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Volume II, 2021

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

A Letter From Our Sister



When you are an apostolic congregation: How do you continue on when demographics say you’re getting older? How do you serve when you are confronted with a once-every-100-years pandemic? How do you continue when it feels like everything is shut down or is shut down?

This issue of Intercom gives several responses as to how.

Contents Features Compassion at the Next Level............ 6-7 S. Montiel Rosenthal educates health care professionals. Welcome Home............................... 8-11 Community gathers for first time since pandemic. Healthy Improvements................... 12-13 S. Annie Klapheke journeys with clients to a healthier lifestyle. Excellence in Care.......................... 14-15 The Sisters of Charity legacy as nurse educators. Mission Focused............................. 18-19 Associate S. Karen Elliott connects the SC charism to MSJU. Body, Mind and Spirit.................... 20-21 S. Mary Fran Davisson’s ministry of massage therapy.


spirituality of work is based on a heightened sense of sacramentality, of the idea that everything that is, is holy and that our hands consecrate it to the service of God. When we grow radishes in a small container in a city apartment, we participate in creation. When we sweep the street in front of a house in the dirtiest city in the country, we bring new order to the universe. We tidy the Garden of Eden. We make God’s world new again. When we repair what has been broken or paint what is old or give away what we have earned that is above and beyond our own sustenance, we stoop down and scoop up the earth and breathe into it new life again, as God did one morning in time only to watch it unfold and unfold and unfold through the ages … when we care for everything we touch and touch it reverently, we become the creators of a new universe …” S. Joan Chittister, There Is a Season Our ministerial life did not shut down. Our hearts and hands continue to serve God, God’s people and the planet. Admittedly, moving forward has taken more patience and a heavy dose of creativity as to how to do what was once an efficient routine. We look forward to everyone returning to the Motherhouse. We look forward to sharing our pandemic stories and we look forward to showing all the changes that were made at the Motherhouse while you were gone. Congratulations. Hazard Yet Forward. Let us give thanks and celebrate.

Departments EarthConnection.................................16 Journeying Toward a Better Future

S. Teresa Dutcher

OPJCC................................................22 A Call to Action Timeless Treasures................................27 St. Aloysius Academy, Fayetteville, Ohio On the Cover: Sister of Charity Montiel Rosenthal, MD, is in her 18th year as a member of the core residency faculty for the Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Residency Program. Read more on pages 6-7. 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.


In Memoriam Please visit “In Memoriam” at for biographical information and reflections on the Sisters of Charity and Associates who have died. May our Sisters and Associates enjoy the fruits of their labor as well as peace with their God. S. Katrinka Gunn July 31, 2021

S. Florence Cremering April 22, 2021

S. Elizabeth Jane Mann July 27, 2021

S. Kathleen Houck April 12, 2021

S. Jean Welling June 19, 2021

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Sisters of Charity Bestow

Elizabeth Ann Seton Award


he Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati awarded the Congregation’s highest honor, the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, on April 10, 2021, to S. Janet Mock, CSJ. The award recognizes individuals outside the Congregation for their significant contributions to furthering the mission of the Sisters of Charity to act justly, build loving relationships, share resources with those in need, and care for creation. S. Janet, a native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is a Sister of St. Joseph of Baden, Pennsylvania. She has served in education, as formation director for her congregation, and in congregational leadership for her community. S. Janet served as executive director of the Religious Formation Conference from 1997 to 2007. After congregational leadership, she ministered in urban ministry in association with Carlow High College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and served as director of the Ecumenical Institute on Racism, a collaborative effort of Carlow College (now University) and Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania. S. Janet also served as director of the Institute for Leadership and Mission at Washington Theological Union. In 2012, S. Janet became the executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women S. Janet Mock, CSJ, received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, the Sisters of Charity of Religious (LCWR). With remarkable grace, she Cincinnati’s highest honor, on April 10, 2021. led the conference during the Apostolic Visitation, influencing the process with a spirit of cooperation, influential voice helping to positively shape the reality of patience, teamwork and integrity. Since completing her religious life in the United States. position with LCWR, S. Janet has worked with religious “In June of 2017, we were fortunate to have S. Janet as communities of women in the areas of facilitation, education our retreat facilitator as we went ‘deeper into divine mystery.’ and retreat ministry. Since our retreat, we have been blest with opportunities The following is an excerpt from the nomination by the to practice contemplative dialogue with one another in Sisters of Charity Leadership Council describing why S. Janet expanding and enriching ways. As a woman who has Mock was chosen for the award. exhibited courageous and attentive listening to the signs of “S. Janet has been indirectly supporting our Congregation our times, S. Janet has supported all religious with her gifted leadership.” for many years. As the executive director of the Religious Formation Conference and as the executive director of the S. Jeanne Bessette, OSF, former president of Sisters of Leadership Conference of Women Religious during the Charity sponsored ministry DePaul Cristo Rey High School critical period of the Apostolic Visitation and Doctrinal (Cincinnati), is also a recipient of this year’s award. S. Jeanne Assessment, S. Janet has been and continues to be an will be honored at a later date.

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Seton Hall’s Footprint By S. Joanne Burrows


n the fall of 2020, the Leadership Council invited the Environment and Grounds Committee to design a “green space” in the footprint of Seton Hall. The committee, chaired by S. Winnie Brubach and comprised of Sisters Kathryn Ann Connelly, Annette Muckerheide, Joyce Richter and Joanne Burrows and Plant and Grounds staff Jim Franz and Eric Niehaus, agreed early on to engage the services of landscape architect Gayle Frazer, who was already designing the long-delayed landscaping around the solar array, to help with the project. Fine details of the design are still being determined but we can tell you the “big things,” including: • A cover crop of annual rye grass and red clover currently fills the footprint and it will be tilled under next spring to provide additional organic material for the soil. • An ADA compliant walking path with seating areas in various locations will traverse the garden space making it easy for Sisters and visitors with canes, walkers, wheelchairs and scooters to enjoy its many plants and the beautiful scenery. Additional paths will wend their way through the various areas of grasses and plants. • The vast majority of the trees, grasses and flowers in the space will be native to Ohio. Red cedars (the only native evergreen) and a variety of redbuds will be the featured trees. We are working hard to retain the trees currently in the space. Plants that attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other insects will also be featured.

• The limestone pieces retained from the front entrance of Seton Hall, including the “Seton Hall” lintel stone and the cherub head, will be recrafted into a bench and decorative feature in the far northwest corner near Regina Hall. The timeline for the project will stretch out over this summer to next spring. The limestone bench and lintel feature along with plantings around it will be completed this summer. The remainder of the space will be installed and planted next spring and early summer. We look forward to dedicating the Seton Hall garden in the summer of 2022.

• The space will include a dry creek bed with a pondless water feature and a terrace with a gas firepit for us to enjoy gathering near or around them. Sorry but no goldfish swimming about or cooking marshmallows over an open fire.


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This Nun Has Big Dreams for Ending Poverty in the Tri-State By Tanya O’ Rourke The following article is reprinted, with permission, following a May 5, 2021 segment and online article on WCPO9 News.


here are countless women in our communities working behind the scenes to make a difference.

It’s possible you’ve never heard their names, but you should know them. Throughout 2021, WCPO’s Tanya O’Rourke will introduce you to nine influential women breaking glass ceilings or asserting their influence to make the Tri-State a better place to live. The first woman in our series is Sister Sally Duffy, a nun with the Sisters of Charity who is using her influence to end poverty in local communities. Moira Weir, president and CEO of United Way Greater Cincinnati, describes Duffy as essential to the fight against poverty. “Everything I think about when I think about poverty and what we’ve done, Sister Sally has been a part of it, or has an influence in or has recommended something that’s come out of it,” Weir said. Weir said Duffy is humble but passionate. Motivated by her faith, she’s fought to raise wages in the healthcare system where she worked and helped hungry children get access to food. Duffy hopes her efforts are most noticeable in the lives of children. “I think I’ve seen it manifested somewhat through the child poverty collaborative. Least I hope it has been,” Duffy said. “This pandemic has shown us, it has totally ripped open and revealed, you know, the inequities in the disparities that exist here. And especially for people of color.”

Throughout the past decade, S. Sally Duffy (back), pictured with S. Jackie Leech, has been involved with Nuns Build, a rebuilding effort of religious Sisters from around the country and the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“More than a fair number,” Duffy said. “At times, I felt like, ‘Well, we’ll just let Sister talk, and then go on.’” Weir said she’s encouraged Duffy to use people’s expectations about nuns to her advantage. “She’s a sister, so who is gonna be mean to her?” Weir said. “So I mean, like sometimes I say to her, ‘You go say that, because you can say that and they’re not gonna get mad at you.’”

Duffy said her work won’t be over any time soon.

“We’re called to make a just and inclusive society and an equitable society, and God knows it’s been inequitable for a long time, and we have a lot of groundwork to make up,” she said. Her steady resolve is what Weir believes makes her so effective. “She quietly gets things done and I love that about her,” Weir said. “She just keeps doing her thing and things get done, and she doesn’t need a lot of accolades. She shied away from it. And she doesn’t like to tell you all the things she’s doing. She just quietly continually plods along, and things are happening because of her.” Her work is part of her promise to God. It isn’t just poverty she wants to eliminate. She would like to get rid of the death penalty and is working on a way to do that in the state legislature. She’s also been visiting the border and trying to find a pathway to citizenship for immigrants. “The border is only a symptom,” Duffy said. “It’s not where the crisis is. And so I definitely believe, you know, like, right now, we have potential legal permanent residence and pathways to citizenship.”

She’s been fierce in pushing her ideas for years. When Duffy began discussing her agenda with people in power, she faced some blank stares. V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1


Care and Compassion at the Next Level By S. Patricia Wittberg


mong the many types of educational ministries in which the Sisters of Charity have served has been the training of health care professionals. Nursing schools were begun in each of our hospitals soon after they were built; by 1910, Sisters were instructing student nurses in all but one of these institutions. Other instructional programs were often added to the courses of study that the hospitals offered: at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, for example, the Sisters also taught X-Ray technology, medical technology, and dietetics courses. The College of Mount St. Joseph also offered a degree in medical technology in which our Sisters taught. The ministry of educating health care professionals continues today. S. Montiel Rosenthal, MD, is in her 18th year as a member of the core residency faculty for The Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Residency S. Montiel Rosenthal (right) enjoys teaching and training the next generation of Family Medicine physicians. program. As clinical professor, she helps teach and train the next generation of S. Montiel says that the mothers in the Centering Family Medicine physicians. She also teaches the medical Pregnancy Program “draw on the power and wisdom of the school students from the University of Cincinnati College of group” in addressing questions about the physical discomforts Medicine, as well as midwifery, physician assistant and nurse of pregnancy, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and infant practitioner students who have clinical rotations in her office. care. One woman, who had not breastfed her first baby but had done so with her second, told her Centering Pregnancy S. Montiel’s particular area of interest is helping improve group how the first had almost died while the second was the mental and physical health of expectant mothers and healthy and thriving. “And I will breastfeed this one,” she said their babies, especially the most socially and economically emphatically, patting her belly. Her story persuaded vulnerable ones. She wants to “discover the best medical every other mom in the group to breastfeed. “They would practices and take them to the next level” of care. Hamilton not have listened to me as much as they listened to her,” County has, she says, an “obscenely high” infant mortality S. Montiel concluded. In another group, a formerly rate among its African-American population. She and the withdrawn and sullen teenaged mom volunteered that not resident physicians she teaches work with Cradle Cincinnati only did she now know how to calm her sister’s fussy baby as to give mothers and babies a healthier start. She also helps a result of the Centering Pregnancy class, she had also taught lead sessions of The Christ Hospital’s “Centering Pregnancy her sister how to do so, wagging her finger with “And you Program” in which 10 to 12 expectant mothers and their support persons gather together with the residents and faculty NEVER shake the baby.” Many of The Christ Hospital’s residents continue to be committed to caring for the for 11 times before and after their deliveries to share the underserved and for vulnerable women after they complete stories, experiences, hopes, and concerns they may have. their three years of training. Several have established group 6

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S. Montiel Rosenthal (right) is in her 18th year as a member of the core residency faculty for The Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Residency program.

S. Montiel also teaches the residents how to manage with limited resources: reconfiguring a salad spinner, for example, to check blood samples for anemia during a rural Jamaican medical trip when a centrifuge was not available. She and her students volunteer during the summer and fall in a weekly clinic at the Belterra race track, where they care for the horse groomers, exercisers, and stable hands there. In these sessions, far distant from hospital emergency rooms, she shows the residents how to successfully treat injuries that they would otherwise not normally see. Family practice physician S. Montiel Rosenthal’s, MD, particular area of interest is helping improve the mental and physical health of expectant mothers and babies.

visits for expectant mothers in their own practices, to help the women share and learn from each other’s experiences. S. Montiel enjoys developing training models to give the residents hands-on experiences in performing diagnostic and treatment procedures: an ultrasound model (a blueberry, a grape, or a small water-filled balloon suspended in a container of opaque gelatin) to give them practice in locating small cysts, and a cervical model for evaluating and treating women with cervical dysplasia, among others. The secondand third-year residents praise her teaching models, telling incoming first-year residents that this is one of the highlights of their training. One physician, after graduating from the residency program, texted S. Montiel, saying that she had just performed a procedure so well that other physicians assumed she had done hundreds of them – and it was her first time since practicing with S. Montiel’s models. V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1

For several years, S. Montiel has been studying and practicing acupuncture therapies to augment the treatment of her own patients. She has taught acupuncture to the residents one-on-one in the context of addressing a patient’s care, and has supervised individual residents in performing specific acupuncture techniques. S. Montiel has also offered a workshop on acupuncture to the residents and at least one physician, upon completing the residency program, currently uses acupuncture as part of her own practice. All of these activities, S. Montiel says, witness to the Vincentian tradition of being with and for the poor and respecting their dignity. They also reflect our SC focus on women and children. And our country is sorely in need of this witness. “We have not, as a country, come to embrace and deal with health care as a human right for all, and not only for those with the money to pay for it,” she says. In the past, nurses and other medical professionals trained by Sisters of Charity at our hospitals have carried our charism into health care settings around the country. In S. Montiel’s teaching work, we still do. 7


Welcome Home

n June 2021, Sisters of Charity gathered together as a whole for the first time since before the pandemic began more than a year ago. Those living away from the Motherhouse campus or out of state had the opportunity to visit Mount St. Joseph and take part in a number of activities throughout the three days. Included in the weekend agenda were a memorial prayer service remembering the lives of the Sisters lost since April 2020, a picnic dinner in the Motherhouse dining room, drum circle led by S. Shirley Le Blanc, special Mass to honor the 2020 Jubilarians and an evening of karaoke. A highlight for all was the opportunity to tour the newly renovated spaces in the Motherhouse and Marian Hall where the Congregational offices were relocated following the demolition of Seton Hall.

(From left) Sisters Joan Cook, Marie Pauline Skalski, Marie Karen Sammons, Mary Caroline Marchal, Barbara Davis

(From left) Sisters Whitney Schieltz and Annette Muckerheide The Motherhouse’s Immaculate Conception Chapel was filled with Sisters living near and far for the first time since the pandemic closed the Mount St. Joseph campus.


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S. Patricia Wittberg

Many smiling faces could be seen throughout the Gathering weekend, held June 18-20, 2021.

(From left) Sisters Jo Ann Martini, Marie Irene Schneider and Mary Alice Stein gathered in the chapel for special Masses to celebrate and remember.

S. Joyce Brehm

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S. Mary Barbara Philippart

(From left) Sisters Patmarie Bernard, Martha Glockner and Anita Parks participate in the Mass.

S. Grace Ann Gratsch


S. Georgia Kitt

(From left) Drummers Sisters Marie Pauline Skalski, Marie Tessmer, Mary Ann Humbert

(From left) Sisters Diana Durling and Noreen Ellison pay tribute to S. Jackie Riggio and her compassionate, generous heart.

(From left) Sisters Patmarie Bernard, Margarita Brewer, Irene Mraz and Annette Frey

The altar area was beautifully decorated for the memorial service in the Immaculate Conception Chapel on June 19, 2021. 10

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The Cedars Auditorium became the stage for a fun night of karaoke and dancing.

(From left) Sisters Monica Gundler and Patricia Hayden

(From left) Sisters Mary Ellen Murphy and Marty Dermody

(From left) Sisters Sally Duffy, Mary Alice Stein and Delia Sizler take part in the karaoke fun on Saturday night. V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1

(From left) Sisters Andrea Koverman and Barbara Hagedorn

(From left) Sisters JoAnne Termini and Sheila Gallagher


S. Annie Klapheke is a registered dietitian for the Good Samaritan Free Health Center in Price Hill (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Healthy Improvements: S. Annie Klapheke journeys with clients to a healthier lifestyle By Erin Reder


itting on S. Annie Klapheke’s desk at the Good Samaritan Free Health Center in Cincinnati, is a picture of S. Anthony O’Connell, the heroic Civil War nurse and Sister of Charity who spent more than 20 years assisting the poor and sick at Good Samaritan Hospital. The photograph serves as a reminder to S. Annie of the Sisters of Charity’s long legacy in health care, one that she carries forward in her present ministry as a registered dietitian at the clinic. Much like S. Anthony, S. Annie brings compassion and understanding to her patients. The clinic is an outpatient office for adults (18 and older) who have no health insurance; all services offered are free. S. Annie provides one-on-one nutrition counseling for patients with any dietrelated diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity. An initial appointment begins with explaining to her patients why they need nutrition counseling and learning more about the patient’s normal eating habits. Once she has a better understanding of the patient and their routines, she then tries to meet them where they are at, adjusting their meals to make them healthier and offering suggestions of how to tweak their habits. S. Annie’s interest in nutrition came after receiving her bachelor of science in biology from the University of 12

Dayton. “At first I thought I wanted to be a high school science teacher,” she said. “I love to teach and enjoy giving instruction, but there were things about the traditional classroom setting that I couldn’t see myself doing long term. There were two things that I loved about studying biology – studying the natural environment and ecology, and studying human physiology and learning how the human body works. Looking back now I see how nutrition unites the two things.” It was during a year of volunteer work that a housemate and nurse friend helped S. Annie to realize her passion. During their many conversations over health and food and cooking, she decided to go back to school to study nutrition and dietetics. S. Annie enrolled in the graduate program at The Ohio State University to receive her master of science in human nutrition while also doing the required course work to become a dietitian. She became a registered dietitian in 2013. It was during this time that she also began to discern religious life, moving to Anthony, New Mexico in 2014 to begin her year of Affiliation. Keeping her career close in various formation experiences, S. Annie eventually came to the Good Samaritan Free Health Center as a volunteer. Her passion for the ministry and her patients led to the organization securing the funding to hire her as a full-time staff member in 2017.

The clinic only sees uninsured patients. Many may have I n te r com

jobs, but they are underemployed or have jobs that don’t offer benefits or health insurance. Part of the draw for S. Annie is the large immigrant/refugee population that she has the opportunity to work with. “I keep track of my patients’ countries of origin,” she explains, “and I have seen people from 40 different countries since I started working here. It’s such a richness to hear about food traditions from all over the world and the many ways they try to continue cooking their traditional meals.” And with a majority of her clients speaking a language other than English, S. Annie has been grateful for the 12-week intensive Spanish course she took while living in Guatemala. She is able to converse with her Spanish-speaking clients on her own and uses the services of TriHealth to dial in to interpreters when needed. Something S. Annie has found interesting in S. Annie Klapheke meets with her clients regularly as they journey toward a healthy lifestyle. working with the immigrant population is their incredible culinary knowledge. She says, “In the One of the things S. Annie most enjoys about her U.S. there’s an obsession with health and nutrition ministry is being able to journey with her clients, particularly and even if you have never studied nutrition you have a basic those she has been seeing for a couple years. “I am really knowledge of what a protein or carbohydrate is. These words may be less familiar in other countries’ cultures; however, they humbled by what people are willing to share,” she explains. “The appointment is supposed to be spent talking about know what to do with fresh fruits and vegetables. They don’t food, but food is impacted by so many parts of our life. have all the processed food we have in the U.S. They know how to make meals from scratch because that’s what they have Inevitably people are talking about their families, their kids, their work, their stresses, their joys. A lot comes out in our done all their lives. I encourage them to keep cooking and conversations, and you really form a relationship.” eating like they did in their home country.” She says that there are many complex social determinants The successes and small improvements she sees in her clients’ lives are rewarding. S. Annie remembers working with that get in the way of healthy eating, everything from a gentleman who had Type 2 Diabetes and was originally affordability, easy access to fresh produce, and time. Many scared and shocked by the diagnosis. After she started meeting clients are working multiple jobs, oftentimes second or third with him, and after a lot of hard work and changes, the shift, and have families and small children. It takes time to client’s average blood sugar level came down significantly, eat healthy, to go to the grocery store, and to plan and cook close to normal range. He happened to be in the clinic the meals. The clinic does its part to help, partnering with local day his results came back and she was able to give him the organizations, including SC EarthConnection, to provide good news. “He burst into tears of joy,” she recalled. “He fresh fruit and vegetables to clients in addition to easy recipes was so happy and excited. When someone comes back and to prepare. has made improvements or they feel better, those are the In addition, human behavior plays a large role in moments that keep me going.” impacting the decisions of how and what we eat. For example S. Annie can meet with one patient for the first time and give Inspired by S. Anthony O’Connell, who was “the embodiment of humanity and charity,” S. Annie is a gentle, them a list of things they should do and change and one or loving presence to her clients on their journey to a healthier two months later, they will have changed everything. On the lifestyle. She recognizes the hardships they experience in other hand, she may have a client who she’s been meeting changing their behaviors, and she continues to be a source with for two or three years and no changes have been made. of encouragement and compassionate listening. What began For S. Annie it’s about learning the complexity of how some more than 150 years ago with S. Anthony continues today as people can change their behavior and some can’t. Finances, she carries forward the Legacy of Charity. the family you live with, culture – can make it much more complex. A person has to have all other aspects of their life in balance to support healthy eating. V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1


Excellence in Care:

The Sisters of Charity legacy as nurse educators By S. Judith Metz


rom their early years the American Sisters of Charity were involved in nursing education. Elizabeth Seton dreamed of opening a hospital at St. Joseph’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and it was shortly after her death that the Sisters became involved in hospital nursing. In their formation young Sisters received instruction in nursing care. S. Mary Xavier Clark, longserving novice director, wrote a pocket-sized “Instruction for the Care of the Sick,” while S. Matilda McCoskery, an experienced nurse, mentored young Sister-nurses and wrote “Advices Concerning the Sick.” It was not until after the Civil War when the number of hospitals grew, creating a demand for nursing on a higher level of expertise. Bellevue Hospital in New York was the first U.S. hospital to open a school of nursing based on the system initiated by Florence Nightingale. Others soon followed. The first to open locally was Cincinnati General in 1889. Mother Sebastian Shea started the program at Good Samaritan Hospital in 1896 at the instigation of Hattie Lenegar (later S. Henrietta Marie) who was one of the first graduates. Later, as supervisor of the operating room for 20 years, S. Henrietta Marie instructed nursing students as part of their rotations.

In 1896 Mother Sebastian Shea (left) started the school of nursing at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati.

As the years went on nearly every Sister of Charity hospital sponsored a school of nursing. Many Sister-nurses served as classroom instructors and as clinical instructors in each of these hospitals. At Good Samaritan Hospital S. Mary Cyril McNamara directed the school from 1906-1924 where she succeeded in receiving accreditation for the school. Great emphasis was placed on establishing nursing as a profession, so efforts were made to provide students with the best theoretical and practical training. Nurse training was strict and demanding, and S. Mary Cyril maintained a businesslike and formal demeanor with the students. She taught them and supervised them, presided over silent breakfasts and quiet dinners, and made sure their uniforms were spotless. In addition to their classes, she gave “little talks” on human relations skills, communication, and dealing with grief.

the College of Mount St. Joseph. Her most memorable contributions to the field occurred at Glockner Hospital in Colorado Springs. Here she successfully merged three failing Sisters of Charity nursing schools – Glockner, St. Mary’s (Pueblo), and Mount San Rafael (Trinidad) – into the Seton School of Nursing, one of the first central schools in the country. Believing in “total care” – physical, mental, and spiritual – she went out of her way to provide special touches for patients. While being firm and professional with her students, she was noted as a gentle, compassionate and generous woman, but also one with “practical idealism,” and a capacity for cooperative planning. From her base at the Seton School, S. Cyril became a recognized national leader in the field of nursing education. She published articles in professional journals, served on local, state, and national committees and boards of professional nursing associations, and on state boards of nurse examiners in Colorado, Michigan, and Ohio.

S. Cyril Mahrt’s distinguished career in nurse education began in 1917 when she was appointed director of the St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Mount Clemens, Michigan. From there she served at Good Samaritan where she established a baccalaureate program in affiliation with

An eastern counterpart of S. Cyril was S. DeChantal McCarthy who served as director of the Good Samaritan School of Nursing from 1933-’43, and then in the same capacity at St. Joseph’s in Mount Clemens. “She commanded respect. She didn’t demand it, she commanded it,” one


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Many Sisters of Charity who devoted years of their ministry to the education of nurses cannot be mentioned here but remain as significant figures in the lives of many nurses past and present. Among them is S. Mary Angus Barry, who after receiving a Master of Science in Nursing Education from The Catholic University, served as director of the Seton School of Nursing in Colorado Springs from 1961-’69. Compassionate and professional as a nurse, she was kind and loving as a person, setting a high standard for her students. Taking S. Cyril Mahrt (second row, fourth from right) successfully a two-year hiatus from Penrose Hospital from merged three failing Sisters of Charity nursing schools in 1969-’71, she established the nursing program Colorado into the Seton School of Nursing, one of the first at El Paso Community College (now known as central schools in the country. Pikes Peak Community College) in Colorado Springs. Then, returning to Penrose, she served student recalled. “She had high ideals and attempted to as director of nursing education and in-service bring the students up to that level. She was very fair and education during the 1970s. she was very kind.” Her high standards and expectations A final mention should be given to S. Andrew Hanlon, left a lasting impression on the students when she told “five feet tall but oh so mighty.” As director of the school at them, “We only keep the cream of the crop.” After a Sister Good Samaritan from 1958-’70, she told her students, “It of Charity evaluation of their two nursing programs in is important we are not only good nurses, but that we are Cincinnati in 1949, S. DeChantal was named chair of the professional women.” She taught a Professional Adjustments Department of Nursing at the College of Mount St. Joseph Class that featured formal teas complete with silver tea service, where she directed the baccalaureate program, soon adding and placed great stress on medical ethics and Catholic mortality. a health nursing component. Spending two decades in total Each of these Sisters, and many unnamed here, devoted their commitment to higher education for nurses, S. DeChantal won recognition on the local, state and national levels, serving lives to preparing competent and compassionate nurses. The thousands of graduate nurses from Sisters of Charity sponsored on boards and committees and delivering addresses at nurses’ programs bear tribute to the fruits of their labors. convocations. A nursing educator to her fingertips, S. Beatrix Carey had served as an excellent and demanding Nursing Arts teacher before being named director of the Good Samaritan school in 1943. Receiving her master’s degree in nursing education from The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. during her tenure, she committed herself to keeping the school on the cutting edge of advancements in nursing education. Dignified, professional, competent, and compassionate, she committed herself to instilling these qualities into her students. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin, she started each class with three Hail Mary’s for “common sense” for her students. S. Beatrix’s next mission was St. Mary-Corwin in Pueblo where she served as director of nursing education for a decade. From there she took a position as associate professor in the Masters of Nursing Program at Wayne State University in Detroit, the first time in the university’s history that a Sister was appointed to a faculty position in that school. Like her counterparts, S. Beatrix was active on many levels in various nursing organizations and on state boards of nursing. V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1

S. Andrew Hanlon (left) was Good Samaritan Hospital’s director of the school of nursing from 1958-’70.


EarthConnection hosted the Cincinnati Vincentian Volunteers in June. Volunteers learned more about environmental sustainability and helped in the EC garden.

Journeying Toward a Better Future By S. Caroljean Willie


limate change is in the news every day as people throughout the world are experiencing its negative effects in multiple ways: stronger storms, droughts, flooding, fires, biodiversity degradation, rainforest destruction and more. For many years there have been voices among environmentalists and the science community who spoke out about the danger climate change would cause to the sustainability of life on planet Earth. Now, however, corporations and the business community have added their voices to the concerns – and governments are listening. The realization that climate change is not something that is going to happen in the distant future, but is already on our doorstep is galvanizing world leaders to seek a collective response. While a collective response among world leaders is essential, equally as important are the actions taken by ordinary citizens at the local level in rural and urban communities across the globe. EarthConnection (EC) strives to provide an overview of what is happening at the international level, but also to educate people at the local level as it remains faithful to its mission to serve as a center for learning and reflection about living lightly on Earth while seeking to integrate spirituality and sustainability with an understanding of the interconnectedness of all of Creation. Although we were unable to host in-person gatherings due to the pandemic, we did provide bi-monthly webinars via Zoom. One of the advantages of the Zoom meetings was that speakers from other countries were able to share their expertise with our audience. Recent topics included two sessions by S. Maureen Wild, SC (Halifax) from Gabriola Island, Canada, entitled “Sacred Pathways to Earth Healing: From Cosmic Grace and Guidance to Personal Choice”; a session by S. Gertie Jocksch, SC (Halifax) from the Earth Literacy Center on Vancouver Island, Canada, on “Understanding and Appreciating Your Bioregion”; and a session by S. Colette Kane, OP, from Wicklow, Ireland on “New Cosmology through a Celtic Lens.” As we begin to look at in-person programming again, we plan to continue occasional Zoom webinars with speakers who can bring an international perspective to sustainability issues. In the last issue of Intercom I wrote about the international efforts to bring forth a moral voice among the world’s faith traditions to create a more sustainable and equitable future 16

for all. Here I would like to introduce the Laudato Si’ Action Platform based on Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. The platform is a unique collaboration between the Vatican, an international coalition of Catholic organizations, and “all men and women of good will.” This is a seven-year project which aims to take a ground-up approach rooted in the strengths and realities of communities throughout the world. It is designed to empower people to take “decisive action, here and now as we journey together toward a better future” (LS 161). EC will take an active role in promoting participation in the Laudato Si’ planning process which will begin officially on the Feast of St. Francis, Oct. 4. In the meantime, consider reading a portion of Laudato Si’ daily (available online at francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_ enciclica-laudato-si.html). Plastic pollution is a source of incredible pollution both on land and sea. In July, EarthConnection, as a member of Green Umbrella and their impact team on Faith Communities Go Green, offered several options for interested parties to become involved in the effort to reduce plastic pollution. This included the opportunity to join our team, Cincinnati Area Faith Communities Go Green, and the worldwide movement to reduce the use of “Single Use Plastics” as part of the Plastic Free Eco Challenge from July 1-31. EC also hosted a Faith Community Go Green webinar on July 29. EC is gradually opening to host in-person events. We recently hosted the Cincinnati Vincentian Volunteers for a morning where they learned about environmental sustainability and helped out in the garden. Other events included presentations (some in-person, some via Zoom) by S. Caroljean (Cj) Willie for the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, the Oldenburg Franciscans, St. Mary parish in Hyde Park, the Cincinnati chapter of the Climate Reality Project, a Girl Scout troop in Cincinnati and three Girl Scout troops in New Jersey. S. Winnie Brubach and the “Garden Ladies” have planted multiple crops in their more than 20 raised beds in EC’s organic garden. They recently harvested their first crop of kale for distribution to the clients of the Good Samaritan Free Health Center in Price Hill. I n te r com

Life’s Blessings By S. Georgia Kitt


here are definite benefits that come from the home where you were nurtured that give you gifts needed for living. As S. Helen Berson looks back on her many life blessings, she remains grateful for her firefighter father and his common sense attitude. She learned at a very young age not to be upset over small things; to be reasonable; to sort it out. Little did she know that this attitude for living would serve her throughout her adult life, particularly in her unusual ministry callings of pharmacy and finance. When responding to her vocation call to become a Sister of Charity, S. Helen was surprised to learn that the Congregation was seeing her as a pharmacy school candidate at the University of Cincinnati. This was not the norm; however, the Sisters of Charity leaders S. Helen Berson (right) has been a mentor to S. Thelma Schlomer (left) in her responsibilities were witnessing the need for trained Sister in the Finance Office. pharmacists as the SC hospital ministries were quickly expanding in the mid-1950s. Early on the request of S. Roslyn Hafertepe, Community Treasurer at S. Helen was provided with ‘hands on’ opportunities to learn the time. Shortly after, Assistant Treasurer S. Grace Murphy while living and apprenticing at Good Samaritan Hospital died suddenly. S. Helen’s calm demeanor and trust among in Cincinnati. She earned her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy the Sisters was immediately appreciated. As current CFO in 1961 and served in varied hospital settings over the next Tim Moller puts it, “S. Helen, throughout her years of service 36 years, including San Antonio (Kenton, Ohio); St. Maryin the Finance Office, has provided professionalism, keen Corwin (Pueblo, Colorado); Good Samaritan (Cincinnati); intelligence and sensitivity. She has provided trusted support a coal miner’s hospital in Whitesburg, Kentucky; and the last for her Sisters during periods of change and challenge.” 10 years at Cincinnati’s Pauline Warfield Lewis Center. There S. Helen would say of herself, “Over the years I became she served individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental a familiar person to call to get answers or to give direction to illness through drug therapy. solve a problem. This has been a part of this ministry I liked A defining moment in S. Helen’s career was to help most, helping me get to know my Sisters personally.” create and implement a decentralized pharmacy system which These same traits served S. Helen well as a Network is the 24/7 model of operation. This included new packaging, Leader for her Sisters for six years, helping with problem a simplified charging system and establishment of patient solving and offering pastoral support. During her almost profiles, all within a computerized system that was starting to dominate the field in the late 1970s. S. Helen has appreciated 25 years in the SC Finance Office S. Helen also mentored S. Thelma Schlomer in her responsibilities, helping her to the benefit of having other family members also working in learn the ‘ins and outs’ of taxes, variations in state and federal the health care field; with her brother and nephew as medical doctors, and her sister-in-law as a nurse. Family conversations laws, car replacements and working with Sisters’ budgets. As she retires this summer from her corner in the Finance Office, can be intense and engaging. She commented, “There is S. Helen is trusting to be remembered as one who served and always one of us sharing a new, unique experience that is valued the ministries to which she was called. What will she clearly appreciated by the others.” tend to first? A healthy rest! Upon her retirement from pharmacy in 1997, S. Helen came to the SC Finance Office, responding to V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1


Mission Focused By S. Mary Ann Flannery


scrappy ball player in high school, S. Karen Elliott, C.PP.S., director of Mission Integration at Mount St. Joseph University, approaches every challenge the same way she played softball: sliding toward the base, head first! She gives her all. Everything. Organizing a prayer group for athletes, creating a worship service for an event, counseling a struggling student, walking with a questioning faculty member, Elliott is constantly making the effort to help others find God in their lives and score some coveted points in happiness. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Elliott joined the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton after high school. She was accepted into the Novitiate in 1980 and participated in an intercommunity program in which novices shared classes and recreational activities with several communities. This gave her an S. Karen Elliott (second row, center) has made multiple pilgrimages to Emmitsburg, Maryland, with Mount St. Joseph University faculty and staff. introduction to the Sisters of Charity with whom she would later work. But Later, Elliott became youth minister at St. Michael’s years earlier she had taken note of her and began working on her master’s degree in theology at father’s respect for the Sisters of Charity who ministered at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton when his twin sons were St. Michael’s University in Vermont. While serving in Findlay, Elliott founded Hope House for homeless women born prematurely. which just celebrated 30 years of existence in the community. “Together the babies weighed 5 pounds and were not “I loved working with the Sisters in Findlay,” Elliott said, given much of a chance to live,” she said. “But, S. Myra James “their charism of charity had rubbed off on me and I was Bradley, administrator of the hospital, prayed with my parents comfortable working with them.” in the chapel during those anxious days and she even baptized Elliott accompanied S. Barbara Davis to Toledo accepting one of the babies and administered confirmation.” Elliott a position as campus minister at Mercy College of Northwest remembers her father always recalling the kind pastoral effort Ohio where S. Barbara was an administrator. She felt strongly S. Myra James made on behalf of the newborn Elliott boys the call to continue her education in theology and scripture who survived the trauma. The impression of this memory of and began work on a Doctor of Ministry degree from Barry the Sisters of Charity was not lost on Elliott. University in Miami, Florida, completing it in 2004. Elliott After earning a bachelor’s degree in education from became an Associate in Mission with the Sisters of Charity Wright State University in Dayton, Elliott began her teaching in 2013 following the Vatican investigation of American career at Lakota High School in West Chester, Ohio followed Sisters. “I was invited to join an SC group addressing the by two elementary schools and finally St. Michael’s School in investigation and it convinced me that I had to be part of Findlay, Ohio, which deepened her connection to the Sisters the mission of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. She stood up to the of Charity who administered and staffed the school. 18

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S. Karen Elliott, C.PP.S. (front), SC Associate and Sister of the Precious Blood, has served as the director of Mission Integration at Mount St. Joseph University since 2017.

clerics of her time when she made decisions of where and how to serve in education and health care. She taught Black children even though it was against the law to do so!” Elliott is enthusiastic about relating the charism of the community to the university where she has worked since 2017. She guides students at Mount Saint Joseph University in the Heritage Mission Walk where individuals dress As part of her position at Mount St. Joseph University, S. Karen Elliott organizes the Heritage and imitate certain Sisters who are the founding Mission Walk for students where individuals dress and imitate certain Sisters who are the members of the congregation of the Sisters of founding members of the congregation. Pictured (right) Associate Patsy Schwaiger, director of Charity and related to the university. “They walk MSJU’s Wellness Center, portrays founder Mother Margaret George. the Motherhouse campus and fan out inside to learn about all the historical women who brought love this group of 30 very thoughtful people,” she says. “We this complex and the university campus into existence,” have discussions and prayer together. We share in selected she says proudly. She gives part of the general orientation readings—all in an effort to grow more deeply into the program for students and faculty and is a presenter at the mission of the university.” Physician Assistants Orientation Program and the White Coat Every day is different for S. Karen Elliott. She may Ceremonies in the Health Professional Ceremonies relating start with meeting students planning for an event, and then everything to the charism of Elizabeth Ann Seton. She has addressing faculty asking for information on something made more than one pilgrimage to Emmitsburg, Maryland, relative to theology. Later, there’s committee work and then where Elizabeth Ann Seton started her community and her listening to students trying to understand their faith in the first school. context of some concern or issue. Evenings are seldom free “I just love the writings of Elizabeth Seton,” Elliott says enthusiastically. “I love the simplicity, the focus on the ‘now.’ I read her frequently. One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Do your best as you always have, and leave the rest to God.’ So simple and yet so meaningful.” Soon after she was hired, Elliott joined the Charity Learning Committee of the university. “I V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1

because that’s when the athletes gather for faith sharing or an event takes place that is contextualized in liturgy or prayer. Through it all, Elizabeth Ann Seton remains the guide and inspiration for all that S. Karen will face saying to her, “Do your best, as you have always done, and leave the rest to God.” 19

Body, Mind and Spirit By S. Kathryn Ann Connelly


aving ministered in the field of education for 21 years, S. Mary Fran Davisson went on sabbatical to the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley, California, in 1994. During this time, she attended a workshop on massage therapy, offered by the Jesuit School of Theology, and the seed was planted. After much prayer and discernment, and with encouragement from the Congregation, S. Mary Fran took part in an internship program where she learned more about massage therapy and the spirituality of massage therapy; she felt truly called to become involved. After a year of intense study at the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she became nationally certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork in 1996 and became an Ohio licensed massage therapist in 1997. To maintain licensure, 24 Continuing Education Hours are required every two years. S. Mary Fran currently ministers through the Sisters of Charity Spirituality Center at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. She graciously responded to an interview about this unique ministry. When asked what massage is and what its benefits are, S. Mary Fran replied, “Every experience we have in life, whether positive, negative, or somewhere in between, is carried within our body.” 20

S. Mary Fran Davisson (left), an Ohio licensed massage therapist, currently ministers through the Sisters of Charity Spirituality Center at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse.

The Ohio Medical Board defines massage therapy as: “the treatment of disorders of the human body by the manipulation of soft tissue through the systematic external application of massage techniques including: touch, stroking, friction, vibration, percussion, kneading, stretching, compression, and joint movements within the normal physiologic range of motion; and the supplemental use of the external application of water, heat, cold, topical preparations, and mechanical devices. Modalities that involve the manipulation of the soft tissue for a therapeutic purpose constitute massage therapy even if commonly known by another name …” In the early fifth century B.C., Hippocrates, referred to as the Father of Medicine, believed that all physicians should be trained in massage as a method of healing. The Bible recounts many instances where touch was used to cure and allow inner healing to occur. Massage is considered by some to be a luxury, but, research has proven that healthy and safe touch is a vital component of our health and well-being. It positively affects body, mind, and spirit. These benefits include but are not limited to: reducing stress; enhancing the immune system; increasing circulation; improving I n te r com

range-of-motion; reducing or eliminating pain; proving deep relaxation and peace; and encouraging healing on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. S. Mary Fran once said that she strongly believes that she did not choose this ministry; rather it chose her. “My invitation to massage certainly was a surprise,” she recalls. “I had recently received my master’s degree and said to God, ‘I will continue to keep updated with educational workshops, but I am finished writing papers and taking tests.’ God has a wonderful sense of humor because six years later I was in massage school writing papers and taking tests!” During her 24 years as a massage therapist S. Mary Fran says she has grown and been blessed by her clients and the knowledge and sense of God’s presence with her during every session. She recalls some of those moments here: • “There were times when I felt the massage was not helpful, then I would hear, ‘I don’t have the pain anymore.’ God was present.” • “One day, a client said to me, ‘You saved my life.’ I have no idea what she was referring to, but through the years she has repeated that phrase many times. I didn’t save her life, God did. I was just present when it happened.” • “A person has said to me several times, ‘I didn’t come back for any more massages because the pain is gone.’ Again I was blessed to be present while God took away her pain.” S. Mary Fran Davisson, as well as Sisters and clients such as S. Rosemarie • “Another young woman shared, ‘I felt God Gerrety (front), look forward to the day she is able to return to her massage massaging my face today. It was very slow, gentle ministry at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. and tender. God told me how much He loved me and would always be with me. I was grateful and peaceful and knew what decision I needed to make.’ friends, co-workers, less movement than we were used to, If she had not shared her experience, I would not have muscle pain or weakness, interrupted sleep, and/or a variety of known what happened, but I do remember I was very emotions from fear, anxiety, loneliness, anger, etc.,” she says. aware of God’s presence that day.” “Massage and energy work can help to relieve pain and help

Since March 2020 the Sisters of Charity Spirituality Center has been closed and S. Mary Fran has been unable to offer her massage and energy work. In addition, the center and its offices located within the Motherhouse have moved to a new location on campus. The new massage room will be found in the former Respite Care area. S. Mary Fran is looking forward to the day she can return to ministry and knows that its benefits could be useful to many as we emerge from the pandemic. “During the pandemic we may have experienced isolation from family,

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you regain your strength as well as increase your body’s range of motion. Massage can help you relax, allowing you to let go of and work with emotional experiences and help your sleep be more restful. Massage and energy work are complementary therapies and do not replace the need to see your physician.” The Sisters of Charity have a long history of presence in the ministries of health care, education, and pastoral care. S. Mary Fran’s ministry in massage therapy is an extension of these ministries in a new way.


A Call to Action By Debbie Weber, OPJCC director


he Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati is one of 14 congregations of women religious that is a member of the Sisters of Charity Federation of North America. The Federation reflects the original values of Saints Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac and Elizabeth Ann Seton. To be more effective advocates on peace and justice issues, the Federation gained recognition as a NonGovernmental Organization (NGO) at the United Nations (UN) in 1997. Our S. Caroljean Willie served eight years as the Federation NGO representative at the UN. Currently, S. Teresa Kotturan, Sister of Charity of Nazareth, represents the Federation NGO. Each Federation congregation has a liaison to S. Teresa to help keep congregational Sisters and Associates updated on the work of the UN. Debbie Weber of the Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation is the Cincinnati liaison to S. Teresa. One aspect of S. Teresa’s work involves the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals that are a call-toaction for people worldwide to address five critical areas of importance by 2030: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. Debbie works to integrate the SDGs with our Catholic Social Teachings, offering advocacy and action opportunities for our SC family. She also works with our Communications Office to get UN news from S. Teresa out to our Sisters and Associates as well as highlighting important UN days of observance that reflect the SC mission and charism. The SDGs provide a critical framework for COVID-19 recovery. They are vital for a recovery that leads to greener, more inclusive economies, and stronger, more resilient societies. They may be our best hope – for people, Earth, prosperity, peace, and partnerships.

The SDGs are as follows: Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries. Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. Goal 15: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss. Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Sources: Sisters of Charity Federation of North America United Nations


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Life Changing: Erna Gray celebrates 25 years as an Associate By Associate Vicki Welsh


rna Gray’s story of becoming an Associate of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati is as unique as Erna is herself! Erna is 93 years old and lives independently in Falcon, Colorado, a small town outside of Colorado Springs. She has her own home on a large tract of land that also includes her daughter’s home.

Bible Study. Erna says, “Getting to know the Sisters was like someone pulling me out of the hole I was in!” It was just what she needed after losing her husband. She remembers other Sisters, Emily Anne Phelan, Barb Huber and Janice Ernst. There were also Associates there. Sister asked if Erna would like to become an Associate. Erna replied that she wasn’t even Catholic. To which Sister said, “We all pray to the same God!”

As we begin our conversation, she offers an apology. Erna explains that mornings can be difficult. She wakes up many times thrust into traumatizing memories of Dec. Erna went through RCIA, joined the 6, 1944. So many bombs, so much noise, Catholic Church, and then became an so many deaths. You have to know that Associate on Dec. 8, 1996. “Getting to Erna was born in Karlsruhe, Germany and know the Sisters changed my life!” Associate Erna Gray celebrates 25 years in 1944 that town was bombed by Allied Today, if you sit with Erna, she would as an Associate of the Sisters of Charity in Forces killing 375 friends, family and bring photos of her life and family to show 2021. neighbors. Erna was a young girl at the time you. She is humble, gracious, and is quick of the bombing and continued her young life, with the help to share her story. While she doesn’t feel like she can attend of her family, seemingly unphased by the event. She grew up Associate functions any more, most afternoons you can find her only understanding the American kindness of the Marshall in prayer at Our Lady of the Pines in Black Forest, thanks to Plan and the lifesaving food that came with it. her daughter. When she returns home, a glance up over the TV In 1960, while working for a firm in Germany, a young American GI began visiting her, they fell in love and were married. They moved to America and to Colorado Springs. There they made a nice home and raised a family. But then her husband, James, died, throwing her into the throes of loneliness. As a way to combat this loneliness she began to volunteer at Penrose Hospital in the Gift Shop. At the shop she would meet many people, among them many Sisters of Charity. One Sister in particular was S. Rose Virginia Brown. One day Sister invited Erna to attend a Small Group Meeting held at her home. Erna went and it was wonderful! They shared their stories, lunched, and had V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1

reminds Erna and all of us: Imagine Peace. Yes, Erna, we will.

Colorado Associate Erna Gray (third row, fourth from right) has enjoyed friendships and faith-filled conversations with Sisters and Associates in the Colorado Springs area throughout the past 25 years. 23

Hazard Yet Forward


he Sisters of Charity celebrated National Nursing Home Week (NNHW), May 9-14, 2021, with a variety of activities that recognized employees’ hard work and dedication to the SC mission and Sisters of Charity. Activities were planned throughout the week, including a blessing of hands, patio grill-out and Bingo. In addition, SC employees donned blue T-shirts with the words ‘Hazard Yet Forward’ on their backs. To the average onlooker, the saying may be unfamiliar, but to the Sisters and many staff at Mount St. Joseph, the words have special meaning. Ellen Dillon, administrative director of Residential Services, says NNHW coordinators at the Mount felt the motto was fitting after experiencing the pandemic this past year. “Longtime employees are very familiar with the motto,” she added. “We also realized that it would be a great opportunity to educate our newer staff persons on the meaning of ‘Hazard Yet Forward.’ It is an opportunity to share a bit of Mother Seton’s history as we look to her for inspiration.” To the Sisters of Charity, the saying ‘Hazard Yet Forward’ has long served as inspiration in their lives and ministries. The motto is on the Seton family crest and has been used at various times in relation to Elizabeth as it seems, to many, to exemplify her spirit of carrying on through illness, bankruptcy, death of family members, making tough decisions, etc.


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Charity Family Raising Awareness Sisters Joyce Richter, Sally Duffy and Associate Karen Martin participated in Cincinnati’s spring virtual Flying Pig while raising funds for the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center. S. Joyce and Karen joined IJPC Flying Pig fundraisers for a 5k walk/run on May 8, 2021 (Second row, from right) S. Joyce Richter and Associate at the Loveland Bike trail. In Karen Martin participated in a Team IJPC 5k Fun Run on addition, Karen completed the May 8, 2021. virtual Flying Pig 10k at Miami Meadows as well as a half-marathon on the Miami Bike Trail. S. Sally completed her virtual half marathon on May 21.

Connecting and Collaborating The first-ever Sisters of Charity Federation virtual leadership meeting was held June 9-12, 2021. More than 90 congregational Leadership team members, including our own Cincinnati Sisters, gathered via Zoom with the goal of “Connecting and Collaborating with Compassion and Courage.”

Florida Associates Gather Associates in the Spring Hill, Florida area gathered in person on April 10, 2021 for fellowship, a meal and prayer. During the gathering they also celebrated the lives of the Sisters and Associates lost in 2020.

Recognizing Our Employees The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati honored employees celebrating special milestone service anniversaries in June. Human Resources hosted three events to celebrate the honorees. Those employees were invited to a luncheon program where they were individually recognized. Congratulations to those employees and a heartfelt thank you for your dedication and service to the Sisters of Charity! 26

Congratulations, S. tracy Congratulations to S. Tracy Kemme, who graduated from the Catholic Theological Union on May 20, 2021 with a Master of Divinity and a Certificate in Biblical Spirituality. S. Tracy was elected the student speaker for the virtual graduation. To view her speech, visit

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Timeless Treasures –

St. Aloysius Academy, Fayetteville,Ohio By S. Judith Metz


estled in the Sisters of Charity Archives collection is a charming painting by S. Ann Xavier Magevney of two Sisters strolling along a shaded driveway at St. Aloysius Academy in Fayetteville, Ohio. It evokes a time past when young boys romped on the bucolic grounds of this 13-acre campus that boasted flower beds and vegetable gardens. The academy had its origins near St. Patrick’s Church in Fayetteville when the pastor asked the Sisters of Charity to open a boarding school in 1859. Since the boundaries of the parish encompassed a S. Ann Xavier Magevney’s painting of large area, he felt a boarding school that the children St. Aloysius Academy reminds us of the Sisters of Charity’s years of service at the of the village could also attend would serve the boarding school. needs of the parish. The school was initially named St. Patrick’s Academy. Parishioners were generous in their assistance in supporting the school, and according to S. Rosanna Barker, donations of food from the farmers was common practice. “Often a Sister went out in a spring wagon to collect any and all, even to a pig as the story was told on one occasion.” The need for more space and larger buildings prompted the parish to donate 10 acres on the south side of the village to the Sisters in 1883. The Sisters then erected a four-story brick building and moved the old buildings from their original site. By 1890 the school was again crowded for space so the younger boarders, ages 3 to 10 years old, came to reside and be educated at Mount St. Joseph, the Sisters’ Motherhouse, until larger facilities could be constructed. By 1906 a new building was completed and all the students were reunited at St. Aloysius Academy in Fayetteville. There was a time in the school’s early days when fruit trees thrived, chickens supplied the house with eggs, and even a few turkeys were kept. One Sister even tried her hand at raising pigeons, and the school usually had a pony or two. One of the chaplains helped the boys build a fish pond, and at S. Leona Murphy’s request, a concrete walk flanked by maple trees was built around it. As the years progressed, tennis courts, a ball diamond, and outside grills were added. Twice during St. Aloysius’ history the school was designated a military academy. For a brief time in the teen years of the 1900s, the students wore military-style uniforms, received instruction on marching using wooden guns, and put on exhibitions in the village. Again, beginning in the 1930s, a lieutenant from Xavier University taught drills and provided instruction. The students again wore military uniforms, and were on display with drills and marches in the village and neighboring areas as well as at the annual Holy Name Parade sponsored by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Taps and Reveille were part of their daily routine as was the raising and lowering of the American flag on the school grounds. Through the years proof of the graduates’ esteem for the school was borne out by the many who returned to visit, renew old memories, and note any changes that had occurred. With the announcement that the school would close in 1952, there were many surprised and saddened alumni, Sisters who had served there, and people from the area who were grieved to see the passing of what had been a fine school for more than 90 years. V ol u me I I , 2 0 2 1

Intercom is the official 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 220 Sisters are joined in their mission by 204 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 17 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. Monica Gundler 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: Subscriptions: $15 per year

5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 sistersofcharityofcincinnati 27

5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051

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After almost 25 years of service to the SC Finance Office, S. Helen Berson (second from right) celebrates her retirement.

S. Sally Duffy (right) uses her passion and influence to end poverty in local communities.

The Sisters of Charity observed National Nursing Home Week in May with numerous activities for employees and Sisters.


Profile for Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Intercom Vol. II, 2021  


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