St. Vincent Pallotti, Laurel; photo by Sr. Izabela Swierad, SAC

The task of beginning a new mission in America was entrusted to four young Pallottine Missionary Sisters from Germany:  Srs. Franziska Zabel (33), Dominika Senn (32), Alacoque Radecker (34), and Priska Hess (24). They were originally scheduled to sail on the ill-fated TITANIC, but were prevented from doing so by an error on a Sister’s passport.

S.S. Bremen by Chris Butler

Instead, they sailed from the city of Bremen a few days later on a much more humble ship, The BREMEN, a German Barbarossa class ocean liner commissioned in 1897.  This ship was 571 feet in length, with a tonnage of 11,540 GRT (gross register tons). The TITANIC, an Olympic-class passenger liner, was 882 ft. 9 inches in length, with a tonnage of 46,328 GRT. (Wikipedia Encyklopedia)

“On April 20, 1912, while sailing from Bremen to New York, the S.S. BREMEN passed through the debris field left by the sinking of the R.M.S. TITANIC. Passengers and crew reported seeing hundreds of bodies floating in the water…” (ibid)

On April 25, 1912, the Chicago tribune published the following article:

The S.S. BREMEN’s Captain Wilhelm described the scene the BREMEN encountered in the North Atlantic, near the site of the disaster, approximately five or six days afterward. Captain Wilhelm stated that he scene was overwhelming. He estimated between 150 to 200 bodies of men, women, and children floating around – all wearing lifebelts. He said the ship “ploughed through fields of bodies…they were everywhere.”

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