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Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity January 2012 Volume 46, Issue 1

Communigram Formally Accepted As Postulant On December 8, 2011, Regina Lehnerz became an ‘official Postulant’. We couldn’t help but smile as we joined Regina on this feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in singing the ‘Salve Regina’ as part of her Insignia Ceremony. Regina chose this traditional hymn bearing her own name, along with another Marian favorite as part of this significant Communal Rite of Welcome. In the prayer service she received a Franciscan insignia, a tau with the hand of Jesus covering that of Francis, to remind her of her call to follow Christ with all of us Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

At the conclusion of the Insignia Ceremony, Regina faced the assembled Community to receive their sung blessing.

Christmas Day Social At the Motherhouse

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Volume 46, Issue 1

By Sister Kay Elmer

Sister Sheila Kasten was “the oldest, middlest and youngest child of Ervin and Leone (nee Tennessen) Kasten born in Appleton, WI on a cold, icy night, January 27, 1932. She says, “I’ll let you ponder that statement for a few seconds. I had a wonderful childhood and future life with two loving parents. We did things as a family.” Kindergarten and first grade were spent in Appleton schools. However, in second grade the family moved to Neenah, WI because her Dad’s office assigned him there. St. Patrick School, Menasha, WI was the setting for grades 2, 3, 4 and 5 under the direction of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. This school was only a couple of blocks from her home; but Nicolet Boulevard separated Neenah from Menasha. When Sister was in 6th grade, the family returned to Appleton where she completed grades 6 through 9 at St. Joseph School, where again

she had the SSND Sisters. In ninth grade she was asked to portray in a school play the role of Mother Caroline, the foundress of the SSND Sisters. Sister comments, “We wore server cassocks but had the official veil, wimple and collar worn by the Sisters.” She smiles at the thought: “They had a hard time fitting my braids into the wimple.” Following that, Appleton Senior High School (now Appleton West) was where she graduated in l950. Sister pointed out that at that time there was only one high school in Appleton, now there are five high schools. After graduation Sister worked as a stenographer for six months at Household Finance Corporation. During this time she explored the possibility of being an Airline Stewardess. She met the requirements, but eyeglasses were prohibited at that time, so she was disqualified. Her next move was to the Yankee Paper Company in Menasha, where she was employed as secretary to the owners. In l952 Sister entered nurses training at Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, Oshkosh, WI. The Hospital and School were staffed by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, Milwaukee, WI. Upon completion of the three-year Registered Nurse program, the next step to take was the State Boards. Sister comments: “During this time Mom was praying a novena to Padre Pio for me. All help was welcome! I was working in surgery at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Apple-

ton, when the call came that I was officially an R.N.” “After seven months at St. Elizabeth’s, I transferred to the Medical Arts Clinic where I worked with two very busy General Practitioners. This was my favorite field of nursing because of the diversity of people and cases. The Clinic had three floors with an x-ray department, laboratory, cast room, pharmacy, office, switchboard, and other specialty physicians. We used to kid the doctors that if we had a ‘lying-in’ room they wouldn’t have to be called out for deliveries. While working at the Medical Arts Clinic, three of us took a cruise in the Bahamas aboard the yacht, Polynesia. It was a memorable time.” The summer of 1959 found Sister working on the island of Bar Harbor, ME at the local hospital. Their hospital had an ad in the RN

Sister posed for this picture in the gardens of the Brigittine Monks, Our Lady of Consolation Priory in Amity, OR.


Volume 46, Issue 1

magazine for summer help. This sounded interesting to her. She, along with nurses from Ohio, Virginia and California responded. They lived in the nurses’ dormitory. Sister comments: “The ‘islanders’ chided us about our accents but we responded that we didn’t have an accent. They had the accent! When we left, we threatened to cross out the Rs on their WELCOME TO BAR HARBOR sign and replace them with Hs!” “I returned to Medical Arts Clinic until taking the momentous step of entering Holy Family Convent, Manitowoc, WI, in August 1962. I had been praying since sixth grade to know my vocation. I had visited other Motherhouses but none appealed to me, nor did I want to be too far away from home, making it hard for my parents to visit. Our FSCC Sisters were missioned at Xavier High School and St. Therese Parish, (Appleton), so I saw them in Church, but it was through Sister Eileen Grace Beaton that I came to visit our Motherhouse in the Spring.” “Sister Eileen Grace was a teacher at Xavier High School and the driver who brought the Sisters to the Clinic for medical care. Sister and I had often visited, and she knew of my interest in becoming a Religious. She asked if I would like to visit the Motherhouse. So we drove to Manitowoc on a Saturday. I was greeted by Sister Kathryn (Una) Scheu, the Vocation Directress. Later we toured

the Motherhouse and College. The end of August saw my admission to the Community.” “I have never regretted my decision to become a professed Religious and am thankful the Lord directed me to this Community. In 2014 I will celebrate my Golden Jubilee.” In Community, Sister received additional education at St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, and Silver Lake College, Manitowoc. Her Mission appointments have been to the Emergency Department of our Community hospitals in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Ohio; Secretarial duties in Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Ohio; and in April 2007 she was asked to join the Communications Department at the Motherhouse. Sister wishes to highlight some memorable happenings: “When I visit my cousin Bill and his wife Peg in Eugene, OR, we have a wonderful time. It is only through

Having just learned of the surprise trip to Alaska, Sister Sheila posed with her cousin. Bill and his wife Peg.

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their much appreciated benevolence that I traveled to places I never dreamed of going to. The most surprising trip was a sevenday Alaskan cruise. It was fabulous! And that is a story all by itself! The ship, Infinity, accommodates 2,050 passengers; its tonnage is 91,000 pounds and it has eleven levels. Mass was celebrated every day on shipboard. Peg has gifted me with her impressive scrapbooks of our travels. So these trips live on!”

Fr. Bob Konopa's Book Signing at Turnrow Book Store in Greenwood. He sold out all the books the book store had plus all the books he had ordered for St. Francis parish.

Fr. Bob Konopa, OFM, whom many of our Sisters know from when he spent some time at the Motherhouse, recently published his first book through Tau Publishing Company entitled God, You Must Have Me Confused With Someone Else, Seeing What I Was Missing. It is a very readable book in which Father shares the insights gleaned from experiences in his own life and in working with others.

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Volume 46, Issue 1

December at the Pope Paul VI Institute Omaha, NE ― Many times meetings and public presentations take me out of the office, but the month of December was memorable for two in-house activities at the Institute. On December 15th, we said farewell to our wonderful nurse clinic manager, Linda Cady, who served in her position for 28 years, and next to Dr. Hilgers knows more about FertilityCare and NaProTechnology than anyone. I will dearly miss her and her astute clinical advice. Many a time, my clients were beneficiaries of the rich blend of Linda’s medical advice and practical ethics. Linda and I are shown standing in front of the fiesta decorations at her farewell party that echoed the Mexican luncheon and entertainment that wished her a happy retirement rich in faith, fun and family.

On December 19th, Archbishop Emeritus Elden Curtiss celebrated the Eucharist in our chapel of the Holy Family and remembered especially the loved ones of Institute employees who died this past year. Mass was followed by brunch and our annual “Baby Shower for Jesus.” After employees put lovely baby clothes and gifts under the tree, we deliver these items to local crisis pregnancy centers where they are awarded to new mothers who, under difficult circumstances, have made courageous decisions to keep their babies. The two OB/Gyns—Dr. Christine Hempel and Dr. Katherine Kargus— who are doing a surgical fellowship with Dr. Hilgers and a seven month ethics seminar with me show off some of the darling baby clothes for some of Jesus’ little ones. Submitted by Sister Renée Mirkes

Roman Catholic Religious Welcome Eastern Rite Monks Manitowoc, WI― On December 3, geographical ground. St. Nazianz was 2011 for more than just reasons of home for our foundress, Teresa curiosity, a number of our Sisters Gramlich, who became Sister Gabriel accepted an Open House invitation and later Mother Gabriel. Today, from the Eastern rite Catholic other of our Sisters and their families Monks of Holy Resurrection Moncontinue to call this quaint, faith-filled astery, St Nazianz, WI. This was town home. not the first time our Sisters had an Recently interviewed by The Compass, opportunity to have a conversation Diocese of Green Bay’s official comwith these holy men of God. Our Sisters listen attentively during the Open munication news, Abbot Nicholas, Community had housed the then House at Holy Resurrection Monastery, Father Moses, Father Maximos Dahomeless foundation while they St Nazianz, WI vies, Father Basil Doty and Brother were checking out Maria Haus, forMark Davis shared hopes and dreams, as well as their merly St. Mary Convent in St. Nazianz last year; this particular foundation’s history. Enjoy the monks own was a time to welcome friends as our new neighbors. chronicle of their beginning days in a new Wisconsin home on their Holy Resurrection Monastery website. Common Geographical Ground For those desiring your own ‘Eastern rite monastic Of course, with the monks’ move to St. Nazianz, our moment’, plan on joining the monks for some recolCommunity histories will now hold some common lection time soon. Written by Sister Julie Ann Sheahan



Volume 46, Issue 1


A new year brings many plans, hopes and perhaps even a call to become more balanced in life. The hymn “As We Gather At Your Table” balances a familiar traditional melody with some new words to ponder. First we are called to balance the Lord’s presence coming among us in both Word and Sacrament. It is both story and food that nourish our spirits as we go about our Christian living. That nourishment strengthens us to bring about change for a world that increasingly resembles the Kingdom of God. Then we are reminded of the challenge of taking our sacred experience out into our daily living. Words such as “witness”, “send”, “compassion”

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By Sister Kathleen Murphy Social Justice Commission

and “forgive” urge us to action. Yet this action is to come forth from reflection and worship. We are to bring peace, forgiveness and a faith vision to the world we meet outside our worship space. Finally the hymn summons us to evangelize. We are to be the ones who invite others in the name of Jesus. And who are we to call as guests? The last and the least, the very ones whom Jesus so often invited to be close to Him are to find places on our guest list. May this new year find us bringing about a new sense of justice among those we meet each day. May it find us reflecting on our call to bring Christian justice to all of our encounters.

Chiara Convent Christmas Decorations Photos by Sister Mariella Erdmann

Photo by Sister Marie Kolbe Zamora

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Volume 46, Issue 1

Discovering Greenwood Greenwood, MS― December was filled with all of the usual things that go with Advent and Christmas, float making and Christmas parade, parties, endless Christmas programs to prepare, invitations to various events, special liturgy functions and practices, baking, keeping track of all the unbelievable and generous donations from friends and parishioners, writing thank you notes, deciding on what gifts to give significant people, wrapping gifts, a marathon of Masses for Christmas, etc. This is all part of what December is about.

town we had never had reason to go to before. So when the comment was heard "I wonder where that road goes," all it took was a turn of the wheel and there we were. We found the homes of several of our teachers. It just helps to give a better understanding of where they are coming from. We also discovered that some of us may have some hearing problems. Now how could you mistake "State Maps" for "Steak Knives" or "Photograph" for "Votive Rap". No wonder we couldn't figure out what was meant. These were just some of the jumble mumbles, but it went on for the whole day. You can imagine that some pretty good ones were made up as the day went on. Even when we stopped to eat at a Chinese restaurant, the Chinese gentleman who waited on us kind of looked at us with a questioning look in the beginning and wondered if he missed or forgotten to do something. We assured him that it wasn't him, it was us and maybe one in particular, and from there he picked up on our frivolousness and joined in the teasing that was going on.

So after Christmas Day came and went, we had some time to catch our breath and decided to get a better glimpse of unknown places here in Greenwood. Our main focus was finding all the places where the hit movie The Help was filmed. (By the way, "The Help" which was 95% filmed in Greenwood from July through October, 2010, has already received a large number of awards and even more nominations - it will, for certain, receive some Oscar nominations.) When you watch the movie, the locations, homes, views, are the way Greenwood looks today. The story is from the 60's, but We even took in an unplanned stop the buildings and area is as it is now. at "Four Paws" where the owner is We had loads of fun finding Aibia vet and a parishioner of Immaculeen's and Minny's home on Taft In this take of the movie, The Help, filmed late Heart of Mary here in town. To Street and Baptist Town respec- in Greenwood, Miss Hilly lets out a piercing tively. Then there was Miss Hilly's scream as she discovers her front lawn covered our surprise and probably Sister Francis Mason’s delight, five cats home where all the commodes had with toilets. were residents in the office area. Dr. been placed in her front yard. The Debbie was gone to lunch, but we big plantation home of Celia Foote had time to just pet and get to know them a little bit was amazing, and a bit tough to find way out in the while the non animal lovers very graciously and heroicountry beyond North Carrollton. The plantation cally waited for that visit to come to an end. home of Skeeter and where she sat under the Weeping Willow tree with her maid Constantine was awesome. It was a very enjoyable day because our intent was to Then there was Constantine's home to find―more of a just have a good time, no matter what the day brought challenge. We were not sure we found the right one, and where we landed. Now the dreams that night― until we watched the film again. It was so satisfying that's another story that "won't" be told to protect the seeing the places in the film after finding them on our guilty. Submitted by Sister Mary Beth Kornely tour. Besides these locations, we also went to parts of


Volume 46, Issue 1

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Sharing Christmas Blessings Tucson, AZ ― Christmas vacation memories can add a new perspective to our regular routine. Our local community decided to adopt Poverello House for Christmas the last two years. Instead of spending money on each other, we give each other gifts of time and service. The money we projected for gifts we gave to Poverello House last year. This year on December 29th we gave a smaller donation and prepared the noon meal for the men. Sisters Mary Ann Feminella, Pat Sevcik, Leonette Kochan, and Carla Riach made a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Poverello House is a Hospitality House for homeless men started by Brother David Buer, OFM. The men can use the services of the house between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM once a week. It is open 5 days a week and managed by a young man named Eric who lives there. The men sign up for a day ahead of time since only twelve can be accommodated at a time. Once there, they can enjoy a warm breakfast and lunch, take a shower and wash their clothes. Two sitting rooms provide comfortable chairs, large TVs and reading materials. There is a resting room with three beds and a supply of clothing. We learned that some men prefer the lovely outdoor areas. Of course there is a statue of St. Francis and some animals gracing their yard. Brother David often stops in to lend a helping hand and many volunteers bring in meals, clothing and offer their time to keep the houses up. There are really two houses connected by a patio. We met a young volunteer named Carla. She insisted on putting the left over food away and doing the dishes. We enjoyed watching a TV show about the Kennedy’s with some of the guests.

Whatever notions of homeless men we had before this experience were definitely changed or modified by our experience. The men were very polite and grateful, quiet for the most part. We were surprised they didn’t interact a whole lot with each other. There is no dining room so each one fixes his plate and sits wherever he wants to eat. We discovered that the men are meat and potatoes men. The turkey, potatoes and gravy were wiped out and the salad was hardly touched. We thought we would make them turkey sandwiches to take with them. We left the bread, butter, baggies of homemade cookies and fruit there. The volunteer said she’d make sandwiches for them later. Brother David is a real servant of the poor. Since he’s been in Tucson, he started a winter soup patrol that brings soup and sandwiches and hot cocoa to the homeless out on the streets each evening. They have known sites where the homeless gather. Now one of the parishes has taken over this program. Another project of Brother’s was to set up two cooling centers in the summers where homeless people can get out of the afternoon heat and drink good water. He has inspired a woman in town to start a winter homeless shelter for women. Different agencies in Tucson have shelters for men during the winter months. When it hits a certain low temperature “Operation Deepfreeze” kicks in and other places open halls supplied with cots and blankets for the nights. Brother David is also involved in providing water and aid to migrants crossing the desert. All he does is carried out in the spirit of St. Francis and the tradition of Dorothy Day. How blessed we are to know him! Submitted by Sister Carla Riach

Convent Chapels at Christmas

Happy Memories

St. Francis Convent, Manitowoc.

St. Mary Chapel, Motherhouse

St. Francis Chapel Motherhouse

When the news announcement was made of Archbishop Timothy Dolan (right) being named a cardinal, Sister Peter Stengl remembered serving him as a guest at Bishop Aloysius Wycislo’s residence. Sister Catherine Glim and Sister Peter cooked and kept house for Bishop Wycislo from 2000-2005. Also pictured is Bishop David Zubik (left) who was the Bishop of Green Bay at the time of this picture.

January 2012 Communigram  

Community Newsletter