DAYTON —The Sisters of the Precious Blood are celebrating a century of presence at Salem Heights, located on Salem Avenue, the religious community’s central home since 1923.
A celebration Mass will be held Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. at Precious Blood Catholic Church. The Rev. Jeffrey Kirch, CPPS, will preside. A reception will follow in the parish activity center.
Over the past century, Sisters of the Precious Blood have been active in a variety of ministries in the Dayton area, including education, parish ministry, food and domestic service, health care and social justice. Sisters also serve throughout the U.S. and in Chile and Guatemala.
“For over 100 years, the Sisters of the Precious Blood have been a presence in the Dayton community. As the Congregation looks to the future, it remains committed to being a part of the fabric of the community, collaborating with the city and local agencies to serve wherever Sisters are needed,” said Sarah Aisenbrey, archivist for the Sisters of the Precious Blood.
The religious community first arrived in the U.S. in 1844, when three Sisters came to northern Ohio to minister to the German Catholic immigrants of the area. For nearly 80 years, Maria Stein in Mercer County was the site of their motherhouse, which still houses the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics.
By the early 1920s, Mother Emma Nunlist, the Mother General of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, felt that the Sisters needed to be closer to the amenities the city of Dayton could provide, including health care and educational facilities. She also thought that being close to a more populated city would allow the Sisters to find more volunteers to help with perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a hallmark of the Sisters’ lived vocation since their founding.
She purchased 75 acres of farmland two miles north of Dayton, and construction began.
“The feast of St. Augustine, Aug. 28, 1923, will go down in the annals as a memorable day for the community, since it marks the departure of the Sisters from the old motherhouse to the new,” reads the community’s historical record. “Knights of Columbus of Dayton offered to transport the Sisters to Salem Heights, where they were welcomed with the pealing of bells and the greetings of the Sisters who had arrived earlier.”
The Sisters of the Precious Blood are an apostolic Catholic women’s religious congregation devoted to Eucharistic prayer and motivated by the redeeming love of Jesus. Founded in Switzerland in 1834 by Maria Anna Brunner, Precious Blood Sisters serve in the United States, Chile and Guatemala, proclaiming God’s love by being a life-giving, reconciling presence in our fractured world.