Donor Spotlight

Donor Spotlight

Who are our partners in mission? Our collaborators in ministry? Our investors in the work of social justice, ecological advocacy, prayer and all we do to invite love and goodness in the world? They are FSPA donors.

We introduce you to just a few whose impact we are eternally grateful for and invite you to join them in supporting our global community.

Donors David and Donna share 'Very fond memories'

man-glasses-blue-shirt-woman-striped-blue-shirtDavid Kampa and Donna Reichwein

“I support these FSPA ladies and trust what they’re doing with my donation,” says David Kampa, a longtime donor of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. When Donna Reichwein sees stories of goodness reported by local news media, she thinks to herself, “I’ll bet the sisters are involved.”

While trust and goodness are pillars of donor partnerships with FSPA — helping the congregation to fulfill our mission of loving presence to people and planet through prayer, witness and service — it is relationships with sisters that inspire donors like David and Donna. Donna’s first FSPA contact was with Sister Junilla Gengler at St. Joseph Junior Primary in Bellevue, Iowa. Her dad knew some of the sisters in Bellevue. Donna’s family moved to Arcadia, Wisconsin, and she recalls visiting with Sister Junilla at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse one summer. Donna and her dad also visited Villa St. Joseph, located in La Crosse as well.

Donna came to St. Francis School of Nursing in La Crosse and became acquainted with many FSPA sisters there. Sisters Georgia Hammell and Agnes Schweiger were her Fundamentals in Nursing training instructors. Sisters Francita Willenborg and Mary Aquin Geisler were directors of the program. For most of Donna’s nursing career, she served at St. Francis and, when the institution’s name changed, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare. (It is now known as Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare La Crosse). Sisters Maris Kerwin and LeClare Beres were Donna’s first bosses.

Born and raised in Arcadia, Wisconsin, David had “a couple of great-aunts” who were Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. He recalls his family having dinners with the sisters who were dressed in their full habits. “Sister Petronilda’s bonnet was so tight. I wondered how they ate, drank or even breathed!” Sister Angelora Grossman was a first cousin. And an FSPA, Sister Thaddea Sobotta, was David’s great-aunt.

David is an accordionist. One day in 2000, during a drive on Hwy 33, Donna told him about the Villa. He responded “Maybe I could entertain the sisters there.” David was already playing at local nursing homes on a monthly basis. Sister Georgia connected him with Sister Mary Eve Hytry, a “much-treasured friend over these years.” Together David and Donna, who married in 2001, visited the sisters at the Villa and provided accordion performances for them. It became a regular gig, “virtually every month,” says David. “It was such a pleasure to play for the sisters. We developed quite a relationship with them.” Some sisters were serious, he recalls, but others revealed distinctive personalities. Sister Pat Sheridan “was always just a tad late for his performances.” He would tell her to sit in front so he could “keep an eyeball on her,” and she would “burst out in laughter. I had to play ‘My Wild Irish Rose’ for her.” David also played for the sisters at St. Rose, where they met Sister Michon Desmond. Sister Ladonna Kassmeyer recruited David to play for the local National Night Out parties. Suffice it to say, David came to the conclusion that FSPA is “the fun order!”

Sister Georgia told Donna and David that Sister Helen Deppe, from Bellevue, would be coming to St. Rose. During one of David’s performance engagements, “we had the discussion about birthdays, and Donna realized that she and Sister Helen were junior primary classmates in Bellevue from 1946 to 47.” Years later, while David was playing at St. Rose, they connected with Sister Helen. In 2023, when Sister Helen was celebrating 60 years as an FSPA, Donna discovered that while she was a nursing school student at St. Francis, Sister Helen was ministering just across the street at St. Rose. “Small world, heh?” says David.

At one time, Sisters Marian Massman, Blanche Klein and Kathleen Kenkel were their neighbors. Sister Marian spoke about the FSPA Prayer Partner ministry with him. David and Donna became prayer partners in 2011. “Sisters Rita Jansen and Rose Therese McMullen had the prayer hour before us,” recalls David, “and we later enjoyed visiting them at the Villa. After our prayer hour, Sister Lucille would walk us to the reception desk and casually conquer the staircase without holding on to the handrail!” She was counting the days until her 100th birthday which was celebrated at the local Pizza Doctors.”

David and Donna became regular Mass attendees at Mary of the Angels Chapel at St. Rose. David would sit next to Sister Bernyne Stark. “I got to know her and just loved her.” And he’s felt “Sunday joy” to attend Mass with the community. “The hymn ‘All Are Welcome’ accurately describes the feeling one gets here at St. Rose.” Sister Bernyne invited them to join her for brunch after Mass. “Such very fond memories.”

With so many memories and relationships to treasure, David gives gratitude for the ministries the FSPA have upheld throughout history and continue to carry out around the world.

“By golly, they did it, and they are still doing it.”

Donor Giving Stories

Donors like you are sharing their inspiration for investing in FSPA ministries — their stories of giving to supporting our global community. What's your giving story? We invite you to share yours and make a donation today. With your permission, we will share your stories below and on our social channels to inspire others with your Franciscan goodness!

I have good memories and so much thanks for my exposure to Sister Marita Bos (Gerardine). When I was a sophomore at Marquette High School in Bellevue, Iowa, Sister Gerardine was my teacher for geometry. I was a remedial student and had some learning disability issues that very few people knew anything about at that time.

I had many ninth period (after school) sessions with Sister Gerardine. She got me up to speed in geometry with all of her extra effort. At the time, we thought she was very tough.

Now after more than 60 years, I look back and appreciate the tremendous change Sister Gerardine has made in my life. God has blessed me so much in my life with a good career in data processing. I believe that none of this would have been possible without Sister Gerardine's tough training to bring me along.

Over the last couple of years, I have come to realize the impact she has had on my life and I have been praying for her benefit. I met a sister who was a friend of Sister Gerardine when I lived in Texas. Her friend told me that she had died of pancreatic cancer. I've been led to believe that it is one of the toughest and most painful cancers. God Bless her.

I am so thankful for her work on my behalf. God bless you, Sister Gerardine.

Partner in Mission Patricia H. Roth

Greetings! I am one of the donors to the FSPA — kind of like a drop in the ocean. I
am employed by the sisters, working as a nurse at Villa St. Joseph. I hope my biggest contribution is through a trusted partnership in care, service and relationship, a sort of gift of myself.

When one of my coworkers mentioned the "Faithful Friends" means of routine giving, it seemed like the most reasonable thing in the world. This program helps support the sisters in their retirement. I also gave on GivingTuesday [an annual event] when there was a donation match to help make the most of my gift.

Working with the sisters has been profoundly transforming on a personal level. They have shown me so much about how to age gracefully, suffer uncomplainingly and be as joyful as possible.  After spending years of caregiving and closeness, it is sad when they pass away. Sometimes I send a memorial donation in honor of a sister who has passed.

If you get a chance, take the time to engage with the sisters and their projects in the community. We all have a responsibility to make the world a better place, and your force for good will be multiplied by working with the sisters. And you might feel a little bit transformed too.

Affiliate Margaret Bluske

Born in the Milwaukee area more than 70 years ago, I grew up never hearing about the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Upon moving to La Crosse, Wisconsin, I heard occasional news reports about them but certainly hadn't become interested. That changed when I learned that Gordon, an amazing man of faith who worshiped with my congregation, was something called 'an affiliate with FSPA.' The interest turned into intrigue when I met Joe, an amazing man of service who was 'an affiliate with FSPA.' I was completely hooked when I met Jo, an amazing woman whose spirituality poured out through her ministry of music and who was also 'an affiliate with FSPA.'

They say the third time is a charm, and I allowed myself to be pulled into FSPA affiliation. It has now been 20 years since I became an affiliate. During this long while, I have had many experiences that have brought and continue to bring me into the workings of FSPA. I have had ample opportunities to know who they are, inside and out. Throughout all these years my attraction to the FSPA has not wavered or waned. It has intensified and broadened to include ongoing financial support. I love being a part of all the FSPA does in as many ways as I can, including the sharing of my money.

Joe and Barb Kruse: Faithful Friends

"It is linked with our desire ... to be living our lives influenced by Franciscan values," says Joe Kruse in a conversation about Faithful Friends — the FSPA monthly giving program that he and his wife, Barb, invest in. "We are able to authentically embrace those values by collaboration with the Franciscan Sisters, and that feels really good to both of us."

Meet Faithful Friend Patrick McMenamy

Elaine and Patrick McMenamy

FSPA is blessed to have Patrick McMenamy as a partner in mission. Since 1978, Patrick has been a collaborator with us through Faithful Friends, a monthly giving program that invites all to support our ministries of prayer, witness and service. He shares with us inspiration — compassion and Franciscan values — to serve.

FSPA: How did you come to know FSPA?

Patrick: I was born in 1939 at St. Francis Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The first three months of my life were spent under the care of Bernita Kuennen, FSPA, who remained a lifelong friend of our family.

I attended Holy Cross School and Aquinas High School, both in La Crosse. FSPA staffed both schools so from kindergarten through 12th grade I was taught and influenced by them. Numerous sisters had a major impact on my formation; however, Sister Margaret Heil, my 7th and 8th grade teacher, influenced me the most. She became my role model, mentor and treasured friend until the day she was called home by Jesus: June 9, 2017, at the age of 96. So, you see, I was formed by Franciscans and try to live my life according to the values instilled in me by FSPA.

When I was 13, serving morning Mass at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, I noticed a new postulant coming to the communion rail. Our eyes met and I felt she was looking right into my soul. I had never experienced that before. Her name was Sister Thea Bowman. She became another role model for me as I witnessed what she was and all she did. I pray to her daily and consider her a friend for all of my prayers that she's answered through her intercessions.


FSPA: How have FSPA contributed to your life?

Patrick: I've had many challenges to overcome during my life and when things were confusing, I'd give Sister Margaret a call. She always helped me make the right choices.

When I was really down, I'd think of the sisters praying in the Adoration Chapel at St. Rose and draw strength, knowing that they were interceding on my behalf. The sisters taught me how to serve Mass and chiseled the Latin responses into my brain. In fact, to this day I can still recite them in Latin. I served Mass at Holy Cross, Aquinas and St. Rose from grade school through high school. I continue to serve Mass and train acolytes for our parish and grade school today.

FSPA showed me by example how to serve others. I am a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, serve on parish and community boards and volunteer with other organizations.

FSPA: What calls you to collaborate with us as a Faithful Friend?

Patrick: FSPA cared for my dying parents at St. Francis Hospital and their love and kindness will always be remembered through my monthly support of their work.

Outside of my family, the sisters have impacted hundreds of thousands of lives, not only by their incredible works but by the powerhouse of prayer in the Adoration Chapel. The sisters have worked diligently for social justice and helping the poor. This work, so critical in today's world, must be supported.

FSPA: Do you have a message to share with the FSPA community about their ministries? Are there any in particular that you are passionate about?

Patrick: There are several ministries that are dear to my heart: justice and peace, spirituality and care of the environment. The work of the sisters in those ministries is so important, especially as society faces the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Sister Maria advocates for safe access to drinking water in Africa

Donors like you are partnering with Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Maria Friedman who sponsors the ministry grant Water for Mpanga, a program in Tanzania that is delivering safe drinking water to the village and keeping its people out of crocodile-infested water sources. 

Gratitude to Gratitude

With thank you notes handwritten from the heart, FSPA donors are sharing their gratitude for personal relationships with sisters who have inspired them to support our ministries. To share your thoughts of gratitude, please mail cards to FSPA Mission Advancement Office, 912 Market St., La Crosse, WI 54601.



The influence of Sister Rita Mae


Mary Frances Hester Bley is a major FSPA donor. She gives from her heart every year in a creative way that helps sustain the legacy of FSPA education and inspire gratitude for the teachers whose influence we celebrate.

I was lucky enough to work as a librarian at the Library of Congress for 28 years. After retirement I began thinking which of all my various teachers, instructors and professors had influenced me the most.

I realized with some surprise that it was Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Rita Mae Fischer, not a college professor or high school teacher but my second grade teacher from 1959 to 1960 at St. Augustine elementary school in Spokane, Washington.

I remember more about that school year than any other time of my childhood: how the room was set up, where I sat, how it smelled, the view from the windows. Mostly, though, I remember the woman in her nun's habit who led us in prayer four times each day: when school began, before and after lunch and at the end of the day.

Many adults lose memory of the exquisite sensitivity of being seven to eight years old, especially how harshness and criticism rock their brains and bodies into fearfulness and withdrawal. This looks like and mimics obedience.

There was none of that in Sister Rita Mae's class. We obeyed naturally because we were drawn to and thrived in her quiet reverence and patience. I remember no yelling, shaming or punishments. Sister Rita Mae led with calm gentleness. And although I only heard this after I retired, she was known as "an angel in a nun's habit."

I remember something otherworldly in her demeanor and the atmosphere she created in her classroom. As an adult, I've tried to define her and that time. Sister Rita Mae gave us glimpses of teaching with the greatest of love. She stepped aside a little bit and allowed God's love to flow through.

I've been corresponding with Sister Rita Mae for eight years now, which brings me much joy. I also discovered that we both became librarians!

Each month I save a little bit and contribute to FSPA on GivingTuesday to celebrate Sister Rita Mae and her birthday. My goal is to give according to her age and add a zero at the end. I direct my specific contribution to the sisters' retirement. I do so to honor the philosophy and years of love in action with the children they have taught with such devotion.

I plan to honor Sister Rita Mae and the love she instilled in me by contributing in this way every year for the rest of my life.

If you are reading this and feel as I do about your own remarkable Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, please remember them by donating, writing letters and thanking them for changing your life with their great love, patience and devotion.

What inspired your gift?

Whether it be action for adorationecological advocacy, justice and peace, Seeding a Legacy or any of the ministries we serve around the world, there are many reasons why you invest in FSPA mission.

Visit to make a gift, and email to share your giving inspiration!

"I asked for prayers, intentions ... and I wanted to give."

"The need for God's mercy ... for individuals facing the atrocities of war."

Why we invest in FSPA ministry

"In this changing, uncertain world, the FSPA provide stable presence and remind us that all things work for the good. Their vigilant prayer, love-based philosophy of aiding the poor and disenfranchised, healing of the environment and embracement of all in goodness and peace fit with our own aspirations and spirituality. It is a privilege and a blessing to offer financial support in perpetuating their mission."

- John and Marilyn Hempstead
FSPA Perpetual Friends and major donors

Why we are grateful for our collaborators


"John and Marilyn witness a steadfast spirit of openness and kindness that flows from their deep faith life. Their financial support of our FSPA mission strengthens our endeavors to serve others around the world regardless of status, religion, race or culture. As generous, heart-centered donors, their goodness contributes to the hope that all humans will one day realize peace and oneness in the Divine Source of Life."

- Marian Massman, FSPA

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