|Sister Rosalie Bucci|
When I went to Wheeling, West Virginia, my purpose was to work with the Treasurer on learning the Federation book-keeping system. However, one of the more interesting side-happenings of the trip was my interaction with Sr. Rosalie Bucci.
After sharing supper with Rosalie, I became rather curious about a comment she made, so I asked if I could speak with her again the next morning. I asked her about her life and she told me the story of how she met the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Rosalie’s parents were Italian immigrants who settled in Williamson, West Virginia. Williamson was rural but during the time of World War II, it was buzzing with rail traffic. N&W railroad was there with 17 passenger trains coming through regularly. Rosalie’s father and brothers worked on the railroad. She loved her life in Williamson, having good friends and a close family life.
Rosalie first met the Sisters of St. Joseph when they came to teach bible school and religious education on some weekends and every summer. Several hundred sisters did this throughout the year, leaving Wheeling by train to spend time throughout rural West Virginia. Sr. Rosalie said, “I loved what they were doing, how they spoke to us, and what it was like being with them. They were wonderful people.” She noted that they taught them Gregorian chant, church doctrine and just talked with them about their lives. Sr. Rosalie said, “They inspired me by their demeanor and everything about them.” When the sisters came to Williamson, the priest vacated the rectory so they would have a place to stay. The faith community in Williamson greatly appreciated the presence of the sisters.
Sr. Rosalie joined the Sisters of St. Joseph after graduating from high school in 1947. She has a great appreciation for music so while teaching 1st grade for 40 years she also lead choirs and worked in music in the schools and parishes where she served.
I was very struck by the meaningful service that these traveling sisters provided after they completed their full time work. I shared with Rosalie that many of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Vice Province of Hawaii, also met the Sister of St. Joseph when they traveled to the rural plantations to provide religious education to the children on evenings and weekends.