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Tales of the Red House - 1931-1938

Posted 4/26/2021

Grandiose plans are revised to fit with reality.

Grandiose plans and high hopes for developing the upriver property (near Nazareth Hall) were aborted with the advent of the Great Depression following the crash of 1929.  As a result the novitiate never became a reality. A large brick house on the property was renovated and the novices took possession in 1931. After 7 years, however, the novitiate moved back to Toledo.

Those who pioneered living in the Red House from 1931-1938 can recall the primitive conditions in which they spent their noviceship. Sister Perpetua, novice directress, with her innate love of the land, tried to make good farmers out of the city dwellers. The tales they tell are many and varied.

Sister Agnes Therese tells of the mountain they found in the entrance one morning after a particularly heavy snowfall. To commemorate the event they placed Old Glory on top and labeled the mound the North Pole.

Sister Julia Therese, official phone operator, one morning answered to find Sister Camillus, in charge of food service at Nazareth Hall reporting a cow in the garden.  To Sister’s question, “What kind of cow?” the indignant reply: “A big cow!

These were depression years and more than one novice wore a “see-through” habit. At one of the daily lecture meetings, Sister Martina was heard to acknowledge her fault of wearing torn clothing only to leave the evidence in the form of a patch on the floor behind her.

After a particularly hard day, Sister Perpetua directed a novice to pass the grape juice. A rule of etiquette was that no one tasted the juice until all had been served. After taking a sip, Sister Perpetua inquired of the novice where she got the juice, and when told in the usual place, hurriedly told the group to drink it and go directly to bed.

 

The material quoted here is taken from A Tree in the Valley by Sr. Lelia Mahoney.