Justina Segale Journal February 19, 1917

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Document 15: Journal 5, 19 February 1917, Santa Maria Institute Collection, Sisters of Charity

Archives, Mount Saint Joseph, Ohio.



The Santa Maria became a hub of activity for women from a variety of social and economic backgrounds. Always concerned that Protestant proselytizers would use educational and social activities to win poor, immigrant Catholics from their faith, Sister Justina engaged a Presbyterian visitor in a debate on this topic.  The Sisters were assisted by young women, both volunteer and paid, and they ran a residence for young women who would otherwise be homeless.


February 19, 1917. A Miss Crawford called today for assistance to the Women and Children’s Relief League.  We contributed one dollar, by buying two tickets.  Miss Crawford, being a Presbyterian, gave me the opportunity to speak of the Presbyterian’s efforts to proselytize our Italians.  She said she did not believe what I said about the Presbyterian teacher going into Catholic Homes and trying to get the children into their sewing and Sunday School classes, and offering music lessons free to the children who would attend their church and Sunday School.  Miss Crawford said she thought I had been misinformed; she did not think the Presbyterians would do such a thing.  I asked her please to procure information on the subject, and convince me that I was wrong; it would give me much pleasure to retract what I had asserted.  She promised to visit the school, obtain information and return to convince me.  All this was done in a most friendly way.


Wednesday or Thursday of this week we expect Miss Ruth Norris and Miss Cecelia Hourigan who have been taking a course in Social Service at the Academy of Christian Democracy – White Nurses – Hot Springs, North Carolina.  We hope to do more charity work as we shall have more time to visit the poor.


Miss Nettie Cardans entered on her duty as bookkeeper, on the first of January.  She has proved very efficient not only as bookkeeper and recorder, but also as typewriter, and dancing teacher for the girls.  Indeed she can put her hand to almost anything.  We consider ourselves fortunate in securing her services.


This morning a poor lady came to ask us to take her little girl here.  As she is under school age we could not accept her.  The little girl was very observant.  In a few minutes she remained here, she gave us a sample of her singing and other accomplishments.  Seeing the painting of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by angels, she asked what that was.  I said, “That Lady is our Blessed Mother.”  “Are those angels around her?” she asked.  I answered, “Yes those are angels.”  “What they come down from Heaven for?” she asked.


Mary Galante has had to return to the Children’s Hospital.  How sorry we all are for her! I am very much afraid she has not many years to live.  She has been with us several years, and has become a very useful girl.  Besides attending school regularly she has been very helpful in Sunday School, and in sewing classes.  She played the organ and sang for the children, took a class in the absence of a teacher, taught crocheting, and did many other useful things.  Some spinal trouble has made its appearance and we fear it is a forerunner of consumption.