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Angela Merici and the ‘Signs of the Times’ By Sister Marietta Wethington, OSU Co-Director of Ursuline Partnerships


s we reflect on the celebration of the feast of Saint Angela which took place January 27, we remember her as a woman with a passion for justice. She encouraged her daughters to be sensitive to the signs of the times and to change accordingly. We might ask what are the current issues that would concern Angela, and how she would respond. Where would she put her energies in making the world a better place? Would she be bothered by the recent debate about “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays”? In my opinion, that would not be high on Angela’s list of priorities. Angela, I believe, would be more concerned about poverty and the number of people who live without life’s basic necessities. She would be concerned about war and its terrible devastation, both in terms of human life and its destruction of the earth. She would be concerned about the arms race and its cost in terms of depriving the poor of food, shelter, and clothing. Angela would be concerned about human trafficking, especially of women and children. She would be concerned with the practices of consumerism by Americans that are so rapidly destroying our planet. Angela would care that the aging population in our society does not have enough money for health care, and that so many of our senior citizens are considered a burden rather than valued as persons with lots of wisdom to share. Another great concern for Angela would be the torture of human persons that is so prevalent in the world Instead of hating people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another. Thomas Merton

St. Angela Merici 1470-1540

today. How would Angela respond to these needs that are so pressing in today’s society? What would she do if she were walking the earth today? As I thought about that, I realized that Angela is alive on this earth today. In the prologue to the counsels, she says, “I am more alive than when I lived on earth,” and in her last counsel, “I myself will always be in your midst.” Angela is alive today and acts through each of us who bear the title “Ursuline,” both as sister and associate. So our real question is not what would Angela do, but what must I do? If Angela shows concern for all the above issues, she must do it though us, her Ursuline sisters and associates. We are probably asking how can I – just one person – make a difference in such daunting Continued on Page 3

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Associate Update, February 2006

Making Love Visible...

Volunteer/lay minister Bernadette Howard spends early and late hours helping the young and old By Suzanne Gochenouer, OSUA

I sat down with Bernadette Howard to talk about her multitude of volunteer efforts in this community. She confided that she started volunteering as a young adult and thought it was at the St. Joseph Parish soup kitchen. Bernadette shows amazing energy for all of her volunteer work. Many of her volunteer positions are with her parish, Precious Blood in Owensboro: Eucharistic minister (including communion to shutins); member of the welcome and social justice committees; leader of Mary’s Apostles of Prayer group, a weekly scripture study group at her home, and groups at Almost Family Adult Day Ursuline Associate Bernadette Care and Heritage Howard speaks to the Owensboro associates October 11, 2005, at Place (assisted living Brescia University. Bernadette is facility). She leads a very active at Precious Blood communion service Church, but she finds time to lead at Davco Rest committees, take communion to shutHome. And she is ins, and work full-time with children Coordinator of who are mentally ill. Ursuline Associates in the Owensboro area and a Mount Saint Joseph Picnic volunteer. Her most important and fulfilling work is perhaps as a mental health associate at a residential home for children ages 12 to 18 diagnosed with mental illness. She has been employed by RiverValley Behavioral Health in this position for 11 years. Five nights a week, as the rest of the city winds down at day’s end, Bernadette is leaving her home to arrive at the West Ninth Street residence for the 11-7 shift. She spends the night maintaining charts recording the behavior of the eight residents, inventorying and passing out medications (she is qualified through a MedTraining program), and, every 30 minutes, making rounds to check on the residents. Sometimes she also

does laundry for the home. On school days, Bernadette gives morning medications while her co-worker fixes breakfast. When she has a moment to catch her breath, she prepares studies for her next scripture group, or she has the opportunity to read. Bernadette laughs about being a late starter in attaining her college degree — a major in lay ministry with a minor in psychology. She credits Sisters Barbara Peterson and Peggy Nau, then pastoral associates at Precious Blood, with encouraging her to enter the Brescia University lay ministry program. When asked to give a talk about her faith, she wasn’t sure she could do it — but after she made the speech, she felt a sense of accomplishment. She hadn’t really considered lay ministry

‘Bernadette laughs again when claiming to be a late starter in attaining her college degree – a major in lay ministry from Brescia.’

study, so the decision took time. She still insists she doesn’t know if she is good at any of the things she does, but people ask her to get involved with full confidence she can do whatever they ask of her. After graduating in 1994, Bernadette expected to find work in a parish but was disappointed when that did not happen. Again, someone else thought she could do something she hadn’t considered. She gives Rose Sloan, a friend from Precious Blood, credit for encouraging her to get a job in psychology. After accepting a full-time position at RiverValley, she discovered she enjoyed working with the children. When asked to go full-time on the midnight shift, she did so. Her son Tim was a student at Brescia while her son John Jr. was a senior at Owensboro Catholic High at the time, so her schedule was not too disruptive to their lives. Her husband, John Sr., who is retired from the late shift at the post office, now stays up until she leaves for work each evening. They enjoy having time to do things as a couple. Bernadette could retire from RiverValley but feels she is right where she is needed. She enjoys working with the children who need her and declares she receives as much love and care from them as she gives. She has no regrets about the path she has chosen or the journey that brought her here. All those who have the opportunity to meet and work with Bernadette are grateful indeed for all the ways she makes love visible. 

Associate Update, February 2006

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Saint Angela challenges us today (Continued from Page 1) situations. Again we can turn to Angela, who encouraged environmentalist, has told us that if we lose the us to be people of prayer, to take refuge at the feet of environment, we lose God. This surely challenges us to Jesus. Our action must flow out of a deeply prayerful find our own way to respect and care for the earth and lifestyle. Then we must trust our intuitions and act on allow all our brothers and sisters to have what they need. what we hear God’s Spirit speak to our own hearts. As for the issue of torture, Angela’s great respect for If we want to confront war in our world, we must the individual surely motivates us to do what we can to first heal those places in our own hearts that cause war help put an end to it. There are organizations that can help and violence. Then we will us take action, such as be able to speak out, to Amnesty International ‘Angela is alive today. She is in our presence make known to those who (, and in our actions...she commissions us to make Torture Abolition and are in decision-making our world the place she envisioned.’ positions what we believe Survivors Support Coalition should be done. The same (, and is true for fighting the Southern Poverty Law causes of poverty. Center ( You can visit their websites We have been told that letters and phone calls to or ask to be added to their mailing lists. I’ve mentioned legislators are an effective means of change. Do your only three things, but there are many others. legislators know what you believe about the budget cuts Angela is alive today. She is in our presence and in that take money from health care, child care, food stamps our actions. I believe she commissions and challenges us and student loans? When did you register your voice? to make our world the kind of place she envisioned — a Have you spoken out to express concern that our nation world where each person can live in peace with the as a whole seems to be losing its care and compassion for dignity of a child of God.  our most vulnerable citizens? We may be tempted to remain unconcerned about human trafficking. After all, it only happens in far-off places, in those countries whose names I can’t even For understand now that I am more alive than pronounce…right? I was when I lived on earth, No, not really. A recent article (January 8, 2006) in and see better and hold the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer told us that more dear and pleasing the trafficking happens right here in our own town. People are trafficked for sexual purposes as well as for forced good things which I see you labor even in Owensboro and Daviess County, Kentucky! constantly doing, and now, One little action on our part may have wide effects. even more, I want and am The same M-I article told us that a bill has been able to help you and do you introduced in the Kentucky legislature to raise trafficking good in every way. to a criminal status, making it a Class B Felony. I believe the precipitating action for that was Sister Catherine Prologue to The Counsels of Barber’s passing along a brochure on human trafficking Saint Angela Merici to our state senator and asking him to consider doing something about it. A response for Kentucky residents would be to follow the story and, when it is time, to UPDATE is published four times a year encourage our lawmakers to vote the bill into existence. for the Associates of the Does your state have such a law? If not, could you Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph contact a representative and ask him/her to consider 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356-9999 sponsoring such a bill? Phone: 270-229-2006 • Fax: 270-229-4953 Website: (See Associates) Angela’s Franciscan spirituality surely speaks of her E-mail: love of the earth and gives us a hint of what she would do to care for the earth today. One research project found CO-DIRECTORS OF URSULINE PARTNERSHIPS: Marian Bennett, OSUA • Sister Marietta Wethington, OSU that if all the earth’s people used the same amount of resources that we Americans use, it would take four more EDITOR: Sister Ruth Gehres, OSU GRAPHIC DESIGN: Jennifer Kaminski planets to sustain us. Thomas Berry, a Catholic priest and


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Associate Update, February 2006

Associates meet and greet in Maple Mount and Owensboro

Ursuline Associates Advisory Board Meeting, November 19, 2005 The Associate Advisory Board gathered for its fall meeting at Mount Saint Joseph. Topics discussed were the associate formation process and materials, initial planning for the Mount Saint Joseph Associate organization’s 25th anniversary in 2008, and development of a mission statement for the advisory board and associates. The board will meet three times a year. Seated: Sister Maureen Griner, Memphis and Sister Mary Lois Speaks, Raywick, Ky. Standing: Marian Bennett, coordinator; Paul Gray, Memphis; Jody Ziegler, Leitchfield, Ky.; Mary Ann Schilling, Ferdinand, Ind., and Sister Marietta Wethington, coordinator. (Absent: Therese Fraize, Morganfield, KY)

Owensboro Associates Meet December 5, 2005 Top: Sisters Joseph Angela Boone and Julia Head discuss agenda items during a meeting with Owensboro-area associates at Brescia University. Above: Mary Kennedy, Sister Fran Wilhelm and Marian Bennett pause for a picture during the meeting.

Fall Commitment Ceremony

Commitment Ceremony November 16, 2005

Back row: Associate Betty Medley, Owensboro; Associate Father Ben Luther, Central City; Sister Michele Morek, Congregational Leader of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph; and Associate Tracy Strother, Leitchfield. Front row: Sister Marietta Wethington and Marian Bennett, Co-Directors of Ursuline Partnerships.

During a fall commitment ceremony in the Mount Saint Joseph Chapel, Associate Betty Medley made her lifetime commitment, and Associates Father Ben Luther and Tracy Strother made temporary commitments. Above: Tracy Strother gets a hug from Sister Michele Morek at the ceremony.

Associate Update, February 2006

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Remembering Special Days... March Anniversary of Acceptance:

April Anniversary of Acceptance:

May Anniversary of Acceptance:

21 Years Shirlene Quinn, Laura Smith, Nettie Castle 19 Years Ann Collins 18 Years Larry and Jane Denton, Diane Wilson, Catherine Bockhold, Rebecca Leonard, David and Gloria Henderson, Don and Maxine Hobbs, Mike and Pat Sullivan 17 Years Kevin Karl 15 Years Carolyn Miller 12 Years Fr. Conran Runnebaum 11 Years Anna Lesousky 7 years Audrey Durbin 5 years Patricia Jamett, Jolanda Moraga, Inez Galvez, Evelina Salas, Carola Pulgar, Sonia Pradenas, Raquel Sepulveda 4 Years Fr. Tony Shonis 3 Years Carol Jo Hogan, Catherine Gawarecki, Mildred McDowell, Carlene Braun 2 Years Debbie Walker, Ann Thomas, Ed and Gloria Cecil, Don and Marlene Monaghan 1 Year Lela Buettmann, Margaret Mount

22 Years Winnie Cohron, Ione Deken 21 Years Therese Allen, Gertrude Tyrala 19 Years Fr. Ed Bradley, Adrian Bumpus, Anna Dye, Bonnie Marks 18 Years Ann and John Hancock, Gail Funk, Betty and Bobby Joe Christian, Cecilia Curtis, Claudette Ford, Ada Bader, Bob and Marty Darst, June Townsend, Brenda Sauer, Irvin Hancock, Nancy Richards 12 Years Marvin and Murilla Giittinger, Ann Hayden 9 Years Lena Dees, Phil and Velma Dees, Isabelle King 7 Years Jean Dowdy, Larry Dowdy 5 Years Dorothy Hughes, Arleen Naglich, Dolores Polson 4 Years Ruth Metschuleit 2 Years Brenda Semar

22 Years Therese Fraize 21 Years Connie Del Muro 20 Years Joan McKinnon, Midge Palm, Dr. Bob Pfeiler 19 Years Mary Ann Childs 18 Years Margaret Stenger 17 Years Christopher Walls, Paul Kordenbrock 16 Years Jeanne Lamastus 14 Years Shirley Eckert, Helen Pfeiffer, Sandra Jull, Philomena Bollinger, Dottie Clark, Camilla Frey, Wilma Howard, Therese Lawson, Francis and Jean Steffen, Rita Summers 12 Years Judy Embry, Sr. Jeannette Touchet, Anna Mae and Clarence Kaiser, Sr. Ann Middlebrooks, Georgann Stuck 9 Years George and Lorna Horishny, Mary Jo Johnson, Michael Lemm, Larry Lynch, Meg and Mike Synk 7 Years June Fowler 4 Years Suzanne Gochenouer, Chris Geary, Thurman Mullen, Darlene Sapp, Bobby Smyth 2 Years Gary and Serafina Mesnier 1 Year Fr. Ben Luther, Ruth Bittel, Penny Burns, Tracy Strother, Jean Simpson, Elenita McConnell

April Birthdays:

May Birthdays:

March Birthdays: 2 5 7 12 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 23 24 25 26

Shearon Harris, Diane Wilson Kay Buckman, Stella McClure George Horishny Velma Dees Darlene Sapp, Mary Costello Pauline Goebel Diane Hayden Joan McKinnon Camilla Frey, Mike Sullivan Carolyn Butler Angelina Glomb Fr. Leonard Alvey, Marcy Bufalini Carlene Braun Catherine Roddy June Townsend, Jodie Fulkerson, Marcella Critchelow Bea Porter

1 2 3 4 6 8 9 11 14 15 16 17 21 22 24 25 27 28

Frances Elder Larry Minks Jeanne Miller Evelina Salas, Joyce Firenza Mary Jo Dodson, Violet Hamilton, Mary Rita Trittschuh, Marian Bennett Wanda Gibson, Sue Donahue Doris Kolb-Hopkins, Fr. Brian Johnson Wanda Rickard Lucille Weidenbenner Laura Smith, Fr. Richard White Claudette Ford Terry Barnes Jerry Frey Mildred McDowell Carolyn Head, Fr. Ed Bradley Rev. Patricia Dawkins, Fr. Brian Roby Edna Marnell Bob Pfeiler, Michael Lemm

1 2 4 5 6 9 11 12 13 14 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 29

Karen Beavers Marie Ritz Murilla Giittinger, Lil Wilson Madeleine Bianco John Allen Ruth Wright-Welzen Clarence Kaiser Sonia Pradenas Willa Bloemer Loni Daniels Mike Synk Paige Williams Cecilia McEldowney Tracy Strother, Loretta Oliver, Gail Davenport Maxine Hobbs Sandra Jull, Ola Higdon Kevin Karl, Rose Mary Egli, Amy Payne Sr. Agnes Ijoko, HHCJ Sharon Rose Jean Bertram

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Associate Update, February 2006

Remembering Rev.Meldon Hickey, OFM...A Man for All People By Sister Mary Matthias Ward, OSU, Director of Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Gallup, New Mexico


party for the deacons and their are is the man that wives, I was at the table with everyone calls friend. Fr. Meldon, Bishop Pelotte, Even more rare is one who can and another sister. Fr. Meldon make each person feel special. suddenly looked at his watch Father Meldon Hickey was that and exclaimed: “I am due man. Fr. Meldon Hickey had home for holy hour.” I was so that gift. impressed that he could leave Fr. Meldon emulated his for a holy hour in the midst of patron, Francis of Assisi. A holy such fun. But those who know man, a humble man, a man of the Franciscan Friars at St. hope, a man of hospitality, he Father Meldon Hickey poses with Ursuline Michael know that the worked in the Southwest for Sisters Marie Brenda Vowels, the late Mary Saturday evening “holy hour” Henry Russell, Joseph Adrian Russell and Margaret over 50 years. He was loved by Joseph Aull in Madisonville, Ky., in 1996. is a poker game! all, especially by the Acoma, During Fr. Meldon’s wake the Laguna, the Zuni, the Hopi, and funeral, I sat mesmerized by the deep love and the Apache and the Navajo Indians. His large, loving and devotion of all…the Native Americans, his friars, his courageous heart gave to them all. peers…from the plaintive cry of the Navajo, “who will Fr. Meldon made many friends through Cursillo, give me the body and blood of Jesus? Who will hear my Search program for young adults, the ministry and diaconate formation classes. He was spiritual director and confession?”; the sobbing of Fr. Larry, the provincial, as he incensed Meldon’s body; the words of love spoken by confessor to many. Bishop Donald Pelotte; the teasing story of a lifetime In 1988 I met Fr. Meldon wearing a ten-gallon hat, a friendship of Fr. Crispin; to the humor of Fr. Gilbert bolo, and that million dollar smile. I already knew him saying, “I can hear Meldon saying, ‘we packed them in through his great friends, the Ursuline Sisters. When I didn’t we?’” The standing ovation by the many, many arrived in the Diocese of Gallup in 2003, Fr. Meldon was persons who called him friend, brother, father, among the first to welcome me. He was so generous in grandfather, and confessor was overwhelming. helping out when I needed a priest for Mass, the Fr. Meldon Hickey, Ursuline Associate, was a man Sacrament of Reconciliation, or retreats. One story tells a lot about Fr. Meldon. At a Christmas for all people. 

Reflections on the Ursuline Sisters in New Mexico


he Ursuline Sisters have played an important part in my family’s life, going back to the late 1920s or early 1930s. My maternal Grandma Loretta Warren was sick a lot, and her doctor told her if she didn’t move to a drier climate, she would die. So she and my grandfather Edgar Warren migrated to northwest New Mexico and homesteaded near the San Juan River. Some of her brothers had “blazed the trail” before them. The family traveled on the train with all their belongings that included a prized horse — I never heard what became of him. Grandma was the first woman in the San Juan settlement, and it fell on her shoulders to cook for the five or six or seven men in a home that was hewn out of a mountainside. A priest came regularly when they got permanent housing. Grandma cooked for all of them. She had brought her best china and table linens and set a gracious table. The roof of the house was sod. Edna Marnell, OSUA During one of the meals, a snake dropped from the “ceiling” down onto the table where they were eating. Only the hardy stock could survive the primitive conditions! I say all of this to lay a background for the Ursulines who moved to Waterflow to establish a school. One favorite sister was Sister Mary Joseph, who became a dear friend of Grandma’s. The Warren home was the closest residence to the academy — just a “stone’s throw” away. Grandma had 11 children and could not have reared such fine men and women without Sister Mary Joseph’s help and counseling. Two of the “clan” became Ursuline Sisters: Sister Ancilla Marie and Sister Mary Edgar. Sister Fran Wilhelm was the second generation religious vocation. Now you know why we hold the Ursulines in such high esteem. God bless all of you! - - By Edna Marnell, OSUA

Associate Update, February 2006

Introducing our New Ursuline Sisters

These former Ursulines of Belleville, Illinois, are now offically Ursulines of Mount Saint Joseph. The merger between the two communities was celebrated November 25, 2005, in honor of the day Saint Angela Merici founded the Company of Saint Ursula. Seated from left: Sister Mary Elizabeth Krampe (retired/prayer), Sister Frances McDonagh (community service/prayer in Illinois), Sister Eileen Mullen (retired/prayer), Sister Mary Patrick McDonagh (community service/visitations in Illinois), Sister Emily Zent (retired/prayer); Standing from left: Sister Marilyn Mueth (elementary teacher in Illinois), Sister Evelyn Latham (counselor in Minnesota), Sister Mary Ellen Backes (pastoral associate in Illinois), Sister Dorothy Helbling (prayer ministry and hospitality in Belleville) and Sister Catherine Kaufman (community service/ministry of sick at Mount Saint Joseph).

Illinois woman enters Ursuline Contact Program Karen Siciliano of Springfield, Illinois, entered the first phase of formation with the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph January 22. Karen (left) is pictured with her friend and mentor Sister Mary Ellen Backes, OSU.

Welcome to our New Associate Pauline “Po” Wethington Goebel of Louisville was educated by Ursulines from First Communion through St. Bernard High School in Clementsville. The fifth of eight children and younger sister of Sister Marietta Wethington, Po tells us she is the “daughter of wonderful parents who gave me a zest for life and a caring spirit.” She and her husband, Paul, have been married for 36 years and are the parents of Greg and Camille. An active member of St. Michael Parish in Louisville, she is described as “a compassionate woman, responding to every need she hears that speaks to human suffering or deprivation.” Her contact sister is Sister Suzanne Sims.

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In Memory of Amanda Rose Spalding, OSUA Amanda Rose Spalding, OSUA, 88, of Howardstown, Kentucky, died January 23. Survivors include a sister, Gertrude Cissel, and several nieces and nephews, including Sister Eva Boone, OSU. She made her lifetime associate commitment in 1996. Sister Eva writes: “Perhaps before the Associate program of the Ursuline Sisters was born, Jack and Amanda Rose were prototype associates. Both were taught by MSJ Ursulines at St. Ann School in Howardstown. The late Sister Bartholene Warren used to call them her children and possibly foresaw the loving life they would live with each other. Jack and Amanda Rose built a house across the country road from the Ursuline Convent at St. Ann Parish. Their lives became entwined with the Ursulines. They had no children, so they were available to the Sisters in a unique way. In the early days when the Sisters didn’t drive, Jack and Amanda Rose provided transportation. If we could hear the Spirit of the dead in the MSJ cemetery, we’d hear many stories of traveling across the road from the Ursuline Convent to the home of Jack and Amanda Rose.”

Prayer Requests


Carlene Braun, OSUA Penny Cooper Burns, OSUA Leon Donahue, OSUA Carol Jo Hogan, OSUA Father Ben Luther, OSUA Polly Mouser, OSUA Bea Porter, OSUA Father Phil Riney, OSUA Bobbie Nell Smith, OSUA Marilyn Felhoelter Terry, OSUA Lucille Weidenbenner, OSUA Raymond Hill, husband of Carol Hill, OSUA Bill Smith, husband of Laura Abell Smith, OSUA Mike Troutman, husband of Phyllis Troutman, OSUA Dave Cook, brother of Mary Jo Dodson, OSUA Jennifer Lundquist, granddaughter of Mary Jo Dodson, OSUA David Mudd, associate candidate

MAY THEY REST IN PEACE: Father Meldon Hickey OFM, OSUA Amanda Rose Spalding, OSUA JD McConnell, husband of Elenita McConnell, OSUA Marie A. Boone, mother of Marilyn Beam, OSUA Eleanor Bufalini, mother of Michael Bufalini, OSUA Lucille Swihart, mother of Shirlene Quinn, OSUA Joe Peters, brother of Anna Marie Dye, OSUA

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Upcoming Meetings and Events... ✲ Associate Information Session • Saint Matthias Church, Louisville Saturday, February 11, 2006 , 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ✲ Associate Advisory Board • Mount Saint Joseph Saturday, March 18, 2006, 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. ✲ Owensboro Associates Meeting • Brescia University Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 5:00 p.m. (Supper in Dining Hall) • 6:00 p.m. (Vespers in Chapel) ✲ Catholic Charismatic Conference/Retreat • Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center March 10-12, 2006. Registration required. ✲ A Women’s Retreat: “Being and Doing” • Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center March 17-19, 2006. Registration required. ✲ The Spirituality of Work Conference • Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center March 24-25, 2006. Registration required. ✲ Associates / Sisters Day • Mount Saint Joseph • Saturday, July 8, 2006, 8:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Mark your calendars and plan to join Sisters and Associates in prayer and fellowship. The theme will be, “Our Baptismal Call,” and our speaker will be Father Tim Sullivan of Memphis. We will celebrate with Associates who will make their commitments. This is an enjoyable day, filled with blessings. And it’s free!

UPDATE February 2006  

Newsletter for the Mount Saint Joseph Ursuline Associates