“Bishop Charles P. Greco, during the many years he served the Diocese of Alexandria, accomplished many wonderful things. But to the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows, he will always be remembered as the “Founding Father” of their life in the United States. It was he who invited them to come, found a place for them, and shepherded them through all the hazards of a new country, culture and language, from small talk over coffee,
to clearing a way through the harassing red tape of immigration laws, which required, literally, a special act of Congress to allow them to stay.”
In 1946, with World War II just over, the time seemed opportune to Mother Zita Verni to fulfill the Foundress’ dream of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows becoming a missionary Congregation. On October 12, 1947, the great journey began, with Mother Zita and thirteen Sisters boarding the Vulcania at Naples. The trip was not an easy one; uncertain about what the future would hold, they left their homes and all they knew for the kingdom of God. After nine days at sea, they arrived in New York where they did not speak the language and understood no one. Finally, they found their way to Alexandria, Louisiana by train. The journey itself was a learning experience of what was to come in this new land.
The Sisters began finding their way in this new culture, and as they began to work in their various missions, they quickly established a rapport, with the people, despite their difficulty with the language. During these trying times, they were supported by Bishop Greco and Mother Zita. Their sacrifice and dedication paved a way for the mission in Louisiana and what it has become today.
These pioneer sisters were: Sister Santina Vincenzi, Sister Martina Bernabe, Sister Annunziata Colomboni, Sister Zita Renzi, Sister Mary Muccioli, Sister Catherine Palazzi, Sister Angelina Fellini, Sister Helen Marcantognini, Sister Mary Bacchieli, Sister Natalie Urbinati, Sister Antoinette Baroncini, Sister Lucy Canini, and Sister Rose Mini.
These sisters courageously accepted this mission with profound faith and deep love as the cherished gift of their Lord. Their selfless lives have borne long and constant witness to the power of God to accomplish great things through simple hearts and humble hands, and to the joy that comes to those who have unconditionally surrendered themselves to Him.
Our Lady of Sorrows in Louisiana