27th Annual Franciscan Autumn Feast

honorees-webThe Franciscan Autumn Feast took place on Sunday, October 23, 2016, at the historic Patrick C. Haley Mansion in Joliet. This year marked the 27th year that the Franciscan Autumn Feast has been held.

Over 300 guests were present to support the Sisters on a beautiful October afternoon. Forty-eight items were available on the Silent Auction, which included: “Hamilton” tickets, an autographed baseball from the Cubs, hotel accommodations in Galena, Illinois, Marco Island, Florida, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and Austria; original art and photos created by Helen Lawson, Sister Sandi Salois, Sister Marianne Saieg and Amy Douglas.  A highly sought after painting of St. Francis, by the Congregation’s Artist Laureate Sister Kay Francis Berger was also up for auction. Twenty baskets completed the Basket Raffle which included a mystery basket worth over $1000 to several containing games, food items, candy and two Joliet favorites – a certificate for a Cemeno’s pizza every month for a year and a dozen donuts a month for a year from Milano’s Bakery.  Cash, gift card and 50/50 raffles were also held to raise funds for the Sisters’ ministries.

During the program portion of the event, Sister Dolores Zemont, the Congregation’s president, presented William and Joyce Ruhaak with the 2016 Joliet Franciscan Heritage Award.  In her remarks, Sister Dolores said, “Bill and Joyce are an amazing couple – committed to each other in a marriage of 47 ½ years and committed to social justice that has expressed itself in many ways… they have been active members of Sacred Heart, have been visiting federal prisoners each month for 18 years, conducted training sessions for forming parish social justice committees and have worked to end the death penalty in Illinois.”

The 2016 Mother Alfred Moes Award was presented to both Daybreak Center and Father Raymond Lescher.  Daybreak Center, a part of Catholic Charities, operates a 24-hour shelter for the homeless among other services. The center has a staff of 25 and over 100 volunteers. In her comments, Courtney Suchor, Daybreak Center’s Executive Director, shared with the Feast guests many of the success stories of former residents of the shelter.  Until recently, Fr. Ray Lescher was the pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Joliet for more than 17 years. Fr. Lescher now ministers in Hopkins Park, one of the poorest areas in the state of Illinois.  In presenting Fr. Lescher the Mother Alfred Award, Sister Dolores stated, “He is champion for social justice…he preaches justice, he works for justice, he walks the talk and he lives Justice!”

food-collection-webGuests were asked to bring non-perishable food items to this event.  Over 500 boxes of cereal, oatmeal, rice, macaroni, etc.  were collected, boxed and distributed to area food pantries in Joliet.

Members of the Autumn Feast Committee are: Marcia Bianca, Lucy Brogla, Jeanette D’Arcy, Jeanne Jacobs, Lois Kiep, Claire Millweard, Julie Murphy, Marianne Murphy, Francis Naal, Ann O’Brien, Michele Phelps, Cheryl Shaw, Betty Stockover, Rita Travis, and Miriam Whitehead as well as Sisters Sharon Frederick and Albert Marie Papesh.

The Joliet Franciscan Sisters extend their gratitude to their sponsors and friends who help underwrite this event.  Corporate Sponsors included Great Lake Advisors, D’Arcy Buick – GMC, Lincolnshire Properties, First Midwest Bank, Fiduciary Management, Inc., Clarence Davids & Co., J. L. Adler Roofing, Fred C. Dames Funeral Home, Len Cox & Sons Excavating, Presence St. Joseph Medical Center and Thompson Siegel & Walmsley, LLC and Tracy, Johnson & Wilson, Attorneys-at-Law.

The date for the 28th Annual Franciscan Autumn Feast has already been scheduled for Sunday, October 22, 2017 at the Patrick C. Haley Mansion in Joliet, IL. The Joliet Franciscan Sisters invite you to “Come Feast with Us!” If you would like more information or would like to receive an invitation to next year’s Franciscan Autumn Feast please call 815-725-8735.



Living the Gospel by Sister Juanita Ujcik, OSF

Whatever you diujcik-juanita-webd for these Least of My Brothers (and Sisters) you do unto me.

This is what “Living the Gospel” means to me.  It’s not big and important things we do for  powerful and well known people. It’s the little things we do for those who are in need, have little support and who least expect good things. I learned long ago that many people do not have positive self-esteem. A kind word, a smile and a thoughtful act are just as important as more complicated and expensive solutions. As an individual, I try to be positive and uplifting to all persons that I meet. You never know when you can bring a little sunshine to someone having a difficult day.

I also believe that when we work together we make strong and positive actions and results. I have joined groups such as Pax Christi, Social Justice Organizations,  The Sisters of St. Francis ARC (Anti-Racism Committee), and other organizations.

St. Francis reached out to all the people he encountered.  You and I can also make a difference for all those we meet.

Peace and All Good!

Sr. Juanita Ujcik