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.
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.”
On Thursday, March 3, 2011, our Sister Eugene Belmonte peacefully entrusted herself to the companionship of Sister Death. Earlier that day, as witnessed by those who kept watch at her bedside, the good news proclaimed from St. Mark’s Gospel took on special meaning: “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” (Mark 10:50) Attentive to the sacredness of her final hours among us, one could almost hear the voice of Jesus saying: “Benvenuta, cara mia, quanto sei bella per me.” (Welcome, my beloved one, how beautiful you are to me.)
Born on the near Westside of Chicago, Illinois, to her parents Maria (Broccolo) and Eugene Belmonte on June 17, 1918, Assunta Veronica Belmonte was one of seven children. Sadly for the family, two of the children, the only boys, died as infants. As a young girl, Susie, as shewas affectionately known, took her place in the middle of her four sisters, Carmela, Theresa, Anna and Angelina. As a child, she attended St. Callistus Parish. In 1932, she graduated from St. Mary’s High School and began working in an office. At the age of 26, she became a postulant with the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate on January 27, 1945. She entered the novitiate on August 12 of the same year and received the religious name Sister Mary Eugene. She professed her first vows two years later in 1947. Diligent in her studies at the College of St. Francis, Sister Eugene was most eager to teach young children. Prior to making her final profession on August 12, 1950, she wrote in her letter of request to Mother Immaculate the following words: “I hope that with the grace of God I may be able to do His work for many, many years. I realize I can never be thankful enough for this great privilege of teaching His little ones how to love Him and to bring them closer to Christ.” Over the years, she devoted herself to lifelong learning in the service of those to whom she ministered as teacher and as religious educator. Looking back on her 43 years in the ministries of parish‐based elementary education and catechesis, mostly in the Archdiocese of Chicago, it is evident that Sister Eugene’s hopes were more than fulfilled.
On January 3, 2011, as our sister, Miriam Patrice Tierney, prepared to make her journey home to God, these words from the Prophet Isaiah and the Gospel of Matthew echoed in churches and chapels throughout the world: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death, a light has shone” (Is 9:1) and “Turn to God with all your heart, the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand (Matt 4:17).” For one who faithfully lived the gospel way of life, what better words could lead her home to the Lord of Light and Love?
Born on August 13, 1922, to Frank and Irene (Le Gere) Tierney, Florence Mary Tierney was baptized and confirmed at St. Brendan Church in Chicago, Illinois. The eldest of three sisters, she learned to care for others spontaneously and generously from any early age. Attending Assumption Parish School from 1928‐1933, she completed junior high school at Altgeld School in 1936 and graduated from Parker High School in 1940. She worked as a factory clerk for several months and on September 8, 1941, she became a postulant with the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. She entered the novitiate the following year and on August 12, 1942, she received her religious name, Sr. Miriam Patrice. Making her first profession on August 12, 1944, she soon embarked on a 35‐year long career as beloved primary grade teacher.