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Fall 2016

s i s T e r s

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C h a r i T y

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C i n C i n n aT i

“Pottery on

the wheel is a metaphor for the spiritual journey...�




Dear Sisters, Associates and Friends, Near the end of her life humorist Erma Bombeck wrote, “If I had my life to live over again … there would be more I love yous ... more I’m sorrys ... more I’m listenings ... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it ... look at it and really see it ... try it on ... live it ... exhaust it ... and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.”

CONTENTS FEATURES Q&A with Novice Romina Sapinoso ........................................... 5 Get to know the Community’s new Novice. Celebrating Our Jubilarians ............... 6 SC Community honors Sisters’ anniversaries. Decades of Grace............................. 12 S. Mary Barbara Philippart’s years of service in Peru. Centered in God ............................. 17 Learn more about the life and ministry of S. Margaret Mach. Bringing Joy to Others .................... 24 The Motherhouse Gift Shop and its countless items for purchase.

DEPARTMENTS Moments in Ministry ............................3 St. Patrick School/St. Aloysius Academy Vocation/Formation ............................11 The Novitiate Community – Rooted and Changing

Non-human nature inherently behaves according to Erma’s wisdom. We have only to savor the spectacular autumn colors gloriously taking over the landscape to be reminded that we are fully alive when we “never give a minute back until there is nothing left of it.” During this season, we pause to cherish the fullness of life each moment gives up. And too, one leaf needs the many others to put on their spectacular show. During this past year it has been my delight to experience many Sisters of Charity in their ministry settings—women meeting their grace in each moment through works of accompaniment. Such accompaniment is salve for the broken, the wounded, the struggling, the searching. As Sister of Charity Peggy Deneweth recently commented, “I continue to live in the challenge of believing that presence and accompaniment are as important as doing.” We are privileged to join our charism of Charity with so many others in this colorful landscape of life. In this issue of Intercom we celebrate our Jubilarians. The women who are featured have given constant and faithful witness as women of charity. They have “met their grace” in each moment and the world has been blest! Their generous, prolific, and enduring commitments to vowed life are apparent in the way each moment has mattered if measured in compassion, presence and giftedness. This issue has many examples of Sisters and Associates who make every moment of accompaniment an invitation into the transforming grace of Creator God. Let us pray in gratitude for God’s abiding Love, accompanying our colorful landscape of relations. May we seize every minute of life!

S. Marge Kloos

OPJCC ...............................................16 Tip That Scale!


Timeless Treasures ...............................26 Mother Josephine Harvey’s golden tiara

Please visit “In Memoriam” at for biographical information and reflections on the Sisters of Charity and Associates who have died.

on the Cover: S. Margaret Mach looks back at her 60 years as a woman religious. To read more visit Page 17. disclaimer: The information contained in Intercom is intended for general information and educational purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are the views of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.


May our Sisters and Associates enjoy the fruits of their labor as well as peace with their God. S. Margaret O’Connor August 4, 2016

S. Kateri Maureen Koverman October 5, 2016

S. Martha Ann Conley September 16, 2016

S. Marie Virginia Lovato October 9, 2016

S. Teresa Margaret Hurr September 21, 2016

S. Ann Martin Klee October 13, 2016


MOMENTS IN MINISTRY St. Patrick School/St. Aloysius Academy, Fayetteville, Ohio By S. Judith Metz


The Sisters of Charity were invited to open St. Patrick’s boarding and day school in Fayetteville on property in Brown County, Ohio, near the East Fork of the Little Miami River. Boys from ages 6 to 12 boarded at the school.


Needing more space, a two-story frame schoolhouse was erected on the Boyle property on Georgetown Road. Other buildings were moved to this location from their original site.


Because of space considerations, the boy’s academy, now named St. Aloysius, was moved to St. Joseph’s House (the old Novitiate on the Motherhouse property). Several Sisters remained in Fayetteville to teach at the parish day school. The older boys remained at St. Patrick’s.


When the boarding academy for girls was transferred from Mount St. Vincent to Mount St. Joseph, St. Aloysius Academy for boys moved back to Fayetteville and incorporated with St. Patrick’s there.


St. Aloysius became a military school for a short time. The boys wore uniforms and had wooden guns for maneuvers, frequently putting on exhibitions in the village.


The pastor of St. Patrick’s bought property near the church to open a parochial school, separate from St. Aloysius.


Because of the Great Depression, St. Patrick’s and nearby St. Martin’s parish schools were closed and all students attended the public school. Two Brown County Ursuline Sisters taught in the elementary school, and two Sisters of Charity taught in the high school. This arrangement continued until 1949 when the Sisters of Charity withdrew.


St. Aloysius again became a boarding school. Military training was part of the curriculum, a uniform was adopted, and drills and marches became part of the daily schedule.


St. Aloysius Military Academy was closed after 94 years. The high cost of building repairs and the remote location of the school were cited as reasons for the abrupt decision to close the school.

St. Patrick’s boarding and day school opened in 1859.

St. Aloysius Academy for boys in Fayetteville, Ohio, in 1907.

Lieutenant Happensack during the time St. Aloysius became a military school.

St. Aloysius Academy cadets in 1942. FA L L 2 0 1 6





he month of August had some interesting twists and turns; lots of rain and a glitch in technology caused chaos in Delta’s ability to get people where they wanted to go in a timely fashion. Luckily some of us were able to drive to Atlanta, Georgia, together and bypass the airlines completely. From Tuesday, Aug. 9 through Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, we were part of a gathering of almost 800 Sisters elected to leadership by their religious congregations. During these three and a half days we were challenged and comforted … in just the right combination! We were assigned to tables where we met Sisters from many other congregations. The conversations were rich and encouraging. It was great to meet new Sisters and to find so much in common. The theme of this year’s assembly was “Embracing the Mystery: Living Transformation.” We were led to new understandings of the unique opportunities we are being offered now and we were offered some strategies for exploring them. Prior to attending the meeting we were invited to view a video on contemplative dialogue. No video can do justice to the experience. After each of the two major talks, we were offered the opportunity to join others in small groups of six. These “deepening groups” gave us the structure needed to enter more intentionally into a space where new insights could be entertained and given voice. At each time there was a key question which drew us into the process. They were sacred gatherings. Both Margaret Wheatley and S. Pat Farrell, OSF, gave us the clarion call to find ways to include time for contemplation in our lives. That is not to say we don’t already value this but we need to make it a priority. It has called me to look at this juggling act that I call my life. I refuse to think that there is no room for one more thing. I look upon this invitation as a time to examine my life and make some changes, especially 4

At the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in August nearly 800 participants engaged in contemplative processes to explore the assembly theme of “Embracing the Mystery: Living Transformation.”

around what I can let go of and how my routine can be altered and upgraded! This commitment to include more contemplative time means that something else will just have to go. I’m guessing that isn’t a bad thing! Quiet time might feel like empty time. I think that might be the goal … to provide a space for the Holy Spirit to make herself known! I trust it and I know it is “right” and I do believe it is not just for retreat time. I am reminded of our second Tuesday of the month Holy Hour as we sit in chapel together in silence and pray for a peaceful election. It certainly hasn’t felt like wasted time. The second last page of our worship aid listed some questions for reflection following the assembly. I share a few of them with you and welcome your insights. They have proven to be thought-provoking for me. 1. How has your belief about the essential work of women religious leaders today evolved or perhaps deepened? 2. How is your sense of God evolving – and what is contributing to this shift? 3. What difference does this evolving sense of God make in your life and how you are in the world? Prayer is already a central part of our lives; it can take many directions and is unique and common to each. The invitation to add a more contemplative orientation has caused me to do some soul searching and led me to make some changes. I invite you to do the same! I’m hoping that our retreat together in June 2017 will definitely include some time for deepening circles. I look forward to our spending quiet time together. I N T E RC O M




n Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, members of the Sisters of Charity Community welcomed Romina Sapinoso into the Canonical Novitiate. Born in Angeles City, Philippines, Romina is one of three children to Romulo and Teodora Sapinoso. She has been an elementary teacher (pre-K to fourth grade) in public and private schools in the United States since 2002, and in 2015, she completed a master’s degree in International Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco, California. During the Novitiate Romina will be living in community at Bayley House in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the following interview we have an opportunity to get to know Romina, her interests and what drew her to religious life and the Sisters of Charity.

How did you come to know the Sisters of Charity?

Then Affiliate Romina Sapinoso (right) in Anapra, Mexico, with friends on the border, Skarle Mendez and Yessenia Vasquez (center).

I was very active in a young adult ministry at St. Pius, my parish in El Paso, Texas. It is a very vibrant community. At the time I was looking for a speaker on local poverty, and my parish priest suggested contacting S. Janet Gildea [she and Sisters Carol Wirtz and Peggy Deneweth started a clinic in the colonias]. I was also at a time of transition and didn’t have a direction where my life was heading. I asked Fr. Henry Beck, the Neumann Center priest at UTEP, if he would be willing to do spiritual direction. He said he couldn’t, but knew a Sister who might – S. Janet Gildea! A few people pointed me in her direction.

What is one skill you would like to learn?

What attracted you to religious life?

One thing that shaped my spirituality and faith would be attending Jesuit institutions and having gone through the 19th annotation retreat, which was most intense. That really turned around my relationship with God, and how I saw my relationship with God. Being introduced and more aware of the justice part of our faith really moved me forward.

The community aspect of it really drew me to considering religious life and thinking that this might be a lifestyle that could support the kind of life I want to lead – which was more involved in service and justice and putting yourself out there.

If you could spend an afternoon with one Sister of Charity – living or deceased – who would it be? I’ve spent a lot of time with a lot of the older Sisters but I went to China this summer with S. Janet Gildea. While there I was picturing S. Rose Cheng when she was young. I would have enjoyed spending a day with her in China, then, when she was younger and could tell us about the hospital, how she became a Sister, and more.

What are your hobbies/interests? I like photography. I have a camera, and like to photograph people. I also enjoy reading and cooking for others. FA L L 2 0 1 6

Languages. I speak Spanish, Tagalog and English, but I would love to have the skill to learn languages easily.

What’s your strongest personal attribute? I think your strengths are also your weaknesses. I’m stubborn and outspoken which at the same time could also be my weakness. I get so passionate about certain things!

Name one of the most defining moments in your life so far and why?

Where do you see yourself in five years? I’ve been a teacher for a long time and in my classroom you’d know they are my students because they talk about the environment, fairness and equality, discrimination, stereotyping and challenging gender stereotypes. I definitely see myself continuing along those lines in justice education. I would also want to do some direct service. You don’t want to get so out of touch that you don’t know what it is you are fighting for. But, I remain open to the possibilities. When you are in discernment you can’t think in five years this is where I am going or what I am doing. I have to be honest and open. 5


Celebrating Our Jubilarians


ercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love” (Pope Francis, MV, 10). Pope Francis has declared Dec. 8, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2016 the Holy Year of Mercy, emphasizing the need for the Church and all its members to live out the loving mercy that God has for us. During this year the SC Community is celebrating 16 women who have lived God’s mercy throughout their 920 years of service. The Community celebrated the Golden Jubilarians during Mass on Sunday, Aug. 28. Diamond Jubilarians, marking 60 years, were honored on Sunday, Sept. 4.

S. Margaret Marie Anthony – a 70-year jubilarian – was one of the many Sisters of Charity jubilarians honored during a luncheon and tea in August in Mother Margaret Hall.

S. Rita Schmutte – who celebrates 75 years with the Community in 2016 – prepares for the Jubilee Mass on Sept. 4. 6

(From left) Sisters Jeanne Roach and Kathryn Ann Connelly entered the SC Community together on Sept. 8, 1951.

S. Helen Julia Hahn (left) celebrated 65 years with the Sisters of Charity in 2016.

additional anniversaries were celebrated at the Motherhouse throughout august and september. we are grateful for the lives of service of these women.

75 YEARS OF SERVICE S. Rita Schmutte S. Regina Tevis 70 YEARS OF SERVICE S. Anna Maria Ahl S. Margaret Marie Anthony S. Ruth Bockenstette S. Rose Cheng S. Helen Cranley S. Helen Margaret Cullen S. Jane Frances Diba S. Marie Evelyn Dow S. Rosemary Clare Eagan S. Mary Egan S. Joan Groff S. Ruth Hunt S. Rebecca Hurr S. Irene Luther S. Loretta Saupe 65 YEARS OF SERVICE S. Grace Catherine Aufderbeck S. Marion Agnes Boeddeker S. Mary Frances Boyle S. Kathryn Ann Connelly S. Lucien Marie Davis S. Lorraine Delisle S. Mary Ann Donovan S. Catherine Erger S. Helen Fox S. Helen Julia Hahn S. Kathleen Houck S. Mary Kathleen Pagac S. Jacqueline Riggio S. Jeanne Roach S. Marie Vincentia Roney S. Rita Maureen Schmidt S. Janet Marie Wehmhoff S. Marie Josetta Wethington


(From left) Sisters Esther Marie Humbert, Patricia McQuinn and Sarah Mulligan participate in the Mass of their Diamond Jubilee celebration. Also celebrating were Sisters Barbara Counts and Rita Hawk.

DIAMONDS S. Nancy Hoffman “Mercy without love may easily turn into pity that may carry a subtle form of judgement. My years as a Sister of Charity challenged me to speak the truth in love with non-judgmental compassion. In these stressful, violent times, I ask for the grace to listen with my heart and speak from my heart. Loving energy is a powerful tool in the face of the combative times afflicting our country and the global community. This is not the time to be too tired, too old or too self-absorbed to engage in conversations that offer healing energy.” S. Margaret Mach “We are called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the poor and all we meet. It’s another way of saying that when we proclaim the Word by our lives, God’s mercy is active. In my years as a Sister of Charity, I have been aware of my baptismal responsibility to make my heart a home for the Word. If that is true, then every act of love, kindness, compassion and service that flows from my heart is bringing the mercy of God to people and situations. I cannot overlook the spiritual and corporal works of mercy that have been a part of my ministries. I recently reflected on an article that talked about ‘mercy’ consisting of two terms: misery and heart. Misery speaks of indigence that threatens the very existence of the person in that state, forced to live on the margins of human life. When misery is approached by the heart it is destroyed as if by fire. The heart, so to speak, burns the misery, destroys it. This is mercy. It is the miracle produced by the merciful heart. Our world cries out for merciful hearts that can burn the misery of so many suffering people. I pray that as a Sister of Charity my heart can become a great furnace to burn the misery of all those I meet in my ministry and all those I pray for in the various circumstances of war, political unrest, consumerism, injustice, devastation of creation and so many more issues.” FA L L 2 0 1 6

Throughout her 60 years as a Sister of Charity, S. Mary Dolores Schneider has ministered more than 50 of those years in secondary education.

(From left) Diamond Jubilarians Sisters Jeannette Cochran, Patrick Ann O’Connor and Patricia Hill prepare to celebrate their 60 years with the Community.



(From left) Sisters Georgia Kitt, Mary Alice Haithcoat, Barbara Hagedorn and Patricia Wittberg celebrated their Golden Jubilee on Sunday, Aug. 28.


Following the Mass, friends and family of S. Patricia Wittberg – including her parents who were there 50 years ago when she entered the Community – celebrated with the Sisters in the Dining Room.

S. Mary Alice Haithcoat “I believe that mercy is compassion, love and forgiveness. The mercy of God is what keeps me going each day. I know that God loves me and is with me at all times; God’s mercy gives me life and direction. The mercy of God abounds in the parables told by Jesus which we read in the Gospels. Every story tells of the great love of God for all of us. During these troubled times in our world, it is so important to be aware of God’s mercy and love. I feel, as a Sister and a teacher, it is vital for me to communicate that mercy of God to my students by my words and actions. I want them to know that God’s mercy is more powerful than any hate or anger. I want them to grow up to be faithful disciples of Jesus who know and have experienced God’s great love and mercy.” S. Barbara Hagedorn “We live out the heart of the Gospel bringing mercy and tenderness to those in need – the poor, the vulnerable, the neighbor or friend. In these chaotic and uncertain times in which we live we are called to show God’s mercy and love by our very being. We are the face of Christ to all we meet. I reflect on this every day and I am called to live this out as I encounter the people in my life. This Year of Mercy reminds us not to lose hope but always to be merciful as our loving God is merciful.” 8

(From left) Sisters Georgia Kitt and Jackie Leech enjoy the celebration following the Golden Jubilee Mass.




he Golden Jubilee celebration for Sisters Barbara Hagedorn, Mary Alice Haithcoat, Georgia Kitt and Patricia Wittberg brought together more than 20 women who met as postulants 50 years ago. Their bond is true and deep and has only strengthened throughout the years. A few former members reflect. “‘The Charity of Christ urges us on’ are words that resonate in my heart and mind as I reflect on the awesome Golden Jubilee celebration. We shared experiences with marriage and divorce, birth and death, work and play, health and illness, happiness and sadness, and the SC ministries of our ‘Golden Four.’ Sharing many, many memories of our times together as young members of the SC congregation continued throughout the weekend especially as we toured the changes and renovations in the Motherhouse, stayed in Seton Hall and partied in Regina. The celebration of the liturgy on Sunday was the highlight of the weekend. I heard over and over exclamations about the beauty of the music, singing and dance, the personal acknowledgement from the celebrant and most of all, the presence of female ministers. Participation in this liturgy celebration was a blessing of spiritual invigoration for everyone. We cherish the friendships we formed in 1966, and during the Jubilee weekend we strengthened our relationships with much laughter, stories, memories, news, and prayers! Each of us continues to live the charity of Christ in many unique ways through life’s challenges and celebrations always with the support of our SC bonds.” ~ Karen Santelle Martin (current Associate) “It was wonderful to be back at the Mount to celebrate such a joyous occasion. Although I left the order in 1969, I cherish those early formation years because we forged great friendships at the same time that we were learning and discussing the values of St. Elizabeth Seton. I admired the dedication of my teachers and I also learned from the enthusiasm and the kindness of my peers. My experience was very affirming and it enabled me to gain a stronger foundation for my life ahead. Throughout the years, the Sisters of Charity in our group have generously reached out to me and to all the members of our original Band as a way to keep us connected over these 50 years. It was meaningful, moving, and just great fun to be together again to celebrate with friends. The bond FA L L 2 0 1 6

that we experience is truly energizing! I am very grateful to the wonderful Sisters of Charity.” ~ Janet McAuliffe “In May 2007, many of the ‘Band of 1966’ gathered at the Motherhouse after S. Trish Mirsberger’s funeral Mass. One of the Sisters came up to a few of us and remarked how close this group remained. She asked, ‘What’s your secret?’ One of us replied, ‘There’s just something special about us!’ Why have so many of us stayed so connected even though we live miles apart, have different jobs, different lifestyles, etc.? Maybe it was that year out West. We had to stay close knit and support each other that year. Maybe it’s the changes that were occurring in the world and in the Church at that time. Personally, I think it is the work of the Holy Spirit and God’s gift to us! “We have an extremely strong bond. We can go years without seeing each other, but when we do, it’s like we’ve never been apart at all. This past August, we came together again to celebrate and honor the four women who answered God’s call 50 years ago and knew He wanted them to serve Him as Sisters of Charity. At the liturgy on Sunday, we sang a song that I was unfamiliar with, ‘Because We Love God.’ This song still remains on my lips and in my heart. It so accurately describes the lives of these four women who carry out the Gospel message through service and prayer. May we all carry out this charism of the Sisters of Charity and serve where the needs are great. ‘Why do we do what we do? Because we love God.’” ~ Patty Fogarty Sperendi

Former members of the Band of 1966 gathered during the weekend of the Golden Jubilee to remember and celebrate their years of community together. 9

CHARITY FAMILY seTon heriTage MinisTries gifTs CoMMuniTy

SC President S. Joan Cook with the key gifted to the SC Community.

Seton Heritage Ministries gifted several members of Federation congregations with a replica of the key presented by President Barack Obama to Pope Francis during the pope’s visit to the White House on Sept. 23, 2015. The original key is from Mother Seton’s home in Emmitsburg, Maryland; the gift celebrated Elizabeth Seton’s – and the pope’s – dedication to opening doors for those who are poor, sick and underserved.

naTional shrine opens new exhiBiT The National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Emmitsburg, Maryland) opened a new exhibit in June. “Sisters Today – A World of Difference” showcases the work that Sisters are currently doing across the country and the world. Included in the exhibit is a display of hats that represents the various roles Sisters take on. S. Pat Newhouse’s “Cat in the Hat” hat is featured to represent her clown ministry at schools and hospitals in towns around her Michigan home.

s. kaThryn ann Connelly honored Congratulations to Sister of Charity Kathryn Ann Connelly (left), who was one of four individuals honored as a Pro Seniors’ “Senior Who Rocks”. Honorees are named for their continued active and vibrant additions to the community. S. Kathryn Ann was the first female superintendent of the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati; today she is actively involved in Education Matters and Community Matters in Lower Price Hill.

MsJu reCogniZes s. JudiTh MeTZ Congratulations to S. Judith Metz, who was honored by Mount St. Joseph University with the Loretta Richards Distinguished Alumni Award on June 4. The award, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Mount graduate, recognizes achievements in an alumni’s career and/or vocational work and their service to the university. S. Judith Metz with Mount St. Joseph University president H. James Williams.


Sisters and Associates among those attending the Aug. 14 picnic were (back row, from left) Moe Niemann, Liz Maxwell, Pat Stetter, (front row, from left) Anne Shaffer and S. Louise Akers.

CinCinnaTi assoCiaTes hosT piCniC Cincinnati Associates and candidates hosted the annual summer picnic on Sunday, Aug. 14 in Regina Hall. The gathering began with prayer followed by lunch and fellowship. I N T E RC O M

T H E N O V I T I AT E C O M M U N I T Y –



he Sisters in and way of life, is shared. the Novitiate And, of course, they are each community had changed in the process. shared life together for a When asked what it has number of years. When been like for them to be part they realized we had newer of the Novitiate community, members joining us, they wanted to share the knowing they would need to following. S. Terry Thorman move to a new location, they readily replied: “It has been offered to become a house as a blessing, an energizing needed for formation. They blessing! I have the sense that were already used to praying I am touching the future.” and sharing life together. S. Carol Leveque On March 23, 2013, Sisters reflects, “Living as part of The Novitiate community of Sisters (back, from left) Maureen Heverin, Terry Nancy Bramlage, Maureen the Novitiate community is Thorman, Nancy Bramlage, Annie Klapheke and Carol Leveque stand behind Heverin, Carol Leveque, Romina Sapinoso for a blessing during the Mass on Aug. 20. a grace and a challenge. It is and Terry Thorman moved a grace to get to know such to the present location of wonderful young women and to share their lives at this time. the Novitiate House, the other side of St. Joseph House, on It is a challenge for this diverse group to keep up with all the Bender Road across from the Motherhouse. schedules and wonderful ‘praying and playing’ opportunities Since that time they have welcomed Sisters Tracy Kemme that are part of our living and sharing.” and Andrea Koverman in June 2013 (they have since moved to S. Maureen Heverin adds, “Living in the Novitiate another house), and Annie Klapheke in January 2015. Now, in House has been a gift. It has challenged me to be open, August 2016, they are welcoming S. Romina Sapinoso. to keep learning, to be more aware of our connectedness Their community life includes praying together in the with one another, the broader SC community, and all the morning, sharing in the tasks of cooking and cleaning and communities with whom we get to interact.” grocery shopping, and joining together for meals and other S. Nancy Bramlage shares, “Living in the Novitiate common activities. They also take reflective time together has been very enriching for me. It has put me in a living to set goals for living together. They have times of “checking community with young women who are looking at religious in” about how life together is going, times of faith-sharing, life with new eyes. The discussions on the vows, in particular, participation as a group in justice activities, and/or outings have helped us all look more deeply at our call.” in nature or other SC activities. Since the Novitiate is a time of formation, as the Novice Director I meet formally with I, personally, am most grateful for each of these women them, including the Novice, twice a year to reflect on their and their generosity and self-gift. They are reflective, selflife together as a community. Members of the Novitiate aware, alive, and involved women in the SC community and community are also involved in the application for First in ministry. They have responded to each of my requests to Vows, and the various celebrations that occur for formation. meet, to share, to talk about the Novitiate unfolding, and to open themselves and their life in the Novitiate to me. Yet, The Novitiate community is a daily place where our whenever I say “thanks,” I get responses like, “I like living in life as Sisters of Charity is handed-on to women who come the Novitiate community.” “It keeps me growing and alive.” today. (Just to note that the ongoing Affiliate Community, “The women coming bring us new life.” Whenever asked Sisters Janet Gildea, Carol Wirtz and Peggy Deneweth, have if they are willing to continue, they offer an immediate and begun this process.) The more formal ways are noted above. resounding “Yes.” We are all blest! However, it is all the informal sharings and experiences and living life together where over time who we are, our Charism FA L L 2 0 1 6


DECADES OF GRACE By Josh Zeller, Communications intern


other came on Guadalupe Day,” relates S. Mary Barbara Philippart, who, on that day in 1961, was informed by Mother Mary Omer Downing that she would leave her teaching post in Lima, Ohio, and be missioned to Lima, Peru. She had volunteered earlier than that, but was not called when she thought she would be. “… I made a novena with my mother, and then I volunteered …. But I was not selected,” S. Mary Barbara recalls. “The Sisters selected went to Cuernavaca in Mexico to study, and I went to Notre Dame to begin my work on my master’s degree in Spanish.” When the selected Sisters came back from studying Spanish, one was suddenly diagnosed with cancer; at the time it barred her from ministering in Peru. Because S. Mary Barbara was fluent in Spanish, she was selected to go in Sister’s place. Wrapping up a busy schedule that included five preparations and planning the prom, a replacement was found for S. Mary Barbara, and she arrived in Lima in March 1962. Sister had come to Peru with the intention to build a school for the Chinese Colony, in order to supply their children with the education that they were often denied through discrimination and the ineffectiveness of the public school system. This could not have been accomplished without the help of Bishop Horacio Ferruccio, who had worked in China for

many years. He had a connection to a Maryknoll father, who was in turn connected with the Maryknoll Sisters. They ran the two parochial schools that existed in Peru at the time—one in Lince and the other in Arequipa—so they were able to provide essential materials like books and desks, while the bishop helped to find a suitable place to house the school. After a few years and changes of venue to accommodate size, by 1964 the Colegio Peruano Chino Juan XXIII was well-established on San Miguel Street with 300 students, where the school continues to thrive today. In 1967, S. Mary Barbara was missioned to Huancané in the Puno region, after several years as both teacher and principal. After a year there, she returned to the United States, and taught Spanish at Seton High School in Cincinnati. But it was only a few years before she found Peru calling to her again. “I was on the governing board of the Sisters of Charity when Mother Seton was going to be canonized in 1975,” Sister remembers. “Bishop Ferruccio sent money for [S. Mary Gerard Cheng] and I to travel to … the canonization.” S. Mary Gerard had taught alongside S. Mary Barbara in Peru, and had worked specifically with the Chinese students, because she knew four Chinese dialects. At the canonization in Rome, S. Mary Barbara’s close associate and friend from Huancané, S. Mary Martin Morand, introduced her to the Bishop of Puno, Jesús Calderon. Later, when the bishop visited the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, he asked S. Mary Barbara an important question: “Barbara, when are you coming back?” Sister immediately responded: “When you invite me.” It wasn’t long before she was traveling to Peru by freighter, with Sisters Mary Martin and Therese Dery as companions. S. Mary Barbara’s landing at Callao—the Port of Lima—was the start of a 20-year ministry, which she would complete in a town of the Puno region called Mañazo. Any services that S. Mary Barbara or the others could offer to the people of Mañazo were greatly needed, as the town had gone without pastoral care for 20 years. One of the first things that they noticed was the need for a medical clinic. The building had been started, but was left unfinished when funds suddenly ran out. Finishing the building was taken on by S. Mary Martin; Sisters Mary Barbara and Therese decided to spend the year getting to know S. Mary Barbara Philippart was missioned to Lima, Peru, in 1962.



the town as they taught religion in the high school, asking the people what needed to be done. They had come with the goal to educate and supply relief, but they ended up taking on many building projects over the years; besides the aforementioned health clinic, they also built the parish center (adding both a library and a recreation center to it over time), a school (in Huilamocco), and also managed the difficult and expensive undertaking of rebuilding the church. “… [T]hey all said to rebuild the church. The church was in horrible condition. And we said, ‘We didn’t come to build, we came to build the faith, but not the church building.’ Eventually, I did it.” This included putting in 20 stained glass windows, which S. Mary Barbara learned how to make herself. There were also many programs that they began during their time there, starting with literacy classes—many of the women in Mañazo had not learned how to read or write. They also at this time prepared people for marriage and baptism, and trained them in the catechism. But there were three major projects which arose that S. Mary Barbara took charge of and helped to grow, three which still exist today: the Artesania Pachamama, the Lunch Program (El Comedor), and the Loan Program. Artesania Pachamama stemmed from the Mañazo Mothers’ Clubs (Centros Maternos) that had been formed in 1977 by S. Mary Martin, which provided much-needed assistance to FA L L 2 0 1 6

In 1976 S. Mary Barbara Philippart returned to Peru, this time landing at Callao, which was the start of a 20-year ministry that would end in Mañazo.

women with young children including food, instruction in hygiene, health, and prenatal care, as well as medical help. Two years later, S. Mary Martin was able to obtain hand-knitting and sewing machines, and began to instruct the women in how to use them in order to make items for their families. With the election of the center-left Alan Garcia to office in 1985, which came at a terrible time of famine due to crop failures, the U.S. government cut 10 percent of food donations to Peru; the Mothers’ Clubs could no longer supply enough food to sustain its members. It was determined that governmental aid could not be relied upon; it was certain that the women would have to help themselves. After Sister helped the women of the community to assess their talents, they decided to run an Artesania, “a handwork industry in alpaca wool,” which would produce quality, hand-knitted sweaters for export. Throughout the rest of the 1980s, the Artesania got up and running, as the women were able to improve the quality of their knitting significantly; furthermore, the business side of the operation was arranged, which included the declaration of the Artesania as a cooperative, and the obtainment of legal recognition and an export license. In 1992, after some frustration in finding a proper vendor for the sweaters abroad, Sue and 13

Barry Auer in Cincinnati, Ohio, took charge, and helped to organize sales at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. After a few years, sales transitioned to Pamela Rohlman of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, where the nonprofit organization Artesania Pachamama USA was established. Sales continued there— as well as in the Ohio cities of Cincinnati, Dayton, and Cleveland—until this year. S. Mary Barbara has actively been in search of a new vendor, and has high hopes that she has found one in Mercado Mundial, which is currently reviewing sweater samples produced by the cooperative. The Lunch Program also came from the Mothers’ Clubs, and was formed to directly address the famine and poverty of the 1980s. The Peruvian government’s remedy for hunger was to start “Comedores Populares” around the country, food kitchens that were run by local women. One was started in Mañazo, which was both greatly needed and successful. When the government began easing back support around 1990, the community decided to build a restaurant that would sell lunches to school teachers and other individuals who could afford it, and provide free lunches to as many needy children and abandoned elderly as they could for 10 months of the year. Since S. Mary Barbara left Mañazo, the program has been administrated in Peru by Marlene, one of their brilliant team members. She is responsible for “cleanliness, good nutrition, and PR,” in addition to buying the food and working in the kitchen every day. At the Motherhouse, the program is managed by S. Sheila Gallagher and Associate Cathy Colque. A final project that has also been of great help to needy families is the Loan Program, which is available to the One of the projects S. Mary Barbara Philippart took charge of while in Peru was the women in the Artesania and Lunch Program. The loan Artesania Pachamama, a nonprofit women’s cooperative founded in 1984 for the amount varies from 800 to 2,000 soles ($244 to $608). purpose of the manufacture of high-quality hand-made garments from alpaca wool and Depending on the size of the loan, it must be paid back in pima cotton. six to 10 months, and interest is only 1.5 percent, which helps to pay for the town’s Social Program; some of the interest also goes back into the program, establishing a In Mañazo, there are sometimes feuds between families, or rotating fund. The loans are used for a variety of different differences between two or more people. However, quite unlike purposes that improve the quality of life for the families of Western society, they are able to put aside these differences to Mañazo, whether it is used to buy animals, or to fund a child’s work on community projects together, because they know it education. In Peru, the program is managed by Alina Guevara, will be of benefit to the whole. S. Mary Barbara noted that the who sends reports to S. Mary Barbara. Sister is very proud of women always were ready to help one another, whether it was this and all of the other programs, because they have been in teaching someone how to knit, or notifying the community of existence for decades, and continue to assist the women of children or elders who had been abandoned. Mañazo to be “all God made them to be.” With time, the position of these merciful women has After 20 years of service in Mañazo, S. Mary Barbara left improved. Sister recalls, “When we arrived, the women Peru in early 1997. She had been with the people during a very never opened their mouths at a meeting.” Then came the difficult economic time that brought about not only the danger empowerment of the Mothers’ Clubs, the Artesania, and other of hunger and general want, but also the deadly and destructive programs—now, the women speak up at the meetings, as the guerilla rebels called The Shining Path, which did not spare even men do. The changes that Peru itself has undergone have been tiny Mañazo of its brutality. Her devotion to the people greatly various and drastic since the 1960s, and S. Mary Barbara and the helped and continues to help, but S. Mary Barbara says that Sisters of Charity have been there every step of the way. during her years in Peru, she too experienced grace. 14




unday, July 17, 2016, is a bright, hot day in Cleveland, Ohio, where people are gathering at a famous nexus between the near West Side and the heart of the city: Hope Memorial Bridge.

Reporters and photographers walk between the two rows and 100 police on bicycles whirl down the center to their observation posts to protect us.

For 30 minutes I hold Andrea After all the shuttle vans have Koverman’s hand on one side and deposited passengers, and after hundreds that of a buoyant African-American of people have walked from parking woman on the other. A better-thanvenues within a mile of the bridge, average welcome north breeze from there is an excited homecoming of sorts. Lake Erie wisps over the bridge, Many of us have participated in countless like a blessing, the only respite from marches, protests, and rallies for justice the heat of the day. But we remain since the 1980s and we embrace each other silent as the breeze ripples our shirts with the fondness of our collegiality in yet and hair, quietly, on this bridge, in this another concern for justice. moment. “Please Lord, we pray, help all S. Margaret Mach and I wander among (From left) Sisters of Charity Louise Lears, Andrea who participate in this convention to see Koverman, Annie Klapheke and Mary Ann Flannery their responsibility of serving justice for the participants offering bottles of water and joyfully spreading sunscreen on faces were among the participants of Cleveland’s “Circle everyone.” We ask for a just nation, a city the City with Love”. on a hill, the destination of all who seek and arms as a jazz band raises the spirits justice and safety and love. of all in joy. When the Nuns on the Bus appears, the crowd erupts in cheers and the Sisters mix with us in their purple T-shirts encouraging and congratulating us for being there. I am thrilled to turn and see of our Sisters Louise Lears, Annie Klapheke, and Andrea Koverman. I introduce them to all around saying “…they have come all the way from Cincinnati!” And they wander into the smiles and welcomes that only Clevelanders can give.

A signal is eventually given and we let go of our hands and I scan a crowd of 2,500 people, or more, who make up this crowd of ‘true believers,’ believers in the goodness of human nature, believers in God’s mercy, believers in prayer. The city is circumscribed with law enforcement officers preventing any one from going to work so all businesses are closed for the week. Only hospitals remain open and they are double-staffed.

S. Rita Petruziello, CSJ, the main organizer of “Circle of the City With Love”, speaks into a microphone and asks us to make an oath to the cause. We make a pledge—right hands raised—to avoid violence, maintain silence in prayer, and assist others where needed.

The next day I hear several reports on national radio stations reporting the opening of the convention, and each one refers to the “Circle of Love” as the most moving, meaningful event they ever covered prior to a convention. One reporter on National Public Radio said this was the most effective peace protest he had ever witnessed. He thought it might effect the convention participants for the good. We can only hope and pray that this intention takes root throughout the election this fall.

We spread out, all 2,500 of us, across the bridge in two rows facing each other, each row buttressing a wall from which one can see the mighty Cuyahoga River moving languidly toward Lake Erie only three miles north of us.

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Bridge photo courtesy of the Congregation of St. Joseph.


TIP THAT SCALE! By S. Andrea Koverman


n July of 2016, we recognized a very sad and discouraging anniversary – the 40th year of the reinstatement of capital punishment in the United States. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, because the decision of whether or not to impose the harshest possible punishment on a person by taking their life was demonstrated to be applied in a capricious and arbitrary manner. It all boiled down to the fact that jurors were given complete sentencing discretion and the determining factors for awarding the death penalty were unpredictable, unreliable, and dependent upon the will, mood, opinion, and/or emotions of the jury of the moment. So a Supreme Court opinion from an unrelated case in 1958 was applied to suspend the death penalty nationwide, and included a statement which said this indicated an “evolving standard of decency that marked the progress of a maturing society.”

to encourage death penalty states to do a thorough examination of their systems and make reforms to eliminate the most serious flaws. Assessments done since then have revealed the prevalence of even more systemic and institutionalized injustices within the capital punishment systems than originally suspected. For a shameful example, they found in Ohio that in 93 percent of the cases they examined, even the most basic standards for fairness and equity were not met.

The biggest problems identified are reflective of the prejudices that plague our nation as a whole. The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) reports that 44 percent of death row S. Andrea Koverman with Derrick Jamison, a death inmates are white, while 56 percent row exoneree at his home in Middletown, Ohio. are people of color. Even more telling Jamison was incarcerated nearly 20 years, with six is the fact that racial bias influenced separate execution dates that were each stayed at the last minute. He now devotes his time to teaching sentencing in 96 percent of the states people about the system and advocating for the which assessed it. Ohioans to Stop abolishment of the death penalty. Executions reports that the geographic location of a murder and the race of the victim are the factors that determine the fate of a defendant How lovely to think of our society as evolving to higher and higher standards of decency and maturity! Unfortunately, rather than the nature of the crime. the immediate and disappointing response to that historical suspending of the death penalty was to undo it as soon as possible. Because the court ruling did not state that the death penalty itself was unconstitutional, only that some of the particular policies and procedures were, supporters got to work making the changes to their procedures that might allow executions to resume. It only took Florida five months to get that done, followed quickly by another 34 additional states. By 1976, now 40 years ago, the death penalty itself was ruled to be constitutional and the suspension was lifted. The adjustments made by various states were supposed to eliminate the “capricious and arbitrary” sentencing problems, but did they? By all indications, the answer to that question is an emphatic, “No!” In 2001, because of overwhelming concerns about fairness and equity over the decades that followed the penalty’s reinstatement, the American Bar Association (ABA) created the Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project 16

Research shows that states with the death penalty are not safer as many presume they would be, as they have higher murder rates than states without it. Top law officials report that they do not believe it to be a deterrent to crime, and it siphons off precious resources to pay for capital cases that could otherwise be used more effectively to the benefit of society. There are now 156 individuals who have been found to have been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to die that have, by the sheer grace of God, been exonerated and set free. They have provided first-hand experience and evidence of just how misguided and corrupt our criminal justice system has become. In this Year of Mercy, I pray that the scales of justice will finally tip in the right direction, and we as a nation might make a giant leap forward on our evolutionary journey towards decency … and love. Resources: I N T E RC O M

CENTERED IN GOD By Vicki Welsh, Associate

“Hello?” I say, in a raised voice, attempting to overcome the background noise I hear. — click —

I redial, hoping that I will just get her answering machine and I’ll leave her a message. That’s all I had really wanted to do anyway. I hear her voice, “Hello?” She shouts over what sounds like a rowdy crowd around her. — click —

On the third time, we both say hello and agree that we cannot hear each other. I tell her I’ll try one more time. I’m not sure if she can even understand who I am. We lose our connection. — click —


ne more time, we have a slightly better connection and I tell her as briefly as possible why I’m calling and she promises to call me back and apologizes for our poor connection as she is at that moment participating in an immigration rally in downtown Cleveland, Ohio! That explains a lot. That was my first conversation with S. Margaret Mach. When I finally am able to sit down with S. Margaret, we are in the dining hall at the Motherhouse. It is not hard to imagine her in the middle of a downtown rally anywhere she felt the call … she is an enthusiastic, energetic and available, dynamo of a woman carrying out her role as “a change agent”. S. Margaret knew she wanted to be a nun from the time she was in the first grade. Her first grade Sister teacher would say, “Trust in the Providence of God.” She talked about the profound affect that oft repeated phrase had on her. So sure she was to become a nun that she entered the Vincentian Sisters of Charity in Bedford, Ohio, at the age of 13, in the eighth grade. She attended Marymount High School in Garfield Heights, St. John’s College in Cleveland, and later the University of Dayton. “Contemplate how you are being asked to give your heart to God amidst your everyday activities. Be prepared to meet your grace in every circumstance of life.” - Elizabeth Ann Seton She began teaching at age 19 and was a principal at age 26. She taught elementary through high school religion. I could tell by the tone of her voice and how her eyes brightened when she talked – here is a woman who enjoys children. FA L L 2 0 1 6

For the last five years S. Margaret Mach has been doing spiritual direction and retreat work at River’s Edge in Cleveland, Ohio.

S. Margaret served 16 years in the Leadership of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity. She served during the time the congregation was exploring their future. She spoke with great excitement of the “life-giving” nature of the merger with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. After her years in Leadership, she was approached by the Office of Evangelization to serve the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. During that time she developed many different evangelization workshops and programs. Following her certification as a spiritual director, she has spent the last five years at River’s Edge – a ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph that supports individuals on their journey to wholeness while contributing to create a more whole world – doing spiritual direction and retreat work. The memory of our conversation that made a lasting impression on me is one I want to leave with you in S. Margaret’s own words. She is a potter and connects the spiritual journey with the art of pottery making. “Pottery on the wheel is a metaphor for the spiritual journey. The clay has to be centered, as we have to be centered in God. It has to be opened in order to create a shape, just as it is necessary for us to be open to the movement of the Spirit in our life. It is shaped as we are shaped in the hands of God the Potter. ... It is tried in the fire of the kiln, as we are tried in the various circumstances of our lives. Through this, transformation can take place.” 17


THE REPOSITORY By Carolyn Kesterman, Communications intern

In the basement of the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse, the Repository houses items owned by the Archives that are not on display around the building. The artifacts there range from fine art to seemingly simple items with fascinating stories. A walk around the rooms there meets you with countless surprising treasures; here are just nine.

This original handwritten document from 1855 records several key points made at a meeting held three years after the decision of Mother Margaret Cecilia George and six other Sisters to form their own order separate from the Emmitsburg, Maryland, community. These points include the decision to name the order the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, the mission of the Community, the appointing of Sisters to positions and detailing their term lengths, and as the document states was most important to the meeting, the organization of the Community into a corporate body for it to be protected in accordance with state law. On the bottom left-hand corner of the document, there is a typed note from the Hamilton County Recorder, stating that the document was received and recorded on Jan. 22, 1855.

These shoes, along with three other pairs on display in the Motherhouse, were brought to Cincinnati after the Sisters serving at the SC mission in China were forced out during the Communist overtake. While not much is on record about the owners of these shoes, their artistry is fascinating. They are all quite small and have intricate needlework covering them, several with needlework also on the soles. 18

An unexpected item in the Repository, this autographed baseball belonged to S. Helen Michael Tuhacek (19301982), a chaplain with the Hamilton County Police Force. The baseball contains the autographs of such beloved Cincinnati Reds “Big Red Machine� players as Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and Ken Griffey.

This snuff box was given to S. Mary Agnes McCann (1851-1931) sometime in the early 1900s by a professor named Dr. Don Daniel Quinn. Dr. Quinn received the snuff box in 1902 when he was traveling in the Agrapha Mountains in Northern Greece and stopped to spend the night in the house of a retired village teacher. A few days after he had set back out, he was stopped by a young man, the son of the teacher who had been away from home during his visit and traveled two days and two nights to meet up with him. The son gave Dr. Quinn a leg of roasted mutton and this snuff box as presents before they parted. The snuff box is stored in the original box that Dr. Quinn mailed it to S. Mary Agnes in.


These sandals were owned by S. Mary Martin Morand (1923-2005), who spent 18 years in Peru. The sandals are made from automobile tires, as you can see on the bottoms of the soles where the tire tread is visible. Up-cycling tires to make shoes is popular in Peru, as it is cost-effective as well as eco-friendly. Some companies have started selling the shoes to other parts of the world.

In July 2002, a “Forum of Sisters” was held at the Motherhouse when eight Sisters from Eastern Europe stayed here for an exchange program. The sculpture, consisting of two marble statues in a smooth, nondetailed style, was made by S. Lucien Siers, one of the visiting Sisters. One of the statues is bowing to the other, the piece is called West Meets East.

Well-known Cincinnati carver and sculptor Clement Barnhorn (1857-1935) made two large sculptures for the side altars of the Immaculate Conception Chapel at the Motherhouse, but this smaller rough clay sculpture is stored in the Repository. The statue features Mary dressed in white with a blue and pink veil, holding Jesus wrapped loosely in white cloth. The original sketch for the statue was given to Mount St. Mary Seminary in Cincinnati, which closed in the 1980s.

Grandson of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Archbishop Robert Seton sent the Sisters of the Motherhouse his ring and cross mounted onto red velvet in a gold frame in 1915. On the back of the frame, his original letter that accompanied the gift is laminated and attached. The letter is handwritten by him on his own stationery and is dated “Mt. St. Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, 1915” in the top-right corner. The letter reads: “Episcopal Cross and Ring with which I was consecrated Archbishop by Cardinal Martinelli, in the chapel of the American College, Rome, on July 5, 1903. The cross and chain were given to me by my old friend and one of the two Assistant Bishops: by Hon. and Most Reverend Edmund Stonor, son of Lord Camois in England.”

This watch was given to S. Marguerite Schuler (19021985) by Monsignor Joseph M. Denning when she was a Novice in 1922. He had received the watch sometime in his posts as United States Diplomatic Agent in Morocco and Consul General at Tangier, and gave it to S. Marguerite since she was the last woman he had recommended for the Community. The watch is relatively small and has 24 hours on the face, numbers one through 12 listed in black Roman numerals and the rest in red Arabic numerals.

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Many items are on display throughout the Motherhouse, but with as many ministries as the Sisters of Charity have been a part of through the years, their collected treasures are too numerous and many wind up being stored in the Repository. These are just nine of the treasures there, and they deserved some time in people’s eyes.



VERONICA BUCHANAN! By Carolyn Kesterman, Communications intern


he new SC archivist, Veronica Buchanan, traces her love of history and archives back to summer classes that her mother enrolled her in at the Cincinnati Museum Center when she was a child. “I was just fascinated with this place and all the different elements to running a museum: programming, artifacts, and putting together exhibits,” Veronica says. As her interest and knowledge in history grew, she became a volunteer at the Delhi Historical Society during high school, and in her senior year, they asked if she wanted to be on the Board of Trustees for her last year there, making her their youngest ever member.

Alongside her position at the Winkler Center, she worked for three years as the executive secretary for the national organization Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious, and held an office for this position in the Archives Office at the SC Motherhouse where she was continually inspired by the productive team atmosphere there. Just as she was looking for a new place to continue her career this past spring, S. Judith Metz happened to mention that she would be retiring soon. Veronica felt like it was meant to be. “I feel so blessed that this opportunity arose when it did, at a transitional point in my career,” she says.

Veronica then went to Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, to complete a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in public history with a focus in museum studies. Her most recent position was at the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions at the University of Cincinnati. There, she served as the archivist for two years, working on such projects as oral history video interviews and building the center’s digital collection from the ground up. “I did a lot of uploading and metadata,” she says, “which isn’t the glamorous part of it, but it was rewarding to see it start to come together.”

In her first few months as the archivist, Veronica’s hard work has impressed all who have had the privilege to work with her, and she is equally as impressed by the Community, if not more. “I am eager to learn more about the rich history of these Sisters who saw a need for charity in so many cities both here and abroad, and who had the tenacity and strength of purpose to go out and meet the need,” she says. “There is so much that we can still learn from the Sisters’ example, especially when the need for charity and kindness is so acute in this country today. Hopefully, by working with the Communications team and other forms of public outreach, the history found in the Archives can inspire others to incite positive change in their lives and communities.”

Veronica says that it seemed like “divine providence” when she discovered the job opportunity with the Sisters of Charity.

Veronica Buchanan (left), the new Sisters of Charity archivist, continues to work closely with former archivist S. Judith Metz.



as a Spiritual Journey R ETHINKING R ETIREMENT



By S. Kathryn Ann Connelly


s more and more Sisters of Charity reach the age of retirement, huge decisions and much discernment need to take place in order to address this lifechanging moment. The Congregation has attempted to assist by offering various opportunities to which each Sister can avail herself. These can prove helpful as the reality of the aging process sets in. In 2007, the late S. Mary Michele Fischer, Leadership councilor for ministry and retirement at the time, invited a few Sisters who were nearing retirement age to participate in a “retirement workshop”. This workshop was under the direction of the Johnson Institute, from St. Louis, Missouri. The workshop ran for eight weeks, after which Sisters Rita Hawk and Monica Ann Lucas took courses to become certified from the Johnson Institute to facilitate these workshops.

In the fall/spring of 2009/10, the workshop was offered at Mount St. Joseph on three weekends. While beneficial to some, the leaders realized that so much more could be included if the program was done as an eight-day retreat. The weekend sessions did not provide the time for personal reflection to process all the input and the vigorous discussions which had ensued. So, beginning in 2011, Sisters Rita and Monica Ann began to offer the program in a retreat format. In a guided retreat context, with input via DVD from the Johnson Institute, the sessions consist of group discussion with suggestions for personal reflection and prayer. Topics to be covered in two sessions per day include: Attitude toward Retirement, Ministry Disengagement, Spirituality and Life FA L L 2 0 1 6

Meaning, Religious Community Life, Self-Direction, Current and Projected Life Satisfaction, Financial Security (attitude toward money and resources), Health Perception, Felt Responsibility for Caregiving, Leisure, Personal Adaptability, Life Span Development and Replacement of Apostolic Work. This retreat was presented this past summer with a small number of Sisters participating. Reactions have been extremely positive. S. Marie Tessmer commented that the small number in the group made for great discussion and camaraderie. She mentioned that she has taken several Johnson Institute courses in recent times and this retreat brought it all together. S. Winnie Brubach thought it was an amazing time. She said the information was timely and gave her lots to think about; the smallness of the group added intimacy and depth to the conversations, and as she walks into the future, she has much food for thought. S. Kevin Patrice Daly said she has nothing but glowing remarks about her experience. She loved the smallness and the wonderful conversations. She too was given much to take away for future reflection. The retreatants highly recommend this retreat to anyone approaching the “70”mark, especially those who are not quite ready to retire. As Sandra Schneiders, IHM, suggested in her presentation at the Mount last spring, it is time to rethink and redefine retirement for women religious. This program does not redefine, but rather recognizes reality and defines living anew with eyes on the future. 21



ope Francis has declared Dec. 8, 2015-Nov. 20, 2016 the Year of Mercy, inviting us all to show others the mercy of God. God is compassionate and full of love, but our actions can also reflect God’s mercy. The Sisters of Charity, in their daily lives, show us that extraordinary acts of love are possible. Their actions speak! In this and following issues of Intercom, we will spotlight our Sisters and their MERCY IN MOTION.

Pure Joy For the past five years S. Peggy Rein has been ministering at Holy Family School in Price Hill (Cincinnati, Ohio) through a grant from SC Ministry Foundation. While she’s served the school for 33 years, these last five have been spent in a position she describes as “grandmother,” teaching math to four struggling students in each of the grades three through six. In addition Sister is now teaching kindergarten religion two days a week. “It can only be described as pure joy,” she says. “After all these years of teaching I had never taught kindergarten! You can be so creative; I really enjoy it.” From acting out lessons, to drawing and playing musical instruments, it’s the variety that S. Peggy enjoys most. And the students are receptive! With her long service to the school she is now teaching grandchildren of her former students. And God’s mercy is at work. With the small size of her classes, she’s able to be more calm and patient. “My ministry is bringing a peaceful 22

S. Peggy Rein enjoys teaching religion to students at Holy Family School in Price Hill (Cincinnati).

atmosphere to not only the children but also to the teachers at the school,” she says. “For many students this is the one place where they have some consistency; it’s a secure place, a safe place.” Sister’s acts of mercy and compassion have been evident throughout her 56 years as a Sister of Charity. While one of her loves is Holy Family, another is Mother Margaret Hall. She credits S. Helen Agnes Goedde with showing her the value in visiting the sick and elderly. “When I came to St. William, [S. Helen Agnes] said to me, we are going to go visit these families. She’d take me to go visit elderly Sisters, the elderly in the neighborhood, and eventually she took me to Mother Margaret Hall (the Sisters of Charity nursing facility). She was the one who got me started visiting Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall.” It’s a tradition S. Peggy continues today, spending a lot of her time in MMH, particularly during the summer months. I N T E RC O M

Sharing Ourselves “I recall the communion thanksgiving prayer that S. Ann Margaret taught us before our First Communion, the same prayer I continue to say every day at Mass: ‘Lord, I love you with my whole heart, mind, body and soul. May I show it today in all that I think, say and do.’ A Sister of Charity for 58 years, S. Pat Newhouse says that her lifetime commitment to the Community has given her many opportunities to do just that. During this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has asked the Church to show compassion by embracing people with The Mother Margaret Hall Adopt-A-Family split the pot fundraiser has been a successful way for employees to raise money to help fellow employees through hardships. tenderness, responding to their needs of the moment and sharing God’s welcoming embrace. Through her years of service in education, and Compassionate Giving now in her volunteer ministry to the elderly parishioners The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are the largest employer at St. Martha as well as local nursing facilities in Okemos, in Delhi Township (Cincinnati). Those employees have Michigan, S. Pat is a shining example of God’s merciful love. families of their own, and unfortunately, oftentimes that “I feel that my present ministry to the people in our parish fills them with happiness, peacefulness and joy,” Sister says. “Being present to people, be it just for a casual visit in sickness and loneliness or even when facing death, they feel comforted in knowing that someone is willing to be with them and provide them with God’s love and compassion in their time of need. Sometimes you don’t need to say many words or do much for them. Just being present makes a world of difference in their life.” S. Pat says that the way to obtain true happiness in life is by sharing our gifts and talents with those in need of God’s loving touch. “Since we are His ministers here on earth we bring that loving touch to others,” she continues. “It has been a joy living the Gospel life of loving compassion for others. I have been blessed in so many ways and it encourages me to continue being a blessing to others. I have learned that the way of life for everyone is to obtain true happiness and it is obtained by sharing ourselves in a loving, compassionate way to those we meet.” FA L L 2 0 1 6

comes with hardships and struggles. More than 10 years ago, the Adopt-A-Family program was started to help SC employees who may need a little financial assistance. Throughout the year several blue jeans days and other events, like split the pot, are held to raise funds for the program. A review committee consisting of Sisters Pat Saul and Cookie Crowley as well as SC employees Vicki Humphrey and Ron Swiech oversees the requests – which have included help with paying bills or rent, unexpected medical expenses and even a family funeral – and distributes the funding, all done confidentially. Since 2005, more than $69,000 has been raised and given to the most deserving families. Not only are the Sisters of Charity filled with compassion and mercy, but so too are their hardworking, generous employees. S. Pat Newhouse enjoys visiting residents at Bickford Senior Living in Okemos, Michigan. 23

BRINGING JOY TO OTHERS By Carolyn Kesterman, Communications intern


he Sisters and visitors around the Motherhouse know that whether they’re looking for a special greeting card or a unique scarf, the gift shop is the place to go. Started during the 1980s, the Motherhouse Gift Shop was built up by S. Giovanni Vastano to acclaim with the award of “Best Gift Shop” in the city in the 1994 “Best and Worst” edition of Cincinnati Magazine. The shop has been shaped to include a wide array of gift items, which include not only products from outside companies like figurines, but also items lovingly crafted by the Sisters and those they serve, with all profits going toward the Sisters’ retirement fund.

Along with these Sister-crafted items and books are toys, jewelry, baby medallions, and a good array of gift figurines, but some of the most popular and unique items by far are the large number of items from areas where Sisters have served or have interests, including Dominica, Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. Small woven baskets and tote bags come from the Caribbean island of Dominica, and purses and placemats come from Peru. Items from Mexico include various cloth items like shawls and scarves from the Women’s S. JoAnne Termini currently manages the gift shop, and is especially passionate about the Cooperative of Hope and Faith, an items available for purchase. economic project of Centro Santa Catalina in Ciudad Juárez, and colorful “Guerilla Prayer Flags” made by a group of women who The gift shop brings a lot of joy to the Sisters whose wanted relief from the drug wars surrounding them, also in talents are featured there. Several Sisters use their own Ciudad Juárez. These flags can be found hanging in many of photographs and artwork to make greeting cards, and others the halls and doorways around the Motherhouse and Mother knit and sew items like baby blankets, throws, and purses. There are also a number of histories that have been composed Margaret Hall nursing facility. From Guatemala, tote bags and cloth items are brought from the city of Mixco, where and written by members of the Community over the years, S. Sarah Mulligan has served as administrative director of the and many of them can be found in the gift shop. Books on Clinica Comunitaria Daniel Comboni, which she organized subjects such as S. Blandina Segale and St. Elizabeth Ann the opening of in 1995. S. JoAnne Termini, who currently Seton are particularly popular purchases, as are countless other items relating to the Community’s foundress, including manages the gift shop after starting as a volunteer there three years ago, is especially passionate about being able to give statuettes, prayer cards, stained-glass sun catchers, and these groups another platform to sell their wares on. “It’s so children’s materials. exciting to share those items and help the people who made them,” she says. The shop’s customers also share in her enthusiasm for these products and the causes they assist, making these some of the most talkedabout items.

The Motherhouse Gift Shop is located on the first floor of the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse and is open Monday through Thursday, hours varying. 24

S. JoAnne is often joined by avid helper Associate Patty Broughton, and is always eager to welcome additional Associates. With their aid, the gift shop is open from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays. S. JoAnne is happy to open the shop by request whenever people are interested, though, and she frequently opens for Saturday events and retreats since outsiders to the Motherhouse are often big customers. “I enjoy meeting the people,” she says. “It’s been fun. I’m very proud of what we have to sell.”


Path to Sainthood Continues S ISTER B LANDINA ’ S

By S. Georgia Kitt


urrent interest in the causefor sainthood for S. Blandina Segale remains high and enthusiastic. Articles have appeared nationally as well as locally, offering insights into the young S. Blandina who founded hospitals and schools, but also rescued those who were being trafficked and advocated for justice in the Southwest.

At the same time the TV production crews came, the canonization group for her cause - Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Ramirez (postulator) and Michael J. Sheehan (judge); Allen Sanchez, CEO of St. Joseph’s Children (petitioner) and Rev. Oscar Coelho (promoter of justice) also paid a visit to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse and the Archives. This group is currently S. Blandina’s broad appeal in the third session of the second continues to stimulate the activities diocesan inquiry and are preparing of the Sisters of Charity Archives at Tomas Sanchez and his crew visited the Mount St. Joseph their report for the Pontifical the Motherhouse as well. Two areas Motherhouse in August to research material for the TV series, Congregation for the Cause of curiosity, for those following her At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, to be based on S. Blandina of Saints in Rome. They cause closely, are the late August visit Segale’s life. are authorized to inquire into of the television production team of S. Blandina’s heroic virtues. Recently appointed as the Tomas Sanchez and the Aug. 30 meeting of the canonization historical commission, to assist the canonization group, group held at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. and taking their deposition for this phase of the process The award-winning production crew for Sanchez Films were: Veronica Buchanan, SC archivist; S. Victoria Marie LLC spent one week in August reviewing the many materials Forde; Tim Moller, CFO, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati; in the SC Archives related to S. Blandina’s life and ministry and Amelia Riedel, Communications director, SC Ministry in the Southwest and her direct work among the Italian Foundation. Five current members of San Antonio Church immigrants in Cincinnati. The company, headed by Tomas were also deposed, recording their knowledge of the history Sanchez, held a press conference on July 13 in Albuquerque, of the parish and S. Blandina’s founding of their church in New Mexico, to announce their plans to produce the TV 1922. The Vatican has completed an initial investigatory series, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, and to raise funds for phase on her life and is now assessing whether she committed the project. They have been given permission to use the same any miracles to inform the Church’s decision on whether she title as that of her book which is an account of her experiences should be a saint. ministering to the needs of the Native American and Hispanic Allen Sanchez, CEO of St. Joseph’s Children, originally immigrants in Colorado and New Mexico in the 1890s. petitioned for her sainthood June 29, 2014, in Santa Fe, The basis for the television series will engage audiences New Mexico. In speaking about S. Blandina, Sanchez with S. Blandina’s exploits while staying true to the story of remarked, “She saw good in everyone, including criminals, this Sister who immigrated to the U.S. from a small Italian and at the turn of the century convinced the Bernalillo, village in 1854, only to find herself in the New Mexico New Mexico, sheriff to empty the county jail to help build Territory staring down armed outlaws, including Billy the St. Joseph’s Children, which still carries on her mission today. Kid. The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati will have oversight Her stands against violence in the Wild West are particularly and give final approval to the script the crew develops along relevant in a modern America as gun violence continues to with ongoing rights to review the materials’ authenticity. The plague the country. She finds the best in everyone.” production crew plans to produce the scripts for the series in Stay tuned to the ongoing developments of S. Blandina October, with actual completion of the TV series estimated to be one year away; most of the actual producing will take place Segale’s cause by referring to the Sisters of Charity website in New Mexico, providing 150 jobs to New Mexico residents. at

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Mother Josephine Harvey was honored with this crown on the occasion of her golden jubilee in 1885.



hen Mother Josephine Harvey celebrated her golden jubilee April 20, 1885, the day was bright and beautiful, and all was glorious in the stunning chapel of the recently occupied new Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity. St. Joseph’s, or “the Stone House,” as it was affectionately named, was a stunning setting atop the Delhi hills overlooking the Ohio River. One of the pioneer members of the Cincinnati community, dearly loved, and longest-serving Mother the community would ever have, Mother Josephine’s festivities culminated in her being crowned with a golden tiara.

In reflecting on her life, one could wonder how she looked upon this “crown.” Surely she was grateful for the milestone she was celebrating and for many rich relationships and meaningful experiences that made up her life. But perhaps she also saw it as another kind of crown, for shortly after her celebration she noted in her journal: “The brightest crowns that are worn in Heaven have been tried, polished and glorified through the furnace of affliction.” This intertwining of the bitter and the sweet stands as a metaphor for her life. Mother Josephine’s long and storied experiences as Sister of Charity reached back to her early days of the Novitiate at Emmitsburg, Maryland, through her service at St. Paul’s in Pittsburgh, and on to Cincinnati in 1845 where she would be reunited with her former teacher, S. Margaret George. Within a few years of her arrival, the Sisters were thrown into turmoil due to the prospect of the community uniting with the French Daughters of Charity. Mother Josephine, joining those choosing to remain a Mother Seton Sister of Charity, faced the pangs of separation from her friends as well as the peace of having followed her conscience. 26

Other bittersweet events would follow. Elected Mother in 1859, Mother Josephine was proud to have her Sisters choose to serve as Civil War nurses, while at the same time feeling responsibility for the dangers they faced. By the end of the war she was presented with a similar choice when the Community was asked to send Sisters over the Santa Fe Trail to open a hospital in New Mexico. She oversaw the opening of St. Joseph Infant and Maternity Home in Cincinnati amid criticism leveled at the Sisters, and served for many years as the director of Novices, a difficult but key role in forming the future community. Throughout her life in Cincinnati, Mother Josephine enjoyed a strong friendship with Mother Regina Mattingly. The two alternated serving as Mother through the 1860s, 1870s and into the 1880s. One of her great joys was traveling to visit the Western missions with her dear friend in 1881 and again in 1882. On these trips both fell in love with the people, the culture, and the terrain of New Mexico and Colorado. But these days were tinged with sorrow, as Mother Josephine knew she would soon lose her dear friend to cancer. Again asked to assume the role of Mother, she oversaw the building of the new Motherhouse that would be the site of her Golden Jubilee celebration, only to again be devastated by its loss to fire in 1886. This rhythm of joys mixed with sorrows followed Mother Josephine through her years, but her strong faith and deep prayer life allowed her to see that the golden tiara and the crown of thorns were not contradictory but two sides of the same coin.


ON THE WEB For full articles, please visit the “News & Events” section of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati website at, and click on “Feature Articles.”

9 Treasures of The McCann rooM Used today as a permanent display room for the Sisters of Charity Archives department, the Motherhouse’s McCann Room has become a place to exhibit some of the wonderful treasures former archivist S. Mary Agnes McCann had worked to save over the years.

unloCking The seCreTs of regina hall Located on the Motherhouse property stands a gray limestone building with a cottagelike design. Known as Regina Hall, the building has a history as eclectic and intriguing as the people who have spent time there. FA L L 2 0 1 6

overflowing love From its very beginnings, St. Rita School for the Deaf was built to provide an atmosphere of learning and growth for the deaf in the Diocese of Cincinnati. It was the dedication and love of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and the Pious Union Sisters that first enabled the school to expand and touch lives.

MerCy Monday Beloved by the Mount St. Joseph community, Sisters Jean Patrice Harrington, Maria Corona Molloy and Adele Clifford all served as the school’s president at one time. Their sense of charity and mercy extended well beyond their students.

The Call Sisters Nancy Bramlage and Martha Walsh reflect on their decisions to enter the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

arTisTiC expressions Read the poetry and learn more about the lives of our SC artists Sisters Zita Burke, Mary Lou Knapke, Anna Maria Ahl and more.

Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. This apostolic Catholic women’s religious community exists to carry out the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and prayer in the world. Approximately 300 Sisters are joined in their mission by 206 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 26 U.S. dioceses and in two foreign countries. They also sponsor institutions to address education, health care and social service needs, with particular concern for direct service to the poor.

Intercom staff Editor Erin Reder Graphic Design/Layout Michelle Bley Director of Communications S. Georgia Kitt Executive Council Liaison S. Mary Bookser Advisory Board Members: S. Mary Ann Flannery Mary Jo Mersmann S. Joyce Richter Vicki Welsh Letters to the editor, articles and photos are welcome. The staff reserves the right to edit for space and readability. Make submissions to: Communications Office 5900 Delhi Road Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051 Phone: 513-347-5447 Fax: 513-347-5467 Email: Subscriptions: $15 per year

5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 sistersofcharityofcincinnati


5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051

Members of the Sisters of Charity Community welcomed Romina Sapinoso (center) into the Canonical Novitiate during a ceremony Aug. 20, 2016, in the Immaculate Conception Chapel.

5 22 S. Pat Newhouse brings compassion and joy to those she encounters in her current volunteer ministries.

6 (From left) Sisters Marion Agnes Boeddeker and Regina Tevis celebrated 70 and 75 years with the Sisters of Charity in August during a luncheon and tea at Mother Margaret Hall.

Fall 2016 Intercom  

Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

Fall 2016 Intercom  

Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.