FSPA celebrates six new spiritual collaborators
FSPA celebrates six new 'spiritual collaborators' in ministry
Please help FSPA welcome six new affiliates in the community who are committed to becoming spiritual collaborators joined in sacred relationship, supporting one another to live the Gospel and transform our world.
*We introduced Barb in the July issue of “Presence” and, as she celebrated with the group in the fall, share this new reflection.
“Every once in a while, something pushes me to consider a more Franciscan way of life,” says former FSPA aspirant and new affiliate Barb Ceranski. Inspired by a “special person” (her high school principal) as well as those at the St. Anthony Spirituality Center in her hometown of Marathon, Wisconsin (including Sister Jolynn Brehm, her companion), Barb says affiliation is now fulfilling a feeling that “something is missed.”
Through affiliation, Barb hopes “to deepen her faith and social connection with other sisters and affiliates who share the same beliefs” and is looking to the future with openness “to wherever this process will lead me.”
Mary Jane Cramer
When asked how she first came to know about FSPA, new affiliate Mary Jane Cramer exclaims “Sister Jolynn [Brehm, her companion] … a great teacher in helping me grow in my love of God and creation … told me about it!” Other Franciscan influences include Sister Catherine Kaiser, a “good friend” who mentored Mary Jane through CCD preparation, and both affiliates Barb Lawless and Barb Ceranski. “God has put so many FSPA friends in my life that I believe so strongly in having St. Francis and St. Clare as my role models!”
Mary Jane has served as a role model herself. With certification in Advanced Religious Education she was a catechist for more than 10 years and, as a graduate of the Academy of Beauty Professionals in Appleton, Wisconsin, had a home-based hair styling business for over 25 years. A resident of Marathon, Wisconsin, Mary Jane has also served her parish as a lector and eucharistic minister, council secretary, family retreat coordinator, choir member and cleaner/gardener/decorator.
And Mary Jane says her new role as an affiliate “brings me so much joy! I am so looking forward to finding out more about FSPA and about the knowledge I’ll gain about saints Francis and Clare — how they lived a life like Jesus.”
“In all of my 77 years,” proclaims new affiliate Mary Garves, “I have not experienced a greater sense of belonging than when I am praying in the Adoration Chapel, attending a program at the spirituality center or meeting with my companion community, praying, learning and growing in my faith life.”
Mary’s call to such gift began when, as a speech-language pathologist for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in La Crosse, Wisconsin, for 25 years, she actually called Sister Leclare Beres at the Indochinese Screening Clinic to request treatment for two children with chronic ear infections. “Whenever they needed medical attention, Sister Leclare always made sure they were seen by a physician.” Mary has also served her community in various volunteer means: Roncalli Newman Parish as well as the ministry of social justice through her volunteerism with the Hmong community and the homeless at the Franciscan Hospitality House. She and husband sponsor a child from Swaziland and will be “surrogate grandparents” to another matriculating to Viterbo University. Her companion is affiliate Mike Schnitzius.
And Mary looks forward to continuing her service to others through affiliation, “bringing me together with like-minded people living Franciscan values.”
“When I became a prayer partner four years ago,” says new affiliate Shanen Kazynski, beginning the story of her path to affiliation ministry, “my dear friend Sharon Chavolla, later my affiliate companion, was one of God’s messengers. She blessed me with her grace … and I have been carrying her loving presence that shined through her words, thoughts and actions in prayer, witness and service with me.”
As a certified life coach with a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Shanen also expresses loving presence to those she serves. “I help others identify their personal growth goals by supporting, inspiring, motivating and asking the right questions. In helping them find the courage within to manage issues and make positive changes, they find happiness and peace in their lives.” Those who benefit from her volunteer service — guests of the Franciscan Hospitality House, faith formation students and the Rotary Club — undoubtedly appreciate her presence as well.
And Shanen, led in affiliation by companion Sister Linda Mershon, appreciates her FSPA community. “I admire others who are living the Gospel and transforming our world with the gifts and talents God gives us. I want to grow in deeper relationship with sisters and affiliates.”
“I wanted to take Sunday morning worship,” says new affiliate Tera Kolbeck about her inspiration to join the program, “and bring it into the rest of my life.” This desire eventually drove Tera to FSPA, but first to research “lay Franciscan organizations … that would encourage me to grow as a Christian woman, to find others with similar interests and concerns, and provide me with opportunities to contribute my time and talents.” With an introduction to affiliate Marge McCardle, now her companion, Tera found the community she was looking for.
A resident of Cambridge, Minnesota, Tera served in the United States Air Force from 1991 to 1995. She worked for the next six years at two different law firms and, since 2007, for STERIS Laboratories. Married to Ryan with whom she has two children, Tera puts her time and talent to good use by knitting blankets for a local animal shelter.
And now Tera’s drive to put her faith into action with FSPA affiliation has been affirmed. “I knew it was right for me when I attended my first weekend gathering. Never before had I experienced the feeling of belonging with a group of people that I’d just met.”
New affiliate Jean Schmidt didn’t have to go far for faith-filled inspiration to find FSPA and join the affiliation program. Her companion, affiliate Judy Crompton, is also her mom.
Perhaps such familial motivation impacted Jean’s life of service to others long ago. With a Master of Science in speech-language pathology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Jean has helped many in her career that began in 2012. Currently, she cares for children with special needs at a therapeutic day school in the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois. She also serves as a volunteer: a confirmation teacher in her parish and with her local youth-development Optimist Club. And Jean’s family is growing as she and her husband are expecting a sibling for their son in February.
Jean’s life of connectedness and service will elevate her intentions in affiliation well. “I chose to be an affiliate to increase my spirituality through helping out my community and building relationships with other affiliates. It’s also made me more aware of social justice issues in our world.”