Remembering Sister Margaret Ann Zimmerman, OSF

On the morning of April 28, 2022, surrounded by our sisters and members of her family, Sister Margaret Ann Zimmerman peacefully passed from this life into eternal life. Confident in the promises made to her by the Risen Lord, she brought to completion the legacy of love and faithfulness that characterized her 101 years. Holding fast to the words of her favorite Psalm 90: “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise,” she departed from us a truly wise and beloved sister.

On March 14, 1921, in Hammond, Indiana, Mary Margaret, was born to her parents, Margaret Frye and Albert J. Zimmerman. One of five children, she treasured her sister, Jane, and her three brothers, Albert, Thomas and James. Holding in her heart, a unique love for each one, she shared a special bond with her brother Albert, a diocesan priest of the Diocese of Gary and Thomas, a Holy Cross priest and missionary in Bangladesh for 40

As a child, Mary Margaret attended St. Joseph Grade School and as an adolescent she attended Catholic Central High School, now known as Bishop Noll Institute. Making her way to register at the College of St. Francis, accompanied by her mother, one of the first Joliet Franciscans she met was Sister Eulogia, who had been a high school classmate of her mother. Sadly, for Mary Margaret, Mrs. Zimmerman, died within the year of cancer. Despite the loss, Mary Margaret successfully completed her bachelor of arts degree with a major in biology and a minor in music. Inspired by the “simplicity, kindness and understanding” of the college sisters who were her teachers and mentors, came to recognize her own calling to the Franciscan way of life and the vocation that she would embrace day by day, ever more deeply, all the days of her life.

Read More About Sister M. Margaret Ann’s Life

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Remembering Sister Carol Jander, OSF

Sister Carol Jander was born at St. Anne’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, to Phyllis Anne Wene and Paul John
Jander on July 18, 1938. Carol is the oldest of 4 children, the big sister to three brothers, Tom, Dan and Steve. Carol
was baptized on August 14th, 1938, beginning her sacramental life at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, her family’s parish church in Columbus, Ohio. Carol attended Corpus Christi Elementary School graduating in June, 1952. For three years she attended St. Mary High School in Columbus, Ohio, and completed her high school education at St. Francis Academy, Joliet in 1956.

Carol was so influenced by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate who were her teachers in grade school, that she chose to join this congregation in 1956. Carol received the name Sister Mary Paulanne at the time of reception. She made her first profession on August 12, 1958, and has been a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for 64 years.

Read More About Sister Carol’s Life

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Sister Carol or another Joliet Franciscan Sister, please click here:  Remembering our Deceased Sisters.

Remembering Sister Therese Tusek, OSF

Our Sister Therese M. Tusek was born on a farm in Lockport, Illinois, on September 23, 1928, the youngest daughter of Anthony and Julia (Kufner) Tusek. She followed sisters Julia, Verna, Helen and Ann, and brothers Anthony, Stephen, Joseph and Raymond. Because her mother was in ill health, Therese learned to cook and keep house at a very early age. She identified herself as her mother’s “legs” and was grateful to her brothers and sisters for parenting her when her mother could not. Therese attended Fairmont Grade School, Lockport Central High School and St. Francis Academy.

She entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate in 1947 and made her first profession in 1949. She would have been celebrating her 75th jubilee since acceptance into the novitiate this year. Sr. M. Stephen received a B.A. in philosophy from the College of St. Francis and an M.A. in nutrition from the University of Illinois. She went on to further studies at a variety of colleges and institutes, especially in areas of spirituality and adult religious formation.

Few people have embraced as varied a professional life as Therese. In over 70 years of ministry, she worked as a high school and college teacher, dietician, pre-novitiate director, RCIA leader and parish retreat director. She ministered in many schools and parishes in Illinois, Ohio and Iowa, even applying to join our mission in Brazil in the early 1960s.

Read More About Sister Therese Tusek’s Life

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Sister Tusek or another Joliet Franciscan Sister, please click here:  Remembering our Deceased Sisters.




Remembering Sister Jacqueline Hirsch, OSF

Sister Jacqueline Hirsch (Ellen Marie) died at Our Lady of Angels on December 9, 2021. A native of Joliet, Illinois, Sister Jacqueline was one of four children born to the late Alfred and Marie (Gorshe) Hirsch on May 22, 1929. She was preceded in death by her brother, James (Jean) Hirsch of Joliet. She is survived by her brother, Robert (Linda) of Estero, Florida, her sister, Rita (James) Kubalewski of Joliet, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, and close friends.

Jackie’s death was a surprise for us. Her grade school friend and convent classmate, Sr. Bernadine Hasse, had died earlier that morning. We had been awaiting her passage, but not Jackie’s. Jackie seemed to drink from the fountain of youth. Her spirit was so engaging and welcoming. She exuded the warmth of the Floridian climate where she had lived for so many years. Our Congregational feast of the Immaculate Conception had delighted her spirit as she enjoyed seeing so many of us gathered at OLA’s chapel. But it was true. She quietly died that morning: surprised by the Spirit of the God she so faithfully and generously served.

Jacqueline Marie was baptized at St. John’s June 2, 1929. She attended St. John the Baptist grade school and Providence High School. After high school she worked with the Joliet Herald News in the Ad department. She was a Cub fan in her youth, taking the train and subway/L train to Wrigley Field with her friends. Her brother-in-law Jim recalled that she joined the Joliet Franciscans rather than the Providence Sisters as she had felt more at home with them. Her Postulancy began in January of 1948. When requesting to proceed into the Novitiate, she wrote: “May I receive the holy habit of St. Francis?…I do not want to be just an ordinary nun, but a really good nun—a credit to the community and a true follower of St. Francis.” Her final vows were received on August 13, 1953.

Read More About Sister Jacqueline Hirsch’s Life

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Sister Hirsch or another Joliet Franciscan Sister, please click here:  Remembering our Deceased Sisters.

Remembering Sister Bernadine Hasse, OSF

Bernadine Janette Hasse was born in Joliet, Illinois, on March 6, 1929, the third of nine children, to the late Robert and Marie (Grill) Hasse. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers Robert (Lily); Richard (Anne); and the Rev. James, SJ; and sisters Rita (Tom) Blackburn and Sr. Maria, OSF. She is survived by her sister Mary Ann and brothers John (Debra) and William, and many nieces and nephews.

Bernie was baptized at St. John the Baptist in Joliet, where she also attended grade school. Bernie’s great love for sports – not only as an observer but as an able participant – started early and continued into her teaching ministry as an adult. She enjoyed playing, coaching and refereeing right alongside her students. After beginning high school at Providence, Bernie transferred to St. Francis Academy where she excelled in academics as well as co-curricular activities. An article the SFA student newspaper, The Focus, described her: “Bernadine is a lover of nature. Fishing, hunting and hiking through the woods with her dog Teddy, all strike a pleasing tone to her. Speaking of tones, Bernie can strike them pretty well herself as an accomplished pianist. Athletics also rate tops with her, especially basketball, although baseball and archery are not to be excluded.” Her leadership was also recognized by her peers and later by our sisters.

Read More About Sister Bernadine Hasse’s Life

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Sister Hasse or another Joliet Franciscan Sister, please click here:  Remembering our Deceased Sisters.

Remembering Sister Margaret Ann Lanagan, OSF

Margaret Ann Lanagan was born in Amarillo, Texas, on December 26, 1939, to the late Oleta (Camp) ad Maurice C. Lanagan. The oldest of eight children, Ann’s brothers and sisters are Thomas (Donna);Marjorie; the late Mary Louise; Martha (Frank) Violante; Mark (Peggy); the late Frances; and James (Julie).

After moving with her family to Joliet, Ann attended St. Paul the Apostle School, St. Francis Academy and the College of St. Francis. She continued her education at Mundelein College in Chicago and earned an M.A. in Religious Studies.

Upon entering the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate in 1957, Ann received the name Sister M. Kateri and made first profession in 1960. Her early ministry was as a grade school teacher in several of the parish schools staffed by our sisters, among them: Sacred Heart, Englewood; St. Pius in Lombard and St. Matthew in Champaign, where Ann ministered as teacher and religious education coordinator for 25 years. She continued in the ministry of Director of Religious Education for 10 more years, serving hundreds of students and their families each year, and leading large teams of catechists in each parish. Her leadership in that field was clear as she also served chairperson for the Kankakee Grundy DRE Cluster during her time at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Read More About Sister Margaret Ann Lanagan’s Life

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Sister Lanagan, OSF or another Joliet Franciscan Sister, please click here:  Remembering our Deceased Sisters.

Remembering Sister Elaine R. Schneider, OSF

Elaine Rose Schneider was born in Columbus, Ohio, to Marie (Reidelbach) and Charles Schneider on December 23, 1926. She was raised in a large blended family with one blood sister, Adrienne, and two stepsisters, Mary Beata and Roseanne, as well as two blood brothers, James and Richard, and six stepbrothers, Joseph, John, David, Charles, Paul and Francis.

After completing her education at St. Mary’s and St. Dominic’s grade schools and St. Mary’s High School in Columbus, Elaine joined the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate in 1945 and made First Profession in 1948. Throughout her early career, she was known by her religious name, Sister M. Martha Ann. She later earned both a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in theology from the College of St. Francis.

Elaine R. was a born teacher, excelling early in her teaching ministry, especially in the areas of math and science. She taught middle grade and junior high school students at numerous schools across the Congregation’s geographic reach: Chicago; Joliet; Columbus; Fairfield, Alabama; Toledo; Champaign; and Phoenix, Arizona. Elaine expanded her educational scope as she worked with adults in Joliet Junior College’s GED program for seven years in the 1970’s.

Read More About Sister Elaine Schneider’s Life

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Sister Elaine R. Schneider or another Joliet Franciscan Sister, please click here:  Remembering our Deceased Sisters.

Statement on AA/PI Hate Crimes

In 2016, the Joliet Franciscan Sisters committed to a Corporate Stance of anti-racism. Within this statement, we committed to make a conscious intentional effort to eradicate racist nature in all its forms.

In 2020, as women of faith and participants in the global community, we stood in outrage at the senseless killing of George Floyd, a black man who became a symbol of the abhorrent treatment of people of color for decades.

While this was happening, we were unaware that largely due to the root of the pandemic, hate crimes were growing by leaps and bounds in this country against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. We are now aware of the depth and breadth of the verbal, physical and cultural abuse being inflicted upon the AAPI community.

As we stated last year, let us reach out in understanding of each other as we seek to move forward in a country that remains built on the belief that all are created equal. Most importantly, we must join in praying for healing in a nation that is still hurting.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory elevated to Cardinal

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious rejoices over the news of the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a cardinal in the Catholic Church. Over the years we have been grateful to Archbishop Gregory’s leadership within the church where he has not only been a strong pastoral presence, but also a fearless outspoken critic of injustice. His public stances on many critical matters such as the repair of the US immigration system, race relations, climate change, sexual abuse within the church, LGBTQ matters, and much more reveal his deep integrity and courage.

In making this historic appointment of the first African-American cardinal, Pope Francis is clearly giving a message about the importance of assuring racial diversity at all levels of society and within the church. We are pleased that the African-American voice will be represented in this important decision-making body.

As an organization headquartered in the Washington archdiocese, we are especially pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with Archbishop Gregory. We look forward to this continuing relationship and congratulate him on this important recognition of his gifts and abilities as an outstanding leader.