Remembering her Vision
Mother Adelaide had VISION. In addition to her idea of having well-educated, cultured young Sisters, Mother Adelaide also knew what she wanted the Sylvania campus to be.
“I grew so much and have such an appreciation for every blade of grass, tree, my surroundings and all that she did for us,” said Sister Janeen Sobczak.
“She always walked around with her simple black umbrella to shield the sun – there weren’t big shady trees on campus at that time. Looking at the grounds today, it’s very clear to see her vision,” Sister Janeen added.
She tells how Mother Adelaide went to the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California to visit our Sisters teaching in the Diocese of Orange. When she saw the Spanish style buildings modeled after Franciscan missions, she knew that would be the architecture for the Sylvania Franciscan campus.
“Mother was forever walking the grounds,” according to Sister Janeen. Was she thinking of the next building, where it should be located or what trees should be planted in what places?
When she came back from Italy with her art purchases, the racks and shelves in the storage area were packed. But, as all of the campus buildings began to go up, the shelves became quite empty. “I think about her vision, as I look around this campus and see what it turned out to be.
“Mother’s vision was to have an educated community as well. She tried so hard to refine us. We were only 13 and 14 years old when we arrived. Many of us were such little girls at the time,” Sister Janeen added. (Sister came to the Sylvania convent after eight grade and celebrated her 75th Jubilee in 2018).
Sister Janeen says she admired Mother Adelaide so much. “She gave us such a good, well-rounded education. In addition to regular high school classes, we had four years of art, four years of music, and two years of public speaking. On Sunday afternoons we learned how to meet and greet people, how to set a table, hold our utensils, and manners. She wanted us to be refined,” recalls Sister Janeen.
In their college years, the young Sisters were always going to class. “We would go after teaching, we would go on Saturday, we taught CCD classes, we would go all summer. . . we couldn’t go to college full-time, but we sure acquired the credits,” she said with amusement.
Mother Adelaide wanted the Sisters to see something intelligent, artistic or inspirational. That’s why there were so many pictures, sayings, maps, etc. hanging in the classrooms or hallways. She wanted her young charges to be surrounded by culture.
“We came from playing hop-scotch in the streets at home to Sylvania, where, because of her foresight and vision, we became polished young ladies,” Sister Janeen reminisced.