When most people hear the word Emmanuel, they automatically think, “God with Us.” When Adorers hear the name Emmanuel, many think of Sister Emmanuel Palus, the go-to sister for history or information about the community.
Sister Emmanuel Palus was born on September 17, 1924 and was baptized four days later on the feast of Saint Matthew in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Slovakian immigrants and devout Catholics, which helped nurture Emmanuel’s vocation. Emmanuel had five brothers and three sisters. Other communities in grade school taught her, but when she met the Adorers, who were her teachers in 7th grade, she knew that God was calling her to them. Emmanuel entered the aspirancy in 1938 and made her profession in August 1941.
Teaching in the South
Sister Emmanuel Palus loved to study and learn, gifts that she shared with her students for 21 years, many of those years in the southern U.S. When she first started teaching in the South, the schools were segregated. She continued to teach in the South during the integration of schools and taught there after integration.
Sister Emmanuel Palus had a great focused mind and served community in many different forms during her life. After four years as temporary professed director, she served as local superior at St. Joseph Convent in Columbia, Pennsylvania. During this time, she was also elected as councilor. Emmanuel showed her ability to lead and was elected provincial superior in 1971. She even had the privilege of serving as secretary at the first inter-assembly congress in Schaan in 1977. After her years as provincial, Emmanuel went to Rome to continue her studies and help with the archives on the general level.
While Sister Emmanuel Palus was serving on leadership, she was active in the early years of the Sister Formation Conference. Since she loved to learn so much, she wanted to make sure that the sisters also had the chance to study. She was instrumental in bringing many of the best speakers to the convent after the Second Vatican Council for retreat days that also were open to other religious congregations that served in the diocese. She encouraged sisters to attend workshops when they could and helped to build up libraries with resources so that sisters had plenty of resources from which to learn.
One of the ministries that Emmanuel enjoyed the most in her life was working with the homeless in New York City. It gave her much joy to work with the poor and marginalized families in New York. She was a great presence of “Emmanuel God with Us” for those she served. When she had to return to Columbia due to an accident, she served as archivist and worked with the spiritual resources committee.
She was also blessed to be part of the task force on convergence of the U.S Region of Adorers in 2000. Emmanuel worked together with other sisters to help prepare books on the history and spirituality of the community.
She was a small, but mighty presence in community. She was always very focused on whatever task she was doing and did not let things of the world distract her. Sister Emmanuel Palus was a great thinker and wanted others to continue to learn. This is part of her legacy to the community.