Volume III, 2017
S I S T E R S
C H A R I T Y
C I N C I N N AT I
Endorsers of Change â€“
Sisters To All
A LETTER FROM OUR SISTER
Dear Sisters, Associates and friends,
ack at the turn of the millennium, Sisters of Charity and Associates were privileged to be part of a group of 11 congregations who, with help from some of our Communications directors and St. Anthony Messenger Press (SAMP) staff, started asking the question: What would you do to help bring about 1,000 years of peace?
CONTENTS FEATURES Celebrating God’s Faithfulness ........ 8-10 SC Community celebrates its 2017 jubilarians. For the Girls of the World ...................11 S. Anita Parks’ service project for the Lingap Children’s Center in the Philippines. New Togetherness.......................... 12-13 Sister-sisters and jubilarians Julia Mary and Joan Deiters reflect on their years of ministry. Responding to God’s Call .............. 16-17 Sisters Romina Sapinoso and Whitney Schieltz discuss the Novitiate experience. God Works in Mysterious Ways ..........19 Associate Destiny Sargeant’s journey.
DEPARTMENTS Moments in Ministry ............................3 Holy Trinity/St. Joseph Academy Vocation/Formation ..............................5 Building Relationships
This question haunts me again today, as I see the ever-expanding violence, chaos, multiple wars and threats of war. So, I ask, what we, in our little part of our world, might do to help bring about 1,000 years of peace? This volume of the Sisters of Charity Intercom might provide some of the answers. One prominent feature this year through articles in Intercom, and video on the Sisters of Charity website, is titled “Sister to All.” As I reflect on the Gospel messages of our brother Jesus, and on our call to be the heart, hands and voice of Jesus made visible in our time, I read the stories of our jubilarians, and learn only a little of all they have done throughout their lives as a “Sister to All.” Included here are stories about some of our other Sisters, our Associates, and special lay collaborators. Each story shows us a special “Sister to All.” We look back on the story of our dear “Sister to All” Blandina. We celebrate our connection to our Vincentian roots, during the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism, and read how we as a Charity Family, are joining with our Federation cousins and the broader Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance to live as a “Sister to All” in response to the many needs of our times. May these stories, and our remembrance of so many others, past and present, inspire us to continue to live the Gospel call to be peacemakers in our world. May we continue to spread the message that our world hungers to hear: We are choosing to act daily to bring about 1,000 years of peace. How will you join us as a Sister (or Brother) to All?
S. Mary Bookser, SC
Pathways to Prayer ..............................24 Lectio Divina OPJCC ...............................................25 Responsible Investment Timeless Treasures ...............................26 Sister Justina Segale
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.
On the Cover: (Clockwise, from top left) Sisters Nancy Crafton, Carol Wirtz and Teresa Marie Laengle serve the poor and the marginalized as Sisters to All.
Associate Helen Duffy July 16, 2017
Associate Anna Marie Pacheco September 27, 2017
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.
Associate Margaret Mary Olona July 26, 2017
S. Mary Egan October 3, 2017
S. Rose Virginia Brown September 12, 2017
Associate DeAnn Fricker November 2, 2017
S. Ruth Kuhn September 14, 2017
S. Maryland Anderson November 14, 2017
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Moments in Ministry Holy Trinity School/St. Joseph Academy, Trinidad, Colorado By S. Judith Metz
In 1872, (back row, from left) Sisters Blandina Segale, Fidelis McCarthy, (front row, from left) Eulalia Whitty and Marcella Huller traveled over the Santa Fe Trail to Trinidad, Colorado, and were among the first to serve in the West.
Three Sisters of Charity opened Holy Trinity School in a six-room adobe built by Felipe and Dolores Baca. Initially they had 30 pupils but the number grew quickly and they soon accepted boarders at St. Joseph’s Academy. They also conducted the town’s public school.
A new building to accommodate St. Joseph’s Academy opened thanks to funds collected by the Sisters on begging trips led by S. Catherine Mallon.
A new public school building was completed thanks to the ingenuity of S. Blandina Segale and the willing hands of the townspeople.
A new three-story stone building, used for both the Academy and the public school, was opened.
Sisters withdrew from the public school due to a requirement prohibiting them from wearing their habits while teaching there. Holy Trinity parish school opened and the Sisters taught there as well as St. Joseph Academy.
St. Joseph Academy closed. The high school was continued as Holy Trinity High School.
A new Holy Trinity High School building was completed, followed in 1948 by a grandstand, and in 1958 by a new gymnasium.
Holy Trinity High School became Trinidad Catholic High School, a diocesan school.
S. Isabella Glenn served as teacher and principal at Trinidad Catholic High School. She was widely known for the success of her debate teams.
A new building to accommodate St. Joseph’s Academy opened in 1873.
The new Holy Trinity High School was built in 1947.
S. Donna Bryant, who taught at Trinidad Catholic for 24 years, left the school. After 138 years, the Sisters of Charity were absent from Trinidad.
(Back row, from left) Sisters Isabella Glenn, Donna Bryant, (front row, from left) Ruth Anthony Lehman and De Paul Sandoval taught at Trinidad Catholic High School.
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Doing Better Together By S. Mary Caroline Marchal
re you from a big family? Or, is your family pretty small? None of us had much to do with choosing our families. We get to grow up with whoever it is God has put in our lives.
experience, whether it be listening to a challenging speaker or spending time together in quiet and contemplation. We commit to taking the time needed to discern the call of God in the midst of the busyness of our daily lives.
As part of the Family of Charity we have been given a wonderful Our retreat, our Fall opportunity to actively choose Congregational Days, and also to become part of something our small group process this past much bigger than ourselves. We fall is continuing to take us deeper are claiming, in new ways, our into the Divine Mystery, to make membership in the Federation of this quiet space the natural home The June Congregational retreat is one of the many ways the the Sisters of Charity and in the where we can dwell. The places for Community has deepened its call into the Divine Mystery. Leadership Conference of Women this quiet become more and more Religious (LCWR), regionally and crowded when we realize who else nationally. The following is a quote from the Federation has been invited. We seek the wisdom of many, including our Call, Futuring 2017 and Beyond: “Our call as a Federation is lay collaborators. rooted in our commitment that we never do alone what we Quiet time is helping us to be productive as we watch the can do better together.” least important things that seem to grab our attention most So much of what we have said to each other in the past few years, and especially in our 2015 Chapter Direction calls us to “journey together toward wholeness.” We explicitly call ourselves to mutual relationships that support and strengthen us in living our charism. Finding groups that share our mission and passion is exciting and energizing. We will be invited to join together in a Federation Gathering in June 2019. Knowing this is coming gives me, and others, time to make it a priority on our calendars. We grow in knowledge and friendship when we share a common experience.
get sorted out and assume their rightful place. We can call it Contemplative Dialogue, or Centering Prayer, or Listening Groups … whatever name helps to gather ourselves into a quiet space where dialogue with ourselves, our God and each other can occur. Themes keep surfacing, in every group in which we gather: nurturing relationships, care for all creation, deepening our call into Divine Mystery, everywhere we look! Are we getting the message? Come to the quiet – together!
Our Federation connections also help us to support the systemic change needed to address the issues of social and ecological justice of those living in poverty and on the margins. Pope Francis has challenged us in Laudato Si to speak with one voice. How nice it is to join with our Sisters and lay friends whose values are so similar. We call each other to be more together and to do more together. Each June, the leaders of the SC Federation members gather to spend time together, to challenge each other to live our mission and charism more fully, and to quietly listen to where the Spirit is alive and what we are being called to do. By making our gathering together a priority we show the value of our words and work together. LCWR mirrors the same spirit that is found when we gather as a Federation. We gather to share a common 4
Leaders of the Sisters of Charity Federation gathered in Tarrytown, New York, for their 2017 annual meeting to challenge each other to live the mission and charism more fully.
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Building Relationships By S. Monica Gundler
n vocation work, during a time when few young adults know or have even met Sisters, building relationships with young adults is key to learning about them and introducing them to religious life. The annual Charity Federation Come and Serve experience held over Labor Day weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana, brought five women interested in learning more about religious life to the SC Federation’s House of Charity. S. Tracy Kemme joined S. Vicki Lichtenauer, SCL, and the Sisters at the House of Charity for time to explore and share in service. The young women who attended this year were all college students or recent graduates. Some knew of others who had come to the experience in previous years and recommended it to friends. We were also joined by two new pre-postulants with the Daughters of Charity who had recently been assigned to New Orleans. Rebecca and Josephine were a welcome addition to our group as we began our service day and were very helpful in answering questions about the journey of religious life. Some sacred conversation happens kneeling side-by-side attempting to lay down a laminate floor just as easily as over dinner. A long day of learning and sweating together brings frustration, laughter and an opportunity to talk in a more casual way about the “big questions” of life. In addition to our service day, we spent time on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain to ponder Jesus’ invitation to step out of the boat in faith, attended liturgy with a New Orleans flair, and learned more about the charism of Charity. This included an appearance by “Saints” Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac and Elizabeth Seton to share a bit of history. There was also time to ask
VOLUME III, 2017
many of the questions that young adults often have about the realities of community, ministry and the spiritual life. It was helpful to have S. Tracy, as a younger religious, and Rebecca and Josephine, as relative newcomers, to meet the young women. It was a great opportunity for them to imagine the possibility of being on the journey in a few years as they talked with some women who are just a few years older. Two of the women had also been on a previous discernment week with the Daughters of Charity and asked to come to this experience to expand their learning of other congregations in the SC Federation. Even though there are women who are still exploring, some are not yet ready to commit to a weekend experience. Many learn about congregations through the Internet and prefer to do more research and one-on-one conversation first. In addition to the Come and Serve event, the Visitation House continues to host Soul Food with the Sisters, and Casa De Caridad also offers the After Volunteer Experience (AVE) to young adults. Both of these initiatives also engage young adults and provide the opportunity to spend time with Sisters in an environment that is more engaging than tours or formal talks. All of the women in initial formation took part in a trip to the House of Charity at some part during their vocation journey. As women begin considering the path of religious life, it is important to create opportunities to develop relationships among other discerners as well as with Sisters. The younger religious active in organizations such as the Future of Charity and Giving Voice provide critical support in moving forward the evolution of religious life.
Charity Family COMMUNITY WELCOMES NEW ASSOCIATES Congratulations to Jenny Brady, who made her initial commitment as an Associate in Mission with the Sisters of Charity on Sunday, Aug. 13 in the Motherhouse chapel. In June, Ione Klekamp and Kate Lears also celebrated their commitments as SC Associates. In addition, Associate Kay Clifton made her lifetime commitment during the June celebration at the Motherhouse while Alaska Associate Eileen Casey made her lifetime commitment in front of fellow Associates and S. Dee Sizler in Alaska on June 11.
Associate Jenny Brady (center) with Sisters Louise Akers (left) and Louise Lears.
DEEPER INTO THE DIVINE MYSTERY Associate Eileen Casey (front row, right) made her lifetime commitment to the Community in June.
In June 2017, Sisters and Associates entered Deeper into Divine Mystery as the Community of Charity. S. Janet Mock, CSJ, guided them in the five-day retreat, using contemplative dialogue, and offering Scripture, story and contemporary readings. S. Janet led participants to look at how the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience help them to move more deeply into relationship with the Divine.
(From left) Associates Kay Clifton, Ione Klekamp and Kate Lears.
REMEMBERING THE ANGELS OF THE BATTLEFIELD In August, the Battle of Richmond (Kentucky) Association dedicated an interpretive marker commemorating the work of the Sisters of Charity who served there as Civil War nurses in 1862. Twenty Sisters of Charity traveled from the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse to attend the ceremony. VINCENTIAN FAMILY CELEBRATES 400TH ANNIVERSARY Sisters of Charity President S. Joan Elizabeth Cook (right) was one of the 40 SC Federation members attending the Vincentian Family Symposium in Rome, Italy, in October celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Charity charism. S. Joan had the privilege to be one of 50 Papal Greeters during an audience with the Pope in St. Peterâ€™s Square.
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Congratulations ... To S. Louise Akers (front, center) who was honored at the 27th Annual Fall Benefit for FutureChurch on Friday, Oct. 27. S. Louise received the 2017 Trivison Award for her outstanding leadership in advancing women in leadership and ministry inside the Church. S. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, was the keynote speaker. To S. Margarita Brewer (center), who received the Tri-State Regional Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience Award (EMLE) for Youth Development from the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. S. Margarita was honored for her outstanding work and life dedication to serving youth of Hispanic, African and other newcomer countries in their pursuit to learn the English language. Under her leadership, students have not only excelled academically, but they have also learned to embrace their cultural identities. To S. Pat Newhouse (left), who received the Award for Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Capital Area Chapter in Lansing, Michigan). According to the program, “S. Pat has raised funds for many charities, including selling red noses for the SIDS Foundation, participating in PBS and MDA telethons and raising money for local area food banks. [She] has helped Haven House by encouraging philanthropy in others, raising more than twelve thousand dollars in the last two years alone …” To S. Sally Duffy (center), who was one of 10 women recognized this year with The Enquirer and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation Women of the Year award, which celebrates women who give generously of their time, energy and talent to enrich the community and improve civic life. To S. Sarah Mulligan (right), who was one of two recipients honored by the Center for Global Health with the 2017 Excellence in Global Health Award in October. The award recognizes those individuals, institutions or organizations that have made an exemplary contribution to the improvement of the health of populations in low- and middle-income countries over an extended period of time. VOLUME III, 2017
(From left) S. Montiel Rosenthal, MD; Barbara Hoffrogge, RN; Hillary Mount, MD; and Harini Pallerla
S. MONTIEL ROSENTHAL HONORED The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Chapter inducted S. Montiel Rosenthal into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AΩA) on Nov. 10, 2017. Alpha Omega Alpha is the national medical honor society dedicated to the belief that in the profession of medicine, care is improved by recognizing high educational achievement, honoring gifted teaching, encouraging the development of leaders in academia and the community, supporting the ideals of humanism, and promoting service to others. On Nov. 14, S. Montiel and other members of the Centering Pregnancy Research Group were awarded the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training Practice-Based Research Award at the Speakers Series Dinner and Award Ceremony at Music Hall. S. Montiel is the head of the Centering Pregnancy Research Group, a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, family medicine residents, and research faculty, who have worked to improve outcomes for pregnant women and their babies. The award recognizes a community physician or practice that works collaboratively with an academic program or institution to improve the health and wellness of their patients by integrating research and best practices in clinical care.
Celebrating God’s Faithfulness
uring this year the Sisters of Charity Community celebrated 17 women who have given their lives to the service of God’s people. The Community recognized diamond jubilarians, marking 60 years, on Tuesday, Aug. 15. Golden and silver jubilarians (50 and 25 years) were honored during Mass on Sunday, Aug. 27.
In reflecting on their years of service, jubilarians considered the following two quotes from Pope Francis. • “If we believe in the free and generous action of the Spirit we are able to understand one another well and work together to serve and contribute to peace in a decisive way.” (December 2014) • “Dear Friends, by simple gestures, by simple prayerful actions, recognizing Christ in the least of our brothers and sisters, we can bring the power of God’s love into our world and change it.” (November 2015)
S. Patricia Dittmeier, 25 years For me, Pope Francis’ invitation to find ways to reflect my call in all my relationships reflects my own growth as a person and as a minister over the past 25 years. I have found that the greatest gift we can give to another person is an open heart that is willing to listen in a loving, nonjudgmental way. Much pain and suffering in a world is rooted in a lack of willingness to truly know and engage with other people without first judging them. When I can set aside my own temptation to judge others and simply listen to their needs, wants, hopes and dreams, I find that we both grow in our ability to be Christ for one another.
S. Mary Fran Davisson, 50 years S. Bernadette Kambeitz (front) celebrated 80 years as a Sister of Charity in 2017.
(From left) Sisters Jean Miller, Joyce Richter and Laetitia Slusser – 65 year jubilarians – enjoy the meal following the Jubilee Mass on Aug. 15.
Sisters and Associates living out West helped S. Rosalie Riggio celebrate her 70th year as a Sister of Charity.
One of the most profound experiences I had while on my sabbatical in Berkeley, California, was when I became involved in massage therapy. I had enrolled in a Massage Internship program, Care Through Touch, which was offered through the Franciscan School of Theology. The program involved three hours of class weekly plus three hours of volunteer service for four months. My volunteer experience took me to a day center for homeless women and to an AIDS shelter where I offered neck and shoulder massages. On Holy Thursday, we visited a nursing home and offered hand and foot massages to the residents within the context of prayer. The residents also massaged our hands. What a beautiful and sacred remembrance of Jesus washing the Apostles’ feet! Pope Francis’ words in speaking about simple, prayerful actions and recognizing Christ in the least of our brothers and sisters was brought home to me through these experiences; truly we can bring the power of God’s love into our world and change it.
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S. Noreen Ellison, 60 years It seems that our Congregational direction and Pope Francis are “on the same page,” so to speak. We are committed to strengthen our relationship with the Divine Mystery in all of creation and to pursue the example and teachings of Jesus more deeply and with more visibility, especially with those who are marginalized.
Diamond jubilarians were recognized during Mass on Aug. 15. They are (front row, from left) Sisters Martha Walsh, Barbara Padilla, Katherine Hoelscher, Julie Gatza, (back row, from left) Noreen Ellison, the late Ruth Kuhn, Pat Wlock, Terry Dery, Mary Lucia Dudzinski and Carolyn Ann Siebert.
At this time in my life, I have more time to pray and reflect on how I live out these challenges. In the neighborhood where I live, I am on a committee that is trying to better protect our water and disposal systems by discouraging chemical use for our plant and animal life. We are committed to recycling and trying to influence those who are not. Pope Francis encourages “simple gestures, simple prayerful actions … bringing the power of God’s love into our world to change it.” These are gifts I can freely give right where I am. From my parish ministry experiences, I remain able to accompany people through sickness and death, and support their loved ones through grief and loss. Local refugees still capture my heart as they adjust, often in harsh conditions, to a new country, language and expectations. At times, I am able to connect them with new friends and resources which give hope and peace. The work and spirituality of the St. Vincent de Paul Society helps me live our charism of charity specifically with those who are vulnerable and who we call “friends.” VOLUME III, 2017
Diamond Jubilarians Sisters Julie Gatza (left) and Pat Wlock were honored to have Father José Maria Cabrera celebrate their Jubilee Mass; Father Cabrera is their pastor at All Saints Parish in Bay City, Michigan.
Additional anniversaries were celebrated at the Motherhouse throughout August. We are grateful for the lives of service of these women.
80 YEARS OF SERVICE S. Bernadette Kambeitz 75 YEARS OF SERVICE S. Miriam Clare Glandorf S. Patricia McNally S. Emily Anne Phelan S. Kathleen Stang
Golden Jubilarian S. Lois Jean Goettke (front row, center) was surrounded by family during the Mass and celebration on Aug. 27.
70 YEARS OF SERVICE S. Linda Chavez S. Julia Mary Deiters S. Victoria Marie Forde S. Mary Kathryn McFerrin S. Mary Barbara Philippart S. Rosalie Riggio S. Marian Ruede 65 YEARS OF SERVICE S. Joan Deiters S. Janice Ernst S. Monica Ann Lucas S. Jean Miller S. Francis Clare Pavioni S. Mary Joyce Richter S. Laetitia Slusser
Golden jubilarians used their gifts to provide the music for the golden and silver jubilee Mass.
Golden and silver jubilarians celebrated their anniversaries on Aug. 27. Celebrating are (front row, from left) Sisters Patricia Dittmeier (silver), Mary Fran Davisson, Katharine Pinto, (back row, from left) Lois Jean Goettke, Anita Parks, Donna Steffen and Terry Thorman.
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For the Girls of the World
Approximately 100 dresses are shipped every year to the children in the Philippines.
By Carolyn Kesterman, Communications intern
ith a piece of fabric depicting the continents of the world spread on the table, S. Anita Parks leads a group of girls and women at St. Martha Parish in Okemos, Michigan, in prayer, asking that the girls of the world may “have the opportunity to believe in themselves.” They have been offering up this prayer since S. Anita formed their service project six years ago – sewing sundresses for the wards of the Lingap Children’s Center in Cebu, Philippines. “The most beautiful part of this evolving project is the step-by-step direction of the Holy Spirit,” S. Anita says.
S. Anita Parks began the sewing project for the Lingap Children’s Center six years ago.
S. Anita, who is celebrating her Golden Jubilee this year, began her ministry teaching high school home economics. After several years teaching preschool, 18 of those years at St. Martha School, she transitioned to parish ministry and returned unexpectedly to her earlier home economics skills when she was going through her mother’s large amount of fabric and was inspired with the idea of bringing together women of the parish to create sundresses for girls in need. As interest grew, one of the women said that she wanted her Girl Scout troop to learn to sew and be involved in the ministry. The girls, who ranged from fifth to eighth graders at St. Martha’s and the nearby public school, began meeting with S. Anita and the women of the parish after school, beginning a project that has lasted six years. The decision to send the sundresses to the Lingap Children’s Center developed after the leader of the Girl Scout troop recalled the visits that John and Judy Drake, the founders of Lingap, had made to St. Martha’s in the past to share their experiences. The Drakes, who live nearby in Jackson, Michigan, thought it was a wonderful idea. “It warms my heart how, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have all joined together,” Judy Drake says. VOLUME III, 2017
S. Anita is thankful for how close the relationship between their group and the Drakes is. “It has been a real faith blessing to get to know the Drakes and to have them ship our dresses – about 100 every year – to the Philippines,” S. Anita says. Sister and her group are always ready to meet the needs expressed by the Drakes, including making 100 pillowcases to replace the center’s worn ones. The group has also taken on extra projects to help their nearby community, making quilts for a homeless shelter.
The blessings of the ministry are manifold as the sundresses not only benefit the girls of Lingap, but also the girls and women of St. Martha’s. “One day, the physical education teacher mentioned how some of the girls were not the most outgoing, popular ones, but that this was giving them a chance ‘to believe in themselves.’” S. Anita was surprised by the teacher’s choice of words. An opportunity to believe in themselves was exactly what the group prayed that the girls of the world might have. “I realized that learning this skill and doing something for others is ‘a prayer in action’ for these girls.” The women of the parish are also learning. “One lady asked me, ‘Am I too old to learn to sew?’ No, indeed not! Through her tentative beginnings, her confidence and skills grew, and now she, too, enjoys teaching and encouraging the girls to do their best.” S. Anita has a stack of nearly 50 prayer cards with the names of the girls and women who have participated in the project over the years. “I keep the papers as a wonderful remembrance of all who came just once or many times to participate in using their talents as a blessing for someone else,” S. Anita says. “Keeping the stack of prayer papers is my prayer of gratitude for this ministry.” 11
New Togetherness By Carolyn Kesterman, Communications intern
fter many years of different ministries, Sister-sisters Julia Mary and Joan Deiters are once again living in the same house just in time to celebrate their jubilees with the Community, 70 years for S. Julie and 65 years for S. Joan. While their ministries have taken them on different paths, the bonds they formed in childhood have always kept them close.
the time I was a senior in high school, I decided I would enter the Sisters of Charity.” S. Joan didn’t have to worry long about blazing her own path. Though both were involved in the sciences and education, their ministries took them in different directions and different states.
S. Julie’s initial education ministry teaching primarily high school math and science took her to several schools in Ohio and Michigan, including “I had two brothers but St. Mary High School in Chillicothe, no sisters, and I wanted a little Ohio (1952-1962). After three years sister very much,” S. Julie recalls. teaching at St. James High School in Sister-sisters Joan (left) and Julia Mary Deiters celebrate “When I was getting ready for Bay City, Michigan, she became the First Communion, I started talking their jubilees with the Community in 2017, 65 years for school’s principal in 1966, and in 1968, S. Joan and 70 years for S. Julie. about my ‘little sister,’ and mother she left St. James to serve for one year said, ‘What is this about a little as assistant principal at All Saints High sister?’ I said, ‘Well, S. Rose Gertrude said whatever we pray School, also in Bay City. She returned to Cincinnati to teach for, we would get when we made our First Communion. So math at Seton High School for six years (1969-1975). While they tried to explain to me that God does hear our prayers, there, she was helping some Dominican Sisters in downtown but doesn’t always answer them the way we want them Cincinnati who knew of some adults who could benefit from answered. I guess that went in one ear and out the other, and tutoring. “There was a man who owned a small grocery store I went on my way praying for my little sister. The following and happened to be underselling himself because he didn’t year, the day I was confirmed, my little sister, Joan, was one understand the arithmetic, so I helped him with that,” she week old and was baptized!” says. “In doing that, I wondered what there was available Although faith was an important facet of the Deiters for adults who realized they needed more education. Besides household, Sisters Julie and Joan and their brother Robert, going back to a normal high school, what was available?” who became a Jesuit priest, all made the decision to enter Adult education became a passion for her, and she became religious life on their own. “When I was a senior in high the director of a Mennonite inner-city program for adult school,” S. Julie says, “we made a retreat, and I said to my education from 1975 to 1980. In 1980, she was asked to friend in the bus on the way home, ‘Well, I decided one thing initiate an adult education program for Terrace Guild, an during retreat, I’m not going to go to the convent,’ and she organization serving low-income individuals and families in said, ‘Well, I decided I’m going.’ Five years later, she was Winton Terrace in Cincinnati. “It was surely needed. The married and I was in the convent.” people were grateful to have something like that.” While serving as the director of adult education there from 1979 S. Joan was in the eighth grade when S. Julie decided to to 2003, she also created an adult education program at enter the Sisters of Charity during her junior year of college. St. Leo the Great Parish. Her efforts in her service with adult Religious life was something S. Joan had considered, but due to reading up on the Jesuits after her brother had joined them education led to her being named one of the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Women of the Year in March 2002 for her two years earlier, “I thought I would like to be a Jesuit, but compassion, conviction and quiet leadership to make Greater of course that wasn’t possible,” she says. In high school, she Cincinnati a better place. She served part-time at Terrace felt called to religious life again, but of her own call. “I didn’t Guild for some years, but is now fully retired, residing in enter the convent because Julie was there. In fact, I thought Assisted Living in Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility. I should go to a different place to blaze my own path, but by 12
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Growing up, faith was an important facet of the Deiters household.
While S. Joan also went into education, her path took her a different direction. She began by teaching elementary school in Ohio and Michigan, and she spent two years as the assistant principal of St. Dominic School in Cincinnati (1960-1962). Sister was then sent to study for a Ph.D. in chemistry. For 10 years, she taught chemistry at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati (1968-1978). “It was difficult for me at the college, because at that time, there weren’t a lot of science majors,” S. Joan says. She decided to try teaching somewhere else, and found a home at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. “I loved teaching there. There were a lot of people taking chemistry, and I could teach as hard as I could.” She remained there for 18 years (19781996), completing training in spiritual direction during this time as well. She retired from teaching, then, and took the opportunity to go back to school and study psychoanalysis to aid her in spiritual direction. From 1999 to 2017, S. Joan had a thriving practice in Poughkeepsie, seeing people for spiritual direction and psychoanalysis. “When I got to be 82, I thought, I need to be back in Cincinnati, closer to home.” So this past August, S. Joan came to live at the Motherhouse, where she continues to offer spiritual direction and retreats. Although the Deiters sisters have spent most of their ministries far apart from each other, they have never let the physical distance come between their bond. Traveling together has been a highlight of their sisterly friendship. “One year, we VOLUME III, 2017
The four Deiters siblings had the opportunity to visit with each other during a two-week trip to Japan in 2010.
rented a car and drove up through the Canadian Rockies,” S. Julie remembers. “That year, it so happened that our brother Robert, who’s been stationed in Japan since 1952, had to go to a meeting in Mexico, and in flying from Japan to Mexico, flew right over Canada. So he changed his ticket and came down in Canada, and we were together for almost a week, exploring the Canadian Rockies.” The two sisters have also gone to Japan to visit their brother a couple times. “More recently, the two of us and our brother Paul went to Japan in 2010 to visit our brother Bob. We spent two weeks together, the four siblings. We had a great time together.” Their brother Paul died last year, making the sisters’ new togetherness a recognized blessing. They enjoy spending time with their nieces and nephews, and play Scrabble avidly. Simply being able to talk to each other in person is a delight, and celebrating their jubilees together this year has been an added joy. 13
A Sister to All –
S. Nancy Crafton
or the first 33 years of her Community life, S. Nancy Crafton ministered as a nurse in the acute care setting of hospitals in New Mexico and Pueblo, Colorado. It was while Sister was ministering at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, that the chaplain, Fr. Maurice Gallagher (now deceased), introduced her to the needs of his rural parish in Avondale, Colorado. For six years she organized the parish rectory with food and clothing for the farm laborers, which was staffed by parish volunteers twice a week.
S. Nancy Crafton currently ministers at Los Pobres Center in Avondale, Colorado, an organization that serves 900 families
In 2000, after leaving the hospital setting, S. Nancy began full-time work as a volunteer in the Avondale parish. Since, the need and growth has become so great that Sister secured funding to build a warehouse-like structure on land adjacent to Sacred Heart Church. The ministry was named Los Pobres Center, and over the last 17 years, they have registered 15,000-plus families from five Colorado counties. Currently Los Pobres serves 900 families and is open four days a week. The all-volunteer nonprofit organization provides services to help with education, immigration, and legal issues along with the non-perishable food, clothing and household supplies available. In addition a medical clinic is staffed once a week by the residency program at St. Mary-Corwin. We asked S. Nancy to answer the following questions related to her ministry as “A Sister to All.” In your opinion, what happens when we neglect the needs of those who are less fortunate? Those who quote “the poor you shall always have with you” use the phrase to their own selfish advantage as to why nothing can change. I disagree! Poverty is not a crime, nor is it a sin as some would believe. Our workers work very hard, and yet, they cannot live an “American” life because the economic constraints are prohibitive. It’s a multi-faceted issue: low wages, high rent and utilities, laws that are punitive and costly. When no one advocates for the rules, regulations and laws that are created to discriminate suffering doubles – families suffer, relationships crumble, children are neglected, and violence and crime rise.
When you think of a brave woman, who comes to mind? My mother was a brave woman. Even though she was a devoted Catholic from early life, and at one time a young member of the Adrian Dominicans, she always was cognizant of the roots of poverty and the compassion needed when confronted with those suffering worse than what we as a family were suffering. Mom was always bringing someone home to sleep on the floor who had no place to live. She brought home a Hungarian refugee in the 1950s, and my father almost collapsed! In her 80s she worked at Loaves and Fishes Ministries in Lansing, Michigan, and drove home in the snow once, without her shoes! A young woman had none and she gave hers to the woman. We all survived; yet, the example and strength of Mom’s determination to go the extra step has always been a part of my drive to also try harder. What does it feel like to experience joy? Joy is like sparkles of sun and diamonds flowing through the body and bringing contentment and peace all at once. What does it mean to you to be part of the Sisterhood? What is it like to have a spiritual bond with other Sisters? Sisterhood is empowerment. Sisterhood is knowing that inherent goodness is alive and moving to create a better world. Sisterhood is strength! Knowing that we all strive for the same end is bonding. Knowing that we can call each other out if things are amiss is challenging and delicate, yet necessary. Life is just too short to deny joy! We have to embrace all that we are dealt with resilience and fortitude.
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The group visited St. Joseph Cemetery’s Memorial Garden located at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Following Elizabeth’s Footsteps By Chanin Wilson, director of Associates
n Oct. 8, 2017, 24 Associates and six Sisters of Charity embarked on a six-day pilgrimage to Baltimore and Emmitsburg, Maryland, to learn more about the life of Sisters of Charity founder, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The group traveled 1,300 miles over four states during the journey, which began and ended at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. S. Judith Metz began each day presenting different aspects of Elizabeth Seton’s life, such as: “Model of Friendship,” “Prayers from the Heart,” “Model of Caregiving,” and “Mary, the First Sister of Charity on Earth.” Each reflection allowed pilgrims to gain a better perspective of the founder of the first religious community of women in the United States.
Pilgrims attended a private Mass at the house Mother Seton lived in on Paca Street in Baltimore, Maryland; it is the same chapel where Elizabeth Seton professed her First Vows.
Throughout the six days Sisters and “The desire to build loving Associates visited the house Mother Seton relationships is what drew me to the Included on the tour of the Seton Shrine were lived in on Paca Street in Baltimore, stops at the museum, Stone House, White Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.” Maryland; the National Shrine of House and the cemetery. - Associate Kate Lears Elizabeth Seton in Emmitsburg – touring “Elizabeth Seton and Mother Margaret George gave the museum, Stone House, White House and the cemetery; the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in these women the courage to go against the way society Emmitsburg to visit the rock Elizabeth Seton would sit upon expected them to behave.” - Associate Karen Elliott C.PP.S and teach catechism to children; and finally, Gettysburg and “Elizabeth Seton challenges me!” the Seminary Ridge Museum. - Associate Maureen Nieman The week-long pilgrimage was a great opportunity for “Having the opportunity to walk the same grounds the Sisters and Associates to get to know each other blessed as Elizabeth Seton has given me a better appreciation of with the spirit of Elizabeth Ann Seton. A few of their her life.” - S. John Michael Geis perspectives follow.
“I was struck by how, as we approached the Gettysburg Battlefield, the normally chatty bus became quiet as we drove on the hallowed land.”
“I have really appreciated this time to get to know our Associates better.” - S. Jane Bernadette Leo
- Associate Mary Jo Mersmann
- Associate Gary Sawyer
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“Just be, and look for God’s blessings.”
Responding to God’s Call By S. Patricia Wittberg she didn’t think she could contribute. S. Romina summed up their answers by saying that the Novitiate process “gives you what you need. This cannot be planned but is deeply providential. There are many different paths/learnings in the Novitiate depending on where you are and what you need.” The second theme in their answers was that they appreciated the relationships fostered by the Novitiate experience. S. Whitney appreciated having a year “to focus only on my relationship with God and with the rest of the community.” As a Canonical Novice Whitney Schieltz (right) has spent S. Romina cited her relationships with the time with a variety of Sisters learning about the SC Sisters in the Novitiate community, saying, constitutions and virtues. “I don’t think the [Novitiate] experience would have been as good if I didn’t live in such a good, supportive Novitiate community.” She also mentioned that “the warmth and hether a Sister of Charity was a Novice in 1957, the atmosphere or welcome and concern which the Sisters 1987, or 2017, there are some things about the expressed for me when I entered, and still express while I am Novitiate time that never change. And there are in the process is so comforting,” and that she appreciated “the other things that have changed profoundly. Recently I had opportunity to build relationships with the other participants the opportunity to interview both Sisters Romina Sapinoso in the Intercommunity Novitiate, to form bonds. It is good to and Whitney Schieltz about their Novitiate experience: what be with other young people who are discerning.” surprised them, what their greatest learning has been, what they appreciate most about the Novitiate program, and how Sisters Whitney and Romina were also asked how the other Sisters and Associates can help them in clarifying their rest of the Sisters could help them in clarifying their response responses to God’s call. to God’s call. Here, too, both emphasized the importance
Their answers centered around two themes: personal growth and building relationships. Regarding the first theme, S. Whitney cited “the time and freedom to deepen introspection and pay attention to where God is in my life” as something she appreciates about the Novitiate program. She noted that this was a gift that is not available to most people. S. Romina commented that her greatest learning was to be comfortable with just “being,” in order to be open to God’s plan. “There is a tension between being who you are and being open to what you are called to become, especially in the context of community. How do you carry all of these past experiences and honor them, but remain open to God working something new in you?” S. Whitney was surprised by the “uncovering/deepening of gifts I didn’t know I had or didn’t fully appreciate,” and by finding that she could enjoy ministries she hadn’t thought she would like or where 16
of honest and trusting relationships. This helps us all to know each other better and to see how God is working in each others’ lives. S. Romina said that “when I hear Sisters’ stories, I am always blessed and left in awe and hope. I desire their wisdom and values and want to learn from their experiences and years of being a Sister. I admire the risks taken, the courage shown, and the humility by which each accepted the challenges of religious life. Who they are and their values are an essential part of what they hand down to us younger members of the Community and that we carry forward as Sisters of Charity.” S. Whitney noted that these relationships could also help the older Sisters understand the newer members: “It is important to understand that the world is different now, and that it is continuing to change even more all the time. This leads to different ways of thinking and acting. So it is important to be open and to listen and to be I N T E RC O M
willing to journey with us as we explore and develop new ways of living the charism.” At the end of our interviews, I asked both women what the Sisters and Associates can do to help other young women know about religious life today. Both said the most important thing, again, was establishing relationships. According to S. Whitney: “Just be present to them. We have to meet them where they are, to let them know that we want them where they are. We need to have that personal interaction, so that they will see the good work we do and the joy we have while doing it.” Or, as S. Romina put it, “Be friends with them. It is very different now, how people are attracted to religious life. Unless they have an intimate look into it, people don’t realize that religious life is alive, well, and a choice that one can seriously discern. It is still viable and just as exciting as it was in the past. The world needs religious men and women now more than ever. If you are in relationship with young people, whether in ministry or just hanging out, then they get used to the idea that religious life is an option.”
Apostolic Novice Romina Sa pinoso (center) says the Intercommunity Novitiate provided her with the opportunity to build relationships with the other participants .
embers of the Sisters of Charity Community welcomed Whitney Schieltz into the Canonical Novitiate during a vespers service Aug. 19, 2017, in the Immaculate Conception Chapel at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. The purpose of the one-year Canonical Novitiate is to enable Whitney to learn more about religious life, to deepen her connection to the Congregation’s roots and history, and to develop an integrated apostolic spirituality. Born in Dayton, Ohio, Whitney is the younger of two children to Beverly and Richard Schieltz. Whitney graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2010 with a degree in architecture. She continued her studies at the University of Kentucky (Lexington) in the area of historic preservation, attaining her master’s degree in 2012. When Whitney returned to Dayton she participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and was confirmed Aug. 24, 2014, at St. Luke parish in Beavercreek. Whitney began Affiliation with the Community in September 2015 and has lived with the Sisters of Charity at Casa Caridad (Anthony, New Mexico) from October 2015 until August 2017. She volunteered at the Santo Niño Project in Mexico and Villa Maria Home for Women in El Paso, Texas. She also has coordinated the Future of Charity blog for the women in discernment and formation with the SC Federation congregations.
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Whitney Schieltz (front) receives a blessing from the Sisters living in the Novitiate community at Bayley House.
Spiritually Fit By Megan Simmermeyer, Communications co-op
or Sisters of Charity Jackie Leech, Joyce Richter, and Joan Wessendarp, keeping physically active plays an important role within their individual lives. “[Physical health] affects everything,” S. Joyce says. “If you want to feel good, you need to have physical fitness.” These Sisters enjoy a wide variety of activities that act as an extension of their faith, and looking back, each can recall how important being active has been and how it impacts their daily lives. When S. Joan reminisces about her childhood, she says, “I picture myself riding my bike with my brother and taking a walk with my father.” In present day, she continues to enjoy biking, and every summer for the past 21 years, S. Joan has spent a week biking in Michigan. Several years ago, she put 200 miles on her bike in just one week, and last summer, she biked approximately 80 miles. While S. Joan enjoys exercising almost anywhere, whether on a bike trail or in a gym, she prefers to be outdoors, as it gives her a chance to admire God’s creation. “I love being surrounded by nature,” she says. “It is here that I experience the gifts of our loving God as I keep myself active and peaceful.” S. Joyce shares similar memories of being active as a child, and even now, she is bursting with the need to move. “I have energy,” she says. “I need to do things!” For the past six years, S. Joyce has put some of that seemingly inexhaustible energy toward walking in Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon, and each year, she asks herself, “Can I do it?” So far, she has answered ‘yes’ every time. S. Joan Wessendarp enjoys the view along a bike trail in Michigan, where she goes every summer.
S. Jackie also recalls being very active since she was young. Throughout school, she was on the swim team, played basketball, and even started skiing in eighth grade. S. Jackie was always on the move. “I even have a scar on my forehead as a result of running in the house and crashing into a wall!” she says. Today, S. Jackie continues to enjoy a variety of physical activity, including swimming, playing golf, hiking, and riding her bike. During the winter, she also enjoys downhill skiing and snow shoeing, which she says is hard work but exhilarating. “Like everyone else, I am the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and Christ resides within me,” S. Jackie says. “I see it as my responsibility to take good care of myself, and exercise is one of the ways I try to do this.” When asked if they believe physical activity to be important, the Sisters gave a resounding “Yes!” “I definitely believe that physical fitness is important for everyone,” says S. Joan, “not as a punishment but as a reward for the gift of life.” For S. Jackie, exercise “brings a nearness of God to me which is loving and intimate.” S. Joyce agrees, saying that through her faith, she has learned to be grateful for what she has, and part of being grateful means taking care of those things for which one is grateful, including one’s earthly body. She also feels that being physically active and healthy has enhanced her experience in prayer. “I can pray better if I feel better,” S. Joyce says. Through exercise, she is energized and can direct that energy toward prayer and serving others. For the past six years, S. Joyce Richter has walked the Flying Pig Marathon, and here, she is pictured proudly showing off her medal.
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God Works in Mysterious Ways By Asssociate Vicki Welsh
e have all probably declared at one time or another throughout our lives, “God works in mysterious ways!” The words have been spoken to describe either an unexplained joyous event or a horrendous tragedy we didn’t see coming. However, when I asked Associate Destiny Sargeant, Ph.D., about her life, the first words out of her mouth were those, “God works in mysterious ways!” I believe Destiny wants you to understand that amidst the relative normal journey of living life, extraordinary things happen if you’re looking!
To say that those two weeks at Ground Zero had a profound affect on the rest of her life would be to trivialize the experience. One can almost not put into words how you come out on the other side of two weeks at Ground Zero. For Destiny, she knew she needed more community, a spiritual community. She attended an ACTS Retreat (Adoration Community Theology Service). She calls it Catholicism 101. She became Catholic after that retreat. Within the Catholic faith she found the fulfillment of her need for a faith tradition that had history, theology and community.
Destiny grew up as an ‘Army Brat.’ I can see how that relocating lifestyle has contributed to her personality. I Destiny has always felt that God S. Dee Sizler and Associate Destiny Sargeant met Destiny for the first time during our wanted her. He wanted her for (left) reconnect at the Congregational Retreat in Congregational Retreat this past June. It something bigger than herself. He June. was her first time in Cincinnati, and she wanted her to adopt two children. He stayed a few extra days to enrich her visit. She embraced our wanted her to continue to treat those first responders in their Queen City with gusto as I toured her around town! She was need. God does work in mysterious ways because He wanted interested in everything and totally enjoyed herself. It was easy her to become an Associate with the Sisters of Charity of to see that she immerses herself in every moment with joy and Cincinnati – a place she had never even visited but whose thanksgiving. I’m sure moving from military base to military mission, love and community had found her in Juneau, base prepared her for the new and unfamiliar. Alaska. Her first career choice was to become a paramedic. Coming from an upbringing within the Christian faith, it seems only natural for Destiny to choose an occupation where she could help others at a time of greatest vulnerability. As a young woman, she struggled with the question, “Why do some people die when they were expected to live, and why do some live when they should have died?” To wrestle with this question she went back to school and became a clinical psychologist specializing in clinical stress management, or in layman’s terms, trauma. At this point Destiny began working with military personnel and first responders. These are the people who became dearest to her heart. To help those who find themselves responding to the needs of the traumatized and in so doing absorb the trauma themselves, became her life’s call. Then came Sept. 11, 2001. God does work in mysterious ways. Everything Destiny had experienced and trained for had led her to lead a team at this time and at this place to Ground Zero.
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As a clinical psychologist, Associate Destiny Sargeant led a team to help first responders following the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2011.
Building Community ...
And a Sister to All
eet Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Carol Wirtz. S. Carol ministers at the Santo Niño Clinic in Anapra, Mexico, which provides therapy and special education to children with physical and mental disabilities and their families. Where are you currently ministering? I have been living and ministering at the U.S.-Mexico Border for the last 26 years. We have been at the Santo Niño Project in Anapra, Mexico for 16 years, working with special needs children and their families. We Sisters of Charity began the center in response to one of the mothers who was coming to a little clinic where we did massage and basic medical care. She was pregnant and her baby was born with Down Syndrome. She brought it to our attention that there were no services for special needs children. She started telling other families in clinics she visited that they should take their children to us. They just started coming, and so we decided maybe God was calling us to change our focus and we started the Santo Niño Project. We probably have 20 children total that we work with and they range in age from infants to 30 years. On any given day there may be 15-20 children at the center, along with their mothers and siblings. We are there Tuesday, Thursday and every other Saturday. I also go over on Wednesdays to stay with one of the families in order to integrate myself in the culture. The center is about a 30-minute drive from our home in Anthony, New Mexico. Many of the children have been coming for nine or 10 years. The ministry is not just about the therapy, although they do get really good therapy, but our main focus is building community with the mothers and children. You can’t just work on a child without working on the whole family. We try to create a place of support and camaraderie, a place where the moms can come and also be nurtured. We have taught many of our moms how to work with the children, as well. Can you talk a little about your education and background which led you to your current ministry? I have a degree in elementary and special education from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. I taught for five years and then went to massage school because I was interested in alternative medicine and that was an entryway. Eventually I became certified in lymphatic drainage therapy, working mostly with breast cancer patients. Four years ago I learned about the Anat Baniel Method of neuromovement education. I saw a TED talk where Baniel used this approach – which focuses on the child’s brain and its ability to change and learn – with special needs children.
I learned more about this approach which doesn’t focus on the child’s limitations but looks at what is possible for each particular child. The whole idea is to create new brain connections. I had a little toddler who had a seizure disorder. He came to the clinic when he was 14 months old. He wasn’t crawling, walking, or talking and wasn’t using the left side of his body at all. I started with neuromovement lessons, and pretty soon he started using the left side of his body, then crawling, and now he’s running and walking all over the place. His EEGs are normal. The brain sometimes needs different information to learn. Your home in Anthony, New Mexico, is also the Formation Home for young women interested in the Sisters of Charity Community. What is it like to be part of the discernment process of young women? To me it’s a very important part of my ministry. It keeps my own discernment fresh. Any time anyone new comes into the house it’s an opportunity to mutually discern. We try to build a community life of mutual care, support and service. For me it provides visions of what community can be. So many of these women come with a wonderful spirit and new ideas! It’s such an opportunity for the Community, an opportunity for all of us to grow, and an opportunity to let go of things that need to be let go of. God sends new people with gifts we need to go forward. We have people come into the house and ask if we can try something new, and we say we haven’t done this for 15 years but yes we can try. And many times it’s good. They want to live radically and it stretches us. It’s a challenge – a good challenge. I find it very life-giving. What does it mean to you to be part of the sisterhood? What is it like to have a spiritual bond with other Sisters? As I was walking out in the cemetery this morning, I was thinking of this question. I was looking at the names of those I didn’t know, and the names of those I knew vaguely or really well. Part of that is the lineage of all the Sisters I am connected to. We share a spirit of service and awareness of God’s presence in all things. To me I can’t imagine not having that connection. When I take a look back and think of all the amazing things these Sisters have done, it makes me grateful to be a part of this family. I’m grateful for the call to be part of this charism and to share that lineage with those who have gone before and those who are to come. Seeing our new members come with such great spirit and commitment gives me a lot of joy. I want more people to feel that – that they are called to experience the sisterhood.
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What is your hope for the future of religious life? I believe there’s great potential in who we are and in what is to come; perhaps, even more than what we have been in the past. I hope that we can be open and good stewards to welcome the challenge and vision of what’s to come in the future. And even though we can’t see it, totally, I hope we can gracefully enter into and nurture that, to let go of what we need to let go of, and to be open to what we need to be open to in change. It’s a good thing; it’s part of being alive and allowing the Spirit to grow us. I wouldn’t invite people and I wouldn’t be so hopeful and excited about the future if I didn’t believe there was something much more than what is even happening now. In looking at the past, how could there not be? I’m sure there were periods of time when people wanted to forge ahead and there was fear, but maybe there’s enough of the push and inspiration to take that risk and to say yes to what’s next. I believe there’s a lot more willing souls who want to be a part of this.
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VOLUME III, 2017
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Four Hundred Years of Grace THE CHARITY CHARISM –
By S. Judith Metz
“It is characteristic of God always to prompt us to do what is good. … All the good we do is done by inspiration … No one is saved except by inspiration and the good use we make of it.”
“and God, touching the hearts of those who were listening, caused them all to be moved to compassion for these poor afflicted people.”3 Three days later, Aug. 24, the first Confraternity of Charity, composed entirely of women, was established in Châtillon. At Folleville, Vincent became aware of the full extent of the spiritual abandonment of the poor. At Châtillon, he was confronted by society’s abandonment of the poor. These two experiences became forever linked, as Vincent often spoke of how the poor needed to be served “corporally and spiritually.”
- St. Vincent de Paul
he year 1617 marked a turning point in Vincent de Paul’s life. “We learn from Vincent himself that twice between January and late August of that year God intervened directly and perceptibly in his life. On both occasions, an event caused him to stop, to reflect before God, and to undertake a course of action which would alter his future.”1
Vincentian Family founders (from top to bottom) Saints Elizabeth Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac.
In January Vincent de Paul was serving in the household of the high-ranking de Gondi family and was, therefore, pastor of those living on their estates. In this capacity he was called to hear the death-bed confession of an elderly peasant in a village near Folleville. Later the man told Madame de Gondi, “Ah, Madame, I should have been damned if I had not made a general confession.” At this disclosure, Madame de Gondi turned to her trusted chaplain and spiritual director and asked, “What must be done?”2 In response to her request, Vincent preached in the parish church on the need for the sacrament. “[God] blessed my discourse,” recalled Vincent, “and all those good people were so touched by God that all came to make a General Confession.” He then visited other villages where his message was received with such an overwhelming response that additional priests were recruited to assist in the work. This was the first sermon of the Mission. His experience at Folleville led Vincent to question if God was not leading him to a new ministry of evangelization and service of the poor. After a period of discernment, he arranged to be sent to a tiny parish in the village of Châtillonles-Dombes in southeastern France. Within a month of his arrival, as he was vesting for Sunday Mass, he was told of a whole family that lay ill so that not a single one of them could assist the others. He spoke about it during his sermon, 22
From these 1817 beginnings other manifestations of this Charity Charism flowed. Madame de Gondi had long envisioned a plan to ensure the preaching of missions to those who lived on her estates. In 1824 she suggested that Vincent establish a community of missionaries for this purpose, and thus the Congregation of the Mission began. About the same time Vincent began his long and fruitful association with Louise de Marillac. He enlisted her help in energizing the Confraternities of Charity in the villages as well as the Ladies of Charity in Paris. Out of this work, Louise helped organize the ‘kind-hearted country girls’ who felt attracted to assist in serving the poor. From this emerged the Daughters of Charity. These initiatives as well as many others that have emerged since the 17th century carry on the vision and charism that was begun so long ago – ‘because God prompted Vincent to do what was good.’ And this is why we celebrate 2017 as the founding of the Charity Charism.
1 Louise Sullivan, “The Hands of Providence: Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, and Feminine Charitable Activity in France, 1617-1660,” Vincentian Heritage, 14:1 (1993), 58. 2 Edward R. Udovic, C.M., “Conversion and Discernment According to Vincent de Paul,” Vincentian Heritage, 32:1 (2014). 3 Pierre Coste, The Life and Works of St. Vincent de Paul, 3 vols. (Westminster, MD, The Newman Press, 1952), 1:82.
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Responding to the Needs of the Times –
Meet ‘Sister to All’ Teresa Marie Laengle How would you describe your ministry and your role? I am involved with the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP) retreat program for those who are homeless and in recovery from addiction. I am the Dayton, Ohio, area coordinator for ISP which involves setting up the retreat schedule with Bergamo Center, searching out volunteers to serve as facilitators for the retreats, ordering supplies, organizing transportation for retreatants, contacting agencies to find retreatants, participating in the women’s retreats and follow-ups and the co-ed reflection day, and writing grants to provide financial support for the program. In addition to being a part of ISP, I also minister as a spiritual director and am a liaison in the Sisters of Charity Congregation. How would you characterize SC values?
S. Teresa Marie Laengle (front row, center) is the area coordinator for the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP) retreat program in Dayton, Ohio.
As SCs we are called to meet the needs of the times. This involves being in touch with society and determining where the needs are and attending to them. We offer hospitality to any person we meet and are fully present to them. In our person we bring the presence of Christ to the world. The Eucharist has a special meaning to the SCs because our founder, Elizabeth Seton, was especially drawn to the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we find our sustenance for our lives and our ministry. As SCs we treasure the world in which we live and do everything that we can to preserve our environment for future generations. We also take stands and become active in social justice issues where there are injustices being done to humans and to our environment throughout the world. As SCs we believe in the need for community – of supporting each other in our personal lives and our ministries. We value life in all of its forms and do all that we can to preserve the dignity and human rights of individuals. Tell us about the role of prayer in your life. Prayer is essential in my life. Without the deep connection with God, I could not serve in the capacity that I do. I am conscious of God’s presence with me no matter what I am doing. God has sustained me through some very difficult times in my life. I find myself talking to God throughout the day asking for help in doing a task or for an individual who has a need. I find God present in those with whom VOLUME III, 2017
I minister and in those to whom I minister. My favorite place for prayer and finding God is in nature. Somehow the beauty, vastness and uniqueness of nature draws me to God. I especially like being near water. I also find God in my artwork and journaling. The Eucharist is another form of prayer that sustains me and enables me to pray with the local community. What does it feel like to experience joy? When I experience joy I feel free of worry and anxiety. I experience a sense of contentment. I experience joy when I see students catch onto a concept, a woman release some of her burdens and laugh, or seeing an individual reach full potential. When I listen to music, play music, draw, walk in nature or splash through lake waves, I find I am lifted to a different level of consciousness which allows me to be in a world beyond this world. I am moved beyond myself. Could you describe a time when you provided spiritual guidance and you felt you made a real difference? When I was teaching, I had a student who was using LSD. Somehow we connected – she would come in to help me in the lab. I contacted her parents and let them know that she was using drugs. She obtained the help that she needed to overcome her addiction and is living a good life today. I feel that I was instrumental in saving her life.
Pathways to Prayer - Lectio Divina By S. Carol Brenner
rayer, for most, begins in childhood, usually following the style of a parent or teacher, often using a script that is familiar. It is a connection to the Divine which takes us beyond the routine and the immediate elements of life. In this series we acquaint the reader with some of the ways of encountering God through a brief description of a prayer form being widely used today. The third in this series is Lectio Divina. Put simply, Lectio Divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures. Lectio Divina is one of the great treasures of the Christian tradition of prayer. It flows out of a Hebrew method of interpreting the Scripture by a free use of the text to explore its inner meaning. It was part of the way the Jews prayed in the days of Jesus. The monastic form of Lectio Divina was practiced by the mothers and fathers of the desert and later in monasteries in the east and west. One listens to the word and follows the spirit. This can be done alone or with a group. The first movement is reading a passage slowly and attentively, seeking to be informed and formed by God’s Word. We ask what word or phrase draws me? In the second movement we look for meaning in what we read. I pause to ponder over and apply it to my life. I look for insights and learnings to get a meaning for myself. What do I hear or see that touches me and my life? In movement three I read the passage again and respond in prayer. It may be a prayer of praise, thanksgiving or petition. I speak directly to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit from my heart. What is moving my heart from the insights I am given? The fourth and final movement is resting in God. Reading and thinking cease and I am silent in my desire for God to take over. I do nothing but surrender to God. Lectio Divina is an organic process, not a technique. Its flow has an inner direction that is unique each time it is used. In her book, Too Deep for Words, Thelma Hall says that Lectio has contemplation as its assumed culmination. There is an inner dynamic in all true love that leads to a level of communication “too deep for words.” There the lover becomes inarticulate, falls silent and the beloved receives the silence as eloquence.
Lectio Divina is often used by groups gathering to prepare the Church’s readings for the upcoming Sunday. It might go something like this: 1. Read the Gospel out loud and listen for the word or phrase that catches your attention. Share it. 2. Read it again and see how what caught your attention relates to what is going on in your life. Share. 3. Read it a third time and share a prayer that comes from your heart. 4. Read the passage a fourth time and rest in silence with God. S. Joan Chittister says it well, “Lectio is a slow, reflective process that takes us down below the preoccupations of the moment, the distractions of the day, to the place where the soul holds the residue of life.” Could God be calling you to try it?
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Responsible Investment By Jim Weber, Associate sponsoring shareholder resolution discussions and promoting environmentally and socially responsible practices. The SCCRC is a member of the Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment. This a coalition of religious congregations from Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio whose mission is to encourage shareholders in business corporations to speak to the problems of social justice and to contribute to their resolution by concrete action. Region VI is also a member of ICCR. Currently, the Mother Margaret George Fund has 15 stocks that the SC-CRC follows for social and environment justice issues. These stocks are Chevron, Cintas, Coca Cola, Conoco/Philips, CVS, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Duke Energy, Kroger, Macy’s, Monsanto, Phillips 66, P&G, Toyota, Wal-Mart, and Wyndham Worldwide. The late S. Ruth Kuhn started the Sisters of Charity Corporate Responsibility Committee in 1997.
“Money talks, and our money speaks justice.” ~ S. Ruth Kuhn
n 1997 the Sisters of Charity Corporate Responsibility Committee (SC-CRC) was formed under the direction of S. Ruth Kuhn. The purpose of this committee was, and continues to be, to carry out three strategies to address moral, social and environmental consequences of the actions of corporations: 1) to avoid participation in harmful activities, 2) to use the role as a stockholder for social stewardship, and 3) to promote the common good. The SC-CRC currently has eight active members composed of Sisters, Associates and representatives of our Sponsored Ministries. The committee members monitor existing investments and stay current on socially responsible topics, integrating their judgment for the investment activities of the Mother Margaret George Fund.
The following table shows the stocks we own in the left column and the primary justice issue that we are following with regards to the company in the right. Our ownership of these stocks allows us to advocate for policy changes by voting our proxies annually, joining with other ICCR members in signing letters to companies and occasionally filing a shareholder resolution, usually with another ICCR member. STOCKS
SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES
local company; supply chain; worker rights issues
end tobacco sales
Dick’s Sporting Goods fire arms control Duke Energy
local company; supply chain
supply chain; worker rights issues
In addition to committee members, the SC-CRC also has five Sisters and Associates who are assistant researchers. Committee members and assistants each have one or two stocks that they follow. At semiannual meetings, they report on their stocks, highlighting corporate policies and actions in line with, or contrary to, Catholic social and moral teachings.
local company; supply chain; worker rights issues
supply chain; worker rights issues
The Sisters of Charity are represented in two investing coalitions. The Community is a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), which is an interfaith-based institutional investment center
environmental issues; human rights issues
VOLUME III, 2017
Note that the local company indication is made because we may be asked by other ICCR members to attend the annual meeting to personally represent their interest.
Timeless Treasures By S. Judith Metz
ucked away in S. Justina Segale’s Archives file is the beautifully etched medal pictured here. Was it a gift? Something she received at her First Vows? A remembrance of her Golden Jubilee in 1926? We don’t know the answer to these questions, but we can surmise that it was something she cherished – something that symbolized her life as a Sister of Charity. The Segale name is famous within Sisters of Charity circles and beyond, principally because of S. Blandina’s published journal, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail. But there is another Segale, the older, quieter, gentler, but equally impressive S. Justina.
amazing range of programs and services not only for Italian immigrants, but also for every description of poor, immigrant, and needy people in the city. Sparing no personal cost they poured themselves out in every way over the course of decades.
S. Justina Segale
Both sisters emigrated from Italy as young children with their family. Each received a good education, and, from an early age, exhibited a keen interest in reaching out to the poor and needy. They selflessly offered their service when cholera was raging in Cincinnati in 1866. Unbeknown to the other, each went to a neighborhood drug store to purchase a disinfectant to use as protection so that whenever she saw a yellow flag indicating the presence of the disease she could offer her services to that family.1 After entering the Sisters of Charity in 1866, S. Justina had a long career in education, serving Irish and German immigrant children in Ohio, and Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo children in Colorado and New Mexico. She knew first-hand the hardships of poverty and marginalization and was able to reach out with kindness and understanding to her charges. While at St. Mary’s in Lansing, Michigan, she took a special interest in the blind students at Michigan State University who met weekly at the convent for religious instruction. She studied the Braille system so she could write prayers and instructions for them, prepared a Catholic prayer book, and undertook to see that Catholic Braille books were introduced into the library. In 1897 S. Justina was sent, with her sister, S. Blandina, to “see if they could do anything for the poor Italian immigrants in the inner city of Cincinnati.” Starting with five dollars to “go and explore the conditions,” the two founded and managed Santa Maria Institute, the first Catholic settlement house in the United States. They developed an Blandina Segale, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail (Mount St. Joseph, OH: Sisters of Charity, 2014), 222-223.
S. Justina was compassionate and methodical in her work. From the day Santa Maria began until her death 32 years later, she meticulously recorded the activities of the agency. Eleven of the 22 journals she kept provide a running account of the home visits, meetings, outreach, and stories of people who sought their assistance. Another 11 are “scrapbooks” that contain newspaper clippings, reports, accounts of visits by dignitaries, programs from entertainments, poems and copied stories pertinent to their work. S. Justina’s records provided material for detailed annual reports issued by Santa Maria, as well as for the magazine, Veritas, that they published. No one knew S. Justina better than S. Blandina, who described her as “calm and unruffled.” “I never knew her to become provoked or irritated with anyone. Perhaps this was due to her insight into human nature, as she was a born psychologist besides being a student of psychology. In fact, she was a student in any direction which she thought might lead to betterment in her work,” S. Blandina wrote. She was also a prayerful and poetic soul who had a great devotion to Elizabeth Seton and the Sisters of Charity. A poem titled “A Visit to Mt. St. Joseph’s Cemetery” extols her “Mother” and departed companions. It begins: In the quiet evening That brings respite from care, With loving hearts we hasten To offer up a prayer In that silent circle Wherein our loved ones lie Waiting to meet again Beyond the beauteous sky.
This etched medal was found in the Archives files of S. Justina Segale.
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A Saint for the 21st Century By S. Georgia Kitt
s interest in Servant of God S. Blandina Segale continues, the following article offers insight into the current happenings related to her cause for canonization and S. Blandina herself. She continues to be an inspiration to many as more and more immigrants, healthcare workers, educators, and even prisoners, are learning of her life, her escapades in the Southwest and the social services she established in Cincinnati, after gaining the confidence of the Italian immigrants.
In August, co-producers, Tomas Sanchez and Mark Steinig, and Allen Sanchez, petitioner for S. Blandina Segale’s cause for canonization, presented Sisters, Associates and Segale family members with a special showing of “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail,” a television series based on the life of S. Blandina.
The past two issues of Intercom updated readers on the early Santa Maria Community Services history, first begun in 1897, and highlighted some of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati who followed in the footsteps of S. Blandina and her blood sister, S. Justina, meeting adult language, educational, health- and job-related needs. Always, then and now, home visits, problem solving and community organizing were essential to their success. In the institutions she founded almost one century ago, besides Santa Maria, both St. Joseph’s Children’s, Albuquerque, and San Antonio parish, Cincinnati, still reflect Blandina’s determined, can-do spirit these many years later. She lived the Sisters of Charity motto: the Charity of Christ Urges Us. S. Blandina is most certainly a ‘Sister To All!’ She gave her life to do good to others. She seemed to influence people most when she entered into their everyday world; we see that throughout her journal, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail. In her encounters we find her reaching out to unlikely people and places with acceptance and love. In the present we find the pilot for her TV series being circulated to those who might be interested in buying the rights. In late August the co-producers of the pilot, Tomas Sanchez and Mark Steinig, came to the Motherhouse to offer a special showing of the pilot, “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail,” to Sisters, Associates, and Segale family members. Input from the viewers was requested as they begin to consider future episodes. From the canonization group working on her cause it seems that they have completed their current work. The Second Diocesan Inquiry has been completed (November 2016) and all work is now in the hands of the Roman Postulator and the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints. Allen Sanchez, CEO of St. Joseph’s Children’s and petitioner, tells us that the miracle phase of her life holds great interest for the Vatican personnel assigned to her case. When writing or speaking about S. Blandina in public we are to address her as Servant of God Blandina Segale, SC. We ask that you continue to pray to her for her intercession. As the petitioners for her cause, Allen Sanchez and the Board of St. Joseph’s Children’s are asking that Blandina be made the patron of immigrant children and universal health care. She could be the patron of many 21st century issues and persons – persons being trafficked, brick-builders, refugees, community organizers. We might ask ourselves: Where do I see charity needed? Can I bring Servant of God Blandina Segale’s spirit there? VOLUME III, 2017
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 280 Sisters are joined in their mission by 203 Associates (lay women and men). Sisters, using their professional talents as ministers of education, health care, social services and environmental justice, live and minister in 23 U.S. dioceses and in two foreign countries. They also sponsor institutions to address education, health care and social service needs, with particular concern for direct service to the poor.
Intercom Staff Editor
Erin Reder Graphic Design/Layout
Michelle Bley Director of Communications
S. Georgia Kitt Executive Council Liaison
S. Mary Bookser Advisory Board Members:
Veronica Buchanan S. Mary Ann Flannery S. Tracy Kemme S. Joyce Richter Debbie Weber Vicki Welsh Letters to the editor, articles and photos are welcome. The staff reserves the right to edit for space and readability. Make submissions to: Communications Office 5900 Delhi Road Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051 Phone: 513-347-5447 Fax: 513-347-5467 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: $15 per year
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5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 http://www.srcharitycinti.org www.facebook.com/sistersofcharityofcincinnati
8 Sisters of Charity celebrating 65, 70 or 75 years of commitment as women religious were recognized in August with the Communityâ€™s Diamond Jubilarians.
15 In October, a group of Sisters and Associates embarked on a six-day pilgrimage to Baltimore and Emmitsburg, Maryland, to learn more about the life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. S. Jackie Leech enjoys a beautiful day playing golf, one of her favorite physical activities.
Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.