Coming to America

With the restrictions of the Kulturkampf in place, a letter from the pastor of St. Boniface Parish in St. Louis, Missouri couldn’t have come at a better time. The pastor requested sisters from Germany to come to St. Louis to help establish a hospital for the many German immigrants who settled in the area. Finally, a door was opening for the sisters who longed to serve God but were denied that opportunity in Germany. Three sisters volunteered and arrived in December of 1872. Thus began the arrival of Mother Clara’s Franciscan Sisters to the United States, bringing with them their skills in education, healthcare, childcare, and more.

The Wreck of the Deutschland 

Gerard Manley Hopkins composed the poem “Wreck of the Deutschland.” It was dedicated to the memory of the five Franciscan Sisters who perished on the S.S. Deutschland in December of 1875 after they reportedly relinquished their spots on the limited lifeboats. The ship sank after it ran aground off Harwich during a heavy winter storm. The five women were traveling from the motherhouse in Salzkotten, Germany to St. Louis to lead the new American mission. View our Deutschland Archives.

Read the Poem

The Exile and Death of Mother Clara Pfaender

During the 1870s, the Kulturkampf caused strife between the Prussian government and Catholic Church in Germany. This eventually led to Bishop Konrad Martin bestowing special authority, ordinarily reserved for clergy, on Mother Clara. Known as the “Burning Seal,” Mother Clara never divulged this secret, and was censored and expelled for her actions in 1880. In 1882, she died in exile while in Rome awaiting an audience with Pope Leo XIII.

Other Progress Throughout America

During the November 1872 US Presidential Election, Susan B. Anthony defies the law and votes for the very first time, leading to her arrest and conviction of voting illegally, the resulting punishment being a $100.00 fine. She never paid it.

Women would ultimately receive the legal right to vote in 1920; however, due to racial discrimination Black Women would not be able to vote until 1965.

In 1876, German immigrant Henry John Heinz, founder of the H.J. Heinz Company, developed ketchup at their headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Legend says Heinz wanted to replicate the Chinese sauce, ke-tsiap, a fermented fish sauce that became a popular trade item in the 18th century. However, tomatoes weren’t added to it until around 1817, with anchovies still remaining a key ingredient. Once Heinz began developing ketchup, the anchovies were removed and more sugar was added to help with preservation, creating the sweet and sour flavor profile we know and love.

On November 21, 1877, Thomas Edison announced his “first great invention:” the phonograph, a machine that could record sound by creating embossed indentations on a tin foil wrapped cylinder using a vibrating stylus as it rotated. Later improvements would include a flat disc with traced sound grooves in the spiral. The disc could then be copied, distributed, and played back using a Gramophone. 

Though President Andrew Johnson originally vetoed Colorado’s initial request to join the United States, Colorado officially become the 38th state on August 1, 1876 and is known as the “Centennial State” since it joined the Union in its 100th year.