Annual Report 2014
S I S T E R S
C H A R I T Y
C I N C I N N AT I
A Letter From Our President Dear Sisters, Associates, and Friends,
he joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” With these words Pope Francis begins his
November, 2013 Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.” He continues, “If we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?” (EG, 14). He goes on to remind us that the work of evangelization to which we are called “is first and foremost the Lord’s work, surpassing anything which we can see and understand”
(EG, 17). We Sisters of Charity welcome the Pope’s words because they invite us to
of our lives as Daughters of the Church.
enter ever more deeply into the mystery of God’s love for us, and into the meaning
Leadership........................................ 4 Spirituality Center............................ 6
Peace, Justice and Care for Creation......................................7
“Jesus’ whole life, his way of dealing with the poor, his actions, his integrity, his
and reveals the mystery of this divine life. Whenever we encounter this anew,
we become convinced that it is exactly what others need, even though they may
not recognize it” (EG, 182). Just as Jesus served with joy, we Sisters of Charity
are grateful for our many opportunities to serve in that same spirit through our
prayer and service; stewardship of our resources; efforts on behalf of people who
Social Justice Fund.........................15 Corporation Board for Sponsored Ministries....................................... 18
Our first model, the Pope reminds us, is Jesus whom we meet in the Gospel.
simple daily acts of generosity, and finally his complete self-giving, is precious
are marginalized by reason of language, culture, economic, religious or social conditions; and our care for the earth.
S. Blandina Segale, Servant of God...........................................21
on the gifts and challenges of fiscal year 2014. As you read these pages, we hope
Seton Enablement Fund.................22 SC Ministry Foundation................ 24 United Nations NGO....................26 On the Cover: The image of “Christ Blessing Little Children” is taken from a stained-glass window in the Immaculate Conception Chapel at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. Disclaimer: The information contained in Intercom is intended for general information and educational purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are the views of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
We take our inspiration from “The Joy of the Gospel” as we reflect with you
you will see in them the fruit of our efforts to live the Gospel joyfully. We invite you to pray with us and for us, that all of us will live in joyful gratitude for the opportunities we are given to share Christ’s joy and to participate in the Church’s mission of evangelization. Your Sister,
Joan Elizabeth Cook, S.C.
Communicating Life to Others By S. Georgia Kitt and Erin Reder
“The Gospel offers us the chance to live life. That life grows by being given away … Those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others … life is attained and matures in the measure that it is offered up in order to give life to others.” - Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
t is a privilege to be SC communicators! We are conscious of the fact that at the heart of our work we are bringing Jesus and the Gospel message to whomever we are communicating with – in person and in print. Just as Pope Francis encouraged the Christian faithful to begin “a new chapter of evangelization,” the SC Communications Office has begun a new chapter in our mission to communicate the good works of our Sisters and Associates to others. Just five years ago, electronic media was only a small part of the time and energy spent within our office. In the past year we see the increasing value of giving more of our resources and energy to digital communication, whether it be the Sisters of Charity website, Facebook page, e-newsletters or video. Our Sisters and Associates stories were told in various media. Print continues to provide the best detailed account, through our quarterly Intercom magazine. However, video has proven to appeal to all audiences, and was the focus of many initiatives within the office the past year, including Ministry in Motion, a monthly 10-minute video spotlight on one particular Sister in her ministry. The series began in January and has enabled us to tell more stories through the gift of visual media. Our Facebook page, begun in February 2013, has well surpassed 900 likes. Photographs and inspirational quotes still seem to pique the most interest. Using photos from the past we were able to generate Throwback Thursday and Transformation Tuesday interest. Interaction with our Facebook “friends” remains one of the greatest advantages of involving ourselves in this form of social media. One of the newer initiatives came during the inaugural celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week in March. We involved Sisters, Associates, friends of the Community and employees in the celebration of our Sisters past and present. A nnual R eport 2 0 1 4
A landing page was created to help visitors to the website learn more about our Community and the good works of our Sisters, yesterday and today. Acquaintances of our Sisters offered letters from the heart explaining how their lives have been touched by Sisters today, and SC employees offered genuine ‘thank yous’ to those they have come to know and appreciate while working for the Sisters of Charity. Those thanks were caught on film and made into a video that was available for viewing throughout the week in the Motherhouse Dining Room. We expanded our scope through these various communications efforts and through our relationships with other media outlets. In April 2014, the National Catholic Reporter launched Global Sisters Report, an online project dedicated to telling the stories of women religious around the world. Sisters Janet Gildea and Tracy Kemme are regular contributors reaching readers well beyond the SC Community, sharing our Sisters efforts and touching hearts and lives. Both Sisters Janet and Tracy also maintain blogs offering a brief glimpse into their journeys as Sisters of Charity; links to both blogs are located on the SC website. We continue to encourage Community members to embrace technology and enjoy its benefits. All of our printed publications are also available on our website for viewing, and while slow, we are seeing an increase in the number of Sisters and Associates viewing those publications electronically. How we communicate the Gospel message to those within the Community and beyond may be changing, but our joyful excitement remains. We continue to embrace the future and stay open, as we know communicating will continue to evolve. We promise to be there! We count on you as well. Gospel joy needs to be shared. 3
Faithful to the Gospel Call By S. Mary Bookser
he Sisters of Charity Mission Statement lays the groundwork for all that we are and do: Urged by the love of Christ and in the spirit of our founder, Elizabeth Ann Seton, we Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati strive to live Gospel values. We choose to act justly, to build loving relationships, to share our resources with those in need, and to care for all creation. In “Evangelii Gaudium” Pope Francis urges us to live the joy of the Gospel by responding “to the love of the God who saves us, to see God in others and to go from ourselves to seek the good of others.” He calls us to recognize that “the joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus” (Origins, vol. 43, #27). The Charity family, as our Mission Statement proclaims, is rooted in the love of Christ and thus filled with the joy which comes from living Gospel values. During this past year we have focused once again on relationships: with the Charity family, with our Federation and the Leadership Council of Women Religious (LCWR), with our Church, our collaborators in our sponsored ministries, those with whom we work, our families and our friends. Special emphasis, as Pope Francis continually calls us to, is placed on persons who live in poverty and on the margins of society, and our care for God’s Earth. Other articles in this report will look at how we are in relationship with our Associates, in ministry and in our social justice work. The following report will focus on other aspects of the past year.
More than 60 members of the Sisters of Charity Federation gathered in Cincinnati, Ohio, for their annual meeting in June.
In her presidential address at the LCWR annual assembly, S. Carol Zinn reminded us that “revelation happens where we are in the here and now . . . (and that) relationship is the ground of revelation.” At the LCWR assembly the women leaders of approximately 57,000 Catholic Sisters in the United States, affirmed that we are ecclesial women who are rooted in the Mission of Jesus. We believe that our Congregations are faithful to the call of the Gospel, and that our specific prophetic role in the Church is to do “all we do in a contemplative stance, by living in right relationship with all creation and being in solidarity with the global community.” We recognize that “unbridled consumption” imperils the common good and that “environmental degradation threatens all God’s creation.” As such we want to address the root/ systemic causes, and work together to change these realities [LCWR Call, 2015-2022]. We, the family of Charity, have been deeply concerned with what is happening in the “here and now” of our world. We have Sisters and Associates who are continually working with immigration and human trafficking issues and the “here and now” people these impact. Our commitment to nonviolent living places us in a prophetic stance in light of the violence throughout our world. We continue to call ourselves to gentle and appropriate relationship with Earth, upon whom we are so dependent. On a local level we continue to examine our buildings and properties for their current and future uses and needs. In the burial of our Sisters on our Motherhouse grounds we have stopped using cement grave liners, and are also offering the Sisters an option for green or natural burial in our cemetery.
Election,” scheduled for Feb. 27 through March 7, 2015. This assembly occurs every four years and sets the tone for our next four years together. In the early planning stages, as a Congregation we looked at our Congregational realities, as well as the state of our world. We see much which is “breaking down,” yet we find that awareness and passion for the reign of God is “breaking through,” despite all the breakdown around us. In light of this, we are asking ourselves some questions which will help guide our discernment. Some of these are:
(From left) Sisters Lucia Castellini, OSU-Brown County, Margie Efkeman, OSU-Cincinnati, and Louise Lears, SC-Cincinnati, together at a Region VI LCWR meeting in Melbourne, Kentucky.
Our work to upgrade and improve Mother Margaret Hall, our nursing care facility for our Sisters, continues. We anticipate this project will be completed during the coming year. The visit of our 13 “cousin” communities, our Charity Federation, gave us an impetus to add even more beauty, externally and internally, to the Motherhouse grounds and thus to the lives of all who come here. In our Federation meeting, and in the LCWR assembly, we continued to look at how we might collaborate in our work for justice on many levels: as leadership, social justice representatives and through grass roots relationships. We recognize in a much deeper way, that collaboration is the way in which our charism, legacy, mission and vision can continue to grow and expand. We realize that our Church and our world need our mature love and wisdom. We know that we are living in a world filled with the action of God’s creating love, as co-creators with our God, despite how hard this may be to see in this time of so many devastating world events.
How do we see the Spirit of God leading us into our future together? What is all “the good,” which continues to hold, despite all the dysfunction in our world today? How can we, the family of Charity, contribute to expanding that? In light of our Congregational realities, what new challenges are we willing and able to take on? What sacrifices may we have to endure to do this? How do our lives reflect our powerful Mission and Vision Statements, and how will we choose to live more fully into these, as we move forward for the next four years?
Once our direction emerges at our Chapter, we will elect our Congregational leaders for July 2015 through June 2019. They will lead us to engage some of the realities and questions which will shape our movement as we follow our Chapter theme of “Hazard yet forward.” We continue to move forward as a family of Charity, affirming in our prayer, our ministries, and all we do, that God is always present and loves each of us, unconditionally. How can we be anything but filled with the joy which comes from living these Gospel values?
Our June Federation meeting was held at our Sisters of Charity Motherhouse. Donna Geernaert, SC, our main presenter, asked us to look at how the Universe Story relates to and releases the energy of our Charity Federation charism. Another presenter, author and consultant Peter Block, worked with us on systems thinking and how we might promote systemic change in our ministries. Our Federation goals center around our collaboration to effect systemic change by addressing issues of social and ecological justice, particularly for those living in poverty. To that end we already have various joint ministries and are looking at criteria for initiating new ones. In all our work together we call one another to deep contemplation and prophetic action. This year, too, we have begun the planning for our next general “Chapter of Affairs and A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 4
(From left) Sisters Judy Karam, CSA, Brenda Gonzales, SCN, and Lois Goettke, SC-Cincinnati, at a Region VI LCWR meeting in Melbourne, Kentucky.
A Treasure to Share By S. Annette Marie Paveglio
he Spirituality Center seeks to share “joy brought by the Lord” as our brother Francis reminds us in “The Joy of the Gospel.”
this Incarnate God?” was one of the questions posed by S. Carol Leveque. Fr. Tim Schehr led the Lenten series which cited Old Testament figures such as Moses, Joshua, and King David. Participants walked with these figures to discover insights into the faith journey each of us is making.
Directed Retreats were offered in both June and August. Simultaneously a guided retreat was facilitated in August 2013 by S. Margaret Wisdom of the Cross Mach, who addressed the theme was facilitated by S. Teresa of Igniting the Burning Bush Marie Laengle as a Virtual within each of us. In June 2014, Day of Reflection to include Jan Novotka, an internationally Olga Wittekind, OSF, facilitates the Achieving Wholeness Retreat in approximately 20 Associates known song writer and retreat January 2014. in Florida. The retreat day was facilitator, invited retreatants to be livestreamed from the Cedars Auditorium in the Motherhouse open to the Grace of Acceptance and embrace the things in our and allowed interaction. Director of Associates Mary Jo lives which we are having a hard time embracing. Mersmann led the group in Florida with handouts, prayers and The Power of Pause, with presenter Terry Hershey, invited discussion questions prepared by S. Teresa. There were a few us to become more by doing less. Participants were encouraged glitches doing this retreat day for the first time via livestreaming, to slow down so they could see; “seeing allows one to be amazed but it was well worth it. and amazement gives way to gratitude.” Awakening the Dreamer was a symposium presented by the Marianist Awakening the Dreamer Team. Its purpose was to inspire, and move participants to action in order to discover new ways to make a difference in the emergence of an environmentally sustainable planet. Sundays of Reflection in November, December, February, and March focused on our ongoing preparation for Chapter. Presentations were made by Sisters Annette Muckerheide, Martha Walsh, Carol Wirtz, and Bayley House local community.
“Inner emptiness and loneliness can often move us to open ourselves to Christ’s invitation to joy.” Living in Light and Darkness, facilitated by Therese Del Genio, SNDdeN, gave a “booster shot” to the soul. Achieving Wholeness Retreat, presented by Olga Wittekind, OSF, helped participants look below life’s surface and see what pieces of our lives needed recognition and integration to further peace and love in all relationships. In Backward Binoculars S. Patmarie Bernard invited pondering “the wing span of God’s movement through the years” and moving forward with growing awareness of God’s covenant love. The Liturgical Year allows us to focus on the Church’s present journey. God is Here - Let’s Celebrate recalled the meaning of the Incarnation in Advent. “Where do we find 6
“God is already there, waiting for us with open arms.”
Book Sharing, The Madeleva Series, facilitated by S. Maureen Heverin, and the Gospel of Mark led by S. Kay Tardiff were also among the many offerings open to the public to renew a personal encounter with God. Peace for the Peacemaker: From Chaos to Creativity focused on self-care and wellness practices that bring us back to the center. Meghan Clarke helped participants restore the balance of bodies, minds, and spirits and to see all as a gift to the world around us. S. Mary Fran Davisson provides wholistic massage and energy work to also assist with these aspects in our lives. Sallie Hilvers provided an evening of Labyrinth history, lore, and information. There was also time to walk an indoor labyrinth. One may find walking the labyrinth useful in problem-solving, conflict resolution, stress management, and a prayerful meditation. Have you longed for oneness with the source of Being? Oneness with Mystery? With Love? In You and Women Mystics Marilyn Kaiser provided an environment for participants to realize how God has already been revealed in everyday experiences, including some mystical. The Spirituality Center simply tries to open doors, to let others know that our lives and that God’s love and saving help are available to all. We hold a treasure and seek to share it as faithful stewards.
The Congo Week Mass in October 2013 was concelebrated by Fr. Pat McCloskey (center), Fr. Ruffino Ezama (left) and Congolese seminarian, Deacon Boniface Twaibu (now a priest).
Agents of Change By Debbie Weber, OPJCC director
ur name has changed, but our mission is the same! To reflect the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Mission Statement, the name of our office has changed. We are now the Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation (OPJCC). The mission of the Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation is to move the work of justice through education, advocacy and action rooted in our Sisters of Charity charism which calls us to be agents of change. Our areas of focus are many and include active non-violence, anti-racism, Earth, human trafficking, immigration, political and church systems, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and women. OPJCC strives to provide education, advocacy and action opportunities for our Sisters, Associates and employees as well as the local, state, national and international community. We have an Advisory Committee of Sisters and Associates and several subcommittees of Sisters, Associates and friends of the SCs. This past year, at the Motherhouse and Mother Margaret Hall, OPJCC provided Prayer Trees full of prayer cards regarding a variety of justice issues. We held a School of the Americas prayer vigil and introduced Take a Legislator to Prayer - advocacy through the power of prayer. OPJCC continued to have three advocacy tables throughout our campus that offered petitions and postcards to sign as well as information on current issues. The use of technology to further the mission and to reach Sisters and Associates outside the Cincinnati area enabled us to have online Prayer Trees, petition and letter advocacy opportunities that require a simple click of the mouse, and a monthly e-newsletter. Collaboration is at the heart of OPJCC. Much of what we do involves working with our city, state, national and international neighbors. Mentoring and working with a student from DePaul Cristo Rey High School was a rich and rewarding A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 4
The OPJCC Earth Day Fair on April 22, 2014.
experience for us. Thanks to EarthConnection, volunteers, donors and attendees, our first Earth Day Fair was a fun and successful way to educate all of us about caring for Earth. The Mary of Magdala Prayer Service and Congo Week activities reflected how people of diverse cultures, religious backgrounds and beliefs could come together to learn, share and celebrate. Water With Blessings was a collaboration of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, an Ursuline Sister, the SC Federation and the women who received water filters. Thus far, we have sponsored women, their families and their communities in Mexico, Belize and Haiti. Locally, OPJCC Director Debbie Weber was, and continues to be, involved with the SC Corporate Responsibility Committee, Mount St. Joseph University, the Climate Change Task Force of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Intercommunity Sisters Against Human Trafficking and Nuns on the Bus-Ohio. Together, we are agents of change, moving the work of social and Earth justice in our city and state. Nationally, Debbie was, and continues to be, involved with the SC Federation peace and justice representatives, the Vincentian Family social justice representatives and the LCWR justice and peace promoters. Together, we are moving the work of social and Earth justice on a much broader scope; working to affect systemic change throughout the world. OPJCC staff, committee members and collaborators look forward to another year of encountering Jesus in all that we do. 7
Building Relationships By Sisters Janet Gildea, Monica Gundler and Donna Steffen
ith Christ joy is constantly born anew.” The ministries of vocation promotion and initial formation recognize the truth in Pope Francis’ exhortation as we encounter, invite, welcome and discern with women who seek to know how they are called to follow Christ in their lives. Encounter is a word that has become a primary focus of our vocation ministry. Building relationships both in person and through the use of technology has allowed for many ways to share our special Charity connection to the joy of the Gospel. Our Come and Serve Discernment retreat held in September allows for time to pray, work and reflect while sharing meals and the journey of our lives. Sisters from our Federation communities of Leavenworth, Kansas, and Nazareth, Kentucky, joined Sisters Janet Gildea, Monica Gundler and six women who were interested in exploring religious life for a very warm, welcoming weekend. Romina Sapinoso joined us from California and offered a new perspective to other discerners by sharing her experience of living in community at Casa de Caridad. After living with Sisters Carol Wirtz, Peggy Deneweth and Janet Gildea as an Associate in Community for several years, Romina began preentrance in July 2013 surrounded by her local community. The opportunities for encounter continued later that month with the “PATHS” online retreat. Sisters from the Federation served as spiritual guides for women across the country who prayed and shared via email, Skype and phone. Each January begins with a celebration of the Feast of Elizabeth Seton at the House of Charity in New 8
The Federation’s House of Charity in New Orleans, Louisiana, hosts a number of groups throughout the year, like this group from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.
Orleans, Louisiana, with young adults and Sisters. This intergenerational gathering sets the tone for what we hope to do throughout the year in sharing prayer, service and community with those seeking to know more about life as a Sister. Sisters Janet Gildea, Tracy Kemme and Lois Jean Goettke also attended one of the “Martha Dinners” held to offer women time to get to know various communities through an evening of speakers, displays and conversation with women religious. One of our new discerners met our Sisters there. Inviting through developing relationships and opportunities for encounter calls us to open our homes and our lives to the next generation. These new women are asking for more time to get to know us, serve with us and journey with us. They have gifts to share and are also eager to learn the wisdom of our elders who have lived such faith-filled dedicated lives. When given the opportunity to come and see in a very real way, they are responding. On Jan. 12, 2014, we celebrated the Affiliate Rite of Welcome with Annie Klapheke. Annie had journeyed with S. Lois Goettke through seven months of Pre-entrance while continuing her ministry as a registered dietician in Columbus, Ohio. Her new journey as an Affiliate meant a cross-country trip with her dad, Mike, to the house of initial formation in Anthony, New Mexico, where she joined the Sisters in ministry at the Santo Niño Project in Mexico three days a week. Annie also served at New Mexico State University re-structuring a nutrition program for families Intercom
receiving food stamp assistance. A house with New York Sisters of Charity who road-trip “up-the-line” in May offered minister in Guatemala and an overnight an opportunity to share our SC history retreat at a nearby Jesuit Retreat Center. from Albuquerque to Denver. Life in All of these experiences were forms of a community is the cornerstone of the personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Affiliate program and deepened Annie’s Then, our weekly life took on some sense of joy in her calling to the Sisters of regularity. Many Sisters of Charity were Charity. involved in our class sessions, as well The Canonical Novitiate for Andrea as in activities at Mount St. Joseph. Koverman and Tracy Kemme began in In November we all participated in the Motherhouse chapel on June 26, Nuns Build at the House of Charity in 2013, as part of the Gathering. On July New Orleans, with a rich Federation On January 12, 2014, Annie Klapheke entered into 1, 2013, the actual Novitiate program experience. Upon returning the got underway. The Novitiate community, Affiliation with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Intercommunity Novitiate began on Sisters Nancy Bramlage, Maureen Heverin, Wednesdays for classes in Catholicism, Carol Leveque, and Terry Thorman, with Andrea and Tracy, Old and New Testament Spirituality, and Church History. and S. Donna Steffen, Novice director, had a weekend of These lasted through early June. From late January through faith sharing, goal setting, and some fun as well at Lake May Andrea’s weekly ministry was at the Intercommunity Lorelei. Through the year, the daily community prayer time Justice and Peace Center, and Tracy’s with Su Casa. and monthly gatherings of faith sharing in the Novitiate With both the Federation Formation Personnel and community provided regular integration of our SC life. Leadership yearly gatherings at the Mount in the spring, Orientation included an entering into the solitude and Andrea and Tracy participated in various ways. In May reflection that are essential to the year. We visited places Andrea and Tracy had their directed retreat at the Jesuit in Cincinnati where earlier Sisters of Charity lived and Spiritual Center, as they prepared for the conclusion of served, our Motherhouse grounds and environment, and their Canonical year. We had a wonderful celebration with had experiential presentations on various aspects of prayer the Novitiate community of the blessings of the year as we and spirituality. Sisters of Charity introduced SC ministries, concluded the Canonical year the evening of June 26, 2014. particularly with the underserved. This orientation was The next day their Apostolic year began! followed by a directed retreat at the Jesuit Spiritual Center These new women of Charity, in their process of ongoing in Milford, Ohio. Andrea and Tracy began having a weekly discernment and formation, give us great encouragement conference with S. Donna. and joy. We believe that they are “pointing out new paths for In late July and early August we were privileged to the Church’s journey in years to come,” and for the Sisters of experience the “Way of Elizabeth” in New Rochelle and New Charity of Cincinnati! York City, New York, and Emmitsburg and Baltimore in Maryland with the expertise of Sisters Judith Metz and Regina In September 2013 Sisters Tracy Kemme, Andrea Koverman and Donna Steffen, Novice director, spent Bechtle, SC-New York. The early roots of our charism and time with S. Sarah Mulligan at her clinic in Mixco, spirituality were tangible. Guatemala. By mid-August Andrea had begun her first semester of weekly volunteer ministry at WIN, Working in Neighborhoods, with S. Brenda Busch as mentor. Tracy’s Spanish was a true gift in her weekly volunteer ministry at the Good Samaritan Health Clinic in Price Hill (Cincinnati), with S. Barbara Hagedorn as mentor. Our regular weekly schedule of Theology/Spirituality on Monday, ministry on Tuesday, Theology on Wednesday, SC Charism, Life, and Living on Thursday, and Friday as a day of Sabbath began. Monday and Thursday afternoons included time for visiting Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall, and recording personal histories. Andrea and Tracy began meeting with a spiritual director. In September we spent time with S. Sarah Mulligan at her clinic in Mixco, Guatemala, in various programs particularly with women and children, and a neighboring school she supports. Our time included a lovely meal A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 4
Journeying Together By Mary Jo Mersmann, director of Associates
“With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.” - Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
s if Pope Francis were speaking directly to this Congregation, it seems that the family of Charity is always pointing out new paths for our faith journey. During In February, three Cincinnati SC Associates participated in the first this past year, a new chapter in Associate Build in New Orleans at the Associate-Sister relationship the House of Charity. was “born.” Joyfully 10 women made lifetime commitments as Associates in Mission by Through technology prayerfully discerning this call Associates across the country from our loving God. It is a are getting to know one another “new chapter of evangelization” and some of the Sisters. A Skype as these Associates proclaim Small Group has been “meeting” that their commitment goes Chanin Wilson (right) made her commitment as an Associate in Mission monthly and is always looking in January 2014 in Colorado. Her mother, Associate Pat Grubelnik (left), well beyond a passing thought for other interested Sisters served as her companion. or an impulsive desire. In fact, and Associates. A Day of Pat Schloemer, who made her Reflection at the Motherhouse original commitment in 1979, wrote in her Associate journey in Cincinnati was livestreamed for a group of Sisters and reflection, “As I make this lifetime commitment, I realize that Associates in Spring Hill, Florida, as they participated I have made it in my heart many, many years ago.” This was together in the same prayer and rituals. So technology has the unanimous expression along with tears of happiness and become a “new chapter in evangelization” as we share the joy gratitude at every lifetime ceremony. of the Gospel with one another. Nine women and men also heard the call to association and made their original commitment during this past year in Florida, Colorado and Cincinnati. And 10 more Candidates joined the formation process.
And so we continue on our journey together – Associates and Sisters – in this mutually enriching relationship. We carry hope and trust in God as we pray, minister and share our lives within this family of Charity.
Three Associates participated in the first Associate Build in New Orleans at the House of Charity. They joined Associates from the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas, in this endeavor. Their physical labors of painting a home for a Hurricane Katrina survivor were a true form of evangelization. Through prayer and reflection they expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve and to be served.
In her lifetime journey reflection, Lee Hemminger wrote, “My prayers continue daily for wisdom and insight for the Community and for myself, as the challenges of the future loom on the horizon. I believe that the Charity Charism will be sustained by each of us living as Mother Seton taught, as the people of God living out the Gospel.”
spreading joy By S. Judith Metz, Archives director
Members of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Archives are (front, from left): S. Lorraine Delisle, S. Benedicta Mahoney, S. Joyce Brehm, (back, from left) S. Victoria Marie Forde, Archives student co-op Melissa Frey, S. Sheila Gallagher, S. Pat McQuinn, S. Mary Lucia Dudzinski and S. Judith Metz.
o one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord,” Pope Francis proclaims in his recent exhortation (EG, 10). We who work in the Archives feel that we participate every day in spreading this joy by collaborating with and serving a wide range of individuals and groups. We assist them in a multitude of ways in learning about the charism, mission, and ministries through which the Sisters of Charity have promulgated the message of the Gospel for over 200 years.
out materials for use by groups such as Tri-Health while Sisters Judith Metz and Andrea Koverman represented the Sisters of Charity at the Battle of Richmond (Kentucky) Association Civil War reenactment event. We also regularly welcome Sisters from the Korean Province of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, and participate in the Tri-State Catholic Archivists. Teaming up with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Archives and S. Alice Ann’s cello studio offered a CSO “Party of Note” that highlighted our beautiful Motherhouse.
At the Motherhouse we work in partnership with the Communications Office in providing resources and photographs for stories in Intercom, for our SC website and Facebook page. S. Benedicta Mahoney writes her “Mem-bits” column regularly, material from S. Victoria Marie Forde’s oral histories is used for feature stories, and S. Joyce Brehm provides clips from historical films and videotapes. We also worked closely with this office on publishing a new edition of At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, as well as providing resources to support the cause for S. Blandina Segale’s canonization.
We regularly work with our sponsored ministries, by hosting a student from DePaul Cristo Rey High School, employing Melissa Frey, a student at Mount St. Joseph University through the SC Ministry Foundation summer employment program, and by offering tours and programs for many groups. In addition, we receive many calls from other ministries and former ministries where Sisters of Charity have served. For instance, recently when St. Bernard Parish in Alpena, Michigan, celebrated their 150th anniversary, we provided information and photographs for a display about the Sisters of Charity work there; likewise, we are working with the local museum in Mount Clemens, Michigan, by providing data about St. Joseph Hospital.
The Archives staff also provides information and programs for the Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall, works with the Gift Shop, and assists in the Formation program. We prepare “Food for the Soul,” a monthly display featuring one of our Congregational art treasures, and co-sponsor our annual Memorial Day event commemorating our Sisters who served in the Civil War. Working in partnership with others, S. Pat McQuinn coordinates the sale of “Living the Charity Charism,” books of essays produced by the SC Federation Charity Connections group. We team up with the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland, by providing resources for their displays and programs, and S. Mary Lucia Dudzinski searches A nnual R eport 2 0 1 4
Our ability to respond to the many requests for information from genealogists, researchers, ministry sites, historical societies, and Sisters is greatly facilitated by the work of S. Sheila Gallagher who is updating and digitizing our files for individual Sisters and their mission histories, and S. Lorraine Delisle who is doing the tedious work of transcribing cassette tapes to make it possible for us to access older materials. Many hands are involved in making these Sisters of Charity resources available to many audiences as we in the Archives participate in “spreading the joy brought by the Good News” (EG, 10). 11
Living and Sharing the good news By S. Lois Jean Goettke
oy, joy is all around us, joy, joy is everywhere!” That’s the joy of the Gospel that Pope Francis talks about in his book. “Showing that to believe in and to follow Him (Jesus) is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties” (EG, 167).
As Sisters of Charity, our ministries give us the opportunity to live and share the Good News of Jesus by listening deeply to God’s call to serve with loving, generous hearts as we continue to minister in education, health care, retreat and parish work, ministry of prayer, Congregational service, social work and advocacy for justice. Sisters of Charity serve in 27 US dioceses and in Mexico, Guatemala and Dominica (West Indies). As we journey with our brothers and sisters in ministry, we learn to find Jesus in their faces, in what they say and how they live. We ask new questions: What surprised you today? What brought a smile to your face? Where did you see God incognito? These questions awaken us to the Kindom of God’s divine presence. The Joy of the Gospel is Good News. As Sisters and Associates, our ministry “is a love capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbor, of finding God in every human being, of tolerating the nuisances of life in common by clinging to the love of God, of opening the heart to divine love and seeking the happiness of others just as their heavenly Father does” (EG, 92). We “appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet” (EG, 14). How do you bring the joy of the Gospel to those you meet? Consider your personal response to be the joyful transmitter of the Gospel as you read the reflections of several Sisters of Charity.
S. Joanne Burrows, president, Clarke University, Dubuque, Iowa No one should be fooled by Francis’ call to embrace joy. Gospel joy is not easy. It takes discipline, sacrifice and humility. For someone as focused on making things happen as I am, waiting for Jesus to encounter me in ministry is a challenge. To remain open to that encounter requires patience, letting go and trusting God that I am where I am meant to be – so incredibly hard to do. So amazingly exquisite if and when I can.
S. Sandy Howe, community service coordinator, Seton High School, Cincinnati, Ohio In my ministry at Seton High School, we live out the Joy of the Gospel. Christ calls us to love and serve others; in my involvement with the students in commu00nity service, outreach, mission trips and campus ministry, I often experience much joy but more importantly it’s the times that I encounter Christ and help the girls to encounter Christ that are most rewarding. In our encounters with each other, with those we serve and those we embrace from different cultures we are very much aware of Christ’s presence in our interactions and our lives. It is in these personal relationships with one another that our relationship with Christ is deepened and shared with others. The sharing of our faith is vital for all of us. 12
S. Barbara Davis, coordinator of alumni relations and annual giving, Mercy College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio As I reflect on the words of Pope Francis, I am conscious that my ministry provides the opportunity to bear witness to the joy that Jesus brings to our lives. Throughout my days I have numerous encounters with students and colleagues at Mercy College. Often just taking time to greet a student and ask how his/her day is going provides the opportunity to offer a word of encouragement. Colleagues, too, appreciate a word of encouragement or gratitude or just someone with a listening ear who takes the time to converse. In turn, my life is enriched as I encounter the presence of the Lord in those I meet.
S. Mary Dolores Schneider, teacher, Seton High School, Cincinnati, Ohio “The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” My Seton High School students encounter Jesus in my joy in my teaching ministry/evangelization, in my example of compassion and hospitality, in my being prepared for and enthusiastic about my classes. Sometimes I use words; most of the time, I do not. Indeed, teaching is a ‘hazardyet-forward’ ministry which brings the joy of the Gospel to today’s world of young women.
S. Peggy Rein, teacher,
The Gospel gives the blueprint for joy – that freedom of spirit that comes from trusting that God really is in charge of our lives and our ministries. Focusing on “self-preservation” (Pope Francis’ word) or on ministry survival imprisons us with worry, anxiety, rigid planning. Instead, joy, freedom, trust allow us to “do what presents itself and never omit anything because of hardships or repugnances” (S. Blandina Segale).
Holy Family School, Cincinnati, Ohio The Joy of the Gospel enlivens me. Having experienced the love of Jesus Christ in my own life, I long to share it with the children and staff at Holy Family. Teaching religion to the kindergarten students, preparing students to be leaders at Mass or bringing a sense of peace to the faculty members allows me to be the welcoming arms of Jesus. What a gift has been given to me!
S. Donna Bryant, teacher, Bishop Fenwick High School, Franklin, Ohio In the starkness and excitement of nearly continuous changes in today’s world, lasting joy of the heart can be experienced, deepened, and expanded in our personal connection and faith with the Risen Jesus. His love is our deepest joy! It is the essence of our sharing and living with others, no matter what. A nnual R eport 2 0 1 4
Financial Results Positive in Fiscal 2014 By Tim Moller, CFO
iscal 2014 Congregational financial results were very positive, favorable to both budget and to a very positive prior year. This was primarily due to robust investment results. The investment market has entered the sixth year of its impressive climb, with many indices reaching all-time highs. These returns were offset a bit by lower Sisters’ salaries due to retirements, and lower bequest income. On the Expense side, most categories were under budget and in line with the prior year; however, rising pension cost, bad debt provisions in the Seton Enablement Fund, and higher operational funding for Mother Margaret Hall resulted in unfavorable variances versus prior years in these categories. Expense control remains a top priority going forward as we will experience diminishing Sisters’ salaries, Social Security and other retirement-related income. Simplification of cost structure will be important; steps are already underway to make the retirement benefit provided to employees simpler and more sustainable. Looking ahead to Fiscal 2015, Congregational finances are stable and cash reserves are sufficient to weather any short-term downturn. The Mother Margaret Hall renovation project will be completed early in the year; this major project will be totally funded internally without any debt. The renovated facility will be compliant with current certifications and life safety codes, and along with the other renovated spaces here at Mount St. Joseph, will offer flexibility for potentially serving others in the future. On a macro level, as we head into 2015, concerns abound about global conflicts, stagnation of real wages and consumer demand, and the ramifications of a rising interest rate environment. Pope Francis’ message of solidarity with the poor has resonated throughout the world. His emphasis on living simply, his down-toearth demeanor and his call to us to “sow hope” align perfectly with
the words and deeds of the Sisters of Charity, who continue to risk a caring response. The charts below depict the categories of Congregational income and outflow for Fiscal 2014. On the Source side, Investment Income, which includes interest, dividends and realized gains, together with Unrealized Gains, amounted to 53.6 percent of Total Income. Retirement Income provided 32.2 percent of Total Income, and includes support payments from the Sisters of Charity Charitable Trust, Social Security and Sisters’ pensions. General Congregational Income amounted to 11.4 percent of Total Income and is primarily comprised of Sisters’ earnings, bequests and support from benefactors. Other sources, including the positive impact of an actuarial adjustment to the lay employee pension plan, totaled 2.8 percent. On the Use side, Retirement Related Expenses was the largest expense category at 49.8 percent, and includes costs associated with the care of our retired Sisters. Local House Expenses, which includes living expenses for Sisters living away from the Mount St. Joseph campus, amounted to 17.8 percent of Total Expenses. The cost of maintaining Sisters of Charity facilities is reflected in Property Expense, which totaled 12.8 percent of Total Expense. General Congregational Expenses, primarily comprised of administrative costs, legal and audit fees, insurance premiums and contributions, amounted to 10.0 percent of Total Expense. Service Department Expenses, net, amounted to 8.9 percent of Total Costs and includes the unallocated costs of Shared Services such as Maintenance, Grounds, Finance, Human Resources and Information Services. Bedford Campus Expenses totaled .7 percent of Total Expenses; the Congregational residence in Bedford has been closed and alternative uses, or a sale, are being explored.
Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Ohio, Inc. Source and Use of Funds June 30, 2014
Source of Funds 1 2 3 4 5 6
Unrealized Gains and Investments Retired Income Investment Income General Congregational Income Pension Actuarial Adjustment Other Income
36.39% 32.22% 17.19% 11.35% 2.37% 0.48% 100.0%
Use of Funds 1 2 3 4 5 6
Retirement Related Expenses Local House Expenses Property Expenses General Congregational Expenses Service Department Expenses, net Bedford Campus Expenses
49.77% 17.82% 12.81% 10.05% 8.87% 0.68% 100.0%
Action on Behalf of Justice By S. Louise Lears
n 1971, the World Synod of Catholic Bishops published a document titled “Justice in the World.” Paragraph six offered a powerful foundation for the Christian commitment to share resources with those in need: “Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel.” In other words, action on behalf of justice is required, not optional, for the mission of the Church.
f “The Church, guided by the Gospel of mercy and by love for [hu]mankind, hears the cry for justice and intends to respond to it with all her might.” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium)
Forty-three years later, in the “Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis warns, “the need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed” (EG, 202). He reminds us that the basis of our active concern for those who are most neglected is “our faith in Christ, who became poor, and who was always close to the poor and outcast” (EG, 186). Pope Francis frames the inclusion of those who are poor in society as one of the two fundamental issues at this time in history.
Each year, in order to address the requirement to act on behalf of justice, the Sisters of Charity allocate funds for Social Justice. In this past year, the largest portion of these funds (see chart below) helped people directly with their immediate needs for food, clothing, shelter, rent, utilities, health care and transportation. This included emergency and disaster relief (see chart) to assist people and organizations in regaining some of their pre-disaster capacities.
We also realize that we must go beyond meeting immediate needs to identifying, in partnership with those most directly affected, the unjust and inequitable systems that cause poverty and oppression. Thus, a significant portion of funds (see chart) was devoted to systemic change, that is, to transforming the root causes of poverty. Some examples include advocating for just social policies, funding scholarship and technological opportunities (see photo), or helping to develop local community enterprises. The Sisters of Charity and our Associates recognize that the reverence with which we minister has greater importance than what we do. As St. Vincent de Paul said, “It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread that you give them” (SC Constitutions, Article 10).
Social Justice Fund Expenditures Fiscal 2014
Colegio Monte Real, Guatemala
A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 4
Sharing Our Joy
“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. … I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy…” - Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
A N N UA L R E P O RT 2 0 1 4
Challenges and Joys By S. Joan Elizabeth Cook
ur SC sponsored ministries. These Corporation were originally organized Board for for employees of the College Sponsored Ministries of Mount St. Joseph; other (CBSM) and those who sponsored ministries have serve in our sponsored begun to participate as well. ministries experienced All appreciate the opportunity many opportunities for to visit our Motherhouse, joyful service during the to see our Chapel and art past year. The Board collection, and to meet provides oversight and colleagues in ministry from encouragement to our different sponsored ministries. sponsored ministries: the The Board schedules several College of Mount St. meetings per year at different DePaul Cristo Rey High School dedicated its new science building in 2013. Joseph, as it was known sponsored ministries. This until July 1, 2014; DePaul past year the group met Cristo Rey High School, Light of Hearts Villa, SC Senior Care at the College of Mount St. Joseph and DePaul Cristo Rey Corporation (Bayley), Seton Family Center, Seton High School, High School. These visits provided opportunities to meet staff and St. Joseph Home. The year’s big challenge was to engage members and other stakeholders, to see capital improvements, our Sisters and board and senior staff members in looking at the and to learn about emerging needs. changing realities that are impacting the relationship between Each of our sponsored ministries reported regularly the Sisters of Charity and our sponsored ministries. These shifts throughout the year on ways they live the SC mission to Act include the evolving needs of institutions, legal and economic Justly. They also marked significant milestones and achievements realities, and changing demographics among our Sisters. during the past year. The College of Mount St. Joseph Conversations among our Sisters confirm our eagerness for prepared to change its name to Mount St. Joseph University our sponsored ministries to thrive and to carry forward the SC on July 1. During the month of June several faculty and staff mission. Those who serve in our sponsored ministries express members made a pilgrimage to Emmitsburg, MD, where the same hope for the future. The three-times-yearly meetings St. Elizabeth Seton founded the Sisters of Charity. The group, of CBSM members and CEOs of our sponsored ministries led by Sister Judith Metz, toured the homes where our first offered opportunities to discuss sponsorship-related topics. For example, Sister Carol Bauer, SC, who serves as Vice President for Sisters lived, visited the Chapel where St. Elizabeth Seton’s remains are interred, prayed in the cemetery where the early Mission at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, led the group Sisters were buried, and visited the museum where various in considering topics pertaining to partnerships. She stressed artifacts tell the story of our beginnings. the importance of knowing one’s history, articulating the nonnegotiables, and clarifying the advantages and disadvantages of available options. Sister Louise Lears, SC, Executive Councilor, discussed with the group the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care. The directives are valuable, not only for health care but also for any individuals or organizations faced with ethical dilemmas. Our Communications Director, Sister Georgia Kitt, SC, and her staff members demonstrated the resources available on the SC website concerning our history, charism, and mission. All agreed that these materials offer accessible ways to immerse staff members in SC-related stories and values. Sister Judith Metz, SC, our Congregational Archivist, conducts orientation sessions for new employees of our 18
DePaul Cristo Rey High School dedicated its new science building in fall, 2013. It is one of several modular buildings that were purchased and renovated to accommodate the growing student population, which included freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. The Corporate Work Study Program continued to expand as well. Through this aspect of the education process, each student contributes to the cost of education by working five full days a month at an assigned job in a professional setting in the Greater Cincinnati area. The DPCRHS Corporate Work Study Partners make a significant contribution, not only by helping to defray the cost of students’ education, but also by teaching them professional and social skills they will use throughout their lives. Intercom
Seton High School began a strategic planning process as it looks to the challenges it faces with an increasingly diverse student population. Opportunities for students include a variety of prayer experiences around social justice needs, especially during the season of Lent; the Tri-Health Summer Work Program that provides health-care-related summer jobs for students; and the Anthony Munoz Leadership Workshop. Saint Joseph Home broke ground for a Waiver Home on the feast of St. In celebration of its twenty-fifth anniversary, Light of Joseph, March 19. The new house will be Hearts Villa named the Administrative and Outreach Robert Cooper from TriHealth mentored a residence for people who can live more Wing after Sister Helen Therese Scasny. Seton High School graduate Becca Freese independently than many of the St. Joseph through the school’s Tri-Health Summer Home residents. In addition, the Home is Work Program. Becca was hired with Tri Congratulations to Light of Hearts Health and is working during college as she enhancing its pastoral presence to residents pursues her degree and career in nursing. Villa, which celebrated its twenty-fifth and their families as well as staff members by anniversary during fiscal year 2014. One developing a palliative care and bereavement of the highlights of the anniversary year was to name the program. In addition, an ethics committee was created to assist Administrative and Outreach Wing to Sister Helen Therese staff members and families in understanding and dealing with Scasny, SC, founder of Light of Hearts. The Sisters of Charity the complexities of care as health care delivery becomes more handed over management of the assisted living facility to the and more complicated and sophisticated. Sisters of Charity Health System of the Sisters of Charity of These few highlights give you a window into the challenges St. Augustine eighteen months ago; that arrangement continues and joys our sponsored ministries experience. We are most to facilitate decision-making at the local level. We continue to grateful to the people who serve in these ministries. They live co-sponsor the facility with SCHS. Pope Francis’ words, “Joy is a sign that the Gospel has been proclaimed and is bearing fruit. Yet the drive to go forth and Bayley, also known as SC Senior Care Corporation, give, to go out from ourselves, to keep pressing forward in our continues to explore ways to enhance services to local senior sowing of the good seed, remains ever present” (EG, 24). Our citizens. Respite care fills the gap when patients return from short hospital stays, and need close observation and intervention. sponsored ministries will continue to thrive through the joyful service of our generous, dedicated partners in ministry who Medication aides assist in making sure medications are delivered continue to press forward in service. in a timely and accurate manner. The Adult Day and Bayley Be Connected programs offer opportunities for seniors to continue living at home while enjoying the support of other seniors. Bayley completed a major technology upgrade to its website: www.bayleylife.org. Seton Family Center also marked its twenty-fifth anniversary during fiscal year 2014. The Center, which provides counseling services to children and families, took a major step in order to assure its sustainability and growth. In June it affiliated with St. Aloysius Cincinnati, an organization that provides forensic and mental health services as well as community counseling and crisis intervention. Seton Family Center continues to operate in Price Hill, on the west side of Cincinnati. While Seton Family Center is no longer an SC-sponsored ministry, we salute the members of the Seton Family Center board and staff for their foresight, courage, and hard work in bringing this new reality into existence. St. Joseph Home broke ground for a Waiver Home on March 19, 2014. A nnual R eport 2 0 1 4
Recognizing the Suffering Christ By S. Jean Miller
n Pope Francis’ “The Joy of Now we watch women and the Gospel” he calls us as children fleeing violence and individuals, communities, seeking asylum. It seems the cities, states and countries to situation demands a new form of a form of transformation that transformation, as Pope Francis seems to be presenting itself to us says. Comprehensive reform now. As we have spent this year would “overcome mistrust, watching thousands of mothers, integrate those who are different children and unaccompanied and make this very integration teenagers cross our border we a new factor of development” have asked questions, listened to in our cities. But is it time opposing solutions, suffered the to seriously consider the new pain of seeing deportations and questions: Why are they leaving Honduras elections, November 2013 wondered about our values as a their countries? How are we, the country. Maybe this is the new form United States, involved? of poverty and vulnerability that Pope Francis asks As observers in elections in their country and listening us to recognize as the suffering Christ. to personal stories from the women and children, we have “It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognize the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned and many others. Migrants present a particular challenge for me since, I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. For this reason, I exhort all countries to a generous openness, which rather than fearing the loss of local identity, will prove capable of creating new forms of cultural synthesis. How beautiful are those cities which overcome mistrust, integrate those who are different and make this very integration a new factor of development. How attractive are those cities which, even in their architectural design, are full of spaces which connect, relate and favor the recognition of others!” (EG, 152). We recognized our sister and brother immigrants in May 2007 as we accepted the Congregational Stand on Immigration. Since that time we have been signing cards for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, attending panels to hear their stories, participating in rallies to demand reform and meeting with congressional representatives. Some cities, Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, have declared and are working to make the city a welcoming place with emphasis on economic development. Some temporary steps have been taken for youth, who qualify for the Dream Act. All are small steps in the right direction but far from “connecting, relating and favoring the recognition of others.” Despite all those years of work, immigrants are still waiting for reform while suffering deportations, family separation and financial difficulties. 20
learned something about the intense violence, caused by poverty and unjust business practices. Is it time to look again at our Congregational Stand, especially the part that says: “We believe the resolution of immigration/refugee issues must be viewed through the lens of economic analysis. Therefore, we call for change in unjust immigration policies and unfair trade agreements by our nation, and we will continue our direct outreach to immigrants and refugees.” A change in trade agreements written in our country’s favor may begin to alleviate some of the violence and poverty in their countries and may cause us to experience what Pope Francis says might call us to “even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits.” It seems our Congregational Stand, written seven years ago, is not just relevant today but essential for our global experience of the Joy of the Gospel.
In 2007, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati issued a Public Statement on Immigration: We, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, support the pastoral letter of Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States, Strangers Together on the Journey, which acknowledges that the current immigration system cries out for change. We recognize the rights of all our immigrant/refugee sisters and brothers. We believe the resolution of immigration/ refugee issues must be viewed through the lens of economic analysis. Therefore, we call for change in unjust immigration policies and unfair trade agreements by our nation, and we will continue our direct outreach to immigrants and refugees.
S. Blandina Segale Vatican Opens Cause for Canonization of
Prayer for the Canonization of
S. BLAnDInA SeGALe Let Us Pray O God, whose sweet name “Gesu” (Jesus) was the first word to roll off the innocent lips of your servant, Maria Rosa Segale, hear our prayer. The word Jesus rolled off her lips for ninety-one years as she built schools, hospitals, and social institutions, welcoming all and introducing them to your love and hope. She cared for the immigrant, the innocent children, and the guilty outlaw; always recognizing the dignity of the human being. We beg you that S. Blandina Segale now be counted among the Saints of Holy Mother Church and that our hearts be open to always praise your name as your servant Maria Rosa Segale did unto her last breath. May we do as she on her deathbed; whisper “Gesu,” smile, and die in you.
iscal Year 2014 concluded with exciting news for the Charity family following the announcement that the cause for the canonization of Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Blandina Segale had been approved. The cause of Sister’s canonization is being led by the board of St. Joseph’s Children, Albuquerque, New Mexico, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives. Based on documents already submitted to the Vatican, S. Blandina can now be called by her new title, Servant of God. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, held a press conference on June 25, 2014, to announce the Vatican’s immediate permission to open the cause. On June 29 a pontifical ceremony at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe was held to post the official decree on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi’s doors, announcing the cause of Servant of God Sister Blandina. S. Blandina is remembered fondly in the Southwest and at home in Cincinnati where she entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati on Sept. 13, 1866. After spending several years teaching in schools in Ohio, the young Sister was sent, by herself, over the Santa Fe Trail in 1872 to the Colorado Territory. Here she was initiated into frontier life with all its adventures and dangers. Assigned to teach in the public school, she also had encounters with Billy the Kid and “frontier justice.” In 1877, S. Blandina moved south to Santa Fe where her exciting activities continued in the schools, orphanage, and hospital the Sisters operated. She came to be known in every level of society from members of the state legislature to indigent patients at St. Vincent Hospital. After spending four years in Santa Fe, she went to Albuquerque where, besides her work of teaching, opened a Wayfarers’ House, became a defender of Native Americans and “Mexicans,” and went on begging trips to mining and railroad camps to raise money to support the Sisters’ missions.
The intrepid S. Blandina returned to Ohio in 1893, and four years later was sent, with her sister, S. Justina Segale, “to see if they could do anything for the poor Italian [immigrants]” in the inner city of Cincinnati. Going to explore the conditions with only five dollars in their pocket, these two sisters founded and managed Santa Maria Institute, the first Catholic settlement house in the United States in 1897. They enlisted assistance from numerous sources and established services of every description to assist the poor and needy. In the process they visited the jails and charity wards in the hospitals and became involved in issues such as human trafficking and juvenile delinquency. S. Blandina’s stories of trust, courage, spirit and determination inspire and cause laughter at the same time. She was a friend and model to many as she carried out her ministry to serve God’s people with all the love that was in her being. Her works continue to be relevant today and inspire in our own response to needs and issues. S. Blandina Segale, pray for us. A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 4
Reaching Far and Wide By S. Katharine Pinto
t is in the light of the Mission Statement of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati that the Seton Enablement Fund (SEF) is administered and decisions are made. As Sisters of Charity, because of the way we have chosen to live, we are able to share our resources through the Seton Enablement Fund. S. Martha Walsh, SEF administrative director, receives a variety of loan applications from dedicated organizations who are engaged in creative and effective ways to simultaneously give back and economically empower the people they are serving. In reviewing the applications, the SEF committee learns about many wonderful organizations and the works to which they are committed. Through the SEF loans, the Gospel values and mission of the Sisters of Charity are able to reach far and wide. The worldwide crusade for a clean and sustainable environment continues with increasing urgency. There is a need to focus on environmental challenges of our time in order to forge a sustainable future. Toward the mission of “care for all creation,” several of the recipients of the SEF loans are engaged in projects that have eco-friendly components, as well as service for poor and marginalized persons. Here are some examples of the ventures they are undertaking. u
Four Directions Development Corporation in Orono, Maine, acquired a SEF loan to improve the social, environmental, and economic conditions of the Wabanaki tribes in Maine through education and investment in affordable housing. FDDC helps tribal members living on and off reservations reduce their home’s operating costs with energy-saving home improvements. Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF) located in the middle part of Florida, with places on both the east and west coast of the state, is a nonprofit organization created to provide affordable financing to low- to moderate-income residents and small business owners in Florida for efficient energy improvements and renewable energy installations to residential and commercial properties. SELF helps clients reduce utility bills by at least 15 percent. The energy retrofit projects promote greater efficiencies, clean energy alternatives, and energy independence. Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation in Oregon strengthens neighborhoods and broadens participation in community ownership and governance. The Sprout! project is a relatively new venture providing a regional community-based food hub including business incubator space, hourly rental commissary
kitchen, and year-round farmer’s market. The primary clients to benefit from this project are the producers and consumers of the local food industry. This includes the low-income community members who have increased access to locally produced fresh foods. The SEF also continues to benefit and empower areas and peoples beyond the United States border. Mercado Global received a loan to impact a marginalized population: rural, indigenous women of Guatemala, 100 percent of whom are low-income. The goal is to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for indigenous women artisans in Guatemala by investing in them as rural entrepreneurs. The artisans receive fair trade prices for their goods, training in financial literacy, business management, and other areas. Working Capital for Community Needs sought a loan to be channeled and lent to the working poor in Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru. Pooled with other funds, it is being lent to microfinance institutions and democratically controlled cooperatives which serve the poor and provide other services such as women’s empowerment, health care, business training, and environmental education. From time to time members of the SEF committee make site visits to see first-hand the progress being made with loans that have been issued. This year S. Jean Miller visited Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Today there are 31,000 Tribal Potawatomi Citizens worldwide with 12,000 living in Oklahoma. S. Jean toured some of the businesses and projects benefitting from the SEF loan. Potawatomi means “keeper of the fire,” and as S. Jean toured the Tribal lands she saw the projects that the Tribe has done for the city and beyond. She was impressed with the Potawatomi Tribe’s concern for and commitment to other tribes and the ways they collaborated. The fund continues to revolve. As monies are repaid they are loaned out again, so as can be seen below. Since the inception of the loan fund, 360 loans have been made, for a total amount of $25,075,500. Part of this money comes from the unrestricted investments of the Sisters of Charity, and some from SC Ministry Foundation. The only sad item we have to report is that our accountant, Dave Thorsen, is leaving us at the end of October 2014. He will be missed! The Seton family motto, “Hazard Yet Forward,” continues to impel the SEF to “share our resources with those in need.” The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are fewer in number than a generation ago, but the SEF enables worthwhile organizations to continue to extend the SC mission far and wide. Intercom
Seton enABLement FUnD Statistics and Dollars Allocated as of June 30, 2014 totAL LoAnS/InVeStmentS
LocAtIonS oF LoAnS /InVeStmentS
Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Florida Illinois Indiana Kentucky Maine Malawi, Africa Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Mississippi
commItteD FUnDS DIStrIBUtIonS Low-Income Housing Community Development, Co-Ops, Land Trusts Business Ventures Other
28 17 25 6
Total Current Loans and Deposits as of 6/30/14
Committee Members 2013-2014 S. Patmarie Bernard S. Mary Ann Donovan S. Noreen Ellison S. Mary Catherine Faller S. Marie Patrice Joyce Jackene Laverty S. Carol Leveque Barry Mersmann S. Jean Miller Tim Moller S. Katharine Pinto S. Marie Pauline Skalski Dave Thorsen Nicki Veldhaus S. Martha Walsh S. Marie Josetta Wethington
A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 4
1 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 5 4 1
Montana Nebraska North Carolina New Hampshire New Mexico New York Ohio Oklahoma Oregan Pennsylvania Texas Vermont Wisconsin Washington Washington, D.C. Zambia, Africa
1 2 1 3 7 7 9 1 1 4 1 2 2 3 3 1
There are loans that are domiciled in the United States but serve foreign countries including: Ecuador, Haiti, Peru, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, Armenia, Georgia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, India, Botswana and Nigeria, among others.
SInce IncePtIon oF tHe ProGrAm (1979) Cumulative Number of Loans / Investments = 360 Cumulative Dollars Loaned / Invested = $25,075,500
LoAnS/InVeStmentS For FY 2014 • Earthlinks • Mercado Global • Foundation for the Challenged – Loan #2 • Neighborhood Economic Development Corp. (NEDCO) • Four Directions – Loan #2 • New Hampshire Community Loan Fund – Loan #4 • Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund
• Northern California Community Loan Fund • Green Energy Biocoal Africa • Southern Bancorp Community Partners • Holy Name Housing – Loan #12 • Tierra Del Housing – Loan #2 • Isaiah Funds, LLC – Loan #3 • WCCN – Loan #3 • Manna – Loan #4
Vulnerable Children caring for our most
By S. Sally Duffy and Amelia Riedel
s the public grant-making organization that promotes the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, SC Ministry Foundation maintains its commitment to supporting nonprofit organizations where a Sister of Charity is actively involved. Grants to these organizations accounted for 85 percent of the Foundation’s grant-making in the 2014 fiscal year. During that time period, 107 Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati were associated with active grants from the Foundation due to their involvement with a grantee organization as a regular volunteer, staff member or board member.
community where ministries were founded and where many Sisters continue to live and minister today. SC Ministry Foundation has supported the revitalization of Price Hill for more than a decade, with a current strategic focus on partnering with Catholic schools, strengthening early childhood education, and building healthier communities through comprehensive community development. The counselors and social workers of the four Price Hill Catholic schools shared discussion and mutual support at a convening last spring. Pictured from left to right: Erin Rowland, MA, LSW (St. William); Maggie Lengerich, LSW (Holy Family); Rebecca Lilley, MA, Ed.D. (Resurrection); Melissa Homan-McLaughlin, MA and S. Diane Mersch, OSF, MSW (St. Lawrence). Not pictured: Erica Tyler, MSW, LISW (St. Lawrence).
One of the primary social concerns that ignites the active engagement of the Sisters and the Foundation is the need to address the root causes of poverty, and to support the services and programs that positively impact those who are underserved and living in poverty. In “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis encourages the Christian faithful “to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization,” defined with seven themes, including, “the inclusion of the poor in society.” Pope Francis adds, “We are called to find Christ in [the poor], to lend our voices to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them, and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them” (EG, 145). Unfortunately, one does not need to search far to see the face of someone living in poverty, and to see the face of God. In Cincinnati, too many of those faces are those of children. According to a 2013 study of the Children’s Defense Fund, 53 percent of Cincinnati’s children live in poverty, ranking the city with the second highest child poverty rate of 76 major cities in the United States. In Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhoods, three of the five Catholic elementary schools reported that the percentage of their students living in poverty was 90 percent or higher during the 2013-2014 school year. The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati share a long history with Price Hill, a 24
The need to address the root causes of poverty is echoed in the words of Pope Francis, “We are not simply talking about ensuring nourishment or a ‘dignified sustenance’ for all people, but also their ‘general temporal welfare and prosperity.’ This means education, access to health care, and above all employment, for it is through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labor that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives” (EG, 141). SC Ministry Foundation supports efforts in direct service and advocacy in the areas of education, health care and employment in Price Hill to improve the lives of those impacted by poverty. However, the efforts to support education in Price Hill most directly impact the children.
Breaking Down the Barriers to Success in School Education is a vital tool to break the chain of generational poverty. However, students often need additional support to manage the barriers caused by poverty and achieve success. For 14 years, SC Ministry Foundation has supported the counselor/social worker program at four of the Price Hill Catholic elementary schools: Holy Family, Resurrection, St. Lawrence, and St. William. Many Sisters of Charity were involved with these schools during the 2013-14 school year, including Sisters Helen Julia Hahn (St. Lawrence); Margaret Rein and Joan Wessendarp (Holy Family); Helen Attenweiler (St. William); and Juliette Sabo, Jackie Kowalski, Katharine Pinto and Lucien Marie Davis (Resurrection). Intercom
All of these schools have seen an increase in the number of students struggling with poverty, as well as with issues of crime, family disorganization and substance abuse. The counselors and social workers work with students, parents and teachers to manage the challenges they face and help to ensure that the students perform to their greatest potential. “We often find ourselves trying to meet the basic needs of food, clothing, hygiene and safety before we are even able to begin working with many of our students in the academic sense,” shared Michael Monnig, principal of St. William School. “The problem behaviors that we see are often a response to the stressors in these students’ lives. The social worker is instrumental in approaching these issues and working to ensure that interventions are in place to ensure success for the student.”
Santa Maria’s Promoting Our Preschoolers program hosts an annual “graduation” for students who are advancing to kindergarten. Several of the 2014 graduates are pictured here, along with teacher and team leader Jaime Mutter.
The counselor/social worker programs strive to alleviate the non-academic stressors in the students’ lives that may hinder the learning process. While the impact of the program has varied with each school, common results include: ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢
higher attendance rates; fewer behavior and discipline issues; u improved academic performance; u improved retention and graduation rates. u u
The success of the program is heavily dependent on building relationships and earning the trust of the students and their families. The counselors at St. Lawrence shared, “Since we are affiliated with the school they often trust us more than an outside ‘counselor’ or ‘social worker.’ The students see us daily and are more inclined to come to us for help when things get extra tough.”
Focus on Early Childhood Education One of the barriers to a child’s long-term success in school is the lack of preparation for kindergarten. Families living in poverty often lack the resources to provide their children with a quality early learning program, which causes a learning gap from the onset of their children’s educational career. Quality early childhood education programs lead to kindergarten readiness, which leads to a student’s proficiency in reading and math by fourth grade, and later leads to their successful high school graduation. To make quality early childhood education more accessible for Price Hill families, SC Ministry Foundation supported the A nnual R eport 2 0 1 4
start-up of two preschool classrooms at both St. Lawrence and Holy Family Catholic schools. In addition, the Foundation supports the Promoting Our Preschoolers program, developed by Santa Maria Community Services. S. Patmarie Bernard is an active volunteer and board member at Santa Maria Community Services, an organization that was founded as a settlement house for Italian immigrants by S. Blandina Segale and her sister S. Justina Segale. Promoting Our Preschoolers is an early childhood development program that provides assistance for parents and for home-based childcare providers to strengthen their roles as educators. Through home visitations, resources and strategies are provided to low-income parents in Price Hill to guide them with helping their children prepare for kindergarten. Last year’s program results revealed that 90 percent of 200 preschoolers had demonstrated developmental gains, as measured by standardized testing. Through partnerships with Price Hill Catholic schools, Santa Maria Community Services, and a number of other nonprofit organizations, SC Ministry Foundation strives to improve the lives of Price Hill children and their families who are living in poverty, so the children can be successful in school and in life. This is the mission that SC Ministry Foundation is called to serve, by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, and through the words of Pope Francis: “An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it” (EG, 135-136).
A Prophetic Voice By S. Caroljean Willie
n “Evangelii Gaudium” Pope Francis urges care for the weakest members of society: “the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned” and migrants, for whom the Pope exhorts “a generous openness” (EG, 152). He speaks about the victims of trafficking and new forms of slavery. He speaks about the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good as concerns which ought to shape all economic policies. Working toward the common good is the bedrock of the Sisters of Charity Federation’s engagement at the United Nations. Our goal is to bring the very real needs of the people with whom and to whom we minister throughout the world to this global arena. Our Federation has been an official nongovernmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) status since 2001. This affiliation has provided a means of collaboration through which we work to bring about systemic change so as to eliminate the root causes of poverty. As the main NGO representative in New York, I represent the 3,400 members of the Sisters of Charity Federation currently working in 36 states, Washington, D.C., eight Canadian Provinces and 28 other countries throughout the world. My responsibilities include evaluating UN and national policies through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching and positions affirmed by the Federation in order to support appropriate initiatives; influencing by presence and dialogue, interventions and collaboration with the political, economic, social and humanitarian policies of the UN; and designing communication and education programs in collaboration with the congregational liaisons to ensure that members of the Federation are informed of UN activities and are encouraged to respond to UN programs and issues. Daily work involves attending international events at UN headquarters, participating in the commissions, and participating on committees, sub-committees and task forces. I have been active on the Committee for Social Development, the Sub-Committee on the Eradication of Poverty, the RNGO (Interreligious) Committee on which I serve as vice president, and the Education Committee as well as task forces flowing out of the work of the various committees. S. Faith Colligan, DC, represents the Federation on both the Committees for Social 26
Development and Financing for Development. In order to strengthen the ties between the UN and members in the field, I offer a variety of workshops, participate in national and international gatherings and spend time learning about ministries in the various countries. In July 2012, together with Joe Foley, CM, and Germaine Price, DC, I spoke at an international gathering of the provincials of the Congregation of the Mission about our work at the United Nations as a Vincentian Family. In August I gave workshops on systemic change in Colombia and Puerto Rico at the invitation of the Trinitarian community, another branch of the Family. In the fall I visited the countries of Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania as a member of the advisory board of Microfinancing Partners in Africa (MPA) to evaluate the various programs MPA supports. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Diocese of Masaka in Uganda where a very forwardthinking and innovative bishop, John Baptist Kaggwa, started a cow project for which MPA supplies cows. Families prepare for the cow by building a stable, planting grasses for feed, and demonstrating personal cleanliness and hygiene. When the family receives the cow, valued at $800, it is pregnant. The family agrees to raise the calf for nine-12 months and then pass it on to another family. This cancels half of their debt. Since these cows are very healthy and yield 18-20 liters of milk a day, the bishop started a dairy so the families could sell the extra milk to cancel the rest of their debt as well as earn a steady income. Bishop Kaggwa also worked with an engineer to turn the cow’s waste products into biogas. This gave the families gas for cooking and light for their homes. We had the opportunity to visit a number of families, both Christian and Muslim, since the bishop makes the program available for any family in the district. I was extremely impressed with this project and saw the potential for it to be replicated in other areas of the developing world. Upon my return I contacted the Ambassador of Uganda, Richard Nduhuura, to advise him of the project. As a result we cosponsored a side event at the Commission for Social Development on the project and he has contacted the bishop in his area of the country and plans are now underway to start the project there.
During the next few months I attended the North American Intercom
S. Caroljean Willie, UN NGO representative (second from right), with participants at a workshop on systemic change in Guaymaral, Colombia.
meeting of the Vincentian Family in Indianapolis, Indiana, gave a workshop on microfinancing and systemic change for the Delta Kappa Gamma society in Connecticut and gave a presentation at the College of Mount St. Vincent on the role of the Federation at the UN. As a result, a number of students later served as interns. In January I attended the international meeting of the heads of the Vincentian Family in Paris with S. Julie Cutter, DC, executive director of the Federation. This meeting brings together the heads of all of the branches of the Vincentian Family throughout the world to discuss and strategize on areas of possible collaboration as well as on how to bring about systemic change. The Federation played an active role in both the planning and execution of a major assembly to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week in February and participated in the Commission for Social Development through a written intervention and by co-sponsoring several side events highlighting best practices. I also gave a weekend workshop to 75 Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Associates entitled “The Charism of Charity in the 21st Century.” During this time we also hosted three interns from among Federation members who participated actively in both the Commissions for Social Development and the Status of Women. In addition approximately 10 other Federation members attended one or both of the Commissions as well as students from Mount St. Vincent College and St. John’s University. Outside events during the next several months included a retreat for inner-city youth in Philadelphia who had come for a UN orientation in New York previously, a three-day workshop at the Mary Ward Center in Montreal on the Earth Charter, a presentation entitled “Living on the Margins of Possibility” at the Religious Formation Conference in New York and an address to students at Mount St. Joseph University on sustainability. Cincinnati was the site of the annual meeting of Federation leadership in June. I met with congregational liaisons about our UN work and gave a presentation on climate change and sustainable development to congregational leaders. I also attended the Vincentian Family Collaborative Action Program in Paris with 53 Family members from 27 countries. The United Nations was founded after World War II so that the world “would never again know the scourge of war and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small” (UN Charter). This continues to be the hope and focus of the UN. Pope Francis clearly understands this and affirms that “a prophetic voice must be raised” against attempts at false reconciliation to “silence or appease” the poor, while others “refuse to renounce their privileges.” We continue to pray that we can be among those prophetic voices at the UN and in our personal and collective ministries throughout the world. A nnual R eport 2 0 1 4
Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. This apostolic Catholic women’s religious community exists to carry out the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and prayer in the world. Approximately 340 Sisters are joined in their mission by 199 Associates (lay women and men). Sisters, using their professional talents as ministers of education, health care, social services and environmental justice, live and minister in 27 US dioceses and in Guatemala, Mexico and the West Indies. They also sponsor institutions to address education, health care and social service needs, with particular concern for direct service to the poor.
Intercom Staff Editor Erin Reder Graphic Design/Layout Michelle Bley Photographer S. Marty Dermody Director of Communications S. Georgia Kitt Executive Council Liaison S. Mary Bookser Advisory Committee Members: S. Mary Bodde S. Mary Ann Flannery S. Karen Hawver Mary Jo Mersmann S. Joyce Richter S. Frances Maureen Trampiets Vicki Welsh Letters to the editor, articles and photos are welcome. The staff reserves the right to edit for space and readability. Make submissions to: Communications Office 5900 Delhi Road Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051 Phone: 513-347-5447 Fax: 513-347-5467 Email: email@example.com Subscriptions: $15 per year
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“… No one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.” - Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium