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Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters SSpS Mission Called by the Spirit ~ Embracing the World Summer 2013

Summer 2013

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: My Mission Experience in Antigua Holy Spirit Mission Association News Notes

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SSpS Mission Magazine

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Sr. Adelmara was born in Essen, Germany and joined the SSpS in 1935 in Steyl, the Netherlands. Following her first profession of religious vows, she came to the United States in 1938 aboard the Dutch steamer Volendam. After some years of study, she began her teaching career in 1944 and for nearly 40 years she taught in various schools in Mississippi and Arkansas. She returned to the Convent of the Holy Spirit in Techny, Illinois in 1983 and served the sisters in many ways, including the translation of documents. She is retired now and lives in Maria Hall, the retirement wing of the Convent in Techny. Sr. Adelmara Eisenmenger

Sr. Sienna was born in Kelso, Missouri. She grew up in a large Catholic family, the ninth of ten children. She joined the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in 1935 and made her first profession of vows in Techny, Illinois in 1938. Two of her siblings were SSpS sisters as well. Over the years, Sr. Sienna has held a variety of positions including Director of Admissions at the former St. Ann’s Home in Techny. She served in various roles in Hyattsville, Maryland: sacristan, patient representative, and chronicler. She worked as receptionist at St. Ann’s Home for the Aged and the Convent, both in Techny. Sister worked for a time with the Holy Spirit Missionary Association. She is an avid letter-writer who promotes devotion to the Holy Spirit.

Sr. Maryellen Drasler

Sr. Sienna Ressel

Waukegan, Illinois is the birthplace of Sr. Maryellen Drasler. She joined the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in 1938 and professed her first vows in 1943. Over the years, Sr. Maryellen blessed the sisters with her homemaking skills, including her work in the kitchen as cook, beginning in Iron Mountain, Michigan. She served in Erie, Girard and Conneautville, Pennsylvania; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Greenville, Meridian, Jackson and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, as well as in Techny, Illinois. Altogether her service spans more than 50 years. She retired on her birthday in 2007 from the laundry at the Convent of the Holy Spirit where she now lives.

The steamer SS Westerdam brought Sr. Agathilda to her mission in the United States in 1949 from Germany where she was born. Through the years, she used her homemaking skills to serve others in Arkansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, as well as the Convent in Techny and St. Therese Hospital in Waukegan, Illinois. Today, Sister is retired and makes her home in the Convent in Techny. Her own sister, Sr. Mary Agnes Fahrland, is a Holy Spirit Missionary Sister who lives in Techny also. Over the years, Sr. Agathilda delighted many people with her crocheted afghans and handmade cards.

Sr. Agathilda Fahrland


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Sr. Arnolda was born in the Diocese of Si Tang in Peking China. She entered the SSpS community in 1945 and professed her first vows in 1948 before leaving China. She arrived in the United States aboard the SS General Meigs sailing from Shanghai in 1949. Sr. Arnolda is an accomplished artist and spent decades teaching art to children and adults in various mission assignments, i.e., Norway, Michigan and Girard, Pennsylvania. She also taught oriental cooking to adults and calligraphy to other sisters in Techny. Her retirement years are being spent in the Convent in Techny where she continues to use her artistic skills in the activity department. Sr. Arnolda Chang

Sr. Helen Marie Yockel

Born in Rochester, New York, Sr. Helen Marie joined the SSpS community in 1945 and professed her first vows in 1948. After her nurse’s training at St. Therese Hospital in Waukegan, Illinois, she sailed for Ghana, West Africa, where she spent spent 12 years ministering in clinics and a hospital. She then returned to the United States and worked at St. Therese Hospital for 14 years. That was followed by parish and hospital work in different states, such as Mississippi, New York and Illinois. In 1989, she was appointed to the provincial council and to vocation ministry for six years. She now serves in the ministry of care at St. Dismas Parish in Waukegan.

Sr. Marie Louise was born in Minnesota City, Minnesota. She joined the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in 1945 and professed her first vows in July 1948. Sister graduated from St. Therese Hospital School of Nursing as a Registered Nurse in 1954. She used her nursing skills along with her dietetic training in many places throughout the United States and served as assistant chaplain at St. Therese and staff chaplain at St. Mary Medical Center in Gary, Indiana. In 1987 she began visiting the sick at Cook County Hospital (now Stroger) and retired only recently after serving for 25 years in that capacity. Pastoral care to the sisters in Maria Hall has kept her busy for almost 25 years so far and she continues with that ministry still.

Sr. Marie Louise Jilk

Born in Troy, Vermont, Sr. Patrice entered the SSpS community in 1945 and professed her first vows in 1948. She subsequently taught high school for five years in Mississippi and was then missioned to Ghana, West Africa. Sister served there for a total of 14 years. When she returned to the United States, she again taught high school in Mississippi, Arkansas, New Hampshire and Illinois. She served for a time tutoring language students. Sr. Patrice is the Convent librarian, a position she has held for many years. Sr. Patrice Coutu


SSpS Mission Magazine

Sr. Patricia Snider

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Sr. Patricia was born in Kansas and came to the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in 1950. Her first profession of vows took place in 1953. She served in nursing in Iowa and Illinois before being missioned to Australia for five years in Health Care Ministry. Sister spent three years in Papua New Guinea establishing a House of Prayer. Upon her return to the United States, Sr. Patricia ministered in the Waukegan formation house, St. Fidelis in Chicago and at Techny Towers. Following ten years of pastoral ministry in Antigua, West Indies, she is now residing at the Convent in Techny and is the Director of the Holy Spirit Lay Missionary Association and Assistant Local Leader.

Sr. Therese Mary was born in Dallas, Texas and entered the Holy Spirit Convent in Techny, Illinois to join the SSpS in 1950. She professed her first vows in 1953 and served for several years in the Convent. When she became aware of the difficulties of migrant workers in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, she reached out to them and since 1958 Sister has assisted a multitude of Hispanic people in many areas of social service through Little Mexico which she established. Sr. Therese Mary lives at the Convent but still spends many hours each week with the people who come to her at Little Mexico.

Sr. Therese Mary Martinez

Born in New York, Sr. Vincent entered the community of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in 1950 and professed her first vows in 1953. She taught for several years in Illinois, Mississippi and Pennsylvania and was then missioned to Papua New Guinea in 1963. There, she taught in schools and villages until she returned to the United States in 1997. She then served in pastoral ministry in Illinois, Vermont and Iowa. Today, Sr. Vincent helps out at the entrance at the Convent in Techny, drives the sisters to various appointments and serves them in many other ways. Sr. Vincent Wolff

Sr. Monica was born in Argentina and entered the SSpS community there in 1985. Her first profession of vows took place in the Misiones Province in Argentina. While in Argentina, Sister worked in administration. Upon joining the U.S. Province, she spent time in St. Kitts in Pastoral Ministry. She is now studying for her Master’s in Business Administration and is involved in the coordination of the Life Learning Center in Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois. Sister is currently the Assistant Provincial of the U.S. Province and a member of the Province Leadership Team.

Sr. Monica Mabel Balbuena


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I was happy to be sent to Antigua for my mission experience. The sisters received me warmly and were ready to show me how they carry out their mission and how I could help them during the four months of my stay. Initially, I had a hard time finding my daily rhythm of activity and prayer, since their schedule was so different from the one in the novitiate. But soon I could engage with people in various works which I enjoyed very much. Here are some of the things I was involved in: I volunteered at the Vincent de Paul Society visiting young prisoners. As a group, we went from one building to the next, singing and praying Antigua community, Sr. Rebecca, far right together. I felt great compassion for the young people locked in. They suffer at a young age. At the St. Vincent De Paul Day Care Center for the elderly, I served breakfast, collected the dishes, washed dishes, made beds. I prayed with them, sang to God, did scripture reading and faith-sharing in a way that everyone could participate. Sr. AnnIta Walsh invited me to join her and other members from the Holy Family Cathedral for the RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation of Adults) program and preparation for baptism classes as well as prison ministry. Besides the simple tasks of helping to set up chairs and tables, I led the prayer sometimes and read the scripture for the group. I grew from observing to feeling comfortable as a participant in the group and on the team. Together with Sr. Margaret Anne Norris, I went to the ALPHA group (a course which explores the basics of Christian faith). I participated in the small discussion group. I helped Sr. Margaret prepare food to take to the group. I was surprised to see how wonderfully different denominations come together to share their faith as Jesus Christ’s disciples. Finally, I had the chance to train for street pastors. I was impressed to see persons from different denominations committed to serving our brothers and sisters in the street without focusing on their differences. There was no selfishness, only the love of God and of neighbor which unites us in Christ. Once I saw a man who held himself together at first like he was blind and cold, but he recognized our presence. He looked angry and disturbed. We prayed for him in silence. When we gave him some sandwiches and cookies, he opened his eyes and looked at us and smiled. Amazingly, he started to kneel down and began to pray. Our presence helped him remember that he needs to pray to God. Seeing so many poor people made me feel like I was in another world. I felt that the world needs more evangelization than ever before. We need not only to pray, but to plant the seeds of love and peace in the hearts of our brothers and sisters who are rejected by the society. They need our presence the most. I am grateful to all the sisters and to the people of Antigua who made my mission experience so fruitful and memorable. Sr. Rebecca Chaan David


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HOLY SPIRIT MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION Recently we had a lady from Ghana, West Africa come to visit. She is a professional business woman, married, with several children, living here in the United States. While she was with us she shared how much one of our sisters who had been her Head Mistress (Principal) in Ghana, had helped her become who she is today. This teacher had greatly influenced her direction in life. Soon after her visit, the Sunday gospel of John 14 stated: “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” The question that came to me was, “Does my life reflect my teacher, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sends at all times into my life? Is this who influences the direction of my life? Hopefully we all have a teacher who gives us the guidance and support that we need to make those daily decisions which have to be made. This teacher will remind us of what we have been told by the One who went before us to show the way - Jesus Christ. May we all be helpers in changing the lives of others. That’s what that great Feast of Pentecost reminds us we are to do. I hope that you all had a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that day. Also a big thanks to all who helped to make our Baby Shower a success. Sr. Pat Snider S.Sp.S.

Just short of her 65th Jubilee, Sr. Mariella Plenter, age 92, passed away on March 13 at the Convent of the Holy Spirit. She was originally from Rodde bei Rheine, West Germany and came to the U.S. in 1949. Sr. Mariella dedicated her life to the care and comfort of the sick and elderly, working as a nurse at St. Ann's Home for the Aged (originally located in Techny on Waukegan Road) and St. Therese Hospital in Waukegan between 1951 and 1983. From 1983-2004, she served as Directress of the Sisters in the Convent healthcare unit. Over the years, Sister Mariella accompanied countless individuals through their time of illness and especially in their final hours. We wanted to honor her in her Jubilee year, knowing that she is with us in spirit as we celebrate.

A book entitled, Selfless: The Story of Sr. Theophane’s Missionary Life in the Jungles of Papua New Guinea, has just been published and is available. For more information, please contact the Provincial Office at sspsusa@yahoo.com. It is hoped that the Province will be able to spread the word about the good work of the SSpS through this account of the life of one of its members, Sr. Theophane Maier.


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The newly elected Holy Father, Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, gives a joyful “thumbs up” just as he passes the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The Sisters rejoice with the whole Catholic Church and pray for his well being. May his tenure be graced with Divine Guidance during these challenging times for the world and for the Church.

SSpS Mission Magazine is published quarterly by the

Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters Our web site: www.ssps-usa.org

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Editor: Judy Cates


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The Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters are an international community of Catholic religious women serving in 47 countries. Missionary activities include pastoral work and catechesis, education, nursing and health care, social work, adult education, and many other services designated to promote human dignity.


Ssps mission summer 2013