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Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio



Franciscan 2018 • Vol. 19, Issue 1

Sister Stories Sister Joy and Sister Pam reverence human dignity in their ministries. Page 4 & 6.


The Have a Heart Restock Drive provides families in need with essential hygienic products. Page 3.

Letter from the Congregational Minister

Reverencing Human Dignity


The Sylvania Franciscan newsletter is a publication of the Congregational Advancement Office of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio Sister Mary Jon Wagner, OSF Congregational Minister Sister Theresa Darga, OSF Assistant Congregational Minister Sister Sharon Derivan, OSF Councilor/Congregational Secretary Sister Rachel Marie Nijakowski, OSF Councilor/Congregational Treasurer Sister Shannon Schrein, OSF Councilor Eileen Kerner Director of Congregational Advancement 419-824-3625 Teri Bockstahler, Editor Director of Communications and Marketing 419-824-3627 Elizabeth Reiter, Contributing writer


Dear Friends, The call to reverence the human dignity of all God’s children comes from the words of Jesus as he models for us love and care for our brothers and sisters. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, tells us it is our responsibility to search for and sustain ways to create quality of life for victims of injustice in our world. Our Sisters of St. Francis Mission Statement boldly states, “… as messengers of peace, we commit ourselves to works that reverence human dignity …” We speak this mission statement to ourselves, our Associates, Partners in Mission – all who are committed to our Franciscan way of life. Do we live it? In small ways? Large ways? In order to respond to the call, we have to have a “heart talk” with our heart and our gifts and ask ourselves if we really believe we have a role in this call. We ask ourselves what models, mentors, or opportunities do we have that will show us ways to be able to respond to so many injustices that dehumanize many of our brothers and sisters. What is challenging today’s ability to respond to works that reverence human dignity? To reverence someone, to recognize each person as a created child of God is much more than a “to do,” It is more a “to be, to become.” Deep within ourselves is a call to compassion, to rebuild trust, to exchange the gifts that both the victims and caregivers may grow. Another challenge comes from the overwhelming reality of injustice in our world. We are inundated with needs from victims, all valid, all diminishing in the existence of human dignity. Let me name just three of these injustices that are in focus today, human trafficking slavery, refugees and racism. Reasons all of which find themselves spotlighted on the world agenda. Whether we feel called to respond to the world agenda or our personal areas of commitment, we must recognize the first and most powerful call from Jesus is to care for all God’s children through love and compassion. Looking at only one statement of the Sisters of St. Francis’ Mission calls me to reflect on each of the statements and realization that one cannot stand alone, each flows from the other. For us to respond to reverencing human dignity, I must … live the gospel among the people and be a messenger of peace, in my heart embrace the poor and marginalized and respect all our brothers and sisters, and all gifts of all creation. May each of us in our own way continue to reverence works that reverence human dignity. In the peace of Saint Francis and Saint Clare,

Sister Mary Jon Wagner, OSF Congregational Minister


Mission Called like Francis of Assisi to live the Gospel in joyful servanthood among all people, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, as messengers of peace, commit themselves to works that reverence human dignity, embrace the poor and marginalized, and respect the gift of all creation.


News Notes Caring for the Poor Takes Community Heart:

Sisters, Students and Staff Share Community Service Restocking Pantries with Personal Care Items At the heart of our Sylvania Franciscan Village is the concept that by working together we can do more good in the community.

and businesses pitch in by hosting collection boxes in their lobbies and local media always gives the event plenty of publicity.

A perfect example is the Seventh Annual Have a Heart Restock Drive. Sisters, local students and staff worked together to help provide families in need with essential hygienic products.

At the end of the eight-day drive, the 2018 Restock Drive brought in approximately 5,800 bottles, boxes and packages of personal care items. Two Lourdes University student organizations volunteered to help. Despite an icy February snowstorm, they came out to sort through the 1,350 pounds of donated goods and box the items for delivery to six different locations.

Sylvania Franciscan Sisters sponsor this drive to collect personal care items for local outreach pantries because Ohio’s nutrition assistance program doesn’t cover non-food items. Sylvania schools

Recipients include Bethany House, (a Sylvania Franciscan Ministry), Claver House, Helping Hands of St. Louis, Our Lady of Lourdes Outreach Soup Kitchen, Sylvania Area Family Services and US Together. “It’s encouraging to be part of a project where so many hands come together to assist our brothers and sisters in the Toledo area. My only wish is that someday in the future, there won’t be a need for a Restock Drive,” said Lourdes University Campus Ministry Director, Sister Barb Vano, OSF.

In this Issue... Sister Joy Barker has found that to preserve human dignity, listening and compassion are key. Sister Pam Nosbusch ministers to hospice patients and their families who also appreciate being listened to as earthly journeys transition to new life. See pages 4 & 6 for the full stories.

2018 • VOL. 19, ISSUE 1



Listening Reverent

“I tell everyone that I’ve got the best job in the house because I get to sit and talk with everyone.” – Sister Joy Barker, OSF

Listening is key to reverencing human dignity for Sister Joy Barker, OSF.

In her volunteer work at the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan, she and her fellow pastoral team members call the men they visit “brothers” – not inmates. “We aren’t there to judge them. I don’t know why most of them are there, unless they choose to tell us … and honestly why they are there is not important,” she shares. Those who find themselves incarcerated are still someone’s son, brother or spouse. Sister Joy and the pastoral team of three priests go to Milan once each month for Sunday Mass. Usually about 50 attend. While there, team members lend an understanding compassionate ear. Priests hear confessions and once a year the team guides “brothers” who are drawn to spirituality through a retreat called “Cursillo.” Last year five men even chose to go through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). Sister Joy’s enthusiasm for her work and compassion for her brothers is apparent as she speaks about them with empathy. She relates that everyone has value and that God has not forgotten them. In her pastoral care ministry at St. Clare Commons, a care facility that offers assisted living, memory care and skilled



nursing, she says her main function is to listen and lend a compassionate ear. “I listen to stories from their lives. Residents love to talk about what they did in their life … and about their families. Sometimes I get to meet family members when they come for a visit. I think listening makes a person feel validated, ‘I’m important enough to listen to,’” she explained. At St. Clare Commons Sister Joy is establishing “partner relationships” for the residents who don’t have family members nearby. Presently, volunteers come from St. John the XXIII, St. Rose of Lima and St. Patrick of Heatherdowns parishes to listen. “The residents might have been physicians, bankers, or homemakers with interesting lives. They enjoy having other relationships too,” she added. Another program at St. Clare is having a person on each floor in charge of “welcoming” when a new resident arrives. It helps the new people feel at home. Sister Joy smiles and says, “I tell everyone that I’ve got the best job in the house because I get to sit and talk with everyone.”

At St. Clare Commons Sister Joy is establishing “partner relationships” for the residents who don’t have family members nearby. “The residents might have been physicians, bankers, or homemakers with interesting lives. They enjoy having other relationships, too.”

Welcoming and listening are important as Sister Joy looks after spiritual needs. “I learn about a person’s life experiences, their interest in spirituality and their faith tradition,” Sister Joy says. She is grateful for this experience as it prepares her to minister to the family and resident when they are dying. “It is a very sacred spot to be with a person when they are transitioning from this life to a new life … it’s a link between heaven to earth.” Wendy Hartman-Hasselbach, Executive Director at St. Clare Commons shares, “Sister Joy is a real asset to our facility. Most residential homes for older adults don’t have a staff person looking after a person’s spiritual health. Sister will make rounds or be available to a resident anytime. She also keeps the rest of the care team posted. I feel that we have a ‘guardian angel’ on staff.” Sister Joy has been in pastoral care at St. Clare Commons for four years. She prepared herself by course work in Clinical Pastoral Education. Before her work at St. Clare Commons she was in parish ministry and prior to that she was a primary teacher for 15 years. In her spare time Sister Joy gives “Busy Persons Retreats” at her parish, provides spiritual direction for adults and enjoys being with her fellow Sylvania Franciscan Sisters sharing meals, visits and outings.

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Changing Times Who would have thought a year ago, we would see our lives going through such change, with our healthcare, our families or ourselves? Change is an opportunity for transformation. The process of transformation causes us to re-evaluate the direction of our lives. Becoming aware of change, turning a negative approach to a positive one (by advocating for justice and peace, DACA recipients, and welcoming of immigrants), makes us more like St. Francis and St. Clare. Change usually is chaotic but also challenging. How we choose to live life can be challenging, but it can also lead to decisions that makes us better Christians and more grounded. While changes may be based on circumstances, it is the circumstances that challenge the changes. St. Francis challenged all his brothers and sisters to follow him. Today the Sylvania Franciscans invite all to experience the Franciscan way of life by embracing the values of St. Francis of Assisi exemplified through Franciscan core values … calling each of us to be better advocates for others. These core values are: • Poverty – a simplicity of life that causes us to rethink our need for possessions • Conversion – a constant journey of turning to God

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

– Martin Luther King

• Minority – embracing an attitude of service to others • Contemplation – an awareness of the presence of God – everywhere. The Sisters of St. Francis began so humbly with Mother M. Adelaide and 22 sisters 102 years ago. They came to the area to educate the immigrant children of Polish descent. The fact that many of the Sisters are older today does not diminish their life-long commitment to minister to all God’s people. It is amazing and humbling to experience their commitment to help others through active ministry or daily prayer. Your meaningful gift of support to the Sylvania Franciscan Ministries is your commitment to making life better for others, the marginalized and the poor. Please consider a new or renewed financial gift of partnership with the Sylvania Franciscans. In St. Francis & St. Clare, Eileen M. Kerner Director of Congregational Advancement

An envelope is attached for your convenience. Thank you in advance for your prayerful consideration.

Thanks to our 2017 Gala Sponsors

The Sisters of St. Francis gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the support of our generous sponsors.

St. Francis Sponsors

Catholic Health Initiatives Program Solutions Group

Mother Adelaide Sponsors LCG Associates Lourdes University Trinity Health System

Assisi Sponsors

Brown Advisory CHI Living Communities Hylant, Inc. Plante Moran Signature Bank, NA Victory Capital Management Waddell & Reed


San Damiano Sponsors

AIM Specialists Buckeye Broadband Control Systems of Ohio Findley Davies, Inc. Hafner Florist Huntington National Bank Lincoln Financial Group Sophia Center, Inc. TCW The Davey Tree Expert Company Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Wakeman Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home, Inc.

Table Sponsors

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Flasck Eileen and Kevin Kerner

The Kochendoerfer Family Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, LLP Mr. and Mrs. Dale Thomas Mr. and Mrs. Edward Walczak


All Green, Inc. Teri and Paul Bockstahler Fred B. Brower Dr. Mark R. Bruss Mr. and Mrs. John J. Buckley, Jr. CDM Communications CHI St. Joseph Health Dimech Services, Inc. Doering Fleet Management Rev. F. Anthony Gallagher Heidelberg Distributing


Darlene J. Johnson Helen M. Julkowski Eileen and Kevin Kerner Rev. Msgr. John C. Malinowski Noneman Real Estate Company Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, Inc. Laura and Bradley J. Rieger, PhD Dr. Kathryn Schramm Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, LLP Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Taylor Mr. and Mrs. Dale Thomas Ursuline Convent of the Sacred Heart Wedge Capital Management Thomas R. White, DDS

In Memoriam

Sister M. Ramona Wolcenski

Sister M. Ramona Wolcenski, OSF, died on November 6, 2017. Sister Ramona entered the convent from St. Philip Parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1945. She made her First Profession of religious vows in 1950 and her final vows in 1953. Sister Ramona spent the majority of her 67 years of religious life teaching primary grade children in Ohio, Minnesota and Louisiana schools. She began teaching in Toledo, moved on to Minnesota for 14 years and later spent 36 more years with her sister, Sister Ann Joachim and with other Sylvania Franciscans in New Orleans. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Sisters spent several years helping families rebuild their lives. After she returned to the Motherhouse in Sylvania, she continued in ministry by helping the Sisters in Rosary Care Center. This “highly organized, great cook, best primary teacher and best sister ever” has left her legacy in the hearts and lives of many students, Sisters, friends and her dear sister, Sister Ann Joachim.

Sister M. Maurice Wodarski

Sister M. Maurice Wodarski died on January 6, 2018. Sister Maurice entered the convent from Nativity Parish in Toledo, Ohio, in 1951. She made her first profession of religious vows in 1954 and her final vows in 1957. Sister Maurice taught grades second through eighth for 35 years and especially enjoyed teaching math. Many remember Sister Maurice for her whirlwind energy and willingness to do anything that needed to be done for parish and school events. Later Sister Maurice trained as a home health aide and spent 21 years visiting the sick in that ministry. She worked with Toledo area Veterans and was named the March VA Volunteer of the Month in 2014. She also served as Chaplain for the Przybylski Post 642, Catholic War Veterans Auxiliary 639, and was a State Officer of the Ohio Chaplains. In 2007, she received the St. Agnes Medal from the National Catholic War Veterans Auxiliary, the highest national honor bestowed upon a CWVA member.

Read more about Sisters Ramona and Maurice by visiting This has been a busy year for the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office (JPIC). So many very important issues come to our attention almost every day and we can begin to feel overwhelmed. One of the most pressing issues that hasn’t gotten resolved is the one involving our “Dreamers.” These young people, who grew up in the United States, now find themselves wondering if they will be living here much longer or if they will be returning to countries some never knew or no longer remember. We, as Franciscans, need to be at the forefront of helping them in any way that we can whether it’s making a phone call to a representative, joining in a march or prayer service, or sending prayers without ceasing. By Sister Patricia Gardner, Co-Director, JPIC

Other issues include the Federal budget, the Tax Bill, Temporary Protective Status for our brothers and sisters from El Salvador, Haiti, and Guatemala, and the environment. Now, we will be trying to help with the gun problem that exists in our country along with immigration. Both of these have been issues for many years yet we never seem to have the wisdom to deal with them. I try to remember that one person won’t be able to impact any of these challenges but many working together can make a difference!

2018 • VOL. 19, ISSUE 1



A Very

Franciscan Call Sometimes learning where God needs you to be in life requires good listening skills.

“My short definition of Hospice is to help the dying and their loved ones be comfortable and to do all we can to respect their dignity for whatever time they have on earth,” Sister Pam explains, adding, “It’s a very Franciscan thing to do.”

Clarinet player Sister Pam Nosbusch discovered that not only does she have an ear for music, she’s got the Franciscan heart of a Hospice Chaplain.


“People ask me how I do this. I was called to do this,” Sister Pam smiles. God took Sister Pam on a circuitous route to get her into her current ministry. Looking back, she appreciates each step of the way even more for the range of experience and understanding she’s able to bring to the bedside of the dying through Hospice. Sister Pam planned to be a music teacher. After graduating from Arkansas State University, she began teaching elementary school and middle school music classes. She first met Sylvania Franciscans at a women’s retreat in Kentucky when she was in her 30’s. The seed to become


“I am there, helping them to understand how much their life has mattered, and will continue to matter, long after they have gone to God.”

listen to what they choose to share and I just take the person where they are right in that moment.” When the patient is not conscious, she sits by them and prays. “Part of the ‘dignity’ thing,” Sister Pam says, “is always acknowledging that they should be informed what is happening, even if they are not awake at the time. I always tell them that I am there and what I am doing.” She explains to family members that just because their loved one cannot communicate with them doesn’t mean that their presence isn’t felt. “God is helping the important things to get through,” she counsels them. Sometimes the patient talks very openly and spends time sharing their memories.

a Sister was planted by a Sister on the staff of the church she attended in the late 80’s. After meeting the Sylvania Franciscans through this retreat Sister Pam then met Sister Ann Carmen who helped guide Sister Pam through the discernment process which led Sister Pam to entering the Sylvania Franciscans. Although always a devout Catholic, she had never thought of joining a convent by any means. After four years of praying and listening, she answered God’s call and moved to the Motherhouse as a Candidate.

“I am there, helping them to understand how much their life has mattered, and will continue to matter, long after they have gone to God.”

“Sister Pam’s clarinet, or licorice stick, as I call it, had found a new home with us in Sylvania. Her musical talent and sense of humor opened the door to many friendships,” recalls Sister Ann Carmen, who served as Vocational Director at the time.

“If there is anything you feel you need forgiveness for, don’t worry. God has already forgiven you,” she has murmured to the dying man or woman and within the day they have gone to meet Christ.

Sister Pam entered the convent in 1991 and made first profession in 1995. While completing her studies, she taught music appreciation at Lourdes University and later spent fifteen years of ministry in Pastoral Care. After completing her CPE Studies she began her ministry by working as a Chaplain in two health networks before transitioning in 2013 to Hospice care with Gentiva Hospice in Nashville, TN.

Other times, the person might need to receive permission to leave, Sister Pam says. “Hearing permission from an important person in their life that it is okay to go is often all they are waiting to hear.” Sometimes she senses there might be something else and she listens for God to guide her.

“There are so many days when I’ll leave someone’s bedside and I thank God for helping me to know what to say. Sometimes you have no idea how you are going to handle a situation and you have to trust that God will give you what you need to give to that person at the right time,” Sister Pam says gratefully.

Now, as she enters her fifth year as part of a Kindred Hospice care team that tends to all of the needs of the individual and family, Sister Pam works with a patient care team consisting of a Registered Nurse, Social Worker and Hospice Aide. Sister Pam provides emotional or spiritual support to all who invite her to be part of their journey. She has been welcomed by many, including those of Jewish, Hindi, Muslim and Bahá’í faith traditions. “It’s a very humbling experience to be there with people as they journey towards God,” she says. “I

2018 • VOL. 19, ISSUE 1




Our Sisters!

Congratulations to the following Sisters on celebrating their special anniversaries this year.

Platinum 75th

Sister Janeen Sobczak

Diamond 60th

Sister Barbara Ann Borkowski

Sister Eve Marie Korzym

Thank You

We would like to thank all those who generously supported the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, in 2017. To see the complete list of donors, go to our website,

Donation Income 2017* Through the generous support of friends, family and benefactors, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, raised the following money in 2017 to support their mission and ministries.

Annual Fund..................... $276,457.00 Retirement......................... $146,546.00 Gala.................................... $111,820.00 RCC.....................................$ 64,104.00** Gifts In-Kind......................$ 34,468.00 TOTALS............................. $633,395.00 ** RCC Capital Campaign Cumulative 2016-2017 $248,490.00

Golden 50th

Gala Mark your Calendars. . .

Sister Nathaniel Eisel

Sister Patricia Ann Taube

Sister Judith Ann Sister Nancy Ann Zielinski Surma

Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak Sister Rosemarie Sister Sharon Fredericks Havelak

Saturday, September 22, 2018 5 p.m. – Mass

Read more about our Jubilarians online at


2018 Franciscan


6 p.m. – Dinner, Auction & Awards Presentation

Join us for dinner, a silent auction and entertainment. This is a ticketed event.

Franciscan Focus

Art spotlight Highlighting the natural beauty, art and architecture that adorns the Sylvania Franciscan campus.

Sylvania Franciscan foundress Mother M. Adelaide Sandusky continues to inspire. After more than 30 years in the ministry of health care, Sister Magdala Davlin returned to the Motherhouse, and she now happily pursues her love of art in Alverno Studio. Throughout her life, she’s dabbled in oil, watercolor, graphite, clay mosaic tiles and now, sculpture. This past fall she decided to audit a Lourdes University class titled Sculpture II taught by Instructor Patrick Dubreuil, where the final project would be a full-scale bust.

pleased with the results. “I think that it turned out well,” she smiles. “I was fortunate to be able to rely on the guidance of both my Instructor Patrick Dubreuil and Sister Jane Mary {Sorosiak}.” “I admire that she even tried to do anything like this,” says Sister Jane Mary, “because it is very difficult. In the end, she did a very good job and captured the likeness as well as a certain spirit of Mother Adelaide.”

Using 75 pounds of red clay built on an armature of newspaper and stick, Sister Magdala took on the daunting task of recreating the warmth and energy of Mother Adelaide. “Mother Adelaide always looked to the future with hope and kindness and that expression is what I was going for,” says Sister Magdala, who had the advantage and honor of knowing the Mother Superior for the last four years of her life.

Mother M. Adelaide Sandusky

Red clay sculpture burnished in warm bronze, 16" tall Artist: Sister Magdala Davlin, OSF

This novice sculptor somehow managed to capture all of that warmth. The finished bust is burnished to a warm bronze that glows in the surrounding reflected light. Mother Adelaide’s features emerge from the hard clay with a surprising softness and gentleness that feels lovingly perfect. As she holds her head at a slight tilt that suggests attentiveness; her eyes fully engage with her audience. Sister Magdala admits that she is

2018 • VOL. 19, ISSUE 1

World Day for the Sick Sisters Rita Jane Radecki, St. Anthony Chrzanak, Lois Anne Palkert and Penny Dunn are in ministry in Bryan, Texas. They participated in readings at a White Mass celebrated by Monsignor John Malinowski at CHI St. Joseph Regional Hospital in honor of World Day for the Sick on February 11, 2018. Sister Lois Anne provided a reflection that included the history of our Sisters caring for the sick during the flu epidemic of 1918.


Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio 6832 Convent Blvd. Sylvania, Ohio 43560



A Sisters of St. Francis sponsored ministry Is your loved one transitioning from hospital to home?

Imagine the care at a Catholic and Franciscan nursing and rehabilitation center that focuses on human dignity.

Discover Rosary Care Center – on the peaceful Motherhouse grounds of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania. • We offer skilled nursing services, therapy and rehabilitation for recovery following surgery, an injury or illness. • Our team can help you evaluate your care needs. • We are Medicare and Medicaid certified and accept most other commercial insurances. • Long-term care and respite care are also available.

Rosary Care Center welcomes all in a warm, caring environment.

Call for a tour today. 419.824.3600

6832 Convent Blvd. • Sylvania, Ohio A Sylvania Franciscan ministry


The Sylvania Franciscan March 2018  

Stories of ministry and mission from the Sylvania Franciscans.

The Sylvania Franciscan March 2018  

Stories of ministry and mission from the Sylvania Franciscans.