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Franciscan Volume 2.3 • Winter 2012 – 13

PAGE 10 Mother Marianne Cope: A Universal Saint for All Celebrating the Oct. 21, 2012 Canonization

The Many Faces of Leadership A Publication of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

Dear Friends, Editor

Cheryl Aughton Executive Editor

Sister Lorraine Wesolowski Contributors

Cheryl Aughton Gregory Griffin Cynthia Munschauer Roxanne Sopchak Paul Stabile Sister Lorraine Wesolowski Graphic Design

Deborah Allen


Gerianne Dobmeier Circulation

Sister Rose Marie Colasurdo Kelli Cavo Sister Alicia Damien Lau Sister M. Norise Kaiser Sister Donna Zwigart Congregational Office of Mission Advancement

Gregory Griffin 315.634.7085, Vocation Office

Sister Rosemary Hendry, 315.634.7084 Sister Joselle Orlando, 315.634.7083 Editorial Office

Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities 146 Hawthorne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15209 412.821.2200, If there is a change that needs to be made, we want to do so. Please return your correct address to us, or contact Kelli Cavo by email at or phone 716.632.2155, ext. 685. In addition, let us know if we have misspelled your name, sent you more than one news magazine or if you want your name removed from our mailing list.

… goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Since the last issue of the Franciscan Spirit, change has been upon us in many forms as a congregation. In July, our community elected a new leadership team for the next four years; and our beloved “Mother” Marianne Cope was officially proclaimed a saint through her canonization on October 21, 2012. We, as a community of Sisters of St. Francis, have experienced firsthand the boundless blessings and unconditional love of our God. Our own saints — Francis and Clare of Assisi; John Neumann, former bishop of Philadelphia and pioneer priest in western New York; and Mother Marianne of New York and Hawaii, “beloved mother of outcasts,” point the way for us on how to actually embody the very qualities of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 23

Sts. Francis and Clare model the power of ongoing conversion from selfishness to an other-centered life; John Neumann showed us how deep trust in the divine presence can lead one to continually embark into the unknown, risking all — life and reputation. Mother Marianne’s life reflects for us a strong, compassionate, and humble response to serve those who are in the most desperate of circumstances with great grace, intelligence, generosity, and love! These holy men and women serve as our great teachers whose very lives speak to us through the ages. Their example is a living legacy which, I dare say, all of us want to emulate in this year of 2012 and into the future. So, along with our new leadership team of Sisters Louise Alff, Geraldine Ching, Helen Hofmann, Mary Jo Mattes, and Jeanne Weisbeck, I invite you to ponder the desire of the following prayer: “Generous and loving Lord, you call us in every age to believe in the Good News and to serve our brothers and sisters in justice, peace, and charity. We raise our voices in thanksgiving for the heroic faith of St. Marianne, who responded to the call of the Gospel to follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ after the example of St. Francis of Assisi. Stir up in us the flame of your spirit and the grace of our baptism so that we might fully give ourselves to your service and that of our brothers and sisters in the vocation to which your love has called us. Amen.” Peace and all good,

Sister Roberta Smith, OSF General Minister

Directional Statement

Franciscan Volume 2.3 • Winter 2012 – 13

Rooted in the Gospel and energized by the Spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare, we seek to be women of vision living in right relationship with God, one another and with all creation.

Mission Statement Rooted in the Gospel we are sisters to all, serving with reverence, justice and compassion.

Christmas blessings of love, friendship and peace. You will be remembered in the prayers and Masses of the sisters during the Christmas season.

The goal of Franciscan Spirit is to reflect what it means to live the Gospel as Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in our everyday lives. The spirit of Franciscan life is best described as: a joyful attitude, simplicity of heart, giving praise and thanks and greeting all with peace. Our hope is that concepts like these will come alive in the people you meet in this publication we call Franciscan Spirit, and that you will be inspired to partner with us in our mission.

Award Winning

2 The Many Faces of Leadership 10 Mother Marianne Cope: A Universal Saint for All

Franciscan Spirit is winner of the 2012 best in show, and best publication with a gift envelope awards from the National Catholic Development Conference.

On the Cover Sister Marianne Ferguson serves as professor at Buffalo State University in Buffalo, N.Y.

13 Pioneers, Prophets & Pacesetters 16 New Congregational Leadership Brings Abundance of Gifts and Talents 18 Mission Advancement 20 Upcoming Retreats and Events 21 In Prayerful Memory

“Madonna of the Chair” by Raffaelo Sanzo da Urbino (1483 – 1520)

Franciscan Spirit is published quarterly. Printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks.

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The Many Faces of The faces of leadership are many. Leaders possess many skills, including building relationships, having a vision, collaboration, communication, planning, management, and so much more. The list can be endless. Often we expect those in leadership to possess all the characteristics we use to define it. Perhaps the words of St. Francis of Assisi in his letter to leaders, says it best. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in his sight is what you are and nothing more. … Help remove unjust social structures and patterns of exploitation. Uphold the rights and dignity of the human person. Foster the creation of a society where human life is cherished and where all peoples of the planet can enjoy its gifts which God created for all, in a spirit of love and justice and equality. (circa 1220) Our sisters exhibit leadership in many ways and through many ministries. They reach out to meet needs, they have visions for new ventures, they spread the Gospel in innovative ways, and they work for the common good from institutions to neighborhoods. The stories in this issue of the Franciscan Spirit are just a sampling of what sisters do every day.

Sister Marianne Ferguson: A Lifetime of “Firsts” as She Spreads the Word of God


er honors, awards, publications, presentations, professional activities, responsibilities and initiatives have been countless during the past 57 years. Yet it all began with a dream, a dream that was realized for Sister Marianne Ferguson.

Sister Marianne says that her interest in religious studies began at an early age when she won a prize at a quiz show featuring knowledge of theology. Then as an undergraduate student at Buffalo State she says, “It bothered me that I could never take a religion course.” This comes from her passion of wanting to teach religion and to teach it in public schools. Her ministry over the years has been devoted to education and campus ministry. A little known fact is that Sister Marianne was the first woman ever in campus ministry in New York State. Her 20 years in this ministry


Leadership were at the Newman Center at Buffalo State where she also was an adjunct professor. It was during that time when Beth Lenegan PhD, then a student, met Sister Marianne. “One of the areas that Sister Marianne always encouraged was further education in religious studies and higher education. She introduced me to the religions of the world and to women and religion. She not only taught me, but encouraged me to teach others. Sister Marianne has been my teacher, my mentor, my colleague and my friend.” While teaching in the philosophy department at Buffalo State, Sister Marianne originated courses in religious studies to form an 18 credit religious study minor. She was the first to develop a minor in religious studies at a state university in the state of New York and a proposal for a religious studies major is in the planning stage for the future. Among her many firsts, is that prior to her position at Buffalo State, Sister Marianne taught at Daemen College and Christ the King Seminary in Olean, N.Y., making her the first woman to teach in a seminary in the U.S. Sister Marianne’s course on world religions is a popular on campus. She claims that the reason for this is “because of the global society we’re in, the religious factor permeates so much of all the dimensions of society.” Other students said how the global perspective of religion helps them understand their own religion as well as other religions. A recent student of hers, Joseph Schroeder, says, “Professor Ferguson takes on the difficult task of explaining things that are foreign to many students such as the religions of the Middle and Far East which allows students to obtain a world view of different cultures and lifestyles that will be of great importance to us as we move forward with life. ... Professor Ferguson takes the time to know every student’s name in her class. ... It is safe to say the she has helped me develop into the individual that I am

q Sister Marianne Ferguson, reads her book “Christian Thought: An Introduction” to students. From left, first row: Eileen Griffen, Sister Marianne, Margaret Wirth. From left, second row: Jesse Williams and Brandon Macie.

Photo credit: Gerianne Dobmeier


today and I am forever grateful for her insight and wisdom that she has bestowed upon me.” Sister Marianne’s interest in Christianity, world religions and women and religion are evidenced in the courses she originated and teaches. These courses include: Christian Thought, New Testament, Writings of John and Women in Global Religion as well as Intro to Religion and World Religions. Her course on World Religions is now being taught on line. The influence of her classes is often evident in the reflection papers students do for her classes. One student wrote that it helped her understand her own religion better. continued on page 4 Winter 2012 – 13 3


Sister Mentors Empower New Members for Leadership Among the many presentations at the July General Chapter meeting of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, newer members of the congregation shared their thoughts on how their mentoring relationships with sisters in community empowers them to lead as they further the mission of the Gospel today and into the future. Here is a brief summary of their reflections. Sister Cheryl Wint, novice and pastoral associate, St. Augustine-by-the-Sea Parish, Honolulu, Hawaii

You have blessed us by agreeing to live with us and have taught us how to no longer just react to life but to pause, question and respond. Responding rather than reacting has helped us live freely and in greater harmony with our true identity in every situation. It has helped us grab hold of the freedom we seek in order to enter into religious life.

It made her understand how important it is to have a religious commitment. “I’m not teaching faith., but an appreciation of the faith of all religions. I’m teaching about religion. I’m not out to convert,” says Sister Marianne. Sister Marianne has always been interested in women’s studies and wrote her first book, “Women and Religion,” to depict the experience of women by world religions and the creative ways that women cope with the situation. Along with her second book, “Christian Thought: An Introduction,” these books are used as textbooks in courses she teaches. “Sister Marianne is a phenomenon,” says colleague Allen Podet, PhD. “Her life is an expression of ‘imitation Christi’. The school has honored her as a distinguished professor. Her students consider themselves blessed to have her as their teacher and exemplar. Her colleagues look to her as a superbly trained, religiously committed educator in the best sense. To me personally as a colleague and a Rabbi, she is an expression of the meaning of Christian love in practice.” With her extensive background and initiative in realizing the dream she had as a child, Sister Marianne says, “It makes me grateful to have the word of God spread through our secular society. It was the way Jesus and Francis taught. This fits into our Franciscan charism.” When asked about the legacy she would hope to leave, she says, “Leaving the religious studies minor to develop into a major is satisfying that the work won’t die and I hope that it continues to grow.”

This wholesome support has infused in us a lifetime understanding of how important it is to continue this legacy (of the Sisters of St. Francis.)

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Sister Anne Marie Saphara, temporary professed, graphic artist, Williamsville, N.Y.

Sister Donna Stephenson: Letting Go and Letting God


ifted with a creative spirit, ability to take risks and deep faith in God, Sister Donna Stephenson’s ministry journey has been a growing one thanks to a variety of rich ministry experiences.

Yet, Sister Donna gives all the praise to God. “It’s not about me,” she says. “My life has to be rooted in prayer and God in order to bring forth God’s kingdom on earth.” Her journey began as a primary school teacher in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pa. In 1977, when she arrived to teach at St. Joseph School in Pittsburgh’s Mount Oliver neighborhood she was invited to begin a kindergarten class. “I created it from scratch,” she says. “It was very challenging and life-giving.” After serving for 15 years with young children, she was invited by the leadership of the Sisters of St. Francis to oversee the formation program for young sisters preparing to join the congregation. She served in this ministry for six years. Yearning to get back into education, but in a non-traditional setting serving the disadvantaged, she was hired by the York Street Project in Jersey City, N.J. to serve as a master teacher at Nurturing Place, an educational and supportive facility for economically-disadvantaged children. Once again, she found her role evolving as the program grew and she began serving as principal where she was instrumental in the expansion of the new program. Touched by the commitment and values of a group of lay Jesuit volunteers serving at York Street, Sister Donna brought the idea of a lay volunteer program to the Sisters of St. Francis in Pittsburgh, with the goal of encouraging young people to live lives of faith-filled service. The idea was overwhelmingly approved at the congregation’s General Chapter in 1997 as well as by the leadership team and in 1999 the Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program opened its doors. “If it is of God, God provides what is needed,” says Sister Donna who served as director of the program for its first nine years.

Today, everyone in formation receives a Franciscan education. We attend St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y. every summer and attend workshops and retreats that enrich our lives as we grow in our knowledge of Sts. Francis and Clare. Laura Hackenberg, temporary professed, pastoral care, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Syracuse, N.Y.

As new members, we are blessed to be invited to “try out” ministries and different works of service. By ‘trying out’ a ministry and working with a mentor to see if a particular ministry is calling to us — we can discern if the spirit is calling us to a particular ministry. These opportunities are a great learning and discernment tool for all of us. continued on page 6

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t Sister Donna Stephenson, Sister Concetta Fabo, Change A Heart program member Anthony Sloan, and Sister Janet Kramer attend a peaceful protest at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. in 2007.

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Sister Reyna Jesusa Ontón Ñahui, temporary professed, student, Lima, Peru

We know that one of the greatest values that identifies as Franciscans is Fraternitas (community). This Fraternitas has been a blessing in our lives. We experience it in the joy of each sister, in the warm welcome of each local house, in the help, listening, love and sharing of each of you. Of course, the Fraternal life is not an easy journey. To swim against the current is not easy. But, it is a wonderful journey that our Father Francis lived, taught and passed on to us. The greatest blessing is to know that there is a sister that we can count on in the moments of sadness, loneliness, crisis, joy and happiness. Together we travel the journey, each at our own pace. And together we try and want to live the Gospel. Sister Amy Williams, registered nurse, Mercy UPMC Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Our hope is that we can continue to embrace our common heart by treasuring our past and remaining open to the future. This is a process that involves honoring where the Spirit has guided us in the past and discerning where the Spirit is leading us now.

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During this time there were 30 total members and the program grew to have members in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Waynesburg, Pa. and Pittsburgh, Pa. She says during this time God called forth gifts she didn’t know she had. “If I keep saying ‘yes,’ God will provide what is being called for.” Here, Sister Donna challenged members to use their gifts from within to serve God. This philosophy stems from her own willingness to say yes to new opportunities. “As long as I’m challenging people to remain open to use their gifts from within, then God will use them,” she explains.

p Current and former Change A Heart members and staff at the 2012 Hearts and Hands Gala.

During this time, members noted they grew the most in the areas of community and simple living, two of the hallmarks of Franciscan living. In 2009, Kelly Caddy was hired as director of Change A Heart. “I felt someone younger could really help grow the program through modern technology,” says Sister Donna.

Front row, from left: Sister Donna Stephenson, Justine Duquette, Brenda Byrne, Jackie Pyrdek Woodward, Jennifer Marasco, Meghan Monahan, Pamela English

Presently, eight members serve in the program and 53 alumni who have served more than Back row, from left: Gina Carl, Britney Adams, Kelly Caddy, Michelle Basista, Sean Cooksey, Kyle 60,000 children, youth, Johnson, Jarrod Kinkley, Galen Osby adults and seniors in human service fields such as health care, education, housing and hunger programs, continue Change A Heart’s legacy throughout the U.S. Today, as formation director for the Sisters of St. Francis, Sister Donna remains on the board of directors of Change A Heart, meets regularly with members to provide spiritual support, and is actively involved in their Hearts and Hands Gala fundraiser. Kelly is grateful for Sister Donna’s continued presence with the program. “Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi were companions, and that’s how I feel about Sister Donna,” she says. Amidst all of her work in administrative positions, it’s the little things she remembers that still bring a tear to her eyes. Like the time she sewed up the hole in a young homeless child’s Halloween costume at Nurturing Place. When she advanced to eighth grade, the girl wrote to Sister Donna saying “You never know how something so simple can touch somebody’s heart.”

Photo credit: St. Bonaventure University

Our hope is that we can continue to take a stand on social and environmental issues. We can do this individually by: voting and being part of the political process; appealing to congressional leaders on behalf of those whose voices are not heard; supporting programs for the poor in our local neighborhoods; and doing our part to care for the environment.

p Sister Margaret Carney enjoys time with students from St. Bonaventure University.

Sister Margaret Carney: Leading Nation’s Oldest Catholic Franciscan University


wasn’t trying to become president,” says Sister Margaret Carney, president of St. Bonaventure University (SBU) in Olean, N.Y. “I was thrust into it,” she says. “And then I had to embrace it.”

After serving as dean of the School of Franciscan Studies and director of the Franciscan Institute at the university for five years, Sister Margaret was asked to become the interim senior vice-president. Sister Margaret, along with Father Dominic Monti, OFM, who also served in the interim, was asked to apply for the position of president. “I never took it seriously. I wanted to go back to teaching at the institute.” However, once Father Dominic withdrew from the process to return to teaching, Sister Margaret realized that she was the only Franciscan candidate among the three remaining in the process. Nine years later, Sister Margaret continues to lead the nation’s oldest Catholic Franciscan university as its 20th president. “In 50 years of association with Bonaventure, Sister Margaret is the most inspiring and articulate leader with whom I have been privileged to have an association and a valued friendship,” says James Cattano, an alumni who now serves on the board of trustees. Sister Margaret says she is grateful for the support she receives. “I am blessed with tremendous trustees, lay people who make real sacrifices, who are generous and dedicated.” In her position as president, Sister Margaret says she enjoys having a chance to improve opportunities for students to receive scholarships. “I work at keeping a rapport with the students by being present to a lot of student

Sister Caryn Crook, Franciscan ecology coordinator, Spirituality and Nature Center at Alverna Heights, Fayetteville, N.Y.

We are alive and well and moving forward together into the future! There have been 25 sisters entering our congregation since its inception in 2004. We need to continue to learn each other’s stories. The more we learn the better we understand regional cultures. By doing these things we will continue to unite and become one spirit with Christ. This chapter gathering helps, community days help, and professions help. Each new life experience has formed and will continue to form who we are today and into the future. Our new experiences help to form our new culture and better define who we are as a congregation.

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Photo credit: St. Bonaventure University

As she reflects upon Catholic education in general, Sister Margaret says that many sisters in the congregation were involved and continue to be a part of Catholic education. However, the reality is that the church doesn’t have the finances to support lay leaders to keep our elementary and secondary schools open. “It is now the small Catholic colleges, with lay leaders, that are our role models.”

p Sister Margaret Carney presents students with their degrees at St. Bonaventure University commencement exercises.

activities.” Thomas Chulick, a member of the St. Bonaventure Student Government Association, says, “Sister Margaret is one of the most familiar faces on the SBU campus. ... she knows many students by name ... always puts students first. She is part of our daily lives here at SBU.”

Sister Margaret, whose name is well known in Franciscan circles, continues to be engaged in Franciscan scholarship. She has given workshops for the national Franciscan Federation and has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad. To maintain her connection to the Franciscan Institute, she teaches a course during the summer. When she received her doctorate in theology in Rome, she became the first woman to graduate from the Pontifical University Antonianum at the doctoral level. Most notably, Sister Margaret, worked as part of an international commission on a new Rule of Life for the 400 institutes of the Franciscan Third Order Regular which was approved by Pope John Paul II. “The dedication and energy exhibited by Sister Margaret in preserving and enhancing Franciscan culture is without limits,” says trustee Cattano.

Sister Beatrice Tom: Leading in the Spirit of St. Marianne


n April 16, 2012, more than 200 people who were living at Kea‘au Beach Park in Waianae, Hawaii, were evicted from their homes by city officials. Like Saint Marianne, who always responded willingly to the outcast, Sister Beatrice Tom, administrator of the nearby Our Lady of Kea‘au retreat and outreach center reached out in love. In 2005, after serving as chief executive officer of St. Francis Healthcare System for 15 years, Sister Beatrice established Our Lady of Kea‘au. Located on 58 acres

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on the Waianae Coast, the center offers nonprofit organizations a special retreat center for meetings, conferences and celebrations. Guests have access to furnished cabins, an outdoor kitchen and dining facilities, tennis courts, swimming pools and open fields. Reaching out to the community, volunteers and staff at Our Lady of Kea‘au also prepare and serve about 375 hot meals every week for those residing at the Pai‘olu Homeless Shelter and at the Waianae Boat Harbor.

q Guests at Our Lady of Kea‘au have access to amenities such as furnished cabins, dining facilities, swimming pools and open fields.

This year, in response to the needs of her homeless neighbors, Sister Beatrice went a step further in tackling this growing community problem by creating Mother Marianne Farm, a Christian homeless tent community on the campus. The land, once overgrown with kiawe and weeds was cleared and within weeks, tentalos, (framed tents) donated by the Diocese of Honolulu, were erected. Soon flowers and trees were planted. Rock walls were constructed by the new residents. Today, residents pray together as a community, grow their own produce, go fishing and help with chores to maintain the property. Residents follow strict rules, and their lives are transformed as they learn to live in harmony with God, each other and the environment. In addition to hot meals, hygiene kits and clothing, other items are distribute. The ultimate goal is to retrain the temporary residents and get them back into society, said Sister Beatrice. For example, some have been taught to lay flooring and maintain the farm carts, and “Henry has become our baker. He tries anything and made delicious almond cookies for the feast of St. Francis and St. Marianne Cope’s canonization day.”

Like St. Marianne Cope, Sister Beatrice says God seems to continually lead her to ministry with those most in need. “I don’t seem to seek it. It falls in front of me,” she says. “I have to follow it. If it falls in front of me, it must be from the Lord.”

p Sister Beatrice Tom

Page 9 Photos Copyright Ohana Photo Studios 2012

Sister Beatrice takes a hands-on approach to leadership. In addition to managing the facility, she strives to create an atmosphere of love and peace among guests, residents and volunteers. Like Mother Marianne, she ministers oneon-one with those who are homeless and helps to restore dignity to those who have lost all hope. “I feed them, clothe them, teach them discipline and pray with them,” she explains.

p Mother Marianne Farm

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Mother Marianne Cope: A Universal Saint for All


t is with great joy that the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities share the good news that one of our own, Mother Marianne Cope, was proclaimed a saint in the universal Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI on Sun., Oct. 21, 2012 in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Ever after she will be known as Saint Marianne Cope.

It is a privilege, honor and blessing that a sister of our congregation who walked the streets that we walk, taught in schools in New York, was a leader in establishing St. Joseph Hospital in Syracuse, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica and Malulani Hospital in Maui, Hawaii, and served as mother general of the Sisters of St. Francis is now the first Franciscan to be canonized a saint in North America. During her time in congregational leadership, she responded positively to the call to serve those afflicted with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) on the Hawaiian Islands, where she spent the remaining 35 years of her life. Speaking about St. Marianne of Molokai in his homily at the 10 Franciscan Spirit

canonization ceremony, Pope Benedict said that at a time when very little could be done to treat people with Hansen’s disease, “Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm. She is a shining example of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved St. Francis,” the pope said. In celebration of this once-in-alifetime event, we share with you some of our favorite photos from the canonization pilgrimages to Rome and Assisi.

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p Sister Grace Dillenschneider, vice-postulator, receives communion from Pope Benedict XVI. t Far left: Oct. 21 was a beautiful, joy-filled day for more than 160,000 faithful who gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy to hear Pope Benedict proclaim seven news saints for the universal Catholic church.

Left: St. Marianne Cope banner

p Left to right: Second miracle recipient Sharon Smith of Chittenango, N.Y., whose healing cleared the way for St. Marianne’s canonization, presents a St. Marianne relic to Pope Benedict XVI during the ceremony.

As he passes by in his popemobile, Pope Benedict blesses pilgrims, including patients with Hansen’s disease from Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii.

Mother Marianne’s great, great nephew Dr. Paul DeMare, medical director at St. Francis Healthcare System in Honolulu, Hawaii presents the offertory gifts to the pope.

t Sister Davilyn Ah Chick, principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, reads the petitions in English.

Photos © L’Osservatore Romano

p Upon the joyous occasion of Mother Marianne’s canonization, Pope Benedict XVI imparted an Apostolic Blessing to the friends and benefactors of the Sisters of St. Francis. Winter 2012 – 13 11

Celebrate our new saint! Canonized Oct. 21, 2012 Pray and Learn St. Marianne is a modern day saint to whom we can all relate and be proud to call our own. Our congregation is pleased to offer you a number of ways that you can embrace, learn and celebrate her life and legacy.

Visit the Shrine and Museum of St. Marianne Cope Located at St. Anthony Convent in Syracuse, N.Y., the shrine and museum contain exhibits and artifacts illustrating Mother Marianne’s life, work and impact. The shrine is also a growing destination for visitors seeking inspiration and intercession. For more information and to plan your visit: 315.422.7999, Request a speaker to visit your parish, school or group To help spread awareness of the life, times, and legacy of St. Marianne, the St. Marianne’s Speakers Bureau has been created and sisters are available in every region of the congregation for speaking engagements. For more information about the Speakers Bureau, or to arrange a visit: 315.634.6982. Pray for St. Marianne’s intercession Through the intercession of St. Marianne, pray privately for your special intentions and needs. Find St. Marianne’s intercessory prayer and novena at Ask for intercession through the prayers of our sisters. Make your prayer request at

Make Your Gift Today Support the Saint Marianne Initiative The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities are dedicated to stewarding the life and legacy of Mother Marianne Cope. Your support will ensure that her inspirational story is forever perpetuated throughout the U.S. and abroad. Gifts made to the St. Marianne Initiative will support our congregational efforts in the following ways:

• Expansion of the Shrine and Museum of St. Marianne in Syracuse • Management, stewardship and preservation of the archives of St. Marianne and the Sisters of St. Francis • Development of educational and liturgical programming • Support the St. Marianne Speaker’s Bureau and volunteer program

While the Sisters of St. Francis have planned for these costs, your tax-deductible gift can defray these direct expenses to the sisters. Your financial support of this blessed and historic event is deeply appreciated. To make your special gift, please visit, or use the enclosed envelope. For more information: Gregory J. Griffin 315.634.7085,

Pioneers, Prophets & Pacesetters Sister Concetta DeFelice: A Passion for the Poor There’s a passion in her voice when Sister Concetta DeFelice talks about Gerard Place in Buffalo, N.Y., a ministry she has been connected with since its inception. Gerard Place is dedicated to strengthening the community by providing transitional housing and supportive services for homeless single parent families. When there is a need, sisters often rise to the occasion. The need was to care for women and children in the best possible way. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in western New York, comprised of 12 congregations, gathered to develop a response. Among the sisters who began to find a way to address this pressing need was Sister Concetta DeFelice. “I have a great passion for the poor, especially children,” she says. As part of the initial group of “movers and shakers” she goes on to say, “We found a building — St. Gerard’s closed school. We gutted it and made 14 one and two bedroom apartments.” People come to Gerard Place from the street, homeless shelters, as victims of abuse, and from agencies. “We work with many local programs. We ‘wrap around’ as many services as we can,” explains Sister Concetta. In 2009 the vacant St. Gerard Convent was purchased and now houses more than 40 educational programs including GED, Scouts, job career planning and health education for those living in the poorest area of the city. This not-forprofit entity continues to expand, and with the ongoing

support of the regional LCWR Sister Concetta remains as one of the original initiators of the project and serves as secretary of the board for Gerard Place. “Giving service to the poorest of the poor has humbled me. It gives me great joy to work with families and see the progress they make,” she says.

Sister Anne Jena: Reaching Out to Feed the Hungry “Sometimes I can’t believe I did it. But I was determined.” That determination is what drove Sister Anne Jena to begin a Meals on Wheels program in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa. nearly 40 years ago. Through conversations with people in the local parish and neighborhood, she learned that there were people going hungry because they were unable to shop and prepare meals for themselves. She recognized a need and wanted to respond. She took her years of experience of cooking and baking for the sisters and expanded it beyond the convent walls. With the support of the parish pastor, volunteers and after consulting with a neighboring community’s Meals on Wheels leader, Sister Anne did what she does best — ­ cook continued on page 14

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and bake. “It was hard to start,” explains Sister Anne, “but it was satisfying to know that people had something to eat.” She learned of those who needed meals through responses to a parish bulletin notice and by word of mouth. “There are a lot of people who have no one to take care of them. They just want to see somebody and talk to someone,” she said. Within a few months, Sister Anne was serving 90 people, in addition to the 20 sisters in the convent where she lived. Using her ingenuity, Sister Anne heated bricks in order to keep food hot while being delivered to homes. There were times, she said, when those delivering the meals found people sick and on occasion discovered someone who passed away. Barbara Doerfler, a volunteer for 35 years said, “Sister Anne was the best. Nothing was too much for her. She did everything from scratch and was happy to do it. She was a Godsend to many people.” The Meals on Wheels program, begun more than 40 years ago, continues to this day because of Sister Anne’s determination to “feed the hungry.”

Sister Lorraine Wesolowski: National Communicators Network for Women Religious It began in 1993 with a phone call to a colleague by Sister Lorraine Wesolowski, who at the time served as director of communications for the Adrian Dominican Sisters in Adrian, Mich. “Do you have time to talk? I have an idea,” she said. This initial conversation by Sister Lorraine led to an informal gathering of three directors of communications. Information was shared and the possibility of networking was explored. Soon 11 directors were meeting, and after two years, the possibility of holding a national conference was discussed. In 1994, the process gave birth to the National Communicators Network for Women Religious (NCNWR). Soon, the need for a gathering of communicators working for congregations of women religious proved true when 77 communicators from across the country attended the first NCNWR conference in 1995. 14 Franciscan Spirit

The mission of NCNWR continues today as a network of professional support and education for members who promote understanding of women religious; to enhance their image and advance their mission. NCNWR is also a resource for organizations serving women religious. With 182 members representing 150 religious congregations, NCNWR continues to grow and is in its 18th year of service. “It’s amazing what can happen with just one phone call,” says Sister Lorraine.

Sister Marlene Kline: Leading From Any Chair As executive director of the Portiuncula Foundation of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, Sister Marlene Kline is excited about the opportunity to continue to grow the grant and scholarship giving organization. “One of my gifts is to organize things and I saw myself as being able to organize it.” The goal of the foundation is to award grants and scholarships to organizations and students serving in the spirit of St. Francis in areas of the country where the Sisters of St. Francis minister. One of the first things Sister Marlene did was to change the policy of limiting grant amounts due to the growth of a fund. Sister Marlene had an opportunity to develop her leadership and organizational skills while working with Mother Viola Leininger, major superior of the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale, Pa. (1961 – 1973). Mother Viola also served as foundress of the Franciscan Federation, a national organization comprised of women and men religious of the Third Order Regular. As the congregation’s liaison to the Franciscan Federation for 10 years, Sister Marlene played a major role in the restructuring of the organization to make it open to an expanded membership. Sister Marlene says she is amazed by all the work that was accomplished by the committees on which she served. “The federation has always been dear to my heart because I knew it was the vision of Mother Viola,” she says. From 1999 until 2006, Sister Marlene served on the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale where she led a committee of sisters who “reimagined” a

vision for the recruitment and formation of new members to the congregation. “We don’t need think tanks as much as we need imagination tanks,” she explains. “Conversion is more a matter of imagining than thinking.” Sister Marlene says she believes the possibilities for leadership are endless, no matter where one serves. “Leading from any chair ... that’s what I try to do. I try to lead from whatever chair in which I’m sitting.” She says she is energized by the endless possibilities that arise when people come together. Like an orchestra she says “If everyone is leading from the chair they’re in, that’s when everything comes together.”

Sister Maureen Marion’s Holistic Care Initiative Brings Hope Where There is Despair It’s not often that a television commercial sparks an idea for a creative ministry. But that’s what happened when Sister Maureen Marion saw a commercial about creating one’s own job. Sister Maureen began thinking about the many disadvantaged and lonely people who often spend days alone in their homes or nursing homes. Sparked with enthusiasm, Sister Maureen presented the idea of visiting patients to Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemek, who cared for her mother at the Mid-Valley office of The Wright Center for Primary Care in Jermyn, Pa. The goal of her initiative was to serve as a supportive presence and provide assistance to seniors who are alone or in a long-term residence with no family or other support systems. Dr. Thomas-Hemak said that the idea had amazing potential because healing is not only physical but is about the whole being of a person. To help start the program, Sister Maureen said, “I took a stab in the dark and requested money from the congregation’s Mill Street Grant and I got it.” Since May of this year, she has visited 270 patients whom the care manager at the clinic determined would benefit the most from her visits. “They say I give them hope.” The grant monies for this pilot project end this December. However, Sister Maureen’s good news is that she will be engaged as a contracted employee to continue the program she initiated. Brian Ebersole, education and community relevance leader, wrote in his letter to her, “The Wright Center Medical Group has been invigorated by the impact your time with us has had on the health

and well being of our high risk patients through home visits and companionship. ... It is an opportunity to examine innovative patient engagement techniques for the management of chronic conditions with the end result of reducing unnecessary health care expenditures including emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Sister Maureen says that this ministry embodies not only the words of the peace prayer of St. Francis but the actions that demonstrate its gospel imperative.

Sister Rose Marie Mullen Improves Quality of Medical Care in Hudson Valley In honor of her lifetime of leadership, Sister Rose Marie Mullen has been nominated for the 2012 ATHENA Award by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber Foundation in Dutchess County, N.Y. With a track record of 46 years, she is the longest-serving employee at St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. During her years at the hospital Sister Rose Marie assembled a team of dedicated nurses and technicians and successfully opened and supervised the first intensive care unit. As the first certified surgical nurse in Dutchess County, she was instrumental in creating and initiating surgical standards as well as mentoring the staff of the surgery center. “She encouraged self-improvement and was never afraid of change,” says Diane Shortt, a nurse who began her career under Sister Rose Marie’s supervision. “She instilled into all of us her strong work ethic.” Robert L. Savage, chief executive officer says he is grateful for Sister Rose Marie’s service in the Franciscan tradition. “A hallmark of Sister Rose Marie’s ministry is her unrelenting advocacy for both men and especially women who have no champion. She has been a beacon to patients, staff, and their families when they need help.”

Winter 2012 – 13 15

New Congregational Leadership Brings

Abundance of Gifts and Talents


eadership for Franciscans means following the example of Christ who washed the feet of his disciples. As a congregation of Franciscan women religious we call those we elect to be servant leaders. The Rule of the Third Order states, “The ministers are to be servants of all.” This is further defined in our constitutions which state, “Whoever is called forth to exercise personal authority for the congregation, acts in a spirit of love, compassion and discretion as she recognizes the dignity of each sister.”

Sister Geraldine Ching, assistant general minister, hails from Hawaii where she was chief sponsorship officer for St. Francis Healthcare System in Honolulu. Her involvement in health care is evident by the various entities of which she is a part. These include the State of Hawaii Long Term Care Commission, the executive committee of the American Diabetes Association Step Out, Aloha Medical Mission Advisory Board, and the Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society. Sister Geraldine has also ministered in education administration in New York and New Jersey.

Through a process of discernment and asking for the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit, delegates at our General Chapter in July 2012 elected a new leadership team for the next four years. Each of these women brings gifts and talents they are willing to share to continue moving the congregation into the future.

Sister Helen Hofmann is from Syracuse, N.Y. where she served as minister for the sisters in the Central New York region and as director of our Franciscan Associates. During her 49 years in the community she taught in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Hawaii in addition to spending 14 years in Puerto Rico. Sister Helen also volunteered during summers in Peru and in the pensione in Italy. Most recently she organized the Franciscan Pilgrimage for the congregation to the canonization of Mother Marianne in Rome.

General Minister, Sister Roberta Smith is originally from Hastings-on Hudson, N.Y. and served as a member of the general council during the previous administration before her election as general minister. Prior to the union and merger of independent congregations to become the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, Sister Roberta served as vocation director, general councilor and general minister for the congregation in Hastings-on-Hudson. She serves on a variety of boards and is currently chair of the board at St. Francis Hospital and Health Center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

10 Franciscan Spirit 16

Sister Louise Alff comes from Williamsville, N.Y. where she ministered in community education and public relations for Vive La Casa, a refugee center for people seeking asylum in Canada and the United States. In addition, she served as pastoral care associate for St. Amelia’s Parish in Tonawanda, N.Y. Sister Louise has an extensive background in evangelization as national and international presenter and facilitator for RENEW International. She has also given

p Sisters Jeanne Weisbeck, Mary Jo Mattes, Helen Hofmann, Roberta Smith, Geraldine Ching and Louise Alff.

spiritual evenings of reflections, retreats, and workshops at various parishes in the Diocese of Buffalo. Sister Mary Jo Mattes is from Pittsburgh, Pa. where she was minister for the sisters in the Western Pennsylvania region. When this region was an independent congregation she served as vocation director. Sister Mary Jo was also case manager for the transitional living program at Sisters Place, a supportive housing community committed to assisting single parent families who are homeless in southwestern Pennsylvania and at the adolescent behavioral health center at the former St. Francis Medical Center. She also served as a staff member at Tabor House of Prayer in Pittsburgh. Sister Jean Weisbeck comes from Williamsville, N.Y. and served as business manager for St. Bernadette Parish in Orchard Park, N.Y. where she was responsible for parish finances, facilities management and human resources. Prior to this, she worked in various aspects of healthcare administration in western New York and served on a

variety of boards. Sister Jean was administrator/chief executive officer at St. Francis Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. as it transitioned to St. Francis Geriatrics and Healthcare Services. She also collaborated with Delta, the housing management arm of Catholic Charities, to convert the unoccupied space in the former hospital to subsidized housing for senior adults.

Rooted in the Gospel we are sisters to all, serving with reverence, justice and compassion. Mission Statement Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

Winter 2012 – 13 17

Mission Advancement

Pax et Bonum

peace and all good

“The charity of the good knows no creed and is confined to no one place.” Saint Marianne Cope

With your help and support, our congregation came together on so many different fronts in the months of hard work and preparation leading up to the canonization and there are not words to express the gratitude our sisters share as a community for all of you who have participated in this labor of love: sisters, Franciscan associates, lay staff and volunteers, friends, donors and pilgrims. As the celebrations continue throughout our communities, we recognize that our work as a congregation has only just begun! Saint Marianne, pray for us!

p Greg Griffin proudly displays the Book of Names with about 50,000 signatures of the faithful from throughout the U.S. who were present “in spirit” at the Oct. 21 canonization ceremony.

Dear friends, On a beautiful October morning in Rome, more than 160,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to witness the culmination of a long journey to sainthood for seven virtuous women and men. Among those being canonized was our very own Mother Marianne Cope. I was blessed to have the opportunity to join our sisters in this historic celebration. It was a spiritual experience that has forever strengthened my faith and resolve in God’s plan for my life and calling to serve with our Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. When the Holy Father announced Mother Marianne’s canonization in December, I don’t think any of us imagined in our wildest dreams the impact that this event would have on our lives. St. Marianne Cope is a wonderful gift to all of us who journey with our sisters. She is a modern-day saint with multi-dimensional appeal, whose virtues and example can inspire our lives in whatever ways we need. Our living sisters are a daily reminder of the legacy she has left for you and me! 18 Franciscan Spirit

Now that Mother Marianne Cope has been canonized, our congregation enters a critical, transitional period of planning, implementation and execution to ensure that her life and her legacy are forever perpetuated throughout our community and around the world. Stewarding St. Marianne provides tremendous opportunities for our congregation and all those who journey with us. These opportunities include: • sharing the virtues of her life with people around the world • increasing interest in vocations due to Mother Marianne’s newfound visibility • building an internationally recognized Shrine and Museum of Saint Marianne Cope that will define the legacy of our sisters for generations to come • increasing fundraising and revenue streams to support our community’s most pressing needs In this “Year of Faith” for the Catholic Church, join me in proclaiming the good news of our congregation: “Saint Marianne Cope is here and all are welcome to honor, celebrate and benefit from her example.” Peace and good,

Gregory J. Griffin

Congregational Director, Mission Advancement

Giving to the Sisters M uch M ore T han A G ift ‌ I t ’ s Y our L egacy

As you plan your giving for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013 consider that there are ways to make revocable or irrevocable planned and deferred gifts to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in addition to outright donations. Here are some options to consider: Transfer a Gift of Stock You may make a gift of securities (stock) to the sisters. You can do this or establish a charitable gift annuity which can provide an immediate, fixed, guaranteed income for life, or the gift can be used to initiate an endowed fund as a legacy that will give in perpetuity. A Gift of a Retirement Plan Remainder Retirement plan remainders (IRA, 403B,401K, etc.) left to your heirs will be subject to both income and estate taxation after your life. If you leave that remainder to a charity it will be completely tax free. This does not need to be stated in your will. It can be designated by simply completing a form with your retirement plan custodian. After tax funds can then be left to your heirs. Gifts of Life Insurance You may take out a life insurance policy making the sisters a full or partial beneficiary. If you make the sisters the beneficiary and owner you may claim the premium each year as an income tax deduction. Paid up whole life policies may be cashed in and the value donated. Your Will and the Federal Estate Tax If a person dies in 2012, he or she must give 35 percent of everything in their estate worth over $5 million to the federal government. If a person dies in 2013 or later, the federal estate tax will claim 50 percent of any amount over $1 million. One way to ensure that funds more than $1 million will be protected from the federal estate tax is to make a provision in your will for the sisters. Funds left to charity are not subject to estate tax.

Please remember the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities as you plan your estate. Consult your attorney or tax advisor for more specific advice. For more information, please contact Paul Stabile, regional director of mission advancement for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, at 412.821.2220, ext. 217

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significant way, our lives are indeed or those who have embraced us in some reflections ofMary thoseofwe loved, Situated next to St. thehave Angels in significant way, our lives are indeed Williamsville, N.Y. iswho our peaceful St. Francis and those have loved us. Lake. of those we have It is reflections a place of beauty and serenity, andloved, a haven for personal prayer. The lake is surrounded and those who have loved us. by our The of St. Francis invite you to Path of Sisters Life. Included in the path are engraved bricks and the pavers, dedicated in memory in honor special people in yourandlife. The ofSisters ofindividuals St. Francis invite you to honor specific who have touched us, honor or to commemorate the special special peopleoccasions. in your life. Our Path of Life is an on-going project. Additional memorial opportunities are We willregional be accepting orders for bricks Our Path offrom Life now, is anason-going available. Years people visitproject. our and paversthey forwill years to come. beautiful locations, see the for names of We will be accepting orders bricks remarkable people etched permanently on our and pavers for years to come. grounds. We invite you to honor the special people in your life.

For more information contact these regional mission advancement directors: Cynthia Munschauer, Willliamsville, N.Y. 716.632.2155, ext. 687 or Roxanne Sopchak, Syracuse, N.Y. 315.634.7026 or Paul Stabile, Pittsburgh, Pa. 412.821.2200, ext. 217 or

Upcoming Retreats and Events December

the nine days leading up to her feast day. To be included in this spiritual event, visit to send your prayer intentions. For more information or if your parish/organization would like to participate, contact Gregory Griffin at or 315.634.7085.

31 New Year’s Eve Retreat

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Gratefully join in hope together by praying in the new year. Offering: $15 Day Only $50 Day and Overnight Facilitator: Sister Patricia Larkin, OSF Contact: 315.685.6836

23 St. Marianne Cope Feast Day

Celebrate the 175th anniversary of our own St. Marianne Cope’s birth. For information about special events commemorating St. Marianne’s feast day in your area, visit

January 6 to 8 Directed Prayer Weekend Retreat

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. 6 p.m. Friday – Noon Sunday Start the new year with a weekend with God at the silent directed retreat. Each person will be assigned a personal spiritual director. Offering: $200 Facilitators: Staff of the Spiritual Renewal Center in Syracuse, N.Y. Contact: 315.685.6836 11 to 13 Enjoying Winter’s Beauty Retreat Weekend

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Take time to relax and enjoy the beauty of winter while hearing the words of St. Francis, St. Bonaventure, and Blessed John Duns Scotus as they express their awe at God’s gift of creation. Offering: $150 Facilitator: Sister Patricia Larkin, OSF Contact: 315.685.6836 13 to 23 St. Marianne Cope Novena Prayer

Throughout our congregation, our Sisters of St. Francis will be praying St. Marianne’s novena prayer for 20 Franciscan Spirit

10 Special Liturgy Honoring St. Marianne Cope

St. Mary’s Church, Swormville, N.Y. 1 p.m. Main celebrant: Most. Rev. Bishop Richard J. Malone. Reception will follow, provided by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. 14 St. Valentine Dinner Celebration

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Celebrate this feast of St. Valentine and the gifts of love we experience in our lives at this special buffet dinner prepared by Chef Brian Renk and his staff. Reservations required. Offering: $25 Contact: 315.685.6836

25 to 27 The Prayer that Jesus Taught Us

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Join us in reflecting on the words of the Our Father. Offering: $150 Facilitator: Sister Patricia Larkin, OSF Contact: 315.685.6836

26 A Day at the Lake in Lent


A Bread Breaking Retreat

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Come reflect on and enter into a prayerful process of baking bread. Space is limited. Reservations required. Offering: $40 Facilitators: Sister Concetta Fabo, OSF and Brian Renk, head chef Contact: 315.685.6836 3 to 5 What Should I Do Now? Retirement — A Look at my Personal Gifts

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Take time to examine your own gifts and using them to make the world a better place. Offering: $150 Facilitator: Sister Patricia Larkin, OSF Contact: 315.685.6836

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Grow in relationship with God through prayer times together and suggested readings all with a Lenten theme. Offering: $35 Contact: 315.685.6836

MARCH 11 A Celtic Day at the Lake

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Pray and reflect with beautiful and ancient Celtic poems and prayers. Facilitator: Sister Patricia Larkin, OSF Offering: $35 Contact: 315.685.6836

In Prayerful Memory 13 St. Patrick’s Dinner Celebration

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. 6 p.m. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an authentic Irish feast, prepared by Chef Brian Renk and musical entrainment by Gail Lyons, harpist. Offering: $25 Contact: 315.685.6836 17 to 23 Franciscans in Action Service Experience

Our Lady of Kea’au Waianea, Hawaii Women between the ages of 18 and 45 are invited to experience community, prayer and service to others in the Franciscan tradition while offering your time, help and encouragement. Offering: $50 Contact: 315.634.7083

22 to 23 Mount Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center Flea Market

Scotus Hall at Mount Alvernia Pittsburgh, Pa. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Proceeds benefit Mount Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center Contact: 412.821.4302 27 to 30 Holy Week Triduum Retreat: “Enough! Resurrection! Breathe Easter now!” (Gerald Manley Hopkins)

Stella Maris Retreat Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Prepare for Easter by coming apart and celebrating the powerful and moving liturgies on the Triduum with daily conferences and prayer services. Offering: $170 Contact: 315.685.6836

Sister Joan Hoffman

November 16, 1930 – August 18, 2012

(formerly Sister Bertha Marie) For 35 years, Sister Joan Hoffman served in the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Altoona-Johnstown as intermediate and high school teacher, specializing in business. She also served as principal and religious education coordinator. For eight years, she ministered as finance director for the sisters in Millvale, Pa., then continued in finance work for the Benedictine Sisters until health related challenges led her to serve in prayer ministry. In her active ministry Joan was always pleasant but strict, exact in the smallest detail and always forward-looking. Joan always met life’s challenges with an optimistic outlook. Her spirit of acceptance of whatever God had in store for her was a great example to all. Joan’s smile, good humor and love of God were gifts she continually showered on everyone she met.

Sister Eloise Emm

December 29, 1920 – August 20, 2012

For more than 30 years Sister Eloise Emm ministered with great dedication, always striving to improve the Catholic school system. She served as teacher and dean at Maria Regina College in Syracuse, N.Y.; area superintendent of the Syracuse Catholic School System and director of religious education and formation. While serving as general minister of the congregation, Eloise wrote many of the community’s constitutions. In addition, she shared her expertise while serving on several community hospital and school boards. Her rich history of accomplishments include her leadership with renovating Gingerbread Daycare; and helping to establish Pen and Pages Tutorial Center, St. Francis Adult Day Care Center and Francis House, all in Syracuse. Sister Eloise truly loved and lived the community life of a Franciscan sister and demonstrated the importance of prayer, community and ministry by her example.

Sister Cyril Stauss

October 24, 1939 – September 11, 2012

For 51 years, Sister Cyril Stauss loved and served God and extended this love to the students she taught and their families. She served in education as teacher in New York, New Jersey and Ohio. She also was principal at St. Daniel’s School in Syracuse, N.Y. and Rio Piedras School in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. For the past 22 years she taught and supervised at the Adult Basic Learning Center in Syracuse. Devoted to her mission, her community and her friends, Sister Cyril was involved in community events and her spirit of giving extended to all people who needed help. In her spare time, Sister Cyril enjoyed being involved in sports which brought her together with many members of her circle of friends and family. Winter 2012 – 13 21

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shop online at

A variety of St. Marianne memorabilia including books, statues, medals, pins, and other collectibles are available through our online gift shop or by contacting Mandy Geihe 315.883.5513, Memorabilia is also available at the following congregational gift shops: Around the Corner, Syracuse, N.Y. Creative Corner, Williamsville, N.Y. Mount Alvernia Gift Shop, Millvale, Pa. Meet our sisters at and discover their diverse everyday lives of prayer, community and ministry. VOCATION MINISTER

Sister Joselle Orlando 315.634.7083,

Shrine and Museum of St. Marianne Cope, Syracuse, N.Y. St. Francis Gift Shop, Pamoa, Hawaii New CHRISTMAS ornament On Sale NOW

Celebrating the Canonization of our own

proceeds benefit

Franciscan Spirit - The Many Faces of Leadership, Vol. 2.3  

Franciscan Spirit Magazine reflects what it means to live the Gospel as Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in our everyday li...