Orphan Train statues unveiled at Nazareth Motherhouse

June 8, 2017 by

A crowd of about 100 people gathered Thursday afternoon in front of the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, all eager to see the latest Orphan Train Rider statues to be unveiled by the National Orphan Train Complex. The statues are the 11th and 12th statues revealed as part of their ongoing project to match businesses in Concordia with a bronze statue that pays tribute to an Orphan Train Rider.

The crowd, the largest ever present for an unveiling so far, according to Shaley George, curator of the National Orphan Train Complex, was eager to see the bronze depictions of Sisters Eva Marie Vale and Roberta Dreiling.

The statues come from the Randolph Rose Collection in Yonkers, New York, a family-owned and operated company that specializes in handmade bronze garden sculpture, statues, fountains and accessories for home, garden and public spaces.

Sister Genevieve Dreiling

Genevieve Dreiling — who would take the religious name of Sister Roberta — was born in New York in 1899. She was just over 2 years old when she was put on a train west. When she arrived in Victoria, Kan., she was adopted by a Catholic family there.

In 1917, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph and served in numerous missions until her death in 1995.

Gertrude Vale — who would take the religious name of Sister Eva Marie — was born in 1900. She was barely over a year old when she was sent to a family in Schoenchen, Kan.

She remained with that family until she was 9, when they decided to return her to the orphanage in New York.

But a priest in Tipton, Kan., stepped in and asked his housekeeper to care for the girl. A year later, the housekeeper’s sister, who lived in Walker, Kan., adopted Gertrude into their family. She remained there until she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1921. Sister Eva Marie died at the Motherhouse in 1982.

When the Orphan Train Movement began in 1854, it was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets of New York City. By the time the last Orphan Train delivered its cargo to waiting families in 1929, an estimated 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children had been placed throughout the United States and Canada.

Sister Eva Marie Vale

Concordia has been home to the National Orphan Train Museum for about a decade, and in January 2017 proclaimed itself Orphan Train Town.

Currently, there have been approximately 30 statues purchased as part of the project.

The other statues that have already been installed in Concordia are:
– Miriam Zitur at the Broadway Plaza;
– Elmer and Ethel Barney at Britt’s Fountain and Gifts;
– Teresa Martin at the Frank Carlson Library;
– The Fallen Soldier Memorial at the Concordia American Legion;
– Hallie Garwood at the Cloud County Historical Society Museum;
– Kansas Riders Statue at Brown Business Services;
– Roberta “Happy” Slifer at Cloudville in the Concordia City Park.
– Father Paul Fangman at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Concordia
– Victor & Stanley Cornell Deger at CloudCorp
– Thelma Taylor at Monique & Co. Salon & Day Spa

Comments

Feel free to leave a comment...