St. Casimir, Sisters of
ST. CASIMIR, SISTERS OF
(SSC, Official Catholic Directory #3740); a congregation with papal approbation established in 1907 to instruct the children of Lithuanian immigrants, most of them refugees from the czarist persecution of the late 19th century. A group of priests, led by Bishop John W. Shanahan of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, obtained permission from Rome to found the congregation in 1906 and put Reverend Anthony Staniukynas in charge of the project. Casimira Kaupas, a novice at Holy Cross convent in Ingenbohl, Switzerland, since 1902, was being prepared to lead the new community. She arrived in New York in 1905 with two companions. At Mount St. Mary's, Scranton, Pennsylvania, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary prepared them for their work in American schools. In August 1907 these three sisters pronounced simple vows, and in October they opened their first convent at Mt. Carmel in the Harrisburg diocese.
Archbishop James E. Quigley of Chicago, Illinois, invited the sisters to work in his archdiocese and dedicated their motherhouse there in 1911. Casimira Kaupas, as Mother Maria, continued to direct the community until her death in 1940. The sisters established a branch of their congregation in the Republic of Lithuania in 1920 and opened missions in Argentina in 1941.
In the United States, the sisters are engaged in the field of academic education, pastoral ministry, hospitals and care facilities for the aged. The generalate is in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to their houses in the United States, the congregation also maintains a presence in Argentina.
Bibliography: k. burton, Lily and Sword and Crown (Milwaukee 1958).
[a. m. rakauskas/eds.]