CUBA CITY — A century of service at St. Rose School was celebrated Sunday.
The Sisters of Sinsinawa Mound were recognized by St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church for the work the nuns have done for the parish over the last 100 years.
A public liturgy and breakfast were held in their honor. The church was packed, cars lined the street, and there wasn’t an empty parking spot in sight.
“It almost brought tears to my eyes seeing how many of you showed up today,” said Rev. David Flanagan, St. Rose’s pastor, at the beginning of the Mass. Flanagan thanked the sisters for all their efforts, later commemorated with a donation to the nuns’ retirement fund. He said he didn’t know “what could be a more appropriate gift” than that.
The theme of forgiveness was key throughout the liturgy.
“This relationship of 100 years with the sisters has provided a lot of opportunities for forgiveness,” said Sister Toni Harris, the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ prioress. “We can be sure that they have been sustained by generous doses of forgiveness, mercy, and compassion.”
Harris used the words “courtesy, kindness, and generosity” to describe the 142 Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters who have served in Cuba City.
In 1916, Harris said, some of the Sisters first came to Cuba City to collaborate with the Catholic school after having been been taught by Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli as “part of their theological education.” Father Mazzuchelli built St. Rose and many Tri-State Catholic churches and established the society of the Dominican Sisters in Sinsinawa. The leaders of the parochial institution had hoped the Sisters would chose to settle in Cuba City, and their wish was granted, she said.
In the breakfast following the mass, two nuns were singled out and given bouquets for the work they’d done — Sister Marian DeGrood and Sister Georgianna Dorsey.
“It’s a privilege to have served here,” said DeGrood. She said St. Rose was her longest mission but that she “got around a lot,” saying her obituary would be longer than Dorsey’s.
Dorsey got tearful when it was her turn to speak.
“I love the people here,” she said. “Once I got here, why would I go somewhere else? What the heck, I had a place to stay.”
Dorsey said without her long stint in the town, there would have been a time when there was no Sinsinawa Sister in Cuba City, which would have broken up their 100 consecutive years in the town.
“Because I didn’t leave, there were Sisters here for 100 years,” she said.
The long history with the Sinsinawa Dominicans in Cuba City will continue going forward, Flanagan assured the church-goers.
“The Dominicans are still going to be involved in my life and the life of the parishioners,” he said.