On January 29, 1908 two Reparatrix sisters, M. Marie de Sainte Véronique Giuliani and Marie de Saint Matthieu, boarded the SS Cedric in Naples, Italy for New York City. Holding umbrellas, they were dressed in black traveling habits and black gloves. In their trunks were some changes of underwear, stockings, a white habit, an extra guimpe and serre-tête, a pair of espadrilles, a bar of soap, bicarbonate of soda and toothbrush, the Office Book, the Constitutions, and little more.

New York Skyline 1908As the coast of Italy receded, memories of previous travels flooded their minds. St Matthieu, née Mary Canny, had left the gentle slopes of her native Ireland some years earlier to go “wherever the charity of Christ” would call her. As Matthieu closed her eyes, she felt again the warm embraces of her family. Ste Véronique Giuliani, 55 years old, née Gwendoline de Raymond, had a history of transcontinental travels. Deep was the memory of the journey to Trichinopoly, India when she was only 23. Still fresh were the places, smells, music, voices and faces that were forever imprinted on her soul. For almost three years she and 9 other sisters taught at Sainte Anne’s Orphanage; tended the sick with the help of Indian sisters; offered refuge to widows; and administered the school for English and mestizo girls. In the end, she and others returned to Europe. Today, she asked God to keep the experiences of those years alive and make them bloom in blessings for all those left behind!

Matthieu and Véronique were on their way to the “New World.” There was great excitement among the people gathered on deck. Conversations floated around in French, Italian, English, Arabic, and other languages the two Reparatrixes had never heard before. Apprehensions were surpassed as they recalled the passionate words of Mary of Jesus, “...we will devote ourselves with joy to the service of our Lord, crossing the seas to make known to the most distant countries the name of Jesus, his mercy and love”. Sweet peace filled their hearts as again and again each one repeated her own promise of loving service.

Multi-cultural, multi-lingual, big hearted. This is our heritage. This is our reality today.