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Franciscan Volume 3.1 • Summer 2013

Relationship and Presence:

What Being Franciscan is All About 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 Gerianne Dobmeier Gregory Griffin Sister Marlene Kline Cynthia Munschauer Sisters at St Agnes Convent Roxanne Sopchak Paul Stabile Sister Lorraine Wesolowski Graphic Design

Deborah Allen

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, ggriffin@sosf.org Vocation Office

Sister Rosemary Hendry rhendry@sosf.org, 315.634.7084 Sister Joselle Orlando jorlando@sosf.org, 315.634.7083 Editorial Office

Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities 146 Hawthorne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15209 412.821.2200, sisters@sosf.org www.sosf.org 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 kcavo@sosf.org 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.

Claiming nothing as our own, but all as gift from God, we share our faith, our talents, our vision and our resources.

There is little doubt that the Catholic world, and in particular Franciscans, are overjoyed with the pope’s choice of the name Francis with which to identify his papacy. The radical gospel life followed by St. Francis of Assisi, his simplicity, humility, prayer, compassion and care for the poor, are evident in these early days of Pope Francis’ pontificate. The impact of this saint’s life on the church in the 12th century is once again being recognized in our 21st century. As Franciscans, we pray that the enduring mark left by the life of this saint from Assisi may be the grace needed in our church and world today.

In this issue of the Franciscan Spirit you will learn how our sisters bring the spirit of St. Francis, their value of prayer and their relationship with others into their part of the world. From the neighborhood, Constitutions, retreat center, parish, health system and even the web, Evangelical Life, Franciscan prayer and relationships find their place. I #22 invite you to turn the pages of this issue, meet some of our sisters, and read their stories. You will be amazed! Perhaps you have met one of these sisters or have asked them to pray for you. Be assured that your requests are honored and welcomed. It is this gift of being Franciscan that is evident every day, in the many ways our sisters bring the spirit of St. Francis to their ministry through their presence, prayer and service to the church and God’s people. As Francis spent time in solitude and prayer, so too, our prayer life gives us the strength to meet each day’s challenges, joys, and possibilities. As vowed women religious we strive to be women of prayer. Throughout the congregation, in all our houses, we are praying for you and your intentions. Your continued generosity to us, by supporting so many of our endeavors, is not forgotten. You are among our greatest blessings. Each day, we do what we are called to do, we pray for you. In the words of St. Francis, I wish you Peace and all Good,

Sister Roberta Smith, OSF General Minister


Directional Statement

Franciscan Volume 3.1 • SUMMER 2013

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.

2 Relationship and Presence: What Being Franciscan is All About 9 World Wide Web Extends Presence of Prayer 11 Pope Francis: Much Like His Namesake 12 Growing as Followers of Jesus Through Faith Sharing

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

13 A Blessed Space for Solitude

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

14 Sisters Reunite with Former Students

On the Cover

16 Mission Advancement 17 Food and Wine Tasting a Success

Sister Patricia Larkin and Pat Albrecht enjoy the picturesque and peaceful setting at Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center in Skaneateles, N.Y. Each year, hundreds of visitors travel to Stella Maris for enriching programs, friendly Franciscan hospitality and delicious food.

18 Celebrating Our Jubilarians 20 In Prayerful Memory 21 Upcoming Retreats and Events

Franciscan Spirit is published three times a year. Printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks. SUMMER 2013 1


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One of the commitments the congregation made during our 2012 General Chapter states: “As Franciscan women whose hearts are empowered by the Gospel, we embrace our call to deepen and strengthen our passion for mission through our service to the people of God. We recognize that we have a ministry of presence in all we are and do.” The living out of this commitment is clearly evident in the lives of the sisters whose stories are in this publication. Through prayer, spirituality and relationship, these women provide a glimpse into the daily reality of what it means to be a Franciscan. Countless other untold stories would likewise show that whether sisters pray for or with others, minister to or with others, it is the relationship and presence we have with one another that is what being Franciscan is all about.

Relationship and What Being Franciscan is All About

Sister Patricia Larkin: Helping Others Find God Francis always sought to keep his spirit in union with God through uninterrupted prayer … prayer was the comfort of his life … St. Bonaventure, Major Life, 10:1

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hat does it mean to be a spiritual director? For Sister Patricia Larkin “it’s just being in relationship with the person, letting them know that they are unique.” In that uniqueness, she says “only they can go to God as they do it. I help them to recognize their special way.” She explains that for some this may be through music, cooking, creation or in their generosity of serving others.

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Presence: p Sister Patricia Larkin spends time reflecting with Pat Albrecht at Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center.

She says that we have a great model in St. Francis who stumbled through his life trying many things until he found God. As St. Francis had a special relationship with God, so do we. Sister Patricia tells the individuals she directs that they don’t have to come to God like someone else does. “I want them to be free of all that and have them realize that God looks on us in total love and admiration.” In addition to her ministry of spiritual direction, Sister Patricia serves as co-director at Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center in Skaneateles, N.Y. She focuses on the theme of creation in both her spiritual direction and in presentations for retreat groups. She often asks, “What does creation tell you about God?” She encourages retreatants to stop and look at the beauty around them and to appreciate the great abundance of God in his gifts. “I never stopped to look,” said one retreatant. Another

sent Sister Patricia a gift with a note saying “because of my beautiful experience. I just needed to do something.” As a Sister of St. Francis, praying together in community is a significant part of Sister Patricia’s life. “When we pray for people who request our prayers, we turn it over to God. We pray in communion with the whole church. This is a very important part of the church’s ministry,” she says. “We’re all connected in the communion of saints.” Sister Patricia’s heart is full of gratitude for her ministry of spiritual direction and retreat work. “It’s so enriching,” she says. “When people tell you their unique stories and how they have been led, you know God is at work. It makes me stand in awe. It is humbling.” continued on page 4 SUMMER 2013 3


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Sister Ann Bremmer: Sharing the Spirit of Francis By our Franciscan commitment to living the Gospel, we accept the invitation to give witness by our lives and our work, to the redemptive power and presence of God in this world. Constitutions of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

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eing Franciscan is all about relationships,” explains Sister Ann Bremmer, who serves as pastoral associate at Sts. John and Paul Parish in Sewickley, Pa. and on the staff of the Franciscan Pilgrimage Program in Franklin, Wis. As pastoral associate of this 2,600 family parish, located about 12 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, Sister Ann oversees the many ministries in the parish and serves as the liaison between the parish ministries and the pastor, Father Joseph McCaffrey. Depending on the day, Sister Ann is involved with the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), faith formation and adult education classes, health care ministry, international family ministry, programs for the sick and homebound, Senior Connections and others. “A lot of parishioners are very involved in various outreach programs and take ownership of their faith by their involvement. This gets me excited,” says Sister Ann. “She’s just a dynamo,” Father McCaffrey comments, “She exudes the spirit of Francis by her joy, enthusiasm and simplicity. She is full of energy, upbeat and caring of people.” Ed Meegan with whom she ministers in the RCIA program says, “She is like

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a breath of fresh air. She is so well versed in scripture and church teachings that our program is enriched 100 percent.” Sister Ann explains that some people in the parish have asked her to guide them in their spiritual journey. They tell her, “You live the life.” Members of the parish family say they appreciate the time she spends with them as well as her presence. “You take the time. You look me in the eye,” one parishioner shared with her. “It’s a privilege to have people lay their lives before you – sharing in their joys and sorrows, and being trusted with those things that are held most dear,” says Sister Ann. “She’s a wonderful addition to the parish,” says parishioner Chris Pietrandrea. “She’s a wonderful example of religious life. Her joy and service show how fulfilling her life is.” With one foot in the Franciscan Pilgrimage Program, Sister Ann continues to lead pilgrimages. “The military pilgrimage is a very special one for me to lead,” she says. “Many men and women are working through post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and others are integrating back to civilian life after a career in the military.” Sister Ann explains while on these pilgrimages, participants walk in the footprints of St. Francis who, himself, was a prisoner of war for about one year. Some scholars believe that St. Francis experienced PTSD from the war ­­­— a war in which he most likely killed others and watched his friends die. Military men and women find a strong connection with St. Francis. She shares an experience of one soldier, who like many others, was plagued with nightmares until he went on a pilgrimage. Through this experience, he found healing and forgiveness. “I honestly believe God has forgiven me,” he said. Sister Ann says she cherishes moments like these. “It truly is a humbling experience to walk with these men and women, share stories, and witness their healing and reconciliation.” This past spring, parishioners were so captivated by the life of Francis and Clare as Sister Ann shared it with them, they organized a parish pilgrimage to Assisi. “The parishioners wanted to grow in their faith and really appreciated the time the pilgrimage provided for prayer and reflection … not to mention the great scenery, conversation and gelato!


t Father Joseph McCaffrey, Sister Ann Bremmer, Pete McCaffrey, and his wife Kristine overlooking the Castle La Rocca in the town of Assisi.

Sister Ann shares her rich Franciscan background when she gives retreat presentations and evenings of reflection in the parish. She also shares the wealth of books she has about Francis and Clare in the parish library. In fact, parishioners sometimes ask, “What does sister have on her shelf ?” Father McCaffrey says he is grateful for Sister Ann’s presence in the parish. “She’s a wonderful pastoral associate and makes my life so much easier,” he says. “She brings a wonderful dimension to the pastoral staff.” With laughter in her voice, Sister Ann says, “The parish has a real Franciscan spirit regardless if they know it or not! They love to party and people want to come together. I feel like I’m in a family. It’s wonderful. I deal with every level of life ... “in a sense, it’s like coming home.”

Sister Joette Ebert: Teaching, but Mostly Loving In all their works the love of God and all people should shine forth.

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Rule of St. Francis, Chapter V, Article 15

couldn’t think of anyplace else to go, and then I remembered who you are.” These words from a past student of Sister Joette Ebert clearly exemplify the impact of her presence on her students.

An educator for 40 years, Sister Joette has spent 35 of those years teaching religion and English to junior high students at St. Anthony Elementary School in the inner city of Washington, D.C. “I love what I do, and thoroughly enjoy the kids. I consider myself blessed.” Many of Sister Joette’s students experience painful home situations. As a way of helping them deal with such issues she allows students to “take five” when they

feel they need to talk about their situations with those who understand. Students in turn pray for the intention. “I want them to feel loved and safe,” she says. Teachers and parents have also experienced her Franciscan presence and prayer. Three days a week, she meets with teachers and mothers who come together to pray. “It’s a great joy. People have invested a lot of truth to me and let me know how things are going in their life and ask me to pray for them. They trust that I will do that. And I do.” Beyond the classroom, Sister Joette’s “side ministry” as she calls it, extends into her neighborhood in Hyattsville, Md. where she rents a basement apartment. Her neighbors are from places like El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico. Down the street from where she resides, is a community of young lay people whom she visits frequently. “We talk about what’s going on in D.C. and the world and eat popcorn.” In one of their conversations, Sister Joette continued on page 6

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q Sister Joette Ebert enjoys spending time with summer camp students.

Sister Joette Honored at National Franciscan Federation Conference

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ister Joette Ebert was the congregation’s honoree at the Franciscan Federation Conference held in July in Pittsburgh, Pa. Her ministries have always been intertwined with those experiencing extreme poverty, beginning with her ministry in rural Alabama in 1986 to her current position as a junior high teacher at an inner city Catholic school in our nation’s capital. She remains committed to helping young people see themselves as active participants on their life journeys, rather than victims of their life circumstances.

had the opportunity to talk about the radical nature of St. Francis, about Franciscans and about building authentic relationships. One of the young men asked, “So what do you do with those relationships?” In response she said, “That is one of the best ways we get to know our God.” Sister Joette often rides the bus to school in the morning with a couple of these young people. One morning the same young man introduced her to the young lady sitting next to him. “This is Sister Jo,” he said. “She teaches, but mostly she loves.” When incredible storms hit D.C., Maryland and Virginia in the summer of 2012, neighbors were concerned about food spoiling since they were without electricity. “Inspired by the Spirit,” Sister Joette says she asked several men in the neighborhood to bring out their grills, and a grand cookout took place with the most amazing variety of foods which were enjoyed by about 70 people.

p Students from the class of 2013 at St. Anthony’s School surround Sister Joette Ebert with their smiles.

The next morning several of the neighbors knocked on her front door with a homemade certificate that read, “This award goes to Sister Jo. ... She is our good neighbor. ... She loves God a lot ... she figured out how we could all eat together.” Since then, the neighborhood has had about five of what some call “loaves and fishes” parties. Sister Joette says, “My life is pretty simple, but always blessed. It’s full of bits and pieces. What I know deep in my heart is that God has been remarkably God.”

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Sister Norise Kaiser: Using Mission Moments to Engage Employees in Franciscan Tradition

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The deeds you do today may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.

he calls them “mission moments.” They are times during her meeting with employees at St. Francis Health Care System of Hawaii in Honolulu, when Sister Norise Kaiser shares how the values of peace, simplicity, charity and joy were exemplified in the lives of Sts. Francis of Assisi and Marianne Cope. “I try to show how aspects of their lives can be adapted into our practice,” she says. As senior vice president for mission and values integration, Sister Norise recognizes the opportunity she has to be a Franciscan presence to the employees with whom she has contact. She describes her ministry as twofold: giving employees an understanding of the Franciscan tradition and legacy which makes the health system different, and continuing the legacy in the health system’s daily operations. “We are the only Catholic health care organization in the Pacific Rim and so it is essential that employees know who we are as a Catholic healthcare organization with a 130-year Franciscan presence in the islands.” For the most part, employees of the health system, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, work

St. Francis of Assisi

independently. Some are involved in home hospice, others are bathers or do home health care. When the employees from various departments come together for their regularly scheduled meetings, Sister Norise has the opportunity to present her “mission moments.” During one recent gathering, she shared the story of St. Francis and his encounter with the leper, and then related it to the employees who care for patients in their homes. “Sister Norise has a way of stripping continued on page 8

t Sister Norise Kaiser anoints the hands of Richard Meiers for service in his role as board president of the St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii.

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away romanticized notions of spirituality and is able to cut to the heart of what it means to live like St. Francis in today’s world,” says Nathan Hokama of the public relations department. “Her prayerful insights offer flashpoints of clarity; her words are always awash with grace and seasoned with a keen understanding of human nature.” Patty Martin, director of volunteer programs for the healthcare system, confirms that Sister Norise’s teaching has played a major part in shaping her thinking about how she cares for others. “As I carry out my St. Francis responsibilities and work with the community, I keep our mission, values and the stories of St. Francis and St. Marianne “top of mind” and this is largely due to Sister Norise’s consistent teaching, storytelling, role modeling and reinforcement. I am passionate about what I can do to support the mission.” At a recent board meeting during a prayer service, new members and officers, as well as new employees, volunteers and managers were commissioned to carry out the mission of the health care system during a prayer service. Richard Meiers, new board president of the St. Francis Health Care System expressed his gratitude to Sister Norise, “Thanks for the beautiful blessing of my hands at the last board meeting,” he said. “It meant a lot to me and was very much appreciated.” As she strives to help caregivers understand the role they have in continuing the legacy of Sts. Francis and Marianne, she often times shares stories about the early Franciscan sisters who traveled from Syracuse, N.Y. to the Hawaiian Islands to provide care and improve the quality of life for those afflicted with Hansen’s disease. “Infusing Franciscan spirituality and values into the everyday operations of our health care system is not easy,” says Nathan. “Spending even a few moments with Sister Norise is uplifting and thoughtprovoking. She definitely walks the talk and inspires others to do the same.” As she continuously strives to help employees deepen their Franciscan spirituality, Sister Norise looks forward to what lies ahead. “There are so many different aspects that can be developed. I find it exciting, challenging and a great privilege to share our Franciscan heritage with our employees and staff who represent many cultures and religions.” 8 Franciscan Spirit

A Place of


Peace, Prayer and Hospitality Anyone who comes to the brothers … is to be received with kindness. And wherever the brothers are … they are to greet one another wholeheartedly and lovingly … they are to show themselves happy in the Lord, and cheerful and truly gracious. Rule of 1221, Chapter VII

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er warm and welcoming smile says it all. Welcome to Stella Maris. We’re glad you’re here. She is Sister Mary Celestine McCann, hospitality minister at Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center in Skaneateles, N.Y. “It’s extending this hospitality of Jesus and being present that creates the environment people rave about,” says Sister Concetta Fabo, codirector of the ministry sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. “We don’t limit the hospitality to the welcome at the door; the hospitality is all encompassing. That is being Franciscan.” “We try to be like Jesus and Francis in p Johanna Danko and Sister Mary Ann Powell, RSM, are welcomed to Stella Maris by Sisters Concetta Fabo, Mary Celestine McCann and Bea Leising. our era — to make people feel loved and affirmed,” says Sister Mary Celestine, whose mother always told her “to be In their daily lives, prayer comes naturally for Sisters kind and nice and giving.” This is evident in Sister Mary Concetta and Mary Celestine. “This is a place of prayer for Celestine’s encounter with every person that she meets. me,” says Sister Concetta. “When people ask us to pray for them, we really lift them up in prayer.” Sister Celestine says, She has been welcoming individuals and groups to Stella “Some ask to talk with me and pray with them. They open Maris since 1978 when she came as a summer volunteer up their hearts. Sometimes I give them a hug.” and stayed. “There are so many groups coming here,” she says. “It is beautiful to share our faith with people Sister Concetta explains that when she takes an individual of other faiths.” or a group on a tour during their first stay at the center, she says a prayer out loud for them as they visit the chapel. As part of their mission, Sister Concetta says reaching “It’s part of our charism and people appreciate it.” She also out to others is a priority. One particular group meets at takes photos of groups and lifts them up in her personal Stella Maris regularly as part of a prayer shawl ministry. prayer that she calls “prayer of persons.” Together, they knit or crochet afghans for people in homeless shelters as well as for young women residing at “People find this a place of peace and I hope they take homes for unmarried pregnant teenagers. This extension some of that peace with them when they leave,” says Sister of the ministry beyond the walls of the retreat center is Concetta. “I think this is very Franciscan.” “very Franciscan,” says Sister Concetta.

t Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center is located on Skaneateles Lake.

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World Wide Web

Extends Presence of Prayer For this was always his {St. Francis of Assisi} custom, that when he had a request for prayer he never did toss it behind his back, but rather fulfilled his promise quickly. The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul,” by Thomas of Celano, chapter LXVIII

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ach day, prayer requests from people around the globe land in the inbox of Sister Dolores Cook’s computer via the congregation’s website, www.sosf.org. Sister Dolores shares these requests with the centers of prayer in convents throughout the congregation. Prayer requests are then brought to the attention of sisters residing at convents in various ways including prayer lists and bulletin board postings. In turn, these intentions are remembered by the sisters during Masses and in daily prayers.

p Sister Dolores Cook receives prayer requests in her ministry at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, N.Y.

Most especially, sisters in our health care units who dedicate all of their waking hours to prayer are our ‘powerhouses of prayer,’ and give great attention to these requests. “I consider it a sacred trust” says Sister Dolores. “People look to us to pray for them as they looked to Francis. They trust in the prayers of the sisters.” From as near as sisters’ families, friends and coworkers and as far as Vietnam, Germany and Africa, and throughout the U.S., prayers are requested for employment, health, family situations, and countless special intentions. Some requests come with detailed information and even family photos. Such was a request from Charles in Africa who asked for prayers when he feared losing his job. Over time he and Sister Dolores have developed a relationship and he continues to request prayers for individuals and situations. He also keeps her up-to-date with his family and sends photos. “I value this ministry,” says Sister Dolores, “because we are to be women of prayer. People look to us to pray for them, to be their intercessors.” Another aspect of Sister Dolores’ ministry is reconnecting with those who have requested prayer. “It is most important to get back to people from whom we have heard,” says Sister Dolores. “They are reassured and comforted that the sisters do take their requests to prayer.” In turn, thank you notes are received such as this one from parents grieving over the death of their only son. “Thank you for standing with us in daily prayer for God’s mercy and peace in our great pain and ongoing sorrows. Please continue to pray with us daily for God’s peace and eternal rest.” “We may not have a physical presence with these people, but they do search for us,” Sister Dolores explains. “It’s our job to pray and to do it daily.”

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Discover

PRAYER CoMMUNITY MINISTRY

Meet our sisters at www.sosf.org and discover their diverse everyday lives of prayer, community and ministry. VOCATION MINISTER

Sister Joselle Orlando 315.634.7083, jorlando@sosf.org

Pope Francis:

Much Like His Namesake

W Claudio Celli, Intermirifica.net

e have a pope and his name is Francis! With that announcement, the Universal Church seemed to experience surprise, wonder, amazement, joy, and hope. Franciscans around the world were, of course, delighted that a Jesuit pope chose Francis for his name. Some news commentators were doubtful and double-checked to be sure that the pope had really chosen Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi, and not the Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier.

Anyone who is familiar with the life and spirituality of St. Francis cannot help but see similarities in the lives of these two men named Francis. Francis of Assisi constantly sought to “walk in the footprints of Jesus.” Pope Francis, by his simplicity of life and his openness to the poor and the ‘other,’ reveals his own desire to be as Jesus was in the world — inviting all into the Father’s love. Early stories of St. Francis make known his character as a reconciler and peacemaker. St. Francis’ poem-prayer, “The Canticle of the Creatures,” reveals his profound understanding of creation and our place in it. When Pope Francis, in his Easter message, ardently prayed for peace for the whole world, he mentioned by name the regions and countries currently at war. And then, he ended with: “Peace to this our Earth! May the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation.” Do we not hear, in these words of Pope Francis, echoes of the mind and heart of St. Francis?

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“In all of his preaching, before he presented the word of God to the assembly, he prayed for peace saying, ‘May the Lord give you peace.’” The Life of St. Francis by Thomas OF Celano chapter X p Pictured above are a few of the members of the St. Agnes faith-sharing group. Left to right front row: Sue Kobes, Rose LaManna, Bea Collett, Del Lillis, Sister Beth Niederpruem; back row: Sister Marie Simon George, Dawn Bova, Sister Ann Helene Koenig, Sister Marcella Nachreiner.

Growing as Followers of Jesus Through Faith Sharing

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rowds gathered around Jesus as men and women, young people and elderly, rich and poor, each anxiously awaited a word, a gesture that would give them comfort and hope. This eagerness is still alive today in western New York where 12 to 15 women gather at St. Agnes Convent in Buffalo to pray and break open the scriptures.

The sisters at St. Agnes find this outreach a new opportunity to share their Franciscan hospitality and prayer life with women in the neighborhood. It has been enriching for all involved as the women seek more spiritual enrichment. Bea Collett said she “sees these gatherings as filling a void and providing a bond of great love and trust for those of us looking for answers and seeking a deeper prayer life.” Sister Beth says the gatherings provide another center of hope for the women of the east side neighborhood of Buffalo that has many needy families. Sue Kobes not only feels welcome but says, “I’m treated like family and experience a sense of fellowship and caring.”

Begun during the 2013 Lenten season, this small group is led by Sisters Marie Simon George, Beth Niederpruem, Ann Helene Koenig and Marcella Nachreiner. The weekly hour-long sessions include an opening song, scripture reading from the Sunday liturgy followed by a period of “One of the reasons the Franciscans exist is for the reflection and faith-sharing. Each woman is given a simple symbol to take home as a reminder to continue to reflect on purpose of fraternity, of being in relationship as sister or brother to all,” says Sister Marcella. Living out the mission the Word of God during the week. of relationship is an attitude of being present without judgment, without dominance, without power. She is These faith-filled women were so appreciative and edified and encouraged by “the group’s ability to be present comfortable speaking openly, knowing that the differences to one another in a spirit of humility and vulnerability of opinion were respected, that they asked to continue seeking peace and ways to live out the Gospel message.” these gatherings during the following months. The sisters were delighted to be able to provide this opportunity for Touched by the Word of God that brings hope, peace and them. Sister Anne Helene, who has ministered as teacher refreshment, the faith-sharing group at St. Agnes is truly a and principal at St. Agnes School for more than 35 years, said “The Sisters of St Francis have been an integral part of blessing to all who come, and they in turn, are a blessing to the lives of the people of this area for more than 125 years. one another. It is so wonderful and natural for us to continue to give witness and service in this area even though the Diocese of Buffalo has closed our parish.” 12 Franciscan Spirit


A Blessed Space for Solitude

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n all areas of his life, St. Francis of Assisi desired to imitate the life of Christ. And like Christ, Francis spent time in solitude with God whenever he could.

To this end, Francis established nearly two dozen hermitages during his life. These houses of prayer were built just outside of towns, where the friars could be far enough away from the hustle and bustle to meditate and pray, but close enough that they could walk to where the people were to serve and minister. Similarly, amidst the hustle and bustle of Main Street in Williamsville, N.Y., the Infant of Prague Shrine created by the Sisters of St. Francis offers people a sacred place where they can find refuge from their hectic lives. Situated in front of several doctors’ offices, the shrine offers visitors, including employees and patients who slip in and out a haven for peace.

q Sister Barbara Ann Bogden, Corky and Jayne Cretacci spend time in prayer at the Infant of Prague Shrine.

Located at 6380 Main Street in Williamsville, N.Y., the Infant of Prague Shrine is open 24 hours, seven days a week.

“It is stately, and it is like a blessing and protection for all those who work behind it,” explains Sister Barbara Ann Bogden, manager of the shrine. Jayne Cretacci says she has been visiting the shrine to pray regularly for about 20 years. “God always answers in one way or another ... it’s in God’s hands,” she says. “You always get blessings ... it’s the power of prayer.” Formerly, the shrine was part of the 58-acre campus which included the convent and administrative offices of the former Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child. The shrine was constructed in 1957 because of a promise made to Jesus by Mother Mary Dolorita Andolina, that if the sisters were able to purchase the property at 6300 Main Street in Williamsville, N.Y. for their new convent, she would have a shrine built in thanksgiving to the Infant of Prague. In 2003, after the former Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child merged with the Sisters of St. Francis Third Order Regular of Buffalo (Williamsville Franciscans) and the sisters moved to St. Mary of the Angels Convent in Williamsville, the land was sold in parcels. During the sale, there was one stipulation: the shrine, conducted by the sisters, would remain intact. continued on page 14

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A Blessed Space for Solitude continued

Eighty-eight year old Al Reister, who maintains the shrine, says in his 45 years of service, he has met visitors from around the world. Some stop and pray, while others leave written prayers. “There must be something that helps them,” he says. Just as Francis sought silent places to connect with God, the Infant of Prague Shrine is a source of comfort and solace for the thousands of people from near and far who visit it each year to pray and receive courage and consolation. “It takes them out of the mainstream of their day and they are grateful for it,” says Sister Barbara Ann, who receives many notes from visitors thanking her for the “place of peace.”

Sister Margaret Honored for Exercising Social Justice Sister Margaret Carney was honored with a citation from the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC) of Western New York on March 20 at the Hyatt Regency in Buffalo, N.Y. The NFJC has worked to combat racism and other discrimination since it was founded as a branch of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1951.

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p Sister Concetta DeFelice (far left) and Sisters M. Bernadine Salazar and Renee Kopacz (far right) with the Gentile/Riegle family, who had many generations of family members involved with the kindergarten.

Sisters Reunite With Former Students

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n Saturday, July 13, the Sisters of St. Francis hosted a special reunion for the alumni, families and staff of the former Divine Child Kindergarten at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, N.Y. The kindergarten was run by the former Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child (FMDC) in Williamsville from 1963 until 2000. The FMDC sisters have since merged with the Sisters of St. Francis. The day began with a special prayer service, followed by a wonderful reception. Many sisters were eager to visit with their former students, and in many cases, their entire families, who also attended this meaningful event. Molly Garvey Rubino, a 1969 graduate attended with her three sons, R.J., Paul and Tom who graduated in 1997, 1998 p Sister Teresita Richardson (right) is thrilled to see her former student, Maura Ruyechan ’98, and 2000. “I am blessed to say that whom she used to call her “Little Munchkin.” all three of my sons were fortunate Today, Maura plans on becoming a veterinarian for large animals and is fluent in French. enough to be Divine Child graduates, like I am,” she said. “Thank you to all of the sisters who cared for us then, and still do today.” Beth Krawczyk Kappan was unable to attend the reunion, but cared enough to write, “I have a very special feeling in my heart when I think of the time I spent there with you. There was something so very warm and comforting about the school, and I know it was the care and guidance you showed to us each and every day.” More than 100 people enjoyed the reunion, filled with much happiness and laughter and many fond memories. Sister Renee Kopacz, a former principal remarked, “Being able to pray and celebrate with our former students and their families gave us great joy, and a sense of pride in knowing that we were able to touch so many lives.”


In order for us to welcome you to the Legacy Circle and thank you properly, please let us know your intentions. If you would like your gift to remain anonymous, we will gladly honor your request.

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Paul Stabile III Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities 146 Hawthorne Road Pittsburgh, PA 15209

Paul Stabile, WPA 412.821.2200, ext. 217, pstabile@sosf.org Cindy Munschauer, WNY 716.632.2155, ext. 687, cmunschauer@sosf.org

Greg Griffin, Congregational 315.634.7085, ggriffin@sosf.org

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Sister Alicia Damien Lau, HI/SW 808.348.7701, adlau@sosf.org Roxanne Sopchak, CNY 315.634.7026, rsopchak@sosf.org

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Every gift — large or small — is important. You don’t have to be wealthy to make a significant gift. Thoughtful gift planning offers many types of charitable gift arrangements that can benefit you, your family, and our sisters. A few ways you may be able to meet your personal and financial goals while leaving a legacy of Franciscan service can include: Transferring gifts of appreciated stock

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Mission Advancement

Pax et Bonum

peace and all good

“The renewal of the Church in America will not be possible without the active presence of the laity.” Blessed Pope John Paul II Dear friends, For more than three years now, I’ve been blessed to journey with our sisters as a lay minister to the congregation’s mission advancement programs. Like you, I’ve admired their Franciscan way of life and been inspired by the countless ways their passion is manifest through ministry and mission. My life, through my association and partnership with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, has been greatly enriched! I’m sure you feel the same. I am also in the unique position to see and understand that our sisters feel exactly the same about all of us! They are extremely grateful for the love and support they receive from us through prayers, volunteerism, friendship and gifts. Like Sts. Damien and Marianne; Sts. Francis and Clare; ours is a beautiful partnership that will extend their legacy for generations to come. Perhaps today, more than ever, our congregation is embracing new partnerships in every facet of community life. Only nine years ago, four separate communities “partnered” with each other to create a new congregation: Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. Our sisters have partnered with lay professionals like me to bring expertise and experience to areas of need. They’ve created Partners in Franciscan Ministries to better connect, build upon and sustain their legacy to future generations of people in need. And most recently, the congregation has

16 Franciscan Spirit

begun exploring partnerships to ensure that the legacy of St. Marianne will be preserved, sustained and shared with the world for decades and centuries to come. Partnerships will ensure a bright future for the mission and ministries of our sisters for generations to come and no partnership is more important than the 152- year bond between the Sisters of St. Francis and caring men and women like us who choose to journey with them. Our sisters’ future includes a renewed commitment to shaping and sharing an inspiring vision of hope that considers new ministries, revitalized vocations, creative solutions for caring for our aging community, and a celebration of Franciscan values in all we do. Our sisters hope and pray daily that they can continue to count on us to walk hand in hand with them during these exciting and transformational years to come. For all that you’ve done and for all that you will continue to do for our congregation, thank you Peace and good,

Gregory J. Griffin

Congregational Director, Mission Advancement


Meet Our Partner in Mission:

Deborah Nailos Faith in action is prayer. Prayer in action is love. Love in action is service.

T

hese are the words that Deborah Nailos read on the back of a man’s shirt sitting in front of her at this summer’s Franciscans in Action service experience in Kentucky. They are words that she will always live by. “After working as a math teacher for 33 years,” she says, “I’d like to support the sisters and their ministries in any way that I can.”

A generous and compassionate benefactor who supports many of our p Associate Deborah Nailos kneels near sisters, Debbie has a the tree that was dedicated in memory very special place in her of her family at St. Mary of the Angels in heart for Sister Joanne Williamsville, N.Y. Gangloff and her work at our Timau Mission in Kenya, Africa. She also helped fund our sisters’ travel to the Vatican in October 2012 to witness the canonization of St. Marianne Cope.

p 2013 Food & Wine Tasting chairpersons, John and Barbara Rumschik, with last year’s chairpersons, Richard Shick, Christa Blain and Linda Shick

Food and Wine Tasting a Success

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n May 2013, the Sisters of St. Francis in Williamsville, N.Y. held their annual Food & Wine Tasting. About 300 people attended the event which raised more than $40,000 to support the sisters and their ministries. Thank you for your wonderful support.

In addition, Debbie volunteers at many of our events, and contributes her gift of music by playing the guitar at special Masses and gatherings. A frequent visitor to St. Mary of the Angels convent in Williamsville, N.Y., she is the first one to offer her assistance whenever our sisters need help. She has also been a Franciscan Associate for over 25 years. “Becoming an associate provided a framework for my life.” she explains. “I have publicly pledged to live in the spirit of the gospel following in the footsteps of St. Francis. To deepen my relationship with God and the community, I strive to live the Franciscan spirit.”

K 11 th Annual k

Food & Wine Tasting including the ever-popular “Nun Sweeter” Bake Sale & “Nun Better” Chocolates

Thanks, Debbie, for your faith, prayer, love and service. SUMMER 2013 17


In Prayerful Memory

Sister Mary Jaskel

Sister Lillian Schwartz

A natural leader and a woman of great wisdom and courage, Sister Mary loved all aspects of life. She ministered in education, congregational leadership and as archivist for 75 years in Pittsburgh, Pa., Elizabeth, N.J. and Hartford, Conn. as a sister of St. Francis of the Providence of God. Sister Mary transferred to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in October 2009 and professed vows with our congregation in December 2011.

Having two aunts in the congregation, Sister Lillian became quite familiar with the Sisters of St. Francis and felt called to the Franciscan way of life. She spent five years as a teacher in Catholic elementary schools in the Buffalo, N.Y. area and went on to study nursing. For 21 years, she served at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Niagara Falls, N.Y. in various positions including nursing supervisor and director of nursing and later as instructor and acting dean of Niagara University College of Nursing. An excellent leader, she then spent 12 years as administrator at St. Francis Home and Holy Family Home, both in Williamsville, N.Y. Her last years were spent in prayer ministry at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville. Throughout her lifetime, Sister Lillian responded to life’s gifts and challenges and allowed them to nurture her. Being true to herself, she allowed them to bring her to the fullness of growth.

(Sister Mary Agnes) June 23, 1917 – November 21, 2012

Sister M. Petra Miyashiro

February 7, 1927 – November 24, 2012

After graduating from nursing school, Sister Petra ministered at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica, N.Y. In 1953 she returned to St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii as a staff nurse and later as nurse manager, medical-surgical nursing instructor, clinical nurse and patient educator, developing a diabetes education program. In 1972, Sister Petra moved to Syracuse, N.Y. to begin the first patient education programs at St. Joseph Hospital and then went on to serve at St. Elizabeth Hospital as director of health education where she initiated a child safety-seat loan program for children in need. A woman of deep faith, Sister Petra enjoyed the simple things in life, like cooking healthy and delicious meals, sewing and reading.

Sister Daniella Spina

October 10, 1945 – January 30, 2013

Sister Daniella served as an educator for 49 years teaching in many schools in the Syracuse, Utica and Oswego, N.Y. areas as well as in Long Beach, Calif. She also served as clerical receptionist at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse and director of volunteers at Francis House in Syracuse. Sister Daniella filled her life with music, dancing and storytelling. She will be remembered for her many years of devoted service, and will remain in the hearts of her students and all with whom she served.

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(Sister Eugene Joseph) September 3, 1920 – February 2, 2013

Sister Richard Marie Toal

February 22, 1916 – February 3, 2013

Inspired by our own St. Marianne Cope, Sister Richard Marie Toal entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1937. She began her ministry in health care at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica, N.Y. where she served for 13 years. Following in the footsteps of Mother Marianne, at the age of 46, Sister Richard Marie traveled to Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii where she showered love and care upon patients with Hansen’s disease for 39 years. To the people of Kalaupapa with whom she ministered, she too, was known as “Mother,” a title given to her because of their love for her. For enjoyment, Sister Richard Marie spent time fishing and was also called the “fishing nun.” In fact, she received worldwide attention when she was featured in Hawaii and National Geographic magazines for her remarkable skill with the rod and reel.

Sister Mary Rose Williams

March 4, 1925 – February 8, 2013

While serving in special education, Sister Mary Rose’s patience and encouragement brought smiles and joys into the lives of young children. As principal of a large elementary school, and as a school supervisor in the Diocese of Pittsburgh,


she became endeared to faculty and students and all those with whom she worked, through her firm but kind and loving leadership. Eventually, Sister Mary Rose moved to Arizona where she worked in the Boys Hope program for disadvantaged youth along with deceased Sister Barbara Neigh. When she returned to Pittsburgh, she accepted another challenge along with Sister Barbara — that of coordinating Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) at St. Francis Medical Center. In 2009, she returned to Mount Alvernia in Millvale, Pa. and joined the sisters in prayer ministry. Sister Mary Rose loved her community, her family and friends. She will be long-remembered for her great sense of humor, her gentle, kind and caring ways of service to her coworkers, her students and her sisters in community; all because of her great love and life dedicated to her God.

Sister Eucharista Johnson

Nov. 19, 1934 – March 1, 2013

Sister M. Eucharista was a quiet, unassuming person as well as a woman of many interests. Her love for reading was legendary, as was her concern for the environment. This was evidenced by her love of gardening and lifelong concern for our Native Americans. She was often seen in gardening clothes creating beautiful surroundings for sisters living at the East Coast regional house and other places where she had lived. Certainly, she is now tending the Lord’s garden in heaven.

Sister Lorelda Kilchenstein

March 25, 1918 – March 18, 2013

Sister Lorelda served as a teacher for only a few years before beginning her ministry in nursing. After serving at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Ga. for 10 years, her ministry journey took her to Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisc. where she served as a faculty member for three years. When Sister Lorelda returned to Pittsburgh, she joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and Community College of Allegheny County. Later, she served as local coordinator at Mount Alvernia in Millvale, Pa. Although Sister Lorelda enjoyed her years in education, she came to love all aspects of nursing — patient care, supervision and teaching in the area of maternity and child care. During those years she touched many lives with her gracious, caring and endearing ways. In addition, she

developed many life-long friends, and received many accolades, including being received into the Sigma Theta Tau National Honorary Nursing Society. Sister Lorelda always encouraged others in her simple and humble ways. She will be long-remembered for her ever-present smile, her poetry and her gracious, loving presence among us.

Sister Mary Paul Reynolds July 23, 1922 – April 29, 2013

While attending the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, N.Y. to study history, which was her passion, Sister Mary Paul was praying at the altar of the campus chapel when she felt a distinct call to enter the Sisters of St. Francis. As a Sister of St. Francis she served in education ministry and taught just about every grade from kindergarten to 12, as well as a variety of subjects including health, biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, mathematics, social studies and religion. In addition, she served as assistant principal at St. Catherine’s Academy for 15 years. Sister Mary Paul served in many community capacities as well, including novice mistress, council member, general superior, general treasurer and archivist. Intelligent, just and fair, one co-worker described her as “very professional, and so caring and comforting if you had any worries.” Devoted to her community, she was a woman of great prayer and she loved the psalms. “My life is a prayer,” she exclaimed time and time again.

Sister Wilma Holler

September 21, 1919 – May 24, 2013

A Sister of St. Francis for 72 years, Sister Wilma served as an educator in elementary schools in the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. for 50 years. At times, Sister Wilma taught double grades and often additionally served as the school librarian. Her teaching years began at Annunciation in Elma and included Sts. Peter & Paul in Hamburg, St. Aloysius in Springville, Nativity in Orchard Park, St. Francis in Tonawanda and St. James and Sacred Heart in Buffalo. For several years she ministered to the sick in Tonawanda and then moved to St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville to help with congregational service and to provide supportive communication to prisoners and people in need. Most recently her ministry was one of prayer and loving presence.

To read the full text celebrating the life and legacy of a particular sister, please visit www.sosf.org/in-prayerful-memory. If you do not have Internet access, send your request with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the editorial office.

SUMMER 2013 19


Blessings to our sisters who are celebrating milestones in religious life this year.

50 Years

Celebrating Our Jubilarians

Sister Margaret Burns

Sister Mediatrice Hutchinson

Sister Beatrice Leising

Williamsville, N.Y.

Sister William Marie Eleniki

Sister Norise Kaiser

Honolulu, Hawaii

Sister Mary Louise Lopez

Williamsville, N.Y.

Sister Donna Stephenson

Sister Donna Marie Knapp

Sister Dolorita Malak

Sister Barbara Whelan

Williamsville, N.Y.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Sister Catherine Paff

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Sister Eugene Marie Schneider

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Sister Helaine Bultmann

Sister Caroline Glatz

Sister Ruth Wangler

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Sister M. Lambert Pappert

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Sister Antoinette Campiere

Sister Marie Therese Imhoff

Sister Mary Paul Reynolds

Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Syracuse, N.Y.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Sister Patricia Griffin

Williamsville, N.Y.

70 Years

Sister Helen Marie Brown

Syracuse, N.Y.

Syracuse, N.Y.

Williamsville, N.Y.

10 Franciscan Spirit 20

Syracuse, N.Y.

Sister Olivia Gibson

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Williamsville, N.Y.

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mount Vernon, N.Y.

deceased April 29, 2013

Sister Frances Joseph Piazza

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Williamsville, N.Y.


Upcoming Retreats and Events

September

19 – 20 Come and See Weekend

Mount Alvernia, Pittsburgh, Pa. An opportunity for women considering a call to religious life to experience the joy of Franciscan community life. Contact: Sister Joselle Orlando 315.634.7083 jorlando@sosf.org

16 11th Annual Fairway to Heaven Golf Tournament

Cavalry Club, Manlius, N.Y. Good times and good deeds converge at this annual tournament, to benefit the retirement needs and community care of our sisters. To register your team, sponsor or underwrite, or for more information, visit www.sosf.org. Contact: Roxanne Sopchak 315.634.7026 rsopchak@sosf.org

20 Annual Spaghetti Dinner

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Our Lady of Peace Church Hall, Clarence, N.Y. Eat in or take out, to benefit the mission and ministries of our sisters in western New York. Contact: Cynthia Munschauer 716.632.2155, ext. 687 cmunschauer@sosf.org

29 – 30 Come and See Weekend

Stella Maris Retreat Center, Skaneateles, N.Y. An opportunity for women considering a call to religious life to experience the joy of Franciscan community life. Contact: Sister Joselle Orlando 315.634.7083 jorlando@sosf.org

October 5 “Always in My Heart,” One-Woman Play and Chance to Win a Trip to Hawaii

7 p.m. Scotus Hall at Mount Alvernia, Pittsburgh, Pa. Enjoy this play based on the life of St. Marianne Cope who spent 30 years ministering to patients with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) in Kalaupapa, Hawaii. Plus, you will automatically be entered for a chance to win a weeklong trip to Hawaii. This event celebrates the 175th anniversary of St. Marianne’s birth. Tickets: $50.00 each at www.sosf.org Contact: Paul Stabile 412.821.2200, ext. 217 pstabile@sosf.org

NOVEMBER 3

Hearts & Hands Gala Featuring An Italian Holiday

7 p.m. Scotus Hall at Mount Alvernia, Pittsburgh, Pa. Win a seven-night stay for two in Rome plus a $1,500 cash prize! Purchase a raffle ticket in advance for a chance to win this exciting trip. A limited 250 raffle tickets will be sold. Winner will be announced at gala event which will feature a live art auction, Italian-style desserts, fine wines and music. Proceeds benefit Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. For more information, visit changeaheartvolunteers.org. Tickets: Purchase of a $100 raffle ticket enables one person to attend the gala with a chance to win a trip to Rome. Additional guest is $25.00, or if you simply want to attend the gala, donation is $25 per person Contact: Kelly Caddy 412.821.0861 kcaddy@sosf.org

8 – 10 November Song, Life of St. Marianne

St. Francis School, Honolulu, Hawaii Performances to celebrate the anniversaries of: St. Marianne’s birth (175th); the sisters’ arrival in Hawaii (130th); the sisters’ arrival at Kalaupapa (125th), and the opening of St. Francis School in Honolulu (90th). Contacts: Sister Alicia Damien Lau 808.348.7701, adlau@sosf.org Sister Florence Remata 808.988.2773, fremata@sosf.org

8 – 16 Benefactor Appreciation Day

Join us for a celebratory Mass and reception, in thanks and honor of friends and benefactors who support our Franciscan mission. Invitations will be mailed in October. 8 St. Francis Convent, Honolulu, Hawaii 10 Mount Alvernia, Pittsburgh, Pa. 16 Lutheran Chapel, The Wartburg Adult Care Community, Mount Vernon, N.Y. 16 St. Anthony Convent Chapel, Syracuse, N.Y. 16 St. Mary of the Angels, Williamsville, N.Y.

Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center Skaneateles, N.Y. Visit www.stellamarisretreat.org for a complete list of retreats, programs and special events offered


Non Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Pittsburgh, PA Permit No. 4009

Join us for the 12th Annual

Hearts and Hands Gala Saturday, Nov. 2 • 7 p.m. Scotus Hall at Mount Alvernia, Millvale Pa.

An Italian Holiday

Enjoy “Always in My Heart,” a one-woman play based on the life of St. Marianne Cope who spent 30 years ministering to patients with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) in Kalaupapa, Hawaii. Performed by award-winning actress, Jacqueline Albarella. Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. • Scotus Hall at Mount Alvernia, Millvale, Pa.

Win a seven-night stay for two in Rome plus a $1,500 cash prize! Purchase a

raffle ticket in advance for a chance to win this exciting trip. A limited 250 raffle tickets will be sold. Winner will be announced at gala event which will feature a live art auction, Italian-style desserts, fine wines and music. Tickets: Purchase of a $100 raffle ticket enables one person to attend the gala with a chance to win a trip to Rome. Additional guest is $25.00, or if you simply want to attend the gala, donation is $25 per person.

FOR INFORMATION about vacation accommodations, SPonsorship Opportunities, and to purchase Tickets:

www.changeaheartvolunteers.org Winner need not be present.

Proceeds benefit Change A Heart, the only Catholic young adult service program in southwestern Pennsylvania that invites recent college graduates to live and serve in ways similar to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.

Purchase tickets, sponsor or donate: www.sosf.org or call 412.821.2200, ext. 217 Purchase of ticket automatically enters you for a chance to win a weeklong trip for two to Hawaii. Arranged with Seawind Tours, package includes airfare from Pittsburgh International Airport, hotel for 7 days, 6 nights, visit to Kalaupapa and a $500 Visa gift card. $50 per ticket, limited seating. $50 for additional raffle tickets. Winning ticket drawn after the play. Winner need not be present. Proceeds benefit the mission and ministries of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. Performance sponsored in loving memory of Thelma Meehan.