Servants of Mary Celebrate their 125th Anniversary in the United States

Story by Delaney Stekr ’18

Photos by Maria Determan, Hayley Golden, Lily Watkins

Marian is founded upon the values of Compassion, Community, Service, Spirituality, Marian Identity and Empowerment. All of these values have come directly from the Servants of Mary who founded the school’s hallowed grounds. But the mission of the Servants of Mary started long before the founding of Marian; in fact, this community has been positively impacting the country for the last 125 years. The sisters journeyed from England to continue their mission in America.

The quasquicentennial (125 year anniversary) of the Sisters began with their work in Mount Vernon, Ind. in 1893. For some perspective, in 1893, the first ferris wheel made its debut and Grover Cleveland was the president. In Mount Vernon, the Sisters founded St. Matthews after a long journey by boat. These women left everything that they knew, all in the name of God and their mission to do His will. “I think that the Servants of Mary and other religious sisters were our first real feminists. They took it upon themselves to not just teach, but to build schools and build curriculum,” President Ms. Mary Higgins said. 

The Sisters continued aiding the people of Indiana, Illinois and Iowa for the next 25 years. In the year 1918, the Sisters created a grade school in Omaha called Holy Name. “The sisters arrived in Omaha on a Thursday and started school the following Monday,” community counselor Sr. Kerry Larkin said.

On April 26, Holy Name recognized the work of the Sisters and inducted them into their Hall of Fame. 

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Servants of Mary and Redemptorist priests pose for a group photo at Holy Name Grade School on April 26 after being recognized for founding the school.

 They continued to expand their ministry throughout Nebraska, and eventually reached as far as Colorado, New York and Washington, D.C. 

In 1955, the Sisters created an all-girls high school in Omaha; Marian High School. Since then, Marian has blossomed into a faith-cultivating environment, full of confident young women. “I think that Marian is an amazing school; to have 700 girls going to a Catholic school in today’s world is pretty amazing,” Larkin said. 

“Our school being founded by the Sisters has strengthened our bond of sisterhood because we model it after the Sisters before us,” junior Anaja Arthur said. 

On Aug. 4, the Sisters will be having a celebration to commemorate their anniversary. “It is just a real year of jubilee and celebration. We are having events all over the country celebrating the anniversary, each month in different cities,” Larkin said. 

The Sisters have spent 125 years serving the Omaha. The survival and success of the Sisters is a prime example of God’s work in our world. A small group of women dedicated to their religion has continued to thrive despite society moving in other directions. Their mission is to emulate the compassion of Mary, and they have dedicated their lives to doing so. “Their charism is that of compassionate presence. That does not mean feeling sorry for people. It means they are willing to listen to people and open their hearts in every situation to understand people’s needs. To be genuinely kind in all situations,” Higgins said. 

“This is a great year to be grateful for how God has taken care of us in the last 125 years, and to wonder where God will take us in the next 125 years,” Larkin said. 

In honor of the founding of Marian High School in 1955, the Network Staff created a photo essay with a few special Servites!

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