Down Memory Lane

Snippets of time, collected from the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters’ treasure box of memories…

Sister Marge entered the convent when she was 16 years old.

Back Row from left to right: Rosalie Gdula, Florence Hopp, Unidentified, Sister Mary Thill, Sister Patricia Zielinski, Unidentified, Marilyn, Sandy Mazerkevich.
Front Row from left to right: Sister Dorothy Mrock, Sister Brenda Rose Szegedy, Diane Gilbert, Beverly Hillis, Unidentified.

A Colorful Memory

“It looks like my classmates and I are raking leaves in front of St. Clare Academy. I think we were in our Freshmen year attending St. Clare Academy. We enjoyed being outdoors, especially during the Fall season, and I remember raking leaves and then jumping in the piles. Fun and light-heartedness made our task most worthwhile,” remembers Sister Brenda Rose Szegedy, pictured in front row, second from left.

Raking the leaves that drop each October from the thick canopy of trees on the Sylvania Franciscan campus was an annual tradition that at one time fell to the hands of the young Aspirants, Postulants and Novices living at the Motherhouse.  

In the 1950’s and 60’s there were as many as 90 teenaged girls enrolled at St. Clare Academy in Sylvania each year.  For the few hours each week that wasn’t scheduled with schoolwork, religious studies, prayers, mediation and daily chores, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania had to find something for them to do.

“Raking leaves was certainly one good way to keep all of us busy for an afternoon,” Sister Shannon says smiling.

Even with so many girls, it would take all morning to clear the leaves. The park-like setting in front of St. Clare stretched to the road because there weren’t many parking lots back then. And on Convent Boulevard there were only walkways between St. Francis, St. Agnes and St. Assisi Halls instead of asphalt. In autumn the grounds would be transformed into a carpet of reds, golds, oranges and browns.

Saturday morning the girls would be sent outside into the brisk air and dozens of rakes would be passed out. Over the loud satisfying crunch of the leaves the girls would talk and laugh together as they pushed the leaves into tall piles.

Sister Verona remembers it well.  “Oh, I just loved raking the leaves! They gave everyone a rake and we would work all morning together,” she says smiling. “Then, when we were all done, we would run and jump in them!”

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