S I S T E R S
C H A R I T Y
C I N C I N N AT I
dear Sisters, associates and friends,
a Contents FEATURES a Game-Changing Gathering.................. 8 Sisters and Associates to gather in June for Caritas Convocation. the love of Christ Urges Us ................. 10 Sisters of Charity ministering in parishes. triumphs, tears and Challenges ............ 18 DePaul Cristo Rey High School’s first year. Call and Purpose ................................... 30 S. Montiel Rosenthal’s call to medicine and the Sisters of Charity.
DEPARTMENTS Vocation/Formation ................................ 7 Our Common Charism oPJiC................................................... 22 Faith and Politics Motherhouse/Mother Margaret hall ..... 24 Ministry of Prayer Meet our associates .............................. 33 Associate Pat Grubelnik
On the Cover: (Top left, clockwise) Sisters Carol Leveque, Irene Mraz, JoAnne Termini, Noreen Ellison and Mary Caroline Marchal are among the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati serving in parish work. To read more about those Sisters, and others, visit “The Love of Christ Urges Us” on Page 10. 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.
t our recent leadership Conference of women religious workshop, we, your Sisters in leadership, were reminded that we need to ask ourselves why we exist today. we know well our history and the many good works we have already accomplished. Many of us remember that Vatican Council ii mandated us to adjust to the changed conditions of the times, and to return to our founding spirit in light of these changes – and we did. today we are challenged to ask what our identity is in the here and now of our collective lives as Charity Family. one of our speakers compared this to looking at the wine of our lives, rather than the “new wineskins” called for by Vatican Council ii. there’s a deep hunger in our world for us to witness to a lived awareness of the God who is the core of all life. Mysticism and prophecy were called the “genetic code” of a religious life lived for and in “the Kingdom of God.” our lives must articulate this deep rootedness in God, our Charism, and the Gospel. S. Joan Chittister, oSb, was quoted as saying the world needs us to be contemplative women and men who see the world as God sees the world, and to be and to act on this together. one of the strong statements we all resonated with was: “there is a magnet in the seeker’s heart whose true north is God. it bends toward the voice of God.” how do our lives, individually and communally, show this? in the concluding session, a dewitt Jones’ film led us to see that we should either do what we love, or fall in love with what we do. and if we do this, our faces and our lives will shine with God’s light and joy for all to see. as you read the articles contained in this Intercom you will see constant examples of Sisters and associates who have been doing what they love and loving what they do. Some of the articles focus on Sisters, some of whom are in active ministry and others who live the powerful ministry of prayer and suffering. we see the continued growth of our wonderful associate program, and the call for as many of us as possible to join in this summer’s “Caritas Convocation.” we will hear about our partners who received the special Elizabeth Seton award this year, articles from our Vocations team, our office of Peace, Justice and integrity of Creation and much more. i am always struck that our Intercom issues invite us to learn more about who we are as Charity Family: about our identity, about the taste of the “wine” of our lives. i encourage you to read this wonderful issue in depth, and to engage in conversations with one another about that which strikes your heart and renews your spirit. where do you see the spirit of prophecy and mysticism emerging? let’s continue to uncover together our Charity Family identity in the here and now. For surely the Kingdom of God is not in some distant future, nor in some unattainable vision, but is rather within and among us in the here and now of our shared lives. S. Mary bookser, councilor
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? Feb. 1, 1912 – The Catholic Telegraph reported a late-night fire at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. Some residents spotted flames at the powerhouse window. the delhi Firehouse was alerted, but even before their arrival, Chaplain rev. albert burke and Postman Peter bohner had extinguished the flames. actually, only the window frame had burned because it had been ignited by a piece of wood too close to the furnace. the insurance settlement was $10. June 1, 1927 – S. Catherine lucas was appointed diocesan supervisor of primary grades, the first one to hold this position. Sister continued to serve in this capacity for S. Catherine Lucas 22 years, 1927-’50. January-February 1937 – during the historic Cincinnati flood of 1937, the Motherhouse welcomed 110 “refugees” – 35 Sisters of Charity from St. rose Convent, St. boniface Convent and St. Joseph orphanage; plus, 75 girls from St. Joseph orphanage. the first visitors arrived Jan. 21; the last left Feb. 2. The old St. Boniface Convent (1902-’56). Cumminsville suffered from the 1937 flood when the Mill Creek overflowed.
Oct. 1, 1968 – a Congregational experiment, proposed by the Poverty Committee, was initiated on this date. For the first time, individual Sisters were to receive a monthly budget. amounts were set low because many houses still had general supplies on hand. records indicate an average of $20 to $25. Oct. 19, 1989 – an early snowstorm closed schools and caused problems with traffic and electricity. at the request of the red Cross, the Sisters of Charity took in guests from delhi Estates, a senior citizen residence, which had lost light and heat. the guests became a part of Eldermount, then located at the Motherhouse. the red Cross furnished cots for overnight. the stay lasted a day and a half.
In Memoriam Please visit “In Memoriam” at www.srcharitycinti.org for biographical information and reﬂections on the Sisters of Charity and Associates who have died. May our Sisters and Associates enjoy the fruits of their labor as well as peace with their God. S. Gertrudis Pfeiffer april 9, 2012 S. Mary Ann Gutzwiller april 3, 2012 S. Marian Schlueter March 17, 2012 S. Mary Patrice Mahoney March 9, 2012 Associate Sally Hart March 3, 2012 S. Grace Verba February 29, 2012 S. Ann Paulette Burger February 23, 2012 Margaret Mary McCullough February 2, 2012 S. Teresa Chang January 30, 2012 S. Mary Catherine Kelsey January 22, 2012 Associate Kathryn Moore January 9, 2012 S. Rose Edward Simons January 9, 2012 S. Mary Eunice McGreevy december 16, 2011 S. Mary Susanne Wittwer december 15, 2011
Regular Eldermount participants and Delhi Estates guests join together for activities.
S. Mary Zinser december 4, 2011
our bond of Charity By S. Joan Elizabeth Cook
(Front row, from left) Sisters Louise Gallahue, DC, Judith Fitzgerald, NDSC, Jane Iannucelli, SC New York, Anita Holmes, SCIC, Judith Lynn Gardenhire, DC, (back row, from left) Donna Geernaert, SC Halifax, Bridget Sullivan, OLM, Maureen Hall, SCL, Joan Elizabeth Cook, SC, Julie Cutter, DC, Mary MacFarlane, CSM, Rosemary Moynihan, SC New Jersey, and Mary Elizabeth Miller, SCN, are members of the Sisters of Charity Federation Board of Directors.
e will explore and develop ways to strengthen our connection within the greater Family of Charity,” we pledged at our Chapter of affairs in april 2011. during the months since then i have had the privilege of implementing that decision by representing our Congregation as a board member of the SC Federation and of Seton heritage Ministries, and as our Congregation’s Vincentian Family leadership representative.
projects are the nuns build weeks, during which Sisters and associates spend a week living and praying together, and helping to rebuild homes that were destroyed in hurricane Katrina. the Federation offers support to the Company of Charity Formation Personnel. Currently, our novice director, S. donna Steffen, and the novice directors of other Federation congregations are planning opportunities to immerse the novices in our Charity roots and spirit.
For us Cincinnati Charities, our primary Charity Family network is the SC Federation. the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are one of the 13 member congregations in the United States and Canada. we are currently proposing two goals for the next five years: to steward into the future our shared Charism as it enfleshes the mission and vision of the Company of Charity, recognizing that this will require of us deep contemplation and prophetic action; and to effect systemic change by addressing issues of social justice for those living in poverty. this second goal links the Federation with the larger Vincentian Family collaborators, which i will discuss below.
i serve on the board of the Federation, along with the superiors of the other member congregations. we meet three times a year to coordinate the Federation’s efforts to carry forward our Charity mission and strengthen our collaborative ties. during the past year we met in october at Mount St. Joseph, and in March in leavenworth, Kan., at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of leavenworth. in June we will meet as part of the larger SC Federation meeting at St. John, new brunswick, home of the Sisters of Charity of the immaculate Conception. this meeting will bring together the members of each Congregation’s Council as well as the groups described above. the theme of this meeting is “Courageous Charity: Called to Collaborate – Challenged to Commit.” all of us who participate in the Federation enjoy being together, experiencing the hospitality of the Sisters at the different Motherhouses, sharing our bond of Charity, and exploring ways to collaborate as we carry forward the spirit and mission of Saints Vincent de Paul, louise de Marillac and Elizabeth ann Seton.
Several of our Sisters are actively involved in SC Federation efforts. S. Caroljean willie serves as the Federation’s nGo representative at the United nations. She works with other nGo representatives to lobby for the rights of people throughout the world who have little or no voice, and she keeps all of the Federation member congregations informed about how we can support the Un’s efforts to improve the quality of life for all people. S. alice ann o’neill chairs the Federation’s grassroots efforts. this group provides opportunities for the Sisters and associates in the member congregations to come together around areas of interest that they identify. they are currently exploring ways to bring small groups together via technology. S. Monica Gundler serves at the house of Charity in new orleans, la., where she and two other Federation Sisters welcome guests. among their 4
another collaborative endeavor is Seton Heritage Ministries (ShM). this fledgling organization promotes the life and legacy of St. Elizabeth Seton, as a source of inspiration and encouragement for all people. ShM organizes retreats, workshops, educational exhibits and programs at the former daughters of Charity Provincial house in Emmitsburg, Md., where St. Elizabeth Seton lived with her children and the first Sisters of Charity. the organization is responsible for the care of Intercom
the Basilica, visitors’ center, museum, historical buildings and grounds. I serve on the board of the organization, along with superiors of several other SC Federation congregations. We are currently encouraging SHM to expand its offerings to appeal to the different groups who find inspiration in St. Elizabeth Seton’s journey of faith. On a larger scale, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are part of the International Vincentian Family collaborators. Here in the United States, this organization includes the American provinces of the Daughters of Charity, Ladies of Charity, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Vincentian priests, Vincentian Youth
and Young Adults as well as the different SC congregations. Its current focus is to support one another in promoting systemic change. This involves education about the need for systemic change and about effective ways to bring about change in order to improve the lives of people living in poverty. In the fall of 2011 several Cincinnati SCs and Associates traveled to Indianapolis, Ind., to participate in a workshop that addressed this topic. These three networks enrich all of us by bringing together the hopes and talents of different groups within the Family of Charity. Together we can make a difference in the lives of those we serve, energized by our common motto, “The love of Christ urges us.”
Congregaton Honors Three with
S t. E l i z a b e t h S e to n Awa r d By Donata Glassmeyer, Associate
hat do an environmental service technician, a chief financial officer and an elementary school principal all have in common? They each received the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award on Jan. 8, 2012, from the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
Charity. They are people who see our Charism as one they can believe in and foster. Tim does just that. He is a man of great integrity and professionalism, an artist in his ministry as our CFO, a great steward of our resources, a man with a wonderful sense of humor, as well. Tim sits on many boards where he not only lends his expertise but also very generously gives of his time to represent our Community. When Tim speaks at meetings he speaks as ‘our brother’ in Community, representing our interests,” continued Tim’s nominator.
Roberta Saunders, fondly known as “Bobbie” to the Sisters, Associates and employees of the Motherhouse, maintains the hallways, offices, kitchens, meeting (From left) Tim Moller, Bobbie Saunders and Kathy Sparks rooms, restrooms, and all the nooks and received the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award on Jan. 8, 2012, crannies throughout a huge and wellfrom the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. traversed building. A Price Hill (Cincinnati) native, Tim and his wife, Kathy, “I like what I do,” Bobbie said simply. “I couldn’t ask for a better currently live in Miami Township just a few miles from the place to work. Everyone is welcoming and appreciative, especially Motherhouse. “I can sincerely say, ‘thank you,’ to the Sisters of the Sisters,” she said. Charity for this award,” Tim said. A resident of Delhi Township (Cincinnati), Bobbie is set to retire Tucked away on Iliff Avenue in Price Hill, Resurrection in 2012 after more than 26 years with the Sisters of Charity. Her Elementary School has enjoyed a presence in the neighborhood nominators wrote, “She lives our motto Caritas Christi Urget Nos for nearly one century. Today’s principal, Kathleen Sparks is a St. by doing her ordinary tasks in an extraordinary way. She exhibits Elizabeth Ann Seton Award winner because, “Like Elizabeth Seton, our SC virtues of humility, simplicity and charity in the very way she is giving her life to improving the lives of her students and she does her job, which is her ministry. In doing so, she enables all their families, many of whom are at or below the poverty level. She of us to be about our ministry. She’s generous, considerate, caring, is a woman who struggles to guide families and students through humorous and has a healthy dose of common sense along with a challenges which confront them,” wrote her nominators. positive attitude day in and day out.” “This job,” said Kathy, “allows me the privilege of helping the “We’re like family,” Bobbie affirmed. “I’m so grateful for this families. The job has given me the chance to see needs and to do honor.” something about those needs. I’m pretty good at asking for money. Sometimes I don’t even ask, I just pray, and an envelope shows up “We often speak of ‘receiving a blessing’ or of being ‘blessed,’” on my desk.” wrote Tim Moller’s nominator. “When Tim became the chief financial officer of the Sisters of Charity in 2000, we indeed A resident of Groesbeck in Colerain Township, Kathy doesn’t received a great blessing and because he is in our lives, we are mind the drive. She loves Price Hill. “So much good is going on in blessed! Recipients of the coveted Elizabeth Ann Seton Award are Price Hill and that inspires me to ‘keep at it,’” Kathy said. people who truly believe in the mission and vision of the Sisters of
The Singing Circle Charity Family By S. Mary Bodde Portrait Features Two Sisters of Charity a portrait of St. Elizabeth ann Seton was presented to the dePaul Cristo rey high School community at the school’s first all-school Mass in honor of Catholic (From left) S. Catherine Kirby, S. Barbara Hagedorn and Principal Schools week. as a tribute to Andy Farfsing are featured in a portrait at DePaul Cristo Rey High those who have supported the School in Cincinnati. Photo by Don Denney school’s mission, the artwork features two Sisters of Charity: S. barbara hagedorn’s image appears in the top of Elizabeth’s veil, and S. Catherine Kirby appears in the lower-right section of the veil. artist holly Schapker was commissioned through a gift from the Clement and ann buenger Foundation to create the piece. MMH Undergoing Renovation internal preparation has begun in anticipation of the June 2012 start date of the renovation of Mother Margaret hall nursing facility at Mount St. Joseph. included in the renovation will be the conversion of 80 nursing beds to 58 nursing beds; a new nurse call system for nursing and assisted living; an external seven-story addition for heating/cooling systems as well as non-clinical services such as laundry, storage, etc.; a new main entrance; and renovation to the administrative area. the anticipated completion date is scheduled for January 2014. Progress and completion of the renovation will continue to be documented in future issues of Intercom. Sister of Charity Honored S. lynn heper received the alumni nurse leader award at the annual leadership in nursing awards program presented by the College of Mount St. Joseph on oct. 19, 2011. the award “recognizes an alumnus who earned a nursing degree at the College of Mount St. Joseph and … has contributed to promoting a positive image of the nursing profession; has upheld the values of compassion, caring and human dignity; and has demonstrated significant achievement in improving nursing and health care.”
Photo by Don Denney, courtesy of the College of Mount St. Joseph
Wall Hanging Displayed at College S. Pat dempsey’s wall hanging, symbolizing wind, is on display in the College of Mount St. Joseph’s Children’s Center. the piece was created for the Catholic Consolidated hospitals Convention held in atlanta, Ga., in 1996. the four elements – earth, fire, water and wind – were used in the meeting room during the convention. Book Highlights Sisters’ Role in Civil War “the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in the Civil war: the love of Christ Urges Us,” a small book about the Sisters’ work in the Civil war, is available for purchase. this 52-page publication, which includes transcriptions of firstperson journals, has been created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. it chronicles the places Sisters served on battlefields, in field and military hospitals, in army camps, and on floating hospitals throughout the duration of the four-year war. the book is available for $10 in the Motherhouse Gift Shop. it may also be ordered by calling the archives at (513) 347-4058. Intercom
Our Common Charism By S.Janet Gildea
hat is the future of religious life?” if you attended the silver jubilee celebration last September you might have been given a clue to answer that question. the lives, ministries and gifts of the four jubilarians, Sisters Carol wirtz, Marge Kloos, Monica Gundler and Montiel rosenthal, gave testimony that our Sisters of Charity Charism is as vibrant as ever. but you might have missed one rather interesting and important detail. amid the well-wishers attending the celebration were Sisters of Charity of new York, halifax, nazareth, leavenworth and one daughter of Charity. the fact of their presence gave a glimpse of our future. in the past 25 years we have experienced many opportunities for grassroots interaction among Sisters and daughters of Charity through programs such as the Seton legacy and Charity Shared Vision. a significant development for newer members was the establishment of the Company of Charity Formation Personnel (CCFP) in 1989 by the Federation leadership. this group includes congregational directors of vocation promotion, affiliates, novices, temporary professed, associate members and volunteer program coordinators. For Sisters in the silver jubilee generation, the Federation of Charity has played a significant role from the earliest days of formation. they experienced programs for women in formation developed by CCFP such as “roots” (1986) and “roots-on-the-road” (1987) that offered opportunities to visit motherhouses and heritage sites. Equally important, they built relationships based on the common Charism. the value of these programs led to a collaborative novitiate for those who entered in the early 1990s and a final vow retreat program in 1994. Every three years a weekend for those who entered in the “70s and beyond” gives an opportunity to renew friendships and build relationships with those beginning the formation process across the Federation. Something new is happening for our future as the Sisters of this generation move into positions of leadership, especially as they assume roles in vocation promotion and formation. the experience of the common Charism of Charity allows a vision of the future that will be even more radically collaborative. the house of Charity in new orleans, la., gives a preview of that future. who could have imagined that the founding members of the house of Charity would be a daughter of Charity and Sisters of
(From left) S. Claire Regan, SC New York, S. Renee Rose, DC, and S. Monica Gundler, SC, are the founding members of the House of Charity in New Orleans, La.
Charity from new York and Cincinnati? the significance of this particular configuration of Sisters will not be lost on those familiar with the story of our founding! (historical note: after the death of Elizabeth Seton, when the decision was made for the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Md., to unite with the daughters of Charity in France, the foundations in new York and Cincinnati were established.) the vocation and formation directors from this generation know that something special happens when we invite women in discernment into the vortex of our shared Charism of Charity. there is a “concentration of energy,” the spiritual energy of Vincent, louise, Elizabeth, Margaret and all the women of Charity through the ages. the women who come for a service project or a volunteer experience can feel it. they can’t help but notice the kindred spirit that is “impelled by the love of Christ” even though they know that we come from several distinct congregations in the U.S. and Canada. the challenge for the Federation of the Sisters of Charity is to provide formation for affiliates, novices and temporary professed Sisters that nurtures relationships that will carry the Charism forward in service of the mission of Jesus Christ. we know how to give roots. now, thinking beyond our individual Congregational cultures and boundaries, we must give the next generation of Charity the wings that will lift our active apostolic religious life to a future we can only begin to imagine. 7
C a r i ta S C o n V o C at i o n :
a Game-Changing Gathering By Mary Jo Mersmann, director of Associates
Members of the Caritas Convocation Steering Committee are (from left to right) Debbie Weber, Vivian Compton, Marci Madary (facilitator), Mary Jo Mersmann, Mary Ellen Williams, Ann Wilger, Vicki Welsh and Karen Martin. Not pictured Donata Glassmeyer.
s i sit in the family room writing this article, my husband is watching a basketball game. i hear him cheer and moan at various times when players make remarkable shots or when they lose their rhythm. there are “game-changing” events that happen in all sports. Coaches change their strategies, players use their skills and knowledge to score, or teams play more cohesively – any or all of these can make a difference in the outcome of the game or whether a team progresses in a tournament.
we can play the numbers game about our demographics and we can talk about areas of the country where the players have changed but the reality of the situation is we are more than a team. we are a Family of Charity. we have an amazing chance to discuss how our future might look and who will participate.
“Game-changing” – those are the words that the Caritas Convocation Steering Committee is using to describe our upcoming gathering June 27-July 1, 2012. Sisters, associates and Candidates will gather at the Sisters of Charity Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse to see old friends, meet new ones and celebrate their relationship as members of the Family of Charity. while there will be many opportunities for fun, conversation and delicious food, the Convocation will be a time to look at the future and to plan how we can move into it with grace, dignity and the urgings of the holy Spirit.
our keynote speakers, anita davidson, dominican of hope associate, S. Janet Gildea, SC, and lynnessa Gallagher, SC associate, will challenge us. who are we as Christians called by God to this relationship and what are the skills we have to build this relationship? how do the vowed and associate vocations affirm our diversity and celebrate our unity? and our facilitator, Marci Madary, FSPa affiliate director, will encourage participants to think beyond where we stand today and set some goals and outcomes.
at Chapter 2011, the Sisters made the following decision: “Create and implement a process for mutual exploration of the relationship between Sisters and associates.” it is hopeful that the Convocation will provide a time to do this, or to look at the many possibilities available for this process. 8
the Convocation will present opportunities for associates and Sisters to share their views, perceptions and suggestions. Convening, complementing and committing are the main ideas we will use to focus our conversations.
Your voice needs to be among us. we need you as one of the “players” in June. we need to look at our strategies, rediscover the skills and knowledge we have among us and learn specific ways that we can work more cohesively. Please join us in June for this “game-changing” gathering. all of our voices, ideas and gifts together are what will make the difference. Intercom
SChEdUlE ProMiSES to bE
relaxed, Exciting and Fun
he schedule for the June Caritas Convocation is ﬁlled with events and presentations, however, participants can be assured that there will be plenty of time to relax, visit with others, learn a new skill – and, most importantly, have fun!
S. Winnie Brubach at EarthConnection.
Each morning the Convocation will begin with prayer and an hour-long presentation. After a break, there will be small group discussion and then lunch. Afternoons allow for opportunities of fun, learning and relaxation. You could take a beginner’s class in watercolors or learn how to make a mandala. You could visit EarthConnection or tour the Motherhouse. Perhaps you would like a 15-minute massage or to watch a DVD and participate in discussion. If all of these options don’t sound appealing, you could choose to wander through the artistic displays, walk the labyrinth, go swimming or lay by the pool. Maybe a siesta is what you need. It’s your choice and you don’t have to decide until you arrive! Before our evening meal we will gather to hear the summary from the morning small groups, share our own thoughts and break for dinner. And what a great menu we have planned! Each evening has an option for entertainment including music, a talent show, and a banquet catered by PIP (Power Inspires Progress).
S. Mary Ann Humbert
The prayer experiences and liturgy planned for our time together are simple and lovely. Make certain that you don’t leave on Sunday before noon because the Family of Charity Commitment Ceremony is bound to be inspiring and you will certainly want to be a part of it. The Convocation Steering Committee deliberately set a schedule that is balanced and thoughtful of the needs of our participants. Don’t miss out! For more information contact the Associate Ofﬁce at (513) 347-5473.
Keynote Presenters S. Mary Fran Davisson gives S. John Miriam Jones a shoulder massage.
Thursday – “Convening”
Friday – “Complementing”
Saturday – “Committing”
anita davidson, Dominican of Hope Associate
lynnessa Gallagher, SC Associate
Marci Madary, FSPA affiliate director, facilitator
S. Janet Gildea, SC
The labyrinth located on the Motherhouse grounds.
the love of Christ Urges Us By Donata Glassmeyer, Associate
“Women religious are all over the place; in hard places; have long histories (in hard places); don’t leave when the going gets tough; do a lot with a little; and come to the table about issues that are not about us (women religious).” – S. Carol zinn, SSJ
n 2012 Intercom continues to take a closer look at the ministries of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. we will learn more about where our Sisters are ministering; their challenges and triumphs; their dedication to the people they serve; and their determination to meet the needs of our Church and world. this issue spotlights the field of parish work and our ministry of prayer (Page 24). to read full articles and additional ministry stories, visit www.srcharitycinti.org and click on “Ministry” then “Ministry locations.” S. Helen Julia Hahn Cincinnati,Ohio in her own words: “one of the greatest blessings that God has given to me has been the joy of ministering at St. lawrence school and parish [Price hill, Cincinnati] for the past 37 years – eight as a junior high school teacher, eight as principal and for the past 21 years as pastoral minister in the parish. “My responsibilities as pastoral minister are varied. Primarily, my concern is for our homebound parishioners as well as those who reside in nursing and retirement facilities. Each week i visit the homebound and take holy Communion to them which, for me, is such a special gift. Carrying Jesus to his beloved people – what an awesome privilege! “as time permits, i look forward to my visits with parishioners in nine different nursing/retirement homes. all of these dear people know that they are vital members of our St. lawrence parish family. they receive our weekly bulletin, The Laurentian, and greetings are sent for birthdays and holidays throughout the year. they also enjoy tins of candies and cookies for Christmas and Easter. truly, all of those whom i visit are inspirations to me as i witness their deep faith and their serene acceptance of whatever the lord asks of them. “the first wednesday of each month finds me busily preparing for approximately 140-150 senior citizens who come to St. lawrence for an afternoon social. the donation is $10, which covers a catered dinner followed by bingo and/or card games, share-the-pot, instant winners, a raffle and door prizes. Every month we honor those celebrating birthdays. Shopping for the small gifts, bingo, door and raffle prizes and desserts is an ongoing process from one month to the next. i have eight women whom i call “the Cincinnati belles”; they telephone all those who come to the socials each month so that i know precisely the number of dinners to order from the caterer. Four very dedicated women assist me with all preparations and activities for each social.
hard times. requests are made for monetary and food donations so that we can assist these families at thanksgiving and Christmas. our parishioners and other friends are exceptionally generous with their donations and they enable me to assist 100-125 families each year. the families receive generous food baskets, a turkey at thanksgiving, and an abundance of foods and a large ham at Christmas. i purchase gift certificates for each family so that ‘Santa’ can enjoy shopping for clothing and toys on every child’s wish list. our eighth grade students, along with their teacher, assist with the distribution of the baskets to the families. Several women generously give of their time and energy to help me assemble all of the food baskets. “throughout the calendar year altar linens are cared for as needed and all church supplies such as hosts, candles, incense and other items are ordered by me when necessary. lectoring and distributing holy Communion at Masses are also wonderful privileges. “there is no set schedule to any of my days as i am always ‘on call,’ so that our pastor is free to make other requests of me. “i believe all ministry is a joy and a challenge because it involves being present to others in the same way that Christ himself would be present to them. as religious women, God gives us so many wonderful opportunities to share with him in the spread of this Kingdom.”
“the months of october, november and december find me especially thinking about those families who have fallen upon 10
S. Carol Leveque Cincinnati,Ohio Tucked within the urban community of Madisonville on the east side of Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Anthony parish is served by pastoral associate S. Carol Leveque. “I am in my sixth year in Madisonville, but I have been in pastoral ministry for about 25 years, with some time in between working at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Religious Education Office, in the Congregational Communications Office as well as in pastoral care at Mother Margaret Hall,” S. Carol said. Sister has a long history in pastoral care. In 1973, after years of teaching high school English, the Holy Spirit guided S. Carol to St. Elizabeth parish in Denver, Colo., to serve as pastoral minister. She returned to her rural roots in Ohio in 1974 to serve in the same capacity at St. Luke parish in Danville.
S. Carol Leveque (center) greets Sisters Joyce Richter (left) and Winnie Brubach following Mass at St. Anthony parish in Madisonville.
After receiving a master’s degree in religious studies from St. Louis University in Missouri, S. Carol accepted a position with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as regional director of religious education, serving the northern region of seven counties and 50 small rural parishes. S. Carol remembered, “The position with the Archdiocese allowed me to become aware of the real need for leadership development among the laity in those small parishes.” Several “off the beaten track” parishes benefited from Sister’s expertise in her pastoral ministry journey. Many times a parish priest was not available, so S. Carol assumed most parish duties in small communities such as Greensburg, Ind., and Williamstown, Ky. S. Carol took over her current pastoral duties at St. Anthony in 2006. “Currently I work closely in the areas of worship, peace and justice, parish communications (bulletin, Web site, and newsletter), Parish Pastoral Council, spiritual development, stewardship, and I serve as the primary staff person in the absence of the pastor,” she said. “I most enjoy the interaction with the people,” S. Carol continued. “In most of the parishes where I have served, including St. Anthony, which is non-territorial, people drive distances to come to church and as a result everything happens on Sunday. So I enjoy Sundays and all the interactions, but am exhausted when it is over. Over the years, I have greatly enjoyed my involvement with RCIA and with other forms of adult faith formation. Where I am currently ministering, staff supports most of that. So perhaps the thing I enjoy most here is working with a very active and committed Peace and Justice Committee, and a very committed Parish Council. People at St. Anthony w i n t e r / sp r i n g 2 0 1 2
really take ownership of their many activities. I get to play cheerleader and cheer them on.” When asked about the challenges of the job, S. Carol explained, “Pastoral work in general is challenging today because so much is happening in the Church, for example, changes in the liturgy, various declarations by the Church regarding matters of justice or theology, and the sex abuse issue. People today are well informed and well educated. They are willing to stand up and challenge what they see as injustice in or out of the Church.” The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati have had a long history in Madisonville. “The SC’s have been here almost from the beginning,” S. Carol said. “The first schoolhouse was erected in 1874 and in 1888 the Sisters of Charity were invited to staff the school. The convent was built in 1907. The school closed in 1977 but some Sisters continued to live there until the building was converted for offices. It is the building where I currently have my office and other offices of the parish. The late S. Mary Colette Hart was the last principal at St. Anthony School. Our Sisters are fondly remembered here. Several of us sing in the parish choir. Sisters Helen Cranley and Joan Groff are registered parishioners. “Parish ministry is never predictable,” S. Carol admits. “I try to be open to the events of each day and the people who arrive on the doorstep or who call on the phone. Elizabeth Seton so often called on the Sisters to be open to the grace of the day. I hope that I am doing that.” Editor’s Note: S. Carol Leveque will be retiring from her ministry at St. Anthony in June 2012. 11
S. Noreen Ellison Royal Oak, Michigan The National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Mich., is a substantial parish with 4,000-plus households. Undaunted by her enormous responsibilities in such a big ministry, S. Noreen Ellison is serving in her ninth year as pastoral associate in Christian Service at the Shrine. Sister outlined the list of her responsibilities, which “include leadership, facilitation and coordination of many outreach services that help parishioners put their faith into action through understanding and acting upon Catholic Social Teachings. That is, serving the corporal and spiritual needs of the community. I invite and prepare parishioners for various ministries and together we provide direct pastoral care based on the needs of the parish and beyond. In this role I am a pastoral liaison to the parish nurses, those leading the ministry for the homeless of our area, the women’s guild and mission services, the Advent/Christmas giving projects, the jail ministry, and the parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference.” In addition, S. Noreen said, “A good part of my time is spent with the sick, the homebound, the dying and the grieving parishioners. I coordinate a large number of Eucharistic visitors who go to parishioners in their homes or assisted living facilities on a weekly basis. Together we plan for Mass and other Sacraments for those who are in communal living situations. I am a resource person for folks who need services beyond what we can provide through the church. “Though it was not part of my original role description, I discovered a big gap in pastoral services to those who have just experienced death in their family. I became a ‘first responder’ in letting the family know that we, their parish, want to be with them in their pain, to help them through the funeral rites, plan with them and assist them in this time of grief. A phone call, a visit in the home or at the funeral facility is always appreciated,” Sister commented. “Now, we have an organized process that includes the family, our priest(s), receptionist, liturgical coordinator and me or another funeral minister. Our liturgies are beautiful and bring much peace to bereaved families. The whole funeral process seems to be a key time of evangelization because so many nonpracticing Catholics and other Christians experience the good news in many meaningful ways during these celebrations,” S. Noreen affirmed. She continued, “As a pastoral staff person, I try to stay in touch with the next of kin and do what I can to help them into the next part of their journey. The Widow’s Group that I facilitate has become a group of friends and has begun to outreach to others who are newly widowed, providing companionship, transportation, or whatever may present itself. My ministry is creating and maintaining a network of care and Gospel service to parishioners and others whose needs may be helped by someone who understands.” 12
S. Noreen Ellison is in her ninth year as pastoral associate in Christian Service at The National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Mich.
“Pastorally, my role feels very priestly,” S. Noreen confided. “I have many occasions every day to pray with people in all kinds of situations. I especially enjoy presiding at funeral vigils at funeral homes. This affords me the opportunity to help people pray their faith, to establish the sense that they are not alone, and to preach the Good News. I have been told that one of my gifts is bringing people together, affirming gifts and building community where each one is valued,” Sister said appreciatively. In a parish the size of the Shrine, there are always challenges. “A personal challenge for me,” said S. Noreen, “is that my work is never finished. That, of course, is a blessing as well for I never have to wonder what to do next. It is always there, or it comes in the next phone call. Like so many Sisters of Charity in ministry, we need the balance of a healthy lifestyle, and sometimes physical exercise or time for just relaxing with friends. At times, I wish there was closer partnership with the pastor and the assistants, but then, I feel grateful for the trust that I experience, and the blessing of not being stuck in meetings all day. Now that I think about it, I have a lot of freedom to be who I am.” Regarding the history of the Sisters of Charity in her part of the world, S. Noreen recalled, “The Sisters of Charity were invited more than 80 years ago by the famous radio priest, Fr. Charles E. Coughlin, to begin a grade school in this rural area outside the Detroit, Mich., city limits. The first year the parish served 26 families, most of them suffering the poverty of the Great Depression. Some years later, the Sisters constructed Intercom
little Flower high School for Girls on property one mile away from the church. a few years later it became a co-ed school, as it is today. So, we have a long presence here and a lot of loyalties from the past. S. Mary alicia and i, as well as associates Jack hoolehan, randy husaynu and Jamie Kelly, strive to live the Charity charism and continue the generous service begun here many years ago.” “i am a joyful and thankful ‘daughter of the Church’ participating in daily liturgy, quiet prayer, parish events, and an active ministry. as for many women religious in the Church, there are things that are difficult to overcome. however, i do what i can in my present time and situation. “i feel a commitment, at this time,” Sister relates, “to keeping an SC presence in Michigan, a state where many of us heard the call of our vocation to leave and travel to Cincinnati! in fact, it was in the Shrine schools where i became acquainted and attracted to the Sisters of Charity. So, i have come full circle. i never could have imagined being in ministry here because in our younger days, we seemed to be sent far from home. Ever since becoming more familiar with Elizabeth’s faithfulness to meeting ‘the grace of the moment’ i understand better that experience in my daily life in parish ministry. what grace abounds!”
S, Irene Mraz Bedford, Ohio although retired from formal ministry as of July 2011, S. irene Mraz continues as a dedicated sacristan in the parish of our lady of hope in bedford, ohio. Prior to retiring, S. irene amassed a wealth of experiences that would serve her well in her many years in pastoral ministry. Sister entered the Vincentian Sisters of Charity of bedford when she was just 16 years old, bolstered with a strong desire to “do things for and with others.” She taught elementary grades in the Cleveland diocese from 1951 until 1968 when she assumed religious coordination activities first at St. Pius X, bedford (1975-’79) and then at St. Mary in bedford (1979-’81). Sister also served as a missionary in El Salvador and devoted 12 years in servant leadership to her Congregation. in 1999, S. irene began her pastoral ministry at St. Pius X. over the years, she attended diocesan district meetings; planned parish programs with staff; and worked with the parish pastoral council. Sister coordinated the extraordinary ministers of the holy Eucharist, the lectors, greeters and adult and student servers for liturgies. She enjoyed one-on-one conversations with parishioners and facilitated bible study groups and women’s gatherings. Sister continues to participate as a volunteer in the bible study group consisting of 16 people who meet weekly. they share in the popular little rock Scripture Study program that features videos, study guides and shared prayer.
Christmas in July, clothing collections for the poor and a ministry to westside Catholic Center with food and household articles. She also collected donations for an El Salvador clinic providing prosthetic devices to the sick and injured. our lady of hope parishioners provide holy Spirit parish with food for the poor on a monthly basis. in addition, the parish collects toys for children at the Cosgrove Center in Cleveland for Christmas delivery. one of S. irene’s greatest challenges as a pastoral minister was the merger of a cluster of Cleveland diocesan parishes beginning in 2007, when the bishops asked for the merger or possible closing of several parishes. Sister explained, “we secured a transition team that met monthly with other parishes for 18 months. we brought to the table the realities of each parish including demographics, finances, parish needs/assets, real estate holdings, conditions of buildings, the number of practicing Catholics, and those who attended Church less frequently. we had to be honest and open to say things as they were. we needed a lot of prayer. we got through it. holy trinity, bedford heights and St. Mary, bedford, merged with St. Pius X in bedford to form our lady of hope parish. “through all of the transitions, there was the underlying joy of having a wonderful welcoming community of those who came together at our lady of hope. we are a prayerful, loving, participative parish who truly learned the art of change, the joy of change in an extraordinary way,” exclaimed S. irene. after experiencing the great changes of parish mergers, S. irene said, “i am overjoyed with our merger with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati . it is wonderful!” “Elizabeth ann Seton inspires me with her energetic spirit, her enthusiasm to do the will of God in all things and her ever-abiding faith and love in the presence of God in everyday moments,” concluded S. irene.
Retired from active ministry, S. Irene Mraz is a sacristan at Our Lady of Hope parish in Bedford, Ohio.
S. irene initiated outreach ministries such as bake sales, wintEr/SPrinG 2012
in 2003, Sister received the outstanding director of religious Education award from the office of lifelong Formation and Education in louisville. “i treasured it as an affirmation that i have ‘finally’ found my niche,” she said. “we have a very friendly parish,” S. Mary Caroline added. “we have a variety of hospitality events. there is always someone to greet newcomers when they come to church. Parishioners talk to each other and welcome all who visit. our events are open to the community.
As director of religious education at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Louisville, Ky., S. Mary Caroline Marchal says this ministry has given her the greatest satisfaction.
S. Mary Caroline Marchal Louisville, Kentucky S. Mary Caroline Marchal has served as a teacher, principal, School of theology dean and ministry coordinator, but her greatest satisfaction comes from her current ministry as the director of religious education with an emphasis on adult faith formation and rCia at our lady of lourdes parish in louisville, Ky. “this has been my longest ministry,” S. Mary Caroline said, who came to oll in 1996. “rCia [rite of Christian initiation of adults] is my first love. i spend about 40 percent of my time processing catechumens. we have 17 people in formation at this time – that’s a lot for one time but i work with a team of 10 volunteers, so that is very helpful. Each one of us appreciates the ‘pain and the joy’ of our efforts. our parish is definitely dedicated to adult faith formation. we offer retreats, speakers, small groups, and materials for the children to bring home from school and many other opportunities for faith development. “the rCia process is so energizing because i work with amazing people in various stages of searching and seeking spiritual guidance. they want what we’ve got. there is no need to defend our purpose. it is an amazing gift for me to share my faith with others and to watch others grow in faith,” Sister offered. “Ministering here at our lady of lourdes parish is my greatest satisfaction. i share ministry in this parish with an amazing staff. it is such a privilege to be part of [the parishioners] lives and to have the opportunity to influence theirs. they help me to grow and they keep me honest and real. i treasure each person who has been part of the process.” 14
“we are a full stewardship parish. with 440 children in our school, this is a full-time ministry of the parish. all children attend tuition-free, unless they are a nonparishioner. with more than 3,500 people in the parish including 1,350 families, we average around $42,000 in our Sunday collections. ours is a large facility, we are debt-free and do not rely on archdiocesan funding. Stewardship at our lady of lourdes parish started 21 years ago and still thrives today,” Sister stated. in addition to parish ministries such as liturgical planning and visiting the sick and elderly, S. Mary Caroline is pleased to participate in many outreach ministries. “we rely heavily on volunteers to support these endeavors,” Sister added. Some include: • dressed in love, a ministry that combines talent, passion and resources to provide clothing and school uniforms to children in need across the world. • hand in hand Ministries, a louisville-based, international social service organization providing life’s essentials to the poorest of the poor. Food, clothing, educational offerings and other essentials are provided for the poor of appalachia. during immersion trips, volunteers repair homes in belize and nicaragua as well as appalachia. • rosebud indian reservation, located in south-central South dakota, is an annual mission ministry of oll. last year parishioners filled two semi-trailer trucks with donations of clothing, household items and furniture, bedding and winter coats. (Source: www.ourlourdes.org/parish/outreach.aspx) S. Mary Caroline does not worry about competition, common in some dioceses. “louisville is about collaboration with Catholic schools and parishes. this is a huge thing for me,” said Sister, who appreciates the joy of collaboration in her community. although she is the only Sister of Charity of Cincinnati in the diocese, S. Mary Caroline is far from isolated. because of her work at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of theology, located just 65 miles west of louisville, S. Mary Caroline is connected with many priests and drE’s in the region. in addition, she has Casey, a rat terrier, who Intercom
keeps her busy walking at least twice a day. “i have to go home sometimes,” Sister confessed. when she does, her companion Casey, who is her own “outreach” ministry, is at her side. if she has challenges in her work, Sister philosophically believes they are necessary and ultimately rewarding. “My experience of Church here at lourdes (and louisville) has been very positive even though sometimes frustrating. i absolutely believe that we must be an active part of the Church in order to change it and improve it. it is slow going and sometimes feels like backward movement but our faithfulness is noted. i do believe that God is with us and leading us even when the experiences feel otherwise. My faith and commitment to discipleship continues to be renewed daily.” returning to her most satisfying ministerial love, Sister shares, “rCia flows out of Elizabeth Seton’s devotion to the Eucharist. She placed great value on friendship, relationships, and reaching out to others in her service to God.” S. Joan Clare Stewart Piqua, Ohio S. Joan Clare Stewart currently ministers at both St. Mary and St. boniface parishes in Piqua, ohio. “i was hired in 2002 as the pastoral associate for St. Mary parish, but in 2006 our two parishes, though still separate, were assigned one pastor for both,” Sister said. S. Joan Clare served as an elementary school teacher for 22 years and as an elementary school principal for 17 years. Presently, as director of the rCia and rCia adapted for children programs, Sister also is a procurator advocate and works with people seeking declarations of nullity.
S. Joan Clare Stewart serves at both St. Mary and St. Boniface parishes in Piqua, Ohio.
“i work with adult Faith Formation; i teach baptismal preparation classes for parents and godparents; and i coordinate Communion visits for our four area nursing homes. i am heavily involved in our Catholics Visiting Catholics committee that serves both St. Mary and St. boniface parishes,” Sister said.
“i still am involved in some specific St. Mary parish activities such as coordinating weekly church cleaners, the annual church cleaning, changing candles and cloths for the altar, and the desserts for fish fries during lent, the summer festival, training of the servers, wedding anniversary luncheons, and the like at the discretion of the pastor,” Sister reported without sounding tired. She added, “i am learning to say, ‘if i take this on i have to drop something.’” Sister attends many evening committee meetings and works with parish outreach ministries. She records sacramental information in the sacramental registers, and on the parish data system. She prepares the schedules for parish servers, lectors and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. in helping out as a volunteer in the rCia, Sister added, “i got to know the former pastoral associate very well. She was retiring and approached me saying she thought i would be good for the position. i started to think about it and then decided to take the archdiocese of Cincinnati class for tribunal training from S. Victoria Vondenberger, rSM. i had wanted to do this for about 20 years. as principal, i had parents who were seeking declarations of nullity who were discouraged because the priest was overwhelmed with work and could not address their needs. back then, i thought that maybe i could be of assistance to the pastor. this urging revived and the idea of being involved with adults and their faith journeys were the two triggers that encouraged me to take the leap to a new ministry,” Sister recalled. “i enjoy working with adults and walking with them on their faith journey. it surprises me to see that there is sameness to the walks, but that they are also very different. i also enjoy working with persons seeking declarations of nullity as i often witness great healing and growth,” Sister said. when asked about challenges in her ministry, S. Joan Clare replied, “Challenges come in all shapes and forms and often when you least expect. My greatest challenge is admitting to myself that i cannot do everything and that if i don’t take on an additional project it might not get accomplished and still saying, ‘no, i can’t take that on.’ another challenge is getting volunteers under the age of 70. it seems that volunteering for the Church is not as attractive as it once was. Some tasks need younger bodies to complete, so getting the appropriate volunteers is a challenge for me. looking back, however, i can say that i am glad i listened to the stirrings of the holy Spirit and responded to serve as a parish minister.” Sister wholeheartedly affirmed, “i believe i continue to carry out the spirit of Elizabeth Seton in the manner which i approach people, in my love and teaching of Scripture and in my reverence for the Eucharist.” 15
S. JoAnne Termini Kettering, Ohio S. Joanne termini is the volunteer pastoral associate at St. Charles borromeo parish in Kettering, ohio. “Given the opportunity to retire at 70, i returned to St. Charles borromeo where i taught elementary grades for two years and where i became the first full-time CCd coordinator some 45 years ago,” S. Joanne said. Sister continued, “after serving as a CCd coordinator for 24 years, i made a sabbatical at Sangre de Christi in Santa Fe, n.M. Upon completion, i returned to the parish as its first pastoral associate. altogether, i have been a pastoral associate for 20 years, serving nine years at St. henry parish in dayton, ohio, and the past 11 years at St. Charles. “Upon my return to St. Charles, i became very active in ministry to the sick, the homebound and the bereaved. to journey with those living with a terminal illness and the dying is such a grace-filled time for me. i truly experience that the lord is very present in our midst. in addition, i am involved in the rCia process and with the works of the St. Vincent de Paul Society ministering to those in need.” as the senior staff member at St. Charles, S. Joanne initiated a “Chuck wagon” group of parishioners. “as the name implies,” Sister said, “we are ‘on the move’ and enjoy a good meal in the process. on one of our initial bus trips, we visited the Motherhouse at Mount St. Joseph. we also toured the Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Monthly activities are planned and annually we have a health day facilitated by our parish nurse. She engages medical professionals who provide practical information on a particular topic. of course, a healthy lunch is part of the day!” Sister exclaimed. when asked about her choice in ministry, S. Joanne replied, “Each new ministry found me. Each previous ministry provided the beneficial background for my next new ministry. as an elementary school teacher for grades one through eight, i taught a daily religion class. with Vatican ii came the great shift in catechizing children. during this time, the pastor asked me to coordinate the growing CCd program, which was a new ministry in the church. with ongoing education, i earned a master’s degree in religious studies from St. John’s teachers College in Cleveland, ohio. i served as a CCd coordinator/drE [director of religious education] for 24 years along with a host of faith-filled, dedicated volunteer lay catechists.
with many responsibilities, S. Joanne makes time for joyful pastimes. “with the variety of activities and programs that are a part of parish life, a day can be hectic and busy. it is then that i relish and enjoy some quiet time reflecting on the many ways the lord’s presence was revealed to me in those graced moments. in addition, i enjoy walking, reading and a good movie. Celebrating special events in the life of the parish and being with friends and our SC community are great sources of nourishment and pleasure,” Sister replied. as far as challenges are concerned, S. Joanne said, “it is always a challenge to move from one ministry to another without having had the adequate educational background. with the necessary education and support of the SC Community and the parish laity, the transitions were exciting and life giving. “however, my greatest challenge comes in continuing the educational process for eight Sudanese children whose family was adopted by the parish 10 years ago. to date, the two oldest dropped out of school to become parents, the next two still need additional credits in order to receive their high school diploma. absenteeism and lack of parental support have been issues. My hope lies in the child who is a freshman, whom i pray will graduate. despite the many frustrations, i continue to do all i can as contact person with the three schools the children attend. there are four additional schoolage children in the family, so i will maintain interest in their education, as well,” summarized Sister. S. Joanne concludes, “like Elizabeth i have a special love of the Eucharist. Each day i receive my daily nourishment from celebrating the liturgy with the parish community. throughout the liturgy, i pray that i may be attentive to the ‘grace’ offered me in ‘every circumstance of the day.’ like Elizabeth who responded to the needs present in society in her day, i pray too that i may respond to the pastoral concerns that arise in order that i may ‘bring a caring response’ to those with whom i associate.” S. JoAnne Termini (left) was the first pastoral associate at St. Charles Borromeo in Kettering, Ohio.
“this drE position brought me in constant contact with the adult community because of the many sacramental preparation programs which were developed. thus it prepared me for the new service of parish ministry which i assumed in 1992.” 16
Dedicated Service By S. Mary Bodde
s the national Shrine of the little Flower director of activities at royal oak, Mich., associate Jack hoolehan is a busy man, volunteering four hours a day, five days each week. Jack’s responsibilities include running the gift shop, maintaining the archives, organizing docents and tours, and promoting the Shrine, in addition to answering many requests for historical information relating to the Shrine, Fr. Coughlin (a renowned former pastor) and “various subjects.” he adds, “there are always daily challenges, but there are so many people willing to help that the challenges become small and very manageable.” an event he recalls, “when the St. therese relics visited our Shrine for one day in november 1999, we had more than 75,000 people visit the church that day. we had 682 volunteers on duty. they helped make the visitors feel welcome to enjoy the visit of St. therese.” two months after retiring from General Motors on July 31, 1997, the Shrine pastor Msgr. Easton asked Jack if he would be interested in filling the director’s role. “thirteen years later i am still here,” he said. “i feel that i am contributing in a small way to help make the Shrine a pleasant place to visit and to pray. “with the loss of my wife Carol [of 53 years in May 2011] this volunteering is helping me get through this very painful time.” another plus he adds, “i get to see my grandchildren daily as they stop by the gift shop on their way home from school.” wintEr/SPrinG 2012
Jack Hoolehan, director of activities at the National Shrine of the Little Flower, visits with S. Noreen Ellison, Shrine pastoral associate.
ordering and maintaining supplies of more than 100 different sale items that relate to St. therese and/or religious themes are Jack’s responsibilities for the gift shop. it is open Monday through Friday from noon until 4 p.m. Jack also maintains gift items for sale on the Shrine web site. Jack bids, orders and maintains candle inventory levels (approximately 108,000 annually) for the St. therese Chapel, the main church and adoration Chapel. twelve volunteers clean and maintain the glass candleholders in the St. therese Chapel. Many volunteers replace the burned out candles on a daily basis. in addition, he manages and arranges schedules for 20 docents for daily Church coverage from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. he also coordinates tours for large groups from within Michigan and surrounding states, plus Canada. “these tour groups range from 20 to 150 people,” he adds. Promoting the Shrine includes “developing brochures (approximately 100,000 every 16 months) that highlight many important features of our Shrine,” Jack explains. these are forwarded to the 13 Michigan welcome Centers, many aaa centers, hotels, motels and sports centers throughout Michigan, as well as the Chicago, ill., and toledo, ohio, areas via travel information Services, inc. “i enjoy working with the staff,” Jack says, “as they are all very dedicated to their assignments and just nice people.”
S p o n s o r e d m i n i s t r y sp o t l i g h t —
De P a u l C r i s t o Rey H i g h S c h o o l
Triumphs, Tears and Challenges By Margee Garbsch, director of public relations, DePaul Cristo Rey High School
DPCR students use Tablet PC computers in class, during after-school study sessions and take them home for homework, research and communication.
reating a curriculum, hiring teachers, recruiting students – those are expected steps along the course of opening a new school. The path through the opening and first year at DePaul Cristo Rey High School has included both the expected and the unexpected. From the triumph of the June 2011 ribbon-cutting ceremony to the reality of educating, feeding and mentoring a diverse group of freshmen through the ninth grade, this first year has included moments of joy and shared successes, as well as tears, mistakes and unmet expectations.
From grand vision to daily reality DePaul Cristo Rey opened in June 2011 because of vision and leadership of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. What began as discussions at the spring 2007 Chapter moved to a feasibility study, the purchase of a building in December 2009, to the eventual arrival of the first students in the summer of 2011. With the Sisters of Charity financial and spiritual support, DPCR became the first new Catholic high school to 18
open in Cincinnati in more than 50 years. DPCR President S. Jeanne Bessette, OSF, Ed.D., and Principal Andrew Farfsing lead the team that has taken on the day-today responsibility of carrying out the SC vision and the school mission. With a dedicated faculty and staff, they have faced and solved challenges as unique as how to prepare 14-year-olds to work in corporate Cincinnati to the mundane of how to feed them lunch during their summer training. “The story of this school is so much more than explaining the grand plan of creating curriculum, outlining instruction and setting goals for graduation,” explains S. Jeanne. “It also includes more fundamental but no less important details such as when 90 students arrived for the Academic Bridge Program in June and we realized we hadn’t made plans for feeding them lunch.” With no cafeteria or maintenance staff yet hired, it was administrative staff and a few volunteers who took turns making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cleaning up Intercom
the cafeteria for those daily lunches. “All hands on deck has been the only way we’ve made it through this first year,” remarks Lisa Claytor, director of the Corporate Work Study Program.
Almost 40 days of rain Peanut butter and jelly lunches aside, the summer Academic Bridge Program and CORE Training (Corporate Office Readiness Enrichment) were valuable in preparing the students for the academic and work expectations ahead when the full academic year got underway on Aug. 17, 2011. However, it quickly became apparent to Principal Farfsing and the teachers that despite their own preparations, the Cristo Rey Network cautions on the challenges of teaching in a Cristo Rey school, and their personal, passionate commitment to the DPCR mission, there were many unexpected and difficult situations to face in the classrooms. “Many of the students were not only academically unprepared for a college-prep curriculum, but many lacked the confidence and self-discipline to meet our expectations,” says Principal Farfsing. “In America, education is truly built on a middle class model, and that is why it hasn’t worked for many students who aren’t middle class and haven’t had the academic and social experiences most of us have. As this year has progressed, we have had to constantly reinvent ourselves as teachers and collectively as a staff to meet the needs of these students,” he explains.
Cincinnati, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and Miami University helped introduce the link between college and career. All of the students also had on-thejob orientation sessions and the same August week they started ninth grade, they also started their work-study jobs. “Even with all of their preparation, the students were still surprised that first day that we were sending them to work by themselves. Actually some of the supervisors were surprised too!” says Lisa Claytor. As the students began settling into their work routines, Lisa discovered that a key factor in their on-the-job success was the person who served as their direct supervisor. “While we list companies as our corporate partners, we know its actual people who make CWSP work. It’s been amazing to me how people have truly taken their student workers under their wings,” says Lisa. “I believe it’s been by the grace of God that many of these people have gone beyond their supervisor role to become true mentors to students. The student-workers have thrived at companies like Frisch’s, Messer Construction, Catholic Health Partners and Catholic Health Initiatives. It’s been powerful to witness the transformation of these young people, some of whom had such low expectations of themselves,” she adds. One unexpected disappointment impacting both CWSP and the school environment has been the ongoing struggle to DPCR teacher Kenny Pope assists students in World History.
For Principal Farfsing and the teachers, it definitely helped to maintain a sense of humor. “In September and October, for 39 days in a row, I had at least one student in my office every day in tears,” says Principal Farfsing with a smile. “While I like to joke that it ‘rained’ at DePaul Cristo Rey for almost 40 days, the serious side is that it was a result of the emotional toll on the students. They had entered a school with high expectations that required them to not only step it up academically but to also adjust to their work-study jobs. I heard everything from ‘I’m overwhelmed,’ to ‘my job is too stressful’ and ‘I haven’t made any friends yet.’” He does gladly remember the tears subsiding as “we strived to build them up emotionally and academically to meet our high expectations.” When the first quarter ended in October, more than one-third of the ninth graders had achieved the honor roll.
‘Grace of God’ found in CWSP Much of the challenge for students was the adjustment to the school and work balance required through their participation in the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). All work five days a month in entry-level clerical jobs with their earnings going toward the cost of their education. CORE included more than 50 hours of job preparation in everything from making a strong first impression to dining etiquette as well as field trips. Visits to Macy’s corporate offices in downtown w i n t e r / sp r i n g 2 0 1 2
DPCR ninth grader Ageela P. answers the phone during her work day at the offices of Frisch’s Restaurants, Inc., her Corporate Work Study Program job assignment.
maintain the school dress code. DPCR students wear business attire, not a traditional Catholic school uniform. Yet despite assistance from donated clothing and gift cards, many students don’t consistently come to school dressed appropriately. “For some it’s a struggle to get laundry done, for others it’s meeting an expectation that they’ve never had before,” explains Lisa. S. Jeanne sums it up with three words: “dress code disaster.”
“We’re a real school now” While the dress code has been an unexpected roadblock in keeping students focused, there have been many positive milestones this first year as reminders that “we’re a real school now,” as S. Jeanne often points out. Early in the school year the students chose a Bruin as their mascot. Then the Bruins women’s volleyball team took to the court for a first season that ended with a winning record. A fall intramural soccer program was also offered and during the winter season men’s and women’s basketball teams hit the court while the ski/snowboard club took two trips to Perfect North Slopes in Indiana. Student government leaders were elected in November and one of their first efforts was to plan a December Homecoming Dance. Just before Christmas break, more than two dozen students performed in a talent show that was enthusiastically received by an audience of their classmates, parents and school staff. 20
DePaul Cristo Rey High School is located in Cincinnati’s Clifton neighborhood on the site of the former Concordia Lutheran church and school. In January, DPCR marked its first Catholic Schools Week with activities both on-campus and off. Most significantly the DPCR community celebrated its first all-school Mass. Another day Principal Farfsing and a group of students joined representatives from schools throughout Greater Cincinnati for Mass at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral. There was also an afternoon of service work at DPCR and the week ended with an all-school field trip to the Cincinnati Museum Center. For at least half of the students, it was their first visit to this iconic Cincinnati landmark.
Educating and connecting families The learning underway at DPCR as the school year progressed has involved more than the students. “This year has been an education process for parents, particularly those families with public school backgrounds where tuition has never been a factor,” explains Renee Hargrove, director of business administration. “While families understand the value of what DPCR offers, it has been a struggle for many to understand the true cost of education for each student and then the level of tuition management it takes to attend a private, college-preparatory school.”
Affordability is critical to DPCR’s mission and only 5 percent of the freshman families could pay the top level tuition of $5,000; 75 percent could afford to contribute just $500. “Since all families pay at least part of their child’s tuition, I’m pleased we offer payment flexibility unlike any other Catholic high school in this area. We do not use a third party payment service so there are no interest or finance charges for our financial aid packages,” says Renee. “Some families make tuition payments from every paycheck, others have borrowed from family members, and some bring in dollar bills and coins to make their payments.” A concentrated effort has been made to help families feel connected to the school and each other. First quarter report cards were distributed in October at a family spaghetti dinner. In November, DPCR celebrated the feast of Christ the King (Cristo Rey) with a family The Bruins volleyball team finished its first season with a winning record. prayer service and potluck dinner. One student’s mom approached school staff about starting a Significant changes ahead parent group and the Bruins Parents Club kicked off at The new families and returning students will find some a spring cookout. significant changes when school re-convenes in August.
Charter is a “miracle and a testament” Parents have also helped spread the word about the school to prospective families. Even before this academic year got underway in August, Enrollment Director/Dean of Student Development Keianna Matthews began efforts to recruit the Class of 2016. Lessons learned this year have helped shape those efforts. “Some students have left because we couldn’t meet their learning needs so as we have gained a better idea of the students we can truly serve, we have become more selective,” says Keianna. “We have a committee that reviews the application of every student who applies and we are focused on admitting those most likely to succeed here.” In January DPCR received its state charter. “Andy Farfsing put months of work into meeting the chartering requirements and in Ohio, a charter isn’t granted until after a school is actually open and operating,” explains S. Jeanne. “The fact that DPCR was chartered just six months after opening our doors is both a miracle and a testament to the extraordinary work and planning that had been done.” The charter also allows DPCR to accept Ohio EdChoice Scholarships from eligible students beginning with the Class of 2016. These scholarships or vouchers will provide another avenue of affordability to families.
w i n t e r / sp r i n g 2 0 1 2
In addition to new classes for the sophomores and more teachers, DPCR will roll out an Honors Program for the most motivated students and make adjustments to the ninth grade curriculum, including the required computer course. “All of our students receive a Tablet PC computer and the curriculum is based on this digital learning tool,” explains Principal Farfsing. “However, early in the school year, we realized we seriously underestimated the technological capabilities of some of the students. We’re addressing that with a revamped computer literacy class in the fall.” Building renovations are also planned over the summer to create more classrooms and all students will have a simpler, yet very specific dress code that has everyone on staff hoping the dress code disaster days are done. A year from now as DPCR moves toward the conclusion of its second year, there will be more stories to tell, more unexpected challenges conquered, more student tears survived and successes celebrated. With hopeful anticipation, everyone at DePaul Cristo Rey looks forward to each of these moments on the journey started in faith by the Sisters of Charity and carried forward by those committed to their mission. Photos courtesy of Don Denney.
n today’s political arena questions abound, many of them around the relationship and/or connection between religion and politics. I believe, as women of faith, our grounding can be expressed with the words of S. Joan Chittister, OSB, in “Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir”: My metaphor for thinking about the world is The Beloved of God. It means that I must tie my life to the voice of God in my heart as I hear it through the poor, the oppressed, the disenfranchised, and those with voices other than the voice of the institutions. These words reveal a stance, claim positions and suggest alternatives to many scenarios existing today. I believe, when approaching political/moral issues, as disciples of Jesus, we possess the potential to make choices that will bring about a more just country and world.
Our Grounding We are fortunate to have strong principles from which to draw in both our political and religious histories. Politically, the grounding lies in our country’s foundational documents. We know that our U.S. Constitution, written by people having lived through persecution or alienation in countries that combined politics and religion, states in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” This mandate has received affirmation throughout our history, one example being in 1963 when the Supreme Court banned Bible reading in public schools: “We have come to recognize through bitter experience that it is not within the power of government to invade that citadel (religion), whether its purpose or effect be to aid or oppose, to advance or retard. In the relationship between man and religion, the State is firmly committed to a position of neutrality.” 22
Likewise, during the early days of our fledgling country, letters and journals of political leaders expressed belief in the following propositions: • Freedom of religion is a fundamental right. • There should not be one official religion of the United States. • Different religions from around the world should be respected. Vatican II documents reiterate the above principles. Particularly relevant is the Declaration on Religious Freedom. U.S. Jesuit John Courtney Murray’s strong influence helped produce a document that was clear in its vision of separation of church and state along with its recognition of each religion’s freedom in its search for God: The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that all people should be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power so that … nobody is forced to act against their conviction in religious matters in private or in public …
An Operative Faith While respecting and supporting these ideas we continue to wrestle with an inevitable, subtler dimension of these principles: how should faith (of which religion is an expression) influence our politics? Isn’t this a major question in our country today? The topic of values identified interchangeably with religion and/or faith continues to be hotly contested in our national debate and political campaigns. Major historical movements and watershed moments in the recent history of the U.S. have been influenced, and at times, orchestrated by people of faith: Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, the Berrigan brothers, Intercom
Rachel Carson, Theresa Kane, Dorothy Day, Rosa Parks and Helen Caldicott. Millions of grass-roots, faith-filled people continue to work toward the systemic changes called for by these exceptional leaders.
Taking a Stand Where do we stand? Isn’t it critical where we, along with others in our faith community, choose to stand and with whom? I frequently recall the remarks of Father Dan Berrigan during the 1980s: “I would like to be a middle ground Jesuit but the times do not allow for this.” Isn’t his stance relevant for us? What does this mean and where does this place us in today’s world? I believe the times today do not allow for those of us who identify ourselves as disciples of Jesus to be “middle ground.” But how do we bridge the growing glaring gap between those on the left and those on the right? What must we do to broaden and deepen the conversation of the moral values debate? We must act, using our faith as a lens, and this means we must be involved in the political process. Almost 30 years ago Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin offered his reflections on “A Consistent Ethic of Life.” I believe his words provide a helpful framework for both dialogue and debate: The substance of a Catholic position on a consistent ethic of life is rooted in a religious vision. But the citizenry of the United States is radically pluralistic in moral and religious conviction. So we face the challenge of stating our case, which is shaped in terms of our faith and our religious convictions, in non-religious terms which others of different faith convictions might find morally persuasive. . . In the public policy exchange, substance and style are closely related … I suggest a style governed by the following rule: we should maintain and clearly articulate our religious convictions stating our case and attentive in hearing another’s case: we should test everyone’s logic but not question his or her motives. Finally, as citizens in an increasing pluralistic and polarized country, I believe we are challenged to create more effective approaches to wrestle with critical and complex issues. Creative responses require taking new paths, participating in diverse coalitions, relinquishing traditional institutions and building new structures that will engender growth and reverence for life. This assumes openness and ongoing conversion - surely not an easy task but a necessary one. Further information can be found by visiting the following Web sites: www.networklobby.org www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/ www.hnp.org/publications/hnpfocus/BConsistentEthic1983.pdf www.catholicsinalliance.org W i n t e r / sp r i n g 2 0 1 2
Ass o c i at e h o n o r e d by the Education Center of Colorado
rother Gary Sawyer received the Faith Based Lifetime Educator of the Year award from the Education Center of Colorado on March 2, 2012, at the Salute to Excellence in Education Scholarship and Awards Gala in Denver, Colo. The Education Center is a nonprofit educational organization composed of a group of veteran educators promoting and advocating for excellence in education. The third-annual gala honors outstanding African-American educators in the state of Colorado who exemplify high standards of excellence in education. “This award represents and belongs to all of us who have devoted our intentions to know that true education, true knowledge, true development and true faith are based on our belief in the will of God, our acceptance to do His will, and assurance that our work is commissioned – not just chosen,” Brother Gary said. Brother Gary, who made his commitment as an Associate in Mission in July 2002, currently is an assistant professor at the Community College of Denver. He chairs the early childhood and elementary teacher education departments. Before serving at the college, Brother Gary ministered at Loyola Catholic Grade School with Sisters Mary Ellen Roach, Sue Verbiscus and Janet Marie Wehmhoff. He said, “Those years helped shape my life, my teaching, my creativity and my desire to make a difference in the lives of children everywhere.” “To receive such an honorable recognition that includes the word lifetime seems to imply commitment from the past and future,” Brother Gary concluded. “I recommit to you all, to fulfill the commitment of lifetime, to continue to rely on my faith and my beliefs to do my best to work for a better world as an educator and advocate for children and families in God’s greater community.”
The Ministry of Prayer By S. Mary Bodde
ifty-six Sisters may be the primary reason for the ‘thank you’ notes appearing on the Motherhouse Community Room board and for the online e-mails expressing gratitude for answers to prayer requests – their primary ministry is prayer. They live not only in Mother Margaret Hall (MMH), but also in the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse; in Regina Health Center in Bedford, Ohio; and on mission, like S. Marilyn Czarnecki in Elkhart, Ind., and S. Rose Patrice Beck in Garfield Heights, Ohio.
“I have a whole book full of prayers that I like to say every day, usually in the morning after breakfast when I can be in the chapel,” said S. Ann Rose Frank, also of MMH. “It is a special awareness of God’s presence with me and others, but I also pray a lot in my room. I say a rosary every day; one decade is for the special people I know, another for the sick Sisters, and another for past students, and so on.”
“I go to the Motherhouse Community Room,” S. Mildred Shaver (MMH) says, “to find the names of Sisters or others who are S. Marilyn’s “one concern is asking for prayers; employees here my daily Mass, offered for our share their needs for prayers. I pray new officers and all of our Sisters.” for them, and they are aware of She also works closely with a S. Mildred Shaver prays for the names of Sisters, employees and this. This prayer ministry makes Third Order of Franciscans group, others requesting prayers. me feel appreciated. It is a ministry attending meetings, helping with of presence to our workers here discussion groups and with the and in the ‘now’ moment, an important ministry in my little world.” elderly as well as making home and hospital visits. Most of her neighbors are elderly and non-Catholics, so “we have a coffee At times S. ‘Millie’ also plays spiritual tapes for herself and clutch once a month and we generally have great discussions on for aides and others, like the housekeepers. “They remark how religion. They are very interested in ‘acts of kindness’ – amazing much they like them, and I hope they bring some peace to their what they do for others,” she notes. S. Marilyn also distributes day.” prayer cards (to people who welcome them) from St. Anthony of “Every Friday for Exposition adoration [in the MMH Padua Rectory in Reading, Pa. chapel] my prayers are for the people who ask for prayers,” Living in one of the three-building senior citizens complexes S. Martha Seton Tsai said. She also feels more connected to all in Garfield Heights, S. Rose Patrice Beck co-leads with an of them because she prays for them. Ursuline Sister-resident a weekly Friday morning prayer group. MMH resident S. Miriam Thomas Busch admits, Most of the residents in her building are Catholic, but the gathering is open to anyone – and from any one of the buildings. “Sometimes it’s hard to talk about prayer ministry. I loved teaching and never had a child I disliked. My life is a prayer, and “Our intentions,” she said, “include prayers for residents in the I’m open to anyone who comes into my life and needs prayer. nursing home (the complex includes several levels of care) and anyone who asks for prayers. It’s a great support for me as well as But concentrating on the fact that prayer is my ministry gives me the other residents, and gives us a foundation for communicating one more focus,” she said. with each other.” From St. Mary’s (between MMH and the Motherhouse) S. Mary Kathleen Pagac recalls, “Whenever the need arises to How other Sisters carry out their prayer ministry varies: help others, such as a listening ear, a shared conversation or a “I pray for the people who are in greatest need,” said S. Edith visit, letting others know we hold them and their cares in our Louise Merhar in Mother Margaret Hall, “through my personal heart and in communal activities – that is what Community is life encounters and through the news on the television and in all about: We are with you on your journey.” the newspaper, which I read thoroughly every day. I just think about what the needs are, and that Jesus is the first one to call on Mass, rosary, and belonging to Sisters Carol Brenner and Pat for help or gratitude. You can talk to the Lord, no matter where Malarkey’s group on prayer and dedicated suffering partly fill you are or what you are doing,” she adds. Her daily routine, like S. Marianne Schroeder’s prayer ministry. “My active ministry is many Sisters, includes the rosary – “each bead is for a different my concern about those who take care of me [in MMH],” she need, and the intention is sometimes known only to God.” said. “Of course, I’m always concerned about the health of my
government leaders.” her daily rosary is for peace. in a small ‘dedicated suffering’ group “we have a monthly special intention, for example, the people suffering in the democratic republic of Congo. all these make me feel more aware of suffering and the needs of others, and less aware of my own suffering,” she admits. also a member of the MMh ‘dedicated suffering’ prayer group, S. Mary Michael Chizmar was the first bedford Sister to tour the MSJ Motherhouse prior to their merger with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 2004. “i hope i am helping somebody, like the people in the Congo – and sick friends,” she reflects. She also prays in chapel (during Friday holy hour) and in her room.
S. Rose Patrice Beck co-leads a weekly Friday morning prayer group.
Mother Margaret hall family, and naturally, i always pray for the well being of my sister, S. timothy ann, and for my family and friends.” S. Marianne’s special intentions also include returning soldiers and their families, and abused women and children. “Prayer is life giving for me,” MMh resident S. Glenda reimer believes. “Silence,” she explains, “allows me to be in communication with my God, who enriches my life – always has. this time of my life helps me reflect on the wonderful people God has given me for the journey. it’s all about gratitude – what has been; what will be.” “by myself each day,” in MMh assisted living, S. Martha ann Conley says, her ministry includes “numerous intentions for whom prayers were requested, such as vocations, Church and
S. Mary Michael used to care for the Cleveland bishop Pilla’s mother, staying the week from Monday to Friday. when Mrs. Pilla’s overnight care became too demanding, she and S. bernardine Kandrac took 12-hour shifts – S. Mary Michael during the day and S. bernardine overnight. both Sisters have a great appreciation for the elderly ill and their need for prayerful companionship. S. bernardine also follows the office schedule in the Motherhouse (and “does a lot of sewing there too”). She feels that praying together connects her with the Community. two other bedford Sisters – dorothy Macey and therese Marie Moledor – report, “so many needs, too many to list (for prayer).” S. therese Marie (MMh) explains, “i have prayers sent to me by missionaries or given to me. i spend the morning praying for people who request my prayers, for people for whom i pray, and for the people who pray for me.” She also belongs to a centering prayer group. S. dorothy says, “walking the hallways my mind goes to those who have asked for prayer. time goes so fast, and i feel so slow. i yearn for a closer relationship with the lord and know that prayer is important. if there wasn’t this ministry of prayer, so many would be without the comfort and support they need. i am grateful i can do this little part,” S. dorothy concludes.
(From left) Sisters Teresa Margaret Hurr, Bernadette Marie Shumate and Maura Jean Tapke (right) are members of S. Patricia Malarkey’s (second from right) dedicated suffering prayer group.
MEEtinG oUr GraCE –
By S. Mary Bodde
ooking back over her life from her room in Mother Margaret hall at Mount St. Joseph, ohio, S. Glenda reimer is amazed at the differing influences God has put in her way to lead her from a strong Mennonite upbringing to the Catholic faith, and eventually, to membership in the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
how S. Glenda got to laos is another story. while working as a nurse in the transplant department at Good Samaritan hospital in Phoenix, ariz., S. Glenda said, “we lost the first two kidney transplants. they were both women and fairly close to my age. i said to myself, ‘i’m out of here. this is too close to my heart and what i am doing.’
born in Medford, okla., S. Glenda was the youngest of three children, with two brothers – dennis and Charles. She grew up in a Mennonite family with strong pacifist leanings, and didn’t meet Catholic Sisters until nurse’s training. Encouraged by her aunt, a nurse at Penrose hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo., who also was “very fond” of the Sisters of Charity, S. Glenda entered the hospital’s three-year diploma nursing school.
“one morning i was reading some nursing journals, and one asked, ‘do you want to go to Southeast asia?’ that evening i called the number and told Vern Cheney, the president of the tom dooley Foundation, ‘You know, i think i am ready to go to Southeast asia.’ within a week i was assigned from the Foundation to Champasak, laos. out of a disappointment i ended up in the jungles there!
two Sisters of Charity at Penrose – S. Michael Miriam Peters (now associate Jo Carol laymon) and then administrator the late S. Myra James bradley – strongly affected S. Glenda’s decision to become a Charity, after converting, of course. (her Catholic sister-in-law, dennis’ wife Mary Jo reimer, was a great influence on S. Glenda becoming a Catholic.) “S. Michael Miriam’s presence for a patient dying of cancer, to allow this patient to gain peace toward the end of her life, and to help her family after her death, so impressed me,” S. Glenda said. “after that i got pretty serious about finding out who the Sisters of Charity were, what their mission was, and how they gained their spiritual strength.” but S. Glenda’s spoken decision came while she was caring for patients in a canoe along the Mekong river near Pakse, laos – “with bombs dropping on either side,” she said. “i told the driver of the boat, ‘if i get out of here, i will join the Sisters of Charity!’ i felt i was very much a part of the mission - and i was not a Sister of Charity yet.” 26
“it was during the Vietnam war,” S. Glenda recalled. “twice we were evacuated to Vientiane, the capitol of laos. we had to stay there for a period of time until we could sort out where we were with the war. the Foundation wanted to make sure that we were absolutely safe and well taken care of.” in laos “we purchased a houseboat, so i was the nurse consultant who then rode up and down the Mekong river delivering health care to jungle people,” she continued. “we had to go into the jungle to actually care for the patients, particularly the babies and the women who would hide from us. they hadn’t seen white people, and i was always fairly tall. “they were scared of us, but we just sat quietly and set up clinic. they would gently bring their babies in to see us, and we would treat them. doctors and other people would send us medications that we put in a steel container and would carry up the banks of the river. Finally, the people got to know us, and they started looking for us to come to their children,” S. Glenda recalls.
Catholic Charities USA Honors
S. roSE thErESE wiCh
S. Glenda Reimer became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity while in nursing school at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Some would bring their children to our clinic, a house built on stilts within Champasak,” she continued. “often their babies were dying, either of malnutrition or some kind of jaundice and liver disease. they were just so small and oftentimes born in the jungle with little or no hydration, and absolutely no health care. So we would try to provide for them.” after laos, and in need of rest, S. Glenda returned to Penrose hospital and the Sisters of Charity. “they had a kind of ‘come home’ attitude,” she said of the Charities, “so it was shelter in the time of storm, and i had to release some of my feelings about the war - what i had experienced - and then be present to my mom and dad who were still living.” She needed to integrate her feelings into the period of time that she was in laos, and then prepare her parents for her becoming Catholic and joining the Sisters of Charity. “Coming from a Mennonite background,” she explained, “and joining the Catholics was a little rocky to begin with. we were Mennonites who were persecuted by Catholics, so it was pretty hard for them to accept and go on.” later, when her family met the Sisters of Charity, S. Glenda believes, “they found a real hospitality within the Community, especially from visits with S. Margaret Ebbing, ‘the epitome of compassion,’” S. Glenda said. Since entering the Sisters of Charity Community in 1975, S. Glenda’s ministries have been equally varied. they range from jail and prison ministries in new Jersey and Kansas, to heading win, a basic skills program for single women, and more recently, to creating healthy Moms & babes, an outreach program at Good Samaritan hospital in Cincinnati. to read more about S. Glenda’s ministries as a Sister of Charity, visit our web site at … www.srcharitycinti.org/news_events/features.htm. wintEr/SPrinG 2012
ongratulations to S. rose therese wich who was a finalist for the Catholic Charities USa 2012 national Volunteer of the Year award. More than 300,000 volunteers offer their support annually to Catholic Charities agencies throughout the country; Sister was one of six finalists chosen for her service, dedication and inspiration. S. rose therese serves as transportation coordinator for the Center for Community involvement – Senior transportation Services with Catholic Charities of the archdiocese of Santa Fe, n.M. according to the Catholic Charities web site, “[Sister] brings a sense of peace and tranquility wherever she is present. her 64 years in the field of education has earned her a celebrity status. at Catholic Charities, our staff is influenced by her kindness, sincerity and professionalism; our program participants are the recipients of her many blessings.” S. rose therese ministered in the albuquerque, n.M. area, for more than 30 years, most recently as principal at annunciation Catholic School for 15 years. She retired at the age of 80 with a longing to serve those less fortunate. at the Center for Community involvement, Sister responds to and coordinates rides for seniors in the community who are homebound. not an easy task as the need for transportation is greater than the number of volunteer drivers available. the web site continued, “Sister is the consummate professional. her work ethics and devotion to serving others is immeasurable. as Mother theresa wrote, ‘we can do no great things only small things with great love.’ S. rose models these words as she responds to seniors requests for rides with patience and respect. the mildmannered tone of her voice reflects love. She always ends her phone conversation with a blessing. the duties she performs are necessary to meet the needs of seniors who may otherwise lose their ability to remain independent. how she performs them is the key that enhances and enriches all our lives.” Congratulations, Sister, for embodying the spirit of compassion and for letting your love shine bright.
Sisters of Charity
Honored in New Mexico n Oct. 22, 2011, Sisters, Associates and friends attended the dedication of “Angelitas de Caridad,” a sculpture honoring the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati for their years of “selfless, tireless and dedicated service to the citizens of Martineztown and Albuquerque, N.M.”
The project took almost one decade to complete and was the vision of Frank Martinez and the citizens of South Martineztown (a neighborhood adjacent to the former St. Joseph Hospital, founded by the Sisters of Charity and where many Sisters served for a century).
“I grew up with the hospital less than a block away from where I was born,” Martinez said. “My mom was employed by the Sisters of Charity, and I served on the hospital’s board of trustees for a number of years. “When the community heard the Congregation had sold the hospital, they voted in 2002 to commemorate the Sisters for their 100 years of service to Martineztown, the city of Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico. We’re a close-knit family, and when we lose a member of the community it is a major blow.” S. Jeannette Cochran, who ministered in health care and education in Albuquerque for 45 years, said, “The thing that struck me the most was that the whole community came together and wanted to recall what the Sisters of Charity meant to them as a group – how we helped them grow. They have a lot of respect for the Sisters of Charity, and I am proud to be one of them.” A committee of the South Martineztown community commissioned the sculpture. It was a project that took nearly nine years to complete from the fundraising and financial support to the conception and physical construction. Involved in the process were Sisters Celestia Koebel, Monica Ann Lucas, Rosaleen Simpleman and the late Maryanna Coyle. The Sisters provided historical information and guidance as the sculpture came to fruition. Created by artist Linda Dabeau, “Angelitas de Caridad” stands 25 feet tall and 16 feet wide in the newly renovated Martineztown Park. The limestone angel wings reaching to the sky weigh approximately 11 tons and are 16 feet in height. “Overall I show how much the Sisters of Charity contributed to the spirituality, love of Christ and the overall growth and nurturing of the people of Martineztown and the surrounding area,” Dabeau said. 28
“Angelitas de Caridad” honors the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati for their years of service to the citizens of Martineztown and Albuquerque, N.M. Photo courtesy of Margot Geist
Historical depictions of the Sisters’ service in the Albuquerque area are in bronze and wrap around the fountain base. According to the artist, the narration begins with the Sisters of Charity founder, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and then moves to S. Blandina Segale and the Sisters she traveled with to New Mexico to start their endeavors in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Following are Sisters representing the many individuals and ministries served throughout the last century. “Seeing it for the first time, I was in awe,” said S. Celestia Koebel, who was administrator of St. Joseph Hospital in Albuquerque for 21 years. “I had no idea what to expect. It was pretty awesome – and impressive. The angel wings can be seen from miles away. The sculpture sits in the city park, close to the hospital, which can be seen rising above it in the skyline. “It is a great tribute to the Sisters of Charity,” S. Celestia continued. “We are grateful to Frank for being responsible for this. It’s a beautiful testament to the Sisters of Charity and their work in New Mexico, especially in health care.” “For us, we’ve lost a friend,” Martinez concluded, “but their spirit will always be with us in this art piece. Our community was blessed, privileged and honored to commemorate the Sisters of Charity. They were exceptional neighbors, residents and friends – and we truly miss them.” Additional photos of the Angelitas de Caridad sculpture can be viewed by visiting our Web site at www.srcharitycinti.org/news_events/photos.htm. Intercom
Looking Back at Our Years of Service in New Mexico By S. Benedicta Mahoney
he Sisters of Charity have a long history with the people of new Mexico. in 1865, Santa Fe welcomed four Sisters who arrived to minister to the sick, the poor, the elderly and the children. their spirit lives on today in the few remaining Sisters, in the works they founded, and in their capable successors. it was archbishop John b. lamy who invited, urged the Sisters to come to his vast archdiocese, especially to minister to the sick and to the orphans. their first work took place in a small adobe building next to the Cathedral in Santa Fe. St. Vincent Sanitarium was inadequate and poorly equipped, but the Sisters worked hard to improve conditions as the number of patients increased and orphans began to arrive. More space was provided by a number of additions. Patients came not just from Santa Fe, but from the nearby army posts and the construction sites for the Santa Fe railroad. albuquerque and Martineztown welcomed the Sisters of Charity a few decades later when they founded St. Joseph Sanitarium in 1902. in a short time there was also a nurses’ training school, an annex to their original building and tents for tubercular patients. by 1930, a 152-bed hospital replaced
S. Marie Sebastian Wenzel (right) with a nurse in the lab at St. Joseph Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1964.
the 38-bed facility, and by 1968, the hospital had grown to 349 beds. today stands the 10-story, 349-bed St. Joseph hospital. other health care organizations were also established and managed by the Sisters. the Santa Fe Clinic was founded in 1937 and continued under various auspices and with different names, like the more recent Villa therese Clinic. S.E.t. (Serve, Empower, transform, an organization that provides medical and health care services to the underserved), located in albuquerque, was established in the 1990s. Education in new Mexico claimed the Sisters dedication and expertise, too. in 1880, the Sisters opened a school in “new town,” albuquerque. it was a public school, the first free school in albuquerque. in 1892, the public school located elsewhere and St. Vincent academy, a boarding school and a day school for girls, opened, continuing until 1969. other schools in albuquerque followed: our lady of angels, which became San Felipe School (1881); Sacred heart School (1885); St. Mary Elementary and high School (1892); St. Francis Xavier School (1928); St. Pius X high School (1960); and St. Joseph on the rio Grande high School (1984).
S. Rita Griffin (left) was a librarian at St. Pius X in Albuquerque, N.M., from 1971-’77 and again from 1980-’86.
Call and Purpose
S. Montiel Rosenthal is director of Maternity Services in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine.
By S. Fran Trampiets
y her junior year at Seton high School, S. Montiel rosenthal had it all planned. She knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life. She’d skip her senior year and begin the honor’s program in biology at the University of delaware, to which she had already applied and gotten a scholarship. then she would get master’s degrees in ornithology and entomology, then a doctorate that would prepare her for her career as a research and interpretive naturalist. along the way she would marry, have three children and they would live on a farm in the western mountains of Virginia. before starting the program at the University of delaware, she had to read 30 books related to the field of biology. “Many of them dealt with medical genetics. i’d plunk down under the peach tree in our backyard and read – i ate it all up. then i’d go into the house chattering about this syndrome and that syndrome. one night my parents asked if i’d given any thought to going into medicine. ‘why would i want to do that?’ i asked.” 30
they encouraged her to think about it and pray about it; to discern what God might be calling her to do. “the more i thought about it the more restless i became because this wasn’t what i had in mind,” she said. but as she continued to discern, she began to feel a call to medicine - and to religious life. “Gradually there was a sense of call and purpose that just wouldn’t go away,” S. Montiel said. She applied and was accepted into the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine and graduated in 1986 with an M.d. in Family Medicine. “i’m a generalist,” S. Montiel says. “i enjoy caring for a broad spectrum of whoever presents themselves. i enjoy caring for the most vulnerable, and meeting them with dignity. there’s a place for the specialist, but everything is related to everything else and i’m fascinated by how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. i’m fascinated by the interrelationship of psyche, soul, body, family history, family dynamics, social milieu. Everything is interrelated.” Intercom
the same year she got her medical degree, S. Montiel entered the Sisters of Charity, with the understanding that she would complete her residency requirements before beginning her novitiate. She did her formal residency in Family Medicine at University hospital at U.C. working also at Good Samaritan, Children’s, Jewish, the V.a. and other area hospitals. after making first vows, and completing a one-year fellowship in obstetrics at St. Elizabeth hospital in northern Kentucky, she interviewed across the country, “…looking for a place where there was a challenge of redefining how health care is delivered in the area. i enjoy solving problems, sorting things out and resolving dilemmas.” St. Claire Medical Center in Morehead, Ky., had received a petition from the people in Elliott County to open a clinic to serve the entire county. the only doctor serving that area had lost his license and they had no one providing medical care. the hospital provided the clinic and hired S. Montiel as director of the Elliott County Medical Center. about that time, in the mid-1990s, the bishops of the Eastern European countries formerly under Communist control asked religious communities in the U.S. to send Sisters to teach their religious modern methods of apostolic ministry and teaching about the Catholic faith. S. Montiel applied and was given the option of working in armenia or Siberia. Easy decision! She arrived in armenia in 1995. “i spent the first week on the side of a mountain at a catechetical program, teaching health and hygiene,” she said. “i was very taken by these youth. they were mountain folks – the language was different, but the mentality was very similar to the folks of Eastern Kentucky. i returned to the United States a month later knowing that if i had a chance to go back i’d go in a heartbeat.” back she went – this time for five years. in addition to providing medical training, she recalls, “i think i helped restore trust among the people.” in the former Soviet Union people lived in fear. “who could you trust? as a physician i deal in trust. i still get e-mails from folks back there saying they tell me this, but i know you’ll tell me the truth.” during those five years in armenia, S. Montiel helped hospital administrators and doctors update their delivery of health care. She worked under the auspices of the Ministry of health and was subsidized by the Sisters of Charity. She provided medical care and established a clinic for those with no insurance. She also worked with humanitarian groups, teaching them how to provide medical humanitarian assistance more efficiently and effectively. when she asked the best way to deliver medical supplies to the wintEr/SPrinG 2012
S. Montiel Rosenthal ministered in Armenia for five years providing medical training and helping restore trust among the people.
villages, she was told, “Just drop them from a plane at 10,000 meters. the people will see that they get where they are most needed. You can’t trust the government.” She was able to get medical supplies from international Caritas and other humanitarian organizations - and introduced efficient delivery systems. late one night as she was unpacking and sorting supplies, bone-tired but determined to finish, she pulled out a mechanical heart valve, “worth thousands and thousands of dollars.” She took the heart valve with other supplies to a cardiology hospital. the doctors looked at the device disbelievingly and said, “this is exactly the size needed for one of our patients.” S. Montiel discovered, shortly after arriving in armenia, a disturbing remnant of their days behind the iron Curtain. Persons born with disabilities “…were non-people; they didn’t exist. a veteran or victim of a natural disaster got some assistance from the government, but if you were born that way, God help you. You were seen as mentally and physically deficient and a burden on society. as a result of these attitudes the death rate for children in the former Soviet Union countries, particularly armenia, was obscenely high,” said S. Montiel. “doctors regularly dealt with a newborn with a disability by taking the child from its mother, giving it a lethal injection and telling the mother that her child was terribly deformed and they had taken care of it. i challenged a doctor and he replied angrily, ‘why do you keep asking us about this?’ ‘because a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members,’ i replied. “i’d read about the l’arche Community in France and wrote Jean Vanier asking if i could come and see how it worked. i went and was told if an outsider tells the armenians what you’re doing isn’t right, this is what you should do, they 31
won’t listen. if one of their own tells them, they will listen. i asked them to come to armenia and start a community. their response was, ‘no, it doesn’t work that way, community has to start from within. why don’t you start a Faith and light community? Start with families who have a child with disabilities.
“i’d heard about acupuncture in one of S. rose Cheng’s presentations and then i was exposed to it on two occasions - and it worked. acupuncture makes sense; it intersects with western medicine.” S. Montiel is now a certified medical acupuncturist, practices acupuncture, and teaches her students some of the fundamentals.
“So i helped to start a Faith and light community, first with prayer and birthday her medical career isn’t the Of her five years in Armenia, S. Montiel Rosenthal says, “I treasure the parties, then with sing-a-longs. whole story; she has a wide folks I met there.” Eventually some began coming range of interests: acquiring a to Mass. the parishioners black belt in karate (in college), were resentful and a few were outraged that handicapped becoming a certified scuba diver and diving in australia’s children were coming to Mass. and it was some of those same Great barrier reef, playing the celtic harp (along with parishioners who, when i was preparing to leave armenia, S. Paula russell as a member of Cincinnati harpers’ robin), came to me and said, ‘thank you so much. the children have and gardening. S. Montiel lives at holy Family convent in taught us what it means to be truly Christian.’” lower Price hill. nearby is Enright Eco-Village Cooperative. recalling those five years, she says, “i treasure the folks i met there. armenians have an immense sense of hospitality that we just don’t understand in the western world. Perhaps it’s the grace of poverty.” S. Montiel returned to the U.S. in 2002 and is now associate clinical professor in the department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine. She is director of Maternity Services for her department. “we’re primarily based at the Christ hospital and serve women in the Prenatal Clinic who would be considered economically vulnerable,” she says. “i teach office procedures and minor surgical procedures. i’m also on the residency faculty so i take turns when our patients are admitted to the hospital and assist in caring for our moms and their babies. in any given week there’s a 24-hour period when i’m on call for ob. an evening and an afternoon each week i see my own patients, in our Family Medicine Center, where i am medical director. i usually have a medical student with me to learn some of the practical aspects of interfacing with the patients. the Family Medicine residents are energetic, enthusiastic and altruistic young folks who want to be outstanding family doctors, and if i can help them do that, i’ve done a little bit of what i’m about.” as she talks enthusiastically about her medical practice, her students and her training of residents, it’s clear that her healing art encompasses healing of body, mind and spirit. that might explain her interest in Eastern medicine. 32
“it’s a version of urban farming,” she said. “we pay for a share of the produce, work in the various small plots of land in the neighborhood, and each week, we get our share of what’s been harvested. the gardens are in our neighborhood so you get to know your neighbors better and can plant some seeds in the young minds of folks volunteering there.” S. Montiel has always chosen to live in community and among the poor. in spite of a demanding schedule, she is actively involved in the life of the Congregation. She has a special interest in the associate program and had a young woman who was interested in religious life live and work with her in Morehead. She served on the 2007 Chapter Planning Committee, on the Corporate responsibility Committee, and is on the Corporate work Study Program board for dePaul Cristo rey high School. “it’s a challenge to integrate two vocations,” she says, “to live in a secular world with sometimes competing priorities and still hold on to values i hold dear. i need to be very much in the world to understand my patients’ lives. i think i witness by my presence. “Community life is a blessing and a challenge, but there’s a grace to it,” she says. “it’s a grace to come home and share a perspective about life apart from medicine and with women who have a shared sense of purpose. we choose to be Sisters of Charity and to be there for one another. Most of the time it’s a blessing, sometimes it’s a challenge. but if i had it to do over again, i’d certainly do it.”
M E E T O U R Ass o c i a t es i n M i ss i o n —
Patricia Grubelnik Pat Grubelnik became a Sister of Charity Associate in Mission in 2003. Pat is a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She works in customer service as a supervisor/technical specialist for a prominent check printing company. She and her husband, Skip, have been married for 47 years. Together they own and operate a small business, Buttons and Balloons. Pat enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, fishing and photography. She also is interested in genealogy and scrapbooking. Pat and Skip have three children and eight precious grandchildren. They are active members of St. Joseph parish in Colorado Springs, Colo. would meet in Church at 6 a.m., reflecting on Scripture and centering. I feel that centering prayer changed my life, starting me on my journey of spirituality. For me, this prayer is a quiet, resounding surrender to God. Tell us what drew you to say ‘yes’ to consider becoming an SC Associate.
(From left) S. Joan Crocker, Associate Pat Grubelnik and S. Mary Jean Fields formed their bond of friendship at St. Joseph parish in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In 2003, when asked to become an SC Associate, I didn’t hesitate one minute. I knew that the experiences I had shared in the beginning with Sisters Joan Crocker, Michele Fisher and Mary Jean Fields would continue to enrich my life, enabling me to grow in reflective spirituality with family and friends. The six Associate candidates I met that year, and the Sisters and Associates who continue to journey with us today, have indeed grown and we continue to form a bond of lifelong friendship. I think the thing that I find most inspirational is the fact that our “band” is welcoming to all. We share laughter, tears, joy, sadness, supporting each other as “sisters” through it all.
We asked Pat to share with us a brief history of her connection with the SC Community…
What is your deepest wish, Pat, for our future together – SCs and SC Associates?
My first introduction to the Sisters of Charity was at the young age of 7 as I attended Catechism classes in preparation for first Penance and first Holy Communion at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Trinidad, Colo. Many years later, after our family had been established in Colorado Springs, I resigned from a 60-plus hour a week job due to health conditions, later diagnosed was multiple sclerosis. This slower pace gave me time to reflect on life. It was in 1990 that I met S. Mary Jean Fields (pastoral associate) at St. Joseph parish. I participated in her Lectio Divina sessions, reflected on the word of God in Scripture, while also learning/practicing the contemplative method of centering prayer. We, six or eight,
As I look ahead, my wish is that SC Associates will continue to grow in understanding and education to meet the common goals envisioned by the Sisters of Charity, and that our “choosing to be in mutual relationship” with them will ever more deeply commit ourselves “through our individual life situations” to serve the needs of our Church, society, and especially, the underserved and undervalued men, women and children throughout the world.
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En Famille By Donata Glassmeyer, Associate
ssociates in Mission to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are apt to consider the many forms of relationship they share with the Sisters. they are in solidarity with the mission, charism and vision of the Sisters. they form community through prayer, service and connect with each other in small groups. Few of us know, however, that some associates are actually related to one another. we have several husband/wife couples who are associates. the most obvious that comes to mind is director of associates Mary Jo Mersmann and her husband, barry. as a member of the small group in which Mary Jo and barry participate, this writer can vouch for their genuine dedication to the Sisters of Charity. in addition, barry, the only man in our group, has been a great support from a “guy’s point of view” on many things SC. liz and bob Maxwell were Maryknoll religious when they met in Guatemala many years ago. today, as former religious, the couple was “embraced by the Sisters of Charity,” said liz, “when we moved from washington, d.C. to the Village at bayley. they are warm, loving and make us feel very much at home here. bob and i are proud to be associates of the Sisters of Charity.” bob affirmed, “the Sisters are gutsy, pioneering women in many areas. liz and i fit with their worldview and background. as associates, we have grown in friendship with the life-giving Sisters. we participate in their many programs for spiritual growth including centering prayer, conferences, retreats, service projects and volunteering in Mother Margaret hall.” liz believes she and her husband try to live Elizabeth Seton’s words God is ever present. “Each day we look for the Christ presence in each other. we sit in silence before breakfast and lunch and give ourselves to this awareness that ideally stays with us throughout the day,” liz said.
Shirley dix, Mary ann Gutzwiller, barbara busch and helen Flaherty started a group with former Sisters of Charity called ‘the Extended Community.’ along with the Sisters mentioned, the group included former members Phyllis Siler, Mary Ellen williams and me.” “i love and respect the Community,” ruth said. “and i love and respect Elizabeth Seton,” she added, “so becoming a part of an extended community was natural for me.” in 2000, ruth applied her continuing devotion to Elizabeth and the Sisters of Charity by becoming an associate in Mission. ruth’s husband, Ken, made his commitment as an associate in 2003 after he and ruth made a pilgrimage to Emmitsburg, Md., with S. Judith Metz. Ken related, “the Sisters of Charity strengthen me with their tenacity, their adventuresome spirit and their forward thinking. i have read about Mother Margaret George and S. blandina Segale – both very inspiring women.” like the Maxwell’s, the horney’s pray together each day. they also are neighbors. their close proximity to the Sisters is especially rewarding for ruth and Ken because they are easily able to attend many functions on campus, visit with SC friends and maintain a close spiritual connection as associates within the Community. hundreds of miles away in homosassa, Fla., Jasmine Coatney and her mother, andré Erlandson, made their commitments as associates at St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Church in 2002. a convert to Catholicism, andré completed rCia training initially and Jasmine followed. “one of our close friends from church, linda wolfertz, introduced us to the associate program,” Jasmine said, “but we felt we were not ‘worthy to join.’ S. Mary loyola [Mathia] convinced us otherwise.
“we are part of a small group of associates and Sisters that meets monthly. our meetings are rich with a lot of laughter. we are outrageously progressive in our theology,” confided bob with a smile. as an added note, liz is the sister of associate Fr. Joe bruening, who lives on the Motherhouse campus in regina hall and says Mass for the Sisters in Mother Margaret hall. Ken and ruth horney live in bayley Village, just across the street from the Motherhouse. ruth, a former member of the Sisters of Charity, recalled, “back in the mid-1980s, Sisters Bayley Village residents and Associates Ken and Ruth Horney say their close proximity to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse enables them to attend many functions on campus.
S. Loyola and everyone at church were so supportive. We went through formation with Associates Rachel Edwards, Barbara Strickland and Pauline Gauthier,” remembered André. “My mom and I visited the Motherhouse,” continued Jasmine, “during the summer of 2009 with some of the other Florida Associates. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. We felt like we were ‘home.’” Jasmine feels the presence of Elizabeth Seton in her daily life. “I have children and work two jobs,” she said. “After we watched the film about Elizabeth Seton called ‘A Time for Miracles,’ I knew I would always have my faith. Mother Seton’s life was very much like mine. I knew I wanted to be more like her.” Jasmine and her mother share unique bonds with the Sisters of Charity founder. (From left) André Erlandson and daughter Jasmine Coatney made their commitments as Associates in Mission in 2002.
Back in Cincinnati, we find Anne Shaffer and her daughters Katie Klus and April Vale devoted to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in a very deep, spiritual way. “April, Katie and I belong to a prayer group that meets weekly. We encourage each other through word and example to deepen our relationship with God. Elizabeth Seton is an inspiration to us that we can follow wherever God leads us because we have the support of each other and the Sisters of Charity family,” Anne said. She recalls, “I started coming to programs in the Spirituality Center back in the 1980s. I attribute a lot of my spiritual growth to Sisters Esther Marie Humbert and Carol Brenner. April worked in the Spirituality Office around that time. She decided to become an Associate and asked if I wanted to go through formation with her. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.” Anne added, “The Sisters inspire me to try to live simply and to give to those less fortunate. They have enriched my prayer life tremendously.” April said, “I talk to Elizabeth a lot. She is a very real and important source of the values of charity, humility and simplicity that I try to instill in my children.” Katie, a new mother, echoes the family mantra, “We are truly blessed to be Associates … Being a part of the Sisters of Charity family enriches my life. In October 2009, my mom, sister and I went to Emmitsburg, Md., and it was such a spiritual weekend made all the more special being there with them. Becoming a mother strengthened my connection to Elizabeth and to my own mother. Having my sister and mom both be Associates keeps me grounded and challenges me to continue to keep God at the center of my life.” “My sister Jan [Metz] and I began our teaching careers with the Sisters of Charity at Little Flower and St. Dominic schools [in Cincinnati],” remembered Associate Joyce Metz. “Jan actually re-introduced me to the Sisters of Charity. Jan has worked as a chaplain at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Edgewood, Ky., for almost 30 years. The late S. Michael Ann Daly was Jan’s supervisor and friend at the hospital. Jan invited me to go to dinner with them. The rest is history. I became friends with S. Michael Ann, too. She was a wonderful person who invited me to become an Associate in 2004. After studying and praying with S. Joyce Brehm and my Associate group, I made my commitment in 2005. Jan and I both identify with Elizabeth since we were both in education and service ministries. She is an inspiration to us on a daily basis. Jan and I feel privileged and honored to be Associates and we pray for Sisters and Associates each day,” Joyce said. w i n t e r / sp r i n g 2 0 1 2
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 370 Sisters are joined in their mission by 193 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 32 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 Editor Erin Reder Graphic Design/Layout Michelle Bley Photographer S. Marty Dermody Director of Communications S. Georgia Kitt Executive Council Liaison S. Mary Bookser Advisory Board Members: S. Mary Ann Flannery Mary Jo Mersmann S. Emily Anne Phelan S. Therese Ann Reis S. Joyce Richter S. Frances Maureen Trampiets 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 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: $15 per year
5900 Delhi Road Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051 www.srcharitycinti.org
5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 http://www.srcharitycinti.org
Sisters of Charity Honored in New Mexico: S. Celestia Koebel cuts the ribbon at the dedication of the “Angelitas de Caridad” sculpture in Martineztown, N.M. Photo courtesy of Paul Hyso
Triumphs, Tears and Challenges: Mary Dennemann, a teacher at DePaul Cristo Rey High School, the newest sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, explains a concept to students during Physical Science. Photo courtesy of Don Denney
The Love of Christ Urges Us: S. Helen Julia Hahn is the pastoral minister at St. Lawrence parish in Price Hill (Cincinnati).
Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.