Dear Neighbor Winter 2021

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Published by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, Pennsylvania

winter 2021

Serving God and the dear neighbor without distinction

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G ✛ leadership team letter

‘God is with us’

The members of the Leadership Team are front row, from left, Sister Lyn Szymkiewicz and Sister Sharon Costello; back row, from left, Sister Jean Uzupis and Sister Mary Parks.

About the cover

Dear Neighbor,

Sister Betty Adams surprises volunteers Mike and Sherry Durica with a homemade cheesecake when they arrive at Hope House, a local convent on the Baden campus. Read how the couple is reaching out to our Sisters on Page 10.

“Even the carpenter from Nazareth knew uncertainty and disappointment, concern about the future, but he also knew how to walk in the dark of certain moments letting himself be guided, without reservation, by God’s will.”

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As we celebrate the Year of St. Joseph, we are reminded, in the words of Pope Francis, that God is also with us – even as the pandemic overwhelms and overtakes our lives. We know that God is with us because we continue to feel the palpable love and generous support of so many of our friends and donors who are recognized in this issue of the Dear Neighbor. As we adapt our ministries during COVID-19, we are deeply grateful that you have continued to reach out to us with an abundance of prayers, phone calls, cards, Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


Inside this Issue Praying, sharing virtually


meals, messages, and contributions to support our mission and ministries. These acts of kindness mean so much to our Sisters, those sheltering in the Motherhouse and those serving safely from local convents.

Making music and masks


Delivering kindness


Reading and racism


We are also aware of the many unexpected blessings that have radiated hope during the pandemic. In this issue, read how:

Finding love in loss


Living sustainably


Honoring the auxiliary


Donor report


Bringing joy with art


Calling our neighbors


COVID-19 conversations


• A core group of Associates is praying, sharing, and chatting virtually on a weekly basis, drawing spiritual and social support from each other; • “Making masks” for the Sisters launches a one-woman fundraising campaign that helped set the stage for “making music” for our Sisters; • A retired couple, undeterred by the pandemic, finds ways to connect creatively with our Sisters through special deliveries “sealed” with loving care; • Sisters and friends grow in their understanding of racism and how to work together in unity and reconciliation through an online book club; and • The Sisters of St. Joseph Auxiliary continues to evolve to support the changing needs of the Congregation over six decades. In the midst of these blessings, so many of us also have grieved the loss of loved ones – always painful, but all the more so when in-person funerals and services are limited or postponed. Turn to Page 16, and let us know if we can remember your loved one in a special outdoor memorial service when we can all come together again. Let us all take comfort in knowing that ‘God is with us’ through our darkest days and through our brightest days, and that is what gives us hope. Blessings,

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Barbara Hecht – Editor Phone: 724-869-6566 Email: Dear Neighbor Contributors Barbara Hecht Director of Communications Alison Lucci Marketing Communications Specialist Erin Ninehouser Communications Specialist Jeanne Minnicks Director of Development Sister Gerrie Grandpre Staff Photographer Sister Norma Bandi Sister Mary Susan Connell Sister Michelle Prah Karyn Zaffuto Proofreaders Barb Sterchele, Omega Design Group Design/Layout Permission must be granted for reprinting articles that appear in the magazine.

Connect with us! 2021

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C ✛ associates

coming together virtually to ‘pray, share and chat’ When Associates gather virtually to “pray, share and chat,” Associate Rosemarie Capone says, “It means the world to me.” In her 90s, Rosemarie candidly describes how feelings of isolation and sadness sometimes consume her everyday life during the pandemic. Even praying – which comes so naturally to Rosemarie – can be challenging. But when she enters the Zoom room with other Associates, she says, “I feel like they really understand me. They help bring me closer to God.” Associate Patty Hammond agrees that just seeing familiar faces and hearing comforting words lifts their spiritual lives. “It gives us strength to look forward, to rely on God to wrap his arms around each of us,” she says.

Patty and Rosemarie are among a core group of Associates who meet regularly, thanks to Associate Lourdes “Lulu” Herold who saw a need for a virtual space for social, emotional and spiritual support. “The prayer intentions are the most powerful part. We are all asking each other to help us because we are all in this together,” she says.

Rosemarie Capone, CSJA

Serving as content manager and technical guru for the sessions, Lulu selects a theme and creatively complements it with music and readings in a seamless audiovisual presentation. In an effort to involve everyone in the spiritual space, Lulu patiently walks Associates through the occasional internet issue or Zoom mishap. During their December gathering, Lulu suggested that Patty move her laptop closer to her router when her internet connection began to falter. page 4

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Associate Lulu Herold, center, with Sister Judith Kenaan, her prayer partner (left), and Associate Linda Biel (right) at 2019 Associates’ “Tea with the Sisters.”

A former chemistry professor, Lulu leans heavily into her creative side when faced with a challenge. When she saw a video collage of students at her daughter’s graduation ceremony, Lulu figured out how to create a similar one for her students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When she was diagnosed with cancer, Lulu started a blog to chronicle her experience and to promote healthy cooking. “I’m overwhelmed by what Lulu does to pull this together,” says Associate Mary Cay Burke-Hamill who looks forward to the gatherings. “They are so inspiring and help us to remember to pray for one another.” Associate Sue Sciarretti adds: “It’s like osmosis. We all feel like there is something to absorb from each other.”

late 1970s when her prayer groups in the Pittsburgh region and other Sisters’ prayer groups helped provide the foundation for the organization. Rosemarie has participated in Sister Paula’s prayer groups for more than 40 years and says with a soft laugh, “Her words are in my head” and almost reverently adds: “There’s not a lot of words; they are Sr. Paula Drass simple. She talks about love plainly and she tells me how much God loves me.”

In addition to their online inner circle, some

Associate Natalie Foley chimes in: “Sister Paula

of the Associates also participate in virtual prayer groups with Sister Paula Drass whose affiliation with the CSJ Association dates to its beginnings in the

is always so patient with our concerns. She has a beautiful ability to reflect back and constantly remind us how special we are.”

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About the Associates The CSJ Association is a group of approximately 150 women and men who embrace our charism of unity and reconciliation. Rooted in the richness of prayer, Associate members participate in a formation program before committing themselves by formal promise to be associated with the Sisters of St. Joseph. They meet regularly in small faith

communities, responding to a deep desire to grow in relationship with God and with one another and to Mary Cay Burke-Hamill, CSJA, with Sr. Mary Morgan at 2019 Tea

embody a spirit of union in their lives.

While with the Associates, Sister Paula said she becomes more energized by the charism of unity and reconciliation and more keenly aware of being a Sister of St. Joseph. “We do not own the charism. We are stewards of it. So, there are many folks who are carriers of the charism, which is so needed in our world today,” Sister Paula says. “There is a place for it, and we want to minister with it and from it. I get excited about that with the Associates. They certainly can reach much farther than we as a Congregation can. So, knowing that they are out there living from the same charism is so important and heartening to me and all of the Sisters.” page 6

The four co-directors of the Association are Sisters Paula Drass and Sue Clay and Associates Sue Boyce and Carrie Hilsdon Gilles. For more information about joining the Associates, please contact Judy Lewis at 412-831-5654 or at Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


M ✛ giving

making music and masks for our retired Sisters On a balmy autumn afternoon, Victoria Luperi, Associate Principal Clarinetist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, transported our Sisters on a musical journey through Germany, Venezuela, Argentina, Hungary and Spain. The international repertoire - performed on the Baden grounds was a fresh breath of magic not only for our Sisters who had been sheltering inside the Motherhouse, but also for Victoria, who hadn’t performed for a live audience since March when the Symphony cancelled all concerts due to COVID-19. Keenly aware of the challenges of an outdoor concert, Victoria says she was impressed by the Sisters’ incredible ability to listen. “There was no shortage of distractions: the wind, the passing train, the sound of the birds, and the distance we had to keep which wasn’t ideal for the acoustics,” she recalls. “However, it felt as though we were in a bubble of our own and none of these things seemed to interfere with our connection in the moment. It felt like every note counted. What a beautiful feeling that is!” Just weeks before the concert, the idea was orchestrated in a Pittsburgh park over coffee and conversation with Victoria and her husband, Andrés Franco, former Resident Conductor

Victoria Luperi Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


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of the Pittsburgh Symphony who presently is Executive Director of City of Asylum; and their friends, Cheryl and Jim Redmond, longtime patrons of the Symphony. While discussing how they

were passing time during the pandemic, Cheryl shared that she was making masks for the Sisters and how the project was evolving into a fundraising venture for the Congregation. “I was moved by her thoughtfulness and generosity,” Victoria says. “Her effort inspired me to spontaneously ask whether she thought the Sisters would be open to the idea of sharing a little music with them . . . as a good way to come together and connect during these difficult times.” Sister Catherine Higgins, Minister of Member Wellbeing for the Congregation, fully embraced the idea for Cheryl Redmond at work

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an outdoor concert and set the necessary safety protocols in place. By this time, Cheryl had been in regular contact with her friend and neighbor, Sister Catherine, and mask-making for the Sisters was well under way. Early in the pandemic, masks were hard to come by so Cheryl decided to make and contribute hundreds to essential workers – nurses in local hospitals, grocery store workers and post office employees. Word got out about the practical yet stylish masks, and orders from individuals and shop owners increased. As Cheryl saw masks evolve from “necessities” to “accessories” to match outfits or occasions, she felt comfortable asking for donations to support the Sisters of St. Joseph. “When I would mention the Sisters, they would smile and say, ‘I love the Sisters

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of St. Joseph’,” she recalls, noting that many exceeded her suggested donation of ten dollars a mask. Through her creativity and generosity, Cheryl has “outfitted” our retired Sisters with approximately 300 masks and collected more than $13,000 in donations for the Congregation. Since March, her sewing machine has been humming at a pace of 10 to 15 masks per day for a total production output that is reaching 3,000 masks. Cheryl’s relationship with the Sisters began about seven years ago when she met Sister Catherine. “I was struck by her outreach to the community, counseling people in need, being available, and listening to anybody on her walks throughout the neighborhood,” says Cheryl, who faithfully supports the Congregation.

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On concert day - under a canopy of blue sky and soft sunlight - Cheryl and Victoria were delighted to be in the company of the Sisters. Dozens of Sisters - some in wheelchairs - filed out of the Motherhouse and formed an arc around the “stage,” mesmerized by the performance. “It was fantastic to see,” says Cheryl. “They just kept coming and coming. It was amazing to see how enraptured they were with the music, listening, tapping and moving to the melodies.” Most of all, Cheryl, a retired piano teacher, is thrilled that donations from the masks are being used to enhance the lives of Sisters, such as with new comfortable and accessible tables and chairs, for their Supportive Living area. “That is what makes me truly happy,” she says.

For Victoria, the performance was particularly emotional because she had not played a concert in a live setting in eight months. “I cannot find the words to fully explain how meaningful the experience was,” she says. “In the short time I spent with the Sisters, I understood how special, loving and welcoming they are.” In Victoria’s studio is a small wooden bowl that daily reminds her “to be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” It’s one of several hand-made gifts from the Sisters as an expression of their appreciation to her for lifting their spirits with music. Victoria says, “The best gift of all was allowing me to share this musical moment with the Sisters. I hold much gratitude to them, to Sister Catherine, and to Cheryl for her introduction to them.”

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D ✛ volunteers

delivering acts of kindness, ‘feeling the love’ of Sisters Sherry and Mike Durica’s search for a worship community in the spring of 2019 led them to Sunday Mass at the Motherhouse Chapel where the newcomers to Beaver County were overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality of the Sisters. “I was blown away by this beautiful Sister (Bridget James O’Brien), who looked me straight in the eyes, and said, ‘Young man, you are new here. Welcome to the Sisters of St. Joseph Chapel’,” Mike recalls. “Sister then talked with us about the gifts we receive every Sunday.” Sister Bridget James was the first of many Sisters who positively impacted the lives of the retired couple and inspired them to serve as faithful and generous volunteers to the Congregation. They became Eucharistic lay ministers at Sunday Mass, joined the Sisters of St. Joseph Auxiliary, and made grocery runs for Sisters during the pandemic. They took Muffin, Sister Mary Ann Siedlarczyk’s beloved dog, to the vet and groomer. They drove Sisters Rita Sherry and Mike page 10

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Murillo, Stella Cronauer and Mary Lou Shimshock to considered creative ways to continue their connection medical appointments, and even surprised Sister Mary to the Sisters. They have teamed up to make “quarterly Lou, by delivering a birthday cake and dinner to her door. pizza deliveries” to local convents on the campus, and were pleasantly surprised one snowy evening when “I was so touched when they showed up Sister Betty Adams greeted them with a homemade unexpectedly. Sherry and Mike are wonderfully kind chocolate cheesecake on the porch of Hope House. and giving people,” says Sister Mary Lou. “I think they thoroughly enjoy talking to our Sisters, and we love As their circle of friends expanded, the couple says conversations with them. It’s mutually uplifting.” it’s been refreshing and delightful to hear the stories of each Sister and absorb her passion for serving others. As visitor restrictions tightened in the “We are just loving life. As Sherry and I got more and Motherhouse due to COVID-19, Sherry and Mike Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


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also lights up our spirits.” Sherry adds. As the couple searched for the “perfect Christmas gift to give to nuns” on the internet, they learned that their idea of buying 75

more involved with the Sisters, it just seems like we have found a home,” Mike says, underscoring their deep appreciation and respect for the Sisters’ legacy in education and health care. Acknowledging their own blessings, Sherry and Mike exude humility and joy in their ability to help the Sisters with acts of kindness. But it’s what the couple receives from the Sisters that sustains their volunteer energy. “We get so much spiritually, words of support, prayers for our family, and just the smiles on their faces,” Mike says. “Each one of the Sisters not only lights up the room, but she page 12

small statues of Jesus or St. Joseph would be unwise because Sisters are showered with religious presents and often re-gift them to others. Instead, they arranged for an Italian feast for more than 70 Sisters to brighten their Christmas. The couple donated a buffet of lasagna, pasta, meatballs, sausage, chicken and salad from the Olive Garden. They also stopped by the Too Nice to Slice bakery to order a “Merry Christmas” sheet cake to top off the meal. When Denise Yarzebinski, bakery owner and former Mount Gallitzin parent, learned the cake was for the Sisters, she readily donated. It turns out that Sherry and Mike are friends with Rusty and Susan Vicinie, who also are former MGA parents. They first suggested the Duricas attend Mass at the Motherhouse Chapel.


But the seed for their volunteering was planted by Sherry’s cousin, Joyce Cipriani, Health Care Liaison for the Congregation. “After Sherry and her husband relocated to the area, I ‘volun-told’ them that they should help the Sisters right now,” Joyce says with a laugh. Sherry and Mike eagerly await

the time when they can again mingle with Sisters and attend Sunday Mass, an experience that has profoundly moved them. Visibly emotional, Sherry recalls, “What an experience it was to hold the Eucharist and place it in the hands of a Sister. You can just feel the love.”

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R ✛ book club

reading for a ‘better world’ to open eyes to racism Desiring a world where no one’s potential is limited by skin color, Sister Liz Brush is grateful to have used this pandemic time to grow in understanding of the structures in our society that diminish human dignity, fracture relationships, and isolate neighbors from one another. “For us to become aware of the privilege that we have as white people is a good thing,” Sister Liz explains, “because it allows us to use the protections society affords to white skin to begin to change the systems that oppress and violate our black and brown neighbors.”

Sr. Liz Brush

Such a goal is deeply rooted in our Sisters’ spirituality of oneness in Christ and love for God and neighbor without distinction. The Congregation affirmed this goal in 2018 when members met prayerfully in Chapter for direction on how to respond to the needs of our time. “That’s when my eyes began to open,” Sister Liz remembers of those conversations, adding that “it was hard to hear” what friends of the community shared about the vastly different experiences that people of color have had growing up in Beaver County.

Associate Chris Didio

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Collectively and individually, Sisters are taking to heart the commitments made at the Chapter by educating themselves about the ongoing impacts of racism; forming and strengthening relationships with persons and communities of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds;

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and working to dismantle structures of privilege in themselves and others. While the pandemic has limited the Sisters’ physical presence and ability to reach out in the neighborhoods where they live and serve, it’s also provided ample time and space to reflect, learn, and deepen their understanding of systemic racism and white supremacy. The Congregation’s White Privilege/Ending Racism Focus Group has been shepherding the Sisters’ efforts in this area, such as participating in study groups and reading books like White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. Sister Liz joined a group in the fall to raise her consciousness about these issues. “It’s time to make a change,” she says, sharing her hope that the peaceful demonstrations for racial justice supported by both black and white over the summer will lead to a society where all are welcome, where all are free from fear. page 14

An Ambridge native, Sister Liz acknowledges “growing up in a white society” where there was little interaction with families of color who lived at the far end of town. She has seen much change in seven decades, but too much remains the same. “I have the privilege to do almost anything I want, go almost anywhere I want and not be turned away; and I think about how dangerous it is for young, black men just to be driving a car at night,” she says. “You see black people being shot, harassed, the way they’re arrested it makes me ashamed of who we are. I’m 77 years old and people are still struggling to have rights.” Despite the discomfort of unearthing the parts of ourselves that harbor bias and the subsequent look at what we have done, or failed to do, in the face of racial injustice, Sister Liz believes it’s important to press forward with an open heart and to encourage others to embark on this journey of awareness, reconciliation, and healing. Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


Sisters of St. Joseph Associate Chris Didio has accepted that invitation, studying White Fragility with a small group of Sisters and lay persons this past fall through the Better World Book Club, a new offering of St. Joseph Spirituality Center. “It’s the Sisters who opened me up to this. I probably wouldn’t have come to this on my own, not out of resistance, but just not knowing,” she notes, expressing gratitude to the Sisters for elevating anti-racism efforts as a topic for reflection and action. Chris highly recommends the book, which she credits with shifting her perspective on racism and white privilege. The author, she explains, “talks about racism as a system - an institutional system - which means we can’t not be affected by it, because it’s the way we’ve been raised.” Like Sister Liz, Chris also recalls a segregated childhood. She grew up in Rochester, Beaver County, where, after graduation from the public school system in kindergarten, she Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


entered a mostly white parochial school environment. Through reading the book, Chris says she “became aware of how insulated I am from black people, not through conscious choice.” The book club also has helped Chris recognize the ways in which institutional systems like housing, schools, policing, and employment perpetuate racism, beyond easily recognizable actions of individuals motivated by bias. She feels a responsibility to use her privilege to change the institutions of oppression in our society, and has used this time during the pandemic to reflect on the question, “what is mine to do?” Acknowledging that she is “on the very beginnings of this journey myself,” Chris understands it might feel intimidating to begin to confront the painful realities of racism, but cautions that “fragility is a defensiveness that hurts you, closes you off, and I think it’s on us as Christians to be open, as Jesus was.” page 15

remembering your loved ones in Creation Losing a loved one is always painful but experiencing grief during a pandemic that has upended our day-to-day lives and routines is especially difficult. The social interactions that normally offer comfort may be limited and the healing rituals we use to memorialize a loved one may be altered or postponed. For Dee Ruckert, the loss of a longtime family friend, Thelma, in September was compounded by effects of the pandemic. Thelma lived at a long-term nursing facility where Dee was once an active volunteer before COVID-19 mitigation measures restricted visitors. She was unable to see Thelma for six months before she passed, but Dee remains grateful that she could be present for the private viewing despite it being “a quick in and out” to limit the number of people in the space and ensure social distancing. Reflecting on joyful memories of Thelma, Dee worries about how the period of isolation affected her friend and how it continues to impact others. She finds comfort knowing that the Sisters continue to pray for Thelma and recently planted a willow tree in remembrance of all who have died during these unprecedented times. If you have lost a loved one during the pandemic, whether their death was a result of COVID-19 or not, we invite you to share their name with us so we may remember them in prayer. When it is safe to gather, our hope is to host a public dedication of the willow tree that was planted on our property as a living memorial for every life lost. Until then, may the tree speak the power of God’s life in our midst, deeply rooted and ever growing in all Creation. page 16

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Leadership Team prays at willow tree planting.

To submit the name of a loved one who has died during the pandemic, please submit form to: Kathy Fletcher Wray Sisters of St. Joseph Liturgy Office 1020 State Street Baden, PA 15005

or submit a name online at:

In loving memory Sister Marguerite Coyne, 80 (Sister Moya) January 14, 2021 Sister Mary Anne DiVincenzo, 77 (Sister Dominic Savio) January 1, 2021 Sister Rosaleen Scott, 87 (Sister Mary Joel) November 28, 2020 Sister Maxine Little, 90 (Sister Clarence) November 22, 2020 Sister Marilyn Washington, 78 November 13, 2020

First and last name of deceased loved one

Your first and last name

Sister Margaret Frazer, 63 September 20, 2020 Sister Mary Catherine Cudnik, 75 (Sister Simeon) August 26, 2020 Sister Genevieve Martineck, 83 August 20, 2020

Your e-mail address Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


To read more about our Sisters or to make a memorial contribution, please visit our website at page 17

C ✛ sustainability

caring for, protecting our common home “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.” - Pope Francis, Laudato Si Attuned to “how all of Creation lives and moves and has its being in God,” the Sisters’ reverence for our natural world inspires their faithful and loving stewardship of the Baden grounds - once a working farm - and flows outward into the communities where they live and work. Desiring to meet the environmental challenges of the moment to preserve God’s sacred gift for future generations, a group of Sisters - both retired and active in ministry - formed a Sustainability Committee, together with Motherhouse staff and Associates. The committee is helping our Sisters and encouraging our dear neighbors to adopt new practices that reduce waste and energy consumption, reuse and repurpose goods to limit greenhouse gas production, conserve water and other natural resources, and advocate for broader action to protect and preserve our land, air, and life in all its (human and non-human) diversity.

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After focusing on water conservation during the summer, sharing tips and examples of what the Sisters are using on the Baden campus, like rain gardens, which slow and filter stormwater runoff, and rain barrels, which serve as a water source for the community gardens, the group will expand its focus in 2021 to include energy, sustainable land use, nature and simplicity, air quality and education, advocacy and community. Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


“Our goal is to look at the activities of daily life, both at home and in the workplace, to determine what we can and must do to care for the planet that we share with our neighbors across the world, and with generations to come,” Sister Lyn Szymkiewicz, a member of the committee, explains. She hopes the information the committee plans to offer - on social media, and at: will interest, inspire, and empower everyone to join the Sisters on this journey to protect our common home. page 19

H ✛ development letter

honoring our auxiliary The Sisters of St. Joseph Auxiliary shares the good name of the Congregation it was

Jeanne Minnicks, MBA, CFRE

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our in-person gatherings and traditions, our Auxiliary is busy planning its second

formed to serve in 1961. We dedicate this Spring “Stay-at-Home” Luncheon on column to its members for their constant, May 22, 2021. prayerful and financial support of our Sisters Our Auxiliary’s original mission was over the past 60 years. to raise funds to further our Sisters’ Like our Sisters, our Auxiliary has work as educators at a time when always responded to and adapted to the Catholic school enrollment was at an needs of the times. For example, when all-time high. This was a goal that our Auxiliary staged their first benefit in garnered the support of the bishops of 1962, people from 36 parishes gathered at the dioceses where our Sisters served. the Penn Sheraton Hotel in Pittsburgh for To this day, many former students a combination card party, luncheon, and attribute their successes in life and their bridal fashion show. deep spirituality to Sisters who became teachers with the help of our Auxiliary. Now fast forward to 2020, the year the pandemic changed our ideas of special Throughout the years, our Auxiliary event fundraising. Instead of holding their hosted an unbroken streak of themed traditional large public gathering, our card parties which grew in popularity Auxiliary actually invited guests to stay year after year, but in 1977 that streak home and celebrate virtually and safely was broken. In response to the national with family and friends! energy crisis that had driven up fuel and food prices, eroded families’ We were all thrilled that our first-ever budgets, caused school closings, and “Stay-at-Home” Luncheon turned out to curtailed parish activities, the Auxiliary be a resounding success, and while we look board cancelled that year’s event in an forward to the day when we can resume act of civic responsibility. Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


Save the Date! Stay-at-Home Luncheon May 22, 2021

Their card parties resumed the following year and continued for decades, although our Auxiliary shifted its focus in the late ‘90s from raising funds for Sisters’ education to wider support of our ministries, once again in response to the changing needs of our Sisters. The event also became known as the Annual Spring Luncheon. While card playing fell by the wayside at some point, this fun and festive gathering continues to offer something for everyone: raffles for cash and gift baskets; a wine pull; door prizes; home-baked goods; musical entertainment; and a full course meal. Whether in-person or online, the Luncheon is rooted in Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


relationships that began with Sister Vincent Mary Berry and Sister Aelred O’Dea who invited a few lay women from Annunciation Parish in Pittsburgh to share in their works, deepen their own faith, and advance the Sisters’ mission. Since 1961, many additional strong and capable women have welcomed the challenges of Auxiliary leadership and service. In the process they have raised $1.97 million for our Congregation. It is the love and commitment of each Auxiliary membership numbers 268 today, and, in our tribute, we want each member to know that their love and commitment are what we hold most dear. We are honored to

recognize them as faithful and devoted partners in mission and look forward to another successful Stay-at-Home luncheon this spring. Please join us on May 22, 2021! With joy and peace, Jeanne Minnicks, MBA, CFRE Director of Development

P.S. For information on joining the Auxiliary, please contact: Carol Rubritz Membership Chair 724-713-1499 or page 21

✛ annual report to donors July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020

sources of contributions 2%


2019-2020 8%

■ Individuals ............................................. $1,001,021 ■ Grants .......................................................$285,088 ■ Special Events ........................................... $123,045



■ Sisters Patrimony & Personal Gifts .............$84,641 ■ Lottery Calendar ........................................ $24,931 Total: $1,518,726

sources of individual contributions 2019-2020 17%

■ Mixed Sources .......................................... $462,191 (Monthly Recurring, Corporate Matching, Free Will Chapel Offerings, Motherhouse Hospitality, Website, Christmas Gifts)



■ Memorials, Tributes & Bequest .................... $203,211 ■ Appeals & Newsletters.............................. $168,983 ■ Ministry Patrons....................................................... $166,636 Total: $1,001,021


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✛ annual report to donors July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020

uses of contributed funds 3%



2019-2020 ■ General Operating .................................... $691,573



■ Retirement & Care of the Sisters .............. $393,016 ■ Ministry Support ...................................... $195,429 ■ Community Outreach ...............................$170,119 ■ Capital Needs .............................................$43,508


■ Special Events ............................................. $25,081 Total: $1,518,726

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✛ annual report to donors July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 Circle of

COMPASSION ($10,000 and more)

Circle of

JOY (up to $9,999) Circle of

ZEAL (up to $4,999)

* The St. Joseph Legacy Society recognizes individuals who have taken measures to remember the Sisters of St. Joseph in their will, trust, life insurance gift, or other estate planning arrangement.

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Anonymous Joann Bracci The Bullingham Family Trust* Elio & Violet M. D’Appolonia Trust* The DLM Foundation Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation Dennis and Barbara Habowski Indiana University Lake Institute on Faith & Giving

Albert and Diane Kaneb Ladies of Bethany Robert and Virginia Mack Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities James and Lori Rausch Sisters of St. Joseph Auxiliary United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Wagner Foundation

Anonymous (5) Finke Family Giving Fund Maura Harrington Craig and Ellen Liberatore Robert Mazur Carole Ortenzo Peter and Sue Osenar

Peter and Marylin Rander William Rank William and Marie Schrum Charles and Ellen Sheedy Cynthia Stebbins

Robert and Dr. Susan Alman Dr. Frank A. Anania Anonymous (3) Enrico Arzenti Lawrence and Marianne Badaczewski Robert and Arleen Barth Ralph & Marianne Betters Charitable Fund BKG Industries Inc. Dr. Julia Blum Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe Thomas Burgunder Cape Cod ATM, Inc. Vincent and Anna Cimino James Colaianne, Jr. Paul and Illene Colby Colleran & Company, CPA P.C. Concord Street Automotive, LLC Concordia Lutheran Ministries Marie T. Coschigano Charitable Fund Marta David The DeLeon - Lucci Family Fund Thomas and Ruth Demko

Vincent Donatelli Family Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation Mary Jo Dressel Dr. John and Gertrude Echement Mary Frankenberry Kathleen Galleher Brother Allen Ganz, FSC Lawrence Gennari Dr. Harry Gillespie* Rev. Keith and Rev. Janet Grill Robert and Christine Grochowski The Guzzi and Downey Families Joseph Haver Heritage Valley Health System Sandra Jenkins Dr. Romaine Jesky-Smith Alfred E. Jones and Frances Bridgeman Jones Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation Richard and Susan Kelly William and Carolyn Keslar Knights of Columbus Queen of Peace Council #5367 Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


✛ annual report to donors July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 Christine Kotarba William and Pamela Kredel The Landfried Family Joan Lavery The Paul & Patricia Lebanik Charitable Account Gwendolyn Lenk Jerry and Annette Lindley Maher Duessel Timothy and Judith Mahoney Mary Pat Manogue B.J. Maurer Motor Co. Inc. Robert G. Mazur, Sr. Robert and Nanette Mazzuca David and Susan Merison John Miller Modern Assistance Programs, Inc. Philip and Patricia Muck Charitable Foundation James and Mary Nania Janet Ofodile Rev. Leonard O’Malley Margaret Pakulski Innocenza Palaio

Circle of

PEACE (up to $999)

Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


E. Thomas Pappert Thomas and Christel Parrish Joachim and Patricia Peilert Mary Jane and Joseph P. Platt, Jr. Family Foundation, Inc. Leo and Evelyn Pohl Lawrence Pollastrini, Jr. Prudential Foundation Matching Gifts Progam Paul and Cynthia Rank Kenneth Reese S. Edward and Katherine Renner Reno Brothers Inc. Bonita Reyes Laura Romeo Timothy and Carol Rubritz Diane Sabeh The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston Sacred Heart Parish #217 Saints John and Paul Parish Dr. Alison Scavuzzo Gordon and JoAnne Scherer Mary Ellen Schuessler Clare Sechoka

John F. Shelley, III Society of Saint Vincent de Paul The St. Elizabeth Conference Donna Spangler St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church Jeremy and Catherine Stahl Staley Capital Advisers Mary Staudenmaier Dennis and Regina Stover Michael and Susan Stuart Jason and Maureen Tapolci Dennis and Eileen Thimons Thomas and Donna Timcho Ronald and Catherine Tisch Dr. Christopher and Barbara Troianos Mary Ulloa Steven and Betty Uzupis Dr. R. Curtis Waligura David and Marianne Walsh Thomas Wandrisco Mark and Lyudmila Warchol Harry and Alice Whitehead Rick and Patricia Williams John Young

David and Kathleen Adelman Anthony and Frances Alam Morton Alman Ronald and Linda Altany AmazonSmile Foundation Mary Ellen Anania Thomas Anderson Anonymous (11) Rozan Antonetti Nancy Asay Wayne and Clara Austin Barbara Bacha Rev. John Bachkay Barbara Balcerek Sandra Bauer George and Bonnie Baxter Martha Bearer Jeanne Beers Marie Belcastro

Pat and Mary Belculfine Sherwin and Sylvia Benedum Joseph and Barbara Beri Stanley and Linda Biel Linda Birochik David Bischof Christine Bissert Hilda K. Blaskowitz* Dale and Sara Bonsall Beth Bowers John and Elizabeth Branson Susan Brassart George and Gladys Brinton Carol Ann Brown Gregory Brown and Dr. Kim Pierce William and Justine Brown Joseph Bruce James and Lorriane Bruni Amy Bubash page 25

✛ annual report to donors July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 Jeffrey and Patricia Buckholt Kathleen Bumbernick Frances Bungo Nicholas Cafardi and Dr. Kathleen Shepard J. Anthony and Kathleen Capon Marlyn and Natalie Carle Thomas and Mary Carney David Carr Todd and Beth Casteel William and Kathleen Cavanaugh Angela Cellini Daniel Cellini Diane Chambers Catherine Charnock John Christian Scott Clark and Holly Tate Charlene Clarke Kennedy and Cloyd Family Charitable Fund John Coles Robert Colleran John and Kris Connolly Barbara Connors Janice Cormier Frank and Adelfa Coyle Paul Crandell Richard and Eloisa Cratty Croatian Fraternal Union #540 Thomas and Patricia Crotty Dolores Croyle Helen Culhane Noreen Culhane Mary Nell Cummings William and Anna Jean Cushwa Carol Cutler Edward D’Alelio David and Noreen D’Argenio Colleen Darragh Linda DaSilva-Robinson Linda DeBor Mark and Christina Degonish Victor and Eileen DePastino Elizabeth Anne Dernbach Jean DeSchriver page 26

Claudia Dezwick Christine Didio Donna DiGiovanni John and Gina Dioguardi Dennis and Kim DiPerna Carmela DiStefano Ronald DiZinno Debra Donley Cynthia Driscoll Mark and Margaret Duffy Barry and Aida Dugan John S. Dunn Agency, Inc. Michael and Sherry Durica Bohdan Durkacz Thomas and Elizabeth Durr Mary Durra John and Sylvia Egyud Alice Elash William and Kathleen Englert Rev. Samuel Esposito Michele Fagan Charles Ferrara Karen Fisher Francis Fisher Virginia Flaherty Ronald and Ellen Fleming Katherine France Frances Galardi Blaine and Mary Anne Galonski John Garde Harry and Peggy Gaughan The Family of Marie Gentile Kathleen Gett Joyce Gillis Clare Gillis Lauretta Gordon Mary Gotgart Dr. Daniel Gray Arthur and Anne Green Drew and Doris Grivna Michael and Debra Gubanic Joseph Hajnas Associates, Inc. Kathleen Hammond Margaret Hannan

Dr. Jeffery and Jennifer Hawk Stephen and Barbara Hecht Stephen Hegner Charitable Fund Joseph and Patricia Henry Michael and Sheila Henry Donna Heuchling Janet Hicks David and Dawne Hickton Susan Hilliard Carol Hoffman Stanley Hofstetter Garry and Kathleen Hogan Holy Family Parish Adam and Mary Ellen Horniak Suzanne Hudson Kathleen Hughto Robert and Cynthia Hurley James and Joann Jabour Raymond and Marie Jacko Jeffrey and Susan Jackson Timothy and Frances Jackson Lee Ann Jendrejeski Kevin and Shari Johnson Diane Johnston Theresa Jordan Maureen Joyce Mrs. Dorothy A. Kala Diane Kaminski Ray Kassab and Anna Marie Kocak-Kassab Edward and Therese Kelly Isabelle Kelly and Family Mary Jo Kelly Patrick and Barbara Kenney James and Margaret Kervin John and Mary Kilkeary Rev. Neil Kilty, OSFS Charles King Lee King Dr. Wayne and Rebecca Kinning Patricia Kirk Joseph Kisic Knights of Columbus St. Francis of Assisi Council 2555 William and Susan Knoll Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


✛ annual report to donors July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 Karen Knox Brian and Suzanne Koble William and Dorothy Koffel George Koharchik Janet Korenich Peter Kram Ronald Kriz Linda Kuchenbrod Lois Lang Kathleen LaPorte Katherine Larsen Dianne Lasky Virginia Laut Kathleen Leone Judith Lewis David and Kathleen Limauro Giving Account William and Julia Ann Lintz Richard Lira and Gretchen Taylor Gregory and Camille Llewellyn Mark and Ruth Llewellyn Guy and Arleen Lucci Robert Ludwig Thomas Lyden Jean Macaluso Martha MacDermott David Magnani John Maguire JoAnn Maher Patrick and Kristie Maher MaryAnne Majestic Janet Marmura Lucy Marshall Loretta Martella Albert Massi Maria Matisse William and Kathleen Mausteller Ted Maznicki Robert and Nanette Mazzuca Patrick and Diane McCann Katherine McCarthy Richard and Lauren McCarthy Richard and Rachel McCarthy Donald and Dorothy McCormick Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


Ellen McCracken John and Linda McEnery David McGhee Joseph and Diane McNally Terrence and Donna McNamara Mark and Rosemarie McShane Rev. Joseph M. Mele Janice Melonic Nancy Miklos Janet Milan Patty and John Miller Charitable Fund Michael Miniotas Dr. John and Betty Moraca Barbara Moretti Evelyn Morgan Edward and Gail Moschetti Brother Charles Mrozinski, FSC Rev. William Murphy Brian Murray Lawrence and Marianne Murray Robert and Virginia Muth Dr. Albert and Barbara Nalli Martin and Maureen Napolitano David Nauman and Rebecca Degrosky Nebiolo Family Charitable Fund Lucianne Nelson Julia Newcome John Nicholson John Niehaus and Mary Jane Nelson Jenny Novak Daniel and Virginia Oberleitner Michael and Nancy O’Brien Patricia O’Brien Jane O’Connor Valerie Oltmanns Kathleen O’Malley Anthony and Cindy Ortenzo Joyce Ott Kelly Overstreet Vincent and Beth Palilla Michael Palla Wilma Palombo Linda Panchura David Parrendo

Janice Paul Trina Peduzzi Mark and Mary Anne Peluso Peter and Tricia Pesut Karen Petruny Vincent Petti and Linda Torres PGT Trucking Inc. John and Mary Pigza Stephen Pohl Carolyn Pollack-Kruel Andrea Porath Michael and Shirley Prendergast Province of St. Augustine of the Capuchin John and Ann Puskaric Elinor Quill QVC Partners in Giving Michele Rapp Dr. Kathryn Rapperport RCAB/St. John’s Parish Mark and Margaret Rentler Dennis Roddy and Joyce Gannon Linda Rohol Rohrich Toyota James and Stephanie Rooney Joan Roscoe George and Barbara Rovnyak Craig Rowland and Jeanne L. Minnicks Joseph and Mary Rubino Julia Rubino Michael and Lisa Ruggiero Kathleen Sapienza Sarver Landscape Maintenance Co. Martin and Rosanne Saunders Dr. Richard Scarnati Jim Schall Rev. David Scharf Alan Schlossberg and Loretta Hurley Mark and Lisa Schrott Edmund Schuster John Schwartz, Jr. James and Geraldine Seidl David and Lynn Sevick Patricia Shaffer Robert Shalamon, Jr. page 27

✛ annual report to donors July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 James Sheets Glenn Sibbel Harry and Elissa Sichi Dr. Richard and Pamela Siergiej Mary Simmons Jeff Singer and Maureen Whitley Thomas and Rosemary Sippel Sisters of St. Joseph - Clarence, NY Lawrence and Lois Skogerson Arlene Smith Joseph and Allison Smith Michael Sourwine Samuel and Judith Spanos James and Mary Ann Spontak John Spontak St. Francis Central Catholic School St. Ignatius Church St. James School St. Peter Parish St. Vincent DePaul/St. Catherine Chapter Regis and Angela Stana Mark and Carla Stanford Thaddeus and Jacqueline Stasiak Angela Stevens Mark Stevenson Stephen and Susan Steward William Stotler Anthony Sullivan Patricia Swartzlander, CSJA W. Kevin Thomas Carol Torbic Phillip and Annemarie Torrez Robert Totten Dr. Gregory and Dr. Leslie Trecha TREK Development Group K. Craig and Elaine Trout Robert and Patricia Tunno Stephen and Debra Turcsanyi Diane Tyra Rosemarie Varsanik Richard and Lura Vereb Theresa Vidas Louise Volpe Margaret Wadyko Lorraine Walley page 28

Kathleen Washy Mary Jane Waymire Daniel Weaver Raymond and Lois Weaver Rosemary Weber Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill Mark Welch Thomas and Carla Welte Mary Louise White Linda Whitford J. Christopher and Linda Wichmann James and Joann Wick John and Lucy Wilkison Paul and Mary Anne Windisch Kathleen Wise Cornelius and Shirley Wiseman Thomas and Loretta Witt Lilli Wolfe Patricia Wolfhope Mary Kay Wood John and Kathy Wray William and Kathleen Wycoff John and Eleanor Yasaitis Mary Yates Andrea Young Carole Yuhasz Karyn Zaffuto Daniel and Dorothy Zangrilli Marsha Zebryk Louis Zegarelli

Circle of

GRACE We express our deep and heartfelt gratitude to 2,558 donors whose yearly contributions up to $249 have blessed us with cumulative donations of $181,636.41. Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


‘art with heart’ brings joy to Sisters The first batch of the colorful cards filled with warm and encouraging messages arrived at the Motherhouse in late October, opening up a new connection between local students and Sisters who are missing the hugs and visits of pre-pandemic life with our dear neighbors.

delivering a new one each week with their meal. Much to his surprise during return visits, he began to see those cards displayed all over the residents’ homes and realized their impact.

The special delivery was a surprise to everyone except Sister Sarah Crotty, Campus Outreach Coordinator, who connected this past fall with Alexis whose son, Patrick Weldon, invited the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Baden to be one of nine sites to receive cards from “Art with Heart.” The two have been corresponding Patrick by mail ever since. Sister Sarah is overwhelmed with gratitude for Patrick’s desire to “bring a smile to the faces of the Sisters, and some joy” during this season of physical separation and prolonged isolation.

That inspired the teenager to start the “Art with Heart” project which has produced more than 600 homemade cards and drawings - made by K-8 grade students at St. Louise de Marillac Catholic School in Upper St. Clair - for older adults in southwestern Pennsylvania, including our Sisters at the Motherhouse.

“Art with Heart” emerged this past summer after 14-year-old Patrick of Monongahela and his mom decided to volunteer with the local “Meals on Wheels” program, picking up a route that took them to 25 homes each week. To add a personal touch, Patrick decorated hand-made cards for each resident with cheerful messages expressing care and concern,

Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


As the cards arrived in the Motherhouse, Sister Sarah displayed them and encouraged Sisters to send personal notes of gratitude. Her eyes bright with joy, Sister Nancy Hupert was glad to help, adding “what a wonderful thing to do.” Many Sisters have joined her, writing back to the students to express their appreciation for being remembered. “Thank you for thinking of us!” writes Sister Fran Hurley, while Sister Jane Stephen Rosko shares a request, “I am writing this while it’s snowing out - you must send snow pics, please!” There’s a good chance that’ll happen because Patrick has shown no signs of slowing down. page 29

G ✛ phone outreach

guess who’s calling? Soon after pandemic mitigation measures halted the normal rhythms of life, a committee of Sisters began to brainstorm ways to reach out and offer support to first responders, donors, friends and dear neighbors bearing the weight of the COVID-19 crisis. Worried that the prolonged isolation many older residents were facing in order to protect themselves from infection, Sister Sarah Crotty, Campus Outreach Coordinator, pitched the idea of a telephone ministry and began building a team of a dozen Sister volunteers. With her normal volunteer activities - visiting residents at Concordia at Villa St. Joseph, serving meals at the Ladle, a food pantry in Ambridge, and visiting women in the Beaver County Jail - on hold indefinitely, Sister Marjorie Kelly wanted to do something and the telephone ministry appealed to her. “We wanted to see how they were doing, to ask if there was any way we could be of help, to find out what we could pray for,” she says. The telephone outreach team has made approximately 100 calls since the effort began in the fall. Sisters listen as people share how they’ve been coping with loneliness and uncertainty, what they’re looking forward to when it’s safe to emerge from quarantine, or often, fond memories of a Sister they knew well. “I really enjoyed making the calls,” Sister Marjorie says, thinking back to a conversation with a gentleman who had first encountered the Sisters as a patient at Presbyterian Hospital Sister Marjorie fills “goodie bags” for those incarcerated at the Beaver County Jail.

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With phone calls, chaplain ‘gives rest to tired souls’ Sister Cynthia Prezkop, Chaplain at MercyLIFE in Philadelphia,

in Pittsburgh many years ago. His mother, now in her 90s and living under the care of her son, connected with Sister Mary Kay Hammond when she was serving as a chaplain in UPMC’s hospital system. Her warmth and kindness left a lasting impression on the family, who remember her as always reaching out to offer support. Sister Marjorie subsequently phoned Sister Mary Kay who remembered the family well, and was glad to hear they have been staying safe from the virus. “It’s

been a wonderful experience,” she says of making the outreach calls. She’s grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with those who share a special bond with the Congregation, and is energized to continue this important new outreach. Sister Sarah agrees, adding that our Sisters have really enjoyed making the calls and that even brief exchanges help people know they’re not alone, that “we’re with them in spirit,” and that we will get through this time, together.

was honored recently with the “Pride of Mercy Award,” which acknowledges employees who have a positive attitude, make a positive difference, and exemplify Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic’s mission and core values. During the pandemic, Sister Cynthia was less visible in the centers while her work shifted to hosting telephonic spiritual groups for all centers and individual telephonic spiritual counseling for participants, caregivers, and colleagues.

The Sisters encourage everyone,

“(Sister Cynthia) knows so much

especially in these unprecedented times,

that she encounters; she receives

to share your requests for prayer.

about each of the participants them lovingly and openly; and gives rest to tired souls,” wrote her nominee. “Sister Cynthia is

If you’d like to connect with a Sister by telephone, please include your phone number:

also able to discern good news out of devastation, and allow participants and caregivers to find peace. She truly lives the Sisters of St. Joseph / winter


values of the organization and gives of herself every day without reservation.” page 31

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Pittsburgh, PA. Permit No. 4675

1020 State Street • Baden, PA 15005

COVID-19 conversations with you We’ve been making socially distant visits to the porches of local convents to talk to Sisters about how their lives have changed during the pandemic. Tune in to our series of “COVID-19 Conversations” to hear about where they’re finding hope in unexpected blessings, why they’ve leaned into the power of prayer, and how they’re staying connected to our “dear neighbors” during this time of uncertainty and isolation. Use your cell phone or tablet camera to scan the QR code or visit

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Sisters of St. Joseph / winter