Congregations of Women Religious and other organizations joined Giving Voice Sisters in Prayerful Solidarity with the Border Convergence from Oct. 7 to 10.
Global Catholic Sisters Report: "Inside a one-room soup kitchen in Nogales on October 8, about 20 young women religious labeled their nametags, adding a sticker to indicate their language preferences. Charity Sr. Tracy Kemme and Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Julia Walsh led the room in prayer, joined remotely by sisters across the country who were offering the same prayers and starting the same conversations in solidarity regarding effective immigration reform. The reverence in this room, covered in social justice murals, was unmoved by the noisy traffic just outside the open door." Read Sisters, advocates gather at U.S. Mexico border to call attention to immigration policies.
telesur: "Aristizabal, a theatrical performer and pioneering psychologist, has survived a civil war, arrest and torture at the hands of the U.S.-backed military in Colombia. He knows firsthand the dilatant nature of U.S. imperialism and its far-reaching meddling in countries around the globe giving rise to state terrorism that forces people into exile. As a speaker at the weekend of events, Aristizabal told teleSUR he would be highlighting how 'money from the U.S. was used to kill people in Colombia.' " Read SOA Watch Moves Annual Protest to Militarized US-Mexico Border.
News Roundup: GSR and Vision feature FSPA
A back-to-school flier brought “gratitude and relief” and inspiration to Sister Julia Walsh, who wrote about it in her latest “Global Sisters Report” column. After teaching for eight years in Chicago and La Crosse she is not heading back to the classroom but instead moving on to a new ministry [serving Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center], packing with her “Lessons learned from my students.” In learning to “Keep it real” she “realized … the best thing I could offer my students was myself, no matter what shape I was in.” When exploring different ways to pray with them she found it best to “Let me pray how I like,” to allow students “the freedom and the choice.”
“Celibacy,” writes Sister Julia Walsh in the 2017 issue of “VISION,” “leads me to limitless love.” Her story is shared in a six-page spread, full of color photos featuring herself with her students, in the adoration chapel, with Sister Rita Marie Bechel during the celebration of her vows last year. It tells of Sister Julia’s “awkward phases” when she was admittedly boy-crazy but also “a teen who deeply desired to please God.” Praying for guidance she “heard a very intense answer … “Be a nun” but “In awe and fear and confusion, I started to sob.”
You’ll find the rest of her story in VISION magazine (beginning on pg. 42)
FSPA hosts conversations on homelessness
From the "La Crosse Tribune"
"Consultant Erin Healy is challenging the Coulee Region to shoot for the moon to end homelessness, with down-to-earth collaboration to harness the resources of governmental, social service, religious and other agencies already engaged in the quest.
'You have substantive experts here on homelessness,' Healy told about 100 people, including mostly members of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, as well as representatives of community and governmental agencies, at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse Tuesday."
The Tribune followed Erin Healy and reported extensively.
Living Faith Devotional: Knowing the Truth
Sister Julia Walsh writes of “Knowing the Truth” in her latest Living Faith Daily Devotion (published July 1). She references Psalm 119:30; “The way of truth I have chosen; I have set your ordinances before me.”
She admits “Sometimes we would just rather not know; ignorance really can be bliss,” and acknowledges that reality can be difficult. But, concludes Sister Julia, “we must accept the truth because the truth is of God … God, keep me open to the way of your truth and mercy. Give me the courage to follow your way of kindness and love.”
Read her Living Faith Devotion.
Thank you, FSPA
"For the second year in a row, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have given POCA Tech a substantial grant: $8000. This grant is intended to support the process of POCA Tech’s ACAOM accreditation.
As I wrote when this happened last year, the back story is that Sister Eileen McKenzie is a POCA punk and runs a POCA clinic, FSPA Community Acupuncture, within a collective of holistic practitioners dedicated to Franciscan values. You can read more here about Sr. Eileen’s commitment to acupuncture, community acupuncture, and POCA. The FSPA community has been dedicated to education, healthcare, and social justice for over a hundred years, and when Sr. Eileen asked them to show support to POCA Tech, they responded with radical generosity." - Lisa Rohleder, POCA Tech executive director
Sister Eileen McKenzie is a member of this organization. She offers community acupuncture at Integrative Therapies of La Crosse in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Global Catholic Sisters Report: Sister moms
Sisters who are also mothers bring new perspectives to religious life
By Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans
The Catholic church places a high value on parenthood as a vocation. But the entrance of previously married women into religious communities also raises another possibility: more than one sacred calling.
The diversities mothers bring to religious life impact community living, prayer life, decision-making, governance structures and ministries, and the stories of how these women were drawn to religious life are as diverse as the women themselves.
Go to the full story, "Sisters who are also mothers..." at Global Catholic Sisters Report.
FSPA launches discernment blog
How do you reach today’s discerning women? You show them a sign.
Show me a sign is a new set of vocation tools the FSPA membership office is using to reach out to women who are wondering if they are called to religious life today. The tools include a Show me a sign blog and newsletter (in both print and electronic formats). And the messages serve to demystify religious life.
Amy Taylor, FSPA, serves as the blog and newsletter publisher. She says, “The questions we hear from young women are very basic, ‘can sisters have cats?’ to very deep, ‘will I ever see my family again?’ And we want to answer their questions (both yes, by the way) and share the everyday stories and ministries of Franciscan Sisters living the Gospel life today.”
Sister Amy also hopes the women and men walking with young women today—family members, pastors, spiritual advisors, campus ministers and spiritual directors—will use Show me a sign to nurture the potential vocation. “We know that young women reach out to others for support during their discernment. Show me a sign serves as a valuable resource—from the perspectives of today’s Catholic sisters—that support teams can share. Religious life is a wonderful option for today’s young woman. And if God is calling her, we hope our stories shared through Show me a sign offer guidance, moments of reflection and faith that there is joy in community.”
Follow Show me a sign
Subscribe to the blog
Subscribe to the e-newsletter: text FSPA to 22828 or sign up below (see newsletter sign-up box)
Subscribe to the print newsletter: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-782-5610
Mayo-Franciscan honors Sister Leclare Beres
In a recent La Crosse Tribune article, Emotions high as Mayo-Franciscan dedicates center to beloved nun, Sandy Brekke notes, “This would be perfect for Sister Leclare ...She was so devoted to students.”
Sister Leclare Beres advocating for health care for allAccording to the article, the new state-of-the art Sister Leclare Beres Learning Resource Center offers inpatient care, procedural and clinical exam rooms, a newly designed library, conference room, classroom and computer lab.
The facility is available 24/7 to Mayo-Franciscan residents, staff, nursing students and others in the medical field.
S. Karen: Let’s turn anger into teamwork
“I’m angry!” declares Sister Karen Lueck in an editorial in the April 3 issue of La Crosse Tribune. She offers this emotion in response to failing systems and politics and laments that “too many people” react with “denigration, violence, blaming our most vulnerable persons, or just plain helplessness.” But not so much, she lauds, in La Crosse. Citing community collaboration for causes like the Franciscan Hospitality House, human trafficking, Boys & Girls Clubs, Change Direction (and, for its part in consistently reporting these triumphs, La Crosse Tribune) she admits she is “still angry” but has “learned from the citizens of La Crosse how to be creative and life-giving with that anger.” Read Lets turn anger into positive teamwork.
Homelessness: Franciscan Hospitality House
The charism of the Franciscan Hospitality House is articulated in a recent report aired by WXOW News Channel 19. “We need a place to go” says Sister Karen Neuser, recalling a conversation she had about the call to care for the community’s homeless, “… a place that’s safe … until we get on our feet.” Catholic Charities Executive Director Roberto Partarrieu gives credence to the cause as well: “Every member of the community is valuable … is worth it.” Read the article here.
Global Sisters' Reporter takes notice of Sister Donna Steven’s work
Sister Donna was asked “What drew you to drug treatment?” and to reflect on “some of the cultural differences that might affect the rehabilitation process.” The reporter also questioned Sister Donna about “misconceptions” she’s discovered about drug treatment. Are there lessons to share about such care “that could benefit others working in rehabilitation ministries?” In response to that query in particular Sister Donna says “I get swamped here because everybody I deal with becomes a precious person to me, and they know that because of the way I talk with them, listen to them, empathize, express my understanding of what they are telling me and share with me—that’s what you have to do.” Read Q & A with Sister Donna Stevens.
Motherhouse Road Trip: podcast available
A Nun's Life crew brought their Mother House Road Trip to St. Rose Convent on March 3. The road trip combined social media and in-person events in innovative ways to engage with people about God, faith, and religious life.
A highlight of the road trip was a podcast that live-streamed (audio and video) over the Internet. Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Katie Mitchell and Eileen McKenzie joined hosts Sister Julie Vieira and Sister Maxine Kollasch to talk about topics such as discernment, prayer, spirituality and more. There was also a live chat room where on-line listeners interact with each other and the sisters during the podcast. A live audience had the opportunity to wave goodbye to the online viewers at the end of the podcast.
About A Nun's Life
A Nun’s Life Ministry was founded in 2006 by Sister Julie and Sister Maxine, who are Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Monroe, Michigan. A Nun’s Life Ministry is a pioneer in combining technology, social media and vocations outreach in highly interactive and pastoral ways.
A Nun’s Life Ministry encourages people to understand their life as a vocation. The mission of A Nun’s Life Ministry is to help people discover and grow in their vocation by engaging questions about God, faith and religious life. To help in this, A Nun’s Life brings the tradition of religious life—in areas such as discernment, prayer and spirituality—into conversation with people’s everyday lives.
Sister turns plastic bags into sleeping mats
Kathy Roberg, FSPA, has a knack for upcycling plastic grocery bags. At first, she collected the grocery bags and used them to crochet tote bags. Her latest effort, crocheting the bags into sleeping mats for homeless individuals in the Spokane, Washington area. “I am so happy that I returned to my homeland here in Spokane! I am involved with so many people who are often times rejected by society—women and children, people trying to learn another language, and the homeless.
One of my latest fun projects is crocheting sleeping mats out of plastic bags. I have made 10 already and it makes my heart smile with love when I give them away. God is constantly out there; we just need to see.”
According to Sister Kathy all you need is a good supply of plastic bags, a size Q crochet hook and a good pair of scissors.
Here are Sister Kathy’s detailed instructions:
- Make plastic yarn, or plarn, by folding the bags really well into thirds. Cut off the seam end and the handles, then cut across the bags (strips about two inches wide which when opened up turn into loops).
- Loop the bags with slip knotting to make your plarn.
- Start crocheting with a chain stitch (make a chain to be about 40 inches long). Turn your chain and crochet in the second stitch from the hook and single crochet all the way on that chain.
- When you get to the end of the chain, slip the hook into one stitch below the last stitch to make it firm, then crochet two chains.
- Turn your work and continue to single crochet all the way across.
- I make the mats about five feet, six inches and then make two straps.
- Attach the straps with fish line to make them firm, making a loop on the end so the strap can go through the loop (for easy over-the-shoulder carrying).
Sister Kathy recommends Internet tutorials to help get you started.
In the news: Social Justice Stations of the Cross
The Franciscan Spirituality Center held a Justice and Peace Stations of the Cross walk on Good Friday 2016. The two-mile silent prayer walk stopped at 10 stations along the route to sing, pray and reflect on injustices and suffering in our community and the world. And according to a La Crosse Tribune article, "FSPA Sister Phyllis Ann Hackman, who used a walker to navigate for the stations she followed until snowy spots became too much of an obstacle, said, 'I really love God, and I want to be here to witness and to pray for peace.'” Read FSC's Justice and Peace Stations seek fulfillment of Jesus' goals.
Loving our enemies in an age of fear
Sister Julia Walsh, in her latest Global Sisters Report column, addresses the conception of “Loving our enemies in an age of fear.” In a time when people are petrified of particular presidential candidates and in her own predisposition to feed such fear, she wonders “What happened to my tendency to be an optimistic person? Why are we all so afraid? And, how is Christ really inviting us to respond during this Lenten season?”
While Sister Julia acknowledges “It’s ugly out there,” she offers optimism through actions of love that include reading and praying; remembering; finding; asking; forgiving and offering; [to be] willing; and looking; all in order to share “transformative mercy and hope.” How, more specifically, is she inviting us to engage in these ways? Visit Global Catholic Sisters Report.
Sister returns to her Iowa roots
Don’t tell Sister Theresa Keller, FSPA, you can’t go home again.
The Sioux City native has returned after four decades to work in her hometown, just blocks from where she attended high school.
Much of the reasoning behind Sister Theresa’s decision to return to Siouxland was due to her family.
“I wanted to find a job closer to my family,” said the nun, who graduated from Heelan High School in 1975. “Both my parents were born in Sioux City and all of my grandparents were from Siouxland.”
Sister Theresa, 59, has been a family nurse practitioner at Siouxland Community Health Center (SCHC), 1021 Nebraska St., since September. Bishop Heelan High School is located at 1021 Douglas St.
Following her high school graduation, Sister Theresa studied at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., where she earned a BSN degree in 1980.
“I had an interest in the consecrated life because of my teachers at Heelan and the Carmelites in Sioux City,” she said. “I wanted to go to nursing school and Viterbo had a school of nursing, so that was the reason why I chose the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration over another order of sisters.”
Read the story by Joanne Fox; courtesy of the Catholic Globe, Sioux City, Iowa; reprinted with permission.
FSPA collaborates to share Pope's message
by Carol Hoverman, OSF: As the eyes of the nation focused on the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, the 13 congregations of Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley captured the attention of participants to call for an end to environmentally destructive policies and practices, placing more than 20 billboards in strategic locations throughout state, southwest Wisconsin and western Illinois.
The billboards, posted in January and into February, carry the message "Standing with Pope Francis; Caring for our Common Home." In his latest encyclical, Laudato Si', Pope Francis urgently calls people all over the world to take action to protect the earth.
Environmental issues have not yet gotten much attention with the candidates and many voters. The billboards are an effort to change this.
Read the full story at Global Catholic Sisters Report.
FSPA serves on Human Trafficking Task Force
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and the Wisconsin Department of Justice are establishing the State of Wisconsin Human Trafficking Task Force. They have invited Sister Marlene Weisenbeck to participate as a member. She has accepted the invitation and the task force convened in December 2015.
The task force will oversee a number of issue-specific work groups in the following focus areas: training, identification and screening of victims; prevention and public awareness; placement and services; and data collection.
Sister Marlene founded the La Crosse Task Force to Eradicate Modern Slavery. This invitation serves as a nod to the work she has carried out to date; her perspective will be a valuable addition to the state-wide task force.
Adoration earns international media coverage
AP reporter Carrie Antlfinger visited St. Rose Convent for two days in October. The office thanks everyone who gave her time and extended hospitality to her. Her story was sent out on the AP wire and will appear in many newspapers, on many TV stations and on radio shows.
Following the release of the AP story on adoration, the communications office has taken calls from a few media outlets who want to add their own voice to the story. One outlet is Fox News, as linked here: https://radio.foxnews.com/2015/11/05/non-stop-praying-nuns-in-wisconsin/. A second is WXOW TV 19 (La Crosse's ABC affiliate) also interviewed S. Sarah (http://www.wxow.com/story/30446102/wisconsin-convent-says-prayer-has-gone-on-nonstop-since-1878).
To give you a sense of the amazing coverage, here are a "few" links (the AP story has appeared in more than 250 -- and counting -- media outlets): New York Post, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Q & A with Sister Bernadette
Sister Bernadette Prochaska is seen in the first row, smiling and waving in sincere excitement, in the Nov. 10 issue of Global Sisters Report. The photo and her presence in it are part of a Q & A piece about her ministry of teaching English in the Czech Republic that began “just a few years after the fall of communism” there.
Sister Bernadette shares that some of her students feared being outed for practicing English; how sister students were trepidatious to change until they realized “integration of new values following Vatican II was really a virtue;” and now how the tide has turned and priests want “to learn English in order to accommodate the high rates of tourists visiting Prague.”
The article in its entirety is available at Global Catholic Sisters Report.