Page 1


Keep the FAITH and PASS IT ON A Publication of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

This image was taken on the way to Ticlio in Junin province, Peru in 2009 and shows one a traditional andean town in the mountains.



3 From the General Minister 4 God’s Work, Our Hands 12 Sisters Take to Social Media to Evangelize 15 Divine Child Guild: 80 Years of Faithful Support 16 Reflection Looking Beyond the Surface


17 In Prayerful Memory 18 Benefactor Appreciation


20 Our Partners in Mission Paul and Karen Arilotta

Frank Brandt

Upcoming Events MAY 8


16th Annual Food & Wine Tasting

Fairway to Heaven Golf Tournament

St. Mary of the Angels Williamsville, NY 5 – 7 p.m.

Cavalry Club, Manlius, NY

Tickets: $50 per person

Enjoy a day of good golf, good times and good deeds – all in support of the retirement needs and community care of our sisters. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are available.

Contact: Cynthia Munschauer 716.632.2155, ext. 687 cmunschauer@sosf.org

Contact: Roxanne Sopchak 315.634.7026 rsopchak@sosf.org

Savor gourmet food & desserts, and sample some of the finest wines available. This 16th annual event includes, silent and live auctions, the ever popular “Nun-better” Bake Sale and Wine Pull, entertainment and so much more. An evening not to be missed!

SPRING 2018 1



Rochelle A. Cassella CONTRIBUTORS

Cheryl Aughton Rochelle A. Cassella Sister Marianne Ferguson Roxanne Sopchak Katherine Long GRAPHIC DESIGN


Cheryl Aughton Rochelle A. Cassella Gerianne Dobmeier Katherine Long CIRCULATION


Sister Caryn Crook ccrook@sosf.org, 315.751.6819 EDITORIAL OFFICE

Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities 960 James St., 2nd Floor Syracuse, NY 13203 sisters@sosf.org


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


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.

STATEMENT OF DIRECTION 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. 2004 Founding Chapter

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

AWARD WINNING FRANCISCAN SPIRIT 2014 National Catholic Press Award: first place, general excellence, religious order magazines from the Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada 2012 best in show, and best publication with a gift envelope awards from the National Catholic Development Conference

ON THE COVER Our sisters and partners in ministry at St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii are committed to creating healthy communities in the spirit of Christ’s healing ministry. Seated from left, Sisters Michele McQueeney, Severine Bartolome, Pat Rapozo, Laura Abat, Jovita Agustin Standing from left, Leslie Lam, Trish Walsh Domingo, Sister Geraldine Ching, Patty Martin, Chaplain Pearl Misa Lau, Maylynn Wong

If there is a change that needs to be made, we want to do so. Please return your correct address to us, or contact Jodi Hagan by email at jhagan@sosf.org or phone 315.634.7015. 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.

CONGREGATIONAL MISSION ADVANCEMENT TEAM Central New York and East Coast Regional Mission Advancement Director Roxanne Sopchak rsopchak@sosf.org 315.634.7026 Franciscan Villa 6900 Buckley Rd. Syracuse, NY 13212 Western New York Regional Mission Advancement Director Cynthia Munschauer cmunschauer@sosf.org 716.632.2155, ext. 687 St. Mary of the Angels 201 Reist St. Williamsville, NY 14221 Western Pennsylvania Regional Mission Advancement Director Sister Patricia O’Donnell podonnell@sosf.org 412.821.2200, ext. 276 Mount Alvernia 146 Hawthorne Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15209-1916 Sister Liaison for Mission Advancement Sister Catherine Noecker cnoecker@sosf.org 352.530.2687 25734 Alicia Dr. Leesburg, FL 34748

From the General Minister

Dear Friends, We’ve all heard the expression “Keep the faith.” We say it to people who are discouraged, perhaps on the verge of giving up. It’s a way we encourage them to keep trying, or to believe that things will get better. As Franciscan women, we keep our faith in God alive in ourselves through prayer and reading his words in the Gospel to remind ourselves of what he expects of us. But it’s just as important that we pass along our faith. We want others to feel the joy that our faith brings us, to treat others with respect and compassion and so, through our mission and ministries, we look to share our faith. In this issue of Franciscan Spirit, you will see how the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities both “keep the faith and pass it on.” From the mountains of Peru to the cyberspace of social media, we share God’s word and serve his people. And while we may no longer be a part of the daily operations of hospitals and schools that our congregation founded, we show you how we have taken steps to make sure that the teachings of the Catholic Church and our Franciscan values continue to play an important role in the missions of those institutions. So keep the faith — but just not all to yourself! Peace and all good,

Sister Barbara Jean Donovan, General Minister and the Leadership Team

SPRING 2018 3


GOD’S Work,


hen four Franciscan communities of women religious united to form the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in 2004 and 2007, they brought with them schools, hospitals and other ministries that their congregations founded. As the institutions grew and the number of sisters available to manage the ministries decreased, more lay administrators and staff were hired. To ensure that their Franciscan values would remain a part of the ministries’ operations, the sisters formed Partners in Franciscan Ministries (PFM) in 2011. A non-profit organization headquartered in Syracuse, New York, PFM’s main mission is to see that each of the congregation’s eight sponsored ministries incorporates Franciscan values in how it provides services and treats employees and t Sisters Kathleen Osbelt (l) and Colette Walter (m) visit with a resident of Francis House, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.


vendors. A PFM liaison serves as a non-voting member on the boards of each ministry. PFM also works closely with mission leaders — employees at each ministry who are responsible for seeing that the sisters’ history and Franciscan teachings are integrated into all that the ministry does. Susan Crossett, PFM president, says the work that Sister Norise Kaiser does with the mission leaders is the most important service PFM offers. Each month, Sister Norise meets online with the eight mission leaders to pray and share ideas about how to teach Franciscan values to ministry staffs. Sister Norise also educates the mission leaders. Discussions cover topics including ethics, Catholic tradition and living Franciscanism in today’s world. “With a strong presence of lay people working in the day to day operations of the ministries, it is especially important to educate them about our Franciscan mission,” she says. How mission leaders then pay the education forward for staff and volunteers varies, since ministries differ in the services they provide and their size. At St. Francis Healthcare System in Honolulu, Hawaii, for example, employees receive a bi-monthly “Mission Moments” email. These contain messages such as a Franciscan Thought for the Day or explain an element of Catholic social teaching.

OUR Hands “Because we have a lay CEO and pretty much an entire lay team now, we have to be instilled with the values and spirit that our sisters have used in carrying out their ministries,” says Patty Martin, vicepresident of Mission and Organizational Effectiveness for the System. Martin also hosts a new employee orientation session and holds meetings to train managers about the Health Care System’s Franciscan values. “In turn, these leaders take what they learn during the meetings and educate their staff,” explains Patty. Sister Geraldine Ching, director of mission and ethics, offers departments mission effectiveness training tailored to meet their unique needs. At Francis House in Syracuse, Sister Collette Walter works with more than 400 staff and volunteers who care for people who are dying. She meets with caregivers on their first day to share what it means to be a sponsored ministry. continued on page 6

PARTNERS IN FRANCISCAN MINISTRIES CORE VALUES • REVERENCE: each person is a manifestation of the sacredness of human life • JUSTICE: We advocate for a society where all can realize their full potential and achieve the common good • COMPASSION: We give priority to those who society ignores. Service to those in need, especially the poor and powerless requires wise oversight of ministry resources

p St. Francis Healthcare System employees receive awards during the January 2018 St. Marianne Employee Awards Luncheon. t Hundreds of St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii employees and community residents participated in the St. Marianne Cope Walk in January.

SPRING 2018 5



Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii Saint Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum, Syracuse, NY Francis House, Syracuse, NY Gingerbread House Preschool & Day Care Center, Syracuse, NY Mount Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center, Millvale, PA Saint Francis School, Manoa, HI Portiuncula Foundation, Millvale, PA St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Utica, NY

p Kristin Barrett-Anderson (l), executive director of the St. Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum, stands with Partners in Franciscan Ministries’ President Susan Crossett and Sister Norise Kaiser.

“We have an acronym here called CARD: compassion, acceptance, respect, and dignity,” she says. “And these are particularly important for our caregivers to live out with those who are dying and very vulnerable.” Sister Colette begins each staff meeting at Francis House with a prayer; she also shares thank you notes from families of former residents. “We tell staff and volunteers: ‘these notes come to us because of you,’” she says. “The most important thing for me is letting our caregivers know the job they are doing is unique and precious and is God’s work,” she says. Each year, PFM brings together ministry executives and mission leaders for a two-day convocation that includes a presentation from one of the sponsored ministries, speakers on Franciscan traditions and activities to get the group interacting. “It’s a chance for PFM to bring all the players together for education and to build a sense of community,” says Sister Norise. “It builds a sense of community among all these separate ministries and shows them how we all work together to move those Franciscan values into the future.”


p Sister Francis Clare de Gracia (back) stands with the First Communion class of the school the Sisters established in Paramonga, Peru in 1967.

A Golden Anniversary for

PERU MINISTRY In 1964 Pope Paul VI asked religious orders to include the predominately Catholic territory of Latin America in their work. After much discussion, research and prayer, the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse opted to open a school in Paramonga, a town 110 miles northwest of Lima, Peru. The school opened in 1967, marking the start of 50 years of ministry by our sisters in Peru.


ister Anthony Marie Eddo had been a Sister of St. Francis for 20 years when she heard God’s call to leave her comfortable position as a high school Spanish teacher and volunteer with the congregation’s five-year old mission in Lima, Peru.

chickens running through houses. Healthcare is non-existent.” Sister Anthony Marie arrived in Peru in 1972, eight years after the first three Sisters of St. Francis stepped off the steamship Santa Mariana and began ministering to the people of Peru.

“Living in Peru was like going back 100 years in U.S. history,” she would later say. “There is no water or electricity; there are outhouses and

The sisters originally arrived to minister as school teachers, but as Franciscans, they expanded their work to meet the needs of the people. Over the continued on page 8

SPRING 2018 7

next 50 years, their work in health care, social services and pastoral duties elevated the living conditions of thousands of Peruvians. Fundraising efforts, small stipends that sisters earned and a grant from Roman Catholic dioceses in Germany supported the sisters’ work. Central New York hospitals provided medicines and laboratory equipment. Sister Patricia Larkin recalls packing for a visit to Peru. “We would get the biggest luggage we could get and we would just fill it with medicines. Sister Donna Marie Evans, who was ending a home visit and returning to Peru, would take the clothes out of my bag to make room for more medicines.”

p Sister Donna Marie Evans takes the popular mode of transportation thousands of feet up in the Andes Mountains.

Photo From the Sisters of St. Francis Syracuse, N.Y. Collection in the Congregational Archives of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

Today, Three Sisters of St. Francis

When a 7.9 magnitude earthquake left 70,000 people dead and another 800,000 homeless in 1970, Sisters Francis Clare de Gracia and Ruth Esther Sherman flew on military planes to staging areas where helicopters would bring them into the mountains to administer aid. Recovery teams clearing the rubble in the mountain village of Chimbote found the body of Sister Edith Mary Selik. A nurse anesthetist, she came to Peru from Mount Alvernia in Pittsburgh in 1969, saying that she would stay as long as she was needed. Sister Edith Mary is buried in Lima.


Sister Cristina Florez is a pastoral minister at the Church of San Miguel. She also is a registered psychologist who donates her services in the parish. Sister Lastenia Paz Reina is a nurse technician at the Naval Hospital in Lima. Sister Reyna Jesusa Ontón Ñahui is a physical therapist. She is in the U.S. temporarily for additional training.


p Students continue to attend classes at the Montessori school renamed in December 2017 in honor of Sister Francis Clare de Gracia.

Ten years later, a civil war shook Peru. There was fighting in the cities and in the mountains. In Pativilca, a village some 100 miles from Lima where the sisters had a health clinic, rebels and government troops fought in the town square. Just a block away, sisters hid in closets in the convent.

p Children enjoy lunch at the former St. Rose of Lima Montessori School in Quebrada Verde, just south of Lima. The school was recently renamed in honor of its founder, Sister Francis Clare de Gracia.

Sister Rose Ann Reichlin arrived in 2000 and spent seven years in Peru. She still recalls the extreme poverty of the country — “there were little kids in the streets selling penny candy and gum; that was hard for me to see” — and the warmth of the people. “Everyone is very demonstrative. You meet somebody’s friend and she has her friends with her and everybody gives you a hug, even though you never met them before.” “I just loved the experience, it was wonderful,” she says.

In 2004, the sisters opened St. Rose of Lima Montessori School in Quebrada Verde, a poor community one hour south of Lima. The school continues to educate children with the financial support of the congregation.

Thank you to Congregational Archivist Charlene Martin and Assistant Archivist Sister Maria Salerno for their help with this story.

SPRING 2018 9


1967, 1970, 1974 – 1975

Sister Francis Clare de Gracia 1967 – 2013 Sister Ann Dolores Rider

1967 – 1971

Sister Shawn Flynn

1968, 1971

Sister Edith Mary Selik

1969 – 1970

Sister Eleanor John Donegan (Carole Kissinger)

1969 – 1974, 1975 – 1979

Sister Mary Gabriel Guinan

1970 – 1971

Sister Ruth Esther (Mary Clarence) Sherman

1970 – 1980, 1984 – 1990

Sister Anthony Marie Eddo

1972 – 1974, 1976 – 1988

Sister Blanche Paul buried in Lurin, Peru

1974 – 1975, 1980, 1982, 1997 – 2002

Sister Norberta Hunnewinkel 1974 – 1976 Sister Emmett Anne Geary

1975 – 1977

Sister Eligia Eiholzer


Sister Donna Marie Evans

1978 – 1996

Sister Baptiste Westbrook

1981 – 1988, 1995 – 2000

Sister Shirley Tamoria

1984 – 1988

Sister M. Laurine McDonald

1991 – 1998

Sister Cristina Florez

1994 – present

Sister Lastenia Paz Reina

2000 – present

Sister Rose Ann Reichlin

2000 – 2006

u Sister Francis Clare de Gracia ministers to an elderly woman in the mountains of Peru. Sisters originally came to Peru to teach school, but expanded their ministry to meet the most pressing needs of the people.


WHERE WE SERVED PARAMONGA 1967 – 1974 school taken over by Peruvian sisters PATIVILCA 1973 – 1998 PUERTO CHANCAY 1977 – 1985 PACARAOS 1974 – 1980 QUEBRADA VERDE 2000

PERU, IN THEIR OWN WORDS “My presence in Peru is simple a “mission of love.” SISTER FRANCIS CLARE DE GRACIA

“One time when I was there, they bombed the bank around the corner from the convent. I was petrified. And Francis Clare said to me, ‘that’s nothing. Wait until you see downtown. There’s nothing there!’” SISTER PATRICIA LARKIN, ON ONE VISIT TO LIMA DURING THE CIVIL WAR

“You would see little kids in the streets in Peru, all over, little kids with boxes in their hands and they’re trying to sell penny things, candy, gum, cigarette lighters, cheap little things. For me, that was one of the hardest things to see.” SISTER ROSE ANN REICHLIN

“We have worked among the poor of Peru… we were able to give direct service as teachers, midwives, nurses, treating hundreds of TB patients over the years.” SISTER ANTHONY MARIE EDDO

“Things from Peru I will miss: Fresh fruits and vegetables on most street corners. The amiable greeting of even strangers with a kiss. Flowers and trees blooming in a variety of colors even on the grayest and coldest of days. Things I will Appreciate when I Return Home: Having clothes on the line dry in one day. Not having to soak all fruits and vegetables in disinfectant. Not hearing a whistle blow every 30 to 60 minutes during the night so that you know the neighborhood watchman is awake.” EMAILS FROM SISTER MARIA SALERNO

SPRING 2018 11

Sisters Take to Social Media to


This story first appeared in The Catholic Sun, the official news media of the Diocese of Syracuse. Read more Good News at thecatholicsun.com.



ith nearly 170 years of religious life between them, Franciscan sisters Mary Celestine McCann, Bernadette Joseph Kupris, and Marcia Barry have quite a bit of collective wisdom.

But “sometimes, it’s just a lot of years,” Sister Marcia deadpanned recently, drawing gales of laughter from her fellow sisters. The three sisters, who reside together at the chapel house at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Baldwinsville, New York, are putting that wisdom, those

t Sisters Mary Celestine McCann, Bernadette Joseph Kupris, and Marcia Barry

their mission and evangelization,” St. Mary’s Pastor Father Cliff Auth told the Sun in an email. “After a lot of begging and a little bribing, they said yes,” he joked. The sisters provide the pearls of wisdom and Father Auth and Parish Director of Communications Joelle Zarnowski polish them for Instagram, pairing the sisters’ words with eye-catching photos. The account launched Oct. 21, 2017, with some photos of famous faces and pun-ny captions to pique viewers’ interest. The first official post introducing the sisters came the following day. Since then, more than 35 posts have appeared. All of the sisters are new to the Instagram platform. “We’re letting the spirit flow,” Sister Bernadette said, laughing. “I think that’s how this came to be and this is how it’s becoming. Like the early Church — they didn’t quite know what they were doing and neither do we! We’re letting the spirit guide us.”

years, and that sense of humor to work in a newshared ministry: evangelizing on Instagram. Their handle is @nunsense4thesoul. Like their posts, the name and the account are a group effort. “About a month ago we asked them if they would be willing to collaborate in creating their own Instagram account for the sole purpose of advancing

The aim of the endeavor is evangelization and connection. “When we talked about it and looked back at our lives, someone has always reached out to us, whether it be family, church, or community,” said Sister Marcia. “And if we could portray just a little bit of that wisdom and experience to those out there who might be fallen away from the Church or angry at the Church — just one little quip [could] hit them and make them want to respond.” continued on page 14

SPRING 2018 13

Sister Marcia noted that their respective ministries have prepared and led them to this new endeavor. Fifty-one years a sister, she has ministered in education, mall ministry, and social work. Sister Bernadette, 48 years a sister, has ministered in education, currently at St. Mary’s Academy. Sister Celestine, 70 years a sister, taught for more than 50 years before serving in hospitality ministry.

In the meantime, the sisters will be learning more about their newest vehicle for evangelization. “Christ and St. Francis both went out to towns and villages to preach the gospel and to offer words of wisdom and encouragement,” Sister Marcia said. “This is one way that we can do it.”

join us!

In addition to providing spiritual insights through their posts, the sisters are also offering a look at their lives and experiences as Franciscan women religious. Suggestions for content and questions for the sisters are welcome. Followers can comment on one of the sisters’ posts or send an email to nunsense4thesoul@gmail.com.

SOSFNeumannCommunities sisters_of_saint_francis @OSF_sisters SOSFNC SOSFNC


& PURPOSE Is God calling you? We’re here to help you discern.

Sister Caryn Crook, Vocation Minister ccrook@sosf.org, 315.751.6819



p Betteanne Riegle, Sister Concetta DeFelice & Sharon Lanza


DIVINE CHILD GUILD: 80 Years of Faithful Support


he former Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child brought many wonderful gifts with them when they became part of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in 2004. One gift was their Divine Child Guild, whose lay members have been supporting our sisters spiritually and socially, through fundraising and serving the poor for more than 80 years. “People are so loyal, and you can see the satisfaction on our members’ faces when they come to help,” says

Sharon Lanza, president of the Divine Child Guild in Buffalo, New York. Members have raised thousands of dollars through the years. “This is a very easy way to help the sisters get many of the items that they couldn’t get on their own,” explains Betteanne Riegle, guild treasurer. “We have hosted lawn fetes, fashion shows, penny baskets, split clubs, member teas, rummage sales,

continued on page 16

SPRING FALL 2018 20 17 15


Three sisters, Marie Schillo, Betty Barnhard and Dorothy Gietl, have enjoyed their time in the Divine Child Guild

Christmas bazaars and more, all to support the sisters’ important ministries and retirement needs.” From state-of-the art communications equipment to televisions, specialty lifts and blinds for the health center at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, New York, proceeds from the guild’s activities have enhanced sisters’ lives. “Where there’s a need, the guild members are always here to help,” says Sister Concetta DeFelice, “and for that, we are most grateful!” Dorothy Gietl has been a guild member for more than 70 of her 100 years. “I’m here because I like to help others,” she says, “and I just love the nuns!” She and her sisters, Marie Schillo and Betty Barnhard, are proud of their accomplishments. “People are happy to help the sisters,” they say. “It always feels good to help these special women who do so much for others.”


Looking Beyond the Surface By Sister Marianne Ferguson


here is a beautiful waterfall in Williamsville, New York, which in the winter freezes over into a huge mound of ice and snow. Yet, if you look carefully, you can see in the distance a trickle of water. This little trickle will flow through the streams and creeks in the Buffalo area to reach Lake Erie, and eventually the Atlantic Ocean. Just as we look beyond the frozen ice and snow and discover the flowing water beyond it, the Sisters of St. Francis look beyond the congregation to the laity who join us in extending our mission. Our Franciscan associates, benefactors, congregational and regional employees, and those who serve with us at our ministry sites have heard the call of the Gospel and have assumed many of the roles previously held by sisters. Our Franciscan Associates commit to sharing in our mission while maintaining their individual lifestyles. Many women and men are involved in the prayer and liturgical life of the church, while others serve in faith-based education and service work. God has watched over the trickle begun by our sisters, and nurtured it to flow into something bigger. The Word of God continues to spread throughout the earth because of the generosity of people like you who are willing to involve yourself in our mission. Our prayers continue for those who continue God’s work on earth. May the Lord bless you.

In Prayerful Memory

Sister Rita Marie Nigro

November 23, 1926 – September 20, 2017 Teacher, congregational general treasurer and Leadership Council member Williamsville, New York

Sister Rose Ann Renna (Sister Rose Anthony)

July 21, 1937 – January 7, 2018 Teacher, nurse, hospital administrator, diocesan director of music, congregational leadership Syracuse, New York

Sister M. Dolores Sevilla

June 12, 1935 – October 29, 2017 Nurse, teacher Mount Vernon, New York

Sister M. Adele Bullock

October 1, 1920 – January 8, 2018 Teacher, hospital director of volunteers, pastoral assistant Syracuse, New York

Sister Francis Clare de Gracia May 18, 1928 – November 24, 20177

Teacher, missionary and Montessori school foundress in Peru Syracuse, New York

Sister Mary Nicholas Amodio

February 2, 1924 – December 15, 2017 Teacher, chaplain, parish minister Syracuse, New York

Sister Ann Carville (Sister M. Caritas) November 6, 1940 - February 3, 2018

Teacher, scholar, administrator, facilitator, consultant, major superior Millvale, Pennsylvania

Sister Bernadette Lavocat

August 8, 1925 - February 4, 2018 Teacher, housekeeper, dietary staff member Williamsville, New York

Read the full text celebrating the life and legacy of a particular sister, at www.sosf.org or send your request with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the editorial office. SPRING 2018 17

p The chapel at Franciscan Villa in Syracuse, New York is filled on Benefactor Appreciation Day.

p Benefactor Appreciation Day at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, New York offers the sisters an opportunity to spend time with people who support their ministries.

THANK YOU From the Bottom of Our Hearts, We p Sister Maria Salerno visits with Joanne Whelan, a former classmate at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, New York. t Sister Alma Pukel leads the way with Dr. James and Donna Dispenza into Franciscan Villa chapel for Mass.



Lyn Grandits, Susan SawickMolvarec, Sister Kathleen Murphy, Linda Dohn at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, New York.

p Jamie Shaner, Sister Marian Rose Mansius, Dick Shaner at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, New York

p Mass was celebrated in the beautiful Mount Alvernia chapel.

p At Mount Alvernia, Sister Therese Vaulet leads sisters and benefactors in beautiful hymns.

Couldn’t Do It Without You.


isters in Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Syracuse showed hundreds of our benefactors how grateful we are for their love and generous support during a Mass and brunch held Sunday, Nov. 12. Our Benefactors Day celebration is a great opportunity for our sisters to personally thank our friends for helping make possible the care of our retired sisters and our ability to serve others through our health care, education and social service ministries. Some benefactors tell us that, when the sisters raise their hands in blessing over them, they are moved to tears.



Everyone enjoyed a delicious brunch in the Mount Alvernia dining room.

Suzan Tully and Sister Margaret Toohill at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, New York

SPRING 2018 19

Mission Advancement

Meet Our Partners in Mission: PAUL & KAREN ARILOTTA Paul and Karen Arilotta first learned about our sisters’ work in Peru when Sister Kathy Osbelt visited their parish in 2005 to give a mission talk. Her description of extreme poverty p Karen and Paul Arilotta support the school in Peru and the sisters’ efforts to aid the people of Quebrada Verde moved them. “We’re not affluent people, but we’ve been blessed and we

wanted to make a difference,” says Karen. The couple made a gift which made it possible for the townspeople to receive a much-needed water tower project. Today, the Arilottas continue to support the people of Peru. Their annual gifts help provide nutritious meals for the children at Colegio Francis Clare Montessori School. “As a retired educator, I know that one of the most important ways to impact a person’s life is by making sure they get a good start,” explains Paul. “Karen and I can’t think of a better way of being of service to the children than through the support of their education.”

FRANK BRANDT Frank Brandt always thought that his sibling, Sister Florence Brandt, would have a secure retirement. She became a Sister of St. Francis in 1950 and worked in several ministries, including as CEO of a hospital. Frank assumed the sisters were well-funded for retirement, supported by the Vatican and dioceses where they worked and live. It’s a common misconception. t Frank Brandt is proud to support his sister and her fellow Sisters of St. Francis.


Frank learned the truth in a summer appeal the sisters sent out — the Vatican doesn’t provide support, and diocesan contributions are minimal. Sisters often weren’t compensated for their work or earned less than their lay coworkers. Sister salaries go to the congregation’s operating budget, so as sisters retire, income declines even as expenses increase. Frank sent a gift to the congregation’s retirement fund. Then he turned to social media to encourage his family and friends to give. Fourteen individuals donated more than $7,000 in gifts and pledges. Frank’s gift wasn’t only to support his sibling, but in thanks for all that the sisters contributed to his life. He figures that he and his siblings together received 48 years of Franciscan education and he has fond memories of monthly visits to the convent after Sister Florence entered the community. “I am very touched by Frank’s efforts for us,” says Sister Florence. “His creative use of family email was certainly successful. I am pleased and grateful to those who responded with donations and pledges —siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, relatives of family members, friends, even some persons I don’t know! Thank you, Frank, and all responders. God’s blessings to all!”

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR RETIRED SISTERS During this Easter Season, we are celebrating the lives of our wonderful retired sisters. These former teachers, nurses and caregivers gave so much to others, often ministering without pay and with little thought of retirement. Taking care of them now, is one of the most important things we can do. We hope you will want to help. Included in this issue of Franciscan Spirit, is a reply envelope you may use to help support our sisters. You can also make an online gift at sosf.org. Your gifts will help defray the costs of our elderly sisters’ medical and living expenses, and will mean so much to all of us. Thank you for caring, and please know you will be remembered in our prayers. Wishing you a joyful and blessed Easter season!

SPRING 2018 21

THANK YOU In 2017, more than 3,600 generous people, foundations, and businesses donated $1.9 million to our Sisters of St. Francis. We are grateful for your support, which helps ensure that our sisters can continue in ministry, and that we can care for our sisters who have retired to a life of community and prayer. In recognition of all our supporters, our 2017 Benefactor Honor Roll is now available online at

sosf.org/support-our-mission/what-to-give/donor-recognition-appreciation If you would like to support our sisters, you can make a gift today by mail or online. To discuss planning a gift in your lifetime or through your estate, contact the Mission Advancement representative in your area. If you have questions regarding the 2017 Benefactor Honor Roll, please contact Jodi Hagan at or jhagan@sosf.org.

Profile for Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

Franciscan Spirit - Keep the Faith and Pass It On, Vol. 6.1  

On the cover: Our sisters and partners in ministry at St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii are committed to creating healthy communities...

Franciscan Spirit - Keep the Faith and Pass It On, Vol. 6.1  

On the cover: Our sisters and partners in ministry at St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii are committed to creating healthy communities...

Profile for sosf