On August 5, 1922, a train pulled into the station in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Onboard were two weary Catholic sisters who had been sent there from Chicago by a young priest struggling to establish his fledgling community of catechists.
Father John Joseph Sigstein had a vision to provide for the temporal as well as the spiritual needs of the underserved and overlooked population in New Mexico. He had seen the cycle of abject poverty of the region and was determined to provide whatever services he could.
“Go to the poorest first. Always have preference for them.” — Fr. John Joseph Sigstein
Father Sigstein was true to his word. The work had begun a few years earlier to develop a society of missionary catechists, but when Julia Doyle and Marie Benes stepped off that train, August 5, 1922, became the official inception date of what would eventually become Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters.
Many early benefactors assisted Father Sigstein in his mission, including then-Monsignor John Francis Noll, who provided the new society with land and a motherhouse in Huntington, Indiana.
Noll, who later became bishop and then archbishop, supported the newly-named Victory Noll Sisters the rest of his life, and is buried in the OLVM Cemetery alongside Father Sigstein and the hundreds of Sisters who carried their charism across the country and impacted multiple generations with their ministries over the last 100 years.
A year-long celebration of the century of service will begin on August 5, 2021, with a special Mass in the Archbishop Noll Memorial Chapel on the Victory Noll campus, with Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese presiding.
A concluding liturgy is scheduled for August 6, 2022, inviting back to Victory Noll many individuals who have been part of the OLVM journey.
Additional events and information over the next year will be announced on the community website at www.olvm.org and also on social media sites.