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.
Sister Mary Franz
Sister Mariarthur Hamann
Sister Bernard Marie Campbell
Sister Suzanne Lesniewski
Sister Carol Jander
Sister Nadine Koza
Sister Sandra Sudkamp
Sister Jo Anne Murphy
Sister Marie Miller
Sister Roberta Naegele
Sister Mary Rose Lieb
85 Years 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.”
75 Years, Diamond Jubilee 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 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.
50 Years 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.