Si S ter S of Charity of Cin C innati
Volume III, 2022
Community Building 6-7 S. Joyce Brehm celebrates her Golden Jubilee.
Filling the World with Love ............... 8-9 S. Mary Bookser’s loving presence.
A Call Within a Call 10-11 S. Laetitia Slusser’s 70 years as a Sister of Charity.
Paving the Road Ahead ................. 12-15 S. Romina Sapinoso professes final vows.
Moments of Grace 17 Q & A with S. Shirley Le Blanc.
A Prayer of the Heart 18-19 S. Nancy Bramlage celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.
Santa Maria – The Recent Years 20-22 Santa Maria’s continuation of Blandina and Justina’s vision.
A Wide Variety of Gifts 24-25 S. Mary Ann Humbert’s well-rounded life as a SC.
A Missionary Spirit 26-27 S. Mary Barbara Philippart’s example of loving dedication.
on the Cover: Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Romina Sapinoso professed perpetual vows with the Community during a liturgy on Sept. 24, 2022, in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. Read more on pages 12-15.
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.
Dear Sisters, Associates and Friends,
Icome to you today with a heart filled with gratitude. Gratitude for the changing seasons that bring to mind transitions from beautiful autumn trees filled with an array of spectacular colors to the barren branches, cooler days and evenings that foretell winter’s coming. Sometimes a glimpse of snow with the sun casting its glitter surprises us with winter’s beauty. Advent gives us time to reflect on our journey, and all those transitions in our lives. One constant in all of our life transitions is that Christ is always with us. In this season of Advent, we take time out to reflect on how we bring His love into the world and to those we encounter. As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Christmas, we are reminded that our love dispels the darkness of winter and brings joy and hope to our world.
We celebrate many stories of joy by our Sisters journeys featured in our articles. We especially remember those Sisters and Associates that have transitioned to their eternal life with God. By their lives they have given witness of God’s love in our world.
Our Jubilee Day celebrated 28 Sisters marking significant years of life as Sisters of Charity. We had one golden jubilarian, S. Joyce Brehm, and three diamond jubilarians, Sisters Mary Bookser, Nancy Bramlage and Mary Ann Humbert. We celebrated Sisters from their 30th jubilee all the way to S. Emily Anne Phelan, celebrating her 80th jubilee. Enjoy their stories of witness, ministry and service as Sisters of Charity.
We also celebrated a very special 100th birthday, S. Marge Farfsing – Wow!
In September, at our Fall Congregational Days, we celebrated the final profession of vows of S. Romina Sapinoso as a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati. It was a wonderful liturgical celebration of her life commitment. We concluded our Congregational weekend with a lunch boat ride down the Ohio River. Getting back to our new normal, we were able to include everyone, our Sisters, Associates, employees and S. Romina’s vow guests, on a beautiful autumn day sailing down the Ohio River. A fun time was had by all.
This fall we had a blessing of our La Casa del Sol Ministry Center, which marks a new chapter in our commitment to care of the Earth and to SC ministries as we move into our future.
In life we take time to celebrate our journey. I invite you to enjoy the many photos, words and celebrations included in this issue of Intercom. They have been truly life-giving. Blessings on your Advent journey,
S. Patricia Hayden, SC
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 God.
associate Frances Geronimo May 31, 2022
s. Claire Foken July 11, 2022
s. Mary Laura Miceli July 25, 2022
s. Marie evelyn Dow August 2, 2022
associate Mary ann Hogan August 7, 2022
s. Marie alice Moran September 12, 2022
s. Marilyn Joseph Czarnecki October 23, 2022
associate alice Graham November 24, 2022
A L etter F rom o ur S i S ter in L e A der S hip
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Of Storms and Boats …
By S. Monica Gundler
“We are not all in the same boat. We are in the same storm. Some have yachts, some canoes, and some are drowning. Let us be kind and help one another.”
This quote and various iterations have popped up on social media quite a bit the last year. It is a response to the often quoted: “We are all in the same boat.” The imagery is vivid and urgent.
In a short unpacking of the “storm” beyond the headlines and sensationalism that can overwhelm us, there are those trying to navigate and assist while remembering our connections to one another. We have seen the plight of immigrants, the ugliness of racism, the devastation from hurricanes, floods, fires and tornados and the displacement of people all over our planet.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious identified the “intersectionality of racism, climate change and forced migration” as challenges of our time, while Pope Francis’ rich and comprehensive proclamation of Laudato Si’ is a call to address the perils of our planet, polluted and abused by rampant disregard of our dependence on one another. The quote calls us to open our eyes to the reality that the sea around us all has not only changed, but also awakened us to the vast inequalities caused by systems and practices embedded in our previous reality as “normal.”
In the midst of this, we Sisters of Charity and Associates are committed to our mission as witnesses of God’s love in the world. As we prepare for Chapter 2023, with all the implications of a post-pandemic world, the matters before us are weighty indeed. How will we continue to advocate for and accompany the most vulnerable? How can we amplify not only our voices, but the voices of those who have for too long not been allowed to speak on their own behalf? How will we continue to care for our common home?
The Sisters of Charity Constitutions call us with the words: “[W]e strive to love as Jesus loved.” This calls us not only in the ministries where we serve directly, but also in advocacy, education, resources, prayer and reflection. The Congregation has hosted conversations on racism, grief, social justice needs as well as synod gatherings and vocation conversations that educate and encourage advocacy, understanding and action.
Our new La Casa Del Sol Ministry Center is not only a model of living lightly on the Earth, but will house our ministries to aid immigrants through the Newcomers Transitions Program, and our Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, as well as the Cincinnati Cello School and acupuncture healing and wellness.
Advocacy for those on the margins continues to be a priority in using our resources and in the person of our Sisters who minister in various capacities through membership on committees, boards and organizations that work for the most vulnerable. In addition we partner and collaborate with others who share our mission and values such as the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, NETWORK, and the Leadership Council of Women Religious, to name just a few.
Working In Neighborhoods, Proyecto Santo Niño, EarthConnection, and the Spirituality Center are some of the variety of ministry sites where Sisters and Associates continue to be engaged with the issues of our times. As we recall the image of the storm and our own boats in the sea, we are reminded of the one who calms the storm, who walks on water and invites us to risk in faith. “Let us be kind and help one another.”
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S. Carol Wirtz is one of the Sisters addressing the needs of our times as she ministers at Proyecto Santo Niño in the poverty-stricken colonia of Anapra, Mexico, serving children with special needs and their families.
Celebrating Our Jubilarians
Every year the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati honor those Sisters celebrating significant anniversaries as women religious. This year a total of four Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati celebrated golden or diamond anniversaries with the Community. The women represent 230 total years of service in the Cincinnati Archdiocese, in dioceses throughout the united States and beyond. We congratulate golden jubilarian, S. Joyce Brehm, and diamond jubilarians Sisters Mary Bookser, Nancy Bramlage and Mary Ann Humbert on their lives of service and commitment to God’s people.
In addition, 24 Sisters of Charity were recognized by the Community for their years of service. All jubilarians were celebrated at the Motherhouse on Aug. 28, 2022 with liturgy and a special dinner. We are most grateful for these women and their lives of charity and love.
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2022 Ju BILEE
(From left) Associate Therese Frye enjoys celebrating with Sisters Sally Duffy (45 years) and Noreen Ellison (65 years).
Diamond Jubilarian S. Mary Bookser (left) with S. Sandy Howe.
(From left) Sisters Mary Bookser (60 years), Mary Ann Humbert (60 years), Joyce Brehm (50 years) and Nancy Bramlage (60 years) were honored for their years of service at a liturgy on Aug. 28, 2022 in the Motherhouse chapel.
Celebrating 75 years of service to God and God’s people, Sisters Mary Barbara Philippart (left) and Victoria Marie Forde enjoyed the opportunity to reflect with Community members.
S. Monica Ann Lucas (left) enjoyed celebrating her 70th jubilee with S. Juliette Sabo (right) and Community members.
S. Jean Miller (right) celebrated her 70th anniversary in 2022. Pictured with S. Roslyn Hafertepe.
80 yeArS oF Service
S. Emily Anne Phelan
75 yeArS oF Service
S. Victoria Marie Forde S. Mary Barbara
70 yeArS oF Service
S. Joan Deiters
S. Monica Ann Lucas S. Jean Miller
S. Mary Joyce Richter S. Laetitia Slusser
65 yeArS oF Service
S. Mary Lucia Dudzinski
S. Noreen Ellison S. Julie Gatza
S. Katherine Hoelscher
S. Barbara Padilla
S. Martha Walsh S. Patricia Wlock
55 yeArS oF Service
S. Lois Jean Goettke
S. Anita Parks
S. Katharine Pinto S. Donna Steffen S. Terry Thorman
45 years of service S. Sally Duffy S. Anita Maroun
40 yeArS oF Service S. Shirley Le Blanc
30 yeArS oF Service S. Pat Dittmeier
ASSociAteS in miSSion
25 yeArS oF Service
S. Mary Ann Humbert (center) receives a hug from Associate Mary Ellen Williams and her husband, Bill.
S. Emily Anne Phelan entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati on Sept. 16, 1942 – 80 years ago.
S. Barbara Padilla celebrated 65 years of Community life in Mother Margaret Hall.
(Front, from left) Sisters Mary Fran Davisson, Pat Dittemeier (30 years), (back, from left) Lois Jean Goettke, Terry Thorman, Donna Steffen, Katharine Pinto and Anita Parks (all 55 years) enjoyed the Aug. 28 celebration on Elizabeth Seton’s birthday.
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Members of S. Joyce Brehm’s (front) family were able to attend the Aug. 28 celebration at the Motherhouse.
By Associate Vicki Welsh
This is a vocation story about a girl from a good Catholic family who grew up on the very Catholic West Side of Cincinnati. She was a young woman who grew to see a “need” and say “I could do that!”
She became a community builder with words as simple as, “Come over and play cards with us.” She knew innately that the invitation was the strongest evangelical tool she had. She was good at it; she’d invite, people came. But let’s start at the beginning.
S. Joyce Brehm was the third oldest of nine children who grew up with a good Catholic core and compass. As a Price Hill girl, S. Joyce attended St. William’s parish and grade school and Seton for high school. The Sisters of Charity served in many and nearly all positions in church and school. When it came to college, S. Joyce opted for Thomas More College in Northern Kentucky.
Now this is where S. Joyce’s story gets interesting. She signed up for Thomas More’s Work Study Program. Her first assignment did not work out. Her second assignment was to Santa Maria Community Services. S. Kateri Maureen Koverman served as social worker.
What a beautiful role model of a religious vocation S. Kateri Maureen was! S. Kateri quickly worked her mentoring influence on S. Joyce. This was during the Vietnam War.
Catholic Relief Services needed all sorts of people with certain skills to volunteer. S. Kateri had the skills and the desire. She was waiting for the Sisters of Charity to give their final permission to go. S. Joyce recalls, “… She comes in … like Loretta Young, with her garb flowing behind her … she was on cloud nine, the Community was letting her go to Vietnam!”
In a wistful tone, S. Joyce describes the very short frantic few days. She helped S. Kateri organize the office in preparation for Sister’s replacement. One minute S. Joyce had a God-given mentor in S. Kateri, and the next moment that mentor was gone to Vietnam! But S. Joyce continued going to Thomas More and working at Santa Maria.
Enter ‘Bob,’ a sociology teacher at the College of Mount St. Joseph, who just so happened to work at Santa Maria. S. Joyce recounts, “I was visiting him one day in his office and he says to me, ‘Have you ever thought of becoming a Sister of Charity? Kateri thought you would make a good one.’ I said yes I had thought about it, and his response, ‘When are you going to do something about it?’”
She wrote to S. Kateri that night and was referred to S. Alfreda Alexander. This was a time soon after Vatican II. By the time the paperwork had all been completed and S. Joyce was ready for the pre-entrance program, it was 1972. Today S. Joyce Brehm is the sole Sister celebrating her Golden Jubilee in 2022!
S. Joyce completed her college work at Thomas More with a teaching certificate in math and began teaching grade school at Resurrection in Price Hill (Cincinnati). This only lasted two years. “Teaching was definitely not my gift,” S. Joyce admits. “I couldn’t discipline the classroom!”
S. Joan Groff was provincial of the Sisters of Charity at this time. She suggested that S. Joyce make a move to working with the elderly. She saw in S. Joyce a gift she had in working with the senior population. So for nine years, S. Joyce, with no sociology or psychology background, visited the senior, sickly, and depressed clientele at a Home Health Service in the West End of Cincinnati.
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S. Joyce Brehm entered the Sisters of Charity in 1972.
(From left) Sisters Joyce Brehm and the late Jean Therese Durbin shared a special friendship that took them to various ministries and locations throughout the years.
In S. Joyce’s preparation for final vows, she made the Jesuit 19 Annotated Retreat. She used this time, besides her assigned goals, to discern what she wanted to do after her final vows. She reflected on all she had already experienced and took into account her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. She had already begun to feel the effects of the MS; it was harder to walk distances, fatigue, and sensitivity to extreme temperatures. In her discernment she believed she needed to go to Georgia, where life moved slower and work with S. Jean Therese Durbin was calling!
From this point on, S. Joyce was never far from S. Jean until the time of S. Jean Therese’s death. There was always something to be done and S. Joyce could do it. The first task S. Jean gave her was to take the car, pick up a load of children and take them swimming in the park! After that, S. Marie Daniel (Danny) Delaney needed help with Meals on Wheels. S. Joyce quickly responded, “Okay, God, why wouldn’t I come? I can do that!”
This began S. Joyce’s many years of going and doing what was needed at the time. Even when a particular priest said he had a need for a Sister and it turned out to be a housekeeper he was looking for, she looked around and visited nursing homes, taught CCD classes and anything she could find to do for a year and a half.
S. Joyce would spend the next 10 years in Georgia, then to Tennessee with S. Jean working in mission parishes inviting and creating Church communities that could function. If RCIA classes were needed, she did it, if a Finance Board was needed, she started it. Programs for young and old alike were initiated to create a tight Christian community.
By 1991 both Sisters Jean and Joyce were ready to move closer to home. In Dayton, they spent nine years inviting
and doing what needed to be done. They ministered to the needs of the Associates in the area, and to the homeless. They provided necessary support services to other Sisters of Charity in and around the Dayton area. They held Bible Study for their parish, all the while creating community.
Their next move was to St. Joseph’s Infant Home, then finally to the Motherhouse. Within a few years, S. Joyce landed in the Archives. There was always something to do there and she has been given several specific projects along the way. Most recently you may have seen her posting photos on Charitynet inviting readers to write captions for the photos. “I get a lot more than just a caption,” she shares. “I get memories, names, and stories.”
There you go, S. Joyce, still inviting and creating community!
Writer’s Note: This article could not include all the many ways S. Joyce Brehm has extended her arms as she has invited men and women to come together in love and community! Firsthand accounts of three women whose lives S. Joyce has touched –Associates Patty Broughton, Irene Diesel, and Kathy Vogelpohl –can be found on the SC website at www.srcharitycinti.org.
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As the sole member of her Band, S. Joyce Brehm celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati in August 2022.
(Back, from left) Associates Patty Broughton, Irene Diesel, Vicki Welsh (front, left) and Kathy Vogelpohl (front, right) are grateful for the friendships and community they have built with S. Joyce Brehm (front, center).
Filling the World with Love
By Elizabeth Bookser Barkley
Since S. Mary Bookser has been active in liturgical ministry in the Sisters of Charity Community, one might assume that her musical theme song would be a refrain from a psalm or a line of Gregorian chant.
Not so. She treasures a song she heard as a preteen from the 1939 movie “Good-bye, Mr. Chips.”
“When I heard the song ‘Fill the World with Love,’ it grabbed my heart, and I have never forgotten it,” S. Mary says. “This song defines the mission of my life.”
It’s obvious to those who know her that she has embodied these lines for 60 years: “In the evening of my life I shall look to the sunset. And the question I shall ask, only God can answer. … Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?”
As a teacher and counselor and in her work in the Community with women in initial formation as well as on Leadership Council, she says, at her core she was called to be “a loving presence to each person who came into my life.”
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Springfield, Ohio, she has spent much of her Community life within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as a religion and music teacher at Holy Angels/Lehman High School in Sidney, Ohio, at Seton and Mount Notre Dame high schools in Cincinnati, and at Mount St. Joseph university. But her world view has been enhanced and deeply affected by visits to Mexico, Guatemala, and Armenia, “as well as other places of deep poverty and ecological deprivation.”
Interacting with college students from demographics different from most she has encountered in archdiocesan high schools, S. Mary worked for a few years at Cincinnati State, where she counseled students and advised the men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams.
She brought to this position the same empathy and concern for individual needs as she does to every encounter. She would listen to their lives—some came from urban poverty and others from poverty situations in other countries, but always she would encourage them to work to complete their education as a way forward into a better future.
One of the gifts S. Mary brings to every interaction is her ability to listen, to others and to the movement of the Spirit in her life.
S. Mary Bookser (left) and her sister Elizabeth Bookser Barkley (right) share a passion for education and enjoyed the opportunity to work together at Mount St. Joseph University for many years.
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“When I am in counseling mode, I love to listen to whatever people want to talk about, an issue of deep concern or something that gives them joy,” she says.
Whatever they share “comes into me and it gets transformed,” she goes on. “I am able to provide a presence where they feel safe, knowing I would never share what they confided. I have a level of peace that they need.”
At times she assumes the role of “spiritual companion” to those who seek her insights. “Some people would say I provide ‘spiritual direction,’ but I prefer the term ‘companion,’” she explains. “The Holy Spirit is really the director.”
Since S. Mary and I worked together at the Mount for years, I have seen how her gifts have touched people I work with. Though she is no longer a fulltime presence on campus (she still touches students’ lives as an adjunct instructor), her impact remains.
Whenever I meet one maintenance employee in the hall, we exchange greetings, followed by “Have you seen your sister lately? How is she?”
He has shared with me the spiritual bond he still feels with her that formed when he would stop in her office when she was coordinator of Service Learning. They talked about “spiritual things,” such as his encounters with deceased relatives as he walked along the waters of his native Hawaii. And she understood.
Her willingness to listen and her openness to wisdom from dreams and the movement of the Spirit has made her special to her five sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews around the u.S. Somehow, she senses when a card in the mail or a text message is warranted to help them through a rough stretch.
As my daughter Katie once said—and the line has been picked up by family members: “Aunt Mary knows things.”
Another gift she exhibits was articulated by a friend at the Mount who has worked with and admires her. It was during a presentation in a freshman class we co-taught that he attached a name to what I had always observed.
We were exploring various “character strengths” appearing on a screen as we examined students’ self-identified strengths sorted by categories such as courage, justice, humanity and wisdom. Many virtues that emerged as their “signature strengths” were easy to understand, such as kindness, leadership and fairness. One that stumped them, however, was “perspective.” My friend turned to me, with an “aha” look in his eyes, then announced to the class, “When you do Service Learning, you will meet a model of perspective in S. Mary Bookser, who fits the VIA definition so well: ‘being able to provide wise counsel to others.’”
During her eight years on the Community’s Leadership Council, one of her roles was liaison to the Communications Office, and she also helped to develop the SC Liaison program. In all deliberations during those years and even now in retirement, she lends her wisdom to Community committees, including the formation advisory committee and to groups such as Sisters of Earth. It’s an international group, a place for her to pursue a passion for ecological justice fueled by her friendship with the late S. Paula Gonzalez, with whom she helped build EarthConnection and La Casa del Sol, where she lived until it was razed to make way for a new building.
Seeing La Casa come down was painful because it was the home where she had lived the longest during her years in the Community. As in other hard times, she was able to bring perspective to this change, which she applauds as necessary and exciting, a reminder that the Community will keep evolving.
“We have a positive future as a Congregation. We have lots of valuable ministries and good energy among our retired Sisters and our young Sisters, who are committed to working with those on the margins,” she observes.
She plans to be a part of that bright future by contributing her insights to committee work and Chapter deliberations.
She reiterates the “mission” she latched onto decades ago when she first heard what became the theme song of her life.
“In retirement I am trying to bring peace, light and especially love to all I meet.”
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(Back row, from left) Jean Brinzer, S. Mary Bookser, Cathy Bookser-Feister, Barb Fraze, Elizabeth Bookser Barkley and Susie Bookser celebrate their parents (front row) Wally and Kit’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1994.
A dear friend, the late S. Paula Gonzalez (right) fueled S. Mary Bookser’s passion for ecological justice.
A Call Within a Call
Throughout her 70 years as a Sister of Charity, education has played a most important role in S. Laetitia Slusser’s life and ministries. She credits the Community in which she entered in 1952 for providing her with the educational opportunities she has so much enjoyed.
With a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degrees in religious education and theology, the Colorado native began her ministry years as an elementary teacher at schools in Ohio, New Mexico and Colorado. Speaking about those first years in parish schools, she says, “One of the students I taught in Albuquerque in the 1950s dedicated his book ‘Math Without Fear’ to me and S. Frances Marian (S. Dorothy Werdman). … The dedication said, ‘To Sister Laetitia and Sister Frances, my first and best math teachers.’”
In 1962, the year Vatican II convened, S. Laetitia joined nine other Sisters of Charity who were studying theology at The Catholic university of America in Washington, D.C. “The experience … was absolutely exhilarating,” she says. “We studied the documents [of Vatican II] as they were being published. For me it opened up a whole new world. I went there thinking that Catholics interpreted Scriptures literally. I
did not know the importance of conscience and I had no idea of the historical development of anything.”
In 1970, Sister began a new ministry as the religious education coordinator for St. Pius X parish in Aurora, Colorado, and then at Holy Trinity parish in Westminster, Colorado. “My years of teaching adults, particularly catechists were immensely rewarding and enriching,” she said. “When people attended classes, sacramental preparation programs or intergeneration catechesis, I witnessed them blossoming and many were empowered to minister in other areas in the parish or community. I loved seeing plans grow and was even more thrilled to see people grow spiritually and become excited about faith.”
She was particularly proud of initiating the conversionoriented JustFaith experience in the Pueblo Diocese. Rigorous but worth it, she said, “I found it comparable to the RCIA processes that I led in parishes. Somehow I would get converted all over again through being with the people going through the process.”
In 1986 Sister became assistant professor of catechetics in the pastoral ministry department of St. Thomas Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado. She held the position for 10 years until the seminary closed in 1995. She then returned to parish life and served as a pastoral associate at Nativity parish in Broomfield, Colorado, and then as director of religious education for three parishes in northeastern Colorado until 1999.
Throughout the years S. Laetitia had the opportunity to have ministry experiences in developing countries. In the
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“In every one of my teaching experiences I have learned more from the students than they have learned from me. Students have enriched my life.”
S. Laetitia Slusser had the opportunity to have ministry experiences in developing countries, including St. Lucia in the West Indies in the 1980s.
From 1975 until 1981, S. Laetitia Slusser served as the religious education coordinator for Holy Trinity parish in Westminster, Colorado.
1980s she accepted an invitation to teach in the summer ministry school in St. Lucia in the West Indies. “About 100 young people attended the ministry school in Castries and were supposed to return and take on leadership in their villages,” she recalled. “I found the poverty there to be extreme.”
And in the summer of 1999, S. Laetitia joined S. Mary Gallagher in Latvia to teach catechists. “These poor people had been behind the iron curtain for 40 years,” she said. “We went to three dioceses there at the invitation of a Latvian bishop. Approximately 70 catechists showed up at each place. They wanted to begin at 7 a.m. and go until 5 p.m. and then come back at night. We stayed a week in each diocese teaching five days a week and they found something special for us to do on weekends like giving them a retreat. We gave every participant a Bible in the Latvian language, paid for by the Sisters of Charity, and they cried when we handed it to each individual and said a prayer for them.”
Following her return to the States, S. Laetitia served as the coordinator of formation and catechesis for the Diocese of Pueblo until 2004. In this role she trained DREs, served on the Deacon Advisory Board, visited deaneries, implemented directives, coordinated education for youth ministers and revised diocesan guidelines. With her education and extensive experience, S. Laetitia contributed to numerous catechetical journals and publications throughout the years, including a series of articles on multiculturalism in parish religious education programs. She received many awards for her years of teaching, including the Papal Medal from the Diocese of
Pueblo and the Director of Religious Education of the Year Award from the Archdiocese of Denver, to name a few.
As she transitioned toward retirement, S. Laetitia found new ways to continue her ministry of education. She traveled the Diocese of Pueblo ministering to the Hispanic, poor communities across six deaneries spanning from utah to Kansas to New Mexico and Colorado. “I got to know the people and found out they mostly wanted encouragement and appreciation,” she said. “I worked as hard as I did on a full-time salary. There were so many requests for catechist formation; I taught deacons, gave retreats, and led Bible studies. I have always worked hard, but it’s something I loved and so I could get into it. My life has been that of a teacher. It has been a holy thing for me to teach.”
She also began facilitating online courses for the university of Dayton and the Diocese of Pueblo, saying her passion and enjoyment in continuing to learn were the reason for initially diving into the ministry. “I’ve had an enriching life of education and opportunities to grow spiritually and I didn’t want to stop any of that,” she added.
In looking back at her 70 years as a Sister of Charity this fall, words S. Laetitia wrote years ago continue to ring true, “My life as a Sister of Charity has been meaningful and fulfilling. I don’t think I would have had such rich experiences of relationships, education, travel opportunities and spiritual growth, had I not entered the convent.” And the millions of lives she’s touched in these 70 years are forever grateful she did. Editor’s Note: Much of the information in the above article is taken from an Intercom article written by the late S. Frances Maureen Trampiets.
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In recent years S. Laetitia Slusser facilitated online courses for the University of Dayton and the Diocese of Pueblo, Colorado.
(Back row, from left) S. Laetitia Slusser with her Band members Sisters Jean Miller, Joan Deiters, (front row, from left) Joyce Richter and Monica Ann Lucas celebrated their 70th anniversary with the Sisters of Charity Community in August 2022.
Paving the Road Ahead: S. Romina Sapinoso professes final vows
By Erin Reder
As she looks back on her life story to the present day, S. Romina Sapinoso reveals that there has always been evidence that God is by her side. That wisdom and assurance gives her hope as she looks to the future as a newly vowed Sister of Charity of Cincinnati.
S. Romina’s journey to the Community began as a young adult in the Philippines. In 2002, as she was finishing her master’s degree at Ateneo de Manila university, the Jesuit university in Manila, she knew in her heart that she wanted to get a bigger perspective. Imbued with the Jesuit spirit of women and men for others, she thought that a year of service might be the answer. However, when she mentioned it to her mother and sensed the worry in her heart, S. Romina felt the weight of what she was asking and decided to look at other opportunities.
A shortage of teachers in the united States, particularly in Texas, led S. Romina to the States in 2002. She petitioned for a VISA and was originally scheduled to teach in the Brownsville Independent School District. Instead, she ended up in El Paso, Texas, a road bump that today can only be seen as part of God’s plan. Having just finished the 19th Annotation Retreat in the Philippines, she had a spirituality and faith that was deepening, but when she moved to the u.S. that part of her wasn’t totally being nourished. She describes the period as a time of self-discovery and adjusting to a new country. “I knew what was deepening in me but I also felt I needed to go along with what my new friends were doing,” she recalls. “There was this deep void following what I had already experienced and what I wasn’t feeling here.”
Jumping from parish to parish and young adult group to young adult group, S. Romina finally landed at St. Pius X in El Paso. Still feeling the loss of spirituality and service she wanted and needed, she became involved with the parish’s JustFaith program, eventually serving as a facilitator. Once again God’s plan was at work. As a facilitator for JustFaith she was looking for a local speaker on poverty, and the name Sister of Charity Janet Gildea was mentioned. At the same time, she was looking for names of spiritual directors with whom she could possibly meet, and again S. Janet’s name was suggested. She took the hint and started with inviting S. Janet to speak for her parish group.
“… She sat down and started talking and I was completely absorbed and mesmerized by her presence and the work they were doing in the colonias,” S. Romina recalled. “I thought this is exactly what I want to do and these are the kinds of people I was in touch with before I left the Philippines. After the talk I went up to her and said I was looking for a spiritual director. She responded that she wasn’t formally trained but would be happy to accompany me spiritually. … Her presence evoked trust; certain people you see and know that they are the kinds of people you want to develop relationships with; that was Janet.”
S. Romina began regularly visiting Casa de Caridad, the Sisters of Charity house in Anthony, New Mexico where Sisters Janet, Peggy Deneweth and Carol Wirtz lived. She had
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S. Romina Sapinoso (right) signs the book and adds her name to the list of Sisters of Charity professing final vows with the Community.
(From left) Sisters Mumbi Kigutha, CPPS, and Erin McDonald, CSJ, processed in to the chapel carrying the candles.
finally found what she was looking for the last five years since arriving in the united States. She enjoyed their presence and powerful conversations. Two years later, in 2009, and after a few complications with her driver’s license renewal, S. Romina decided to move into Casa de Caridad, and while it was an adjustment, it was also a time of deepening her spirituality and uncovering her true self. She was beginning to shed the layers that she had put on; allowing herself to date, go out with friends, shop and get her nails done were all ways she embraced her new friendships and life in the States, but what they really helped her to do was find what truly made her happy. “It was all good in discernment,” she says. “And as we were living together at Casa de Caridad, I realized I didn’t need all those things; I was happy in community.”
In 2011, after getting her u.S. residency, S. Romina decided to do what she had initially come to the States to do – go to school. She found a program on international multicultural education at the university of San Francisco and decided to enroll. Moving to California, she continued
the choice was one she was making freely and authentically. And while those Sisters she lived with in Anthony may have known it was her call, they didn’t push or nudge. “They were really good about letting me find where I was called,” she said. “That’s not a strategy, it’s a way of being.”
As she began to get to know the Community deeper during her formation, S. Romina used the experiences she gained from her earlier years, particularly in San Francisco, to strengthen her identity and help the Community to do the same. Having heard and witnessed others put their experiences as immigrants and persons of color into words, she found she too could articulate her experiences and was hesitant when she realized the SC Community wasn’t talking about these issues and topics. S. Janet didn’t have all the answers to her concerns, but what she assured S. Romina was that the Community needed her to begin the journey.
“For me, I know the Sisters have brought me so much in my own life in terms of self-discovery, support and love,” she says. “I know I need them to become the person that I see I can be. It was a mutuality in terms of this being a murky
to remain open. She found a teaching job at Freemont Independent School District just outside of the city and met many like-minded people diverse in faith. And while all of it was eye-opening, she continued to keep her home in New Mexico. She met the late S. Cathy Cahur and Associate Jacquie Jones, residents of the San Francisco area, and they would get together regularly. Her Charity connections never went away.
And so finally, six years after moving in with the Sisters of Charity, and following graduation from uSF in 2015, S. Romina was ready to begin Affiliation. “I just knew even if I had the perfect environment (like I did in San Francisco), community was a grounding place for me,” she explains. “My strength came out in community. I couldn’t do it all by myself.”
Her long journey led her to the Sisters of Charity. All along she was thoughtful and intentional in making sure that
V OL u ME III, 2022 1 3
Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Romina Sapinoso (left) professed perpetual vows during a Mass on Sept. 24, 2022 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse.
(From left) Sisters Louise Lears, Romina Sapinoso and Christine Rody enjoy a moment together during the September celebration.
S. Mary Ellen Murphy (left) led the Community response following S. Pat Hayden’s (center) acceptance of vows.
area of how is this going to look in terms of my new-found strength in my identity and the diversity I carry with me, but also entering a congregation that was not actively talking about it. I think that was something that shaped a lot of the things I tried to do in formation.”
In July 2021, S. Romina was eligible to begin final vow preparation and as she looked at the offerings from the Religious Formation Conference related to its life commitment program, she realized only white speakers were featured. So, she thought to herself why can’t there be something for everyone? She called her friend Mumbi Kigutha, a Sister of the Precious Blood, and together the two created the vow preparation series “Come to the Table: Conversations on the Vows.” They invited a very diverse group of Sisters to be part of a panel on community life and gave them the topics that Sisters from different countries and of different backgrounds have questions about. By creating spaces for women religious from minority cultures to discuss the vows in a way that embraces their diverse backgrounds and unique gifts, they hope to be journeying toward a religious life where everyone feels seen, included and valued. S. Romina says having the courage to say let’s create something new was one of the most impactful components of her formation journey, “Together, with the Community, we are paving the road ahead.”
Opportunities to develop and grow are visible in all aspects of S. Romina’s journey. Currently she began a new endeavor with S. Andrea Koverman. It has been of dream of theirs to begin a Montessori school for the children at Proyecto Santo Niño in Anapra, Mexico, and this year, after much labor and a lot of love, they were able to see it come to fruition. S. Romina teaches the younger children (ages 2 ½ to 7 years old). “To be honest it still feels surreal,” she says. “A lot of times I think I
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S. Annie Klapheke participated in the vow Mass through liturgical dance.
S. Romina Sapinoso’s (center) aunts and uncles (from left) Jean Patawaran, Ines Odulio, Tess de Guzman, Butch Odulio, Ven de Guzman and Nomer Patawaran were in attendance for her final vows and celebration on Sept. 24, 2022.
Sisters from the SC Federation and Giving Voice came together to celebrate S. Romina Sapinoso’s vow ceremony on Sept. 24, 2022.
Msgr. Arturo J. Bañuelas, STD, former priest at St. Pius X in El Paso, Texas, and whose love, encouragement and passion for God and for justice were an inspiration to S. Romina, offered the homily for the vow ceremony.
don’t know what I’m doing but I know it’s something good. I feel like in little ways we are creating a space for the children to be loved for who they are. There’s not a lot of places that would welcome them.” In addition to her ministry at Santo Niño, S. Romina serves as a spiritual companion and mentor through involvement with retreats for young adults in parishes and connecting with volunteers working at the border for a year of service. “It’s important to me since I was mentored so well,” she says. “Without my mentors I don’t know if I’d be where I am – and I like where I am.”
God’s presence remains with S. Romina in every step of her life and she was reminded of that more than ever on the day of her final vows, Sept. 24, 2022. She described the week as a whirlwind and feeling it was hard to be present. On the morning of her vows, she went to the Motherhouse chapel and as she was sitting there by herself she received a link to a video from family and friends unable to be present in person wishing her well. As she opened and watched each of the video messages, her mom recalled when S. Romina was 20 years old and wanted to do a year of volunteer service. “She said to me, ‘I didn’t want you to go then, but I am so happy that you still found a way to fulfill your heart’s desire. You’re doing it right now,’” S. Romina recalls. “God reminds you that this is what you desired. There will days when you doubt it but God will find a way to reassure you. God did remind me on that day. It was a great affirmation.”
As she looks back on her journey to this moment in her life, S. Romina concludes, “God has never once left me. I can trust myself and the wisdom within because God has led me to all of these people; God is in that wisdom – and that gives me hope.”
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Dear friend S. Mumbi Kigutha (left), a Sister of the Precious Blood, co-created the vow preparation series “Come to the Table: Conversations on the Vows” with S. Romina Sapinoso.
S. Romina Sapinoso (center) receives congratulations from her community mate at Magnificat House S. Christa Parra, IBVM, (left) and former border volunteer, Maureen Boyle.
Former El Paso volunteer Shawn Wu made the trip to Cincinnati for the September celebration.
S. Romina Sapinoso (back) visited Mother Margaret Hall Sisters (front, from left) Katie Hoelscher, Sarah Mulligan, Kevin Patrice Daley and Ann Lehman.
Newer Community members (from left) Sisters Whitney Schieltz, Romina Sapinoso, Tracy Kemme, Annie Klapheke and Andrea Koverman prepare to celebrate S. Romina’s final vows on Sept. 24, 2022.
A Beautiful Gift:
S. Marge Farfsing Celebrates 100 Years of Living
By Erin Reder
On Aug. 12, 2022, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati celebrated the life of S. Marjorie Farfsing. A Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 82 years, S. Marge turned 100 years old.
A native of Mount Washington, Ohio, S. Marge was born the 10th child of 14 to Edward and Florence Farfsing in Mount Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio). She attended Guardian Angels Grade School and St. Joseph Academy (now McNicholas High School) in Mount Washington. Her paternal aunt was also a Sister of Charity and S. Marge believes her vocation to religious life was nurtured at home. “My mother always wanted me to be a religious Sister,” she said. No one was surprised when she entered the Sisters of Charity on Sept. 8, 1940.
Those who know S. Marge know her outgoing and spirited personality. And, so, it is of no surprise that first entering the Community was quite a change for her. “When I came to the Community, it was very strict,” she says. “I liked to talk when I wanted to, but within the Community, we had our times of strict silence. This was the hardest part for me.” However, in retrospect, she realized the importance of the discipline as a growing experience in her life. God always took care of her and helped her grow.
With a bachelor’s degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph and a master’s degree in education from DePaul university in Chicago, Illinois, Sister spent the majority of her religious life as an educator. For more than 44 years she served at schools in Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.
“Through the years I taught everything from kindergarten to eighth grade,” she recalled. “I loved first grade. Every day you saw what you had done, not only as they learned things but you also saw the children develop. That was special.” S. Marge, whose father was a musician, also taught singing and directed glee club for sixth, seventh and eighth graders at each of the schools she taught.
Sister’s unwavering strength and deep trust in God helped her through some of the most difficult times in her life, including a battle with cancer. A nagging cough and tumor in her neck led to the diagnosis of lymphoma. She was told that the cancer was progressing rapidly and she only had six months to live without chemotherapy and a 50 percent chance with chemotherapy. With a miracle, and
through God’s goodness, she was cured. Her triumph over cancer deepened her faith. “One thing I did right away was to prioritize my life’s true values. What seemed important in my life were dealt with appropriately. Letting God take over, appreciating my family, community and friends, were great factors in my eventual cure,” she believes. “My life has been one of praise, love and gratitude.”
S. Marge retired in 1996 and currently lives in Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility at Mount St. Joseph. For more than 25 years she volunteered in the Purchasing Department delivering mail; she also performed receptionist duties at SC sponsored ministry Bayley. She is known by all for her hospitality, generosity and her sharp memory. She is grateful always for those in her life and shows that gratitude with frequent correspondence and affirmation in never forgetting to tell someone of her love for them.
When asked the secret to living a long life, S. Marge said her parents showed her the way with their welcoming spirit, deep-rooted prayer, and love and care for others. “We are all one family,” she says. “I look at each person and see what a beautiful gift each person is. We should all enjoy each other with trust and love.”
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S. Marge Farfsing, pictured with Sisters Georgia Kitt (left) and Monica Gundler (right), celebrated her 100th birthday on Aug. 12, 2022.
Moments of Grace:
S. Shirley Le Blanc celebrates 40 years as a Sister of Charity
This year Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Shirley Le Blanc celebrated 40 years with the Community. Entering in January 1982, the Louisiana native has enjoyed a variety of ministerial experiences throughout the years. Today she resides at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse volunteering and sharing her many talents with all she encounters.
Can you share a favorite memory of your early days with the SCs in Santa Fe, New Mexico?
Always and ever is the memory of how inclusive the Sisters of Charity in the West were in my early days. I thought early on that their robust lives, ministries, and connectedness were due to the fact that they were so far away from the core of community (Cincinnati) but over the years it proved to be a powerful dynamic of who they were down to their core. When you hear someone say “Sister of Charity vocation” what words come to mind?
One knows who they are and are waiting for the moment of grace when they are able to say “yes” to responding to God’s beckoning. Maybe it happens differently for others but I can still recall the moment it happened for me. The moment was one of freeing me from having absolutely no reason not to say yes. I could choose freely and without inhibition.
Who are several of the Sisters of Charity who have influenced your life over these 40 years? How?
I owe a debt of gratitude to S. Patmarie Bernard who introduced me to the SCs at St. Joseph Hospital. She was very astute in teaching the Sister of Charity history and any other query I had about the SC way of life. She introduced me to all the other SCs in the school system there (Jeannette Cochran, Ann Reimond, Peggy Deneweth, Annette Frey, Grace Catherine Aufderbeck, and the Sisters at San Felipe de Neri). They all shared the same dynamic of robust enjoyment of one another, commitment, sharing, belonging to a powerful energy. I went on from there to join the Community and engage in a variety of ministries. S. Betty Finn was paramount in walking with those of us who entered later in life and when community life itself had gone through a great impactful transition.
As a resident of the Southwest in Santa Fe how did/do the residents view the Sisters and their ministries?
I would say they viewed women religious with much reverence from the SCs to as far back as other women
religious communities serving in Santa Fe. They served the poor, worked in hospitals and taught schools – all the Sisters were loved by the connected communities. Their stories about life in the West were sometimes viewed as very humorous but underneath was a fierce love of the poor, indigent people of God.
From the early, growing-up learnings in your family, how have you fostered and incorporated those early – most important – life lessons in your SC life?
A huge life-long learning was the gift of my parents who lived, taught and handed down the importance of “generosity”; a giving from the core of our being. It was easy to reach out to those in need without hesitating because we lived that. Wanting to help others was the best inheritance anyone could have ever received. I remain most grateful!
What gives meaning to your life now, day-to-day, post-jubilee?
Retirement is hardly anything as I had imagined. First, I never thought I would live with so many women – at least I didn’t sign up for that! But, now I lovingly embrace each one of them. I currently volunteer, e.g., teaching oil painting classes at Mother Margaret Hall, facilitating a Drum Circle, playing pokeno on Saturday nights, joining our Rosary Group, organizing seasonal parties, and volunteering for St. Vincent de Paul.
V OL u ME III, 2022 17
A Prayer of the Heart
By S. Georgia Kitt
“We must pray literally – without ceasing – in every occurrence in our lives – that prayer of the heart which is independent of place or situation – a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication.”
- St. Elizabeth Seton
This quote of EAS might be seen as the connection that has carried S. Nancy Bramlage through her 60 years of life as a Sister of Charity. That prayer of the heart, asking to be open to the Spirit, led her to enter the Sisters of Charity in 1962, to choose French as her college major, to pick up a twinning project S. Ruth Jonas (her French teacher at the College of Mount St. Joseph) had started with African children and students learning French in Cincinnati, and to follow a call to the foreign missions. These initial “yeses” offered a familiarity for other ministries that followed. All of this occurred in the first 20 years of S. Nancy’s SC life.
While teaching at Archbishop Alter High School in Dayton, S. Nancy Bramlage felt called to serve as a missionary in Malawi, Africa.
“Living with my Sisters in community in Malawi, living among the very poor, I learned from my Sisters how to be gentle and reach out to the people who had so many needs. We couldn’t meet all their needs, but we could treat them with respect and kindness. They taught me to accept with gratitude the warm hospitality they offered us. I have great memories of my seven years in Africa. ”
Through this broadening experience, S. Nancy adopted an awareness of the world around her and the injustices they lived with. All along the way she called others to realize their responsibilities to try to make things better. This thread next led her to be open to serve as personnel director and foreign mission coordinator for her congregation. She assisted other SC missionaries, helping to link 18 of her Sisters serving in six countries, providing a sense of connection for them – a prayer of the heart for sure!
S. Nancy came to realize that God’s grace goes with her; that grace has served her both as a challenge and a strength. It was while teaching French at Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio, that she used educational materials which S. Ruth had developed in upper Volta (now known as Burkina Faso), a West African French-speaking country, to twin students in Africa and the Cincinnati area who were studying French. Experiencing this connection eventually led S. Nancy to request to join S. Ruth and other Sisters of Charity who were serving as missionaries in Malawi, Africa.
During this time she benefitted from ‘hands on education’ regarding existing social justice issues. Through her visits she was able to provide the Congregation with an understanding of what was happening in the countries they lived in: Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, St. Lucia, Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, and Haiti.
In 1988 the university of Dayton was looking to expand their Campus Ministry program and offer more experiences for students in implementing the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. This was another thread of connection leading S. Nancy to say ‘yes’ to serving as director of the Center
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S. Nancy Bramlage entered the Sisters of Charity Community in 1962.
As director of the Center of Social Concern at the University of Dayton, S. Nancy Bramlage (second from right) accompanied her students as they participated in civil disobedience at the School of Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.
of Social Concern at uD for the next 15 years. It brought her ever closer to sharing her passion for social justice with students and staff who desired to get more involved in experiential education with people in poor countries or in their “own backyard.” She spent nine weeks of the summer watching the uD students work with children in Appalachia. Other students participated in civil disobedience at the School of the Americas, and others protested at the Y-12 nuclear plant in Tennessee. It was wonderful seeing the world view of the students grow and the new career plans they began to make. “They brought enthusiasm and hope to me,” she recalls. Her students would say, ‘She teaches us how to live
Intercom Subscription Available!
Gift and individual subscriptions to Intercom, the magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, are available through the Communications Office for $15.
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in community.’ ‘She challenges us to work for the common good.’ ‘The learning environment she creates builds character and increases our knowledge of current social justice issues.’ S. Nancy’s response, “Students desire to work for change, to make things better and uD was willing to work for change along with them. I loved every minute of my time there.”
That ‘prayer of the heart’ of Elizabeth Seton continued to call S. Nancy. She served in SC Leadership for eight years, and then helped create a communal living setting for the women who were discerning life as a Sister of Charity. Sisters Carol Leveque, Maureen Heverin, Terry Thorman and Nancy offered their ‘yes’ in 2008. “What a gift to be part of the community life of the Sisters of Charity Novitiate!” she stated. “The grace of communal prayer, the deepening of relationships within the group, the day-to-day interactions that help persons to really get to know one another cannot be put into words. These years of sharing and listening to the hopes and dreams of these honest and gifted novices has been a rich blessing for me. What a gift to be a part of that discernment. What a joy to celebrate the eventual vow ceremonies!”
As she marks 60 years as a Sister of Charity, S. Nancy would encourage us to go on building a community that looks outward to the rest of the world, doing our part to make it better by our being in it, and bringing that prayer of the heart.
“God gives us every grace; this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.”
- St. Elizabeth Seton
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V OL u ME I II, 2022 19
THE RECENT YEARS
The following article is a collaborative effort of S. Judith Metz and Christy Cauley, marketing and communications specialist at Santa Maria Community Services.
The several decades following the incorporation of Santa Maria Community Services in 1972 saw great growth. Programs underwent continual upgrading to meet the increasing demands for higher standards of care and new services. With its focus on a family-centered approach, the agency expanded its facilities and services into new locales, and by a decade later had a full-time staff of 50.
When Executive Director David Crowley left the agency in 1973, he was succeeded by Sister of Charity Jane Ellen Shappelle, who served in that position for the next 13 years with skill, enthusiasm, and strong leadership. While the 1970s saw expansion of government into the social service arena with grants and program support, many of these aids were reduced or removed during the 1980s. Santa Maria’s board responded by developing a strategic plan for coping with cutbacks in federal funds that included the formation of a Development Board that was charged with establishing an endowment fund and sponsoring fundraising events. S. Jane Ellen was ably assisted in dealing with the changing climate by Program Director Steve Lange. His dedication, wealth of ideas, wide community involvement, and strong leadership set the tone for the development of many exciting initiatives. Another important staff member during this period was social worker/case manager S. Rosemary Clare Eagan who, with her gentle presence, supervised staff, counseled families and individuals, and assisted in emergencies. “I feel this is fulfilling the Gospel message to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, harbor the homeless,” she said. “I feel that I’m doing as Elizabeth Seton would have done and I find joy in my work.”
Santa Maria’s outreach encompassed every segment of the population from birth to old age. In the mid-1970s the agency merged with the Lower Price Hill Day Care Center
that, a few years later, combined with the day care center from 13th and Republic streets when it moved to the Seton High School campus. In 1987, however, Santa Maria’s day care program was transferred to the YMCA ending 90 years of the agency’s day care ministry. As S. Jane Ellen explained, “There is a constant fluctuation of services as needs, populations, and locations shift. As one need is met, you move on to something more pressing.”
The backbone of the Santa Maria Neighborhood Centers was neighborhood organization programs in Lower Price Hill, East Price Hill, and later Sedamsville. In East Price Hill the youth program was active in employment efforts, beautifying the neighborhood, creating a recreation center, tutoring, and crisis intervention. A popular program during the 1970s and 1980s was the Police-Youth Weekend Campout that regularly attracted more than 100 boys each year. The Family Nurture Center on State Street in Lower Price Hill served as a safe space for “hanging out,” job placement services, childbirth classes, support groups, counseling, and GED classes.
Outreach services to the elderly that had been a staple of Santa Maria’s work since its founding continued. S. Ludmilla Hartman directed weekly gatherings that included a meal and social activities, while an ever-expanding Meals on Wheels program served many. S. Charlotte Mollenkopf provided outreach services to the elderly, invalids, the sick, the abandoned and the neglected. She described her work as “assisting them with everything from securing food stamps and bus tokens, to handling social security needs, to reading to those with failing eyesight.”
By the late 1980s Santa Maria was the largest neighborhood multi-service agency in Greater Cincinnati and was poised to continue its long tradition of providing services to every segment of the population in the areas it served.
H.A. Musser, Jr. joined Santa Maria on June 18, 1984 as a planning specialist and soon became a neighborhood
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s anta Mar I a Co MM un I ty s erv IC es: 125 years o F H e L p I n G F a MILI es H e L p t H e M se L ves
S. Jane Ellen Shappelle (back, right) served as Santa Maria’s executive director for 13 years with skill, enthusiasm, and strong leadership.
organizer, helping bring together Price Hill residents to discuss common issues and work toward solutions. He later became the Sedamsville center director, and in 1989 he became the president and Chief Executive Officer, a title he still holds today.
In the 1990s, Santa Maria began to expand its reach in two Price Hill neighborhoods. In 1992, Santa Maria purchased 3301 Warsaw Avenue and renovated it to consolidate East Price Hill services and agency administrative offices into one facility. Two years later, The Lower Price Hill Center, located at 718 State Avenue, was purchased, providing much needed youth development services for Oyler School students.
S. Blandina was known as the protector of children, especially immigrant children. Just before the dawning of the 21st century, Santa Maria partnered with the Every Child Succeeds Program providing intensive home visitation services to first-time parents, carrying on S. Blandina’s tradition of caring for the health and education of children. Santa Maria continues their partnership with Every Child Succeeds and has since added the Promoting Our Preschoolers program to prepare children ages 3 to 5 for kindergarten.
With the new century came a major renovation of the Lower Price Hill Family Center, expanding access to the youth development program in Lower Price Hill. Santa Maria also added the Bienestar program, a Hispanic health access initiative. Santa Maria’s Wellness Program, which provides assistance in both
English and Spanish, now hosts two free health fairs every year.
In 2006, Santa Maria partnered with the Price Hill Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to teach staff and volunteers annually to be IRS-trained and certified to help individuals prepare and file taxes, a service they still offer. In 2008, Santa Maria became a Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited charity, receiving the BBB Dynamic Seal.
The following year, The International Welcome Center opened to assist immigrants with adjusting to life in the Greater Cincinnati area through English as a Second Language classes and other programming. Just as Sisters Blandina and Justina once cared for Italian immigrants, Santa Maria continues immigrant outreach in Price Hill, welcoming immigrants from many different backgrounds.
The 2010s brought many new opportunities to serve families in Price Hill. In 2011, The Price Hill Financial Opportunity Center opened, offering financial coaching as well as workshops and classes. In the ensuing year, Literacy Center West merged with Santa Maria, offering GED preparation and job-readiness training at no cost.
In 2014, Santa Maria added the Project Advance AmeriCorps program, a national service program that provides full- and part-time job opportunities. Participants work to serve their communities and meet social service needs. Santa Maria also received the Agency of the Year award
H.A. Musser, Jr. (with board volunteer Mary Ann Rozum) was named president and Chief Executive Officer of Santa Maria Community Services in 1989 and continues to hold the title today.
V OL u ME III, 2022 21
S. Ludmilla Hartman (standing, left) directed Santa Maria’s weekly gatherings for the elderly, which included a meal and social activities.
The Joe Williams Family Center offers learning spaces for Santa Maria’s Youth Development program, a gym, tutoring center, kitchen, and art and dance classes.
In 2009, Santa Maria opened the International Welcome Center to assist immigrants with adjusting to life in the Greater Cincinnati area through English as a Second Language classes and other programming.
that year from the Alliance for Immigrant Women/YWCA.
As part of their 100th anniversary celebration in 2015, The united Way recognized H.A. Musser, Jr. as one of their 100 united Way heroes. Santa Maria also received the Agency of the Year award from the National Association of Social Workers that same year. Additionally, Santa Maria partnered with Price Hill Will to develop the Homestead Program which provides homeownership opportunities through nontraditional lending methods.
In 2016, Santa Maria established the Joe Williams Family Center to be the new home of its Youth Development program at 2312 Glenway Avenue in Lower Price Hill. The former Boys and Girls Club facility was provided by Community Matters and renovated through the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund’s 2016 “Community Makeover” in partnership with P&G, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and other partner agencies.
In 2018, Santa Maria added an annual fundraising event, The Sharing Table, a community dinner focused on raising awareness about childhood poverty in the region. It had to be canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but returned in 2022 at Price Hill Will’s ARCO Cincy event venue.
During the pandemic, Santa Maria quickly pivoted to serve clients remotely where possible, switching to virtual classes, programs and fundraisers. Clients were serviced through porch drop-offs and videos, rather than in-person home visitors. During that time, Santa Maria provided almost 70,000 pounds of food, more than 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and more than 5,000 masks. They also organized local vaccine distribution for hundreds of residents.
Most services are back to in-person, although Santa Maria still offers some classes and seminars online. Santa Maria proudly carries on Sisters Blandina and Justina’s vision by providing educational tools and resources to build strong families, promote healthy residents, and foster neighborhood revitalization. As S. Blandina is being considered for sainthood, her legacy lives on through Santa Maria’s work.
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The Sharing Table, a community dinner focused on raising awareness about childhood poverty in the region, returned in 2022.
School of Hope and Abandonment in God
By S. Sally Duffy
The Second International Conference of the FamVin Homeless Alliance (FHA) took place in Sevilla, Spain, June 7-9, 2022 at the Provincial House of the Daughters of Charity. S. Sally Duffy was in attendance and spoke on “Human Trafficking and Housing, Employment and Health Care: A Vincentian Response,” in addition to moderating the last panel of the conference. The vision of FamVin Homeless Alliance is that “everyone has a place to call home and a stake in their community.” The participants reflected on accompanying the journey of refugees, internally displaced persons and victims of human trafficking.
Truly, an experience of love creative into infinity, every speaker focused on the need for collaboration and action as essential for the Vincentian Family. Fr. Bob Maloney reflected on continuing the Vincentian heritage of caring for refugees and displaced persons that began during the War in Lorraine in the 17th century. Msgr. Bob Vitello, secretary general of the International Migration Commission, called us to build bridges between the rich and the poor, and to ensure, in the midst of many needs of migrants, to address their spiritual needs.
In his homily Father Fabio Baggio, CS, under-secretary of Migrants and Refugee Section at the Vatican, reminded us that, “Encounters with refugees, displaced persons and victims of human trafficking constitute a privileged opportunity for sharing and learning. With them, we go to the school of hope and abandonment in God. We rediscover our fragility and our vulnerability, as well as the essentiality of our covenant with God and God’s merciful love and salvation.”
Based on the conversations and the organizational capacity of the FamVin Homeless Alliance (FamVin), seven actions are proposed to carry forward from this conference.
1. FamVin will help to build a network bringing together Vincentians working with refugees and internally displaced people. In support of this goal, we will develop a series of webinars and share best practice tool kits online. These will also integrate cross-cutting themes such as persons trafficked, climate change, etc.
2. FamVin will engage in a program that will help build capacity for advocacy at a local level using existing best practices within, and beyond, the Vincentian Family. We will also develop a mechanism to feed our collective experiences at a local level into bigger global advocacy campaigns, e.g., uN and Eu working with other partners and networks.
3. FamVin will ensure our global mapping exercise of the Vincentian Family is extended to those working with refugees and internally displaced people and invite them to participate in our forums.
4. FamVin will work closely with the Vincentian Family Office and the heads of the Vincentian Family globally to ensure that we are better prepared to respond when a disaster takes place by creating a joint protocol and framework to ensure action is coordinated.
5. FamVin will provide toolkits and webinars to better understand how Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti might inform our work and, in particular, the culture of “encounter” and “accompaniment”.
6. FamVin will help any member of the Vincentian Family to develop “13 House Projects” aimed at supporting refugees and internally displaced people.
7. FamVin will continue to respond to the Vincentian Family by hosting conferences (like this one) on specific themes. Next year we will focus on slum dwellers in Manilla.
Mark McGreevy, OBE, president DePaul International, summarized S. Sally Duffy’s talk on human trafficking and the intersection of employment, health and housing as follows. “S. Sally gave us the big picture as she addressed the question of how society can stop treating people as commodities. An economic system informed by Catholic Social Teaching shows the way and will help us to tackle the globalization of indifference. S. Sally laid out the Vincentian response and we would all do well to reflect on these measures in our own work.”
To view a conference summary: https://vfhomelessalliance. org/blog/2022/07/04/actions/
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In June S. Sally Duffy (right) attended the Second International Conference of the FamVin Homeless Alliance in Sevilla, Spain, and spoke on “Human Trafficking and Housing, Employment and Health Care: A Vincentian Response.”
A Wide Variety of Gifts – A 60th Jubilee
By S. Regina Kusnir
The rarest of gems are hidden in the earth Their unexpected find brings rebirth. Honed, formed and polished by the years Brings the finder to the verge of joy-filled tears.
Jubilees present the opportunity to look over the years and encapsulate their essence. Only in retrospect does life offer us a view of meaning and accomplishment. It should not surprise us that S. Mary Ann Humbert said, “A 60th jubilee comes as a bit of a shock to say the least. It’s a bit difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that it was indeed 60 years ago that my 17-year-old self donned the postulant habit and began this life journey. I recall a quote from Louis Evely from years ago that said, ‘The sign of God is that we will be led where we did not plan to go.’ Certainly these 60 years stand as a witness to the truth of that statement.”
S. Mary Ann is from a family that has a long history with the Sisters of Charity. She, a brother and three sisters grew up in Norwood, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. She had the SCs throughout her elementary school years and was always
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Throughout the years S. Mary Ann Humbert has gifted the Community as a liturgical dancer.
drawn to their spirit. A cousin and two aunts from her dad’s family were also SCs. After her older sister, Esther, entered the Congregation, she recalls, “I spent visiting Sundays at the Mount and loved the place. I felt a personal and distinct call from God to join the Sisters of Charity and treasure that call to this day.”
The various gifts she experienced in the SC family expanded with the years. Educationally, S. Mary Ann earned a 1968 bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from the College of Mount St. Joseph, a 1973 master’s in Early Childhood Education from Michigan State university, and a master’s in Social Work from the university of Kentucky. This background blessed her with “a wealth of opportunities to serve various populations from ages 3 to 80-plus. I enjoyed and learned from them.”
As Novice Director from 1973-1975 and 1978-1980 she guided young Sisters in SC ways. “My ministry in formation providentially led me to journeying with others as a ‘spiritual director.’ Once I had some experience, it seemed a logical next step that I pursue training as a spiritual and retreat director. For the next 40-plus years, spirituality ministry has remained the basis of my ministry.”
The roles of director of spirituality for the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, from 1989-1994, and as a spiritual director leave S. Mary Ann reflecting: “It is a trust and a privilege to journey with women and men, vowed religious and lay, as they open their hearts more and more deeply to God’s loving embrace and guidance. I’m always humbled by the trust placed in me to hold sacred the vulnerability others share with me.”
S. Mary Ann was the Community’s second director of Associates. “The privilege of occupying this position from 19972002 finds me valuing the exchange of gifts those women and men offer SCs in our variety of connections. I also acknowledge the gift of our employees. They truly are a blessing and are always a part of the community aspect of our Motherhouse.”
Currently, S. Mary Ann continues to find richness in a variety of ministries. She does spiritual direction at the Spirituality Center at the SC Motherhouse. The St. Vincent de Paul Society at a local parish expands her compassionate heart as she encounters “the strength, fortitude and faith families demonstrate in the midst of coping with extremely trying circumstances. Visiting the homes of our neighbors in need humbles me as I compare my security and abundant resources with those who truly live in fear and uncertainty.” She also volunteers at a ‘choice pantry’ in an underserved area of Cincinnati. She walks with shoppers and listens to their stories as they make their choices of grocery items, both fresh
and non-perishable. A prayer, support and often a good laugh mark these interactions.
Spirituality is like an unearthed gem and is important to S. Mary Ann. Her annual retreat, daily prayer and especially the joyful congregational Eucharistic celebrations “nourish my soul,” she says. Along the journey of the years S. Mary Ann has become a gifted liturgical dancer, enhancing Community celebrations with color and joy.
A well-rounded life also has time for regenerative activities. “I relax with a good book, take long walks in nature, enjoy meals with friends, and spend time attending my grandniece’s and nephew’s soccer and volleyball games and her dance recitals. She has improved tremendously since we sat through 3-year-olds trying to keep their place on stage!”
A wide variety of gems have been unearthed and polished by S. Mary Ann these 60 years. “It is certainly with deep gratitude that I look back over these 60 years and identify a wide variety of gifts in the opportunities I have had and the people who have influenced my life,” she says. “I particularly note the focus we SCs have on social justice and our ministries to the poor and underserved. We are committed educators, artists, and musicians. We are pastoral and medical personnel. I know I have been enriched, educated, and challenged by knowing Sisters in each of these areas and have grown in understanding and compassion for the challenges and successes their service offers. I believe our diversity in ministry has truly enriched us as a Congregation and been a gift to the people of God.”
“For all that has been, for our blessings without number, I give you thanks, O Lord. And for all that will be, for all that is to come, I say yes, I say yes!”
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S. Mary Ann Humbert entered the Sisters of Charity Community in September 1962, having felt a personal and distinct call from God.
S. Mary Ann Humbert (right) served as the Community’s second director of Associates from 1997-2002.
A Missionary Spirit
By S. Joan Elizabeth Cook
On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1961, S. Mary Barbara Philippart was missioned to Colegio Juan XXIII in Lima, Peru.
Mary Barbara Philippart was born with a missionary spirit! She credits her parents, Howard and Helen, for fostering that spirit. They created a loving family in which Catholicism, family activities, service, and reading were high priorities. Howard’s father immigrated from Belgium and did not have the opportunity to finish high school. In order to finance a college education, her father became a football star on one of the first university of Detroit teams. Helen’s background was Irish, and she grew up on a farm in the general area of Springfield, Ohio. She was a private secretary. One of her friends introduced her to Howard, and they formed the loving bond that was a hallmark of S. Mary Barbara’s family life. She had three siblings: her older brother Howard, whom they nicknamed Micky, and her two younger sisters, Janet and Carol. They lived in Detroit.
S. Mary Barbara’s childhood was active with swimming, football (until her father decided it wasn’t feminine), and badminton in the summer; and ice skating and tobogganing in winter. The children loved to read, and their parents encouraged them by giving them books for Christmas. She remembers that the children finished reading all their new books by New Year’s Day. The Sisters of Charity had a profound influence on her from an early age. Her great aunt, S. Margaret Louise, was a music teacher. The children attended St. Luke’s School, where she specially remembers Sisters Miriam Thomas Busch, Ann Rita Kelly, and Mary Emma McKinley. The academic program was strong, and the children also learned to dance, sing and speak in front of a group for performances several times a year. These skills have served her well throughout her entire life.
As director of Hispanic Radio in Arkansas, S. Mary Barbara Philippart created opportunities for people in rural areas to participate in Catholic life.
S. Mary Barbara loved to read Lotus Leaves, the publication about the SC missionaries in China, and the people they served. Reading that magazine strengthened her desire to be a missionary, and she wanted to serve in China.
She attended St. Luke’s High School at first, and when that school closed she attended Little Flower High School for Girls (later named Shrine High School). She remembers Sisters Barbara Geoghegen, Ancilla Marie Petricone, Myra Drain, Francis Anna Bunline, Virginia Hughes, Kevin Davis and Marie Palmyre Rabaut. She continued to be involved in many activities; sewing for the soldiers – this was during World War II – was one of her ways to serve. Her parents continued to be a strong influence in her life, and they were thrilled when she decided to become an SC because she wanted to go to China.
S. Mary Barbara was in the Novitiate when the Sisters from China escaped to the united States. Their courage in coming to the States and their love for God made a profound impression on her, and her eagerness to serve in China continued to grow.
After First Vows S. Mary Barbara studied at The Athenaeum of Ohio (Cincinnati) before being missioned to St. William’s to teach first grade. That was the first of several
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schools where she taught in the Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Toledo dioceses. Then, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1961, she was missioned from Lima, Ohio to Colegio Juan XXIII in Lima, Peru. For her, this was a dream come true: she had offered to serve in Peru when Mother Mary Omer first asked for volunteers. She was not among the first to be selected, but was missioned there when one of the original volunteers became ill.
In Lima, S. Mary Barbara continued her association with the Chinese people. Several Sisters from another community were Chinese, and they all served the Chinese community there. After serving as administrator in Lima, she went to Huancane for a year, and was then missioned to Seton High School (Cincinnati) where she taught Spanish.
Her ministry to Hispanic people continued in various forms: in parish ministry at the Cristo Rey Center in Fremont, Ohio; as the Ohio promoter with NETWORK; and as Ohio connector for the Catholic Commission on urban Ministry at the same time as serving as SC coordinator of Social Services. After six years in the States, she was invited to return to the Puno Diocese in Peru. There she administered a parish, taught in the diocesan Religious Education office and directed the diocesan radio program. After a time of sabbatical, she resumed her ministry to the Hispanic population in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she continued her radio ministry with Radio Catolica.
From there she went to Port Huron, where she served the Hispanic community as pastoral associate. While living in Port Huron she traveled once a month to Little Rock to teach the Spanish-speaking deacon candidates and their wives. This project included developing the curriculum, finding teachers, and organizing a weekend retreat once a year. Every month, some of her students drove four or five hours each way in order to attend seven two-hour classes, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.
The titles of her different positions don’t begin to describe the ways S. Mary Barbara served and empowered the Hispanic people, especially the Peruvian women. For instance, while teaching at Seton High School, she, in coordination with S. Mary Martin Morand, supported Artesania Pachamama (Earth Mother) by providing a market for sweaters, hats, gloves and purses knitted by the Peruvian women. As a result, people here in the States have enjoyed wearing warm, colorful
sweaters while taking steps to relieve the severe poverty in Peru.
S. Mary Barbara’s eagerness to bring people together was very evident in her ministry in Arkansas. She empowered them by teaching literacy for Hispanics to children and adults. This program grew to serve 35 children and 100 adults. As director of Hispanic Radio she created opportunities for people in rural areas to participate in Catholic life – a challenge because they were at a distance from urban activities.
S. Mary Barbara’s gift for fostering bonds was evident in Port Huron, Michigan as well. As pastoral associate, she coordinated fundraising efforts and organized twice-weekly religious services, making it possible for members of the Hispanic community to gather in prayer and mutual support.
Then S. Mary Barbara joined S. Ruth Ann Rody in Pineville, Kentucky. S. Ruth Ann served as a home visitor nurse and S. Mary Barbara coordinated the RCIA and Confirmation programs for two parishes.
Since returning to the Motherhouse in 2011, S. Mary Barbara continues to support the people she has served throughout her lifetime. And she is a vital presence among all the Sisters at the Motherhouse, offering kindness and support to everyone she meets. This summer she celebrated her 75th Jubilee as a Sister of Charity. All of us are blessed by the example of loving dedication that she continues to live on a daily basis.
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S. Mary Barbara Philippart (left) served as the administrator of Colegio Juan XXIII from 1962 until 1967.
S. Mary Barbara Philippart (left), with Associate Cathy Colque, celebrated 75 years as a Sister of Charity at the Motherhouse in 2022.
Fall Congregational Days brought Sisters and Associates together at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse the weekend of Sept. 23-26, 2022. It was a time of reconnecting, celebration and anticipation as the Community had the opportunity to be together following two and a half years of COVID-19 precautions. In addition to meetings and conversations related to the Congregation and its future, Community members had the opportunity to celebrate the final vows of S. Romina Sapinoso. On Sept. 26, Sisters, Associates and SC employees gathered for a luncheon boat cruise aboard the Belle of Cincinnati. Approximately 225 guests joined for the four-hour cruise and the opportunity to socialize and spend time together.
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A New Age
By S. Caroljean Willie
According to Klaus Topfer, former director of the uN Environment Programme (uNEP), “We have entered a new age. An age where all of us will have to sign a new compact with our environment … and enter into the larger community of all living beings. A new sense of our communion with planet Earth must enter our minds.”
Global events during the last several months have resulted in catastrophic destruction: fires in multiple western states as well as in several countries in Europe; severe flooding in Kentucky and Pakistan; mudslides in uganda; and unprecedented heat waves in China, the u.S., Italy, Spain, Portugal, and so many more. This is the new age we have entered and there is no hope that it will get better without a shift in human consciousness. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis writes of the need for a shifting worldview. “A strategy for real change calls for rethinking processes in their entirety, for it is not enough to include a few superficial ecological considerations while failing to question the logic which underlies present-day culture,” the pope writes.
Girl Scouts paint old car tires to create planters for EarthConnection.
During the summer months S. Winnie Brubach, a master gardener, and volunteers from the local community and Mount St. Joseph university spent many hours weeding, planting and harvesting hundreds of pounds of organic vegetables for the clients at Good Samaritan Free Health Center. Outside of EC’s front entrance, professionals helped to create beautifully landscaped flower gardens with all native plants.
Girl Scout Troops are continuing to sign up to visit EC to work on a variety of badges. They learn how climate change is affecting our planet, but also about steps they can take to create a healthier community. A section of the landscaping in front of EC features a large circle of white gravel where members of a troop from St. Antoninus painted old car tires to create a pyramid of brightly colored planters. We now have two picnic tables and three benches made out of the recycled plastic caps and lids and have saved one ton of waste from the landfill.
A document co-authored by the uN Environment Programme and the World Parliament of Religions is based on the belief that religions are the consciousness of humanity. The international initiative flowing from the release of this document is a call to harness the moral authority of every faith tradition to save our planet.
The awareness of the interconnectedness of all of creation is key to the mission of EarthConnection (EC) and we, therefore, seek to integrate spirituality and sustainability through webinars and in-person programs in sustainable agriculture, alternative energies, ecojustice, and ecospirituality. We recognize the power of faith and our goal is to offer insights and strategies that will lead to a transformation of consciousness.
A national group of Zoroastrian youth participating in a summer camp in Cincinnati came for a presentation on Laudato Si’ and how it connected with their own faith tradition. They also visited the new La Casa del Sol Ministry Center and did an eco-art project.
A transformation of consciousness requires more than individual actions. It can certainly start there, but ultimately it involves systemic change and necessitates collaboration with other organizations. EC continues to collaborate with the Faith Communities Go Green initiative, Green umbrella, EquaSion and the Festival of Faiths, with the Mount St. Joseph university Sustainability Committee and the Green Cincinnati Plan. S. Caroljean Willie, program director, and Associate Sue DiTullio, administrative assistant, spent a day at the Passionist Center for Earth and Spirit in Louisville, Kentucky, where they learned about the many programs and activities offered there and shared EC happenings.
The Catholic Climate Covenant awarded EarthConnection a $1,000 grant to develop and present a program for elementary teachers on “Sustainability Across the Curriculum.” The grant enables the program to be offered for free at elementary schools in the Greater Cincinnati area as an in-service or at presentations on the topic given at EarthConnection.
Webinars, Movies that Matter nights, in-person presentations and more are available on our website at www.scearthconnection.org.
V OL u ME III, 2022 29
C OMM u NITY B LESSES
La Casa del Sol Ministry Center
On Oct. 2, 2022, Sisters, Associates and SC employees gathered to bless La Casa del Sol Ministry Center. Located on Bender Road, the Ministry Center provides a new accessible and sustainable home for current and future ministerial opportunities, including Cincinnati Cello School, body therapy rooms, and offices for the congregational social justice program, the Newcomers Transitions Program and private piano lessons.
In the spirit of the late S. Paula Gonzalez, La Casa del Sol Ministry Center was constructed with a number of stateof-the-art energy conserving technologies. The building is anticipated to be net zero for energy consumption. Key features include:
Highly insulated to exceed building energy code • requirements.
Mineral wool insulation in interior walls provides thermal • insulation, noise reduction and fire protection.
Closed-cell spray foam insulation in ceilings and exterior • walls expands for a tight seal and also provides moisture protection.
Extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation placed on the • outside of foundation walls and under concrete slab to provide continuous thermal break.
South-facing curtain wall and large windows throughout • the building maximize natural light while low-emissivity glass reduces heat transmission and uV rays.
Brick exterior offers a resilient and low-maintenance cladding • with fire-resistance and soundproofing benefits. The breathable material helps prevent moisture issues and the thermal mass helps reduce peak heating and cooling loads.
Standing seam metal roof utilizes recyclable materials, • reduces heat absorption and offers durability and longevity.
Roof-mounted solar array provides a renewable source of
electricity. One-hundred and nine panes producing up to 410 watts each make up a total system size of 44.7 kW DC.
Closed loop geothermal system provides renewable heating • and cooling. Twelve vertical wells dug to a depth of 350 feet are divided into four interior zones for flexible use.
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“We bless this building, may it be a place where God’s love is shared.”
S. Mary Bookser (right) served an integral role in the planning and blessing ceremony at La Casa del Sol Ministry Center.
La Casa del Sol Ministry Center located on Bender Road.
The Ministry Center is built on the ground where La Casa del Sol used to stand. S. Paula Gonzalez, with her great love for the Earth and her mindset on the future, imagined the solar structure, which was built largely with volunteer labor and recycled materials. It was home to Sisters Paula and Mary Bookser for more than 40 years.
At the Oct. 2 blessing, Sisters Mary Bookser, Lois Jean Goettke, Terry Thorman, Montiel Rosenthal, Alice Ann O’Neill, Whitney Schieltz and Sandy Howe led the service for Sisters, Associates, employees and those having a hand in the building’s construction. Tours of the facility were also provided.
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 203 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 16 U.S. dioceses. They also sponsor institutions to address education, health care and social service needs, with particular concern for direct service to the poor.
Sisters, Associates, special guests and employees attended the Oct. 2 blessing for the new Ministry Center.
5900 Delhi Road
Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 www.srcharitycinti.org www.facebook.com/ sisters of charityofcincinnati
(From left) Leadership Team member S. Marge Kloos, consultant Abby Jahnigen, and S. Mary Ellen Murphy enjoy touring the new facility.
Many Sisters and Associates enjoyed the opportunity to visit the new space and learn more about its state-of-the-art energy conserving technologies, including (from left) Associate Christa Bauke, S. Caroljean Willie and S. Mary Barbara Philippart.
Lead project manager Dan Haller with his wife, Lorraine (left), and S. Jeanne Roach.
Graphic Design/Layout Michelle Bley Director of Communications
Letters to the editor,
Subscriptions: $15 per year v o L u M e III, 2022 31
Intercom Staff Editor Erin Reder
S. Georgia Kitt
Council Liaison S. Monica Gundler
are welcome. The staff
the right to edit for space and readability. Make submissions to: Communications Office
St. Joseph, OH 45051
5900 Delhi Road
Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051
in august, S.
(from left) Sisters Sarah Mulligan and Mary Gallagher enjoyed an autumn boat ride down the ohio river with other Sisters, associates and SC employees.
Marge farfsing (left) celebrated her 100th birthday on aug. 12, 2022.
Mary Bookser was recognized by her Community, friends and family for 60 years as a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati.