FSPA Founders' Day: a recap of our 175th celebration

06/05/2024 1:09 pm


"For 175 years, FSPA has shared and fostered the mission of the people of God and taught the good news," said Bishop Emeritus William Patrick Callahan during his homily at the 175th celebration Mass on May 28. "I speak of FSPA as co-founders of our diocese. I'm happy to share jubilees with FSPA and this is the mother of them all."

With festive displays filling the St. Rose Convent gathering room, our celebration began with Mass in Mary of the Angels Chapel. Bishop Gerard Battersby and Bishop Emeritus Callahan were both present. Sister Sue Ernster welcomed the sisters, prayer partners and partners in mission gathered. "Welcome all. Today we celebrate the 175th anniversary of our founding of what has become three religious congregations, FSPA, the Sisters of St. Francis of Milwaukee and the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in Meridan, Connecticut. I proclaim today, May 28, 2024, a day of celebration and gratitude. In gratitude for the Triune God, Saints Francis and Clare, Rose of Viterbo and our founders ... we celebrate the goodness and blessings bestowed on each of us."

We continued our celebration over lunch and through an afternoon of events, including chapel tours, readings from "A Chapter of Franciscan History," viewing the Thea Bowman and Mayo Clinic documentaries and visiting "The Hackner Touch: A Legacy of Sacred Craftsmanship" display at the La Crosse Historical Society Heritage Center.

In his final words, newly installed Bishop Battersby shared, "Before I offer my final blessing for Mass, it falls to me as the Bishop of this diocese to express our gratitude, our thanks, for the mission of the sisters ... of all the sisters who came before you...I want to say something and I hope you'll receive it, we love you. Your spiritual children love you. For the people of La Crosse, we thank you and rejoice together with you. God bless you."

If you would like to watch Mass, click or tap here.

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