The Sisters of the Holy Family are leaving Las Vegas after nearly 79 years. The Sisters came to Las Vegas towards the end of 1932 from San Francisco at the request of Bishop Thomas P. Gorman to minister to the families and teach Religion to the children of those building (Boulder) Hoover Dam. At that time, Las Vegas had only one Catholic Church, St. Joan of Arc. Four Sisters started out in 1932 and grew to 11 Sisters as the work increased and the city grew.
Because there was only one parish at that time, the Sisters ministered to all Catholics of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Sloan, and Blue Diamond. When the Sisters first came to Las Vegas, they lived in a little two bedroom rented house across the street from the kindergarten building of the 5th Street Grammar School. As the city grew, the Sisters moved to the Whitehead house on 7th and Mesquite where they lived for the next 45 years. As the city was growing in population, so did the number of Sisters caring for the Catholic families in the parishes as they were built. When Catholic schools were built, the Holy Family Sisters continued their work with public school children and their families. In later years, the Sisters of the Holy Family served Henderson, Pittman, Whitney, Indian Springs, Moapa, Overton and Nellis Air Force Base.
The Sisters have done many other works besides operating Parish Religious Education Programs. Sisters have directed the Diocesan Religious Education Program — developed and hosted Teacher Training Courses; Pastoral Care Training for parish ministers; Visitation to the sick in hospitals and homebound. In 1954, The Variety Club of Southern Nevada asked for Sisters who would run their nonprofit Day Home for the little children of low income families on the “West Side” while their parents were working. Divine Providence Variety Day Home began. The Day Home was staffed by four Sisters and served over 100 children, two years old through kindergarten, daily.
With time the program grew. In 1980s the services of the Day Home expanded, which included serving infants through kindergarten, and by that time the Day Home was caring for over 200 children, five days a week, while parents worked. In time, the Day Home became Variety Day Home and expanded services to become a neighborhood Family Resource Center, conducted English classes for immigrant parents, served as Family to Family Center, became a United Way Teacher Training Center, and hosted the State of Nevada Even Start Program in that location of the city. Needless to say, the staff grew to over 50, thus training and employing many residents from the local Community. The Sisters of the Holy Family continued to administer the program until the end of 2000, when the leadership of the Day Home was turned over to the employees from the local West Side Community. One of our Sisters continued to work at the Day Home as Receptionist.
The Sisters are so proud also to have a dedicated group of people (our Associates) who are committed to the same charism and works as the Sisters. While living with their own families, these wonderful and holy people have enriched the lives of the Sisters in innumerable ways. Their ministries will continue.
Throughout these 79 years the one constant fabulous gift ‘has been the presence, hard work, dedication and support of all the wonderful people who have helped the Sisters and walked along side us every step of the way. Our work couldn’t have been done without you, thanks be to God. Our love and prayer-filled gratitude will always be with you!!