Our 2018 Jubilarians
We will celebrate Jubilee on June 23, 2018. We asked the Jubilarians to share some of their stories. You can click on the name of the Jubilarian (which is underlined) to read more about her life. We will continue to post more stories as they become available. Click on their name to read their story.
Sister Bernard Marie Campbell
Sister Mary Rose Lieb
85 Years of Reception
Sister Mary Franz is celebrating 85 years since her Reception into the Sisters of St. Francis, Joliet. She was received as a novice on August 12, 1933, and was given the name of Sister M. Ursuline. Sister Mary was born in Columbus, Ohio, to the late Rosa and Joseph H. Franz. Her eight brothers, Cornelius, Clarence, Joseph, Robert, Herman, George, Edward and Otto, as well as her three sisters, Elizabeth, Bertha and Amelia are all deceased. She has a grand-niece, Sister Mary Rose Lieb, who is also a member of the Sisters of St. Francis.
For the first ten years of her schooling, Sister Mary was educated at St. Mary’s, her parish school, in Columbus, Ohio. She completed her high school education at St. Francis Academy in Joliet, earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Francis and received a master’s degree in mathematics from DePaul University in Chicago. She did additional coursework at other institutions.
Sister Mary’s teaching ministry began with the elementary grades. She then went on to teach math and science in high school and at the college level. She served the Congregation as the Directress of Postulants from 1959 – 1967. After completing eight more years in the educational field, she chose a different ministry. She received certification in Pastoral Education in 1977 and has worked in the area of Pastoral Ministry as Associate Pastor at St. Mary Parish in Marion, Ohio, and as Pastoral Associate at St. Christopher Parish in Columbus, Ohio. Sister Mary has ministered as a pastoral visitor at various parishes in Ohio.
Sister Mary resides at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in Joliet and describes her ministry now as a Ministry of Presence. She finds great joy in sitting with other residents and praying with and for them. While her days of playing cards, hiking in the woods, crocheting and knitting are over, she is still able to listen to and enjoy her books, thanks to CDs.
Last May, Sister Mary celebrated her 101st birthday. She expressed her outlook on life with these words: “I’ve attempted ‘to take one day at a time’ and be mindful of the present needs of the moment and have tried to be of service in whatever situation occurred. This has been my ministry throughout my life; this is Gospel living.”
85 Years of Reception
“When I was a little girl at St. Pascal’s, daily I sat admiring and loving my Sister teachers and in second grade I had said to myself, ‘That’s what I am going to be when I grow up!’” Sister Mariarthur wrote in her memoirs. She attended St. Pascal Grade School and Alvernia High School in Chicago, Illinois. She then finished her high school education in Joliet, Illinois, at St. Francis Academy. Sister Mariarthur earned her bachelor’s degree at the College of St. Francis, Joliet, and then went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Education at DePaul University in Chicago.
Sister Mariarthur entered the postulancy of the Sisters of St. Francis in 1932 at the age of fifteen. Her “yes” to God’s call began her love relationship with her Lord that has grown, expanded and deepened. Life with her Franciscan Sisters was the place where she felt that God wanted her to be. “Living in a convent did not IPSO FACTO make life a continual garden of roses, for tensions and pressures were often mixed with a generous sprinkling of peace and joy that often minimized problems. I was not only content but happy! The desire to do better as a religious was present and grace helped me mature.”
Sister Mariarthur ministered in Ohio, Illinois, Colorado, and Wisconsin. She described her years of ministry from 1935-1994 as “a blizzard of activities and responsibilities.” She says that her life as a teacher, principal, organist, superior, diocesan school consultant, elementary school supervisor, director of diocesan teacher personnel, adult education teacher and director and office manager was blest because of the delightful challenges each position presented to her.
Sister Mariarthur now resides at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in Joliet where she ministers in volunteer service. Music, reading, letter writing, card-playing, and crossword puzzles are the life giving activities in which she participates these later years of her life.
As she looks over her years as a Joliet Franciscan, she writes, “What a challenge and gift now to mull over a hundred plus years of life in an attempt to pull out the threads that have created meaning and richness to all that has gone before in my life! To have spent eighty-five years in religious life has been a blessed privilege that evokes my heartfelt gratitude, because I learned that I became a Sister to seek God. When asked that question when I entered religious life at age fifteen, I said, ‘I want to go to heaven!’ I still do! Old age takes a special kind of courage. It brings with it its own gifts and its own pains so varied in sorts. One hundred years are too few to thank God adequately for my attempts to be total love for Him, for the multiple blessings that have been mine. An eternity will not be long enough to thank my God for the blessings of my vowed life and for the strength to have persevered in it. Clearly, grace has sustained me in faithfulness.”
75 Years of Reception
On August 12, 1943, Mary Evelyn Campbell, along with 13 other young women, was received into the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, and was given the name of Sister Bernard Marie. On June 23, 2018, she will be celebrating the 75th year of this commitment.
Sister Bernard Marie, a native of Joliet, Illinois, was born to the late Evelyn and Bernard J. Campbell. One of five children, Sister Bernard Marie has two brothers, Thomas and Robert and two sisters, Patricia Johnston and Dorothy Rink, both of whom are deceased.
Sister Bernard Marie attended F.E. Marsh and Farragut Grade Schools. She graduated from St. Francis Academy and received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the College of St. Francis. She earned her Master of Science at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and attended many additional summer institutes at various universities in the East and Midwest through the National Science Foundation.
Sister Bernard Marie began her ministry in the educational field at St. Peter’s High School in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1946. After nine years at St. Peter’s, she spent the next eight years at Sacred Heart and Saints Peter and Paul in Chicago and at St. Mary’s in Columbus, Ohio. She returned to St. Peter’s in 1963 making Mansfield her home until 2015.
During these 61 years at St. Peter’s, Sister Bernard Marie taught in the Mathematics and Science Departments. She had an avid interest in photography and started the Photo Club for the students. This hobby kept her busy taking pictures of sporting events, homecoming dances, various club activities and special events in the school and parish. In 1996 she started a new and different direction in her ministry by joining the Development Office at St. Peter Parish as an assistant. Her interaction over the years with three generations of many parish families was a valuable asset in this ministry.
In 2015 Sister Bernard Marie moved back to Joliet, taking up residence at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home. One cannot call her retired. She continues her development ministry only now it is for the Congregation, through her “thank you” calls to donors. She also keeps in touch with many of the students she taught over the years. She enjoys hearing of the events in their lives, their families, their careers. All these interactions remind her often of the gift she has received through their lasting friendships.
60 Years of Profession
Sister Suzanne Lesniewski is the youngest daughter born to the late Pearl and Harry Lesniewski of Chicago, Illinois. Her sister Barbara Toso and her brother Jerome are deceased. Her sister, Virginia (Ronald) Konczalski resides in Michigan and her brother, Gregory (Kathleen) Lesniewski resides in Illinois.
Sister Suzanne grew up on the south side of Chicago as a member of Saints Peter and Paul Parish. She attended the parish grade and high school. In September, 1955, she came to Joliet to answer the call of living as a Franciscan Sister. She completed her high school education, graduating from St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of St. Francis (now the University of St. Francis). She furthered her education with a Master of Arts Degree from Mundelein College, Chicago, with an emphasis on Religious Education.
On August 13, 1956, she entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of St. Francis and received the name of Sister M. Hope. She made her profession of vows in 1958 and began her ministry of education at St. Joseph School in Freeport, Illinois, teaching second grade. She taught primary grades for 9 years in Chicago and Joliet. In 1967 she was asked to teach Grade 5 at St. Ann in Lansing, Illinois. She continued to teach 5th grade at St. Raymond in Joliet and St. Ludmilla in Chicago.
In 1971, after receiving her degree in Religious Education, Sister Suzanne became the Religious Education Coordinator for St. Matthew Parish in Champaign, Illinois. During a span of 39 years, she also served at Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills, St. Mary in West Chicago, St. John Baptist in Winfield, St. Joan of Arc in Lisle, St. Joseph in Addison, St. Therese of Jesus in Aurora, and St. Scholastica, Woodridge. Sister Suzanne is grateful for her interaction with all the people from these parishes and continues to communicate with them.
For two years she gave service to the Congregation by ministering to the Sisters at Our Lady of Angels and then served as Director of Planned Giving for the Congregation while ministering at Christ the Servant Parish as a member of the RCIA Team and a Worship Commission Member.
When asked what it meant to live as a Franciscan Religious, Sister Suzanne replied, “Living as a Franciscan is living life simply. I ask myself, “do I need it or is it something I want and can do without?” Francis enjoyed all God’s creation and I try to do the same! Sunrise and sunsets are beautiful and only God could create such beauty! I try to be hospitable and available to the needs of others. Francis always met the needs of others no matter what walk of life they were in.”
An event that stands out in her life is the time she met Mother Teresa of Calcutta! She was studying during the summer for her MA and was taking “World Religions.” The instructor, Sister Carol Francis Jegen brought Mother Teresa into the class. This was before Mother Teresa was well known and called a “saint.” However, as Sr. Suzanne says, “You knew you were in the presence of a very spiritual and special person.”
Today Sr. Suzanne ministers to the Congregation as a Local Coordinator for the Sisters in her group. She enjoys her hobbies of needlework and word games.
60 Years of Profession
Sister Carol Jander was born in Columbus, Ohio, to the late Anne (Wene) and Paul Jander. She has three brothers, Thomas, Daniel and Stephen. She entered religious life from Corpus Christi Parish in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from St. Mary High School in Columbus, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis). She holds a Master’s Degree in Education Administration and Supervision from DePaul University in Chicago.
Sister Carol’s ministry has been in the field of education, specializing in primary and junior high teaching and administration. After serving as Consultant for the Joliet Diocese Catholic School Office, she and Sister Margaret McGuckin full-filled their dream of beginning an early childhood pre- school. Starting out in Frankfort, Illinois, as St. Anthony’s pre-school, they brought their expertise to Joliet in 1979 with the birth of the Franciscan
Early Learning Center. From 1979 until 2017 this educational opportunity was provided to two generations of 3, 4 and 5 year old children. Sister Carol writes of these years, “I will always cherish my years with young children and their families at the Franciscan Learning Center. Those 37 years allowed me to serve with creativity and have the opportunity to help young parents as they endeavored to raise their children within homes having healthy Christian values. As the years progress, I often meet grandparents, parents and the children with whom I had contact and they always express ‘thank you’ somewhere in the conversation.”
When asked what her life as a Joliet Franciscan means to her, she wrote that living religious life is a gift and a privilege. It has provided opportunities to grow closer to God through service to others. In addition to the aspect of service, “Franciscan” adds the dimension of love and appreciation for all of life – humanity, nature, and the beauty God has bestowed upon earth.
Sister Carol’s ministry now is still one of service. Her service now is to the residents and staff at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home. She and Sister Margaret have kept in touch with many of the young parents whose children attended the Franciscan Learning Center. These parents have continued to work with them to provide special opportunities for OLA. At Christmastime, the halls and solariums have been decorated these past two years by these “elves” thereby taking some of the burden off the staff at OLA who decorated in years past. In her “free” time Sister Carol takes opportunities to relax – especially by visiting her family.
60 Years of Profession
Sister Nadine Koza is a native of New York City, New York. She is one of two children born to Katherine (Kozik) and John Koza. Her parents and her brother, John Koza Jr., are deceased. She has a cousin, Ann Marie Kolesar, and several second cousins in her mother’s hometown of Jessup, Pennsylvania.
Sister Nadine is a member of St. John Nepomucene Parish in New York. She attended the Parish Grade School and St. Cyril Academy in Danville, Pennsylvania. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from St. Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and an MS in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. She also received a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. She completed her CPE Residency at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and is a certified Chaplain by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. She currently ministers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, as a staff chaplain in the Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant unit.
Sister Nadine’s ministry has been varied. When asked to name a special memory of a ministry she responded, “My core faith experience has been Genesis 12:1 – God’s words to Abram, ‘Go forth…to a land I will show you.’ – A God who has continually been calling, inviting, nudging and sometime shoving me beyond my comfort zone as I moved from high school teaching to campus ministry, parish ministry, patient advocacy and finally chaplaincy.”
Sister Nadine transferred into the Joliet Franciscans in May, 1976. Her years living as a Franciscan have continued to increase within her the desire to live the Gospel as St. Francis of Assisi did. She comments on her Franciscan living: “When I was in formation as a Franciscan, I was told: ‘Franciscan is not something you become; it is who you are deep down. You will continue to discover and uncover the charism.’ My years in the Congregation have proved the truth of these words. As I have tried to follow in the footsteps of Francis and Clare, I have experienced both support and challenge from my Sisters. The words of Francis resonate for me. ‘I have done what is mine to do; now it is yours to do what is yours to do.’”
Sister Nadine enjoys being in nature, especially trips to the ocean. An avid reader, she enjoys a good book but finds time to crochet. She claims she was a jogger at one point in her life but has succumbed to the fact that knees give out on the hard surfaces of New York City, and continues her exercise through walking. For the past 30 years, she has shared life with at least one cat. She has found that relationship has taught her much about God. Her faith home is St. Francis Xavier Church where she serves as a liturgical minister. Every year around the Feast of St. Francis, she organizes a Blessing of Animals in celebration of his feast.
50 Years of Profession
“Many people will walk in and out of our lives and some leave footprints on our hearts. It was the Joliet Franciscan Sisters at St. Michael Grade School who inspired me to join the community in 1965. Their presence during my grade school days left a lasting impression of their life of service, kindness and hospitality.”
These words of Sister Sandra explain why she left Sigel, Illinois, and her family on September 5, 1965, to begin a new path on her journey with the Lord. Sister Sandra is the eldest of seven children born to the late Edith and Harold Sudkamp. Her brothers include Alan, Phil (Betty), Brian (Julie) Dan (Jane), Jeff (Jane) and her sister Julie (Kent) Probst. With the exception of her brother Dan who lives in St. Louis, Missouri, the rest of her family continues to live in the Effingham area.
After completing grade school, Sister Sandra graduated from Teutopolis Community High School and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis) Joliet, Illinois.
Sister Sandra spent 32 years in Illinois as a primary grade educator. She taught at Annunciation School in Aurora, St. Matthew in Champaign, St. Ann in Lansing, St. Christopher in Midlothian, and St. Malachy in Rantoul. She was enthused with the children’s excitement about learning. Her creativity was contagious in the faces of the children she taught.
After serving in various ministries for twelve years in Rantoul, Sister Sandra moved to Effingham where she ministered as a Med-Assist Coordinator at Catholic Charities until assuming her present position as Food Pantry Coordinator. Sister Sandra is now in her eighth year of ministry with Catholic Charities in Effingham. Commenting on one aspect of her ministry as Food Pantry Coordinator, she writes, “In my present ministry as I travel to rural areas to distribute food on a Mobile Food trip, I witnessed a woman’s happy face as she spoke these words, ‘With this food I can now feed my family.’ Another said, ‘People don’t understand how expensive it is to make ends meet on no income. We are trying our best to survive.’ I have discovered that to respond to the needs of our times in serving the poor and the powerless has become a real and deep passion for me. I strive to make a difference in the lives of those I encounter each day. It tugs at my heartstrings to see these disadvantaged people live with so little and yet continue to choose to live life. This fills my heart with compassion and love. I want to continue to be a presence that gives them hope and encouragement. I feel this quote sums up my life:
“In happy moments, I praise God; In difficult moments, I seek God; In quiet moments, I trust God; In every moment I thank God.”
The Joliet Franciscans touched her life while she was young. When asked what it means to be a Franciscan Religious at this time, she replied, “Being a Franciscan woman to me means living a journey filled with a YES chucked-full of surprises. I continue to face the challenges of integrating prayer and ministry every day. I know my Franciscan life has and will continue to be filled with graced moments.”
Sister Sandra has enjoyed interacting with people in all of her ministries. She finds it a life-giving experience. Being a very creative person, she uses her creativity as a means of expression and finds satisfaction in sewing, stitch by stitch, while piecing quilts.
50 Years of Profession
Sister Jo Anne Murphy celebrates the 50th anniversary of her profession with the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Joliet, Illinois. Born and raised in Chicago, Sister Jo Anne is the daughter of the late Elizabeth (Nowak) and Joseph Murphy. Being the eldest of a very large family, Jo Anne learned early in life how to take responsibility and care for her younger brother, Daniel, and her sisters, Patricia, Janet, Rita, Teresa, Margaret, and Elizabeth. When her mother died and her father married Jean (Szot), three more girls were born into the family. Kathleen, Maureen and Laureen brought the Murphy clan to 11 in number.
As a member of St. Ann Parish in Lansing, Illinois, Sister Jo Anne attended the Parish Grade School. After completing her high school education at St. Francis de Sales High School in Chicago, she entered the Joliet Franciscans. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis) in Joliet and a Master of Education Administration from the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.
Sister JoAnne’s ministry included teaching and serving as principal in grade schools, being a math instructor at the College of St. Francis, working as a computer programmer and data processing operator, serving as Executive Office Manager and as Human Resources Information Systems Manager. Commenting on her various ministries, Sister Jo Anne had this to say, “I’ve had a wide variety of ministries and experiences in my religious life. The memories I remember most include some form of ‘bringing good things to life.’ Whether starting the first girls’ athletic program in one school or doubling the enrollment in another; whether accompanying young volunteers to Appalachia or teaching at the Will County Jail; whether installing computer networks at CSF and around the country, training staff at JCA and OLA, or customizing a database for the Archdiocese of Chicago, something new came into being in each instance.”
When asked what Franciscan religious life means to her, she spoke of the different changes in her viewpoint over the years but summed it up with these words: “St. Francis loved all creatures and all people as expressions of God’s love. He didn’t start out that way but challenged himself to deepen his relationships as he grew in his love for God. This is an ongoing process for me as well and a truly significant dimension to being Franciscan. Loving individuals has broadened from taking care of others to caring about their struggles and celebrating their joys. Loving friends and family has evolved into respecting the dignity of all people including those with whom I have significant differences of opinion. Loving creatures has become more than enjoying a day in the woods or at the lake. Acknowledging my interdependence with nature includes being aware of the plight of endangered species, supporting those working for clean air and water and doing my part as a responsible steward of the Earth. When I’ve stepped away from my opinions of how life or people ought to be, then I get to know more about God’s view of creation.”
Sister Jo Anne has always had an interest in music and art. She joined these two interests when she trained with The Association of Music and Imagery. She’s given retreats, days of reflection and has run music and imagery sessions for groups besides using this process for her own personal prayer. Swimming and water aerobics are the mainstay of her workout routines, and reading, another all-time favorite pastime can keep her engrossed for hours.
50 Years of Profession
Sister Marie Miller is the oldest of 9 children born to the late Rosemary (Reber) and George Miller of Shelby, Ohio. Her brothers Thomas and Charles, and her sisters, Joan Hicks, Rita Floro, Judy Roberts and Mary Miller live in the Shelby and Plymouth areas. Her brothers George and Fred are deceased. Sister Marie attended Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School in Shelby and graduated from St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) in Joliet, Illinois. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and Art from the University of St. Francis, in Joliet and a Master of Arts Degree in Reading Education from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Sister Marie entered the Joliet Franciscans in order to embrace religious life. It soon became apparent that the teaching profession was the perfect ministry for her. A natural teacher with boundless enthusiasm, she embarked upon the joys and challenges with a smile and a desire to assist all learners: teaching first graders all the way to high schoolers; tutoring young children and adults and even young boys who were incarcerated.
Commenting on her ministry, Sister Marie writes, “As another Sister sometimes reminds me, we don’t have to go looking for opportunities to minister. Those opportunities are right there in front of us if we have eyes to see. Teaching afforded me many opportunities to help students not only to learn, but to also learn how to learn and to gain confidence each in his or her own way of learning. Teaching provided times of fun and excitement. Often, I was learning and having fun right along with my students. We did projects galore, put on plays, did outreach activities to help the disadvantaged. We collected pennies to help restore the Statue of Liberty. Another time, I bought hundreds of pounds of potatoes in fifty-pound bags and the third graders formed The Potato Farm Company. They created fliers to advertise, take orders, weigh, package, sell, and deliver their product. We walked to the corner bank to deposit their money and then took a tour of the bank. Late in the year, the class voted on how they wanted to use their money. I think they even gained some interest from their deposit.”
Sister Marie realized that education encompassed more than classroom lessons. “There are times when a child needs more than a lesson in math or reading. They might need a coat washed or a new pair of shoes. They may feel ignored or ostracized, or don’t have a lunch, or have parents who are divorcing, are living with abuse, have a death in the family or just feel bad. I, myself, have had many good mentors in knowing what to do, starting with my own mother who had a heart for anyone having a difficult time and then with the many Sisters I have known and with whom I have lived, who naturally looked out for others.”
Sister Marie’s ministry these last few years has been that of caretaker, hospice volunteer, worker at a soup kitchen, along with tutoring. She has been the beneficiary of many good people: family, friends, students, parents, co-workers, and of course, her Franciscan community of Sisters and Associates.
Having grown up on a farm, she had plenty of opportunity to climb trees, walk in the woods, dig in the earth, explore fields and spend time with animals. That appreciation of nature is still a part of her today. The Franciscan way of life encourages her to live simply and to trust in the goodness of others, to stand with the vulnerable and the misunderstood, and to be grateful for the beauty of this earth.
Commenting on her Franciscan calling, she quotes one of her Sister friends who is now with God, “’No matter what place we stand on earth, we are equally close to heaven.’ That, I think, is true of any endeavor; our challenge is to go deep. Some place or endeavors may seem to be more important, but often it’s a matter of going deep rather than wide. That is one of the reasons I find the lives of Saints Francis and Clare so inspiring. In a very confined radius they were able to show the world, even centuries later, what it was like to follow in the steps of Jesus.”
50 Years, Golden Jubilee of Profession
Sister Roberta Naegele, a native of Columbus, Ohio, is the only daughter of Ruth (Harwick) and Edward Naegele. She, along with her brothers, Edward, Gerald, Stephen, Leo and Donald attended St. Mary Grade and High School in German Village. Sister’s parents and her brother Edward are deceased. Sister Roberta received her bachelor’s degree in English from the College of St. Francis (University of St. Francis) in Joliet.
When she entered the Congregation she envisioned teaching in schools, since that was the main ministry of the Joliet Franciscans. One of her favorite quotes, “I am a part of all that I have met,” sums up her educational experiences over these 50 years. As a nurse, a family nurse practitioner, a midwife, a community nurse practitioner, a practitioner of holistic practices of healing touch, and a traditional Chinese practitioner of acupuncture and now, also, shiatsu – she acknowledges that she has been and remains, primarily a teacher, while also a learner. She claims that her education has been life changing. It has led her to her ministries. Both her education and her ministries have been transformative.
Her areas of ministry have been varied: middle school in Columbus, Ohio; psych nurse home visitor in Floyd County Eastern Kentucky; midwife practitioner at Kuhn Memorial Hospital in Vicksburg, Mississippi; a family nurse midwife working in 3 county area in Eastern Kentucky with hospital delivery privileges at Martin, Kentucky; a volunteer midwife for the Wheaton Franciscans at Maternidade Sacrada in Santarem do Par, Brazil; family nurse practitioner work at 4 shelters for homeless families, two of which were for victims of domestic violence; parish nursing at Queen of All Saints; 10 years of hospice nursing; 2 years in Joliet at USF Wellness Clinic with guest professor at USF included; Community home nursing in Chicago as well as in Joliet, Kankakee, and Rockford. Currently, independent practitioner at Wellness Center in Joliet.
When asked about her memories of ministry, Sister Roberta expressed it this way: “I have many memories. When you are in helping ministries that’s bound to happen. Every emotion imaginable is tapped into when dealing with new life, health and illness and death. My mental health work had me embrace a population so overlooked. Hospice work taught me so many ways to love. The privilege of crossing so many thresholds and becoming privy to other realities was so humbling. Now, working at the Wellness Center, assisting others to feel better, move better and pursue wellness practices is such a privilege. I am so blessed and grateful for the call to serve in so many capacities.”
Commenting on living the Franciscan life and what it means to her, Sister Roberta touched on how some of Sister Kay Francis Berger’s drawings of St. Francis have impacted her life: “Francis standing in awe before the radiating sun – I resonate with this bright source that awakens and closes our days. Francis with a joyful countenance playing a twig as if it were a violin. This image reminds me of the importance of being playful and joyful and taking pleasure in what is. I am gifted with a nature that enjoys and laughs easily. Francis jumping up in the air and kicking his heels together with a saying: Be glad in the Lord. Francis was so glad in the Lord that he imagined his birth and death with the nativity and Stations of the Cross. He was absorbed by all aspects of Jesus’ life. This mindfulness has been my invitation. I have sought the heart of Christ in the ministries of life, death and healing.
“The final image of Francis is Francis’ description to Brother Leo on what Perfect Joy is. Francis described Perfect Joy as rejoicing on being robbed on the road, or thrown into a ditch, or beaten, or having a door closed in your face. Seemingly, bad events! So, I have sought an attitude of receiving hard moments as opportunities to embrace true joy. If I can handle hardships with a hopeful heart and not lose my spirit or soul, then I will understand that all that happens is to awaken my spirit and teach me understanding and compassion.”
40 Years of Profession
Sister Mary Rose Lieb is a native of Columbus, Ohio. She is the second child and first girl born of Rose Ann (Lyons) and Joseph Paul Lieb, both of whom are now deceased. Her brothers Joseph, Michael and Martin and her sister Deborah still reside in Ohio. Sister Mary Rose was a member of St. Phillip the Apostle in Columbus, but her ties to the Joliet Franciscans ran deep. Her parents had been raised in St. Mary and Holy Rosary Parishes in Columbus, and she had two great aunts as members of the Congregation. Sister Mary Franz, who is celebrating her 85th year of reception into the Novitiate this year, our deceased Sister Mary of the Angels Sauer (another great aunt) and her cousin Sister Celine Eisel made the journey to Joliet before Sister Mary Rose was born.
Sister Mary Rose attended Holy Rosary Grade School and Bishop Hartley High School in Columbus. She received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Ohio Dominican University in Columbus and a Master in Education Administration and Supervision from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. She continued her education at the University of Notre Dame where she received a MSA in Business Administration.
From 1974 -1978, Sister Mary Rose taught math and coached basketball at St. Paul the Apostle School in Joliet; St. Francis de Sales High School on the eastside of Chicago; and Sacred Heart and St. Raphael grade schools on the south side of Chicago. From 1978 to 1980 she taught math and coached at St. Mary’s in Fairfield, Alabama. From 1980 to 1990 she ministered at St. Francis Academy teaching math and serving as Assistant Principal and as the last Principal of St. Francis Academy before it became Joliet Catholic Academy.
In 1990 Sister Mary Rose discovered that the mountains, woods, wildlife and seemingly infinite number of hiking trails in Colorado provided the perfect surroundings for praising God with all of creation. The laid back, friendly and accepting ways of the people in and around Boulder and Denver served as a support for Sister’s ministry. Sister Mary Rose’s personality of acceptance of others and encouraging students to excel brought new life to the century old, landlocked Holy Family High School in near North Denver, where she served as principal. Sr. Mary Rose and a very active group of pro-Catholic education parents convinced the Archdiocese of Denver to build a new Holy Family High School ten miles north in Broomfield, Colorado. The move occurred in the fall of 1999. Over the next six years, the school doubled its enrollment; paid off its construction loan and is presently flourishing in its new location. Sr. Mary Rose continued as principal in the new building until she was elected as President of the Congregation in 2008.
After completing her tenure of leadership in the Congregation, Sister Mary Rose returned to her beloved Colorado where she presently ministers to the poor in the inner city of Denver as Principal at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Grade School. Again she has worked hard and is bringing success with an increase in enrollment and a student population eager to learn. Her ingenuity has placed educational opportunities in these children’s lives – chances to see places and participate in possibilities that they never would have had. Under Sr. Mary Rose’s guidance and encouragement, the community of St. Francis de Sales School committed to engage in two very intensive years of preparation, teaching and experimenting and will become St. Francis de Sales Catholic Stem School when it opens for the 112th year in the fall of 2018. The school will be the first PK – 8 Catholic Stem school in Colorado and all the surrounding states!
Sister Mary Rose developed a love of St. Francis of Assisi through her grade school years with the Stella Niagara Franciscans at Holy Rosary Grade School in Columbus. She has exemplified the words that St. Francis of Assisi expressed years ago, “I have done what was mine to do and may God show you what is yours.”