Buckhannon Rotarians watched a heartfelt video Tuesday, reminding them of the century of service quietly provided by a small group of women at St. Joseph's Hospital.
The hospital is one of the missions of the Palatine Sisters, who are celebrating their 100th year in West Virginia.
"One of the things I've found since I've been at St. Joseph's for the last four years is that the Palatine Sisters are very humble. They don't seek recognition," Rotarian Sue Johnson-Phillippe said. "I think that people are not aware of what the Palatine Sisters have done throughout West Virginia alone."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Two Buckhannon Academy Elementary fifth graders, Emma Hicks and Dominik Rodrigue, visited Buckhannon Rotary Tuesday with Tanya Zickefoose to explain Red Ribbon Week to Rotarians. Club President Mike Coffman presented a $500 check on behalf of Rotary for contest prizes.
Johnson-Phillippe said that the first four Palatine Sisters embarked on a journey to the United States of America in April 1912, noting that they were supposed to board the Titanic, but ended up on a different vessel to New York and passed by the wreckage of the Titanic.
A speaker in the video also mentioned that the Palatine Sisters, after crossing the sea, were supposed to board a train. They missed that train, which later wrecked.
Several years after the Palatine Sisters arrived in the country, they started St. Joseph's Hospital in Buckhannon, Johnson-Phillippe said. The Palatine Sisters also started several schools, including St. Joseph's School in Buckhannon in 1922, Holy Rosary School in Clarksburg in 1928 and the Sacred Hearts School in Huntington in 1948, as well as one in Richwood. They also helped to start St. Mary's Hospital in Huntington in 1924 and the St. Mary's School of Nursing in 1926.
"It isn't often that one gets the opportunity to participate in something that is already greater than the sum of its parts," Johnson-Phillippe said, "and that certainly has been my experience, being a part of that all the time at St. Joseph's."
Sister Francesca from St. Joseph's Hospital was a special guest at Tuesday's meeting, but did not speak except to return thanks to Rotarians who recognized the Palatine Sisters and St. Joseph's Hospital.
In other business, President Mike Coffman presented a $500 check to Tanya Zickefoose, a Buckhannon Academy Elementary School counselor. The donation money will be used for students who win prizes in an essay contest at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and Middle School.
Prize money will also be awarded to county elementary schools for a poster contest and coloring contest in line with the chosen theme for the year.
This year's theme for Red Ribbon Week is "I elect to be drug free."
"It's a big deal. The kids compete very honestly, and they want to win these prizes," Zickefoose said.