Intercom S I S T E R S
C H A R I T Y
C I N C I N N AT I
Dear Sisters, Associates and Friends,
n his book Love Poems from God, Daniel Ladinsky relates the thoughts of St. John of the Cross on grace:
Contents FEATURES Celebrating Our Jubilarians .......................6 Community gathers to celebrate Sisters’ anniversaries. The Work of Elizabeth Seton’s Mustard Seed ..........................................12 Leaving our legacy in the cities of Pueblo, Trinidad and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Jubilarians Share 40 Years of Ministries and Experiences.......................................18 Sisters Pat Hayden and Marie Virginia Lovato share community in Colorado. It All Begins With Faith ..........................20 Associate Carol Llewellyn’s commitment to the SC mission. Renewed Hope ........................................22 Sisters return to El Salvador after living and ministering in the country. In Elizabeth’s Footsteps............................23 MSJU faculty and staff travel to the National Shrine of Elizabeth Seton. DEPARTMENTS OPJCC ...................................................10 When Love Called: A Reﬂection of My Border Experience Vocation/Formation ................................21 The Apostolic Novitiate Motherhouse/Mother Margaret Hall ......25 Worth the Wait From the Archives ...................................26 S. Isabella Glenn On the Cover: Cover photo of S. Blandina Segale courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA) Negative #67735. 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.
“What is grace? I asked God. And God said, “All that happens.” Then when I looked perplexed God added, “Could not lovers say that every moment in the Beloved’s arms was grace? Existence is my arms, though I well understand how one could turn away from me until the heart has wisdom” (p.321).
In this issue of Intercom we read of many ways our Sisters, Associates and employees live God’s grace on a daily basis. The articles range from our work with immigrant families arriving in the El Paso, Texas, area, our long legacy in Colorado, reflections on some of our time in El Salvador and more. We learn about this year’s jubilarians, who celebrate years of dedicated service to the Gospel, and hear from our Vocation/Formation team about our work with our newest members. Our excitement continues to grow as we read about the canonization efforts for our unique and beloved S. Blandina Segale. We spotlight Sisters, Associates and employees, and learn of other Charity Family news, including Mount St. Joseph University’s mission trip to Emmitsburg, Maryland, and the impact of our Mother Margaret Hall renovation on some of the Sisters there. And what of all of this? In the stories of our daily lives, our ministry together (past and present) and in our Congregational work to impact current justice concerns, we live every moment in grace. In this issue we see so many whose hearts have the wisdom to recognize that in “all that happens” and in all that has happened, we are held in the arms of our Beloved, our God. With this as our truth, how can we do anything other than lift our hearts, our very beings, in gratitude and joy? Or, as one of my favorite hymns proclaims: “Since Love is Lord of Heaven and Earth, how can (we) keep from singing?”
S. Mary Bookser
Mem-bits This column by S. Benedicta Mahoney offers brief glimpses of the past, tiny bits of memories. Do you remember? Were you there? Did you know? September 1685 – Thomas Bayeux, a Huguenot, escaped from France, sailed to America, and settled in New Rochelle, New York. He raised a family of seven children, one of whom was Marie Bayeaux, who eventually became the grandmother of Elizabeth Ann Bayley.
Mrs. Mary Bayeux Charleton, maternal grandmother of St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton.
Sept. 11, 1954 – For the first time in Sisters of Charity history, postulants were permitted to drive the Motherhouse car. Four postulants were assigned to teach at our Price Hill schools and would drive there throughout the school year. Not only had they been certified to teach, but they had also been licensed to drive.
Feb. 27, 1955 – The original outside walkway on the west side of the Motherhouse chapel was razed. The supporting beams embedded in the brick wall had to be taken out. The new walkway would be in use in time for the heavy summer traffic. September 1997 – S. Montiel Rosenthal left for Armenia to serve there for five years. As an M.d., Sister would assist the medical staffs, exposing them to Western approaches to medicine; as an SC, she would give competent and compassionate medical care.
In Memoriam Please visit “In Memoriam” at www.srcharitycinti.org for biographical information and reﬂections on the Sisters of Charity and Associates who have died. May our Sisters and Associates enjoy the fruits of their labor as well as peace with their God. S. Therese Marie Moledor September 20, 2014 S. Joseph Maria Bensman August 22, 2014
S. Montiel Rosenthal with the Armenian Sisters and a camp aide outside the Armenian Sisters Camp for Needy Children, where S. Montiel assisted for several years.
July 11, 1998 – The town square of Cicagna, Italy, was dedicated in honor of S. Blandina Segale. The church on the square, San Giovanni Battiste, is attached to the tower of the old church where Maria Rosa Segale had been baptized in 1850.
The memorial plaque in Cicagna, Italy, dedicated in S. Blandina Segale’s honor. FA L L 2 0 1 4
Holy Mystery Revealed in Our Midst LCWR Annual Assembly held in August By S. Joan Elizabeth Cook
oly Mystery Revealed in our Midst” was the theme of this year’s annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). About eight hundred women gathered in midAugust in Nashville, TN, all of us elected leaders of women’s congregations serving in the united States and representing approximately 57,000 Catholic Sisters. The assembly included prayer services, presentations, moments of quiet reflection and small group conversation, business and executive sessions, and social opportunities. The members of Region 6, which includes Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, hosted the assembly. The presentations offered rich food for thought at this moment in our Church. President Carol zinn, SSJ, drew on the Music City culture of Nashville in her address, “The Music in the Heart of God that Sings through Our Lives.” She focused on five elements of music: melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, and silence. Quoting from Church documents, she related those elements to areas of religious life: the presence of Christ in the world, charisms, contemplative consciousness, commitment to community, and conversion. She challenged us, “Are we singing to the Lamentations?” Keynote speaker Nancy Schreck, OSF, invited us to reflect on the mystery of God’s revelation in darkness. She focused on Isaiah 45:3, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, God of Israel, who calls you by your name.” She developed this idea by focusing on three phases of our life since Vatican II. The first phase, the fifty years since the Council, was a time of implementation of Council decrees to follow Christ, return to the original spirit of our founder, adapt to the changed conditions of our time, and promote among us adequate 4
knowledge of the social conditions of our times and of the needs of the Church. Now we are in the second phase, the “middle space.” Religious, economic, social, and cultural institutions that served us well in the past are no longer relevant or effective, and whatever is emerging is not yet evident. Nancy invited us to remain in this middle space and be attentive to its darkness, injustice, diminishment, and struggle where Holy Mystery is being revealed to us. Speaking about what we are learning will be a source of the wisdom to lead us to the third phase, mature love and commitment. Nancy’s words resonate with our own work of preparation for our 2015 General Chapter. We are reflecting together on the current realities that impact our world and our Congregation, in order to glean wisdom for our future. In her acceptance speech, Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ, Outstanding Leadership Awardee, thanked the leaders in her own Congregation who have encouraged her to remain true to her own integrity in the midst of the challenges she has faced. She described her work as a theologian to “think about the meaning of faith and the way it is practiced. The purpose is to shed more light on the Gospel, so it can be lived out with deeper understanding and vibrant love of God and neighbor.” during the business meeting, assembly participants passed a resolution to promote the national transition from fossil fuel energy sources to renewable energy sources as quickly as possible. Transcripts of the presentations are available at https://lcwr.org/calendar/lcwr-assembly-2014. Intercom
Decree Informing the People of God of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Maria Rosa Segale, also known as Sister Blandina.
V atican O pens the
Sainthood Cause of Servant of God, S. Blandina Segale
Let it Be Known Whereas: The People of God of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and beyond have expressed their affection and devotion of Maria Rosa Segale, also known as Sister Blandina Segale, 72 years after her death.
n June 25, 2014, in a joint press conference with CHI St. Joseph’s Children, Archbishop of Santa Fe Michael Sheehan announced the Vatican’s immediate permission to open the Sainthood Cause of Servant of God, S. Blandina Segale. Members of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, friends of the Community, the people of New Mexico, family of S. Blandina and all those who know of her good works are filled with excitement and pride as we await the day when we can call S. Blandina saint.
The People of God have requested of the Archbishop of Santa Fe, to open the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Sister Blandina Segale.
For it is through her example and her work with the poor, the sick and immigrants, through her self-giving and sacrifice that S. Blandina continues to teach and to inspire us today. While it may take years for her canonization to become a reality, we invite you to take some time to get to know S. Blandina Segale, Servant of God.
The Pontifical Congregation for the Cause of Saints has granted the Archbishop of Santa Fe permission to open the Cause of Beatification and Canonization. Therefore: I, Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe, declare open a canonical inquiry of the holiness and heroic virtues of the Servant of God, Sister Blandina.
Included in this issue of Intercom is an eight-page insert devoted to Sister. Learn more about her life and ministries, her trials and triumphs in her biography; say the nine-day Novena; and pray for Sister’s canonization. Let us celebrate together this Sister of Charity who worked tirelessly for the poor and marginalized, advocated for women and children, cared for the sick and built orphanages, hospitals and schools.
S. Blandina Segale, pray for us!
A Cause for Beatification and Canonization is now open. Summon: I summon all persons with knowledge and or evidence of this Servant of God to make known their knowledge and evidence. Appoint: I hereby appoint Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces, as Postulator of the Cause. I accept CHI St. Joseph’s Children as Petitioner of the Cause. Let it be known that Sister Blandina shall now bear the title “The Servant of God.”
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(From left) S. Victoria Marie Forde, S. Celestia Koebel, retired Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, New Mexico, S. Monica Ann Lucas, Victor Limary and Allen Sanchez attended the June 25 press conference announcing the opening of S. Blandina Segale’s sainthood cause.
Celebrating Our Jubilarians
total of 23 Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are celebrating their golden and diamond jubilees this year. They represent 1,320 years of service in the Cincinnati area, in dioceses throughout the United States and in Guatemala, Mexico and the West Indies, caring for the least among us, and meeting the needs of the times. In 2014, the inaugural National Catholic Sisters Week launched. One of the week’s objectives was “to revive and re-establish what it is to be a Sister, letting people know that being a Catholic Sister is a viable vocation in the 21st century.” Fifty or 60 years after entering the Community, with the many experiences each has had along the way, we asked our jubilarians what would they say to someone considering religious life today? A few of their responses follow:
S. Dorothy Ann Blatnica, golden jubilarian
One of the most impressive qualities I see in young adults today is their sense of connectedness to people around the world. Surely this connectedness is the seedbed for hearing the call to religious life. In talking to young women today I hear them expressing a desire to have lives filled with meaning beyond economic success, and contemporary religious life affords the opportunity to just that and to be surrounded by women with the same desires and energies. I entered religious life willing to ‘give it a try,’ and God did the rest. I think young women today will continue to do the same in creative and fruitful expressions of the Gospel. Golden jubilarians receive a blessing from presider, Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM.
(From left) Sisters Marianne Van Vurst, Marie Tessmer, Pat Hayden, Pat Malarkey, Dorothy Ann Blatnica and Winnie Brubach celebrated their golden jubilee on Sunday, Aug. 31.
S. Winnie Brubach, golden jubilarian
To someone considering religious life today I would say try it out! Listen to the voice within that calls. The challenges are many but so are the rewards. The best part is the support of being a part of a company of women walking the same journey.
80 Years of Service
S. Eileen Therese Breslin
75 Years of Service
S. Marianne Van Vurst, golden jubilarian
I can say without a doubt that I have nothing but fond memories of my entire Community life and I would like to encourage any young woman who is considering or thinking about religious life to listen to God and to follow the path and see where it takes you. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!
S. Mary Ann Flannery,
I would ask that person what she anticipates and is looking for. I would tell her that my life has been amazingly fulfilling but it took place in a different place and culture. Nonetheless, she would have the same fulfilling life in the current culture. Happiness is a matter of determining the needs of the Church and society and creating the ministries that will address those needs. We are free to do this as religious women. Many women are looking to us for this guidance and we are compelled to offer it.
S. Loretto Burke S. Mary Helen McKenna
70 Years of Service S. Florence Cremering S. Irene Hrosky S. Ann Martin Klee S. Betty Jane Lillie S. Rosina Panning S. Rosemary Robers S. Grace Schwietering S. Rose Therese Wich
65 Years of Service
S. Joan Cain S. Jean Ann Glutz S. Marian Hart S. Mary Germaine Maximovich S. Joseph Ellen Noppenberger S. Lucia Anne Roney S. Patrice Vales Diamond jubilarian S. Stephen Ann O'Malley enjoys the celebration.
S. Katrinka Gunn, diamond jubilarian
To someone discerning a call to religious life, I would say cultivate a contemplative, open spirit and a loving servant-heart. Most communities have charism, mission and vision statements to inspire your life and ministry choices. Live simply. Trust God to lead you through life’s difficulties and death experiences to new life and transformation. Don’t be afraid because God is unfailingly faithful, utterly trustworthy and unconditionally loving.
S. Marie Virginia Lovato,
(From left) Sisters Loretto Burke and Mary Helen McKenna celebrate 75 years with the Community on Sept. 7.
The Spirit will guide you in prayer and discernment, allowing you to be open and follow your heart to God’s call of service and dedication.
Associate Cathy Colque (left) congratulates S. Donna Collins on her Diamond Jubilee. S. Donna taught Cathy in the first grade at St. Mary’s, Hyde Park.
Celebrating 80 years as a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, S. Eileen Therese Breslin attended the Sept. 7 jubilee.
(Front, from left) Sisters Marie Virginia Lovato, Jean Welling, Kathleen Ann Murray, Judith Gutzwiller, Katrinka Gunn, Elizabeth Jane Mann, (back, from left) Rosemarie Gerrety, Mary Ann Flannery, John Michael Geis, Rose Martin Morand, Shirley Dix, Carol Brockmeyer, Donna Collins and Catherine Kirby were honored on Sunday, Sept. 7 for their Diamond Jubilee celebration. Not pictured Sisters Jeanine Marie Holthouse and Stephen Ann O'Malley.
Social Media Speaks
(From left) Sisters Rose Martin Morand, Kathleen Murray, John Michael Geis, Virginia Diana (former member) and Elizabeth Jane Mann on Sept. 8, 1954.
Press releases and photos from the jubilee celebrations at the Motherhouse were posted on the Sisters of Charity Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sistersofcharityofcincinnati). Below are responses and congratulatory remarks from our Facebook friends. All of us “Lumen girls” were blessed to have you in our lives during those wonderful years. Your life is a bright, shining light. Thank you for your dedication and life of service to all the people of God. Blessings on the years to come! I am forever in your debt for your impact in my life! You’re an inspiration! Congratulations to one of the most gentle, kind, likable, sweet-tempered people at MMH! Fifty years working in the Lord’s vineyard … Congratulations! Love to you all. So fortunate to know and be a part of the SC family. I am grateful to be sister to these great women!
(Front, from left) Sisters Kathleen Ann Murray, Elizabeth Jane Mann, (back, from left) John Michael Geis and Rose Martin Morand together again in September 2014.
So proud –and glad – that I know at least one of them. The truth is that without any of them, our Church would never be the same. Thank you, my friends. Intercom
Charity Family MARY OF MAGDALA, WITNESS AND PROPHET Sisters, Associates and friends of the Community celebrated the Feast of Mary of Magdala, known as “Apostle to the Apostles,” on Tuesday, July 22 with an intercommunity prayer service. This year’s theme was Mary of Magdala, Witness and Prophet. The presider was Michaelle Jones from the Church of the Resurrection, Bond Hill and the reflector was S. Leslie An intercommunity prayer service was held in the Keener, CdP. Following the service Motherhouse chapel on July 22 to celebrate the refreshments were prepared and served Feast of Mary of Magdala. by Power Inspires Progress.
S. BARBARA BUSCH HONORED Congratulations to S. Barbara Busch, who was selected by the editorial team at Venue Media as a recipient of this year’s Women of Influence Award 2014. The award aims to honor women who have helped shape the success of their organization and have demonstrated leadership, professional achievement and continuous contribution to the workplace and community. S. Barbara is the executive director of Working In Neighborhoods, an organization that empowers people to make informed choices for themselves and their neighborhoods through community building, home ownership, and economic learning.
FUTURE OF CHARITY GATHERS IN NEW ORLEANS The House of Charity in New Orleans, Louisiana, hosted the Future of Charity Aug. 22-24 for those in the SC Federation in formation and under 20 years finally professed. Sisters Sandy Howe, Janet Gildea, Alice Ann O’Neill, donna Steffen, Lois Jean Goettke, Tracy Kemme, Andrea Koverman, Affiliate Annie Klapheke and Pre-entrant Romina Sapinoso attended this first gathering to celebrate our common charism and build relationships that will carry into the future. FA L L 2 0 1 4
FIRST GREEN BURIAL TAKES PLACE AT MOTHERHOUSE CEMETERY On July 22, S. Mary Patricia Wagner was the first Sister of Charity of Cincinnati to have a green burial. Sister died on July 20 and was buried in a simple ceremony in the Motherhouse cemetery 48 hours later. Two years ago, the Leadership Council of the Sisters of Charity approved the option to choose a more earth friendly type of burial. “Green” or natural burial involves returning the body to its natural cycle of life. In doing so, individuals are buried in a simple shroud without embalming and without a concrete grave liner. “Today’s celebration of the life of S. Mary Patricia Wagner was so extremely beautiful, prayerful and touching,” said S. Joyce Richter, who with S. Winnie Brubach organized the proposal to allow Sisters the opportunity to choose a natural burial. “This first green burial of our Community was truly a memorable experience as many Sisters prayed and sang on this warm sunny morning. Natural (green) burial is a way of honoring the sacredness of Earth and participating in the natural cycle of life and death. “Having spent several years exploring the possibility and writing up the proposal for green burial, it was a wonderful moment to see this possibility come to pass!” 9
WHEN LOVE CALLEd:
A Reflection of My Border Experience By S. Andrea Koverman
love those occasions when God speaks so clearly and directly to me that there is no questioning, no doubt or second-guessing what I have “heard.” Such was the case when I read S. Janet Gildea’s plea for help at the border. It came at a most providential time, in the final days of my Canonical Novitiate year. Interspersed throughout that period of gift and grace were many challenges. One of which was a deepened awareness of our interconnectedness with one another. I don’t just know this to be true; I feel it in the very deepest part of me, far beyond mere empathy. When you love someone, when they become a part of you, you share not only their joys, but also their pain and suffering. during the past year, it was often a great challenge for me to feel the weight of the suffering I learned about and witnessed, and not to be able to do anything to help relieve it. So when the crisis of people, mostly women and children, making desperate attempts to escape life-threatening violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala erupted, my heart ached for them. I prayed for them and signed petitions regarding their humanitarian treatment and refugee status, but I wanted to do more. S. Janet’s email was just the invitation I needed: “The situation here in El Paso has become more desperate … Anybody able to come?” “Go!” was the immediate word I heard. I was surprised at the intensity and urgency I felt at the thought of going to the border to help. It felt almost desperate, and I knew this is what is meant by, “Caritas Christi urget nos!” Though I don’t speak Spanish (yet), I am strong and healthy and good with a mop and broom, and hoped that would be enough. Thankfully, there was plenty I could do! With overwhelming encouragement, I arrived in El Paso several hours after S. Jean Miller. We met with Fr. Bill and developed a plan for welcoming these refugees and facilitating their unification with contacts in the united States. The three of us attended a meeting with Ruben Garcia of Annunciation House. We learned what is needed to make the process run smoothly for those counting on us for assistance. The next day, S. Jean expertly went into action making contacts and building a volunteer pool to staff the center. I went with S. Peggy deneweth to clean up from the previous group and prepare for the next. Once that was finished, we brought in all the volunteers for 10
training. I tackled the clothing room with a couple other volunteers, going through impressive mounds of donated shoes and clothing, organizing them by size and gender. We were more than prepared when the excited announcement came, “They’re here!” We all went out to greet and make our guests feel welcome. I looked intently at each face as they de-boarded the vans and crossed the short distance to the door. They walked in a line, silently and tentatively, many holding on to one another. I flashed back to an early conversion moment for me, when I was very young and first saw footage of holocaust survivors being led out of prison camps. The raw vulnerability and wounded helplessness I saw looking out from those Jewish eyes now looked at me from these young Hispanic faces. I had to force the smile to remain on my face and not let my own eyes fill with tears. How can we do this to one another? After the guests had been told who we were and how we were going to help them, they made their way through the stations we had set up in the house. I was able to use some of my limited Spanish vocabulary. We put little girls in bright frilly dresses with matching bows for their hair, and boys in colors and styles that they liked. One little guy was so excited that he began to pull at the dirty clothes he had probably been wearing for weeks, yelling, “Pantalones! zapatos!” The last thing I was able to do was to take a young mother and her daughter to the airport with me when I was flying out. Our flights were out of adjacent gates, so I could accompany them through the myriad of security checks and confusion. I made sure they understood that they would have to change planes along their way, and explained their situation to the gate attendant. Heaven bless her, she took immediate action, making a beeline into the plane to inform everyone about these special travelers. She came back and personally escorted them before allowing anyone else to board. Like Pinocchio wishing to be a real boy, I often find myself looking forward to the day when I am a “real” Sister of Charity, and that’s how I felt on this service trip. I was urged, driven really, by the love of Christ. I heard a call and responded. I did what was presented to me. And I had to be satisfied with doing my best, and leaving the rest to our dear God. Intercom
Call to Open Our Hearts By S. Jean Miller
or weeks now we have been watching mothers and children crossing into the united States at the Texas border and turning themselves over to the Border Patrol. They have made a long, dangerous trip through Mexico to cross the river into the united States. These are obviously not terrorists or criminals, they are small girls and boys, babes in arms or teenagers often with their mothers and sometimes unaccompanied. We are a nation of immigrants but these numbers are alarming us, saddening us, and challenging us. Two weeks in July I had the privilege to walk briefly with some of these families, as they arrived at shelters in El Paso, Texas. After their long hazardous journey from Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador, they expressed many different emotions: relief to be out of the violence of their home countries, tension about the unknown language, fear of the next steps, happy to communicate with relatives by phone, joy for a cup of coffee in the morning, contentment for a cup of water or a piece of pizza, and grateful for a welcome smile. during those weeks I continued to ask myself, “Is this our call to conversion and change?” Children and women touch our hearts in a different way. We want to know why they are doing something so difficult. What caused them to leave their country, relatives and friends? Are these causes somehow related to our own policies, practices and behaviors? At the Columban Center, where I was able to help, we received groups of about 21-40 mothers and their children. They were sent to us with an immigration document stating that they were temporarily free to travel to relatives within the united States until they received notice of their court date to determine their status. So this freedom they enjoy now is temporary. So again, why did they do this?
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during my time with them, their stories confirmed for me what I had witnessed last November when I was in Honduras as an official election observer. In the part of the country where I was assigned to observe the elections, violence was palpable. These young people’s stories convinced me that they are refugees from countries where extreme poverty has led to the violence of land issues, drug wars, assassinations, unjust business practices and fear. As we struggle to accept so many people needing a safe place, we experience our own fear of change. Voices and signs shouting, “Go home, we need to take care of ourselves,” block out the values for which the united States has been known and to which our Gospel calls us. At the same time my experience in El Paso was the opposite of rejection. So many volunteers gave of their time, effort, translation, food, service, and great patience. I saw a generosity of the people that was in great contradiction to the news media reports. These refugees’ stories are important for us as we struggle with how to change our attitudes, behavior, relationships and policies, especially toward these countries. Could it be that this moment is our moment of transformation as a country? Can we take hope from some lines from Cynthia d. MoeLoebda’s book, Resisting Structural Evil: Love as EcologicalEconomic Vocation? “Our moment in history is breathtaking. The generations of people now living will decide whether or not life continues on this planet in ways recognizably human and verdant (p.41). Will we open our hearts, homes, cities and country to these young refugees? Will we look at the critical moral questions: “what is going on, why, how are we involved and what change as individuals and as a country is needed in this moment?”
Our Legacy: T he W ork of E li z abeth S eton ’ s M u star d S ee d
eople were flocking from the East to the growing mill towns of Colorado in the late 1800s. Mine-related injuries and typhoid cases were widespread. Dr. Richard Corwin was treating patients in a tiny clinic he opened in Pueblo, Colorado, when eight Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati arrived by stagecoach in 1882 to open St. Mary’s Hospital, the first of three prominent Catholic hospitals in the state. The former two-story boarding house became a temporary quarters for the sick of the area; for rent the hospital relied on charity, especially that of local steel workers. By the following year the Sisters found it impossible to accept all the calls for beds and they moved into a new building at Quincy & Grant, even before the windows and doors were hung. Appreciative citizens helped the hospital prosper. By 1889, 92 patients on average were being cared for. Additional space was added; to raise funds the Sisters endured many hardships and made many sacrifices. Kind-hearted laborers came to their assistance. In 1892 the building was enlarged and 10 years later a school of nursing was opened and another new, four-story structure was begun; still the patients continued to grow. In 1904 a surgical and service building was erected under Sisters Anacletus Murphy and Philip Neri O’Connor; this need corresponded to the surge of industrial growth in Pueblo. The hospital’s centennial magazine recalls: “The spirit of sacrifice was the way the Sisters had chosen, so it was no surprise to see them give up their own sleeping rooms to patients enduring the 1918 influenza epidemic or to provide medical services to a large percentage of their patients in the name of charity.” It is noteworthy that after 50 years of service, in 1933, St. Mary’s Hospital opened a sun porch adjacent to the former department for crippled children. They provided the latest developments in medical science for the care of infantile paralysis victims. The hospital was famed as the pediatric center of southern Colorado. After World War II officials of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company sold Corwin Hospital to the Sisters of Charity for one dollar; in essence it was an outright gift. The Sisters accepted and operated both hospitals simultaneously until a merger occurred in 1957, based on the ever-pressing need for renovation and expansion. It became known as St. Mary-Corwin Hospital. S. Grace Marie Hiltz arrived in 1956 to serve as the administrator; a grafting resulted in the best of services that could be offered by both institutions. Bishop Joseph C. Willging commended the Sisters for their courage in tackling this 12
The entrance of St. Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1993.
enormous project. It was the first hospital to be built over and around another hospital while it was in operation. In 1982, 100 years later, the hospital’s name was officially changed to St. Mary-Corwin Hospital Regional Medical & Health Center. In 1989 the latest in diagnostic imaging came to southeastern Colorado, shared jointly by St. Mary-Corwin and Pueblo Community College. S. Sally Duffy became president and CEO in 1991. In 1993 efforts by Parkview Episcopal Medical Center and St. Mary-Corwin sought to enhance the quality of health care services and reduce costs for the people of Pueblo and the surrounding area. They combined their operations, consolidated services, thus better meeting the local needs. As S. Maryanna Coyle, Congregational president at the time, stated, “Responsible stewardship of what we hold in trust requires this ongoing discernment regarding sponsorship. May our response always be a generous ‘yes’ to God’s call revealed in the needs of God’s people.” Familiar names of Sisters of Charity serving St. MaryCorwin include: Mother Sebastian Shea, Sisters Helen Eugene Williams, Myra James Bradley, Maria Amadea Heaney, Marilyn Therese Beauvais, Mary Ling, Nancy Crafton, Margaret Elizabeth Donnelly and Helen Berson. A native Sister of Charity from Pueblo is S. Jackie Riggio. She has fond memories of growing up in St. Francis Xavier parish, attending both grade and high school there, taught by the Sisters of Charity. S. Jackie appreciated the mix of cultures Pueblo offered. With her dad as a carpenter in the steel mills and her mother one of the women who ‘stood in’ for the men as they were called to war, S. Jackie was happy to sing in S. James Emmanuel’s choir and always volunteered her dad to help with Intercom
school fundraisers. The Riggio children were always the first to volunteer, especially when it meant dad could make the sticks for the Sisters wonderful candied apples, an annual fall event. “I enjoyed Pueblo Catholic High School,” S. Jackie said. “S. Ancilla Marie Petricone was my art teacher and is responsible for my SC vocation, along with my parents, of course. She spoke to my artistic side, encouraged me to try new mediums, and made learning fun. She was a happy soul, laughed a lot and had lots of life.” S. Jackie’s ministries included Pueblo missions to St. Francis Xavier (as teacher), Christ the King (pastoral minister) and S.E.T. (Service, Empowerment & Transformation) of Pueblo. She served for more than 10 years in the S.E.T. program as director, assistant director and program coordinator, leaving in 2002. The Pueblo program offered assistance to low-income families and the poor elderly. Another Pueblo native, S. Marilyn Therese Beauvais, served as a volunteer nurse in the program. A second Colorado hospital was established in 1889 in Trinidad. The pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Rev. C.M. Pinto, SJ, had plans drawn up one year earlier; the Jesuits and concerned laity saw the need and dr. Michael Beshoar donated 35 lots to accommodate the building. To honor a pioneer Trinidad citizen it was named Mount San Rafael. When S. Catherine Mallon and four Sisters arrived in the fall of 1889, the foundation had been started with plans of a two-story structure housing 40 beds. Several ladies in the parish joined the Sisters in holding a fair as the first project to raise the necessary funds for the hospital. The only way S. Catherine knew to raise the needed money was to beg. Mrs. Conroy, who had a horse and buggy, and Miss Kate Foley, who often joined S. Catherine on these trips, shared the dangers and hardships of the trips to mining camps and to railroad employees working in the Trinidad area.
Mount San Rafael hospital in Trinidad, Colorado, in the 1920s.
Just one year later the first Catholic training school for nurses opened with five students. According to the Catholic Hospital Association this was the first nursing program under Catholic auspices west of the Mississippi. The nursing program amalgamated with the program in Pueblo and Colorado Springs in 1933 to form the Seton School of Nursing. By 1902 a new west wing of the hospital with an operating room was erected under the supervision of S. Eulalia Whitty. By 1906 the addition was as big as the original hospital. In 1907 dr. Beshoar, Trinidad pioneer and benefactor, died. In his memory 2,000 additional lots surrounding the hospital were purchased. Early on a special ward was set aside for county charity cases. In 1919 the nurses’ study hall was converted into a chapel by S. Anacletus Murphy. In the 1950s Federal grants were given to help smaller hospitals; one from the Ford Foundation amounted to $28,500. A physiotherapy department was developed for the treatment of polio cases in the vicinity. A blood bank was established in
(From left) Bishop Willging, Msg. Miller, S. Anne Hermine Gerver, S. Cyril Mahrt, S. Frances de Chantal Badhorn, S. Helen Eugene Williams, Fr. Subotich and Msgr. Kelly at the groundbreaking for the renovation and expansion of St. Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado. FA L L 2 0 1 4
to New Mexico and saw the great work being done by the Sisters of Charity at their St. Vincent Sanitarium in Santa Fe. In the agreement Mrs. Glockner asked that the Sisters retain the name and that the Congregation assume the mortgage.
(Back, from left) Sisters Rosarita McKeone, Maria Corona Malloy, Elise Halloran, (front, from left) Mother Mary Romana Dodd, Alan Fisher, architect, and S. Helen Eugene Williams look at the blueprints for the $7.5 million, 12-story Penrose Hospital in 1959.
1953 and expenditures of more than $250,000 were necessary to remodel and improve the first and second floors; this included a modern elevator, the latest in X-ray equipment, new wiring and plumbing and an automatic sprinkler system. In 1969 the Sisters of Charity withdrew from Mount San Rafael, turning over the hospital to local administration, specifically the Trinidad Area Health Association. S. Beatrix Carey was the last Sister of Charity administrator. Sisters who ministered at Mount San Rafael included familiar SC women: Mother Sebastian Shea, Sisters Mary Angus Miller, Mary Jude McKeough, Mary Clare Sheahan, Charles Miriam Strassel, Florentine Bunline, Helen Rezanina, Maurice Cahill, and Roberta Marie Rodgers. In 1893, in Colorado Springs, we find Mrs. Marie Gwynne Glockner of Columbus, Ohio, asking the Sisters of Charity to accept a gift of the Glockner Sanitarium. How did this all come about? In their early teens Marie Gwynne and her brother left their home in Columbus to seek health and strength in Colorado Springs where the high altitude and dry climate were considered ideal for those suffering from tuberculosis. Marie’s brother died shortly after arriving; Marie remained in Colorado with her nurse, Sarah Callahan. At 17 she met and married Albert Glockner, also a victim of tuberculosis. Albert dreamed of and planned for an institution where all alike, rich or poor, could share and benefit from the climate advantages of the Pikes Peak region at a small cost. With his untimely death he did not see his dream come true, but his young widow lost no time in carrying through her husband’s dream. She purchased property two miles from Pikes Peak, and in March 1891, the first patient was admitted to the 25-bed Glockner Sanitarium, the first for tuberculosis in Colorado Springs. The rate was $1 per day which included furnished room, board, laundry, medicine and nursing care. Mrs. Glockner’s childhood nurse directed the care of the patients. After two years it was too great a burden for Mrs. Glockner to keep the sanitarium going; the Sisters of Charity were an answer to her prayer! Miss Callahan had accompanied a patient 14
S. Basilia Applegate was named the board president and the first Sister administrator of Glockner Sanitarium. In the first year of management the Sisters cared for 225 patients; 125 of those were taken without charge. The first years were a great struggle with the Sisters doing all the nursing themselves as the days of ‘trained nurses’ had not yet appeared in the West. In 1899 the SC leadership decided that the best thing to do was to sell the institution rather than try to run it at so great a loss. S. Rose Alexius Broderick, a native of Trinidad, Colorado, was sent to take charge of affairs and complete the sale. She had been a teacher and knew little about hospitals. She was in a very difficult situation, but was determined to save the institution. Having been sent to sell it not save it she consulted with various prominent and influential people in Colorado Springs; they were sympathetic and anxious to have the good work of the Sisters continue. A bazaar was held; this coupled with several generous, direct donations paid off the debt and gave the institution a new start. From 1900 to 1919 a new wing was added, the patient list was steadily growing, and tents were set up for the patient overcrowding. A much needed training school for nurses was organized in 1903; by 1932 it was reorganized and became the Seton School of Nursing. At the dedication of the three-wing Glockner addition in 1908 dr. B.P. Anderson stated: “You see what is perhaps the finest institution of its kind in the West … the perfectly equipped and beautiful institution the eye can see and the mind can encompass, but it cannot see the vast good, the silent acts of mercy and the alleviation of pain, suffering and sorrow, constantly present within these walls, ordered and conducted by a sisterhood of Catholic faith …” By the time of the golden jubilee in 1939, a gala affair, the Glockner Sanitarium and Hospital had dispensed nearly $1 million in charity. In 1940 the Penrose Pavilion was a gift of Spencer Penrose to the hospital for the treatment of cancer; the Pavilion gained an international reputation for the treatment of the disease. By 1945 the number of hospital admissions had neared 1,000. With the permission of Mrs. Glockner the name was changed to Glockner-Penrose Hospital recognizing the generous donations made by Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Penrose and the El Pomar Foundation. In 1959 S. Mary Assunta Stang, controller of the hospital, was elected president of the Colorado Conference of Catholic Hospitals and the $7.5 million, 12-story hospital was dedicated. It adjoined the Penrose Cancer Clinic. From the Penrose Foundation had come the financial backing that made the clinic possible and put the fund drive for the new general hospital over the top. With the permission of the Glockner heirs, the name Glockner was dropped and the title Penrose Hospital was used. Intercom
the Bishop made a visit to Trinidad for the expressed purpose of getting a school for the community. Mr. Baca built a suitable adobe building, and the Bishop visited Mother Regina Mattingly in Cincinnati; she assured him of Sisters for the school the following year.
Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1962.
In 1963 S. Mary Assunta was appointed superintendent, replacing S. Cyril Mahrt, whose portrait was placed on the wall near the chapel honoring her 26 years of devoted service as nurse, director of nursing and superintendent. In 1965 S. Myra James Bradley assumed direction of Penrose Hospital, serving in that role for 15 years. In 1973 she was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Colorado Hospital Association; that same year the El Pomar Foundation gave $1.5 million toward the new construction at Penrose. S. Rose Virginia Brown was elected president of the Colorado Springs Society of Medical Technicians. Mrs. James (Flo) Carris was received into the Sisters of Charity as an auxiliary (later Associate) member with the ceremony taking place in the Sacred Heart Chapel. This was a very busy year! In 1987 the consolidation of Penrose and St. Francis hospitals took place. Two years later the Penrose-St. Francis Healthcare System was established. The last Sister of Charity administrator of the hospital was S. Myra James Bradley, who left Penrose in 1991. That year the new $16 million Ambulatory Care Center was renamed the S. Myra James Bradley Building. Names of SCs familiar to the Glockner-Penrose story include: Sisters Ruth Ann Panning, Sally duffy, Redempta Wittberg, Mary Harrison, Miriam O’day, Rita Agnese Schoenherr, Mary Jean doerr, Melithon Lipan and Mary Gonzales Keough. There is a school in this story. One that was established in the coal mining town of Trinidad, Colorado, and served as a continuous beacon of hope to thousands from 1870 until 2007 when the last Sister of Charity left. It had been an ongoing commitment to the people of Trinidad for all those 137 years. St. Joseph Academy and Holy Trinity School had its beginnings with the likes of Bishop Machebeuf, Mr. don Felipe Baca, the Jesuit Fathers and S. Blandina Segale. How does this story unfold? Bishop Machebeuf and Mr. Baca met in 1869 when FA L L 2 0 1 4
This was the first mission of the Sisters of Charity in Colorado. On Feb. 6, 1870, three Sisters arrived by stagecoach after a long journey fraught with hardships and danger. They were escorted through the bleak, narrow, muddy streets to the adobe structure that would become their convent and the first public and private school in Trinidad. The dwelling was crudely furnished, but clean. The convent beds were made of carpenter’s horses with boards across them on which were wool mattresses. One of the small rooms was converted into a chapel. The Sisters improvised a tabernacle of a wooden box, some muslin, leather and wire. The pastor furnished the books, Mass cards, cruets and wine. This was the first time the Blessed Sacrament had a permanent home in Trinidad! Within a month Sisters Augustine and Louise Barron and Fidelis McCarthy opened a public school with 30 pupils. For the beginning days the Sisters had a catechism, a speller and an almanac; they struggled on without even a blackboard or slates. In April the books arrived from Cincinnati and the work was organized. In a short time the original adobe structure began to crumble and two of the Sisters were sent to beg funds for the erection of a new school. It took less than two weeks to get the necessary funds for a solid adobe building at the corner of Convent and Church streets, called Sisters’ Academy. This building served the community until 1920 when it was declared unsafe and razed to the ground. By 1872 the school had grown sufficiently to warrant the appointment of another teacher. S. Blandina Segale made the trip alone. She was assigned to teach the public school senior group; since the students were not ready for high school work most of the teaching was individual coaching. At the close of
The Class of 1903 at St. Joseph Academy in Trinidad, Colorado.
the school year in 1876, S. Blandina began the building of a new schoolhouse, to be named St. Joseph Academy. Since there was not enough cash to hire help she borrowed a crowbar, went on the roof and began throwing detached adobes to the ground. This brought help; within two weeks the old building was demolished, the rubbish cleared and new adobes made and sunbaked. When classes resumed in the fall the town, the teachers and students were proud of their well-lighted rooms with blackboards built in the walls, modern desks and a stage for Friday exercises. In the summer of 1892 the school board notified the Sisters that if they wished to continue teaching in the public school they would have to change their mode of dress. To this ultimatum S. Blandina replied: “The Constitution of the United States gives me the same privilege to wear this mode of dress as it gives you to wear your trousers. Goodbye.” This ended 22 years of work done by the Sisters of Charity in the public school. The Catholic children continued their instruction in the parish-sponsored school. In 1920 the Sisters sold the community property to the parish and changed the name of St. Joseph Academy to Holy Trinity School. The Holy Trinity building, the Community Hall, the high school and part of the grade school were all completed in 1922. The schools’ vocal and instrumental music talent was featured on the local radio station; since radios were not common place in the homes people came to the company’s offices to listen to the evening’s broadcast. S. Mary Gilbert expended her efforts to achieve state affiliation for Holy Trinity which stimulated an interest in a well-rounded academic program. In 1947 a new Memorial addition which adjoins the Community Hall, for both grade and high, relieved crowded conditions. In 1965 a $150,000 remodeling project resulted in a new library and eight new classrooms in addition to 15 more classrooms in the converted Community Hall. The last Sister of Charity to teach at Holy Trinity was S. Donna Bryant who left in 2007. Associate Gloria Cordova’s family and ancestors have been proud to call Trinidad home for nearly 200 years. Fisher’s Peak and Holy Trinity Church are cherished landmarks for Trinidadians. “Trinidad, Holy Trinity School and the Sisters of Charity are synonymous among memories for me. When I am back home in Trinidad I am fondly reminded of being in beautiful processions, attending family baptisms and funerals, and family and school reunions,” Gloria said. S. Rosaleen Simpleman, too, shared cherished memories of growing up in Trinidad. “Memories at Holy Trinity grade and high schools bring a smile to my face and gratitude to my heart as I reflect on the Sisters of Charity in my life from first through 12th grades. Their dedication, love of life and nature, as well as adventure and fun inspirited me. It all started when I was welcomed on my first day of school by S. Ermina O’Bryan. From that day forward I experienced a full, well-balanced Catholic education at Holy Trinity. “Music was an important part of the wholistic curriculum of the era. My interest and participation began when I was in the second grade. S. Francis Miriam Kirchner directed a choral group 16
Pueblo Bishop Charles Buswell and Fr. Sebastiani with Sisters ministering at Holy Trinity in Trinidad, Colorado, in the late 1960s, including Sisters Marie Virginia Lovato, Rosalie Riggio and former member Associate Gloria Cordova.
and selected four second graders to be in the chorus. The high school members tutored us to learn Pange Lingua in preparation for Holy Week liturgical processions. By the time I was in high school I was participating in Glee Club, choir and private music lessons. S. Virginia Marie Burke gave immeasurable energy and dedication to teaching and directing performances that parents and community enjoyed. For me, she was an influence that led to my entering the Sisters of Charity. “My association with the Sisters of Charity extended beyond the classroom, especially after graduation. For a couple years, as I recall, young Sisters came to Trinidad in the summer for studies or formation. Included in their schedule was an occasional trip to Monument Lake for a recreational day. I would accompany them which meant I shared in the fun and saw SCs in a role other than teacher. Another adventure experience was with a couple of friends, my brother, and S. Mary Boniface Baca when we fulfilled a mutual dream to climb Fisher’s Peak. It definitely was a challenge as well as an adventure. Imagine Sister climbing in habit!” Featured here are only those institutions where SCs served more than 90 years. God, we SCs, and the people of these Colorado towns know the SC influence was felt and appreciated in many ways; the schools, social service agencies and parishes where we have ministered carry the legacy. More than 130 women religious SC vocations have resulted; the Colorado legacy continues to carry Jesus’ message. Elizabeth Seton’s mustard seed has fallen on fertile soil, in some cases rocky, but her dream of meeting the grace of the moment and making God’s love known has spread far and wide. Sisters and Associates living and ministering in Colorado Springs and Pueblo today continue to serve, using their diverse gifts. We have come to a new understanding and appreciation of the Charity legacy, charism and mission and the dedication of those women and men with whom we walk. Intercom
Hazard Yet Forward By S. Marge Kloos
reparations for Chapter 2015 (Feb. 27-March 7) are well underway. Every four years the vowed members of the Community use this period of preparation to engage with one another in a prayerful assessment of our lives. During the past seven months we have taken a closer look at the world as well as that of our communal life. Our assessment gives us a glimpse at the emerging trends that will likely influence our Chapter agenda. In the first part of this assessment process Congregational small groups of Sisters and Associates identified and discussed the “signs of the times.” What societal and global realities do we need to pay attention to as we move into the next 10 years? Whose needs are at stake because of these realities? Whose needs are going unaddressed? With whom might we be called to share life in the work of creating a more just planet? Since our last Chapter (2011), Pope Francis was elected. His energetic commissioning to care for those living in poverty has inspired and encouraged many. At the same time, Catholic Sisters in the United States continue to wait for the outcome of the doctrinal investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Apostolic Visitation. Undeterred by this period of uncertainty, younger women who are moved by aspirations to work with those living in poverty, often on the margins of society, are seeking to join religious communities. This is good news for the world. Globally, food security, violence, war and unprecedented epidemics disproportionately impact the lives of our sisters and brothers living in poverty. Humans have become more mobile as a matter of survival and immigration has become a more visible reality across the developed world, as has human trafficking. Since 2011 many in US society continue to struggle economically, while others have begun to acknowledge the simple fruits of sustainable living. Since our last Chapter, noted economists point out that wealth distribution in the United States has become the most unequal since the beginning of the 20th century. Earth, too, is experiencing a period of unprecedented distress, exemplified by climate change, unacceptable air quality, and depleted water sources across the planet. Almost 1 billion people exist without access to potable water. Our own Congregational footprint is calling us to new awareness about “living simply in a complex world.” Even as our gaze has been firmly fixed on the world around us, this is also a time during which we are taking a long, loving look at our internal, Congregational realities. Deep introspective reflection about the quality of our vowed lives together inspires us to realistically assess our overall wellbeing. Spiritual, physical, F all 2 0 1 4
relational, and financial resources empower us for mission. So we use this time of preparation to respectfully consider the temporal and spiritual gifts sustaining our mission. We are fewer and older. Since our last Chapter, 66 Sisters have died. These women inspire and encourage us to move forward for life and service. Our physical resources, such as the Motherhouse and grounds, continue to be an asset for ministerial outreach and caring for our aging members. Since 2011, we have undertaken and almost completed the renovation of our infirmary, Mother Margaret Hall. Sisters can now request a “green burial,” a simple and dignified form of burial that allows for one’s body to be returned to Earth without chemicals or non-biodegradable materials. We continue to evolve responsible and appropriate patterns of living that celebrate and honor our dignity. Our workforce for ministry, while vibrant and committed, is shifting toward volunteerism. We continue as sponsors of institutions. As we move into our future many small groups imagine that we will shift into new roles, responsibilities, collaborations, and ministerial commitments. We have explored multiple implications and emerging trends within religious life. For many women religious this period of history can best be characterized as living the Paschal Mystery. Without change and even death there can be no new life. As we journey inward together we are being sensitized to the vulnerability we share with so many of our brothers and sisters on the planet. Without vulnerability there can extend little by way of a believable empathic response or authentic expression of hope. We are in the time of vigil, a time of vulnerability which is indeed opening us to the possibilities of new life. Nancy Schreck, OSF, recently offered a helpful perspective about the prophetic way forward for today’s women religious. “The prophetic task now in our contemporary society is exactly to perform hope that is characteristically a tenacious act of imagination, grounded in a dream, rooted in the elusive but faithful authority of God. The prophet is the one who dares to speak such a future out beyond all evidence. The work is not simply to reiterate old acts of hope but to be informed by such old acts in order to perform acts that may be grounded in divine initiative.” These months of preparation have indeed been an immersion into “divine initiative.” May we “meet our grace” as the prophetic vision for the next 10 years and beyond comes into view. 17
Ministries and Experiences JuBILARIANS SHARE 40 YEARS OF
n keeping with the spirit of S. Blandina Segale, who headed west on a wagon train to Trinidad, Colorado, S. Marie Virginia Lovato also boarded a train for uncharted territory. Born and raised in Sopris, Colorado, a small city outside of Trinidad, Sister was headed east in February 1955 to join the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. For the next 20 years of religious life, S. Marie Virginia was missioned to Loyola and Sacred Heart Schools in denver, Colorado. Then she headed south to Albuquerque where she taught second graders at St. Mary’s. In 1972 she returned to Sacred Heart School. Born in Canada S. Pat Hayden was adopted by a family in the united States. Her father was a uS Air Force pilot and the world was her playground. She spent her beginning years in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. By kindergarten her family was in Wichita, Kansas, where she became a uS citizen. Her family lived in Florida, Colorado, Morocco and Africa and visited Europe, Central Africa and Mexico. She grew in a deep understanding of peoples and culture at an early age. S. Pat entered the SC Community in September 1964 and was missioned to St. Jude in Cincinnati and then in 1970 found a position at St. Rose of Lima, denver. All the time teaching math and science to grades five through eight. 40 years of Support and Community (1974-2014) Two Sisters of Charity from two different and yet common backgrounds came to share ministries and experiences during their next 40 years of commitment while serving the people of God in Colorado and New Mexico. In 1970, with the changing times after Vatican II, the Sisters of Charity were given the opportunity and responsibility of finding their own
(From left) Sisters Rose Therese Wich, Pat Hayden and Marie Virginia Lovato
ministries. In 1974, responding to God’s call, Sisters Pat and Marie Virginia found themselves working together in their ministries of education at Sacred Heart School in denver. At that time it was the standard practice for Sisters to live in the convent provided by their place of ministry. At the turn of the century Sacred Heart Convent housed 32 Sisters. By 1974, only five Sisters remained at the convent, and of those, three chose to move to different ministries in the coming year. Sisters Pat and Marie Virginia elected to continue their ministry at Sacred Heart School and became the last two Sisters living at the convent. Because of financial burden on the parish and safety issues, Sisters Pat and Marie Virginia sought and received permission to move to an apartment and continue ministry at Sacred Heart in the inner city of denver; apartment living was a new and different experience for both. While at Sacred Heart their ministry roles changed three times. Originally they both taught middle school students. Later, as a result of the availability of the role of principal and the declining number of students, the Sisters proposed a new model which allowed them to continue their love of teaching while fulfilling the administrative responsibility of the school. This allowed them to develop their talents. S. Marie Virginia, with great people skills, handled all the public relations and was able to provide ministry to both English- and Spanishspeaking parishioners. S. Pat managed all aspects of finances, communications, and relationship with the archdiocese. during these six years S. Pat started girls’ basketball and volleyball programs in the school. In 1979 the school was closed for financial reasons. Intercom
After the school closed Sisters Virginia and Pat made the conscious decision to stay in the parish and develop programs for women, children, and youth. Because of their work in the parish, the warden at Denver Juvenile Hall requested that they develop weekly classes for young boys and girls to help them find themselves and boost their selfesteem. “We continually responded to unmet needs of not only Sacred Heart parishioners but also the surrounding local community,” they said. “Our shared values and commitment as Sisters of Charity was essential to this ministry and helped us to survive.” Because of diminishing parish resources in 1982 there was only sufficient funding for a single parish minister. S. Marie Virginia remained in parish ministry at Sacred Heart and formed a new community with other Sisters in the Denver area. S. Pat moved to St. Pius X in Aurora where she lived alone for two years and worked on her MA. For the next four years she lived in community with another Sister of Charity in the Denver area. After ministering alone at Sacred Heart Parish for a year S. Marie Virginia resigned and move to Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the next year she lived at Blandina Convent and taught at San Felipe School. In 1985 she began work on her MA in theology in San Antonio, Texas. As part of this program she had the opportunity to minister in Peru. Upon completion she moved to Roswell, New Mexico, where she served on the parish leadership team, developed lay leadership teams in English and Spanish to serve the needs of the community, and also served as the parish administrator as needed. Over the years Sisters Marie Virginia and Pat developed many programs individually that were useful in serving both of their ministries in Roswell and Aurora. Three times a year
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they traveled to each other’s parish and served as a consultant in adult leadership and women’s retreats for the other parish. They continued to work together even though they worked in different states. After Roswell, S. Marie Virginia returned to Albuquerque where she served as director of the 100-bed Archdiocesan Retreat and Conference Center. Here she ministered to a variety of communities both local and international who came to the Center. After 15 years of ministry in different states S. Marie Virginia returned to Denver because of health issues; she began her ministry as a volunteer in the Pastoral Care Department at St. Anthony North Hospital where S. Pat works. In 1990 S. Pat began a new ministry. She completed a year of CPE, Clinical Pastoral Education, to become a certified chaplain in health care. Initially she was hired as a chaplain for St. Anthony North Hospital and over the past 23 years has advanced to her current position as the vice president of Mission Integration. They reflect: “In all these years living in separate states or living together we were there for each other in ministry and challenging family situations including the deaths of brothers, niece and nephews, but through our commitment to others, we were community to each other. “In reflecting on the last 40 years of various ministries and community living situations, we realize our true commitment as Sisters of Charity is strengthened by our shared lifestyle and our common values. While there are nine Sisters of Charity living in the Denver area in a variety of living situations we come together as community on a regular basis to discuss community issues, to relax and enjoy each other. While Sisters and Associates do not live together in community, we have and will continue to support each other as the need presents itself.”
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It All Begins With Faith By Megan Moore, Communications student co-op
hen Carol Llewellyn was approached by S. Emily Anne Phelan about becoming an Associate, though she was ecstatic and eager to begin the discernment process, she couldn’t help but wonder, “What had Sister, a deeply religious and intelligent woman, seen in me that compelled her to ask me to become an Associate?” After speaking with Carol, the answer is clear; her undying faith and commitment to the SC mission comes naturally and pervades her entire spirit. “At certain points in time I contemplated becoming a Sister, but I chose to marry and start a family. Becoming an Associate allows me to still be a part of the Community,” she said. “This was the best decision I could make.” Carol attended Seton School in Pueblo, Colorado, where she first came into contact S. Emily Anne Phelan (left) approached Associate Carol Llewellyn with the possibility of with the Sisters of Charity and it was there that becoming an Associate in 2006. she began to admire the Community. Though the school closed in 1971, the year that Carol with grace what God had in store for her. Carol believes that graduated, that was not the end of her encounters it is because she is an Associate of the Sisters of Charity that with the Sisters of Charity. When she went to work as a she has learned to see her health in this more accepting light. development officer raising funds and recruiting new donors “Though my health keeps me from doing everything that for St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, Carol came into contact with I would like to do, I have learned to appreciate every aspect many more Sisters, including S. Emily who first approached her with the possibility of becoming an Associate. In 2006 she of what God has given to me,” said Carol. “I pray the rosary daily and always pray for the Sisters, Associates and the SC made her commitment to the Sisters of Charity. mission.” “I would take my two sons to the St. Mary-Corwin Chapel with me in the mornings. We would see everyone at morning Mass and that created a bond between us,” Carol said when contemplating the relationship that she had developed with the Sisters of Charity at the hospital. “They would always ask about my sons and my family. They cared deeply.” In 2012, Carol retired from her position at the hospital after 40 years due to health issues. It was not easy for Carol, a woman so passionate about the SC mission and so devoted to helping others, to be slowed down by illness, but it was through her connection with God that she was able to accept
Carol’s health may have slowed her down, but it has not stopped her. She returned home in August from a monthlong road trip with her husband and continues to travel from her home in Pueblo to see her two sons, one located in New York, the other in Washington, d.C. “I try to carry out the spirit of Elizabeth Seton through my daily interactions with people and through prayer,” said Carol. “I know that it all begins with faith and being with the Sisters has only helped to deepen my faith.”
The Apostolic Novitiate By S. Donna Steffen
ost religious congregations, like ours, have a second year of Novitiate. The second year, called the Apostolic year, emphasizes the integration of life in the SC Congregation. This includes the living of religious life in a local community, participating in various activities and events that arise within the larger SC Congregation, spending a greater portion of the time in active ministry, and still having some additional time for prayer and reflection. Thus the second Apostolic year is more outward oriented in its focus on ministry, and lends itself to integrating the contemplative and ministerial dimensions of living religious life. It is a sort of transitional year from the Canonical year to a full ministerial life of a vowed religious woman in the SC Congregation.
(From left) Sisters Andrea Koverman, Donna Steffen, Tracy Kemme, Nancy Bramlage, Carol Leveque, Terry Thorman and Maureen Heverin from the closing night of the Canonical Novitiate.
continue a monthly contribution of writing for the NCR online Global Sisters Report in the “Horizons” column, along with several other younger women religious. The second year of Novitiate also importantly includes time for preparation for living the vows of poverty, consecrated celibacy and obedience within the SC Congregation according to our Constitutions, charism and mission statement. The profession of First Vows normally occurs at the conclusion of the Apostolic year of Novitiate.
As the word “Apostolic” suggests, ministry will be a central aspect of this year. Sisters Andrea Koverman and Tracy Kemme will each be doing ministry 20-25 hours per week. S. Andrea’s ministry will be at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) in Cincinnati. During the winter/spring semester her ministry at IJPC focused primarily on the death penalty issue. Back in the same setting with new administration, S. Andrea is looking forward to learning and engaging more with the other justice issues IJPC works with, such as non-violence and immigration.
Rather than regular class sessions about theology, SC history, or spirituality, we will be focusing on each of the vows. Some areas of exploration will include the lived meaning of the vows as a Sister of Charity, their Gospel foundation, God’s call, and both the challenge and gift of each of the vows. We have already begun reflecting on an understanding of the vows through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching presented by S. Simone Campbell, SSS, and in light of Earth Spirituality, using the book In the Service of Life: Widening and Deepening Religious Commitment by S. Elaine M. Prevallet, SL.
S. Tracy applied for and was chosen for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development internship, offered through the Social Action Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. After various ministerial experiences of direct service with the poor, working with the CCHD will give S. Tracy the opportunity to see how grants are administered, to meet with those requesting them, while representing the granting agency. She will also
Deepening an understanding of the vows and of living religious life in this new millennium is integrally connected to concerns of the world in which we live. Before moving into the regular schedule of life, ministry, and prayer this autumn, S. Andrea, S. Tracy, Affiliate Annie Klapheke, and myself, along with a SCL candidate, Mallory, will be hosted by S. Caroljean Willie, our Federation NGO at the United Nations.
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Renewed Hope By Sisters Irene Mraz and Christine Rody
inking, connecting, remembering, rejoicing, sharing—all were the experiences of Sisters Irene Mraz and Christine Rody as they joined about 15 of the almost 70 other priests, Sisters, lay women who had come to serve on the Cleveland Latin American Mission (CLAM) in El Salvador over the 50 years since the Vatican call issued to respond to the faith-based needs of our Central American neighbors. The days of July 8-16, 2014, were spent renewing acquaintances, visiting former and current places of service, catching up on harrowing, mundane and funny stories of their experiences and enjoying the sun and beautiful scenery of a country embedded in their hearts. Both Sisters noted the many changes since their time (S. Irene, 1981-’86 and S. Christine, 1976-’80). Many more roads had been paved, electric lines reached further into the countryside, busses were no longer remnants of the 1940s and 1950s, foot travel and ox carts along major highways were replaced by many more cars and trucks. Cell phones, malls, restaurants, fast food places with connections to the united States, and even gated communities had been added to Salvadoran life. Some of the traditional ways still could be seen. Farmers still tied up traffic now and then as they moved small herds of cattle across the road to different pastures and occasionally a woman still carried her goods for market in a basket on her head. What was particularly moving for the former missioners was the meeting of the people. S. Irene commented, “We were greeted with hugs and expressions of love in every village where we had served for so many years. Songs of welcome and beauty were expressed in the liturgies by well-prepared musicians and singers.” S. Christine chuckled as a young man reminded her of a scolding she had given him as a teen caught with a wine bottle. But memories were not all for the group. S. Rose Elizabeth Terrell, OSu, who served in Teotepeque, one of the current towns of Clevelanders’ service, took the visitors to a cooperative
farm venture to meet the men who worked together to grow almost 50 different crops (other than corn and beans, the standard crops of the poor farms). The land of the farm was purchased by parishioners from a Cleveland parish and donated to this hopeful and entrepreneurial band of risk takers. The Salvadoran farmers continue to consult with the government agricultural advisors for vegetables and fruits possible for the soil. They were happy to share the history of success of the enterprise, now about three years old. They proudly showed their expansion of the enterprise to include tilapia fish ponds. Education still cannot be taken for granted in some of the poorer areas of the country. Eagerness to learn was still evident on children’s faces in the mountain village of Chiltiupan as we attended the blessing of a new school for grades six to nine. The blessing was accompanied by the usual singing and dancing acts of the children and a reflective mime presentation of the murder and “resurrection” of the four women. No trip to El Salvador could exclude visits to the more known places made even more sacred by the blood of those who gave their lives for the people. Sufferings and trials from the time of the civil war were poignantly recalled in visits to the sites of the death of the four church women, the Jesuit martyrs and Archbishop Romero. Singing of the hymn, “Holy Ground,” spontaneously begun, then used at each site, reminded all that ministry in El Salvador had asked some of us for the totality of gift. In experiencing the many ways people had prepared to welcome us we were assured our efforts had been well received. Festooned palm branches, flowers, banners, singing groups, traditional dances, special foods, even a marching band greeted the former day-to-day sharers of Salvadoran life and allowed a new sharing of joyful love and affection. The two Sisters returned with new memories, renewed hope for the people of El Salvador and linked even more strongly to the commitment of our Church to others beyond the borders of our normal inclusions.
Sisters Irene Mraz (third from right) and Christine Rody (second from right) returned to El Salvador July 8-16, 2014, joining others serving on the Cleveland Latin American Mission (CLAM) to remember, rejoice and share.
In Elizabeth's Footsteps
n June, faculty and staff of Mount St. Joseph university immersed themselves into the heritage and spirituality of the Sisters of Charity heading to Emmitsburg, Maryland, and the National Shrine of Elizabeth Seton. This educational and spiritual retreat, provided by the university’s Office of Mission and Ministry and Mission Committee, was designed to give participants the resources to deepen their knowledge, experience and appreciation of the heritage and charism of the Sisters of Charity. S. Judith Metz, SC Archives director, accompanied the group as the retreat director taking them on tours of the National Shrine and facilitating discussions and reflection activities. At the completion of the pilgrimage participants shared their experiences and insights with colleagues for teaching and further development of the new core curriculum sections on charism and heritage of the Sisters of Charity, and for the common good. A few of their reflections follow. Kathryn Kelly, student financial aid I think I have found a patron saint and spiritual guide for financial aid administrators like me. The wealthy, young Elizabeth Seton, in her work with the widows and children fund in New York City, actually visited homes and talked with families to determine their level of need and established an amount to be given to assist them. My daily work is not all that different – except, of course, for the home visits. Since returning from Emmitsburg I have started each work day with the words St. Elizabeth used to inspire her Sisters, “The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner He wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is His will.” Jamie Leslie, nursing faculty I was deeply inspired by the human-ness of Mother Seton. Through her letters to people of various ages and relationships, Mother Seton revealed herself as human, challenged by sin and suffering. She responded strongly with prayer, reading of the Scripture and Eucharist when available. Her turning toward God rather than anger and bitterness are a model for me. As challenged as I’ve been, Elizabeth’s challenges seem greater, if only for the time period when she lived at the dawn of this country. Given the equanimity with which she faced those challenges, I am moved to turn more strongly toward a life of prayer and service. Peggy Minnich, director of admissions The thought that keeps running through my mind is how tough it can be to have faith, an unwavering faith, and know that when you take a step into the dark/unknown you have to trust that God will catch you and direct you. For myself, it is so hard to give up control, being willing to accept the direction and outcomes, when that’s not what I thought or felt should happen. Reflecting on Elizabeth’s journey has made me be aware that I need to be in the present and learn FA L L 2 0 1 4
Faculty and staff of Mount St. Joseph University traveled to Emmitsburg, Maryland, in June to learn more about the heritage and spirituality of the Sisters of Charity.
to trust, I need to accept some of the challenges or u-turns presented in life, and remember who really is in control. Patsy Schwaiger, wellness counselor In a letter to Simon Brute in June 1816, Mother Seton stated: “I am going to meet everybody in the grace of the moment, which we can never know till we find the humor and temper of the one we are to meet - the many mistakes all swallowed and comforted by intention, intention, intention.” This quote began our retreat experience and has continued to speak volumes to me. I made it my personal prayer during the retreat experience by paying attention to the unfolding events of each day and attempting to stay present to my own internal reflection and to my fellow travelers. Many images flood my memory of those three days of actual retreat … Taking the time now to write this takes me back to each experience with a longing to return to those places. Then I realize that I can return in my own heart’s experience … a sacred, safe place that will be part of my journey of faith from here on out. 23
Mother Margaret Hall LPN Angel Lawhorn has been working at Mount St. Joseph since 2011.
By Megan Moore, Communications student co-op
love to care for people, to make sure they’re smiling and happy,” said Angel Lawhorn, LPN in Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility at Mount St. Joseph. That’s no surprise to anyone who knows Angel, or anyone who happens to pass by to find her tirelessly taking care of our Sisters, passing out medications, and overseeing the nurse aides. Though the list of her responsibilities can grow long and nursing could hardly be considered a simple profession, Angel says that it’s the women who she cares for who make the work day easy for her. “The Sisters are easy to care for because they’re always very grateful,” she said. “That makes it easier to do your job when you have someone who appreciates what you’re doing.” As soon as Angel was first offered the position, she had no doubts about accepting the offer. “I had heard from people who worked here that it was a wonderful place and that gave me a good feeling about accepting the job,” she said. It was Angel’s first day as a nurse at Mother Margaret Hall that she was able to witness just how caring the staff was when it came to not only the patients, but also the employees. “I was first hired as part time and then that day the schedulers worked endlessly to provide me with a full-time job because they knew that I needed it,” she said. “That same day I became full time. Everyone was very nice and kind.” 24
This position is Angel’s first as an LPN. Before coming to Mother Margaret Hall, she worked at drake Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, for eight years as a nurse’s aide and unit clerk. Over the three years that Angel has worked in Mother Margaret Hall, she has come to appreciate some things that are specific to caring for the Sisters. “Here the patient to nurse ratio is a lot lower [than other nursing facilities], so you know you can provide good quality care,” said Angel. “It makes it easier to create that bond with the Sisters so that they can trust me.” It’s not hard to see that Angel does enjoy her position, especially when she maintains such a positive attitude throughout the day. She claims to owe her enthusiasm to the loving environment that Mother Margaret Hall has to offer. “It’s such a positive atmosphere. The Sisters are very caring and generous in everything they do. They are all such positive people.” The relationships that Angel has developed with the Sisters are not forgotten when she leaves work, rather they follow her throughout her life, both in and outside of her nursing career. “They’ve all impacted my life with the positive, loving, caring relationships that we build on a daily basis,” she concluded. Intercom
Worth the Wait:
MMH construction offers its challenges, but result brings smile to residents’ faces
The nurses’ station on the fifth floor of Mother Margaret Hall.
By S. Carol Leveque
ometimes I feel like they are coming through the wall,” said S. Ann Koebel when asked about the construction at Mother Margaret Hall (MMH). “But I am grateful for their work. What they have done is just amazing. “I am impressed by the construction workers,” she added. “They are very kind and thoughtful. And our own staff has been wonderful through it all. They have a remarkable spirit and truly minister to us. There is something special about them.” The above comments seemed to be a theme in interviews with residents about the ongoing construction at MMH. “Not as bad as expected,” was the majority opinion of staff— in spite of floods, interruptions to programs and the confusion that comes from trying to find people whose rooms have just been changed. “The beat goes on,” said activities director Katie Chambers whose scheduled programs were often interrupted by fire alarm tests, loud drilling and hammering. dust and noise have been the worst of it, said some aides, noting that sometimes the noise started very early. And moves from one floor to another have been stressful for both staff and residents. “But we’re all trying our best,” they said. “The biggest adjustment was at the beginning,” noted Jane Coletta, STNA, “but nowhere near as bad as the first reconstruction in the 1990s. This time they have done a good job of keeping construction areas separate.” “It has been challenging from day one in the corral,” said Michelle Farwick, medical records manager, referring to the small space on the second floor opposite the elevators that was occupied by administrative staff in the early days of office renovation. “When I look back,” she said, “I wonder, ‘How did we do that?’” Michelle was also on the crew that did the moving of Sisters from room to room and floor to floor as work progressed. “It was an indescribable challenge,” she said, noting all the different temperaments to be worked with. “But the team worked well together and now it is like a well-oiled machine.” FA L L 2 0 1 4
(From left) Sisters Carol McCarthy and Marty Gallagher enjoy the comfort of S. Carol’s newly remodeled room in Mother Margaret Hall.
As resident moves took place the team first took pictures of each Sister’s original room and then set the new room up with everything in place as before. “We did not want Sisters to say, ‘This is not my room,’” Michelle said. deep appreciation for new spacious rooms and the organization it took to make the moving smooth dominated comments of residents. When asked about hardships, most said it was the actual physical move, especially when not feeling good, and just getting used to all the changes. “But I would be willing to live through it again,” said one resident. “The result makes it all worth it.” The current construction on the third floor is probably the most challenging as this is a main thoroughfare. dining rooms, a community room, activity offices and much else is affected. “You can’t get there from here,” seems to be the common cry. But everyone is trying to be patient in a “this-too-will-pass” kind of way. Staff and residents alike commented on the patience and graciousness of everyone involved. “You expected noise and you got it,” they said. But there haven’t been a lot of complaints. Of the Sisters interviewed, only one was very unhappy with her room move. But it was not the process of moving. It was a case of missing her old room. In spite of many early apprehensions, and much “annoying drilling,” staff and residents are taking it all in stride – but all are definitely looking forward to the time when they can say, “It is finished!” 25
S. Isabella Glenn FROM THE ARCHIVES–
orn in Aspen, Colorado, on Feb. 2, 1904, Alice Glenn never had the opportunity to meet her father. Three months earlier Alice’s father, Martin, died following a mining accident. Her mother, Katharine, was left to raise her three children on her own. The family of four struggled, and when Alice was 16 years old, her mother sent her youngest child and her only son, Edward, to denver, Colorado, to live with relatives. Alice was to go to a Catholic school and Edward to get a job. When the two arrived, their plans changed. They found a furnished room to rent, and then immediately set out to accomplish their mother’s wishes. Alice hopped on a street car asking to be taken to Sacred Heart School. The driver said it was out of his way, but his daughter attended Cathedral High School and he would take her there. Alice attributed a “whole fleet of guardian angels” to her arrival at Cathedral that September day in 1918. She became particularly close with Father Higgins who helped in her decision to enter the SC Community and who collected funds for her trip to Cincinnati. Four young women entered that year in 1921 from Cathedral – Sisters Augusta zimmer, Ellen Rita Rawley, Marie William Mcdonald and Isabella Glenn; Father Higgins called them his “Incomparable Quartet.” S. Isabella, as she became known, began teaching shortly after she entered on Aug. 15, 1921. She taught for 77 years in various Catholic schools around the country – 21 years as a teacher and principal in Ohio and another 18 years in New Mexico before moving to denver to be with her family in the early 1970s.
It was in 1974 that she was asked to help at Trinidad Catholic on a part-time basis. Soon she was working full-time. She taught drama, English, Latin and speech, but it was her work with the speech program that she remembered most fondly. She established a public speaking and debate program that consistently earned its participants honors and confidence. The annual Trinidad Catholic Speech Tournament each January brought participants from across the state. She became principal of the school in 1996 but continued to be active in the forensics team. In an interview, she recalled the best years of her life being those “when I was teaching speech in Trinidad. I just loved my kids, loved them. You get to know them when you travel with them on the speech meets. It’s the love you remember.” As principal, S. Isabella inspired her faculty to strive for excellence. She sometimes grew weary and discouraged but never abandoned her dedication to the task. She said that even if the job of teaching had grown more difficult over the years, it still remained one that was worth doing, and worth doing well. Her determination always translated into action and by her example she would encourage others to organize and get to work. In the 1990s, when it was learned that Trinidad Catholic’s gymnasium had asbestos in the ceiling tiles and they needed to be removed and replaced at a cost estimated at more than $85,000, most people believed it would be impossible to raise the money. S. Isabella viewed the project as simply one more in an ongoing list of “impossible” tasks which the school had faced over the decades. The gym ceiling was replaced. She received the congregation’s highest award, the Mother Seton Award, in a ceremony at Holy Trinity Convent, Trinidad, in February 2000 for being a “woman of faith, of fidelity, of wisdom, of hospitality, of love.” In 1997 she was inducted into the National Forensic Hall of Fame, which recognized the top speech/debate coaches in the country.
S. Isabella Glenn (front, center) with her students at the 1963 National Catholic Forensics Tournament in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In 1999, S. Isabella retired from teaching at the age of 95 and returned to Mount St. Joseph. She died dec. 14, 2005, at the age of 101. When asked the secrets for living to 100, S. Isabella said, “You have to be an optimist. And I believe in the power of prayer. My mother taught me that. I believe that people who sincerely make an effort to pray can unload a lot of what makes them die.” Intercom
At the End of the Santa Fe Trail
Blandina Segaleâ€™s years in the Southwest are well documented in At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, a published collection of her letters to her sister, Sister of Charity Justina Segale. S. Blandina, whose cause for canonization was introduced in Rome in 2014, recounts the lively experiences on her missions in Colorado and New Mexico from 1872 to 1892. A 2014 edition of the publication, with new illustrations and introductory material, will be available in October 2014. To purchase a copy, please complete the form below and send a check for $10 to the following address: Make Payable to: Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Attn: Archives 5900 delhi Road Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051
Order Form: Name Address State/zip Phone
Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. This apostolic Catholic womenâ€™s religious community exists to carry out the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and prayer in the world. Approximately 330 Sisters are joined in their mission by 196 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 Board 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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5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 www.srcharitycinti.org www.facebook.com/ sistersofcharityofcincinnati
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(Back, from left) Sisters Isabella Glenn, Donna Bryant, (front, from left) Ruth Anthony Lehman and De Paul Sandoval were the last Sisters of Charity to minister at Holy Trinity in Trinidad, Colorado.
(From left) Sisters Nancy Bramlage and Judith Metz accompanied a group of faculty and staff from Mount St. Joseph University on a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Elizabeth Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland. S. Marie Tessmer (center), with her mother and sister, is one of many Sisters of Charity celebrating their jubilees in 2014.
Sister Blandina Segale, Servant of God Intercom 2014 commemorative edition
Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati
Dear Sisters, Associates, and Friends,
Servant of God, Sister Blandina Segale! Who was this woman who is now officially on the path to sainthood? I would like to highlight a few of her special characteristics that we can follow in our own lives. These qualities are evident in the words of her journal, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail (page numbers from the 1948 edition in parentheses). Blandina trusted in God and God’s loving care for us, especially in frightening situations. When she was preparing for her trip to Trinidad, she was warned to avoid cowboys. But on the journey, “Oh, the lonely, fearful feeling! The night was dark. No passengers to allay my turbulent thoughts. Footsteps drew near the stage. My heart was thumping. The driver opened the door and said, ‘You will have a traveling companion for some miles’” (28-29). Many years later, toward the end of her ninety-one years here on earth, she counseled a Sister, “Always keep your chin up, and your eyes on God” (9). She responded to the needs of whoever asked her for help, regardless of who they were: people living in poverty, needing education, suffering at the hands of human traffickers, belonging to other religions or no religion, immigrants, prisoners, Native Americans all received her respectful attention. For example, when some people needed a room for the night, and the objection was raised that they were not Catholic, she replied, “A bigger reason why we should come to their aid” (217). She declined offers of preferential treatment, and adopted the lifestyle of those she served. When someone offered her the use of a horse and buggy, she replied, “Were I to ride while the laborers helped me, I would feel wretched. I thank you and your friends but I prefer to walk” (132-33). These are only a few examples of the heroic virtue Sister Blandina practiced. It is our hope that this woman will inspire you to a life of faith, trust in God, and service to those in need. Servant of God Sister Blandina, pray for us! Your Sister,
Joan Elizabeth Cook, S.C. Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, President
Life Sketch of S. Blandina (Maria Rosa) Segale, Servant of God
Written by Sisters Judith Metz and Victoria Marie Forde B landina Segale—courageous and dauntless, understanding and kind, determined and blunt, with common sense and a sense of humor, dedicated and prayerful—became the most recognized name of all Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, especially in the Southwest and in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as in her own native Cicagna, Italy. Her story began there in the mid-19th century and is still being told in the 21st century. S. Blandina was born Jan. 23, 1850, in Cicagna, Italy, a small mountain village near Genoa, where her peasant father, Francesco, and her mother, Giovanna Malatesta, a weaver, worked hard to provide and care for their growing family. Following dreams for a better future, the parents with five children immigrated to the United States in 1854 to settle in Cincinnati, where they joined others from their homeland. Adding three more children to their family, they experienced the poverty and struggle of newly arrived immigrants. While her father began with a fruit stand that eventually grew into a produce store, Maria Rosa’s mother saw to their home and the education of the children. The young girl attended schools conducted by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Sisters of Mercy. When she completed grammar school, Maria Rosa attended Mount St. Vincent Academy where she first met the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and observed the Sisters’ work among the sick and orphans and as Civil War nurses. When she graduated, at 16, she joined that Community on September 13, 1866, and became known as S. Blandina. Her beloved older sister Maddalena joined her the same year Segale family photo with S. Justina. and was known as S. Justina. After spending several years teaching at schools in Ohio, S. Blandina, 22, was sent, alone, over the Santa Fe Trail in 1872 to Trinidad in the Colorado Territory. Fortified by her deep love of God and her personal motto, “Do what presents itself and never omit anything because of hardship or repugnance,” she was initiated into frontier life with all its adventures and dangers. Her motto again echoed St. Vincent de Paul’s exhortation: “Let us give ourselves to [God] to do whatever he pleases with us.”
Assigned to teach in the public school, she had encounters with Billy the Kid, Geronimo, and “frontier justice.” Stories abound of how she calmed mobs of armed men from taking the law into their own hands, helped criminals seek forgiveness from their victims, and became a defender of Native Americans and “Mexicans.” Besides her adventures being popularized in novels, television programs, newspapers, magazines, and a comic book, she has also been featured in scholarly works, anthologies, histories, poetry, and dramas. In one instance her story of bravery was told in a 1966 CBS series Death Valley Days episode, “The Fastest Nun in the West,” where she faced a lynch mob to save a man by facilitating reconciliation between him and the man he shot before he died. In 1877 S. Blandina moved south to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where her remarkable activities continued in myriad ways: working in the school, orphanage, and hospital the Sisters operated, building a trade school for Native Americans, women chiefly, and a home for the elderly, as well as direct relief to the poor. She came to be known in every level of society from members of the state legislature to indigent patients at St. Vincent Hospital. She went on begging trips to mining and railroad camps all over the Southwest to raise money to support St. Vincent Hospital, selling insurance to accident-prone workers to be cared for in case of injury. One issue regarding the care of the indigent was burial costs. She herself helped make the coffins and enlisted handicapped persons to help her carry the dead to a plot given them by the Vicar General near San Miguel College for a dignified burial. For this she was given $8 by the authorities. When she confronted the County Commissioner in his newly equipped office, asking for $15 of the $30 he was allotted, he refused – until she told him that the next body would be at his door. Needless to say, she received the $15. After spending four years in Santa Fe, she was sent to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where her work continued, teaching and building convents and new schools, including St. Vincent Academy which attracted students from all over the Southwest. In modern parlance she established a homeless shelter, the Wayfarers’ House, and attacked the issue of human trafficking, even facing the
Sister Blandina with her pupils in Albuquerque (1883).
threat of death. Later she returned to Trinidad, and then spent a short time in Pueblo, Colorado. The intrepid S. Blandina returned to Ohio in 1893, and four years later was sent with S. Justina “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 $5, in 1897 these two sisters founded and managed Santa Maria Institute, among the first Catholic settlement houses in the United States. They enlisted assistance from numerous sources and established Sisters Blandina (left) and Justina Segale. services of every description to assist the poor and needy. In the process they visited the jails and charity wards in the hospitals, and S. Blandina again became involved in such issues as human trafficking and juvenile delinquency as a probate officer. In response to the hardship of some Italian Catholic immigrants traveling to downtown Sacro Cuore (Sacred Heart) Church for Mass, the two Sisters with S. Euphrasia Hartman opened a storefront church, in existence today as beautiful San Antonio Church on Queen City Avenue. Parishioners still claim S. Blandina as their founder. In 1900 she returned to Albuquerque for a few months to help build St. Joseph Hospital, known today as CHI (Catholic Health Initiatives) St. Joseph’s Children, where poor children continue to receive early childhood services. In 1931 S. Blandina, 81, traveled to Rome, Italy. Her former students paid for her ticket. Prophetically, Alfred Segal, a Cincinnati Post journalist, wrote: “S. Blandina starts back to Italy Sunday after 77 years. Four years old … when she left her native land; at 81 she returns. She is going to see the Pope about placing Mother Elizabeth Seton among the saints, but people say that S. Blandina is saint enough herself, canonized by 60 years of faithful doing.” During this trip she had the opportunity to return to Cicagna, her birthplace. She never dreamed that 67 years later, July 11, 1998, the town square would be dedicated to her. In 1933 S. Blandina, 83, retired to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse. There she prayed and maintained a lively correspondence and visits with her many friends and acquaintances. Her relatives too continued to visit her and learned from the Sisters the day after she died that they heard quite clearly her last words in Italian, “Gesu … Madre. …” She died Feb. 23, 1941, just one month after celebrating her 91st birthday. Her spirit of courage and dedication still inspires many today, more than 100 years later.
Sister Blandina Segale, SC Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Servant of God
Blandina, the servant of God, protector of children, especially immigrant children, caring for their health and education; I come to seek your intercession in my present need: (State your intention.) I admire your spirit of sacrifice, recognizing the need and ready to serve. Your healing hand and educating voice moving hearts to forgive, now brings me joy to know your love for Jesus. Teach my heart to trust God as you did and ready my lips to say “Gesu” (Jesus) as to welcome God’s spirit into my heart. DAY ONE Blandina, hear my cry like an immigrant of this earth waiting to receive my true home of Heaven. Take my intention to the throne of God. (State your intention.) Our Father… DAY TWO Blandina, swift to heal the broken worker who labored for so little pay, take my intention to the throne of God. (State your intention.) Our Father… DAY THREE Blandina, adobe maker, building shelter one brick at a time, build in my heart a place for God’s love. Take my intention to the throne of God. (State your intention.) Our Father…
DAY FOUR Blandina, seeker of justice and recognizer of human dignity even in the guilty, lead me to justice, be my defender in front of the Judge. Take my intention to the throne of God. (State your intention.) Our Father… DAY FIVE Blandina, health care worker, bandage my wounded heart with love, removing all hate. Take my intention to the throne of God. (State your intention.) Our Father… DAY SIX Blandina, advocating for the poor before governments, negotiate my release from sin and win me divine love. Take my intention to the throne of Heaven. (State your intention.) Our Father…
DAY SEVEN Blandina, social worker, summon the helpers and refer me to helping angels. Take my intention to the throne of God. (State your intention.) Our Father…
sacred name that will bless my lips so to be prepared to kiss my Lord. Take my intention to the throne of God. (State your intention.) Our Father…
DAY EIGHT Blandina, teacher of little ones, show me my littleness and once again teach me right from wrong. Take my intention to the throne of God. (State your intention.) Our Father…
Please note, you must tell the person involved you are praying to Sister Blandina Segale for them. Prior to reporting a miracle you must inform the individual of your intent to contact the Postulator of Sister’s Cause. To report miracles associated with Servant of God, Sister Blandina, report to the assigned Postulator of her Cause:
DAY NINE Blandina, counselor of souls, prepare me for death. Remove all evil thoughts, remove resentment, and bring me to forgiveness. As you talked dying people into forgiveness of those who brought great harm, so when on my death bed whisper in my ear “Gesu” (Jesus) so I too may say the
Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez, CSB Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces 1280 Med Park Drive Las Cruces, NM 88005 Phone: 575-523-7577 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Process to Canonization Now that S. Blandina Segale’s cause for canonziation has been officially opened, and she has been given the title “Servant of God,” the next step will be for a body of advisers appointed by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to collect documents on her life and ministry and gather testimony from dozens of witnesses who knew of her ministry. However long the process takes to gather information on her heroic virtues and testimony from witnesses, once it is completed, all of the materials will be sent to Rome, where Church officials will determine if S. Blandina heroically lived the Christian virtues. If so, the Catholic Church will give her the title “venerable.” The next step would be beatification, which requires verification of a miracle attributed to the venerable person’s intercession. A second miracle is usually needed for canonization.
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. Photo Courtesy of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA) Negative 67735
Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.