Sisters’ Legacy

By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan

It is Sunday night, and I have just returned from an evening with my sister, Anne, a Visitation graduate of the class of ’82 and

Madde Gibba First Day of School Visitation

Madde Gibba First Day of School Visitation

now Director of Salesian Studies at the Mendota Heights Visitation. We went to see Madde Gibba’s one woman show in Minneapolis at Illusion Theater called Confessions of a Catholic School Girl. Madde took the time to write down her memories of being a “lifer” at The Convent of the Visitation in Mendota Heights (someone who attends Visitation from Kindergarten to 12th grade), and weave them into art. She was poignant, funny, at times outlandishly irreverent and in the end real. Her take away is that the Sisters at the Visitation made her who she is today, a confident, young woman, who is not afraid to be herself and to do that well. Madde said she feels very loved for who she is and attributes this to her time in Mendota Heights. She even has a whole portion of her show dedicated to the Sisters of North Minneapolis, where she quite frankly had her heart broken to the realities of those who struggle for basic human needs and rights. Madde is a legacy of the Sisters gentle strength and inspiring love. She is a proclaimed life long learner at the tender age of 22. A woman, who as a senior at Visitation, contemplates becoming a nun to keep their legacy going, and who now chooses to make their legacy continue through art.

Meghan Wenger and Classmates from Vis with the Vis Sisters of North Mnpls

Meghan Wenger and Classmates from Vis with the Vis Sisters of North Mnpls

Meghan Wenger who we met recently on this blog, is also a legacy of the Sister’s gentle strength. Through her inspirational weekly Salesian quotes she shared with her classmates, she is a woman who lives out the Salesian charism and has woven it into her daily life. She takes the incredible gift of education that the Sisters so generously give to all they touch and proclaims its gifts. And so I share with you, another quote she shared with her classmates as a Senior on the cusp of graduation:

Sent: Mon, 4 May 2009 6:26 pm
Subject: Salesian Thought

Hi ! 🙂


How are you? I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I know there is a lot going on this week with AP Exams and end of the year activities. I thought this quote would remind us how to take one thing at a time. The quote is:
While I am busy with little things, I am not required to do greater things. St. Francis de Sales
Have a great week!
Love,
Meghan

Do you think St. Jane de Chantal could have ever fathomed the legacy her dedication, education, and compassion would give the world 400 years later? Did she imagine the types of women and men Salesian Spirituality would form, create, and bless? Did she envision a Madde? A Meghan? Women who would take her voice to the theater of Minneapolis, to the email threads of daily school life? What might she say to these women now? What might she say to women who contemplate joining an order steeped in tradition, unafraid to respond to the needs of today, and brimming with blessings and joy?

Sent: Sun, 19 Apr 2009 9:09 pm
Subject: Salesian Thought
Hi!

How are you? I hope you had a nice weekend. This week’s quote is:
“Live joyously and courageously, my dear daughter, never doubting that Jesus Christ is entirely yours.” St. Jane de Chantal
Have a great week! 🙂
Love,
Meghan

I am grateful for the way the Sisters’ legacy lives on in Madde, Meghan, and my relationship with my own sister–all of us

My sister, Anne, who visited us after the birth of our first son, Finny, a sacred time.

My sister, Anne, who visited us after the birth of our first son, Finny, a sacred time.

brimming with blessings from them!

Do you know someone who lives out their heritage of Salesian Spirituality? A Visitation Sister? An Alum? A Visitation Companion? A Neighbor? Yourself? Or someone who contemplates being one of the seven new women waiting to be welcomed by The Visitation Monastery of North Minneapolis? If so, please share a sweet story in the comments section of how you or they integrate Salesian Spirituality into daily life, through prayer, art, inspiration or more.

2 Responses

Write a Comment»
  1. thanks elizabeth for uncovering all of this for the blog…i heard about madde’s play but i was at my niece’s wedding in madison this past weekend…how long is it playing…i didn’t realize ann was your sister! and thanks for the news that meghan winger is sending out salesian quotes….i’ve known her for many, many years….great person! have a happy monday….sr. suzanne

  2. Sr Suzanne, I just saw this. Yes, Anne is my blood sister! Haha. And Madde’s play was just that one weekend. Perhaps she will do it again somewhere. Meghan is a wise young woman, brimming with Salesian spirituality! Happy Feast Day! I hope your niece’s wedding was wonderful.
    Love,
    E

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *