VOLUME 2 â€˘ NO. 2
e e l i b u J
Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis
Year of Jubilee
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 misThe Gathering Place is published to keep
sion—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.
This issue of Gathering Place is dedicated to the 47 sisters who are celebrating the anniversary of their entrance into the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. I calculated that they collectively represent 2,910 years of service to God’s people. End on end, it would take us back to the time when King Solomon’s sons were arguing over the kingdoms of Israel and Juda, or forward to the year 4911. An impressive number of years! Imagine the impact that these women had on the world, each one fashioning her contribution according to the best use of the gifts given her.
EDITOR Reneta E.Webb, Ph.D., CAE
EDITORIAL BOARD Sr. Carlene Blavat Sr. Judith David Sr. Marygrace Puchacz Sr. MaryLou Wojtusik Sharon McElmeel
The novitiate marks a special time in the life of a young woman. It is the first time she is officially called “Sister.” This change in name, signifies a closer bond with the congregation. The shift is profound. It is marked by the novice receiving the symbol of the congregation, in the past, the religious garb, now, a symbolic pin which designates the novice in a special way.
Sr. Mary Adalbert Stal Sr. Dolores Mary Koza Sr. Louise Szerpicki
PRODUCTION & LAYOUT Newcomb Print Communications/ The Printed Word
As we celebrate the lives of women who entered the novitiate in the past, you will meet two young women who have entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, during this Centennial year of the Congregation. Lisa Alexander and JoAnn Poplar were received into the novitiate this summer of 2001. In addition, Sr. Donna Marie Wilhelm
Development Office P.O. Box 388129 Chicago, IL 60638-8129 Telephone: 1-773-581-7505 Fax: 1-773-581-7545 Web site: www.ssj-tosf.org e-mail: email@example.com
made her first profession of vows in August 2001. The Spirit of God continues to stir the hearts and minds of a whole new generation of Franciscan women who publicly proclaim their intention to be Good News.
Jubilee, indeed! Reneta Webb
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.
VOLUME 2 â€˘ NO. 2
FEATURES DEPARTMENTS A Gift of Diamonds Five Sisters have reached the diamond milestone of 75 years in Godâ€™s service
1-4 Serving for 70 The congregation was only 30 years old when these 17 young women entered the SSJ-TOSF novitiate
5-12 Going like 60 Nine Jubilarians are marking 60 years of living in the Franciscan spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF
13-16 Better than Gold or Silver Fourteen young and young-at-heart sisters are celebrating 50th and 25th Jubilees
Novices and First Profession
Voices of the Alums
In the News
One School, One Mission,Two Campuses
From the Director of Development
A ift of
mazing. The congregation was only 25
years old, and these five young women were attract-
ed by the mission and ministry of the Sisters of St.
Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. They entered
the congregation, and this year they celebrate 75
years of service to Godâ€™s people, their gift to us of
diamond years. 1
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Sister Mary Anatolde Gwiazdowski It was a mere ten years that the sisters had staffed St. Stanislaus School in Meriden, Connecticut. But it was already evident to Angela Gwiazdowski that this was how she wanted to spend the rest of her life. She was in the 7th grade at the time. She entered the congregation on June 25, 1925, and completed her eighth grade at St. Joseph Academy in Stevens Point,Wisconsin. She began her novitiate on August 10, 1926, receiving the name of Sister Mary Anatolde, and launched a teaching career that spanned nearly sixty years. Sister Mary Anatolde continued her own education while she taught in Ohio, Michigan,Wisconsin, and Connecticut. For six years, she was the local superior of the house at St. Joseph Motherhouse and Novitiate in South Bend, Indiana. After teaching at Regina High School from 1970 to 1984, she continued to work with the students in library service. She retired in 1992 and now resides in Clare Hall, Garfield Heights, Ohio.
Sister Carmelita Marie Lubanski Sweetest Heart of Mary, Detroit, Michigan, was one of the original schools in which the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, began teaching in 1901. The influence of the sisters was not lost on Clara Lubanski, who entered the congregation on August 8, 1925, and was invested on August 10, 1926. She received the name Sister Carmelita Marie. She taught for three years at St. Adalbert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before she began her novitiate in 1929. Some people are born teachers. Sister Carmelita Marie is one of them. She taught in Detroit, Michigan, as well as Lorain, Canton and Cleveland, Ohio. From 1955 to 1961, she was principal at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School in Lorain, Ohio. From 1972 to 1975, she was elected a member of the Provincial Administration and was responsible for the Michigan area. She continued in the Michigan area, serving as Attendance Director at Regina High School in Harper Woods from 1976 until her retirement in 1994. She is presently an active retiree at Marymount Congregational Home in Garfield Heights, Ohio.
THEY ENTERED THE C O N G R E G AT I O N , AND THIS YEAR THEY C E L E B R AT E 75 YEARS O F S E RV I C E TO G O D â€™ S PEOPLE,
Sister Mary Celsia Ryba There was another young lady from Crystal Falls, Michigan, who attended St. John Cantius School in Cleveland, Ohio. Helen Ryba was called to religious life and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on June 21, 1926. Sister Mary Celsia, the name Helen received on August 27, 1927, went to teach at All Saints in Flint, Michigan, for a year before she began her novitiate. She attended Sistersâ€™ College
THEIR GIFT TO U S OF DIAMOND YEARS.
in Cleveland, Ohio, and applied the expertise she acquired to classroom teaching in Michigan, Ohio and Connecticut. She continued her service as receptionist, secretary and convent librarian at Marymount Congregational Home. At the age of 88, she became a resident of Clare Hall on the Marymount campus, Garfield Heights, Ohio.
Sister Mary Rosalie Wilczenski Sister Mary Rosalie Wilczenski was baptized “Rose” in August of 1909 at St. John Cantius Parish in Cleveland, Ohio, where she also attended grade school. When she graduated 8th grade, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, and continued her education at St. Joseph Academy. She received the name Sister Mary Deomira on August 10, 1926, the year that she went to St. Bronislava in Plover, Wisconsin, to teach. After three years of teaching, she spent a year of novitiate in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, before returning to Ohio where she served as a music teacher at Immaculate Heart in Cleveland and then at Sweetest Heart of Mary in Detroit, Michigan. The year 1941 launched a fulltime teaching career for Sister Rosalie in schools in Ohio, Michigan and Connecticut that extended over the next 35 years. Sister Rosalie retired in 1976, but continued to provide support services at the Marymount Congregational Home. In 1998, she moved to Clare Hall where she now resides.
Sister Mary Rosette Rospotynski It was a long way from Boroconica, Poland, to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, but Veronica Rospotynski was ready and willing to span it. Her family came to Cleveland, Ohio, where they joined St. John Cantius Parish. Then, in Sister Mary Rosette’s words,“After following a call to religious life, I left Cleveland, Ohio, on October 10, 1925, for Stevens Point,Wisconsin, to become a Sister of St. Joseph, TOSF. It was a joyous dedication of my life to God. After a few months, I was asked to go to teach third grade at St. Mary of Perpetual Help (in the Bridgeport area), Chicago, Illinois. On August 10, 1926, I received the habit from the bishop and became a Sister of St. Joseph (receiving the name of Sister Mary Rosette and being confirmed on the same date). I taught in South Chicago for three years before making my canonical novitiate. After my first profession of vows, I was sent to Michigan and then to Connecticut to teach. Completing high school was done ‘on the wing.’ After two years of college, I taught in schools in Ohio. In 1950, I was appointed superior at St. Hyacinth in Cleveland. From 1956 to 1962, I was Mistress of Postulants at Marymount Convent.
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“My desire to be a missionary was known to the community. I was asked to go to Puerto Rico without knowing Spanish or the culture. We (four SSJ-TOSF’s) left in June 1962 to teach in Quebradillas, P.R. After six years, I returned to the United States to teach Spanish at St. John Cantius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Then in 1974, I went back to work in Puerto Rico as Assistant Principal and Financial Executive. “In 1984, I was asked to work at St. John Cantius as a pastoral minister for the Hispanic community. This was a time for reflecting prayerfully for God’s guidance. The task was to prepare both children and adults for various sacraments. For the last seven years, I managed the Hunger Center (part of the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland) at St. John Cantius. “I am completing twenty-three years of service at St. John Cantius. I am grateful for the graces and opportunities to do God’s work. I am grateful to God for the 75 years He has given me to be of service to the poor and the needy.”
TO T H E S E
W H O H AV E
- T H A N K YO U
Back Row: Srs. Jeanne Conzemius, Mary Alice Jarosz Middle Row: Srs. Katherine Wyszynski, Virginette Jedrzejewski, Madeleine Adamczyk, Robertine Rybicki, Majola Szymanski Front Row: Srs. Clementine Prymula, Renata Orzechowski, Agnette Wojcik
Sister Agnette Wojcik taught the primary grades for almost fifty years. Given an average class size of 40 children, that means that almost 2,000 little children have passed through her care. Jesus’ words, “Let the little children come to me,” have taken on real meaning in the life of Sister Agnette. Her family lived on Baring Avenue in East Chicago, Indiana, and belonged to St. Stanislaus Parish, where Cecilia Wojcik was baptized and educated. On September 8, 1930, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF. On August 4, 1931, she entered the novitiate receiving the name Sister Mary Agnette. She began her teaching career at St. Barbara Parish in Chicago, Illinois, but spent most of her teaching years at St. Mary of Czestochowa parish in Cicero, Illinois. Her specialty is early childhood education. Not only did the little children benefit from her expertise, but numerous teachers learned fundamental teaching skills from her. Her signature trait and secret to success is the gentleness with which she treats each child. To this very day, she continues as a tutor and teacher’s aide at St. Mary of Czestochowa.
Sister Albinette Bloch’s
Most of teaching experience was in Wisconsin, although she was originally from Immaculate Conception parish in South Chicago, Illinois. It was there that Josephine Bloch was raised and where she completed her grammar school before she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on July 22, 1930. She was invested in Stevens Point,Wisconsin, on August 4, 1931, and after her novitiate, taught at St. Peter’s parish, the birthplace of the congregation. Sister Albinette taught in several Wisconsin schools in Stevens Point, Independence, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Hofa Park, Cashton and Menasha. As she says,“I have taught for 42 years and enjoyed each year. I especially enjoyed being a superior and principal for 11 years in a country school with four grades in a room. I marveled at how these little tots came with no knowledge, but learned quickly to my amazement. My glory and pride was to hear my first graders read and be anxious to do so for their parents. Phonics really paid. Thanks to God.” Sister Albinette turned her career to home and food services in which she continued for another twenty years. The sisters at St. Joseph Congregational Home, in Stevens Point,Wisconsin, where she now resides, still benefit from her talents. 5
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Sister Celeste Brej celebrates her birthday on September 5th. It was on that date last year that we learned: Sister’s favorite saying is: “The sooner the better.” Favorite Color: Blue Favorite Animal: Dog Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving Favorite Season: Spring Even after 57 years as a teacher, Sister Celeste has that “thanksgiving/spring” attitude. Mary was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and baptized at St. John Cantius Parish. She attended grade school there, being taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. She entered the congregation on July 21, 1929, and was invested on August 12, 1931. After her novitiate, she began an illustrious teaching career in Michigan, Ohio and Connecticut. Interestingly, most of her teaching was at her home parish of St. John Cantius where she spent 22 of those years. In 1990, she retired and is now residing at Marymount Congregational Home in Garfield Heights, Ohio.
Sister Clementine Prymula is a Hoosier. She was born on March 16, 1915, in East Chicago, Indiana, to Margaret and Anthony Prymula. She had four brothers and three sisters. She attended St. Stanislaus School, graduating eighth grade. She then went to Roosevelt High School for a year and a half, and on December 8, 1930, at the age of 15, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF. She completed her high school at St. Joseph Academy in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. After her investing on August 4, 1931, and completing her year of novitiate, she went to teach at St. Adalbert Parish in Milwaukee,Wisconsin. She stayed there for eleven years until she transferred to the Chicago Province in 1943. It was not unusual for Sister Clementine to have the responsibilities of superior, principal and teacher at the same time. She carried that responsibility for almost 25 years at St. Patrick Parish in Walkerton, Indiana. She is the kind of person who can handle such a situation with a positive attitude and a good sense of humor. She continues to delight people at Immaculata Congregational Home in Bartlett, Illinois.
Sister Mary Clementine
Sister Mary Humilia Nawalaniec The Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, started teaching in St. Hyacinth’s in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1908. Seven years later, little Stephanie Nawalaniec was born and baptized in St. Hyacinth Parish. Her parents, Charles and Josephine, sent her to the parish grade school and on August 11, 1929, she entered the congregation of sisters who were her teachers. She was invested on August 12, 1931, receiving the name of Sister Mary Humilia Nawalaniec, and began teaching in 1932. For the next 32 years, she taught in grade schools in Cleveland, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan. From 1964 until her retirement in 1987, she was a business teacher at Marymount High School which then became Trinity High School, in Garfield Heights, Ohio, in 1981. In 1987, she became part-time receptionist at Marymount Congregational Home and then fully retired in 1995 when she moved to Clare Hall, Garfield Heights, Ohio.
Sister Mary Leoncia Grodek was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents, Stanislaus and Anna, settled into St. Hyacinth’s Parish where, then, Hedwig, went to grade school. When she graduated from eighth grade, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, on August 11, 1929. She received the religious habit of the congregation on August 12, 1931, entering the novitiate. She began her teaching career at St. Francis School in Detroit, Michigan, and then, at Sweetest Heart of Mary. Over almost 35 years, she served in schools in Michigan, Ohio and Connecticut. In 1967, she worked in the office of Regina High School in Detroit. In 1971, she moved to Marymount Congregational Home in Garfield Heights, Ohio, to provide support services at the convent where she continues to reside.
Sister Lucy Sobczak
hails from Detroit, Michigan. St. Francis School in Detroit was one of the first schools staffed by the newly formed congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF in 1901. That was the parish where Joseph and Michaeline Sobczak settled and where little Stephanie was born, baptized and educated. She graduated eighth grade in 1929, but it was not until June 21, 1930, that Stephanie entered the congregation. On August 12, 1931, entering the novitiate, she became Sister Mary Lucy. Her specialty was hospitality and food services, and she provided heart and home for sisters in the Ohio and Michigan area for 37 years. In 1969, she changed her career path, working in the credit office of Marymount Hospital in Garfield Heights, Ohio, for 16 years. She retired in 1987, providing support services at Marymount Congregational Home. In 1994, she moved to Clare Hall where she now lives.
Sister Madeleine Adamczyk
To say that entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on June 30, 1930, hardly scratches the surface of her contributions to the congregation and to the thousands of children who reap the benefits of her being an educator extraordinaire. But in her own words, “When I think of my life choices and commitments, and the happiness and struggles through my life, I kneel in wonder and humility recognizing God’s work through me. My life is filled with gratitude.” “ M Y TA P E S T R Y I S N OT Y E T COMPLETE. T H E W E AV I N G GOES ON UNTIL M Y L A S T C A L L .” —Sister Madeleine Adamczyk
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“My ministries were many and varied. I taught on the elementary, junior-high, high school and college levels. Then I was called to various levels of administration: Supervision of teachers in elementary schools, Dean of Immaculata College, Provincial of the Chicago Province, and Executive Director of The Forever Learning Institute. I sing with a joyful heart when I look at the tapestry I have and still am weaving. Its highlights and shadows and dark spots - a balance in life with its joys and sorrows - all are an essential part of my life. I was powerless, but God gave me the strength and love and courage to dare to accept what he asked of me. I look with hindsight and see what a gift those times and events were for me.”
Sister Majola Szymanski was born to be a teacher. Some people are like that. She was born in Pulaski,Wisconsin, and attended Assumption BVM School until her graduation in 1928. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on August 4, 1930, and entered the novitiate on August 4, 1931. She started teaching in 1931 at Immaculate Conception in South Chicago, Illinois. She stayed there for fifteen years. In 1969, after teaching at several other schools in Illinois and Indiana, the Bartlett Learning Center was taking shape under the guidance of Sister Rita Marie Malachinski. Sister Rita Marie did not have to look far for the quality teacher she was seeking. Sister Majola had a gift to teach special education. Teaching developmentally challenged children was her life’s work until 1994, when she retired, at Immaculata Congregational home in Bartlett, Illinois.
Sister Marcella Kucia says that the seeds of a vocation to the vowed life began at a very early age. “As a first grader, attending a Catholic school, St. Hyacinth School, and having a religious teacher, I already had a special kind of attraction to the sisters. The seed was planted very early. As I progressed through the grades, I kept telling people that I wanted to become a sister. I spent weekends helping sisters in school, at home and in the church. I prayed often about my desire. My deeply religious parents helped to nurture my vocation by their wonderful example of Christian living. After graduating from the eighth grade, I expressed my wish to become a Sister of St. Joseph. The sisters often spoke of vocations and were excellent examples of total dedication to religious life and to teaching. “I have completed my 70 years of service and challenge in God’s vineyard. I want to continue my commitment, for I find strength in community living, being ‘sister’ to each individual. I rejoice in the fact that we are so different, yet so very much alike in our aspirations, goals and beliefs.” Sister Marcella’s dedication to religious life and to teaching has, in turn, been an inspiration to countless teachers throughout the United States. She authored a series of phonics and reading books in the early 1950’s which, in the last two years, were rediscovered by teachers around the country. Educators have found that phonics is the best way to teach children to read, and Sister Marcella has always been on the cutting edge of that approach.
Standing: Srs. Dominica Fick, Leoncia Grodek, Mary Margaret Majewski, Theophane Wachala, Esther Romalke Seated: Srs. Philomene Horomanski, Marcella Kucia, Celeste Brej
“ I H AV E COMPLETED MY 70 YEARS OF S E RV I C E A N D CHALLENGE IN G O D ’ S V I N E YA R D . I WA N T TO CONTINUE MY C O M M I T M E N T, FOR I FIND STRENGTH IN COMMUNITY LIVING, BEING ‘ S I S T E R ’ TO E AC H INDIVIDUAL. I REJOICE IN THE F A C T T H AT W E A R E S O D I F F E R E N T, Y E T S O V E RY MUCH ALIKE IN O U R A S P I R AT I O N S , GOALS AND B E L I E F S .” —Sister Marcella Kucia
Sister Mary Disher is a woman of many talents. Who knew, when she entered the convent from St. Mary’s Parish in Fancher,Wisconsin, on June 30, 1930, that she would be making the headlines one day with “Maria Teacher Will Study in Honolulu,” “Polish Language course offered by University of Wisconsin Extension in Menasha,” and “Polish, English spoken at party.” Mary Disher was invested as a novice in the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, on August 4, 1931, and received the name of Sister Mary Domitille. She began her teaching career at Immaculate Conception in Chicago, Illinois, and then to St. Salomea. In 1941, she went to Wisconsin, where she continued to teach for the next 42 years. It was in 1968, while she was teaching at Maria High School, Stevens Point, that Sister Domitille went to Honolulu, Hawaii, to participate in the summer Institute on Asian studies. A few years later, because of the large number of people of Polish descent who lived in the Stevens Point/Menasha area, Sister Mary responded to the University of Wisconsin’s plan to offer courses in the Polish language. With her degree in Education from St. Norbert’s College in DePere,Wisconsin, and her study of the Polish language at De Paul University, Chicago, Illinois, with Professor Sklodowski from the University of Krakow, she was highly qualified for the venture. She still lives in Wisconsin at St. Joseph Congregational Home.
Sister Mary Margaret Majewski
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Just say the name of , and people know the healing ministry of healthcare to which her whole life was dedicated. Jeanette Mary Majewski was born in Rumin, Poland, in 1911. Her family settled in Akron, Ohio, where she attended St. Hedwig School. On August 30, 1930, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, and was invested as Sister Mary Margaret on August 12, 1931. “Journeys are usually planned in advance,” Sister Margaret says, “My life journey was planned for me. Little did I realize where the road would lead me. Life can be deceiving at times, but also bring pleasant surprises. My life span of 70 years in community was a combination of both. As a registered nurse, I was assigned to places where my services were most needed, east, north, south and west. In some places, I remained 3 months, in others a few years, up to 20 as the longest period. My role depended on the situation. In some places, I was staff nurse, followed by Supervision, and Instructor of Nursing students. Finally, Hospital Administration was on my agenda. In this capacity, I was required to be of assistance to the architect in planning a new 150 bed hospital in Meridian, Mississippi. Upon my return to Cleveland, Ohio, Marymount Convent was planning a new convent residence for sisters who worked at the adjacent hospital. Here I was also involved in planning the new facility while functioning in the hospital as Director of Nursing Service. As time went on, a new infirmary was considered for the convent’s sick sisters. Clare Hall was added to the list of new construction. As my retirement drew near, I enjoyed a trip to California. While there, a wonderful opportunity presented itself. The local parish wished to keep in touch with its home-bound parishioners. A Director of Volunteers was needed. I applied and was accepted. In a short time, 20 volunteer members assisted in the project named ‘Tender Loving Care.’ I stayed with them for five years and finally returned east. I trust that these ministries may be added to the list of ‘Fitting Responses’ to the call of the community and the Church. Right now, I am enjoying my retirement days, working in the craft room and not being a Director!”
Sister Philomene Horomanski was baptized Henrietta at Nativity BVM in Lorain, Ohio, in 1914. She attended school there and was confirmed at that parish as well. She had just finished the 9th grade when she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on July 25, 1929. Her novitiate began on August 11, 1931, although by the following September, she was teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Cleveland, Ohio. Thus began an illustrious career as a teacher. Sister Philomene also taught in schools in Michigan, which included 17 years at St. Bartholomew, and in Connecticut. After 45 years of teaching, Sister Philomene found her way to a new ministry to the sick and the elderly. It was a ministry that brought her back to Nativity BVM in Lorain, where she served in pastoral care for 18 years. In 1995, she retired and now resides at Marymount Congregational Home in Garfield Heights, Ohio.
Sister Renata Orzechowski was born to Pearl and Emil on March 23, 1912, in Chicago, Illinois. She was baptized at Immaculate Conception Church and attended the grade school, graduating eighth grade in 1927. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF on December 8, 1930, and was invested on August 4, 1931, at the age of 19. Her ministry as a teacher took her to St. Fidelis and St. Barbara in Chicago, then to Ord, Loup City and Libory, Nebraska. She continued her teaching at the Bartlett Learning Center in Bartlett, Illinois. Her latest assignments were in the Host Department at Rice Lake, Wisconsin, and in support services at Immaculata Congregational Home. She is now a resident of Francis Hall. Sister Renata is remembered for her music and her paintings. Her music career began about the age of nine, when her sister Irene would walk her to her music lessons. Sister Renata, in turn, gave private lessons to the children at the schools where she taught. She asserts, however, that art is her favorite. â€œI loved art and I used any medium to satisfy my yearning to express myself. My Uncle Joe gave me my first set of oils. I remember his sitting with me at the table, showing me how to draw a turkey. Sister Fabiola also helped me with my art, but I am mostly self-taught. Some of my paintings have sold.â€?
Sister Robertine Rybicki is the person to call upon when things have to get organized. She has the knack of taking a situation and making sense of it. This happened several times during her teaching career, as you will see. She was born in East Chicago, Indiana, and baptized at St. Stanislaus Parish, where she also attended grade school and graduated in 1928. She had already taken a business course before she entered the convent on December 8, 1930. She entered the novitiate August 4, 1931. She taught one year in Chicago before going to Colorado, teaching in Denver and Fort Collins. St. Simeon School in Bellwood, Illinois, had just opened in 1949 and was on its way to becoming one of the largest Catholic schools in the United States. Sister Robertine taught there from 1950 until 1956, when a new school in Gary, Indiana, needed a superior, principal and teacher. In 1962, Sister Robertine spent a year at Transfigura-tion School until a new school, St. John the Evangelist, in Streamwood, Illinois, was opened. Sister Robertine was again superior, principal and teacher, from 1963 to 1967. In addition, she was elected councillor of the Chicago Province in 1966. For ten more years, she taught in schools in Illinois, Indiana, and Nebraska. In 1981, Sister Robertine went to Rice Lake,Wisconsin, to work in the Host Department. She is quite clear about where she draws her strength, “My faith in the Lord and the Holy Spirit helped me immensely. There were many changes in the church and in convent life. My happiest years as a religious were in the poor area of Fort Collins, Colorado. We worked with Hispanic children, traveling each Sunday to the poor missions of Colorado, teaching religion to the children. Although we were poor with the poor, our Franciscan spirit and the joy of St. Francis was really within us. May the Lord be praised for His care and love.” In 1990, Sister Robertine moved to Immaculata Congregational Home in Bartlett, Illinois, where she now serves as infirmary helper, librarian and telephone receptionist.
Sister Theophane Wachala, with a twinkle in her eye, would play a few songs for you on the piano, or hum a few bars of her favorite hymn, “Lord, you have come to the seashore.” It was that winning way that made her a great teacher. She was born in 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents, John and Sophie, were parishioners of St. Hyacinth Parish where little Stella was baptized. She graduated from St. Hyacinth’s in 1928 and finished a year of high school before she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on August 11, 1929. She entered the novitiate August 12, 1931, receiving the religious habit and the name Sister Mary Theophane. Starting in 1934, she taught in Ohio and Michigan schools for 30 years, and has served as principal at Corpus Christi School in Cleveland and at the Nativity BVM School in Lorain for a total of 18 years. While serving as principal at Nativity BVM, Sister Theophane was commended for her work as co-author of a Code of Ethics for Administrators and Teachers of Catholic Schools. She also served as a member of the Cleveland Diocesan Curriculum Committee for eight years, as well as on the Sisters’ Senate. Sister Theophane’s ministry also included two years as the Assistant to the Provincial Treasurer at Marymount Convent (1982-84). For over 15 years, she was Payroll and Retirement Plan Manager at Marymount Congregational Home in Garfield Heights, Ohio. She is currently moderator of the St. Joseph Guild.
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Sister Mary Virginette Jedrzejewski means business - that is, she was a business teacher of the highest quality. She started out at Immaculate Conception in South Chicago, Illinois, daughter of John and Joanna. She graduated from eighth grade in 1925, and after pursuing commercial courses, entered the congregation on August 14, 1930. The following August, she received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, and immediately was sent to teach commercial courses at St. Barbara in Chicago, Illinois. Following a year of novitiate, she began a fifty-year career of teaching business courses, mostly in the high schools in Chicago, Illinois. To know the secret of influencing young lives beyond the content of what is taught, consider these works of Sister Virginette, “Have a healthy attitude toward yourself. Think of yourself in positive terms. Be aware of your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Enjoy reading the Bible which makes God more personal. Try to be loving, kind, considerate, humble and faithful. Help one another, showing them that you are grateful for their love, presence and support as they travel with you on your journey toward eternity. Be an instrument of God’s peace. Jesus said, ‘My peace I give you.’ Give the same peace to one another. Be generous with your loving ‘pats-on-the-back’ for work well done. Sometimes a few words of praise or encouragement will ease a burden and lift the spirits of someone.” Wouldn’t it be a blessing, having a teacher with such a philosophy of life? Sister Virginette is now retired and resides at Lourdes Convent in Chicago, Illinois. “ H AV E A H E A LT H Y AT T I T U D E TO WA R D YO U R S E L F. T H I N K O F YO U R S E L F I N P O S I T I V E T E R M S . B E AWA R E O F YO U R S T R E N G T H S R AT H E R T H A N YO U R W E A K N E S S E S . E N J OY READING THE BIBLE WHICH MAKES GOD MORE PERSONAL. T RY TO B E L O V I N G , K I N D, C O N S I D E R AT E , H U M B L E A N D FA I T H F U L . H E L P O N E A N OT H E R , S H O W I N G T H E M T H AT YO U A R E G R AT E F U L F O R T H E I R L OV E , P R E S E N C E A N D S U P P O RT A S T H E Y T R AV E L W I T H YO U O N YO U R J O U R N E Y TO WA R D ETERNITY…SOMETIMES A F E W WO R D S O F P R A I S E O R E N C O U R AG E M E N T WILL EASE A BURDEN AND LIFT THE SPIRITS O F S O M E O N E .”
—Sister Mary Virginette Jedrzejewski
“ I N T H E S E PA S T 6 0 Y E A R S , M Y G R E AT E S T A C H I E V E M E N T H A S B E E N A P O S I T I V E R E S P O N S E TO C H R I S T ’ S I N V I TAT I O N , ‘ C O M E ,
F O L L O W M E .’ ”
—Sister Jane Frances Koszarek
Sister Alma Kobylak was born December 11, 1920, and baptized two weeks later at St. Casimir’s Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Parents John and Louise knew she was gifted, and this proved true as she finished eighth grade in 1935, graduated from high school in 1939, and made the decision to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on August 15, 1940. She was educated, experienced, and just the right person to nurture other persons into appropriate career paths. So it was that, after 17 years of teaching grade school and high school, Sister Alma became an Assistant Professor at St. John’s College, preparing young people for the teaching profession. She taught Educational Psychology, Statistics, and Teaching Methods in Math and Social Studies. This included teaching Summer School for teachers and supervising them during the school year in the application of quality teaching principles. She was Senior Class advisor at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio, as well as Curriculum Advisor, where she supervised and planned teaching methods, especially with new faculty. She was Assistant Provincial Treasurer, and then Provincial Treasurer for six years. For five years, Sister Alma maintained medical insurance records for the sisters in Marymount Congregational Home and Clare Hall. During that time, she also assumed the responsibility of managing Marguerite Apartments, residence for SSJ-TOSFs in Garfield Heights, Ohio, which she continues to do even today.
Sister Alma Kobylak
Sister Benjamin Chrapczynski never stopped learning, and so far, never stopped teaching. She began her education at St. Stanislaus in Lorain, Ohio. After she graduated from eighth grade, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, on August 15, 1940, and was invested on August 6, 1941. She continued her education at St. Joseph Academy, Garfield Heights, Ohio. In 1944, she went to Michigan where, while she was teaching, attended the University of Detroit, working on her degree in education. She completed that degree at St. John’s College, Cleveland, in 1957. Again, while teaching in schools in Michigan and Ohio, she continued taking courses toward her masters degree in education. True to form, when she began working with Hispanic children, she returned to Ursuline College for courses in Spanish. Her ministry brought her to St. Bartholomew School in Detroit, Michigan, for nine years before she retired. Her “retirement” involves teaching in a Headstart program, teaching in the Parish School of Religion, working with seniors in a “Teaching and Reaching”
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program of mentoring and tutoring children in reading, doing home visiting, and other volunteer work at Nativity BVM in Lorain, Ohio. “The most rewarding experience,” Sister Benjamin says,“was to prepare many children for the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and Eucharist. Within my 47 years as a teacher in second grade, I have been privileged to prepare hundreds of children for these sacraments. Further, I have been a sponsor to both children and adults from the countries of Indonesia, Korea, Phillipines, India, Iraq and Uganda, as well as the United States. I have been honored to be godmother or sponsor 22 times for both Baptism and Confirmation. Now in my retirement years, I am able to help underprivileged children with their school work. This is both a challenge and a blessing.” Sister Dominic Goska is a born teacher. As anyone knows who has tried the experience, it takes a special gift to teach small children. Sister Dominic has it. Frances Goska was born in Chicago, Illinois, of parents Ladislaus and Hedwig. She was baptized at St. Barbara Parish and attended grade school and one year of high school there before she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, on August 15, 1940. When she was invested on August 10, 1941, she received the name Sister Mary Dominic. She launched her teaching career in 1943 at St. Stanislaus School in East Chicago, Indiana. She also taught at St. Mary of Perpetual Help and at Transfiguration Parish in Chicago, Illinois, before going to Sacred Heart in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. In 1955, Sister Dominic went to St. John Bosco in Hammond, Indiana, for three years. She taught for nine years at Immaculate Conception in South Chicago, Illinois. From there, she went to St. John Bosco, Transfiguration, and for the last nine years of her teaching, Our Lady of the Snows in Chicago, Illinois. When she retired in 1979, she joined the staff at the host ministry in Rice Lake,Wisconsin, where she spent another nine years. She now resides at Immaculata Congregational Home in Bartlett, Illinois where she provides support services.
Sister Dominic Goska
“ I K N O W T H AT B Y I N C R E A S I N G M Y L OV E FOR JESUS, HE WILL T E A C H M E W H AT TO D O TO P L E A S E H I M .” —Sister Mary Irmina Bula
Sister Mary Irmina Bula’s “dream-come-true” took a few years to emerge. She started out in Antigo, Wisconsin, where she attended St. Hyacinth School, graduating eighth grade before she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, on August 15, 1940. Her novitiate started August 5, 1941, and when it was completed, she went to St. Adalbert and then to Blessed Sacrament both in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sister Irmina describes her ministries, “My litany of thanks to the Lord for the privilege of serving Him ... as a teacher in kindergarten and first grade, 17 years, a most joy-filled experience! As a registered dietician and consulting dietician in nursing homes, hospitals and senior citizen food sites, 14 years, a deeply satisfying experience.” In 1959, Sister Irmina went to St. Mary Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, to receive training in dietetics. She returned to Wisconsin to serve in four different locations as a dietician. “My dream-come-true,” says Sister Irmina, “is the Sisters’ Treatment Group Home in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, which provides group home foster parenting for physically and/or mentally handicapped children. I can serve as a sister, foster mother, nurse, cook, baker, dietician and gardener.” Sister Irmina has been working with Sister Mary Edmund Antoniewicz in the Sisters’ Treatment Group Home for the last 29 years, and, God willing, many more.“I know that by increasing my love for Jesus, He will teach me what to do to please Him.”
Sister Mary Irmina Bula
Sister Jane Frances Koszarek entered the SSJ-TOSFs at the same time as Sister Irmina and from St. Hyacinth’s in Antigo,Wisconsin. She was one of several Koszareks who are members of the congregation. “In these past 60 years,” Sister Jane Frances says,“my greatest achievement has been a positive response to Christ’s invitation, ‘Come, follow me.’ This call has remained current and ongoing. My greatest experience has been the fulfillment of dreams and realities envisioned as a teenager, namely, service as a teacher and the deepening of a relationship with God. In the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, both goals were made attainable.” Sister Jane Frances began teaching in 1943 at St. Peter’s Parish in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Seven years later, she attended Marquette University, completing her bachelors and masters degrees, then teaching one year at St. Joseph Academy in Stevens Point. She became a School Supervisor in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for twelve years before being elected to the Provincial Council in 1966. She became Dean of Studies and academic counselor for the sisters for six years, before returning to teaching in 1975. In 1993, she began her work in the Finance Office of the SSJ- TOSFs, coordinating social security and patrimony accounts. “My life experiences have centered and revolved around education and/or congregational services,” Sister Jane Frances explains,“Success has been mine because activities and projects bore clear marks of divine involvement. Results have often exceeded my capabilities and expectations. Dreams live on. I continue to learn, to be of service, to treasure friendships, to be grateful and to enjoy life. At times, the journey into the future is challenging, even painful, but often it is exciting, satisfying and fulfilling.”
Sister Jane Frances Koszarek “DREAMS LIVE ON. I C O N T I N U E TO L E A R N , TO B E O F S E RV I C E , TO T R E A S U R E FRIENDSHIPS, T O B E G R AT E F U L A N D TO E N J OY L I F E … T H E J O U R N E Y I N TO THE FUTURE IS CHALLENGING, E V E N PA I N F U L , BUT OFTEN IT IS EXCITING, S AT I S F Y I N G A N D F U L F I L L I N G .” —Sister Jane Frances Koszarek
Sister Jeanette Zella entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, in 1940, from St. Hedwig’s Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and became a novice on August 5, 1941. Her talent as teacher and librarian were intertwined throughout her entire career. She was first assigned to St. Peter’s Parish in Stevens Point and then to St. Adalbert in Milwaukee. For four years, she was a high school teacher and librarian at St. Joseph Academy in Stevens Point. She taught in Wisconsin and Minnesota before becoming a full-time librarian again at St. Joseph Academy. In 1957, it was back to the classroom, then returning as librarian at Maria High School in Stevens Point. From 1969 until 1986, she was a principal and a teacher in several schools in Wisconsin. She then became the convent chauffeur at St. Joseph Congregational Home in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, providing other support services as well. In 1995, she retired and became a resident of Maria Center.
Sister Jeanette Zella
Sister Leocadia Brzozowski
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Sister Leocadia Brzozowski was born in Hofa Park,Wisconsin in 1916, and baptized Sophie. She attended St. Stanislaus School and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on November 4, 1940. She became a novice on August 5, 1941, receiving the name Sister Mary Leocadia. She devoted her entire career to homemaking and culinary arts for the sisters in Wisconsin. She showed her talent in gardening very early, assuming the responsibility in 1943 for the gardens at St. Joseph Congregational Home in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. She also provided homemaking services to the sisters in the congregational home. Then she extended her services at St. John in Menasha, St. Stanislaus in Stevens Point, St. Stanislaus in Superior, St.Anthony
in Niagara, St. Adalbert in Milwaukee, St. Hyacinth in Antigo and St. Peter in Stevens Point. For two years, she also served in SS. Peter & Paul in Duluth, Minnesota. She is now retired, but continues to work in the gardens at St. Joseph Congregational Home. She assists in sacristy and kitchen duties, but most of all, she participates in the prayer ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. She asserts, “My whole religious life has been gratitude to Almighty God and his Blessed Mother, that God has called me to his service as a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. I hope to persevere, so help me God!” “ M Y W H O L E R E L I G I O U S L I F E H A S B E E N G R AT I T U D E TO A L M I G H T Y G O D A N D H I S B L E S S E D M OT H E R , T H AT G O D H A S C A L L E D M E T O H I S S E RV I C E A S A S I S T E R O F S T. J O S E P H O F T H E T H I R D O R D E R O F S T. F R A N C I S . I H O P E TO P E R S E V E R E , S O H E L P M E G O D ! ” — Sister Leocadia Brzozowski
Sister Louise Gembara and Lourdes High School just go together. Over thirty years of her teaching career were spent teaching English and Language Arts to high school students. It all began in Cicero, Illinois, when Genevieve was born to Francis and Thecla Gembara on April 15, 1923. The baby was baptized at St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish and that is where Genevieve went to grade school, graduating in 1937. She finished three years of high school before she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. She was invested on August 5, 1941, and in 1943, after her novitiate, she began teaching at St. Fidelis in Chicago, Illinois. From there, she went to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Indiana Harbor, Indiana, where she stayed for seven years. She spent six years at Immaculate Conception in South Chicago. In 1961, she began the long and lovely relationship with Lourdes High School in Chicago, Illinois. Except for three years when she served as coordinator of the house at Immaculata Congregational Home and at Lourdes Convent, Sister Louise taught at Lourdes High School, and at present, she continues as a substitute teacher as well as a summer school teacher.
Sister Louise Gembara
Sister Mary Martha Bittner is from Cleveland, Ohio. She had already completed high school when she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF. “When I entered the community,” she explains, “there was no distinction between the rich, the middle class, or the poor. We all worked together, followed the rule and strove for holiness.There were times of silence and times of recreation, and life was directed by the Rule of St. Francis.” These were the roots from which Sister Mary Martha drew her strength and wisdom as she began a 47-year career as a teacher. She served for six years at St. Francis and St. Thomas in Detroit, Michigan, and four years at St. Josephat in Cleveland, Ohio. She then went back to Michigan for 17 additional years of teaching. She served at St. Monica in Garfield Heights, Ohio, from 1970 to 1981, Immaculate Heart in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1981-87 and Sacred Heart of Jesus from 1987 to 1989. It was then that she arrived at Jesus and Mary School, first as a teacher, then as librarian. She is now retired, but continues to be powered by her original commitment to religious life, asking, “Can we assume roles with emphasis on ‘being with the poor’ and of giving ourselves in service to their needs?”
Sister Mary Martha Bittner
Gold or Silver Sister Angelora Grossman sings with the “Franciscan Chords,” a music group of the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. She has been creating harmony for years. She was born in Arcadia,Wisconsin, of parents Joseph and Dorothy. She knew the rhythms of the seasons from farming, being the oldest child in the family. She definitely knew the pattern of the school years at St. Stanislaus Parish. She completed eighth grade in 1948 and went on to two years at Arcadia High School before entering the SSJ-TOSFs. Sister Angelora was invested on August 10, 1951, the year that the congregation was celebrating its 50th anniversary. She began her teaching career at St. Peter School in Stevens Point and then at St. Paul in Milwaukee, WI. For twenty years, she was the superior, principal and teacher at St. Matthew School in Wausau. “More home than home,” is the way she describes it. Then she went to Holy Rosary in Durand,Wisconsin, for eleven additional years. Sister Angelora now works as a part-time order processor at the Pleasant Company (The American Girl Doll Company). When the congregation celebrated the Centennial Event in Stevens Point, June 28 - July 1, 2001, Sister Angelora provided musical support to the liturgies through the weekend.
Sister Cecilia Zielen can tell you about “moraine
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terrain” or about Franciscan ideals.This gifted woman was a biology teacher, Provincial councillor, Vice President of the congregation, student at the Mexican Cultural Center, Associate Director of Youth Development Programs, Director of Religious Education, certified in Ministry Development, Youth Ministry and Spanish Language. How does she put it all together? “‘To thine own self be true, and it shall follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man (sic).’ Little did I realize that when I memorized this line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a senior in high school, that it would become a motto, a goal, an ideal, that would challenge me innumerable times in my religious life. ‘To thine own self be true’ would erupt from the depths of my heart when I found myself at a fork in the road that
demanded a decision, a commitment, a conversion. ‘You cannot then be false to anyone’ has equally reminded me to be honest, faithful, and true to my word when relating to each person who has become part of my life. Gradually, I realized that ‘to thine own self be true’ is not only a quote from Shakespeare, but also a nudge from the Holy Spirit. ‘To thine own self be true’ is the deep longing in my heart to open myself more and more to God, to others and to the world. Slowly, I am discovering that my longing to become true to me is also God’s longing for me to become more and more one with God in Christ and one with all creation.”
“ … ‘ TO T H I N E O W N SELF BE TRUE’ IS THE DEEP LONGING IN M Y H E A RT TO O P E N MYSELF MORE AND M O R E TO G O D, TO OT H E R S A N D TO T H E
Sister Claire Cejer states, “In a personal fifty-year adventure down memory lane, I came face to face with a single occurance that provided and continues to provide me with the greatest challenges and experiences - I TEACH! At age five, on the first day of school, I was called. I can remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was going to be a teacher. Not just any teacher, but a Sister Teacher. Not just any Sister Teacher, but a Sister Teacher like Sister Marcella. Being taught by our sisters at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Cleveland, I had the very best from a group of very excellent teachers. They taught by word and example. I thought they were the smartest and the holiest sisters in the world. I was prepared. I firmly believe that All I Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten. I was called.” That generous response to God’s call was a blessing to the children at schools in Cleveland and Garfield Heights, Ohio, as well as Detroit, Michigan. Sister Claire then became an instructor, then professor, at Boston College. Later, she moved to Instructional Research Coordinator, Language Arts Consultant, Co-director Technology Department, and Technology/ Educational Consultant. Hooray for kindergarten! Everyone knows Sister Dominica Fick. Not only is she the Director of Management Services at Marymount Congregational Home, she has the gift of making one feel at home. This is a trait she undoubtedly learned from her parents, Oscar and Angeline, as they were raising her in Detroit, Michigan. And perhaps she learned the grace of hospitality at Ascension School in Baseline, Michigan, where she graduated from eighth grade and went to Sweetest Heart of Mary High School, being taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. She entered the congregation on August 26, 1950. That twinkle in the eye and the quick sense of humor served her well in her teaching career that started at SS. Peter & Paul in Garfield Heights, Ohio, in 1953. In 1961, she went to Holy Cross School in New Britain, Connecticut until 1965 when she went to St.Thomas in Detroit, Michigan. She spent ten years in Detroit before heading west to Pinole, California, where she spent another ten years teaching at St. Joseph School. She returned to Garfield Heights to teach again at SS. Peter & Paul. In 1989, she was appointed Activities Coordinator and Plant Manager at Marymount Congregational Home in Garfield Heights, Ohio. She continues to serve the congregation at Marymount Congregational Home, making a “homey” atmosphere for residents and visitors. It figures that Sister Francesca Grzeslo is now teaching at St. Matthew School in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. The environment suits her sunny personality. She brought joy to her parents, Peter and Mary Grzeslo, when she was born in Chicago, Illinois. She was baptized “Joan” at SS. Peter and Paul Parish where she attended grade school. Sister Francesca says, “At age 10, I had my first real paying job, baby-sitting a beautiful eight-month-old baby girl. I love
W O R L D. S L O W LY, I A M D I S C O V E R I N G T H AT M Y L O N G I N G TO B E C O M E T R U E TO M E I S A L S O GOD’S LONGING FOR M E TO B E C O M E M O R E AND MORE ONE WITH GOD IN CHRIST AND ONE WITH ALL C R E AT I O N .”
—Sister Cecilia Zielen
“GIVING CHILDREN AN U N D E R S TA N D I N G O F T H E I R FA I T H A N D G U I D I N G T H E M TO A R E L AT I O N S H I P W I T H G O D I S PA R A M O U N T I N T H E I R D E V E L O P M E N T. WO R K I N G W I T H PA R E N T S A S A R E L I G I O U S E D U C ATO R , I F O U N D I T I M P O RTA N T TO D E V E L O P A N D B U I L D O N T H E FA I T H F O R M AT I O N A N D SPIRITUALITY OF
children! From a young age on, I felt my destiny would be child care, perhaps because of the ‘light’ that shines through the eyes of children, and their uninhibited ability to be true to themselves.” The Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, were delighted when Joan entered the congregation and was invested on August 10, 1951, receiving the name Sister Mary Francesca. She taught elementary grades at St. Stanislaus in East Chicago, Indiana, and at Holy Rosary in Gary, Indiana, before she came to St. Simeon in Bellwood, Illinois, and then to St. John the Evangelist in Streamwood, Illinois. Armed with a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.S. in Special Education, she worked at the Bartlett Learning Center in Bartlett, Illinois, for twenty years, applying her skills to helping children with learning disabilities. Sister Francesca continues, “Through the many years as classroom teacher, I continue to center my energies in the direction of ‘the young and the restless,’ both in elementary and special education. The field of education has always been a delight to me, in particular, Catholic education. Giving children an understanding of their faith and guiding them to a relationship with God is paramount in their development. Working with parents as a religious educator, I found it important to develop and build on the faith formation and spirituality of their children.” It takes a special gift to be able to be a positive force in the lives of special children, and Sister Francesca has it. She continues to share that gift in some of the poorest schools in Phoenix, where she now resides.
T H E I R C H I L D R E N .”
—Sister Francesca Grzeslo
People in Garfield Heights, Ohio, know about the Franciscan Center, located in the Marymount Congregational Home. Sister Jean Ehasz is one of the cofounders of the center, where she provides spiritual direction, retreats and Franciscan resources for anyone who is searching for the simple way of life. Her dedication to things Francis-can was surely influenced by the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, who were her teachers at Marymount High School where she attended after graduating from St. Elizabeth School in Cleveland, Ohio. She entered the congregation on August 27, 1950 and was invested on August 10, 1951. She spent twenty years as a teacher in schools in Ohio, Michigan and Connecticut before she attended Aquinas Institute in Dubuque, Iowa, preparing her for another development in her ministry. She became Directress of Novices in 1974. Although she later returned to teaching in schools in the Garfield Heights area, she was drawn to promoting the Franciscan way of life. As Sister Jean explains, “In the past 50 years, one of my most challenging experiences has been the change from a ministry that was successful and fulfilling for me - 38 years in the field of education - to my present ministry at the Franciscan Center. In 1995, I enrolled in a three-month Franciscan sabbatical at Tau Center in Winona, Minnesota. On my return from Winona, there was an invitation to be a co-director of the Franciscan Center. After much prayer and discernment, I felt that God was leading me in a direction that was somehow at the core of my being. When I was leaving teaching in 1995, I was asked if there was anything I might have wanted to do but hadn’t done yet. My answer was that I had often thought of working in a retreat center. Little did I dream that my wish would come true.”
Sister Joan Butkiewicz has an insightful and positive vision of the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. That vision began to take shape in Elyria, Ohio, where Sister Joan was born and baptized in Holy Cross Church. She graduated from Holy Cross School in 1948 and entered the congrega19
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tion the following August. She was invested on August 10, 1951, and at that time was called Sister Mary Josette. Sister Joan says,“Fifty years of dedicated service of the Lord has itself been for me a stimulating, challenging and satisfying experience. These years have been spent in teaching, supervising and coordinating religious education, all of which have been successfully accomplished because of much support, guidance and cooperation of community members, family colleagues and friends.” Her teaching career began in Connecticut in 1953. In 1957, she came back to Ohio where she taught for twelve years. She moved to Michigan in 1969, and that’s where she continues to teach, at St.Anne Elementary School. Her résumé includes St.Anastasia in Troy, St. Dennis in Sterling Heights, St. Bartholomew in Detroit, St. Anne in Warren, and St. Germaine in St. Claire Shores. Through all these experiences, Sister Joan expanded her Franciscan spiritual vision which was apparent at the most recent General Chapter. She describes it this way,“I had the privilege of experiencing the open process of the 24th General Chapter and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit working with, through, and among the chapter capitulars. Having experienced firsthand the openness of the members and their love for the community, my vision, dream and hope for the future of our congregation is that we be creators of our future. The chapter proceedings are an indication of this. I believe that our future will be as promising and fulfilling as we, the members, are supportive of the commitments made during the last days of the chapter.”
“FIFTY YEARS OF D E D I C AT E D S E RV I C E OF THE LORD HAS ITSELF BEEN FOR ME A S T I M U L AT I N G , CHALLENGING A N D S AT I S F Y I N G EXPERIENCE. THESE Y E A R S H AV E B E E N S P E N T I N T E AC H I N G , S U P E RV I S I N G A N D C O O R D I N AT I N G R E L I G I O U S E D U C AT I O N , A L L O F W H I C H H AV E B E E N S U C C E S S F U L LY AC C O M P L I S H E D
Sister Louise Szerpicki has her finger on the pulse of life. And for her, the rhythms are getting clearer and clearer. She started life, daughter of Anthony and Elizabeth, in Amherst, Ohio. She attended Immaculate Heart of Mary parish school in Cleveland, Ohio, where she learned to love the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, the congregation she entered on September 3, 1950. She was invested on August 10, 1951, and spent one year of her novitiate in South Bend, Indiana, and another in Cleveland, Ohio, while she was attending St. John College. She launched her teaching career at St. Francis School in Detroit, Michigan, in 1953. Then she returned to the Cleveland area where she taught at St. Monica in Garfield Heights, St. Stanislaus in Lorain, and St. John Cantius in Cleveland. After one year in Michigan, and four more years of teaching in Ohio, she went to St. Joseph Motherhouse in South Bend, Indiana, to serve as Secretary to the Central Board. That changed her career path to administrative services, in which she continued until her retirement in the year 2000. And now, she says, “Along came the wisdom-of-time when life’s pace and stresses lessened. Retirement and its ministries are a gift to me. I have come to love and understand life in greater depth and breadth - myself, others and all of life - through the Creator who lives in us all. The insights are delightfully enlightening. It’s like splitting the atom of human development. And the ‘seeing’ encourages me ‘to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God.’” Feel that pulse.
BEC AUSE OF MUCH S U P P O RT, G U I DA N C E A N D C O O P E R AT I O N O F COMMUNITY MEMBERS, F A M I LY C O L L E A G U E S A N D F R I E N D S .”
—Sister Joan Butkiewicz
“ I C A N T E L L YO U T H AT
Sister Margaret Hoffelder has an interesting story. She tells it
T H E Y A R E T R U LY
this way. “It is difficult for me to pinpoint one experience or achievement in my life as a Franciscan sister. However, there are three stepping stones that emerge as significant moments in my life. The first stepping stone occurred when I entered a Franciscan community in 1950, the Poor Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka, Indiana. I was attracted to their way of life while I was attending St. Francis College in Fort Wayne. I am very grateful to them for providing me with a good education both in music and in liturgy, as well as a degree in Franciscan Theology. The second stepping stone marked the changes of Vatican II, which began to bring challenges to my vision of Franciscan life. I looked to the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, where Sister Josephine Marie was the major superior at the time. She was a good friend whom I have grown to respect and love as a mentor. She welcomed me to join the St. Francis Region, believing that my vision of Franciscan life was similar to that group’s understanding. In 1973, I transferred my membership to the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, just before my 25th Jubilee. I have always appreciated the stretching that the St. Francis Region provided for me, to grow in the awareness of social issues and working for justice among various disenfranchised people. The third stepping stone is marked by my interest in women’s issues which continued to grow as I ministered in education and parish work. Finally, in 1992 with the help of other women, Sophia’s Portico was incorporated. It was a dream-come-true for me, a place where women and men could explore and grow in feminine spirituality. My past experiences in Franciscan, biblical and music studies have provided a wonderful foundation for my current ministry, sharing my understanding of the deep river of spirituality into which all of us can plunge. This has given me the ability to change, to let go and to embrace the future with anticipation of great wonder and surprise. May we read the signs of the times with courage. May we know what to let go and what we need to cling to. May we always be filled with that vision of our foremothers who seemed to have that intuitive grace of knowing what our Fitting Response should be.”
WO M E N O F G O O D N E S S AND STRENGTH… THIS IS AN AVA N T- G A R D E C O M M U N I T Y, W I L L I N G TO TA K E A R I S K , N OT JUST FOR THE SAKE O F A R I S K , B U T TO BECOME THE BEST IT CAN BE FOR THE W O R L D R I G H T N O W. I ’ D L I K E TO T E L L T H E WO R L D H OW E X C I T I N G I T I S TO L I V E W I T H A G RO U P O F WO M E N W H O A R E P OW E R E D B Y T H E G O S P E L .”
—Sister Marlene Hostetter
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Sister Marlene Hostetter has been at Holy Cross in New Britain, Connecticut, for 26 of the fifty years she is celebrating in jubilee this year. They know a good thing in Connecticut when they see it. Patricia Ann Hostetter was born in Detroit, Michigan, of parents, Luke and Pearl, on November 9, 1933. She was baptized in Providence Hospital Chapel six days later, because the doctors were not certain that she was strong enough to survive. God had other plans. She attended St. Thomas grade school, graduating in 1950, and went to Dominican High School for Girls. Patricia Ann was drawn to religious life and was signed up, packed and headed for the Dominicans. God had other plans. She attended a Rosary Rally in Detroit where she met Sister Seraphia, SSJ-TOSF. It was a gentle invitation that got Patricia Ann thinking. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on August 23, 1950, and was invested on August 10, 1951. After completing her two years of novitiate, she taught for a year at Ascension School in Baseline, Michigan. She then taught 7th and 8th grade at
Immaculate Heart in Cleveland, Ohio for 18 years. From 1972 until the present, she served as teacher, Director of Religious Education and, for 21 years, principal of Holy Cross School in New Britain, Connecticut. “I love kids. I have been blessed with the ability to have a positive relationship with students.” There was an interlude of four years when Sr. Marlene was elected to Provincial leadership. “This was a gift. It gave me the opportunity to know the members of the congregation more deeply. I can tell you that they are truly women of goodness and strength.” Sr. Marlene goes on to say, “This is an avant-garde community, willing to take a risk, not just for the sake of risk, but to become the best it can be for the world right now. I’d like to tell the world how exciting it is to live with a group of women who are powered by the gospel.”
Sister Patricia Schafke has the gift of joy. She brought joy to Frank and Victoria when she was born in Detroit, Michigan. She was a joy to the sisters at Sweetest Heart of Mary Elementary School and four more years at Sweetest Heart of Mary High School. The Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, were delighted when she entered the congregation on August 30, 1950, and became a novice the following year. Sister Patricia’s ministry took her to Ohio, Mississippi, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Besides teaching, she was engaged in social services at St.Augustine Parish in South Bend, Indiana. She describes her ministry as “a spokesperson for the poor people who have needs and do not know where to go for help. I tried to be present whenever they needed someone to speak for them. No appointment was needed. People just rang the doorbell and were taken care of immediately. Many times, I called other churches or agencies to help put money together to pay a light, water or gas bill in order to prevent a shut-off. I also helped get medicines for the sick.” Sister Patricia’s concern for the poor came from her fifteen years spent teaching at St. Francis Mission in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the early 1960s until 1977. “It was an all black school where children came from very poor families,” she explains. “Most of the children were cared for by grandmothers because their mothers worked as domestics, the only jobs available to them in those days. The fathers were often gone because employment was limited to sweeping floors or filling the shelves at food markets.” In 1977, Sister Patricia turned her energy to Pastoral ministry, beginning at St. Augustine’s and continuing with congregational service at the infirmary at Immaculata Congregational Home in Bartlett, Illinois. She is now the coordinator of Francis Hall. Sister Patricia continues to bring joy to everyone around her, living the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare. Her vision for the future of the congregation is that the members continue to respond in creative ways to Mother Felicia’s challenging question, “What will happen to the children?” What will happen to the little ones?
“ I T R I E D TO B E PRESENT WHENEVER THEY (POOR PEOPLE) N E E D E D S O M E O N E TO SPEAK FOR THEM. NO A P P O I N T M E N T WA S N E E D E D. P E O P L E J U S T RANG THE DOORBELL A N D W E R E TA K E N C A R E O F I M M E D I AT E LY. MANY TIMES, I CALLED OT H E R C H U R C H E S O R A G E N C I E S TO H E L P P U T M O N E Y TO G E T H E R TO PAY A L I G H T, WAT E R OR GAS BILL IN O R D E R TO P R E V E N T A S H U T- O F F. I A L S O HELPED GET MEDICINES F O R T H E S I C K .”
—Sister Patricia Schafke
Sister Mary Philip Cservenyak says that her most stimulating and satisfying experiences
“ I H O P E T H AT OUR MUSIC IS A N I N S P I R AT I O N TO P E O P L E A L L OV E R T H E WO R L D A N D T H AT O U R E F F O RT S A R E W O RT H Y OF GOD’S P R A I S E .”
—Sister Mary Philip Cservenyak
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over the last fifty years have been “living as a member of a religious community, sharing goals, ideas and spiritual insights; working in the field of education, both as a teacher and as support staff; and being enriched by other teachers and by others in education.” Although Sister Mary Philip has been in California for the last 28 years, she started out in Cleveland, Ohio, daughter of Frank and Margaret. She went to St. Margaret’s Parish School and then to Marymount High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio, where she was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. She entered the congregation August 27, 1950, and was invested August 10, 1951. “While preparing for high school teaching,” she explains, “I obtained my bachelor’s degree and taught on the elementary level. After five years, I moved up to the high school level and taught business classes (keyboard, shorthand, basic computer technology, office machines and the like). I came to California one summer on an economics scholarship to San Jose State University. Two years later, I decided to see if I could carry out a job in an office setting.” That led her to Vincent Ferrer High School in Vallejo, California, as treasurer; to Holy Names College in Oakland as bookkeeper; to Justin Siena High School in Napa as administrative secretary; and then back to the now merged St. Patrick/St. Vincent High School in Vallejo where she is presently Business Manager. Aside from her teaching background and expertise in computer and business skills, Sister Mary Philip is a gifted vocalist, singing with the Sisters Chorus for which she also played the trumpet. The group produced three albums entitled, “Sisters in Song.” She was a choir member at the Oakland Cathedral for 15 years under the direction of John L. McDonnell. During that time, she participated in the Festival of Masses with Robert Shaw. She was part of Contra Costa Chorale, a community chorus, for three years under the direction of Paul Perry. Sister Mary Philip states, “I hope that our music is an inspiration to people all over the world and that our efforts are worthy of God’s praise.”
Sister Rita Marie Malachinski’s name will forever be linked to the Bartlett Learning Center in Bartlett, Illinois. But there are so many other places that have been enriched by her expertise and the gift of her presence. It started back in Chicago, when Andrew and Genevieve got a Christmas present in 1934 - their daughter, baptized Dolores Therese at St. Bronislawa Church. Dolores attended Immaculate Conception School in South Chicago and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, on August 29, 1948. From August 10, 1951, she was called Sister Rita Marie, and with two years of novitiate complete, began her teaching career at St. Mary of Perpetual Help in Chicago. She also taught at St. Simeon School in Bellwood, Illinois, and Transfiguration in Chicago. Then, with the urging of Mother Engelbertha Wojciechowski, Sister Rita Marie pursued a Master’s degree in Special Education. Degree in hand, she established the Bartlett Learning Center (BLC) in Bartlett, Illinois.That was 1968. It began as a day care center as well as a school for educable mentally handicapped. The residential care was discontinued, but the school flourishes to this day. It now includes a program to assist “graduates” of BLC to develop work and living skills for independent living. “In 1980,” Sister Rita Marie continues, “I went on to re-open St. Joseph School in Kentland, Indiana, in the Lafayette Diocese. During my 16 years of service there, I earned another Master’s degree in Elementary Administration and Supervision from the University of Dayton. St. Joseph, being a small school, I both administered the school and taught grades K-3. In 1995, I took on the present position of principal at St. Brigit School in Hobart, Indiana. All my years in education have been fulfilling and challenging and a great learning experience. I find the ministry of education a very rewarding part of my service to the Church. I am grateful to God for my call to religious life. I look to my community of sisters with gratitude for the many opportunities that were mine over these past years.”
“ALL MY YEARS IN E D U C AT I O N H AV E BEEN FULFILLING AND CHALLENGING AND A G R E AT L E A R N I N G EXPERIENCE. I FIND T H E M I N I S T RY O F E D U C AT I O N A V E RY R E WA R D I N G PA RT O F M Y S E RV I C E TO T H E CHURCH. I AM
Sister Mary Ellen Diermeier celebrated her Silver Jubilee with sisters, family and friends on August 4, 2001. It didn’t seem that long ago that Mary Ellen was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on December 2, 1950, and baptized a week later at St. Joseph Church in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she lived with her parents, Leo and Mildred. Mary Ellen is the oldest of three children, one brother and one sister. Teaching was in the genes. Mary Ellen’s mother was a teacher, so it was a natural flow of events that brought her to the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay to work toward a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She transferred to UW Stevens Point to complete the degree and do her student teaching.A Divine hand opened an opportunity for an internship in Wausau at St. Matthew’s school where the SSJ-TOSFs were teaching. Sister Angelora and Sister Helen Ralph welcomed Mary Ellen warmly. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF on February 2, 1976, and became a novice on September 8, 1976. For ten years, Sister Mary Ellen was an elementary school teacher in the Arcadia Catholic School in Arcadia and St. Peter in Stevens Point,Wisconsin. She became a Director of Religious Education at St. Peter in 1986, as well as minister to the elderly. In 1987, she became Pastoral Minister at St. Peter. She went to Bevent,Wisconsin in 1990. This is where she currently resides and works as a pastoral associate at St. Ladislaus Parish in Bevent.
G R AT E F U L TO G O D F O R M Y C A L L TO RELIGIOUS LIFE. I L O O K TO M Y COMMUNITY OF SISTERS WITH G R AT I T U D E F O R T H E M A N Y O P P O RT U N I T I E S T H AT W E R E M I N E O V E R T H E S E PA S T Y E A R S .”
—Sister Rita Marie Malachinski
F O R M AT I O N / VO C AT I O N In the Rite of Admission into the Novitiate held in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on July 21, 2001, the candidate Lisa Alexander was presented to the congregation of sisters, family and friends who gathered for the celebration. Sr. Jean Sonsalla opened with: Sisters and friends, I would like to present Lisa to you as ready to be received into the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.
Sister Lisa Alexander enters Novitiate Sister Louise Kwaterski was her companion sister during her preparation for novitiate. Sr. Louise reflected on the gospel story of the rich young man pointing out that Jesus presented the man with a crossroads decision. “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven.” (Mt 19:21). Lisa, too, is standing at a crossroad moment of her life. For some time, Lisa heard within herself that quiet voice of invitation that was always beneath the surface. Lisa grew up in Melbourne, Florida, with her parents, brother Gary and sister Lola. After graduating from high school, she moved to Orlando to attend business school. Until October, 2000, she worked as an Executive Secretary, Administrative Coordinator and Office Manager in Orlando. She was at a point where she was settled into life, had her own home, many friends, satisfaction in her employment, involvement in her church, enjoying a certain contentment with her life. Embracing religious life was put into the far recesses of her mind. Yet, two short years ago, she was caught in a whirlwind, a whirlwind of God’s love that was drawing her ever closer to the center of life. She met Sister Marianne Wiora and began examining the life of a vowed religious. Then, just a year ago, when she formally asked to become a candidate of the Sisters of St. Joseph,Third Order of St. Francis, the gospel story of the rich young man really came to life and Lisa took seriously Jesus’ invitation to “sell what you have, give to the poor, and come and follow me.” In Sister Louise’s words, “... in three short months, she sold her house, gave away many things that had surrounded her and made life pleasant, found a new home for the dog who, for many years, had been her constant companion. She took time to celebrate life with her friends and bid many fond farewells. When that was all done, she began the drive from Florida to Wisconsin and a new way of life that has brought her to this day. I think this is the first time in my life, that I have witnessed someone who fulfilled that scripture passage so literally.” The candidate was then asked by Sr. Jean Sonsalla: Lisa, after hearing what Sister Louise has shared about your experience as a candidate, it is for you to express your intention clearly before those gathered here. Do you wish to enter the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis?
Lisa answered: I do. And then continued with her reasons for seeking this new life: “In 1999, I met Sister Marianne Wiora through her cousin, Esther McGraw. When Esther asked me to give the two of them a ride, I had no idea how my life was going to change. I expressed to Sister Marianne that one of the regrets in my life was that I had not become a nun years ago. Sister Marianne asked Sister Sharon Dillon to contact me about the possibility of attending a “Come and See” weekend. That occurred in May 2000. “I felt an instant connection with the people I met at the ‘Come and See’ weekend. In fact, after I got back to Florida, I actually felt homesick. That spoke volumes to me; because I had visited another community for a few days, and instead of being comfortable with the people I met there, I felt like I was walking on eggshells. “So I asked to begin the formation process with the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. I sold my home and most of my possessions, found a suitable home for my dog, and left Florida in October to live in Two Rivers with Sr. Marcia Lambert and Sr. Laura Hrindak. During that time, I attended college classes through the Green Bay Diocese. “Since I have been living in Wisconsin, I have been so impressed with the devotion to God and the Franciscan hospitality demonstrated by the sisters that I have met. The inner peace that I feel with this life-changing decision leads me to believe that this is where God wants me to be. That is the reason I would like to continue the formation process and be admitted into the novitiate.” With a prayer for strength and healing, Sister Mary Alice Jarosz, a member of the Central Board proclaimed:
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Sister Lisa, a new way of life now opens before you. In faith, hope and love you are truly accepted as a novice in this congregation.
F O R M AT I O N / VO C AT I O N
The Rite of Admission into the Novitiate for Sister Jo Ann Poplar August 4, 2001 was a great day of celebration in Garfield Heights, Ohio. Jo Ann Poplar, candidate, became Sister Jo Ann Poplar, novice. The gathering of friends, family and sisters sang the “Canticle of the Sun” and were welcomed by Sr. Susanne Skovich: “Today we gather with our candidate Jo Ann to welcome her into the novitiate. This is one part of the ongoing journey that we undertake as Franciscan women.” Jo Ann chose as the scripture reading for the ceremony a passage from the prophet Isaiah that encourages us to “Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call on him while he is still near.” (Isaiah 55:6) Sister Sandy Lo Porto, Jo Ann’s companion sister during her candidacy, pointed out that carrying out the message of this scripture passage “takes openness and continual conversion.” The responses to the scripture reading, invited the assembly to consider God’s love and intimacy: “Let us desire nothing else, let us want nothing else, let nothing else please us and cause us delight except our Creator. With our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, let us love the Lord God.” “Jo Ann is a woman on fire with the love of God,” Sister Sandy continued,“God is the center of her life. She stands in openness, in prayerful waiting and seeking, as she responds to God’s call. Continual conversion is our Franciscan way of life. As you enter into novitiate, you will have time to deepen this openness to the Love of your life.” Jo Ann was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and was associated with the congregation since childhood. Her parents are Samuel and Agnes Poplar of Seven Hills, Ohio. She attended St. Monica School in Garfield Heights, Ohio, and was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. Sister Jo Ann describes her desire to enter the novitiate this way: “WHEN I REFLECT O N W H Y I WA N T TO B E C O M E A MEMBER OF THIS C O N G R E G AT I O N , T H E WO R D E N E R G Y C O M E S TO M I N D. ENERGY BEC AUSE
“During grade school, I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. After eighth grade graduation, my journey with the congregation continued with my volunteer work at Marymount Hospital. Then my family moved, and for a while I lost contact with the sisters. But God was not finished guiding my path. In 1998, I had the opportunity to observe hospital chaplaincy work at Marymount. This experience offered me many opportunities to reconnect with some of my former teachers, as well as meet other sisters of this community. During this time, I was also discerning my call to religious life. It didn’t take me long to consider this congregation. “When I reflect on why I want to become a member of this congregation, the word energy comes to mind. Energy because the sisters open their homes, their ministries and mainly themselves to me. In true Franciscan spirit, they share their knowledge and experiences with excitement and enthusiasm. Energy because the community shares with one another a discipline of mind-body-spirit in all endeavors. This congregation offers many different and challenging opportunities for me to stretch and grow, both spiritually and intellectually. Therefore, I ask to become a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.”
THE SISTERS OPEN THEIR HOMES, THEIR MINISTRIES AND M A I N LY T H E M S E LV E S TO M E . I N T R U E
To this, Mary Alice Jarosz, a members of the Central Board of the SSJ-TOSFs, affirmed Sister Jo Ann’s admission to the novitiate and sealed the relationship by presenting the community symbols of the congregational emblem, a copy of the Constitution, the General Directives and the Rule and Commentary of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. These documents will be Sister Jo Ann’s guide as she journeys through this period of her membership in the congregation.
K N OW L E D G E A N D
As for the future, Sister Jo Ann says, “I consider working in the healthcare field my ministry. This is how I can share God’s presence with others. Eventually, I would like to work in pastoral care ministry in hospitals or other special care centers.”
Sr. Mary Alice Jarosz then stated:
Let Us Pray Loving Creator, you have given life to your people. May this novice learn to live always by the saving love of Jesus that is revealed in her life. We ask this through Christ our Lord,Amen.
F R A N C I S C A N S P I R I T, THEY SHARE THEIR
E N T H U S I A S M .”
—Sister Jo Ann Poplar
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Sister Donna Marie Wilhelm Professes First Vows St.Agnes - Our Lady of Fatima Church echoed with the joyful sounds of celebration on Sunday, August 5, 2001, when Sister Donna Marie Wilhelm pronounced her first vows in the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. Her public statement of commitment to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience was made during the Eucharistic liturgy. Sister Donna Marie signed the Book of the Professed and was anointed with oil, a sign of strength for ministerial commitment. Sister Donna Marie is currently working at Central Catholic High School in Cleveland, Ohio, as a teacher of Religion and as Pastoral Minister. “This is the work that I have chosen as my ministry. It is a way that I can share the Franciscan ideals that are the foundation of my life in community. I am privileged to carry forward the spirit of the foundresses, particularly, Mother Felicia, who expressed the care and love for God’s minores - little ones - with the simple question, ‘What will happen to the children?’” Sister Joyce Soukup, who was the companion sister for Sister Donna Marie over the last two years, recommended Sister Donna Marie as a vowed member of the congregation: “Today, I am here to share a bit of the ‘blessing’ that Donna Marie has come to be in my life, and to welcome, support and recommend that she continue her life’s ongoing journey in our community. “Donna Marie came to us blessed by formative years in her family and with 23 years of membership with the Sisters of Notre Dame. In the spirit of Julie Biliart who founded that community...I met in Donna Marie, a woman who believed and trusted in God’s goodness. I met a woman who has worked many years in education, formation and pastoral ministry to enable others to know and experience God’s goodness. “Donna Marie is gentle and ‘spirited.’ She cares about the world, about creation, about justice. She values and reverences each person she welcomes into her life, and appreciates those who allow her to be who she is. She is a woman of compassion, opening her heart to listen and to heal the broken. She is passionate about being honest, knowing that she is often called to be one who is forgiven, as well as one who is forgiving. She is a learner and a teacher, nurturing growth in herself and others, opening her mind and the minds of others to their undiscovered gifts. She knows and speaks her truth. “Donna Marie is a friend, a woman of great hospitality, welcoming others into her life, into her home for a meal or an overnight stay, into the life of the Church here at St.Agnes - Our Lady of Fatima, and into the school community of Cleveland Central Catholic. “Donna Marie deeply values times of quiet and reflection. This can be on days of retreat at the Franciscan Center, walking her favorite beaches in Florida, during prayer and spiritual direction, or just in spending time holding her cat, Hey. I am sure that Hey could tell us many interesting stories that only that cat knows! “Recently, Donna Marie shared with me her experience of not being able to attend Jubilee celebrations at Marymount. She said not being able to be there made her realize that she wanted to be there. “It is because of who Donna Marie is, who she is becoming, and this longing ‘to be there’ that, with peace and the belief that this is a ‘right relationship,’ I support and recommend Donna Marie Wilhelm’s inclusion as a vowed member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.” In response, Sister Donna Marie affirmed her desire to become a vowed member of the congregation: “In order to answer that question: ‘Why do I want to profess vows with this congregation?’ I want to say something about ‘coming home,’ being ‘at home.’ I want to witness to God’s action in my life in the midst of community. Coming home has been a life theme for me.When I was baptized and became a Catholic Christian 34 years ago, I felt like I had ‘come home.’ When I became a Sister of Notre Dame 32 years ago, I had a sense
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of being at home. As a teacher, a woman in the Church with the unique gifts that women bring, a member of this parish, I knew what it meant to be home. Each of these homes have shaped me and been places of blessing for me. We all leave home at some time and for many reasons. Our lives, I believe, are a cycle of coming, leaving, and finally of homegoing. I want to witness today to the fact that at the time in my life when I felt homeless and faithless, the faith of this Church/Family carried me, lifted me up and sustained me.That is why it is so important for me to be here today with my Church home. “Why do I want to profess vows with ‘us’? Today, ‘us’ is specifically and especially the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis: a group of women I have come to know over the past three years as ‘home.’
“OUR LIVES, I BELIEVE, ARE A CYCLE O F C O M I N G , L E AV I N G , A N D F I N A L LY O F H O M E - G O I N G . I WA N T TO W I T N E S S TO DAY
“Why? Because I am drawn by your vision of life, a vision shaped by the experience and passion of Francis and Clare of Assisi. “Why? Because you have welcomed me and challenged me. You have always been honest and trusting in our ongoing discernment together. And you have asked me to walk in trust as well.
TO T H E F A C T T H AT AT T H E T I M E I N M Y L I F E W H E N I F E LT H O M E L E S S A N D FA I T H L E S S , T H E FA I T H O F T H I S
“Why? Because I believe that I am called to be a liberating and reconciling presence of the love of God in our world today, as you are. “Why? The deepest ‘why’ is that I know at the core of everything, at the core of my own heart that God is my home. God has made this way out of no way, when I did not see the way or believe that there was a way.
C H U R C H / F A M I LY C A R R I E D M E , L I F T E D M E U P A N D S U S TA I N E D M E . T H AT I S W H Y I T I S S O I M P O RTA N T
“Today, in the presence of all of you who represent the many Homes of my life, I beg for the privilege to profess vows, to be a woman religious, a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis so that I may continue to live in and witness to all people that our deepest surest home is in the heart of God.”
F O R M E TO B E H E R E TO DAY W I T H M Y C H U R C H H O M E .”
With joy, the covenant was applauded by the congregation, in the name of the Creator, the Son and the Spirit. Amen! Alleluia! —Sister Donna Marie Wilhelm
Stevens Point, Wisconsin I attended St. Michael Grade School in Junction City,Wisconsin, from 1954-1962. St. Michael’s was a two-room school with grades one through four in one room (the “little” room) and grades five through eight in the other room (the “big” room). Those were happy years with goiter pills, candy sold at 10 o’clock recess and boys learning Latin for serving Mass and girls learning Latin for sung high Masses. Each year, I was taught by a Sister of St. Joseph,Third Order of St. Francis. Sisters Primosa (Esther Romalke), Bernarda (Marie Bruski), Sylveria, Mathea (Emily Ligas),Thomas (Gloria Slottke), and Joselle Queoff are the teachers I remember. To this day, I am thankful for the education I received. I remember particularly having races at the chalkboard with classmates doing multiplication tables: 12 x 12 = 144, 12 x 11 = 132, 12 x 10 = 120, etc., in Sister Thomas’ class. Also, every year, we had a visit from the Stevens Point Serra Club who spoke on vocations. This was followed by the whole month of March being Vocation Month. Making vocation posters for a contest was a popular event. Because of this and the encouragement of the pastor, I am a priest of the diocese of La Crosse today. I attribute my vocation to the SSJ’s who nurtured the seed of a vocation with encouragement and much prayer. Congratulations on 100 years of ministry in God’s vineyard. Rev. Donald L. Przybylski Pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish in Stevens Point,WI and Dean of the Stevens Point Deanery Sister Liguori Slawinski and students from Holy Cross School in New Britain, CT
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I remember Holy Rosary School in Gary, Indiana, vividly. I can remember the names of the nuns: Sister Florence, Sister Francesca, Sister Raphael, Principal Sister Robertine, Sister Gerard, Sister Clare and lay teacher Ms. Miller.
I was taught in both elementary and high school by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis at St.Thomas the Apostle in Detroit, Michigan. All the sisters were an inspiration to me, gentle and kind.Yet, I must admit that my all-time favorites were Sister Mary Liberata and Sister Mary Adjutoria. I am a Conventual Franciscan priest today because of Sister Liberata’s devotion and flawless example.
I have fond memories of Holy Rosary School. I remember cleaning the church on Saturdays and the nuns giving us bread. I remember the automobile accident Sister Robertine was involved in.We only had to go to school half days for quite a while. The nuns were good to me and my sisters. I understand Holy Rosary is now a missionary church. I can still picture that school in my mind. All the good qualities and characteristics instilled in me by the sisters at Holy Rosary and Bishop Noll Institute are evident today in my job with the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. I have been told that people can tell I was taught by nuns because my handwriting is so perfect, and I am very well-organized. Patti Panfil Arvada, Colorado
Richfield, Ohio In 1950-51, Sister Mary Rosette Rospotynski was the 8th grade teacher and principal of St. Hyacinth’s School in Cleveland, Ohio. I had the privilege to be a student in her class. She was kind, strong, demanding and understanding to the needs and limitations of her students. After I completed 8th grade and went on to high school, I kept in touch with Sister and saw her from time to time when I served Mass. I was shocked when I heard that she chose to serve the Lord in Puerto Rico among the very poorest of the population. She wrote me a letter and we began to correspond to the day of my ordination. In those days, they would bind the hands of the newly ordained priest with a cloth to remind him that his hands were consecrated and his whole person was to serve the Lord. Sister Rosette fashioned the cloth for me and made my ordination special by her sharing in this way. Sister returned to the Cleveland area and I would then see her from time to time - her friendship and prayers have been a constant support to me. Rev. Raymond Bartnikowski St.Victor Church Richfield, Ohio
Father Anthony Howard, O.F.M. Conv. Detroit, Michigan
Terre Haute, Indiana During my wonderful four years at Lourdes High School and at Immaculata College, I always felt the Sisters were truly concerned about my education. I am so thankful that I was on the receiving end of their years of dedication as educators. They were kind, patient and understanding. And when I became a teacher, I had excellent examples from the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, of the kind of teacher I wanted to be. The Sisters’ influence was not lost on me as a parent, either. As my children’s first teacher, I prayed that my influence on them would be a very positive one, as I had been influenced by my teachers. I have very fond memories of the Sisters at Lourdes High and Immaculata and I thank them for what they taught me by their words and by their examples. I will always “swing a censor” toward the SSJ’s. They were a big part of my life, and I’ll sing their praises any day! Congratulations on the occasion of your Centennial celebration. (Pat) Ellen McMillin Jeffers Terre Haute, Indiana
Green Bay, Wisconsin I attended Annunciation Grade School in Green Bay, from 1976 through 1985. I then went to Green Bay Premontre and have since received my undergraduate degree from UW-Madison and my MBA from UW- Oshkosh.Through all of these years of education, I still look back on my time at Annunciation as the most vital part of my educational development. One of my favorite teachers was Sister Elaine Smurawa of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Sister Elaine was my 8th grade teacher. I remember her as a person who demanded the best of her students. She taught me that hard work and dedication can help bring success and happiness. We had a challenging group of students in our grade school class. Kevin Ryan, Johnny Brosteau, and I had our share of good and bad times in grade school, and Sister Elaine helped us get through them all. The three of us remain close friends today, and our experiences at Annunciation forever hold a special bond between us. Sister Elaine is part of many of those special memories. For instance, she is well-remembered for having students sit in the corner or out in the hall, and Kevin Ryan practically had the hall as his permanent place on our 8th grade seating chart. She taught us discipline, and made it fun in the process. I would like to thank Sister Elaine Smurawa for helping our class see the importance of hard work and discipline.There are many successful individuals who graduated from our class at Annunciation, and she was an important part of each of our lives. Thank you and God bless. Trevor Farrell Green Bay,Wisconsin
Cleveland, Ohio From kindergarten through eighth grade, 1957-1966,1 attended St. John Cantius School in Cleveland, Ohio. Some of the teachers I remember the most were Sr. Marianne, Sr. Helen, Sr. David, and Sr. Adelicia. Oddly, what I remember the most was working with the sisters to keep the cavernous old building clean.We sandpapered
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the edges of books, used shellac, steel wool, old socks and the thickest floor wax in the world to keep the place shining. Along with all this, or perhaps because of it, we received the best education in the world.To this day, I can’t see a school textbook or a shiny floor without thinking of the “good old days” at SJC. I went to St. John Cantius Church in Cleveland during Holy Week in the early sixties to help the sisters get everything ready for the Triduum. I was ten or eleven years old and a student of Sr. Mary Helen. She and another sister were up on ladders hanging the drapery around what would be the repository for Holy Thursday. One told the other “I have 350 folds on my side.” They were trying to make both sides even and perfect.This was for an altar that would be used only for a few hours. I knew then how much these Sisters loved our Lord, the Church, and Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. It was experiences like these that led me into the seminary and the priesthood. How grateful I am. Father Gary Chmura Our Lady of Peace Church Cleveland, OH 44120
Stevens Point, Wisconsin I was lucky enough to be taught by Sister Elaine Smurawa for two years at Annunciation School in Green Bay,Wisconsin. And what a teacher she was! She taught us with an incredible sense of humor and excitement that inspired us to become better people. She made every subject come alive and seem important, which could be called an impossible feat when dealing with thirteen-year-olds. She gave me a love of literature and poetry which I will never forget. And to this day, I have a special place in my heart for Robert Frost. Sister Elaine was a wonderful woman who genuinely loved teaching and passing on wisdom. Every day, I am reminded of something she taught me, and I hope someday to inspire someone as much as she inspired me. Jamie Ann De Pouw Stevens Point,Wisconsin
Nashville, Indiana Mom was trying to convince me that she was “morally obligated” to send me to the newly-opened St. John Bosco School in Hammond, Indiana. She was talking to an angry, tearful, belligerent fifth grader.We had recently moved from a Minnesota farm where I had finally found my new group of friends. I had never seen a nun and didn’t care to know one. Nevertheless, two months later in September of 1956, I was sitting in Sr. Annuncia’s sixth grade class crying, erasing incorrect, smeared answers in my Functional English workbook. No longer did I skip off to school singing, arms free of heavy textbooks. My despair and devastation lasted about two weeks.These gentle, kind, joyful “ladies in black” captured my intellect and inspired my heart. Grammar was decoded and I was singing again! In a choir! And in Latin! The humor and dedication of Srs. Jerome, Joseph and Paul all fascinated me. I loved everything and everyone in this new life. The next years at Lourdes High School were a wonder.Writing poetry, diagramming participial phrases, studying the stars, balancing equations, scrubbing floors, singing in choir, singing in Polish! Srs. Roselle,Virginella,Alphonse, Grace, Odelia, Corfilia,Assumpta and Judith all inspired me with a love of art, music, literature, science and mathematics. The lay sisters, especially Srs. Noel and Gracian, contributed to the feeling of being in a real family. I have so many poignant and precious memories. The greatest gift was the guidance we all received to become like them, like Christ, an excellent and inspired teacher.There is no shyness in my words. My teaching vocation of thirty-five years has been full of praise from my students, parents and peers. I humbly acknowledge the influence and inspiration of the SSJ’s. Sr. Francesca, my teaching mentor, literally walked the path with me that first year of teaching. I have carried Sr. Josephine Mane’s words - “that every child is born to be a thinker, a lover, a doer, an artist, a creator of his/her world” - to each school where I have taught. Kathleen D. Jarosz Nashville, Indiana
Oak Lawn, Illinois I met Sr. Christine Novak in 1960-61 school year at St. Mary of Perpetual Help High School. As a freshman, my first impression was that she was definitely too cute and attractive to be a nun. After becoming her student in my Sophomore and Junior year for French and English, I really got to know her on a one-onone basis. Little did I know that she was grooming me for bigger and better adventures. She certainly did not miss her calling. She made a wonderful nun and teacher. We became very close, and at the end of Junior year, she lowered the boom. She wanted me to be the next Editor of the Yearbook, which was her pet venture each year. This probably was a turning point in my life, because it gave me such character building, a more outgoing personality, and confi-
dence in myself. I was so honored and even in later years, just indicating such an auspicious position looked great on resumés. It made an employer feel that I was a motivated, industrious, self-starter type of a person. Sr. Christine certainly was a “Role Model” for me. I remember how much she felt and thought of the Kennedy Clan. Those were times when the whole world looked forward to a Catholic President and we all campaigned, even though we couldn’t vote yet. When the tragedy happened, I found out at lunchtime, and ran to the convent to see if Sister was okay. I knew she was going to take it bad. I could see tears in her eyes, but she was a trooper, another quality I learned from her. All these years, we have kept in touch. Every Christmas, I look forward to her Christmas card or letter, that always comes right on Christmas Eve. I don’t know how she does it or times it, but it is always there.We have also seen each other a few times during my life, like when my daughter was born, she was there to see her at the Christening.When she was in her ministry at St. Francis Hospital, we saw each other again a couple times for dinner.That was the time I first saw her dressed as a lay person and no veil and garb, and her own apartment. How things did change from the ’60s. I started out this little “Essay” saying I thought she was too cute to be a nun, but just imagine what this world would have been like without sisters like her being there for “oh so many” people. All I can say is I am so glad she touched my life and I wish all God’s blessing upon her. Barbara (Mikolajczyk) Landeck Oak Lawn, Illinois
Rochester, Michigan My days at St.Thomas the Apostle school in Detroit, Michigan, are steeped in memories - making my First Communion in the third grade, the lifelong friend from grade one through high school, basketball and baseball tournaments - all augmented by the loving dedication of our Sisters overseeing our academic development. When the school closed in 1969, there had been 28 graduating classes. In 1998, the Class of ’48 decided to meet on a regular basis, and because of the camaraderie, other classes joined us for the lunches. Today we have over 600 names on our mailing list. Dear Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, of Garfield Heights, Ohio, you have taught us well - and you ARE lovingly remembered. Thank you ALL for being in our lives. Joan (Kolznak) Billinghurst Rochester, Michigan
“I RECALL AN INCIDENT DEALING WITH A FRESHMAN. AFTER DISCUSSING SOME O F H E R PA S T
Sister Esther Gailey Retires from Regina High School
AND PRESENT P RO B L E M S W I T H
It wasn’t an easy decision, but this was the year that Sister Esther ME, SHE LOOKED
Gailey retired from counseling at Regina High School in Harper Woods, Michigan. She is one of those women whose deep spiri-
U P AT M E
tuality and solid virtue is like an ethical anchor for the students she guides. She will be greatly missed.
I N N O C E N T LY A N D S A I D, ‘ S I S T E R ,
What are the thoughts and feelings of a sister who is moving to a whole new phase of life? In her own words:
N OW T E L L M E
“I started my teaching career in 1943 at All Saints grade
A B O U T YO U R S E L F.
school in Flint, Michigan, teaching seventh graders. Then I taught second graders at St. Bartholomew in Detroit. As was
W H Y D I D YO U
the practice at that time, young sisters moved frequently, so I BECOME A SISTER?’
found myself back in Ohio teaching at various grade schools while continuing my college education on Saturdays and in the summer. After
I T WA S A M O M E N T OF REAL
I received my Masters degree, I was appointed to the faculty of Marymount High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio, which was also my alma mater. After teaching there several years, I was appointed to Regina High School where I taught Social Studies, English and Religion. I was transferred to Shrine
High School for several years. When I returned to Regina High School, Sister Mary Godwin, principal at the time, needed another counselor and asked me to return to college for a Masters degree in Counseling. I
W H AT I N C E LT I C
obliged and the rest is history.
“I have greatly enjoyed counseling students. It is a one-to-one contact. I feel that I have made a difference in WO U L D B E
the lives of many young people and that is a good feeling. Dealing mostly with freshmen has been an enjoyable experience. They are thirteen-and fourteen-year-olds who are usually uninhibited and unsophisticated. I
CALLED A ‘THIN’
recall an incident dealing with a freshman. After discussing some of her past and present problems with me, she looked up at me innocently and said,‘Sister, now tell me about yourself. Why did you become a sister?’ It
S P OT O N E A RT H BETWEEN THE HUMAN AND
was a moment of real connection, what in Celtic spirituality would be called a ‘thin’ spot on earth between the human and the Divine. “I have spent 34 very rewarding years at Regina High School. At the end of this school year, the administration, faculty and staff gave me a ‘royal send-off.’ I appreciated it and would like to publicly thank them.
T H E D I V I N E .”
And I thank God for being with me every step of the way. Amen!”
—Sister Esther Gailey
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Bartlett Learning Center Presents
Broadway Bound It seems that Cecile B. deBLC was in the Chicago area looking for fresh new talent. That sparked the students of the Bartlett Learning Center (BLC) to roll out their finest talent in a presentation of Broadway Bound. The stars performed to a full house at three performances on May 17 and 18, 2001. The acts featured hits from Oklahoma, Singin’ in the Rain, Peter Pan, Oliver, Grease,The Sound of Music, Flower Drum Song, George M. Cohan,Wizard of Oz, Gypsy, Flower Drum Song, Barnum, and Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. The performers returned to the stage for a rendition of “Give My Regards to Broadway,” Samuela Bovelli-Emerich, Executive Director, BLC
that brought the house down in applause. The students and staff of the Bartlett Learning Center present a spring play each year which involves hours of preparation, practice, rehearsing and reworking, cooperating and creating. And each year it is a crowning success! The spring play is supported by local businesses, friends and family. Samuela Bovelli-Emerick, Executive Director says, “On behalf of our students and staff, thank you once again for your generous support, and for making a difference!” The Bartlett Learning Center is one of the sponsored institutions of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. It is located in Bartlett, Illinois and serves students who are developmentally challenged.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis
Take a Public Stand Against the Death Penalty On July 2, 2001, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis convened their 24th General Chapter in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The five days of meetings of the delegates of the congregation culminated in several key decisions which will direct the actions of the congregation over the next six years, until the next general chapter. One of the most significant decisions made by the delegates to the chapter is a public stand against the death penalty. Sister Dorothy Pagosa led a group of chapter members, formulating the statement which was endorsed by all the delegates: “We the members of the 24th General Chapter of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis oppose the death penalty. We hold this stance because: •
We as Franciscan women stand against violence.
We respect life and all of God’s creation as sacred.
We support restorative justice rather than vengeance.
We recognize the bias of race and social status in the imposition of the death penalty.
We understand that the death penalty is not a healing experience for the victims’ families.
We concur that the McVeigh execution was an act of vengeance and served no purpose.
Furthermore, the United States is only one of four developed countries that still administers the death penalty. The cost of capital punishment is from $1-3 million dollars. This money could be best used for education. We take this public stand as a congregation who has experienced the loss of a member by murder.”
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WHEN THE D E L E G AT E S EXAMINED THE G RO U P O F COMMITMENTS, IT BECAME
This stand is taken in the spirit of the Chapter which centered on the Franciscan ideals of justice, care and inclusion. In that spirit, the delegates recommended the examination of several congregational relationships, for example: • The strengthening of the relationship of the Associate Program in spirit and in practice; •
The openness of reconfiguration with another Franciscan congregation of women;
The dynamics of a good, healthy local community;
The exploration of the sources of Franciscan identity;
The elimination of racism and the deepening of global identity throughout the life and ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF;
The commitment to the ongoing financial stability of the congregation.
When the delegates examined the group of commitments, it became apparent that even with different starting points, the delegates were being called to “the heart of the matter,” the congregation’s “deep story,” its gospel call. Some commitments clustered around the congregation’s Franciscan identity, summoning members to the reality of gospel living. Other commitments addressed the congregation globally and universally, examining its place in all of creation. Another group of commitments, with reverence for the past, shaped the SSJ-TOSF identity for the present and future. The delegates summarized this in a logo which will be used in future communications regarding the Chapter: Each day of the 24th General Chapter, the sisters were called to order with the sounding of the shofar, a ram’s horn signaling the beginning of a “holy time” of envisioning and preparing for the future. The General Chapter was conducted with an “open process” facilitated by Sister Mary Beth Beres, OP, and Sister Joan McCann, OP, both of Leadership Systems, a consulting group facilitating collaborative and transforming processes. The process was so successful that Sister Jeanne Conzemius, President of the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, in solidarity with the chapter delegates, states, “As a congregation, we will continue this holy time, reflecting on our lives, our ongoing work and activities, and discerning how we can incorporate into daily practice the Spirit of the Chapter and its commitments.” The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis (SSJ-TOSF), founded in 1901 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is a Franciscan community of nearly 500 members, with congregational homes in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin. They serve in diverse ministries (education, parish work, health care, diocesan positions and community services) in 14 states and 4 locations off the mainland. The SSJ-TOSFs have been a spiritual presence, particularly in the dioceses and archdioceses of the Midwest United States since the congregation’s founding 100 years ago.
Sister Dorothy Pagosa, staff member of the 8th Day Center for Justice
A P PA R E N T T H AT EVEN WITH DIFFERENT S TA RT I N G P O I N T S , T H E D E L E G AT E S WERE BEING C A L L E D TO “ T H E H E A RT O F T H E M AT T E R ,” THE C O N G R E G AT I O N ’ S “ D E E P S T O R Y, ” ITS GOSPEL CALL.
Lourdes High School Administration: Sister Josita Krzeminski, Principal, Sister Rosemarie Morowczynski, Chief Financial Officer and Marilyn Baran, Assistant Principal.
After undergoing numerous approval processes with the SSJ-TOSF Central Board and the Board of Trustees, Lourdes High School announced on August 20, 2001, its plans to accept the invitation of De La Salle Institute to partner in the opening of a young women’s division of De La Salle Institute in August 2002. “The announcement by the Christian Brothers that De La Salle Institute is entering into partnership with the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis and Lourdes High School signals a new moment and unveils a new model of secondary education for the Archdiocese of Chicago,” says Francis Cardinal George. “The alliance that De La Salle and Lourdes has made will continue the tradition of single-gender education in a new way. Under the auspices of De La Salle Institute, two single-gender educational college preparatory programs will be offered, one for young women and one for young men. This alliance, resulting from collaboration, will enable De La Salle and Lourdes to provide more educational opportunities as one expanded school than separate schools. ‘One mission, one school, two campuses’ is the new motto of De La Salle Institute.”
Mr. James Balcer, Alderman of the 11th Ward, City of Chicago Brother Michael Quirk, FSC, President, De La Salle Institute Sister Mary Alice Jarosz, Central Board, Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF Dr. Nick Wolsonovich, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Chicago
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The young women’s campus will be conveniently located at the parish of St. Mary of Perpetual Help, approximately 1.5 miles from De La Salle’s main campus in Chicago, Illinois. The new campus’ location also has special significance to the Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF who are celebrating the Centennial of the founding of the congregation this year. Mothers Felicia and Clara were missioned at St. Mary’s when they were called to found the new religious congregation a century ago. “This will truly be a homecoming for us,” said Sister Mary Alice Jarosz, SSJ-TOSF Director of Sponsorship. “We are pleased to join together with De La Salle.This is truly what Catholic education is meant to be—supporting the educational and spiritual needs of young people today.” The space, which is currently unoccupied, has been leased by De La Salle. The school has plans to immediately begin the remodeling and expansion needs of the facility. Throughout the 2001 academic year, De La Salle and Lourdes will work together to ensure a smooth transition for both students and faculty. Brother Michael Quirk, president of De La Salle Institute, is currently assessing faculty and facility needs for the new campus and will be coordinating the planning and implementation process.
A Message from the Development Director Unbelievable as it seems, one year has passed since the new team began working in the Development Office. It has been a rewarding experience for all of us and I would like to once again, express a most sincere Thank you and God bless you for your generosity to the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. I would like to take some space in each Gathering Place to keep you informed regarding Development matters. Since requests come in for information on lasting gifts to The Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, I would like to address this matter first. There are many ways to make lasting gifts, but I will concentrate on Wills and Bequests in this issue. A will is defined as “...a legal document whereby an individual who owns property of any sort exercises his or her right to determine the ultimate disposition of that property.” A bequest is “...a specific provision whereby an individual or organization is designated to receive the property that the person making the will transfers at death.” Wills and bequests are a vital part of the support program for any charitable cause including the ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.The various ways of making bequests include: giving a specific amount that will be used as you specify; giving a specific property; giving a percentage of your assets to charity; or giving all or part of “what is left.” Family and loved ones should always come first in estate plans. If you are not comfortable bequeathing a specific amount or percentage of your assets to charity, you might wish to provide for a gift from the “residue,” or “what’s left” after specifically providing for your loved ones. If you would like more information or would like to discuss these matters, please contact the Development Office. Once again, God bless you for partnering with us in our ministry to make God more fully known and loved by all.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
the Centennial Cookbook of the SSJ-TOSFs To say they’re going like “hot cakes” could refer to any one of the recipes on the fifty pages in the “Cake and Cookie” section of the new SSJ-TOSF cookbook, Convent Cuisine. Over 800 recipes were gathered from the sisters, as well as their friends and relatives, to fill the pages of Convent Cuisine with culinary delights. The cookbook is being offered for sale during this Centennial year, commemorating the founding of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis on July 1, 1901. The book celebrates the contributions of the sisters who have made the convents warm and inviting homes through the last century. There have been over a hundred sisters who specialized in hospitality and food service. A representative group of sisters are featured in the cookbook. Convent Cuisine reminds us that “Meals are sacred events.” Jesus gave us the greatest food of all and gave us the recipe to repeat it through all ages. Mother Mary Felicia Jaskulska made hospitality an evident trait of the congregation of which she was cofoundress. And the sister homemakers kept the heart of hospitality alive for the last 100 years. The fruits ... and soups, and breads, and stews, and desserts ... are gathered in this 400-page cookbook along with helpful hints for the kitchen, cooking tips and instructions for napkin-folding. The recipes are collated in a three-ring binder, vinyl coated for easy cleaning. You can order Convent Cuisine by completing the order blank below and enclosing a check of $18 payable to the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF. You’re going to love it!
How to Order Get your copy of Convent Cuisine by returning an order form and your check or money order, made out to the Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF, to:
Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis P.O. Box 305 Stevens Point,WI 54481
Please send me _____ copies of the Convent Cuisine cookbook at $15.00 per copy and $3.00 for shipping and handling per book. Enclosed is my check or money order for $_______.
Mail books to: Name Address City
Vol. 2 No. 2
Sister Eleanore Wiencek Born into this life: October 15, 1911 Born to eternal life: April 28, 2001
Sister Generose Musial Born into this life: February 28, 1901 Born to eternal life: July 25, 2001
Sister Antoinette Niemiec Born into this life: March 12, 1908 Born to eternal life: June 29, 2001
Sister Christine Therese Schneider Born into this life: July 20, 1917 Born to eternal life: August 4, 2001
Sister Magdalen Trzebiatowski Born into this life: July 8, 1906 Born to eternal life: July 18, 2001
Sister Sylvia Guszkowski Born into this life: December 27, 1914 Born to eternal life: August 21, 2001
BARTLETT LEARNING CENTER A non-profit, special education school serving children 3-21 since 1968.
Samuela Bovelli-Emrich Executive Director
A premiere special education experience 630.289.4221 801 W. Bartlett Road Bartlett, IL 60103 NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID CHICAGO, IL PERMIT #5504
Sisters of St. Joseph,TOSF Development Office P.O. Box 388129 Chicago, Illinois 60638-8129 www.ssj-tosf.org
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