Sister Helen Sorich, known also as Sister John Christine, was born on September 26, 1921, in Preko, Yugoslavia. She was the second of five children born to John and Christina Sorich. Preko was also the birthplace of her parents. It is one of several small settlements on a Croatian island that makes up the Zadar Archipelago along the Dalmatian Coastline.
Two years after she was born, Sister Helen and her older sister, Elizabeth, traveled with their mother to the U.S. to join their father, who had found work and a home for them in Chicago. In her autobiography, she wrote:
In 1923 my mom, my older sister Elizabeth, who was four years old, and I, age two, left this land for America. We traveled to the United States on the Martha Washington for twenty-three days. When we landed on Ellis Island, my mom must have shown extreme bewilderment because my dad wasn’t there to meet us. As luck, or fate, would have it, a gentleman, who was on the same ship, came over and asked my mom where she was headed. When she told him Chicago, he proceeded to take us to the train headed for Chicago. What a thrilling moment it must have been for Pa and Ma and us to be re-united here in the U.S.A. What brave people our parents were to venture on to a new land.
My dad had a job in a sausage factory and we lived in the flat above the factory. It was there that another sister, Therese, and my two brothers, Nick and Tony, were born. We attended Nativity School where we received our elementary education from the Sisters of St. Joseph.
As for mom, she was always there for us. She was always there usually in the kitchen. I can’t imagine what I would have ever done, if she didn’t respond. Many is the time we hurried home in order to get the crust of her homemade bread with a bit of sugar sprinkled over it.
When I was in the seventh grade, my Pa suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in July 1935 and died. As I watched and observed the grief of my mom at the loss of her husband and our father, I realized how our God supplies His lasting love, strength, and courage. My mom exemplified that valiant woman who through this great loss raised her children.
Read more about Sister Helen (pdf)
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