FSPA Leadership Team
FSPA leadership is elected through a prayerful process that involves the entire membership of the congregation. Terms of office are four years and members are eligible to serve two terms. Currently serving the congregation are Sister Karen Lueck, president, and Sister Helen Elsbernd, vice president. They are assisted by three mission councilors: Sisters Catherine Kaiser, Karen Kappell and Julie Tydrich. Working together to foster FSPA life and mission in the church and around the world, the leadership team considers both the welfare of each sister and the corporate good of the congregation.
Sister Karen Lueck
Since 2008, FSPA President Sister Karen Lueck has served the community as incorporation co-minister and novice director in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Prior to those ministries, she was a member of the FSPA leadership team as mission councilor, a pastoral counselor and associate in Iowa and Illinois, an elementary school principal in Oklahoma, and a teacher in schools in Iowa. In addition to these ministry experiences, Sister Karen serves FSPA with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls), and master’s degrees in both nonpublic elementary administration from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota) and pastoral counseling from Loyola University (Chicago, Illinois). Sister Karen also achieved a doctorate of ministry from the Chicago Theological Seminary.
Sister Helen Elsbernd
Past vice president of FSPA, Sister Helen Elsbernd has returned to that office from Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, Hiawatha, Iowa, where she served as director for almost eight years. With several academic degrees in chemistry (a bachelor’s from La Crosse, Wisconsin’s Viterbo University and both a master’s and Ph.D. from Chicago’s University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana) and a master’s degree in servant leadership from Viterbo, she’s ministered as a teacher in elementary and high schools in Wisconsin and Utah, and academic dean and vice president of academic affairs at universities in Wisconsin and Iowa. In the past, she has served on numerous local and national boards including the Leadership Council of Women Religious. Currently, Sister Helen serves as a corporate member of both Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Health Care in La Crosse and St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll, Iowa.
Sister Catherine Kaiser
Most recently serving a 24-year ministry in pastoral administration in Wisconsin parishes that include St. Alexander Catholic Church, Port Edwards, Sister Catherine Kaiser is a FSPA leadership team mission councilor. As a teacher, principal and director of religious education, she served elementary and junior high schools and a parish administrator in many locations throughout Wisconsin. Sister Catherine’s own education includes a bachelor’s degree from La Crosse, Wisconsin’s Viterbo College (now known as Viterbo University) in elementary education and a master’s degree from Ohio’s University of Dayton in educational administration. She also achieved a master’s degree in theological studies with a certificate in biblical studies (that included study in Rome, Greece, Turkey, the Holy Land and Egypt) from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois. With her experience, Sister Catherine has served as a member of various community organization boards and church committees.
Sister Karen Kappell
An artist in ministry, Sister Karen Kappell serves FSPA as a mission councilor. She came to that appointment from Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center, Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin, where she served part time as both resident artist and spiritual director. Her education includes both a B.A. in English and art from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and a M.A. in art from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. After instructing art at Silver Lake, Sister Karen ministered in La Crosse, Wisconsin, first as a campus minister at Viterbo College (now known as Viterbo University) and then as FSPA director of associates. She most recently ministered as a studio artist in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin.
Sister Julie Tydrich
FSPA Mission Councilor Sister Julie Tydrich recently completed 21 years of service as FSPA treasurer in the St. Rose Convent finance office in La Crosse, Wisconsin. With a bachelor’s degree in medical records science from La Crosse’s Viterbo College (now known as Viterbo University) and a master’s degree in hospital and health care administration from the University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Sister Julie previously ministered in health care in various hospitals in Wisconsin from 1973 to 1991. Now, in addition to her role on the leadership team, she serves various boards and committees in the La Crosse community.