The Joliet Franciscan A Publication of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate - Joliet, IL
Fall - 2019
Letter from the President
Sister Dolores Zemont, OSF
Dear Friends, I trust you had a busy but relaxing summer with time for family, friends and all the activities that come with the season. Summer was a busy time for us, as well. Sometimes, it seems as though it is our busiest season. We launched the summer season with Jubilee – the annual celebration of our Sisters celebrating significant milestones in their religious lives. On June 15, fourteen Jubilarian Sisters celebrated 40, 50, 60 and 75 years as Joliet Franciscans. Sister Maurice White, who would have celebrated her 80th Jubilee this year, journeyed home to God on March 9. I am quite sure her celebration in Heaven is far greater than any she would have experienced on Earth. Several of us attended the annual Franciscan Federation assembly in St. Louis where Sister Vivian Whitehead was honored for her work at the Center for Correctional Concerns which she founded 40 years ago. The Governing Board was in Scottsdale in August where it was over 100 degrees every day we were there. Almost 700 Sisters from congregations across Sr. Dolores Zemont, OSF the country were present. As a group, we affirmed a resolution in which we committed, for the next three years, to explore the root causes of injustice and, in particular, the intersection of racism, migration, and climate crisis, as well as any complicity in our congregations in these injustices. We pledged to further work with these issues through education, prayer, advocacy, service, impact investing, and collaborative projects. Sisters and Associates met in our Summer Gathering from July 31 through August 3. This year’s gathering was of particular importance for the Sisters as we begin preparation for our General Chapter in April 2020. We, as well as many congregations of women religious, are envisioning innovative ways in which we can continue to serve the people of God. Two milestone celebrations take place this year. One is the 40th anniversary of the Center for Correctional Concerns. Although you will be able to read more about it in this issue, many of our Sisters and Associates have ministered to the resident population of the Will County Adult Detention Center as teachers, spiritual advisors and mentors. The second celebration is the 50th anniversary of St. Clare House of Prayer. Located in a farm house on the bank of the Kankakee River in Kankakee, Illinois, for almost 40 years, the Sisters who ministered over the years provided spiritual direction, guided retreats, hospitality and prayer to all who visited them. In 2008, St. Clare House of Prayer relocated to Joliet and returned to its roots as a contemplative community, still providing for the spiritual needs of those who visit them. I ask that you remember our Sisters in your prayers. I am grateful for your presence in our lives and for the many ways that you support us. You are remembered in my prayers every morning as I begin my day. May you experience beautiful autumn days. Peace and all good,
Sister Dolores Zemont, OSF SF President
The Joliet Franciscan (Fall 2019) CONGREGATION LEADERSHIP Sr. Dolores Zemont, OSF Sr. Rosemary Fonck, OSF Sr. Elaine Kerscher, OSF Sr. Barbara Kwiatkowski, OSF
EDITOR / LAYOUT DESIGN Lucy Sanchez Director of Communications email@example.com
COPY EDITORS Sister Ann Freiburg, OSF Renee Cipriani
Joliet Franciscan Center - JFC / 1433 Essington Rd. / Joliet, IL / 60435-2873 / (815) 725-8735 © 2019 - Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Joliet, IL. All Rights Reserved
Cover Photo: Gail Flatness, Kitchen Coordinator at Daybreak Shelter and Sister Sharon Frederick, OSF
Advancing the Mission
Hello Everyone! We are in the autumn of the year, which is my favorite. It means beautiful colors, cooler temperatures and a comfortable old sweater while looking ahead to the holidays. Let me begin by thanking you for your support of the Joliet Franciscan Sisters in so many ways. Whether it is responding to an appeal, using our greeting cards or attending an event, you make a difference. We enjoy the notes you send with memories of a Sister who was your teacher. The Sisters have also been the recipients of some estate gifts this year. When you remember the Sisters in an estate plan, it signals the role that Sisters played in your life was something special – something to be remembered. As more of our Sisters retire, the additional financial support is greatly needed and appreciated. Please remember that the IRA Charitable Rollover is available to individuals who are 70 1/2 years of age or older who wish to make a charitable contribution of up to $100,000 directly to the Sisters of St. Francis from an IRA without paying income tax on the IRA funds. For more information, please contact your financial professional.
my life and our collective lives provoking yet another new normal. I have repeated the words “fortune is fragile” many times. But now, I link that phrase with another. “Fortune is fragile so seize the day.” Below you will find our fundraising results from Fiscal Year 2019 which ended on June 30. The total giving was $729,790. Thank you for your wonderful support.
Nan Nagl Director of Mission Advancement
With that, enjoy these autumn days and until next time, embrace the miracle of each new day.
I hope you enjoy this packed issue of The Joliet Franciscan. We are covering our 2019 Jubilarians, Meet My Ministry, featuring Sister Sharon Frederick, as well as the Center for Correctional Concerns and the St. Clare House of Prayer. You will also always find information on our website at www.jolietfranciscans.org. Several times a year, we send out an eNews. You can sign up for that through the website. We are also on Facebook, which will provide announcements, plus a daily prayer. We are now also on Twitter. You can find us at @JolietSisters. There are a lot of ways for you to follow the Sisters. On a serious note, as I write this, it is September 11 and the 18th anniversary of 9/11. In 2001, I was part of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. Over lunch with a colleague a few days after 9/11, the topic was how everyone’s life had changed as a result. A “new” normal was now being established. We talked about “being fortunate” while acknowledging that “being fortunate” can mean different things to different people. My colleague summed it up by saying, “Fortune is fragile, Nan.” In these past 18 years, there have been many events in
Estates General Operations Retirement Events Restricted Stock Bluestem Earth Festival Brazil Other*
37% 22% 19% 11% 5% 2% 2% 1% 1%
(*includes St. Clare House of Prayer and JPIC projects)
Congratulations Jubiliarians 75th Jubilarian - Sister Margaret Ann Zimmerman Sister Margaret Ann Zimmerman was born in Hammond, Indiana, and attended St. Joseph School. She graduated from Catholic Central High School (now Bishop Noll High School) in Hammond. After high school, she came to Joliet as a boarder at the College of St. Francis (CSF). While living among the Franciscan Sisters who were her teachers at CSF, Sister Margaret Ann was influenced by their simplicity, kindness and understanding. They were an inspiration to her life. On September 7, 1943, Sister Margaret Ann began her journey of learning to live the Franciscan way of life as she became a postulant with the Joliet Franciscans. She completed her studies at CSF with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a minor in music. She also holds a masterâ€™s degree in Franciscan Theology from the Seraphic Institute, CSF. In 1946 Sister Margaret Ann began her ministry in the field of education at St. Clement High School in Chicago, Illinois, teaching religion, English and Music Appreciation. Shortly after, she moved crosstown to Sacred Heart in the Englewood area where she taught music in grades 1-4, gave private piano lessons and became the organist for the parish. In 1951 she began a ministry in Ohio teaching one year at Corpus Christi before she was assigned to Marybrook Academy in Maumee, Ohio, where she taught piano and organ lessons along with leading the girlsâ€™ glee club and choir and served as organist. From 1973-1997 she ministered as a music teacher and organist at St. Mary Parish in Columbus, Ohio. Sister Margaret Ann returned to Joliet as Health Care Services Coordinator and Medical Records Clerk for St. Francis Academy and subsequently, Joliet Catholic Academy. With declining eyesight, Sister Margaret Ann found it necessary to move to Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in 2005. Her ministry now is one of prayer and presence. Listening to the pipe organ in the chapel at OLA and singing the songs that she has memorized over the years remind her of the joys and gifts she has celebrated for 75 years as a Joliet Franciscan.
75th Jubilarian - Sister Clare Wand Sister Clare Wand was born in Quincy, Illinois, where she attended St. Anthony Grade School. She then came to Joliet to attend St. Francis Academy (SFA), and on September 7, 1943, she became a postulant of the Joliet Franciscans. She was accepted into the novitiate in 1944, receiving the name Sister Mary Clarissa. Her love and devotion to St. Clare of Assisi prompted her to shorten her name to Sister Clare. Trained in the culinary arts, Sister Clare ministered to her Sisters in convents in Illinois and Ohio, taking care of their day-to-day needs for 22 years. She began another chapter of her life by ministering at SFA as part of the clerical staff. She served as teacher of home arts, registrar, book store manager, and clerical assistant for many years. Having expressed an interest and love for the elderly, Sister Clare volunteered at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in 1999. By May of 2001 she had offered more than 1300 hours of volunteer service there. In 2002 Sister Clare returned to Quincy where she ministered by caring for family members who were ill. In 2012, she returned to Our Lady of Angels as a resident. Her happy spirit and quick wit continue to bring smiles to her Sisters and the staff at OLA.
The Joliet Franciscan
60th Jubilarian - Sister Margaret Kacvinsky Sister Margaret Kacvinsky was born in Streator, Illinois, where she was a member of St. Stephen (now St. Michael the Archangel Parish) in Streator, Illinois. She attended the parish grade school and graduated from Streator Township High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from CSF (now the University of St Francis [USF]). Sister Margaret began her ministry as a teacher at St. Mary School in Des Plaines, Illinois. In 1963 she moved to Ohio and began teaching Spanish at Bishop Ready High School in Columbus followed by St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Louisville, Ohio. Her next move brought her to Chicago where she taught Spanish at St. Procopius High School. Her last teaching ministry was as the Religious Education Coordinator for St. Mary Parish in Moline, Illinois. Sister Margaret’s ministry underwent a change when she became Administrative Assistant and Secretary for OLA, a ministry in which she excelled for 18 years. In 1997, thanks to her bilingual talents, she was invited to minister at Our Lady of Mount Carmel as the parish secretary and bookkeeper for 15 years. In 2013 she let it be known that she had always wanted to minister with the Native Americans in northern Wisconsin. For the last six years she has served at Our Lady of the Lake Cluster Parishes in Ashland, Wisconsin, as the parish bookkeeper. When asked to share her feelings on what her Franciscan religious vocation means to her, she expressed herself in this manner: “My Franciscan way of life has blessed me with many opportunities to appreciate and enjoy God’s wonderful creation here in the USA, Assisi and now the Northwoods. God is good!” “While at OLA, I began to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of the elders and how God doesn’t always let us humans call our plans the best. Always plan for “a” or “b” or “c!” And maybe a bit of all three, and yes – keep smiling! Sixty years! Peace and all good!” Sister Margaret died on September 12, 2019. May she rest in peace.
60th Jubilarian - Sister Carole von Buelow Sister Carole von Buelow is a Chicago native. She attended both St. Clement Grade School and High School. After high school, Sister Carole chose to enter the Joliet Franciscans. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology from the CSF (now USF). She received her Master of Science in biology from St. Mary University in Winona, Minnesota. She completed further studies at the University of Texas, Kent State, Walsh University and Akron University. In 1960 Sister Carole began a 54-year Catholic education ministry serving either as a teacher or an administrator. She taught at St. Francis de Sales High School in Chicago before returning to Joliet where she ministered at SFA in the Science Department from 1961 to 1967. She then put down roots in Ohio ministering at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in a variety of educational roles followed by serving as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Diocese of Youngstown. Here she had the opportunity to work more directly with principals, eventually becoming a principal herself at St. Louis Elementary School. Commenting on her educational ministry, Sister Carole remarks that: “All of these different positions, nevertheless, had as their focal point: the students and their spiritual, physical and academic development. Working with students, parents, teachers, principals and other colleagues has always been a challenge I have loved.” As she continues her ministry of prayer, volunteering and presence, Sister Carole can say along with St. Francis: “I have done what was mine to do. May God show you what is yours to do.”
60th Jubilarian - Sister Mary Kay Cmolik Sister Mary Kay Cmolik became acquainted with the Joliet Franciscans when she attended St. Procop High School in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from CSF (now USF). She also received a certificate from the Seraphic Institute of Theology for Sisters from CSF, as well as a Master of Science degree in Education and in Religious Studies from St. John College, Cleveland. Sister Mary Kay taught at St. Mary Magdalen and Immaculate Conception Schools, both in Columbus, Ohio, as well as schools in Illinois. In 1971 she returned to her hometown and, for the next 40 years, ministered in and near Cleveland as a teacher, Religious Education Director, and Diocesan consultant. In 2012 Sister Mary Kay chose to embrace a new and different ministry. She has been a bereavement minister and assistant to funeral directors at Anthony Funeral Homes in Akron, Ohio. Her ministry now is walking with and being a presence for those who have lost a loved one. Commenting on her ministry of service to God’s people, Sister Mary Kay writes: “I have chosen to follow from Merton’s Spiritual Journal – ‘We have to somehow become capable of throwing all our limitations to the winds, so that the Holy Spirit can do through us works that are inconceivable.’ ”
60th Jubilarian - Sister Thadine Kaminski Sister Thadine Kaminski was born in Chicago and attended St. Columbkille School before transferring to St. Francis Xavier Parish where she became acquainted with the Joliet Franciscans. After completing 8th grade, she entered the aspirancy in Joliet and attended SFA (now JCA). Sister Thadine has an associate degree in applied science from Joliet Junior College in the field of culinary arts. Sister Thadine has ministered in domestic service in every institution sponsored by the Joliet Franciscans as well as many of the convents connected to the parish high schools such as St. Francis Convent, CSF, OLA, SFA and St. Peter, Mansfield, Ohio. It meant a lot more than just dusting! This, of course, was in addition to the regular cleaning of the convent and washing the general and individual laundry for those residing there. After obtaining her degree from Joliet Junior College, Sister Thadine ministered in the area of Food Service/Food Manager at OLA, Villa Redeemer Retreat House, Oakton Pavilion and Conception System. She then went into domestic service for the elderly. This ministry was a great comfort to family members who were not able to be with their loved ones. When asked what Franciscan religious life means to her, she responded with: “For what else are God’s servants but His minstrels whose work it is to lift up people’s hearts. St. Francis’ words are what I do attempt to live out. I try through bringing joy to all those I meet daily.”
The Joliet Franciscan
Sister Thadine and Sister Clare, both jubilarians, have a long-time friendship.
60th Jubilarian - Sister Mary Berendt Sister Mary Berendt is a native of the Buckeye State – Ohio. She began her ministry in education in Joliet, Illinois, but eventually returned to Columbus in 1974. Sister Mary stated that she enjoyed teaching the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. She was able to teach them through special activities. She also taught or tutored many young teenagers, not only the course work but also the values that would help them to be assets to the church and society in the years ahead. In 2015 Sister Mary returned to Joliet, taking up residence at OLA. Known as “Sister Mary Buckeye,” she loves making other people happy. Through her instigation, there have been cooking and football parties. Being the good sport that she is, she even cheered for the Cubs when they were playing Cleveland in the World Series. Looking back over her years as a Franciscan Sister, she writes: “I’m trying to live like St. Francis and St. Clare within my vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. My vows have a very special meaning today, more than when I made them 60 years ago. For me, poverty means acceptance of my physical condition and all it involves. Chastity means much more to me now. Obedience is living daily with the challenges God is giving me now.”
60th Jubilarian -Sister Mary Agnes Cross Sister Mary Agnes Cross is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. She attended St. Francis of Assisi Parish Grade School in St. Louis. She became an aspirant with the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. Louis and attended their high school. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Marillac College and a master’s degree in religious studies from St. Louis University. Before transferring to the Joliet Franciscans, Sister Mary Agnes ministered as an elementary and religious/education teacher in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. In 1974 she became a religious-education consultant for the Diocese of Joliet working with 15 parishes in the Ford-Iroquois area. She became a Director of Religious Education serving in the Joliet Diocese and the Peoria Diocese. She especially enjoyed her time spent with the younger children in the programs when she could sing and play her guitar. In 1994 Sister Mary Agnes, after completing studies at the Joliet Township School of Practical Nursing, ministered at Alvernia Manor and in private homes with the elderly and at St. Francis Convent in Joliet. In 2003 she began training to become certified in person-centered care and ministering to those affected by dementia. After volunteering at Assumption BVM Parish, Chicago, and the Kolbe (jail) Ministries, Sister Mary Agnes returned to Joliet in 2013 as a helper to the residents at Our Lady of Angels who were suffering from memory loss or who were physically incapacitated. She classifies her ministry now as a ministry of prayer and presence. She spends time with those who have lost their eyesight or their hearing, helping them to stay connected with the world around them. Commenting on her Franciscan religious life, Sister Mary Agnes stated that she had always wanted to be a Franciscan. She especially resonated with Francis’ love for all creation. Living as a Franciscan to her means: “Living the Gospel and practicing the Gospel values as Francis did. We have a lot to learn from St. Francis.”
60th Jubilarian - Sister Jane Nienaber Sister Jane Nienaber is a native of Lindsay, Nebraska. Sister Jane attended Holy Family Grade School and High School in her hometown. She received a B.A. in biology from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and has a M.S. in education administration from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and a M.S. in pastoral studies from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. After completing her Clinical Pastoral Education at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, she became a certified Chaplain and has also studied spiritual gerontology. As a Joliet Franciscan she has ministered as the Director of Religious Education at St. Joseph Parish in Downers Grove and as a Chaplain and Patient Advocate at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois. She has also ministered as a Spiritual Life Coordinator for the Sisters at OLA. Currently you will find her ministering as a volunteer in ESL (English as a Second Language) and also spends time at the Center for Correctional Concerns at Will County Detention Facility in Joliet. When asked about her Franciscan religious life, Sister Jane said, “Over thirty years ago, I made a decision to transfer to the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. During these years, I have felt inspired and energized to live our mission which includes ‘responding to the needs of our time through prayer, community and ministry.’ I’m proud to be a Joliet Franciscan.”
50th Jubilarian - Sister Anita Beloin Sister Anita Beloin entered the Congregation in September 1966. She graduated from CSF (now USF) earning a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. She also completed a Franciscan Internship Program in spiritual direction and directed retreats. She graduated from the Downeast School of Massage and is a licensed massage therapist in the State of Illinois with National Board Certification. She is also certified as a “Compassionate Touch” practitioner. Sister Anita taught primary grades in Ohio, Illinois, Maine and Massachusetts. In 1992 she came to the St. Clare House of Prayer in Kankakee, Illinois, where she ministered as a massage therapist and spiritual/retreat director along with her other ministries there. “One of my patients once told me, when working with her, that what I was doing was not work, but love. Her statement, especially in her condition, deeply touched me for it is at the heart of my ministry.” In writing about what Franciscan religious life means to her, Anita states: “A quote from our Congregation’s Constitutions speaks to the heart of living a Franciscan call. ‘Like our Father Francis and in the spirit of his heart’s cry: My God and My All! we acknowledge God as source of all our good and all our joy. We contemplate God in Scripture and in Sacrament, in persons and events, and in the wonders of nature, recognizing all creation as part of the Franciscan’s prayer.’ ”
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50th Jubilarian - Sister Rosemary Fonck Sister Rosemary Fonck is a native of Elmhurst, Illinois. She attended St. John the Baptist Grade School in Joliet and Mary Queen of Heaven in Elmhurst. She graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst. She holds a bachelor‘s degree from CSF and a Master of Arts in administration and supervision from Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and a Master of Arts in religious studies from Loyola of New Orleans, Louisiana. Sister Rosemary began her educational ministry in 1970 at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet. She taught in other parish schools in Illinois and was a teacher and principal in Fairfield, Alabama and Effingham, Illinois. In 1996 Sister Rosemary began a ministry of Congregation service. After serving as a Councilor for eight years, she was elected President in 2004. When her term ended in 2008, Sister Rosemary moved to Hayneville, Alabama, one of the poorest areas of the United States, where she worked with the Edmundite Fathers at Good Shepherd Catholic Center. “A special memory was the joy, the gratitude and the simple spirit of so many people. I was often able to share food and supplies with people who had very little. The genuine kindness spoke to me daily of Matthew 25: Whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me.” Currently Sister Rosemary ministers again on the Central Administration of the Congregation where she serves as Councilor and Vice President. She spends much of her time at Our Lady of Angels being available to the Sisters and the Local Coordinator. She also coordinates Peace and Justice Committees of the Congregation in their various projects.
50th Jubilarian - Sister Sandra Salois Sister Sandra Salois was born in Dearborn, Michigan. Sandi’s father was a member of the Moose Lodge and, after his death, Sandi and her family moved to Mooseheart. Sandi credits Mooseheart for a good education along with the opportunity to experience music, art, home economics and other fields that have broadened her perspective in understanding people. Sister Sandi earned her bachelor’s degree at CSF (USF) and began teaching at St. Andrew School in Romeoville followed by teaching at schools in Alabama and Chicago. She became a graduate student at USF and, after completing her studies, ministered as a recreational therapist at St. Joseph Medical Center and then as Director of Activities at Manor Care Residence in Oak Forest, Illinois, and at Glenwood Care Center in Joliet. Sister Sandi learned person centered care for people with dementia and ministered as recreation therapist at Rush Alzheimer’s Unit in Chicago, Illinois. In 2006 she became Activity Coordinator at OLA and also ministered as the Local Coordinator for the Sisters residing at OLA. Currently Sister Sandi ministers as Social Day Program Coordinator at Monarch Landing in Naperville, Illinois. Sister Sandi says, “I love doing what I am right now – where I lead adults with beginning dementia to keep up what they can still do. Miracles do happen!” When asked what Franciscan religious life means to her, Sister Sandi replied: “The living of the Franciscan religious life calls me to center and deepen my relationship to God and others. Through this, I am led to be of service to others through listening, compassion, charity, time, joyfulness, kindness and so much more. This life is one of prayer, simplicity, collegiality and love. Our God in me meets our God in you.”
50th Jubilarian - Irmã Teresinha Mendonça Del’Acqua Sister Teresinha Mendonça Del’Acqua joined the Joliet Franciscan Sisters in January 1967. She is the last living member of the first group of women native to Brazil to enter the Congregation. She resides at San Damiano Convent in the state of Goiás, Brazil. She began her ministry as a first grade teacher and as a pastoral minister at San Damiano School. She began her studies in psychology becoming a licensed clinical psychologist. She obtained a master’s degree in environmental science and health. Her further education includes specializations in religious institutions analysis, Franciscan spirituality of Latin America and Jungian psychology analysis along with training as a spiritual director and retreat director. Sister Teresinha’s ministry is mainly one of spiritual life orientation. She is a facilitator for various religious congregations and parishes. She is a presenter at workshops on self-knowledge and self-esteem, leadership and religious life. She gives retreats, spiritual direction and facilitates Chapters throughout Brazil and in other countries. From 2012 to 2016, Sister Teresinha served in the US as a Councilor on the Congregation’s Central Administration. Commenting on her ministry, Sister Teresinha finds much joy and fulfillment in her ministry as a psychotherapist. Just to know that she has helped someone to grow humbles her and instills within her a deep gratitude to God for the opportunities she has received. She values challenges as an opportunity for psycho-spiritual growth. She considers living in the present moment as a grace, a privilege, and a great demonstration of God’s love.
40th Jubilarian - Sister Susan Bruno A native Chicagoan, Sister Susan Bruno attended S.S. Peter and Paul High School where she was introduced to the Joliet Franciscan Sisters. She readily tells about growing up on the south side of Chicago watching out for her siblings, physically defending them if necessary, having a Harley motorcycle and deciding that she wanted to work for AT&T – not as a telephone operator but by climbing the poles to maintain the lines and install phone service – the first woman to do so in Illinois! Sister Sue attended CSF (now USF) where she received her B.A. in English. She continued her education receiving a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University of Chicago. She ministered at St. Francis Academy (now JCA) as a guidance counselor and Dean of Students. She also served as the Congregation’s Vocation Director before returning to JCA as Dean of Girls and then Dean of Students. In 1993 Sister Sue was invited to come to the University of Notre Dame to serve as rector for one of the women’s dorms. This ministry became Sister Sue’s defining characteristic and Notre Dame became her second home. She was also invited to work with the Holy Cross Fathers on their Formation Team. Although her heart will always remain with Notre Dame, Sister Sue left to become a member of the Congregation’s 2008-2012 Central Administration. When her term ended, she served as a Hall Director at the University of Portland before returning to Joliet in 2017. Presently, Sister Sue ministers at Compassionate Care Hospice as Volunteer Coordinator. She is also the Volunteer Coordinator for Bethany House of Hospitality, a joint ministry with several other Congregations, which offers service to young women immigrants. When asked what it means to live the Franciscan religious life, Sister Sue replied: “It means living a life rooted in the Gospel, striving to bring peace to those people and situations around me, trying to be hospitable and welcoming to all I meet and serve, working in all the ways that I can to bring justice to our world and living a life of prayer.”
The Joliet Franciscan
The House of Prayer By: Nan Nagl Over the years I have worked for the Joliet Franciscan Sisters, I have had the opportunity to write a number of pieces built on their rich history. To have access to the material in the Congregation’s Archives for research and finding handwritten notes, newspaper articles, photos and documents that present timelines is invaluable. I am fortunate to have worked with the late Sister Marian Voelker, the Congregation’s longtime archivist and more recently, Sister Faith Szambelanczyk, the current archivist, who have always handed over information from the many files that assist me in writing. Perusing through four folders and a 1978 copy of “Criteria,” a congregation publication, I found a lot of information about the beginnings of the St. Clare House of Prayer - some of it typed on tissue-like paper or mimeographed in purple ink. If you are of age, you know to what I am referring. So let’s start at the beginning. In 1962, the Second Vatican Council was beginning – an event that would leave many of us in the Catholic Church reeling. When the dust settled three years later, those most affected, in my opinion, were religious Sisters. It was also 1962, when the topic of a House of Prayer was raised by Sister Elizabeth Marie Klepec as “a place set aside for contemplation and spiritual revitalization” to Mother Borromeo Mack, General Superior. There was a growing “House of Prayer” movement among religious congregations. Although Mother Borromeo knew this was important, it had to be tabled for a few years. In 1965, Mother Borromeo began seeking information about cloistered communities and reached out to a number of religious congregations, one of them being the Allegany Franciscans in Allegany, New York. The Allegany Franciscans had a cloistered community founded in the 1950s. Mother Joan Marie, Mother General of the Allegany Franciscans, was very honest about the “ups and downs” of establishing a cloistered community within their long-established religious community. But, Mother Joan Marie offered the opportunity for either Mother Borromeo or another Sister to visit the Allegany Franciscans cloister to learn firsthand how this could fit into the Joliet Franciscans’ congregation.
In 1966, Mother Borromeo wrote to Sister Joan Marie about the possibility of a Sister spending some time in the Allegany Franciscans cloister. “The Sister in question is one of our very fine younger religious. Perhaps I should clarify that adjective ‘younger,’ by telling you that Sister is 38 years old and seventeen years professed. She has wanted to enter the cloister – but with our own Community – for years. I feel that we must take this question of forming a cloister within our Congregation to the General Chapter in 1968. But in the meantime, if you could see your way clear to admitting Sister to your own cloister for the year 196768, I am sure this experience would be most helpful to Sister personally, and would give our own Community some practical ideas should the Chapter decide to introduce the cloister for those desiring it.” In 1967, Sister Elizabeth Marie spent time with the seven Allegany Franciscans living in the cloister sharing in their daily work, which in addition to prayer, included making hosts. Writing on July 3, 1967, Sister Elizabeth Marie shared her experience with her Joliet sisters saying, “I think it would be impossible for a sincere person to spend time with these sisters and not be penetrated by the spirit of prayer.” Upon Sister Elizabeth Marie’s return to Joliet, she compiled her extensive research along with recommendations for the establishment of a “house of prayer” for presentation to the July 1968 General Renewal Chapter. In a letter to the Sisters prior to her presentation during Chapter, Sister Elizabeth Marie said, “Sisters as I offer the proposal for your decision, I must make this admission: for years I looked forward to
its realization, but only now, after intense research, can I see it in context, in an objectivity and a magnitude that place it in a position where it is everybody’s concern. A year ago I had nothing on paper; today I have enough material to write a thesis! In studying it yourselves, I think you will come to see that the matter is not confined to the pet notions of a single sister. My own work with the proposal has, in face, brought about a purification of motives. There is no denying that I would very much like to be among the initial group, but I have consistently believed that this is ‘of God’ only in the measure that is ‘of obedience’ as well.” She closed in saying, “The following then is the motion I ask you to approve: A House of Prayer should be established – the location, discipline and other details to be worked out by a founding group.” The motion passed unanimously.
guests, welcoming even those who drop in unexpectedly.” Over the years, an extension to the farmhouse would be added to accommodate additional guests and there would be a new chapel. Spiritual direction and guided retreats were offered as well as the opportunity to pray and reflect by oneself. There was also a one-room hermitage built for Sisters or others wanting more focused solitude. The Joliet Franciscans closed the House of Prayer in Kankakee in the summer of 2008. It reopened in Joliet by the end of the same year returning to its original roots as a contemplative community. The House of Prayer is now located in the Village at Our Lady of Angels. Three Sisters – Sister Helen Vahling, Sister Anita Beloin and Sister Albert Marie Papesh - make up the core group. There are two guest rooms which welcome Sisters and others to spend a day or longer for quiet spiritual time. The House of Prayer also offers a spiritual library with a wide selection of books and tapes available.
The initial group of four Sisters consisted of Sisters Elizabeth Marie Klepec, Laura Filipas, Frances Osterhaus and Agnes Ferber. Fewer than a dozen Sisters volunteered to be considered How do today’s House of Prayer for the new venture. There would Joliet Franciscan Sisters spend be opportunities to join this new their days? Pretty much like the ministry, perhaps on a temporary first four Sisters did. Mornings basis in the future. They settled Top: Elizabeth Marie Klepec, Agnes Ferber, Laura Filiare spent in solitude. Comin a three-bedroom farmhouse pas, Frances Osterhaus pictured with Sister Francine mon prayer takes place twice in Kankakee on the Kankakee Zeller, President. Bottom: Sisters Helen Vahling, Albert daily. Exposition of the Blessed River. Some repairs and adjustMarie Papesh and Anita Beloin. Sacrament takes place one ments were needed. Two of the bedrooms were each partitioned to make two additional bed- morning. Thursdays are days of complete solitude and there is a weekly hosting of the “World Community of Christian rooms. The living room would serve as a chapel for the time Meditation for Peace” prayer hour. being. On October 7, 1969, the St. Clare House of Prayer, the dedication and first Mass took place with Bishop Romeo Sister Francine Zeller, General Superior in 1975, said at Blanchette presiding. the time of the dedication of the new wing, “Our House As the first year ended, an evaluation by the House of Prayer of Prayer will be a house of silence, which means that the members was sent to the Congregation. Within the docuatmosphere will be one of consideration for the prayer life of ment, the Sisters said, “To those who ask, ‘What do you do others... a house of solitude, which means that there can be all day?’ we might say that our very circumstances demand moments and hours of ‘apartness,’ for thinking and listening an extremely flexible schedule. Of the 24 hours each day, we more deeply to the Spirit who speaks within us…a house of spend minimally a fourth in prayer, another fourth in sleep hospitality, where guests may find refreshment, a listening and about half in various works. As a community we meet ear, an opportunity for prayer, a time for communion with for Mass, morning and evening prayer, Scripture study, choir God, and a measure of peace.” rehearsal, tapes and discussions and house meetings. There has been some counseling done as people have come or For 50 years, the St. Clare House of Prayer has served many telephoned seeking advice. Hospitality is an important part seeking the “measure of peace” just as it was envisioned it of Franciscan living, and we have tried to give time to our would.
The Joliet Franciscan
By: Lucy Sanchez In the last issue of The Joliet Franciscan Magazine, I wrote about the award given to Sister Vivian Whitehead for her many years of service to the Center for Correctional Concerns (CCC) by the Will County Bar Association. An award, Sister Vivian says, belongs to each and every person who has walked, served or prayed for anyone who is detained. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sister Vivian’s dream of having a presence in the Will County Adult Detention Facility and a hope of making a difference in the lives of incarcerated men and women as well as the officers. On July 13, 2019, Sisters Vivian Whitehead and Juanita Ujcik held a “Celebration of Thanksgiving” reception at the Joliet Franciscan Center to thank all those who have journeyed with them at CCC. Over seventy people, both past and present staff members and volunteers, attended the event. During the ceremony, memories were shared and prayers were offered. Ms. Donna Fedosenko, current Director at CCC, read aloud a letter from a detainee who wrote about Sister Vivian and the impact she made on her life. I’ve included the letter below (though her name was removed and some sections were blackened out.) It represents the undeniable impact CCC and Sister Vivian has made on her life.
The Associate Journey Each spring our Sisters and Associates gather at our annual Associate Weekend at the University of St. Francis Motherhouse. During this time, we also welcome our new Associates. This year Kristin Heimer, Jean Konrad, Diane Morrison and Mary Beth Wilhelmi made their formal commitment to the Associate Relationship at our Sunday liturgy. They have been meeting regularly with their Companions and have begun participating in an Associate Regional Group, learning more about our Congregation and the lives of Saints Francis and Clare. As they made their commitment they agreed to share in the Franciscan ideal and mission of the Congregation. During our celebration we also recognized our three twenty-five year Jubilarians: Pauline Billek, Mary Therese Lewis and Nancy Sartori. Darcy Mason Director of Associates
Happy 25 th Anniversary! Pauline Billek
Mary Therese Lewis
Meet Our New Associates
Kristin was first introduced to the Congregation while working at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home a number of years ago. Part of her responsibility as a certified nursing assistant was to sit in the chapel with the residents during Mass. Although raised Christian, she found herself called to become part of the Catholic faith community and its traditions. She turned to Sr. Dominic Krivich to discuss her desire to convert to Catholicism. When Kristin began the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, Sr. Dominic was her sponsor.
Through her relationship with Sr. Dominic and other OLA residents Kristin began participating in Congregation functions. She hopes to continue growing in faith among others with a similar love for Jesus and the Franciscan Charism. She feels she was drawn to the Congregation because of their open, welcoming spirit. Kristinâ€™s companion during her discernment process was Sr. Pat Mitchell.
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Jean was born and raised in Joliet. Her attachment to the Joliet Franciscan Sisters began as a senior at St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy). She married Joseph and had two daughters who also attended SFA. Although her daughters, living in Arizona and Colorado, respectively, would like Jean to move west, she feels Joliet is still home. Jean has been involved in many Congregation activities through the years, including the Congregation’s breakfast and evening prayer services, Afternoon Tea and Autumn Feast. She loves being a volunteer at the Bluestem Festival and a greeter at the Joliet Hospice Home. Jean can often be seen at various Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home functions, including the Monday sing along, and is on the OLA development committee. Jean’s companion during her discernment process was Associate Margaret Benoit.
Diane grew up in California and met Associate Ann O’Brien while teaching 6th grade in Palo Alto, California. They became lifelong friends. After residing in Oakland for 25 years, she relocated to Austin, Texas and miraculously reconnected with Ann. Diane moved to Joliet and they are now co-renters of their duplex. Although Diane has been in Joliet for a short period of time, it seems as if she has always been with the Congregation. Living at the Village at Our Lady of Angels, has allowed Diane the unique opportunity to meet many Sisters and Associates. She was immediately welcomed by many Joliet Franciscans and was graciously accepted in friendship. Diane attends many of the Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home Sister and Associate gatherings. Her companion during her discernment process was Sr. Mary Ann Hamer.
Mary Beth was born in Joliet and attended St. Raymond grade school and St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy). She received her social worker degree at St Mary’s college in Indiana. Returning to Joliet she met Art and they married in 1957. They had 7 children, one of them in heaven, 19 grandchildren and 8 greatgrandchildren. Art died 2 years ago and Mary Beth has moved to the Village at OLA. Mary Beth has always been involved with the Joliet Franciscans. Her two great aunts were members of the Congregation and she has fond memories of her visits to the prep and Motherhouse as a child. Mary Beth feels this is the time in her life to become more involved with the Congregation and their ministries. She states that it is fitting to be of service to God with and through these fine women. Mary Beth’s companion during her discernment process was Sr. Mary Frances Seeley.
Are you interested in learning more about the Associate Relationship? Please contact the Associate Director, Darcy Mason, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 815-725-8735x128. Or visit our website at www.jolietfranciscans.org for more information.
Sister Sharon Frederick has been blessing motorcycles and their owners for over ten years. She loves wearing her helmet.
Meet My Ministry - Sr. Sharon Frederick Robert Frost wrote in his poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep...” And so, in 1994, at the age of 50, I re-entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate after a 30 year hiatus. I originally left the Congregation because of sickly parents, and as an only child, my help was needed. Thirty years passed and what surely was a life well lived, I made the decision to return. I sold my new home, packed up my belongings, gave up my career, moved to a new city, and began living the life that my soul and heart never forgot -- “miles to go.” Now, as I approach my 25th year of living as a Joliet Franciscan, my thoughts on ministry, and how I have lived the promises that I made to God, to my Congregation, and to myself, keep resurfacing. For 50 years, I had a fulfilling life working in both the corporate and educational sector of society. I called the University of St. Francis “home” for over 15 years, working first in the Admission Office then as Director of University Ministry. During that time, I was also the
The Joliet Franciscan
Director of Associates for the Congregation, a 15-year ministry that truly became my passion. As a former Associate, I could readily relate to the men and women who wanted to share the mission, spirituality and vision of our Sisters, while living the lifestyle that God called them to embrace. I saw the love the Associates showed to our Sisters and to one another. I witnessed the excitement and fervor they displayed in everything they did on behalf of the Congregation. It certainly was a privilege for me to walk with so many wonderful individuals. After I retired from my University ministry, I then became a Coordinator for the Sisters living at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home, a position that brought much meaning to my life. I am a very enthusiastic and extroverted individual. I often get excited and carried away with things that are meaningful to me, a project, an idea, or a cause. I remember standing on the corner of Larkin and Jefferson in Joliet, banging on a drum, protesting with others who wanted an end to violence and terrorism in our world. Silly to some, meaningful to others, a pas-
sion for me. I also remember taking University students to Fort Benning in Georgia to march and protest in the hopes of closing the School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). I was among thousands of participants and I remember that I cried because it was so hard to listen to the speakers talk about the atrocities brought on by humanity. I also remember, Sunday after Sunday, feeding the hungry and the addicted who lived underneath Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. A somewhat dangerous mission at times, but people needed to be fed and I knew God was watching over my friends and me. The parish soup kitchen where I volunteered is still open these 30 years later. There will Sister Sharon takes her time visiting with each motorcyclist. Some always be hungry people and I still ask myself, even ask her to bless their personal medals and rosaries. “why” in a country as rich as ours, why do people still go hungry? As I find myself in my so-called, “retirement years,” I still have that desire and zeal to travel the “miles” that God has called me. Before I retired from my full-time ministry, the question that remained foremost in my mind was, “What could I now do to make life better for others?” Could I, in some small way, be a presence to and for others? Would my health allow it and would I have the energy? I knew that if I came to that realization I would also have the peace and joy I was seeking. One of the answers came while I was on the back-end of a motorcycle. My cousin and her husband own a Harley Davidson dealership in Indiana. Through my interactions with motorcycle owners and individuals patronizing the store, I have met all kinds of people from all walks of life – professionals, blue and white collar workers, and those that just want to ride against the wind. As I was holding on tight to my cousin, she asked if I wanted to participate in the “Blessing of the Motorcycles.” I didn’t need to think but a second and quickly answered, “Yes, of course.” That was ten years ago and I still look forward to this event each year. The Blessing of the Motorcycles occurs during the spring. Bikers from all over northern Indiana rev up their motorcycles and ride to St. John, Indiana, where the Millennium Statue of Mary and the Shrine of Christ’s Passion is located. I consider this site, “holy ground.” This year nearly 100 riders came together for the bike blessing. To keep us safe as we traveled on the highway from Munster, Indiana, to St. John,
several police patrol cars blocked all the major intersections so that the motorcade could pass uninterrupted. It was quite an impressive sight! Once we arrived at our destination, I gave a short prayer and reflection. Then the bikers began lining up for their blessing. I always bring holy water to dip my fingers as I make the sign of the cross on the foreheads of each individual. I say a prayer and I ask God to keep the riders and their passengers safe from harm as they travel the highways and byways. Some bikers even bring their own rosaries and medals to be blessed. This year we gave each biker a holy card with a prayer and photo of St. Columbanus, the Patron Saint of motorcyclists. Often bikers will come up to me to tell me of their family situation and hardships or how they were ha in an accident but survived. They believe it is because of T the th blessing they received that th no harm has come to them. Needless to say, it th has ha been an honor and a gift for fo me to serve my family and an the motorcyclists in this unique ministry. They are un part pa of the fabric of my life. My M only disappointment is that th I wish I could drive a motorcycle but unfortunately m or perhaps, fortunately, I have already flunked the test twice! al
Sister Sharon loves escorting pets at the hospital. “It really makes patients happy!”
I also volunteer at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, Illinois, as an escort in the Pet Therapy Department. This too is part of the fabric of my life. While there are 700 volunteers at the hospital, there are also 20 dogs who are specially trained to bring comfort and joy to the patients. The training for both the owner and the dog takes nearly a year. At the end of the training each owner and dog must pass a rigorous test and then further acceptance by the hospital is required. At the present time, I have three dogs (Summer, Zooey and Flower) that I escort on different days of the week, along with their owners. Once in the room, as the patient begins petting or hugging the dog, I take a photograph. After I print and frame the photo, I present it to the patient with the compliments of Silver Cross Hospital. The smiles are priceless! Some patients get emotional and I see tears running down their faces. They tell me they miss their own pets at home. However, having a dog visit them really brings them comfort. Sometimes I listen to their personal stories, and many times I hear of why they are in the hospital. Every time I enter a patient’s room I become more convinced that the dogs bring a welcome relief from the stress and anxiety that a hospital stay can bring. I feel very blessed to be able to have this opportunity to reach out in a unique way to those who are in need of understanding while trying to cope with their illnesses. Pet therapy is making a huge difference in the lives of individuals and it is a real privilege for me to be a part of this worthwhile and needed ministry.
The other volunteer ministry that I am blessed to be a part of is helping out at Daybreak Homeless Shelter in Joliet. Not only do I love to cook, (thank you, Mom) but it also gives me a chance to interact with the residents, many of whom are mentally challenged, have addiction issues, or are just down on their luck. Once or twice a week I help to prepare and cook the lunchtime meal for about 100 clients including children. Meeting and talking with many of the volunteers who come from different churches and organizations is also very gratifying. Knowing how many good and kind people that I am surrounded by, even in an often depressing environment, brings me joy. Because I came from a loving and supportive family it is difficult to hear of the hardships that many people face daily. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to reach out to God’s chosen. During each school semester I am also on a rotating schedule with the University of St. Francis students and staff to help with the breakfast meal as well. Sometimes I find myself walking into the shelter with half-closed eyes because we begin cooking at 5 a.m. in the morning! Years ago the majority of Joliet Franciscan Sisters either taught in schools or were involved in education in some way. Today the Joliet Franciscans are involved in several ministries, too numerous to mention, and there are ministries that many may consider “unique.” No matter the age or past experience, we, the Joliet Franciscan Sisters are called to make a difference. As our founder, Mother Alfred Moes taught her Sisters, if there is a need, we must meet it. We are always on the road and the journey is ours. It is as simple as that!
The Joliet Franciscan
Sr. Sharon shares her culinary knowledge at Daybreak Homeless Shelter every week.
Sister Mariarthur Hamann, OSF For some time, Sister Mariarthur Hamann had been ready and eagerly waiting for the Lord to call her home, often wondering why it was not happening. Then, in the early hours of the morning of March 7, the Lord finally called and she quietly slipped into her new life.
Sister Si t M Mariarthur i th Hamann Born November 30, 1916
Eleanore Hamann came into this world when the decisive battles of World War I were raging. Born in Chicago on November 30, 1916, to the late Rose and William Hamann, she was the middle of three daughters - Elaine (Wermich) the oldest and Shirlee (Heinz) the youngest. She first met the Joliet Franciscans at St. Paschal’s in Chicago, and in the second grade she said to herself: “That’s what I am going to be when I grow up!” After attending Alvernia High School in Chicago, she finished her high school education at St. Francis Academy in Joliet. Eleanore entered the postulancy at the young age of 15 and received the name of Sister Mary Arthur. Because of her age, her parents had to give permission for her to enter. She entered the Postulancy in 1932, the Novitate in 1933, and professed Final Vows in 1938.
Postulancy September 8, 1932
Sister Mariarthur earned a bachelor’s degree at the College of St. Francis (University of St. Francis) and a Master of Arts Degree in education at DePaul University in Chicago.
Novitiate August 12, 1933
Her varied ministries, which she described as a “blizzard of activities and responsibilities,” found her in various locations in Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and Wisconsin. Each new position challenged her as teacher, principal, organist, superior, diocesan school consultant, elementary school supervisor, director of diocesan teacher personnel, adult education teacher and office manager. She felt that she was blest because of the “delightful challenges” of each new position. She wrote, “I was blessed with challenges, successes, failures and the occasional blahs.”
Final Profession August 12, 1938 Entered New Life March 7, 2019
Reflecting on her 100+ years of life, she wrote in her memoirs: “What a challenge and gift now to mull over 100+ years of life in an attempt to pull out the threads that have created meaning and richness to all that has gone before…100 years are too few to thank God adequately for my attempts to be in total love for Him, for the multiple blessings that have been mine. Sister Mariarthur Hamann died on March 7, 2019. She was a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for 85+ years.
Sister Maurice White, OSF It was fitting that in the midst of the Jubilate celebration of Joliet Catholic Academy on the evening of March 9, Sister Maurice White responded to the Lord’s call to come home. An announcement of her passing was made to the guests, many of whom were “her guys” from Catholic High. The eldest of three children, Caroline Mary White was born in Hammond, Indiana, on September 12, 1922, to Maurice and Caroline (Gerngross). Caroline was raised in a strong Catholic family. Sunday afternoons were times to be together as a family, and after homework was completed, the family would attend Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Sister Maurice White
She attended St. Joseph School in Hammond, Indiana, then attended Immaculate Conception School in Columbus, Ohio, where she was introduced to the Joliet Franciscans. She wrote: “From my early youth, I learned about Franciscan life.” The joy that she saw in the Sisters encouraged her to come to Joliet.
Born September 12, 1922
Caroline entered the Congregation as a postulant in 1938, and became a novice on August 12, 1939, receiving the name Sister Maurice. She professed her first vows in 1941 and final vows in 1944. She subsequently received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of St. Francis (University of St. Francis) and a Master of Arts degree from DePaul University in 1957. After her master’s degree, she continued her education through grants at various universities in the United States.
Postulancy September 8, 1938 Novitiate August 12, 1939 Final Profession August 12, 1944 Entered New Life March 9, 2019
Sister Maurice entered the world during a decade of historic significance: the League of Nations was established, women’s suffrage began, the Constitution was amended twice, and Edith Wilson became a de-facto president, assuming the role when her husband, President Wilson was gravely ill. So it is ironic that Sister Maurice’s study and love was in the field of history and civics, at which she excelled. In 1974, she received special recognition from Phi Alpha Theta in “recognition of conspicuous attainments and scholarship in the field of history.” Her scholarship was also recognized in the field of civics when she was inducted into Phi Gamma Mu, a social science honor society. She loved our Congregation and once wrote: “I believe in my Congregation. Since Vatican II, the trying of “new” things – going back to roots, we have gotten in touch with each other and ourselves. I find it stimulating, but definitely challenging.” Her love of sports was instilled in her at an early age. Everyone knew that her favorite team was the football team at Joliet Catholic High School — “My guys,” as she called them. She also attended, and volunteered as a worker, at as many athletic events as possible at Joliet Catholic Academy, her allegiance broadening to include the girls. Sister Maurice White died on March 9, 2019. She was a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for 79+ years.
20 The Joliet Franciscan
Sister Marie Schramko, OSF Sister Marie Schramko was born on February 10, 1917, to Julia and Frank Schramko. She grew up in a mining town, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with her brothers, Frank and Thomas, and sisters, Julia and Caroline. It was in the fourth grade at St. Stephen Parish grade school where she first met the Joliet Franciscans. She loved the sisters because they were so kind and she immediately thought that she wanted to be like them. Graduating from Johnstown Central Catholic High School at the age of 17, Marie soon fulfilled her dream and made the long journey to Joliet to enter the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate on September 8, 1934.
Si t M Sister Marie i Schramko Born February 10, 1917 Postulancy September 8, 1934 Novitiate August 12, 1935 Final Profession August 12, 1940 Entered Eternal Life April 28, 2019
Sister Marie received her undergraduate degree in science from the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis) when the institution was only 18 years old. She continued her studies receiving a master’s degree from DePaul University in science and studied at the University of Illinois on a science grant. Her ministry of Catholic education spanned 77 years, teaching religion, science and mathematics in Ohio, Chicago, and St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) in Joliet. In 1961, at the request of Archbishop Carroll, she found herself beginning a 54 year ministry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Arriving in Fort Lauderdale, she was to be the founding principal of a new co-ed high school, and she found out that: “There was nothing there! The campus was nothing but barren sand and skeletons of brick and mortar. We had to borrow tables and chairs.” Undaunted by the situation in which she was placed, she did what was hers to do, and so classes began in September. Cardinal Gibbons High School was literally built around them as they taught. One construction worker quipped how he brushed up on his algebra as he worked. Continually reinventing herself as teacher, when courses were added and no teachers were available, she would return to school and take the needed courses so that she could teach the following semester. In the midst of all this building, teaching, studying and serving as assistant principal, she completed another master’s degree in administration and counseling at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, which certified her and allowed the school to be accredited by the State of Florida. Her energy and enthusiasm were legendary. She was scheduling classes for 1200 students in her 90’s and was acknowledged as the living historian of Cardinal Gibbons. Keeping journals and files for the 54 years she served at Cardinal Gibbons she could readily provide historical information at a moment’s notice. Retiring at the age of 98, still serving as assistant principal, she said: “I’ve been so busy, I never noticed” age creeping up. Paul Ott, her former student, then colleague and now retiring principal of CGHS, had this to say about her: “Sister Marie was not only the founding principal of our school, she was also the corner stone of almost everything that has been accomplished here over the past 59 years. Our collective debt of gratitude is immeasurable, as is our sense of loss.” Sister Marie Schramko, OSF, died on April 28, 2019. She was a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for 83+ years.
R O A
Libby Lodestro August 21, 1926 to October 14, 2018
Loretta Lodestro July 10, 1923 to December 22, 2018
Liboria “Libby” Lodestro and Loretta Lodestro Loretta, Libby and their five brothers and one sister were born in Chicago. It was a very close family and since Loretta and Libby never married they always lived together. Their relationship with the Joliet Franciscan Sisters began at Divine Savior Parish in Norridge, Illinois. They were involved in many volunteer ministries and met the Sisters who were at the parish. After retiring from the business world, Loretta became an Associate in 1991 and Libby in 1993. Due to declining health over several years and the relocation to different care facilities, they were no longer able to remain active as Associates. We are grateful for the many years Loretta and Libby spent as Associates and friends to our Congregation. They now enjoy the presence of God whom they loved and served.
Margaret “Martha” Peifer Margaret was born in Joliet, Illinois and began her relationship with the congregation in 1949 as a student at St. Francis Academy (now JCA). In 1953, during her senior year in high school, Margaret told her family of her desire to become a Franciscan Sister. She attended the College of St. Francis (now USF) as a postulant. Since she was born on the feast of St. Martha being named Sr. Mary Martha seemed perfect. After final vows, Margaret began a teaching career that lasted her entire life. At the age of 43, she returned to St. Francis Academy as first principal and later served as President. In 1988, after 35 years as a Sister she asked and was given permission to be dismissed from her vows.
Martha Peifer July 29, 1935 to April 11, 2019
In 1992 Margaret accepted a position with the Logan Correction Center as an education administrator. She moved to Lincoln, Illinois where she met and later married Jack Peifer. She joined Jack on his farm and continued her volunteer work. During this time she continued sharing her love for teaching as a mentor and tutor. She became an Associate in 2002. We are grateful for the years Margaret spent as a Sister, then as an Associate and always as a friend to our Congregation. She now enjoys the presence of God, whom she loved and served.
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Eileen Morrow Eileen Morrow was born and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. She and her seven sisters and three brothers lived in a home full of love and were raised with a deep faith in God. At the age of nineteen, Eileen was recruited by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark, New York. She entered the convent, earned a teaching degree and taught first grade. Although she left the convent in 1969, Eileen described those ten years of living with the Congregation as “wonderful and I loved every minute of it.”
Eileen Morrow December 8, 1941 to May 7, 2019
Eileen met and married her future husband Ed four years later. They had two children: a son, Sean, who is a Major in the Army and daughter, Jeanine, a special education teacher. They were also blessed with two grandchildren. The family lived in Shorewood and after Eileen retired from teaching, she volunteered at Joliet Area Community Hospice and Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home. During this time, Ed began volunteering at The Upper Room and they began their relationship with our Congregation. Eileen and Ed became Associates in April 2012. In 2017 Eileen began experiencing some health issues and they moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to be closer to Sean and his family. We are grateful for the years Eileen spent as an Associate and friend to our Congregation. She now enjoys the presence of God whom she loved and served.
Rosemary Zemlo Rosemary grew up in a very close-knit family who came from Toronto and relocated often. Her mother taught her that God would take care of their family. Mass and prayers were an important part of their family life. Rosemary has been close to the Congregation since her prep years, falling in love with the Congregation when she was fourteen. She was in the class of 1957 but left before final vows.
Rosemary Zemlo January 22, 1939 to August 3, 2019
Rosemary became a registered nurse and worked in a clinic, hospital and in the Army Reserve. She was called up during the first Desert Storm and was stationed in Germany. During this time she met her husband, Steve, and they had two girls and two grandsons. After retiring from nursing she continued her ministry of visiting the sick. Rosemary was extra sensitive to the needs of the sick and elderly. She was also a hospice volunteer and taught faith formation to the children of her parish. Although she lived in Minnesota, Rosemary always felt a Joliet Franciscan connection and, when she was ready, joined her sister Anne Tieyten as an Associate. Rosemary once said “she hoped to give God everything out of love for him.” We are grateful for the years Rosemary spent as an Associate and friend to our Congregation. She now enjoys the presence of God whom she loved and served.
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We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.
- Mother Theresa
Mark Your Calendars Prayer Evening Joliet Franciscan Center 4th Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM (January thru November) Franciscan Autumn Feast Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 11:00 AM (New Time!) Bolingbrook Golf Club Advent Evening Reflection December 3, 2019 at 7:00 PM Joliet Franciscan Center Prayer Luncheon Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at Noon Joliet Franciscan Center
Coming in 2020 Afternoon Tea Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 2:00 PM Jacob Henry Mansion, Joliet Bluestem Earth Festival Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 10:00 AM University of St. Francis, Joliet
Artist: ÂŠ Sr. Kay Francis Berger, OSF All rights Reserved
Joliet Franciscan Center - 1433 Essington Rd. More info at: www.jolietfranciscans.org
A Publication of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Joliet, Illinois