Remembering Sister Mary Wilhelmine Tikva, OSF

Mary_TikvaIn the fall of 1911, Adam and Mary (Ohman) Tikva welcomed into the world of Cleveland, Ohio, the first of their eight children, a precious baby girl whom they named Mary. The pride and joy of her parents and a devoted older sister to her siblings, Mary was a constant companion to her mother who was often in poor health, and an eager assistant to her industrious father whose home brewery and beer garden provided her with a lifetime of tales to tell. As a young girl, she applied herself as a diligent student at Holy Family school, ever-grateful for the education she received from the Sisters of Notre Dame. As an adolescent and a young adult, she contributed to the well-being of her family by working tirelessly for seven years in a nearby clothing factory both days and nights. Treasuring her Croatian immigrant roots and eager to know more of her family background, she accompanied her mother on a memorable three-month trip to Yugoslavia at her father’s initiative. In the course of her journey, she entered into the lives of loved ones whom she would never forget, embracing traditional customs and cherishing special foods and clothing, yet becoming painfully aware of the realities that had led her parents to immigrate to the United States in their youth. Declining a proposal for marriage, she came to a deeper awareness of her American identity and the unfolding future that awaited her upon her return.

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