Misericordia’s Silver Jubilee

During my service project, I found a beautifully written letter from President Truman to College Misericordia in the Silver Jubilee Brochure written in 1950. It marked the twenty-fifth anniversary or “silver jubilee” of Misericordia. I was very impressed and interested that President Truman was aware of a small Northeastern Pennsylvania college, recognized its place in the realm of education and took the time to write an eloquent letter. The twenty-fifth anniversary was an important mile stone and President Truman graciously acknowledged and congratulated College Misericordia. I was also interested to read that it was addressed to Sister Annunciata who had a PhD, which indicates a high level of education especially in 1950. She was a Sister of Mercy who was obviously intelligent and a leader and forward thinking because as a female, became the head of the institution.

As a history major, I enjoyed reading about Misericordia’s past and seeing how we have evolved and grown from a college to a university. In 1950, the school had a very small graduating class. I also enjoyed the surprise of finding a prominent historical figure on the first page of Misericordia’s Silver Jubilee Brochure yearbook. The letter and photograph made me, as a student of the university, proud of our position in education. I felt as though I was on a history treasure hunt and I enjoyed the process.

The letter was eloquently written and President Truman opened by saying that it would be a proud year for the college and would be memorable for many reasons. As quoted, Truman said, the college had “modest beginnings” and all should “focus attention upon the great contributions which the institution has made to higher education.” He further said that he hoped the college “will ever go forward with progress.” I was touched by his letter.


“The White House Washington,” College Misericordia: Silver Jubilee Brochure (16 May 1950), College Misericordia Yearbooks RG 820, Misericordia University Special Collections, Dallas, PA.




Sister and Communism

I found a compilation of newspaper articles dating from the years 1949 to 1955. The article that interested me most was about Sister Mercita Reginata C.S.B. who traveled from a Communist country to further her education at College Misericordia. The title was Sister Speaks on Russian Life. I was so impressed that Sister Mercita came from a difficult situation, a Communist country, she survived, persevered and valued education so much that she made her nursing the focus of her life. I went to an international high school with students from Vietnam, Rwanda and Kosovo and I always admired their strength when I heard their individual stories about their struggles.

Sister Mercita described her hardship at ten years old when her father, because he was a politician, was sent to a prison camp. She and her brothers and sisters were also sent to a prison camp in Siberia that was ironically called “Home.” They were being indoctrinated to not believe in God and Sister Mercita led a protest, because she was being taught “false doctrine.” She was severely punished and put in a frozen room without food, water or clothing for twenty-four hours. She barely survived. But in 1942, she fled Communism and joined the Bernadine Sisters in 1947. In 1949, she furthered her education as a nursing student at College Misericordia.

At the end of the article, Sister Mercita Reginata expressed how wonderful American freedoms are. It made me realize how fortunate we are to be educated and to have religious freedom, and how much we take for granted in the United States.


“Sister Speaks on Russian Life,” Miss Recordia (November 1949 – May 1955). University Newspaper Collections RG 830, Misericordia University Special Collections, Dallas, PA.

College Misericordia & World War II


A subject I enjoyed finding and reading about was Christmastide correspondence during World War II. I found the articles in a compilation of newspaper articles in the Miss Recordia. I like the title “Miss Recordia” because it has a double meaning for an all-girl’s college. The articles had many different subjects about the College Misericordia’s involvement in World War II.

One of the most interesting clippings was labelled A Letter to Camp written in 1942 at the start of the war by Sadie Morris. Although it was not a personal letter, it was sent to a soldier to give hope and encouragement. It reminded me of a George M. Cohan song, “Over There.” Miss Morris encouraged the soldier by writing a supportive, patriotic letter. It was very short, but she expressed her pride in the United States’ war effort.

In another clipping, there was a poem titled A Soldier’s Dream by Kay Matterson written in December 1944. The poem was far more somber than A Letter to Camp because it described an exhausted American soldier wistfully thinking of his loved ones back home during Christmas. The soldier reflects on his family and fiancée. There was a sorrowful, haunting feeling to the poem that conveyed the message that perhaps this soldier was one of the many that did not return home.

There also were several articles written by Misericordia graduates called Alumnae Musings. They were general articles about the various activities that women did for the war effort. The interesting one was the war bond drive that Misericordia held because it raised forty thousand dollars in 1942. In 1942, a medium income for a year was two thousand dollars. Even today, raising forty thousand dollars is impressive. Because I was reading about Misericordia’s past, I felt connected to World War II sentiments and struggles. Personal accounts make history come to life.


Morris, Sadie, “A Letter to Camp,” Miss Recordia (November 1934 – May 1949), 1-15. University Newspaper Collections RG 830, Misericordia University Special Collections, Dallas, PA.

Matterson, Kay, “A Soldier’s Dream,” Miss Recordia (November 1934 – May 1949), 1-15. University Newspaper Collections RG 830, Misericordia University Special Collections, Dallas, PA.

“Alumnae Musings,” Miss Recordia (November 1934 – May 1949), 1-15. University Newspaper Collections RG 830, Misericordia University Special Collections, Dallas, PA.


1940s College Misericordia Seniors’ Profiles

“As Others See Them,” Miss Recordia (June 1940). University Newspaper Collections RG 830, Misericordia University Special Collections, Dallas, PA.

I enjoyed reading the article, As Others See Them because it gave me insights into the personality qualities that were valued in the 1940s. The fun part of the article for me was that they picked twenty-four qualities which they felt were outstanding. They then picked a student who embodied the specific quality. Some of the attributes were “most humorous,” “jolliest,” “kindest,” “loyal,” “original,” “most reserved,” “useful” and “most vivacious.” It reminded me of Jane Austen’s characters in Pride & Prejudice or Emma. It was refreshing in that there seemed to be an honest innocence in the process. I wondered if the girls saw these qualities in themselves?

They also collectively chose Glenn Miller as their favorite orchestra and Spencer Tracey and Bette Davis as their favorite actors. Interestingly, they picked their favorite past time as reading and their favorite activity as dancing. I thought, what responses would we get today? It took me to a different time. The thinking seemed more collective.

It also discussed politics. Interestingly, the article started with the comment, “the students turned out almost one hundred percent strong to drop their votes in the ballot box.” We can assume, because it was 1940, that it was the presidential election between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie. It was impressive to me that the seniors at College Misericordia were politically active and involved in the voting process of the United States.