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March 13, 2012 > Local Sisters assist in national exhibit

Local Sisters assist in national exhibit

Submitted By Charlotte Hall

A new exhibit at the California Museum in Sacramento, "Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America," is an amazing, beautiful, fascinating and educational look into the role of Catholic Sisters in the development of our country. It makes for a perfect afternoon's outing and is being shown in California, in part, through the efforts of two Sisters of the Holy Family from Fremont, Sister Gladys Guenther and Sister Michaela O'Connor, part of the committee that assembled the California exhibit.

The exhibit is not so much a Catholic story as it is an American story about extraordinary women who devoted their lives to improving the lives of others. Attendees can learn about women who were inspirational trailblazers, who corresponded with President Thomas Jefferson, talked down bandits and roughnecks in the Wild West, and provided the first form of health insurance to mid-western loggers. As a mostly overlooked part of history, Catholic Sisters played instrumental roles in significant American turning points - from the Civil War, Gold Rush and San Francisco Earthquake to the Depression, Civil Rights Movement and Hurricane Katrina. Through education, health care, social services, justice advocacy and a caring presence, Sisters helped to shape the fabric of America in ways both seen and unseen.

In addition to the national exhibit, in Sacramento there is a section about Catholic Sisters in California, for which Sister Gladys Guenther, President of Sisters of the Holy Family in Fremont, was chairperson.

"California is always on the cutting edge," said Sister Michaela, "and the work of Catholic sisters in our state is no exception. Sisters were shaped by what they experienced here, and in turn helped to shape the lives of those with whom they came in contact. So many people have such stereotypes of Sisters, I think it will be a great eye-opener for people to realize the expanse of the work undertaken by sisters in this country, and in California in particular."

This is a major exhibit that has been touring the U.S. for three years and opened in Sacramento January 24, 2012 for what will be its last public display. It has been shown at the Smithsonian, Ellis Island, and other prestigious museums. Running thru June 3, it is a not-to-be missed experience for people interested in the history of our country and particularly women's history.

On Thursday, March 15, join Sisters of the Holy Family in traveling to see the exhibit, leaving from Fremont. For more information about the tour, call Sister Angela (510) 624-4592 or e-mail

Women & Spirit, Catholic Sisters in America
Thru Jun 3
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday: Noon - 5 p.m.

Thursday, Mar 15
Sisters of the Holy Family excursion to exhibit
Leaving from Fremont
(510) 624-4592

The California Museum
1020 O Street, Sacramento
(916) 653-7524

Admission: Adults $8.50; Students/Seniors $7 with ID; Children 6-13 $6; 5 and under free

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