Were it Not for the Women …

Some of the sisters pose for a photo on campus.

Today, as Mosaic celebrates its 103rd anniversary, our Flashback Friday post is a thank you to the countless women who served tirelessly over the decades.

Here’s an excerpt from our centennial book, “The Reason We Exist, Stories of Mosaic’s Call to Serve”:

“If it were not for the women on staff, Bethphage and Martin Luther Home would not have survived. This was especially true during the staff shortages of World War II as workers were needed in war industries. Harvest season added additional challenges because it also meant canning season, when all hands were needed both at home and at Bethpage and MLH. Tireless dedication in the face of hard work defined the workers’ attitudes.”

We know the stories of some of the women such as Sr. Aurora Swanberg, the first sister admitted to the Bethphage Diaconate. Here is something Bethphage’s founder wrote about Sr. Aurora:

“She is not afraid of work but rather seems to love it. From early morn she is at work – in the sick wards, in the kitchen, the drug room, and the laundry; yes, even the little farm is the subject for her warm interest. At times she is out in the neighborhood buying cows and chickens, then she is found in the smithy making sure that the horses are properly shod, or again making arrangements for the purchase of hay and corn.”

Maybe not walking on water, but clearly an admired soul!

We have fewer historical records from the other side of Mosaic’s history, Martin Luther Home. Yet I’ve no doubts that there would be similar stories of the hard-working women who kept that mission alive.

When looking at the organization’s history, I’ve heard people say, “Men of vision and the women who made it happen.”

We don’t count any women among the organization’s founders. But it was Martha Moehl, the wife of one of the listed MLH founders, who first provided care to several people in her own home before the building was ready to go. One of the earliest photos from Bethphage shows the founder standing in front of the home and three women on the porch providing care.

Still today, women outnumber men more than four to one in the positions that provide direct support and care for people we serve.

Here’s to the women without whom Mosaic would not be around to celebrate its 103rd year.

To view more of photos from Mosaic's history click here.

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