Mother Xavier Ross was the superior of the group of Sisters who travelled from Nashville, Tenn., to the town of Leavenworth and established the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Community. Mother Xavier preceded the group to scout out their new home in what eventually became Kansas. Then, she returned to Nashville to share her findings with the Sisters.

She wasn’t among the small band that arrived on Nov. 11, 1858. She stayed behind to wrap up sales of property and other business in Nashville. Bishop Miege had told her, “You will be valiant, for you are cast in a brave mold. … Come North as soon as possible!”

Two poems to share and reflect on Mother Xavier’s life and spirit. 

XAVIER IN NAZARETH – by Sister Maureen Craig, 1986
(Mother Xavier lived in Nazareth, Kentucky, before moving
to Nashville, Tennessee, and then to the Midwest.)

Where are you going, Xavier, Xavier,
How can you leave this dear Southern ground?
God is calling me, my sisters,
In that deep voice that is without sound.

But a war is brewing, Xavier, Xavier,
Our world will be torn with bloodshed and strife,
But the bishop has called us, my dear sisters,
So we must go to Kansas and an unknown life.

What will you do there, Xavier, Xavier?
Look at you, you’re so very few,
God will show us what He is asking
And that, my sisters, is what we will do.

How can you know this, Xavier, Xavier,
What if it’s pride and your own proud choice?
We hear the cry of the sick and the orphaned
They call to us with God’s own voice.

But how can you leave us, Xavier, Xavier,
How can you go so very far?
Part of my heart will always stay with you,
But not only at Christmas do we follow His star.


TRINITY OF CHARITY — by Therese Horvat, SCLA, 2018
(This “trinity” includes Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac
and Mother Xavier Ross.)
Grace has its moments,
Vincent said, and then
went ahead to change
the course of history
unfolding the mystery
of humility, simplicity
and charity
on country roads
and city streets
in Jesus’ name.

Grace welcomes partners
like Louise who heard
and then seized the call
to dedicate her life
to easing the daily strife
and needs of those without means, showing
them compassion
and deep respect,
extending hope
in Jesus’ name.

Grace has no limits,
Xavier must have known
placing trust in God
that outweighed all the fears
as her band of pioneers
embraced missions, finding ways to serve
with a spirit
that has crossed years
and continues yet today
with acts of charity,
letting grace have
countless moments
for ever more
in Jesus’ name.