By Sister Barbara Hudock, ASC
Last year on this day, we began a yearlong celebration of our community’s origins in the U.S. 150 years earlier. Although the pandemic curtailed some of the events we had planned to mark our celebration, we nonetheless took a journey with the women who started our U.S. community in 1870.
As the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado wrote: “Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking,” our forerunners walked without the benefit of a path before them. They carved it themselves. On February 28, 1870, the first Adorers from Gurtweil, Germany, arrived at the small Illinois village of Belle Prairie, later known as Piopolis. They and the immigrant women who followed would settle throughout the Midwest, later the East and the West, creating what is today the U.S. Region of an international congregation of Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
Over the last year of our 150th anniversary, we journeyed with our pioneer sisters through their struggles of trying to find a home, a space where they could simply dedicate themselves to God in prayer and praise.
Theirs was no easy task. In Europe, the women were driven from place after place. Adorers shared common homes in Steinerberg, Switzerland; Ottmarsheim, Alsace; Gurtweil, Germany; Piopolis/Belle Prairie, Illinois; and St. Louis, Missouri.
A small group of sisters left Germany, took their gifts of the Holy Spirit for the good of the church to Croatia, to Alton, Illinois, and later to Columbia, Pennsylvania. These women had hope and courage, and listened and responded to God’s call.
In the end, they came to a radical new beginning, leaving everything, traveling across the ocean to a new world. They are our past, our heritage.
At the end of this journey, two communities, the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, Missouri, and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region, grew from common soil.
Like so many immigrants today searching for a space to call home, we come from strong roots.
Our sisters’ journey reminds us that we are all called by God. In hard times, times of doubt, these women remind us that we don’t always understand God’s ways and how the Spirit is moving in our lives.
We are called to be faithful, living with courage and hope, believing that the place God leads us to will be good, not necessarily easy or comfortable, not always happening the way we would like. That place will be filled with a life that cares for the people around us and carries on God’s Spirit in this world.
We Adorers continue our journey today searching to understand God’s call during these difficult and universal challenges. With hope, we turn to the direction statement discerned by our international congregation.
At Your Word, we, Adorers …, embrace the process of transformation.
Together, we have a broader vision of our congregation, and a strong willingness to go forward as one.
We give priority to daily listening to the Word, in a spirit of adoration and discernment, so that we are able to contemplate God’s dynamic presence on our community and ministry.
We seek to be a compassionate, reconciling presence, living in communion with the poor, the marginalized, and those who live on the periphery. With our hearts attentive to the cry of the Blood, we care for our common home, and protect the life and dignity of every person.
These days we are traveling together through a masked world that threatens to divide us. Each one of us is invited to listen to God’s Spirit moving through us, asking us to care for each other, urging us to live as one.
May this reflection encourage each of us to take a moment to listen to God’s call happening in our lives.
You can read more about our pioneer sisters here.
The accompanying timeline at that link shows how our U.S. Region developed as part of an international congregation.