The most distinctive character of the Slovak people is said to be their deep and abiding faith, so it seems fit that the impact of the Slovaks in Montour County would be through the work of the Sisters of St. Cyril and Methodius. The Order, whose mission was to educate Slovak immigrant children in their native language, was formed in Scranton, PA, in 1909. They relocated to Montour County in 1919, when they purchased the vacant Castle Grove Mansion, former home of John Peter Grove and John Michael Grove, ironmasters of Danville, from the owners, Mr. & Mrs. John Bennett. In 1922 the Slovak Girls Academy was begun, providing a High School education for Slovak girls. In 1929 the Slovak Girls Academy building known as St. Cyril's Academy, was begun, a beautiful stone building with a 170 foot stone tower at its center. On October 17,1939 the adjacent Basilica was dedicated. Awesomely beautiful, It is one of only four minor Basilicas in Pennsylvania and one of forty in the United States. Maria Hall, a home for aging infirm nuns, also occupies the property.
The Jankola Library and Slovak Archive Center located within the Academy building (named for Father Jankola who desired to educate children without destroying their language and culture), contains the largest collection of Slovak reference books and materials on the continent. Among the attractions at the library and museum are 10,000 books that pertain to Slovak and Slavic History, Language, Literature, Fine Arts, Spirituality and Science; archival material; Slovak artifacts; Slovak displays of clothing, china, needlework, art, and crafts; genealogy; Slovak newspapers and periodicals, photographs; and rare Bibles and books. Visitors are welcome at the library and museum. For information contact Sister M. Mercedes Voytko, Director, Jankola Library, Villa Sacred Heart, Danville, PA 17821-1698. (570) 275-5606. A website is under construction.
Slovak links: (Please feel free to send your favorite links my way).