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Winter 2015

S i s t e r s

o f

C h a r i t y

o f

C i n c i n n at i

A Letter


Our Sister



Dear Sisters, Associates and Friends,

P Contents Features Inspiration with Eyes on the Future............8 S. Caroljean Willie’s ministry as the Federation NGO representative. Unsung Heroes........................................13 S. Rose Martin Morand’s impulsive decision leads to 60 years of service. The Call to Consecrated Life....................16 Associate Kinny McQuade leads his life with a servant heart. Being the Face of Jesus.............................18 S. Marcel DeJonckheere’s involvement to end human trafficking. Loving Remembrances.............................20 Getting to know our Servant of God. Following In Elizabeth’s Footsteps............22 An interview with the team of Education Matters.

Departments Vocation/Formation.................................10 From Service to Sisterhood OPJCC....................................................11 Strengthening Community Celebrating Our Founder, Elizabeth Ann Seton.................................17 Elizabeth the Nurturer Employee Spotlight..................................23 Environmental Services Diane Purcell

ope Francis has declared 2015 the “Year of Consecrated Life” and calls those in religious life to “wake up the world.” We are to show the joy our encounter with Christ brings as we “look to the past with gratitude,” “live the present with passion,” and “embrace the future with hope.” We are to be “men and women of communion” who inspire “in human hearts a passion for all to be one” (Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis “To All Consecrated People”). The Catholic Bishops, in collaboration with the leadership of men’s and women’s congregations, have asked us to share our lives locally, through events such as a Motherhouse Open House, service projects and prayer experiences. Upcoming event information can be found on the Year of Consecrated Life landing page via the SC website and various SC social media. During the year we will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the canonization of Elizabeth Seton through feature stories which witness how her life continues to have a profound influence today. In this issue of Intercom we learn how the Charity family is living Francis’ call to “wake up the world”: in concerns around immigration, poverty and human trafficking; through the special volunteer ministries of Sisters and Associates; and in the United Nations ministry of S. Caroljean Willie. We catch a glimpse of how Elizabeth’s life continues to guide and inspire us as we learn of her influence on our Elizabeth Seton awardees, and we reflect with gratitude on many blessings, past and present. We have much to share as we “wake up” our local areas of our world to the joy which living with Christ brings. Let’s be about it then!

Timeless Treasures....................................26 Elizabeth Seton’s First Communion rosary On the Cover: S. Caroljean Willie, former UN NGO representative, at the Taj Mahal in India. To learn more about S. Caroljean visit Pages 8-9.

S. Mary Bookser, SC

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.



Mem-bits This column by S. Benedicta Mahoney offers brief glimpses of the past, tiny bits of memories. Do you remember? Were you there? Did you know?

An early view of St. Joseph Sanitorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

May 30, 1902 – St. Joseph Sanitorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was dedicated. The original staff consisted of eight members. Thirteen students were enrolled in St. Joseph Nurses’ Training School. The Cash-on-Hand Department listed its total of 75 cents. Four months later ground was broken for an Annex.

September 1931 – Catholic Central High School, Springfield, Ohio, officially opened on the site of former St. Raphael High School. The new school was a merger of the high schools at St. Raphael (1879), St. Joseph (1909), and St. Bernard (1915), all of which had been operated by the Sisters of Charity. October 4, 1970 – About 2,500 persons¸ including Bishop Paul F. Leibold, along with the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, participated in the Third Fatima Procession from the Motherhouse to Our Lady of Victory Church.

In Memoriam Please visit “In Memoriam” at for biographical information and reflections on the Sisters of Charity and Associates who have died. May our Sisters and Associates enjoy the fruits of their labor as well as peace with their God. Associate Mary Bradley February 10, 2015 S. Marianella Domenici February 5, 2015 S. Maura Jean Tapke November 10, 2014

The first Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Congress in 1972.

August 11-16, 1972 – The first Sisters of Charity Congress, preceding the Chapter of Affairs, carried out this theme: “Set Your Heart on His Kingdom.” The purpose stated was “to reaffirm who, why we are, and where we are going together.” Evenings of recreation included band night, a picnic, boat ride, talent show, and banquet. September 26, 1994 – Under joint sponsorship of the College of Mount St. Joseph and Bayley Place, a new non-credit program “for mature learners” was launched. The first courses for this Life Learn Program included “Western Cincinnati: Yesterday and Today” and “Finding God in Everyday Life.” May 7, 1998 – S. Sally Duffy, president of SC Ministry Foundation, was inducted into the Central Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Prior to her entrance into the Sisters of Charity S. Sally had coached basketball at Waterson High School, Columbus, compiling a record of 131-17. Winter 2015

S. Alice Glutz November 2, 2014 S. Betty Jane Meneghin November 1, 2014 S. Mildred Shaver October 23, 2014

S. Sally Duffy 3

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton H onoring the L egacy of


he year 2015 promises to be an exciting one for all who embrace the legacy of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, beginning with a celebration of her feast day on January 4 and culminating with three special days (September 12-14) at the National Shrine in Emmitsburg, Maryland, commemorating the 40th anniversary of her canonization.

For over forty years, the Lower Price Hill Community School, now called Education Matters, has recognized that education is both an issue of basic human dignity and essential to breaking the cycle of poverty. The current Administrative Team of Education Matters ­– Jen Walters, Mary Knauff, Emily Eskridge – accepted the challenge Recipients of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati’s 2015 Elizabeth Ann Seton to compete for historic Award are (from left) Dave Thorsen, Kay Brogle, Emily Eskridge, Mary Knauff tax credits to renovate the For the past three decades, and Jen Walters. church, school, and convent we Sisters of Charity of of the former St. Michael’s Catholic Parish in Lower Price Cincinnati have marked January 4, the date of Elizabeth Hill. They were successful in obtaining the tax credits and the Seton’s death and her feast day, with a liturgy and awards renovation is well under way. presentation in our chapel. The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award recognizes persons outside the Congregation for their significant contributions in furthering the mission of the Sisters of Charity to act justly, build loving relationships, share resources with those in need, and care for creation. On January 4, 2015, we honored three recipients whose lives and ministries reflect Elizabeth Seton’s passion for education, advocacy and justice. The following is a brief description of their generous service.

Kay Brogle is a licensed social worker who recently “retired” as president/CEO of Healthy Moms & Babes, an outreach ministry to increase infant survival as well as to foster the health of women, children and their families. Before Healthy Moms & Babes could plan a dinner and reception to honor Kay’s 25 years of service, she was approached by the chairperson of the Board of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) to serve as co-coordinator, with The Cincinnati contingent that went to the canonization of Elizabeth Ann Seton in Rome, Italy, in 1975.



Light of Hearts Villa S ponsorship T ransferred


Dominican Sister Monica McGloin, while the IJPC Board searched for a new executive director. Kay continues to assist both organizations as they transition to new directors.

isters Joan Elizabeth Cook and Christine Rody participated in a ceremony on January 14, 2015, marking the transition from SC co-sponsorship with the Sisters of Charity Health System (SCHS) of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine to SCHS becoming sole sponsor of Light of Hearts Villa in Bedford, Ohio.

Dave Thorsen knew that anti-racism work had to start with him and he began to view the world through that lens. That led him to see, with new eyes, structures of oppression within societies, organizations, and churches. He felt called to share his insights with others in his parish and co-founded the Bellarmine Parish (Xavier University) Dismantling Racism Team. The team meets regularly to study, discuss and discern ways to overcome interpersonal and institutional racism, while helping Bellarmine Chapel become a more inclusive and welcoming community of faith. Dave leads parish anti-racism and cultural competency training and facilitated a Lenten Series, Who Is My Neighbor.

During the ceremony S. Christine told the story of the beginning of Light of Hearts under the Vincentian Sisters of Charity 25 years ago, when they re-purposed what had been Lumen Cordium High School and created Light of Hearts Villa for senior living and senior care. S. Joan continued the story by describing the Cincinnati SC involvement that began with the merger. She assured guests that the Community will continue to pray for everyone in the Light of Hearts Family, and presented Light of Hearts with a portrait of Elizabeth Seton. The Villa honored the SC Community by naming the wellness department the “Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Wellness Department.” Several SCs who live in the Bedford area attended the ceremony. Many described the event as a loving, grateful tribute to the Sisters, especially to those who have served Light of Hearts so generously for the past 25 years. In the evening several Sisters gathered for dinner, to mark the occasion. Let us all pray that Light of Hearts will continue to be richly blessed as it begins its next 25 years.

In 1963, Pope John XXIII said of Elizabeth Ann Seton, “In a house that was very small, but with ample space for charity, she sowed a seed in America which by Divine Grace grew into a large tree.”1 Our honorees – Jen Walters, Mary Knauff, Emily Eskridge, Kay Brogle and Dave Thorsen – continue to sow the seeds of justice and charity in their lives and ministries. And now, we anticipate the special days of September 12-14, the 40th anniversary of Mother Seton’s canonization! “History: A Historical Perspective,” Three Bridges, New Jersey, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Retrieved January 2, 2015. 1

Winter 2015

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine were present for the Jan. 14 ritual marking the transition of sole sponsorship of Light of Hearts Villa to the Sisters of Charity Health System.


Charity Family Peaslee Neighborhood Center Recognizes S. Terry Thorman On Nov. 6, 2014, Peaslee Neighborhood Center in Over-the-Rhine (Cincinnati) honored S. Terry Thorman (right) with the Dream Builder Award for her dedication to Peaslee’s piano program. The award recognizes individuals whose energy, talents and heart are dedicated to the service of others. S. Terry began volunteering with the piano program in 1990, and (with the exception of a few years’ absence) has been an integral part of it ever since. As one of her adult students, June Alexander, said, “She won’t let you give up. She helps students find the music in her soul.” S. Roslyn Hafertepe Honored On Oct. 10, 2014, Bayley presented S. Roslyn Hafertepe (center) with the Sister Jeanne Roach Service to Bayley Award, which recognizes an individual who has dedicated himself or herself to making Bayley the excellent community it is today. Bayley honored S. Roz for her legacy of service and extraordinary contribution, in making a profound impact on the lives of Bayley residents both currently and for those to be served in the future. S. Roz was one of three Sisters who signed/ratified the original Articles of Incorporation which created/governed Bayley when it was founded in 1990. In addition, she has been a member of the Bayley Board of Directors and currently serves on the Bayley Strategic Planning Committee, the Gift Planning Cabinet and the Benevolent Care Committee ­­­– ensuring that charitable care support goes to residents in need. Congo Week As part of Congo Week, Oct. 19-25, 2014, the Sisters of Charity hosted Dr. Claver Pashi, Ph.D., from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Claver spoke about his vision and hope for his country, calling on our government to do everything in its power to end the violent conflicts there. In September 2010, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and Associates committed to be informed about the human (From left) Dr. Claver Pashi, PH.D., rights violations in the Democratic Republic of and Debbie Weber, OPJCC director. the Congo and called on our government to do everything in its power to end the violent conflicts there. 6

All Saints Music Ministry Presents Choral Christmas Concert The All Saints Parish Choir in Kenwood, Ohio, performed a Choral Christmas Concert on Dec. 19, 2014, for Sisters, Associates and friends of the SC Community. Directed by Ron Miller Jr., and assisted by the Elder High School Drummers, the adult and children’s choir performed a number of carols for the filled Motherhouse chapel. The Sisters of Charity Motherhouse Choir also performed during the concert.

(From left) S. Monica Lucas, Fr. John Amankwah, James Weber and S. Janet Gildea

Community Welcomes Associates Congratulations to Rev. John Amankwah and James Weber, who made their commitments as Associates in Mission on Sunday, Nov. 16 in the Motherhouse chapel. During the ceremony, each candidate, alongside his companion, was called forward to read his personal statement and make his formal request to the Community. Father John’s companion was S. Monica Lucas, and Jim’s was S. Janet Gildea. A reception and celebration followed in the Motherhouse Dining Room. Intercom

S. Annie Klapheke E nters N ovitiate


n January 11, 2015, Annie Klapheke began her Canonical Novitiate with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati at a vesper service in the Motherhouse


Born in Middletown, Ohio, S. Annie is the youngest of three children to JoAnn and Mike. She graduated from Bishop Fenwick High School and the University of Dayton. After a year in Anchorage, Alaska, as a Jesuit volunteer, she studied at The Ohio State University to receive a master’s in nutrition and dietetics. S. Annie began her year of Affiliation with the Congregation in January 2014 and has lived and ministered with the Sisters at Casa de Caridad in Anthony, New Mexico. At the Santa Niño Project in Mexico, she had an opportunity

to learn Spanish rapidly as she worked with the children with special needs, their mothers and siblings. She offered her expertise in nutrition in a variety of workshops and classes on both sides of the border. New Mexico State University contracted S. Annie to update a nutrition program called “Fit Families” for families with an overweight child. She was active in the kitchen and garden at the Casa, planting, harvesting and leaving a worm compost bin to continue to make the desert fertile. S. Annie is now a part of the Novitiate community at Bayley House with Sisters Carol Leveque, Maureen Heverin, Nancy Bramlage, Terry Thorman and the Apostolic Novices Andrea Koverman and Tracy Kemme. S. Donna Steffen serves as director of Novices.

(Back, from left) Sisters Terry Thorman, Carol Leveque, Maureen Heverin, Tracy Kemme, Nancy Bramlage and Andrea Koverman give Novice Annie Klapheke a blessing during a Jan. 11 vesper service. Winter 2015


Eyes on the Future I nspiration with

By S. Regina Kusnir


Caroljean Willie is a world traveler. In her ministry as the Sisters of Charity Federation NGO representative at the United Nations (2007-2015) love of travel has served her well. A Sister of Charity since 1975, the year St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized, S. Caroljean is guided by the Congregation’s mission and a quote of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: “If I were a man, all the world should not stop me; I would go straight in Xavier’s footsteps; the waters of the abyss and the expanded sky should be well explored.” “Fortunately today one does not have to be a man to follow in Xavier’s footsteps and explore the world,” S. Caroljean states. “But the quote indicates so clearly Elizabeth’s desire to know and explore the world more fully. I believe that today we can fulfill what for Elizabeth was only a dream: to travel and explore our world.” Inspiration for Life Geography was the favorite subject of this inquisitive little girl who possessed a curiosity about other people, places and cultures. “I wanted to visit all the places I learned about. This curiosity led to a B.A. in Sociology and a two-year tour of duty with the Peace Corps on the island of St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean,” she said. “During those two years I had the opportunity to travel throughout the Caribbean and South America and continued to be fascinated and enriched by seeing the world from others’ points of view. Ultimately it led me to a Doctorate in Multicultural Education with special emphasis on culture. My ministry opportunities teaching among AfricanAmericans, Native Americans, Hispanics from many countries, Haitians and other islanders continued to feed my soul and reflect the face of God in all her diversity. S. Caroljean Willie with Dieudonne Nsom Kindong, a Trinitarian seminarian from Cameroon, at a UN event.


S. Caroljean Willie with Sisters Aisha (left) and Manisha in India.

“The opportunity to serve as the NGO representative at the UN opened up the whole world. I found myself frequently going to the map to find the location of countries I had never heard of and doing research to learn more about them. I always knew there was another point of view, but now I know there are hundreds of points of view as each country and the people within the country see reality from perspectives different from my own. I am so grateful to S. Nancy Bramlage who encouraged me to apply for the NGO position, to our Leadership Team and to the Sisters for their love and support.” Frequent Flyer Miles S. Caroljean traveled to India, South Korea, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Dominica, St. Lucia, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Canada and multiple U.S. states in her NGO position. She saw her ministry as two-fold: “First, to represent the Federation at the UN by participating in committee work, attending UN sessions, inviting Sisters and Associates to participate in UN orientations or attend one of the annual UN commissions (Commissions for Social Development, the Status of Women, Sustainable Development [until 2012] and the Permanent Forum on the Rights of the Indigenous), and enabling those with whom and to whom we minister to come and speak for themselves at a UN forum. We sponsored or co-sponsored multiple side events each year as well as written interventions for the commissions. Intercom

“My second objective was to coordinate with Federation liaisons to keep their members informed about UN deliberations, resolutions and activities, invite their input in areas of members’ expertise, and provide information pertaining to their ministries,” she continued. “During my terms as the NGO representative, we hosted almost 200 members at orientations as well as numerous Sisters at the various commissions. We hosted one to three interns each year: Sister-interns from India, Nepal, Belize and South Korea and student interns from Syria, Myanmar, and the U.S.” We choose to build loving relationships — SC Mission Statement. “One of the greatest blessings of this ministry has been the opportunity to see the work of the larger Vincentian Family. Federation members minister in 28 countries, but the Vincentian Family is present in over 150 countries,” she said. “A lot of work during the last 10 years has encouraged members of the Family to collaborate and share resources. The possibilities are endless!” We strive to live Gospel values — SC Mission Statement Sisters bring a collaborative spirit to the UN. Their extensive experience in various ministries allows them to add a faith dimension to their work at the UN. S. Caroljean reflected, “There are more than 55 Catholic religious congregations who have NGO representatives at the UN. We have our own group called RUN (Religious at the UN). We meet monthly to pray together and support one another. All of us bring a commitment to justice and Catholic Social Teaching to our efforts. “I was an executive member for a number of years in an interfaith committee, the RNGO. There I had the opportunity to work with Hindu, Baha’i, Buddhists, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Indigenous, Protestants of diverse traditions, Jews, Muslims and more. We celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week by sharing the richness of each tradition through ritual, word and song. Depending on the venue, up to 1,600 people attended this celebration. We sponsored monthly meetings on a variety of topics. Last year we held a series on the “Spirituality of Sustainability” and invited speakers from multiple traditions to share their faith’s understanding of the role that spirituality plays in sustainability. There was a wonderful, respectful relationship among people of very diverse traditions. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is an ardent supporter of the role that faith plays in development and has frequently spoken about the need to engage faith traditions in the development agenda. “One of the mantras at the UN is ‘People must participate in their own development,’” she said. “Foreign aid programs do not work because the people receiving the aid have very little to say about how it is used. From having worked in many developing countries I know that people at the local level know far more than outsiders what their needs are and how to achieve them. There is such a need for those of us in developed countries to evaluate our own lifestyles and to see the connection between our over-abundance and the exploitation of others.” Winter 2015

S. Caroljean Willie visits with Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Korea.

Eyes on the Future What dreams do you have as you move forward? “I am going to take some time for a Sabbatical during the coming year, but have also agreed to begin part-time work as the program director at EarthConnection,” S. Caroljean said. “S. Paula Gonzalez has always been years ahead of most of us in recognizing the imperative of caring for Earth. Hopefully, her initial vision can continue to challenge and guide us today. Climate change and all the challenges it presents is the single most important issue facing the world today. For the past several years the Federation has been exploring how it might engage members in evaluating their own lifestyles and practices so that we might provide a model of sustainability. I would like to see EarthConnection provide a space for education, but also a think tank for our Congregation and Federation members to explore and share practices and expertise in the area of sustainable development. We can do more together than any one of us can do alone. I want to tap into that richness. One of my favorite sayings is from the Lakota tradition: ‘The Creator created four races: red, black, yellow and white and gave each of them a piece of the truth.’” Sustainability The heart of ministry is sustained by prayer. Speak a little to what this means for you. “I think an aspect of spirituality I have always appreciated in the Community is the opportunity to come to know God in so many different ways,” Sister said. “Several years ago I wrote a book entitled Praying All Ways: A Multiple Intelligences Approach to God in which I explored multiple ways of coming to know God. My own experiences in so many cultures have taught me how many ways there are to know God. I think of God as a mosaic. Each time I meet someone different from myself I have another piece to put into my mosaic of God. That image, that reality, is always expanding, always growing, always deepening. Moving to the beat of the African drum, sitting on the floor in silence in India, singing joyously in our own chapel – each deepens my relationship to the God who is called by many names and worshiped in so many ways.” 9

From Service to Sisterhood By S. Janet Gildea


everal years ago, S. Pat Wittberg suggested to the Congregational Vocation Team that young women who were drawn to a year of volunteer service after college might be a particular “niche” population for us to give special attention in our vocation promotion efforts. It was a hunch that was explored formally in research commissioned in 2012 by the Catholic Volunteer Network through the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The results released in November 2013 were significant: “The incidence of former volunteers who ever considered a vocation to ordained ministry or religious life is much higher than the incidence among Catholic adults. According to a 2007 CARA study, 17 percent of Catholic men have ever considered becoming a priest or religious brother and 15 percent of women have ever considered becoming a nun or religious sister. This can be compared to 54 percent of male former volunteers and 31 percent of female former volunteers who have ever considered a vocation to ordained ministry or religious life” (Volunteer Introspective: A Survey of Former Volunteers of the Catholic Volunteer Network CARA November 2013, Carolyne Saunders, M.S., Thomas P. Gault, S.J., Ph.D., Eva S. Coll, B.A.). Interestingly, only a very small percentage of those who have considered religious life or priesthood have been invited to explore the vocation and even fewer have formally discerned or entered. The Catholic Volunteer Network and the Conrad Hilton Fund for Sisters have created a special initiative called “From Service to Sisterhood” to encourage connections between current and former women volunteers and religious congregations. The primary focus of the initiative is to encourage and support efforts of women religious to start volunteer service programs.

the Congregation. The program is housed at the Casa de Caridad in Anthony, New Mexico, and we had one participant during the pilot year (2014). Cara Gubbins, who had served two years with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps-Northwest, in Portland, Oregon, and Juneau, Alaska, spent the month of September living with us in community and serving at Proyecto Santo Niño in Mexico. She processed her various volunteer experiences through spiritual direction and weekly integrative conferences. Each participant determines the length of her AVE experience (one to three months) and the components of the program that are helpful to her. In addition to spiritual direction and integration conferences, opportunities are available for mental health counseling, vocational discernment, and a directed retreat. We will be promoting the AVE opportunity through the Catholic Volunteer Network and individual volunteer programs throughout the next several months. Current and former volunteers are welcome to request information and an application at Additional information can be found in the “Call to Vowed Life” section of the SC website. Cara Gubbins (front, left), an AVE participant, peels green chiles at Casa de Caridad - an annual community ritual.

In 2014 the Sisters of Charity piloted a program called AVE: After Volunteer Experience for young women transitioning from a year or more of volunteer service. Our own Associates in Volunteer Ministry, women in initial formation, and many volunteers we came to know over the years in our ministries at the U.S.-Mexico border made us aware of the particular challenges these women experience when returning to “normal life.” It is not unlike the shock experienced by foreign missionaries but is compounded by issues like educational debt and young adult decisions about career and life commitment. The goal of AVE is to help the former volunteer make meaning of her experience in the broader context and direction of her life. We have received a grant from CVN to support three AVE participants in 2015 in addition to two who will be funded by



Strengthening Community By Debbie Weber, OPJCC director

“... I was thirsty, and you gave me drink ...” Matthew 25:35


magine a place where time seems to stand still. For S. Andrea Koverman, myself and Steve Schmitt, an Associate of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, that place might be the village of Zabriko, Haiti. Nestled in the beautiful mountains of Haiti, Zabriko can only be reached by foot or pack-mule. There is no running water, no electricity, no cell towers. The people of Zabriko are often treated like outcasts. The Haitian government has, by in large, ignored the mountain villagers of Haiti, including those who live in and around Zabriko. Some wells have been built, but are shallow, resulting in contaminated water. Residents of Haitian cities look down on their sisters and brothers who are subsistence farmers, those who can only grow enough food to feed their families. To buy necessities such as medicine, clothing or a cooking pot, for example, a mountain village family must take some of their precious crop, a goat or vegetables to market. Despite disdain from the city dwellers, money is exchanged for the produce because those who live in the cities depend on the farmers for grains, vegetables and meat. Representing the SC Federation, the three of us were asked to bring Water With Blessings to Zabriko. Our SC family and friends have generously donated money to sponsor women in developing countries with a water filtration kit, training, and clean water education. It was our job, during the first week of Advent, to get those filters to the women of Zabriko and to train them to be “Water Women,” the women who in return for receiving filters, commit to a ministry of the living word through the kind act of sharing clean water with three other families in their communities. By equipping the Water Women of Zabriko with a simple, in-home filtration system and teaching them clean water habits, we were able to provide them with the means to protect not only their family but also their neighbors from deadly water. Safe water is a fundamental human right. Yet, throughout the world, people of all ages fall ill and die because of contaminated water. The World Health Organization attributes 2 million deaths annually to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. Water is available, at a price. But this price is beyond the scope of many who need it.

Winter 2015

Forty-one women were trained as Water Women through the Water With Blessings initiative in Zabriko, Haiti, in November 2014.

The Water With Blessings solution to the contaminated water crisis is simple: an inexpensive, home-based filtration system, a willing community like Zabriko and in our case, the SC Family. The medical-grade filtration system from Sawyer is small, portable, easy-to-use, reliable and inexpensive. The filters are certified for “absolute 1 microns” making it impossible for harmful bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E. coli, Giardia, Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella typhi (which cause cholera and typhoid) to pass through. This filtration system is gravity operated in design, uses no chemicals and has a fast flow rate. The system filters around 400 gallons of water per day and can last a decade without needing to be replaced. It is simple to install, use and maintain. Equipping women to improve the lives of their families and neighbors is empowering. Partnering with Water Women offers true collaboration. The Water Women take the lead, even becoming the trainers of other women in their communities. A ministry model that draws forth women builds community. Access to safe water improves the health, economy and social well being of a community. Any strengthening of community strengthens everything else. By the end of our time in Haiti, we trained 41 Water Women. Between them, they have 179 children. And, each of these women will share their filtration system with three other families!


T he Y ear of C onsecrated L ife


ope Francis has declared November 30, 2014 through February 2, 2016 as the Year of Consecrated Life. It is a year devoted to the renewal of religious life, the celebration of the witness of members of religious orders, and the invitation to young people to consider a religious vocation. At the opening of the Year of Consecrated Life, the Pope expressed his expectations for the yearlong observance: that consecrated men and women would be witnesses of communion, of joy and the Gospel, and go evermore to the peripheries to proclaim the Good News. “I am counting on you ‘to wake up the world,’ since the distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophecy,” he wrote. “This is the priority that is needed right now.” Throughout the 2015 issues of Intercom, the magazine will feature Sisters and Associates who are waking up the world through their lives and ministries. Their joy is contagious, and as the Pope shares, will lead people to seek the reason for this joy in order to share in it.


Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life O God, throughout the ages you have called women and men to pursue lives of perfect charity through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. During this Year of Consecrated Life, we give you thanks for these courageous witnesses of Faith and models of inspiration. Their pursuit of holy lives teaches us to make a more perfect offering of ourselves to you. Continue to enrich your Church by calling forth sons and daughters who, having found the pearl of great price, treasure the Kingdom of Heaven above all things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


“[Today’s religious men and women] need to live and behave in a truly different way, recognizing one’s weakness and sins, but acting with generosity, detachment, sacrifice, forgetting oneself in order to take care of others.” - Pope Francis in reference to the Year of Consecrated Life The following two articles feature a Sister of Charity and an SC Associate living these words of Pope Francis.

Unsung Heroes: Impulsive decision led to 60 years of service By Arundi Venkayya This article is reprinted with permission from the Dayton Daily News.


artha Morand was having an exit interview with the principal, a nun, at her Catholic school in 1954, when she was asked what she was planning to do after graduation. Marty, as she was called back then, had secured a scholarship to the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati and wanted to be a social worker. But that’s not what she told her principal. Instead, she said, “I think I’ll be a nun.”

“She said, ‘What?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know why I said that,’” recalled Morand, who followed through on her spur-of-themoment decision and eventually took the religious name Sister Rose Martin after two Peruvian saints. The decision launched Sister Rose on a path that includes more than 60 years of service as a Sister of Charity, stints as a teacher, principal, social worker and nursing home administrator and three master’s degrees along the way. Today, the 78-year-old is “retired” but hasn’t slowed down. She participates in peacemaking circles with women in the Montgomery County Jail, volunteers for the Prostitution Intervention Collaborative task force in the Dayton region and the Healthy Moms and Babes ministry in Cincinnati. “Sister Rose radiates hope,” said Lydia Cohen, a longtime friend, who nominated her as a Dayton Daily News Unsung Hero. “(She is) always positive, whether she is helping unwed mothers, the elderly, or victims of human trafficking, or teaching adult literacy, she brings compassion, understanding, and a wealth of experience to those in need.” Winter 2015

S. Rose Martin Morand entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1954. Photo by Ty Greenlees/Dayton Daily News

Ann Hurley met Sister Rose several years ago while participating in peacemaking circles at Queen of the Apostles in Beavercreek. The circles consist of groups of people who share experiences in a respectful, nonthreatening environment. “I view Sister Rose as an Unsung Hero for the love she spreads in quiet ways, in the unknown corners, and in the countless unrecognized, uncelebrated acts of charity and compassion that are changing this community one heart at a time,” Hurley said.


‘I was going to save the world’ Helping others comes naturally for Sister Rose, who grew up the youngest of eight children in Hyde Park in Cincinnati. Her father, Martin, died when Sister Rose was just 4 years old and she was raised by her mother, Helen Lehmkuhl Morand, in a two-bedroom home along with her four sisters and three brothers. Her mother only went to the third grade and the family grew up on Social Security. Helen kept a ledger of how much she spent on everything, Sister Rose said. Despite living so frugally, Helen Morand stressed the importance of education and giving. “Education was very important and we were expected to do well,” Sister Rose said. Her family lived near the railroad tracks, and the hobos who rode the rails must have marked their house, Sister Rose said, “because my mother always had on the stove a pot of vegetable soup. It was always there and coffee and bologna. We would have these men come to the back door and we were always told ‘Give them as much of the soup as they want, as much coffee as they wanted and two sandwiches.’” A precocious child, the young girl asked one day why she had to keep feeding the men. Her mother said, “Oh Marty, one of those could be St. Joseph. So I always helped.” She entered the convent at 18. “I was going to the save the world,” she said. Her sister, a registered nurse, was also at the convent and was sent by the Sisters of Charity to Peru in 1961. Sister Rose was sent to Kensington, Maryland, and taught fifth, sixth and eighth grades and then became a school principal. She got a master’s degree from Xavier University and later a master’s degree in social work from St. Louis University. Always a student, she received a third master’s degree – in gerontological studies from Miami University – after she was tapped to be the administrator for the St. Joseph Infant and Maternity Home, which serves single, pregnant women and severe, profound, multi-handicapped children. Her dedication to service included everything from running Altercrest – a residential treatment center for adolescent young felons between the ages of 12-17 – to doing mission work at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield. “If anybody needed anything in the hospital, I was there to help,” she said. “And I loved that.” During her “retirement,” she helped a friend running St. Vincent de Paul in Dayton and then did training on how to develop peacemaking circles with Father David Kelly, a Precious Blood priest. She embraced the circles and started working with a group of women to create them locally.


Those who know her marvel at her heart.

“Sister Rose’s generosity in the Dayton area knows no bounds,” said Hurley. “Her schedule would daunt many people half her age and yet she consistently arrives on the scene with a smile and spark that brings joy and love to those she encounters.”

‘Heal the harm’ Sister Rose’s work with the female jail inmates focuses on healing rather than punishment. “The mission (of the circle) is really to support and encourage people and to respect their dignity as human beings,” she said. “We’re also talking about restorative justice rather than retributive justice. Restorative justice is trying to heal the harm, rather than punish the perpetrator. And to heal the relationship takes time and humility and to know that it can be done. It’s relationship building.” Today, Sister Rose works with a group who visit the jail every week. The women go in two-by-two and also have peacemaking circles outside the jail at the Baha’i Center on Salem Avenue in Dayton. The center provides a “warm, friendly environment” that is also on a bus line. At the start of the circle, the group welcomes each other and does a relaxation exercise. The support circle is structured. Questions get asked but the women don’t have to speak if they don’t want to. The women are instructed on the concept of active listening and conflict resolution. Intercom

is normally loud and bright. They dim the lights. Sometimes they play classical music. “They always appreciate that,” she said. “It gives them time to think about themselves and what they want. Many of them have children and they want the best for their kids. They have to do a lot of introspection and sometimes that’s very painful. It’s painful for me. “What we’re trying to say, what are your goals when you leave the jail? Who is there to support you?” Linda Folmer, who has worked with Sister Rose on the peacemaking circles since 2010, said she is “an affirming and loving presence” who has dedicated her life to helping and encouraging those “overlooked by our society.” Those women overlooked by society are welcome in the circles no matter what they have done or how often they have re-offended, Sister Rose said. “It’s that welcoming always to somebody who is in need,” she said. “We certainly provide support … but I grow too. I look at my own behavior and think, gee, I’m not always making good choices either.

Sister Rose Martin Morand (third from left) leads a peacemaking circle at the Baha’i Center in Dayton, Ohio. The circles are a way for people to share experiences in a respectful, nonthreatening environment. Photo by Ty Greenlees/Dayton Daily News

Why work with criminals?

“I really have a great love for those women who have been challenged in their life,” Sister Rose said. “They can buy drugs on the street and they can go to the jail. They think they are terrible people. They’re not terrible. They’ve made some really inappropriate choices but somebody has to tell them they are good people and there’s hope for them.” Some of the women have been abused or experienced some sort of trauma when they were young. They don’t know what it’s like to come from an intact family and sometimes drugs give them hope, she said. Larry Lane, community resource officer for the Montgomery County Sheriff ’s Office, said the circles give women inmates a safe place to talk. Lane was director of the programs at the Montgomery County jail until a year and a half ago.

“And I suffer. And I cry and I experience loss, but their stories help me. It’s a time when they can tell their stories and nobody is going to cross-talk. We listen. They help themselves.”

‘I feel real blessed’ Sister Rose is quick to say that she is able to do her work because of the team of people with whom she works. “Nobody does this alone,” she said. She pointed to a woman who lives on Salem Avenue who brings in women who are out of jail to live with her and other women she works with who also volunteer their time in the peacekeeping circles. “It’s those simple acts of kindness that don’t cost you anything,” she says. As for the spur-of-the-moment decision in 1954, “Over the course of 60 years, I’ve changed my mind a million times,” she said. If she hadn’t gone into the convent, she said she probably would have gone to Mount St. Joseph, gotten a degree and married. There is no question, though, that she would have helped people. It’s who she is.

“Some of the women, their journey has been very difficult,” he said. “This is a place for them to kind of unpack their baggage in a very nonthreatening way where everybody is respected. They can talk through all of their pains that they have.

“I believe if we can help one person … you know that story. We don’t know what influence we have on others,” she said. “It could be that you smile at somebody and they were thinking about doing themselves in and because you smiled and said thank you that changed their whole life.”

“It think it’s one of the best things we do.”

In this jail, Sister Rose and her group of circle leaders do what they can to provide a peaceful place in an environment that Winter 2015

It’s not entirely selfless.

“I feel real blessed. I enjoy living,” she said. “But the whole thing in helping others, I’m helping myself.” 15

The Call to Consecrated Life: Associate Kinny McQuade By Associate Vicki Welsh


inny McQuade will tell you he has never been far from communities of Sisters. His older brother was a Jesuit, so he learned as a young man to admire the nuns as very special servants of God. He and his wife attend Bellarmine Chapel, where they met Sisters from different communities, including the Sisters of Charity. He and S. Paula Mary Russell have been long-time friends. It was S. Paula who invited him into the Associate program and was his companion through the preparation process. He had served on the Board of Bayley for seven years previous to becoming an Associate.

connecting with and listening to our families. Our families come from all over the region, country, and the world, and are faced with such stressful and challenging situations. They are far away from home and from their support network. Kinny’s loving heart offers hope and compassion when families need it most.

When he came to Cincinnati, from New York, Kinny felt called to find his niche in volunteering. He was giving his time to the Art Museum when a friend told him about this place, Ronald McDonald House, a home away from home for families who have a critically ill child at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He goes there five days a week, sits in the kitchen and just talks to parents. He is one of hundreds of volunteers who assist at Ronald McDonald House. Each night RMH takes care of every need that arises for the 78 families in residence. Last year RMH welcomed 1,500 families into their facility, each with a different story … but yet not so different. All have a critically ill child with an uncertain future.

Ronald McDonald House volunteers look up to Kinny, so much so that they voted him as our 2014 “Heart of the House” winner, our annual volunteer peer award. This incredible recognition is given to someone who best represents our following core values: helpful, encouraging, attentive, respectful and thankful. One volunteer commented, “Kinny’s listening skill is vital to providing a beacon of hope to our families. It takes such a special talent to listen. He has such a unique ability to support and encourage, and when needed, he is sympathetic to tragic events when they occur. He has such a heartfelt and caring attitude and I so admire the comfort he provides to families.”

Kinny tells a quick, but poignant, story that occurred recently. Parents of conjoined twins approached him, fearful of the next day’s procedure to separate the two girls joined only at the liver. They explained to him that they were agnostics, yet felt a need to do something more for their girls … They felt the need to pray, but didn’t know how. Kinny spoke to them soothingly and with great compassion. He took their hands in his and gently led them in prayer.

His life-long commitment to our mission and to serving others is inspiring to me, to our staff and to our volunteers, especially considering his current battle with cancer. When I and others remark about how we are all amazed by him and his positive attitude, he shrugs his shoulders and says his illness is nothing compared to what our brave children and families are up against.

Kinny McQuade certainly has found his call to the consecrated life, making a difference in the lives and hearts of those he touches. Associate Kinny McQuade offers a loving and kind ear to a Ronald McDonald House guest family.

Elise Hyder, director of volunteers/Ronald McDonald House Charities, would like you to know the Kinny she knows. Kinny leads his life with a servant’s heart. For the past 27 years he has dedicated his life to taking care of the critically ill children and their families at Cincinnati’s RMH. He has worn many hats with us, from serving on our board and as our board chair, to more recently serving as one of our 400 Guest Services volunteers. Kinny has a gift for 16


Elizabeth the Nurturer September 14, 2015, will mark the 40th anniversary of the canonization of Elizabeth Ann Seton. The founder of the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity, Elizabeth was many things to many people. A wife, mother, widow, nurturer, founder, educator – Sisters and Associates can easily connect with one of Elizabeth’s many attributes. Throughout this anniversary year, Intercom will feature attributes of Elizabeth and learn more about the connections developed by those who knew her and those who have followed her, even hundreds of years later. By S. Judith Metz


emember how many look up to you for comfort in this world … take care of yourself for our sakes.” This heartfelt comment, written to Elizabeth Seton by her sister-inlaw, Rebecca Seton, suggests the expanse of Elizabeth’s loving and supportive reach among her family members, friends, and the larger society.

One dear friend, Julia Scott, reminded Elizabeth, “When I was in distress – were you not my friend, and the friend of my little ones? And were I now again in distress would you not do all that heaven gave you the power to do?” At another time Julia told her: “Do you know I have often wished that when my last hour arrives I might behold you at my bedside.”

with the clergy, encouraged and supported the parents of her students, cherished and challenged the young people in her schools, and attracted women to join her in forming the Sisters of Charity in the United States. Elizabeth, by the force of her person, her ideas, and her values inspired and encouraged those around her. Her special gift of accepting and valuing each person for who they were, yet challenging them to strive to achieve their best selves, her loving nature, her inner peacefulness and integrity were gifts that she freely shared with others. We often refer to Elizabeth as “Mother Seton,” and nothing could be more appropriate, for that is the title her contemporaries used, not as an honorific, but as a designation of their relationship with her. As director of the schools at Emmitsburg, she described herself as “living as a mother surrounded by her children,” and such she was regarded by those young women as well as the boys from Mount St. Mary’s. Rev. Simon Bruté wrote, “You whom I like to call a mother here, as I call one in France, … you have helped me to better know … my happiness and desire.” And even before she joined the Sisters of Charity, Margaret George referred to Elizabeth as her “mountain mother,” and later wrote of her years at Emmitsburg, “I love to recall those happy gone by days.”

Instances of Elizabeth’s nurturing relationships could be multiplied by exploring her life in Maryland as she worked

Paraphrasing Elizabeth Barrett Browning, we could say of Elizabeth: “How do I nurture thee? Let me count the ways.”

Besides caring for her own children, and her husband’s younger siblings, Elizabeth developed nurturing relationships with many adult family members and friends. Whether it entailed writing letters late into the night, or sitting with the sick and dying, no price seemed too high for her to pay. Even in the midst of her own family’s declining fortunes Elizabeth poured herself out for others. Her outreach extended to her active involvement in the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children, one of the first benevolent societies formed in the United States.

Winter 2015



Being the Face of Justice By S. Marcel DeJonckheere


uman trafficking is a global issue identified as the focus for many from the UN and the Church to groups at all levels, but I was amazed and saddened to learn that it exists everywhere, even here in Cincinnati, Ohio. The average age at which girls are lured into being trafficked is 12 to 14. Shortly after hearing that appalling statistic, my great-niece Emma called to tell me her soccer team had won its game. I said to myself, “That’s what 13-year-olds should be doing!” I knew then I had to get involved. S. Pat Sabourin introduced me to the Sisters’ intercommunity committee to end human trafficking. It was started by two Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 2009. The group now numbers close to 20 women religious from 10 congregations as well as a few women’s groups. Talk about collaboration! This is a busy group. It has:

End Slavery Cincinnati volunteers, including S. Marcel DeJonckheere (front, left), load a van with gift bags for their weekly delivery.

• Approached hotels in our area to sign an anti-trafficking pledge. • Purchased soaps and labeled them with a hotline message for help to be placed in hotel bathrooms during sporting and other major events. (That is the only place trafficked women are alone.) • Developed and distributed a curriculum for high schools and met with faculty members. • Designed business cards with the hotline message to be left in high-risk areas such as truck stops. • Given talks to parish groups and college classes. • Strategized ways to combat sex trafficking during the All-Star Game which will be held in Cincinnati in July 2015. • Worked with a local FBI agent in charge of the antitrafficking division in our area. • Collected and bagged personal care items and snacks for use in street outreach. (See opposite page.) That brings me to the other group with which I have the privilege of working: End Slavery Cincinnati. Each Tuesday night a group of us goes out in a van. When we see a woman who is standing alone, two of us get out. Others in the van are watching for any sign of trouble. If the lights on the van start 18

flashing, it is a signal to get back in right away. (We are aware that pimps are watching from windows and doorways. Last month we learned that they are on rooftops, too, as after we returned to the van heavy objects were thrown onto its roof.) Once outside, we offer her the gift bag (which is always gratefully received), and we have about two minutes to talk with her. The last thing we do is give her a business card inviting her to come to “The Well” (John 4:1-40) the next day. It is there that help is available - counseling, a meal, a shower, a place to do laundry and relax. If the woman is ready and/or not too scared, she can be referred to a safe shelter called “Off the Street.” For me, it is a privilege to be able to offer these women compassion; I am so grateful for our Congregational support, even naming End Slavery Cincinnati as the recipient of the 2014 SC Christmas gift. I am ever conscious of two sayings: 1) “You may be the only face of Jesus someone sees today” and 2) “What one of us does, we all do.” The most memorable incident for me happened in November after we approached a woman who said she had been walking around town all day asking God to show her a way out and then we came. She was in tears, and after assuring us that she had a safe place for the night, she promised that she would come the next day. My prayer was that she would not lose that resolve. Unfortunately, she did not come … maybe next time. Intercom


isters and Associates were able to volunteer their time to End Slavery Cincinnati in November. SC family, employees and friends donated hundreds of personal care items and food for the gift bag assembly to End Slavery Cincinnati. And many Sisters and Associates in the Motherhouse and Mother Margaret Hall assembled 455 gift bags to be delivered! It was a collaboration for all sides and a wonderful project for the SC Family to support.

Save the Date


he Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation will host its Violence Against Women: Human Trafficking Symposium on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the Schiff Banquet and Conference Center (Xavier University Cintas Center). Join us for an enlightening and thought-provoking evening featuring international speaker Edwina Gateley – poet, theologian, artist, writer, modern-day mystic and prophet – who founded Genesis House, a house of hospitality and nurturing for women involved in prostitution. The evening will also include national and local speakers, advocacy/ action opportunities, fair trade vendors, displays, artwork and more. The event is open to the public; tickets cost $15. To learn more about the Violence Against Women Symposium and for registration information, please visit

Winter 2015


L oving

R emembrances :

Getting to Know Our Servant of God By S. Victoria Marie Forde


ong before she was given the title Servant of God, she was simply Sister Blandina Segale to all who knew her. Small in stature, 5’1”, to some she had an unforgettable presence and authority, to others she was a loving great-aunt, and to many Sisters of Charity a memorable personality. Correspondence and interviews reveal remarkable aspects of her unforgettable and many-faceted personality. S. Loretto Burke, 92, remembers taking care of S. Blandina Segale for two Novitiate years in the old infirmary, St. Mary’s. When S. Blandina asked the Novice if she had read her book, S. Loretto said, “What book?” whereupon S. Blandina handed her a copy from her side table. S. Loretto had to hide it under her cape and read it when she should have been studying. When S. Blandina asked her how she liked it, she told her it was very interesting, but she didn’t realize it was true. Now she knows better, she said. For her Blandina was always kind and cheerful but not a pushover. She asked for what she needed, but never in a demanding way. She remembers her with deep fondness.

to evaluate their qualifications for funds. Impressed with the work of Santa Maria, Miss McGuire, a social worker, asked to inspect the books, and S. Blandina pulled out a little old leather purse from deep inside her side pocket. Opening each of the four compartments, she explained that the first was for rent money, the second for food, the third for clothing, and the fourth for emergency needs. Needless to say, she received help for record keeping. One of the most touching stories is from the late S. Isabella Glenn: In July 1922 she was stranded coming home from her first mission. S. Blandina not only gave her carfare to get from Cincinnati to the Mount but let her sleep on a cot covered with an army blanket. When she had explained her plight, S. Blandina had told her, “As long as you remain a Sister of Charity, you can always have money and hospitality at any Sister of Charity house.” Years later S. Isabella explained that she tried to live by that maxim, to invite people to “come and we’ll make you welcome.”

Another Sister, Annina Morgan, 98, remembers her too, as someone who always thanked her with the Italian “gracie,” for everything she did for her, especially rubbing with oil S. Blandina’s arms, neck, and feet which had traveled so many miles. When she asked her if it was true about Billy the Kid, she replied, “Of course. Why would I lie?”

During the 1934 Christmas vacation as a student Novice, S. Mary Michele Ralph was told by S. Camilla Smith, Novice director, to read a book to S. Blandina who was not expected to live. A former music teacher, the elder Sister had permission to have a small radio playing music very softly. “I was just opening the book when from the bed came the words, ‘Turn it up!’ I almost fell off my chair. I thought she had risen from the dead! She didn’t die until years later, 1941.”

S. Eileen Therese Breslin, 98, knew her as a very pleasant and delightful lady, an ordinary Sister. She didn’t know she was an especially important one; S. Blandina never acted that role. Laughingly, she remembered that once when she got S. Blandina ready for bed, she remarked, “You aren’t a nurse, are you?” And Eileen answered, “No, Sister, definitely not.”

Anyone who has read At the End of the Santa Fe Trail knows how often S. Blandina taught music under unbelievable circumstances. During the years S. Catherine Zeigler took care of the aging Sister, she loved to listen to music, but she made sure that S. Catherine knew that she had permission to have a radio so as not to disedify her.

The late S. Redempta Wittberg wrote this anecdote a social worker told her: When Catholic Charities was being organized, the officials made tours of institutions

Homesick S. Sarita Cordova found it difficult to describe the joy she felt when she entered S. Blandina’s infirmary room



and heard her exclaim, “Tu eres de Nuevo Mexico!” (You are from New Mexico!) Someone shared her love of her faraway home. Even as an aging Sister herself, she still felt relief and joy after hearing the Spanish language. But not only Sisters remember this remarkable woman. In July 1993, considering a biography of S. Blandina, I interviewed parishioners of San Antonio Chapel which Sisters Blandina, Justina, her sister, and Euphrasia Hartman began in order to help poor Italian immigrants have a Mass close enough to attend and to receive religious education. Here are a few telling excerpts about these women: S. Blandina was a very beautiful nun, very compassionate; dark complexioned, she looked Italian. She had a lot of spice to her. We all loved her. She had a good sense of humor. She was the organizer. She was really something else; she’d say, “Jump,” and you’d say, “How far?” She was a little more strict than the others, more demanding. She didn’t want you to get out of hand, and you minded her. Sisters Blandina and Justina were real friendly, real loving, and strict. But we loved them because they were helping us. The Sisters, all of them, used to take us in the automobiles to Coney Island one day in the summer. They got Vitt Stermer funeral directors to donate cars for transportation. They did everything they could for us.

Rita Stagge, S. Blandina’s great-grandniece, more than once told me that when she was quite young, she boarded at the Mount Academy after her mother died. S. Blandina brought her some of her favorite cashews and comforted her often. She said the family later visited Sister almost every week, and she believed they were the last family members to see her right before she died. As I write this, the Cincinnati Enquirer has posted the obituary of Ruth Stagge, S. Blandina’s great-grandniece who had loving remembrances of S. Blandina. These are printed on the back of the new edition of At the End of the Santa Fe Trail. She was at the dining room table when S. Blandina worked with her mother who made the drawings used again in the latest edition. These beautiful words of S. Blandina to a friend seem fitting for Ruth now and for all who knew her: We are born to die. Death begins with our birth. Paradoxically we are born never to die. Both acts, Life and Death, come from incomprehensible love as enduring as Eternity. Your friend, Sister Blandina Segale

Perhaps one of the most poignant remembrances was a 2011 interview with S. Carol Ann Brockmeyer’s aunt Grace Palombo in Bayley Place: We belonged to St. Anthony’s church when Sister opened it on Queen City Avenue. Every Saturday we would sit on the church steps waiting for Sisters Blandina and Justina. We used to help them clean the church, mop and clean the benches and the floor, and when we finished cleaning the church, she gave us a card. We saved those cards for Christmas because she would take us down to Santa Maria, and we got our toys with those cards. At Santa Maria I got twin dolls with my tickets. That is the only toy I ever had in my life. I used to carry them under my arms under my coat. Sister helped pay for our books and tuition to St. Bonaventura’s School, or we would have had to go to public school. She was the one who kept us in school. She took care of everything. To me she was a saint. Her face, her skin was so pretty. S. Blandina loved kids. She took care of all the kids. (Front, from left) Sisters Loretto Burke, Eileen Therese Breslin, (back, from left) Victoria Marie Forde and Annina Morgan enjoy browsing through the reprint of S. Blandina Segale’s At the End of the Santa Fe Trail and remembering the Servant of God. Winter 2015


Following In Elizabeth’s Footsteps By Megan Moore, Communications student co-op


t was last year that Jen Walters and Mary Knauff, the president and vice president of Education Matters, toured the Motherhouse and first saw the statue of Elizabeth Ann Seton with her mantra “Hazard yet Forward.” “It brought us to tears,” Jen said. “It so perfectly sums up the work we do and love and Education Matters’ philosophy.” According to their website, Education Matters’ mission is to inspire learning and strengthen our community by removing barriers to education. Their vision is a city where all people have the opportunity to access the power of education.

“I was deeply humbled to be receiving this award,” Emily said. “I wish that I could be more like Elizabeth. Her work was bold and important. It was not always the popular choice and yet she moved forward because she was passionate about her work.” The mission of the organization fits all too well with Elizabeth Seton’s spirit and the charism of the Sisters of Charity. “We believe that education is a basic human right and all that seek it shall be given access, just as Elizabeth did. Her courage and dedication are inspiring,” said Jen.

Not only are these women “In the current economy, nearly working for what they believe to be two-thirds of all jobs require at least right, but they are also passionate (From left) Mary Knauff, Jen Walters and Emily Eskridge, a two-year college degree or technical the administrative team of Education Matters, renovated about what they are doing, so much so the church, school and convent of the former St. Michael’s training for entry and advancement. that the job they are doing barely feels Catholic Parish in Lower Price Hill for the organization’s use. For some, moving forward may be like a job at all. learning English, earning a GED, brushing up on skills, or Jen said, “It is a beautiful thing to never feel like I am going earning a college degree. At Education Matters we recognize that to work. That is how I feel about serving this way. I get to live the only way to advance on a personal and professional level is to my passion, which is education and the belief that all people offer opportunities for adults to re-engage in education,” reads should have the opportunity to write the story of their life rather than have it dictated for them.” “After this visit I began researching [Elizabeth Seton’s] life and felt deeply connected to her work. Today, I have ‘Hazard yet Forward’ on my wall by my desk. I use it as my guide in my work and my life,” Mary reflected.

There is a strong connection between the Sisters of Charity and the women of Education Matters.

The inspiration from Elizabeth Ann Seton could not have come at a better time. Often throughout the process of renovating St. Michael’s Parish, Education Matters has been met with obstacles that, according to Jen, at times, seemed insurmountable.

“I have had coworkers, employees, board members and financial supporters from the order. We have also been supported by SC Ministry Foundation,” explained Jen. “My most meaningful connection is with my nominator, S. Kathryn Ann. Her support, guidance, patience and friendship have been such an important part of my professional development and growth of our organization.”

It was during one of the more challenging times that Mary and Jen met with Sisters Kathryn Ann Connelly and Louise Lears to tour the Motherhouse and ultimately receive the encouragement to keep faith and continue forward.

The women were only further inspired by the award they received; as Mary puts it: “This award will be a reminder of how I must continue to believe in the beauty of all people and to make mindful decisions in my work.

Jen and Mary, along with Emily Eskridge, are the administrative team behind Education Matters. These three women received one of the three Elizabeth Ann Seton awards given in January.

“Thank you so much to all of the Sisters of Charity for this honor. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the work of all the Sisters and am grateful for their guidance and love.”



Doing for Others By S. Marie Irene Schneider


he Motherhouse has many, many wonderful – even extraordinary – employees. Some of my favorites, however, are the housekeepers in the Environmental Services Department. They keep all our areas clean and shiny and always do anything extra that needs to be done. One housekeeper in particular has become my special friend. Her name is Diane Purcell, a quiet, efficient, thorough worker in Seton Hall. Daily she mops, dusts, and vacuums four floors in the building. This includes all the lavatories, bathrooms, offices, and about 90 bedrooms. Her duties also include taking care of laundry for each floor, taking her turn at EarthConnection, and weekly vacuuming the Chapel sacristies. However, all these duties are really not what make Diane a special friend to me. She has only worked in Seton Hall about two years, so when she started this job, she had to learn many of the building’s special needs. I started to help her by answering all her questions about blankets, spreads, fans and how the radiators work. These questions and answers became our own conversations. I discovered that she was also noticing everything – my crocheting and where I buy yarn, the kinds of cookies and snacks we like, and what stores we like to visit. Soon she began cutting out coupons so that we could “get bargains” for our purchases.

(From left) S. Marie Irene Schneider enjoys her friendship with Environmental Services technician Diane Purcell.

Diane is unique and very, very sweet. I think she spends her days doing things “for you Sisters.” She knows I worry about her if she doesn’t feel good and where she will go during vacation and at the holidays, and she worries about me. These are just some of the many things that have made both of us a special friend to each other.

Join Us on Instagram By Megan Moore, Communications student co-op


he Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are now on Instagram, a photo-based social media application that allows you to scroll through snapshots of your friends’ daily lives as well as post what you want others to see of yours. You can access your Instagram account on any mobile device, such as an iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Unlike other social media sites, Instagram includes only photos with short captions instead of longer text posts. When scrolling down your Instagram feed, you will see only photo after photo of those you have “followed.” You can “like” and comment on the photos you choose or simply scroll past them. Winter 2015

If it is true that a photo is worth a thousand words, think of the love and charity we will be able to share through this new medium by posting photos of our Sisters doing what they do best: sharing the love of Christ. Taking and posting the photos is the easy part, the difficult part will be getting the word out that the Sisters of Charity are on Instagram and hoping people take notice. We hope you choose to come with us on this journey into the world of Instagram. Follow us at or find us by searching sistersofcharityofcincinnati.


Roots of Evil G oing deeper to the

By S. Jean Miller


ope Francis has asked religious to “Wake Up the World.” This task demands prophecy and is a hallmark of the consecrated life. Elizabeth Seton said to the Sisters of Charity, “Hazard yet Forward,” and it’s as important today as in her day. I have written about my time on the U.S.-Mexico Border with the women and children coming to our country fleeing violence. As more and more information about the women and children and unaccompanied minors comes to light, I feel they are waking us up and “Waking Up the World.” They pull at our heart strings, make us ask why, and cause us to respond in some way. However we want to take the easy approach, give money, welcome, accept them. The root causes are a different story. They call us to research, question, learn about our country’s involvement and our foreign aid and business policies in those countries. This seems to challenge us to another phrase from Pope Francis: “Live the present with passion.” This may be hard work, take a long time, call for risk, suffer rejection, isolate us or only make a small difference in their country. How to do this was not obvious until a path presented itself. This November I felt compelled to attend, once again, the rally in Columbus, Georgia, at the School of the Americas (SOA). I knew that the general of the Honduran Army, who led the coup in 2009 of the democratically elected President Zelaya, had been trained at WHINSEC, or SOA, in Columbus. I, also, knew more about the situation in Honduras after observing the country’s 2013 elections. I had walked in the rural area where land grabs, gangs, drugs, assassinations and fear permeates the air. I had written several articles, given various talks about the immigration crises at the Border. Each time I mentioned the importance of welcoming the stranger but now we were being called to go deeper into the root causes of why women and children are fleeing their countries. At the SOA I listened to the Honduran Jesuit Priest Ismael Moreno, known as Padre Melo. He has received many death threats because he continues to preach the Gospel in light of the reality and life of the people of Honduras. He spoke twice during those days at the SOA and each time his experience made me think of the Jesuit priests and two women killed in El Salvador 25 years ago. It seemed that going deeper was that “living the present with passion” that Pope Francis said is the way to Wake Up the World. 24

In November 2014, S. Jean Miller attended the annual rally at the School of the Americas in Columbus, Georgia.

Padre Melo described the situation in Honduras for us by giving some factors that have led to the poverty, violence and fear in the country. The first cause for the state of poverty in the country was the neoliberal economic model which allowed for foreign investment and a reduction of control by the State. This caused much unemployment and movement out of the country. Next, in 1998, Hurricane Mitch destroyed the country’s agriculture, infrastructure, housing and means of production. It was a time when drugs, gangs and horrible poverty increased the violence for survival. This was followed by the Free Trade Agreement and the coup of the president who was trying to look at change in the Constitution. What does Padre Melo think would help? • Aid to Honduras for economic development could create jobs for young people instead of gangs and drugs. • Reassess the Central American Free Trade Agreement and make sure it helps Honduras stabilize. There are other things he suggests but I wonder if we could do the following: • When eating fruit or cereal which includes palm oil, pray and think of the people of Honduras. • Ask our legislators to reassess the Free Trade Agreement. • Ask our legislators to finance social development programs. • Continue to support the people fleeing their countries. “Live life with passion” may require different information and different action, but we eat Honduras’ fruit, enjoy its palm oil in many things we use, and now receive its children and women trying to escape – we must respond.


At the End of the Santa Fe Trail

Reprint Cause for Celebration


isters, Associates and friends of the SC Community gathered Oct. 29, 2014, to celebrate the reprint of S. Blandina Segale’s At the End of the Santa Fe Trail. The reprint, with a new cover and introductory material to commemorate the approval of the cause for Sister’s canonization, was available for purchase for the first time. In addition, members of S. Blandina’s family were in attendance to celebrate the occasion. Artifacts related to S. Blandina were on display with a viewing of the Death Valley Days episode, “Fastest Nun in the West,” featuring the Servant of God. At the End of the Santa Fe Trail recounts the lively experiences of S. Blandina on her mission in Colorado and New Mexico from 1872 to 1892. This is part of the saga of this colorful Sister of Charity who worked tirelessly for the poor and marginalized, advocated for women and children, cared for the sick and built orphanages, hospitals and schools.

S. Annina Morgan (front) was able to share a few of her memories of S. Blandina Segale with S. Blandina’s greatgrandnieces and grandnephews (back, from left) Mike Stagge, Jim Stagge and wife, Tina, Lisa Stagge Schall, and Joy Stagge Hansbauer.

To purchase a copy of At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, please complete the form below and send a check for $14 (includes mailing costs) to the address below. Make Payable to: Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Attn: Archives 5900 Delhi Road Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051

(From left) Sisters Judith Metz and Victoria Marie Forde sign copies of At the End of the Santa Fe Trail. The two Sisters wrote the Life Sketch in the reprint.

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Timeless Treasures By S. Judith Metz


e Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents,” Walt Whitman said, “and sort them, to unify them. They will be found ampler than has been supposed and in widely different sources.” Taking up this task of “really learn[ing] our antecedents,” in its November 2013 issue Smithsonian Magazine sought to identify “101 Objects that Made America” from its massive collection. Several of the items they chose were a John Jacob Audubon wildlife painting, Abraham Lincoln’s stovepipe top hat, and Sandra Day O’Connor’s judicial robe. Far from believing that they had succeeded, the editors of the magazine invited their readers to submit their choices. Taking up the challenge, we decided to do the same for our Sisters of Charity heritage. We chose items that will be featured beginning with this issue of Intercom. In the meantime, we invite you to let us know what items you think exemplify our Congregation’s experience – best tell our story? What does it say about us? How has it influenced our history? To begin, we choose Elizabeth Seton’s First Communion rosary. A priceless treasure found in our Archives with no information about how we received it. In fact, we have several of Elizabeth’s artifacts, letters and journals that probably were in the possession of S. Margaret George when she came to Cincinnati in 1845. In many ways this rosary is representative, not only of Elizabeth but of her enduring influence on us as members of the Charity Family. From her childhood, Betsy Bayley was sensitive to the spiritual world surrounding her. Her earliest memories, recorded in “Dear Remembrances,” reflect on the presence of God in “every little leaf and flower or animal, insect, shades of clouds, or waving trees.” She treasured a cross her father gave her, and carried religious paintings received from her husband with her to Emmitsburg, Maryland. Her rosary can be regarded in three ways. First, it symbolizes her embrace of Catholic doctrine and her reception of Catholic Eucharist – something she long yearned for. “At last, Amabilia – at last – God is Mine and I am His – Now let all go its round – I Have Recieved Him,” she exclaimed in her journal to Amabilia Filicchi.


In another vein, her rosary is indicative of Elizabeth’s relationship with the mother of Jesus. When she discovered a prayer book at the Filicchi’s home, she “opened a little prayer (the “Memorare”) of St. Bernard to the Blessed Virgin begging her to be our Mother, and I said it to her with such certainty that God would surely refuse nothing to his Mother, … that I felt really [she] had a Mother, which you know my foolish heart so often lamented to have lost in the early days.” Last, praying the rosary is an invitation to reflect on the Biblical mysteries of Mary’s and Jesus’ life – the Scriptures. She carried her “treasures” – her Bible and scriptural commentaries – on her Italian voyage, and these became one of her greatest consolations during her confinement in the Lazaretto at Leghorn. Always her Bible was at her side and was the bedrock of her prayer life. Love of Eucharist, devotion to the Blessed Virgin, dedication to the Scriptures were integral parts of Elizabeth Seton’s spirituality that were handed on to her Sisters, and have become integral to our Charity culture – all symbolized by Elizabeth’s First Communion rosary.


On the Web For full articles, please visit the News/Events section of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati website at, and click on “Feature Articles.” Daring to Risk Since 2010, S. Delia Sizler (right) has lived and ministered in Juneau, Alaska, enjoying the vast beauty and the many individuals she has met along the way.

Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. This apostolic Catholic women’s religious community exists to carry out the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and prayer in the world. Approximately 330 Sisters are joined in their mission by 196 Associates (lay women and men). Sisters, using their professional talents as ministers of education, health care, social services and environmental justice, live and minister in 27 U.S. dioceses and in Guatemala, Mexico and the West Indies. They also sponsor institutions to address education, health care and social service needs, with particular concern for direct service to the poor.

Intercom Staff

No Place Like Home After spending five weeks in Nigeria, S. Victoria Anyanwu (left) returned to the United States with many inspiring stories to share about her time with the people of her native country.

Editor Erin Reder Graphic Design/Layout Michelle Bley Photographer S. Marty Dermody Director of Communications S. Georgia Kitt Executive Council Liaison S. Mary Bookser

Spreading Joy S. Pat Hill volunteers at St. Clement in Cincinnati, traveling 90 minutes, one way by bus to serve the parish.

Q&A With Our Associates Father John Amankwah (right, with S. Monica Lucas) and James Weber made their commitments as Associates in Mission on Sunday, Nov. 16 in the Motherhouse chapel. Learn more about our newest Associates.

Advisory Board Members: S. Mary Bodde S. Mary Ann Flannery S. Karen Hawver Mary Jo Mersmann S. Joyce Richter S. Frances Maureen Trampiets Vicki Welsh Letters to the editor, articles and photos are welcome. The staff reserves the right to edit for space and readability. Make submissions to: Communications Office 5900 Delhi Road Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051 Phone: 513-347-5447 Fax: 513-347-5467 Email: Subscriptions: $15 per year

5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 sistersofcharityofcincinnati Winter 2015


5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051


Recipients of the 2015 Elizabeth Seton Award, Jen Walters, Mary Knauff and Emily Eskridge, are inspired by the Sisters of Charity founder in their work with Education Matters.

7 11

S. Annie Klapheke (right) began her Canonical Novitiate with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in January. S. Andrea Koverman was one of three representing the SC Federation that brought Water With Blessings to Zabriko, Haiti, in November 2014.

Winter 2015 Intercom  

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

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