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The melting pot of providence

By Barbara Hecht | Pittsburgh Catholic Correspondent
February 28, 2020

“It was June 7, 1876. As I stood on the dock to board the Scholten for New York, my heart was pounding and my legs were unsteady. I thought I might be spared the trip by losing my balance and tumbling over the side of the swaying gangway. But God had other plans for me. We pushed and pulled our valises onto the ship, and then the six of us turned for one last look at our beloved Germany. I could not have dreamed of the great adventures that lay ahead.”

What lay ahead for the Sisters of Divine Providence — including Sister Francis Borgia Schröck, who chronicled the arduous transatlantic journey to America — and other Catholic sisters was ultimately a profound call of challenges and opportunities to minister to the overwhelming wave of European immigrants fleeing poverty, job shortages, political conflict and religious persecution in the mid-19th century.