Faith Afire - Summer 2022

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faith afire


Summer 2022 Given to God, in Community, for the Service of Those who are Poor

Dear Friends, July 31, 2022 marks the 11th anniversary of the formation of the Province of St. Louise. Formed by the unification of four former US Provinces (Albany, Emmitsburg, Evansville, and St. Louis), the Province of St. Louise has come into its own these past 11 years. Today, our more than 350 member Sisters continue to reach out to those who live on the margins of society. We continue to serve in traditional ministries including health, education, and social services, but also concentrate our ministry efforts in the arenas of systemic change, care of Earth, migration, racial equity, and more. Ten years ago, we introduced our Faith Afire magazine. We also debuted the Province’s website. As we mark their 10 years in the public realm, we share an updated look for both with you. We hope you enjoy not only the new look of Faith Afire but also the articles that allow you to peek into the worlds where we serve—nationally and internationally. Online at www.daughtersofcharity. org you may explore news, memorials, and initiatives in many areas including our Province’s work to fulfill Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ action steps.

Inside this Issue:



Finding God in Macon, Georgia


2022 Jubilarians


A Sip of Salvation... A Thirst for Life


Province News


In Memory


We Would Love to Hear from You


Two Sisters Sent on First Missions

Faith Afire • Summer 2022

At the end of July, and for the first time since fall 2019, many Sisters of the Province will gather in St. Louis together, in-person for a Provincial Meeting. There, we will explore the calls from the Daughters’ General Assembly held last November in Paris. We also will pray, dialogue, and rejoice in all of the blessings the Lord shares with us. May you, too, rejoice in your blessings— large and small. In Saints Vincent, Louise, and Elizabeth,

Sister Catherine Mary Norris, D.C. Provincial

On the Cover: Kindergarteners at St. Peter Claver School in Macon, Georgia, all enjoy having one-on-one time with their teacher, Sister Kate McFall. As one little one was heard to say: “I love learning!”

Dear Friends, In this issue of Faith Afire, you will find many interesting and inspiring articles about the works of the Daughters of Charity here in the St. Louise Province as well as works supported by the International Project Services fund. Personally, I am always touched by the life and example of our Jubilarians, those who have faithfully served for 50, 60, 70, 75 and 85 years! I think these women and all Daughters of Charity can teach us how to live in the changing and challenging times in which we live. The Daughters who you will read about and all Daughters describe themselves as “given to God in community for the service of those most in need.” When we appreciate how blessed we are, we desire to thank God which means we take time for daily prayer, we read and reflect on God’s words to us in Scripture, we open our hearts to God in the Sacrament, especially Penance and Eucharist. This brings us peace and joy, not the absence of trial but the confidence that God is with us. Living in community means developing skills we all need like being a good listener, not talking about others behind their backs, seeing the best in others, being someone who is encouraging of others, being inclusive of others and not divisive. It means learning to forgive and to seek forgiveness. It also means recognizing that not one of us is perfect but that doesn’t mean we give up trying. Finally, we can all incorporate some service of others into our daily life, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas but as a regular part of our life. Taking Holy Communion to a shut-in once a week, visiting a Nursing Home once a month, sorting food donations at a local pantry once or twice a month. Thank you, Daughters for reminding us of what is truly important, loving God, loving others, and reaching out to them in service. In Saints Vincent and Louise,

Faith Afire is published by the Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise. Editorial comments or suggestions should be directed to Belinda Davis, Director of Communications, belinda.davis@ or 314.341.5486; or to the writer of the article. Mailed comments or suggestions to 4330 Olive Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63108. Change of address or subscription notifications should be directed to Nancy Katich, nancy.katich@doc. org or 314.561.4625. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission. Feature Writer: Anna Ross,; Graphic Designer: Katie Zeller,

Father John Kettelberger, C.M. Provincial Director

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul


Finding God in Macon, Georgia


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

by Anna. M. Ross

For the first time visitor to Macon, Georgia, there is no better guide for exploring this Middle Southern city than with Sister Elyse Staab, current Sister Servant of the Daughters of Charity’s House, located on the grounds of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church and School. Sister Elyse shares the house with three Daughters – Sisters Cheryl Hillig, Kate McFall and Theresa Sullivan – and Postulant Alex Vizard, who has been with the four Daughters for 10 months and soon to leave to enter the Seminary. The five each has a ministry to attend to, each day an opportunity to carry out their founders’ charism, “to go out and serve those in need, to see the face of God in all whom they serve.”

Macon presents postcard-perfect parks, scenic river trails, lush gardens with cascading fountains and brick-lined paths leading to stately antebellum homes. Even the historic Riverside cemetery with its 19,000 souls, offers respite, a bridge that lends clarity to matters of the earth and comfort in the promise of an eternal life to come. Yet, as with all cities and their people, outward appearances can be deceiving; there’s a need to scratch below the surface and uproot the tangled weeds. The need to seek – and to find – the face of God. In Macon, God can be found – if one knows where to look. In 1991, three Daughters of Charity arrived in Macon in answer to a request for help from the Diocese of Savannah. Sister Elyse, one of the three original Daughters, would help set up and serve as administrator of Nazareth Home, a residential facility that offered practical and compassionate care to single expectant women and their babies. Thirty years later, the former residence is now home and office to Family Advancement Ministries (FAM), a multi-family service agency that provides resources and financial assistance to mothers and families, including Macon’s growing Hispanic population.

Front row: Sister Theresa Sullivan, Postulant Alex Vizard, Sister Cheryl Hillig. Back row: Sister Kate McFall and Sister Elyse Staab

Along the tour route, the senses are heightened, alerted to a wealth of wonders: the sense of awe felt in the sacred setting of the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, a preserve of over ten millennia of Native American culture; the sense of nostalgia evoked in the echoing notes of Macon’s musical legends, Otis Redding and Little Richard, whose achievements offer Macon’s youth a purpose for passion to reach one’s dream; the sense of homage paid at the Tubman Museum, where the African American journey is traced and celebrated; the scented sense of 300,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees that annually announces the arrival of spring.

The grounds of St. Peter Claver church and school are located just off the interstate. Upon entry, a sense of sanctuary is revealed, with a statue of the Sacred Heart on a pedestal, arms outstretched in welcome. The history of the Daughters’ house and the school continues through its mission today. St. Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia heiress, philanthropist and the Blessed Sacrament Order’s first Sister, was devoted to promoting racial justice, particularly toward African Americans and Native Americans. In 1903, she founded St. Peter Claver Catholic School to “give children of every race the

education they need.” And deserve.

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul


“Surprise us with love at daybreak …” For Sister Theresa, director of Depaul USA Daybreak Resource Center for the homeless, dawn is precious, an awakening with the promise of God’s love given – and received – for those she serves. Following Mass at the Daughters’ house, Sister Theresa gets in her car, her usual haste checked by the car following her and a need to brake with arm extended to point. Two of the four low-income homes they support are shown. There’s also a stop for a brisk walk along the cemetery grounds where weathered stones bear witness to the final journey of those of all faiths The final stop before nearby Daybreak is an encampment, tucked deep within the woods alongside the 200mile Ocmulgee River. Tents are spaced apart, with room for possessions on the ground, a collection of coveted objects that signal to all the property is private. It’s early still, and as yet unknown who remains inside. A man named Kenneth hears Sister calling and emerges, hurrying to catch up. Kenneth wants to explain a situation, a misunderstanding that occurred at Daybreak. Sister gives him her full attention, listening intently, patiently. Yet, while the focus remains fixed, Sister’s eyes suggest a process, a mental recap of the situation. She’s already moved on, quickly parsing Kenneth’s needs, offering him solutions: Loaves and Fishes Ministry for food; meet with the assistant director and security guard at Daybreak to discuss readmittance; contact the agency responsible for ensuring he gets his checks. As Sister Theresa confides later, “Every ministry I have had through the years, has helped me with the next.” As the eighth of 12 children, Sister Theresa knew from an early age what she wanted to do – and to become – one day. Taught by the Daughters in high school, Sister Theresa would go with them into Chicago’s inner-city, visiting at a nursing home where many of the patients had been homeless. She entered the community


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

immediately after high school. “It was a decision that I realize my parents would probably have preferred that I had waited to make until I was older, but I knew in my heart that this was God’s plan for me.” Daybreak opened in 2012 through the efforts of its first director, Sister Elizabeth Greim, and Depaul USA. In 2017, Sister Theresa took on the director role. The facility, a former 6,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse, offers hope to nearly 100 persons a day with a variety of services: laundry facilities, showers, meals, phones, computers, transportation, free health clinic and, most important, housing and housing placement. Sister Theresa quickly gets up to speed with the day’s agenda: introductions all around, including volunteers such as Steve Corkery, who has been picking up and bringing in doughnuts from the local bakery every Monday for the past five years. A longtime member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and its current treasurer, Steve also serves on Daybreak’s Advisory Council, which meets monthly with area church leaders of all denominations who have pledged financial support. Steve talks about annual events so crucial to the running of the facility: a theater dress rehearsal with proceeds earmarked for Daybreak; the Skydog Music Festival, a concert in tribute to the Allman Brothers; and Sleepout, an overnight sleepover in tents to show solidarity with those who sleep every night outdoors. Subaru’s annual “Share the Love” national campaign has also blessed Daybreak. Led by former general manager of Macon Subaru and twice-weekly Daybreak volunteer, Ken Grinstead, the dealership annually contributes $250 to Daybreak for each car sold between Thanksgiving and January 4.

And although Daybreak is a haven for those who spend their days worrying about where they will spend their nights, there are also those in need themselves who contribute to creating a welcoming refuge. Women such as Lakeya, who works at the front desk and was sent to Daybreak to complete mandatory community service hours. She expresses surprise at her reception, “I feel like I’m part of a family.”

Lakeya plans to continue working here when her service hours are complete. “I’m not homeless,” she says, “but Daybreak feels ‘homish,’ to me. I feel lucky and blessed to have been sent here.” A wide smile, then a phone to answer. “I want everyone who walks through this door to feel as welcome as I did.” Mark S. is a self-described “jack-of-all-trades,” who volunteers and helps with security at Daybreak. And, like Lakeya, Mark feels at home and appreciated at Daybreak. Suddenly homeless after leaving Baltimore, Mark knows that “God led me to Daybreak for a reason. He showed me that I have purpose, that I have reason to believe in myself,” he says agreeably. “It was God who showed me that I have a gift with the people here,” he continues. “I listen, and they open up to me because I can understand what they’re going through.” Mark is at Daybreak every day, his purpose determined by the God he obeys and the director, Sister Theresa, whom he trusts and protects.

Gary Musolf, treasurer of Depaul USA and his wife, Betty, secretary of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, are also Affiliates of the Daughters of Charity. Gary has dropped in at Daybreak, stopping briefly to talk about WEAR, a thrift store on First Street. Opened in 2015 with all proceeds directed toward Daybreak, Gary is always on the lookout for ideas for the store, the “thrift with a twist” upscale boutique; “where one’s dollar makes change.” But he leaves off the conversation, aware that his wife Betty is meeting with Sister Elyse tomorrow to discuss the couple’s work with the Vincentians and the Daughters. Daybreak gets busier closer to lunchtime, and DeLois is just waiting, curled up in a comfy leather chair and glad to talk. She’s here often, but admits good-naturedly, “I like to keep to myself.” DeLois speaks of God as the One who is the first – and the last – word for me,” adding emphatically, “I’m not afraid of anything or anyone, except God.” Having grown up in Macon, DeLois has family here, but a stubborn fierceness for independence compels her to say, “I want to feel free, and I want to have a say in how I live my life. And only God will be the One I will be answering to.” Mr. Cleveland has an apartment and car but came to the facility’s health clinic so that registered nurse, Sally Proffitt, could check out his painful leg. A preacher with a love for God and his fellow man, Mr. Cleveland has a generous heart and kind nature. He’s also a proud man. His family has offered to help, but he likes his independence, to have people rely on him rather than relying on others. As he states simply to his children, “I’m the father.” In conjunction with the Macon Housing Authority, 82 units of housing in three, three-story buildings with 16 designated units for the chronically homeless will open in 2023. The first of its kind, the facility includes an 11-bed medical respite program for those with nowhere to go after discharge from the hospital and a four-room medical clinic that provides dental and primary healthcare.

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul


“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them …” Sister Cheryl, principal of St. Peter Claver School and kindergarten teacher, Sister Kate McFall, walk from their house to the school, about fifty feet away. Sister Kate heads to her classroom while Sister Cheryl stands in front on the sidewalk, greeting students and taking temperatures. School traffic moves smoothly, a door slam and then a quick parental wave. As Sister Cheryl says later that morning, “Although the majority of our students” – a multicultural and predominantly African American population – “are not Catholic or even a part of the St. Peter Claver parish, parents have consciously made the decision to send their children here. One parent drives an hour each way every day while others make great sacrifices to pay as much of the private school tuition as they can.” However, tuition costs don’t cover operating costs, and Sister Cheryl, along with Development Director, Regina Sweeney continue to reach out to every resource available to keep the school open. Alex, postulant at the house, works part-time with Regina to meet the challenge of operating costs of a K3-8th grade school. Sister Cheryl has been principal at St. Peter Claver Catholic School (SPCCS) for the last eight years. A native New Yorker, Sister Cheryl had never been farther south than Maryland before being missioned to Macon. She smiles, then admits, “While I feel blessed to serve here, I wouldn’t mind a brisk Northern breeze to blow through once in a while!” SPCCS currently has 165 students; most students are non-Catholic, and they represent 56 different churches in and around Macon, which Sister Cheryl finds helps enrich her own Catholic faith. “We all worship the same God,” she says. “We just worship differently!” She continues reflectively, “The encounter between God and my students that takes place each day is what, I believe, gets me out of bed in the morning.”


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

Getting to know the families is also an aspect of her role that Sister Cheryl especially enjoys. “As the head of the school, I have the unique position of interacting with families on many different levels. I can celebrate good news with them, I can walk with them through hard financial times and I can console them when tragedy and sorrow touch their souls.” With students and their families from many different socio-economic backgrounds and different faith traditions, Sister Cheryl states that “It brings richness to our school community. Parents sacrifice so much to send their children to our school. Our students are very prepared for high school and can compete with any other students in gaining acceptance to elite high schools. Academic excellence is demanded from all our students and the students rise to the occasion,” she says, with a touch of humility – and a hint of pride.

“Bless the children … for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”

is returned. As one youngster was heard to say quietly to her neighbor: “I love learning!” The whispered response came quickly: “So do I!”

Kindergarten teacher Sister Kate was sent on mission to St. Peter Claver School in May of 2020, following nearly two years in Seminary. With both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in elementary education, Sister Kate has met the challenge of teaching a classroom of five- and sixyear-olds with a supply of colorful teaching tools designed to hold even the squirmiest of children’s attention. All the senses are engaged in Sister Kate’s class: singing, jumping, dancing, rhyming; the class moves seamlessly from one lesson to another. As Sister Kate says, “I want my students to understand the why of words, the meaning behind learning to read, not to just memorize and later, have nothing to build on.” Sister Kate’s class even includes using sign language when reading or reciting aloud, another sensory tool that stimulates the mind. An opening lesson is “playing” the ‘secret stories’ game.” Seated on brightly colored numbers, the children raise their hands, eager to be picked first, adhering to Sister Kate’s cardinal rule of the classroom: “Raise your hand to speak or stand.” Pairs of lettered sounds are carefully considered and the class reacts accordingly: “au” and “aw” are two sounds that “have a crush on each other,” because “when you see someone you like,” the youngsters shout in chorus, “you say ‘Aww’!’’ Lessons are presented in short increments, attention spans and sitting still in the early stages of development. When asked about the rumored countdown from 10 for students to sit down or stop talking, Sister Kate lifts a brow and offers a knowing half-smile, “I start from 3.” Yet, clearly Sister Kate loves her students – and the affection

Having lived in a volunteer community and a discernment house, Sister Kate has come to accept that no matter the vocation – single, married, religious, apostolic – there will be challenges. “Yet,” she says, “there are certainly rewarding times, too, in community. “There is no ‘perfect,’ life” she continues. “It’s finding and accepting the life you are called to do, the one that will bring the most joy.” Sister Kate had experienced community with friends, but could she live in community as a religious? And where should she begin to look? Sister Kate, a selfdescribed “planner,” went online to search for where she might belong, setting parameters to find the perfect fit to answer God’s call. “With over 100 communities listed,” she recalls, “the Daughters weren’t even on it, and I ended up discerning with another community. As I grew to know their community, I woke up New Year’s Day and realized that the community wasn’t the right fit for me.” Sister Kate returned to searching online with a different set of parameters, and the Daughters of Charity appeared, leading her on the path toward her vocational calling. Sister Kate continues to connect online with others – teachers, friends, religious, family – who help Sister Kate grow in her ministry as a teacher, offer spiritual growth as a Daughter, remain close to family and friends, and enrich her apostolic life in community. And, of course, help to ensure that a classroom of God’s littlest angels will continue to realize just how fun learning can be.

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul


“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you …”

hardships that many Macon families face, one of many stories that she hears every day. A young woman contacted them; a mother of two young children who was pregnant with a third. The woman had a job, but was unable to work after contracting COVID. While in the hospital, she delivered the baby, who, too had COVID and died shortly after birth. When the woman returned home, she found an eviction notice from the landlord. What could she do? In a situation like the above, Gigi said she would contact the landlord, the hope being the landlord would extend the lease for a few months and FAM could cover costs. The arrangement would give the mother time to get back on her feet, return to work or find a better-paying job, while Gigi and staff would use the time to network with other agencies in finding a permanent solution for the mother and her family. An annual highlight at FAM is the children’s Christmas present drive. Thank-you signs from grateful parents are taped to the refrigerator. Parents who have witnessed the joy of their children discovering gifts under the tree with their names on them from Santa; knowing they and their children are not invisible – and that they are loved.

Family Advancement Ministries (FAM) opened in Macon in 2007 as a result of the merger between two of the Daughters of Charity ministries, Nazareth Home and Mother & Child Ministry As defined by its mission statement, FAM is a “Catholic, diocesan social service organization that nurtures reverence for life by responding to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of families with the goal of moving families toward independence and self-sufficiency.” Gigi Rolfes, FAM’s executive director, and Alex sit down one afternoon to talk about the important role FAM has in the Macon community. The list of services is long — from providing financial assistance toward rent, utilities and practical items such as car seats, bottles, infant and toddler clothes and food, to offering workshops on personal finance and nutritional needs. For the Hispanic community, FAM assists in helping to find work with programs such as ESL classes, citizenship, finance and legal rights. Alex has appreciated the direct contact with the families she’s found by working with Gigi, who pulls from a long list of resources and contacts to assist FAM’s clients. Gigi shares a story that illustrates the


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

“Go to the poor: you will find God.” Sister Elyse returned to Macon in 2009 after serving a nine-year term as Visitatrix. When asked about her time in Emmitsburg, she admits that “I was shocked that I had been named… and I remember saying to the Holy Spirit: ‘Help me!’– and I was not disappointed.” Sister admitted that she often claimed, “I have had a very checkered background – I’ve never done the same thing twice!” But from her time as one of the first Daughters to be sent on mission in the South, in Macon Sister Elyse has essentially come full circle. “As I look back to my earliest days in Macon,” she says today, “I realize how blessed I was to have been one of the first to introduce the Vincentian charism to this part of the world. I have watched the growth, the interconnectedness of the Vincentian spirit and the collaboration among the ministries and the love and support they offer one another. This is the ultimate gift for me and for the wonderful people of Macon.” Today, Sister Elyse serves in the Vincentian Family Ministry as a coordinator, with an office at The Kolbe Center, a Catholic non-profit agency that assists women with unplanned pregnancies by providing support before and after the birth. The space is ideal for Sister Elyse, where she is equipped with all the tools necessary in her role as a coordinator of the Daughter of Charity Affiliates, as well as the Women of Charity, former Daughters who continue to live out the Vincentian charism in their lives as lay women.

Betty Musolf and Sister Elyse

Betty Musolf, current secretary for the local conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, arrives at The Kolbe Center. Betty speaks openly about the joy she and husband Gary have experienced as Affiliates of the Daughters of Charity, and the support they have received through the years. Betty speaks of an especially memorable trip to Rome in 2017, where the couple (along with nearly 10,000 others), attended the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism. As Betty says, “We have met and received such support from other Affiliates, they’ve become friends as well.” When asked about WEAR, Betty laughs and says good-naturedly, “I think Gary knows more about fashion and what’s in style than I do now. He loves seeing how everything is displayed and coming up with ideas to draw shoppers in.”

Giving thanks at the table Supper at the Daughters’ House is at 6 p.m., a simple but delicious and filling meal prepared by the Sisters on a rotating basis. Following grace, the group appears to visibly relax, a small drop of the shoulders in the process of letting go of the day without worry for the next. It’s a time to share, to catch up with one another’s day, or to simply sit back and listen. Alex and Sister Kate, the younger adults at the table, are open and engaging. Alex, with a seemingly insatiable appetite for chocolate in all forms, opens the conversation with a recounting of her day’s desserts. Which in turn, leads to Sister Kate’s recommendation of Buc-cee’s, a Texas gas station chain, whose mega-offerings rivals the size of the Lone Star State. It’s pleasant, entertaining, the chatter one expects among family. The enthusiasm and energy of Alex, soon to enter the Seminary, illustrates the newness and awakening of life in community; the expectations and the rewards of a shared life. Sister Kate talks about platforms and her online community connections. The intergenerational makeup among the five is highlighted by the question of the purpose of a fax; more importantly, how to send one. There is bemusement on all five faces, with the longerserving Sisters explaining the simplicity in sending a fax and willingness to demonstrate how. The younger two respond with a list of platforms, the immediacy of having connectivity without waiting for a sheet of paper to pass through a copier. For now, both worlds continue to teach – and learn – from the other.

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul


Further conversation takes place with Alex after supper. Her postulancy will end in August, when she will be joined by four others in the Seminary in St. Louis. Her call by God to community, like many past and present Daughters, took her by surprise. The Michigan native attended St. Mary’s College, a private, all-female Catholic liberal arts college at Notre Dame in Indiana. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and after passing the difficult CPA test for licensure, Alex accepted a position at a prestigious accounting firm in Chicago.

skills. I was surprised to learn I could have both with the Daughters of Charity!”

Alex stayed 2½ years before deciding that the corporate world was not for her and never would be. She began working at a non-profit agency and recounts her two years there with unabashed enthusiasm.

Alex spent a year as a pre-postulant in Harlingen, Texas, where she learned the importance of living in community, sharing responsibilities (including cooking, which is still a skill in need of perfecting for Alex) and, as a Daughter, accepting the challenge of an hour spent in silent meditation each day.

“I loved everything about Chicago – my job, my apartment, my friends, my spiritual life,” she recalls. “But I still felt a longing for something more, that I was missing something. And I felt I was being ungrateful for not appreciating all that I had been given.” Like Sister Kate, Alex began searching online. She felt she was being called by God, but not quite sure where to look or to start. “Discernment is a process. All I knew was that I wanted a community that had younger Sisters, too, and where I could remain a CPA and use my accounting


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

Alex adds that although getting to know the Daughters through Zoom and online communication was good, there must be in-person visits to see if the community is a good fit for you, and vice versa. She particularly appreciated a road trip from Chicago, visiting Daughters at several houses in Evansville, St. Louis, and East St. Louis.

Alex freely admits that she loves to talk and admits, “I couldn’t imagine keeping silent for more than five minutes much less sixty!” She attributes Sister Liz Sojberg with helping her to not only master – but to look forward to – her quiet time in conversation with God. And while Sister Liz is one of the younger Daughters at the house in Harlingen as is Sister Kate in Macon, Alex says she considers “intergenerational living a gift.”

“Your face, Lord, do I seek.” As the time draws near for the visitor to leave, there’s a sense of loss, a spirit that has manifested itself with the places visited, the people met, witnessing the Daughters’ ministries. If one seeks God in Macon, they need look no further than the men and women at Daybreak, the tiny dancers wriggling to the beat of a sing-song ABC, the small child opening the first Christmas present ever received, the parent behind the wheel after an hour drive so the child can succeed in school – and in life. God can be seen in the face of Martha, a volunteer at FAM who works alone upstairs, carefully sorting and assembling outfits, from infant size up to eight years old. “Each outfit I lay out,” she says, “matters to me as if the child being dressed is my own.”

God is the face of someone sitting alone on a park bench or standing with hand outstretched on the street. God is the mother who has no food for her child or money for rent. God is in those who are often looked through or away from. Yet, for the Daughters on mission in Macon and the countless men and women who serve alongside them, God works through them to serve Him. As Sister Theresa said of those who come seeking sanctuary at Daybreak, “How do people know they’re loved by God if they haven’t experienced God’s love in others?” In Macon, Georgia, they do.

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul


2022 Jubilarians

Celebrating 2,085 Years of Serving Christ in Those in Need During January through December 2022, 33 Daughters celebrate jubilees.

85 Years Vocation Sister Enda McArdle, D.C. December 21, 1937

Sister Enda served in Education ministry as an Elementary, Secondary and ESL Teacher and Department Supervisor for more than 70 years. She currently serves in the Ministry of Prayer in Albany, N.Y.

75 Years Vocation Sister Alexandrine Lazzari, D.C. September 25, 1947

Sister Alexandrine served in Dietary Services in children’s homes and as a Parish Minister and Patient Visitor in nursing homes and hospitals. In 2019, after 17 years as a Pastoral Care Volunteer in Mobile, Ala., Sister entered the Ministry of Prayer, Evansville, Ind.

Sister Ann Paul Chenard, D.C. November 21, 1947

Sister Ann Paul ministered as an Educator for 33 years teaching Kindergarten through college freshmen; she also served in Pastoral Care and as a Chaplain in hospitals. Today, she served in the Ministry of Prayer in Albany, N.Y.

70 Years Vocation Sister Helen Brewer, D.C. November 25, 1952

A Teacher, Principal, Director, Administrator, Vice President of Mission, Provincial Councillor, Associate Vicar for Religious, Consultant, and Local Community Superior, Sister Helen now serves in the Ministry of Prayer at The Sarah Community, Bridgeton, Mo.

Sister Lucretia Burns, D.C. November 25, 1952

A Primary and Headstart Teacher and Principal, Coordinator of Volunteers, Seamstress and Sewing Room Supervisor, Learning Clubs Director, GED Teacher and Tutor, and Local Community Superior, Sister Lucretia today serves in the Ministry of Prayer in Evansville, Ind.

Sister Denise Duplessis, D.C. November 25, 1952

An Elementary and Religion Teacher, Music Teacher, Group Mother, Pastoral Associate, and Local Community Superior, Sister Denise now serves in the Ministry of Prayer, Evansville, Ind.

Sister Felicia Mazzola, D.C. June 24, 1952

Sister Felicia, a Teacher and Principal; Provincial Treasurer and Councillor; Executive Director of the Daughters’ International Project Services; General Finance Board Member for the International Company; and Local Community Superior, serves in the Ministry of Prayer, Emmitsburg, MD.


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

Sister Anne Marie Moran, D.C. December 22, 1952

Sister Anne Marie served as a Teacher; Provincial Councillor; Seminary Directress; Board Member, and Local Community Superior. Today, Sister serves in the Ministry of Prayer in Albany, N.Y.

Sister Dorothy Olinger, D.C. January 25, 1952

Sister Dorothy served as a Housemother; Elementary and Computer Teacher and Principal; Docent at the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton; Receptionist; and Moderator for the Ladies of Charity in Nashville, Tenn. Today, she serves in the Ministry of Prayer, Evansville, Ind.

Sister Mary Pavonarius, D.C. December 22, 1952

An Elementary and Secondary Teacher; Coordinator of Outreach and Support; and Seton Way Guide and Sacristan at the Basilica of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Sister Mary now serves in the Ministry of Prayer, Emmitsburg, Md.

Sister Louise Sullivan, D.C. December 22, 1952

Sister Louise has served as a Teacher, Lecturer, University Professor and Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, Niagara University; Writer, Translator, and Vincentian Heritage Retreat Leader; Local Community Superior. Sister works on Vincentian Heritage Projects and lives in Bayside, N.Y.

60 Years Vocation Sister Kathryn Bechtold, D.C. June 25, 1962

Sister Kathryn served in Cochabamba, Bolivia in the late 1960s and early 1970s; then, she was missioned to Madagascar and Tanzania in Africa, where she served from 1974 until 2021. Sister now serves in the Ministry of Prayer, Albany, N.Y.

Sister Patricia Beyrau, D.C. June 25, 1962

An Educator, Sister Patricia most recently served 17 years at the Parish of the Risen Christ in Kitale, Kenya. Sister currently serves in Utica, N.Y.

Sister Patricia Connolly, D.C. June 5, 1962

Sister Patricia has served as Teacher, Principal, PSR Coordinator, Provincial Associates Coordinator, VIE Program Coordinator, Provincial Councillor, NGO Representative, and Local Community Superior. Today, Sister serves in Social Justice Ministry in East St. Louis, Ill.

Sister Mary Catherine Dunn, D.C. June 5, 1962

Sister Mary Catherine has served as Dietary Director, Therapeutic and Administrative Dietitian, Parish Minister, Executive Director, Development Coordinator, Case Worker, Receptionist, Volunteer, and Local Community Superior. Since 2019, Sister has ministered in Maryland Heights, Mo.

Sister Ellen Eisenberger, D.C. June 25, 1962

Elementary Teacher and Principal, Assistant Vice President and Administrator, Hospital CEO and President, Vice President of Mission Services, Provincial Secretary, Outreach Director, Board Member, and Local Community Superior, Sister Ellen currently ministers at Mercy Mission, Hardeeville, S.C.

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Sister Dorothy Folmer, D.C. June 25, 1962

A Teacher in Congo, Africa, Sister Dorothy also served five years in Rome and 13 years in Taiwan. In more recent years, Sister has served as an Outreach Coordinator and Thirft Shop Volunteer. Today, she serves as a Seminary Companion at the Daughters’ Seminary in St. Louis, Mo.

Sister Mary Frate, D.C. June 25, 1962

A Teacher, Social Worker, Parish Minister, Catholic Charities Manger, and Provincial Vocation Director, Sister Mary has served in Outreach and Parish Lay Formation on the Navajo Reservation in Tuba City, Ariz., and now assists the Local Community Superior in Albany, N.Y.

Sister Jane Graves, D.C. June 25, 1962

An Elementary and Secondary Teacher, Registrar at Laboure College, Vice President of Mission Services, Provincial Treasurer, Sponsored Works Liaison, Board Member, and Local Community Superior, Sister Jane currently serves in Governance and Administration in Emmitsburg, Md.

Sister Loretta Hoag, D.C. June 25, 1962

An Art Teacher and Sculptor, Sister Loretta served many years as a Fine Arts Facilitator for Adults at Roarke Center, Troy, N.Y., and on the Albany Exploratory Task Force Board. Today, Sister serves as House Coordinator, Sculptor, and Art Educator in Albany, N.Y.

Sister Genevieve Keusenkothen, D.C. June 5, 1962

A Math and Science Teacher, Nurse and Clinical Nurse Coordinator, Office Clerk, Provincial Archivist, and Volunteer, Sister Genevieve currently serves in the Ministry of Prayer, The Sarah Community, Bridgeton, Mo.

Sister Rosa Lee Kramer, D.C. January 25, 1962

An Elementary Secondary and ESL Teacher, Librarian, Docent at the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Archives Assistant, Local Community Superior, and Board Member, Sister Rosa Lee serves in the Ministry of Prayer, The Sarah Community, Bridgeton, Mo.

Sister Mary Linda Lawler, D.C. June 25, 1962

A Teacher, Director of Religious Education, and Resource Teacher, Sister Mary Linda Lawler currently serves in the Ministry of Prayer in Schenectady, N.Y.

Sister Charles Legg, D.C. June 25, 1962

An Elementary and Secondary Teacher, Tutor, Library Volunteer, and Parish Minister, Sister Charles serves at Elizabeth Seton High School, Bladensburg, Md.

Sister Kathleen Murray, D.C. June 5, 1962

An Elementary Teacher and Principal, Board Member, and Local Community Superior, Sister Kathleen has served since 2014 as the Assistant to the Principal at Thea Bowman Catholic School, East St. Louis, Ill.


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Sister Monique Nadeau, D.C. August 13, 1961

Sister Monique served in Palliative Care Nursing in Montreal, Quebec, and she served 10 years in Nursing in the Middle East. She has devoted a lifetime of service in home health care ministry for those in need. Today, Sister ministers in Montreal, Quebec.

Sister Judith Parkin, D.C. June 25, 1962

An Elementary Teacher, Librarian, Soup Kitchen Director at My Brother’s Keeper, and Volunteer, Sister now serves in the Ministry of Prayer, Emmitsburg, Md.

Sister Phylis Peters, D.C. June 5, 1962

A Staff and Head Nurse, Clinical Specialist, Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services, Sister Phylis served as Provincial Councillor and Treasurer in Ethiopia, and Pastoral Associate and Director at Proyecto Juan Diego, Brownsville, Texas. Since 2020, Sister Phylis assists refugees at the Bakhita Center, Utica, N.Y.

Sister Ann Sauvé, D.C. June 5, 1962

A Nurse, Sister Ann served in Chicago and Kentucky before being missioned to Beirut, Lebanon where she served in nursing and nursing administration. Also a Seminary Directress, Sister Ann today serves at Beirut’s Hospital de Sacre Coeur.

Sister Margaret Walker, D.C. June 25, 1962

A Teacher, Religious Education Director, Provincial Councillor, and Special Projects Coordinator. Sister Margaret has been serving in Campus Hospitality on the Sisters’ Albany Campus since 2017.

50 Years Vocation Sister Cynthia Fox, D.C. April 6, 1972

An Elementary Teacher, Information Services Project Manager, Computer Skills Instructor, IT Office Assistant, and ESL Tutor, Sister Cynthia now serves in the Ministry of Prayer, Emmitsburg, Md.

Sister Ann Claire Rhoads, D.C. April 6, 1972

An Elementary and Middle School Teacher and Principal, Vocation and Formation Minister, and Local Community Superior, Sister Ann Claire teaches at St. Pius X Catholic School in Mobile, Ala.

Sister Margaret Mary Scally, D.C. April 6, 1972

An Elementary Teacher and Principal, Volunteer, Board Member, and Counselor at the Griffin Center in East St. Louis, Ill., Sister Margaret Mary currently serves as a Counselor at Mother Seton School and Local Community Superior at Mother Seton House in Emmitsburg, Md.

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A Sip of Salvation … A Thirst for Life by Anna M. Ross

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said: Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” —John 7: 37-39

Water is both essential for survival and the essence of salvation. A five-lettered word of such importance that it appears in the Bible 722 times, mentioned more than faith, hope, worship, even prayer. Water is an inorganic compound that transcends science to speak to the soul; a symbol of purification and promise common to all faiths and cultures. It’s worth for existence is more powerful than love. The juxtaposition of heaven and earth manifests itself with water. From the skies, the rain and snow fall to cover, to cool; from the earth, water seeps and collects to nourish, to cleanse. Some places often get too much rain, others far too little. But for God in heaven and Jesus on earth, the Holy Spirit joins the two to become one in salvation. The living water that Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well, is as essential to one’s being as the lifegiving water that all human beings must have to survive. Water creates images of pleasure, idioms that touch and tease: a drop of kindness, a splash of color, a roar of laughter, a wave of emotion; the clichés of being wet behind the ears, raining cats and dogs, leading a horse to water. Water is tapped and pumped, drained and poured. It comes in many forms yet remains unique to each form: the snowflake, the raindrop, the ocean wave.


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

Water is a question – Will it rain today? Will the storm pass soon? Are the streets flooded? For many Americans, water is readily available and the act of getting it automatic. To put water usage in the U.S. into perspective, the average person uses over 101.5 gallons of water a day; an average often surpassed before the family leaves the house. But for those who live outside the United States, who share our border or simply share in the global world continents away, poverty exists on an unfathomable scale. A world where women and children of a village must choose between having an indoor toilet or a common well. Many have never seen water that is clear or tasted water that is safe. Their questions are basic: How far must I walk to get water? Should I bring my own water to the hospital? Is the water from the river safe to drink?

recalls, “Sister Felicia had accomplished so much, had things running so efficiently and smoothly, that she made my stepping into the role easy.” Today by telephone, Sister Mary Louise nixes the notion that she doesn’t sleep; however, when questioned what she finds the most challenging of her IPS executive directress role, Sister Mary Louise admits that “it is the urgency of the Daughters’ missions – no matter how small or how far away – that I find the most difficult to turn off thinking about. There is always a fax or a ping in the night to wake up to.” The eldest of seven children, the native Canadian came to the U.S. during her teen years. “We lived in Illinois, and I received a scholarship to a Catholic high school. I was interested in scientific research and while inquiring about a position at the Hansen’s Disease facility in Carville, Louisiana, I learned about the Daughters.

There’s a final question, a metaphor that instinctively causes one to pause: “Does it matter if the glass is halffull or half-empty if no one has a glass or the water to fill it?”

When I went to visit the community in St. Louis, I put in my application that same day. Most people, including my parents, would call me headstrong. My siblings liked to call me bossy.”

Executive Director Sister Mary Louise Stubbs has served at International Project Services (IPS) since 2014, an eight-year ministry that has flourished under her leadership. From her office in Southfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, Sister Mary Louise and staff work tirelessly to help those whose needs are great. With over 1,420 projects in 69 countries, Sister Mary Louise and her team often touch every time zone in carrying out the Daughters’ charism of “decreasing human suffering and increasing potential.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marillac College, Sister Mary Louise served in healthcare, from being a staff nurse through becoming vice president at Hotel Dieu Hospital in New Orleans.

Established in 2004 by the Superioress General Council and her Council in Paris, France, IPS became fully operational in 2006, with Sister Felicia Mazzola serving as its first director. “When I arrived,” Sister Mary Louise

Sisters Felicia Mazzola and Francine Brown working at IPS.

Throughout the years and following ministries, Sister Mary Louise honed the skills of effective leadership – to quickly process information and turn it into action, have a vision that encourages and inspires, develop and revisit often a strategic plan that is effective and decisive, and sacrifice set-in-stone methods to pivot, to sidestep creatively, instinctively, rather than yield to the chorus. Above all, for Sister Mary Louise, one shared with her Sisters throughout the world – to serve those in need, the marginalized of society. Every IPS brochure features the precept: to decrease suffering and recognize potential. “They ask so little and give back so much in return,” says Sister Mary Louise. A prolific writer and public speaker, Sister Mary Louise thrives on the challenge of playing matchmaker between the projects and the donors who support it. She enjoys mingling at social events and her wry, somewhat self-deprecating, humor allows ease and approachability. A story that elicits a laugh is relating a visit a few years past to her long-ago directress, who, taking Sister Mary Louise’s hand said dolefully: “All the good ones are gone.”

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For a project to be accepted at IPS, it must meet seven criteria, including prior approval of the Superioress General and her Council’s if the proposed project exceeds the Province’s authorized expenditure limit. The IPS Application Form must be filled out in English, French or Spanish, all information with photos included and emailed. The project should not be an immediate need and the expectation is that funds can be obtained for the project. Project requests or proposals are written by the Daughters on mission themselves, having been mentored by Sister Mary Louise and others through workshops and programs such as the African Sisters Education Collaborative to empower and educate the development world. Those who have been taught, in turn, can pass along their knowledge, what works and what doesn’t. Collaboration and networking are invaluable tools to instill confidence and ensure success in project writing and ultimately, in development partnership. Since 1993, the United Nations has celebrated World Water Day on March 22, an international response to raise awareness to address the needs of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. Cardinal Peter Turkson, former prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, stated that “the Holy See has been working for years to realize the vision of ensuring that everyone has access to clean, potable water.”

DREAM Meeting, Rome, 2019 (L-R): Sisters Friederika Kuhnel, Mary Louise Stubbs, and Bibiane Bokamba Pope Francis mentioned the theme of access to safe and drinkable water in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ and again in his 2019 message of Care of Creation. As Turkson continued, “Access to drinkable water and hygienic services is a matter of human dignity.”


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

Each World Day has a theme and 2020’s was “Water and Climate Change.” What sprang from that year’s theme was the WASH project (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), launched by the Dicastery in order to gain understanding and assess the current state of 150 healthcare facilities (from dispensaries to hospitals) that belong to the Catholic Church in 23 countries. A project – or the lack thereof – that became very dear to Sister Mary Louise’s and Daughters’ missions around the world. An interview between Sister Mary Louise and Sister Adela Orea, D.C. (who passed away within a month of the completion of her water and sanitation project) illustrates the long struggle of meeting the basic needs of the people the Daughters have served for the past 400 years. Sister Adela spent 37 years on mission ministering in the remote and impoverished areas of Mexico and Cameroon and, as Sister Mary Louise states, “What’s more remarkable is that Sister Adela had done so most often without running water.” While women Sister Adela Orea, around the world Chiapas, Mexico are often encouraged to give birth in areas where they have access to prenatal care and the benefit of a skilled attendant, many women choose to stay home where they are without safe water, basic toilets, or soap and hygiene practices. Just three years ago, in 2019, UNICEF released a report attributing 2.4 million newborn deaths to the lack of these essentials. Fortunately, Sister Adela lived to witness the WASH improvements made at the San Carlos de Altamirano Chiapas Hospital, thanks to an IPS donor. Because of the money received, “We were able to pipe water from a local spring to a large reservoir, where we pipe water to a series of tanks which provide water to the entire hospital so that we can have proper hygiene conditions,” Sister Adela was quoted as saying, “and conditions have changed for the better 180 degrees!” Over one hundred project requests are received in Sister Mary Louise’s inbox each year; all in need of financial support, each as crucial to a mission as the

next one’s. On the IPS website, a dropdown lists the country, the completed projects and the ones in progress. The projects range from small to large, from rural to urban. A kaleidoscope of colorful images on the screen highlights the work – and success – of a project, particularly those whose lives have been changed forever by a water filter system, a new water storage tank, or new toilets for a center that had four bathrooms to accommodate sixty patrons. The personal story below of Daughter of Charity Sister Felekech in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, follows the fulfillment of a dream to provide water to a town: from an idea to a request to an assigned project number to construction to completion. And finally, to a Daughter dancing on water raining upward from a well.

School) to provide education from kindergarten through Grade 12. The first Ethiopian Sister entered in 1952, and until 1972 the Ethiopian Daughters went to France for formation. In 1972, formation was changed to take place in Ethiopia. The country became an independent province in 2001.” On her journey as a Daughter, Sister writes, “I grew up in the countryside, and as a young girl, I was very interested in the Church and God. I was brought up in the Orthodox Church, which is dogmatically very near to the Catholic Church. I had a schoolfriend who was a Catholic and interested in joining the Daughters of Charity. I loved discussing with her about God, Church and how we could serve God. “As my parents were very strict Orthodox, I never dreamt of becoming a Catholic. One day, I jokingly asked my parents if I could become a Catholic and a Sister, and my father answered, ‘If you want, why not?’ To make sure he didn’t change his mind the next day, I went to the Catholic Church (which was 30 minutes away) and asked a Holy Priest, ‘Father, can I become a Catholic and become a Sister?’ “Usually, it takes two years to convert. For me it was instant,” she recalls. “It is the love of God which led me to become a Daughter of Charity. I have found my place.”

Madagascar, East Africa When asked by Sister Mary Louise via email to agree to an interview, Sister Felekech’s reply was immediate: “Of course I would be willing!” she wrote, “but it is more convenient for me through email as the telephones are either not clear or cut you off.” Before closing, Sister Felekech hastens to reassure, “Oh Sister, I will happily tell them how it has [new water system] saved our lives.” Sister Felekech responded to a set of questions with a six-page set of answers (and apologies for any lack of clarity since English is her third language; her eloquent answers ensured no apologies were necessary).

In Addis Ababa, the largest city in Ethiopia and the country’s capital, “families are very close, and the extended family support each other. In some cases, they live together. In the towns, everybody emphasizes the education of children, while in the countryside, the awareness of the need for education was low but now it is improving.

Republic of Burundi, East Africa

“I have been the Sister Servant and Provincial Secretary for the Provincial House in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the past nine years,” Sister Felekech writes. “I’ve also served as Project Director for IPS Projects since 2015, and I currently share the Provincial House with the Provincial and 13 Sisters. The Daughters of Charity arrived in Ethiopia in November 1927. Three Sisters were sent to open St. Mary’s Commercial School (now St. Mary’s Catholic

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul


The work is not finished yet in Addis Ababa. When asked, ‘What’s next?’ Sister Felekech reveals the Daughters’ next project, another water well for a second house in Addis Ababa. “People in the neighborhood have no water and the problem is serious. Now we know that it is a life-saving project, we will look for funds through the kind help of Sister Mary Louise and IPS.” Today, though, Sister Felekech writes, “The water problem is only a history. There’s no need to buy water anymore, there is water in abundance. This water is God-given, and we are blessed.”

Dancing on a borehole, Addis Ababa

In response to the question of what the capital city is like, Sister Felekech writes, “Addis Ababa is a melting pot for all the tribes coming from all corners of the country. In addition, it is considered as a capital of Africa. Because Ethiopia was not colonized, it has called the attention of the African peoples and the African Union seat is based in Addis Ababa. There are museums and churches to visit.” The installation of the new water system at St. Mary’s School and Laboratory brings smiles and much joy to the children, parents, teachers and us,” Sister says. “As you are aware, children love water and they keep drinking and washing hands, even when they don’t need to.”

There is no shortage of needs in the world, still much work to be done. The care of creation is in all our hands. Through the work of Sister Mary Louise, through the Daughters on mission around the world, through the generosity of the donors and benefactors, works such as those of Sister Felekech’s will continue. The late Sister Adela spoke for all Daughters at home and overseas when she said, “Water and faith are intertwined. And whoever has water, has life.” Through IPS, the Daughters can continue to serve as a conduit between those who are suffering and those who can help. Whether the gift of water is from those who provide it or for those who receive it, Psalm 23 offers a glimpse into the sip of salvation and the thirst for life: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He leads me beside still water … And my cup runneth over.

Before the system was installed, government/ municipality water was used, and in most cases, says Sister, “this water comes only once a week. If families run out, they must go purchase it or fetch water from the rivers/springs. We often didn’t have enough water at the school for the whole week, so we would have to buy it from the lorries, which was expensive and not that clean for drinking.” With fresh water on hand, “Our school is very conducive for learning and the teaching process. It was hard to teach when the students were complaining of being thirsty. At times, if there wasn’t any water, we had to close the school and send the children home. Additionally, it was difficult to control the toilets with over 1,800 students. Now, there is flushing water and the place is easily kept clean. Even the school garden is flourishing, and we can now keep the Laboratory clean and comfortable.”

St. Mary’s School, Addis Ababa


Faith Afire • Summer 2022


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DR Congo

Ethiopia Ethiopia


Daughters of Charity International Project Services Bolivia

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Province News Welcome, Dr. Grillo

Dr. Lisa Grillo was appointed to serve as President of Elizabeth Seton High School, Bladensburg, Md. Dr. Grillo (class of 1989) returned to Seton in August to serve as Interim President. In Dr. Grillo’s own words from an address earlier this fall, “As a community, we have always known about the brilliance of girls and young women, their intellectual gifts, leadership, capacity for deep humanness, for service to the poor and marginalized, and their ability to create deep, longstanding change in our society. This is a special time in American education for all girls and young women, but even more so for the Seton student, who has available to her a set of educational experiences within a school that has developed and perfected the model for educating girls and young women.” Dr. Grills, an educator, administrator, and professor, has more than 25 years of experience in school districts across Maryland,the District of Columbia, and North Carolina.

Congratulations to Sister Julia Huiskamp

In March, Sister Julia Huiskamp was honored as an affiliate of the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart for her outstanding years of service to those in need and exemplifying the qualities and values of St. Francis of Assisi. Pictured, left to right: Father Carroll Mizicko, OFM, Pastor of St. Augustine of Hippo, East St. Louis. IL; Sister Julia Huiskamp; Father Tom Narran, OFM, Provincial.

Sister Françoise among Leaders who Gathered in Rome

The Daughters of Charity’s Superioress General Sister Françoise Petit was one of 700 congregation leaders who attended the Assembly of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in Rome held the first week of May. Sister is pictured on the left.

Province Debuts New Website

In April, the Province’s updated website debuted. We invite you to check it out at News, obituaries, and information about vocation, history, and much, much more may be found there.


Faith Afire • Summer 2022

Sister Loretto Gettemeier Honored by Fathers and Families Support Center

In June, Sister Loretto Gettemeier was honored with an award, the Halbert Sullivan Legacy Award from the Fathers and Families Support Center (FFSC) in St. Louis. Sister was recognized for her role in the founding of FFSC in 1997. FFSC is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families by encouraging committed and responsible parents. Picture with Sister Loretto (center) are, left to right, Sisters Honora Remes, Julie Cutter, Nancy Murphy, Mary Catherine Dunn; Postulant Molly Smith; and Sister Carol Schumer.

Seton Shrine Breaks Ground for Expansion in Emmitsburg

June 24, many gathered at the former St. Joseph Provincial House entrance on the Emmitsburg Campus to watch as a groundbreaking was held for the expansion of Seton Heritage Ministries. Included in this expansion will be a new museum and visitors’ center. The plans also call for an exhibit area which the Province’s Archives will oversee. Funding for the expansion comes from a three-year capital campaign. Learn more about the plans and campaign here: https://setonshrine. org/200th-capital-campaign/ Pictured, left to right, Barbara Bozzuto, Lucie Baines Johnson, Sister Catherine Mary Norris, Liz Foshage, Sister Donna Geernaert, S.C., and Rob Judge.

Sister Maureen McGuire Honored by CHA

Congratulations to Sister Maureen McGuire who has been honored with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Catholic Health Association (CHA) after serving Ascension as a leader and mentor for 18 years.

Update on the Sisters Serving in and to Ukraine

Daughters of Charity have provided services and support to those affected by war and conflict for centuries. Today, the Sisters continue to serve in Ukraine and remain in peril in order to help those most in need. Now focused in the western areas of the country, they provide shelter, food, assistance, and emotional support to families fleeing to safer locations and care to those confined in senior residences. On the other side of the border in Poland, sisters provide similar services and are frequently filling their own homes with those on the refugee pathway. Wherever possible the Sisters continue with their ongoing ministries to those in need and to pivot activities to address war related issues. IPS continues to seek emergency grants requested by the Sisters in addition to the financial support pouring into the Daughters of Charity which is coordinated through the headquarters in Paris and which includes multiple generous gifts sent through DC International Project Services. You may make a donation to assist the Sisters with their work in Ukraine here:

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In Memory

We remember the nine Daughters of Charity who, in recent months, have gone to their Eternal Home.

Sister Eileen Donoghue

Sister Lucille Marie Beauchamp

Sister Mary Ellen Schwartz

February 11, 1949 November 14, 2021 53 years vocation Nurse, Director of Nursing, VP of Nursing Services, Missionary, Vincentian Program Coordinator, Pastoral Care Director, Board Member, Local Community Superior

May 4, 1922 December 14, 2021 76 years vocation Nurse, Nurse Supervisor, Director of Nursing Services, University Dean, Director of Education, Archivist, Board Chair, Local Community Superior

June 28, 1933 January 25, 2022 65 years vocation Nurse, Nurse Supervisor, Administrative Assistant, Director, Vice President Mission Services, Senior Services Coordinator, Board Member, Local Community Superior

Sister Cecile Matushek

Sister Catherine Kline

Sister Cora Anne Signaigo

July 19, 1940 March 14, 2022 63 years vocation Primary School and Learning Club Teacher, Principal, Vice President Mission Integration, Board Member, Local Community Superior

January 5, 1933 March 27, 2022 70 years vocation Teacher, Taiwan and Chongqing, China Missionary, Volunteer

November 25, 1938 March 29, 2022 57 years vocation Nurse and Nurse Supervisor, Coordinator, Administrator, Vice President of Mission Services, Provincial Treasurer, Daughters’ Stewardship Assistance Fund Board Member

Sister Michael Friebe

Sister Kathleen Stafford

Sister Mary Clare Hughes

March 16, 1922 March 30, 2022 79 years vocation Nurse, Nurse Supervisor, Chaplain

November 28, 1945 June 19, 2022 57 years vocation Teacher, Principal, Local Community Superior

November 25, 1924 June 25, 2022 79 years vocation Nurse, Administrator, COO, Visitatrix

“Remain faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10


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Pictured above from the early 1980s, Sister Amelia Lenz (1912–2014) answers the telephone at DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. A nurse, Sister Amelia served in New Orleans; Montgomery, Ala.; and for 22 years at the National Hansen’s Disease (previously known as Leprosy) Center in Carville, La. In 1979, Sister Amelia was missioned to serve as a front desk receptionist at DePaul Health Center and served there, first full-time and then part-time as a volunteer, for many years until she was 95 years of age.

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4330 Olive Street St. Louis, MO 63108-2622 Address Service Requested Faith Afire is printed with the environment in mind. In addition to domestic made recycled paper, the energy used to produce this magazine has been offset 100 percent with Missouri wind energy credits procured from the Ameren Missouri Pure Power program. The print facility is one of fewer than 50 SGP certified printers in the US and uses only printing inks that are solvent-free, low V.O.C. and soy based.

Two Sisters Sent on First Missions

In April, two Daughters of Charity from the Province of St. Louise completed their Seminary formation and were sent on their first missions. Sister Bella Davila (left) now serves in social work ministry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Sister Carissa Kulpa (third) is now serving in Harlingen, Texas, where she will teach primary students. Also pictured are Sister Katie Norris, Provincial (second) and Sister Mary Frances Barnes, Early Formation Councillor.