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My Vocation Story – Sr. Deborah Gaughan, OSF

Deborah-vocation storySister Deborah Gaughan knew in first grade that she wanted to be a Sister. Her journey took many unexpected turns, but she made it.

Sister Deborah refers to herself as a “middle child” with two older brothers, an older sister and a set of younger twin sisters. She experienced a strong Catholic upbringing – her mother is Polish, her father, now deceased, was Irish. Gaughan’s family life was not an easy one with more than a few challenges along the way. Sister Deborah attended Catholic grade school and a public high school and was bullied in both. High school was particularly hard as her commitment to her Catholic faith was the reason behind the bullying.

Sister Deborah graduated from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. It was during this period in her life that she realized the family challenges she has been part of during her earlier years. The realization caused her to doubt her faith and she left the Catholic Church. She visited churches of other faiths – Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Baptist – but nothing filled the need. Even with a good job, a condo and a car, there was something missing. Sister Deborah decided to try the Catholic Church again. If you ever meet her, you will notice she wears a small angel pin. She believes angels are always with us. As Sister Deborah walked into St. Mary Church in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, she noticed that there were angels everywhere in the church.  “I was home!” she says.

As Sister Deborah looked through the church bulletin, she read a notice that asked “Did God forget you?” followed by a phone number. With nothing to lose, she called the number which belonged to the parish deacon, who was in charge of RCIA. The deacon asked if she had received all of the sacraments and Sister Deborah responded that she had. Although not an RCIA candidate in the true sense, she was allowed to go through all the classes anyway. At the end what she found was a loving, forgiving, personal God. At the end of the Easter Vigil that year, Sister Deborah recommitted herself to the Catholic Church in front of everyone in attendance.

Sister Deborah found herself getting involved again. She met Sarah, the youth minister of the parish, who got Sister Deborah involved working with young adults. She met Sarah’s husband, Paul, who helped her to move ahead even further by getting involved at Holy Family parish in Inverness, Illinois. The pastor, Father Pat Brennan, was the only priest in the parish and asked for the parishioners help in making Holy Family a vibrant parish. Sister Deborah became involved in youth ministry participating in retreats, fundraising and attending events of every kind. She enjoyed working with this age group. She eventually became the parish’s Young Adult leader and also served on the Young Adult Advisory Board for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The time had now come for Sister Deborah to make yet another turn in her journey. She heard God’s voice. He asked, “When are you going to do what I asked?”

Sister Deborah first confided in a friend with whom she worked that she wanted to be a Sister. Her friend was happy for her. Sister Deborah began her search. There were so many Congregations of Women Religious. Which one to choose? It was all so confusing. She shared with her friends, Sarah and Paul, who responded, “What took you so long? We knew.”  “Why didn’t you say something?” Sister Deborah asked. And they answered, “You needed to know.” Paul immediately helped with the search.  Sister Deborah visited over 50 congregations and had settled on one and was about to sign all the papers, when she was told that due to her earlier depression diagnosis, the fit would not be a good one.

At that point, Sarah put Sister Deborah in touch with Sister Dolores Zemont, currently the Joliet Franciscan president, but was ministering in a parish at that time. Sister Dolores gave Deborah’s information to Sister Barbara Kwiatkowski, who was then serving as the Joliet Franciscans’ Vocation Director. Sister Barbara met Sister Deborah at a Panera Bread café in Buffalo Grove, Illinois where she was living. She told Sister Barbara everything. Sister Barbara assured her, “We don’t judge.”  Over the next year, Sister Barbara mentored Sister Deborah through prayer and suggested reading.  She spent time getting to know many of the Joliet Franciscan Sisters. Sister Barbara brought her to the Motherhouse Chapel on the grounds of the University of St. Francis in Joliet. As she sat in the chapel, Sister Deborah asked God, “Is this the place for me?’  She needed a sign – a big one! And a rainbow appeared in the pew in which she was sitting. IT was nowhere else in the chapel, just where she was sitting. It was the most beautiful rainbow she had ever seen. It brings her happiness when she thinks about it.

Sister Deborah made her first vows in 2012 and renewed them in 2015 while she finished working towards her Master’s in Social Work. About religious life, she says, “You have to want this every day.  You have to give up what you had planned and follow God’s plan for you. God has a plan for me. That’s where I will go.”

 

Sisters Celebrate 150th Anniversary with Special Mass at Cathedral

deb-webIt was truly a beautiful August day. With clergy, family members, friends and Associates, the Joliet Franciscan Sisters celebrated a day that was 150 years in the making. Gathering at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet, 120 Sisters processed down the aisle to the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” and took their places. This marked the beginning of their 150th anniversary celebration.

The celebrant of the Eucharistic Liturgy, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon who said to all gathered, “These are women who get up every day and recognize that their life is for Christ, that they live for the Kingdom of God. They faithfully responded to God’s calling.” Bishop Conlon then invited all to stand and applaud the Sisters. It was a heartfelt moment with many smiles, along with a few happy tears.

To read more about the 150th celebration, please click here.

Click here to read the article printed in the Joliet Herald Newspaper

Remembering Sister Pauline Ann Furiel, OSF

Remembering Sister Marianne Cardosi, OSF

Marianne_Cardosi-5-14-14On May 14, the Feast of St. Matthias, an Apostle chosen by God through other Apostles, Sister Marianne Cardosi was chosen to return to the Source of her being. Marianne’s life began in Kankakee, Illinois, on March 21, 1930, the oldest of five children born to Judge Victor and Pauline (Mussa) Cardosi. She is preceded in death by her parents and her sister Joan Cardosi and survived by her two sisters, Paula and Jacquelyn and her brother Robert.

Her family attended St. Rose Parish in Kankakee. Marianne received her early education at St. Joseph Seminary Grade School and St. Joseph Seminary High School. Attending the College of St. Francis (University of St. Francis) in Joliet, Marianne, influenced by her father’s love of history, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Education in 1951. Further studies took her to DePaul University in Chicago for a Master of Arts degree in History and to Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee for a Master of Arts degree in English Education. Sister Marianne won a grant in 1969 for a summer program in American Studies at Northern Ohio University. She also attended the Franciscan Institute in Theology and Scripture at the College of St. Francis and Adult Education Courses at the University of Illinois.

Read More About Sr. Marianne’s Life

Remembering Sister Rita (Mary Alexander) Greene, OSF

Greene_Rita_web“My aim in religious life has never been to acquire a great name for myself as an artist but to be of service to others.” Our Sister Rita Greene wrote those words thirty-four years ago. They are words that marked her entire Franciscan life, a life of service to others.

Sister Rita Greene was the fourth of nine children born to the late Helen (Scheiblich) and Michael Greene on July 6, 1919, in Columbus, Ohio. Her older siblings, now deceased, were Michael, James and Helene and younger siblings, now deceased, were Jerome, Lydia, Luella, and Joseph. Her remaining sister, Patricia Sorenson, still lives in Columbus.

Read More About Sr. Rita’s Life

Remembering Sister (Mary) Alcuin Kelly, OSF

alcuin_webAs Pope Francis, along with Franciscans throughout the world, celebrated with great joy the feast of Godʹs Troubadour, our Sister Alcuin peacefully completed her transitus from this life to eternal life, a passage accompanied at its end by the soft notes of sparrows whose autumn medley gave expression to the heartfelt religious sentiment that served to orient the life of our beloved violoncellist: ʺsoli Deo gloria ‐ glory to God alone.ʺ (JS Bach)

Born in Sidney, Nebraska, on July 23, 1917, Agnes Kelly was the third of twelve children born to Francis and Anna (Reinke) Kelly. As a young child, she moved with her family from Nebraskaʹs panhandle to Falls City in the southeastern part of the state. Raised in Saints Peter and Paul Parish, she attended Lake Side Public School and Sacred Heart Academy where she was taught by the Ursuline sisters. As a young adolescent, following the example of her two older sisters, Bernardine and Marie Terese, Agnes made her way to Joliet, Illinois, to become an aspirant with the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. She attended St. Francis Academy and as her 16th birthday approached, with a supportive recommendation from her aspirant mistress, Sister Apollonia, she prepared to enter the Postulancy in the Fall of 1933. In August of 1934, she was received as novice by Mother Thomasine and given her religious name, Sr. Mary Alcuin. Two years later, she professed her first vows and proceeded on her journey into an unfolding future of 80 years of consecrated life as a Joliet Franciscan.

Read More About Sr. Alcuin’s Life

Remembering Sister Anne Marie (Grace Cecile) Furiel, OSF

Furiel_webOn the evening of August 25, our Sister Anne Marie Furiel was called by the Lord she loved and served so well to enter into eternal peace and joy — where heavenly choirs no doubt welcomed her!

Born January 31, 1925, to Olga (Hermann) Furiel and Thomas Furiel, Anne Marie was baptized Anna Mae but later was called Anne Marie. She was raised in Joliet and attended St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) and the College of St. Francis (now the University of St. Francis) where she earned both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees.

Anne Marie entered the postulancy of the Joliet Franciscans on February 1, 1942 – just one day after her seventeenth birthday. When she became a novice she was given the name “Sister Grace Cecile.” Years later she returned to the name by which we know her – Sister Anne Marie.

Read More About Sr. Anne Marie’s Life

Remembering Sister Mary Ann (M. Lawrence) Glascott, OSF

Glascott-webOn the morning of August 2nd, the beloved Franciscan feast of the Portiuncula, as rain drops ceased and rays of sun broke through the passing clouds, our sister Mary Ann Glascott released her final breath and let go of the assuring hands that comforted her until her pilgrimage was completed, hands of sisters, family and friends from the United States and Brazil. Dying as she had prayed and lived, she entrusted herself at the hour of death to the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, who in the company of the Angels, led her into paradise, where the hand of God now awaited her and the voice of God spoke the words she longed to hear: “Rise, clasp my hand, and come!” (Francis Thompson, The Hound of Heaven)

Read More About Mary Ann’s Life

Remember Sister Agnes (Alcantara) Goode, OSF

Agnes_GoodeHospitality and generosity permeated the life of Sister Agnes who, in her words, “took delight in the service of hospitality to all guests.” Born into a family of 11 children, Agnes wrote, “teaches a person to share, apologize and work together.” She enjoyed happy memories of each of her ten brothers and sisters and credited each with “giving me a gift of themselves.”

She was born to William and Ruth (Maechtel) Goode on October 25, 1928. The generosity of spirit of her parents fostered the same in her and her 10 brothers and sisters. They taught them about God and the Church.

Read More About Sr. Agnes’ Life

Remembering Sister Marian (Louis Marie) Voelker, OSF

Marian_Voelker_webOn Saturday, February 9, 2013, our sister, Marian Voelker peacefully made her journey home to God. Sharing with her beloved Mother Alfred a lifelong devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, after whom she was named and whose feast day was close at hand, Marian rested confidently in the knowledge that at the hour of her death she would not be alone. Graciously living out her faith-filled “Fiat,” she quietly reached the end of her days and entrusted to the God of History the final chapter in the story of her life.

Born on October 18, 1935, Marian Bernadette Voelker was the sixth of ten children to be lovingly welcomed into the world by Robert and Marian (Schilling) Voelker. As a young child, Marian and her family lived in close proximity to her Voelker grand-parents from whom she acquired an inter-generational appreciation for “living histories.” Growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois, Marian’s inquisitive mind and historical imagination were stirred at an early age as she began to make meaning of the joys and sorrows of life as seen from the banks of the Mississippi River, the railway crossroads of the Midwest and a city that was an urban crucible of rapid social and economic change. Nurtured in the faith at St. Elizabeth’s Parish and educated by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ at St. Teresa’s Academy, she was drawn to religious life, yet uncertain as to where her envisioned vocational path would lead.

Read More About Sister Marian’s Life