S I S T E R S
C H A R I T Y
C I N C I N N AT I
Many priests and religious in this country played a central role [in education], handing down to their children the food that nourished them for life. Many did so at the cost of extraordinary sacriﬁce and with heroic charity. I think, for example, of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton…
- Pope Francis
Dear Sisters, Associates and Friends,
Contents FEATURES A Walking Saint ........................................5 S. Ann Loretto Connell – a model of mercy. Hope for the Future ...................................... 8 Sisters reflect on Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Standing With the People ........................16 The 35th anniversary of the martyrdom in El Salvador. Three Times Blessed ................................20 Bill Yaley discusses his connection to Operation Babylift and S. Kateri Koverman. Journeying With Our Affiliates................24 Meet Denise Morris, Romina Sapinoso and Whitney Schieltz.
DEPARTMENTS Moments in Ministry ................................3 St. Peter’s/St. Joseph’s Orphanage Vocation/Formation ................................14 An Expression of Intentional Community Living OPJCC ...................................................22 An Engaging Experience
ope Francis declared 2016 an “extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.” He calls us to recognize that we need to open our hearts to our neighbors, to those who are closest to us. He reminds us that, “War is not the only enemy of peace, but also indifference which makes us think only of ourselves and creates barriers, suspicions, fears and closures. These are the enemies of peace.” He asks, “How can the fullness of time have come when we are witnessing hordes of men, women and children fleeing war, hunger and persecution, ready to encounter respect for their fundamental rights?” (*Catholic News Service/CNS). In this issue of Intercom we read articles about women and men who are reaching out, and have throughout their lives, to be the face of mercy in our world. We look back at “Operation Babylift” and see the influence of S. Kateri Maureen Koverman’s Vietnam ministry on one particular family. Our S. Andrea Koverman joined in the walk to Columbus, to stop executions in Ohio through the death penalty. Our 2016 Elizabeth Seton awardees are working with the health care needs of people in poverty, U.S. citizens and immigrants, and against the modern day slavery of human trafficking. There are so many wonderful examples of our involvement in the “ministry of mercy” in this issue, too many to mention in this introductory letter. So please read this full issue to be filled with inspiration and hope. Pope Francis’ message reminds us that “the ‘swollen torrent’ of misery is powerless ‘before the ocean of mercy which floods our world’” (*CNS). The stories in this issue are only a hint of the works of mercy extended throughout our Charity family. May they inspire each of us to continue to be part of the larger “ocean of mercy” flooding our world today.
Timeless Treasures ...................................27 Mother Margaret George’s scrapbooks On the Cover: In September 2015, President Barack Obama presented Pope Francis with a key to the Stone House in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the first building occupied in 1809 by Elizabeth Seton and the first Sisters of Charity in the United States. To read more, please visit Page 11.
Sister Mary Bookser, SC *http://cnstopstories.com/2016/01/04/gods-mercy-knows-no-limits-frees-people-fromdespair-pope-says/
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.
Moments in Ministry By S. Judith Metz
St. Peter’s/St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Cincinnati, Ohio Since 1829, when the first four Sisters of Charity arrived in Cincinnati, until 1982 when the last two Sisters of Charity on mission left, literally hundreds of Sisters ministered to the orphans by serving as “angels,” teachers, nurses, cooks, and rendering every other kind of service. In these 153 years, innumerable others served as festival workers, summer volunteers, music teachers, and leaders of activities of many other descriptions.
St. Peter’s opened on Sycamore Street, soon caring for 21 orphan girls.
S. Anthony O’Connell became well-known throughout the city for her trips to the markets, begging on behalf of the orphans.
St. Joseph Orphan Asylum for boys opened downtown.
St. Joseph’s moved to a new location in Cumminsville. The first Fourth of July orphans’ picnic was held at the new location. One hundred fifty girls moved to Cumminsville the following year. The children at St. Joseph’s Orphanage.
Mother Margaret George was appointed Sister servant, president, treasurer and bookkeeper at St. Joseph’s.
With nearly 500 orphans at St. Peter’s, plans for new buildings on the site were commenced. Besides their education, the orphans were cared for in a home-like atmosphere, and provided many opportunities such as participating in a band, on sports teams, and plays.
S. Agnes Loretto Ivory was group mother at St. Joseph’s from 1951 until 1956, and again from 1959 until 1966.
May our Sisters and Associates enjoy the fruits of their labor as well as peace with their God. S. Edward Rielage February 12, 2016 Associate Marian Boutet February 9, 2016
S. Lucia Anne Roney January 9, 2016 S. Mary Grafe January 1, 2016 S. Teresa Atencio December 13, 2015
After 106 years in Cumminsville, ground was broken for a new facility in Montfort Heights. The Fourth of July festival was held for the last time at the Cumminsville site.
S. Irene Hrosky December 6, 2015 S. Therese Sliva December 6, 2015
The new St. Joseph’s Orphanage was dedicated by Archbishop Karl Alter.
St. Joseph’s expanded with the addition of Altercrest, a resident home for 44 teenage boys, located close to Coney Island. There were 85 children at St. Joseph’s at the time.
S. Martina Marie Poirier was principal at St. Joseph’s Orphanage from 1959 until 1965.
The last Sisters of Charity ministering at St. Joseph’s departed.
Please visit “In Memoriam” at www.srcharitycinti.org for biographical information and reflections on the Sisters of Charity and Associates who have died.
S. Elizabeth Kay Willenborg January 13, 2016
S. Celestia Koebel November 27, 2015 Associate Mary Rita Vonderhaar November 14, 2015 S. Rosemary Robers October 22, 2015
Holy Year of Mercy Begins By S. Louise Lears
t a Lenten service in St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13, 2015, Pope Francis announced a Holy Year of Mercy to highlight the Catholic Church’s mission to be a witness of mercy to the world. The special jubilee year began on Dec. 8, 2015 and will close on Nov. 20, 2016. The practice of a jubilee, or holy year, has ancient roots in the Jewish tradition. Jubilee was celebrated every fifty years as an occasion for forgiveness. The dedication of a jubilee year provided the community with a time to come back into right relationship with one another and with God. As the practice of the jubilee year was adopted into the Catholic Church, the themes of mercy, forgiveness and solidarity continued.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland is a site for a Holy Door of Mercy. Photo courtesy of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
proclaiming the Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis writes that mercy is what makes God perfect and all-powerful. “If God limited himself to only justice, he would cease being God and would instead be like human beings, who ask merely that the law be respected.”
During this Holy Year, Pope Francis has asked every bishop around the world to designate a Holy Door to demonstrate that God’s mercy is available to all. Since each diocese has at least one Door of Mercy, many people will have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to their local The logo and the motto of the Holy Year of Mercy serve Holy Door. To pass through the Holy Door is as an invitation to follow the a way to rediscover the infinite mercy of God, Popes traditionally proclaim a holy year every merciful example of the Good who welcomes everyone and goes out personally Shepherd, who loves and 25 years. The holy year features celebrations and forgives without measure. to encounter each person. The Basilica of the pilgrimages as well as special opportunities to National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in experience God’s grace through the sacraments. Emmitsburg, Maryland is a site for a Door of Mercy. The Holy Year of Mercy that Pope Francis has called is an extraordinary jubilee; these jubilees are less frequent but offer the similar opportunities for spiritual growth. In his homily announcing the Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis says, “It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.” In the document officially 4
In this and future issues of Intercom and on our SC website, you will find stories of Sisters and Associates who are living examples of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy: feeding the hungry, visiting prisoners, comforting the afflicted. We invite you to consider ways that you might spread the balm of mercy during this Holy Year. Quotes cited in Origins, Vol. 44, the issue dated April 9, 2015. Intercom
A WA L K I N G S A I N T:
S. Ann Loretto Connell By Josh Zeller, Communications intern
In this Year of Mercy, the SC Communications Office will be featuring past and present Sisters of Charity whose lives reflect God’s mercy.
Ann Elizabeth Von Hagel well remembers the legacy of S. Ann Loretto Connell, a model of mercy whom she had gotten to know in the 1970s when they ministered at St. Elizabeth School (in Norwood) and resided together in St. Elizabeth Convent. She recalls a particular time that the beauty of S. Ann Loretto’s character shone through. One snowy winter night, S. Ann Elizabeth arrived back at the convent, and encountered S. Ann Loretto. She was going out to Newport, Kentucky, to visit a man she knew named Eddie. Eddie had called her from a motel and said that he was going to commit suicide, because his children had been taken from him. She planned on taking the bus in order to go to him, but S. Ann Elizabeth insisted on driving her down, and the two of them visited Eddie together. S. Ann Elizabeth remembers her reservations. “I was kind of fearful, to tell you the truth, and in my mind I thought, ‘I know God’s going to take care of Ann Loretto, but I don’t know if he’s going to take care of me!’” But they were able to make it to the man safely, and S. Ann Elizabeth went into the other room while the two talked. Later that night, as soon as they were back at the convent, S. Ann Loretto went right to the telephone and called the home number of a judge that she knew. “She had telephone numbers for all the important people,” S. Ann Elizabeth remembers. She then talked to the judge and tried her best to get Eddie his children back. “That story, to me, kind of captures who she was. No matter what time of the day or night, no matter what kind of weather, if someone was in need, she was there,” relates S. Ann Elizabeth. S. Ann Loretto had been a Superior out West, in Michigan, and in other locales, before coming back to Cincinnati in 1967. When S. Ann Elizabeth knew her, S. Ann Loretto taught half-day at St. Elizabeth School and then took a bus to Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district. She WInter 2016
worked out of Old St. Mary’s Church, S. Ann Loretto Connell and ministered to some of the city’s poorest citizens. “She always said that the children presented the lighter side of life,” recalls S. Ann Elizabeth, “so that’s why she wanted to keep on teaching, because she would hear so many sad stories with the poor that she worked with, and I think the children kind of buoyed her up a little bit.” S. Ann Loretto was never discouraged from doing the work she felt called to, though several times she was mugged while walking downtown, and even this did not faze her. On one occasion, a man stole the Christmas money she had been distributing to the poor. After the incident, she reported: “I think this was the first time he ever did any kind of crime like this, because he was kind of nervous. He let me down very gently.” S. Ann Elizabeth took this as evidence that S. Ann Loretto truly never said a bad word about anyone, even her mugger. S. Ann Loretto received much recognition for her work. She was honored in 1985 by the local organization Catholics United for the Poor, and the Kiwanis Club of Norwood named her their 1993 Woman of the Year. In 1996, S. Ann Loretto was selected to bear the Olympic torch through Cincinnati. However, according to the November/December 1996 issue of Mother Margaret Hall Assisted Living Newsletter, she refused on the grounds that she “was afraid she’d drop it.” S. Ann Loretto served all those around her for as long as she was able—into her late 80s—and even when she had to move to Mother Margaret Hall, she still wanted to make arrangements to take the bus downtown. Since long after her death in 2004, she has been remembered for her personality, personal goodness, and dynamic kindness. “I truly believe she’s one of our saints,” S. Ann Elizabeth says.
Charity Family The Singing Circle By S. Mary Bodde CELEBRATING THE GIFT OF BEING CALLED On Sunday, Jan. 17, 2015, more than 125 consecrated women and men from 16 area societies joined their voices at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati. They celebrated the Year of Consecrated Life in song to a packed audience, giving witness to the joy of living Gospel life. S. Alice Ann O’Neill provided one of three solos during the Jan. 17 concert. S. Marge Kloos also performed a solo. Photo courtesy of Frank Jaspers, OFM
S. PATRICIA WITTBERG RECEIVES CARA AWARD The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at George Washington University honored S. Patricia Wittberg for her contributions to Church research on Oct. 26, 2015. In accepting the award S. Pat mentioned that she feels blessed to belong to a community that values higher education so much that she was able to study sociology at the University of Chicago. Through this experience she was delighted to discover her passion for research on a sabbatical with CARA many years ago.
S. Tricia Cruise (second from left) with staff from Healthy Moms & Babes
S. TRICIA CRUISE NAMED WOMAN OF INFLUENCE The Business Professionals from Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky celebrated the ‘25 Women of Influence for 2015’ at a luncheon held on Nov. 10, 2015. S. Tricia Cruise, director of Healthy Moms & Babes, was one of the women honored.
S. MARY LOYOLA MATHIA HONORED On Oct. 23, 2015, S. Mary Loyola Mathia was honored for her role as a founder of Saint John Paul II Catholic School in Citrus County, Florida. The institution was celebrating its 30th anniversary, and friends, alumni, faculty and staff gathered in Florida to greet S. Mary Loyola in Cincinnati, through video chat. Sister gave a speech in which she thanked them for making the school into what it is today. S. Loyola watched the crowd give her a standing ovation; the school auditorium was rededicated as Loyola Hall in her honor. ARCHBISHOP SCHNURR SPEAKS AT MOTHERHOUSE On Oct. 15, 2015, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr was an honored guest at the Motherhouse. The archbishop spoke about his recent trip to Honduras and what he learned from the experience. He also answered questions and held discussion related to the immigrant situation.
(From left) S. Judith Metz, S. Joan Cook, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, Rev. Jan Schmidt
(Front, from left) S. Juanita Marie Gonzales, S. Peggy Deneweth, S. Patricia Sabourin, S. Joan Cook, Allen Sanchez and (front) Cardinal Achille Silvestrini
FRIENDS RECONNECT While in Rome, Italy in December 2015, to deliver the documents for S. Blandina Segale’s cause for canonization, the Sisters of Charity reconnected with Cardinal Achille Silvestrini for dinner at Villa Nazareth. When the Sisters of Charity ministered at Villa Nazareth the Cardinal was the administrator for the older boys division and worked closely with the Sisters who oversaw the younger boys section. Currently Villa Nazareth is a residence for college students. INTERCOM
An Award Unlike Any Other: The Recipients of the 2016 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award By Megan Moore, Communications intern
he Elizabeth Ann Seton Award recognizes persons outside of the Congregation for their significant contributions in furthering the mission of the Sisters of Charity to act justly, build loving relationships, share resources with those in need, and care for creation. The manager of the Good Samaritan Free Health Center, Linda Smith Berry, and the co-founders of End Slavery Cincinnati, Jessica Donohue-Dioh and Pamela Matson, were the recipients of the 2016 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award. They received the award during the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton liturgy on Sunday, Jan. 3 in the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse chapel.
“Pam’s enthusiasm for ending human trafficking and honest concern for victims is evident for anyone meeting her for the first time,” Debbie said. “As a retired FBI special agent and lead investigator for human trafficking, she continues to work with End Slavery Cincinnati and is a presenter regarding human trafficking for various community groups.”
S. Barbara Hagedorn nominated Linda Smith Berry, the manager of the Good Linda Smith Berry (left) and Pamela Matson (right) were honored by Samaritan Free Health Center. S. Joan Cook and the SC Community with the 2016 St. Elizabeth Ann Even before S. Barb began Seton Award. Not pictured Jessica Donohue-Dioh. her ministry at the Good Samaritan Free Health Center Pamela Matson and Jessica Donohue-Dioh are co-founders alongside Linda, she knew Linda through several associations of End Slavery Cincinnati, the anti-human trafficking coalition including Seton High School and Good Samaritan Foundation. that works to increase victim identification through public awareness and to assist in the coordination of services for victims. It was Associate Debbie Weber, director of the Sisters of Charity’s Office of Peace, Justice, and Care for Creation, who nominated the two for the award. Debbie first met Pam at an intercommunity anti-human trafficking meeting, and again at subsequent Cincinnati area meetings. She asked Pam to be a guest speaker at the Sisters of Charity Human Trafficking Symposium and thankfully, she accepted. It was in a similar way that Debbie met Jessica, who was recommended to her to be the opening speaker at the same symposium. Debbie has nothing but praise and admiration for these two women. She recalls, “Jessica’s warmth, compassion and gentle way of engaging the Human Trafficking Symposium attendees won me over. Jessica continues advocating for and with victims of human trafficking as well as educating students and the public about this crisis.” WInter 2016
S. Barb had this to say about Linda: “Linda’s often repeated line is ‘We’ll figure it out’ and she does! She believes that all people deserve to be treated with respect, honor and dignity and she advocates for the rights of those who don’t have the ability to do so for themselves. She sees that the patients want to better themselves and she is committed to helping them on this path. And in this way Linda Smith Berry, like Elizabeth, makes a difference in this world; she does what others claim cannot be done.” Linda has a very personal connection with St. Elizabeth Seton; like Elizabeth, Linda was once widowed with children. Though Linda has remarried since, she greatly admires how Elizabeth Seton was able to reinvent herself in the face of a tragedy in a way that positively impacted others. Linda reflects, “This award for me was incredibly special. Unlike any other award that I know of, this one recognizes not only what you do but how you do it and that is what means so much to me.”
Hope for the Future By S. Regina Kusnir
Hope instills the future with possibility. Courage takes hope and translates it into action. Love within the heart makes that courage and hope believable. takes hope and courage and love and draws others into hope for the future.
spirit of anticipation filled four Sisters of Charity who were in attendance at papal venues in September 2015. They joined innumerable others who traveled, stood in security lines, walked and waited for a momentous occasion when Pope Francis would speak, pray and instill hope for the future. Sisters Joan Cook, Annie Klapheke, Margarita Brewer and Joan Clare Stewart were there. Put a smile on your face and enjoy some of their experiences. All of the Sisters loved the atmosphere of excitement that was everywhere. They experienced people of joy, people willing to help one another, people who hoped to have a glimpse of the pope who has brought new vigor to the mission of Jesus.
President Obama and Pope Francis gave short talks then proceeded to the balcony. There “his white radiance lit up the crowd. I was right there in his presence as he walked our Church onto a world stage in our country,” said S. Annie.
Photo courtesy Senator Rob Portman’s office
S. Joan had another thought on her mind. “All during the ceremony I kept wondering if the SC Federation gift of the key to the Stone House in Emmitsburg would be the one chosen to give to the pope. I had known it was being considered, and had been told we would hear the news when it was broadcast, after the public part of the ceremony. When I learned that the key was given I was thrilled! The president’s gift to the pope was the key to Mother Seton’s House!
The White House
“Pope Francis was very genuine in his demeanor and his words. I was proud to be a Catholic and an American.”
“The welcome of Pope Francis at the White House was a big garden party. People from all different kinds of organizations, religious and civil, mingled together and met new people while waiting for the program to begin,” stated S. Joan.
Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
S. Annie was surprised and excited to have the opportunity to travel with S. Joan to Washington, D.C. S. Joan’s familiarity with the city made getting around easier, especially since there were crowds everywhere. S. Annie went “without any expectations.” The Sisters arrived at the White House early. They met some Daughters of Charity and found that as the sun was rising, the anticipation and excitement grew. Once the formalities of music and introductions were complete, 8
The crowd at the Basilica was much larger than at the White House and despite the hours spent in security clearance, people were very patient. S. Joan was outdoors and S. Annie had a ticket for inside, along with other novices. However, S. Annie couldn’t find a spot and went back outside settling in the back of the crowd. Thanks to technology, jumbotrons brought the Mass close. S. Annie noted that Pope Francis called the congregation to “go out to the margins.” After Mass, as the pope rode away, “he was about 40 yards away, waving and smiling at everyone.” Intercom
Address to Congress S. Margarita Brewer experienced “something I never would have imagined to happen” – receiving a handwritten invitation from Senator Robert Portman to be his guest at the first ever address of a pope to Congress. S. Margarita met the senator and his wife over 10 years ago. The Portmans volunteered at the tutoring program for students learning English in the Cincinnati Public Schools that S. Margarita worked with since 2003. “They are a wonderful family, in tune with the needs of new immigrants. They have great respect for students and are very giving people. “I was in the first row in the gallery with an unbelievable view, she continued. There was such a feeling of joy in everyone. I was impressed by Pope Francis speaking in English. Learning a language at his age is remarkable, especially attaining good articulation. He began: ‘Hello, immigrants. We are all immigrants.’” The pope concluded his remarks asking those assembled, “Please pray for me.” “It seems that Francis is a gift from God to us, to wake us up,” S. Margarita said. “He is humble, loving, a God-send. Religious persuasion was not a measure of his impact – all love him. He witnesses the love of St. Francis in his very being. To see his face, to experience the reverence of Congress in listening to the pope, to receive official pictures of the pope afterwards from the Senator, these are an honor.
“Since hearing his message I have pondered his words: ‘there are so many ways that we can work together,’ ‘the immigration problem is real and we are afraid of it.’” This resonates with S. Margarita since “immigrants represent 85 different languages in the Cincinnati schools, including multiple Hispanic languages. So much can be done beginning with education.” S. Margarita’s sister-in-law came from Atlanta, Georgia, and met her in Washington, D.C. so they could companion each other and perhaps tour some sights. Tight security found historic sites closed, consequently they experienced different things. “Everyone, even in stores, felt that we are special that the pope came to see us. A sense of jubilation seemed to envelope the city. So many people waited in lines just for a chance to see him,” said S. Margarita.
Philadelphia S. Joan Clare Stewart ministers in Piqua, Ohio. She and eight parishioners traveled by bus with a group from St. Pat’s in neighboring Troy. Theirs was a pilgrimage. They stayed an hour outside of Philadelphia, had to rise early in the morning to take the bus to Lancaster, catch the train to Philadelphia, then walk from the train to downtown. All amid large crowds. S. Joan Clare Stewart was one of nine parishioners from St. Pat’s in Troy, Ohio, to go to Philadelphia for the pope’s visit. Photo courtesy of Pat Smith
as Church and calls us to bring the joy of the Gospel to others. This Year of Consecrated Life has been great for my Canonical Year since I read so many of his writings. There is great hope for religious life. It is changing quickly, but in the change is a growing energy and those coming possess the spirit of joy.
Photo courtesy of Pat Smith
On Saturday, they were present at the outdoor Mass. Along the route police were stationed every 10 feet facing the crowd. Someone asked an officer if their task was difficult. He told them that the atmosphere of those gathered was so wonderful and so peaceful that it was not hard. The only challenging aspect was that the “pope often did not follow the schedule.” The group saw the pope leaving and waving to the gathered crowd. Sunday marked the final day of the papal visit. The group found an outdoor spot around 10 a.m. It was an experience of diversity. People of many cultures and languages were joyful and courteous. When prayer began, the crowd was silent, reverent and responsive in song and prayer. “It left me realizing that the world is a lot different than we realize. Francis called for us to do what we can to work together, because peace is possible,” S. Joan Clare said.
“The dream the pope inspires in me is that our mission and ministries continue to take us to the margins. Our Chapter discussions and direction are aligned with his call that we ‘smell like the sheep.’ Whatever our ministries look like, we are among the sheep. Our charity charism has long been to integrate self among the people. S. Joan: “For us SCs going forward, I’m remembering Pope Francis’ call to care for those who are marginalized in so many ways: immigrants, those living in poverty, people who are trafficked, those victimized by various forms of exclusion. I loved the fact that he singled out four Americans and held them up as models for Congress: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton. All were Americans whose lives represented the themes of the pope’s address. Their holiness consisted in the ways they lived their daily lives. As I superimpose the theme of this Year of Mercy onto the pope’s address, I note that all four practiced the corporal and spiritual works of mercy in countless ways in their lives. “We held all of us in the SC family in our hearts, proudly and humbly. We felt the presence of the congregation in prayer –‘WE’ were there.”
As Pope Francis was leaving Philadelphia, he went right past this pilgrim group. “Not 10 feet away, he smiled and waved, as if only to us – a once-in-a-lifetime moment.”
Hope for the Future S. Margarita: “This is a pope who walks the talk. He came in a small Fiat amid the limos. He had a warm reception wherever he went. He called people to work together, to listen to each other. He stopped to meet the children and to bless them. It was kind of a miracle to be there.” S. Joan Clare: “The pope said that peace is possible. He has proclaimed this a Year of Mercy for all people. All are God’s children. It was hopeful to have all kinds of people present at his coming to welcome and listen to him.” S. Annie: “Pope Francis is such an authentic example of being a follower of Christ. He calls out the best of who we are 10
(From left) Sisters Annie Klapheke and Joan Cook were invited to the White House for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September 2015.
Papal Gift Honors Elizabeth Seton By S. Judith Metz
t all began quite mysteriously. A contact from the director of Diplomatic Gifts in the Office of the Chief of Protocol of the U.S. State Department. Confidential phone calls and emails. Brainstorming and discussions. Would the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton be able to provide a significant item that could be presented to a foreign dignitary from someone in the highest levels of the American government? As the story unfolded, it became clear that Pope Francis was the “foreign dignitary” and President Barack Obama the “high ranking official.” The focus was on Elizabeth Seton as the first American-born saint, that this was the 40th anniversary of her canonization, that she and her Sisters worked for the poor, especially women and girls, and that she was emblematic of the celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life. The significant item settled upon was a key to the Stone House in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the first building occupied in 1809 by the first Sisters of Charity in the United States. The key celebrates Elizabeth and her descendants’ dedication to opening doors for persons who are poor and marginalized. At the White House on Sept. 23, 2015, President Obama presented the key to Pope Francis. Displayed in a beautifully crafted case, the key was mounted on a piece of marble from the Basilica where Elizabeth Seton is entombed. At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, Pope Francis spoke of Elizabeth: “Many priests and religious in this country played a
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There are two original keys to Elizabeth Seton’s “Stone House.” Pope Francis received one during his visit to the United States in September 2015 and the other is on display in the museum of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Photo courtesy of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
central role [in education], handing down to their children the food that nourished them for life. Many did so at the cost of extraordinary sacrifice and with heroic charity. “I think, for example, of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded the first free Catholic school for girls in the United States.”
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Wi n t e r 2 0 1 6
Celebrating Our Saint By Sisters Kathryn Ann Connelly, Rita Hawk and Patricia Newhouse
orty years ago, on Sept. 14, 1975, Pope Paul VI declared, “Elizabeth Ann Seton is a Saint,” and the Federation of the Sisters of Charity greatly rejoiced. Many Sisters of Charity were present in September 2015 as the world celebrated the 40th anniversary of Elizabeth’s canonization, with Emmitsburg the focal point. The weekend celebration was filled with activities in which about 150 Sisters and Daughters of Charity participated.
“Sunday, Sept.13 was the time of reunion with the extended family, again a time for learning, and appreciation of our legacy as followers of Elizabeth. It was a day of sharing with our Church, in the person of Baltimore’s Archbishop Lori; special friends like Ann O’Neill, whose cure was cited as justification for Mother Seton’s beatification; coworkers, who participated in a panel discussion on ‘Saint Elizabeth Seton: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.’ Particularly Banners of the logos of each SC Federation congregation moving in this conversation was the S. Kathryn Ann Connelly were processed in and presented in a place of honor at the Shrine’s director, Rob Judge, telling attended the celebrations as a guest. beginning of the Sept. 12 celebration Mass. of his ongoing friendship and his In her words: “Saturday, Sept. 12, daily discussion with Elizabeth Seton. was the Charity Family Reunion Day. Greeting and
recognizing familiar faces, making new acquaintances, the sharing of histories, hearing stories, legacy learning, praying together all make for a true family reunion. The day began with liturgy, celebrated by Vincentian Father Frank Sacks, at the Shrine of Elizabeth. In the afternoon, video productions on the Legacy of Elizabeth were presented; S. Joan Cook facilitated a panel of five Sisters from the second generation foundations who spoke of their origins and connections to Elizabeth. It was a day of learnings and appreciation of the past filled with challenges that face us as a Federation in the future. It was a day of hope and promise. It was a day to be proud to be a Sister of Charity.
“What can a family reunion be without children? On Monday, Sept. 14, the real anniversary date of her canonization, Elizabeth was the center of visits from children. More than 600 Catholic school children arrived to celebrate, a sign that Elizabeth continues to inspire the next generation to follow her example of service.” S. Rita Hawk served as a docent for five weeks at the Shrine during the celebrations. She felt the excitement during the weeks building to and following the anniversary weekend. “From the time I opened the door to the Seton Visitors Center in Emmitsburg on Sept. 1, 2015, I could feel the energy and anticipation in the air! On Sept. 2, after unpacking my things, I began serving as a docent. I hit the ground running since this was my fourth time. “I was blest to spend most Sundays in the White House, my favorite site! I found it fascinating that visitors were intrigued by Mother Seton’s ‘Last Will and Testament’ (November, 1820) which hangs on the wall in the room where she died. In it she expressed her concern for Catherine since opportunities for young, single women were limited. Thus she willed everything to Catherine and states that her sons can make their way through ‘prudence and exertion.’ S. Jackie Kowalski (left) and Juliette Sabo (right) during the celebration weekend for the 40th anniversary of Elizabeth Seton’s canonization.
S. Rita Hawk served as a docent during the 40th anniversary celebrations at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Students learn about the works of Charity that the Sisters performed on the Civil War battlefields from S. Victoria Marie Forde.
“‘Welcome Family of Charity! Welcome!’ These words opened the Mass for Sisters from the Charity Federation. In the Call to Worship, we prayed to not only meet our grace, but to let grace meet us in each other as we walked in the sacred footsteps of Mother Seton – 40 years a [canonized] saint. Excitement of being together was palpable! S. Mary Dugan ‘signed’ the Lord’s Prayer at the Mass. S. Lois Jean Goettke shared her violin talents along with other Federation Sisters as part of the music ministry.
be a Sister of Charity can best describe my feelings during this celebration. Being able to celebrate with the Federation Sisters on Saturday, more than 1,000 faith-filled visitors on Sunday, and 600 students from surrounding Catholic schools on Monday was very impressive. One of the highlights was being able to meet Ann O’Neill and her family again. Ann’s cure from acute lymphatic leukemia, through the intercession of Mother Seton, was one of the miracles that led to her canonization.
“With the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S., the visitors kept coming to the Shrine whether they were traveling to or from Washington, D.C. or Philadelphia. At the Basilica, I welcomed a priest from Indonesia, seminarians from the Simon Brute Seminary in Indiana, Dominican novices from Cincinnati, pilgrims from Port Huron, Michigan, a youth group from Hudson, Ohio, and faculty and staff from Visitation Parish in Cincinnati! I loved sharing our Mother Seton story and heritage. Visitors often simply wanted time to absorb the beauty and holy atmosphere of her Shrine and her spirit. And to seek her intercession.
“I’m sure Mother Seton had to be proud and smiling down on all of us that weekend. She truly deserves the title ‘Mother of Many Children.’” Photos courtesy of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
“On Oct. 4, my final day as a docent, I was ‘as needed’ in the Basilica. We celebrated the Sea Services Pilgrimage Mass. This annual celebration honors the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and Public Health Services of our country. All are associated with Mother Seton through her sons, her father and William Seton himself. Just as I was leaving the Basilica a group of 25 young people from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, came hoping to get a tour even though we were ready to close. They were a delight! They were more interested in why and how I became a Sister than about the seven kinds of marble in the building! “Who knows? Maybe one of those young women will become a Sister or Daughter of Charity in the future…” S. Pat Newhouse also served as a docent during the celebrations. She said, “After serving as a docent at the Shrine for the past 12 summers, it was a blessing to be able to return for two weeks in September. Heartwarming and proud to WInter 2016
S. Pat Newhouse was the cross bearer during the Sept. 12 anniversary Mass for the Sisters. 13
An Expression of International Community Living By S. Janet Gildea
ur Chapter 2015 directional statements identified a desire to “renew our experience of intentional community living in a variety of expressions” as a key to building mutual relationships in living the Charism of Charity. For more than 20 years, research from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate has indicated the strong preference of the newest generation of religious for a vibrant common life. As S. Annie Klapheke shared at the December 2015 Reflection Sunday, this desire among young adults for intentional community living often has its roots in formative experiences during college and years of volunteer service. Similarly, the desire for service among those living in poverty and sharing a life of faith have been nurtured by such experiences and can lead to the exploration of a religious vocation as a life commitment. What are some of the key components of intentional community living as expressed at Casa Caridad, the formation community for Affiliates in southern New Mexico? First of all, we know that with each arrival or departure of a community member the dynamics of our living will change. This is true whether the person coming or going is an Affiliate, an After Volunteer Experience participant, an Associate in Volunteer Ministry or a Sister. It is important that we take time to “re-group,” meaning that we share our stories, our desires and our expectations with each other and create a Community Covenant together. The covenant gives us a way of being mutually accountable for our community life. Our current house covenant begins: “We, the Casa Caridad community, accept the responsibility to create our life together this year as we share the journey of discernment. We enter into this covenant as equal members who desire to share the deep stories of our lives as we grow in trust, celebrating our unique gifts and strengths even as we share our fears and vulnerabilities.” It continues by identifying our shared desires, values and specific commitments to help us build our community life. Because Jesus Christ is both the center of our personal and communal life and our bond with one another (SC Constitutions 43) we want to support each other’s ongoing efforts to build that relationship. We pray together in the morning and after supper, using a variety of resources and prayer styles according to whoever is leading but always 14
Proyecto Santo Niño offers those living in community at Casa Caridad another shared experience.
including a significant time for silence. On Sunday evenings we take time to “check in” with each other using this little prompt: “Here is something I can share about how I am coming to this week that might make it easier to live with me:” This is a particularly helpful way of making our needs known to each other and it also keeps us from speculating about “What’s going on with her?” Shared service is another way we express intentional community living. Proyecto Santo Niño, our day program for children with special needs in Anapra, Mexico, offers us an opportunity to combine our gifts, talents and skills in collaboration with the mothers and other volunteers. It gives us a common project and shared experiences that build the kind of relationships that formerly happened in parish schools, hospitals and summer mission assignments. It also gives us visibility as a community group that is hard to come by these days. Another expression of shared service is our commitment to radical hospitality. The effort that goes into planning and cooking meals, cleaning and preparing bedrooms, airport runs and the significant energy expended to make others welcome requires many hands, generous spirits and open hearts. It is a way that we learn to depend on each other. It helps keep us flexible and attentive to other’s needs. The experience of intentional community at Casa Caridad gives discerners and women in formation a sense of how religious life can be lived. The next generations of Charity will, without a doubt, find new and perhaps more radical expressions of intentional community living that will respond to the needs of the times. They will do this, as we say in our Constitutions, to respond to the call and to strengthen their dedication, sharing in a common vision and sense of mission, the mission of Jesus. Intercom
Blandina’s Continuing Legacy By S. Georgia Kitt
recently had the opportunity to ask Allen Sanchez, initiator of the cause for canonization of Servant of God S. Blandina Segale, some questions about what prompted him to take this major step forward. Allen serves as CEO of CHI St. Joseph’s Children in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He assured me it was not by chance.
they were convinced of her influence even today.
“When I am asked what I have learned about S. Blandina as the petitioner of the cause my eyes tear up,” Allen said. “Her tender loving hands would work endlessly for the one she loved the most, Gesu. Her life is a lesson in mercy, always recognizing the dignity of When Allen became president the human being. She was always of the organization he found people ready to welcome the outlaw, still harboring anger over the sale of the outcast and the despairing. (From left) Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, archbishop emeritus of Santa Fe, New Mexico, S. Georgia Kitt and Allen the hospital. There was no strategic She would give them hope and plan in place and projects were trying, Sanchez, initiator of the cause for canonization of S. Blandina meaning by motivating them to Segale, at the Communicators for Women Religious annual but missing the mark. He saw help her build spaces for ministries meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October 2015. S. Blandina as friend and advisor, like orphanages, hospitals and calling him to continue her good schools, but most of all, space in work. The work of the institution was begun by S. Blandina one’s heart for Jesus.” Allen believes she has taught him the and other Sisters of Charity. He stated: “Like many employees real meaning of reverence, it is not earned but God-given. have done for decades I once again read At the End of the She has journeyed with him throughout his ministry offering Santa Fe Trail. I prayed to the Servant of God for guidance in counsel from her journal. He knows that her courage to transforming the organization from one strategy to another change the status quo has inspired CHI St. Joseph’s Children with a fidelity to the same mission of CHI. We transitioned to work for change and bring their ministry into the 21st from a strategy of a hospital to a strategy of prevention in century. management of population health. We were all inspired by In December 2015, when Allen and representative Board S. Blandina.” They now operate the largest home visiting members were in Rome with the Inquiry board presenting program in the U.S. for prenatal to 3-year-old children. the Acts of her cause, he saw that the Lord continues to work Allen remembered participating in a school play in second grade at St Mary’s, Albuquerque when S. Marie Virginia Lovato introduced him to S. Blandina; he was the bronco riding gang member of Billy the Kid chasing down S. Blandina’s stage coach. Now he found the Servant of God was chasing him down to help her save this entity for the sake of the health of New Mexicans. After a long two-year strategic planning process, a goal emerged that would take CHI St. Joseph’s Children into young first-time parents’ homes to journey with them. It was as if S. Blandina had once again built something out of the chaotic Wild West. If the reader knows anything about the Servant of God you know that her second act in Cincinnati was Santa Maria Institute, a service to women and their children with innovative home visiting and early childhood education. She knew well that if you change the first five years of a child’s life you change everything. The Board of Directors passed a resolution to petition the beatification and canonization of S. Blandina; Winter 2016
bringing this little one’s story to the world as a testimony of God’s love for us. She faced down the lynch mob and he believes that we too can have the courage to face down the hate in this violent world today by disarming it with love and perfect reverence. Allen believes that prayer was Blandina’s mortar with her spirituality holding charity and justice in her heart. He sees that spirituality was a deliberate discernment of her ethical and religious values which she solidified into attitudes that governed her actions. In her journal we see that she never forgets the source of her mission. She said many times: “The genuine charity of the mission makes me forget the hardships attached to it.” The Servant of God’s story is so relevant to the world today because love is always in fashion. The CEO believes, “Blandina’s legacy lives on every time one of the CHI St. Joseph’s Children’s home visitors knocks on the door of a young family.” 15
Standing with the People:
The 35th Anniversary of the Martyrdom in El Salvador By Josh Zeller, Communications intern
s 35 years have gone by since the tragic martyrdom of four churchwomen in El Salvador, memories of the country remain vividly alive for S. Christine Rody, who went to minister there with her students in mind. “I was teaching high school religion,” remembers S. Christine, “and I was teaching a course on the Church. And, the concept of the Church being a world organization concerned with the world—that’s what I wanted to convey. I didn’t want it to just be Church history.” She herself had connected with the world while growing up in Cleveland. Her father, a crane operator on Lake Erie, always told her about the foreign ships that he helped to load and unload. Furthermore, she had corresponded with a pen-pal in Bombay, India. She knew that she could connect her students to the world if she could only bring it to the classroom. That was when she looked to the Cleveland Mission Team, which had been ministering in El Salvador since the 1950s; she arrived there in 1976. “Our role as the women on the team was instruction, getting the teachers trained, getting the Caritas [a food 16
Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and laywoman Jean Donovan were the four churchwomen remembered in December 2015 by a delegation of 117.
assistance program] ladies new ideas, and so on,” remembers S. Christine of her ministry, which included the three major Salvadoran cities of La Unión, La Libertad, and Chirilagua. The main idea was to give food to residents in the directivas (villages) in exchange for a promise that they would continue to provide educational opportunities to their villagers through the teachers the missionaries had trained. The generation of adults who were quite eager to send their children to school, because they had not had the opportunity to learn how to read or write themselves, were the main educational target. Other duties of the missionary included evangelization and teaching social skills. In discussing the Cleveland Mission Team’s motivations, S. Christine pointed out the glaring social divide in the country: “There were schools for the rich—Catholic institutions, and so on—but the poor in the campo [countryside]—nobody was teaching them about anything. Intercom
And often, because the priests were responsible for main churches, they never even got out to villages, because they didn’t have personnel.” As soon as one begins missionary work in El Salvador, the distance from Cleveland, from the United States, becomes very apparent, particularly in terms of the weather. “We used to laugh and say there were two seasons: hot and dry, and hot and wet,” S. Christine recalls. During the months of May through September, it would rain constantly, particularly in July and August. Whereas during the dry season the main concern was keeping their living space free of dust, during the wet season the Sisters had to worry about attacks of mold— brought on by the excess moisture—which affected the local paper currency they carried, as well as anything leather. S. Christine also remembers her visits to the villages on the beach, where sand fleas attacked her ankles. Despite all of the hazards, however, S. Christine liked living in El Salvador: “It was nice; no winter!” In 1980, S. Christine was living with two other members of the Cleveland Mission Team: laywoman Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel. By 1979, the violence that had already been present in the country for the past few years intensified, and a civil war was underway. It had become too dangerous to venture out into the villages, so S. Christine became involved with a refugee center in San Roque at the request of the Maryknoll Sisters. The facility was a church basement filled with 120 people (eventually that number doubled) who had been misplaced by the political upheaval. Two Maryknoll Sisters had come to stay with the missionaries, and two more Maryknolls were on the way: Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford. S. Ita had taken on an activist role by speaking out against the country’s violence through direct confrontation with the commandante himself. Every time he initiated a raid on a village, she would rebuke him for murdering his own countrymen. S. Christine believes this may have been the reason why, when Jean and S. Dorothy picked up Sisters Ita and Maura at the airport on Dec. 2, 1980, the four were taken in by the military for questioning (though to this day nothing is certain about what motivated the roundup).
honor guard. But on the morning of the funeral for S. Dorothy Kazel in Cleveland, Ohio, S. Christine and the other missionaries were called into an important meeting with newly appointed Bishop of Cleveland Anthony Pilla. He asked them two important questions: “What do you think about Cleveland’s missionaries going back?” and “What do you think about your going back?” Everyone unanimously wanted to return. S. Christine remembers that “some of the deepest faith statements” she ever heard were issued at the meeting: “When we went down as missionaries,” a priest had responded, “we went down with this idea that we’re going to bring the faith, and we’re going to help people understand. And now we’re faced with the reality of being a missionary: to stand with the people.” But S. Christine, as much as she wanted to go back, knew that it just wouldn’t be safe, because if there was a hit list, her name was next. “If they killed me, they wouldn’t have only killed me—they would have killed anybody who was with me. They just wipe out whoever you are with. Then I would be responsible for the death of all of these people, and it would have been the end of the Cleveland Mission.” After attending the funerals for the women, in addition to S. Dorothy’s funeral in Cleveland, she attended Jean Donovan’s in Florida; Sisters Ita and Maura were buried in El Salvador. S. Christine returned to El Salvador to say goodbye and to celebrate Christmas with the mission team one last time.
S. Christine Rody with an El Salvadoran cross given to her by Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, fellow members of the Cleveland Mission Team in El Salvador in 1976.
“[S. Ita] would challenge the commandante,” S. Christine says. “They got tired of it, and somebody issued an order …” After 45 minutes of questioning, the women were taken out to an obscure finca [a piece of farmland], assaulted, and shot to death. The murder of the four women called to mind the assassination of the similarly beloved Archbishop Oscar Romero, which had occurred just months before. At his funeral, S. Christine and her fellow missionaries had gotten to stand vigil near Archbishop Romero’s coffin as a part of the W I NTER 2 0 1 6
S. Nancy Crafton, another participant in the delegation, returned to El Salvador after visiting it 10 years ago. As S. Christine saw when she ministered in the villages, S. Nancy also observed today that the poverty in the country is still extreme: “The people still have dirt roads, and very little interchange with the large cities.”
S. Lois Jean Goettke was part of the delegation commemorating the 35th anniversary of the El Salvador martyrs.
On Dec. 2, 2015, the tragic events of 1980 were commemorated through a delegation hosted by the Salvadoran Humanitarian Aid, Research and Education (SHARE) Foundation and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in El Salvador. One of the women present at the delegation was S. Louise Lears. “For years I have read about the women who were murdered in El Salvador, and participated in prayer services of remembrance, or rituals of remembrance,” S. Louise relates. “I felt called to stand in those places and to be in those places, and to hear the people talk today, to hear how their legacy is being carried forward.” The events included visits to the National Cathedral and the crypt of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and a ceremony at the martyrdom site, which was declared an historic site by the Salvadoran government. Of the ceremony, S. Louise shared her surprise: “I didn’t realize that it would be such a community celebration – 117 in the delegation, and then, so many others! I don’t know what I expected, but I hadn’t anticipated that. The feeling of community there was astounding.” 18
S. Nancy remembers at the time of the martyrdom feeling “complete shock and horror,” and also disbelief that the United States government at the time denounced the churchwomen as having been involved with the leftists; then, S. Nancy relates, the foreign policy was to fight communism by supporting “dictatorship[s] of brutality.” In coming to El Salvador this year, she, like S. Louise, was touched by the Salvadoran women with whom she got to dialogue. “The women are wonderful examples of the ability to survive, and to come forth with their strength,” S. Nancy says. However, as the violence transitions from death squads and civil war to brutal gang violence, she is concerned for the millennials in the country, who “don’t have the same understanding of the wars or the massacre” that their parents do. The strength and capacity for remembrance that the past generation possesses may be necessary to instill in the new, due to the constant threat these gangs pose on Salvadoran lives. The women of the delegation themselves were always surrounded by heavy security, and were forbidden from going anywhere unaccompanied.
Despite the ominous threat of violence that always seems to loom over the country, S. Lois Jean Goettke, another Sister of Charity present in the delegation, noted that the Salvadorans do not despair. “Hope is their driving force—hope in God, mainly, hope in each other, and hope in their hearts for life that it can change,” S. Lois relates. She recalls going to the site where S. Carla Piette, a member of the Cleveland Mission Team, had tragically drowned a few months before the martyrdom. Countless people stood there in her memory, with their lanterns illuminating the impenetrable darkness of the Salvadoran night, chanting and singing. Following that, the Salvadorans who lived nearby had prepared a feast for the delegation. “It was just phenomenal! We were 117 people—that’s a lot of people to feed!” The hope that S. Lois observed within the Salvadorans was ever-present in these beautiful and joyous celebrations. The prevailing attitudes of festivity, hope, and remembrance seem essential to the peace and healing that has been desired for so long. Editor’s Note: Additional photographs from the December delegation can be found on the Sisters of Charity website at www.srcharitycinti.org/news_events/photos.htm#delegation
Is the World Waking Up? By S. Jean Miller
he world might be waking up slower than we need or we would like, but one forward step has been taken and the path is before us. On Dec. 12 (the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) 196 countries came together in Paris, France, and agreed that: “This agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by: a. Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change; b. Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; c. Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.” (Paris Agreement, Article 2) At a time when agreeing on anything at the local, national or global level is almost impossible, in two weeks of discussion among distinct cultures, economies, and development, the countries in Paris came to an agreement about a way forward. This was not the first or an easy process. The meeting in Paris was called COP21 because this was the 21st time throughout the years that countries have met to respond to the science about climate change without reaching a global agreement. What made the difference at this time? The United States State Department asked the Office of Religious Affairs to convene a webinar. Three members of that office, who were present and active in Paris during the negotiation, told us that civil society has been very important in calling for a response to climate change. They commented on the large march in New York in 2014 and simultaneous marches throughout the world that day that were key in calling for action. They, also, mentioned Interfaith Power and Light’s role in presenting a scroll with over 4,500 names of Congregations and individuals who took the Paris pledge to reduce greenhouse gases to 1.5 degrees. These activities showed the important role civil society played and its need to act now. WInter 2016
Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, calling for “dialogue with all people about our common home,” certainly was timely and holistic in its approach to the need for a moral response. His call for integral ecology defined in St. Francis’ words, as the “inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace” is obvious in the final document. Country leaders, especially the greatest emitters of gases, had worked before the meetings talking with one another about commitments they would make and submit before the COP21 started. The initial conversations made the countries more willing to take ambitious rather than weak commitments. The Office of Religious Affairs statement about the most important reason for bringing people together in Paris was the action of the most vulnerable countries, who are experiencing now the destruction and consequences of climate change. They stood together and were not happy with 2 degrees temperature. They knew that was not enough to save them so they continued to insist on 1.5 degrees. In the end dialogue and their insistence made the agreement “ambitious” which is an important aspect of the final goal. Adaptation to the warming of climate will continue everywhere in the world. Therefore, strategies are needed to help countries make the changes necessary to be able to balance the effects that will be harming some countries ability to move toward sustainability. A fund called the Green Climate Fund or GCF with a goal of $3 billion will be helping countries with projects for mitigation and adaptation. A process of transparency is being worked out now and will be implemented in between meetings. In five years countries will come together again to make new commitments and strategies which they hope will lead to climate neutrality. So the world woke up to the needs of Earth and has a plan that includes everybody. Unless each of us stays awake and does our part – which includes deepening our eco-spirituality, changing our lifestyle away from fossil fuels and studying all the ways that they are integrated into our daily living – we won’t be part of this moment when the world came together to act for each creature on the planet. We have a wonderful opportunity to be part of a movement or a revolution, when we realize we are One. 19
Three Times Blessed:
Arlene and Bill Yaley with their daughter Kateri at a gathering at the Motherhouse in 2015 for Operation Babylift survivors and their families.
An Interview with Bill Yaley By S. Georgia Kitt
n July 2015, Bill and Arlene Yaley attended the reunion of survivors of the Vietnam Operation Babylift held at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. Bill agreed to be interviewed during that time to help assure that this significant piece of history not be lost. Throughout, Bill highlighted the fearlessness and heroic ministry of S. Kateri Maureen Koverman. As a result of Operation Babylift, 2,500 lives were given a chance to flourish in a new country. Those who reach out beyond themselves are often three times blessed; this endeavor has been no exception. May we hope and trust that coming generations will heed this significant example and be generous in responding to needs as they present themselves.
When did a relationship with Vietnam and its people begin? I served in Vietnam in the Marines in 1965; this was my first exposure to the country and its people. The nicest thing about it was the children; I liked seeing their happy faces. It was pretty amazing in the midst of war; they were neat little kids.
Talk a little about you and your wife’s decision to adopt. After three boys it seemed pretty unlikely that we were going to have a girl, but we could have children. The war was winding down (1972), and the demand for adoption was high, but they were slow to take up our case. Finally, a woman in Catholic Social Services took our cause! The long process took several years to be approved. Through our contacts we 20
would go to the airport and help babysit, escorting the kids as they came. S. Kateri Maureen Koverman was speaking with families in the area to convince them to adopt Amerasians (part Vietnamese and part American) and that is when we met her. One day her flight was delayed and she and Lori Stark, a fellow social worker, stayed overnight at our house. We were very impressed with her determination. It was March 1975 (the fall of Vietnam) and she said “I’ll tag a little girl for you.” We were thrilled! Shortly after, when Operation Babylift took place, our little girl was part of it. We got a call – “Your daughter is here.” The first plane crashed and we did not know if our little girl was on it or not. But we eventually received the word: “There is a child here at the airport in San Francisco with your name on her.”
Tell us how you and the Babylift connected. The children coming ranged in age from six weeks to teens. We had no idea what age our little girl would be. The room I walked into was a warehouse of kids, an amazing number of them. They checked my credentials and then said here is your child; she had a Yaley band on her wrist. Our little girl was only five or six weeks old, but strong and healthy. The day we got her was 10 years to the date from when I came to the country of Vietnam. Our three boys were ages 3, 6 and 7 at the time.
Kateri is named after S. Kateri Maureen. Tell us about your relationship with Sister. We were so impressed with all the work she had done for these children needing homes. She seemed fearless in her undertakings … a real dynamo! We got to know more about her life; she seemed to have been specially chosen for her work. She has a phenomenal story; we think serious energy should be put into making a TV story of her life and work. We wanted to name our daughter Catherine, but we liked the name Kateri, which is the Mohawk name for Catherine. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was an orphan … someone was guiding us all the way!
In 2015 a few of the Babylift children visited the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, now adults, learning more about themselves. What do you feel is the real signiﬁcance of this coming together? Why is it important? They were all babies 40 years ago; they could have been on the same plane, but never knew one another. Tim and Kateri met here this weekend, but they could have been born in the same clinic; their birthdays are one day apart! How these kids went through this historic event together – and are now here together to learn more about it as adults – is pretty amazing and intense. And all because of what S. Kateri and her helpers did! Our daughter Kateri is very shy; we are glad that she is enjoying the weekend; her husband is here with her. It seems most all of them here have had a pretty nice life. We find that a number of them came from families with other adoptive children. We have two daughters from Korea, as well – Darcie and Mollie. Unfortunately our Mollie died 12 years ago in an accident. WInter 2016
Arlene and I have been back to Vietnam twice; in 2008 for three weeks and in 2013. During the first trip we went to the clinic where Kateri (our daughter) was; it is no longer there, just an open field. Our second trip in 2013 was to learn more about the six Catholic orphanages (referred to as ‘Friends of Vinh Son’), among the indiginous peoples, supported solely by American veterans. One hundred percent of the donations go to the support of these orphans. It is an overwhelming undertaking started by a Vietnam vet. They are operated by native religious Sisters; children cannot be adopted out of there.
You wrote Struggle to Survive: A Story About Operation Babylift. Tell us about the book and what compelled you to write it? I felt there was a lack of knowledge about the whole event – 2,500 babies were rescued and given a new life in the U.S. Gerald Ford, as president then, deserved to have some credit for this great thing he did. I was compelled to write about it, but wanted to do it in a way that would reach the most people. I realized that these kids are part of something very special; they came through an historic event. If these children were left behind, think of the difference in what their lives might have been. Do they realize their good fortune to have been part of Operation Babylift? Do they know of their culture and the gentle people that they are? I wanted to get the story out. It appeared only non-fiction had been written to this point. Why not a novel? They tend to be more well-read than other work; for two and a half years I wrote and researched. As a University of Notre Dame graduate, I contacted the editor of the UND magazine, seeking his help. An essay on the “Children of War” was published in the UND magazine in summer 2009. My friend Chuck Mosur helped me on the initial project. The good feedback I got encouraged me to take a writing course. Asking around, few remembered Operation Babylift. I was determined to change this. I called S. Kateri, interviewing her at length. I chose my characters, returned to UND for another reunion and met a publisher. He encouraged me to continue with my writing, as did Arlene. My publisher found the result riveting. All moved very quickly, and I signed the contract last fall. The book was published in January 2015. It is selling very well on Amazon.
An Engaging Experience By Debbie Weber, OPJCC director
n a word, the evening of Oct. 27, 2015, at Xavier University’s Cintas Center was “engaging!” The Sisters of Charity (SC)/ Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation (OPJCC) hosted a Violence Against Women: Human Trafficking Symposium that evening. The symposium planning committee of Sisters, Associates and friends of the SCs made sure the evening would leave a lasting impression on the over 500 attendees. Attendees encountered “live” exhibits in the lower lobby of the Cintas Center. Students from our SC sponsored ministries, Seton and DePaul Cristo Rey high schools, portrayed people who were trafficked via forced labor, debt bondage, child soldiering, sex trafficking and organ trade. Acting in their respective “sets,” the students engaged attendees while staying in character. Common descriptions of these live exhibits from attendees were: “shocking,” “moving” and “educational.” The surprise was that many attendees thought our students were really victims. Of course, we informed all that these were indeed local student actors. But for some, it was still hard to believe! Once in the main banquet room, attendees had more engaging experiences. Local organizations that work with and/ or advocate for victims of human trafficking were there to hand out information and provide action opportunities. Attendees could buy handcrafted items made by victims or take in the educational posters about human trafficking that were created by Mount St. Joseph University’s Graphic Art students. An attendee told us that seeing all these entities working to end human trafficking and serving victims gave her hope. As the main program began, Xavier University professor Jessica Donohue-Dioh welcomed us. Ms. Donohue-Dioh, who has worked in the field of anti-trafficking for the past nine years, encouraged us to have an open mind and heart regarding victims of human trafficking. She asked us to be mindful that several men and women gathered with us that evening were themselves victims of various forms of human trafficking. As the lights dimmed, a short, yet powerful video was shown. The SC Communications Office had created a striking video regarding human trafficking that ended with a statement about the recent SC Congregational Stand against human trafficking. It was a proud moment for the SC family and set the stage for our three guest speakers. Retired FBI Special Agent Pam Matson opened our eyes to the fact that human trafficking is happening in the U.S., in Ohio, and even in Cincinnati. Ms. Matson, a sought-after presenter and trainer regarding human trafficking, was the Cincinnati Field Office’s lead investigator for human trafficking and other civil rights crimes for her last seven years with the 22
Brenda Myers-Powell was a speaker during the symposium. Students from SC sponsored ministries portrayed people who were trafficked during the Oct. 27 Violence Against Women: Human Trafficking Symposium.
FBI. Along with facts, Ms. Matson told us that there is hope in Greater Cincinnati as she has worked with people and organizations that tirelessly minister to and advocate for victims and take action to end human trafficking. The next two speakers gave attendees a glimpse of the underground world of sex trafficking by engaging us with their own styles of storytelling. Keeping in her style with wit and wisdom, author, poet, international speaker and retreat leader Edwina Gateley shared her personal stories of ministering to women trafficked for sex in Chicago. Ms. Gateley founded Genesis House, a house of hospitality and nurturing for women involved in prostitution. It was at the Genesis House in 1997, where Ms. Gateley met, ministered to, and befriended Brenda Myers-Powell who was trying to escape a life of prostitution. Brenda Myers-Powell picked up the story where Edwina Gateley left off. With her energetic personality and honest approach, Ms. Myers-Powell shared her own story of growing up in an extremely abusive home, trafficked for sex at the age of 14, and a slave to many years of physical, mental and sexual abuse as a victim. After spending a year-and-a-half at the Genesis House, Ms. Myers-Powell left and began to rebuild her life. She is now the co-founder and executive director of The Dreamcatcher Foundation. Brenda Myers-Powell and her foundation work to prevent sexual exploitation among at-risk youth and provide them with confidence and stability to get back out into the world. The symposium could not have been possible without the planning committee, major donors and cosponsors, volunteers, actors, nonprofits and vendors, speakers, and most of all – the attendees who braved the cold and heavy rain to experience such an engaging evening. INTERCOM
Walking the Walk By S. Andrea Koverman
he mission of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati is to educate and advocate for change, challenge unjust systems, and promote the creation of a peaceful society. Working for systemic change is challenging because there are no immediate results to revel in, and I usually cannot actually do anything about the injustices that weigh so heavy on my heart. I often find myself wondering if anything I am doing makes any difference at all. The Walk To Stop Executions was a welcomed opportunity to do more than talk about all the compelling reasons that we should abolish capital punishment. It was an opportunity to “put my body into it,” as one of the walkers liked to say, and I was grateful for the chance. Spanning five generations – and delightfully diverse in every way – our team walked the 83 miles between the death house in Lucasville, Ohio, to the statehouse during the week of Oct. 4, 2015. Generous hosts opened schools and churches where we could eat and sleep. On three of the nights we had programs in the towns, but the other nights left plenty of time to rest our feet and debrief about the events of the day. Many of the nights I lay on the floor in my sleeping bag feeling very grateful for each equally as passionate individual sacked out nearby. Wearing our bright red “STOP Executions in Ohio” shirts, we hoped to create a visible challenge to the unquestioned assumptions that the death penalty is justifiable, effective, and fair. Our route took us through villages and towns that generally
The Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center team after a long day of walking (from left) Allison Reynolds-Berry, S. Andrea Koverman, Maggie Botts and Mel Huss.
support the current system to Columbus where legislation that could end the practice has been proposed and will someday be voted into law. As the front-page articles from the newspapers of each of the towns indicated, we succeeded in being impossible-tomiss and created quite a buzz of publicity. Each day brought a deepening sense of solidarity with the 146 death row inmates, both the wrongfully convicted and the guilty, who suffer in ways difficult for us to imagine from a system that denies their inherent human dignity and every person’s unconditional right to life. It is all too clear to them that our society has no interest in redemption or restoring our most broken members to their potential wholeness. They understand that they are more trouble than they’re worth, that they are expendable, throw-away people. Many people along the way were angry with us for having a different opinion from that, illustrating just how wounded and afraid we are as a society from the violence that permeates our culture. What I spent the most time thinking and praying about that week is that by using the death penalty, we create a culture of death that perpetuates violence rather than prevents it. The policies we put in place are doing us further harm rather than helping us heal. In one of Richard Rohr’s recent posts, he tells about a phenomenon that is baffling scientists. They can find no explanation for the way one cell displays a response to a like-cell that is separated from it. They have no way to communicate with one another, and yet what one experiences, so does the other. We’ve forgotten that we are gifted with that same grace. Doesn’t your heart ache when someone you love is in pain? Don’t you grieve over the acts of war and terrorism that fill our TV and computer screens? How differently the world would be if we understood how deeply we are connected; that we can’t harm another without doing harm to ourselves. Someday we’ll figure that out and we’ll end the death penalty for good.
Walkers stop for a photo in Waverly, Ohio. WInter 2016
Journeying With Our Affiliates By Associate Vicki Welsh Denise says she remembered that as a child she had dreamed of working in the schools, specifically as a counselor in the inner city working with disadvantaged youth. In those days, the Kansas City, Kansas School District was in the midst of a pilot program to attract BA credentialed people to the classroom, while simultaneously earning an education degree on a fast tract! She signed up and taught there for nine years. It was a Spanish-speaking school, where she became interested in immigrant and refugee issues. Another bit of soul searching led her to discover the Maryknoll Language Institute and its short-term immersion program to Bolivia. She spent one year in a fluent Spanish community. Romina Sapinoso took her psychology degrees and went right to school; first in Manila, Philippines, then to El Paso, Texas. For 13 years, Romina has worn about every hat that could be worn in education – teaching, counseling, inclusion, designing curriculum, designing continuing education for teachers and parents. She has served in both public and parochial schools. When Romina was not working in the
e to go deeper “[The Afﬁliate year is] a tim with God.” - Denise Morris
hey come from Dayton, Ohio … the Philippines … Topeka, Kansas. Each has her own story; yet, the stories have the similarity of three women of faith who are searching to live out faithful lives in today’s complex global society.
The start of the journey … Denise Morris graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism, Whitney Schieltz graduated from the University of Cincinnati in architecture, and Romina Sapinoso graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with degrees in psychology. Denise took her journalism degree to a bank, designing marketing materials. She enjoyed her work at the bank and loved the creative outlet it provided, but at the end of the day, she wasn’t fulfilled. “So I began to do some soul searching,” she said, “and up bubbled the dreams of being a teacher from my youth.” 24
“One thing that I will always say to anyone who asks about the Border and life here is that you will not ﬁnd any oth er friendlier and more welcoming people.” - Romina Sapinoso
school, she was attending school to expand her expertise. She picked up units in curriculum and instruction, reading, speech and language pathology and even another MA in international and multicultural education.
All roads lead to S. Janet Gildea … Whitney Schieltz went on after her BA to the University of Kentucky where she received her MA in historic preservation. She then returned home to Dayton after graduation. Whitney had been raised Roman Catholic, but her family had stopped attending church during her high school years. She entered RCIA at St. Luke Parish to complete her initiation sacraments with confirmation. After an evening class about Holy Orders and Religious Vocations she was moved to attend a ‘Martha Dinner’ to learn more about religious orders. It was at this program she met Sisters Janet Gildea, Lois Goettke, Andrea Koverman, and Tracy Kemme. Whitney says, “A few weeks after exploring the Sisters of Charity website and reading through S. Tracy’s blog, I made my first visit to the Motherhouse in February 2014. After several months of discerning I decided to move to Cincinnati to immerse myself in the Community and begin preentrance.” Denise continued to teach after returning from Bolivia, but she was beginning to believe that she had a serious call to religious life. She moved for two years into an Intentional Community House with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas. Denise picks up the story, “During the Labor Day Come and Serve trip to the House of Charity in New Orleans, Louisiana, I met S. Janet Gildea, and was intrigued with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati’s Affiliate house and ministries on the Border. I wanted to know more, especially since Mexico is where many of my students and their families were from.” For the next two years, Denise would visit Casa Caridad on school breaks, feeling all the more a stronger call from God to this vocation. Romina shares, “I met S. Janet Gildea in 2007 while facilitating a Just Faith group at the parish I was currently active in.” Later, she was looking for a speaker on local poverty. S. Janet was recommended. And when she was looking for a spiritual director, she was once again referred to S. Janet! From that point on, Romina spent special occasions and holidays with the Anthony, New Mexico, community, becoming closer and closer to them ... She says that possible discernment to a religious vocation took a little longer to hear.
First stop on the journey … Afﬁliation Denise says, “The Affiliate year is a time to more deeply discern not only a call to religious life, but to community WInter 2016
A “ s I enter religious life, I am excited to discover ways in which God is calling me to utilize my gifts in se rvice to the needs of the modern world.” Whitney Schieltz
living, and also to the particular community [the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati]. It’s a time to go deeper with God.” Whitney says, “Now, as an Affiliate in the Community, I am able to focus on discerning what God is calling me to do. While experiencing community living and ministry on the margins of our country and of society, I am able to deepen my relationship with God and my understanding of the Charity charism.” Romina says, “This is a continuation of my life of discernment with the Sisters that has really deepened over the last six years. However, it is different because underneath a seemingly similar situation for me from before when I’ve lived in the community as an Associate in Community, they and I both have a deeper intentionality about discernment regarding religious life.”
The journey continues… Denise, Romina, and Whitney are exceptionally amazing women living lives of blessed grace. Just where the roads will lead each one is known only to God. Let us pray for each of them as they continue this important year of discernment.
Reflecting on the Good Things By Megan Moore, Communications intern
Benedicta Mahoney spent 13 years ministering in the Sisters of Charity Archives, looking closely at the past of the Sisters who came before her. One thing that we have all grown to appreciate about S. Benedicta is her eagerness to share her knowledge of past Sisters and their adventures. There is one Sister of Charity’s history, however, that S. Benedicta is not so eager to explore, let alone share: her own. In a recent interview with S. Benedicta, I was able to ask her to reflect upon her most A long line of Sisters, Associates and employees recent ministry and retirement. came out on Sept. 30, 2015, to offer their thanks and
was the one who took the initiative to begin a nursing school at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati. Of course she was not alone, but she did take those first steps.” After we had discussed the past, I wanted to discuss with S. Benedicta a topic that she does not focus on quite as often: the future. Her initial response, “Oh, heavens, the future,” she said and laughed.
“As far as my future, there isn’t much left, I don’t think. But what do I know? There are so many different calls best wishes to S. Benedicta Mahoney (center), who Though S. Benedicta ministered in for every part of your life. When you’re retired following 13 years in the SC Archives. Archives, if you have been a long-time young and entering the Community, reader of Intercom, you may recognize her you don’t think very far into the future, at least I didn’t. name from her column, Membits, that appeared from Summer “I just hope that we as a Community maintain the 2004 to Fall 2015. Membits offered brief glimpses into the past religious spirit that has always been with us. And we have that aligned with the season of the issue’s publication. women that will make sure that happens. Young women S. Benedicta is currently retired, or as she says, she’s entering religious life must have a clear idea that this is all supposed to be. She now has time to officially visit with for God. Your life with the Lord has to be uppermost. That’s some of the Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall. “I was too busy where it all comes from.” hunting for information before,” she explained. Despite having slowed down, S. Benedicta still has a smile Though she enjoys her newfound time, she does miss her on her face and is able to laugh through almost anything. ministry in Archives. “I enjoyed the tours that I gave around Talking with her, I couldn’t help but ask, what’s her secret to the Motherhouse, no matter what the age the group was. this infectious happiness? “Believe it or not I miss looking for information,” she “I have always remembered the good things and the fun continued. “I miss doing the research and hunting until things and the experiences. If I tried I would be able to find I found what I was looking for. But you have to be able some experiences that were not too happy, and that’s ok. to retrieve materials in order to do that, and now I’m not It’s better to keep those good memories in the front of your supposed to walk that far. And I will admit that I still do walk mind,” she explained. too much, but I have to get where I’m going somehow!” “My mother was taught by the Sisters in Springfield, Having been in Archives for so many years has given Ohio, and one of her teachers would always tell her class S. Benedicta a deeper insight when it comes to the ‘Corners up!’ Which, of course, meant to smile. When my Community. “I’m able to see how patterns repeat themselves mother would send me off to high school, she would tell me over the years, even though the problems may be different, ‘Corners up!’” but every time, God furnished the Sisters with what we And that is the advice that S. Benedicta would like to needed for that time. give, to think happy thoughts. “Try to remember those “It is interesting to look at those early Mother [Generals] memories that were good; keep those happy thoughts in the and the problems that they had that other women at the forefront of your mind and you will have a more positive time did not,” she says. “Other women were not founding outlook. That’s how you show your appreciation, by spreading hospitals or schools. For example, around the turn of the a little happiness.” century Mother Sebastian saw a need for nurses, so she 26
Timeless Treasures “Pieces of Her Mind”: the Scrapbooks of Mother Margaret George By S. Judith Metz
other Margaret George, the founding mother of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, placed great value on preserving history. She kept chronicles and journals, such as her Diary of St. Joseph’s and Treasurer’s Book, that are priceless records documenting the early history of the Sisters of Charity. She also wrote of her own personal experiences in accounts such as her Frederick Journal and Richmond Journal. Beyond these records, she made time to collect poems, newspaper clippings, printed sketches and drawings, inspirational quotes and other items that were connected with her own experiences. For centuries avid readers kept “commonplace” books in which they copied material for re-reading and further reflection. For instance, we have several examples of “notebooks” kept by Elizabeth Seton of personally meaningful events, original reflections, quotes from spiritual writers, and retreat notes. As the 19th century progressed and printed materials became more readily available – the one-cent newspaper debuted in 1833 – people felt they were on “overload” trying to keep up. In response, a practice began of clipping or copying articles, quotes, poems, and pictures that they found meaningful, and placing them in what came to be called “scrapbooks.” Noted author Louisa May Alcott felt that “the habit of reading with a pair of scissors in my hand has stood me in good stead for much of my literary work.” Mother Margaret George was part of this movement. Our Archives holds three “scrapbooks” she compiled between the early 1840s and her death in 1868. The earliest, dated 1841, is for the most part handwritten copied material, but it also contains original pieces such as poems commemorating Elizabeth Seton and her own mother, Bridget Farrell. Notations of special events or visitors, and information about her missions in Emmitsburg, Boston, and Cincinnati are also included. Fifteen pages are taken up with a handwritten piece, “The Language of Flowers,” a comprehensive list of flowers and their symbolism, something obviously interesting to her. The other two “scrapbooks” contain a preponderance of clippings and sketches from newspapers about people and places meaningful to Margaret, religious and inspirational stories and quotations as well as holy cards and humorous anecdotes. Also included are orphans’ and students’ addresses given for distinguished guests, and stories about bishops and others who were meaningful figures in the Catholic Church. In the case of handwritten materials in all of these books, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish what is original and what is copied. One thing is certain, however, the contents of these books offer insights into what the keeper of these books considered important, of value to ponder, and worthy of preservation.
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 310 Sisters are joined in their mission by 203 Associates (lay women and men). Sisters, using their professional talents as ministers of education, health care, social services and environmental justice, live and minister in 26 U.S. dioceses and in Guatemala, Mexico and the West Indies. They also sponsor institutions to address education, health care and social service needs, with particular concern for direct service to the poor.
Intercom Staff Editor Erin Reder Graphic Design/Layout Michelle Bley Director of Communications S. Georgia Kitt Executive Council Liaison S. Mary Bookser Advisory Board Members: 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: $15 per year
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Affiliates Denise Morris, Romina Sapinoso and Whitney Schieltz are discerning their calls to religious life while living in community in Anthony, New Mexico.
12 S. Rita Hawk (center) served as a docent at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton during the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of Elizabethâ€™s canonization.
(From left) Associate Patrice Harty, S. Louise Lears and S. Lois Jean Goettke were part of the delegation commemorating the 35th anniversary of the El Salvador martyrs in December 2015.