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Partners in GivinG

Development Office of the Salesian Sisters, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians •

Our Youngest Adopter!

Sr. Mary Rinaldi’s Letter Dear Friends,

Again and again we hear stories recounting God’s special graces received and real miracles had by those with strong faith. Adopt a Sister is not about me, yet my photo appears at least 10 times in this issue! While many Sisters are not present at these gatherings, I thank them for allowing me to be “their face.”

This is a celebratory edition of Partners in Giving, and our intriguing cover certainly sets the tone. Let me tell you the story. Forms like the one shown were handed out at the wonderful celebration in Tampa, FL, marking the 25th anniversary of the Adopt a Sister Program (see pages 3-4 and 12-13). It was intended as a surprise for me, and I was amazed at the turnout! We had a fabulous reunion, and many people unfamiliar with the program decided to join.

The new “Quarter Century Club” of the Partners Circle did not fall on deaf ears. We have never seen such growth in the Partners Circle in such a short time! Thank you, one and all. See page 12, and please consider joining this vital group.

Among the completed forms was this one from Joseph Anderson (right), a second grader at Villa Madonna School who makes his First Holy Communion on April 30. Talk about the innocence of a child and heartfelt generosity! (In the interests of full disclosure, Joseph is my grand-nephew. I had nothing to do with his decision!! In fact, Joseph’s parents told me even they had no idea he had emptied his piggy bank!)

As this edition goes to press, we are anticipating another grand celebration: the rededication of St. Joseph’s Chapel in North Haledon, NJ. Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson will celebrate Mass on April 17 and bless the new altar and chapel – all thanks to your generosity! Story and photos in the next issue.

I am always so touched by the overwhelming response to the Adopt a Sister program all across the country.


Save The Dates! Wednesday, May 4

The Dames of Mary Help’s “Women of Distinction” Luncheon

a benefit for Mary Help of Christians Academy Guest speakers: Della Crews, News 12 NJ, and Debi Debiak, Esq., Class of 1988 Indian Trail Club, Franklin Lakes, NJ • Tickets & information: (973) 904-0102 Friday-Sunday, May 13-15

Mary Help of Christians Academy’s 75th Anniversary Reunion North Haledon, NJ • Tickets & information: (973) 904-0102 Sunday, July 17

Salesian Sisters’ Jubilarian Celebration North Haledon, NJ • Watch for details


Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

Please call us toll-free: 877-OUR-NUNS



A Tampa Surprise Kicks Off Our 25th!


s the Executive Director of Development for the Salesian Sisters’ Eastern Province, Sr. Mary Rinaldi travels frequently, visiting our many “Partners” coast-to-coast. In February, she was in Florida for a visit with Adopters and friends in Jensen Beach (see page 17) and a stop in Tampa, home to Villa Madonna School and the Joe & Anne Garcia Salesian Youth Center/Boys & Girls Club. Little did she know that a BIG surprise was in store for her inside the SYC gymnasium... Theresa Anderson, who runs the Tampa Development Office, had the idea for a celebration of the Adopt a Sister Program to launch this, its 25th anniversary year. The call went out to Adopters, supporters, and friends for a surprise party, coinciding with Sr. Mary’s visit. It wasn’t easy keeping the secret, but when Sr. Mary walked into the gym on February 17 to a roaring crowd of nearly 200 people, she was overwhelmed, to say the least! Sr. Mary was introduced by her first grade student, Adri Ciucio Colina, who was emcee for the party. The Tampa Tribune covered our She offered 25th Anniversary celebration! Thanks to a special our friend and reporter, Lenora Lake. welcome to the family about the grateful elderly Sisters in St. of the late Joseph Provincial Center who have been Mr. Fortune helped by the Adopt a Sister program, Bosco, who and expressed how important it is that the helped inspire Hat’s off to our surprise party planners: program continues. Guests also enjoyed the Adopt a Kathy Pedrero, Theresa Anderson, and Leslie Garcia. spending time with Sr. Liz Ryan and Sr. Sister Program, Mary Bertha Paquin, both of whom were part of the Villa present to honor their father’s memory. Madonna family for years. Please turn the page for more photos and best wishes. Guests enjoyed lunch and watched the 1999 broadcast of ABC’s “20/20” program, which highlighted the humble “What a fabulous celebration,” Theresa shares. “It was yet powerful beginnings of the Adopt a Sister Program. A beautiful to see so many Adopters come together – some special treat was a video message from the original show’s traveling long distances – and share their stories. A large producers, Tom Goldstone and Nola Safro, and host, Bob number of people signed up as new Adopters, too. I Brown, congratulating Sr. Mary on the silver anniversary predict this will be the first of many Adopt reunions!” of Adopt a Sister. Sr. Mary expressed her thanks to all the guests, spoke

Visit us online!

For more information on the Adopt a Sister Program, see page 5.

Partners in Giving • Spring 2016 •


Best Wishes These are among the hundreds of good will messages left for Sr. Mary Rinaldi by attendees of the Tampa celebration:


would love to thank Sr. Mary and all the Sisters for their prayers back in 1999 when Robert Zurek brought me to you. Thank you! Kathy Debler, Hudson, FL


t was such a pleasure to reconnect with the Adopt a Sister program and Sr. Mary Anne Zito. God bless! Chick & Eleanor Perratto The Villages, FL

Sr. Mary Jackson enjoys the party with Tampa Adopters Glenn Permuy Sr., Nick Suszynski, Ernest Urso, Ernest “Cookie” Garcia, Lynette Suszynski, and Fr. Len Plazewski, Pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church and Sr. Mary Rinaldi’s cousin.


ow awesome to have this very small part in your life and especially Adopt a Sister! God has indeed used you in a special way. To Him be the glory! Riley & Judy Hogan, Brandon, FL


race is found in the beauty of your presence. Thank you for praying for us, as we continue to pray for you. Jamie McGrogran, Tampa, FL

Sr. Mary Jackson, Principal of Villa Madonna School, presents a token of appreciation to the Fortune Bosco family in remembrance of their father, Mr. Fortune Bosco.


love you, Auntie! You’re awesome! Anna Anderson, San Antonio, FL

Sr. Liz Ryan is thrilled to visit with past Villa PE teacher, Leslie Kanter, and current Villa Coach, Lisa Beamer.


r. Mary, my father loved you and truly enjoyed working with you to create the Adopt a Sister Program. Betsy Bosco Turner, Land O’ Lakes, FL


roud to have three generations of my family taught by Salesian Sisters. Hoping my grandkids will keep up the tradition! Marlene Maseda Lee, Tampa, FL


hank you so much for everything you do. You have been such an inspiration to us. Love you. Liana & Carlos Baldor, Sr. Tampa, FL

W Enjoying the party are John Mangin, Fr. George Iregi-Parish,Administrator at Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Gulfport, John Mangin, III, Bob Best, Grace Mangin, and Rosemarie and Joseph Saenz.

e love all the Salesians!!! Our family has a history with Villa Madonna and you are always in our hearts!!! Suszynski Family, Tampa, FL



Please Join Us!


lease consider joining our friends of all faiths who have experienced the transforming power of prayer and loving friendship with a Salesian Sister, every day of the year, through our Adopt a Sister Program. Whether the Adopted Sister is for yourself, a family member, or a friend in need of spiritual strength, you will find comfort knowing that your intentions will be remembered each day by your spiritual prayer partner. And it makes the PERFECT gift, especially for a wedding, Baptism, First Holy Communion, Confirmation – any occasion! Please complete the form below, or to learn more, visit us online at www., or call us toll-free: (877) OUR-NUNS. The Salesian Sisters thank you for your generosity as the program marks 25 years. God bless you!

Sr. Joanne Holloman enjoyed a visit with her Adopter, Diane Onken of San Francisco, CA.

CVV: _____________

Visit us online!

Partners in Giving • Spring 2016 •




Hooray for Adopt a Sister!


ooray for Hollywood, as they say, and it is especially true for the Salesian Sisters, who count many, many friends and Adopters in Los Angeles, the “City of the Angels.” Recently our dear friend, Irena Medavoy, invited 35 of her close friends to lunch at her home in Beverly Hills with Sr. Mary Rinaldi and her assistant, Sonya Fernandez. Needless to say, the party was a classy affair! Irena impressed everyone with her trust in the power of prayer. “The remembrance of a Sister praying for me gets me through the moments,” she said. Well put, Irena! Thank you so much!

Our ladies’ lunch in Beverly Hills was filled with joy and laughter!

Above, our hostess, Irena Medavoy, joins Bernadette Leonard, Sr. Mary, and Christine Chiu. Right, Sr. Mary visits Nancy Poling of Westlake Village, CA. Left, crowned by flowers are Geraldine and Joanne Rizzuto of La Verne, CA.


Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

Please call us toll-free: 877-OUR-NUNS

Sr. Mary joins a group of elegant ladies, including Christina Noonan (left); the hostess, Irena Medavoy, and the Honorable Nicole Avant, former Ambassador to the Bahamas (center); and Linda Thompson (right). What a wonderful celebration!


ur dear friend, Joe Pesci (center), hosted a dinner for Sr. Mary Rinaldi and Sonya Fernandez at The Bistro Garden in Studio City, CA. They were also joined by Tim and Christina Noonan. What a fun visit!



We Left Our Hearts by the Bay!


ony Bennett is right – it’s easy to leave your heart in San Francisco, as the people are so warm and welcoming! Following their memorable visit to Los Angeles, Sr. Mary and Sonya journeyed up the coast, where Diane and Don Onken arranged a supper in their home, complete with an anniversary cake to celebrate 25 years of the Adopt a Sister Program. It was an unforgettable evening!

Sr. Mary greets Steve Wright, Gina Mackintosh, and the evening’s hosts, Diana and Don Onken.

Right, Maria Gloria and Tony Rando have participated in the Adopt a Sister Program for 16 years, and have adopted 11 Sisters. Wow! Left, Charles Bloch refers to the 10 Sisters that he and his wife, Barbara, have adopted as their own personal “God Squad”!


Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

Please call us toll-free: 877-OUR-NUNS



he Partners Circle was founded in 1991 to provide unrestricted funds for urgent needs of the Salesian Sisters and their mission. These include support for capital needs, scholarship assistance, technology upgrades, and funds for those unforeseen situations that require immediate attention.

74 Welcome

Your annual contribution to this fund empowers the Sisters to continue their mission: To Provide Financial Assistance and Volunteer Services to the Salesian Sisters and to the Young People in their Care for the Advancement of Education, Vocations, and Community Life.

new or upgraded Partners Circle Members so far in 2016! Shown in RED

There are ten levels of membership, starting at $250, and are listed on these three pages. Won’t you consider joining this dynamic group in 2016, our 25th year?  Please call us today: (877) OUR-NUNS. Thank you!

Joseph J. McAleer, Sr., Heritage Society Major Bequests California Richard Meissner, Meissner Manufacturing

Angel Oliva Family The Dorothy Thomas Foundation

Florida Dorothy & Dr. Vincent Bagli Josie & Ray Campo Anne & Joseph Garcia PC Mrs. Ann Lowry Murphey

Partners Circle “Visionaries” Annual gift of $27,250


Mr. Anthony Petrocelli Ms. Roberta Ruocco Ms. Celeste Tripi Mr. Vincent Waraske

Mrs. Beatrice Lightfoot

New York

New Jersey

Mrs. Pearl Kalikow

Tony Amato Family The Carini Family

Partners Circle “Stewards” Annual gift of $11,000

Welcome New 2016 Members !

Salesian Sisters’ Partners Circle


Texas Mrs. Betty Turner PC = denotes a member of the Partners Circle National Board of Trustees

Visit us online!

Partners in Giving • Spring 2016 •


Welcome New 2016 Members in Red!

Partners Circle “Partners” Annual gift of $5,500 Florida

Mr. & Mrs. Javier Baldor PC Mr. & Mrs. James Millar Lydia & John Oliva

New Jersey Mr. & Mrs. Tony Chernalis In memory of Mr. & Mrs. C.H. Church, Jr. Joanne & Al Daloisio Mr. & Mrs. Robert Harkins PC Mr. Bill McLaughlin PC A.J. & Mindy Papetti

New York Mr. John Cassara

Pennsylvania Keun Ho (Christopher) & Soon Ok (Gemma) Chong

Partners Circle “Founders” California Mrs. Maryann Roman

Salesian Sisters’ Partners Circle

Mr. & Mrs. Rodger Rohde Christopher & Corinne Schiavo & The Shepherd and the Knucklehead Pub Joseph & Rita Weiner

Massachusetts Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Clair


New Jersey


Mr. & Mrs. Donald Hofmann Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Laudone Marilyn & Dale Livi Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Massood Mrs. Moira McBride Murphy Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Papetti Rose Perone Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Pfeifer PC Maria Sturchio

Mr. Michael Guarnieri PC Christina & David McAleer PC Dr. Joseph McAleer PC

John & Pat Connors Anthony & Diana Ekonomou Lowry Murphey Family Foundation Mr. & Mrs. Mark Oliva PC Mr. Fredy Padovan

Partners Circle “Friends” Annual gift of $3,300 Connecticut Mary Bridget Gaine

Florida Dr. Idalia Lastra

Pennsylvania Christopher & Gemma Chong Mr. & Mrs. Vincent DeBow

Annual gift of $2,200 New York Jordon Carroll Mr. & Mrs. James Dell’Orto Mr. Ian H. Graham Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Scala

Pennsylvania In Loving Memory of Sr. Adeline Salvetti, FMA

South Carolina Mr. & Mrs. Tom Aldinger

Partners Circle “Benefactors” Annual gift of $1,100 California Mr. & Mrs. Robert Obenberger


Linda & Peter Christiansen PC Mr. & Mrs. Salvatore Zichichi

Florida Mr. & Mrs. John Anello Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Caballero PC Terrell & Joe Clark Dr. Andrea & Sean Farrier PC Mrs. Aida Jurado Mr. & Mrs. Jim Major Dr. Patricia Mergo Mr. & Mrs. Frank Middendorf Robert Nocek & Ann Bryk Gene & Linda Perez

Mr. Charles B. Schmalz

Georgia Mr. Robert Reiter

Massachusetts Mr. & Mrs. Neil Holmes

Missouri Ms. Marianne O’Doherty

Mrs. Carolyn Young

New York Michael & Jeanette Altamura Ms. Lea Battiato John W. Lombardi & Family Msgr. William T. Rodgers The Sabatine Foundation Mr. & Mrs. Angelo Silveri

North Carolina

New Jersey

Chester & Monica Michewicz

Ms. Debi F. Debiak Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Granatell Mr. & Mrs. Anthony M. Laino Michael & Mary Losurdo Mr. & Mrs. Michael Massood Mrs. Arline Monaco

Mr. & Mrs. Bob Danch Allyson & Kevin Hardy


Annual gift of $825 Florida Declan & Paula Mansfield Anne & Fred Michaels Rene & Phyllis Rodriguez Mr. & Mrs. Terry Wood

New Jersey Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Della Cerra Kathleen & Vic Medore

South Carolina Anonymous

Partners Circle “Members” Arizona Anonymous

California Joanne & Geraldine Rizzuto

Connecticut Mr. & Mrs. Edward Goin Mr. & Mrs. Robert J. Mosey

Florida Dr. Kenneth Alonso Mr. & Mrs. Mark Anderson Mr. & Mrs. Carlos Baldor Mr. & Mrs. Carlos Baldor, Jr. PC Dr. & Mrs. Robert Cano Mrs. Trudy Carey Dr. & Mrs. Antonio Castro Dr. & Mrs. Emilio Echevarria PC Mr. & Mrs. Luis Garcia PC Mr. & Mrs. Mark S. Reynolds Rudy Rodriguez Kathy & John Pedrero PC Hon. & Mrs. E.J. Salcines PC Ms. Maria C. Torreiro Mr. & Mrs. Ron Yates

Georgia Mr. & Mrs. Charles Fantauzza

Illinois The Mills Family Adelaide Olivieri

Louisiana Mr. & Mrs. George LeBlanc

Massachusetts Ms. Patti Gauthier Ms. Josephine Petrillo Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Reading

New Jersey Tiziana Anello, M.D. Larry & Mary Anne Condit Ms. Anita Cronk John Eccleston Mr. & Mrs. Michael G. Ferrito Dr. & Mrs. Louis Gambetta PC Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Giamonco Teresa Gutto James Lane Laura Cosentino Mannarino Mrs. Diva Muller Mrs. Maureen O’Halloran Mrs. Christine Peragallo Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Piotrowski

PC = a member of the Partners Circle National Board of Trustees

Welcome New 2016 Members in Red!

OUR MISSION The Salesian Sisters’ Partners Circle provides Financial Assistance and Volunteer Services to the Salesian Sisters and the Young People in their Care for the Advancement of Education, Vocations, and Community Life.

Annual gift of 550 Mr. & Mrs. Cameron Reid E.N. Sarantis Mrs. Kathleen Zayatz

New York Mr. & Mrs. Jack Betwarda Kevin & Kathy Clair Mrs. Rose Mary Clair Terence & Patricia Clair Mr. & Mrs. Charles V. Curcio Ms. Claire Dell Mr. Walter Lazarcheck Mr. & Mrs. Mario Masciandaro Mr. & Mrs. Mark Nardone Mrs. Joan Oliver Mrs. Margaret Reilly-Antalec

North Carolina Mr. & Mrs. Paul Liotard

Ohio Mr. & Mrs. Dale Kovach

Pennsylvania Mr. & Mrs. Jack Hedgecock

Virginia Mrs. Dominique Faust Mr. Michael Maurer Mr. & Mrs. Karl Zauner

Salesian Sisters’ Partners Circle

Partners Circle “Associates”

Welcome New 2016 Members in Red!

Salesian Sisters’ Partners Circle 12 •


Partners Circle “Quarter Century Club” Annual gift of $250

During this, our 25th Anniversary Year, we’ve made it even easier to join the Partners Circle, with a new commemorative level of membership: the “Quarter Century Club,” a cost of just $250 per year. Entrance to the club will be limited only to introductory members who join in 2016. The response so far has been outstanding! Welcome new Partners in RED!

California Mr. Richard Suda

Connecticut Mrs. Frances M. McAleer Mr. Patrick J. Waide, Jr. Anonymous

Florida Mr. & Mrs. Jon Barry Kurt & Laura Badertscher Mr. & Mrs. Fred A. Cairoli Mrs. Suzanne Carlisle Mr. & Mrs. Manuel Fernandez Mr. & Mrs. Edward Gomez, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. John Mangin, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Schmid Mr. & Mrs. Richard Stowers Mrs. Rita Zoppo Vietmeier

Anna & Richard Spalckhaver Robert and Constance Sumas Karla T. Villarin Mr. Edward M. Zambrano

New Hampshire

New York

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas DiMicelli

Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Collison Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Dell’Orto

New Jersey Dr. & Mrs. Joseph Amatuzzi Janice Collins Theodore & Lynda Leo Ms. Mary Bernadette Mazauskas Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Nowak Gregory & Stephanie Monaco

Pennsylvania Mrs. Judith Falcone Lichty

South Carolina Elizabeth Craig & Michael Reeves, Jr.


t the Adopt a Sister 25th Anniversary celebration in Tampa, Javier Baldor and his brother, Carlos Baldor, Jr., visit with their former classmate, Fr. Len Plazewski, Pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church and Sr. Mary Rinaldi’s cousin. Both Javier and Carlos serve on the Partners Circle National Board of Trustees. This month, Javier concludes two consecutive terms (six years) as Chairman of our Board. Javier, how blessed we were with your strong leadership and always good advice! Thank you and God bless you!

Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

Please call us toll-free: 877-OUR-NUNS




magine the surprise of our Vocations Director, Sr. Theresa Lee (right, center), when she, Sr. Guerline Joseph, and Sr. Christina Chong attended a vocations fair at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. Who appeared but her Adopters, Pat and Mary Feist, whom she had never met! What a blessing! “Who would’ve ever thought we would ever meet!” Sr. Theresa says. “Until now, I’d only met my Mom’s friends in New Jersey, who are Adopters!”


ne of the newest members of the Adopt a Sister Program is Mark Spada of Tampa, FL, who has adopted Sr. Myriam Meus. Welcome aboard, Mark!


bove, longtime friend and supporter John Joerger of Alexandria, VA, was in Tampa on March 21 and invited all of the Sisters at Villa Madonna Convent – Sr. Rosemary Cordes, Sr. Myriam Meus, Sr. Mary Jackson, and Sr. Elfie Del Rosario – to a fabulous dinner at the Columbia Restaurant. A grand time was had by all. Thank you, John!


t left, enjoying the Tampa Adopt a Sister celebration are Partners Circle National Board member, Hon. E.J. Salcines (center) and his wife, Elsa, of Tampa, joined by our dear friends Beverly and Rodger Rohde of Longboat Key, FL.


A Love That Lasts Forever

Received between February 5 and April 4, 2016

You can honor a cherished relative or friend with an everlasting gift of love – a memorial.

Sr. Rose Zorzi, FMA Mrs. Darlene Menendez

William H. Albrecht Salesian Sisters

Sr. Marion Vecchio, FMA Mr. Joseph Vecchio

Ralph Damiano Salesian Sisters

Sr. Letizia Bocanegra, FMA Ms. Dolores Tango

Regla Couret Mr. & Mrs. Reynee Dominguez

Patricia Ann Severyn Mr. Clifton B. Mace

Jorge Luis Esquirol Mr. & Mrs. Reynee Dominguez

Elna Rae Zeilinger Mr. Phil Zeilinger

Rose Marie Lazzara Mrs. Christine Lopez

Mrs. Janet Ruth Allen Cooper Mr. Leamond Anthony Allen

Girolamo LoBosco Mrs. Dorothy Gangi

Arnold J. Rossi Mr. & Mrs. Albert Conforti

Frank J. Hargrave Mrs. Theresa Hargrave

Rose Quinn Mr. Michael Quinn

Luis A. Tirado, Jr. Mr. Luis A. Tirado, Sr.

Joan Lee Richards Mr. Nelson T. Alderman


Our Partners in Giving Memorials & Tributes give you the opportunity to comfort those who have lost a loved one or to commemorate a special occasion. This gift lives forever, joining our loved ones to the prayers of the Salesian Sisters while supporting their good works. The name of your loved one will appear in our Partners in Giving magazine – a priceless gift to those you love. Give the gift that lasts forever.

Angela De Simoni Ms. Nancy Canfarotta

Enclosed is my Memorial/Tribute Gift of: ____ $25

____ $20


Ruth & Art Peterson Mr. & Mrs. Curt Peterson


Charles A. Saggese Mrs. Elizabeth H. Saggese

Memorial for Tribute for


Ana Maria Baldor Mr. & Mrs. Neil Holmes



K. Regina (Jean) Petcavage Mrs. Elaine Terrill

Please send an acknowledgement to:

Eugene Albert Woody Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Pucillo


Dolores Pantaleo Ms. Liz Durkin

Address My Name Address

Detach & mail in the enclosed envelope to: Sr. Mary Rinaldi 659 Belmont Avenue, North Haledon, NJ 07508-2397 Please make checks payable to SALESIAN SISTERS

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Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

Thomas Zambito Mr. & Mrs. Reynee Dominguez Ledia E. Mendez Mr. & Mrs. Reynee Dominguez Rafael Zaragoza Mr. & Mrs. Reynee Dominguez Patricia Ann Severyn Ms. Catherine Cherpak Mr. Blake Seward

Sr. Virginia Dickey, FMA Cheri & Ed Brinkman Sr. Hélène Godin, FMA Ms. Dolores Tango Sr. Monique Huart, FMA Ms. Dolores Tango Sr. Mary Rinaldi, FMA Mrs. Katherine Peterson Gemma Colapietro MacCarrick Mrs. Jean Barkovitz Patricia M. Hoyt Mrs. Jean Barkovitz Dan Davis Mrs. Jeanann Davis Stella Fioranelli Ms. Rita Stevens Heywood Turner Mr. & Mrs. Reynee Dominguez Dr. Karen A. Castellano Mrs. Christine Lopez Dorothy Anton Mr. Harold Anton

Please call us toll-free: 877-OUR-NUNS

In the Arms of Mercy Sr. Karen Dunn’s Letter


little child cries out. It’s a skinned knee, or a rebuff from a sibling, or a moment of fear. Regardless of the cause and without questions, a parent reaches out and collects the child – and all his or her pain – into arms of sympathy and strength. The warmth and security in the moment of embrace bears a calming and healing power as sobs become whimpers and then silence. A minute close to the heartbeat of the parent, some soothing words, and the child is released again: serene, restored, ready to take on the world again, perhaps a little wiser.

So many relationships are terribly diminished today. Achievement, personal gain, feeling good, efficiency, and the primacy of the self are some of the competing values that threaten truly human relationships and our relationship with God Himself. Even our own relationship with ourselves can be compromised. We are plagued by many things from which we hide. We do not like certain aspects of ourselves, and so we hide even from ourselves. We run from one “narcotic” to another in trends

In this Year of Mercy, let us make space for an encounter with Christ.

Such an image might be a favorite of St. Francis de Sales, who came to know God through everyday human experience. In that parent who responds with a heart of love and mercy, we can imagine the sentiments and actions of God and what the experience of being in His presence can offer us. As adults, we know that the power of one meeting, one conversation, or one moment – when we are profoundly touched by another – can restore us and even redirect our lives in a subtle or dramatic way. We can all pinpoint times when we have breathed a sigh of relief or have somehow felt restored, thanks to the action or perhaps just the presence of a spouse or a friend. These are freeing moments of deep connection, which lifted a burden and gave us new energy in our attitude toward ourselves and others. Meetings like these with God are an integral part of this “Year of Mercy” that Pope Francis has called the world to celebrate.

and experiences, robbing ourselves of the fullness of life that we are created for, and crowding out the joy of loving relationships. We carry our personal load of failures and our hurts – whether from errors and ruptured relationships or from some shame and guilt – that all cry out for healing. It is precisely here where Jesus wants to meet us, and to gather us into His arms, as a parent does a hurting child. The Gospel is replete with such images. Take the Prodigal Son, the woman caught in adultery, Peter with Jesus on the beach after his denial, and the many who were cured by Jesus. Each one found unconditional welcome, restoration, and wholeness. This is the experience the Church holds out to us during the Year of Mercy. How can we hope to know this

experience? We know the way, though our ability to go to that place so often evades us. We can find this experience by staying quietly with the Lord, the source of all love and mercy… staying with Him and meditating on the images of human love that we know… staying with the Gospel stories and seeing them as our stories… meditating on the love of Christ poured out for us on the Cross. For Catholics there is also the inestimable gift of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation, where we know we can run with the hurts and sins of our life and hear human words of forgiveness and comfort that are Jesus’ divine words, spoken through His ordained minister. We come away from the Lord each time further healed and restored. Once we begin tasting this experience of mercy deep within us, we are able to embrace the brokenness, pain, and needs of the world. We can meet the “world” closest to us with mercy, a mercy which – with the eyes of Jesus – sees the struggle of every human being. We can, in fact, “become” mercy. This can happen if we encounter the transforming embrace of Love itself. In this Year of Mercy, let us make space for an encounter with Christ. Let us open the deepest part of ourselves, with all our bumps and pains of life, so that He can gather us into His arms, touch us at the core of our being, calm us, make us whole, and release us back into the world to become agents of His mercy!

It’s Spring! Please Give Us This Day!


uring the next eight months, is there some date that is special to you? Will you share it with the Salesian Sisters? It may be a day of joy, a day of a sad event, a day of recognition, a day of any significant meaning in your life or the life of one of your loved ones. We invite you to share this day with the Sisters. It will be given prominence on the day on the bulletin board of the chapel in the St. Joseph Provincial Center in Haledon, NJ. The Sisters will remember you, your family, and the person(s) you wish to honor in their prayers and sacrifices throughout the day. Please let us know by returning the form below, and then count on us for a special day just for YOU. Thank you, and God bless you!

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Once again our dear friend, Bob Reiter of Atlanta, GA, treated the Salesian Sisters in Haledon, NJ, to Easter dinner with all the trimmings. Sr. Theresa Kelly (center) presides at the celebration. Thank you, Bob, and God bless you!

Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

Please call us toll-free: 877-OUR-NUNS



A Jensen Beach Celebration to Remember!


wenty-five years ago our Adopt a Sister Program was born – and that means 2016 is a year of celebrations! Special thanks to Courtney Santorella and Maryann Jubanosky, who gathered together 35 Adopters and friends for a wonderful supper, topped off by a huge cake, at Shuckers on the Beach in Jensen Beach, FL. Sr. Mary Rinaldi and her assistant, Sonya Fernandez, enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces, and also welcomed new Adopters to the program. Thank you, Courtney and Maryann!

Sr. Mary visits with Michelle Miller of Palm Beach, FL, and her friend. Above, Gerri Addeo (right) introduced her friends to the Adopt a Sister Program! Below, Sr. Mary with the evening’s hostesses, Maryann Jubanowsky and Courtney Santorella.

A fun table includes Courtney Santorella, Rose Kessler, Mary and Jerry Vitti, C.S., Rob Stark, and Heloise Wu.

Visit us online!

Partners in Giving • Spring 2016 •


Salesian Youth Report

VILLA MADONNA SCHOOL, TAMPA, FL – “Please bring honor to us . . . please bring honor to us all!” And that’s just what Villa Madonna staff and students did on the weekend of March 18, throughout the three phenomenal performances of the Disney musical “Mulan.” The school play is annually put on by Ms. Roxana Harst, a teacher at Villa Madonna, who loves and cares so much for the students. Ms. Harst works hard to create a main cast that includes anyone who wants to be in the play. She strives to find volunteers to be voice coaches, run scenes with the kids, and help them with each and every moment of their scenes. She then works all students into the play in some way, whether it be in a special scene that includes the whole class or even the eighth graders who run the sounds, lights, and backstage help. The main cast of “Mulan” was the largest ever, with 93 main cast members! After-school play practices lasted for four months, and the gym was transformed into a beautiful set the week before the play, with the help of volunteers who spent a full Saturday building the set. Villa Madonna students were in their glory, and pulled off a topnotch weekend! Villa Madonna students are now looking forward to hearing what next year’s play will be!

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Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

Please call us toll-free: 877-OUR-NUNS

Salesian Youth Report

From Mary Help to Georgetown U.


rom her earliest days as a high school student at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, NJ, it was clear that Ximena Cespedes, Class of 2015, was going places. William Bliss, her history and linguistics teacher, called Ximena “one of the best students I’ve ever had. Her writing is off the charts – beyond what you’d expect from anyone in high school.”

I learn and perform in class.”

Ximena maintained a 4.0 GPA along with serving on the Student Council throughout her six years at Mary Help. She also found time to participate in the New Jersey Science League, served as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and was the only student to earn a score of 100 in two successive years on her Advanced Placement History Finals.

“We didn’t want our parents to sacrifice all they had sacrificed, working so hard to the point of exhaustion, to go to waste,” Ximena says. “I take my Mother’s passion and my Dad’s dreams, and combine them to make my own dreams happen.”

With Mr. Bliss’s guidance, Ximena discovered Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service would enable her to study the combined fields of international affairs, politics, history, cultures, and languages as an International Relations major. Fascinated by the connection between International Relations and economics, she looks forward to delving into the two fields’ combined impact on countries’ relationships. Currently a Freshman, Ximena admits her first months at Georgetown weren’t easy ones. “It was a major culture shock,” she says. “I wasn’t used to the learning style, so the beginning of the semester was a very big struggle.” Eventually, Ximena had an “a-ha moment,” realizing she could apply the critical thinking methods she learned at Mary Help in Mr. Bliss’

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Her education at Mary Help, combined with support from Ximena’s family and the Tri-County Scholarship Fund, have proven to be a winning combination. Peruvian immigrants, Sara and Pedro Cespedes each worked two jobs to create opportunities for Ximena and her sister, Mayra, also a TCSF scholar.

Ximena Cespedes, Salutatorian of the Mary Help Class of 2015.

“Education really is the key to acquiring a better life for yourself. I didn’t want my parents to sacrifice all they had, working so hard to the point of exhaustion, to go to waste.” classroom. Interpreting facts, figuring out the various points of view, and realizing that all subjects are interrelated enabled her to succeed. “These basic techniques really helped me improve, and taught me to learn for the sake of knowledge rather than just for the sake of getting good grades,” Ximena explains. “It’s about enriching yourself and enriching the community as a whole, and that has made all the difference in the way that

Ximena is extremely grateful for her Tri-County scholarship grants. “Education really is the key to acquiring a better life for yourself,” she believes. “I know that if it weren’t for Tri-County, I wouldn’t have had all the opportunities for leadership that Mary Help and Georgetown have afforded me. Tri-County paved the way to my future, and helped me believe in myself. Thank you for everything. I am eternally grateful.” As for Ximena’s future, Mr. Bliss says the sky’s the limit. “Ximena could definitely be in politics or an international political organization like the United Nations,” Mr. Bliss maintains. He even went so far as to make her promise to “save me a seat at your Presidential inauguration,” saying if this were to occur, he would not be shocked. “Ximena’s just that kind of person.” We agree! – courtesy Tri-County Scholarship Fund

Partners in Giving • Spring 2016 •


Salesian Youth Report ST. JOHN’S CATHOLIC NEWMAN CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS – Students volunteered for “Gospel Roads II” during their winter break, by heading to Miami, FL, to work with Mother Teresa’s order, the Missionary Sisters of Charity. They assisted in the Sisters’ outreach to the poor and homeless. Sr. Maryann Schaefer reports that the trip was both enriching and life-altering for participants. Well done, students! Two reflections are shared below.


orking with the Missionary Sisters of Charity was one of the most inspiring and humbling experiences I have had. Though I have done a number of service projects in the past, this was one of the first times I got to work directly with the people I was serving. Getting to talk one-on-one to people and hearing their stories helped me gain perspective in my own life and, especially, in how much I have to be grateful for. Seeing the Sisters serve the poor with so much love each day inspired me to trust in God in both the big and small things. The Sisters trusted that each day God would bring food and volunteers to their soup kitchen and that He would provide – and He did! I want to trust God as completely as they do. Working with homeless children at the Chapman Partnership reminded me that we are all children of God, made in His image. There was so much energy in the room, full of boisterous children, and they immediately placed so much trust in all of us volunteering. No matter what their story was or where they had come from, they were still just children, giggling and wanting to run around and play games with us. It was an experience that called me to remember the simple things and to appreciate the beauty God has created all around me. – Abbie Gerth

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one book. He also mentioned that he was helping some of his friends to do landscaping work at parks. At the end of our conversation, I was sad to think about how this man did not have a home, but I was also glad that I had the opportunity to make a small difference in Ricky’s life and knew that all I could do for him once I left Miami was to pray for him.

Sr. Maryann Schaefer visits homeless children on the Gospel Roads II trip.

Gospel Roads has taught me that it is not enough for me to embark on a mission of service once. Every day is an opportunity to live for Christ who died for us. By prayerfully reflecting on His word and striving to do His will every day, I can follow the path

The Gospel Roads II team assisted the Missionaries of Charity in Miami.


ne day, one of the homeless men we were serving raised his hand while having his meal. I scurried over, asking him what I could do for him. He said, “Oh nothing, you just looked so cheerful, I just want to have a chat with you for awhile if you don’t mind.” I proceeded to have a conversation with Ricky and was blown away by how knowledgeable he was in economics, politics, and the like. He told me that he loved to read and would go to the library every week to read at least

Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

that He has set for me, and help others whenever in loving service. I will never forget the powerful words of Mother Teresa, “We can do no great things, but only small things with great love.” Although I cannot solve any of the world’s biggest problems, I take comfort that God has called me to live the gospel every day, and to serve others, one person and one small act at a time. – Natalie Ang

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Salesian Youth Report

“Courage! Onward, ever onward!”


inning a championship is every team’s dream. Although the prize will only go to one team, it is definitely a fun time trying to get the gold.

St. James, an undefeated team, in overtime! We knew we would play this school again at the finals, and were determined to beat them. First we had to play two playoff games at home, which we won by pure determination. Finally, St. Theresa met St. James in the finals at Union Catholic, where a hard game was played. This time there wouldn’t be sad and disappointed faces. Cheering, excitement, and joy were coming from the St. Theresa Stallions! We ended up winning by a very close score of 30-27. We finally got the CYO championship we had been fighting for, for four years!

A championship has been the goal of our Class of 2016 at St. Theresa School in Kenilworth, NJ, since the fifth grade when we started playing JV basketball. Even though we didn’t reach that goal our first year, in sixth grade we did hold a record of 12-0; however, we lost our first playoff game. We were sad, but determined to do better. In seventh grade, three more players joined our team. We had a The St. Theresa Stallions raise their championship trophy! 6-6 record and lost our first playoff game, again! We kept the faith and proclaimed that we would win next year! Like Don Bosco said, “Onward, ever onward!” It feels good to achieve a goal, especially with your best friends! After grinding out long practices during this, our eighth grade year, we won 11 straight games, but then lost to – Luke Bollwage, 8th grade

ACADEMY OF OUR LADY, MARRERO, LA – Members of the Academy of Our Lady’s True Love Waits Club pledged to guard and maintain a pure heart during a Mass celebrated by Fr. Louis Molinelli, SDB, who blessed and distributed purity bracelets. The pledge that club members recited at Mass was, “We pledge to respect our bodies, minds, and hearts through modesty, chastity, self love, and a love for Christ. We pledge to help each other grow as sisters in Christ, and to become the young women we are called to be.” Pictured here with their bracelets are Leah Nguyen, Sandy Vo, Briana Tastet, and Jaden Folse.

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Partners in Giving • Spring 2016 •


Salesian Youth Report

IMMACULATA-LA SALLE HIGH SCHOOL, MIAMI, FL – To mark St. John Bosco’s feast day, ILS students welcomed their peers from St. John Neumann High School in Naples, FL, for their annual retreat, planned and carried out by the ILS Salesian Leadership Team. More than 1,200 students and teachers participated! The day began with a beautiful Mass with Fr. John Nazzaro, SDB. After Mass, students were treated to lunch and enjoyed all sorts of games and activities, even rock climbing. It was a great day filled with great Salesian joy and camaraderie.

MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS ACADEMY, NORTH HALEDON, NJ – Anna Swartzberg and Stephanie Siok, Mary Help seniors, headed to Florida for a reunion of Salesian Leadership Retreat members from St. Petersburg Catholic High School and St. John Neumann High School in Naples. These retreats allow juniors to join peers from eight other Salesian schools as they explore and develop their leadership skills and spirituality. Lasting friendships are formed – as these happy photos show!

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Partners in Giving • Volume XXV • Issue 2

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The Joy of Being a Salesian Educator

Our Hope and Our Future


he joy of being a Salesian Sister and educator is amazing! When I am with the young, I get a rush of energy, joy, and excitement. The ability to share the love Jesus has given to me with them is awesome!

When we open our day with prayer, we end with the Sign of the Cross and say, “Three persons, One God, and Jesus loves you this much and more,” as they open their arms wide. They are so innocent and full of faith, and I know that God is smiling down upon them and me, too.

I loved being with children, even before becoming a Salesian Sister. I have three nephews and two nieces and I spent a lot of time with them when they were little, playing and reading stories to them, finger-painting and coloring, and taking them places. I was with them more than with the adults of my family. I also taught Religious Education classes in my parish, but there I taught ninth graders along with my aunt. Ninth graders were a whole different scene but they still needed guidance and love. These experiences helped me to feel the call of Jesus to share His love with young people, especially His little ones. Since becoming a Salesian Sister, I have had the privilege of teaching and accompanying toddlers and preschool children, as well as primary age children, one to five years of age. They are a delight! I love it when they get excited and their faces light up with joy. This just melts my heart and I know it is truly a blessed moment. I have come to realize that little ones are just like sponges; they soak up everything around them. They especially like it when I read them stories and change my voice according to the characters or situations, and, I must admit, this is a favorite of mine, too.

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When I talk about what prayer is with the little ones, I tell them it is talking to God, and I add that God loves to hear from them.

Sr. Janet Keller loves teaching toddlers and pre-school children, ages 1-5.

One day, the children were playing in their activity centers and one group was role-playing the teachers. They were asked what were some things Sr. Janet says. A boy responded, “God loves to hear from you!” He certainly was paying attention!

“When I am with the young, I get a rush of energy, joy, and excitement. The ability to share the love Jesus has given to me with them is awesome!”

I have unhappily been away from the children since the end of November when I broke my ankle and had to go to our Provincial House to have surgery and recuperate. The Sisters are taking great care of me, but there is a void in my heart because I miss the children so much and I find myself counting the days until I can be with them again. The young are our hope and our future, and I want to contribute in any way I can to their joy and success. I really feel what St. John Bosco said: “It is enough for you to be young for me to love you. I am really myself when I am with you. It is right that my life should be spent with you.” I totally agree! – Sr. Janet Keller, FMA

Partners in Giving • Spring 2016 •


Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco Development Office 659 Belmont Avenue North Haledon, NJ 07508-2397

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PARTNERS IN GIVING is a bimonthly magazine published by the

Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco Development Office 659 Belmont Avenue North Haledon, NJ 07508-2397 Telephone: (973) 904-0102 Toll-free: (877) OUR-NUNS Fax: (973) 904-0041 E-mail: Website: Facebook: salesiansistersdevelopment Editorial Board Dr. Joseph McAleer, Editor Sr. Mary Rinaldi, FMA, Director of Development Melissa Esposito, Production Manager Sr. Mary Terzo, FMA, Editorial Assistant Federal Tax ID # 22-6043753 © 2016 Missionary Society of Salesian Sisters, Inc. PRIVACY POLICY:  Your name, address, and other information are held in confidence by our ministry and will never be sold, rented, or given to any other organization. Partners in Giving welcomes letters, articles, and photos from contributors. We reserve the right to edit for publication.

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Partners in Giving • Spring 2016


n March 17, the kindergarteners at Immaculate Conception School in Marrero, LA, marked the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green to school, and honored St. Joseph by constructing an altar (above) in his honor, blessed by Fr. Salvador Galvez. The altar offers a chance to share special symbolic food with others, and gives believers a way to express gratitude or remembrance. This year’s altar was in remembrance of Mrs. Tanya Durand, an ICS teacher who died last summer. On another sunny Spring day in March, you-know-who (below) hopped around school, to the students’ delight!

Partners in Giving Spring 2016  

Spring 2016 issue of Partners in Giving Magazine, the bimonthly publication of the Salesian Sisters Eastern Province

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