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Summer 2013

S i s t e r s

o f

C h a r i t y

o f

C i n c i n n at i

A Letter From Our Sister



Dear Sisters, Associates and Friends,

Contents Features More for Your Money.............................7 Sisters, Associates join a Community Supported Agriculture. The Work of Elizabeth Seton’s Mustard Seed.....................................................10 Leaving our legacy in the city of Detroit, Mich. Awe-Inspired........................................15 Finance’s Vicki Humphrey and her relationship with the SCs. A Sister’s Tale........................................16 Associates celebrate 40 years with the Community. Changing Lives....................................17 Associate in Volunteer Ministry Linda Trenn ministering in Guatemala. Gathering 2013....................................18 Sisters and Associates come together for prayer, fellowship and fun. DePaul Cristo Rey Students End School Year...........................................24 Students reflect on their experiences at Mount St. Joseph.

Departments Vocation/Formation...............................8 Religious Life Through Younger Eyes OPJIC....................................................9 Let’s Talk About Food Motherhouse/Mother Margaret Hall......................................................23 A Hidden Treasure From the Archives................................26 S. Marie Cuerier On the Cover: Active, living SC vocations fostered in Detroit, Mich., area parishes have and are ministering in new ways today. To read more about the SC legacy in Detroit, visit The Work of Elizabeth Seton’s Mustard Seed on Page 10.

The Second Vatican Council called us all to examine our lives and our institutions in the light of the Gospels, and the signs of the changing times. Our ever timeless Community motto, “The love of Christ urges us,” along with our beautiful Mission, Charism and Vision statements lead us to an ever unfolding understanding of God’s call to us as a Congregation, and as a Family of Charity. During our recent Congregational Gathering we spent time sharing how we have been living these calls through the lens of our 2011 Chapter challenges. We spotlighted what we have done and began to contemplate the next steps into our communal future. We were called to be a Community open to the “challenges and changes” which will lead us forward and help us to “deepen the vision.” This will require some “hospicing,” some “repairing,” and much “way finding.” But we were reminded that God is always present, in the now, and into the future. In this issue of Intercom we continue to deepen our rootedness in our Charism and Mission through looking at our years of ministry and presence in the Detroit area. We learn more about our Sisters, stand in awe that we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of our Associate program, and celebrate with SC Ministry Foundation their reception of a 2013 Gabriel Award® for “Best Religious Television.” Other features allow us to thank God for dedicated Associates, employees and DePaul Cristo Rey students. Our Charism continues through the good work of our OPJIC. We encourage you to check out all the articles featured on our website. Finally, S. Louise Lears’ article on LCWR Region VI gives us a snapshot of our regional connectedness, a hologram of the unity and work within the larger Leadership Conference of Women Religious group. As we take time to reflect upon the articles, let’s ask ourselves how we may continue to witness to the power of Gospel living in our broken and hurting world. And let’s surely remember that God is ever present!

S. Mary Bookser, SC

Disclaimer: The information contained in Intercom is intended for general information and educational purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are the views of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.



Mem-bits This column by S. Benedicta Mahoney offers brief glimpses of the past, tiny bits of memories. Do you remember? Were you there? Did you know? March 23, 1951 – The National Association for Practical Nurse Education Accrediting Committee granted full accreditation to the Good Samaritan Hospital Practical Nursing School after a recent examination.

S. Rose Agatha Berry

April 23, 1956 – S. Rose Agatha Berry was sworn in today as a naturalized citizen of the United States. Thirteen years before, her Irish citizenship had permitted her to remain in Wuchang, China, while her American Sisters were forced by the Japanese to evacuate during World War II.

Jan. 9, 1967 – A painting job on the Motherhouse Dining Room began today. Painted over were the 1901 murals that had been done by Community artists Sisters Ernestine Foskey, Appolonia Ligori and Olivia Lafevre.

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. Regina Mary Conley August 2, 2013

July 1, 1989 – Seton Family Center, a nonprofit organization providing affordable and timeeffective mental health services to families, was established under the direction of S. Jacqueline Kowalski. April 22, 1995 – On this 25th anniversary of Earth Day, EarthConnection first opened to the public with a special program hosted by its founder, S. Paula Gonzalez.

In Memoriam

S. Vincent de Paul Grilliot June 27, 2013 S. Therese Marie Tuszynski May 8, 2013 S. Olivia Lafevre’s mural anticipated Elizabeth Seton’s canonization threequarters of a century later.

EarthConnection in 1995. S ummer 2 0 1 3


Region VI Leaders Gather in Cincinnati By S. Louise Lears


he Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is a voluntary association of nearly 1,500 elected leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, the conference represents more than 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United States. LCWR’s mission is to assist its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the Gospel in today’s world. LCWR is divided into 15 regions, each of which meets at least twice a year. From Sunday evening, April 21, through noon Tuesday, April 23, we Sisters of Charity had the joy of hosting the spring meeting for 50-plus elected leaders of congregations in Region VI (Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee). After our opening prayer on Sunday evening, we recalled that one year ago we had received the results of the Doctrinal Assessment of LCWR from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). This Assessment included a mandate for “review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work of LCWR.” The CDF appointed Bishop Peter Sartain, with assistance from Bishops Leonard Blair and Thomas Paprocki, to implement the mandate. Members of Region VI affirmed our commitment, made at the LCWR 2012 Annual Assembly in St. Louis, Mo., to continue dialogue

with our brother Bishops and to trust that the Holy Spirit is giving us the gifts that we need to navigate these challenging waters with integrity. We then enjoyed extended social time, catching up with old friends and meeting new members. On Monday morning, we considered a resolution presented by Region XI (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming) regarding the commitment to life from conception to death. We made a number of recommendations for the members of Region XI to consider before the 2013 Annual Assembly in Orlando, Fla., in August. We then entered into a reflective process of raising up names of Sisters for consideration as President-Elect and Secretary of LCWR. These elections took place at the Annual Assembly. After lunch, the SC Communications Office staff presented their experience/learnings in developing our Facebook page. Some members of Region VI already have a presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) while others are in the planning stages. Afterward, we gathered in interest groups, identified by the members present, to share and collaborate on best practices. Topics included Sponsored Ministries, Vocations, Impaired Driving Issues, Legacy Planning, and Expertise on Human Resources and Finances. On Tuesday morning, we enjoyed a challenging presentation on “Technology, Social Media and Leadership” by Dominican Sister Kathlyn Mulcahy. She focused on the purposes of technology and social media for us as congregations of women religious: to inform the mind and transform the heart; to grow relationships and build community; to promote partnership in ministry; and to cross generational and cultural boundaries. For our final hour together, we engaged in an extended contemplative process, reflecting on and sharing questions that had been raised within us, naming the gifts we need to address these questions as we journey into the future, and blessing those Sisters who are completing their service in elected leadership.



Charity Family Congratulations S. Carol Bauer (left) was presented with the Community Leader of the Year Award at this year’s Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley Annual Leadership Luncheon on April 18. In her acceptance S. Carol challenged attendees: “Find something that matters to you and share your time, talent, and treasure.” S. Carol has served the Dayton community for more than 35 years. She has been involved with the leadership of Catholic Social Services for more than 20 years, serving on the Board for three terms – two of those terms as president.

S. Roz Named a Woman of Compassion S. Roslyn Hafertepe (front, left) was honored as a Woman of Compassion at the eighth annual Women of Compassion Luncheon on May 10, sponsored by the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation. S. Roz was nominated by her niece and nephew, Sharon and Ed Hafertepe. “She is unfailing in compassion for those around her,” her niece said at the luncheon.

MMH Celebrates National Nursing Home Week (From left) Sisters Joan Crocker and Rose Izzo took part in the celebrations surrounding National Nursing Home Week in May. The Italian-themed activities brought together Sisters, staff, guests and volunteers. Chariot races, cake walks, travel slides of Italy and raffle opportunities made for a fun week. Additional pictures can be viewed at Nuns on the Bus Visits Border S. Mary Dugan Honored S. Mary Dugan received the Exceptional Achievement Award (Highland County) from the Regional Advisory Council and the Parent Council of Ohio Region 14-Hopewell Center (Hillsboro, Ohio) at a ceremony April 24. Sister was recognized for her efforts “above and beyond the call of duty that have resulted in excellence in educational experiences for S. Mary Dugan (left) with her sister Teresa. students with special needs. The award represents not only an acknowledgement from educators, but also from parents of Sister’s unique contribution and dedication.”

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NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus (NOTB) rolled into El Paso, Texas, on June 10. Our SC Community was an enthusiastic and visible presence during their 24 hours at the border. On June 11 Sisters Janet Gildea, Carol Wirtz, and Peggy Deneweth, as well as SC Novices Andrea Koverman and Tracy Kemme and SC Pre-Entrant Romina Sapinoso, attended the NOTB press conference at Annunciation House before boarding the bus for a 45-minute ride to Las Cruces, N.M. They participated in a lobby visit at the office of New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce followed by a rally of local supporters of immigration reform.


C ivil War DV D H ighlights

Memorial Day Service

Mine Eyes Have Seen ... O r d e r Y o u r DVD C o p y T o d ay ! 1 copy at $10 (includes postage) 3 copies at $25 (includes postage) Name: Mailing Address:



Email Address: Return to: SC Communications Office 5900 Delhi Road Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051



he Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati hosted a Civil War commemoration service on Saturday, May 25 to recognize the 42 Sisters of Charity who served as nurses on the battlefields. The event included prayer, poetry, music by the Hills of Kentucky Dulcimers, and the first public screening of Mine Eyes Have Seen, a 32-minute film documenting the Sisters’ service.

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Michael Turney (center), a member of the Hills of Kentucky Dulcimers, wrote and produced the 32-minute documentary Mine Eyes Have Seen, which debuted to an audience on May 25.


Written and produced by Michael Turney, this Ken Burns-style documentary was created to recognize the incredible compassion and care our Sisters gave to the soldiers and how their efforts were a true testament to the Community motto: The Love of Christ Urges Us. Turney intertwines the Sisters’ journal entries with historical documents and references to bring to life the conditions faced and the dedicated service these women of Charity gave to the sick and wounded.


More for Your Money By S. Jean Miller


s we grow in our understanding of our Home, Earth and the inter-connectedness of all living things, we struggle for new ways to relate to every creature. At the same time we know that our desire for more material wealth is creating an economic model that doesn’t respect the Earth’s biophysical limits. At every turn we are beginning to experience the consequences of our actions, poverty, extreme natural disasters and increased health problems. Now we can participate in a program that for one fee provides opportunity to fulfill three of our goals at one time. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) we are: a.) reducing our carbon footprint, b.) improving our health and c.) participating in a more just social and economic agricultural model. Imagine three for the price of one – interconnectedness. An article by Suzanne DeMuth on says, “CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.” Eight members of the Family of Charity have become members or “shareholders” of the Enright Ridge EcoVillage CSA in Price Hill, where Sisters of Charity have had a long history of social engagement and education in the community. We have paid a fee and are responsible to work a certain number of hours for the community. Our work is simply watering seedlings in the greenhouse and sometimes helping with other simple tasks. Other members plant, weed, harvest, or package for all of us. Besides the community aspect of the social and economic agricultural model, there is a very important shared commitment to the farmer, who in our present model of agriculture risks losing everything during poor harvests due to bad weather or pests. In the CSA all “shareholders” embrace that risk with the farmer, giving the farmer the opportunity to care for the land, the seeds, and the soil in the best organic way. It is a new social and economic model that can lead to less poverty for farmers and more community for us. Of course, it also leads to “Does this model help us reduce our carbon footprint?” The food is produced locally and not transported long miles from other cities or countries. The National Research Defense Council (NRDC) has provided us with some useful information regarding the tons of carbon S ummer 2 0 1 3

S. Jean Miller is one of six members of the Family of Charity who have become “shareholders” of the Enright Ridge Eco-Village CSA in Price Hill.

released by food imported or transported. Do you know that some of the asparagus in stores comes from Peru, some bell peppers from the Netherlands, some fresh tomatoes are trucked from Mexico and other fresh tomatoes come by plane from the Netherlands? The NRDC says, “In 2005, the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables into California by airplane released more than 70,000 tons of CO², which is equivalent to more than 12,000 cars on the road.” That’s a lot of carbon, producing a lot of severe climate in our world and causing lots of suffering of our sisters and brothers. Another great reason for local food of the CSA is the benefits to our health. Besides the very negative effects of carbon on our health, often agricultural industries use toxins in fertilizers, seed engineering, etc. In the CSA our opportunity to dialogue with the farmer and our mutual trust makes it possible to get the best food for healthy living. Our crops come from the soil to our cloth bags on Saturday mornings so there is no sugar added, no chemicals for long preservation or packaging which causes more carbon production. Then we can ask friends to join us to share the fruits of our community’s work. In the CSA we get fresh vegetables, the smell of fresh herbs, fruit direct from trees, and seasonings that delight the palette. It is also a time of getting our hands dirty, kneeling on the ground and thanking the Creator for the gift of good soil, enough water, bees and seeds that can reproduce. As a community of farmers and members of the CSA we are enjoying God’s Creation and our interconnection with ALL. It is worth much more than money. 7

From Generation to Generation Religious Life Through Younger Eyes By S. Patricia Wittberg


hink of the year you graduated from high school. How many years ago was it? Subtract that number of years from your graduation year and think about the resulting year. For example, if you graduated in 1965 (48 years ago), think about life in 1917 (48 years before 1965). When you were in high school, how distant would 1917 have seemed to you? What would you have thought about the clothing and hair styles? The kind of music and dancing that was popular? The dating practices? The point is, of course, that the year you graduated from high school seems exactly that distant to the graduating class of 2013. We realize that those who grow up in different ethnic, racial, or class environments have different cultures. But those who grow up in different time periods are also different. Whether someone passed her childhood and adolescence in the Great Depression of the 1930s, in the early television and Cold War era of the 1950s, or in the ever-expanding electronic world of the 1990s, will forever shape how she sees the world. In a fundamental and basic way, we are all products of the era in which we grew up. Generational influences also shape the way we see Church. Catholics who experienced the changes of Vatican II after they became adults, Catholics who experienced them as children, and Catholics who do not remember the pre-Vatican II Church at all, will have different attitudes about being “Catholic” today. Similarly, Sisters who discerned their vocation prior to 1963 and underwent a pre-Vatican II formation will have a different outlook on religious life than a Sister who entered her community in 1995 or 2000. Staying mentally flexible enough to communicate across any cultural boundary – whether of ethnicity, class, or generation – is hard work. As a result, most people do not bother to do it very often. We tend to choose our friends from those like us, which


in this case means that we associate mostly with persons our own age. The older we get, therefore, the more twenty-somethings seem foreign to us, and we to them, unless we make concerted attempts to bridge the gap. Religious communities therefore need to construct opportunities for members of the different generations to get to know each other. These opportunities could involve social events, service opportunities, or opportunities for reflection, as well as services such as Ignatian discernment training to help college students navigate the many decisions they must make as they enter adulthood. One-on-one opportunities should also be devised: the mentoring of a nursing, education, or social work student by a Sister who can serve as a role model; oral history projects in which students collect and record the life stories of retired Sisters; spiritual direction offered at reduced fees affordable to college students, and so on. Millennial “Computer Natives” might also be asked to work with religious Sisters in mining the full potential of social networking: creating blogs, Twitter feeds, podcasts, or even a virtual presence on sites like Second Life. All of these opportunities for interaction between older religious and young adult Catholics should be consistent, frequent, and ongoing, in order to develop mutual understanding and appreciation between the generations. Once the generations get to know each other, those who are younger will likely be inspired by those who are older. I personally entered the Sisters of Charity because I wanted to be like older SCs. Conversely, the older generations will begin to understand, at least partially, what the world, and the Church, and religious life look like through younger eyes. Events, like the annual garlic mustard pull at the Motherhouse, provide opportunities for members of different generations to get to know each other.


Let’s Talk About Food By S. Julia Mary Deiters


uring the winter months, a group of Sisters and Associates gathered to discuss Lester Brown’s book Full Planet, Empty Plates. Did you know that food is the weak link in our modern civilization just as it was for many other civilizations, like the Mayans, that have come and gone? We cannot separate our existence from our food supply. To increase our food supply/grain yield can we just acquire more land and plant more crops? The answer is not that simple. Our food supply is dependent on viable land, sufficient water, favorable climate, and population needs. How do these affect each other?

Land Worldwide, sometime during the last century, soil erosion began to exceed new soil formation. The US is not eroding as fast as some other lands (China, Africa), but in the western hemisphere, Haiti went from being self-sufficient in grain 40 years ago to now importing more than half of its grain. This is the result of losing nearly all its forests and much of its topsoil. Soil erosion and land degradation issues are local, but their effect on food security is global.

Water Food is an extraordinarily water-intensive product; 70 percent of world water use is for irrigation. About 40 percent of the world’s irrigated area is dependent on underground water that needs to be regularly replenished with rainfall. In areas of the world where the water tables are being pumped beyond the rate of recharge, the resulting water-based “food bubbles” can create a short-term false sense of security. This condition is found in 18 countries that contain more than half the world’s people, including China, India, and the US. Irrigated areas appear to have peaked in the US and begun a long-term decline in some states like Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Florida. The world is seeing the first regional collision between population growth and water supply in the Arab Middle East.

Climate For more than 11,000 years the world experienced rather remarkable climate stability. Earth’s rising temperature now is making it more difficult to sustain a steady rise in grain yields. Our modern-day agriculture is suffering from rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The massive burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil) is increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, raising Earth’s temperature and disrupting climate.

Population Because we are near reaching the glass ceiling on food supplies for our world, we have to look very seriously at population stability. Most future population growth will occur in the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa. S ummer 2 0 1 3

In pre-modern societies, both births and deaths were high; there was little or no population growth. As living standards rise and health care improves, death rates begin to decline. As living standards continue to improve, and particularly as women are educated, the birth rate also begins to decline. The world cannot produce much more food than is being produced now. In a hungry world, it is the children who suffer the most. As a result of chronic hunger, 48 percent of all children in India are stunted physically and mentally. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country where hunger is common, many households (with both parents working) cannot afford to eat every day. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 7,000 children are dying each day from hunger and related illnesses.

Conclusion Competition for the grain harvest is between the affluent of the world and the poorest people of the world. Where incomes have risen, there is an enormous growth in animal protein consumption going from 38 pounds per person to 88 pounds a year (for period 1950-2010). The average American consumes about 1,400 pounds of grain per year, four-fifths of it indirectly in the form of meat, milk, and eggs. This is nearly four times that of India. Armed aggression is no longer the principal threat to our world’s future. The overriding threats in this century are water shortages, rising food prices, population growth, climate change. The geopolitics of food is fast overshadowing the geopolitics of oil.

SC Response What can WE do to prevent a worldwide food breakdown? Use less water? Consume less meat? Every local action has an impact on the global needs. Source: Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012)


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


n the heels of the Industrial Age, Detroit was a hub of activity. The Great Lakes waterways brought a steady source of commodities to and from the Detroit harbor and manufacturing was peaking. Shoes, paint and varnish, bicycles, streetcars and stoves were just some of the products made by the Polish and German immigrants in the city between 1865 and 1890. Already known in Michigan for their work in education in Bay City, Fr. Finnegan, SJ, pastor, asked Mother Mary Paul Hayes to send Sisters of Charity to take over Sts. Peter and Paul School. Two Sisters of Charity arrived in January 1888. S. Maria Louise Hebert was the principal and S. Alphonse Gallagher taught there for 52 years. When S. Alphonse began the school had been comprised mostly of Irish and English of “elevated families,” as Sister called them. When she returned to the school to teach again in 1913, they had begun to move into the suburbs and other ethnic groups were increasing in number. A language problem prevented some from flourishing; they received help from the Sisters and the St. Vincent de Paul Society of the parish. Each Saturday night two members of the Society went to check on the families that needed their help. One of the outstanding characteristics of Sts. Peter and Paul, especially from the 1950s on, was its dedication to poor and neglected children. S. Marie Patrice Joyce, who taught at the school from 1951-’52, recalls, “Our supper was always well prepared but with much more food than the seven Sisters could eat; after supper Sisters Alphonse and Francis Salano would pack

the leftover food in jars and bags. Later in the evening the doorbell would ring; Alphonse would answer the door, go to the kitchen and get some of the food. She explained to me that there were many families who needed food. They would not take our food, but they would take our leftovers, thus we made sure we had plenty of leftovers. This was before food pantries, but she knew what S. Alphonse Gallagher ministered at Sts. Peter and Paul School for to do to help them keep their 52 years. dignity.” Sister Superiors and principals from the 1950s on were Sisters Francis Solano McCarthy, Ann Loretto Connell and Beatrice Ann Garlock. These women welcomed the homeless and the needy –­ comforting, directing, listening, advocating. S. Ann Loretto was a true advocate of the poor and a woman of action. S. Beatrice Ann worked well with the volunteers; they saw her as an inspiration as well as a coworker. Sts. Peter and Paul school remained open until 1964. In 1890, the Sisters of Charity were invited by the Rev. Matthew Meathe to staff a school in his new parish, St. Leo Elementary and High School on the west side of Detroit. In the early years the school flourished; in 1925 a new building was built for the high school and they became affiliated with the North Central Association of High Schools. Enrollment peaked in the early 1940s, but by the late 1940s, inner city conditions forced a rapid decline. Before 1950 five Sisters had accumulated a record of more than 25 years at St. Leo. Among them was S. Maurilia Drean, a native vocation from the parish. She served the students there a total of 34 years before retiring in 1988. Sisters Helen Miriam Gunn and Patricia Sabourin are active, living vocations from St. Leo. In the summer of 1967, just as the thermometers seemed to boil over from the resounding heat, so did the racial tensions that had been rising in the city for years. The Detroit riots that would make history surrounded the Sisters of Charity residing in the area that summer. S. Cookie Crowley clearly remembers the threatening phone calls that St. Leo’s convent received as the tensions began to peak. Sts. Peter and Paul School in Detroit, Mich., was staffed by Sisters of Charity for 76 years.



By the 1970s the high school closed and the elementary school’s programs occupied the entire building. Featuring an ungraded, individualized instruction for the students, the enrollment now included St. Patrick, St. Benedict the Moor and St. Dominic parishes. The school remained open until 1988 with Sisters Grace, Magdalen Louise Blum, Marie Vincent Stewart and Emma Josephine Sherrer as the last Sisters to serve there. Each ministered at St. Leo for more than 20 years.

S. Grace Schwietering was the principal at St. Leo School from 1970 until 1992.

“The first message I got, I was thinking that it was a kid on Easter break. Then he kept calling and got really nasty. Well, they were going to burn our house down because we supported the blacks,” explained S. Cookie. “We taught the African-American kids, we lived near them, we were feeding them and that’s why they wanted to burn the house down. The things [the caller] said I would never repeat, but it was clear why they were threatening us.” “St. Leo’s was one of the few places that the rioters allowed the firemen to put out the fires,” S. Ruth Bockenstette shared. “They respected the work of the Sisters and wanted to protect them,” she said. “In the windows on both schools and the convent we put signs that said ‘Soul Brothers Go Here.’” Despite all of the commotion and destruction occurring in the city that summer, the Sisters of Charity were not afraid; they knew they were safe and the victims of the riots knew that too. “We were insulated from the surroundings because we were who we were,” S. Cookie said. “[St. Leo’s] was a safe place for food to be dropped off and for people to come to.” One year after the riots, in 1968, the St. Leo church, high school, grade school, rectory and convent had not been touched; the immediate neighborhood was intact, but the arrival of the interstate highway had a dramatic effect. Half of St. Leo’s elementary building was condemned, the majority of students taught there were living in poverty, and the church could not afford heating or air conditioning. These facts did not stop the Sisters of Charity from sharing their love with the parish. S. Grace Schwietering, who was teaching at the school at the time, recalls: “One year we had an All Saints Day liturgy in the church. As was our custom, after the liturgy, we asked the kids for feedback. One child’s reply (note that it was November in Detroit and we could not afford to heat the church) was, ‘The next time we have Mass in church when it’s cold, we should all sit closer. Then we can all cuddle up and keep warm.’ How’s that for fellowship?”

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As the SC Congregation was becoming known for its dedication to education another request for the Sisters came from the Rev. J.A. VanHoomissen. In the summer of 1898, S. Assisium McCann was a patient at one of the mineral bath houses in Mount Clemens, Mich. The mineral water found underground was said to contain healing qualities for relieving pain and the crippling effects of a person’s ailments. The curative mineral baths were acclaimed throughout the country; S. Assisium was one of the many sufferers of rheumatism that benefitted from these baths, sparking the Sisters’ interest in them. Father VanHoomissen had long desired to establish a bath house under Catholic auspices and had already bought property. He decided that the Sisters of Charity would be perfect to staff his sanitarium, which would become known as St. Joseph Sanitarium/Hospital. Mother Mary Blanche Davis agreed. She sent four Sisters to form the first staff: Sisters Mary Bertha Armstrong, Henrietta Marie Linegar, Mary Joachim McPhee and Marie Cuerier. Little did anyone realize that the Sisters of Charity legacy would continue at St. Joseph for 109 years. Mother Mary Bertha Armstrong, the first Superior, was responsible for construction for the first hospital and as Mother General kept careful watch over the progress of the institution. S. Marie Cuerier served in many capacities during her 58 years at St. Joseph’s.

S. Magdalen Louise Blum was one of the last Sisters to serve at St. Leo School in Detroit; she ministered at the school for more than 20 years. 11

In 1910, St. Joseph’s nursing school became one of the first to be officially licensed in the state of Michigan. St. Joseph Hospital broke racial barriers in 1949 by not only hiring the county’s first African-American physician to its medical staff but also by delivering the first African-American baby born in a Macomb County hospital. In the 1960s, due to continual advancements in medical technology and treatments, the mineral baths were eventually phased out. It was the end of a significant era, but the hospital’s commitment to the community remained strong. In 1975 St. Joseph West Hospital, a second campus, was dedicated and its first patient was admitted in November.

In 1910, St. Joseph’s nursing school became one of the first to be officially licensed in the state of Michigan.

St. Joseph Sanitarium/Hospital was established in 1898.

S. Anna Suttman was the last Sister of Charity administrator, serving from 1968 through 1984. In 1990 the Sisters of Charity transferred sponsorship to the Sisters of Mercy Health Services. Sisters Bernadette Kambeitz and Kay Willenborg were the last SCs to minister at St. Joseph. S. Kay served as chaplain in the 1980s and S. Bernadette was coordinator of major gifts, retiring in 2010. S. Pierre Habel ministered here for 26 years before retiring in 1994. Already acquainted with the Community at St. Leo’s, the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin, pastor and famous radio priest, contacted Mother Mary Regina Russell to request Sisters of Charity for his parish school, Shrine Elementary School. Mother Mary Regina sent the following Sisters to open a school in 1934: S. Adele Clifford, who served as principal, and Sisters Agnes Rita Von Driska, Genevieve Gerhardus, Louise Gattes, and Francetta Hanlon. This began a continuing, pastoral connection with the SC charism which remains today. The opening day of Shrine Elementary School in rural Royal Oak, September 1934, found the new faculty in an abandoned public school building – temporary for four years. The new building was ready in 1938 with another addition in 1941. To keep up with the ever-increasing enrollment, the building was enlarged several times. More than 300 Sisters have ministered at the Shrine Grade School. The Sisters influence and their presence 12

Sisters were responsible for turning a shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking for the new wing of St. Joseph Hospital in 1961.

are often fondly recalled by adults in this parish of 4,000 households today. Peak enrollment occurred in 1962 when 1,662 pupils were registered. Sisters Mary Agnes Saffer, Carita Kemble and Annina Morgan successfully carried out many an idea of Father Coughlin’s. Pageants and rituals done by the students of the schools – costumes, music and drama included – were frequent happenings. S. Katharine Pinto, a Shrine graduate, began the kindergarten program there. The school is still open under lay leadership. The last SC principal at Shrine Grade School was S. Patricia Marie Donnelly, a committed and talented administrator who served in that capacity from 1960 to 1992. S. Mary Alicia Bomya, a graduate of the Shrine High School, served in pastoral ministry there from 1998 to 2012. With education in her blood (four generations) she took courses in gerontology to better understand the needs of the parishioners she was visiting. S. Noreen Ellison, also a native of the Shrine parish, continues today as a pastoral associate in Christian Service; she Intercom

is in her 10th year of ministry there. Today, the slogan of Shrine School is, “Tradition meets Tomorrow,” and S. Noreen Ellison says, “Through the Sisters of Charity Associates at Shrine parish, the spirit of our Congregation is visible in their commitment to our values and spirit; these active Associates include Jamie Kelly, Randy Husaynu and Jack Hoolehan. The imprint of the many who ministered there has a lasting influence on these People of God.” Shrine High School continues as a parish high school, the only one remaining in the Detroit area. The Rev. Coughlin asked the Sisters of Charity to staff the school and Mother Mary Regina Russell sent nine Sisters to open a private school for girls; Little Flower High School opened in September 1941. S. Barbara Geoghegan was the principal and her staff included Sisters Rose McConville, Myra Drain, Ancilla Marie Petricone and Francis Anna Bunline. In 1948, Little Flower High School became Shrine High School, a coeducational parish high school. The last Sisters of Charity to minister there were Sisters Rita Cocquyt, Annunciata Hulse and Joyce Richter. Sisters whose native Shrine vocation was fostered here include Sisters Mary Kay Bush, Diana Durling, Noreen Ellison, Carol Leveque, Irene Luther, Theresa Ann Moran, Katharine Pinto, Juliette Sabo, Kay Tardiff and Marianne Van Vurst. The Rev. Leo Huver started Guardian Angels School in 1927 with a staff of lay teachers, but he had already received a promise from Mother Irenaea Fahey for Sisters in 1928. S. Mary Christopher McKenzie, principal, along with three other Sisters arrived to start the 1928-’29 school year. For their 285 pupils that year, housing included several portables scattered about the neighborhood and one farm building. Enrollment peaked in 1962 with 1,241 pupils, slowly declining for the next 25 years. The Archdiocese closed the school in 1987. S. Florence Ruede was the last SC principal. The Sisters’ convent became the Sisters of Charity Retirement Center from 1962 to 1987 with Sister Gertrude Marie Manser as director. Sisters Rita Cocquyt and Mary Marcel DeJonckheere are current native SC vocations from Guardian Angels. The Sisters of Charity gave 60 years of active service to the parish.

S. Patricia Marie Donnelly was the last SC principal at Shrine Grade School in Royal Oak, Mich.

In 1928, the Rev. R.J. McQuillan asked for Sisters of Charity to staff his school, St. Luke. Mother Irenaea Fahey sent three Sisters: Sisters Celestine Malone, principal; Ann Rita Kelly; and Catherine Marie Elliott. The school opened with six grades, building to eight in the next two years. In 1971, St. Luke School merged with Epiphany School, ending a 43-year relationship for the Sisters of Charity, but before that women religious vocations were already coming. Adding to the legacy, Sisters who attended St. Luke include Sisters Mary Alicia Bomya, Cheryl Ann Grenier, Mary Barbara Philippart, Mary Dolores Schneider and Marie Irene Schneider. St. Louis School in Mount Clemens was in existence 15 years before the Sisters of Charity were asked to take over in 1943; the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters had staffed the school since 1928. Mother Mary Zoe Farrell sent four Sisters to take over the school in time for the 1943-’44 term with S. Mary Gemma Gunn as principal. In 1971, the parish, with the recommendation of the Archdiocese, closed St. Louis Grade School. The last principal was S. Michael Clare Mauntel who continued in the parish to work in pastoral ministry. From 1975-1999 the pastoral associate responsibilities were in the hands of S. Rose Arnold, assisted by Sisters John Elizabeth Baader and Genevieve Bankowski; they retired in 1999. Living, active vocations from St. Louis parish are Sisters Margaret Renee (Peggy) Deneweth and Jacqueline Kowalski. In 1954, the Rev. Lucien Herbert requested Sisters of Charity for his parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, the last school occupied by the Sisters of Charity in Detroit. S. Mary Helen McKenna, who served as principal, was one of the Sisters that Mother Mary Romana Dodd sent. The school opened with 300 pupils, with a steady increase into the 1960s. The last Sister of Charity working in the parish was S. Michael Clare Mauntel who served in pastoral ministry from 1975 to 2010. The parish continues to embody the welcoming spirit of the SC charism today after a 56-year relationship. (From left) Associate Randy Husaynu, S. Noreen Ellison and Associate Jack Hoolehan continue the SC legacy at Shrine parish in Royal Oak, Mich.

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The last quarter of the 20th century saw new calls for ministries in the Detroit area. Vatican II deepened the desire for the laity to become contributing members (beyond financial) to their faith; efforts among lay, religious and clergy became more collaborative. Updating and education in theology and spirituality were requested. Sisters Mary Bodde and Florence (Rose) Izzo were asked to bring their gifts to St. John Provincial Seminary in nearby Plymouth. As rector, Bishop Ken Untener had reopened St. John’s; he saw the importance of further educating his priests. He extended the invitation to all seven Michigan dioceses. The program included the laity and religious, as well. Sisters Mary and Florence became a valued part of that program. S. Mary developed the curriculum and served as program promoter while S. Florence offered participants the practical principles of ministry with a pastoral emphasis. The atmosphere of excellent professors, clergy, lay women and men together was a ‘win-win.’ They ate together, lived in the seminary and brought about a mutually healthy exchange in the week-long summer courses. Participants continued to enflesh the vision of Vatican II and witnessed to solidarity in their efforts to be Christ in the world; it resulted in a readiness for ministry and greater effectiveness in serving God’s people. Sisters of Charity listened and responded to new, emerging needs. S. Ellen Ann Gardner chose to affirm the gifts of persons in Catholic inner city parishes; she brought her energy to The Church of the Madonna as associate pastor and as a case worker for the Office of Migration. S. Mary Cecelia Eagen, who spent 26 years as a professor of nursing at Madonna University, designed and directed hospice education, establishing the first hospice degree curriculum in the country. Information technology was emerging. S. Rita Cocquyt was led by her

spiritual director to volunteer as a computer instructor for St. Veronica School and then with senior citizens at St. Peter, East Pointe. She walked with other SCs who wished to remain in Michigan, S. Mary Cecelia Eagen spent 26 years as a being ‘community’ professor of nursing at Madonna University and for them as their established the first hospice degree curriculum health declined, and in the country. she provided support services for the IHM Prayer Center. These were new directions for our Sisters, but they witnessed to the call of the Gospel, serving and responding to needs. While the number of Sisters living and ministering in the Detroit area has declined, those remaining continue to serve where needed. S. Theresa Ann Moran, after retiring from the classroom in 1985, became activity coordinator for a senior nursing facility, then parish pastoral minister at St. Ignatius. She now volunteers as sacristan at St. Lucy’s parish. S. Karen Hawver developed relationships with neighboring parish St. Dennis while ministering as administrator at Guardian Angels. She was soon hired as their principal. After 32 years as an elementary principal, at St. Dennis and Holy Family Regional in Rochester and Rochester Hills, she continues to use her gift of song to serve. Besides singing for weddings and funerals of families she knows she uses this God-given gift to bring joy to others. S. Kay Willenborg went from nursing at St. Joseph to hospital chaplaincy; in her retirement years she completed an internship in spiritual direction and is now affiliated with Manressa Jesuit Retreat Center. The Detroit legacy is representative of many diverse gifts, willing women religious with a desire to serve. The seed sown by the early followers of Elizabeth and Margaret, brought to Detroit more than 125 years ago, will continue to carry Jesus’ message. The active, living SC vocations fostered in the Detroit area parishes have and are ministering in new ways today; they are a living tribute to the early Sisters who were true to Elizabeth’s desire to ‘meet the grace of the moment.’

S. Karen Hawver was the elementary principal at St. Dennis and Holy Family Regional in Rochester and Rochester Hills for 32 years.




Senior director of finance and accounting Vicki Humphrey (front) with accounting assistant Laurie Stultz.


or most SC employees their relationships with the Sisters of Charity began long before they became employed at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. Many were either taught by a Sister or saw their presence in the parish or the community they grew up in. For Vicki Humphrey, senior director of finance and accounting, the Sisters of Charity and their Mission were not nearly as familiar. The Springfield, Ohio, native first met the Community when she applied for an accounting position advertised 19 years ago. She and her husband, Dave, had just moved to Delhi and had recently had their first child. Vicki was “intrigued” with the position; it was close to home, and she was beginning to tire from her daily commute to Blue Ash. “It was the best decision ever,” she said. A newly converted Catholic at the time, Vicki says the Sisters were warm and welcoming and made the transition into the culture comfortable and easy. In fact, it’s the relationships she has built with so many Sisters through the years that she treasures most. “The things that the Sisters have done in their lifetime, you just sit in awe,” she says, “and the care that they have for their employees and each other is amazing.” Vicki fondly remembers bringing her young daughters, Ashley and Megan, in for visits and having a line of Sisters waiting their turn to hold them. Today, both in college, the two still enjoy visits to the Mount and have continued to form relationships with the Sisters. Last year, S. Mary Lucia Dudzinski, a former chemistry professor at the College of Mount St. Joseph, dusted off the books to help Megan with a summer chemistry class through the University of Dayton. Vicki says her position has evolved over the years. She was initially hired to handle the accounting for Mother S ummer 2 0 1 3

Margaret Hall and Bayley, the continuing care retirement community and SC sponsored ministry. Congregational finances were taken care of primarily by Sisters. She explains, “As the Sisters in the Finance Office have retired, close to half now, lay people have taken on more responsibilities related to individual Sisters’ issues. Even investments and health insurance, which were once all done by Sisters, have changed. We helped with the transition to centralized checking. We have helped through the transition of direct deposit of all their salaries. There has been a lot of change for the Sisters – and for us.” Over the years, Vicki says the Finance Office has been blessed with a staff of both Sisters and lay persons. “They come from all backgrounds whether they have been teachers, pharmacists, et cetera, and they all bring their own view of the world or specialty.” In addition to the late Sisters Grace Murphy and Trish Mirsberger, Vicki names her relationship with S. Roslyn Hafertepe – or S. Edward Cecile as she still calls her today – as particularly special. “The way she handled things, always very polite and professional, but always getting the job done, I have a lot of respect for her.” Coming from the for-profit world, Vicki says the values never fit for her. “Sometimes I’d go home at night and think I just don’t want to go back tomorrow,” she reflected on those years prior to working with the SCs. “Here it is people first, mission first. They have such strong faith and find a way to make things happen. Even with new endeavors – like DePaul Cristo Rey High School – most would say how are you going to start a new school in this economy? But, through faith and conviction, it happened and it’s successful.”


A Sister’s Tale

A ssociates C elebrate 4 0 years

By Associate Vicki Welsh

… And the dear SISTERS said, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

… and so the dear SISTERS prayed and discussed how best they could take in these treasured HUMBLE ones.

… and WOMEN came to join the dear SISTERS in community and grew strong in their faith and service to the world. They traveled north, south, east, west, and all points in between.

… and alas the beginnings of the Associate were born.

… and the dear SISTERS multiplied in number and were heard to say, “My soul shall make its boast to the Lord; the humble shall hear it and rejoice.”

… and the children came! Men and women, young and old, married and single. They came from Taos, Cincinnati, Juneau, Albuquerque, Homosassa, Richmond, Wethersfield, Gwynedd, Colorado Springs, Cassopolis, oh, so many places.

… and the HUMBLE did rejoice! In the schools, the hospitals, the parishes … in the jungles, in the dry lands, the heat and the cold; the HUMBLE heard and rejoiced! … and years passed … many institutions were begun by the dear SISTERS … the places were of love, justice, and peace. Time turned and spun and the HUMBLE were seen to gather in ever increasing numbers. They were drawn by the simplicity of the dear SISTERS, their kindness was unequaled. The dear SISTERS were heard to say, “O magnify the LORD with me. And let us exalt His name together.” … and the HUMBLE made their home in the hearts of the dear SISTERS. The HUMBLE were seen to tell others of the LORD’S love that they learned much from the dear SISTERS. The HUMBLE were happiest at the side of the dear SISTERS. … and alas, one day the Bishop of Rome declared that the HUMBLE were very dear to the Church. He told his Shepherds, Brothers, and Sisters to go out and demonstrate to these HUMBLE just how much they are treasured by the Church. 16

… and the dear SISTERS were heard to say, “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

…and they were named Blasa, George, Joan, Bob, Linda, Frances, Viola, Mariela, every name you can think … and lots of Marys. … and these HUMBLE came from every walk of life … and they were heard to say, “Who is the man/woman who desires life, and loves length of days that he may see good?” … and the dear SISTERS were heard as the HUMBLE entwined their lives together with the dear SISTERS, “Oh taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man/woman who takes refuge in the LORD!” … and alas by the 2,013th year of our LORD, 40 years have passed that the HUMBLE have taken up residence in the hearts of the dear SISTERS. The HUMBLE have learned the Charism, Mission, and Vision … they walk alongside the dear SISTERS. With each year the HUMBLE find new ways to assist the dear SISTERS in the work … and they all rejoice! Scripture, Psalm 34, New American Standard Bible Intercom

Changing Lives


n Dec. 1, 2012, Linda Trenn began an 11-month journey with the Sisters of Charity. As an Associate in Volunteer Ministry, the mother of three said goodbye to her adult children, mother and dialysis tech position and headed to Mixco, Guatemala, to live and work amongst the poor.

kids as well as the adults had never had any English before, and I spent many nights wondering why I did this! Not being a teacher and walking into a school with very limited supplies was challenging. It took me a few months to really start to enjoy teaching. I was so afraid that I was doing a terrible job and they weren’t learning anything. The hardest part of the whole experience is dealing with and seeing the kids deal Linda became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity through S. Sarah Mulligan, whom she met while on a mission with the insufficiencies of the classrooms and materials. The classrooms leak badly when it rains, and the lighting is poor; trip with St. Ignatius parish. S. Sarah lives and ministers in Mixco, and has been the administrative director of the Daniel on dark and rainy days the kids can’t see the board, and they Comboni Community Clinic since 1994. “God definitely led are getting rained on while trying to learn. me to St. Ignatius,” Linda said. “After going to Guatemala “But one day I took a walk and talked to God and he and talking with S. Sarah, I knew where I needed to be, so I instilled a confidence that I had not had, and ever since that contacted the Sisters of Charity and asked them if they would day I have been enjoying teaching them, and not being so hard sponsor me to go back and teach English at the school there. on myself – and the experience has been wonderful … They explained the Associate in Volunteer Ministry program, “I have most enjoyed seeing the kids learn, and forming and I knew that was what I needed to do. I had no hesitation relationships with the people here. They have almost nothing, about joining, because I had been praying about this for and yet they are the happiest, most giving, genuine, and faithyears.”  filled people I have ever had the pleasure to get to know. I love Linda writes of her time in Guatemala: “When I first arrived in Antigua, I lived with a host family and studied Spanish for three weeks. Then I returned to Mixco to live with S. Sarah. I am teaching 147 kids during the week, ages 4-15, and more than 100 adults on Saturdays. A lot of the

them, and I am getting just as much – if not more – out of this experience than the kids and adults I am teaching. I definitely, without any reservations, recommend this experience to anyone. I have learned that material things are not what make you happy and successful. And I’ve also learned to be appreciative for what I have; it is my duty to share with others less fortunate. I only hope that God will give me the chance to help the underprivileged in some capacity when I get home. God has been so generous to me in my life, and it’s only fitting that I give back, and be His hands and feet here on earth.   “The Sisters of Charity Mission Statement is one that should be lived out by everyone. I have learned that you don’t have to go on a mission trip to live out the values that God told us to live by in the Bible. We all need to act justly, share what we have with the less fortunate, love others as we love ourselves, and care for everyone and everything that God created. I plan on and strive for, with God’s help, to live out these values every day, wherever God leads me.”  

To learn more about the Associate in Volunteer Ministry Program, visit our website at

SC Associate in Volunteer Ministry Linda Trenn has been teaching English to children and adults in Guatemala since December 2012. S ummer 2 0 1 3


Our Time is Now G athering 2 0 1 3


very four years Sisters and Associates from across the country and abroad gather at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse for a few days of prayer, fellowship, learning and fun. The four days were filled with reunions, the forming of new relationships, and the celebration of our Sisters and Associates and the many ways the Family of Charity continues to live the Gospel.

(From left) Sisters Terry Dutcher, Caroljean Willie and Associate Jo Carol Laymon participate in the morning getting-to-know-you circle exercises.

On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, Sisters and Associates celebrated the Gathering’s official start. The morning included an opening prayer and getting-to-know-you circles. Optional afternoon sessions followed; the evening concluded with a reception for Novices Tracy Kemme and Andrea Koverman.

S. Lois Jean Goettke (right) adorns S. Andrea Koverman with her official SC pin.

Associate Cathy Colque offers a rose to S. Brenda Busch during the Gathering’s opening.


Sisters and Associates enjoy viewing video of our SC history during a breakout session.



he second day of the SC Gathering began with a general session on “Initial Formation.” Sisters and Associates had the option to take part in the many afternoon sessions available. The day concluded with a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Associate program and a commitment ceremony for new Associates.

Associate Cathy Garcia enjoys “Japanese Flower Arranging” during a breakout session on Thursday.

(From left) Sisters Donna Steffen, Janet Gildea and Monica Gundler prepare for their morning discussion on “Initial Formation,” holding signs to identify the area they direct.

(From left) Pre-Entrants Annie Klapheke and Lori Williams and Novices Tracy Kemme and Andrea Koverman participated in a panel discussing what led them to the Sisters of Charity.

S. Helen Miriam Gunn stands next to her entry in the Leading Age Ohio Art and Writing Show on June 27 at Bayley.

(From left) Maggi Yocis, Gloria Cordova, Patty Broughton, Patricia Branch and Sandy Rizzo made their commitments as Associates in Mission Thursday afternoon of the Gathering. S ummer 2 0 1 3


(From left) Associate Maureen Maxfield, S. Mary Bookser, Associate Barry Mersmann and S. Joyce Brehm participate in a choral reading celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Associate program.

(From left) Associates Moe Nieman, Mary Ellen Williams and Cathy Colque take part in the breakout session, “The Art of Zentangle.”

The Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation sponsored a Water With Blessings demonstration on Thursday night to help explain the SCs collaboration to bring clean water to mothers in Mexico and their families.


ay three began with reflection on the 2011 Chapter commitments. Optional afternoon sessions included “Greeting Card Creation” and presentations on “Climate Change” and “Listening to Your Dreams.” The day concluded with Vespers in the Motherhouse chapel. The CEOs and Board chairs of the SC sponsored ministries were invited to join Sisters and Associates.

(From left) Gathering co-chair S. Barbara Davis and her sister Associate Carolyn Davis contributed to the lead of the Mother Drum. S. Donna Steffen led the prayer and drumming for the Friday morning session. The drumming transitioned Sisters and Associates through each Chapter statement as they discussed progress made during the last two years.



Members of the Ecclesial Women Committee are seen imaging how tensions and diverse opinions within a group can affect the shape of the circle, but not break the relationship to the whole.

(From left) S. Mary Ann Flannery, Associate Mary Wall and Associate Patrice Harty gave examples of how Sisters and Associates are living out the SC mission in their personal lives.

(From left) Associates Kay Clifton, Jane Burdette, Deborah Rose-Milavec and Christine Hicks joined S. Joyce Richter for a strenuous hike in the Motherhouse woods.

Discussions between Sisters and Associates abounded throughout the Friday morning session. S. JoAnne Termini takes some time to look at one of the many displays situated around the Motherhouse.

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Board Chairs and CEOs of SC sponsored ministries joined Sisters and Associates Friday afternoon to explain how their organizations are acting justly.


S. Terry Thorman (front) and choir members provided beautiful music throughout the Gathering.


he Gathering concluded with a morning general session entitled “Into the Future,” presented by the Leadership Team. A quiet, reflective afternoon was scheduled prior to the closing liturgy in the Motherhouse chapel.

(Front, from left) Associate Claudia Rogers and S. Roberta Westrick.

(From left) Sisters Juliette Sabo and Jacqueline Kowalski.

(From left) Sisters Joan Wessendarp and Annette Muckerheide.

(From left) Pre-Entrant Annie Klapheke and S. Sarah Mulligan.

(From left) Associates Liz Maxwell and Julie Schuster.

The Saturday morning session began with a performance by the SC Leadership Team followed by their presentation, “Into the Future.”



A Hidden Treasure By S. Terry Thorman


eaceful places for prayer are abundant in our spacious Motherhouse. Among them is a treasure perhaps overlooked or nearly forgotten. The Madonna Chapel (formerly called Rosary Chapel) lies on the east side of the Motherhouse chapel between the sanctuary and the sunporch. In the early 1900s, used as a mortuary chapel and chapel of the sick, it was later dedicated as Rosary Chapel on Dec. 8, 1937. This date marked the establishment of the Confraternity of the Rosary at the Motherhouse. Seniors of the College of Mount St. Joseph class of 1938 donated furnishings. At the time of our Motherhouse chapel renovation in 2000 this small chapel room, quietly, without fanfare, received a new name and a new look. It became the Madonna Chapel, a fitting addenda to our large Immaculate Conception Chapel. S. Judith Metz collected and displayed many likenesses of Mary. The likenesses, not at all alike, show the universality of Mary throughout times and cultures. The priority in collecting these, Our Lady of Guadalupe according to S. Judith, was to display images, pictures and statues having to do with our Sisters of Charity history, the cultures of our Sisters, and the cultures where we’ve served. And so there is a likeness of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Chinese Madonna, an African Black Madonna, a picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help which was formerly displayed on a side altar. From more recent SC history we have a beautiful icon “Mother of Tenderness” from the Ukraine of Eastern Europe; a modern art Mary poster from the Caribbean; and a Slovakian likeness “Our Lady of Levocha,” the Mary of the shrine in Bedford. In addition to larger artworks, there are numerous small statues and pictures, donations of artistic treasures from individual Sisters, even some framed Christmas cards. This small, quiet, out-of-theway room is a sacred mini-museum and a place to ponder the universal love of Mary and Jesus permeating times and cultures. There is one more use for this special small place today. Remember that in its early days it was used as a mortuary chapel? Now, today, as Mother Margaret Hall lacks space due to the renovation process, once again this Madonna Chapel is used as a mortuary/wake room in the time before a deceased Sister’s memorial service at MMH chapel. Close family and friends of Sisters who’ve recently died are finding a place to remember, grieve and pray.

Perhaps you may want to re-discover this Motherhouse treasure.

Our Lady of Levocha S ummer 2 0 1 3


DePaul Cristo Rey Students E nd S chool Y ear


his year the Congregational offices of the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse had the privilege to work alongside three students from DePaul Cristo Rey High School, the newest sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Charity. Through the Corporate Work Study Program, DePaul Cristo Rey students Noah, Ashley and Amber contributed to the cost of their education by working five full days a month at the Motherhouse and Mother Margaret Hall. Offices working with the students included Communications, Archives, Human

Noah describes one of his favorite responsibilities while at the Motherhouse. “One day S. Grace Schmersal asked me if I would help S. Marie Josetta Wethington with her computer. S. Josetta then asked me to help her the following week. It became a weekly thing. I helped her recover her email, delete emails she’s had for a long time, and we got her back on Facebook.” Noah’s kindness led him to help S. Carol McCarthy, as well. “I found him very helpful and nice,” S. Carol said. Noah helped Sister navigate the SC website and she is now able to do so on her own. “I would love to have someone like him to come back and help me to continue to learn new computer skills,” Sister added. S. Grace Schmersal observed Noah’s gentleness with both Sisters. “He was very interested in it,” she said. “He gave them his undivided attention.” Ashley’s shining moment came in March when she led a discussion with a group of residents and staff members around the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Assigned to read the book during her sophomore year, Ashley developed an academic assignment into an enriching experience beyond the walls of the classroom.

Sophomore Noah helped S. Carol McCarthy learn how to navigate the SC website.

Resources, Social Services, Nutrition, the Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation, Associates and the Post Office. Noah, a sophomore, spent his Thursdays at the Motherhouse and says that being a part of a professional environment has put him at an advantage as he looks to the future. “[The Corporate Work Study Program] teaches us this is not a game,” he said. “If you make these mistakes early, then you will have corrected them by the time you enter the professional world. We’re learning what’s wrong and right, and this also puts me on the right track to what I want to do when I get older.” Ashley, also a sophomore, agrees. “I’m one step ahead of everyone else,” she said. “I’ve had the professional experience – making photocopies, answering phone calls, and most importantly, communicating with others, particularly adults.” The experiences they had throughout the year were invaluable. The three were responsible for leading a group discussion, offering computer assistance to our Sisters, and archiving our SC history, to name a few. 24

Ashley directed the circular group in the Community Room at Mother Margaret Hall. She asked the thought-provoking question, “If you were black and lived in this setting, at this time, how would you feel?” This question generated myriad of answers and sparked further discussion. Many residents had taught this book when they were active in their ministries. One Sister said it was a perfect book to review during Holy Week. Others identified with the book’s power in effecting positive change. All enjoyed and were enriched by Ashley’s ability to lead a group and combine academic and professional skills. Freshman Amber’s main project involved working alongside S. Joyce Brehm in the Sisters of Charity Archives. The pair took the typed histories of the Ohio parishes where our Sisters have ministered, and the history of each parish, and transferred them to digital form. Amber said she learned a lot about the Sisters and the history of Ohio – and she was even able to teach S. Joyce a thing or two! “I will always remember the day [Amber] corrected something in the computer and saved me hours of work,” S. Joyce recalled. “As I thanked her and complimented her, I enjoyed her response: ‘I guess it is worthwhile to pay attention in school and learn these things.’” One of the most positive outcomes from the Corporate Work Study Program has been the relationships the students formed with their mentors. The students were quick to name a number Intercom

of Sisters and employees that taught them life lessons and left a lasting impression. Amber openly speaks about the relationships she made with S. Joyce in Archives and Debbie Schroeder, Human Resources administrative assistant. “I can be myself with them,” she said. “Without S. Joyce and Debbie pushing me forward I wouldn’t have Freshman Amber enjoyed her time working with Human made it through the Resources Administrative Assistant Debbie Schroeder. school year. They helped me turn things around and kept pushing me forward. Just like DePaul Cristo Rey, they keep pushing you until you reach your goals.” Ashley added, “When I first heard that I was assigned here, I didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t too excited. But I learned so much, talking to the Sisters about their lives, what made them want to become a Sister, and I instantly fell in love with this place. I would rather be here than anywhere else.” The experience at the Motherhouse has led the three students to learn more about their Sisters of Charity founders – and the SC mission. When asked what the SC mission means to him, Noah replied, “I’ve learned that [the Sisters of Charity] will help everyone. They love everybody and they love God. Everything they do, they do with a purpose and they are [women] who act without wanting anything in return.” As we say goodbye to our students, we thank each of them for their hard work and willingness to learn and grow. The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati wish Noah, Ashley, Amber – and all of the DPCR students – best of luck as they continue forward in their high school journey and beyond. We are proud of you!

D ocumentary R eceives H onor

St. Mary Academy spent five years in trailers while the school was completely rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. They are featured in the documentary We Shall Not Be Moved: The Catholic Sisters of New Orleans.


e Shall Not Be Moved: The Catholic Sisters of New Orleans, a 57-minute film that documents how six congregations of New Orleans’ Roman Catholic Sisters returned to minister and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, won a 2013 Gabriel® Award for Best Religious Television from the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals. SC Ministry Foundation coordinated the film, and the Foundation’s S. Sally Duffy and Loretta Dees were co-executive producers. The Gabriel® Awards are presented annually to film, television and radio programs and a distinguished individual whose body of work nourishes and uplifts the human spirit. The competition is open to all radio and television stations and producers in the United States and Canada. “We are deeply grateful to the Catholic Academy and for the stories of these women religious,” said S. Sally Duffy, co-executive producer and president of SC Ministry Foundation. “We Shall Not Be Moved can only lead one to deepen their faith in God and their willingness to serve all our brothers and sisters.” SC Ministry Foundation organized the fundraising effort to make the documentary. The funders represent the Assembly of Catholic Foundations and other Catholic foundations and congregations of women religious. For more information about the film, visit

Sophomore Ashley led a discussion with MMH Sisters over the book To Kill a Mockingbird. S ummer 2 0 1 3


S. Marie Cuerier F rom the A rchives —


orn on Feb. 22, 1868, S. Marie (pronounced May-ree) Cuerier’s parents died when she was a young age. Raised by her aunt until her unexpected death, S. Marie entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati on Nov. 23, 1885. Her aunt Marguerite, a Sister of Charity, inspired her.

Wittberg once told. “S. Marie came along and consoled me. ‘I’ll take that and throw it out,’ she said. A few weeks later she brought it back to me revived and better than ever. I loved her dearly, everyone did.”

S. Marie was as “broad as she was tall” and was the huggable type recalls those who knew S. Marie was one of the original four Sisters her. “She had dark brown eyes that danced in of Charity who left the Motherhouse in 1898 her head,” was very alert and had a keen sense of to found a sanitarium and bath house in Mount humor. “When you would meet her in the hall, S. Marie Cuerier Clemens, Mich., (St. Joseph Sanitarium) at the she always had a comment that would make your urgent request of the clergy and laity of day,” remembered S. Marie Elizabeth Seymour, a the diocese. student nurse in the early 1940s. “She was kind and thoughtful. S. Marie would proudly talk of the work in Macomb County The way she addressed you made you feel important.” in which she played such an integral part during her first days Sister died on Nov. 11, 1956. Her motto was “Give to the there. She recounted in her journals [currently located in the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.” A SC Archives] the time she and S. Mary Bertha Strohofer made fitting summary on this faith-filled woman’s loving dedication huge pots of coffee on Christmas Eve in 1898 for workers is recorded in her journal for Thanksgiving Day 1933: “Today who spent most of the night covering the newly laid concrete I round out my 48th year in the Community. Thank God for foundation of the sanitarium. “They were so grateful,” all the blessings and gifts. This I can truly say, I have not been reminisces Sister, “that they couldn’t speak. All they could do a shining star but a faithful one, having striven to be exact and was give us a military salute.” religiously pious and observant in small as in greater details and minding my own business.” Later, when drillers were probing deep into the earth for mineral water that was to sustain the sanitarium, S. Marie prayed daily that they would strike a well. One day she slipped a statue of St. Joseph into the drill-pit. “Lo and behold, it wasn’t long before the discouraged workers reported with joy that they had hit a strata of water,” she wrote.

Article taken from SC Archives documents.

On March 17, 1923, S. Constance Thorne and S. Marie were anxious for a new hospital and turned to St. Joseph for help and financial means. At 7:30 a.m. they buried a small statue of St. Joseph on the site of the present hospital. On March 21, 1924, the big steam shovel was placed on the grounds for the digging of the foundation of the hospital. At the groundbreaking on March 24 each Sister, in her turn, turned a shovel of dirt. S. Marie spent 58 years of service in Mount Clemens. During those years her primary work was being in charge of supplies. But her primary contribution was the climate she created around her and the love and warmth she emanated. She was always around, always available. “I recall one day I was crying over a plant that I was responsible for that seemed dead,” the late S. Redempta An entry from S. Marie Cue

rier’s journal in 1924.



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.” Sister Sunshine S. Lynn Heper brings her contagious warmth to her ministry at the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation in Cincinnati. S. Cheryl Uses Gifts in Volunteer Role S. Cheryl Ann Grenier helps Peaslee Neighborhood Center’s preschool students discover and utilize their creative gifts by playing guitar and encouraging them to sing along. Associate Participates in Bicycle Adventure

Intercom Staff Editor Erin Reder

Georgia Associate Jane Burdette took part in the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) in June with 3,000 bikers aged 3 to 89.

Graphic Design/Layout Michelle Bley

Gathering to Bring Sisters and Associates from Across Country, Abroad

Director of Communications S. Georgia Kitt

A number of Sisters and Associates attended the June SC Gathering from a distance. Living Her Faith S. Emily Phelan volunteers three days each week at St. Mary-Corwin in Pueblo, Colo., where the Sisters of Charity sent her in 1982 to create a spiritual care department. The Itinerant St. Joseph Statue What started out as a holiday family visit turned into a travelogue for a certain St. Joseph statue. Food for the Soul The Sisters of Charity Art Collection contains beautiful reproductions of Renaissance masters’ oil paintings. Each month a different painting is featured with an account of how it came to be in the art collection, a brief history of the painting, and of the artist and her/his style.

S ummer 2 0 1 3

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 345 Sisters are joined in their mission by 199 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 29 U.S. dioceses and in Guatemala, Mexico and the West Indies. They also sponsor institutions to address education, health care and social service needs, with particular concern for direct service to the poor.

Photographer S. Marty Dermody

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

5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051 sistersofcharityofcincinnati


5900 Delhi Road Mount Saint Joseph, OH 45051

18 Sisters and Associates fill the Motherhouse chapel on June 26, 2013, for the opening of the Gathering.

7 (From left) Sisters Pat Sabourin, Janice Ernst, Jean Miller and Laetitia Slusser are members or “shareholders� of the Enright Ridge Eco-Village CSA in Price Hill. Sisters of Charity employees attended the DePaul Cristo Rey High School Recognition Brunch celebrating the successful end to the school year and the Corporate Work Study Program.


Summer 2013 intercom  

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

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