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Annual Report 2017


Futuring Charity Together





A LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT Dear Sisters, Associates, and Friends,

Contents Communications........................3 Leadership ............................. 4-5 Spirituality ................................6 Peace, Justice and Care for Creation .....................................7 Vocation/Formation ............... 8-9 Associates ........................... 10-11 Archives ...................................12 S. Blandina Segale, Servant of God .....................................13 Deeper Into the Divine Mystery .............................. 14-17 Stewardship ..............................18 Social Justice Fund ...................19 Ministry ............................. 20-21 Corporation Board for Sponsored Ministries ........................... 22-23 Seton Enablement Fund ..... 24-25 SC Ministry Foundation .... 26-27 On the Cover: Deeper Into Divine Mystery was the theme of the June 2017 Congregational retreat presented by S. Janet Mock, CSJ. Photo courtesy of Associate Brother Gary Sawyer. For more visit pages 14-17. 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.



his was a year of significant anniversaries in the Charity family. Four hundred years ago the Vincentian Charism began. It started with the founding of the Ladies of Charity by St. Vincent de Paul, to assist families who were living in poverty. And two hundred years ago, Elizabeth Seton sent the first Sisters from Emmitsburg to New York to found an orphanage. And seventy years ago, what is now the Sisters of Charity Federation began in an effort to promote the cause for canonization of Elizabeth Seton; today we challenge ourselves, in the words of our mission statement, “Impelled by Christ’s love and joined together in the mission of charity, we respond to the cries of those who are poor and marginalized.” We mark each of these milestones with gratitude for all the blessings received by the Ladies of Charity, the Sisters of Charity of New York, the fourteen Congregations of the SC Federation, and all who have been touched by our service. Each of these milestones propels us into the future, and invites us to deepen the bonds of Charity among us, as we recognize that often we can do more together than we can do as individuals. This Annual Report describes for you the ways in which our Congregational offices and organizations are creating and deepening our relationships and networks as we look to the needs and challenges of the future. We count on your prayers as we continue Futuring Charity Together. And we assure you of our grateful prayers for your friendship and support.

S. Joan Elizabeth Cook, SC President


Bridging to the Future By S. Georgia Kitt and Erin Reder

Let us cross the bridge to the future we are creating together, a future where the wisdom of each is welcomed.

in age, relationship to the SC community and commitment to our mission and charism – and facilitates a relationship through the opportunity for them to engage with our posts. Our electronic newsletter, E-Voc, remains an important connection to our young discerning audience.


he Sisters of Charity Communications Office prides itself in embracing the changes in communications throughout the years, while always being mindful of our varying audiences. We strive to promote the mission and ministries of our Sisters, relating those stories through a wide variety of mediums. This year we have followed trends and listened to the recommendations of focus groups and advisory committee members to continue to reach all audiences – near and far. In September 2016 our office partnered with Bayley and Mount St. Joseph University to help Delhi Township celebrate its bicentennial. We opened our doors to the community, hosting guests for tours of the Motherhouse chapel. As social and electronic media continue to gain influence, we see the value in putting energy into developing our communications efforts on these platforms. This past year we added more video to our Sisters of Charity website, with initiatives for National Vocation Awareness Week, Advent, and spiritual growth. “Tending Your Soul” was begun in 2017 and is part of the “Spirituality Center” section of our website. In an effort to bring balance to our data-driven culture we offer personal video stories describing experiences of “soul-full” blessings – a need vocalized to us from various audiences. A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

Always valuing the importance of print, we continue to produce our fourcolor magazine, Intercom. While younger audiences may be more attracted to short news bytes, we know we have an audience for a magazine as well. Beginning in January 2017, the theme for the publication’s three issues has been “A Sister to All.” Written articles, video, web and social media posts were all coordinated around the theme developed by the Conrad Hilton Foundation to increase visibility and public understanding of the powerful work of Catholic Sisters. In September 2016 the Sisters of Charity opened the Motherhouse doors to guests in honor of Delhi Township’s bicentennial.

In January our office took a “leap” and ventured into new social media territory with Twitter. We knew it was another avenue to reach a new demographic and audience. To date, we have more than 290 followers and are reaching individuals and organizations with our message and mission and the ever-influential hashtags accompanying them. In addition to Twitter our presence on Facebook and Instagram continue to build followers; social media connects us to a broad audience – ranging

It has always been of most importance for Communications staff members to meet the needs of our audience. We communicate to young women discerning a religious vocation, Sisters, Associates, friends of the SC community, family and former members, Sponsored Ministries, and board members of our SC ministries. As we look to the future we will rely on the input from recent focus groups and surveys that offer insight into the needs of today. Spiritual hunger, personal experiences with Sisters, and articles related to current issues and “Sister experiences” are all being craved. We are committed to meeting those needs today and into the future. 3

Living Into Our Future Together By S. Mary Bookser


or the past several years, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and our Sisters of Charity Federation have called us to greater relationality among ourselves, with Catholic Sisters throughout our world, and with all people and all life on God’s Earth. We will live into our future together in a recognition that all life is interconnected in Divine Mystery. This has been a central theme of our 2015 Chapter assembly and guided our choices, decisions and actions. Our Federation, the Vincentian Family and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) draw us into a commitment to work together more closely as we move into our emerging future. Through our deep commitment to a contemplative dialogue process, members of these groups have found that the Holy Spirit is leading us to answer some of the needs of our world today, by inviting us to minister inter-congregationally, especially in our advocacy ministries. Members of all of these groups recognize that though we experience our numbers diminishing through the death-resurrection mystery, the grief we experience opens us to realize that God continues to call us into a new narrative for a hope-filled future together. We model our trust that God is ever present, that we are called to be the heart, hands and voice of Christ made visible, and that the Holy Spirit is our ever present guide. The Leadership Council is often asked questions about our planning for 4

the future of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Some of these questions focus on areas of Sponsored Ministries, ministry, social justice priorities and work, as well as Social Justice Fund donations, our Initial Formation program, the Associate-Sister relationship and more. These areas are addressed in other articles in this report. We realize that we are blessed with our past and present good financial stewards and staff whose careful work allows us to respond to many needs.

We continue to assess the needs and uses of our properties, weighing our smaller numbers but also the values proclaimed in our most recent and past Chapter Direction statements. Among these at our Motherhouse are the values promoted through our Spirituality Center, our Communications Office and their expanding use of social media to promote our mission and charism, the work and programming at EarthConnection and more. Through our recent addition of LED lighting, dining room updating, and the geothermal and solar technology for the houses on our Motherhouse grounds, we are able to impact our healthy living choices as well as our carbon footprint and care for God’s people and Earth. The conspicuous solar grid is an educational outreach for all who visit or drive by. The practice of “relationality in future planning” resulted in two special ways for the Leadership Council to hear

(From left) Leadership Team members Sisters Marge Kloos, Louise Lears, Joan Elizabeth Cook, Mary Bookser and Mary Caroline Marchal at the annual LCWR meeting in August 2016. I N T E RC O M

look at how the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience lead us deeper into our relationship with the Divine within ourselves, as incarnated in others and in our world. Two mantras, written by Sisters of Charity, led our prayer throughout the days. These invited us to enter into the mystery of our place and time, and to dwell into the mystery of our God and the graces which flow from this way of being. Sixty leaders of the Sisters of Charity Federation gathered in Tarrytown, New York, for their 2017 annual meeting; this year’s theme was “Hazard Yet Forward: Futuring Charity Together.”

S. Janet Mock, CSJ, led the Community “Deeper into Divine Mystery” during the June Congregational retreat for Sisters and Associates.

the thoughts and needs of various special ministry areas, and for all of the Family of Charity to hear reflections upon key aspects of our lives together. As a Council we met in conversation with several of our Sisters and Congregational Offices to determine current practices and concerns as we move forward together. We have developed a means of reflection and communication with the whole Sisters of Charity family which are called “Focused Conversations.” These present topics – which are important and relevant to our lives together – have broad connections to our Chapter Direction statement.

Our Small Groups are a key method of deepening our relationships while focusing on the call of our Chapter direction, our mission and our charism. The focus this past year has been on the vowed life, as expressed in our SC Constitutions, Directives and Policies, but then broadened to incorporate the impact of these not only on our own lives, but on our relationships with all God’s people and with God’s Earth. For many of us the pinnacle of the year as the Community of Charity was our June Congregational retreat whose theme was “Deeper into Divine Mystery.” S. Janet Mock, CSJ, led us in a very contemplative

Now, as the graces from the past year invite us to continue to build our Charity future together, may we, as a Community of Charity, continue to “choose to act justly, to build loving relationships, to share our resources with those in need, and to care for all creation” (SC Mission Statement).

Nearly 800 persons gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, for the 2016 LCWR assembly uniquely structured to assist members to reframe their perspectives about religious life in this moment.

Solar technology was installed in 2017 for the houses on the Motherhouse grounds. A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7


Deepening the Inner Soul By S. Marty Dermody


e awaken to the mystery of this time,” perfectly summarizes the work of the Sisters of Charity Spirituality Center this past year. We began our season with two book titles, The Buddha and the Terrorist by Satish Kumar, and Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity by Ron Rohlheiser. Both titles helped the reader to deepen their inner feelings of justice, forgiveness and thinking related to how our lives can work cooperatively in our world today. As the season continued, we offered reflections on the gifts of nature, refreshed the spirit through clay creation, and took time to settle with our God in prayer through “Being Still with God.” Every month there was a movie to entertain us or to help deepen our inner souls from the stories of others. We shared a variety of ways and avenues to pray, including Centering Prayer and Taize. Each event drew us deeper within to connect with our God. The theme for the year’s Sundays of Reflection, Weaving Global Solidarity, allowed us to incorporate the UISG (International Union Superiors General) annual meeting theme into a variety of topics related to collaboration, cooperation, Earth, human trafficking and the spirit. We gained knowledge and wisdom from presenters Sisters Jean Miller, Marcel DeJonckheere, Joan Deiters and Associate Judi Sauerbrey. As we moved into the Advent season, we had the opportunity to slow down and savor the presence of God in “Twilight 6

The year filled us with joy, gifts of the spirit and an anticipation to follow in the steps toward the future. We are assured that “God will direct all things through you,” as quoted by St. Vincent de Paul, as we continue the work of the Sisters of Charity Spirituality Center.

Associate Rita Wesseling participated in the June summer retreat, “Spiritual Lessons from the Psalms,” writing the following psalm.

ABC Psalm of Praise S. Jackie Kowalski (right) led Spirituality Center participants in “Feel Like You’re Going to Pot?” – an experience of healing through clay therapy.

Time” with Dr. Nicki Verploegen. Creativity and compassion were alive and well as participants experienced “SoulCollage®” with Mooydeen Frees and “Becoming Mindful in Your Life” with Barb Beimesch. During the season of Lent we walked the steps of Jesus in the Stations with S. Mary Kay Bush, who kept us in touch with what we hold important in our lives. We examined ways to become persons of light by reframing the darkness with S. Thérése Del Genio, SNDdeN. Our summer retreat in June welcomed Fr. Tim Schehr; he shared the beauty and the value of the psalms in our daily living as well as ways in which the Psalter provides us with reflections to help us gain strength for our journey of life. Each retreatant expressed ways they use the psalms in their prayer.

All praise and glory be to our Creator Because He has done wondrous things. Clap your hands. Praise the Most High. Dance to the cosmic celebration. Eat at the banquet of the Lord. Fill yourself with His love and mercy. Gladness and joy will Heal your sorrows. I sing a song of Joy and thanksgiving with all my heart to the King of heaven and earth and Lord of the outer reaches of the universe. Merciful to the poor and kind to the lowly. Never lacking in forgiving love. Open your hearts. Partake in the Beloved’s nourishment. Quiet your thoughts. Rest in the abode of the Most High. Sing to the Loving Counselor. The time has come for Universal peace and justice to fill every Valley reaching to the ends of the World. Xylophones sound the chords! Yes, Zion had arrived. I N T E RC O M

Citizens of the World By Debbie Weber

“I am a citizen of the world.” - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton


or the 2017 Fiscal Year, the Sisters of Charity’s Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation (OPJCC) continued our focus on being “citizens of the world.” The mission of OPJCC 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 subcommittees of Sisters, Associates and friends of the Sisters of Charity.

“In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do.” USCCB, Catholic Social Teachings Click to Act: Putting our faith into action is one way our Sisters and Associates can participate in “responsible citizenship.” OPJCC provides weekly actions on various justice issues in Ohio, the U.S. and internationally. With a click of the mouse or a touch on a screen, one can sign a A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

petition, write a letter, register for a webinar or event, watch a short video, read a short article, or download a prayer. Much of what we do involves working with our city, state, national and international neighbors. Locally, OPJCC continued our partnership with Mount St. Joseph University, mentoring two service learning students. A Rumpke recycling representative came to the Motherhouse for an interactive and informative discussion with Sisters, Associates and employees. OPJCC Director Debbie Weber partnered with a local parish, providing insight to the U.S. human trafficking issue. OPJCC staff and advisory members continued their involvement with several local collaborations such as the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center’s Human Trafficking Committee, the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, the Comboni Missionaries, Nuns on the Bus Ohio, and the SC Corporate Responsibility Committee.

The annual SC Federation, NGO-Liaison Meeting took place in Tarrytown, New York, from May 31-June 1, 2017. The liaisons shared advocacy/actions in their respective congregations regarding Earth and social justice issues and on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Nationally, Debbie continued her collaborative work with social justice representatives from the SC Federation, Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR), and the Vincentian Family. Internationally, OPJCC provided water filtration kits to S. Andrea Koverman for her work in Jordan and Palestine, and to S. Victoria Anyanwu for her work in Nigeria. Through these water filtration kits, to date, we have helped our sisters and brothers in 11 countries who did not otherwise have easy and/or affordable access to clean water. OPJCC staff, committee members and collaborators look forward to another year of being “citizens of the world.” Together we are moving the work of social and Earth justice in our city, state, nation and world. 7

Welcoming the Future By Sisters Janet Gildea, Monica Gundler and Donna Steffen


he ministry of vocation promotion and formation of our newest members discerning a commitment to vowed life as Sisters of Charity is directed towards a future that is at once hopeful and mysterious. What we have discovered in this ministry is a reawakening of interest among young adult women in a life that is committed to service and spirituality, rooted in a vibrant community life, and essentially collaborative. Our program of welcoming and forming new members incorporates these values.

Blogs, electronic newsletters, social media, like FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram, are important tools for our evolving vocation ministry. The publication of E-Voc every month is a timely resource to share with those who may be discerning or interested in learning more about religious

life, discernment and the Sisters of Charity. It is available as a quick email link as well as an easy handout for someone inquiring. The “Call to Vowed Life” section of our website features interviews with our women in initial formation. Discerners can discover that there are indeed other women who are asking similar questions and who have a similar heart for God. This gives them the encouragement they need to risk personal contact. Social media is a great tool but there is no substitute for the personal encounter that builds relationships in vocation ministry. “Soul Food with the Sisters,” the “Come and Serve” Labor Day weekend discernment retreat, a January Federation service trip to the House of Charity in New Orleans, Louisiana, and events like “Calling All Fifth Graders” are some of the activities we offer to encourage and invite the discernment of religious life. Inviting young adults to events such as the congregational retreat, Fall Congregational Days, formation ceremonies and the Vincentian Family Gathering are opportunities to introduce them to the Community and our charism as well as to engage the next generation in the critical issues of our time.

ed the twice-aYoung Sisters of Charity members attend women in other with rings year Future of Charity gathe ation congregations. Feder SC with ation form and t rnmen disce


Whitney Schieltz continued her Affiliation with the Congregation at Casa Caridad in southern

Come and Serve Labor Day weekend discernment retreats allow for personal encounters that build relationships in vocation ministry.

New Mexico. As a second-year Affiliate, Whitney ministered as a volunteer with the Sisters at the Santo Niño Project for children with special needs in Anapra, Mexico. She also served at the Villa Maria Home for women transitioning from homelessness in downtown El Paso, Texas. She attended the Catholics on Call young adult discernment retreat in August and completed the Tepeyac Institute Adult Faith Formation program with the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, in the fall semester. Whitney coordinated the Future of Charity blog and attended their twice-a-year gatherings with other women in discernment and formation with Federation congregations. These experiences, along with spiritual direction and a directed retreat at the Motherhouse in the spring, helped to clarify her vocational discernment. She requested and was approved to begin Canonical Novitiate, the next stage of initial formation. S. Annie Klapheke continued her second year of Novitiate, the Apostolic Year, ministering as a nutrition counselor three days a week at the Good Samaritan Free Health Center in Cincinnati. On Aug. 20, 2016, S. Romina Sapinoso I N T E RC O M

celebrated her entrance into the Canonical Novitiate at a vespers service in the Motherhouse chapel. Sisters Romina and Annie lived at the Novitiate House with professed Sisters Maureen Heverin, Carol Leveque, Nancy Bramlage, and Terry Thorman. S. Romina participated in the Intercommunity Novitiate Program for spirituality and theology as well as studied the SC Constitutions. She volunteered one day each week at the Women’s Shelter in Cincinnati as well as visited Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall. S. Romina received regular spiritual direction and made a directed retreat at the Sisters of Loretto in Nerinx, Kentucky. Sisters Annie, Romina, and Novice Director Donna Steffen participated in the Future of Charity gathering at the House of Charity in New Orleans in November 2016. Also in November they attended a program on “The Vows Today” for women and men in formation at Villa Maria, Pennsylvania. The timing was perfect for S. Annie who professed her first vows during a Eucharistic liturgy on Dec. 10, 2016, in the Motherhouse chapel. The second semester of canonical year for S. Romina included study of Congregational history presented by S. Judith Metz. Sisters Mary Barbara Philippart and Janice Ernst joined Sisters Romina and Donna for the presentations. Additional workshops during the second semester of the Canonical Novitiate included topics of Sexuality, Spirituality, and Relationships by S. Lynn Levo, CSJ; Theology of Mission by Anthony Gittins, CSSp; and a presentation on the vow of obedience by S. Nancy Schreck, OSF. S. Romina chose a new volunteer ministry site at Catholic Charities where she A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

As a second year Affiliate, Whitney Schieltz ministered as a volunteer with the Sisters at the Santo Niño Project for children with special needs in Anapra, Mexico.

taught English as a Second Language to immigrants and refugees. In May 2017, S. Romina and Whitney traveled the “Way of Elizabeth” led by Sisters Donna Steffen and Judith Metz. They were joined by Sister of Charity of Leavenworth Candidate Victoria Hood and Seton Hill Novice Hyeon Lee. They received hospitality on their journey from Sisters of Charity in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Emmitsburg, Maryland, New York and New Jersey. They stayed in Elizabeth Seton’s “White House” in Emmitsburg and visited Paca Street in Baltimore as well as historic Gettysburg. In the second year of initial profession, S. Andrea Koverman continued her ministry as project director for the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati while S. Tracy Kemme served the Latino community at Holy Family parish and the ministries of the Archdiocesan Social Action Office. Along with S. Louise Lears and newly professed S. Annie Klapheke, Sisters Andrea and Tracy were blessed to find a new home for the Visitation House community in

Sisters Louise Lears, Annie Klapheke, Andrea Koverman and Tracy Kemme host monthly “Soul Food with the Sisters” gatherings for young adult women at their Visitation House community in the heart of East Price Hill.

the heart of East Price Hill. They host the monthly “Soul Food with the Sisters,” building community with young adult women, and look forward to providing a place of welcome for those who desire to explore the call to religious life. During the years of initial profession each Sister is companioned by a perpetually professed mentor. Sisters Brenda Busch, Barb Hagedorn and Mary Ann Humbert serve as mentors for Sisters Andrea, Tracy and Annie respectively. Realizing that religious life is in a time of transformation, we continue to develop each phase of the formation process and the transitions from one step to the next. It is a privilege to walk with these women as they explore the mystery of the call to religious life! Sisters of Charity Vocation/Formation Team S. Monica Gundler: Vocation Director S. Janet Gildea: Affiliate Director S. Donna Steffen: Novice Director S. Marge Kloos: Leadership Liaison Coordinator - Initial Profession


Strengthening Relationships By Mary Jo Mersmann and Chanin Wilson


n her discernment paper to become a Sisters of Charity Associate, Chanin Wilson wrote, “During my discernment, I have gotten to know Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. I am struck by the connections between us. Elizabeth’s struggles with raising children, and the Sisters inclusiveness to all.” So, when she applied to become the Community’s director of Associates, it seemed a natural fit. Mary Jo Mersmann retired on May 31, 2017, after 15 years as director of Associates. Chanin stepped right into that role and took over leadership of the 203 Associates in collaboration with the newly appointed regional representatives and the Associate Advisory Committee. In January 2017 seven Associates had been invited to share their leadership skills and to get to know more personally the Associates in their “region.” These regional representatives participate in Zoom meetings every other month with the director and communicate regularly with Associates. “This change was meant to help Associates get to know one another better,” said Chanin, “and it seems to be working well.” Associates in the Dayton area are meeting more regularly; Florida has three candidates in formation; and Alaska continues to grow the Associate program despite the fact that S. Delia Sizler has returned to Cincinnati. At the Congregational Retreat in June 2017, these same regional representatives met one another in person and were 10

engulfs me is knowing that we have the same God (although we have different beliefs) and that a church woman is a church woman is a church woman – beautiful as roses.” As the new director of Associates, Chanin is getting to know the beautiful people in the Charity family one beautiful rose at a time.

Mary Jo Mersmann (left) retired as director of Associates in May 2017 with Chanin Wilson taking over the position on June 1, 2017.

introduced to the Motherhouse with its lovely spaces and beautiful grounds. “Until you are in this holy space, it is difficult to truly understand to what you are committing,” said Associate Destiny Sergeant of Juneau, Alaska, and the Northwest Regional Rep.

As we move forward awakening to the mystery of this time, it is exciting to be trying something new by having our director of Associates living in the West while visiting the Motherhouse on a regular basis. The Sisters of Charity have always been willing to “try new things.” “I have my dream job, and with today’s technology and regional representatives, we can overcome the miles between us, continuing to strengthen our Charity family relationships,” Chanin said.

“Our little group has formed a bond that is so important to the future of Associates. We support one another, bounce ideas off one another and share our difficulties and successes,” said Carmen Ferguson of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Tri-State Regional Rep. Throughout the year, three new Associates made their commitments and two made lifetime commitments. Lifetime Associate and Methodist deaconess Kay Clifton wrote in her discernment, “One of the persisting kingdom moments that

Associate Mary Ellen Williams (left) and S. Joyce Brehm enjoy the time to visit during the June Congregational Retreat. I N T E RC O M

Photo courtesy of Brother Gary Sawyer

In June, Kate Lears (left) and Ione Klekamp (center) celebrated their commitments as SC Associates while Associate Kay Clifton (right) made her lifetime commitment to the Community.

A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7


Back to the Future By Veronica Buchanan


uring the 2016-2017 year, the Archives continued its mission to collect, preserve, and share the history of the Sisters of Charity Community. Thanks to our dedicated team of 12 Sister and Associate volunteers, we have been able to achieve marked strides in making the collection more accessible and expediting requests for Congregational offices as well as external researchers. We also expanded the docent program for Motherhouse tours, adding eight Sisters to the roster. In total, the program conducted 38 tours for more than 780 visitors. This year’s highlights include providing tours for 15 sections of the Freshmen Orientation course at Mount St. Joseph University, assisting with the Open House event to commemorate Delhi’s bicentennial, and a visit from Resurrection School’s fourth and fifth grade classes. In March, we received word from the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board that our grant application was approved! This will allow us to digitize newsletters from the Santa Maria Institute and a Civil War-era patient ledger from Saint John’s Hospital in Cincinnati, which will all be available online through the digital repository Ohio Memory this summer. Throughout the year, S. Blandina Segale has been a constant presence in our work with the collection and outreach to the community. The department assisted Director Tomas Sanchez and actress Alma Sisneros with the research and interaction necessary for bringing S. Blandina to life on 12

S. Pat Wittberg is one of the many Sister volunteers serving as a docent for the SC Archives.

film in the upcoming series At the End of the Santa Fe Trail. By thoroughly processing mission collections where S. Blandina served, we were able to contribute more correspondence and hand-annotated documents for her cause for canonization. An examination of resources at the Cincinnati Archdiocesan Archives and the Southern Provincial Jesuit Archives in New Orleans, Louisiana, yielded even more letters and handwritten contemporary sources that reinforce the work she conducted while stationed in Colorado and New Mexico. This year also marks the return of students from DePaul Cristo Rey High School to our department through the Corporate Work Study program. In August, we welcomed Freshman Bre’Ale and Junior Jordi to the Motherhouse. Both students excelled with their respective projects and we look forward to continuing to support our Sponsored Ministry next year!

The year 2017 marks the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism. Late last year, the Vincentian Family extended a call to ask how communities have worked to welcome the stranger in our midst throughout their history. The Federation Archivists decided to collectively collaborate on a series of images to illustrate the idea that would be displayed at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and through the Federation’s social media outlets. S. Blandina’s groundbreaking work with victims of human trafficking was the inspiration behind our Community’s contribution. As the mission of the Sisters of Charity continues to evolve to meet the emerging needs of the community it serves, the Archives looks at ways we can illuminate the past to share our vision of Futuring Charity Together.

DePaul Cristo Rey High School Junior Jordi with Archives staff members (front row, left) S. Joyce Brehm, (back row, left) Veronica Buchanan, S. Pat McQuinn, S. Victoria Marie Forde and S. Sheila Gallagher. I N T E RC O M

A Continued Presence By S. Georgia Kitt


uturing Charity Together surely applies to the ongoing development of the cause for sainthood of S. Blandina Segale. The ‘together’ has expanded to include many health-care workers in rural New Mexico as they reach out to first-time parents, visiting them in their homes, and offering instruction on how to make a successful start in parenting. S. Blandina began the hospital for whom they work – CHI St. Joseph’s Children in Albuquerque. Their day-to-day efforts are futuring charity, side-by-side, with young women and their newborns, offering them the best start possible. ‘Together’ also includes social service workers at Santa Maria Community Services in Cincinnati, Ohio, another organization S. Blandina and her blood sister, S. Justina, founded to address the needs of Italian immigrants arriving in Cincinnati in the early 1900s. Santa Maria is celebrating 120 years of service. The women and men there are futuring charity each day as they influence and help acclimate immigrants into society, offering workable solutions and assistance for language, housing, jobs, health and spiritual needs. Locally and nationally articles have been written about the young S. Blandina, who founded hospitals and schools; rescued those who were being trafficked; and advocated for justice in the Southwest. Direct connections with this aspect of her life came together at the beginning of the year when the production crew for the proposed TV series, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, visited A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

In February 2017, the Sisters of Charity hosted the production team and actress Alma Sisneros working on the creation of a television series based on Servant of God S. Blandina Segale’s life.

the Motherhouse to learn more about her life and ministry; they met with Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility who knew S. Blandina and also reviewed materials available in the SC Archives. The production team of Tomas Sanchez has put their learning to work as they prepared the pilot for the series. They are hoping to engage audiences with S. Blandina’s exploits while staying true to the book of the same name, a journal she wrote to S. Justina regarding her life in the Southwest. At the same time the production crew came, the canonization group for her cause – Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Ramirez (postulator) and Michael J. Sheehan (judge); Allen Sanchez, CEO of St. Joseph’s Children (petitioner) and Rev. Oscar Coelho (promoter of justice) – also paid a visit to the SC Motherhouse and Archives. This group completed the third session of the second diocesan inquiry. The Vatican has completed the initial investigation and is now assessing the miracle phase of her life.

In our own SC publications we have dug deeper into the history of Santa Maria to put readers in touch with other Sisters of Charity who have followed in their footsteps as social workers and administrators, generous women who continued the Segale Sisters’ community-organizing abilities into today. We also offered insights into the early days of Santa Maria Institute and the importance the Segale Sisters placed on home visits; it gave them greater understanding of what the adults were most in need of as new immigrants. They appeared to offer limitless determination and compassion then; continuing today, the services offered are a catalyst and advocate for families to attain health, educational and financial goals. Throughout her life, S. Blandina influenced people most by entering into their world; this aspect endures – particularly in the continued presence of her spirit in the institutions she founded. We marvel as this is sustained; we are indeed futuring charity together. 13

Deeper into Divine Mystery By S. Georgia Kitt


n June 2017, Sisters and Associates entered Deeper into Divine Mystery as the Community of Charity. S. Janet Mock, CSJ, guided them in the five-day retreat, using contemplative dialogue, and offering Scripture, story and contemporary readings. S. Janet led participants to look at how the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience help them to move more deeply into relationship with the Divine. Each day’s agenda included prayer, music, quiet reflection, all helping Sisters and Associates to enter into the Mystery. Afternoon time was given to sharing in small groups around the vows and how, together, they are lived today. Over the five days participants entered into the mystery of our time, dwelling in the mystery of God, and the gifts and graces that flow from this way of being. The Earth symbol used throughout the retreat illustrated the Earth’s flame burning from the center. Expanded by diverse

color, texture, density and glorious speciation, the enduring fire of God’s graciousness burns from within for the life of the world. It reminded Sisters and Associates that during their time together the Holy Spirit’s generous guidance and gifting was present. The use of Earth’s life patterns – wheat nourishing, sky expanding, grass grounding, sand opening, water clarifying, and flowers befriending – aided participants in entering into the cycles of life as they spin endlessly beyond the flame and into one unity. Novice Whitney Schieltz and Associate Pam Korte contributed to the depth of the experience by sharing their creative gifts in symbol. The repeated use of mantras, written by Sisters of Charity Terry Thorman and Marge Kloos, soon became very familiar; they pulsed through participants’ beings, individually and collectively. Phrases from those mantras accompany the following photos to help recall these blessed days.

We awaken to the mystery of this time.



We claim the mystery of ourselves.

A n n u A l R e p o Rt 2 0 1 7


We delight in the mystery of each other.

We dwell in the mystery of our God.



Congregational Statement

Supports Most Vulnerableble


uring the June Congregational Retreat, Sisters of Charity and Associates released a health care statement to show the Community’s continued care and concern of the most vulnerable members of our society.

system that will stabilize the insurance market, improve affordability, and strengthen and expand health coverage.”

The statement read: Along with the Catholic Health Association (CHA), we, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and Associates, gathered in Congregational Retreat, are deeply concerned “that millions of people will lose their health care through a complete restructuring and deep federal funding reduction to the Medicaid program.”

Additionally, in agreement with CHA, we “ask Congress to ensure that the funds currently supporting health care programs remain in the system under any legislative proposal, instead of being diverted for tax cuts for the more fortunate. And above all, we urge our elected officials always to keep in mind the unborn and the many millions of poor individuals and vulnerable families who will be affected by any changes to our health care system.”

We support the recommendations of the CHA to seek “a new bipartisan focus to make improvements in our health care

More than 200 Sisters of Charity and Associates from across the country signed the statement with the intent of returning

A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

home and sharing the statement and signatures with their home Senators. In addition, the Community gathered along the Front Avenue of the Motherhouse grounds for a special prayer led by Sister of Charity Barbara Busch; S. Barbara asked all assembled to name aloud their home Senators as the Community prayed for them. Sisters of Charity President, S. Joan Cook, read the statement during the ceremony. Note: Quotations from the above statement by Sister Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive officer, Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA).


Awakening to the Mystery of the Time By Tim Moller


iscal 2017 Congregational financial results were very positive, primarily due to investment returns of approximately 11 percent. This compares to last year’s slightly negative investment returns of approximately <1.4 percent>. Unlike last year, this year’s revenue exceeded expense. Most areas of Operating income and expense were favorable to budget and prior year. Of particular note was the higher than normal amount of Bequest and Donation Income, and the lower Retirement Benefit Expense due to the replacement of the old defined benefit plan with a new defined contribution plan which features a 5 percent non-discretionary employer contribution. Looking ahead to Fiscal 2018, markets continue to be positive and are at or near all-time highs. Markets will pay close attention to the political environment and developments in Washington. No matter what lies ahead for the economy and the investment markets, the Sisters of Charity will “awaken to the mystery of their time.” Since their founding in 1852, the Sisters of Charity have adapted to change through innovation and new models of ministry. Through the installation of green technologies like geothermal, solar and LED lighting here on the Motherhouse campus and other green efforts at the Sisters of Charity sponsored ministries, the Sisters give witness to the imperative to care for God’s creation.


The charts below depict the categories of Congregational income and outflow for Fiscal 2017. On the Source side, Retirement Income provided 38.4 percent of Total Income, and includes support payments from the Sisters of Charity Charitable Trust, Social Security and Sisters’ pensions. Investment Income, which includes interest, dividends and realized gains, amounted to 37 percent of Total Income. General Congregational Income amounted to 13 percent of Total Income and is primarily comprised of Sisters’ earnings, bequests and support from benefactors. Unrealized Gains on Investments amounted to 11.1 percent. Other Sources totaled .5 percent. On the Use side, Retirement Related Expenses was the largest expense category at 49.6 percent, and includes costs associated with the care of our retired Sisters. Local House Expenses, comprised of total living

expenses for Sisters living away from the Mount St. Joseph campus and incidental expenses for Sisters living independently at the Motherhouse, amounted to 16.1 percent of Total Expenses. The cost of maintaining Sisters of Charity facilities is reflected in Property Expense, which totaled 12.4 percent of Total Expenses. Service Department Expenses, net, amounted to 11 percent of total costs and includes the unallocated costs of Shared Services such as Maintenance, Grounds, Finance, Human Resources and Information Services. General Congregational Expenses, primarily comprised of administrative costs, legal and audit fees, insurance premiums and contributions, amounted to 9.8 percent of Total Expenses. Bedford Campus Expenses totaled 1.2 percent of Total Expenses; the Congregational residence in Bedford, Ohio, has been closed and an option agreement has been executed with a prospective buyer.

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Ohio, Inc. Source and Use of Funds June 30, 2017

1 2 3 4 5

Source of Funds Retired Income Investment Income General Congregational Income Unrealized Gains on Investments Other Income

38.42% 36.99% 12.96% 11.14% 0.49% 100.0%

1 2 3 4 5 6

Use of Funds Retirement Related Expenses Local House Expenses Property Expenses Service Department Expenses, net General Congregational Expenses Bedford Campus Expenses

49.59% 16.12% 12.39% 10.95% 9.76% 1.19% 100.0%


Responding to the

Cries of the World By S. Louise Lears


alled from the beginning of our foundation as Sisters of Charity to address the needs of our world, we move intentionally and creatively toward the vulnerabilities of our Earth and our sisters and brothers.” The opening statement of our 2015 Chapter Direction impels us to read the signs of the times and respond to emerging needs. The Congregational Social Justice Fund helps us to translate the words of our Chapter Direction into advocacy, emergency assistance and disaster relief. Our founder, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, described herself as “a citizen of the world.” In her spirit, we collaborate with like-minded organizations to address the root causes of poverty, oppression and indifference. Among other advocacy efforts during this past year, we supported: • Legal aid for immigrants • Scholarships for Sisters in Africa • Small organic farmers in El Salvador • Professional attire for women in poverty • Theater workshops for women in prison • Affordable housing • Microfinancing projects • Books for students in the Democratic Republic of Congo • Activities for children who are homeless • Programs for persons with disabilities • Help for girls/women who have been trafficked. A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

As our Sisters and Associates saw emergency needs, they requested immediate financial assistance for families in danger of having utilities disconnected; people overwhelmed by collection agencies for their medical bills; single parents who needed rental assistance to avoid eviction; or families unable to pay funeral expenses. During the season of Advent, the Congregation matched donations that Sisters sent to the nonprofit organization(s) of their choice. Sadly, people facing hurricanes, wildfires, floods and earthquakes experienced the loss of loved ones, property, or a sense of security; their loss is real and searing. We pray that our financial donations to, and prayers for, those directly affected by

such disasters will aid in the process of restoration and renewal. One of the great gifts of the past year was hosting a family from Somalia who had lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia for more than 10 years before being relocated to the United States. We were enriched by their resiliency and graciousness. In 1971, the World Synod of Catholic Bishops issued a compelling call for action on behalf of justice: “Unless the Christian message of love and justice shows its effectiveness through action in the cause of justice in the world, it will only with difficulty gain credibility.” We continue to pray for the wisdom to see the emerging needs of our world and to act by sharing joyfully all that we have.

Social Justice Fund Expenditures Fiscal 2017 Contributions to organizations/ groups that advocate for justice Contributions to advocacy efforts of sponsored ministries Emergency assistance/disaster relief Advent Matching Fund


S. Juana Mendez (right) works with a client at the Centro de Amistad Center in Covington, Kentucky.

Ministry: Where Hope Can Grow By S. Marge Kloos


e become God’s love by showing up in the crevices of our human community, in places where hope is limited, struggle is great, and circumstances are desperate. In these featured profiles, we meet three Sisters of Charity who “show up” for others in the midst of their struggles – the place where hope can grow.

Out of the Shadows “This is a confused time. Many young people have come out from the shadows of society, taking every opportunity to participate in American life. Yet they now find themselves wondering what will happen when deported to a country they know very little of. Many struggle to even speak the language of their birth country.” S. Juana Mendez, ministering at the Centro de Amistad in the Kentucky Diocese of Covington, finds herself pondering a way forward for the center’s 250-plus undocumented young adults who, since 2012, have been able to get driver’s licenses, attend college, and hold work permits as part of the program known 20

as Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA). Now DACA has been rescinded and young lives “hang in the balance.” “Some need to renew their DACA status but each will need $495 as part of the application. They are now scrambling to find the resources. It’s overwhelming for all of us,” Sister says. As an advocate, S. Juana attends to the details of helping families plan for deportation and the sad possibility of family separation. She accompanies many to court appearances, helps clients through the rigorous process leading to legalization, and travels with those who need to leave the country so they can re-enter legally. Sister also speaks across the region to educate about the need for laws that honor the tradition of welcoming immigrants. On the day of our conversation, one young man was very much on S. Juana’s mind and heart. A recent graduate from Gateway Community College, he is now working as a nurse assistant in a local nursing home. He is bilingual and invaluable to the Spanish-speaking residents, many who spent a lifetime in

the fields as agricultural workers or as employees in the service and construction industries. “If this young man who has been able to contribute to society is deported, we all will lose a valued member of society,” she says. “He is a human being and a part of the American fiber. Without these young men and women, we are not whole.”

Recovery and Resilience In an era when every social institution is negatively impacted by substance abuse, licensed clinical counselor, S. Patricia Dittmeier companions adults who would otherwise be paralyzed by their addictions. About 10 years ago, Sister’s gift for working with youth led her to realize the need for well-trained clinical counselors who believe that clients can recover. Throughout her adult life, S. Pat has worked with many considered to be “at risk” and who have been at the margins of society where help and hope are not accessible. Today, Sister serves on the staff of IKRON in Cincinnati, bringing her skill and compassion to the agency’s clientele. “The people I serve come with gifts and I N T E RC O M

Equilibrium and Wholeness S. Victoria Anyanwu provides nursing care for homebound, hospice, and critically ill hospital patients in the Cincinnati area. She wisely knows that healing is much more than curbing physical pain and medicating symptoms. She has seen the despair in so many and their maladies “often steal their hope.” S. Patricia Dittmeier serves on the staff of IKRON in Cincinnati, companioning adults who would otherwise be paralyzed by their addictions.

talents and abilities. Although initially this giftedness may be hidden, buried under years of abuse and neglect and hard and painful lives, by recognizing their dignity we help them to heal. And they become a blessing to themselves and to others.” There are many stories of personal healing that S. Pat has influenced, guided, and encouraged. A common trait she helps them with are their feelings of despair and lack of self-worth. One woman with whom she has been working for seven years has achieved sobriety, entered treatment for mental illness, and is training for a job in food service. Another of her clients was making great strides in his recovery program. “His healing almost got derailed with the news that Juvenile Court was permanently removing his child from the mother’s custody, and he was deemed not eligible to get custody because of his past record. He was distraught at the prospect of his child growing up in foster care. He appealed the decision, and asked S. Pat if she would vouch for him. The Court was impressed that she accompanied as he explained to the judge about his genuine desire to be the dad. They are doing well now, father and child.” A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

Last December Sister packed up this wisdom and traveled to her native country of Nigeria. During her eight-week visit she organized medical professionals for day clinics, set up a food program, and distributed medications for diabetes, blood pressure, typhoid, hepatitis, ulcers and other maladies common in this country of much poverty. She instructed the women of the Mary League about caring for the handicapped, those suffering from strokes, and the bedridden in their community. In her words: “This is how I shared the resources and the blessings I received before leaving Cincinnati for Nigeria. Our Sisters of Charity light shined before so many people in the Village of Ihitte and beyond. After observing the extreme conditions of poverty, I hired a taxi to take me into the city and

bought 10 bags of rice, 10 bags of beans, 10 boxes of paste tomatoes, 10 bags of onions, and 10 large bags of salt. Why 10? We have 10 communities that make up the Village. “Then I sent the town crier to announce that all the Umunagbor Women should go to the town hall. When they arrived, they received food. They were in jubilation because rice is the main food for celebrating Christmas. For the remainder of my visit, our house was turned into a soup kitchen and food pantry.” In June, S. Victoria joined spiritual director Dr. Nicki Verploegen, co-founder and director of TATENDA International, to co-lead a retreat for the Daughters of the Holy Family in French-speaking Douala, Cameroon. “This was a microcosm of what Sisters across the globe are doing for and with one another,” S. Victoria said. “Our retreat presented a way of looking at equilibrium and wholeness in religious life. We offered healing experiences like reflexology as integral to the retreat and the Sisters experienced miracles from the body energy work we did—and this is now new energy for all of Cameroon. Praise God!”

S. Victoria Anyanwu and Nicki Verploegen were co-leaders of a retreat for the Daughters of the Holy Family in Cameroon.


Carrying Forward the Mission By S. Joan Elizabeth Cook


uturing Charity Together aptly describes the activities of the SC Corporation Board for Sponsored Ministries during the past year. Several times during the year the CEOs of our five Sponsored Ministries came together with the CBSM members for conversation, information sharing, and networking. These morning conversations proved valuable for strengthening the bonds of collaboration around the SC mission. For example, each year the CEOs agree together to focus on one particular aspect of the SC Mission Statement; this year’s choice was Care for All Creation. Supported by “green grants” from the SC Ministry Foundation, each Sponsored Ministry initiated specific steps to deepen respect for those on the margins, and to raise consciousness among their constituencies about environmentally friendly ways to live. For example, several organizations transitioned to LED lighting that resulted in environmentally friendly energy efficiency. A highlight of the year was the biennial All Boards Retreat that brought together administrators and board members of our Sponsored Ministries and the SC Ministry Foundation. About one hundred participants gathered at the Motherhouse in October, to share hopes, concerns, and best practices. The keynote speaker was Allen Sánchez, Executive Director of CHI St. Joseph’s Children in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This community health organization provides health and parenting skills to mothers and children up to the age of 3. Allen energized the group with his focus on Carrying Forward the Mission. 22

and shuttle bus service for residents to attend Delhi Township events promoted interaction with others in the Delhi community. The new HVAC system made it possible for Bayley to separate its heating and cooling from the Motherhouse system, resulting in greater energy efficiency for both Bayley and the Motherhouse – a significant “green” initiative. Allen Sánchez was the keynote speaker for the biennial All Boards Retreat in October 2016.

Then representatives from each Sponsored Ministry and the SC Ministry Foundation shared the steps each is taking in this regard. It was gratifying and humbling to experience everyone’s eagerness to carry forward the mission of the Sisters of Charity and of their specific organizations in service to students, residents, families, and the Cincinnati community Participants expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to meet colleagues from the different Sponsored Ministries, and to deepen the partnerships among Sisters and lay collaborators. We are blessed with colleagues who are committed to the SC mission and to the organizations they serve. It was an eventful year for each Sponsored Ministry. Bayley undertook several initiatives to serve the growing number of seniors in the neighborhood and beyond. The new Memory Care Unit was filled within weeks of completion, and the home services program continued to expand, offering seniors the opportunity to “age in place.” Outreach initiatives such as Open House days, a model train display,

DePaul Cristo Rey High School (DPCR) graduated its third class in May, and celebrated 100 percent college acceptance for the third year in as many years. DPCR’s Corporate Work Study Program continued to recruit employers for this essential and unique aspect of student life. In response to several raciallycharged incidents in the city, the school took pro-active steps to promote respect, safety and sensitivity in its culturally diverse community. These steps included study and dialogue around such topics as racial bias, anti-immigrant attitudes, and assumptions about class and economics. DPCR also partnered with Beech Acres Parenting Program, the University of Cincinnati’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity, and Youth at the Center, who assisted with supporting students and their families around questions of safety and security as well as intercultural and interracial understanding. Looking to the future, the growth of the school necessitated hiring a human resources manager; and the increasing number of graduates in college prompted the hiring of a counselor to assist and support DPCR grads in college. And realizing the need for a gymnasium and a I N T E RC O M

larger dining and food preparation space, they began plans to expand and update the physical plant.

Mount St. Joseph University received provisional accreditation for its new Physician Assistant program, scheduled to begin in January, 2018. And the Mount was one of ten inaugural recipients of Excellence in Assessment awards from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, demonstrating that the institution leads its peers in assessing student learning. The University took several steps toward Care for All Creation, including the Earth as well as groups of marginalized people. These involved developing a Sustainability Position Statement to guide decision-making in this area; organizing a clothing drive to collect prom dresses for young women who could not otherwise purchase one; participating in volunteer efforts at Sayler Park CRC program, Bethany House Services and Habitat for Humanity as part of the University’s Presidential Inauguration week; and traveling to New Orleans on Mission Service Trips.

The University articulated its hopes for the future in its Transformation 2025 vision, which looks toward enhancing student engagement and outcomes as well as supporting needed building projects.

Saint Joseph Home is “going green” with the creation of a Green Space on the campus. This space in a landscaped area will include a quarter-mile paved path that can accommodate wheelchairs, with benches along the way. Residents and their families are looking forward to the outdoor access that this space will make possible. The Home continues its efforts to influence state legislation on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. And now that residents have longer lifespans than in the past, the Home’s staff members are partnering with Xavier University’s Applied Psychology faculty to create benchmarks for developmental targets. This step will enhance the Home’s ability to offer realistic opportunities for residents’ growth and development, thus enhancing their quality of life.

SC Sponsored Ministry DePaul Cristo Rey High School celebrated 100 percent college acceptance for the third year in as many years. A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

Staff and faculty members of Mount St. Joseph University participated in a service trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, in May 2017. The group spent their time working with nonprofit organization Hotel Hope.

Seton High School took steps to prepare for a projected increase in student enrollment, soliciting funds for financial aid and re-purposing spaces to create additional classrooms. The school’s House Government system continues to bring together students from all four grades, strengthening students’ faith, academic growth, leadership skills, and school spirit. Green initiatives are evident in various aspects of school life. The Environmental Science course deepens students’ knowledge of topics such as climate change, the need to protect our water supply, and renewable energy. Class trips to Cincinnati’s Mill Creek and Fernald Nature Preserve deepened students’ awareness of aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and wildlife, and other environmental issues that affect quality of life. We are grateful to all our colleagues who share with us the challenges and joys of carrying forward the SC mission in this time of rapid change. And we pray for rich blessings for them and for the people they serve. 23

Living the Mission Into the Future By S. Martha Walsh

The Mission of the Seton Enablement Fund Committee is to assist the Congregation in living its Mission by providing loans and investments to community-based organizations that may not qualify for conventional financing as they serve the social justice needs of people living in poverty.


e began the 38th year of the Seton Enablement Fund with a revised mission statement inspired by S. Noreen Ellison, a member of the Seton Enablement Fund Committee. It is another example of “awakening to the mystery of our times.” In this 18th year of the 21st century, we continue to search out and find organizations that are benefitting persons as described in our mission statement, and who can use a low-interest loan. The needs do not go away, although situations in the country, both politically and socially, can affect the ability of organizations to borrow or not. Some loans carry a higher risk than others, however, we have been extremely blessed with the repayment of our loans. Considering that they are riskier, ones that most banks will not give, our default rate has been very small. Our applications for loans in Fiscal Year 2017 continued to allow us to fulfill our mission. Eight loans were made during this fiscal year, three to organizations to which we had not previously loaned. La Amistad develops houses and apartment buildings in the North Fairmont and Spring Grove neighborhoods of 24

Cincinnati, in order to provide housing to immigrants from Central America and Burundi, Africa. Rents are set at levels to be affordable to households at or below 50 percent of the area median income. La Amistad only collects enough rent to cover their costs. The loan from the Seton Enablement Fund will enable them to purchase four more houses in North Fairmont to rehabilitate. For the past 40 years, Affordable Homes of South Texas (AHSTI) has been dedicated to not only improving substandard housing conditions, but also to helping prospective homeowners achieve their dream of home ownership at a price they can afford. AHSTI has built 2,047 new homes and rehabilitated 198 homes in Hidalgo County (McAllen, Texas) in the past 15 years. The loan from the Seton Enablement Fund will be used for a permanent AHSTI Training House for its comprehensive training program in basic home repairs so that homeowners are able to maintain their homes. AHSTI also includes a Tool Lending Library to accommodate the needs of economically disadvantaged families. Ecumenical Church Loan Fund International (ECLOF) was founded in 1946 by the World Council of Churches in response to the desperate needs in Europe after World War II. The purpose was to assist small entrepreneurs and farmers from being dependent and vulnerable to being self-reliant. Sixty-seven percent of their borrowers are women. Women are known

to be much more likely to invest their earnings in the health and nutrition of the family and the education of the children. ECLOF has expanded its reach beyond Europe into Latin America, Africa and Asia. The loan from the Seton Enablement Fund will enable ECLOF to offer micro loans to an additional 500 entrepreneurs, especially women, in rural areas. These micro loans and financial services will help them build assets, generate income, and protect themselves from the risks of living in poverty. Each of these loans and the others that were approved by the Leadership Council are responsive to our 2015 Chapter call to recognize the needs of our neighbors, no matter how near or far, and to address environmental concerns as well. The committee reviews loan requests and responds as a labor of love. They are both proud and humbled by what the congregation can accomplish through the loan fund. At the committee’s April meeting Associate Jackene Laverty was recognized for her faithful service as she completed her two terms on the committee. It was also S. Martha Walsh’s last meeting of the Seton Enablement Fund Committee. She completed 12 years as administrative director and expressed her gratitude in being able to do so. S. Patricia Wittberg began her new position as administrative director of the Seton Enablement Fund on June 1.



Statistics and Dollars Allocated as of June 30, 2017 Total Loans/Investments

Locations of Loans/Investments


Since Inception of the Program (1979)

Committed Funds Distributions Low Income Housing Community Development, Co-Ops, Land Trusts Business Ventures Other

26 19 29 5

Total Current Loans and Deposits as of 6/30/17


Cumulative Number of Loans/Investments = 389 Cumulative Dollars Loaned/Invested = $28,837,500

Loans/Investments for FY 2017 SEF Committee Members for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 S. Peggy Deneweth S. Noreen Ellison Catherine Herzog S. Sandy Howe Jackene Laverty Barry Mersmann

S. Jean Miller Tim Moller S. Katharine Pinto Nicki Veldhaus S. Martha Walsh S. Clarann Weinert

A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

• Affordable Homes of South Texas • Cornerstone Corporation for Shared Equity • Ecumenical Church Loan Fund International • La Amistad, Inc. • Network for Oregon Affordable Housing • SosteNica • Texas Community Capital • Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation

Africa Arkansas Arizona California Canada Colorado Connecticut Florida Illinois Indiana Kentucky Maine Massachusetts Michigan Mississippi Nebraska New Hampshire New Mexico New York North Carolina Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina Switzerland Texas Vermont Washington Washington, D.C. Wisconsin

1 2 1 2 1 3 2 1 1 2 2 2 3 4 2 1 1 7 7 1 11 1 3 3 1 1 3 1 2 4 3

There are loans that are domiciled in the U.S. but serve foreign countries including: Ecuador, Haiti, Peru, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, South Africa, Armenia, Georgia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, India, Botswana, and Nigeria, among others. 25


Create the Future Together By Amelia Riedel


ust as the members of the Sisters of Charity Federation gathered to contemplate how to “cross over the bridge to the future we are creating together,” the staff and board members of the SC Ministry Foundation continue to reflect and discuss how we can partner with our grantees to create a better future for those in need by promoting the mission of the Sisters of Charity. SC Ministry Foundation fulfills the Sisters of Charity mission to “share our resources with those in need” most directly through our grant-making efforts. During Fiscal Year 2017, the foundation awarded 251 grants to 125 nonprofit organizations, including 63 organizations that benefit from the involvement of at least one Sister of Charity. These grants assisted people in need throughout 17 states across the U.S. and three countries across the globe. SC Ministry Foundation strives to “build loving relationships” through our regular interactions with Sisters, grantees and funding partners. We foster positive relationships with our grantees by providing additional assistance beyond our grants through various learning opportunities. A recent survey of more than 100 of our grantees conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) revealed that SC Ministry Foundation ranked in the top 15 percent of CEP’s dataset of 50,000 grantees for the strength of our relationships with our grantees. 26

As SC Ministry Foundation continues to “cross over the bridge to the future” with our grantees, the strength of our relationships will serve as a vital component to addressing many challenges that lie ahead. When the CEP survey asked our grantees about the impact of the 2016 election on their nonprofit organizations, 80 percent responded that the changing U.S. political landscape would have a generally negative impact on their ability to carry out their mission. To address this negative impact, 74 percent of grantees reported that they would increase their emphasis on advocacy and policy, and increase their collaborations with other nonprofit organizations.

Creating a Better Future for Families One notable example of the benefit of collaboration is a recent initiative that addresses the lack of affordable housing in the Greater Cincinnati region. The program has emerged through a strong collaborative effort among many of our grantees, including the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, Santa Maria Community Services, Price Hill Will, Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio, Working in Neighborhoods and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. These organizations joined efforts with the City of Cincinnati and other local partners to create a homesteading program which turns vacant houses into affordable homes for lowincome families.

Ken Smith, executive director of Price Hill Will, presents a key to the first family to participate in the homesteading program.

Through the homesteading program, the repairs needed to bring a vacant house to building code compliance are completed. Low-income families with the ability and desire to perform additional renovations are matched with the home. Then, over the next five years, if the family maintains low monthly payments and completes a specified list of repairs, they will have the opportunity to become owners of the home. Currently two families have benefitted from the program, which is especially life-changing for immigrant families who may have difficulty acquiring a traditional home loan. The homesteading program exemplifies the charism of the Sisters of Charity to “dare to risk a caring response.” An aging house gets repaired and contributes to improved property values in a neighborhood. A family moves from the burden of over-priced rent payments to becoming owners of an affordable home. And the larger community benefits from this program that was possible through the support of the SC Ministry Foundation and the Sisters of Charity. I N T E RC O M

Creating a Future for a Cleaner Earth While mainstream society debates the efficacy of climate change and the need for renewable energy sources, the Sisters of Charity congregation and Sponsored Ministries adopted “green practices” within their facilities through support from “Care for Creation” grants from SC Ministry Foundation. The grants were awarded in recognition of the foundation’s 20th anniversary, and have produced compelling results. The grant to the SC Congregation supported efforts to provide renewable energy to houses on the Motherhouse property through solar arrays and geothermal technology. St. Joseph Home is utilizing the funding for the creation of a walking trail, garden and shelter for residents and respite guests to share with the community. Several ministries utilized the grant to support energy-saving LED lighting upgrades. Seton High School’s lighting upgrades are predicted to reduce annual energy costs by more than $900, and Bayley’s upgrades for lighting units that illuminate for 24 hours reduced their energy use by 50 percent. Mount St. Joseph University replaced 10,000 light fixtures with LED bulbs, which reportedly saves the equivalent of removing 246 cars from the road. In addition to lighting upgrades, DePaul Cristo Rey High School utilized the grant to improve air quality, install energy-efficient kitchen appliances, and to add shade trees to their outdoor gathering space. Each ministry has demonstrated their commitment to saving energy and preserving natural resources as part of a collective effort to protect God’s creation for future generations.

Creating the Future of Philanthropy As the SC Ministry Foundation prepares to cross over the bridge to create the future of philanthropy as related to the mission A N N U A L R E P O RT 2 0 1 7

of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, we are keenly aware that the future is only possible because of the passion, wisdom and commitment of those who served before us. We are deeply grateful for the dedication of the following Sisters of Charity who served on the SC Ministry Foundation Board of Directors during Fiscal Year 2017: Sisters Joan Elizabeth Cook, Sally Duffy, Maureen Heverin, Carol Leveque, and Patrick Ann O’Connor. We would also like to thank the Sisters of Charity who graciously served as members of a Board Committee: S. Carol Bauer, Finance Committee; Sisters Marcel DeJonckheere, Karen Hawver, and Christine Rody, Grant Review Committee; and S. Louise Lears, Program Committee. We are grateful for all of the gifts God has shared with us, and we ask for God’s blessings as we humbly continue our mission to serve God’s vulnerable children in need. DePaul Cristo Rey High School utilized its “Care for Creation” grant to add shade trees to the school’s outdoor gathering space.

Intercom is the 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 285 Sisters are joined in their mission by 205 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 23 U.S. dioceses and in two foreign countries. 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 Director of Communications

S. Georgia Kitt Executive Council Liaison

S. Mary Bookser Advisory Board Members:

Veronica Buchanan S. Mary Ann Flannery S. Tracy Kemme Mary Jo Mersmann S. Joyce Richter Debbie Weber 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: Subscriptions: $15 per year

5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 sistersofcharityofcincinnati 27

5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051

Annual Report 2017  

The 2017 Annual Report for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

Annual Report 2017  

The 2017 Annual Report for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.