Trinidad. I don’t remember this, but Sister Agnes Patricia said that I had gone
to the mines and when the men came out of the mines on pay day I would get
some money. Just like our earlier Sisters did to build that hospital. Well, it was
about $19,000 to get a unit I collected that amount. Everybody was so good to
the Nuns, they just loved the Nuns. I went in and out of every business in town,
of course, every other door was a bar but that didn’t make any difference to me.
I was bold in those days, I was bold enough because we needed that unit. Well,
we got the unit, it was a General Electric unit and they put it in for me, and that
following August, I was missioned. I had been there from 1936 to 1940 then I
was missioned to Albuquerque.
There are a lot of stories about Trinidad. There a number of young Jesuit priests
down there and they were so good. They needed an outlet too, so they used to
come up and visit and we used to have a good time. They were wonderful guys.

14
On Sundays we would go up and teach Catechism. Mary Jude went with me and
Father {name not clear} would come up and pick us up, take us to Ludlow, and
Mr Brunelli would then take us (this is the twin Brunelli’s father) and he used to
take us up into the mountains to this little town. When we arrived we would
ring the bell and have catechism lessons right in the little church there every
Sunday. Then Mr.Brunelli would bring us back down and Father would collect us
from there. He took some of the other Sisters to some other little town.
ABOUT HOW MANY SISTERS WERE ON MISSION AT THE HOSPITAL WHEN YOU
WERE THERE?
About 16 or 17. We had a cook, Sister Marie Carmel was in charge of the
buying, we had a Sister in the operating room, Sister Agnes Patricia, and she
would take care of the maternity also. We had a Sister on the first floor and one
on the second floor and one in the pharmacy, I was in the lab and x-ray.
There were so many accidents, particularly from the mines. When they would
come in most of them were paralyzed. We prayed and prayed, we made novena
after novena for this one man, and every day we would go in and move his toes
because from his waist down, he was paralyzed. That man walked out on
crutches. We always felt that it was a miracle. What would happen is that they
would be bent over and the coal would hit them on their backs and necks. Most
of them were paralyzed and most of them died. We had good doctors, maybe 8
or 10 on the staff.
One night, it wasn’t late, Sister Agnes Patricia and I were over by the main stairs
and this man opened the door. He was drunk as a lord and he had this dagger
of a knife in his hand and he came toward us. Agnes was a big woman and she
was strong. She took her fist and got him up underneath the chin and he fell to
the floor. I thought he was dead. We had a Jesuit priest who had been Master
of Novices in St.Louis and was retired. He wasn’t too well. So, I went down to
get him. I asked him to come quick, that I thought this man was dead. He came
down and we found that the man wasn’t dead at all, he was just relaxed.

15
One evening I was going over to supper and I heard all this commotion outside.
We didn’t have a paved street in front of the hospital, we just had gravel. This
car passed and they threw out this person out into the gravel and went on. I
called down the hall to bring a cart and I asked for some help. We went down
with the cart and we carried that guy, he was only a young fellow about 19 years
old. He had been in this bar and a bullet that was not meant for him had hit
him. We took him back to the operating room. His mother came and he died
within an hour. That was in the 30’s but it was still like Billy the Kid days.
These were such good, simple people. They were good because they were in
this little town and they had just coal mining. There was an international
community there. They were some from the Far East there, we had all kinds of
people.
HOW COME THERE WAS SUCH A DIVERSITY THERE?
I don’t know. Then we had little Saint Mary’s chapel where they practiced the
Eastern Rite. The priest there was so good. He just walked the streets all the
time and was so good to people and helped people on the way. Whenever the
Bishop would come down, we always invited this priest up to the hospital to
share with the other priests. He was such a good man. When I think about all
this diversion stuff, that if you don’t do this you don’t belong to Rome, I can’t
figure out all that stuff.
The people were simple and good and they showered us with good home-made
wine, with all kinds of food that they would bring in. It was just like a big family.
There was Frankie Mayo {[not sure of this name} who was going with this girl.
While they were courting each other, Frank would drive the truck up into the
mountains to get trees about the 1st of December and “kinnikenic??” that would
grow on the ground. It had red berries on it. We went up in a car while Frank
took the truck. We had these great big thermoses of chili so we could have
something to eat on the way. We would put the trees in the truck. We often
had about 100 trees. We would chop down our own trees and yelled “lumber”
when they were falling and then slide on down. Then we sat down and ate this
chili and rolls. We also took thermoses of water to drink.
We would get 10 or 12 bags of this “Kinnikenic” and we would start making
wreathes down in the basement of the hospital. All the Sisters would come and
Frankie Mayo and Kathy would come. They weren’t married yet. Every door in
that hospital had a wreathe on it.

16
Sister Corolla, she came from {Kings???} I don’t know what nationality she was.
She had charge of the chapel. She would simply bank the trees behind the altar
and all around. Our chapel always looked beautiful
Father Bob Derouen, a Jesuit, was born and raised in Trinidad. As a young kid,
heused to come up and serve Father Garcia’s Mass. When we get together with
Father Derouen we always had a lot of fun because we knew him as a kid.
One time I wanted to get some red peonies for the feast of the Sacred Heart.
And so, a couple of ladies who were good friends of ours suggested that we go
to the cemetery. So we went down to the cemetery and we took one or two off
of each grave and we had lovely peonies for the altar for the Lord.
END OF TAPE #1

TAPE #2
When I was in Albuquerque, I always thought that it was nice to do things
together, so we would put on a Christmas Play. All the nuns would come and
they would just love this. It was good for the kids and they still talk about this
when I go down there to Albuquerque.
I think if I hadn’t entered I would probably go into dramatics because when I
was in the Academy we had a lady who taught dramatics, Miss Cook, I often
wonder what happened to her. Once, for our class play, she selected Pharaoh’s
Daughter {see reference on page 5}
While in Albuquerque, I had a bad asthmatic girl who came from Peoria, Illinois
who came to work with me in this school and become a medical technologist.
She finished and then married a pathologist from Lovelace Clinic. { here there is
an aside about the Doctors who formed Lovelace Clinic especially a Doctor
McKinnon.} Together, we had a nice relationship and we had a lot of fun
together. But, they were real gentlemen.

17
Even today there were a number of people (maybe about 10) who worked
with me in the schools and some of the regular students are still in Albuquerque.
Some of them are just now retiring. There was one student in particular,
Frances Harlan who came there. When she came to register, she was so much
older than I was, I thought she was old enough to be my mother. She had been
in the service and all and so I thought about taking her or not. So I did, and
Frances Harlan always kept up with me. She would send me a little bit of money
now and then. And then, the last five or six years she used to send me a check.
She would want to know how much the plane fare would be so she would send
me a check and I would go down there and stay a couple of weeks. She would
get the others all together and we would go out to lunch together. This went on
for the last five or six years, I guess. She passed away August of last year, but I
got to see her last year. I went down and I went out twice to see her. She was
90 years old last July. One day I did ask her why she had always kept up with
me. And she said that I had changed her life. She had never married. After she
died she was cremated and her ashes were sent to Flint, Michigan where she
was from. She had become a very dear friend. Once I noticed that she never
went to receive Holy Communion and I asked her about, and she said: “Well,
Sister, I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I just can’t go along with all the Holy
Father does” I told her that I thought that all of us have something that we don’t
agree with. But Jesus wants us to come to him.
HOW MANY STUDENTS DID YOU HAVE FOR EACH SCHOOL?
I would only accept 2 or 3 students in X-ray school each year and the same with
the lab because in the lab we had pretty close quarters there so I only took
about 3 or 4. There were a number of them from the University of Kansas. One
of the students was Marguerite Block. I haven’t been able to find her again.
Some of these people that I thought a lot of, I would always try to trace them
down.
In 1954 I was missioned to Kenton of all places. I went there on a train and I
told the Conductor that he would have to call that place out when we get there
because I have no idea where I am going.
Sister Theodore was Superior/Administrator there and she met me at the train.
It was a 75 bed hospital, and we had mostly injuries from the road and also from
agricultural accidents. I had the lab, x-ray and blood bank there. I found it hard
to get acclimated to that little place, because I was used to everything going so
fast.

18
Sister Agnes Patricia had the Operating Room, Sister Gertrudis was there at the
time. There was a nice little chapel. The people were just lovely, just humble
people and good people. It was not a Catholic place. However, we did have
across the street the Immaculate Conception parish, and our Sisters were there.
Formerly, they had their own convent, but now they lived with us at the hospital.
Sister Francis Solano was the Principal of the school; Ruth Beris (John Claire)
came there out of the Novitiate; Patrice Vales came. I always said that I helped
raise John and Patrice.
HOW MANY SISTERS WORKED IN THE HOSPITAL?
About 6, I guess, we had two floors and we had a pharmacy, the operating
room, and the lab and x-ray. It couldn’t have been more than 6 Sisters. Sister
Mary Lambert had the kitchen.
Every year they had this big fiesta thing in August. After each one of them, Mary
Lambert would start to prepare her noodles and freeze them. The big dish there
was chicken and noodles. And we had this “fiesta”, you wouldn’t believe... the
line to get this food was four blocks long. When I first got there I asked what
Sister Theodore wanted me to do... and she said to just keep the line moving.
There were tables out there where they ate. You wouldn’t believe the number of
people that came to this big fundraiser for the hospital. Sister Mary Stephanie
made so many things for that and she always came there to work in the
summer-time preparing for this. She was the light of life there. Every other
word you had to laugh at her. She was a wonderful person she certainly knew
how to live life.
I was there only one year. One day we all went to the Community Room for the
opening of the mission letter. Agnes Patricia’s name was called out first, and
then she called mine. I was dumbstruck, I had only been there for one year.
Agnes was going to Albuquerque, and I was going to Corwin where we had just
gotten there. Celestia went there the same year that I did, in 1955, and we had
12 Sisters there. Sister Helen Eugene was the Superior, Mary Joachim was
there. You never saw such a lab (this was at the old Corwin). That was an
experience that can never be taken away, it was a hard experience. Later, Sister
Grace Marie was sent there. I was there 3 ½ years. At one time you had a 200
bed hospital, and then overnight (it seems) you had a 400 bed hospital. We
didn’t know our way around the place. It was a very good learning experience
this transition. It was for me and I know it was for the others.

19
I believe in life that each experience that you have today prepares you for
tomorrow. We brought all these different groups of people to show them
around. Grace Marie was just a devil, but I liked her, you couldn’t help but like
Grace Marie. Nobody in the Community could have made that transition like she
she did. The problem of making the two staffs of St. Mary and what was Corwin
blend, they were at swords point all the time. I guess that part of it was
competition. Grace Marie had a wonderful personality and one that drew people.
In those days you still had to go down to her office to ask for some toothpaste.
I thought that was the craziest thing. They hadn’t started putting stuff out in the
cupboard yet. She was good to the nuns. Whenever she could she always had
a big party for the Sisters. {an aside} every once in a while I would find a
bottle of beer on my bed at night. Course, she knew we were both German.
She was very personable. The convent was a residence facing Lake Avenue.
We had a nice group of Sisters there. More came every year. We had the
Community Room in the basement. There was a Sister named Sister Mary
Lawrence , she later left the Community. She was from Nebraska. She had the
x-ray department in St. Mary’s, then came over to Corwin and she had the x-ray
department there. She was a very nice person. I really would like to get in touch
with her.
I had the lab, a very big lab, and also I had the morgue on my floor. There was
one time, that I just couldn’t go in there, the person had been decapitated, and I
felt that I didn’t need to see that. We had a pathologist there and I could get
along with him pretty well. Later they brought another pathologist in. He was
Jewish and he brought his own supervisor of the lab and so I thought I would
not be there. After 3 ½ years I was missioned.
But before that time, though, one Christmas, I was on this committee for fixing
the Community Room. Sister Mary Lawrence was on the committee too, and she
was very artistic. Sister Mary Joachim was on it, and myself. We thought we
would use the theme “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. So, we got these past-board
boxes and S. Mary Lawrence cut them out as houses and she made them so that
the top could come off, we covered them with contact paper. We had all these
houses different. So, we had at one end, the little town of Bethlehem. All our
little presents, like towels and other things that we used to get went inside of the
houses and we had each Sister’s name on the door of the house.

20
Sister Mary Joachim was very good at things like this, she covered the walls. We
had a thousand stars hanging from the ceiling... we cut out a thousand stars....
Along the three walls we hung brown paper and Joachim painted palm trees on
this paper. After we got all finished we had a three dimensional thing. Then we
got little animals, we had a light behind red paper so it would look like a fire,
then we had a little water for the animals. Before the Sisters came in, we
dropped some dry ice in there so that the thing would bubble up.
In those days, you first went to get the Superior when it was all ready. She just
couldn’t get over how this was. We used to take great pride in fixing our
Community Room. So, I suggested that the Sisters sing “O Little Town of
Bethlehem” as they came in.... there were about 20 Sisters there at that time...
This whole thing is something that I will never forget.
Then, I was sent back to Trinidad. Gertrude Ann took my place in Pueblo. I had
lasted 3 ½ years, but she lasted on 6 months. She and I get together once in a
while and talk about that. She said she didn’t know how I stood it for 3 ½
years.
In Trinidad they were having difficulty, but I just went back to my old place,
which I just loved. I was there from 1958 to 1964. That was the time that
Margaret Lois had been with the Benedictine Sisters and her time was up with
them. She was a person whom, I think, was very misunderstood. She was sent
home at that time {at this point the chronology gets a little confusing}
{she speaks of S. Margaret Lois...???Sister Carol Marie Boggs???} At that time,
too, Sister Agnes Patricia was there, Sister Jeanne Roach, S. Lucia Mao, S.
Bernard Marie was the Administrator. S. Cornelius had been Administrator for a
little while, then Bernard Marie (she was wonderful). A few thoughts here about
Sister Remy (not sure of this name) who was very sick there she would never let
herself be at ease. All these changes in the habit bothered her because she had
such a long neck. When we took away the guimpe and had just a little collar,
she just had a fit because her long neck showed. I’m glad that she wasn’t around
when we did the rest of it because the changes were just terrible for her.
We never had any money, so what was in the pancakes on Shrove Tuesday we
(Sister Jeanne Roach and I) would keep and we would save it till summer time
when it would be so hot. There was a coke machine in the back by the
emergency room and we would just love to go get a coke and sit there and just
love it.

21
I remember that is where I was when President Kennedy was killed. I also
remember that that was when I volunteered for Peru. But, I wasn’t chosen and I
was so disappointed. I just couldn’t understand what criteria they used to
choose people. When Sister Rose Adelaide’s name came out I was very
surprised. She was a perfectionist and I didn’t think that we would send
anybody to South America who is a perfectionist. Amadea was also in Trinidad at
that time. She had the pharmacy.
In 1963 I had a slipped disc in my back. I went to Albuquerque for that surgery
and I was there about 3 months. I had somebody in the lab while I was away.
Carmella Riggio, sister of our Sister Rosalie Riggio was there for a long time.
When I came back from my surgery, S.Mary Clare was there as Superior. She
told me that Mother Mary Omer was in Santa Fe and she wanted to talk to me.
Mother Mary Omer told me that Sister Margaret Lois was now in charge of the
lab in Trinidad and I was to do just what she wanted me to do. I never had any
trouble with Margaret Lois, she and I got along. Then I knew that I would be
missioned in August. I was missioned to Dayton.
To send a person who just had a back operation to Dayton, to the x-ray
department and then to tell you not to lift. Well, there was no one around to do
the lifting. We had 150 people a day and we had 3 machines to do this in.
I was sent there to upgrade the x-ray school. It was in very poor condition when
I went there. Sister Regina Marie had been there and she still was there when I
arrived. I’m telling you, to try to get the school together and the department
was no fun. The radiologists didn’t appreciate me, because I had all this
experience and they didn’t want anybody to interfere with them. What they
wanted was to lease these departments (lab and x-ray).
So anyhow, I was there 6 years and I got the school running . There was a girl
there who helped me, Jeannie Littleton, she was a technologist there. I just
contacted her in Dayton lately and she is coming down here to see me. I haven’t
seen her for over 20 years. I was in Dayton from 1964 to 1970 and I felt that I
had been sent to do the school. At that time, Amadea invited me to go to
Trinidad to take a government job with senior citizens. I said that I had no idea
what to do with senior citizens. At that time, I was 58 and growing closer to
being a senior citizen myself

22
Mr. Ford was the Administrator in Dayton. S. Anna had been put out to get a
man in there. And they got this man, Mr. Ford. Anna was sent to Mt.Clemens.
After Anna left, Sister Marie Therese was there. She was coordinator of the
Sisters. Romana called me one day because Regina Marie had been missioned
back here to the Mount, she had been in x-ray when I went there. Mother
Romana just raked me over the coals and told me that I was not to say anything
about Sister Regina, never to do that to a Sister, and I hadn’t.
One day, the phone rang, and it was for me. It was Mr. Ford who said that he
would like to see me in his office. So I went down. He said that he had had a
call from someone this morning, no less than the Mother General. She wanted
to know if the school would be hurt if I were sent to Trinidad. He also told me
that I was not to discuss this with anybody and he wanted me back at 8:30 in
the morning to give my decision. So I thought about it and I felt that this Doctor
wants to get me out... but this is my hospital, and I’m not going to go until I’m
ready. So I went down at 8:30 and I told him that “yes” I thought the school
would be hurt if I left right now, because there is no one to take my place.
END OF SIDE 1 OF TAPE #2
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
SIDE 2 OF TAPE #2
Sister Agnes Patricia used to take care of the OB patients. One day I went up to
get blood from somebody, a door opened as I was going down the hall, and this
man walked out. He was stark naked except he had his hat on and a tie. He
was suffering from the DT’s. I yelled for Leonella and she came and got him
back in the room. .... all these funny things happened... One night I was up to
do a blood count, x-ray or something and Agnes Patricia asked if I would mind
helping her. She had a patient who was ready to deliver. So, I went up and I
told her to tell me what to do. This woman kept saying “20...20...20” I asked
what did she mean... I was told that this was her 20th child.... these stories
always stuck in my mind. Sister Agnes Patricia was an excellent nurse and often
had to deliver babies by herself, there were no doctors around.

23
Mother Regina made a visit one day and she was told by this Sister who was an
anesthetist, that she had seen S. Agnes Patricia walking down the hall eating an
apple. And, of course, she got crushed by Mother Regina... we weren’t allowed
to let people know that ate. Some days we would go for 48 hours and not get
any sleep. We were happy though, and everybody gelled into a real community.
Those were happy days. I lived with S. Leonella while she was Superior there.
She was an excellent nurse.
One day, this accident was brought in, it was a whole wedding party. They were
from Aguilar, a little town next to Trinidad, about 15 or 20 miles up the road, but
they wanted to be married at Holy Trinity. Father Sebastiani was waiting for the
wedding party down there and he called up to find out where they were. There
were one or two killed in this accident. The bride just had a few scratches on
her, I don’t remember about the groom, whether he lived or not. But that was a
bad situation.
One night three men were brought in, they were all Italian. They were shooting
each other over a nickel. All three died that night. We called the priest. And
while I had one on the operating table, I knew that there three bullets, but I
could only find one hole. He had been shot right up the rectum. We had an
awful lot of accidents.
WERE YOU THERE WHEN THEY WERE HAVING SO MUCH TROUBLE WITH THAT
ONE DOCTOR.
I was there when he was in medical school... Dr. Donnelly, he worked with two
other doctors, Doctor Newburn was one, he was a pathologist. Donnelly was a
good guy. He was very good to people. I didn’t know him when all of that mess
was going on. One day, after I had left Trinidad, I went back for a visit and I
went to see him. You would have thought his mother had walked in. I had such
a good relationship with him. I was there when he was married to a nurse who
was from Denver. I liked her a lot. So, I knew him in a different light.
Later we had two, father and son, Doctors Espys, who were both Doctors. They
did not stay long, the father died and young Espy went up to Denver to work.

24
DID YOU HAVE A LOT OF NON-PAYING CASES THERE, THAT MADE IT HARD TO
SUPPORT THE HOSPITAL?
I didn’t know much about the financial affairs.
When I was down in South Texas, a busload of us went up to Austin to the
Capital and we asked for a package for the indigent people who were in health
care. Four or five buses went up that time... and we got it.
But, to know more about the business office in Trinidad, you would have to
speak to Sister Mary Frances Dempsey who worked in that office at one time.
In 1940, I was missioned to Albuquerque and I felt like I was going to the
guillotine because I had heard so many things about these pathologists and
radiologists and I had both lab and x-ray there. When I got there, there was a
fracture room that I had to take care of. I was there from 1940 to 1954, so I
was there through World War II. Talk about getting from the flame to the fire.
We had the only emergency room open 24 hours a day. So many accidents
happened on Highway 66 that goes east and west. I often asked why we had
not built the hospital out there on this highway to save time.
The pathologists and radiologists were Canadian and we always were short of
help. It seemed that we always had money for something, but we never
seemed to have money to get help. I took most of the night calls.
My mother came out to see me in 1941. She hadn’t been feeling well. My
cousins brought her out and they went on to California. I met her in
Albuquerque and she was there about three weeks with me. One Saturday
morning, she had a coronary and stroke at the same time, and she died a week
after that. That was the way she wanted it, she wanted to be with me. The
Sisters and everybody were wonderful to me. When your mother dies, it’s part
of you that goes. I had been supposed to make the Albuquerque retreat and
she died on the 25th of July and we came back on the train because we weren’t
flying in those days. It took us two days and a night to bring the body home.
Sister Margaret Jane was Superior and she came with me. The funeral was on
the 30th. I had to get back down to Albuquerque, but I had a whole house to
clear out. Dad was no help to me, Charlie was no help to me. Sister Helen
Agnes went down with me. Mother Regina told me that I could go to my
mother’s funeral...but I never thought that

25
I wasn’t going to my mother’s funeral. I had to be back down in Albuquerque
for the 6th of August. I just didn’t know what to do with Mom’s stuff, she had so
many wonderful things. I just didn’t have anybody to talk to. I had been in the
Community 10 years, yet, I just didn’t feel that I could talk to anybody about it.
But I did pack her dishes and I brought them up here. And, I was told to put
them outside of that auditorium down there, and I’ve never seen them since.
They were antiques and I wanted to go up to what used to be the library, where
the stairs going up to the third floor, to see if they are there. But I never did. For
the rest, I just called the St. Vincent de Paul and they took all into their store in
Cincinnati. I felt that that was the only thing I could do. My mother is buried in
the cemetery in Cleves where Dad is buried there, and grandma and grandpa are
buried there. Mom’s two brothers were buried there. Sister Maria Fidelis took me
there not too long ago.
While I was at St. Joe’s in Albuquerque, a Father Fitzgerald, a Holy Ghost Father,
got permission from Rome to establish this place for priests who drank and who
had other problems... Villa Coeli. He also organized a Community while I was in
New Mexico. He was a diabetic so he would come in to the hospital and he
wouldn’t let anybody touch him except myself to draw blood. He had very small
veins. He thought when he was establishing this, that he could do it all
spiritually with not anything medical, but he found out that he couldn’t do this. A
Doctor Roe went up there to help him. The idea was that they were going to
have a clinic. They were going to take care of the medical part of the priests’
problems. But that didn’t work out. They really needed a doctor and sometimes
a hospital. I just can’t imagine what is in the news today saying that this a place
for bad priests. They are not bad priests, they are human priests. Many of them
have been rehabilitated.
The Community of Sisters who were there helping, didn’t have anything to eat.
Some of them were nurses. So, to help out, we employed them so that they
could have something to eat. They were considered part of St. Joe’s staff while
they were waiting for the clinic to be finished. When these Sisters first started,
they didn’t have a habit or anything, they would come in as nurses and work just
like any other nurse would and be paid like anybody else would. They had to
have some money coming in some place. One of the Sisters is named after me,
Miriam Charles. She was in charge of the clinic in Santa Fe for a while. When
they first came, only about three or four, they went to a Benedictine Convent to
make their Novitiate. Now, they wear a wine colored habit and a white veil.
Mother Bernadette, was made their Mother General, went through Seton School
of Nursing in Colorado Springs. Later she got cancer, she died She died at St.
Joe’s

26
Before she died, I wrote her a letter. And I still have the letter she wrote to me.
I might give it to them someday. Mother Mary Joseph is presently Mother
General.
In the early 50’s I started a school of medical technology, and x-ray technology
there. They were the first of those schools in the state of New Mexico. I have
the original papers and other newspaper clippings. I’ll give them to the Archives.
We also had the first blood bank in the state of New Mexico. The military came
in trucks and busses and I would take their blood. The only way that you could
keep a blood bank full was to put it on the radio. And sometimes the line was
from the second floor down to the first floor of the old St. Joe’s hospital.
Sometimes I’d be taking blood until 2:00 o’clock in the morning. But, we had to
do that in order to keep the bank supplied. Some of the little hospitals in some
of the little towns in New Mexico would call me, and I would call the police and I
would send them the blood. Then there was a plane, it was called Citizens of
Something that some times took blood to these small places.
I started the first school of Medical Technologists in the state of New Mexico and
the first organization of x-ray technology. These were state organizations. After
I had been in the Community 16 years, I was allowed to go to the American
Society of Medical Technologists Convention and X-ray Technologists Convention,
too. What I learned there I would bring back and start it right away. Like, we
went from rabbits in the pregnancy tests to frogs which you could find out about
the pregnancy within a half hour. Now, they have all these different kinds of
tests.
In 1939 I came back here (Cincinnati) and I took Genetics courses and I went
back to Trinidad. Somebody gave me a crookedneck white rabbit and a mate to
go with it (the other one wasn’t crookedneck) so I wanted to know how many of
their offrspring would be crookednecks because it was a deformity. I used to
raise these rabbits, and they would come fast. The men in Trinidad would make
me these boxes to keep these rabbits in.
Father Ryan, who was a Jesuit, came out from the New York province because
he wasn’t too well, and they gave him the job to help the poor. So, I would give
him all these rabbits to give out for meat, because rabbit is good.

27
We always had an annual State Fair and I used to always have a booth, whether
it was to advertise my school, or whether the students would go out and type
blood for nothing, giving people a little card saying what their blood type was.
One day, I walked around to see other booths and in one of them this man had
ducks. You had to throw nickels on saucers and if you got a nickel on a saucer,
you got a duck. Deep down in my heart I didn’t think that I should throw those
nickels on that saucer because I didn’t think it looked too religious. So I stood
there and just watched. Then, this man came over to me and asked me if I
would like a duck and I said that I would love one. So, I took this duck home.
This was in Albuquerque. I took this duck to the lab and I put it in a box. Later I
got a galvanized tub and the men made me a screen to put over it so that the
duck couldn’t get out. This little duck made a lot of noise. One student
suggested that if we had another duck, that one duck wouldn’t make so much
noise. She offered to go to the fair and bring me another duck, so she brought
me another duck. They didn’t make any noise but they grew, and they grew,
and they grew, so I couldn’t keep them in the lab anymore so I took them
outside, but I had a problem of keeping them together. So, I thought I would
take them up on the roof of the hospital. The roof of the hospital was gravel
and tar. So they grew and they grew and they grew. None of them ever flew
off, though. Whenever people would come to work at seven o’clock in the
morning, you could hear these ducks...they made so much noise even though
there were just two. Sister Mary Jude was Superior at this time. I got a
telephone call one day and it was her asking me to come to her office right now.
When I got down there, she asked me if I had ducks on the roof, and I admitted
that I had. She told me that I had to get rid of them. So I suggested that I
could have a duck dinner for the Sisters. She agreed. I asked for some money,
because, we had 25 Sisters and I didn’t think two ducks would go around. So
she said I could have the money. Agnes Patricia and I went down town and got
more duck. So I knew that we couldn’t bother the big kitchen so we had our big
dinner at Regina Hall. I got a duck stamp to stamp each napkin, and I got duck
planters as prizes, and I had a duck movie and I asked the Doctors to give me
their decoys. I took the silver paper that we get in x-ray and I had these decoys
going from the door into the dining room. The nuns had so much fun when we
had this meal on January 6. So year after year on January 6 we had a duck
dinner as long as I was there. Everything was just ducky.

28
One day, I was called to x-ray a dead body that had just been dug up for a
murder investigation. This body, a young man, had been buried for three weeks,
and the odor was terrible, they took a sheet and dipped in formaldehyde and
threw it over the body. I had to be in there because it was my department but
the doctors did the preparation, and I took the picture and we saw where the
bullet was. This was another thing which I never forgot.
We had to do all sorts of things, whether we knew how to do them or not. For
instance some of the times the doctors would have to give some anesthetic and
they would have us “drop that ether”. I had never dropped ether before and I
told the doctor that I didn’t know anything about this and I didn’t want to kill this
person. But we were told to drop just a bit for the person to go out so that they
could fix a bone.
After my mother died, I knelt by my bed one night and prayed: “Mom, I don’t
think that I can do this much longer”. I was called maybe four or five times a
night all the time. Then I would work all day.
The following August, I was missioned to St. Mary’s, Pueblo. But, the doctors,
when they heard I was going, they all went to the Superior and told her that I
couldn’t go because I did an enormous amount of work there. Four or five days
after that I was told to stay. I stayed until 1954. Somebody told me that Sister
Eugene Marie had said that I was the best technologist in the Community.
Once, a group of us, S. Eugene Marie, Regina Marie, Carol Marie, Jean Hickey,
and myself went a whole month to meet with these nationally known men who
had done work with the RH factor. We went to Buffalo, New York City, New
Jersey, there were five places that we went to as a group. We stayed about a
week at each place. They were just wonderful to us. It was good to learn about
how they came to find this and all about it. It meant a lot to us.
END OF SIDE2 OF TAPE #2

29
BEGINNING OF TAPE #3
I got a call from S. Amadea who said she needed me to come back to Trinidad.
The government wanted to hire somebody for Senior Citizens. I said that I didn’t
think I knew anything about Senior Citizens, but she assured me that I could do
it. (May 1970)—So, I went to Trinidad . This was 150 miles that I had to serve
in all these little towns. So, I thought, I’ll take a town one by one. So I went to
Walsenburg which was the biggest place. I got in touch with the person who
was working for the government in that area and asked that person to call a
meeting of Senior Citizens to see if anybody was interested in things to be done
for senior citizens. I think there were 12 people who came to the meeting. I
asked them what they needed here. They said that they needed a place to come
and socialize and play bingo or play cards or whatever. So, we decided that
group of women would do the cooking for the dinner and that we begin by
charging only fifty cents and then have bingo. I remember that we had 50
people there. I brought the prizes, like practical stuff like paper towels, sugar,
flour, things that they could use in their homes. They had a wonderful time. We
had a meeting after the bingo to see if there was anything that the people
wanted to say. So, we started once a week. Every Tuesday we had this social
time, and they just loved it.
So, then, I took on Aguilar which was maybe 15 or 20 miles away from
Walsenburg, so that was smaller. I called this meeting and I think I had 2 or 3
people who came. We talked and they thought that they wanted that same
thing. So, we got that started. We did that on another day. I went to all these
things now. Some of them had to be in the evening. Then I branched up 28
miles up into Gardener. This was in the mountains west of Walsenburg.
Gardener was almost a skeleton city at this time. There were a lot of elderly
people there. They even had a little church there and they had a priest who
would stay there. I went there and asked them what they needed. They said
that they needed a grocery store because one went bankrupt and the other one
was burned down. There was a skeleton building there that had never been
finished. So, because I worked for the government, I could go to Pueblo and get
all of this stuff to finish this building for free. So, I would go up in a truck where
I could get this stuff, and luckily four hippies came in to live there. They were
nice fellows. I made a deal with them. I said that I would give them food if
they would help me build this building. I would get all the stuff for them.

30
They would tell me what they needed. I would write this down and go off in my
truck. I would bring a load down and the guys would work diligently, and I gave
them food. So, this went on and the building was finished.
I started a grocery store there. I used to go around to all the discount places,
even if I could just get things down five cents for the poor people, they were
satisfied with that. I stocked this store and I had to get somebody else to run it,
because I was busy setting up all these other places. I got a respectful person,
Josephine, who lived in Walsenburg to run it. She only lived about 28 miles away
and she could do that. The store would be open just so many hours.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE MERCHANDISE? DID YOU BRING IT IN?
I did. And I only had a little Gremlin. When I started this, I called Assunta and I
said that I needed a car. I didn’t drive at this time, so Frankie Mayo taught me
to drive. When I went to this place to get this car, they had just got this lettuce
green Gremlin with a white stripe around it. Of course, I didn’t know that this
was a sports car, but it was a car. I learned to drive it, it was good on gas, it
had a rack on top. I would get milk and bread, some meat, staple foods.
Sometimes I would bring a cake or whatever. I would ask them what they
needed. There were a number of these places in Trinidad, these discount places
and I would buy this stuff with my money... the government’s money... and I
would get whatever they needed. This went on as long as I was there, but
nobody else would do this after I left.
After that I went to Sopras toward the mountains near the Purgatory River. I
went there and did the same thing. They wanted to socialize, so I set that up
for them. Then I went East which was 75 miles from Trinidad. There were two
towns to which I went there and set up this socializing thing.
I went to everyone of these things, some of this had to be at night. Then there
was another little town by the mountains which they call “the breasts” because
there are two peaks there and there is a little town there, so I set things up
there.
DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING IN TRINIDAD ITSELF?
Trinidad had its own. They were kind of “up-ish” people but I tried to work with
them, and I became good friends of theirs.

31
So, after two years, I thought that we should have something big. So, I asked
the Bishop of Pueblo if he would come down and have a Mass at the stadium. I
had arranged buses to go to all of these places and bring these people in for the
Mass. I had one person from every place to bring up an offertory procession
what was indicative of their little place. Some of them brought up a piece of
coal, whatever. I invited the Trinidad group to be the hospitality people. This
was held in the stadium and it was full. The mariachi people did the music. It
was a real Spanish celebration and it went over big. The presider was Bishop
Buswell. The mariachis came down from Pueblo to do the music and everything
went very well. This was the big culmination of setting up the whole project.
The stadium was packed.
At this point I thought that I was just babysitting here. The Executive Council
wanted to know who was going to take my place. But I didn’t think that that was
my responsibility. I then applied to go to South America
BEFORE YOU START WITH SOUTH AMERICA, MAY I ASK YOU A COUPLE OF
QUESTIONS? YOU WERE LIVING WITH S. AMADEA ALLTHIS TIME, COULD YOU
SAY SOMETHING ABOUT HER?
Well, she was more heart than prudence. For instance, if you ever rode in a car
with Ami, you prayed like the dickens that she wouldn’t be hit. She would go like
a snail. She would pick up every hitchhiker. I tried to warn her that all were not
good. But just she just said that God would take care of her. Whenever she met
a poor person on the street who asked her for some money, she would give
them $50 or something. I told her that I thought the money ought to go where
it would be used right. She said that he had promised to give it back to her. Of
course I was sure that he wouldn’t give it back to her... and he didn’t give it back
to her. But, Ami was so good, if she didn’t go to heaven in a hanging basket, I
don’t have a chance.
She contracted a circulatory disease that is hereditary. Her sister had it and
died, her sister Dorothy had it and died after Ami did. Ami, in the cold weather
her poor little hands would become all blue. She couldn’t really take care of
herself. She and I lived together and Jean Therese lived there with us, Florence,
Ami and myself. Towards the end she couldn’t even dress herself and Florence
was so good to her. Still, she drove this car and I was scared to death that she
would be killed in it. But, everybody knew Ami and they would just get out of
our way when they saw her coming. She was one of the sweetest people. She
was always affirmative with the people with whom she worked. And the people
that she met and gave things to, she never thought bad of anybody.

32
One day I was looking for a place to set up a used clothing store. The place I
found was on the main street of Trinidad. I went to the owner and asked him
how much he wanted for rent and he said $150 a month. Well, I didn’t have a
cent, but I said I would take it believing that God would come through. The
senior citizens would make various things, I would take them in and give them
the money back. People brought all kinds of nice things, shoes, dresses, etc. We
got old mannequins from the stores etc. Nobody ever said no to us. It became
a real nice store. I had to get somebody to help me run it, because I was doing
so many things and out on the road. At the end of the first month, I asked the
lady, Mrs. Ortega, how much money did we have. She said that we had $300
and therefore, I felt that we had enough to pay our rent. This project went on
until I left Trinidad for good. Theophane took it over I think.
A word about Theophane... she was just like Amadea... she would give money to
anyone who asked for it. At one time, she didn’t have a job and she called me
from Pueblo and asked me if she could help me in Trinidad. I invited her to
come down and I knew that she could do something there. Betty Davis didn’t
have anything to do either and I invited her down also. I gave them different
places to go and take care of that would relieve me a bit. Sometimes I would be
traveling at 12:30 at night coming home from those far eastern parishes. I
never was afraid, I just locked the car door.
HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE THAT TIME...IN TRINIDAD?
Two years... in two years I set up seven centers, a used clothing store and a
grocery store. By that time I was just babysitting.
That is when I asked to go to South America in August of 1972. In June of 1972
I drove my car from Trinidad to the Motherhouse. I expected to go to Ecuador
in September. But, we had our first Congress that year so I stayed for that.
While I was in Cincinnati, I stayed at St. William’s and they gave me the goingaway service there. Father Bob Strassel was there and he had the service and all
the missionaries who happened to be in Cincinnati at the time participated.
After the Congress, I went down to New Orleans waiting for the ship to go out
because I was booked to go on the GULF BANKER, which is a cargo ship
(freighter). Sister Stephanie drove me from St. William’s with all this stuff that I
was taking. I had sent down all the equipment and things from St. Williams to
New Orleans on the Greyhound bus and they kept that there in their warehouse
until I arrived and was ready to board ship

33
The day before I was to board I was called. I got a truck and two men and we
went down to the warehouse where the men put everything into the truck and
we took it down to where we were to board. I boarded the next day. We never
have to pay anything if they don’t put it down in the hold of the ship. They had
an extra cabin, and they filled my room from floor to ceiling. So none of it had
to go in the hold. The ship only had room for 13 passengers. One particular
couple had a gentleman who was ill with a terminal disease and she was taking
him on this voyage clear around the western side of South America. She was so
distraught with this, so she used to come in our cabin and cry. There is always
two to a cabin and I had a nice young lady there. They give you the service on
these freighters like you would have in a hotel. They change your bed every
day, they would have fruit on a table in the center of the room. And every place
that they stopped to leave cargo, we were given enough time to go to the
surrounding places and visit. They would post eight hours before the ship would
leave so we had plenty of time.
When we got to Columbia, it was so hot there that I thought I would just
collapse. So we went to a place to eat our meal where I had a real cold beer,
and it never tasted better to me in my life than it was with that meal. We went
to Calle which was two hours away in Columbia. We never knew where we were
going to stop, so I feel like I have been in every port in Columbia.
DID YOU GO THROUGH THE CANAL?
We went through the Canal and that was another lovely experience. It takes 8
hours to go through, and we went through half by day and half by night
(darkness). It is just marvelous to see how that water comes in from that lake
and raises that heavy ship to the lock.... there’s three locks. There was one lane
going south and another going north... we would wave to the people on the
other ships going north as we were going south. We stopped at Cristobal where
we could get all kinds of drinks that were tax free and every that one buys is tax
free, so I got a beautiful tablecloth for one of my cousins, a linen tablecloth for
nearly nothing. At one stop we went up and found a church and went to Mass
there. For me it was the first time traveling that way and I was all eyes and
ears. It was a beautiful experience. If anybody can get a freighter and go
through the canal it is well worthwhile.

34
HOW LONG WAS THE VOYAGE FROM NEW ORLEANS TO WHERE YOU WERE
GOING?
Well, you could never have an appointment at the other end, because you have
to stop at all these places where they have cargo; you have to go with the tides
in the ports, some have strikes etc.
Well, we were supposed to leave New Orleans and in 10 days we would be in
Ecuador. But, I never had that happen to me. Once I was aboard ship for a
whole month. The cost was very reasonable. I only paid about $375 to go
down. The first time it took me about 17 or 18 days. I kept in touch with the
place where I was going, so that the Sisters could meet me when I arrived.
I was scheduled to go to El Puyo with Dominican nuns who had a clinic there.
They were supposed to meet me. Well, I had all this stuff and had to be very
careful to stay with all the boxes, I got off and then I followed the boxes The
Sisters were waiting with a jeep there.
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR MISSION?
I corresponded with different relief efforts, and this was a relief that was
stationed in Santa Barbara. I even went to Santa Barbara to see these people.
They place you but they don’t give you any money to carry on. They knew about
this place that needed a medical technologist to start a laboratory.
DID YOU SPECIFICALLY SAY THAT YOU WANTED TO BE IN A PLACE WHERE
THERE WERE OTHER SISTERS?
No, but as I was a Sister they kind of placed me there. These were not
Ecuadorian Sisters, they were American... Dominican Sisters. Two of them were
there, one was a nurse and the other taught school. The monastery of
Dominicans that was in Guayaquil is the place where the ship took us. The
priests had a monastery there and when the Sisters came down from the
mountains, they would have a place to stay. We only stayed there overnight.
The next day we hade a 10 hour ride in this jeep to where we were going,
El Puyo.

35
DID YOU SPEAK SPANISH?
Buenos dias, buenos tardes, buenos noches.... that’s all. I managed to get along
very well.
DID THE PEOPLE AT EL PUYO SPEAK SPANISH OR ENGLISH?
They spoke Spanish and some Indian... it was the outer part of the jungle. It
was way up in the mountains...beautiful. The river ran along at about a 15 ft
drop and all along the river there was only room for one car, then they had
places a few miles apart where you had to go to pass another car. I was so
frightened, I couldn’t look down. I thought that if I ever got there I would not
leave until I would be going home.
At El Puyo there was a clinic and a little house that we lived in...all cement. We
had individual rooms and we had a little chapel. I tried to set up a little
laboratory where I could. The Indians would come in from the jungle to deliver
their babies and they would come in for other things, too. So I would do the
blood work for them or any other special tests.
DID THEY HAVE EQUIPMENT THERE OR DID YOU BRING ALL THAT OUT?
I brought it with me. I went there realizing that they were about 50 years
behind us so I took the stuff down that I would need. So it worked out pretty
well.
I was there a whole year. In December I wrote to Stephanie in Peru that I
would be coming over for Christmas because she was alone. She had a room in
this school building which was cement and she probably did social service work
with the poor. Before I left her on January 4, we had an earthquake. The other
Sister had gone home to spend Christmas and so I had a room. I had a little
aluminum bed. During the earthquake, the bed was going from wall to wall. We
opened the door and stood in the doorway the best place to be during the
earthquake. It lasted, it seemed like an hour, but it was only a few minutes.
When it ended, we went back to bed. I stayed with her until after Christmas
== AN ASIDE== Before I first went to Peru, on December 12, while the
Dominican Sister and I were eating a little supper and there was a rap on the
door and she went to the door and I heard Stephanie’s voice. She had come to
get me. We left about 4 o’clock in the morning to take the bus to go to
Guayaquil where we would take a plane to Peru.==

36
I met a younger priest who was a native Ecuadorian who asked me if I would go
down to his clinic which was down close to the ocean. At that clinic we had 150
people a day. This was at (Milagro) where I was closer to Guayaquil, only 45
minutes away. There was another Dominican Sister, Sister Rosario who was a
nurse who came there to work. Sister Jean Patrice came to visit us there.
This priest, I thought at first when I first met him, that he was a very, very good
guy. But, as time went on, the only time that he was there at his parish was on
weekends when he said Mass. Otherwise, he went to the University of Guayaquil
and he stayed there in the Dominican house. He was learning to be a lawyer.
He had a terrible temper. One night, when Rosario had been cooking, we were
at the table, and he said to her that she should really learn to speak Spanish and
she answered him that at least she was speaking it and he was not speaking
English. He slapped her and he left the table. From that time on I watched my
p’s and q’s with him. We only stayed there a year.
At every place that I went, it just killed me to see, every day, these little white
coffins go through the streets. Children never had a chance from birth to 3 years
old. Custom was very important to the people, and these children would not get
any solid food until they were 3 years old. Their little bodies were not strong
enough to even live.
So, I would teach them in the laboratory that when they had potatoes to eat,
mash some up and put a little green from the wheat and give them to the
children. Also taught them how to mash a little bit of banana and let the
children eat it. After 6 months they ought to have solid food in their stomach.
It was just terrible to see all these little ones die from malnourishment. The
mothers meant well, but this was what their mothers did and they thought that
this was what they were supposed to do. That was a big thing for me. I had an
awful time dealing with that. What is needed is to
have somebody go down there and teach them.
Then I was invited to Guayaquil.

37
This was a huge clinic on the side of the big church, named San Francisco. The
Spanish Fathers had this and there was a Sister who was a Franciscan from
Peoria, Illinois who was in charge of this clinic. So I went down there and asked
her about setting up a little laboratory there and she was very nice to me. Sister
Corita was her name.
When I had been in Milagro, there was a young lady who had graduated from
the University of Guayaquil in medical technology but had no place to practice
her skills. She came from Milagro and worked with me for several months and
she stayed on when I left.
Guayaquil is the biggest city in Ecuador. While I was there I met a priest who
was a member of the Fathers of St. James from Boston. These priests were in
Ecuador, Peru and Columbia and other countries.
This priest, Father John Moriarity was in a little town called Duran. His parish
was named Santa Mary Anita. One day as he and I were talking I asked him if
he would like a clinic in his parish, and he said yes. So, when I finished at San
Francisco in Guayaquil, I went across the river to Duran and set up a clinic there.
I suggested that Father talk to the doctors, but he insisted that I do it all. I had
to prepare a list of what I had and gave that to a doctor in a notebook so he
would know what we had at the clinic. The Doctor would write out a prescription
and then the people would come to the clinic to fill the prescription. We used to
have between 75 and 100 people a day. I couldn’t open the clinic until 2:00
o’clock in the afternoon because there were about 700 kids in the school and
they were in the way. So, I waited until school was out to open the clinic.
One day a month, Sister Corita would receive these huge boxes of used glasses
from the Lions in Minneapolis and we would sort them out, men’s, women’s,
children’s. And for a whole day, once a month we had “glass day”. At
7 o’clock in the morning they were lined up no less than a hundred. For only a
few sucres they could get a pair of glasses. They would just try them on “trial
and error” until something would help them.

38
Another thing that Father would do once or twice a year, he would line up these
Boston doctors who could do facial or plastic surgery. You have no idea how
many children had harelips in Ecuador. These doctors would come down and go
to one of the hospitals and the would teach the Ecuadorian doctors how to
perform these surgeries. These American doctors would stay 4 or 5 days to do
this and are still doing this. I thought that was great.
Father Moriarity had a big celebration for my Golden Jubilee in Ecuador and he
also came here for my celebration. He had the Archbishop come to celebrate the
jubilee Mass in Ecuador and there many people there to celebrate. The doctors
from the United States were there and took some beautiful pictures. I have this
picture that they took in the church for the celebration. Everybody and his
brother came to this celebration.
In 1980, I started thinking that it was time for me to go home, so I wrote to
Barbara Padilla. She came down for 12 weeks and decided that that was what
she wanted. So, she replaced me, but this past year they asked her not to come
back, so she is working someplace else.
In the Fall of 1980, Sister Margaret Ebbing, the Regional, asked me if I would go
work with the East Coast Migrant Health Project. So I was signed to go to
Immokalee, Florida to work with the migrants. In the summer time I went to
Southern Jersey. I did that for 2 years.
Down in Florida they were all illegals from Mexico and they didn’t want to be
sent back so I would have to go out and get them and bring them to the clinic.
It was like finding a needle in a haystack. They wouldn’t give their right name
and so it was just terrible just trying to find them. In Jersey was just the
opposite. There it was wonderful, the land owners had nice places for them to
live. We were told that we were there to change their life... and we tried.
We were getting federal money for these clinic. But, in Florida, the people lived
in rough sewage. They had mattresses to lay on in cars or on the ground and
those things were filthy.

39
I had met a young guy in another town and I asked him if he would come with
me and write this up and publish it. I told him that I would take him to three
places. At about this time, the first 1500 Haitians came over. These Haitians
spoke Creole and were from a very refined culture.
I often asked myself why the state didn’t do something about this. Why couldn’t
Public Health go around and see this. The young man wrote this up and
published this in this paper. Then, Public Health said why didn’t I go over to
them with the complaint. But I was thinking they should be out there looking for
these things.
I got a slap on the wrist from Margaret Ebbing. But, I thought to myself that
they wanted us to change the life of these people and we worked at it. I began
to wonder why I was using my energy on this, but I stayed on for 2 years, then I
resigned.
As to Jersey, I loved it. There was a wonderful group of people to work with it
was great. I still go up there and visit with them. I had to drive 1200 miles
every six months from Florida to Jersey. It took me two days and a half to drive
up. I’d just get on Route 95 and then down to 75. I never was afraid.
Another reason was that we had a fuzzy dog and I used to sit it up on a box in
the car and from the back, people would think that I had a dog, but, of course, if
they came around the side, they would know that it was fake. When I was in
Jersey I stayed with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Mercy.
After I resigned from the work in Florida and Jersey... in 1982... I felt called to
refugees. A little inner voice told me that the refugees would be next in my life.
I spoke to Helen Flaherty and told her that I felt called to go down and work with
the refugees in South Texas. I didn’t know what I would be doing, but I wanted
to go down to see what I could do. I told her that if I found a niche I wouldn’t
come back, and if I didn’t find a place I would come back. Her answer was:
“God speed, Charles”
Sister Alma had a week off over at the College, so she drove down with me.
When I got down there I saw all of these people coming over the boarder with
only the clothes on their back.

40
To feed them became my great concern. I asked myself where we would get the
food to feed these people. So I decided to go around to see what I could do.
I went to the dairy (Hygea Dairy), I met with the head honcho, I told him who I
was and what I wanted to do, and would he help me. He said that he could give
me so much ice cream every week, he could give me a lot of cottage cheese and
some drinks, like orange juice. I told him thanks and that I would be back on
whatever days he wanted me to come to collect this. He told me Tuesday and
Thursday. That was the first place I had gone and I got into a loving relationship
with the dairy from the President on down. I ended having so much food that
sometimes I would have to make two or three trips.... just from the dairy!
All of this took place in Harlingen, Texas.
From then on, I went down to where the trucks brought in all these vegetables
from the farms... a processing place. The first guy I met, I introduced myself.
He told me that he was a good Baptist, but he had a guy in there that was
supposed to be a good Catholic so he told me to go in and talk to him. So I went
in and talked to him about what I wanted to do. He told me that he could give
me “seconds”. I asked him what were “seconds”... he said, like a carrot, if its
not straight it can’t be sold, sometimes potatoes, sometimes other vegetables.
So I asked him what day he would want me to come down....
ABRUPT END TO TAPE #3

Dublin Core

Title

Sister Charles Miriam Strassel, SC Interviewed by Sister Judith Metz, SC March 16, 1993

Subject

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati; Monasticism and religious orders for women -- Catholic Church -- History; Catholic hospitals -- History

Description

An interview with Sister Charles Miriam Strassel by Sister Judith Metz. This recording is a part of the oral history series housed at the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Archives.

Creator

Strassel, Charles Miriam, SC; Metz, Sister Judith, SC

Source

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Archives

Date

03/16/1993

Rights

Online access is provided for research purposes only. For rights, reproduction, and use requests or more information, please contact the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Archivist

Format

"Audio/mp3
Audio/cassette
Application/pdf"

Language

English

Type

Oral History

Identifier

Sister Charles Miriam Strassel, SC Interviewed by Sister Judith Metz, SC March 16, 1993

Coverage

1912-1993

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Metz, Sister Judith, SC

Interviewee

Strassel, Charles Miriam, SC

Location

Cincinnati (Ohio); Trinidad (Colo.)

Original Format

Audio/cassette

Duration

4 Hours 31 Minutes 45 Seconds

Citation

Strassel, Charles Miriam, SC; Metz, Sister Judith, SC , “Sister Charles Miriam Strassel, SC Interviewed by Sister Judith Metz, SC March 16, 1993,” Sisters of Charity Federation Archives, accessed April 24, 2024, https://scfederationarchives.org/items/show/38.

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