Reflections for Memorial Service for Sisters Who Died During COVID: 2020-2022

Reflection for Memorial Service for Sisters Who Died During COVID: 2020-2022
August 2, 2022
Jeanne Bessette, OSF

We have so much to celebrate together today:

The feast of Our Lady of the Angels celebrated worldwide by the Franciscan family, especially commemorating the little chapel – the Portiuncula – that became the center of St. Francis of
Assisi’s unique mission in the Church.

We celebrate the founding of our own congregation here in Joliet on this date in 1865 –158 years ago.

And of course we celebrate the lives that 12 of our sisters shared among us for so many years.

First – Our Lady of Angels – the Portiuncula. So many of us have had the gift of visiting that holy place in the valley below Assisi. This spring I was there for the third time, this time staying
right on the grounds of the basilica. For those who haven’t seen it, the little chapel known as the Portiuncula – or little portion – is housed in a giant basilica. I often think that Francis would be
aghast at his “little portion” being surrounded by that giant basilica. Francis didn’t need a basilica to feel close to God. He was happy with his little portion. It was here that he and the
brothers lived in little huts. Here where he received Clare as a sister and where they shared a meal and prayer. Here where the early Franciscans gathered to pray and make decisions. They
were sent from the Portiuncula two by two to their preaching mission. And here where Francis asked to be taken in his dying hours. Not unlike so many of our sisters here at our portiuncula,
Our Lady of Angels.

And down through the next 800 years, so many others have heard and answered the call to join the Franciscan way of life, the Franciscan movement. Sister Alfred Moes and her small band of
companions found their mission / their little portion here in Joliet after a long search for direction. At each funeral we recount how many sisters have gone before us after living generous, fruitful, spiritual and spirited lives as Joliet Franciscan. We have laid 990 sisters to rest since 1865. Soon we will number 1,000 souls plus the remnant that is us. But good heavens, look at who these women have been and what they have accomplished.

How many millions of prayers prayed?

How many thousands of children taught?

How much beautiful music sung and played?

How many institutions, missions and ministries built and sustained?

How many meals prepared and shared?

How many people touched by them, nurtured, nourished, healed, supported, embraced, guided, led, treasured, cherished, buried, humored, loved by them?

We simply cannot imagine the influence that has been the result of the lives of Elizabeth Marie, Clare, Lauren, Mary, Felicity, Anna, Margaret Rose, Elaine, Nadine, Dorothy Clare, Mary and
Margaret Ann.

And even as we celebrate the wonder and vastness of each of their lives, we do not build basilicas around them.

In the vastness of this grand universe, our bodies house our souls, our spirits, our talents, our dreams, our memories. They show wear and tear over time. Our lives serve a purpose for a while, but they are not great monuments or basilicas. Each of our lives is perhaps just a little portion, a portiuncula, not a basilica.

As I prayed this spring for each of us at the portiuncula, I noticed each person I was with gently touching the stone walls. Each of us was touched to be at and in that holy place. Each of us was
touched by being so close to the spirit of St. Francis. Each person experiencing anew her or his call to also “rebuild God’s church.” Each person feeling missioned to carry out the spirit of
Francis and Clare as our own mission, in our own small ways. In our own little portions.

So here today, let us celebrate all of the portiunculas in our lives:

The holy place in Assisi.

The holy women in our own Franciscan community.

The little portion that each of us is in the vastness of God’s creation – missioned like these women to find God, to love others, to preach peace, to live joyful, creative lives rooted in the Gospel.

May we aspire to nothing less in our own little portions.

Click Here to download this Reflection booklet.

Click Here to download the Reflection program

 

Portuguese versions of the Reflection documents:

Sister Jeanne’s Reflection

Reflection Booklet

 

 

Remembering Sister Patricia Wagner, OSF

So many of our sisters came to know us during grade school. Patricia Ann Wagner felt drawn to
being a teacher, a Franciscan sister and a musician while she was a student at St. Pascal School in
Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s. There she was encouraged by both teachers and her parents to
pursue her dreams. Born on January 10, 1933, she was the only child of Rose (Pahr) and Frank
Wagner.

After attending high school at St. Francis Academy in Joliet and living at the Prep, Pat joined the Joliet
Franciscans in 1949 and received the name Sister M. Rosalima, named after the Peruvian St. Rose of
Lima. She graduated from the College of St. Francis and earned a Masters degree from DePaul
University.

Pat’s many talents served her well in a variety of ministries and hobbies. In 1952, she began a 17 year ministry as teacher, organist and principal at schools in Illinois and Ohio. She then served on the
faculty of Education Department at the College of St. Francis for 10 years, pursuing further studies in
curriculum and educational methods — areas of study that she was responsible for teaching. As a supervisor of student teachers, she helped to launch the careers of many elementary school teachers during her tenure as a college instructor.

Read More About Sister Patricia’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.

Collaborative Statement Calls for End to Gun Violence

Collaborative Statement Calls
for End to Gun Violence
May 2022

The undersigned communities represent over 23,000 Catholic women religious, associates, and partners in mission in over 30 states.

Today, we are all residents of Uvalde, Texas, a relatively small community more than 80 miles from San Antonio. On Tuesday, May 24, the world witnessed another horrific, senseless tragedy as a lone gunman shot and killed 21 people, including 19 students, at Robb Elementary School just two days before the end of the school year.

We are once again heartbroken. Whether in Uvalde, Parkland, Newtown, or Littleton, all of us, God’s people, deserve to live in communities free of gun violence. The massacre of children is abhorrent and should never be accepted as “normal.” These acts of violence can no longer be tolerated. They have to stop. It has to end.

Both shooters in Uvalde and Buffalo legally obtained their weapons. The United States, when compared to peer countries, has far more guns per capita, incidences of gun violence, and some of the least restrictive gun laws. According to Education Week, there have already been 27 school shootings in America in 2022 – averaging more than once a week. There have been 251 mass shootings in our country this year, and there have been more mass shootings in the United States than in any other country in the world.

We challenge ourselves, our Church, and all people of goodwill to rededicate themselves to end the scourge of gun violence in this country. To pray for the conversion of society. We plead that all continue to contribute to this movement by taking some of the actions listed below.

Actions we can take:

  • Donate to the Uvalde Victims First Fund, the Buffalo 5-14 Survivors Fund, or Catholic Charities of San Antonio Crisis Relief Services.
  • Send messages to national elected officials to pass gun safety measures through Moms Demand Action, Sandy Hook Promise, or March for Our Lives. If you have a Republican Senator, consider calling to ask for their support for the Background Check Expansion Act. If your senator is Kyrsten Sinema or Joe Manchin, call to ask for their support for a filibuster exception for gun safety legislation.
  • Pray in solidarity with protests at the NRA convention on Friday, May 27th.
  • Join or pray in solidarity with national and local March for Our Lives marches on June 11.

Read the entire Statement

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
years.

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

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.

Save The Date

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.