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Sylvania Franciscan Sisters of St. Francis OF Sylvania, Ohio Development Report SUMMER 2013

Sophia Center celebrates 20 years of serving the poor and marginalized Named after a Greek word that means “wisdom of God”, the Sophia Center recently celebrated 20 years of assisting people who are struggling with life issues. Started by Sylvania Franciscan Sister Rachel Nijakowski in June, 1993, with herself and one other counselor, the center has grown into a full spectrum of therapeutic services that provide an integrated and holistic approach to inner health and well-being. When Sister Rachel earned her doctorate in psychology in 1990 she interned in private practice and came to the realization that poor people just don’t get counseling. That is when she decided she wanted to focus on those on Mission Statement the edge of society who needed help, but didn’t have the financial means to pay for it. She opened her practice while still teaching at Lourdes College and testing students from inner city schools for learning disabilities. In the Called like Francis of Assisi early days, she focused on women and children, but has expanded Sophia Center to offer comprehensive services to live the Gospel in joyful for children, adolescents, college students and adults. “It’s not about making money,” said Sister Rachel. “Everyone on our staff, from the counselors and social workers servanthood among to those conducting evaluations and providing clerical support, wholeheartedly believe in our Sylvania Franciscan all people, the Sisters of mission of helping the poor and marginalized.” St. Francis of Sylvania, Sophia Center is located in the house of the family the Sisters bought the 89-acre property from in 1917 that Ohio, as messengers of became the Congregation’s motherhouse. Sister Rachel said the building—from the big front porch on the street peace, commit themselves side to the living room, now waiting room—creates an atmosphere of peace for the clients. She said it is almost like going to grandma’s house. Couple that with the reverence everyone shows and it is a very welcoming place for to works that reverence people to come who have problems they want to solve. human dignity, embrace the poor and marginalized, Sister Rachel entered the Sylvania Franciscans after attending Toledo’s Our Lady of Lourdes grade school where she was taught by the Sisters. She remembers their unbounding joy in everything they did and wanted to be like and respect the gift of that herself. She started as an elementary school teacher and realized she liked having an impact on young people. all creation. (continued on page 2)

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Message from the Congregational Minister

A time to reconnect, pray and celebrate Dear Friends, Peace and all good be with you. “Summer time and the living is easy,” is a favorite saying as we celebrate this season. The campus invites a spirit of reflection and prayer with all of the natural beauty of the greenery and flowers and, of course, activity. At the north end of our campus we continue serious construction of the new Maria Hall, a congregational independent living environment for our Sisters. The whole campus is humming with Lourdes University students in summer school, registration sessions for the fall semester, orientation and our new Lourdes University President is beginning to find his way around. During these days of summer many of our Sisters come home to reconnect with each other, go on retreat, pray, celebrate, enjoy the campus and just “Be.” All these experiences of beauty and spirituality are open to each of you too. Our campus, the center of our Sylvania Franciscan Village, invites you to participate in events at Lourdes University and the Franciscan Center. Experience one of our Hermitages for a day of prayer and recollection. Visit the Canticle of Praise Prayer Garden, or one of our many shrines and beautiful art that surrounds the campus. The opportunities for personal growth are many. Whether on our campus or in any place where we minister, the Sylvania Franciscan mission extends the meaning of the Franciscan Village. The Franciscan Village is to nurture the legacy and growth of the mission of the Sisters of St. Francis. We are called to build relationships with our partners and friends, to extend the values and the mission of the Sisters as all are present to, and involved in, Franciscan Village activities. The Sylvania Franciscan Village publishes a village e-mail newsletter. If you do not receive it and would like to receive it, e-mail Join us in any or all of the ways mentioned and be a Sylvania Franciscan Villager. Thank you for all that you do and share with the Sisters. We appreciate you and your support of our congregation.

In the peace of St. Francis,

Sister Mary Jon Wagner, OSF


“Everyone on our staff, from the counselors and social workers to those conducting evaluations and providing clerical support, whole heartedly believe in our Sylvania Franciscan mission of helping the poor and marginalized.”

After receiving a master’s degree in psychology, she taught at then Lourdes College before earning her doctorate and opening the Sophia Center. “My first calling was to be a teacher,” said Sister Rachel. “My second one was to be a counselor. It was a natural fit for my personality to meld the two. I get a great deal of energy from being with people and great satisfaction when the spirit allows me to say the right words to heal them.” The reason she counsels is because she wants to help people who are overwhelmed with problems they don’t know how to fix. She still remembers a young couple who came to her in the early years. They couldn’t have children of their own so they adopted a three-year-old who had serious behavioral issues because of his alcoholic parents. She worked with the toddler and his new parents to develop a plan to correct the problems. He has since gone from a child who couldn’t even talk to one who is now successfully traversing the challenges of being a high school teenager. Her goal is to get people to a place where they understand their problems and realize they can fix them on their own, because, after all, she can’t do it for them. When that happens, she knows the spirit has worked through her to lead them out of their chaos. Sophia began with a partnership with Bethany House, a longterm shelter for battered women and children in Toledo, and has expanded to providing counseling and testing for Lourdes University, both sponsored ministries of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania. In 1996, Sophia became part of what is now known as Sylvania Franciscan Health, the health and human services sponsored ministry of the Sisters.

Executive Director/Psychologist Sister Rachel Nijakowski, Ph. D.

Ministers of Art

If you’ve visited All Good Things, the Franciscan art and gift shop in Madonna Hall on the motherhouse grounds in Sylvania, you’ve seen all of the beautiful artwork, cards, soaps, lotions, and prayer pillows. It is because of the hard work and generosity of spirit of Sisters Margaret Hall, Mary Peter Kaminski and Nancy Johnson that these hand-made items are available to support the mission of the Sylvania Franciscans. Sister Nancy specializes in making soap. After retiring from teaching school and working as a hospital physical therapy aide, she was looking for something to keep active. She started by helping Sister Karen Zielinski, who began Holy Aromas, the store’s line of soaps and lotions. She began by cutting the material and has since learned the whole soap-making process. Sister Nancy finds soap making to be an organized and peaceful activity. She loved both of her “active” ministries of helping people. Now she is serving in what she calls her “hidden” ministry to spread the Franciscan values. “All those years in schools and hospitals, I took care of people,” said Sister Nancy. Now I am taking care of things. The value of a person is not in what you do, but how you do it and the fact that you do it. Making soap to support the ministries of our Sisters is what gets me up every day.” Sister Margaret, who celebrated her 60th jubilee as a Sylvania Franciscan last year, worked in the store when it was called Pine Cone Initiatives. She designed the line of cards the Sisters are known for. Looking for something different to do, she moved to Alverno Studio, where the ceramic art pieces are made. She is responsible for the small ceramic tiles. Sister Margaret came to the art ministry from an unrelated field. Known as Sister Brendan, she taught school for 30 years, much of it high school math, then she joined Sister Sheila Shea making cards. Three years ago she became Sister Jane Mary’s Sorosiak’s assistant in Alverno Studio. Her favorite design element is a frog. To Sister Margaret, frog is an acronym for “Forever Rely On God.” She said it is the best way to teach people to remember that God is present in everything they do. “There is a presence to our work,” said Sister Margaret. “We touch a lot of lives by what we do. Art helps people remember God by telling stories through pictures. It is the best way I can think of to use St. Francis’ words of “preach the Gospel at all time and use words when necessary.” Sister Mary Peter Kaminski does a little bit of everything in All Good Things. After spending 27 years as a medical technologist for hospitals, she returned to Sylvania and started making lotion bars for Sister Karen and branched out to include jewelry and ceramic tiles. Her specialty is Pysanka Easter eggs that are decorated with Ukrainian folk designs “written” on with beeswax. Sister Mary Peter spends eight to 10 hours on each egg and produces 12 to 15 each year to sell at Easter.

Visitors enjoy the tasteful variety of products that abound in All Good Things. Sister Mary Peter joyfully produces many items for the store – look for her especially remarkable hand-painted eggs.

Sister Margaret’s lovely handmade tiles are very popular at All Good Things.

“Being creative is a joy,” says Sister Mary Peter.“Working in All Good Things gives me an appreciation for beauty, which is what St. Francis meant when he said, ‘Pace et bene— Peace and all good.’ ” Help support the Sisters and their ministires by shopping at All Good Things On the grounds of the Sisters of St. Francis 419-824-3749 M–F 9 a.m.-5 p.m. SAT 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Visit the online store at

Sister Nancy enjoys the peacefulness of making soap. Her cleanly scents are for sale online and in the store.


Celebrating 80 Years

Our 2013 Jubilarians

Sister M. Juliana Sienko, OSF

Sister M. Juliana Sienko, who will be 100 in November, was one of three sisters from her family who became a Sister of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio. She entered the Congregation in 1928 from St. Hedwig parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota, took her first vows in 1933 and her final vows in 1936. Sister Juliana taught school for more than 55 years in Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio. She loved languages and was a French teacher for 26 years, 23 of them at Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview, Michigan, where she still has students who ask about her. She travelled all over Paris and Poland to learn the language and experience the culture and took post graduate studies in Polish at the University of Lublin in Poland. Short in stature, but big in spirit, Sister Juliana was never afraid to venture out and try new things. Her travel to France, Switzerland, Italy and Poland attest to that spirit.

Celebrating 75 Years Sister M. David Narog, OSF

Sister M. David Narog, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, entered the convent in 1932 and professed her final vows in 1941. She spent most of her life in ministry in education; both as a teacher and a principal in elementary and high schools schools in Michigan and Ohio. Sister David has resided at Rosary Care Center for the past 12 years where she has been a minister of prayer. Sister David taught classes in history, religion, economics, ethics and the humanities when she taught in high school. Her Polish heritage is still evident as she can read and translate letters she receives from family and friends in Poland. It’s been a long and rich life for Sister David as a Sylvania Franciscan for 75 years. Stolat!

Celebrating 60 Years Sister M. Austin Onisko, OSF

Sister M. Austin Onisko felt attracted to religious life and to the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters who were her teachers at St. Ladislaus School in Hamtramck, Michigan. She didn’t seriously think about entering religious life until Sister M. Florence asked her, “How long are you going to keep the Lord waiting?” She didn’t and here she is, celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. Sister Austin spent almost 30 years of ministry teaching in elementary schools in Ohio, Minnesota and Michigan. She then became a member of Trinity House of Prayer, the contemplative ministry of the Sisters in Sylvania and has spent the last 19 years as Christian Services Coordinator at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park, Michigan. Sister Austin recalls how much she enjoyed being called “Sister” by her first graders. She tries to spread the Lord’s peace and love to all she meets in her parish ministry and daily encounters with others. Her favorite saying from Mother Cabrini is, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me”.


Sister Eleanore Furman, OSF

Sister Eleanore Furman (formerly Sr. M. Benedict) enjoyed teaching in elementary schools in Ohio, Minnesota and Michigan and served as principal in elementary schools for 20 years. She loved the children and was affectionately known as the “hugging nun” by her students. She worked in pastoral care, was the associate director of the Franciscan Center in Sylvania and worked in teacher development for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois. Sister Eleanore wanted to be a Sister just like the Sylvania Franciscans who taught her at SS. Peter and Paul in Detroit. She was drawn to them because of their kindness. She finds a sense of peace and feels God’s unconditional love when she says “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner”. She lives each day as to inspire others to be kind, loving and spiritual people.

Sister M. Gervase Lochotzki, OSF

Sister M. Gervase Lochotzki felt a call to be a missionary since her First Communion day when she saw Christ and heard him say to her, “I want you to be a missionary.” The Sylvania Franciscans were her teachers at Immaculate Conception School in Port Clinton, Ohio and were the Sisters she knew best so she joined them. She taught elementary school in Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. The past 30 years, Sister Gervase has been tutoring adults and providing GED training for Bethany House, a long term-shelter in Toledo for women and children of domestic violence. When she isn’t tutoring, Sister Gervase likes to make mandalas and write poetry. While living in Kentucky, she carved a dulcimer out of walnut wood. Her goal is to become an accomplished dulcimer and piano player. Her favorite saying is, “Where your heart is there is your treasure”.

Sister Jeanette Zielinski, OSF

Sister Jeanette Zielinski (formerly Sr. M. Terence) was influenced by her teachers, the Sylvania Franciscans, at Nativity school in Toledo. They were always joyful, kind and down to earth. They genuinely liked their students and would even join them on the playground to play. Sister Jeanette taught and was principal in elementary schools in Ohio and Michigan. She was superintendent for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois and served on the Leadership Team for her Community for eight years. She is Pastoral Associate at Transfiguration of the Lord parish in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. One of the great joys in her life is to see her former students assume positions of authority and her former teachers advance their education and teach at the college and university level. A highlight of her ministries was playing the organ and leading the children’s choir at parishes where she taught. Her favorite saying says it all: “Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it.”

Sister Joan Jurski, OSF

Sister Joan Jurski (formerly Sr. M. John Bosco) is amazed and grateful for her religious life and the many opportunities she has been given. Because of the joy and good example she witnessed at St. Hedwig in Toledo, she wanted to become a Sylvania Franciscan and teach. She taught school in Michigan and Minnesota, served on her community’s Leadership Team, and was Peace and Justice Coordinator for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently, she is Director of Franciscan Spirituality Experiences. Living in Rome for a year was a highlight of her life. She was involved in transitioning the Church

Our 2013 Jubilarians

and her Community after Vatican II, worked with the homeless in Boston and helped students learn about poverty and injustice. Sister Joan likes to travel, read mystery novels and play Texas Hold’em poker. Her whole life she has attempted to follow the example of St. Francis, “preach the Gospel at all times and use words when necessary.”

Celebrating 50 Years Sister Brenda Rose Szegedy. OSF

Sister Brenda Rose Szegedy, (formerly Sr. M. Roselinda) inspired by the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters who taught her as well as the faith of her own family, entered the convent from Our Lady Queen of Heaven School in Detroit, Michigan. She taught elementary school in Ohio and Michigan and has been active in retreat ministry and spiritual direction at various spirituality centers in Ohio, New York, Florida and Minnesota. She serves on the Ministry Team at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota giving preached and directed retreats and offering spiritual direction. Sister Brenda Rose enjoys nature, walking, reading and being with friends savoring the simple things of life. Filled with gratitude throughout her 50 years she has become ever more convinced of the spiritual truth, “Together we are bonded in Christ, the Center of our life and our mission among God’s people. Together we continue to journey in the Hope that is Jesus.”

Sister Carol Hoffman, OSF

Sister Dorothy Mrock, OSF

Sister Dorothy Mrock (formerly Sr. M. Vincent) came to the convent along with several of her classmates from Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, Detroit, Michigan in June, 1957. The Sylvania Franciscans she and her family knew were warm women and great teachers. She taught at elementary schools in Ohio and Minnesota. Sister Dorothy was a parish organist and Vocation Director for her congregation. For 34 years Sister Dorothy was a Pastoral Minister, accompanying parishioners through times of sickness, grief and other personal events. A highlight of Sister Dorothy’s life is the preaching ministry she did with two Dominican priests, Rev. Joseph Bidwill and Rev. Tony Kilroy, as part of the Mendicant Preaching Team. Along with parish ministry, she and her companions traveled to 17 states to do parish missions/retreats. She says it was an energizing experience to witness the American Catholic Church in such a variety of settings.

Sister Geraldine Nowak, OSF

Sister Geraldine Nowak (formerly Sr. M. Majella) felt called to the Sisters of St. Francis because they seemed very human, understanding and fun. During the death process of her parents, Leo and Clare, she came to understand that leading a spiritual life was more important than having material things. Sister Geraldine describes herself as a “generalist,” personally and professionally. Her ministries include elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator, pastoral associate and leader, spiritual care coordinator in long term care and hospice, spiritual director, bereavement counselor, soup kitchen staff person, vocation minister, and justice and peace coordinator. For fun, Sister Geraldine likes to visit with her family and friends, attend art shows, travel, read, and watch movies. Reflecting on the past 50 years as a Sylvania Franciscan, Sister Geraldine has come to know God face to face through her many interactions with people, places, events and creation itself. One of her favorite quotations is from St. Bonaventure who said, “Creation is God’s first book of self-revelation”.

Sister Carol Hoffman (formerly Sr. M. Dismas) entered the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, Ohio in 1960 from Bowling Green, Ohio. Sister Carol has spent her 50 years in religious life in the ministry of education. She taught in elementary schools in Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana and has been a librarian at elementary schools in Louisiana and is currently a librarian at Holy Ghost School in Louisiana. After 30 years of living in New Orleans, Sister Carol has become a lover of all things Mardi Gras and enjoys the many pre-Lenten parades. She is eager to show visitors how to celebrate the people and culture of the Sister Janet Snyder, OSF South. She has also survived hurricanes, rebuilding schools and churches, Sister Janet Snyder (formerly Sr. M. Francetta) and restoring life back to normal after these large scale tragedies. She is from Toledo, attended St. Ursula Academy and really a survivor. Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll). was attracted to religious life. Her mother’s friend took her to see the Sylvania Franciscans. She Sister Carol Ann Grace, OSF realized her call in the beauty of the motherhouse Sister Carol Ann Grace (formerly Sr. M. Edmund) grounds and became a member of the congregafeels that her religious life has taken her on a tion. She taught school in Ohio, Michigan and journey that has introduced her to God through Minnesota before going into pastoral work. education, parish, diocesan and congregational After nine years in Toledo, she went to work in a large parish in ministry. She feels she has grown as an indiDetroit. She took a sabbatical in the great southwest and fell in love vidual as well as spiritually and has come to a with its beauty and returned often for retreats. She took art classes at better understanding of who we are as a Church Lourdes College and earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art. because of her contacts with the People of God. As Art Consultant for the Congregation she found it Sister Carol Ann was born at home on rewarding to preserve the wonderful art in the Christmas Day. Her parents named her Carol motherhouse buildings. She now lives in in honor of the day and it is through their example that she learned to Our Lady of Grace Hall, the assisted living love the Mass, prayer and serving others. Her dedication to the congrefacility for sisters, and continues to gation is evident as she uses her gifts and talents for the advancement dabble in art and enjoy of the congregation and her living out the Mission—being a woman of peace and seeker of justice, open and responsive to the needs of our the Sisters she lives with. ever changing world, church and community.


Our 2013 Jubilarians Sister M. Jeremias Stinson, OSF

Sister Mary Thill, OSF

Sister Jeremias Stinson entered the convent from Immaculate Conception Parish, Port Clinton, Ohio and taught elementary school in Toledo and Detroit for eight years. She began the restoration of the Portiuncula Chapel on the Motherhouse grounds in 1974 and started the reforestation and land development program for the 55 acres of marshes and woodlands now known as the Canticle of Praise Prayer Garden. Sister Jeremias’ interest in the campus woodlands led her to become a licensed nursery stock propagator and certified modern landscape contractor/designer. She developed a response program for the Emerald Ash Borer issue on the campus. She is the Superintendent of Environmental Stewardship, Gardens, Shrines and Woodlands for the Sisters. Sister Jeremias’ other talents include playing the trombone at liturgical celebrations, seeing the outdoors through the eyes of St. Francis, and regaling others with stories told with humor and detail. She lives out her commitment as a Sister of St. Francis by reminding others with her words and by her actions of the dignity of all of God’s creatures.

Sister Mary Thill (formerly, Sr. M. Robert Francis) taught elementary school in Ohio and Michigan before moving into healthcarerelated ministries. Her love and dedication for the elderly is evident in her work for the last 40 years with elders in a variety of settings. She was Administrator of Rosary Care Center and developed the Gerontology Certificate and Degree programs at Lourdes University, where she was the Chairperson of the Gerontology Department. Sister Mary was a Specialist in Aging at Sophia Counseling Center and was a Program Assistant for Parish Social Elder Ministry at Toledo Catholic Charities. She currently ministers as a Patient Liaison for the Mature Health Connections at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. Highlights of her life include preparing children for First Holy Communion; enjoying the Assisi Pilgrimage in 1991; experiencing a sabbatical at Blessing Place in Lacombe, Louisiana; and being awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

Sister Josephine Dybza, OSF

Sister Patricia Zielinski (formerly Sr. M. Michael Marie) relied on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead her to a variety of ministries in hospitals and a nursing homes, for 33 years in Texas. She currently is Co-Director of the Marians at Rosary Care Center in Sylvania, Ohio. Sister Pat was inspired to enter the convent by the example of the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters who were her teachers. Their kind, gentle and happy ways attracted her to them and she also felt called by God to be a Sister. Her life as a nurse and chaplain suited the gifts she has as someone who is sensitive to the needs of the sick and the dying. She felt greatly loved and respected by the people in the Brazos Valley of Texas, where she accomplished many things she never thought would happen in her life. Sister Pat tries to live the Gospel and carry out the healing ministry of Jesus by listening with an open ear, a loving heart and a gentle touch.

Sister Josephine Dybza (formerly Sr. M. Thomas) was inspired by the Sylvania Franciscans who taught her in school. She liked to work with them when they cleaned the church. Her specialty was cleaning vigil lights. She was drawn to the Sisters because of their happy spirit and artistic abilities. She liked the habit they wore though she wondered if they had shoes because she couldn’t see them. For more than 30 years Sister Josephine was a teacher and then principal in elementary schools in Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. She worked with developmentally delayed elders, children with autism and adults with dementia. She felt called to “work with God in Haiti” and has been doing so since 2008. She says she has learned so much from the poor and has learned to receive and not give all the time. As she reflects on the loving God who has given her so much, the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is her favorite metaphor.

Sister M. Josina Antolak, OSF

Sister M. Josina Antolak, entered the convent from SS Peter and Paul Parish in Detroit. She wrote on her admission form that she wanted to become a Sylvania Franciscan because “she loved God and wanted to serve Him” and that is still her motivation today. Sister Josina’s ministry has been varied. She taught in elementary schools in Ohio and Michigan; high school girls at St. Clare Academy in Sylvania; was the librarian at St. Joseph’s School in Sylvania, sacristan at the Motherhouse, and a family caregiver. When asked how she will continue to influence others she says she doesn’t think she does anything special. She just tries to treat everyone she meets with respect. She’d like to make the Assisi Pilgrimage someday. As she gets older she finds herself in awe of the goodness of so many of the Sisters both living and deceased. Sister Josina tries to live up to her favorite saying, “Judge not and you will not be judged.”


Sister Patricia Mary Zielinski, OSF

Celebrating 25 Years Sister Julie Myers, OSF

Sister Julie Myers met the Sylvania Franciscans while attending St. Elizabeth grade school, in Richfield Center, Ohio. The seed of her vocation may have been planted there, but never really germinated until after high school when she could appreciate their unique way of life and spirit! After volunteering at Providence Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio, she fell in love with healthcare and realized her calling from God was to be of one of service, not only to God’s people in need, but through the gift of Religious Life. Her willing spirit has nourished her as she ministers as a Physical Therapist Assistant at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Sacristan of the Sisters’ Motherhouse Chapel, and as the Congregation’s Vocation Minister. Religious Life has taught Sister Julie that it is not about ‘what’ one does in life, but ‘how’ you do it and ‘who’ you become because of experiences lived, lessons learned, and people loved…God creates the journey, we are simply called to walk the path.

In Memoriam

Sister M. Patrice Kerin, OSF – Sister M. Patrice Kerin died April

7, 2013. Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1927, she entered the Congregation in 1945 and professed her final vows in 1950. She spent 24 years in education in Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio as a teacher and principal. She was Congregational Superior for the Sisters of St. Francis from 1976 to 1984 and President of the Franciscan Federation from 1977 to 1981. She established Franciscan Services Corporation in 1984 as a way to provide professional oversight for the Sisters’ growing healthcare ministry and served as Chair of the Board for 20 years. She enjoyed life in all its many aspects and was ready to celebrate a birthday, feastday or holiday with all her Irish heritage could bring to the party. She had a reverence that people found consoling as she guided them through their spiritual journeys. Sister Patrice helped move Sisters through rough times after Vatican II and did it with gentleness and good humor.

Sister Marie Muskala, OSF –Sister Marie Muskala (formerly Sr. Bede) died February 21, 2013 in Rosary Care Center. Born in 1915 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she entered the Sylvania Franciscans in 1928 and took her final vows in 1936. Most of Sister Marie’s 80 years of ministry were spent teaching high school math in Michigan and Ohio. She was a principal at schools in Crestline, Cincinnati and Sylvania, Ohio and spent 23 years in pastoral care and medical records at a hospital in Detroit. Though born in Minnesota, Sister Marie spent so long ministering in the Detroit area that she because an avid Tigers fan. She loved to read and was especially interested in books on theology. She travelled often and in her later years she used her travel logs to share with the resident of Rosary Care where she lived her final 12 years.

Sister M. Digna Chirpich, OSF –Sister M. Digna Chirpich died

January 29, 2013 in Rosary Care Center. Born in Wells, Minnesota in 1923, she entered the Sylvania Franciscans in 1942 and made her final vows in 1948. Her 68 years of serving God’s people were spent primarily as an elementary school teacher in Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio. She was a loving presence to the students she taught and was remembered with great fondness by all who experienced her. Though slight in body, she had a strong will and when she wanted something to happen, she would find others who could help her achieve her goals. Her dear sister, Sylvania Franciscan Sister Philothea, misses her, but has many happy and endearing memories of their special times together.

Looking for the perfect gift? Shop at All Good Things. Featuring original art, lovely handmade items, jewelry, natural soaps and lotions, and much more.

On the grounds of the Sisters of St. Francis 419-824-3749 M-F 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Shop our online store:

Time for change and a new life It has been my pleasure to work as the Development Director for the Congregation. I believe in the Sisters of St. Francis, our Mission and our Vision. It has been an opportunity to talk about the amazing ministries and the gifted women who are part of them. It has been my joy to invite people to participate in a variety of ways. By doing this, both the donor and ourselves have become richer spiritually and relationally. I felt a great commitment through the years because the support of those with whom I work. It has been my pleasure and privilege to work with all of you the past 14 years. There have been a lot of changes, especially in the past six years. I have learned a lot. So, I am filled with gratitude for the generosity, creativity, and progress that has been made. It is time for a change and new life. Doors are waiting to be opened. Through prayer and discernment for a couple of years, I leave with good feelings about all that has been accomplished and then what lies open for the future. There is a tug in my heart about leaving and yet I am filled with anticipation of what is to come. Thank you for all you have done to make these years so fulfilling. I extend my gratitude to, you, our donors who have been so generous to the ministries of the Sisters of St. Francis. It has been very rewarding to be in contact with such generous partners who through mail, events, visits and committees responded so graciously with the intent to give so that others may be served. You help us to be women of peace and seekers of justice. In the name of my Sisters, I am grateful. Sincerely in Francis and Clare, Sister Carol Ann Grace Director of Development Administrator of Congregational Advancement 419-824-3625

“Gifts from our supporters enable us to serve in diverse ministries including education on all levels, social work, health and human services, religious education, parish and retreat ministry and spiritual direction.” – Sister Carol Ann Grace, OSF 7

Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio 6832 Convent Boulevard Sylvania, Ohio 43560 Visit us on Facebook:

Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio 6832 Convent Boulevard Sylvania, Ohio 43560 Phone: 419-882-2016 Fax: 419-885-8643 Web: The Sylvania Franciscan newsletter is a publication of the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio. Sister Mary Jon Wagner, OSF Congregational Minister Sister Theresa Darga, OSF Assistant Congregational Minister Sister Sharon Derivan, OSF Councilor/Congregational Secretary Sister Patricia Gardner, OSF Councilor/Congregational Treasurer Sister Rachel Marie Nijakowski, OSF Councilor Sister Carol Ann Grace, OSF Director of Development & Administrator of Congregational Advancement 419-824-3625

14th Annual Sylvania Franciscan Gala

Saturday, September 28

Celebrate an evening of fine food, festivities, friendship, raffle, silent auction and dancing to the KGB Motown Band, while helping to support our mission of “ joyful servanthood among all people.” Bring your dancing shoes! 5 p.m. Mass and Award presentations in Queen of Peace Chapel 6 p.m. Gala Reception at the Franciscan Center

RSVP by September 13, 2013. For more information, contact Andrea Schraw, 419-824-3624,

Feeling Lucky?


Buy our raffle tickets for your chance to win $5,000, $3,000 or $2,000! Drawing takes place at the Gala and tickets are limited. Don’t miss your chance to WIN! Call 419-824-3624 or buy online at

Sylvania Franciscan Summer 2013  

Called like Francis of Assisi to live the Gospel in joyful servanthood among all people, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, as me...

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