Mothers Helena, Josaphat and Marie, all Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, were instrumental in creating the foundation that grew into Manor College.
Manor College’s first students came into St. Macrina Hall in 1947, but the institution’s roots go far deeper than that.
Without a trio of Sisters of Saint Basil the Great – Mother Helena Emilia Langevych, Mother Josaphat Theodorovych and Mother Marie Dolczyka – the school would’ve lacked the foundation to create the Basilian tradition we hold so dear today.
Here’s more about the three sisters who guided the vision of Manor College.
Mother Helena Emilia Langevych, OSBM
Mother Helena was born in Ukraine in 1881. She professed her initial vows to the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great in 1898 and gave her final vows in 1902.
On the request of Bishop Soter Ortynsky, Mother Helena came to the United States with three other sisters and established the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great in Philadelphia in 1911.
The Sister’s main goal was to address the educational needs of recently arrived Ukrainian-American immigrants. Within a few weeks of arriving in America, Mother Helena established a Sunday school, taught the Ukrainian language, helped students absorb the contents of catechism and taught them sang liturgical music.
Mother Helena’s mission soon brought her to helping the Sisters survive during many hardships of the times. She spent countless hours soliciting funds for the sisters.
However, those hours in the cold took a toll on Mother Helena’s health. She contracted tuberculosis, but worked through her illness. She succumbed to the disease on May 17, 1916, well before her vision could be executed.
Mother Josaphat Theodorovych, OSBM
Mother Josaphat entered the order in 1897 and professed her final vows in 1902. Under her stewardship as superior general of the Fox Chase monastery in the 1920s, she helped the Ukrainian Eparchy purchase the former Satterhwaite estate in 1912, 40 acres of which were then sold to the Sisters of Saint Basil the great.
Mother Josaphat continued Mother Helena’s vision in education. The opening of St. Basil’s Academy in 1931 inspired her to create an institution of higher learning that would fulfill the educational aspirations of young women in the Ukrainian American community.
Along with Mother Marie Dolczyka, they created the foundation of Manor College, then known as St. Macrina College, which opened in 1947.
Mother Josaphat passed away before her vision of the college as an accredited institution became reality in 1959.
Mother Marie Dolczyka, OSBM
Mother Marie was born in Lviv, Ukraine in 1988. She joined the order in 1914 and professed her solemn vows in 1921. Additionally, she earned a doctorate from the University of Lwow in Ukraine.
Mother Marie shared Mother Josaphat’s vision of a higher education institution with the foundation of educating young Ukrainian American women and war orphans from Russia. They pursued their visionary agenda by founding St. Macrina College in 1947.
While Mother Marie is best known as the college’s first president, serving from 1947 to 1950, she was also one of the original four teachers at the institution – teaching Ukrainian and German to the new students.
It was under Mother Marie’s direction that the college became an affiliate of Catholic University of America in 1947, and began to navigate the hurdles of incorporation, which finally became approved in 1959.
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