Our Founding

On Friday, June 20, 2003 Poor Handmaid Sisters, members of the Associate Community, family and friends gathered to witness the foundation of the new Fiat Spiritus Community — a new expression of the PHJC charism and spirituality of Bl.Catherine Kasper. The bells atop the PHJC Motherhouse rang out to call everyone to this special Evening Prayer. The ringing of the bells was to serve as a link to an occasion 152 years before when six women gathered and the bells in Dernbach rang to call the village people to witness their profession of vows as the first Poor Handmaids.

The chapel of the American Province was filled to capacity as the procession entered, led by Sister Christiane Humpert who represented the Generalate of the Poor Handmaid Congregation. Sister Jolise May and the American Provincial Leadership Team entered carrying the new Fiat Spiritus community pins that were to be given as a symbol to each newly professed Fiat Spiritus community member. Sisters Shirley Bell and Linda Volk, who had walked with the candidates during their formation period, led them into the chapel.

Sister Jolise welcomed everyone and read a letter from Bishop D’Arcy congratulating the Fiat Spiritus community on its Foundation Day. He invited them to recall the great heritage they can rely on from the Poor Handmaids and the example of the Blessed Mother in her response to God’s call. Readings from scripture and from With Attentive Ear and Courageous Heart, a biography of Catherine Kasper, led the assembled to reflect on the call to community and the commitment to service.

It was at this moment of the service that the new members professed the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience according to the Rule of the Fiat Spiritus Community. Brother Bob Overland professed vows of poverty, celibate chastity and obedience and Mike Blanchette committed himself as a Formational Member of the community. For several minutes the newly professed walked through the assembly sharing the sign of peace with everyone followed by the singing of the Magnificat and a final blessing of the new community by the assembly.

Freely responding to the Spirit . . . with attentive ears, contented hearts, joyful service.

Read the full Foundation Day article.