Our 2019 Jubilarians
We will celebrate Jubilee on June 15, 2019. 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.
75 Years of Reception
Sister Margaret Ann Zimmerman, a native of Hammond, Indiana, is one of five children born to the late Albert and Margaret (Frye) Zimmerman. Sister Margaret Ann had three brothers: Rev. Albert John Zimmerman, Rev. Thomas W. Zimmerman, C.S.C. and James F. Zimmerman and one sister, Jane E. Zimmerman.
Sister Margaret Ann began her education at St. Joseph School in Hammond, Indiana. She graduated from Catholic Central High School (now Bishop Noll High School) in Hammond, Indiana. After completing high school she came to Joliet Illinois as a boarder at the College of St. Francis. Sister Margaret Ann tells the story that when her mother brought her to Joliet to register at the College as a freshman, she entered by the 603 Taylor entrance which was the wing that the College occupied. As one of the Sisters (Sister Eulogia) walked by them, Margaret Ann’s mother said, “Why that looks like a girl from back home.” Back home was Crestline, Ohio. And indeed the two of them had attended the same public high school.
While living among the Franciscan Sisters who were her teachers at CSF, Sister Margaret Ann was influenced by their simplicity, kindness and understanding. They were an inspiration to her life. On September 7, 1943, Sister Margaret Ann began her journey of learning to live the Franciscan way of life as she entered 520 Plainfield Ave. entrance to become a postulant in the Joliet Franciscans. She completed her studies at the College of St. Francis with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a minor in music. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Franciscan Theology from the Seraphic Institute, College of St. Francis.
In 1946 Sister Margaret Ann began her ministry in the field of education at St. Clement High School in Chicago, Illinois, where she taught Religion, English and Music Appreciation. This lasted for one half year when her musical talent was needed elsewhere. In January she moved crosstown to Sacred Heart Englewood, where she taught music in grades 1- 4, had individuals for piano lessons and became the Organist for the Parish. In 1951 she began a ministry in her mother’s home state, Ohio. After teaching one year at Corpus Christi, she was assigned to Marybrook Academy in Maumee, Ohio, where she taught piano and organ lessons along with leading the girls’ glee club and Choir and served as Organist. In 1973 she served as music teacher and organist at St. Mary Parish in Columbus. Ohio, for 24 years.
In 1985 Sister Margaret Ann returned to Joliet, as Health Care Services Coordinator and Medical Records Clerk for St. Francis Academy and then Joliet Catholic Academy. Her services were considered invaluable to supervisor, Father Bernhard Bauerle. He stated that she showed a great deal of pride and dedication in her work – organization and perfection were the two qualities that highlighted her effectiveness in her ministry.
In 2005, suffering from declining eyesight, Sister Margaret Ann found it necessary to move to Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home. Her ministry now is one of prayer and presence to the other residents. Listening to the pipe organ in the Chapel at OLA and singing the songs that she has memorized over the years remind her of the joys and gifts she has celebrated these 75 years as a Joliet Franciscan.
75 Years of Reception
Sister Clare Wand was born in Quincy, Illinois to the late Clara (Hoebing) and Maurice Wand. One of ten children, Sister Clare had six sisters and three brothers. Two of her sisters, Helen Freidhoff and Ruth Wand reside in Quincy. Her sister Pauline Uppinghouse lives in Plainfield. Her brothers Henry, Joseph and Sam, as well as her sisters, Margaret Klauser, Theresa Halfpap, and Rita Dresir are deceased. Sister Clare also had two cousins who were Joliet Franciscans – Sisters Raphael Wand and Vivian Hoebing, both of whom are deceased.
Growing up in such a large family, Sister Clare learned early in life how to give of her time and talents to others, but especially to siblings. Caring for and working with her brothers and sisters, she developed a special way of bonding. Being a little bit of a tease and loving to spread sunshine into their lives, they could understand her desire to enter religious life where she could continue to live the prayer of St. Francis: Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is sadness, joy. For it is in giving that we receive.
Sister Clare attended St. Anthony grade school in Quincy, and then came to Joliet to attend St. Francis Academy. On September 7, 1943 she walked up the steps of St. Francis Convent to become a postulant. She was accepted into the novitiate on August 12, 1944 receiving the name of Sister Mary Clarissa. Her love and devotion to St. Clare of Assisi prompted her in the 1970’s to shorten her name to Sister Clare.
Trained in the culinary arts, Sister Clare ministered to her sisters in convents in Illinois and Ohio, taking care of their day-to-day needs for twenty-two years. In 1968 she began another chapter of her life by ministering at St. Francis Academy (now known as Joliet Catholic Academy) as part of the clerical staff. She served as teacher of Home Arts, registrar, book store manager, and clerical assistant for 21 years.
Having expressed an interest and love for the elderly, Sister Clare volunteered her time at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in 1999. By May of 2001 she had offered 1303 hours of volunteer service there. In 2002 Sister Clare returned to Quincy where she ministered by caring for family members who were ill. In 2012, when her health declined, she returned to Our Lady of Angels as a resident. Her happy spirit and quick wit continue to bring smiles on her sisters and the staff at OLA.
60 Years of Reception
Sister Margaret Kacvinsky will celebrate her 60th anniversary of profession with the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Joliet, IL. Sister Margaret was born in Streator, Illinois to the late Margaret (Renner) and Stephen Kacvinsky. The eldest of four children Sr. Margaret has one brother Stephen James who resides with his wife Joan in Salisbury, Missouri. Sister Margaret’s brother Michael and her sister Jennifer are deceased.
Sister Margaret was a member of St. Stephen (now St. Michael the Archangel Parish) in Streator, Illinois. She attended the parish grade school and graduated from Streator Township high school. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Francis, now University of St. Francis, Joliet.
Sister Margaret participated in various ministries after completing her studies. She began her ministry in the field of education at St. Mary School in Des Plaines, Illinois. In 1963 she moved to Ohio and to a different area of education. After teaching Spanish I & 2 for three years at Bishop Ready High School in Columbus, she moved to St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Louisville, Ohio, where she taught Spanish, 1, 2, 3 & 4 along with being the chair of the Language Department. Her next move brought her to Chicago where she taught Spanish at St. Procopius High School. She completed her ministry in the field of education as the Religious Education Coordinator for St. Mary Parish in Moline, Illinois.
Sister Margaret’s ministry underwent a big change when she became Administrative Assistant and Secretary for Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in Joliet, Illinois, a ministry she excelled in for 18 years. In 1997, thanks to her bi-lingual talents, she was invited to minister at Our Lady of Mount Carmel as Parish Secretary and bookkeeper for 15 years. In 2013 she let it be known that she had always wanted to minister with the Native Americans in northern Wisconsin. For the last six years she has served at Our Lady of the Lake Cluster Parishes in Ashland, Wisconsin as the Parish Bookkeeper.
When asked to share her feelings on what her Franciscan religious vocation means to her, she expressed herself in this manner. “My Franciscan way of life has blessed me with many opportunities to appreciate and enjoy God’s wonderful creation here in the USA, Assisi and now the North woods. God is Good!”
“Ministry has taken me into the classroom, religious formation settings and the offices of OLA and parishes as assistant, secretary and bookkeeper. Our Franciscan way of life of a simple life style was the norm, in large community settings or small units of two or three, – fun and prayer and teaching or doing administrative tasks, just made the years roll by. It’s hard to single out a memorable event or ministry as it all flows as a single stream. One surprise at a time – a big city like Chicago or a city on the Mississippi or the North woods- Mainstream Americans, Hispanic or Native American – all unique and beautiful.
While at OLA, I began to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of the elders and how God doesn’t always let us humans call our plans the best. Always plan for “a” or “b” or “c!” And maybe a bit of all three and Yes – Keep smiling! Sixty years! Peace and all good!”
60 Years of Reception
Sister Carole von Buelow, a native of Chicago, Illinois, and a member of St. Clement Parish, will celebrate 60 years of professed life as a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Joliet, Illinois. She was born to the late Winifred (Geary) and Bodo von Buelow as the third of three children. Along with her brother Robert and her sister Carlene Cottone (both of whom are now deceased) Carole attended the Parish Grade School. After graduating from St. Clement High School, she chose to enter the Joliet Franciscans in September, 1956.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology from the College of St. Francis, now University of St. Francis, Joliet. She received her Master of Science in Biology from St. Mary University in Winona, Minnesota. She did further studies at the University of Texas, Kent State, Walsh University and Akron University.
In 1960 Sister Carole began a ministry in the field of Catholic Education that encompassed 54 years as either a teacher or an administrator. She taught at St. Francis de Sales High School in Chicago for one year before returning to Joliet where she ministered at St. Francis Academy in the Science department from 1961 to 1967. In 1967 she put down her roots in the State of Ohio where she continues her ministry today as a volunteer.
Sister Carole ministered at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Louisville, Ohio, for 20 years as a teacher in the Science Department, then as Dean of Girls, Dean of Students and finally as a member of the Administrative Team. Her next ministry in the educational field was of being of assistance to other teachers. She started a program of Education Research and Consulting and after, obtaining a grant to develop a program for entry level teachers, she devised a program that is still partially in use as part of the Diocesan program. Her expertise in the field of education was not missed by the Youngstown Diocese Office of Education when she served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Here she had the opportunity to work more directly with principals. Becoming a principal at St. Louis Elementary School gave her still another group to work with – elementary school teachers as they were challenged to develop new techniques and improve their classrooms.
Commenting on her educational ministry, Sister Carole remarks that “all of these different positions, nevertheless, had as their focal points – the students and their spiritual, physical and academic development. Working with students, parents, teachers, principals and other colleagues has always been a challenge I have loved. As I have retired from actual school days, I continue to be present to those I have served and worked with through prayer and gathering together.”
Following in the path of St. Francis of Assisi, Sister Carole says that “being a Franciscan Religious to me means sharing community (being connected) with many unique individuals. I count on as well as encourage the trustful prayer of my Sisters and all those I serve. It means trying to foster peace and justice, respecting and protecting creation and doing all these things with a spirit of simplicity and joy following the example of Francis and Clare.”
As she continues her ministry of prayer, volunteering and presence, Sister Carole can say along with St. Francis, “I have done what was mine to do. May God show you what is yours to do.”
60 Years of Reception
Sister Mary Katherine Cmolik, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is one of three daughters born to John and Marie (Coufalek) Cmolik. Her parents are deceased. Her sister, Barbara Cinadr, lives in Mansfield, Ohio, and her sister, Dolores Da Costa, resides in Cleveland.
Sister Mary Katherine attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School in Cleveland, Ohio. She became acquainted with the Joliet Franciscans when she attended St. Procop High School in Cleveland. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis) Joliet, Illinois. She also received a certificate from the Seraphic Institute of Theology for Sisters from the College of St. Francis. Her further education at St. John College of Cleveland awarded her a Master of Science Degree in Education and in Religious Studies.
Sister Mary Katherine began her ministry in the field of education at St. Mary Magdalen School in Columbus, Ohio, where she taught grades 4 & 6. She also taught grade 7 at Immaculate Conception in Columbus and schools in Illinois. In 1971 she returned to her “home town” and for 40 years she ministered in and near Cleveland as a teacher, Religious Education Director, and Diocesan consultant. In 2012 she chose to go into a new and different ministry. For the last 7 years she has been a bereavement Minister and Assistant to Funeral Directors at Anthony Funeral Homes in Akron, Ohio. Her ministry now is walking with and being a presence for those who have lost a loved one.
Commenting on her ministry of service to God’s people, she writes, “ I have chosen to follow from Merton’s Spiritual Journal – ‘We have to somehow become capable of throwing all our limitations to the winds, so that the Holy Spirit can do through us works that are inconceivable.’”
60 Years of Reception
Sister Thadine Kaminski is a Chicago native, born to Stella (Kopczyk) and James Kaminski (both deceased). She has four brothers, Richard Wagner, Joseph Wagner and John Kaminski who are deceased, and Donald Wagner who lives in Minnesota. Her three sisters, Louise Wagner, Dorothy Wagner and Lorraine (Kaminski) McCann are all deceased.
Sister Thadine began her education at St. Columbkille School. It was when she transferred to St. Francis Xavier Parish (now Resurrection Parish) in Chicago, Illinois, that she became acquainted with the Joliet Franciscans. After completing 8th grade she entered the aspirancy in Joliet and attended St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy). Sister has an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Joliet Junior College in the field of Culinary Arts.
When asked to talk about her ministry over these past sixty years, she replied, “I’ve been institutionalized all my life.” Looking over her resumé, one would say, “Yes, she’s right.” Sister Thadine has ministered in every institution sponsored by the Joliet Franciscans and also many of the convents connected to the large Parish High Schools.
Having the position of Domestic Service at such places as St. Francis Convent, College of St. Francis, Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home, St. Francis Academy and St. Peter, Mansfield, Ohio, meant a lot more than just dusting! Having the responsibility of providing welcoming meals for the girls who attended the College, the residents and staff at OLA, the students and faculty at both St. Francis Academy and St. Peter Grade and High School, meant a great deal of work in the kitchen both before and after the meals. This, of course, was in addition to the regular cleaning of the convent and washing the general and individual laundry for those residing there.
After obtaining her degree from Joliet Junior College, Sister Thadine ministered in the area of Food Service/Food Manager at OLA, Villa Redeem Retreat House, Oakton Pavilion, and Conception System. She especially enjoyed her years working in the Retreat House. She called them, “special time for me. I prepared and presented all types of food. The retreat house was for a variety of people. I always tried, and still do try, to use the gifts God has given me.” Sister Thadine gave extra time to the retreatants. Sometimes she would plan a Saturday evening entertainment for them – an all-sing.
After her food service ministry, Sister Thadine went into domestic service for the elderly. During those times she listened to their life stories, and sometimes was able to be with them as they were dying. Her ministry was a great comfort to family members who were not able to be with their loved ones. They knew that Sister Thadine would keep in touch with them.
When asked what Franciscan religious life means to her, she responded with: “For what else are God’s servants but His minstrels whose work it is to lift up people’s hearts. St. Francis’ words are what I do attempt to live out. I try through bringing Joy to all those I meet daily.” Sometimes the smile she receives back is a “thank you” for the peppermint life saver she gave them.
No longer able to spend her days in the institutional kitchens, Sister Thadine uses her time visiting the residents at Our Lady of Angels. She especially sits and prays with those who are close to death.
60 Years of Reception
Sister Mary Berendt is a native of the Buckeye State – Ohio. Born in Columbus, Ohio, to the late Anthony and Marguerite (Marioth) Berendt, Sister was raised in the part of town that was known as “German Village,” She was a member of St. Mary Parish. Raised with two brothers, Joseph Berendt and Rev. James Berendt and two sisters, Catherine Oestreicher and Rita Miller, Mary was introduced to the Joliet Franciscans while attending St. Mary Parish Grade School and High School. She is the only one of five children who is living.
Sister Mary received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis). She furthered her education at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, with a Master of Science Degree in Education.
Sister Mary began her ministry in education at St. Paul the Apostle School in Joliet, Illinois, teaching grade 5. After teaching in grades 3, 5 and 6 for a few years she then taught grades 7 & 8. Her rapport with her students and the deep interest in their lives made her noted as a great junior high teacher. In 1974 she returned to her beloved Columbus, Ohio, there to remain until 2015. Sister Mary stated that she enjoyed teaching the 6th, 7th, & 8th grade students. She was able to teach them through special activities. These were “fun times” and they were a challenge. Her main goal was – what can we do for others – what can we share. She taught or tutored many of these young teenagers not only the course work but also the values that would help them to be assets to the Church and society in the years ahead.
In 2015 Sister Mary returned to Joliet, taking up residence at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home – but she didn’t retire. She loves to make other people happy. Through her instigation there have been cook-outs (she taking the role of flipping the hamburgers) and football parties (with a chance for a few side bets on the outcome of The Ohio State Buckeyes games.) Being the good sport that she is, she even cheered for the Cubs when they were playing Cleveland for the World Series. As she said, “I love life. Early in my convent days I loved playing softball, roller skating and dancing. Currently my hobbies are working Sudoku, word search and correspondence by writing, by phone calls and visiting the residents at OLA. I am an avid Ohio State fan. Come see my “Buckeye Museum.” I love to tease and be teased.”
Looking back over her years as a Franciscan Sister and the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience that she made 60 years ago, she writes – “I’m trying to live like St. Francis and St. Clare within my vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. My vows have very special meaning today, more than when I made them 60 years ago. For me, poverty means acceptance of my physical condition and all it involves. Chastity means much more to me now. Obedience is living daily with the challenges God is giving me now.
60 Years of Reception
Sister Mary Agnes Cross is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. She is one of two children born to Frank and Agnes (Hoffmann) Cross. The other child in the family is her twin brother, Joseph, who still lives in St. Louis with his wife, Ada. Her parents are deceased.
Sister Mary Agnes attended St. Francis of Assisi Parish Grade School in St. Louis, MO. She became an aspirant with the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. Louis and attended their High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Marillac College in St. Louis and a Master in Religious Studies from St. Louis University.
Before transferring to the Joliet Franciscans, Sister Mary Agnes ministered as an elementary and religious education teacher in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. In 1974 she became a religious-education consultant for the Diocese of Joliet working with 15 parishes in the Ford-Iroquois area. She became a Director of Religious Education serving in the Joliet Diocese and the Peoria Diocese. She especially enjoyed her time spent with the younger children in the programs when she could sing with them and play her guitar.
In 1994 Sister Mary Agnes, after completing studies at the Joliet Township School of Practical Nursing, ministered at Alvernia Manor and in private homes with the elderly and at St. Francis Convent in Joliet. In 2003 she began training to become certified in person-centered care and ministering to those affected by dementia. From 2004 – 2008 she served as the unit assistant at Corrine Dolan Center in Chardon, Ohio, and trained employees of the Center in the art of ministering to the residents, following the ideals of person-centered care. After volunteering at Assumption BVM Parish, Chicago in the Kolbe (jail) Ministries, Sister returned to Joliet in 2013 as a helper to the residents at Our Lady of Angels who were suffering from Memory loss or who were physically incapacitated, to participate in some of the activities. She classifies her ministry now as a ministry of prayer and presence. She spends as much time as possible with those who have lost their eyesight or their hearing, helping them to stay connected with the world around them.
Commenting on her Franciscan religious life, Sister Mary Agnes stated that she had always wanted to be a Franciscan. She especially resonated with Francis’ love for all creation. After entering a Franciscan community, she found her love for creation was expanding to a reverence and caring for each person. Living as a Franciscan to her means “Living the Gospel and practicing the Gospel values as Francis did. We have a lot to learn from St. Francis. He was really concerned about the poor. The Bible is a story about relationships – a relationship with God and a relationship with God’s people.”
60 Years of Reception
Sister Jane Nienaber is a native of Lindsay, Nebraska. She is one of twelve children born to Margaret (Pfeifer) and Anton Nienaber, who are deceased. Her brothers and sisters are: twins who died at birth, Norma Jean (late Bob) Korth, Clareen (Ray) Prothman, Msgr. Robert Nienaber Phyllis (late Cyril) Zoucha, late Gerald (Maryann) Nienaber, late Harold (Mary Lou) Nienaber, Betty(late Norbert) Zoucha, John (Joan) Nienaber and Mary (Franz) Haas.
Sister Jane attended Holy Family Grade School and High School in Lindsay, Nebraska. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and a Master of Science in Education Administration from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and a Master of Science in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. After completing her Clinical Pastoral Education at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, she became a certified Chaplain by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. She has also studied in the area of Spiritual Gerontology.
As a Joliet Franciscan she has ministered as the Director of Religious Education at St. Joseph Parish in Downers Grove and as a Chaplain and Patient Advocate at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois. From 2008 to 2018 she ministered as Spiritual Life Coordinator for the Sisters at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home. Currently she ministers as a volunteer in ESL (English Second Language) and also at the Center for Correctional Concerns at Will County Detention Facility in Joliet.
Looking over her years of ministry, Sister comments that a special memory is her ministry at Our Lady of Angels. “Getting to know the sisters who have lived there during this time, many who still reside there, shall always be treasured. I especially appreciate their loving witness in aging well.”
When asked about her Franciscan religious life, Sister had these comments to make:
Being a Franciscan religious feels most natural to me. I have fond memories of my Franciscan three great-uncles, who visited our family every summer on our farm in Nebraska. My Franciscan aunt, Sr. Genevieve Pfeifer, took interest in each of us through her letters and summer visit.
Over thirty years ago, I made a decision to transfer to the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. During these years, I feel inspired and energized to live our mission which includes “responding to the needs of our time through prayer, community and ministry.” I’m proud to be a Joliet Franciscan.
Francis’ love of God and all of creation is most relevant today. Appreciation for the beauty of creation, an awareness of the effects of climate change in our world as well as an empathy for the marginalized are significant in my life as a Franciscan. The Corporate Stances of our Congregation are a challenge in being truly Franciscan.”
50 Years of Reception
Sister Anita Beloin is a native of Camden, Maine, the daughter of the late Agnes and Norman Beloin. Her brother Norman (Elinor) lives in Massachusetts, her brother Fred (Jeanne) lives in Camden, Maine and her sister Anne (Mark) Amerman lives in Port Lucie, Florida.
Growing up in Camden, Anita spent most of her early life outside, enjoying the beauty of the Maine woods and the ocean. She says that it was at the ocean that she first learned to meditate. At the rock bound coast, she would find her favorite rock and sit and look out at the ocean. Its beauty held her. Later, she would call these sacred times of “sitting” a spiritual tonic, “Meditation on the Rocks.”
Anita attended Mary E. Taylor Grade School and Camden High School before entering the Congregation in September, 1966. She graduated from the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis) earning a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. She also completed a Franciscan Internship Program in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 1990 she returned to Camden, Maine, as a student and a helper to her mother with the family business of operating a Motel. She graduated from the Downeast School of Massage in Waldoboro, Maine, and is a licensed Massage Therapist in the State of Illinois with National Board Certification. She is also certified as a “Compassionate Touch” practitioner.
Sister Anita taught primary grades in various schools in Ohio, Illinois, Maine and Massachusetts completing her ministry as an educator at Holy Family School in Bayfield, Wisconsin, where she taught grades 1 and 2 for 9 years. She stated that she especially enjoyed teaching in Northern Wisconsin. “The beauty of the people and the land touched my heart. There I found an ‘at homeness’ in the spirituality of our Native Americans, for it complemented my Franciscan roots. Bayfield, located next to Lake Superior, reminded me in so many ways of my oceanside hometown in Maine, especially with the yearly influx of summer tourists!”
In 1992 Sister Anita became a temporary member at St. Clare House of Prayer in Kankakee, Illinois, where she ministered as a Massage Therapist and Spiritual/Retreat Director along with her other ministries there. The mission of the House of Prayer combines a contemplative call with an outreach to others. The retreat and massage ministries were a good fit for her ministry there.
Commenting on her ministries she writes, “In my massage training to become a ‘Compassionate Touch’ practitioner I ministered to Alzheimer patients. One of my patients told me, when working with her, that what I was doing was not work, but love. Her statement, especially in her condition, deeply touched me for it is at the heart of my ministry.”
In writing about what Franciscan religious life means to her, Anita writes. “A couple of quotes from our Congregation’s Constitutions speak to the heart of living a Franciscan call. ‘Like our Father Francis and in the spirit of his heart’s cry: ‘My God and My All!’ we acknowledge God as source of all our good and all our joy. We contemplate God in Scripture and in Sacrament, in persons and events, and in the wonders of nature, recognizing all creation as part of the Franciscan’s prayer.’ The Constitutions further state: “The more we ponder the Gospel of Jesus, the more we are attuned to the transforming action of the Spirit upon whatever we find needs healing in ourselves and the world around us.”
Sister Anita is currently a member of St. Clare House of Prayer now located in the Village of Our Lady of Angels, Joliet. Her life centers on prayer, community and a service outreach to others. Her ministry outreach is at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home, where she visits and offers massage and “Compassionate Touch” sessions.
50 Years of Reception
Sister Rosemary Fonck, a native of Elmhurst, Illinois, is one of eight children born to the late Anna and Arthur Fonck. Her brother, Reverend Benet Fonck, OFM is deceased. She has three brothers and three sisters. Michael lives in Mishawaka, Indiana; Andrew in Carbondale, Illinois and James in Park Hills, Florida. Her sister Ruth lives in Downers Grove, Illinois, Rosemary Nutt in Geneva, Illinois and Sue lives in Joliet, Illinois.
Sister Rosemary attended St. John the Baptist Grade School in Joliet, and Mary Queen of Heaven in Elmhurst. She graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst. She holds a Bachelor‘s Degree from the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis) in Joliet, IL and a Master of Arts in Administration and Supervision from Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Loyola of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Sister Rosemary began her educational ministry in 1920 at the Cathedral of St. Raymond, in 1972 she taught first grade at Annunciation School in Aurora, Illinois. She moved to Fairfield, Alabama where she taught first grade and later became principal. In 1980 she returned to Joliet, where she taught English and History at St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy). In 1984 she moved to St. Mary School in Sterling, Illinois. Here she served as teacher and as Principal. She also ministered for five years at Sacred Heart School in Effingham, Illinois as principal.
In 1996 Sister Rosemary began a ministry of Congregation service. After serving on the Central Administration as a Councilor for eight years, she was elected President in 2004.
The third phase of her ministry began in 2008, when she moved to Hayneville, Alabama where she worked with the Edmundite Fathers serving the people at Good Shepherd Catholic Center where she ministered in one of the poorest areas of our United States.
Commenting on her years of Mission work in Masses, Alabama, Rosemary treasures many memories of her eight years there. “A special memory was the joy, the gratitude and the simple spirit of so many people. I often was able to share food and supplies with people who had very little. The appreciation that they showed upon receiving their food or supply items, the blessedness that they felt and shared as well as the smiles on their faces spoke volumes. I was so touched by the sharing I witnessed among the community, the caring spirit given to each other. The genuine kindness spoke to me daily of Matthew 25: ‘Whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me.’ “
Currently Sister Rosemary ministers again on the Central Administration of the Congregation where she serves as Councilor and Vice President. Sister Rosemary spends much of her time at Our Lady of Angels being available to the Sisters and the Local Coordinator. She also coordinates Peace and Justice Committees of the Congregation in their various projects.
When asked what religious life means to her, she replied, “Being a part of a religious congregation means to me that I am gifted. I have the freedom and the grace to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Through the example of Francis, Clare and so many wonderful people before me, I see, I hear, and I have witnessed what true loving and caring mean. I realize the needs in my surroundings and have the privilege to help in the way that works for me. I am called. I am chosen. And I have the opportunity to do my part to make people happy, to attempt to better situations of peace and justice, and to add what I can to the service and needs of others.”
Sister Rosemary enjoys visiting with people and engaging them in conversation. Her day to day activities include reading, walking or playing games of any kind. Her quiet demeanor will fool you. She loves to hide your possessions and then sit and watch you look for the lost item while she looks innocent. She also enjoys cooking and is great with left-overs.
50 Years of Reception
Sister Sandra is the 5th of ten children born to the late Virginia and Raymond Salois. She was born in Dearborn, Michigan. Her sister, Nancy Proctor and her brother Mike, are deceased. Her brother Ray (Linda) lives in Springfield, Missouri and her brothers David, Jack (Debbie), Art, Gary and Jerry (Anita) reside in Illinois. Her sister Sharon (Al) Vannice lives in Illlinois.
Sister Sandi is probably the only religious in the world who made the decision that she was going to enter the convent while ice-skating with her brother on a lake in Mooseheart, Illinois. Sandi’s father was a member of the Moose Lodge and, after his death, Sandi and her siblings along with her mother moved to Mooseheart. Sandi credits Mooseheart for a good education along with the opportunity to experience music, art, home economics and other fields that have broadened her perspective in understanding people.
After graduating from Mooseheart High School, Sandi earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the College of St. Francis (University of St. Francis). She completed courses at USF in the field of leisure studies and became a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Therapist.
Sister Sandi began her educational ministry at St. Andrew School in Romeoville where she taught grade two. From 1971 until 1994 she taught in grades 2, 3 and 4 at schools in Fairfield, Alabama, and Chicago, Illinois. In 1994 she became a graduate student at the University of St. Francis and, after completing her studies, ministered as recreational therapist at St. Joseph Medical Center and then as Director of Activities at Manor Care Resident in Oak Forest, Illinois, and at Glenwood Care Center in Joliet.
Seeing the need for personnel to minister with persons with dementia, Sandi learned Person Centered Care for People with Dementia under Sister Roseanne Kasayka’s tutelage and ministered as Recreation Therapist at Rush Alzheimer’s Unit in Chicago, Illinois. In 2006 she became activity Coordinator at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in Joliet and from 2009 – 2016 she ministered as the Local Coordinator for the Sisters residing at Our Lady of Angels.
Currently Sister Sandi ministers as Social Day Program Coordinator at Monarch Landing in Naperville, Illinois. Commenting on her ministry Sandi says, “I love doing what I am right now – where I lead adults with beginning dementia to keep up what they can still do. Miracles do happen!”
When asked what Franciscan Religious life means to her, Sandi replied, “The living of the Franciscan religious life calls me to center and deepen my relationship to God and others. Through this, I am led to be of service to others by listening, compassion, charity, time, joyfulness, kindness and so much more. This life is one of prayer, simplicity, collegiality and love. Our God in me meets our God in you.”
Looking over her life, Sandi says that she was happy where she was and what she was doing. She enjoyed her teaching days at St. Andrew’s in Romeoville and St. Mary’s in Alabama because she was part of a Parish. Now she loves working with adults with beginning dementia as she focuses on their individual abilities and builds their self-esteem.
What does Sandi do with her free time? She loves to be with sisters at funerals and other celebrations. She also loves to paint, read, travel, and be with family and friends. She enjoys participating with the parties that are offered to the residents in her Highpoint living community in Romeoville, Illinois.
Her decorating skills come in handy!
50 Years of Reception
Sister Teresinha Mendonça Del’Acqua entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Joliet, Illinois, on January 15, 1967. She is the last living member of the first group of women native to Brazil to enter the Congregation. She resides at San Damiano Convent in the state of Goiás, Brazil.
Teresinha is the eldest of eight children born to the late Laurindo Del’Acqua and Thereza Mendonça Del’Acqua. Her brothers José, João, Paulo and Mauro and her sisters Regina, Maria, and Lúcia reside in various parts of the country.
Raised on a farm in Santa Helena de Goias, Sister Teresinha met the Joliet Franciscans in 1963 when the first Sister missionaries of the Congregation began teaching in the Parish School. After completing Grade School and High School, she entered the Congregation. She began her ministry as a teacher in grade 1 in San Damiano School and as a pastoral minister. In 1974 she began her studies in psychology. She received a licentiate in Psychology and became a licensed clinical psychologist. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Health from the Pontifical Catholic University in Goiânia, Goiás. Her further education includes Religious Institutions Analysis, Franciscan Spirituality of Latin America,Jungian Psychology Analysis along with training as a spiritual director and retreat director.
Sister Teresinha’s ministry is mainly one of Spiritual Life orientation. She is a group facilitator for various religious congregations and parishes. She is a presenter at workshops on self-knowledge and self-esteem, leadership and issues regarding religious life. She gives Retreats, Spiritual Direction and facilitates Chapters for various congregations throughout Brazil and in other countries. From 2012 to 2016, Sister ministered in the United States where she served as a Councilor on the Congregation’s Central Administration.
When asked what the Franciscan religious life means to her. She responded, “As a Franciscan of Mary Immaculate, Franciscan life is a secure way for me to follow Jesus Christ. Franciscan values are the foundation, reference and goal of my being and service. These values inspire and strengthen me to be creative in everything I do and to be open to accepting God’s surprises in the various contexts of my journey. As a Franciscan, I feel like a citizen of the universe and I am at-home living with cultural differences. Saint Francis and Saint Clare constantly challenge me to broaden my life in community and to the construction of active peace and justice.”
Commenting on her ministry, Sister Teresinha says that she finds much joy and fulfillment in her ministry as a psychotherapist. Just to know that she has helped someone to grow, humbles her and instills within her a deep gratitude to God for the opportunities she has received. She values challenges as an opportunity for psycho-spiritual growth. She considers living in the present moment as a grace, a privilege, and a great demonstration of God’s love.
Among her personal interests, she enjoys meeting new people, seeing new places, and experiencing new cultures. She likes to read, write and do research along with working with teams on projects. She enjoys listening to instrumental music, walking in nature while experiencing the beauty of both the nature and profound silence around her.
50 Years of Reception
Sister Sue Bruno was born in Chicago, Illinois, to the late Elizabeth and Amleto Bruno. She was a member of SS Peter and Paul Parish. She attended O.H. Perry Grade School and SS. Peter and Paul High School where she was introduced to the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.
To hear Sue talk about her life before entering the convent, you might be tempted to ask the question, “She became a nun?” Sue readily tells about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, as the eldest of six children, watching out for her brothers and sisters and physically defending them if necessary, having a Harley as her means of transportation and deciding that she wanted to work for AT&T – not as a telephone operator but climbing the poles to maintain the lines and install phone service.
Sue first came to Joliet in August 1973. She attended the College of St. Francis (now University of St. Francis) where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. After professing her vows in 1976, Sue determined in 1978 that perhaps religious life was not what God wanted for her. It took her only three years to realize that God did want her to serve the Church as a professed Religious. She continued her education with a Master of Social Work at Loyola University of Chicago. Sue ministered at St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) as guidance counselor and dean of students. From 1987 to 1990 she ministered as Director of Vocations for the Joliet Franciscans and then returned to the new Joliet Catholic Academy as Dean of Girls and then Dean of Students.
In 1993 Sister Sue was invited to come to the University of Notre Dame to serve as rector for one of the women’s dorms. This ministry became Sue’s defining characteristic and Notre Dame became her second home. Not only did she minister to the girls but was invited to work with the Holy Cross Fathers to walk with their young men who were interested in becoming Priests or Brothers as they searched their role in the Church.
Sue left Notre Dame (physically but her heart will always remain there) in 2008 to become a member of the Central Administration of the Congregation, serving as Councilor for the Membership for a term of 4 years. In 2012 she returned to the role of Hall Director, but this time she went west to the University of Portland. Presently, Sue ministers at Compassionate Care Hospice as Volunteer Coordinator. (Her Director is a former student from the Academy.) She is also the Volunteer Coordinator for Bethany House of Hospitality, a joint ministry with several other Congregations, which offers service to young women immigrants.
Commenting on her years of ministry, Sister Sue says, “I have cherished all of my time with the youth. The old adage that, ‘working with the youth keeps one young at heart.’ Rings true for me.”
When asked what it means to live the Franciscan Religious Life, Sue replied that it means, “Living a life rooted in the Gospel; striving to bring peace to those people and situations around me; trying to be hospitable and welcoming to all I meet and serve; working in all the ways that I can to bring justice to our world and living a life of prayer.” Daily, she thanks God that she is able to continue to serve as a Franciscan presence in the world.