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VOLUME 4 • NO. 2

Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis


MISSION STATEMENT OF THE SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF THE THIRD ORDER OF ST. FRANCIS Dedication to Jesus Christ involves us intimately in the liberating and reconciling Gathering Place is published to keep

mission—to make God more deeply known and loved, and in so doing, draw all persons to fuller and freer life.

the public informed of the mission and ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the

Together with all our sisters and brothers who strive for a more just world, we undertake those activities which will promote the material and spiritual development of the human family.

Third Order of St. Francis.


hen I was a child, I thought sisters were ageless. Now that I’m a little older, I know it’s true. The title of the written history of

the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis is

“A Fitting Response.” I think what makes sisters so “ageless” is their ability to


make a fitting response in the spirit of Jesus to the situation at hand. This gives

Reneta E.Webb, Ph.D., CAE

their mission and ministry a consistency over their lifetimes, and yet wraps it in an appropriate historical incarnation.


responses. All of these sisters are over 80 years old. As I visited with each of them, I noted a

Sr. Carlene Blavat Sr. Judith David Sr. Marygrace Puchacz Sr. MaryLou Wojtusik Sharon McElmeel

common theme in their agelessness. They all had a strong sense of self-determination and a clear


In this issue of Gathering Place, you will visit with sisters who have filled their lives with fitting

sense of divine meaning in their lives based on:

A deep faith built on the words of the Creed,

“I believe in the Holy Spirit… the Giver of Life.” An ability to work with life’s circumstances as creatively as possible, and A profound commitment to making the world better for having been here.

Sr. Mary Adalbert Stal Sr. Dolores Mary Koza Sr. Louise Szerpicki

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Sto Lat!

Errata - Vol. 4, No. 1 p.12 — The name of Associate Gertrude Banaszak’s first husband is Anthony. p.14 — Associate Mary Louise Rachal lives in Belleville, Michigan.

Copyright by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, Inc. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.



Sr. Dorothy Pagosa— 2003 Peacemaker of the Year Sisters participate in Alzheimer’s study Sr. Cecilia Marie Morton—The Village Sr. Jane Zoltek—Awaken Your Spirit Daily



Table of


VOLUME 4 • NO. 2



Moving ahead— Sr. JoAnn Poplar Sr. Lisa Alexander Sr. Kimberly Mulhearn Sr. Shannon Fox Sr. Patricia Melchert Marge Kalina Rosanna Hodlik

FEATURES The Giver of Life Incarnating the creative God into each day in a “fitting response” Reneta Webb

The Fullness of Life





Research on the aging process: Factors toward physical health; how to keep the mind active and sharp; the relationship

Clare Oaks

of spirituality and prayer on a graceful aging process



Letter from Sr. Denise Seymour

Reneta Webb

Featuring Sr.Veronette Dzieginski

Perpetual Light


Sr. Relinette Pochron Sr. Illuminata Godlewski Sr. Esther Romalke Sr. Adalbert Stal Sr. Arlene Styczynski

Cover Photo: Sister Robertine Rybicki and Sister Julia Rdzak


Giver of Life The

Each person’s life has cosmic implications.

Wave your hand, and all the molecules

of the universe are rearranged. Stamp your foot, and the crust of the earth is permanently changed. Decisions that we make today will have repercussions for millions of years following. The composite of each lifetime secures a vibrant foundation for future generations.

People with cosmic consciousness have eyes of faith to see revelation as it happens in themselves and in the universe around them. This is the Good News that Jesus came to proclaim. The kingdom of heaven is within you, among you. There is life beyond what we can sense. God is present here and now, in the midst of life as we live it day to day. Jesus came to open our eyes, to redeem us from our myopia. He said it clearly so many times,“Your faith has saved you.”


Vol. 4 No. 2

People who age gracefully are aware of the gift of each day. Their eyes are open in faith. They see each interval of time as the painter’s canvas, the weaver’s loom, creating something beautiful. In the Nicene creed said during the Eucharistic celebration, the Christian community proclaims, “I believe in the Holy Spirit ... the Giver of Life.” A certain life energy is at work, surging into consciousness, motivating actions, creating intersections of events. God is emerging, becoming incarnate in daily dynamic evolution. The entire universe is accomplishing the great work of making divinity explicit. The Good News of Jesus is the invitation to cooperate creatively with the Giver of Life. As the Sisters

“The water that I will

of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis have phrased it, we are called to a “fitting response” to the circumstances of life.

give will become a

Holy women and men show us how to cooperate with life.

spring of water, welling

They remind us to open our eyes, to be aware of the gifts of each moment. As events and circumstances take shape, they have the uncanny ability to work with those circumstances in a positive and creative way. “This

up to eternal life.”

school is closing? I now see the need for catechesis and tutoring,” or “My health has taken a turn for the worse. I will expand my prayer ministry.” Each day, these holy people have created some-

—John 4:14

thing beautiful for the universe. Brian Swimme says in his book, The Universe is a Green Dragon, “The creative powers residing in you will be invoked in time for the work for which they were created.”

People who stay active and involved in life draw their energy from a divine source. Jesus fulfills his promise, “The water that I will give will become a spring of water, welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) Those who age gracefully have joined hands with the Giver of Life. They lead a full life, walking with eyes of faith wide open in the Way, the Truth and the Life. They reach for their fullest destiny — like Jesus, to become love in human form.

Srs. Perpetua Guzak and Cherubine Brzakowski

Fullness of Life The

As the Psalmist reflects on the

process of aging, he says,

“Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty if we are strong.”

—Psalm 90:10

The Meaning of Age As the Psalmist reflects on the process of aging, he says, “Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty if we are strong.” (Psalm 90:10) Things have changed a bit since the psalmist’s time. In fact, the statistics over the last 100 years reflect the fact that aging is relative. If you were born in the United States in 1900, your life expectancy was 48 years. By the year 2000, U.S. life expectancy has jumped to age 75. Medical progress, and improved social and economic conditions contribute to the lengthening of years. Several studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show that we are living longer and living better. The number of centenarians in the United States doubled during the 1990s, from about 37,000 at the start of the decade to more than 70,000 by 1999. Based on this trend, the United States may reach a centenarian population of 834,000 by the middle of this century. The U.S. population age 65 and older increased by more than 30 percent from 1982 through 1999. NIH also notes a dramatic decline in disability for older Americans. “From 1982 through Sister Carmelita Marie Lubanski, age 93


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1999,” the NIH report says, “the prevalence of disability among older adults declined from 26.2 percent to 19.7 percent, a reduction of 6.5 percent.”

The Gifts of Age

“Teach us to

Pope John Paul II, in his 1999 Letter to the Elderly, points out that old age is not without its benefits. “As St. Jerome observes, with the quieting of passions, it ‘increases wisdom, and brings more mature counsels.’ In a certain sense, it is the reason for that wisdom which generally comes from experience, since ‘time is a great

number our days

teacher.’ The prayer of the psalmist is well-known: ‘Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.’ (Psalm 90:12)” Wisdom and experience are the gifts of older people. They have the bene-

aright, that we may

fit of hindsight and evolving history. A corollary to wisdom and experience is storytelling. Older people have the responsibility to tell the stories

gain wisdom of heart.”

of their families to the new generations. They must narrate the events of the times so that people in the future have the benefit of contemporary reflection. Even in past civilizations, the storyteller was held in respect as

—Psalm 90:12

the vessel of history, the carrier of the spirit and the preserver of the group’s identity. The elderly are the guardians of shared memory. A full life, well-lived, becomes a role model for future generations. Again, as John Paul II points out, “Elderly people help us see human affairs with greater wisdom, because life’s vicissitudes have brought them knowledge and maturity... Precisely because of their mature experience, the elderly are able to offer young people precious advice and guidance.”

The Respect of Age “Aging is a privilege and a societal achievement,” states a 2000 study from the World Health Organization. Aging calls upon all segments of society to look upon the full life of the aging person with dignity. First, the aging person is called upon to embrace the limitations of growing old. This means to make the best of the gifts given. “Keep moving!” is the advice given by a 96-year-old sister. The recommendations about diet and physical exercise are well-known. God entrusted our bodies to our care, an obligation

Sister Noella Langowski, Age 97

to be taken seriously. Decisions made daily are cumulative over a lifetime. Today is a good day to begin. And keep learning. “The more formal education a person has, the better his or her memory and learning ability even in the presence of brain abnormalities characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease,” according to new findings from the Religious Orders Study by investigators from Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. A positive mental attitude, particularly flowing from peace with God, crowns the life of the older person. The words of John Paul II state,“Faith thus illuminates the mystery of death and brings serenity to old age, now no longer considered and lived passively as the expectation of a calamity, but rather as a promise-filled approach to the goal of full maturity. These are years to be lived with a sense of trusting abandonment into the hands of God, our provident and merciful Father. It is a time to be used creatively for deepening our spiritual life through more fervent prayer and commitment to the service of our brothers and sisters in charity.” Society, too, has an obligation to the aging. Within the society of the family, we continue to hear echoing across the ages, “Honor your father and your mother.” The family is the place where love finds its home on a daily basis. The greater society, too, is challenged to provide for older citizens. The nation’s agenda must include fair and equitable programs that support older citizens. In this, the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis stands as a beacon to all “to engage in those activities which promote the material and spiritual growth of the human family.”

Sister Cherubine Brzakowski, Age 89

Ira Progoff, in his Intensive Journal writings, tells us that if we journal the events of our lives, we will note a certain theme beginning to emerge. The theme of these life stories includes a generous and fitting response to the events of life.

Each Day is 5

Vol. 4 No. 2

Full of Life

Sister Veronette Dzieginski “Let the little children come to me,” said Jesus. And Sister Veronette Dzieginski took him very seriously. Her entire life has been dedicated to bringing the little ones to a realization of God and an appreciation of their uniqueness. Sr. Veronette lived in the Brighton Park area of Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of eight children.When she graduated from Five Holy Martyrs School in 1930, she attended St. Mary of Perpetual Help High School for two years. She was full of life even then, joining the choir, being a member of the “Dramatic Circle,” swimming—all the things that high school students in the 1930s enjoyed doing. It was during this time that she became acquainted with the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. She entered the congregation in 1932, after completing two years of high school. Following her investing on August 7, 1933, and her novitiate in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, she was assigned to teach kindergarten at Immaculate Conception School in South Chicago. “That was the greatest gift!” said Sr.Veronette. “I loved the little children. ‘Still do.” There was no doubt about that. She remained at Immaculate Conception for 15 years, watching her students as they progressed to high school.

Each Day is

Full of Life

Sr.Veronette’s talent was enhanced by an M.S. in Education from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, and an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Evanston National College in Evanston, Illinois. For three years, she worked with the dean and students from the University of Chicago researching the language patterns of inner-city children. She took additional courses and workshops in Montessori and other teaching methods.

“Let the little children come to me,” said Jesus.

All the while, she taught pre-school, kindergarten, and occasionally first and second grade. She shared her expertise in classrooms in East Chicago, Indiana; Cicero, Illinois; Loup City, Nebraska; South Bend, Indiana; Bartlett, Illinois; Bellwood, Illinois; Streamwood, Illinois; and Chicago, Illinois. Working with the little children drew Sr.Veronette’s creative artistic talents to their fullest. She has a natural tendency to look for new opportunities and to decorate them with life. During these years, Sr.Veronette taught summer religion classes and served five summers in Pastoral Ministry in Appalachia. Her full-time ministry concluded with 12 years at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Chicago, Illinois. In 1990, after 55 continuous years of teaching ministry, Sr.Veronette took a sabbatical.

of God and an appreciation of their uniqueness.

Love of little children won out once more, and Sr.Veronette became a tutor in 1991, for Elf Family Services, Inc., then in 1992, for the Bartlett Learning Center, Bartlett, Illinois. She currently teaches CCD at St. Peter Damien Parish in Bartlett. Life is good at 88.

Sister Veronette Dzieginski’s entire life has been dedicated to bringing the little ones to a realization

Sister Relinette Pochron Among her personal treasures, Sister Relinette Pochron has a small piece of paper bearing a saying of Albert Schweitzer: “One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” By that standard, Sr. Relinette is really happy. Every phase of her life is characterized by the willingness to seek and serve with joy. Her story begins on October 4, 1915, the Feast of St. Francis, when she was born in Pulaski, Wisconsin, one of eleven children. She attended Assumption BVM School, taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, and graduated from eighth grade. She was inspired by the quality of teaching she received and always wanted to be a teacher. You can ask any of her brothers, sisters, or cousins who sat in on her “classrooms” when they were growing up. The calling was always there.

“One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” —Albert Schweitzer

Sr. Relinette pursued her dream by entering the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis on August 4, 1930. She was invested three years later, and completed her novitiate before she was assigned to teach second grade at Immaculate Conception School in South Chicago, Illinois. Mid-year of her second year of teaching, she was asked to move from teaching second grade to eighth grade. With joy, she took on her new responsibilities—for 13 years! Her teaching ability was undeniable. In 1948, St. Roman School in Chicago, Illinois, was a model school with Pastor Msgr. Kozlowski serving as the school superintendent in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Sister Relinette taught eighth grade there for seven years, assisting other teachers in developing solid classroom techniques. What goes before, prepares you for what comes next. St. Simeon School in Bellwood, Illinois, opened in 1949 with 88 students. When Sr. Relinette was assigned as principal and teacher at St. Simeon in 1955, the school had already experienced phenomenal growth. Sr. Relinette had the distinction of being the principal of a school with over 1,800 children and over 60 faculty members, lay and religious. There were mobile units and newly built classrooms. Fifteen Masses were celebrated on a Sunday to accommodate all the families. Only a person of great equanimity could say, as Sr. Relinette did, “It was such a blessing. The faculty, the children, the parents were all engaged in high-quality Christian education. I loved them all.” Sr. Relinette spent a year teaching at St. Salomea in Chicago, Illinois, after she left St. Simeon in 1961. This gave her time to turn the page to the next phase of her teaching ministry as school supervisor. Sr. Relinette and Sister Violanta Leggins were a dynamic combination as school supervisors. They had a teaching lab at Lourdes convent that was an abundant resource for teachers in the Chicago area. Sr. Relinette began her ministry as school supervisor while she was residing at St. Salomea Convent, but in 1963 she moved to Lourdes to concentrate her efforts with Sr.Violanta on how to improve reading skills in the schools.They established a reading program, training teachers, testing children and providing resources for excellent reading instruction. The results were superb and Sr. Relinette looks back at that as one of the most significant contributions of their supervisory ministry. It helped that both supervisors were highly creative. They were able to plan, create and implement everything from lesson plans to flower arrangements with artistic ease.


Vol. 4 No. 2

While Sr. Relinette resided at Lourdes Convent, she was selected by her sisters to be the coordinator of the home. They continued to select her for the next fifteen years. So while she served as School Supervisor, she also served as Coordinator. In 1984, Sr. Relinette began a new ministry of care and service for the sisters at Lourdes Convent. This service involved everything — nursing, driving, cooking, cleaning, phone and doorbell duty, and plant maintenance. It also involved listening with patience, praying together, visiting the sick, consoling the dying and sharing a deep spiritual life. In 2002, Sr. Relinette said she was retired. Maybe. Every holiday, Lourdes Convent has special decorations, created by Sr. Relinette. She collects, mends and cleans clothing for the poor. She contributes her energy daily to her sisters. “I have been a 40-year resident at Lourdes Convent,” Sr. Relinette says. It is an extreme compliment when people with whom she lives say, “Sr. Relinette is a real ‘angel.’ She makes each day such a special event.”

Each Day is

Full of Life

The secret of her seeking and serving lies in her faith vision. “The Lord was always among us,” she says.

Sister Illuminata Godlewski Sister Illuminata Godlewski has a zest for life. It’s not immediately apparent that she is 86 years old, especially when she is selling candy and snacks at lunch time at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio. That gets us a little ahead of the story. It starts in Rutland, Vermont, where Sr. Illuminata was born,August 17, 1917, one of eight children. Her father worked in the Vermont quarries and raised a family that to this day is strong and loving. With the promise of better employment, her family moved to Lorain, Ohio. She attended Nativity BVM School, graduating from eighth grade in 1930. She attended Hawthorne Junior High School in Ohio for a year before she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis in Garfield Heights, Ohio, at age 15. The congregation’s co-foundress was living at Marymount Convent at the time and Sr. Illuminata recalls, “Mother Clara was an angel. She even took the time to distribute our high school report cards.” Sr. Illuminata was invested on August 2, 1934. After one year of novitiate, at age 18, she was assigned to teach shorthand at All Saints High School in Flint, Michigan. It was that zest for life that kept her learning and teaching for 12 years in Flint and, for a time, at Sweetest Heart of Mary in Detroit. In addition to the business courses, Sr. Illuminata was also teaching some science courses and was focusing her college work in that area. Her true gift, however, was in the business area. In 1948, when she came to teach at Marymount High School (later named Trinity High School), she was fully in the business mode.

(Sr. Illuminata) carries on her “youth ministry” out of a small candy booth in the cafeteria which the students have lovingly dubbed “nun in a box.”

“Her standards were always tempered by that hint of a smile and her genuine love

Business classes at the high school level involved a large number of students who were destined to move into the work force right after high school graduation, a different demographic than those who were college-bound. Sr. Illuminata had the “right stuff” for teaching her select group. As one of her students remarked, “I really learned in Sr. Illuminata’s classes. She expected us to learn. Her standards were always tempered by that hint of a smile and her genuine love for all of us.” After teaching in the Garfield Heights area for eight years, she was assigned to Regina High School in Harper Woods, Michigan, where she stayed for six years. In 1962, Sr. Illuminata returned to Marymount High School where she has been in various capacities ever since. Until 1987, she continued as business teacher, fleshing out the curriculum to include Economics, Accounting, Typing and Business Law. She knew just how to relate to the students so that they achieved their best. The relationship continued as Sr. Illuminata took on the responsibilities of Registrar at Trinity. In 1990, she became Communications Specialist, and then in 1993, clerical.

for all of us.” It’s hard to imagine Trinity High School without Sr. Illuminata as part of it. She provides clerical support for all the faculty and administration. She carries on her “youth ministry” out of a small candy booth in the cafeteria which the students have lovingly dubbed “nun in a box.” It’s not unusual to see students lingering at the booth, getting guidance and insight from Sr. Illuminata. She often says, “The administration, faculty and students at Trinity High School treat me as though I belong.” She does.

Sister Esther Romalke Sister Esther Romalke was born in Polonia, Wisconsin, and baptized by Rev. Luke Pescinski. Father Pescinski was the priest who was instrumental in founding the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, the congregation which Sr. Esther would join.

Frances Romalke, Sr. Esther’s mother, is seated in the middle of the picture with two of the Romalke children. The picture was taken in front of the Romalke home in Polonia,Wisconsin.

Sr. Esther learned her community skills very early. She was number 13 of the16 Romalke children, seven brothers and nine sisters, raised on a farm in Polonia. It was a time when a new car in the neighborhood was occasion for a communal photo. She attended Twin Lakes School, and attended religion classes at Sacred Heart Parish in Polonia,Wisconsin, where the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, were teaching. She graduated from eighth grade in 1933. In spite of the hardships of the Great Depression so widespread in the United States at that time, she entered the congregation in Stevens Point,Wisconsin. She received the name Sister Mary Primosa at her investing on August 5, 1935. Sr. Esther has the graceful ability to meet life’s circumstances with insight and creativity. It was apparent early on when she began her teaching ministry at St. Ignatius in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1937. One year later, she was at St. Mary in Pulaski, then


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St. Mary in Amherst,Wisconsin. Each time she responded fittingly, making each situation better for her having been there. She was variously teacher, superior and/or coordinator in several schools and convents in Wisconsin and Minnesota until 1973. It was then that she moved to South Bend, Indiana, to become Maintenance Director at St. Joseph Motherhouse. To be a director of anything in the convents of the early 70s had its built-in challenges. Being at the General Motherhouse put Sr. Esther right in the middle of the action. She was able to meet each challenge as an opportunity for growth. Even when she went back to St. Joseph Convent in Stevens Point,Wisconsin, in 1976 as Coordinator of Community Service, she showed the same SSJ-TOSF sponteneity. The sisters appreciated her leadership and she stayed at St. Joseph Convent until 1993 as Home Coordinator and Plant Manager. There are so many skills that a home coordinator gets to develop. One of Sr. Esther’s specialties was wrapping Christmas presents in wonderfully artistic designs. The sisters would bring their gifts to be graced by Sr. Esther’s nimble hands. During the years that Sr. Esther was at St. Joseph Congregational Home, Mother Mary Benjamin Golubski passed away. Sr. Esther had the privilege of making the funeral arrangements for the sister she so admired. “Mother Benjamin was a gentle and holy woman,” she said.

Each Day is

Full of Life

As of 1989, the provincial structure of the congregation was dissolved. The congregation was “one.” In 1993, Sr. Esther made the best of her options and moved to Marymount Congregational home first, as bookkeeper for the Marymount Child Day Care, then in 1994, as Coordinator of Personal Services for the sisters, working with Sister Dominica Fick.They served in this role until 2002 when they retired. As usual, retirement means determining how best to fill life and respond fittingly. Sr. Esther is using her creativity to produce angels. They are small wooden angels, decorated to send wishes for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. She and Sr. Dominica have set up a workshop in their home and have a brisk business sending blessings across the miles. Jesus said to his Father in prayer,“I have not lost anything that you have given me.” Sr. Esther has done the same with the gifts and talents that are hers. We are all better for it.

“I have not lost anything that you have given me” said Jesus. Sr. Esther has done the same with the gifts and talents that are hers. We are all better for it.

Sister Adalbert Stal Sister Mary Adalbert Stal, born on May 23, 1917, explained: “I am a daughter of Catholic parents who moved from Meriden, Connecticut, to East Chicago, Indiana, when I was three years old.” What a coincidence—the family left St. Stanislaus Parish in Connecticut which was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, and moved to St. Stanislaus Parish in Indiana staffed by the same congregation. It was the first of many transitions in the life of Sr. Adalbert, each of which she met with creative eyes of faith. In 1932, having attended St. Stanislaus grade school and one year at St. Joseph High School, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, in Stevens Point,Wisconsin, a little more than 30 years after the congregation’s founding. Mother Sylvester Retkowski was Superior General with cofoundress Mother Felicia as Assistant. It was an exciting time with the membership in the congregation topping 700. Sr. Adalbert was one of them. When she was 19 years old, following her novitiate, Sr. Adalbert began her teaching ministry at St. Mary Parish in Pulaski, Wisconsin. It was significant that she was assigned the upper grades, clearly in recognition of her ability to teach. She continued teaching eighth grade at St. Peter in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, until 1954.

We asked for leadership, and she (Sr. Adalbert) gave us the confidence to be leaders. We sought truth, and she provided us with the knowledge of God and His world. We searched for ways to release our energy, and she was a patient guide. We needed love and she taught us friendship by becoming our friend.” —Students, Maria High School


She taught business courses at Maria High School in Stevens Point for two years until she took a year off to complete her master’s degree in Education, concentrating on secondary school administration. She was destined to become assistant principal, then principal, of Maria High School in 1957. The students wrote in the yearbook,“We asked for leadership, and she gave us the confidence to be leaders. We sought truth, and she provided us with the knowledge of God and His world. We searched for ways to release our energy, and she was a patient guide. We needed love and she taught us friendship by becoming our friend.” Sr. Adalbert filled those eight years with life for all. Sr. Adalbert was asked to bring “full life” to a new school in Allouez, Wisconsin. She served as principal of the new school, helping to organize it and establishing a parish school board. After one year at Resurrection, Sr. Adalbert was elected Provincial Treasurer. She tapped her business acumen to give this new position her all.Three years of financial records and reports proved her mettle, and she was elected to the Provincial team of the St. Joseph Province. During her tenure and without missing a beat, she served as administrator of River Pines Sanitorium for a year. The late 1960s and early 1970s were interesting times for religious congregations. Huge changes were occurring in the lifestyle of consecrated religious, and it was precisely at this time that Sr. Adalbert was called upon to steer a steady course. Certainly, a clear faith vision of what is essential and what can be released was Sr. Adalbert’s greatest asset. After serving on the Provincial level for six years (1966-1972), Sr. Adalbert became the secretary for the Central Board in South Bend, Indiana. She became Assistant Treasurer of the congregation in 1976, serving with Sister Aniceta

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Brys as Treasurer, and appointed Central Treasurer in 1982. In 1995, the Corporate Offices of the congregation were moved from South Bend, Indiana, to Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Once again, Sr. Adalbert was willing to make the necessary changes and continue her service to the congregation in the Finance Office. This is still her daily ministry.

Each Day is

Full of Life

At age 86, Sister Adalbert fills her world with love. As she reflects on the changes in her life and ministry, she knows what remains the central core. “Many days brought me in contact with persons eager to share news about faith, birth, joy, sorrow or sickness, and each of these convinced me that church is where people are. Hence, I believe that church is the sacrament of Christ, where we can be a viable force, willing to be opened, support one another and be concerned about each other, as Christ would have us do.”

Sister Arlene Styczynski Sister Arlene Styczynski was born on a hot and humid day, July 13, 1918, in Pulaski, Wisconsin. Her mother maintained that the corn never grew as tall as it did that year, a fine omen for the marvelous growth that continues to occur in Sr. Arlene’s life.

“Nothing dampened my joy and happiness. Living with the sisters in the convent was sheer pleasure.”

She grew up in Pulaski, Wisconsin, the sixth of 12 children, seven boys and five girls. She attended Assumption BVM school where she made her Solemn Communion in seventh grade on June 5, 1932. The following year, she graduated from eighth grade, hoping to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. But it wasn’t until the following January that her dream was realized. She joined 14 others as an aspirant. “Nothing dampened my joy and happiness. Living with the sisters in the convent was sheer pleasure,” said Sr. Arlene. Sr. Arlene was received into the novitiate on August 4, 1935. After two years of novitiate, she began her teaching career with 52 students in the fifth grade at St. Fidelis in Chicago, Illinois. “I loved teaching,” declares Sr. Arlene. “I received so much help from the sisters during my first years of teaching, especially from the principal, Sister Pacifica. That experience stayed with me through the years.” 1944 was a year of change for Sr. Arlene. She transferred to the Stevens Point Province when the Chicago Province came into existence and the sisters were able to choose between the two. “All my friends were in Chicago, and I had to make new ones in Stevens Point. I was accustomed to the school system in Chicago, and had to adapt to a new one in Wisconsin,” Sr. Arlene recalls. She moved ahead with her usual joy and energy, assuming the responsibility of training and scheduling the Mass servers at St. Stanislaus in Stevens Point. “Donald Borski,” she says with pride,“was one of the servers, and he is now a deacon at St. Stan’s.” In 1951, she began teaching at St. Adalbert School in Milwaukee,Wisconsin, which also gave her an opportunity to complete her B.S. in Education at Alverno College. When Sr. Arlene returned to Stevens Point in 1956, she became Head Sacristan in addition to her teaching ministry. That was the way Sr. Arlene operated —she filled life with life. Even when she encountered the daily ups and downs at St. Hedwig in Thorp and then St. Mary in Stanley,Wisconsin, she made the most of each situation.

—Sr. Arlene

Sr. Arlene spent the summer of 1963 at Marquette University in the Leadership program for CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine). Then it was back to St. Stanislaus in Stevens Point where she had taught 12 years prior. “I enjoyed the large community (of sisters) and found many interesting activities in the parish and convent,” Sr. Arlene recalls. “It was exciting, too, to have the Provincial home so close.” Sr. Arlene was made superior, principal and teacher at St. Hyacinth in Antigo, Wisconsin, in 1966, and the same at St. Stanislaus in Superior,Wisconsin, in 1967. In 1968, Sr. Arlene came back to Assumption BVM Parish in Pulaski,Wisconsin, which was the place of her beginnings. She was able to be close to her parents who were getting up in years. She filled their lives with tenderness and care, until they passed away in the early 1970s. Sr. Arlene (bottom row, right) and her profession group. “I made several trips during my lifetime – to Canada,Washington, D.C., Alaska, Hawaii and several times to California,” said Sr. Arlene. “I even had the opportunity to attend the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia in 1976. Each of these trips enriched my teaching, providing firsthand experience of different parts of the country.” After 47 years of teaching, coordinating CCD programs and administering Mass servers, Sr. Arlene took a sabbatical. It was a fitting way to make the transition from one fulfilling way of life to another. “It is hard to say goodbye to teaching which has been so much a part of my life,” said Sr. Arlene. “I look forward to the new experiences of retirement, making life a little better for me and those who grace my world.” Following her sabbatical, Sr. Arlene came to St. Joseph Congregational Home to share life more closely with the sisters there. Since 1985, she fills each day with prayer, artistic outlets, chauffeuring the sisters to appointments and other household services. At age 85, Sr. Arlene is full of life!

“It is hard to say goodbye to teaching which has been so much a part of my life… I look forward to the new experiences of retirement, making life a little better for me and those who grace my world.” —Sr. Arlene


Vol. 4 No. 2


Sister Dorothy Pagosa


Peacemaker of the Year This summer, the Franciscan Federation, with the nomination of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, honored Sr. Dorothy Pagosa as the congregation’s 2003 Peacemaker of the Year during the annual Awards Banquet at the 38th Franciscan Federation Conference held on August 20, 2003, in Detroit, Michigan. Sister Dorothy has always been a peacemaker. The plaques on the wall of her office, the articles in the congregational publications, and the general publicity support that fact. How does one get to be a peacemaker? Here is one person’s story. When Dorothy was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1954, the country was enjoying a time of relative peace. By the time she attended St. Ignatius grade school in Cleveland, times were anything but peaceful. Television reported tragic events in Bangladesh, Biafra and Viet Nam; there were assassinations — John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The Catholic Church was adjusting to the insights of Vatican II and was challenged to social action by the universal call to holiness and mission. “Television was like a babysitter,” said Sr. Dorothy. “There were four channels, most of them news. I was inundated with images of tragedy and helplessness. I think it was at this time that I resolved to make a positive difference in this world in whatever way I could.” In this environment, Dorothy graduated from eighth grade in 1967. She attended St. Stephen High School for three years, then transferred to North Olmstead High School. She graduated from North Olmstead in 1971, just before the Watergate scandal. She spent the next four years (1971-75) focusing her energy on a degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1975, with a degree in hand, she secured a job as a budget analyst. Sr. Dorothy interacting with colleagues at the Eighth Day Center for Justice, July 2003.

1963—St. Ignatius

Sister Dorothy Pagosa


Peacemaker of the Year In 1980, just when Sr. Dorothy thought life was settled in an unsettled world, her sister, Patty, introduced her to Sr. Mary Brazitis, a Sister of St. Joseph, TOSF. The story of Jean Donovan, one of four church women martyred that year in El Salvador, became like a bond between them—for Sr. Mary because she taught Jean Donovan in high school, for Dorothy because she and Jean were the same age, both accountants in Cleveland. Dorothy picked up the challenge of Jean Donovan who stayed in El Salvador “for the children, the poor bruised victims of this insanity.” Jean Donovan asked,“Who would care for them?” Sr. Mary talked with Dorothy about religious life, about commitment to the minores, about the SSJ-TOSFs whose foundress asked, “What will happen to the children?” With the guidance of the Vocation Director, Sr. Dorothy spent a weekend at Marymount Congregational Home and found her place in the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. Sr. Dorothy entered the congregation in 1981. During the second year of her novitiate, she worked at the Eighth Day Center for Justice in Chicago, Illinois, with Sr. Sandy Lo Porto. That was a defining event. Although she spent two years (1984-86) as a Pastoral Minister at St. Jude Parish in Warrensville, Ohio, she was destined for the Eighth Day Center. In 1986, Sr. Dorothy became a staff member of the Eighth Day Center. With the grounding of the SSJ-TOSF commitment to “undertake those activities which will promote the material and spiritual development of the human family (SSJ-TOSF Mission Statement),“Sr. Dorothy was poised to “collaborate in the struggle to provide a critical alternative voice to the systems that suppress the human community and environment and to work for the structural changes which will hasten the arrival of a more just world (Eighth Day Center Mission Statement).”

Sr. Dorothy working with “Homeless on the Move for Equality,” 1993

In November 1986, Sr. Dorothy went to El Salvador to “accompany” persons who have been displaced from their homes because of war. Sr. Dorothy reflected on the El Salvador experience: “In 1986, I went to El Salvador on an accompaniment. This was to join other Americans in accompanying refugees back to their villages. It was hoped that death squads and the military would not shoot North Americans, and, as a result, the refugees would be safe. When we got there, the accompaniment was cancelled. They were no longer shooting, they were bombing. So the Salvadorans accompanied us on a journey into the lives of the most impoverished. The injustices were heart-rendering. I gave the Salvadorans my promise that when I got back to the United States, I would try to change the U.S. policy that supplied the weapons and the backing that were killing the most impoverished of their land. I have tried to fulfill that promise.” When Sr. Dorothy made her final vows in 1987, not only did she vow poverty, chastity and obedience, she also took a vow of nonviolence. Her zeal for justice and her commitment to nonviolence are the hallmarks of Sr. Dorothy’s role of peacemaker.


Vol. 4 No. 2

Sr. Dorothy was poised to “collaborate

Sister Dorothy Pagosa


in the

Peacemaker of the Year

sturggle to provide a

Sr. Dorothy has dedicated her life to working toward peace and justice. But has never forgotten her commitment to the people of El Salvador. The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC), in Fort Benning, Georgia, formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA), trains Latin American soldiers in civilian targeted warfare. Closing WHISC would begin to diffuse the destructive forces in El Salvador. Last November, Sr. Dorothy was at WHISC, recalling the names, with white crosses, of people who had been tortured and killed in Central America. They entered the gates of Fort Benning and sang songs of peace. Approximately 90 people were arrested and given varying sentences for trespassing on government property. Sr. Dorothy just finished serving her three months in the Women’s Prison in Pekin, Illinois, on July 3, 2003.

critical alternative voice to the systems that supress the human community and environment and to work for the

Whether she is working with the homeless, or leading a congregational prayer service for peace, or demonstrating at Fort Benning, or planning strategy for feeding the hungry of Chicago, or providing a presence for the role of women in the Church, or serving a prison sentence for taking a stand for peace—Sr. Dorothy provides a voice for the voiceless, a presence for those who cannot move, a spiritual strength for those who lost their faith vision. She does this with a gentleness that sustains her vow of nonviolence. She lives in a spirit of joy that is truly Franciscan. She preaches the good news, using words if she must.

structural changes which will hasten the arrival of a more just world.”

—Eighth Day Center Mission Statement

Sr. Dorothy with Central Board Members, Srs. Mary Alice Jarosz and Valerie Kulbacki at the Awards dinner in Detroit.

Sister Dorothy Pagosa


Peacemaker of the Year

Pictured: (top left) Sr. Dorothy at the Witness Walk for Peace, South Bend, Indiana, July 1, 1987. (middle left) Sr. Dorothy praying for the full participation of women in ministry, Holy Name Cathedral, 1995. (bottom left) Sr. Dorothy handing out leaflets during a silent prayer vigil, Chicago, Illinois, 2002, protesting the war in Iraq. (top right) Sr. Dorothy (right) with Sr. Kathy Long, Katie Bjorkman and Evalee Mickey who protested the continuation of the School of the Americas. Picture taken while serving at Women’s Detention Center in Pekin, Illinois, June 2003. (bottom right) Sr. Dorothy and a colleague being blessed by the SSJ-TOSF community just prior to their imprisonment. Next to Sr. Dorothy (right) are her brother, Art, and her sister, Patty.


Vol. 4 No. 2

Sr. Dorothy provides a voice for the voiceless, a presence for those who cannot move, a spiritual strength for those who lost their faith vision.

Sister Dorothy Pagosa


Peacemaker of the Year Vow of Nonviolence Recognizing the violence in my own heart, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God ...You have learned how it was said, “You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy;” but I say to you,

“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.” Before God the Creator and the Sanctifying Spirit, I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus •

by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life;

by accepting suffering rather than inflicting it;

by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence;

by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart;

by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live;

by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth.

God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.

God’s peace be with you always!


Sister Patricia Schafke

Sister Virgiose Ozog

Sister Dolores Fisher


On July 1, 2003, the Religious Orders Study was 10 years old. The Religious Orders Study was initiated by the A N D B R OT H E R S F R O M AC RO S S T H E U N I T E D S TAT E S W H O VO L U N T E E R E D TO WO R K W I T H

Rush Institute on Aging in Chicago, Illinois, with the goal of obtaining reliable clinical and psychological information, as well as autopsy material on individuals age 65 and above without Alzheimer’s disease. Three Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis are participating in the study: Sister Patricia Schafke, Sister Virgiose Ozog and Sister Dolores Fisher. This project involves over 900 senior male and female members of religious orders without Alzheimer’s disease throughout the country. Participants undergo an annual medical history, neurological examination and neuropsychological performance testing. Although not required, persons are also asked to donate blood.


Unfortunately, as the study proceeds, some participants will develop Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions associated with aging. Thus, the secondary goals of this project are to identify risk factors for these conditions and to discover what changes in the brain are responsible for these conditions.

D I S E A S E .” —Dr. David Bennet

Currently, a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can only be made by examining the brain under a microscope following a brain autopsy. Since the beginning of the study 10 years ago, ongoing results have been published in leading medical journals, and findings have been the subject of reports by the national and international press. Dr. David Bennet, director of the study, makes it very clear, “The success of the study is mostly attributable to the altruism, kindness and understanding of the hundreds of nuns, priests and brothers from across the United States who volunteered to work with us in combating Alzheimer’s disease.” We commend our sisters for generously participating in this significant study. It makes us all better.


Vol. 4 No. 2

Sister Cecilia Marie Morton Presents The Village, A New Ministerial Venture by Sr. Catherine Britton and Sr. Donna Marie Wilhelm “It takes a village to raise a child.” This well-known African proverb


describes the values that motivate Sister Cecilia Marie Morton’s efforts to promote the Rites of Passage program among the African-American


Catholic Community. These values: community, extended family, respect and responsibility are integral to the Rites of Passage program that


Sr. Cecilia Marie has developed within the parish communities of St. Bernard and Martyrs of Uganda in Detroit, Michigan. Now she is taking


her expertise and creative energy “on the road” as she begins a new venture called The Village. Through this program, Sr. Cecilia Marie’s experi-


ence as a mentor and facilitator of Rites of Passage will be available to other African-American communities. Participants in the program will share the


richness that Sr. Cecilia Marie gained during her year-long pilgrimage to Africa to touch her cultural roots. What is The Village? It is a Rites of Passage curriculum that involves information, the arts, service, leadership

I N F O R M AT I O N , T H E A RT S , S E RV I C E ,

training and community involvement, all from the perspective of African-American cultural experience. The Rites of Passage reflect a significant part of the culture of most tribal communities in Africa. At a certain


age, the elders take the young persons from the family and teach them the things they need to know in order to live a good life and become a contributing member of the community. These “coming of age” rites


have been adapted to the culture of African-Americans in the United States in over 200 different programs. They all reflect the basic cultural components



spirituality, history, economics, politics, community


involvement, career development, physical values and family responsibility. The Village, while including these cultural elements, also follows the principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.


Celebrations which enhance the Rites of Passage program include:


• Honoring the Ancestors: an alternative to Halloween which highlights Black experience throughout history


• Black Catholic History Month IS THE

• Kwanzaa • Black History Month


• Career and Health Fairs including Black professionals and graduates of Black colleges


• Celebrating Cultures: A celebration of food, clothing, music and unique aspects of various African cultures


• Retreat for those involved in Rites of Passage • Rites of Passage Ceremonies



The symbol of The Village is the Sankofa Bird. The concept of Sankofa is derived from King Andikera of the Akan people of west Africa. Sankofa is expressed in the Akan language as “se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki,” IN ORDER TO

literally translated as “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. Sr. Cecilia Marie’s unique approach takes students back to


their roots where they are challenged to discover the potential they possess to become strong, successful, motivated adult members of the village. Sr. Cecilia Marie’s roots go back to Baltimore, Maryland, where she was born. Both parents were Baptist, but with a solid Christian foundation, then 16-year-old Etta Morton was baptized at St. Peter Claver Church in Baltimore. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis five years later, and when she entered the novitiate, received the name Sr. Cecilia Marie. Through her years of pastoral ministry, the resonance between her Franciscan calling and the fundamental values of her African-American heritage became more and more apparent. The Franciscan call to conversion is played out in the Rites of Passage. The Franciscan dedication to community is reflected in community involvement and family responsibility. The call to Gospel living is reflected in the focus on spirituality in the Rites of Passage. Sr. Cecilia Marie has already begun to mentor the DRE, the faculty and staff, and the parents at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Cleveland, Ohio, so that the eighth-graders can participate in The Village program during the coming year. For more information and a brochure, please contact: Sister Cecilia Marie Morton, (313) 935-0154.


Vol. 4 No. 2

Sister Jane Zoltek Author

Sister Jane Zoltek just published her fifth book. The title of the book is Awaken Your Spirit Daily, which contains reflections for every day of the year. Sr. Jane shares the fruits of her study, reading, meditation and reflection across the pages of this book. She draws on her experience of pastoral work, prayer and liturgy, art and music. She capitalizes on her journalism background and her training in life science and natural hygiene. Her creative spirit shapes the ideas into daily nourishment for the soul. She has authored and published four other books: • Reflections and Recipes to Nourish Mind, Body, Spirit • Healthy Living through the Seasons: Nourishing Mind, Body and Spirit • A Year of Wellness: Nourishing Mind, Body and Spirit • Senior Moments of Reflection to Nourish Mind, Body, Spirit If you would like to order Awaken Your Spirit Daily, please send your order request to: Jane Zoltek, SSJ-TOSF 24438 Republic Oak Park, MI 48237 Enclose a check, payable to Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, for $17.50 ($15.00 for the book and $2.50 for shipping and handling). A bargain for good spiritual food!


Jubilee! Congratulations to the sisters who celebrated jubilees in 2003!

70th Jubilarians


Vol. 4 No. 2

Sister Agnes Marie Adasiewicz

Sister Albina Sadowski

Sister Alice Burmistrz

Sister Alice Graniczny

Sister Bonaventa Kazmierski

Sister Cherubine Brzakowski

Sister Cleophane Cyrnek

Sister Donatille Ramut

Sister Dorothy Kubisiak

Sister Esther Kedrowski

Sister Evelyn Disher

Sister Evelyn Konkol

70th Jubilarians

Sister Helen Marie Jankowski

Sister Joselle Queoff

Sister Leandra Chraca

Sister Maximilia Olejnik

Sister Perpetua Guzak

Sister Relinette Pochron

Sister Rose Ann Kolbus

Sister Thaddea Waraksa

Sister Veronette Dzieginski

60th Jubilarians Sister Camille Guzman

Sister Charlotte Wachadlo

Sister Elaine Haiduk

Sister Frances Jerzak

Sister Geraldine Smurawa

Sister Imelda Goska

Sister Loretta Zelewski

Sister Pauline Grutzius

50th Jubilarians


Vol. 4 No. 2

Sister Denise Seymour

Sister Dolores Mikula

Sister Elizabeth Koszarek

Sister Geraldine Deininger

Sister Helen Huellmantel

Sister Janice Rosinke

Sister Janine Rajkowski

Sister Janette Ann Gonglewski

Sister Joanne Skalski

Sister Joanne Therese Jastrzemski

Sister Joyce Marie Krajniak

Sister Madeline Antoskiewicz

Sister Maria Goretti Kondziolka

Sister Patrice Schulist

Sister Patricia Labuda

Sister Thomasine Antenucci


Moving Ahead Sister JoAnn Poplar and Sister Lisa Alexander pronounced their first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience during the summer of 2003. This signifies their desire to embrace the Franciscan way of life more deeply, having completed their second year of their novitiate. During that second year, they were involved in ministry Sister Jo Ann Poplar

opportunities, gospel living in action.

Sister JoAnn’s ministry experience began with serving children and adults with special needs at Chiara Home in South Bend, Indiana. After six months, she continued her pastoral experience in hospital chaplaincy at Marymount Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. “My hope for the future,” says Sr. Jo Ann, “is to continue my nursing ministry as an Emergency Department nurse.”

Sister Lisa Alexander

Sister Lisa’s ministry experience began in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, where she worked at Two Rivers Ecumenical Pantry (TREP) providing food for the poor. The second half of the year, her ministry in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was extended to Catholic Charities Resettlement and Immigration; Alternatives to Violence; St. Mary’s Hospital; and A Woman’s Place. In Brillion, Wisconsin, she assisted in the Religious Education Department and in the office of Holy Family Catholic Church. With her background in administration, Sr. Lisa is planning on working in office administration, as she continues her residence in the Green Bay area.

Sister Kimberly Mulhearn and Sister Shannon Fox have completed the first (canonical) year of their novitiate at the Common Franciscan Novitiate in Joliet, Illinois. During this first year, they spent time studying scripture as well as the Franciscan rule and writings of St. Clare and St. Francis. The prayer and study was enhanced by the presence of novices from other Franciscan communities of women. Prayer is a large part of the novitiate schedule, allowing time for reflection and personal Sister Kimberly Mulhearn

development, and uniting with the liturgical prayers of the Church. For example, during the Lenten season, the novices prayed the Office of the Passion. To keep a well-balanced lifestyle, there was time for play as well. Body, mind and spirit! Sister Shannon Fox


Moving Ahead

CFN Novices spend Easter Sunday 2003 at the Indiana Dunes

During Lent, the CFN novices prayed the Office of the Passion

Beginning in the summer of 2003, Sr. Kim and Sr. Shannon planned the activities for the second year of their novitiate. During this time, they will participate in several of the ministries of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis giving them time to experience the apostolic mission of the congregation. Sr. Kim will be working at Lourdes Hall, a SSJ-TOSF partnership ministry with the Christian Brothers, in Chicago, Illinois. She will be providing computer support in the high school’s library, substitute teaching and various office responsibilities. In the spring, she will be working at St. Adalbert’s Elementary School in South Bend, Indiana. Sr. Shannon will work at Chiara Home in South Bend, Indiana, assisting Sr. Gretchen Clark in providing respite care for developmentally challenged individuals. In the spring, she plans on extending similar ministry in Cleveland, Ohio.

Patricia Melchert became

Sister Patricia Melchert during the cere-

mony on Saturday,August 2, 2003, marking her transition from candidacy into the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. Sr. Patricia will participate in the Common Franciscan Novitiate in Joliet, Illinois, beginning August 28, 2003. Novices from thirteen Franciscan Congregations come together to enter into the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare, through study and prayer. Sister Patricia Melchert Sr. Pat was born in Chicago, but spent most of her life in southern California where she worked for GTE (Verizon) in customer service, sales, training and engineering. While in California, Sr. Pat volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters as a mentor,


Vol. 4 No. 2


Moving Ahead Sr. Pat with her daughter Deborah McConnell and grandson Conner

visited schools to speak with adolescents regarding staying in school, and helped out once a month at a homeless shelter. She moved to South Bend, Indiana, in August 2002, in order to live closer to the SSJ-TOSFs and to prepare for entrance into candidacy. She worked closely with the sisters in South Bend at the AIDS Ministry/ AIDS Assist Facility while she was a candidate. “Becoming a novice with the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis means that I will be moving closer to my dream of serving the Lord and the Church as a Franciscan sister,” says Sr. Pat. “I am moving forward on a new and joyous adventure in which my primary desire is to live the Good News.”

Marge Kalina was received as a candidate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis on Saturday, August 30, 2003, at St. Joseph Congregational Home in Stevens Point,Wisconsin. It was a supremely fitting event since Marge has been associated with the SSJTOSFs for many years. In 1982, she formalized her relationship with the congregation by becoming an associate. Marge stated, “I have been an associate since 1982 when I first met Sr. Jean Sonsalla in Mt. Horeb,Wisconsin. I was active in the parish as a lector and minister of care. I felt Marge Kalina

called to the associate relationship, particularly in the ministry to the sick. It has been my privilege over the years to provide care for several sisters after they underwent surgery.” Marge has now taken a step toward yet a closer relationship with the congregation. Wishing you many blessed steps more!

On April 5, 2003, at Marymount Congregational Home, the sisters and guests gathered to welcome

Rosanna Hodlik as a Pre-Candidate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the

Third Order of St. Francis.

Rosanna currently lives in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Her background is in marketing research and management. After spending six months in the inquirer program with the Ursuline Community, she Rosanna Hodlik

felt the call to look into the SSJ-TOSFs. She attended a “Come and See” weekend in Bartlett, Illinois. It was there that she stated she was definitely Franciscan in her spirituality. Rosanna also attended the Day of Discernment in Belleville, Michigan. She now attends various classes and workshops at the Franciscan Center at Marymount Congregational Home.Welcome, Rosanna!


Clare Oaks


h, retirement! “Forty-one acres of lush, rolling landscape,” says the brochure for Clare Oaks, “adorned by stately white oak trees. It’s the perfect backdrop for Clare Oaks, an incompa-

rable retirement community. A place where you can enrich your mind, invigorate your body and renew your spirit.” The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, particularly in the Midwest, have come to know and love this piece of land.

It is the site of Immaculata

Congregational Home, and now the site of some significant changes. The SSJ-TOSFs have been in Bartlett, Illinois, since 1962. Throughout their residency in the area, the sisters have continued their mission and ministry to make God more deeply known and loved and in so doing draw all persons to a fuller and freer life. To carry out this mission, the congregational home has been “home” to many sisters over the years. It housed the Provincial administration until the congregation’s restructure in 1989. For several years, college courses were taught through the resident Immaculata College. The Bartlett Learning Center was opened in 1968 as an educational facility for children who are developmentally challenged. With the spectacular campus, it was the perfect place for The Center, offering retreat days, workshops, seminars and personal spiritual direction. The facility includes Francis Hall for sisters who require nursing care. For over 40 years, the sisters involved themselves and the Immaculata Campus in a wide variety of ministries, continually demonstrating their dedication to all God’s people, with a respect for nature and a profound sense of the sacred.

Bartlett, aerial view —1963—


Vol. 4 No. 2

Model of Clare Oaks - Bartlett Property —2003—

Continuing their mission, the sisters are sponsoring Clare Oaks, the area’s first and only Continuing Care Retirement Community. It will be built on the Immaculata Campus, incorporating some portions of the original building and expanding structures to accommodate a variety of retirement lifestyles. There are both apartments and cottages, and a selection of one- and two-bedroom floorplans, some with dens. Each unit will have a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, large walk-in closets, a balcony or patio and other modern conveniences of a well-appointed home. The facility offers a full spectrum of services and amenities, an array of engaging activities, and short- and long-term care programs. Clare Oaks is a nondenominational community. The residents and the sisters will enjoy “a beautiful, hospitable, faith-based community where residents can address all aspects of their humanity – spiritual, physical, social, intellectual and emotional – and enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding lifestyle,” as Sister Jeanne Conzemius, Central Board member, describes it. Sister Colette Wilczynski is the On-Site Project Manager for the transition from Immaculata Congregational Home to Clare Oaks. The reservations and deposits on the property are already being taken, and the construction is scheduled to begin in 2004.

Sr. Colette, project manager for the Clare Oaks development

For more information, please contact: Clare Oaks Information Center 775 West Bartlett Road Bartlett, IL 60103 Phone: (630) 372-1983 or (800) 648-1984

Dear Friends,


s you read the stories of some of our senior members, I’m sure you noticed that it is true, sisters really do not retire, but continue to serve God’s people in a myriad number of ways. The full lives of our retired

sisters, as they minister according to their abilities, is an inspiration to all.

We know that the retirement ministries normally do not generate sufficient funds for the sisters’ needs, so we depend a great deal on the generosity of our wonderful benefactors.

Charitable gifts to support the sisters through their years of fulfillment are expressed in a variety of ways: •

Cash and checks - if you itemize your tax deductions, gifts of cash may be deducted in amounts up to 50% of your adjusted gross income;

Gifts of securities -

can bring extra tax savings since they are usu-

ally deductible from income tax at their full value if owned for longer than one year and this allows you to bypass capital gains tax that would otherwise be due on a sale;

Bequests - after providing for loved ones, a gift through remembering the sisters in your will or living trust is a wonderful legacy.

As you can see, there are a number of ways you can make gifts and share in the ministries of our active and retired sisters as we continue to serve God’s people. As our generous supporters, you, too, share in our ministries and are remembered daily in the good works and unending prayers of our sisters. We are partners in Sister Denise Seymour

Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis Development Office P.O. Box 388129 Chicago, IL 60638-8129 Phone: (773) 581-7505 Fax: (773) 581-7545 e-mail:


Vol. 4 No. 2

...making God more fully known and loved...

God love and bless you!

Sister Denise Seymour Director of Development

Sister Michaeline Badarzynski Born to this life: September 18, 1916 Born to eternal life: March 25, 2003 A teacher and organist for God’s people in Ohio, Connecticut and Michigan

Associate Mary Sterye Born to this life: August 18, 1931 Born to eternal life: June 20, 2003 A wife, mother, grandmother and friend whose life was centered in her devotion to the Eucharist

Sister Cheryl Saucier Born to this life: June 13, 1947 Born to eternal life: March 28, 2003 Nurse, teacher, counselor, DRE, spiritual director and pastoral minister - a long life in a short time

Sister Francine Lipka Born to this life: October 20, 1933 Born to eternal life: July 21, 2003 A teacher and religious education coordinator who dedicated her life to serving the people of Ohio and Michigan

Sister Elizabeth Nowak Born to this life: March 17, 1931 Born to eternal life: March 28, 2003 Humor, creativity and belief in the goodness of the students she taught in Illinois and Indiana

Sister Adeline Szczesniak Born to this life: March 23, 1911 Born to eternal life: July 24, 2003 With gentleness and a quiet presence, ministered in classrooms in Ohio, Michigan and Connecticut

Sister Danita Sawicki Born to this life: November 16, 1898 Born to eternal life: June 3, 2003 Spent 92 of her 104 years as a Sister of St. Joseph,TOSF, serving as teacher, principal and social worker

Sister Stella Posacki Born to this life: December 21, 1914 Born to eternal life: July 25, 2003 With a spirit of kindness and service, a teacher, tutor, treasurer, parish minister and office assistant

Sister Clementine Prymula Born to this life: March 16, 1915 Born to eternal life: June 19, 2003 Ministered with joy in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana parishes as teacher and principal

Sister Sponsa Rozga Born to this life: August 28, 1911 Born to eternal life: August 24, 2003 Served the congregation and the People of God in leadership roles with joy and enthusiasm

w w w. c l a r e o a k s . c o m

For over 100 years, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis have celebrated a tradition of service for people of all ages. In keeping with this deep-rooted commitment, the sisters are continuing their legacy of service by creating a retirement community where you can • enrich your mind • invigorate your body • renew your spirit for information, contact: Clare Oaks Information Center 775 West Bartlett Road Bartlett, IL 60103 800.648.1984 630.372.1983 Fax 630.372.2868


Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF Development Office P.O. Box 388129 Chicago, Illinois 60638-8129

Volume 4 No 2  
Volume 4 No 2  

Life Full VOLUME 4 • NO. 2 Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis