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Summer 2014

S i s t e r s

o f

C h a r i t y

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C i n c i n n at i

A Letter


Our Sister



Dear Sisters, Associates and Friends,

Contents Features Relying on God’s Spirit..............................9 S. Donna Steffen’s ministry as Novice Director. The Work of Elizabeth Seton’s Mustard Seed...........................................10 Leaving our legacy in the cities of Bay City, Jackson and Lansing in Michigan. An Everyday Life of Gratitude..................15 S. Pat Newhouse leads an active life in Okemos, Michigan.

In the season of spring, we planted seeds, looking forward to the summer months. Summer is here bringing about that new life, energized by the sun, filling the earth with beauty and abundance in gardens and fields. Also with summer comes the time for relaxing with family and friends. We find ourselves retelling stories or creating new ones. That’s why “God invented people because God loves stories” (Elie Wiesel). In this summer issue you will read many interesting stories of how God has taken root and is bursting forth in the lives of our Sisters and Associates: u

Blooming Where She is Planted...............17 Barbara Raymond celebrates 25 years as an Associate in Mission. The Final Goodbye..................................18 Sisters and employees work collaboratively to celebrate the life of a Sister. A Leap of Faith that Continues to Bear Fruit.............................................22 The 10-year anniversary of the BedfordCincinnati merger.



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Departments OPJCC......................................................5 Earth Day Fair, It’s Our Nature Motherhouse/Mother Margaret Hall........21 Shining STARS Vocation/Formation.................................24 Back to the Future? Social Justice Spotlight.............................25 Let Us Not Forget From the Archives....................................26 S. Mary Noreen McGrath On the Cover: (From left) Sisters Maureen Donovan, Pat Wlock and Julie Gatza continue the 140-year legacy of the Sisters of Charity at St. James Elementary in Bay City, Michigan. To read more about our Sisters in the Bay City, Jackson and Lansing areas in Michigan, visit “The Work of Elizabeth Seton’s Mustard Seed” on Page 10. Photo courtesy of Dick Van Nostrom 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.



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The energy around the 2014 Sisters of Charity Federation Gathering of 59 Sisters from the 13 congregations/provinces living the Vincentian/Setonian charism; How our formation program is listening to women who feel a call to vowed life; The SC legacy since 1873 in the Bay City/Lansing/Jackson cities in Michigan; A reflection on the 10th anniversary of the Bedford merger;

Ministry stories of Sisters Pat Newhouse and Donna Steffen;

The June 22 Associate commitment ceremony - the welcoming of five new Associates, three Associates making lifetime commitments and the silver jubilee celebration for two Associates; Spotlight on Associate Barbara Raymond; and

Social justice issues where the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are passionately involved with climate change, the Congo and other projects by our Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation.

So sit back with a cool glass of lemonade or iced tea and enjoy the “crazy, hazy days of summer” while you read our summer issue of Intercom. Recall your own stories and celebrate the lives of those you shared them with, thanking God for the many blessings you received from living those stories. Warm blessings,

S. Lois Jean Goettke


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? Fall 1941 – S. Martha Marie O’Donnell was appointed to the Family Service Division of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Sister served in this position for 21 years. Sept. 25, 1955 – Two members of the General Council visited Mrs. Glockner, the widow of Albert Glockner, founder of Glockner Sanitarium. Their purpose was to ask her permission to change the name of Glockner/Penrose Hospital to Penrose Hospital. Mrs. Glockner graciously consented.

In Memoriam

S. Martha Marie O’Donnell (1890-1962)

Oct. 12, 1959 – Pope John XXIII, in his first public announcement in English, informed the three American Cardinals in the assembly that the cause of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton had passed the “ante-preparatory” stage and would soon be advanced to the next step – the proclamation of the “heroicity of her virtues.” (Proclaimed December 1959) Aug. 9, 1982 – Otto Jacob, mayor of Wiesbaden, Germany, and his wife and son visited the Motherhouse. Mrs. Jacob is the granddaughter of Wilhelm Lamprecht, the artist who painted the mural in the Motherhouse’s Immaculate Conception Chapel eight decades earlier. Mrs. Jacob said that they wanted to see this mural because her grandfather had always referred to this painting as his favorite.

Please visit “In Memoriam” at for biographical information and reflections on the Sisters of Charity and Associates who have died.

May our Sisters and Associates enjoy the fruits of their labor as well as peace with their God. S. Ann Dorenbusch August 11, 2014 S. Mary Patricia Wagner July 20, 2014 S. Claire Boehm July 8, 2014 S. Mary Schlanser June 26, 2014 S. Ruth Marian Hanekamp June 8, 2014 Associate Edith Hendrix May 19, 2014

An 1899 photograph of Wilhelm Lamprecht’s mural before the main altar was installed in the Motherhouse’s Immaculate Conception Chapel.

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T h e E v e r - E v o lv i n g

Charism of Charity By S. Louise Lears


magine the Chapel, hallways, dining rooms, and meeting rooms of the Motherhouse graced with the presence of elected leaders from the 11 congregations of Sisters of Charity in North America and the two provinces of the Daughters of Charity in the United States. That was the scene in early June as members of the SC Federation gathered in Cincinnati for their annual meeting. Each congregation/province in the Federation takes a turn hosting this meeting and 2014 was our opportunity to welcome the Charity family to Cincinnati.

More than 60 members of the Sisters of Charity Federation gathered in Cincinnati, Ohio, for their annual meeting in June.

lifestyles, both personally and communally. Author and consultant Peter Block moved aside the tables and rearranged our chairs in tight circles of three-four people, giving us an experience of how small, incremental changes in systems thinking can lead to systemic change.

On the second day, Halifax Sister Donna Geernaert led us in a wonderfully inspiring reflection on the relationship of the Universe Story The Fourth Conference of Mother Seton’s Daughters and our Charity Federation Charism. met at Mount St. Joseph April 27-28, 1949. Daughters The Universe Story is a contemporary of Charity and Sisters of Charity from Halifax, Nova The SC Federation first formed in cosmology, a worldview based on current Scotia, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Cincinnati, New the early 1940s to promote the Cause of Jersey and New York attended the meeting. Photo by scientific theory about the origins of Jack Foster Elizabeth Bayley Seton for sainthood. Since the universe and all its inhabitants. For the canonization of Elizabeth Seton in us, Sisters and Daughters of Charity, 1975, Federation members have focused on the Universe Story is of particular collaborative efforts to bring the Charity interest and a great challenge because it charism and mission alive in our world. In order to be more highlights God’s love as the energy of evolution. effective advocates on peace and justice issues, the Federation On the third day, we explored ways in which the SC gained recognition as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Federation could “speak with one voice” on issues such as at the United Nations in 1997. Cincinnati Sister Caroljean Willie immigration, human trafficking, and climate change. We is the current NGO representative for the Federation. examined current collaborative Federation projects and imagined The overall theme of this year’s gathering, “The EverEvolving Charism of Charity,” was fleshed out in prayer, liturgy, creative presentations, videos, contemplative silence, and small/ large group discussions. Each evening included an opportunity to share meals and music: a German Beer Garden Supper (with rousing renditions of the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance); an Ohio River Boat Ride (with line dancing); and a banquet (with harp music by our own Sister Montiel Rosenthal). On the first day of the meeting, we addressed systems thinking and systemic change. Sister Caroljean Willie offered an excellent presentation on environmental sustainability, challenging us to live ecologically responsible and sustainable 4

future possibilities. We heard from each congregation/province their “good news” from the past year. And we surfaced delightful ideas for the 40th anniversary of the canonization of Elizabeth Seton on September 15, 2015. More to come on this celebration! On the final day, one of our Canadian members, Les Religieuses de Notre-Dame-du-Sacre-Coeur, shared an exciting video and sweet song welcoming Federation members to Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada in June 2015. Though our Federation Sisters have returned to their congregational homes, they left behind a palpable energy and passion for the charism and mission.


Earth Day Fair, It’s Our Nature By Debbie Weber, OPJCC director


he Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation, along with EarthConnection, hosted an Earth Day Fair on April 22. We celebrated our Earth as well as offered educational tables in a fun atmosphere. Employees, Sisters, Associates and friends participated in our celebration of the 44th Earth Day since its inception. So what is the big deal about Earth Day? It is a day set aside to rekindle public commitment and build community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities. According to Earth Day Network, it is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. It is our responsibility as Catholics to care for all of creation, human and nonhuman. Pope Francis said, “I wish to mention another threat to peace, which arises from the greedy exploitation of environmental resources. Even if ‘nature is at our disposition,’ all too often we do not respect it or consider it a gracious gift which we must care for and set at the service of our brothers and sisters, including future generations.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared, “Our Creator has given us the gift of creation: the air we breathe, the water that sustains life, the fruits of the land that nourish us, and the entire web of life without which human life cannot flourish. All of this God created and found ‘very good.’ We believe our response to global climate change should be a sign of our respect for God’s creation.” It is also appropriate for us to celebrate the gifts of the natural world. In Psalm 65, the psalmist starts off praising the Creator and then moves into images of pastures, hills, meadows

(From left) Motherhouse emp loyees Gary Swafford and Rebecca O’Leary receive a sample of GreenClean, an environmentally friendly hou sehold cleaner, during the Earth Day Fair on April 22.

and valleys as they dress themselves for a day of celebrating, shouting and singing praises. In other words, all creation, human and nonhuman, have a God-given voice to celebrate and sing. And so we celebrated on April 22, 2014, in the Rose Room and a hallway of the Motherhouse. Thanks to Rebecca O’Leary, food service manager, and her staff, we had a “Green Farmers’ Market” stocked with lettuce, green apples, asparagus, rosemary, green beans and more. The station where people could measure their carbon footprint and the compost display were popular as were the Seton High School, EarthConnection and Western Wildlife Corridor displays. Free samples of GreenClean, an environmentally friendly, all-purpose household cleaner, along with other giveaways such as cloth napkins insured that no one left empty-handed. The busiest table at the fair was the raffle table. Sisters, Associates and employees won items such as an EarthBox container gardening system, an Amish-made birdfeeder and bird seed, Reds tickets, Frisch’s gift card, planters and a gift basket full of “green” items like vegetable seeds, travel mug, cotton dish towel, and bamboo plates. A heart-felt thank you goes to volunteers Gail, Sue, S. Patrice, S. Joyce and S. Andrea. We wrapped up our day of celebration with a movie showing of Chasing Ice, a documentary film about the efforts of nature photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey to publicize the effects of climate change. The DVD is available in the Motherhouse Resource Room.

Seton High School students were on hand during the Sisters of Charity Earth Day Fair to discuss their school recycling program.

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Next year the SC Earth Day Fair will be held in Cedars Auditorium on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. All are invited for another celebration of God’s gift to us – Earth. And remember, every day is Earth day! 5

Charity Family The Singing Circle By S. Mary Bodde Memorial Day Service a Success More than 150 people participated in the May 24 Memorial Day Commemoration Service to honor the Sisters of Charity Civil War nurses. Those who attended were joined via closed-circuit television by Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall and in the Motherhouse. More than 20 members of the Hills of Kentucky Dulcimers provided music and accompaniment for congregational singing of Civil War era hymns and songs. Eight Sisters delivered a choral reading poetically depicting the ministrations of the Sister-nurses. Following the service everyone was invited to visit the Sisters of Charity cemetery where the gravesites of these valiant women were decorated for the occasion. S. Mary Loyola Mathia Retires Approximately 1,200 friends and acquaintances of S. Mary Loyola Mathia filled St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in Spring Hill, Florida, on June 1 to celebrate Sister’s retirement. S. Mary Loyola has ministered in pastoral ministry and education in Florida for the past 35 years; she has been at St. Frances Cabrini since 2007. In addition, Sister is responsible for helping many women become SC Associates. The bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, Rt. Rev. Robert Lynch, was the celebrant of the liturgy. Employees Recognized for Years of Service

Motherhouse employee Betty Hughes (third from left) celebrated 40 years with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati this year.


The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati celebrated their employees on May 29 with an Employee Recognition ceremony. Employees were honored for their years of dedication and service to the Community at the Motherhouse and Mother Margaret Hall. Retirees also were recognized. Betty Hughes, environmental services, was recognized for 40 years of service.

Crossing the Finish Line S. Tracy Kemme, S. Andrea Koverman, Affiliate Annie Klapheke and S. Leslie Keener, CDP, were part of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center’s marathon relay team during the May 4 Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. In addition Sisters Joyce Richter, Jean Miller, Donna Steffen, Sally Duffy and Janet Gildea participated. Women and men religious participating on Team IJPC all wore the shirt “Religious on the Run for Justice and Peace” creating a visible witness to the vibrancy of religious life in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. SC Artwork Featured in Live Auction S. Mary Laura Miceli’s “The Face” was auctioned at the Alzheimer’s Association’s (Greater Cincinnati Chapter) Art of Making Memories event on May 1, which raises funds to support research and provide the programs and services sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association. Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility participates in the association’s Memories in the Making art program. Each year artwork of one MMH resident is used for the silent auction. This year Sister’s artwork was included in the live auction and sold for $800. Intercom

S. Blandina Segale, Pray for Us

Honors and Awards Congratulations to S. Barbara Hagedorn, who was recognized as one of Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation’s 2014 Women of Compassion on May 9. Recipients are honored for the impact they have had on the lives of those around them. S. Barbara currently ministers as the coordinator of client services at the Good Samaritan Free Health Clinic in Price Hill (Cincinnati). S. Janice Ernst was recognized with the first annual DePaul Cristo Rey Spirit of Service Award, which recognizes an individual who has offered exemplary service to the DePaul Cristo Rey High School community. She was honored at the school’s Volunteer Appreciation S. Janice Ernst with DPCR students (from left) Reception on May 7. DPCR Aaron, Caylum and Deanna. President S. Jeanne Bessette noted, “[S. Janice] has helped us to understand just who the Sisters of Charity are – not just the idea of them – but the flesh and blood women they are.” S. Rose Martin Morand received the Scholar of Life Award from St. Joseph Orphanage in Cincinnati on May 31. S. Rose Martin was the last SC administrator of St. Joseph Orphanage with her ministry extending from 1972-’79. She began SJO’s transition from traditional orphanage to its current mission of providing care and services to children who have been abused, neglected or are emotionally troubled. The Scholar of Life Award recognizes not only Sister’s contributions to SJO, but also her long ministry.

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Photo courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives


he Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are pleased to announce that the cause for the canonization of S. Blandina (Maria Rosa) Segale, SC (1850-1941) has been approved. The cause of Sister’s canonization is being led by the board of St. Joseph’s Children, Albuquerque, New Mexico, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives. Based on documents already submitted to the Vatican, S. Blandina can now be called by her new title, Servant of God. This is the first step toward canonization. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, held a press conference on June 25 to announce the Vatican’s immediate permission to open the cause. On June 29 a pontifical ceremony at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe was held to post the official decree on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi’s doors, announcing the cause of Servant of God Sister Blandina. To learn more about S. Blandina, including a short biography, please visit the Sisters of Charity website at events/segale.htm. The fall issue of Intercom will include much more information pertaining to the cause of canonization. Stay tuned!


Listening to Earth, A s O u r T eacher By S. Jean Miller


o you remember the times you sat by a river and thought of people you knew downstream yet haven’t seen for some time? Or when did you last marvel over the sunrise or sunset? Have you walked in a woods lately and learned something from the trees or the squirrels or the deer? Could you name the various wildflowers in your path? Did you enjoy listening to the rain on your roof? Is your memory alive with the times you sat by the ocean and pondered its vastness? Have you laid on your back on the grass at night and “looked down” at the night sky to name the constellations? Have you walked by the light of the full moon? These spiritual moments are special times when we connect with the Divine in our deeper selves. They are times we find peace, connection, quiet, joy, contemplation, interdependence, calm and a desire to “build three tents” here and stay forever. Now we might find ourselves walking on scorched, dry land in danger of forest fire. Maybe floods have surprised us and arrived to our city unannounced. That creek we crossed during walks is now stone dry. The winds come more frequently and are much stronger. People are being moved from islands where the water is invading their land making food impossible to grow. Yes, change is real. Earth is calling us to listen, reflect, question, and see how we can be part of the new solutions for healing Earth.

Three new reports might help us respond to the cry. One is the global scientists’ new report, called National Climate Assessment, issued May 2014. Another is the CNA, Military Advisory Board’s report on National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change. The third is President Obama’s Climate Change Action Plan to respond to the crisis our Earth is suffering. Each of these reports helps us to understand what is happening around us and how local, state, national and global governments are responding by mitigation and adaptation to the crisis before them for the healing of Earth and the safety of neighbors. In a new article by Al Gore, “The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate,” he tells us to act, ourselves, and to ask our legislators to act because we know what needs to happen, decrease carbon and there are many ways to do it. For our personal response to the crisis, we might go back to sitting by the lake or in the woods or overlooking the river and ask Earth, our teacher, “What should I do for you, Mother Earth?” Then quietly listen for the answer. It takes all of us. The time is now.

Our Earth Statement, written some years ago, gave us some guidance when it said, “Earth is our teacher.” In so many ways it is calling us to change. It shows us that everything we do effects everything else. That means we can make a difference for our suffering Earth community. As the Family of Charity Community we can help one another as we are part of Earth’s healing.



Relying on God’s Spirit By Megan Moore, Communications summer intern


efore S. Donna Steffen began to take part in the discernment process of her Community’s current Novices, she had to do some discerning of her own.

It was October 2011 when S. Donna was asked if she would be interested in becoming the Community’s Novice Director. “It really took me off guard,” S. Donna said. “It was both very humbling to be asked, and it was also very serious. I knew I really had to sit with God with this; I needed God’s direction, to show me the way. “I also asked myself the question, ‘Could I say no?’” she continued. “There has to be freedom in discernment so I realized I could. If it really felt wrong, or just wasn’t a good fit, I would need to say no. But that wasn’t what I experienced.” In order to determine if she was being called to this ministry, Sister received help from a spiritual director who told her to look for PAGL, or peace, assurance, gratitude and love. “If these were present, it was a sign of God’s spirit,” she said. “I started journaling about what my vocation has meant to me and what it has meant to me to be a Sister of Charity. As I did this, I was filled with all of those things. I added enthusiasm to the list because I knew that I needed excitement and passion.” After saying ‘yes,’ S. Donna knew there was much work to be done; by June 2013 the Community would have two women entering the Canonical Novitiate – Tracy Kemme and Andrea Koverman. Since the Community had not had Novices for almost one decade, the entire program needed to be developed. In preparation, Sister made a 30-day retreat with the Sisters of Loretto and began seeking advice from other religious communities in Cincinnati involved in formation ministry. “I found a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who had their Novitiate in Cincinnati at that time,” she said. “I sat down with her and she told me how she had developed their program and what the components were. After about two hours with her, I felt like I could do this. I had an idea of what a weekly schedule could look like; this was really helpful for me.” In addition to the help she received from others, S. Donna’s previous ministries proved to be beneficial from the beginning. With a background in spiritual direction she understood the spiritual journey, and realized that each person processes differently. “My past experience with the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults was also one of persons becoming incorporated. It all contributes to this ministry,” she said.

these things,” she said. “… A lot of this year is about relationship. It’s about the Sisters getting to know Andrea and Tracy and Andrea and Tracy getting to know the Sisters. “There is the intangible charism of the humility, simplicity and charity in the Community. You don’t think, OK now we’re going to be humble or now we’re going to show charity, but as you experience people, you see that those values are alive. “You learn by doing,” she continued. “The different justice demonstrations we have participated in; the ministries that they are doing; praying together. They are living this and they are learning.” Beyond the help of the Community, S. Donna is completely dependent upon God. “I knew instinctively that I could only do this in God. There has been this whole experience of it all unfolding. I don’t know what the next thing is. I have to keep asking ‘What will I do?’ ‘Is there something I should be talking about with Andrea and Tracy?’ ‘Who do I need to ask about this?’ It’s a good thing for me to be day-to-day dependent on God. It’s a wonderful experience, though it’s challenging not knowing what’s next.” When looking toward the future of the Community, S. Donna is nothing but hopeful. “Women entering today need a strong relationship with God,” she said. “I have no idea what they’ll need in life; I’m sure I can’t even picture it, but whatever it is they can do that if they have this grounding and this anchoring inside. I’m not the one giving that, God is and it’s been happening long before they came. I don’t see them worrying too much. It’s not about numbers, it’s about living this moment and into the future, and we will know, in the same way they’ll know, here’s what I’m to do. “I can say that I feel very blessed and gifted in my life. I’ve had very rich experiences in God and my life, and I trust that that will be there for them, too. I believe that the charism of religious life still exists. God does and will call people.”

Within her ministry, Sister’s greatest resources are her fellow Sisters of Charity. “It’s the lived experience that helps one take on SUMMER 2014


Our Legacy: T he W ork of E li z abeth S eton ’ s M u stard S eed


n Michigan in the 1870s, Catholics were arriving from French-speaking sections of Canada and a variety of European countries, all desiring an education and firm foundation in the faith for their growing families. Church authorities and women religious responded. The Sisters of Charity were receiving requests from across the country for Sisters to serve in orphanages and hospitals and to open schools. Michigan was no exception. In addition to Detroit, the Congregation responded to needs that now represent more than 90 years of ministry in each of the areas of Jackson, Bay City and Lansing. St. James Parish, Bay City, had its beginnings in the immediate aftermath of the US Civil War, when Rev. Henry J. Schutjes, a native of Belgium and then pastor of Frenchspeaking St. Joseph Parish, Bay City, saw to the construction in 1867 of a church for the rapidly increasing numbers of Englishspeaking immigrants in the Diocese of Saginaw. Reverend Schutjes became the first pastor of St. James when the parish was established in September 1863. An immediate concern was the education of the children in an essentially pioneer area. Construction of the first St. James School took place at the same time and five Sisters of Charity opened it in September 1873. It was the first co-educational, 12-year, tuitionfree parochial school in the United States. When the school opened Sept. 1 there were 120 pupils enrolled; by the end of September it had grown to over 400 and three more Sisters came from Cincinnati to relieve the situation. Classes for the high school took place in the Sisters’ convent, but by February they were transferred to the school building.

One of the early graduating classes of St. James, Bay City, Michigan, in 1880.

From an article in The Catholic Telegraph in December 1873, when they paid their first visit to the school to see the Sisters and become acquainted with the system, we read: “It was a joy to behold the smiles and bright eyes which greeted us. One glance told us that S. Isabella was engaged at a work which she loves. Beneath a little black head-dress there appeared a face of more than ordinary interest, lighted by smiles which would make a school room a place of happiness to any child. We attentively watched a reading lesson by a class of little ones … we enjoyed the entertaining manner of S. Cornelia as well as the creditable proficiency of the scholars in her room of young ladies. … We find this institution a credit to our city and request our readers to pay the Sisters a friendly visit. You will be kindly received by the Sisters and will have an opportunity of witnessing to the beauty of character of those ladies who are respected wherever the name ‘Sister of Charity’ is spoken.” In 1900 the high school was accredited by Notre Dame and Cornell Universities, in 1908 by the University of Michigan and in 1918 by The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. The first building was torn down by 1905 to be replaced by a new school equipped with a library, laboratory and more modern facilities that allowed the Sisters to begin teaching experimental St. James School in its beginnings.



chemistry for the first time. In 1906 a new brick grade school was completed; just six years later the growing enrollment forced the parish to build again. Rev. Thomas Rafter served as pastor of the parish, school superintendent, teacher, and chief builder throughout his 44 years there. His educational tradition was carried on after his death in 1917 by Rev. John Troy who realized a goal for organized athletics. In 1923, a combined gym-auditorium and central heating plant was built. Rev. Troy inspired the formation of athletic teams which brought the school and parish widespread recognition in his 18 years as pastor. S. Margaret Marie Anthony said her happiest memories are of going to school at St. James; as the 17th of 18 children they could have had their own school, but it was the welcoming, loving spirit that the Sisters created that made it so special. During World War II she was thrilled when their music teacher, S. Miriam Elizabeth, invited her and another girl to cantor the 6 a.m. Mass when the organist was not able to be there. As a senior Sister was invited to crown Mary for the end-of-the-year May Crowning. It was on her way up the aisle that she decided to say ‘yes’ to her vocation and become a Sister of Charity.

Many acknowledged that their fears disappeared as the benefits materialized to be more than they had anticipated. Their strong loyalties and trust in their parishes, schools and “their Sisters” gave them the courage to take that risk. As difficult as this time of merger was, I was grateful that I had experienced the joy and pain of true Christian sharing in the parishes.” St. James Grade School remains open, 141 years later, with three Sisters of Charity, Julie Gatza, Pat Wlock and Maureen Donovan, serving Pre3-K through fifth grades. All three are native Michiganders, two from Bay City. S. Margaret O’Connor remembers the very hardworking women and excellent teachers she joined in 1969 at St. James. “We were very faithful to our lesson plans and enjoyed the willingness of the students to learn. They were attentive and respectful. I had the seventh grade and the principal, S. Maureen Donovan, was always around; she visited the classrooms, attended all the students’ activities and was in tune with what was happening in the students’ lives. It was a joy to work in such a supportive atmosphere,” S. Margaret stated. “The parents valued Catholic education.”

By 1952 plans were in place for a $750,000 three-story, brick-faced, modern high school at 14th and Monroe streets; 264 high school pupils had their first classes there in December 1954. Five lay teachers were hired in 1956 for each, the grade and high school, due to increased enrollment. A decade later, in 1966, a new $300,000, 12-classroom elementary school was built on South Monroe, between 13th and 14th streets. Enrollment reached 1,006 (575 in grade school and 431 in high school). For financial reasons four Bay City Catholic high schools merged in 1968 with the new high school, All Saints Central High School, utilizing the facilities of all four schools. Seven Sisters of Charity, eight Felician Sisters and 10 Dominican (From left) Sisters Dorothy William Englert, Patricia Wlock, Mary Michele Fischer, Julie Sisters of Grand Rapids, along with two diocesan Gatza, Julia Mary Deiters, Kay Tardiff and Maureen Donovan at the 125-year anniversary priests and 19 laity taught 957 students. S. Julia of St. James, Bay City, Michigan. Mary Deiters was the first North Campus principal (1963-’69) and S. Rita Schmutte followed her, remaining until One year following the opening of St. James, we again 1972 when the Sisters of Charity withdrew from the high school. read from The Catholic Telegraph, November 1874: “This fall Thus the services of the Sisters of Charity in the first Catholic the Sisters of Charity of Cedar Grove commenced their labor coeducational high school in the United States were terminated of Christian education in the city of Lansing (Michigan), after 99 years. All Saints High School continues today under lay whose population is about 7,000, of whom not more than leadership. one-tenth are Catholics. It was thought that in this stronghold of Protestantism a Catholic school would be impossible, S. Julia Deiters recalls how much the students and their considering the small number and means of the Catholic families loved and took pride in their schools and parishes. population … yet, the Sisters of Cedar Grove came, three in “[The merger of the high schools] was a painful period for number, with no other baggage of any amount but a strong many in Bay City. Some of the St. James people felt that such a faith, a thorough training for the work of Christian education change would be disloyal to the Sisters of Charity. The merger and a burning zeal to improve the welfare of others every talent proved to be a beneficial decision for all – students and parents. they had received. Three months have not yet elapsed since SUMMER 2014


consolidated with Gabriels High School, which was renamed Catholic Central. Eight Sisters of Charity transferred to the new school. The last SCs to teach at O’Rafferty were Sisters Mary Berchmans Straub, Mary Timothy Cahill, Lucy Cornelia, Virginia Anne Temple, Grace Ann Gratsch, Marie Ann Austin, Rita Hawk and Agnes Patrice McGuiggan. Mrs. Louis Newhouse and Mrs. Frank Parker, both mothers of Sisters of Charity, were responsible for beginning the Mother Seton Guild in Lansing.

The last Sisters to teach at Cathedral Grade School in Lansing, Michigan, included Sisters Ruth Hunt (back, left) and Juanita Marie Gonzales (back, center).

their arrival, and they have succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations. They are already over-crowded, and children keep coming all the time, Protestant as well as Catholic. …” Three months earlier, in August, Sisters Octavia McKenna, Mary Annina Gangloff and Mary Alice Gleason arrived at the six-room St. Mary School in Lansing; they opened the doors with 100 children enrolled. The beginnings of St. Mary’s were humble, but like the Gospel mustard seed, its glories, traditions and blessed memories spread to other parts of the city. The plans for a new church, which were drawn by S. Agnes Louise, the first music teacher among the Sisters of Charity who came to Lansing, were completed in 1881. Property changes, replacement of pastors, and the opening of St. Mary’s High School took place in the early 1900s, again staffed by the Sisters of Charity. A new hall was shared by both, but most needed as a temporary church. Father John O’Rafferty arrived as pastor in 1915 with 469 students in the school and 11 Sisters of Charity teachers. By the late 1920s the high school had 220 students with tuition for out-of-parish pupils set at $15; the school was able to accommodate high school pupils of the whole city.

Meanwhile the Diocese closed St. Mary’s Grade School, sending students to the newly merged school, Holy Cross. Three Sisters of Charity chose to teach in the merged school system. S. Juanita Marie Gonzales was the last Sister of Charity at Holy Cross School, ministering there until 1995. S. Maureen Donovan came to Lansing by way of a smallΩtown in northeast Iowa. She recalls: “My siblings and I eventually adjusted to the very large St. Mary’s Cathedral School. It was here that I first met the Sisters of Charity. What a blessing! My vocation was nurtured by my family and nourished by the example and teaching of the Sisters who taught me. The Sisters reached out to our family in so many ways: gave us jobs so as to pay for our school books, food for our family, Christmas gifts galore (found on our porch) and they walked to our house to comfort and console our family when my brother was killed in a car accident. What an inspiration to all of those who experienced the caring of these beautiful Sisters. Very few could surpass their unselfish generosity!” St. Mary Cathedral in Lansing, Michigan.

The year 1937 brought many changes. Lansing became a diocese and St. Mary’s Church was elevated to the status of a cathedral; Most Reverend Joseph Albers of Cincinnati was named the Bishop of Lansing. The following January a fire swept the chancery, but a fire wall saved St. Mary’s rectory. Eighteen Sisters of Charity were teaching 385 pupils in the grade school and 290 in the high school; by Father O’Rafferty’s retirement in 1940 a new high school was completed serving St. Mary’s, St. Casimir’s and Holy Cross parishes. In the 1950s some of our strongest SC educators were teaching at St. Mary’s - Sisters Eugene Fox, Isabella Glenn, Mary Janet Miller and William Mary O’Connor. Reorganization to better meet students’ needs took place in the 1960s; two new Catholic diocesan high schools were established, thus closing St. Mary’s High School. The students were enrolled in O’Rafferty High School, staffed by the Sisters of Charity and Christian Brothers. By 1970 O’Rafferty closed, and 12


St. Mary School in Jackson, Michigan.

S. Rita Hawk has fond memories of her teaching years at St. Mary and O’Rafferty: “In August, 1960, right out of the Juniorate, I was missioned to St. Mary’s Cathedral High in Lansing. At the first parent session, parents were lined from my third-floor classroom to the basement to see this young teacher. About five years later, when we had moved to our new O’Rafferty High School, those same parents would stop by to chat on parent’s night. I was by then teaching their second or fourth child. “Sometimes I consider myself as much a native of Lansing, Michigan, as of Danville, Ohio, because in many ways it was in Lansing that I matured as a woman, Sister of Charity and a teacher! While I had no idea where Lansing was when I received my mission slip, I am deeply grateful for the 10 years there, especially since it was during and shortly after Vatican Council II.” S. Grace Ann Gratsch was missioned to O’Rafferty High in the 1960s to teach religion and the times they were a ‘changin.’ She recalls: “It was a wonderful time of re-discovering Jesus in our lives, in human experience, in history, in film. [Our religion team] reflected on them in the light of Scripture and Christian truth. Our team meetings were hilarious as we would sometimes say, ‘what does this have to do with religion?’ The Lansing students were great and ate it up. They called us the God Squad. It was a very good time to be in Lansing.”

Lansing native S. Mary Ellen Murphy says her growing up years unquestionably include the Sisters of Charity. She remembers, “Coming from a large family with three older siblings and fiver younger ones it seems we were regularly awaiting the grand entrance of a new brother or sister. Of course, baptism was followed by the inevitable trip to the convent to proudly ‘show off ’ the newest member of the family. I think we looked as forward to that experience as to the baptism itself. What I most fondly remember about the Sisters who taught us and were a part of the fabric of our lives growing up was their spirit of joy in living, their genuine interest in all of us students and our families, their ability to make learning engaging and their ever-ready sense of humor.” In 1964 S. Anita Parks was going to be a sophomore in high school when she decided she wanted to attend the newly built O’Rafferty High School. “I really wanted to go to the Catholic school but my dad just didn’t know where the money for tuition was going to come from,” S. Anita said. “Somehow I convinced him that I needed to attend the new school and I said he could have all my babysitting money. Along with struggling with the high school learning process I was introduced to the Sisters of Charity, some I found to be just teachers, however, others were ones I could talk to …” s u mmer 2 0 1 4

We move on to a third Sisters of Charity staffed parish, St. Mary Star of the Sea, located in Jackson, Michigan, where the Sisters of Charity remained as educators for 93 years. In December 1880 the Bishop of Detroit granted permission to establish a parish with a pastor, Rev. John W. Malaney, who had been ordained only a few months; he remained for the next 27 years. The school was built and opened in October 1889, with 150 students and six Sisters of Charity in charge; from the beginning it included secondary education. S. Leona Murphy was the first principal; one of the first graduates, Wilhelmina Heiler, became a Sister of Charity, taking the name S. Thomas Aquinas. By Easter 1913 school boys transferred all the convent furnishings to the new location on the corner of Francis and Wesley streets. In 1915 the school received accreditation from the University of Michigan. The first examiner was impressed with the penmanship classes which produced many beautiful high school writers. The second examiner was impressed by the unsupervised study hall; this was an educational innovation of Father Cullinane. He believed in the honor system. According to Father: “The students were put upon their own self-respect and honor, not to cheat, not to harm a fellow student, to obey the rules and to respect the traditions of the school. The last admonition was for themselves. They were to compose themselves at all times on the basis of the Golden Rule.” S. Mary Helen McKenna recalls the wonderful Sister educators that were integral to her St. Mary’s Catholic education. “The Sisters were happy, holy women dedicated to 13

A First Communion Class at St. Mary in Jackson, Michigan.

the work of education for the Church,” she said. “I remember the Corpus Christi processions, sodality, hot cocoa and marshmallows after caroling, yearbook after school; the Sisters were always at early Mass and gave real value to re-evangelization. As an Irish immigrant family our lives centered around the home, the school, parish and church. I remember in seventh grade my parents gave me a card with a one-dollar bill to take to my teacher at Christmas; S. Bernard Marie Fitzsimmons was extremely grateful, realizing the family sacrifice it entailed.” A long-time admirer of S. Mary Mel Healy, who served at St. Mary, Jackson in the 1940s, is Frank Stott, class of 1949. “She was my wonderful fourth grade teacher,” Frank recalled in a recent letter to the Communications Office. “She helped me overcome many academic problems, thus enabling me to graduate from St. Mary High School with magna cum laude honors. Being a high school teacher by profession, we corresponded through the years. I am most grateful for her influence on my life.” St. Mary School flourished, peaking in the late 1950s with more than 900 students and a faculty of 20 Sisters of Charity, plus lay faculty. In 1968 both St. Mary and St. John High School closed, joining together in a new facility, Lumen Christi High School. S. Mary Berchmans Straub was the last Sister of Charity principal. Nine Sisters of Charity moved to the new high school. In 1971 St. Mary’s became an inter-community convent when 12 IHM Sisters, most of whom taught at Lumen Christi, joined the six SCs living there. That same year the grade school became grades one through six only. The last Sister of Charity principal was S. Marie Pauline Skalski, who left Jackson in 1981; one year later the last SCs moved, thus ending 93 years of service to the people of Jackson.


S. Janice Ernst was one of the SCs teaching math at Lumen Christi. She recalls the transition to the new school. Four communities of Sisters, three groups of religious men and many lay people staffed the new school. Because of a construction strike during the summer, no classes were held in the new building until early October. “I remember walking into my classroom - no green board. What was a math teacher to do? There was an overhead projector, but no power in the electrical outlets. Being resourceful, I went to the construction crew and got a huge cardboard box, which served as my blackboard. During the month of no classrooms, we met in church halls, gave every possible test and had a City Championship football team before a single day of class occurred. “With Vatican II being implemented, St. Mary Church was rapidly changing; the changes were difficult for many. … All Catholics were invited to form small home groups to discuss the Vatican II documents. The Sisters were integrated into these groups; for many it was the first time we had been with adult Catholics in their own homes. It was enlightening for all of us. I made lifetime friends with whom I am in touch presently.” Vocations to the priesthood and religious life have been a hallmark of all three parishes we featured in this legacy article. Together they have fostered more than 175 vocations to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati alone, spanning more than 140 years. That mustard seed, first nurtured by Elizabeth Ann Seton and her pioneer women in Maryland, continues to take root at St. James, Bay City, and St. Mary’s, Lansing, through the influence and good works that abound. Sisters Patricia Wlock, Julie Gatza and Maureen Donovan continue to serve, this fall, in the newly formed All Saints Central Elementary School, living at St. James Convent. In the greater Lansing area, Sisters Marie Pauline Skalski, Anita Parks and Patricia Newhouse live in Okemos; they all have a current or former connection to St. Martha’s parish there. They provide a valued presence, volunteering where their services are needed. The Sisters of Charity no longer have a ‘person presence’ in Jackson, but they are fondly remembered. Past students, fellow parishioners, family members and mentees guide and inspire just as the efforts of our early Sisters directed so many. The active, living SC vocations fostered in Michigan have and are ministering in new ways today. They remain a living tribute to the early Sisters who were true to Elizabeth’s dream.


An Everyday Life of G ratit u de By S. Regina Kusnir


he will bring you to laughter and will put a smile on your face. She will touch your heart and give solace to your soul. She will minister to you in the good times and the challenging ones. She will make you wonder what she taps for the unbounded love and energy that seem to propel her. She will connect you with her beloved “Mother Seton,” and you will be better for it. “Every day of life more and more increases my gratitude to Him for having made me what I am.” These words of Mother Seton are the inspiration that frames S. Pat Newhouse’s life. S. Pat retired in 2008 but she leads an active life at St. Martha Parish in Okemos, Michigan, where she has been for 21 years. Like Mother Seton, her life comprises of a little bit of many things. S. Pat creatively brings pastoral care to life. For example, at wakes she chooses mysteries of the rosary that apply to the person’s life and reflects on them. A volunteer at Bickford Assisted Living she joins residents for the 10 a.m. Sunday TV Mass and gives communion to those assembled. She also participates in a monthly multiparish program bringing communion and the rosary to nursing and rehabilitation facilities. You have to love a senior activity director who has NO meetings! Nevertheless, she leads seniors on field trips, luncheons, movie outings, shrine visits, boat tours, retreats and game days with dessert. A gatherer of others, S. Pat organizes youth to do service for local seniors. She also speaks for groups on volunteering: Humorous, Mystical and Miraculous Things that Happen While Volunteering in Ministry. And, she has been on the Lansing Council on Aging since 2003. Ten years ago, Sisters Frances Adelaide Zink and Marjorie Farfsing invited S. Pat to become a docent at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Recently she filmed a video for the Charity Federation about S u mmer 2 0 1 4

S. Pat Newhouse (center), a docent at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland, met Seton High School graduate Alice Mulkerrin and her daughter Susan while volunteering at the Shrine in July.

docents and said, “I consider it to be a 30-day retreat with Mother Seton.” Highpoints throughout the years include in 2009, “I had the privilege of meeting Anne O’Neill and her family. Anne was cured of acute lymphatic leukemia at the age of 4 and her miracle was one of the three that led to the canonization of Mother Seton.” While ministering in Cleveland in 1975, she encouraged a family to pray to Mother Seton for their son who was in a terrible accident. “Right around her canonization day Jim’s eye, which was irreparably damaged, was instantly healed.” You may be wondering, “If that’s what she does in retirement, what came before it?” S. Pat taught grades one through eight, was a kindergarten sub, a principal, and a director of religious education. She ministered in Michigan and briefly in Ohio in Cleveland, Xenia and Cincinnati. At the age of 50, S. Pat went to clown school and became the professional ‘Looney Lou Lou.’ Clowning at the White House Easter Egg Roll with the Lansing Clown Alley in 1993 and 1994 and at the University of Amsterdam Children’s Oncology Hospital for her 60th birthday are among her clowning highlights. The SC roots of the Newhouse family are deep. S. Pat’s maternal grandparents worked for the Sisters of Charity of New York. Our Sisters taught her parents, S. Pat and her two younger sisters. And, since grandma’s time, intentions have been placed beneath Mother Seton’s statue on request. S. Pat continues this tradition. “I am a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati who has been graced with a wonderful life of sharing God’s love with all people, young and old, and for this I am forever grateful,” she said. To learn more about S. Pat and her summers as a docent at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, visit our website at


Celebrating A ssociate commitments


t was a day of celebration at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse on Sunday, June 22. The SC Community welcomed Jo Ann Ballinger, Kay Jackson, Kinny McQuade and Joan Wiebell as Associates in Mission. In addition, lifetime commitments were made by Associates Mary Jo Mersmann, Barbara Raymond and Mary Ellen Williams while Associates Carol Herbert and Barbara Raymond celebrated 25 years as Associates in Mission. Congratulations to all of the above mentioned Associates and to those who accompanied them on their journeys!

(From left) Associate Kinny McQuade and his Contact Sister, S. Paula Mary Russell

(From left) S. Louise Lears, Associate Kay Jackson and Associate Mary Ellen Williams

(From left) New Associates in Mission Joan Wiebell, Jo Ann Ballinger, Kinny McQuade and Kay Jackson


Associate Mary Jo Mersmann

(From left) Associates Carol Herbert and Barbara Raymond


Blooming Where She is Planted:

Barbara Raymond Celebrates 25 Years as an Associate in Mission By Associate Vicki Welsh


am sitting in the dining room of the Samuel W. Bell Home, having a luncheon date with Barb Raymond. It’s a lovely facility nestled into a suburban neighborhood on Muddy Creek Road, on Cincinnati’s west side. The 24 residents occupying this modern facility complete with Koi ponds in their peaceful courtyard can’t fully appreciate their setting because every one of them is visually impaired. As I chat with her friends, and spend the afternoon with her, I keep hearing the Associate Mission Statement. Barb has been a blooming example, wherever she has found herself planted, of those three short, yet profound sentences in that statement.

with S. Annina, how she fed that deep soul hunger! Barb still cherishes a series of five books that she studied in depth with S. Annina.

“We, Associates of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, are women and men striving to live the Gospel values.”

Barb was certainly listening to the Call of God when she was led to an apartment in the Senior Chateau on the Hill in East Price Hill, Cincinnati. During her years there she was able to help many residents in myriad ways. She has even been credited with saving a lady’s life! She became an activist, helping to get the proper Access transport service for the 180 dwellers of the complex. If something needed doing or someone needed help, Barb’s phone would ring for a solution to the problem.

Barb grew up in St. Michael’s parish. She was a 1959 graduate of Seton High School. During her formative years her family was a shining example of the corporal works of mercy. She was exposed to the Sisters of Oldenburg and Sisters of Charity during those years. She was even taught to play organ in the eighth grade. As a young adult, she envisioned herself as a nun, a nurse or perhaps a teacher. You can certainly see how much she was influenced by the Gospel values during those years by her choices! But, as so often happens, life stepped in the way of those plans. Her father had died and her mother required care. Barb stepped up to attend to those needs, while doing office work to provide for them financially. There she was living out the Gospel values, in the place she found herself planted! If a Girl Scout leader was needed at St. Lawrence, Barb found time to help. Knowing all the while that these young girls needed good Gospel living role models.

During those years, she would take individuals into her home that needed assistance. She aided any she could. She became an Associate in Mission in 1989. She continued living the Gospel message wherever she saw the need, blooming where she was planted. “We commit ourselves to participate in this mission through our individual life situations.”

Now, she finds herself at a new location, the Samuel W. Bell Home, still blooming where she is planted, living out the Gospel values. On Sunday, June 22, she made her lifetime commitment to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, promising to continue to live out the Mission Statement as an Associate in Mission. God bless you Barbara Raymond! Barbara Raymond made her commitment as an Associate in Mission in 1989.

“Called by God, we choose to be in mutual relationship with the Sisters of Charity guided by their Mission Statement.” As time marched on, Barb developed a deep soul hunger for more than the Gospel readings and homilies that St. Lawrence was offering. She gathered some women together and found that the Sisters of Charity would give retreats at the Motherhouse. She met S. Esther Marie Humbert during these retreats. However, it was a chance conversation she had with S. Annina Morgan that had a profound influence on her. S. Annina approached her one day and invited Barb to come to see her. But Barb, hesitated, wasn’t sure where to find S. Annina, so a year passed. But, oh my, when Barb did start meeting

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The Final Goodbye


t is 9 a.m., less than 24 hours after the news that a beloved member of their Sisters of Charity Community has passed away, and Sisters Cookie Crowley, Elaine Merkel, OSF, Marty Dermody and Terry Thorman gather to plan the funeral. Before any arrangements are discussed the group begins with a prayer, asking the deceased Sister to inspire and be with them throughout the planning process and funeral celebration. “And it is unbelievable how that really happens,” S. Cookie added, “especially if there is no plan at all.” Preparing for a funeral at the Motherhouse is a coordinated team effort; it involves Sisters and employees, family members and friends. From the Grounds, to Communications, to the Sacristans, Leadership executive assistants and more, Sisters and staff work collaboratively to make sure the celebration of the Sister’s life is simple, joyful and unique to the individual Sister. The process begins even before the Sister’s death. S. Elaine, a member of the Spiritual Life Team at Mother Margaret Hall (MMH) for the last four years, says that she invites Sisters in Assisted Living and MMH to begin the process of planning their funerals early. “I usually encourage them to think of a message they’d like to say; for example, 18

this Scripture spoke to my heart, this event was particularly important in my life. It gives them the opportunity to direct their own funeral.” Before meeting, each member of the team gathers their thoughts and notes about the Sister. S. Elaine says it is their goal to stay as faithful to the Sister’s choices as possible. Many times a close friend to the deceased Sister, a liaison, or even a family member is asked to join the team to bring their thoughts and perspective. “We try to zero in on what readings fit that Sister and pick two; if the Sister has already indicated that, then it’s wonderful,” S. Cookie said. “We work with the Gospel the same way, as well as the program and the memorial cards. The hardest part is getting someone to do the reflection about the Sister. It is a privilege to do a reflection and we are always appreciative when someone steps forward.” “We look at their plans, not only songs but readings and we come up with a program cover or a picture that might reflect the readings or what we know about the Sister,” S. Terry added. “We try to think about the family members, who is alive and who is able or wants to participate. Occasionally, we will have someone who wants to sing.” Intercom

The gift of the team, S. Elaine said, is, “Each of us has a different relationship with the person who has died. When it is extremely difficult for one, then the others are able to move through the process. We hold this Sister in our hands as we are looking at all the different phases of how that liturgy can best be celebrated. We are open for suggestions no matter who the person suggesting it is. The gift is the gentle, respectful way that the Sister is honored.” After dispersing, there is much work to be accomplished before the day of the funeral. S. Elaine The Mount St. Joseph cemetery is a peaceful resting place for members of the SC Community as well as a and the Spiritual Life Team begin to beautiful and holy place to meditate and to pray for those gone before. plan the memorial service for MMH. S. Cookie coordinates the efforts in the of the Spiritual Life Team, the service is an opportunity for Motherhouse, collaborating with the the Sisters living in MMH to say goodbye. Typically the Motherhouse Dining Room staff, the funeral home, and service starts with a short story about the Sister, then either members of the Sisters’ immediate family, to name a few. family or Sisters share a few memories before closing remarks. S. Marty ensures that the information for the Sisters’ funeral It is then that the family is led back to the Motherhouse for is published around the Motherhouse, MMH, and also the visitation. “It is an opportunity for me to extend my sent electronically. In addition, she prepares the text and sympathy to the family,” S. Elaine said. “I serve as an inphotograph for the Sister’s memorial card. And S. Terry, between person to lead them over to the Motherhouse.” Sister in addition to preparing the music for the Mass, contacts also brings any Sisters who are close to the deceased over from Leadership Executive Assistant Carol Watson and provides MMH to the Motherhouse. her with the necessary information to prepare the funeral program. Sisters Cookie and Pat Saul, MMH administrator, bring “I am glad to be a part of each Sister’s life as their journey the Sister back to the Motherhouse for her visitation, and it is there that S. Cookie provides strength and compassion to the comes to an end,” Carol said. “I learn a lot about each Sister Sister’s family and friends. “Cookie does a wonderful job of by doing their program – their background, their ministry, hospitality of bringing in all those people who may have never their nationality, the things that they did and their many talents. The hardest programs I ever had to do were for Sisters been to the Mount, never been here for a funeral, or never seen women participate the way we do with our readings Mary Michele Fischer and Geraldine O’Hagan. I felt like and reflection,” S. Terry said. “Maybe some of these family I was doing programs for my own family. They were very members haven’t been to Mass for some time, or they aren’t difficult, but I was very proud to do them.” Catholic, but we give them an experience of what liturgy can Alan Wittich, Grounds manager, is one of the first be today. That’s my hope – that they feel welcome, and that people notified after a Sister’s passing. He and his crew are they are fed both liturgically and spiritually.” responsible for digging the Sister’s grave. Since a number of As the funeral begins and all the components come Sisters in the Community have a blood relative who is also together seamlessly, it is then that you see how special and a Sister of Charity, Alan is careful to leave a spot next to the joyful these final celebrations are. It’s a time to honor the Sister’s grave for the future, or prepare a new spot next to the Sister’s life here among us, but at the same time, it is a time to existing grave. celebrate their new home and life. On the morning of the funeral Alan and his crew prepare Elected Leadership Team members have a role in each the grave site and area where the prayers are said, and by the Sister of Charity funeral. One member of the team, along time they are finished only a few hours are left before the with the priest celebrant, welcomes the Sister’s body or her funeral is to start. cremains at the back of chapel. After the body is blessed, In Mother Margaret Hall, the memorial service for the they join the procession to the altar. At the conclusion of Sister usually starts in the early afternoon. Led by a member s u mmer 2 0 1 4


the liturgy, the Congregational team member leads a special committal prayer to bid the deceased farewell and blesses the body with incense as the Congregation sings “Song of the Angels”. “It is touching when I start the body out of chapel, and get back to the family to direct them,” S. Cookie said. “By this time, they’ve listened to the beautiful music, they are crying but always thankful to us for making it so joyous. I know we personalize the funerals.” At the funeral’s conclusion, one final tradition is carried out. The Sister takes one last ride down the front avenue of the Motherhouse as the tower bell tolls in the background; she then makes her way to the cemetery, located on the Mount St. Joseph property. The tolling of the tower bell has been part of a Sister’s funeral for as long as can be remembered. At the grave site, special prayers are said before members of the Grounds take over. “That is the Sister’s goal in life, to get to this place,” Alan said. “I feel like I am doing the last fulfillment of their life. It makes me feel really good knowing that.” Like Alan, there is an underlying sense of pride that is evident in all those involved in the planning and carrying out of a Sister’s funeral. At the heart of their preparations and hard work is an unspoken understanding of the importance of planning a personal celebration of each Sister’s life. S. Cookie, who has been part of the funeral process for the last 15 years, adds, “I have had the privilege to participate in 300 funerals. It truly is a privilege… Sometimes I am looking at these families and saying thank you to them for this wonderful person. I have had really tough times; some are good friends. But again, I pray to the person for strength. Somewhere you get the grace to do it.”

share stories about being touched by a particular line of a hymn, or if they say that was so prayerful for me, I love that. We are striving for a good memorial prayer for this deceased person and for some comfort for the grieving – all the special friends, Band members and relatives.” All members of the Funeral Team are clear on one thing: there are a lot of people working closely with them to bring the celebration together. S. Terry acknowledges the nurses in MMH and Assisted Living. “Most of the time they can’t attend the funeral,” she said. “We always remember to pray for them during the intercessions. I am aware when I’m playing that they are listening over the in-house television. The nurses are very much a part of the process, and many have gotten very close to those who have died.” S. Cookie recognizes Motherhouse employees Rick Heis and Jim Franz, who dress for the occasion and escort the Sister’s body out of the chapel after the funeral. “We always tell them we can do it,” she said, “but they always say it is their privilege to do so.” S. Marty adds her gratefulness to executive assistant Kathi Zeinner, who prepares the Sister’s death card announcement as well as the death notice, and to S. Georgia Kitt who pays beautiful tribute to each Sister in an obituary distributed locally and to publications in areas where the individual Sister lived and ministered. It is a special gift that Community members and employees are able to give their Sisters. The Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse is where they first made their vows to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. And it is here that they transition into their new lives. But as S. Marty said, “They are still here. Even after the funeral is over, they are here. The spirit of the person seems to remain in this house. That’s a special gift that we have.”

“They are wonderful women with a deep spirituality,” S. Elaine said. “They are not people to blow a trumpet and say look at how great and wonderful I am. They are one of a group and all in this together. It’s powerful when you start looking at how dynamic these women are and were and where they have led people to change our world.” “We strive for a prayerful send-off for each person, not a production,” S. Terry said. “In a way we are probably celebrating our own funerals. We are thinking about life and death, and I don’t particularly get excited and happy when people say that was a beautiful funeral. But when people 20

(From left) Sisters Marty Dermody, Elaine Merkel, OSF, Terry Thorman and Cookie Crowley are the core members of the SC Funeral Team.


Shining STARS By S. Kathryn Ann Connelly


look to the galaxies of stars in the night sky reveals the heavens illuminated with a brightness and clarity that is truly awesome. God has blessed us in the beauty of this natural phenomenon. A star image is often used to depict or exemplify the performance of an individual whose qualities are star-like, in that they illumine an ethic of brightness, and depict outstanding lights to those for STAR Award recipient Tara Cooper (right), with S. Mildred Shaver, has been employed with the whom and with whom they serve.

Bev Anderson works in the Activities Department in Mother Margaret Hall. Her creative activities and an extra eye to make certain everyone is included is Bev’s hallmark. Having served the Sisters for four years, Bev is quick to salute her coworkers as a wonderful supportive team. She maintains the Activities Department is the real STAR.

Tara Cooper, LPN, has served the Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall for the past 24 years. For her, caring for such Sisters of Charity for the last 24 years. The nonprofit organization, wonderful women who have given so LeadingAge of Ohio, bestows STAR Awards to deserving much to so many is a privilege and a gift. The Sisters of employees working in residences and centers serving the Charity have been part of her life from grade school on. This elderly. Four employees of Mother Margaret Hall were so STAR Award, to her, has been such an honor, but in reality honored this past spring, having been nominated by residents, the honor is in serving the Sisters. coworkers and/or administration to receive this prestigious Connie Geraci is an administrative assistant in Mother recognition. Our STARS Josh Abner, Bev Anderson, Tara Margaret Hall and has been for 11 years. Over this time she Cooper and Connie Geraci were honored May 6 at a has had many roles, filling in and doing anything, anywhere, ceremonial luncheon sponsored by LeadingAge of Ohio. and at whatever is needed. Her attention to detail is Josh Abner has been employed with the Sisters of Charity for four years, working in the kitchen, preparing and serving trays to the Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall. “It’s the little things that mean so much,” says Josh, who is happy to do anything to help make the lives of our Sisters better. His willingness to serve is outstanding. Josh is a full-time student at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and hopes to become a personal trainer.

unsurpassed, her ability to anticipate needs is unequaled and her willingness to help is unparalleled. To be recognized as a STAR came as a delightful surprise and an honor. According to Mary Pat Burke, senior director of resident services and social services at Mother Margaret Hall, there are many STARS among the SC employees, and these four exemplify that galaxy which so helps to brighten the lives of the Sisters. (Back, from left) Josh Abner, Beverly Anderson, Katie Chambers, Connie Geraci, Gail Fite, Peggy Poston and (front) S. Margaret Marie Anthony prepare to attend the 2014 STAR Awards luncheon, sponsored by LeadingAge of Ohio.

s u mmer 2 0 1 4



of a Merger:

A L eap of faith that contin u es to bear fr u it By S. Frances Maureen Trampiets


any of the decisions made throughout the 205-year history of the Sisters of Charity required a leap of faith. In March 2003, the Community gathered in Chapter and voted unanimously to accept the Vincentian Sisters of Charity of Bedford, Ohio, into the Community. In June 2004, the Vincentian Sisters professed their vows as Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. It was a great leap of faith on the part of both communities.

The late S. Grace Verba (left) was all smiles as she celebrated with S. Monica Gundler.

On this 10th anniversary of the merger of the two religious communities, Intercom looks back on that historic event and the fruit it has borne.

S. Christine Marie Rody served as Superior General of the Vincentian Charities at the beginning of their long discernment process and at its conclusion (from 1983-’91 and 1999–2004). She recalls: “We had begun to talk about three possibilities for the VSC community in the Chapter of 1991: a changed form of Vincentian life, death, or some form of merger. We (studied) the three basic styles of merger: fusion: going back to the group from which the community came; amalgamation: two communities dissolving and forming a new community; and absorption: a smaller entity becoming part of another group. “The three communities we asked were the Vincentians of Pittsburgh, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, based in Cleveland, and the SCs of Cincinnati. In December 1998, the majority of Sisters wanted to pursue a relationship with the VSCs of Pittsburgh. We pursued this option, but in late 2000 the Pittsburgh leadership asked to suspend the process. When both VSC communities agreed that a union of our two communities did not seem of God, we moved fully into discussion with the Cincinnati SCs in August 2001.

challenges of that long period of decision-making, said: “It was a journey of faith, allowing the process to unfold without pushing it or restraining it. Realizing that the process was breaking new ground with no template to model it after, we were creating the path in the walking. We wanted to honor the huge loss and its emotional impact on the VSCs without ignoring the loss and changes the SCs would encounter.

“We were committed to allowing every member of both congregations the opportunity to be involved throughout the process. We worked hard to keep all affected parties informed, starting with the two congregations, employees, administration, boards and partners in our sponsored ministries, the bishops, our canon and civil lawyers, benefactors, etc. We also had to deal with all the financial implications of a merger. And there was the challenge of dealing with the resistance that surfaced and manifested throughout the process.” Though the challenges were many, they were not without their rewards. S. Mary Ellen recalled the blessings of the process as, “Being challenged as a community and individually to widen our tent of beliefs, our ways of doing things, to include differences and welcome not just one or two new members but 49.

“Our perception was that much of what we valued and lived was seen in the SC Sisters. The sense of prayer and worship, work ethic, sense of community commitment, respect for others, service of people in poverty were almost identical. The primacy of humility, simplicity and charity as ‘our virtues’ seemed esteemed and striven for. There was also an honest affection and light-hearted spirit within the group.” S. Mary Ellen Murphy, president of the Sisters of Charity during eight of the 13-year process, when asked about the 22

Prior to professing their vows, Vincentian Sisters of Charity gathered in the chapel at Villa San Bernardo for a Blessing of Memories highlighting the VSCs 76-year history.


The Vincentian Sisters of Charity professed their vows as Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati on June 27, 2004.

“Engaging collectively in this journey of faith was a blessing as was the positive energy stirred among the Sisters and the hope it fostered. The opportunity to re-examine who we are as ‘Sisters of Charity,’ women of faith, open to the risks and blessings of welcoming another community for the sake of the mission was truly a graced experience.” The culmination of the merger process, said S. Mary Ellen, was, “the actual ritual of decision making at the SC Chapter of 2003. Our choice was clear - to welcome the VSCs into our Community. “The actual vow ceremony was held in Bedford. About 150 SCs travelled to Villa San Bernardo (the VSCs congregational home) to witness their taking of vows and to welcome our ‘new’ Sisters.” S. John Miriam Jones recalls her involvement with the process leading up to the merger: “I was on one of the committees and I wondered if they might not feel swallowed and lost. While they admit it was hard, I think they now feel very much a part of the whole. I surely admire their readiness to merge. The process of their getting to that point sets a great example of trust and generosity. I also had some concern about the ‘fit’ of the two groups, I came to believe we would be fine – and indeed we are.” S. Dorothy Ann Blatnica, former Vincentian Charity, when asked what were her thoughts and feelings during the process adds, “Needless to say, I experienced a whole series of mixed emotions. However, we had been engaged in discerning our future for almost 10 years and the necessity for action had become quite real. As the reality of an actual merger became more imminent, my own feelings shifted from earlier confusion, sadness and uncertainty to hopefulness and the excitement of new possibilities, new life and new relationships.” s u mmer 2 0 1 4

When asked how the VSCs, now as Sisters of Charity, continue to impact the Church and local community in Cleveland, she said, “We continue to have impact through our ministries: pastoral care and volunteer work at Light of Hearts Villa (LOHV), spiritual direction, teaching, retreat work, parish ministries, L’Arche, and volunteer work at a youth correctional facility. I think each of us is aware of the need to participate in various events and social gatherings where our presence as SCs keeps local connections alive.” What does S. Dorothy Ann see as the greatest blessings of the merger? “For the former VSCs I think we have been able to embrace a broader sense of mission and opportunities to engage in furthering that mission. Because of the increased number of Sisters we have been able to cultivate new relationships and support systems that expand our sense of community and spirituality. “For the original SCs, many have told us that our presence has brought a bit more life and vitality to the Congregation. It is my belief that whenever differences converge, whole new experiences become possible if we allow them. I think this is a rich blessing because we are all held at the core by the mission of charity.” S. Christine said, “From the Bedford side, there has been a new and deeper relationship with the Americanized Vincentian spirit, the care of our elderly and infirm Sisters was assured, the opportunities for ministry to continue and expand, and friendships with others within the same communal commitment. “From the Cincinnati side, we’ve been told there has been a deeper relationship with Vincent and Louise and a different perspective on simplicity and humility.” Considering the Community today, S. Mary Ellen sees as the primary blessings “the richness of the presence of the former VSCs among us – their talents, their experience, their faith, their courage, their trust in and their witness to the Providence of God in their lives and the changes they embraced along the way; the ways we continue to grow as a Community, learning about each other and from each other is a blessing. We are being stretched in our thinking, our beliefs and our ways of doing things. We’re being challenged to live the words of the song we readily sing, ‘All Are Welcome.’”

The liturgy took place at the outdoor Shrine of Our Lady of Levocha at Villa San Bernardo in Bedford, Ohio. Bishop Anthony Pilla of Cleveland was the celebrant.

S. John Miriam simply adds, “Their presence has enriched us. They are dear women and I treasure them.”


Back to the Future? By S. Monica Gundler


et in the early 1960s, in a poor area of London, “Call the Midwife” tells the story of several young mid-wives living in community with Anglican Sisters. This PBS series is based on the real life journals of Jennifer Lee, one of the young mid-wives. The women of Nonnatus house are bonded by a common commitment of life-giving ministry in a community of the underserved. The community is intergenerational, including an elder Sister who is experiencing possible episodes of dementia. The Sisters are dedicated and professional and offer wise counsel, friendship and community to the young women. The Sisters are often called upon to stretch the common boundaries traditionally seen as part of life in a “convent.” At one point a young mid-wife and her husband take up residence with the community as they adjust to life after a yearlong mission post in Africa. Another Sister discerns that she is called to live out her vocation as a married woman. After leaving to marry, she is embraced again in her new role and the Sisters are part of the couple’s journey to the adoption of a new baby. The value of this loving community with its challenges and blessings is at the core of each episode. What does all this have to do with vocation and formation in 2014? Perhaps that everything old is new again or reinvented for a new time. We, too, are called to stretch the traditional boundaries of our life together in community as we welcome new companions on the journey. Tracy Kemme, Annie Klapheke and Romina Sapinoso all spent time living in community as volunteers or Associates in a community before considering a call to vowed life. Andrea Koverman also came to be part of the community at Casa de Caridad before making the formal decision to 24

(From left) Sisters Maureen Heverin, Annina Morgan, Tracy Kemme and Andrea Koverman together at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse.

enter the Congregation. The opportunity to live with Sisters, experience ministry and come together in prayer played an important role in their discernment. Currently we have given the opportunity for these encounters through outreach at the House of Charity, at Casa de Caridad on the US/Mexico border, and at our current Novitiate community. The AVE program is a new effort in this area. After Volunteer Experience (AVE) will provide a time for those who have spent a year or two of service and community (perhaps through something like Jesuit Volunteers or Vincentian Volunteers) to live with Sisters, have spiritual direction, dialogue, and have time to consider how they will move forward at the end of their volunteer commitment. Applications are now being submitted for a pilot program for two women at Casa de Caridad in Anthony, New Mexico, this fall. Our Sisters have been attending several of the “Martha Dinner” evening events which provide interaction with young women interested in religious life. In addition, through our involvement with the Sisters of Charity Federation we host opportunities such as “Come and Serve” weekends to spend time exploring with Sisters and one another the question of where God may be inviting them to live out their faith journey. We are trying to create places and spaces of mutual encounter so that the Holy Spirit might direct us along the path of not only imagining, but living into our shared future.


S ocial J u stice S potlight

Let Us Not Forget By S. Louise Akers


lmost four years have passed since the Community of Charity took a public stand against the war raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this conflict rebel forces as well as multinational corporations and foreign governments are all vying to claim for themselves the Congo’s wealth at the Deacon Boniface and Congo Committee Chair expense of the Congolese people. More Associate Rita Wesseling during Congo Week 2013 than 6 million Congolese men, women at the Motherhouse. Jacky Kalubi spoke to the Charity Family and children have died a cruel death while the world looks on. By taking a public stand about the conflict in the Congo and offered suggestions to help. the Community seeks to keep this war in our awareness – and, more than that, to urge The OPJCC Congo Committee continues planning with passage of laws that will stop the flow of money to rebel militias. special updates from Comboni representative Cindy Browne, Under the auspices of the Office of Peace, Justice and justice and peace coordinator. Significant programs have included: Integrity of Creation, the Congo Committee was formed. This • Jacky Kalubi, a committee member and woman from the committee proposed various actions, such as letter writing Congo, recently returned, talked about the conflict along campaigns to the White House and the United Nations, and a with what we can do to help. Refreshments were served monthly day of prayer for the people of Congo. which included Congolese food. The Committee also took initiative. Among significant • A ‘cell out’ was encouraged, as a consciousness raiser, actions taken, the following stand out: for an hour on one day of Congo week. Coltan is a key • Congo: Shattering the Silence, a photo exhibit prepared by a source of the conflict in the Congo. It is a mineral widely joint committee of the SCs and the Comboni Missionaries used in numerous electronic devices. Mined illegally was accompanied by an educational packet, prayer card and by rebel militia and foreign forces, it is then sold to brochure. multinational corporations. • Additional educational opportunities. • Congo Week 2013 began with liturgy celebrated by Comboni priest, Ruffino Ezama. Informal discussion • A DVD created from the photo exhibit, narrated by followed Mass. Father was accompanied by a Congolese Fr. Paul Donohue, mccj. seminarian. • Teach Congo!, an educational packet and teach-in for local • Ongoing plans are taking place for this year’s Congo high school teachers and parish religious educators from Week, Oct. 19-25, 2014. Mark your calendars! Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky areas. Exhibits of Congolese artifacts and samples of food were available. Four years after passage of our stand for Congo, let us not forget the suffering of the Congolese people who endure • Education related to the overwhelming violence against dehumanizing poverty and violence while the mineral wealth of women in Congo. According to a former UN Commander: their country is stolen and used to fuel the ongoing conflict. “It is more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier right now.” Thanks to Associates Christa Bauke and Rita Wesseling, former and current chairs, for assistance with this information. • Congo Week connected to national organizations that commemorate the millions of lives lost while celebrating the enormous human and natural potential that exists. Congregational Stand: We, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, and • Monthly reminders via the OPJCC newsletter.

s u mmer 2 0 1 4

Associates commit ourselves to be informed about the human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and call on our government to do everything in its power to end the violent conflicts there. (September 2010)


S. Mary Noreen McGrath from the archives –


orn in Oswego, New York, near the end of the 19th century, Winifred McGrath, or Winnie, as she was fondly called by her still-growing family, was about midway in the group which eventually numbered 12 children. The family moved to Bay City, Michigan, where Winnie attended St. James until she was 16 years old; she entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati on Aug. 5, 1911.

Sister’s imaginative efforts in the cause of Elizabeth Seton led Mother Mary Zoe Farrell to ask S. Mary Noreen to assume responsibility for leadership of the Cincinnati branch of the Mother Seton League and especially to organize plans for the full Community participation in the Fourth League Conference which would be held at Mount St. Joseph in the late 1940s. In addition to her teaching and these “extras,” Sister was asked to write a comprehensive essay on “Mother Seton-A Woman of Courage.”

The step from her loving family was difficult for the young girl, but God had chosen her and she eagerly and generously followed. From the beginning the Community was “hers” – and she “belonged” to it completely.

Of course, Sister complied with all Mother’s requests. The conference was stimulating and most rewarding in every way. When one studies the tremendous volume of correspondence which this several-years-long project entailed and remembers that Sister was during these same years studying for a master’s degree in French at Western Reserve University, we are tempted to say that such an output was impossible. But the facts are clear; the evidence remains. Her faith in God, in the Community, in Mother Seton and the love which paralleled this faith made her strong. Living for God and with God in the community of the Sisters of Charity – this might have been to S. Mary Noreen the single most important description one could give of her.

God had blessed her with an excellent intellect and she was anxious to use it for the good of souls. Creative, vivacious, understanding and kind, she proved to be an exceptional teacher. S. Mary Noreen taught elementary and high school students in Ohio, Michigan, New Mexico and Colorado from 1913 until 1970; 22 of those years were in her native Michigan. S. Julia Mary Deiters, who ministered with S. Mary Noreen at St. James in Bay City from 1967 until 1968, remembers Sister as a “good teacher with an excellent background in history.” S. Julia Mary added, “S. Mary Noreen would talk about historical people and events with anyone who would listen.” This included Elizabeth Seton. Sister was vitally interested in all that breathed of Mother Seton and she nobly and unsparingly gave herself to make Elizabeth known, loved and recognized for what the Church eventually named her – saint.

In 1954, S. Mary Noreen McGrath received the Grand Cross of the Order of Paladins, the highest award given in the field of mission.


Under the direction of S. Mary Janet Miller, S. Mary Noreen served on a charter committee (initiated in 1949) for the Christian Life Adjustment Program (CLAP). Materials were produced to help all youth to develop their God-given talents, whether few or many, and to take their places in society as Christian citizens, whose lives are governed by Christian principles. They offered practical applications of the program, emphasizing the need for each school to work out its own specific programs. CLAP represented “one of our means of attack upon the program of the multiplying needs of a 20th century high school,” Mother Mary Zoe once said. Sister received the Grand Cross of the Order of Paladins in recognition of distinguished and outstanding service rendered the Catholic Students Mission Crusade in 1954. It was the highest award given in the field of mission. She said of the honor, “If it is an incentive for the 400 students of the student body to help spread God’s kingdom on earth, then I feel that its reception marks a milestone in mission work at Pueblo Catholic High [Colorado].”

S. Mary Noreen McGrath died January 28, 1980.

Article reproduced from the SC Archives. Intercom

On the Web For full articles, please visit the News/Events section of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati website at, and click on “Feature Articles.” My Summers as a Docent S. Pat Newhouse has been a docent at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland, since 2003. Why the World Wide Web is Worth Celebrating The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati reflect on why we are happy to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web.

S. Pat Newhouse

All Are Welcome Meet S. Diana Durling, the friendly new face of the Motherhouse Hospitality Office.

Intercom is the quarterly magazine of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. This apostolic Catholic women’s religious community exists to carry out the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and prayer in the world. Approximately 330 Sisters are joined in their mission by 196 Associates (lay women and men). Sisters, using their professional talents as ministers of education, health care, social services and environmental justice, live and minister in 28 US 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

Online Courses Span the Globe Sisters Laetitia Slusser (pictured right) and Rita Hawk are facilitating online courses through the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation with the University of Dayton.

Ministry in Motion


his year, the Sisters of Charity website has featured a monthly video of and interviews with Sisters in ministry throughout the country. Hear more about the people they serve and how the Spirit is working through them.

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

Visit the Ministry in Motion section on the SC website at ministrymotion.htm. S. Sarah Mulligan is featured in the July Ministry in Motion video.

SUMMEr 2014

5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 sistersofcharityofcincinnati


5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051


The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are fondly remembered in Jackson, Michigan, after serving at St. Mary Star of the Sea from 1889-1981.

21 Josh Abner (with S. Margaret Marie Anthony) was one of four Mother Margaret Hall employees honored with the LeadingAge of Ohio STAR Award.


(From left) Mary Ellen Williams, Barbara Raymond and Mary Jo Mersmann make their lifetime commitments as SC Associates in Mission during a celebration on Sunday, June 22.


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

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