The Annual Franciscan Autumn Feast not only supports the Sisters, but it provides the Sisters with the opportunity to honor individuals and organizations who are impacting the community. In 2015, the Sisters are happy to announce that there will be two Mother Alfred Moes Award Honorees and two Joliet Franciscan Heritage Award Honorees.
Mother Alfred Moes Award Honorees
The Will-Grundy Medical Clinic, now in its 31st year, will be honored for its commitment to provide free medical and dental care to adults who have no health insurance or medical care entitlements and meet prescribed income guidelines. Care is provided by physicians, dentists and other professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to the Clinic.
Diane Nilan is the founder and president of Hear Us, an organization that provides voice and visibility to the country’s homeless children and youth. Diane travels around the country in her home – an RV – and through films and books, works to bring this message of children in crisis to educators and social service workers.
Joliet Franciscan Heritage Award Honorees
Fran Naal has been involved with the Sisters for many years. Not only is she a graduate of the College of St. Francis (now the University of St. Francis), she is the niece of the late Sister Loretta Tures. So one can say, Fran grew up with the Sisters in her life. Fran has been a member of the Feast committee almost from the beginning of the event and is a founding member of the Sisters’ 520 Club. She is an active member of the Visitation & Aid Society, the Joliet Area Community Hospice Guild, the University of St. Francis Alumni Association, as well as others. Fran cares about Joliet and the people who call it home. Fran is a Joliet Franciscan Heritage Award Honoree.
Claire Millweard has also been involved with the Sisters for most of her life. As a student at St. John the Baptist Grade School and St. Francis Academy, Claire has had a long relationship with the Sisters. Like Fran, Claire has also been a member of the Feast committee almost from the beginning and is also a founding member of the 520 Club. Claire is a member of the Joliet Area Community Hospice Guild, the Visitation & Aid Society and others. Claire has lived in Joliet her entire life and her actions speak to her commitment to this community. Claire is a Joliet Franciscan Heritage Award Honoree.
On Sunday September 20, 2015, the University of St. Francis held their annual Alumni Award Ceremony during their Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. Among the various alumni awards presented was the Presidential Award. This year, the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, were honored for their continued service and support of USF. The Sisters founded the University of St. Francis.
After a lifetime of beginning her day in the wee hours of the morning, long before those for whom she cared were up and moving, it came as no surprise that our Sister, Julie Ann, should respond to God’s eternal call at 3:30 a.m. And so it was that on August 12, 2015, the anniversary date of her three religious commitments and the former feast of St. Clare, she peacefully embodied her final “here I am,” and passed quietly and securely into eternal life, tenderly comforted by her faithful companions and surrounded by a circle of love.
A Nebraska native, Julie Ann was born to Bertha (Biermann) and Phillip Borer on March 1, 1926. One of twelve children, she grew up amidst the many joys and challenges of family life in rural America. She loved the land and the wonders of creation. From an early age, she learned that the fruits of every harvest are the result of equal measures of hard work, humor, patience, sacrifice, prayer and blessing.
It 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.
The afternoon of Saturday, August 1, found Sisters, Associates, former
members and friends gathered at Our Lady of Angels Chapel to remember
and celebrate the lives of the 900+ deceased Sisters and Associates. This
event was part of the 150th anniversary celebration.
During the service, candles were lit by several Sisters and Associates. After
every ten names of the deceased were read aloud, a chime was sounded
throughout the Prayer Service to remember and reflect on their lives.
On July 20, 2015, Sister Deborah Gaughan renewed her temporary vows at Our Lady of Angels Chapel in the presence of her Sisters, family and friends. Sister Deborah promised to live her life in poverty, chastity and obedience in accordance to the Constitutions of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.
The only difference between temporary and perpetual vows is that simple vows can be renewed until the Sister makes perpetual vows. Sister Deborah renewed her temporary vows for three years. During this time she will remain living with her community while continuing her Graduate studies at Aurora University where she is working toward a Master Degree in Social Work.
In nominating Sister Marianne, the Congregation stated the following:
“Sister Marianne Saieg reflects the beauty and goodness of God through her artistic expression. She sees and expresses Earth’s mystery and beauty in every medium in which she works: photography, writing, power point reflections, poetry, space design, or prayer/photo cards. Through her eyes God’s wonder is seen in all life and her pieces reflect the Franciscan spiritual life, integrating daily life and the Gospel. Assisi and the lives of Francis and Clare are highlights of her work. She uses light and color, shadow and space in ways that awaken the wonder in us.
“Sister Marianne’s artistic gifts are shared with retreatants, directees, congregations, deacons and lay ministers, and parishes. She has work published in the Spiritual Journal, Alive Now; Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction; and in a Meditation book called, Seeding Your Soul: Six Considerations for Spiritual Growth.
“The second criteria of bringing power to the poor and powerless through artistic expression comes alive in Sister Marianne as well. She has used photography to raise awareness of the poor and powerless in PowerPoint meditations, a brochure for the Care Fair with photos from the Jail ministry, and photo presentations, so that people with low vision can view photographs on their reading machines.
“Sister Marianne’s artistic expressions make the simple extraordinary.”