Bishop Ricken blesses statue honoring Manitowoc sisters

By | October 28, 2009

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Bishop David Ricken smiles during a dedication ceremony for a statue of St. Francis of Assisi Oct. 24 near St. Mary Church in Clark Mills. (Ben Wideman | For The Compass)

“I think it’s beautiful, just wonderful,” Fr. Zimmerman added. The 5-foot-tall statue, made in Italy, was donated by Dr. Earl and Jeannette Sylva. Jeannette passed away earlier this year.

The statue, located across the street from the church near a bluff overlooking the Manitowoc River, is at the site where the Franciscan Sisters first started.

Next to the statue is a large stone with a plaque that reads: “The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity of Manitowoc began in a small home on this site. On June 5, 1866, Teresa Gramlich responded to the call of Rev. Joseph Fessler for a teacher for St. Mary, Clarks Mills. On Sept. 8, 1867, Rosa Wahl, Josepha Thoenig and Mary Ann Graf joined her. Under the leadership of Father Fessler these four with Sophia Fessler formed the Franciscan Sisters in Manitowoc on Nov. 9, 1869.”

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