News & Events


Letter to Mother Theresa

by Sister Margaret Gannon, IHM

Dear Mother Theresa,

We’ve been celebrating this year because an event that happened in your lifetime has been declared worthy of a nation-wide federal holiday: June 19th, Juneteenth! It was the day that the word of their emancipation finally reached all the African American slaves; these last to hear were in southern Texas.

How did you feel when you heard about emancipation, Mother? You had never been a slave, but you certainly had experienced crushing racist bigotry and discrimination because of your African American roots. Here you were in 1865, the principal of Laurel Hill Academy in Susquehanna, with the thousand responsibilities of one leading a new school’s development. Did this event seem rather remote? You probably knew that in this part of Pennsylvania, many people had assisted ex-slaves escaping through the operation of the Underground Railroad. But you probably also knew that some local newspapers like the Montrose Democrat saw only inconvenience and trouble for white persons in black persons’ emancipation, saw only black workers competing for the jobs and farmlands of white people.

Perhaps you recognized that emancipation was not the end of racism in our country—that the struggle for racial justice would be continuing even 175 years after you founded IHM. Please pray that God will give us the wisdom and courage and perseverance that we need to do our part in demolishing this evil system.

Your loving IHM daughters