SISTERS OF T H E H O LY FA M I LY O F NAZARETH // VO L 1 3 / / // NO 3 // WINTER 2019
CONNECTIONS FAMILY IS THE HEART OF OUR MISSION
A Nazareth Welcome for Our Affiliates and Postulant S TO RY B E G I N S O N PAG E 4
M E S S AG E F R O M T H E P R OV I N C I A L S U P E R I O R
EXPERIENCE GOD’S PRESENCE IN GENTLE SOUNDS Dear Friends of Nazareth, Can you recall the last time you paused to listen to the sound of the wind, to the flickering of a candle, to the rustling of leaves, or to the crackling of wood burning? So often, these and other gentle sounds are present in our midst, yet we are not even aware of them because of the many external sounds that surround us – the noise from traffic, construction, emergency vehicles, televisions, radios, excited children, cell phones, computers, dogs barking. Our awareness and attentiveness to the gentle and quiet sounds in our lives can only become possible when we set aside all those noisy distractions and interruptions, when we center our lives in the present moment and embrace the solitude and silence in which we become one with God, experiencing inner peace. Our God is a God of silence and peace.
The Rule of Saint Benedict begins with the words: “Listen with the ear of the heart.” We may ask ourselves how this is possible. What does it mean to listen with the ear of the heart?
attentively to the gentle voice of God. “Listening with the ear of the heart” readied them to embark on a new journey in their lives with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
To listen with the ear of the heart, requires finding silence within ourselves and quiet in our external world. It requires the emptying of ourselves from all that clutters our lives in order to create a place of solitude, silence, and inner peace in which we can prepare to experience God’s presence and His gentle voice in the depths of our inner selves.
Also in this issue, you will read Sr. Marcella Louise Wallowicz’s reflection (beginning on page 14) about preparing ourselves for the feast of Our Savior’s birth. She writes of the “pre-holiday angst” we can find ourselves in when we fail to quiet our inner and outer worlds.
In this issue of Nazareth Connections, you will meet Katie Allen, Kayla Danks, Becky Garcia, Binh Nguyen, and Molly Spiering (beginning on page 4) who have experienced what it means to “listen with the ear of the heart.” For the past several years, these women have been engaged in a discernment process to determine their vocation to religious life; they set aside time each day to encounter God in silence and solitude; and, they listened
HOW ARE YOU C ALLED TO LOVE? We invite you to pray with us, to listen to God’s call with us and to love with us as we find God in ordinary experiences. Learn more about our community life, our ministries and our mission at nazarethcsfn.org/join-us. Or contact Sr. Emmanuela Le, CSFN, National Vocation Director, at 972-641-4496 x111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 2
Sr. Kathleen Maciej, Postulant Kayla Danks, Sr. Marietta Osinska, and Sr. Gemma Pepera
Friends of Nazareth, as we begin the Advent and Christmas season, I invite you to enter into the experience of “listening with the ear of the heart.” Take moments to listen to the gentle sounds of the season. Through silence and solitude, may you, too, experience God’s presence and hear His gentle voice. May the inner peace you experience be shared with all whom you meet each day. Lovingly in JMJ, Sister Kathleen Maciej
VOLUME 13 // NUMBER 3 // WINTER 2019 Nazareth Connections is published three times a year by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in the USA.
Editor: Tammy Townsend Denny
Contents VOC ATION
4 Prayers for our new affiliates and postulant SERVICE CORPS
8 Meet our 2019 Holy Family Service Corps Volunteers REFLECTION
12 Religious life during the exodus 14 A Christmas Reflection
16 Sr. M. Germaine (Josephine) Grabowska 16 Sr. M. Sylvine (Frances) Czarnecka 17 Sr. M. Madeline (Catherine) Kanich DEVELOPMENT
18 Morning with the Sisters 18 Oktoberfest 2019 19 Pray the Holy Family Novena with us
O N T H E C OV E R : S r. E d y t a K r a w c z y k a n d S r. M a l g o r z a t a M a j s z c z y k p r e p a r e s t o welcome our affiliates and postulant.
Proofreaders: Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki Sr. Jude Carroll Sr. Lucille Madura Editorial Board: Sr. Angela Szczawinska Sr. Barbara Frances Samp Sr. Carol Szott Sr. Jude Carroll Sr. Kathleen Ann Stadler Sr. Lucille Madura Sr. Marcelina Mikulska Sr. Marcella Louise Wallowicz Sr. Mary Louise Swift Sr. Teresilla Kolodziejczyk Katherine Barth Design/Print: McDaniels Marketing Questions, comments, suggestions? Please contact: Communications Department Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth 310 N. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016 847-298-6760, x144 email@example.com nazarethcsfn.org facebook.com/csfn.usa twitter.com/csfn_usa instagram.com/csfn.usa
NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
VO C AT I O N
Prayers for our new affiliates and postulant WELCOME KATIE, BECKY, BINH, MOLLY, AND KAYLA
Surrounded by friends and family, Katie Allen, Becky Garcia, Binh Nguyen, and Molly Spiering became affiliates of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth on September 28 at Jesus the Good Shepherd Convent in Grand Prairie, TX. As affiliates, Katie, Becky, Binh, and Molly will live with our sisters at our newly opened House of Discernment in Richardson, TX. Sr. Michele Vincent Fisher is serving as their director. Katie, a Texas native, has been actively discerning her vocation since 2011. She is currently working as an English and Spanish teacher at John Paul II High School in Plano, TX. From a large, loving family, Katie was drawn to a deeper discernment with our Congregation because of the holiness our sisters find within ordinary life. She also is attracted to our “commitment to praying for and serving families.” In both her daily living and in her spiritual life, she enjoys the communal aspect of being an affiliate.
Becky, also originally from Texas, is one of three siblings. Raised in a “little family with great love and care,” she earned her bachelor’s degree in art with a focus on ceramics from the University of Dallas in Irving, TX. She currently works as the young adult coordinator and assistant to the youth minister at Holy Spirit Parish in Duncanville, TX. She was called to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth because of “the beautiful faith of [our] Mother Foundress and the tenderness the sisters have towards one another.” She began discerning her vocation in the fall of 2017. Binh was born in Vietnam where her younger sister and parents still live. She has been in the U.S. for five years and has two siblings in North Carolina. “We are far in distance, but close in heart,” she explained. Binh is currently pursuing an associate of science degree at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch, TX. It is the love she sees among our sisters that drew her to discern with the Congregation. “God invited me to come, taste, and see,” she said. “…I am grateful for all the love that I received.”
continued on page 6... NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
VO C AT I O N Molly was raised on a farm in Powell, WY in a family who “loves good conversations, hard work, expeditions to the mountains… and laughter.” One of 11 children, she earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from Christendom College in Front Royal, VA. She is currently working as a housekeeper at Nazareth Retreat Center in Grand Prairie, TX and as the RCIA Coordinator at St. Anthony’s Parish in Wylie, TX. Our Mother Foundress’ “emphasis on seeking holiness through imitating the Holy Family’s life at Nazareth” really speaks to Molly’s heart. Please pray with us for these young women as they share in our life of prayer and community and get to know our Congregation better. For more information on our affiliacy program, please contact our vocation director, Sr. Emmanuela Le, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also on September 28 in Grand Prairie, TX, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth welcomed Kayla Danks as a postulant. Kayla has spent the past year as an affiliate of our Congregation, beginning a transition from secular life and readying herself for postulancy. With Sr. Marietta Osinska as her director, she will spend approximately two years in a period of structured discernment. Growing up in Wichita Falls, TX, Kayla was first attracted to religious life after watching the Sound of Music. Her interest in becoming a Catholic sister continued into adulthood when she began attending our discernment retreats. “I fell in love with Nazareth when I learned what the charism is,” said Kayla. She is currently a full-time student at Mountain View College in Dallas.
SR. KAROLYN REFLECTS ON NEW LIFE IN THE CONGREGATION AND HER OWN DISCERNMENT Having affiliates discerning and a postulant entering the Congregation is a sign of new life and a future for our Congregation. These young women offer challenges that are enhancing our life in community, showing us there is a need for openness to new ways of thinking and calling for a willingness to accept changes that are happening as a gift from God. As for my own discernment, it began when I was in grade school spending time with the sisters. At this time I felt a desire to live with the sisters upon graduation from grade school. I was encouraged to wait until I graduated high school. During this time, I attended vocation fairs collecting information about many congregations; however, I always
returned to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. I was drawn to them because of their warm hospitality and prayer life. I spent much time helping them and praying with them while I discerned my vocation. Sr. Karolyn Stobierski entered the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 1964. She currently serves on the office staff at St. Adalbert Catholic Academy in Elmhurst, NY.
Our new affiliates Becky Garcia, Molly Spiering, Katie Allen, and Binh Nguyen Our new postulant Kayla Danks (center) with Sr. Marietta Osinska (left) and Sr. Gemma Pepera (right) Our affiliates receive candles from Sr. Kathleen Maciej, provincial superior, during a ceremony that included several readings Each affiliate receives a medal of the Holy Family and our Mother Foundress during the Rite of Affiliacy Our new postulant Kayla Danks Postulant Kayla receives a medal of the Holy Family from Sr. Kathleen Maciej, provincial superior Sr. Karolyn Stobierski (left) with Sr. Angela Szczawinska
NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
Meet our 2019 Holy Family Service Corps Volunteers “We are all called to emulate the Holy Family,” explained Ryan Crawford, one of five Holy Family Service Corps (HFSC) volunteers who is serving this year at Holy Family Institute, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in Pittsburgh. Ryan went on to quote from Pope St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, “Through God’s mysterious design, it was in that family that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families.” “Family is the backbone of society,” Ryan said, “and the starting point for building authentic, healthy relationships.”
Authentic, healthy relationships that further God’s love through service to families are exactly what HFSC strives to develop among its volunteers during their year of service in the Pittsburgh area. HFSC, an extension of the ministry of Holy Family Institute
also interact with our sisters, learning our core values of faithful listening, loving relationships, and discovering God in the ordinary experiences of daily life. While serving in one of Holy Family Institute’s ministries, volunteers live communally and earn the opportunity for an education grant
“The greatest joy I have experienced is seeing the difference that I can make in each student’s life,” and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, ties together the gifts of prayer, service, and community to offer volunteers a powerful opportunity to be the change they want to see in the world. Not only do volunteers grow professionally, personally, and spiritually but they
at the conclusion of their service or earn a master’s degree, depending upon the program they have chosen. Originally from Hershey, PA and with a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Ryan is spending his service year coteaching religion classes at Nazareth Prep. Ryan joins volunteers Julia Natalia, Adele Smith, Keilah Gussie, and Maria Montoya to form this year’s HFSC volunteer group. For Julia Natalia, a native of Pittsburgh’s Springdale area and a recent graduate of Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and English 7 – 12 teaching certification, HFSC has helped her develop a sense of belonging and purpose as she co-teaches cultural literacy at Nazareth Prep.
NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
These ideals along with the opportunity to live in a community are what attracted Keilah Gussie to HFSC. As the daughter of career Navy parents, Keilah has traveled all over the world. With a Bachelor’s degree in Exceptional Learning from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, she is spending her service year writing a literacy and reading intervention program for grades K – 8 for Holy Family Institute’s Specialized Learning School. “Like any job or task, you have great days, bad days, and everything in between,” she said. “I have experienced all of them, but each day I am starting to see small improvements and that makes it worth any challenge.” A willingness to embrace challenges characterizes the volunteer service Maria Montoya provides at Holy Family Institute’s Journey of Hope Program. Originally from Honduras, Maria provides nurturing and loving childcare for unaccompanied minors who await sponsorship in the U.S. Along with other Journey of Hope staff, Maria works to provide a safe and hopeful environment for the children, many of whom have endured long, perilous journeys. In addition to her work with the children, Maria also is learning to live in community with the other HFSC volunteers as they negotiate how to shop for groceries or which movie to watch together.
“The greatest joy I have experienced is seeing the difference that I can make in each student’s life,” explained Julia. “We are helping to shape the future of the world by helping these students to reach their fullest potential.” Like Julia, volunteer Adele Smith finds great joy in helping the students at Nazareth Prep create “a culture of 10
empathy and kindness” as she assists first year students and supports special needs students. With a Bachelor’s degree in English Education 7 – 12 with a concentration in Speech and Communication from Penn State, Adele was attracted to HFSC for “the social justice standards and criteria they have set for themselves as an organization.”
It is this community life which Keilah says “is an adventure of its own.” As complete strangers coming from various backgrounds and with different likes and dislikes, the five volunteers have had to learn how to function quickly as a community. For this year’s group, the communitybuilding experience was hastened by the arrival of an unexpected visitor -- Steven the snake, who inadvertently got into the building not long after the volunteers arrived.
“For the next 30 minutes [after discovering the snake], we were trying to figure out what we were going to do with our new friend,” said Keilah. A lot of cooperation along with a few jokes and some laughter resulted in phone calls to their supervisor, one of the volunteer’s mom, and the handyman for the building. Of course, they had to name their new slithering friend, too. After a few tense moments, Steven was safely returned to the wild
with the assistance of the building’s handyman. “After that experience, it became a lot easier to get to know each other,” Keilah said. Experience with snakes is not a requirement to be a HFSC volunteer; however, a willingness to live simply and in community with others along with a healthy sense of humor is needed.
To learn more about how you or someone you know can become a HFSC volunteer, please visit nazarethcsfn.org/service-corps/long-termservice or contact Lynn Guerra, Director of Volunteer Services at Holy Family Institute, email@example.com.
Ryan Crawford, Keilah Gussie, Maria Montoya, Julia Natalia, and Adele Smith during their commissioning ceremony. The HFSC volunteers with Srs. Maria Kruszewski, Audrey Merski, and Mary Lou Kwiatkowski. This year’s volunteers with Sr. Linda Yankoski, president and CEO of Holy Family Institute and Lynn Guerra, director of volunteer services at Holy Family Institute. Service Corps volunteers after their commissioning ceremony. Sisters and Holy Family Institute staff bless the new volunteers during the commissioning ceremony.
NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
Religious life during the exodus by Sr. Angela Cresswell, CSFN
Editor’s Note: Sr. Angela Cresswell celebrated her 50th jubilee this year. As part of the celebration, she was recognized in the summer issue of Nazareth Connections where she mentioned that she entered the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth at a time when many were leaving religious life. The following is a personal reflection from Sr. Angela in which she shares more about her experiences during this pivotal time in the history of vowed religious. Sr. Angela’s reflection is in no way intended as dogma or definitive research on Vatican II or the years that followed. 12
When Pope John XXIII opened the windows of Vatican II (1962 – 1965) to shake out the dusty rugs (antiquated practices) of past decades, it is doubtful he envisioned losing so many rugs (laity and religious) in the aftermath. Although many people breathed sighs of relief, if not exhilaration at the changes in the Church, others may have struggled to gasp for air fearful of the outcome of these changes. Several changes may have been especially welcome: permission to worship in the vernacular rather than Latin, to
use contemporary expressions of song and instruments in worship, to assume roles in the Liturgy previously entrusted exclusively to the clergy. Subsequently, houses of consecrated religious assembled to discuss traditions and customs to see what might deserve an update, a fresh approach to serving others both within and without their congregations. They deliberated such topics as changes in the habit, schedules that were more flexible, a greater freedom for time of private prayer, individual choices for healthy physical outlets and vacations – numerous relevant matters. Surely, hope sprang eternal with its promises of revisions. What then happened to impel so many religious to abandon the vowed life? As I reflect on the decades of the 60s and 70s, it seems that much of society was changing rapidly, clamoring for new ways of thinking: politically,
The decision to leave religious life was a deeply personal choice of each individual for a myriad of reasons. Because I knew relatively few sisters well during the first three years of initial formation, the news of those leaving did not have a strong impact on my desire to continue living as a religious. In addition, as novices, we were somewhat secluded from the professed sisters as we were learning about the vows and community life; one did not ask questions in those days.
socially, in terms of religion, fashion and behaviors. Demonstrations for or against some issues characterized the era. Perhaps the speed and uncertainty of outcomes contributed to the sense of anxiety permeating the atmosphere. In 1969, I, along with 11 other young women knocked, and entered the doors of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in Philadelphia. We were far more aware of what was happening outside of religious congregations than inside.
As my circle of friendships grew, the relationships that had developed were altered by those leaving, and I felt the loss deeply – especially the sisters who were instrumental in bringing me to Nazareth. A few friends shared their reasons for leaving. For others, I can only speculate that perhaps the proposed changes were not fast enough. External changes in community living may not have kept pace with the changes in the outside world, but they would eventually occur. I would later meet persons who had left and learned of the changes in community living. Some would ask me, “Do you think I should have stayed?” I expected religious life to be different from secular life in some ways and I still do. I knew that my call and response to the consecrated life was not a whim nor a coincidence.
“Make and keep Our Lord your reason for what you do.” I did not know that as I was entering, an appreciable number were leaving. With the optimism of youth, I do not imagine it would have dampened my enthusiasm for embracing this new life. Entering religious life was not an issue at the time; staying would become the challenge as it is with any commitment.
As I celebrate my 50th Jubilee, I experience a profound gratitude for my religious vocation, and even more for God’s fidelity in keeping me. Sr. Angela holds a PhD in Second Language Acquisition/Instructional Technology. She serves as an assistant professor at Holy Family University (HFU) and as the director of HFU’s Family Center, both in Philadelphia. She also is a Spanish instructor at Nazareth Academy High School also in Philadelphia.
Sr. Angela Cresswell (left) with Sr. Daniela Bronka during the Provincial Assembly in 2018 Sr. Angela at the Provincial Assembly in 2018
My journey here was neither predictable nor easy. The words of both my mentor and novice directress stream often through my mind: “Make and keep Our Lord your reason for what you do.” With deeply spiritual women as mentors, and my God’s continual call to an ever-deeper union, the doubts and struggles that emerge have not triumphed. NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
A Christmas reflection by Sr. Marcella Louise Wallowicz, CSFN
The anticipation of the feast of Our Savior’s birth challenges us to focus on what is really essential. We may be conflicted by how the media portrays Christmas and what our own hearts reveal. Is the size of the gift really the measure of the value of a relationship? The many advertisements aired for months leading up to the holiday and Holy Day would have us believe so. The recently beatified American Capuchin, Solanus Casey once counseled, “Material prosperity becomes the absorbing object of human endeavor as though there were nothing higher and better to be gained.” What greater love, indeed, what greater gift could God have given us than His only Son -- the real reason for the season? St. John of the Cross reminds us that in the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions or human success but rather on how much we have loved.Yes, learning how to love generously is a lifetime task! Sadly, for many, the preoccupation is with the transient material world and the tinsel trappings that begin long before the Savior’s birth and barely endure past December 25. Pursuing what fails to satisfy just produces an emptiness and a sense of purposelessness. The pressure of keeping up with our neighbors and friends in gift giving, a quid pro quo so to speak, simply adds to this discord and anxiety. The continuous piping of 14
Christmas music over the radio and the endless Hallmark movies provide only a brief respite, if at all. For some, it only heightens the pre-holiday angst by reminding them of the many tasks that still need to be done.
You may recall that poignant carpe diem lecture from Dead Poets Society where Mr. Keating, portrayed by Robin Williams, encourages his young affluent students to seize the day, but not necessarily in pursuit of material prosperity but rather to seek what feeds the soul. For like the rich man in the Gospel narrative who tore down his barns in order to construct larger ones for his surplus, “Each of us one day will stop breathing, turn cold and die.” What will be our legacy? In a more seasonal allusion, the love of the child Tiny Tim transforms Ebenezer Scrooge, the quintessential protagonist in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, from a cold-hearted miser to a model of generosity and kindness. The love of the Child at work in our lives is much more astounding. Not that we are necessarily cold-hearted but Jesus warms our hearts and that love enables us to open our arms and embrace those around us. As a child, my family Christmas celebrations were simple but meaningful. I grew up in an era
Clark Griswold’s desire that his children experience a good oldfashioned family Christmas as I experience the nostalgia and gratitude for Christmases past. As a young religious, I lived with a sister whom I would call saintly. Many readers of Nazareth Connections might remember her: Sr. Michaelann Delaney. The convent I now live in (Delaney Hall) has a portrait of Sr. Michaelann in the lobby with a plaque containing this inscription (paraphrased):
where I did not receive every toy or game that I wanted; however, I had everything I needed. I experienced a world that was frugal yet kind. The love of my parents and siblings far outweighed the latest craze on TV. In school, we opened the daily door on the Advent calendar, sang carols, decorated classroom trees, and participated in Christmas plays and concerts not holiday pageants. Anticipation would build from Thanksgiving throughout Advent and into the Christmas season.
“THE GOOD WE DO AND THE LOVE WE SHOW ARE OUR LEGACY AND HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE OUR WORLD LONG AFTER WE ARE GONE.” In life, Sr. Michaelann lived simply and touched countless lives as an educator and through congregational leadership. In death, she continues to touch lives. One way is through an annual tribute grant in her memory which provides monetary assistance to families in need. The Gospel writers agree that our focus should not be on accumulating possessions but to “store up treasures in heaven.”
As we reflect on these coming days of Advent and Christmas, may we come to a deeper understanding of how to live more generously and without regret. As St. John of the Cross reminds us, “Our moments of being emptied can prepare us to be filled by God.” On these dark and wintry days in which nature may mirror our lives, may He who has come to redeem us find a warm and welcoming place in our hearts. *********** Sr. Marcella Louise is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Assistant Dean at Holy Family University in Philadelphia where she earned her BA in Chemistry. She also holds an MA in Mathematics from Villanova University and a PhD in Post-secondary and Adult Education from Capella University. She entered the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 1978.
The Christmas tree at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, Monroe, CT. Sr. Edyta Krawczyk shares the joys of Our Savior’s birth with children in Grand Prairie, TX.
One of my favorite Christmas movies is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, because I can identify with
FAMILY DAY 2019
A special thank you goes out to our friends and donors who joined us on November 3 for Family Day at Jesus of Nazareth Convent (Mount Nazareth) in Philadelphia. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Petner, Jr who received this year’s Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth Tribute Grant. The grant is awarded each year to a person(s) or organization who exemplifies Sr. Michaelann Delaney’s virtues of compassion, love, and service toward others. (Sr. Michaelann passed away in 2002.) Grant honorees receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. The Petner’s selected the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as their charity.
NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
In Memoriam Sr. M. Germaine (Josephine) Grabowska May 25, 1914 – July 31, 2019 Sr. Germaine is remembered for her calm demeanor, her gracious manners, and her beautiful smile. Born on May 25, 1914, in Brooklyn, NY to Joseph and Lottie Grabowski, Josephine, as she was baptized, was the first of three children. Growing up in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, she attended St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Brooklyn where she was inspired by the good example and kindness of the sisters, often spending time after school helping them. At home, she was the little teacher to her siblings, sharing everything she learned at school. After graduation from St. Stanislaus Kostka School, Josephine and a few of her friends decided to attend high school at the new Nazareth Academy in Philadelphia with the plan to use 16
their high school years to discern if they had a vocation to religious life. The young girls traveled by train to Philadelphia and were among the first class of students to be educated at the newly constructed Nazareth Academy High School. On May 11, 1928, Josephine became a postulant. Two years later, she entered the novitiate, receiving the name Sr. Mary Germaine. She pronounced her temporary vows on September 1, 1932 and perpetual vows on August 15, 1938. With a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Villanova University, Sr. Germaine served in education ministry in Baltimore, MD; Wading River, NY; Worcester, MA; Plantation, FL; McAdoo, PA; and Norristown, PA. At the age of 97, after 34 years at Visitation BVM in Norristown where she had taught and performed unseen but essential tasks in the convent and in the school, Sr. Germaine made the decision to retire to Mount Nazareth in Philadelphia.
At Mount Nazareth, Sr. Germaine spent her time visiting the sisters in the infirmary and keeping current with her correspondence. After several months in retirement, Sr. Germaine needed medical attention in a hospital for the first time in 97 years, though she remained in relatively good health for a number of years after that. Her mind was alert, and she continued to pray and read. In July, it became apparent that Sr. Germaine was becoming very weak. On July 31, in the 91st year of her religious life, she peacefully fell asleep in the Lord. Her Mass of Resurrection was August 4 at Jesus of Nazareth Convent (Mount Nazareth) in Philadelphia. Sr. M. Sylvine (Frances) Czarnecka January 10, 1924 – October 3, 2019 Sr. Sylvine was a woman of deep prayer and strong will. During her 78 years in religious life, she spread the Kingdom of God’s love with kindness, concern, and thoughtfulness.
Born on January 10, 1924 to Alexander and Sophie (Kosinska) Czarnecki and baptized Frances Mary, she was the oldest of five children. From the beginning, our foundress had an important place in Frances’ life. In the sixth grade at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr School in Ozone Park, NY, Frances contracted double pneumonia. Our sisters came to her home to place on her a relic of Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska), our foundress. Later Sr. Sylvine wrote of the experience, “No one expected me to live. I was hospitalized, and then sent to a sanatorium to recuperate. After four months, I returned home and was on time to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.” She attended Nazareth Academy, arriving there in September 1939, and entered the Congregation on June 10, 1941. As a second year novice, she and other novices helped the World War II effort by embroidering designs in banners for the various corps of the U.S. Armed Forces. She and her novice group also cut and sent out hosts for Mass to chaplains on the European front. She professed her final vows on August 15, 1950. From 1944-1946, she attended Holy Family Teacher Training School in Philadelphia, receiving a normal certificate for teaching. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Holy Family College (now University) in Philadelphia and a Master’s in Biology from Villanova University, Pennsylvania. Always an avid learner, Sr. Sylvine attended Holy Cross College and Boston College, earning additional credits in Physics, Chemistry, and Biological Sciences. Her first mission was to Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, where she spent nine years teaching in both Colegio
Espirito Santo and in missions in Quintana, P.R. She also served in schools in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. She taught 32 years on the elementary school level and 27 years on the high school level. After a long illness, Sr. Sylvine died on October 3 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent in Monroe, CT. Her Mass of Resurrection was celebrated October 7 at the convent chapel. Sr. M. Madeline (Catherine) Kanich August 26, 1940 – October 8, 2019 With kindness, generosity, and sensitivity, Sr. Madeline touched many lives with her warm-hearted, good humor and with her commitment to serving families. Born on August 26, 1940 to John and Ann (Jacubovics) Kanich in New York City, she was baptized Catherine Kanich at St. John Nepomucene Church and became a member of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Greenpoint, Brooklyn when her family moved there. She entered the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth on September 8, 1956 and professed her final vows on August 11, 1965. Sr. Madeline earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Holy Family University in Philadelphia in1969 and a Master of Social Work from St. Louis University, Missouri in 1971. Her first assignment was to teach in St. Mary’s Elementary School, Worcester, MA. After six years of ministry there, she devoted her life to Little Flower Children’s Services in Wading River, NY where she spent 27 years as a social worker. She also served as a cottage mother
and adoption supervisor. Her strong advocacy for the children she represented was a blessing to so many. After her retirement from social work in 1998, she continued at Little Flower as an econome/buyer, ordering food and supplies for the institution. In 2016, Little Flower honored Sr. Madeline for her 50 years of service to the organization, recognizing her for “enabling the ‘lights’ of so many Little Flower youngsters to shine over the long years of her career.” In January 2016, Sr. Madeline came to live at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, Monroe, CT to receive nursing care due to an injury. A specially made electric wheelchair enabled her to maneuver through the corridors of the convent to the dining room, chapel, and community room and was often seen in the chapel making visits to Jesus. She served as the convent’s assistant superior, a moderator for the Associates of the Holy Family, and a member of the Holy Family Grant Review Board. After a short illness, Sr. Madeline passed away peacefully on October 8. Her Mass of Resurrection was celebrated October 11 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent chapel, Monroe, CT.
Donations in memor y of a deceased sister may be mailed to Development Office, Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, 310 N. River Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016. Please include a note with the name of the sister you are giving in memor y of. Donations may also be made online at nazarethcsfn.org/support-us/ donate-now/.
NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
Thank you from our Development Office MORNING WITH THE SISTERS
More than 100 friends and sisters celebrated Mass and enjoyed breakfast at our annual Morning with the Sisters, held at our convent in Grand Prairie, TX. We love that the only purpose of this event is to celebrate our friendships with so many wonderful people! (photo right)
Thanks to Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki and her committee for all the hard work they did in organizing this yearâ€™s Oktoberfest fundraiser near Chicago. Some 350 sisters and friends of Nazareth gathered for delicious German food, raffles, silent auction, and rock-and-roll music performed by an Elvis impersonator, Rick Saucedo. Proceeds from the event will be used to assist the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazarethâ€™s outreach to families. For our sisters, just being with friends and benefactors is the best part of any gathering. We are grateful that so many take time out of their busy schedules to attend our Oktoberfest fundraiser. (photos above and left) 18
PRAY THE HOLY FAMILY NOVENA WITH US
The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas and January 1. This year the feast falls on December 29. Since 1989, friends of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth have joined us in praying the special Holy Family Novena, written by Sr. Cathy Fedewa, for the nine days leading up to this feast. Each day of the prayer focuses on a different aspect or form of family life, some of them non-traditional. “For all families... for new families... for families in pain... for persons without families... for our brothers and sisters throughout the world...” Sr. Cathy explains, “When I was thinking about this prayer, all of those different aspects of family life came to me.” That year the sisters in Pittsburgh received ecclesiastical permission from the Diocese of Pittsburgh to print the novena; they sent it to friends and family on their mailing list, invited them to join the sisters in praying the novena. Eventually, the custom spread across what is now the U.S. province of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth - and beyond. We invite you to join in spirit with this worldwide time of prayer and also to use this novena at any time of the year. The novena is available on our website at nazarethcsfn.org/prayer/ holy-family-novena. We also invite you to watch our Holy Family Novena video series featuring our sisters reading the novena. The videos are available online at bit.ly/CSFNHolyFamilyNovena.
NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER 2019
310 N River Rd. Des Plaines, IL 60016 www.nazarethcsfn.org
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MAKING A BEQUEST: GIVING A GIFT THAT LIVES ON Is there a CSFN sister who was influential in your lifeâ€”someone who helped you become the person you are? Maybe she taught you reading or prayed for you at a difficult time? One way you can honor her or her memory is by remembering the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in your Will. By carefully planning your Will, you can remember those charities and organizations which have been close to your heart throughout your life. If you would like more information about remembering the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in your Will, or if you have already done so, please contact Katherine Barth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-298-6760, ext. 143.
We, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, are called to extend the Kingdom of Godâ€™s love among ourselves and others by living the spirit of Jesus, Mary and Joseph whose lives were centered in the love of God and one another. We witness to this love through dedicated service to the Church, especially in ministry to the family.