Sylvania Franciscans Elect New Leadership Team
A new Leadership Team for the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, was elected at the every-four-year General Chapter on April 19, 2016. The five-member team will be formally installed at Mass on June 26 in Queen of Peace Chapel.
Sister Mary Jon Wagner was elected Congregational Minister; Sister Theresa Darga, Assistant Congregational Minister; Sister Shannon Schrein, Sister Sharon K. Derivan, and Sister Rachel Marie Nijakowski, Councilors.
Sister Mary Jon Wagner is completing her first term as Congregational Minister for the Sylvania Franciscans since 2012. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Congregational Minister for four years.
Sister Theresa Darga is completing four years as Assistant Congregational Minister of the Sisters of St. Francis. Prior to that, she served as principal of St. Joseph’s School in Lake Orion, Michigan for 23 years. This was preceded by a 23-year career as principal of elementary schools in Naperville, Illinois and Toledo, Ohio, and as an elementary teacher in Toledo, Ohio, Wyandotte, Michigan and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Sister Shannon Schrein was elected to her first term on the Leadership Team. Sister is the Dean of the Graduate School and director of the Master of Arts in Theology program at Lourdes University, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis, where she has taught for 24 years. Prior to that, she taught theology at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and in her early years of ministry served as an elementary school teacher in Ohio, Minnesota and Louisiana.
Sister Sharon Derivan is completing a term as Councilor/Congregational Secretary for the Sylvania Franciscans since 2012. She also serves in a full-time ministry as a law clerk/staff attorney in the U.S. district Court in Akron, Ohio, a position she has held for almost 27 years. Prior to her ministry in law, Sister Sharon was an elementary school principal and a junior high school teacher for 15 years in Ohio and Michigan.
Sister Rachel Nijakowski is completing a term as Councilor for the Sylvania Franciscans since 2012. She is a licensed psychologist and is the founder/director of Sophia Center in Sylvania, Ohio for the last 23 years. Prior to that, she was the Chair of the Psychology Department and associate professor at Lourdes University for nine years. Sister Rachel taught elementary school a number of years in the Toledo and Sylvania area.
The new Leadership Team was elected during the 2016 General Chapter (governance event) held April 15-19 at the Franciscan Center on the Motherhouse grounds. In addition to electing new leaders, the Sisters affirmed their Mission Statement; approved one proposal and several strategic initiatives that will serve as a key driving force for the next four years.
“Celebrating 100 years as a religious community gives us pause to remember and build a new future into our second 100 years,” said Sister Mary Jon Wagner, Congregational Minister for the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio. “The newly elected Leadership Team will meet challenges, risks and opportunities as we carry our Franciscan identity and charism into our new vision. Our direction will include living the Gospel in joyful servanthood, being messengers of peace, commitment to works that reverence human dignity, the poor and marginalized, and respecting all gifts of God’s creation. As a religious congregation, we call ourselves to be “women of peace and seekers of justice”.”