Jubilarians 2017

Celebrating years of service

JubilariansGraphic

There are 11 members of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio celebrating anniversaries of professed religious life in 2017. The service of these Sisters represents a total of 640 years of “living the Gospel in joyful servanthood among all people.”

Platinum 75 Year Jubilarians

Sister M. Dominica Niedbala

75th Jubilee


Sister M. Dominica Niedbala entered the convent in 1939 from St. Ladislaus Parish in Hamtramck, Michigan. She made her first vows as a Sister of St. Francis in 1942 and her final vows in 1945. This year marks her 75th year in religious life, a life full of many and varied experiences in life and ministry.

As a nurse, Sister Dominica often served as the director or supervisor of nursing in several hospitals in Ohio, Texas, Michigan and Nebraska. She also was an instructor in nursing at colleges in Ohio and Arkansas. For the past several years, Sister Dominica has shared her love of sewing and quilting with her Sisters at the Motherhouse. She says that community living is a “stitch” as she works on her quilts. Every stitch is a prayer for her Sisters and the families and friends in the various community ministries where she was privileged to serve over the past 75 years.

Sister M. Rose de Lima Kott

75th Jubilee


Sister M. Rose de Lima Kott entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Sylvania, Ohio, when the community was only 20 years old. She had been taught by the Sisters at Nativity Parish in Toledo, Ohio and admired her teachers and wanted to become one and teach as they did. She made her first profession in the religious congregation in 1942 and her final vows in 1945. She earned a B.A. and a B.S.E. degree from the former Mary Manse College in Toledo, Ohio, and a M.A. degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sister Rose did indeed teach as she spent 42 years in teaching in elementary schools in Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio. She loved working with students and enjoyed seeing them grow and develop into good and caring young people. After teaching for so many years it was natural for her to become a librarian and AV coordinator at an elementary school. Her next ministry was that of switchboard assistant/coordinator at the Motherhouse of the Sisters. She did that for 14 years before she retired to Rosary Care Center and entered the Third Age Prayer Ministry which she continues to this day. Sister Rose enjoyed her hobby of crocheting and supplied the gift shop with her handwork for several years.

When one reflects on the 75 years that Sister Rose de Lima has been a Sister, one can only marvel at all that she has lived through as she grew along with the community and lived to celebrate the Centennial Year of the Sisters in 1916. Think about the many changes she has weathered in religious life, the classroom, the Church, the United States and the world and you would be impressed by how much our elders have had to be flexible and resilient examples for the rest of us. Thank you, Sister Rose de Lima for 75 years of faithful witness to the value and beauty of religious life.

Diamond 60 Year Jubilarians

Sister Adrienne Urban

60th Jubilee


Sister Adrienne Urban entered the Sylvania Franciscan community from Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in Detroit, Michigan, where she was taught by the Sylvania Franciscans. In 1957 she made first profession in the religious congregation and professed final vows in 1960. She earned a B.A. from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minnesota and a M.Ed. from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.

Sister Adrienne has spent most of her 60 years of religious life in education.
She began teaching in elementary school and moved on to high school and college. More than half of her teaching was done at the college level where she taught biology, health, physiology, anatomy and physics. Sister Adrienne also spent some time as a core member of the community’s House of Prayer and as a Sacristan team member for the convent Chapel. These ministries often overlapped with her teaching load. She currently helps out in the Chapel where she graciously meets and greets the guests who come for services as well as helping out with behind the scene preparations for daily and Sunday Mass.

As she reflects on her 60 years in religious life, Sister Adrienne is grateful for the many opportunities she has had to share life with the Sisters and especially with her twin sister, Sister Grace Ellen, who is also a Sylvania Franciscan. She continues to live her Franciscan life by being kind and gentle and helpful to others. When asked what she still wants to accomplish in her life she responded, “The highest form of life is to glorify God…to make Him known everywhere, to help hearts to create room for Him.” She also quoted from Emmet Fox’s words on Love: “If only you could love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful person in the world.”

Sister Kathleen Ottrock

60th Jubilee


Sister Kathleen Ottrock entered the Sylvania Franciscan community in 1952 from Our Lady Queen of Heaven parish, Detroit, Michigan, where she was taught by the Sylvania Franciscans. In 1957 she made first profession in the religious congregation and professed final vows in 1960. She earned a B.A. degree in education and social studies from the former Mary Manse College in Toledo, Ohio; a M.A. in education from the University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio; and a M.A. in theology with a concentration in liturgy from Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana.

Sister Kathleen has spent most of her 60 years in religious life teaching in elementary schools in Ohio, Minnesota and Michigan. She was often the organist and liturgist at many of the parishes where she taught. In her later years she also was a Spiritual Director.

Sister Kate, as she is familiarly known, hopes to be remembered for her sense of humor, her love of adventure shown through traveling and camping and her love of cats. One of her favorite quotations from Thomas Merton, “The very fact I want to do God’s will is sufficient for God,” seems to be her guiding light at this stage in her life as she continues to desire to do God’s will at all times. As she reflects on her 60 years in religious life, Sister Kate is thankful to God for the friends that He sent her who enable her to be the best person she can be.

Sister Patricia Simpson

60th Jubilee


Sister Patricia Simpson, (formerly Sister Dorothy Ann), entered the Sylvania Franciscan community from Our Lady Queen of Heaven parish, Detroit, Michigan, where she was taught by the Sisters. In 1957 she made her first profession in the religious congregation and professed final vows in 1960.
She studied at the University of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan earning a B.A. in American History, English and French and later received a M.A. in English from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.

Sister Pat taught for twenty years in Catholic elementary and high schools in Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. She also served as the Novice Director and Formation Director for the Sisters and was the Assistant Minister General and Councilor for the Community. Before retiring she was the Director and then Vice-President of Mission Integration for the Sisters’ healthcare system, Franciscan Services Corporation. She currently resides at Rosary Care Center in Sylvania where she enjoys sing-a-longs and continues to smile and greet people as a joyful presence among the residents and visitors.

Sister Ruth Margaret Peterson

60th Jubilee


Sister Ruth Margaret Peterson entered the Sylvania Franciscan community from Immaculate Conception parish in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. She attended the school taught by the Sylvania Franciscans and felt drawn to religious life at the age of 24 after she had made a retreat. In 1957 she made her first profession of vows in the religious congregation and professed final vows in 1960. She earned a B.A. from the former Mary Manse College, in Toledo, Ohio,and a M.A. from the College of St. Thomas, (St. Thomas University), in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sister Ruth Margaret taught elementary and junior high classes in schools in Ohio and Minnesota for 40 years. While teaching, she also served as an organist at three different parishes for 30 years. She later worked at a Benedictine Spirituality Center and as the assistant and secretary in Faith Formation in a parish in Minnesota. Sister Ruth Margaret loves to read, bake and cook as well as design cards for All Good Things, the Sisters gift shop in Sylvania.

As she reflects on her 60 years in religious life, Sister Ruth Margaret recalls the saying by Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” She intends to continue to live out the Mission of the Sisters and live each day gracefully as she blesses God who called her to religious life as a Sylvania Franciscan.

Golden 50 Year Jubilarians

Sister M. Jordan Schaefer

50th Jubilee


Sister Jordan Schaefer entered the Sylvania Franciscans from St. Mary’s Parish in Sandusky, Ohio and professed her first vows in 1967. She served in a variety of ministries in the states which included teaching, school administration and also served as a missionary in Tanzania, East Africa. She presently ministers at the Franciscan Care Center in Toledo, Ohio, where she is the Director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care.

Reflecting on her 50 years in religious life, Sister Jordan feels that her call to be a Franciscan Sister is her greatest treasure. Living simply with peace in relationship with God, family, community, and the people of God on this beautiful place called “earth” is for her, pure joy.

Sister Mary Ann Szydlowski

50th Jubilee


Sister Mary Ann Szydlowski, (formerly Sister M. Casilda), entered the Sylvania Franciscan community from St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Wyandotte, Michigan, where she had been taught by the Sisters and was attracted to their gentle, loving and holy spirit. In 1967 she made first profession in the religious congregation and professed final vows in 1971.

Sister Mary Ann’s 50 years of ministry has revolved around health care. She worked as an LPN and later as an RN at hospitals in Ohio, Michigan and Texas for 22 years. She earned an A.A. and B.A. degree from Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio. In the early 1990’s she became interested in Message Therapy and Polarity Therapy and worked at the Sophia Center in Sylvania until going into private practice. She currently works as a Licensed Massage Therapist and also does Hypnotherapy out of her office in Rosary Care Center in Sylvania.

As she reflects on her Golden Jubilee, Sister Mary Ann wants to continue to live the life of a Franciscan Sister to the best of her ability. She wishes to have a deeper relationship with God and to learn more about Francis and Clare and will have the privilege of going on the Assisi Pilgrimage this year.

Sister Nancy Ferguson

50th Jubilee


Sister Nancy Ferguson (formerly Sister Mary Jeffrey) entered the Sylvania Franciscans from St. James Parish, in Toledo, Ohio after graduating from McAuley High School in 1964. She attributes her religious vocation to the Notre Dame Sisters in Toledo and Mercy Sisters from Cincinnati. Over the past 50 years she had served in a variety of ministries which include teaching elementary school, vocation and parish ministry and being a houseparent in a children’s home in New Mexico. She is currently the director of Mission Integration at Trinity Health System in Steubenville, Ohio,and at Trinity Twin City.

Sister Nancy feels that God has always opened doors to new opportunities in ministry when there was a need to be filled. Her favorite Scripture passage from Jeremiah 29:11, I know the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare, plans for a future full of hope, has been a source of inspiration for her during her 50 years in religious life.

Sister M. St. Anthony Chrzanak

50th Jubilee


Sister M. St. Anthony Chrzanak entered the Sylvania Franciscan community from All Saints Parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she had been taught by the Sisters. In 1967 she made first profession in the religious congregation and professed final vows in 1971.

Sister St. Anthony’s 50 years in religious life had her participating in a variety of ministries from education to business to health care. She received an A.A. degree from Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio; a B.A. from the former Mary Manse College in Toledo, Ohio; a M.A. in Secondary Math Education from the University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio; and a M.S.A. degree in Financial Administration for Nonprofits from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. She taught elementary and junior high students at schools in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Louisiana. She worked as Associate and later as Assistant Treasurer in the business office of the Sisters in Sylvania. She then became the Residential Counselor at Boys’ Hope in Louisiana, a ministry that called forth gifts and talents she didn’t know she had as she mothered the many boys who came to the facility for guidance and help. Sister currently ministers at St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, Texas where she visits the elders and is a Spiritual Care Partner for a group of Associates of the Sisters in Texas.

When asked about her reflection on her 50 years as a consecrated religious, Sister St. Anthony says that she became a Sister because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. She taught math to them but also emphasized their personal worth and God’s unconditional love for them. She continues to help people of all ages to realize and celebrate all that they are before God. She hopes to continue to be a joyful, caring person among God’s people and to do whatever God asks of her with joy and a song in her heart.
A scriptural refrain that is a favorite of hers is, “We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to serve one another, and to walk humbly with God.”

Sister Theresa Darga

50th Jubilee


Sister Theresa Darga, (formerly Sister Mary Leonice), entered the Sylvania Franciscan community from St. Ladislaus Parish, Hamtramck, Michigan, where she was taught by the Sylvania Franciscans. Two cousins in the Racine Dominican Order also inspired her to become a Sister. In 1967 she made first profession in the Sylvania Order and professed final vows in 1971. She earned a B.A. from the former Mary Manse College in Toledo, Ohio,and a M.Ed. from the University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

Sister Theresa’s first 19 years of ministry were in education where she taught first grade in schools in Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. She never thought she would stop teaching but when asked to become an elementary school principal she served in that capacity for 27 years in schools in Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. She enjoyed working with students and parents from all grade levels and serving as a mentor to the faculty and staff. Of her 46 years in education, Sister Theresa says, “Education will always have a special place in my heart.” She is currently serving as Assistant Congregational Minister for the congregation.

A highlight of her life as a Sylvania Franciscan was the opportunity to participate in an Assisi Pilgrimage where Franciscan spirituality came alive as she walked in the footsteps of Francis and Clare. As she reflects on her 50 years in religious life, Sister Theresa is grateful for the many people who have touched her life and the many opportunities given her as a Sister of St. Francis.

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