Celebrating 660 years of service
There are 12 members of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio celebrating anniversaries of professed religious life in 2020. The service of these Sisters represents a total of 660 years of “Living the Gospel in joyful servanthood among all people.”
Platinum 75 Year Jubilarian (First Vows, 1945)
Sister Marie Andrée Chorzempa, OSF
Sister Marie Andrée served as a Councilor on the Leadership Team for two terms and was Minister General for two more terms. She later served in parishes in pastoral care and faith formation, in health care as Vice President of Mission Integration in one of the community’s medical centers and was able to realize a lifelong dream of working with disadvantaged children on an Native American reservation in New Mexico.
In 2004 she was asked to write the history of the Congregation for its 90th Anniversary in 2006. Her research and lived experience resulted in Witness to Life in the Spirit, A Theological Reflection on the History of the Sisters. She became the Archivist for the Sisters in 2006 and served in that role until her retirement in 2015, when she entered a ministry of prayer.
Diamond 60 Year Jubilarians (First Vows, 1960)
Sister Ann Marie Chmielewski, OSF
Her fourth grade teacher at Holy Cross Parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was her maternal aunt, Sister M. Claudia, OSF, who later invited her niece to travel with her to visit the Motherhouse in Sylvania.
Since her First Profession in 1960, Sister Ann Marie spent 40 years as an elementary school teacher in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas.
In Texas, Sister also served for over a decade as a nursing home enrichment coordinator. While in Texas, she experienced many challenges, including marching with the Corsicana Drug Fighters, often chanting in front of the drug dealers homes.
Travelling has been one of Sister Ann Marie’s greatest pleasures. Her trips include the Franciscan pilgrimage to the California Missions, touring England, France, Austria, Poland and Rome. In Rome, she relishes her attendance at Pope Paul VI’s greeting to Castel Gandolfo at his summer home.
In 2013, Sister Ann Marie returned to the Motherhouse to become the Director of the Franciscan Spiritual Library at Rosary Care Center. She delights in meeting people and hearing their stories as she shares her life and prayers with them.
Sister Cecile D. Glodek, OSF
Sister’s favorite ministry was working with children and the elderly as a nurses aide in hospitals and nursing homes. She also served the elderly in home care. Much of her ministry was at Rosary Care Center (RCC). She was a nurses aide, therapy aide, restorative aide, and driver for the residents. Sister Cecile is currently a resident of RCC and continues in ministry as one who prays for the many needs of others especially through the intercession of Our Lady and the angels to whom she has great devotion.
Her friend, Sister Diana Lynn Eckel, recently wrote, “A thread that ran through Cecile’s life was a love of art, of beautiful colors (especially yellow) and being creative in putting a design together to enjoy. ”
Sister M. Samuel Lubeck, OSF
Nine years of education, delightful First Friday processions, helping around the parish and experiencing the Sisters’ happiness in something as simple as cleaning the Church, drew Sister Sammy to the vocation. With the encouragement of the Sylvania Franciscans, she entered St. Clare Academy in 1954 to “become a Saint,” as the Sisters would say.
Since taking her first vows in 1960, Sister Sammy spent 54 years in the ministry of education in Minnesota and Ohio. She joyfully served 30 of those years in the St. Joseph School and parish in Galion, OH, where she was welcomed as family.
Among the highlights of her life as a Sister, she counts ‘seeing the joy on the faces of the students walking up to school each day,’ discovering new plants, seeing her students win ribbons at the Science Fair and learning about God’s creation.
Full of scientific curiosity herself, her students reflected that in their science projects which often won awards. She took her classroom to a senior center to participate in an adopted grandparent program.
If the road to Sainthood were paved with good deeds, then Sister Sammy – and decades of St. Joseph School children – would walk a glittering path on the thousands of aluminum cans Sister vigilantly collected throughout the years to raise enough money each year to pay for every child’s camp tuition.
In 2011, Sister Sammy returned to the Motherhouse. Since then, she has served as tutor, volunteer driver for Sisters at Rosary Care Center, soap maker for the Sisters’ Holy Aroma line of products and cheerleader for the Lourdes University Gray Wolves sports teams.
Sister hopes to one day answer the question that led her into religious life – “Why be a Sister – become a Saint,” but meanwhile she’s enjoying reading, playing bingo with friends and walks at the Motherhouse.
As she reflects on her 60th Jubilee, Sister Sammy says, “I thank the Sylvania Franciscan community for providing a place where I could do something.”
Sister M. Irenaeus Samsel, OSF
Sister Irenaeus Samsel came to the Sisters of St. Francis after her 8th grade graduation in 1954, making her First Profession in 1960. She always wanted to teach “little children” and found herself teaching for 53 years in Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. Education degrees from Lourdes, Mary Manse and a Masters from Bowling Green State University prepared her to be an educator. “My years of teaching young children filled my life with great joy, especially preparing them for First Communion,” Sister said.
Since retiring from teaching in 2012, Sister Irie (as she is fondly known) has served the Sylvania Franciscans who live at Rosary Care Center as Co-Director of Marian Ministry and as Transportation Coordinator. Sister shows her deep concern for those she works with at Rosary Care by her cheerfulness, patience and helping in any way she can.
Sister Kathleen Skog, OSF
Sister Kathleen spent 20 years teaching first and second grade students in Michigan, Ohio, and Minneapolis and another 20 years serving her community in the dietary department and as the Materials Management Clerk at various Franciscan hospitals, moving to Brenham, TX in 1983.
Since 2001, Sister’s teaching gifts have been again called upon as the Assistant Director and now Director of Religious Education at St. Mary’s Church in Brenham. Friends know her as a person who has ‘never met a stranger’ and who would do anything to help someone. She reflects this mission in her role as a longtime board member for Faith Mission & Help Center, which provides food, shelter and job training for those in need.
A highlight of her life is her pilgrimage to Assisi, which allowed her to truly walk in the footsteps of Francis and Clare and see how they lived, an experience that touched her heart deeply.
On days that Sister Kathleen is not helping someone in need, you are most likely to either find her with her nose in a book or busy in the kitchen. She expresses her creativity through coloring and baking, with pumpkin bread and sugar cookies being among her favorites.
As she celebrates her 60th Jubilee, she prays that she can continue to serve joyfully and be a sign of Jesus to others.
Sister M. Kateri Theriault, OSF
Sister Kateri made first profession in 1960 and began a 60-year ministry of accepting the many diverse challenges God placed before her. Sister taught grades first through seventh, served both the Toledo and Cincinnati Diocese in the office of Vocations, ministered with Las Vegas Catholic Community Services for three years, served on Congregational Leadership for eight years, and spent 18 joyful years at St. Leonard Franciscan Living Community in Centerville, OH as Director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care Associate. She’s currently serving as Mission Integration for the Sylvania Franciscan lay employees at the Motherhouse.
As she reflects on her past 60 years in ministry, Sister Kateri credits her loving family and their simple daily religious life as influential in her decision to become a Sylvania Franciscan, and is grateful to have had opportunities she never dreamed of as a girl from the small Minnesota town of South St. Paul.
She has traveled extensively in the US, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Italy and a two-week mission in Haiti, a country and people that captured her heart. Wherever she’s been, her partners in ministry have inspired her with their dedication, joy, hard work and love.
To find Sister Kateri, just listen for her music, which plays in the background of her daily life. An avid reader, she’s always up for a good discussion on a vast variety of topics.
As a Sylvania Franciscan, Sister Kateri hopes, with great humility, that ‘by my actions, they know me.” To her, the term ‘Sister’ is a verb and not a title, and she plans to continue to do the best she can to ‘sister,’ serving God as the giver of all good gifts.
Golden 50 Year Jubilarian (First Vows, 1970)
Sister Sharon Derivan, OSF
The first influence was her second grade teacher, Sister Kenneth, and in fourth grade Sister Madeleva and then Sister Gwendolin in sixth grade were extremely instrumental in her religious vocation.
After 15 years in Catholic education as a teacher and principal, Sister Sharon asked the General Superior, Sister Patrice, if she could attend law school to serve her community in a new way. Sister Patrice said yes, and soon she was attending Law School at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
She has been ministering in public service as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio for the past 30 years. She remains highly involved in the life of the congregation by serving two consecutive terms on the leadership council while maintaining a full-time job.
Sister is also the loving and grateful companion of Gracie, a pure Siberian cat who came into her life 11 years ago when she was beginning chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Sister Ann Marie Emon, OSF
Sister taught in junior high and high school students in Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota, primarily the subjects of English and religion.
Now she is in ministry at the Thomas M. Wernert Center in Toledo, Ohio. The Wernert Center’s mission is to improve the quality of life for persons living with mental illness through peer-driven and focused programs which address recovery with education, advocacy and support. Sister says she feels that being present to people with mental illness is a gift.
Sister Ann Marie fondly remembers fishing every summer or winter with her Dad and brother while growing up. She also recalls the time Sister Mary Francis Lapata spent with her as a postulant. “I learned about prayer from Sister Mary Francis’ own prayer life,” Sister Ann Marie said.
Sister M. Brenda Hawley, OSF
Sister Brenda’s ministry with the People of God began with teaching mostly second and third graders in schools in Michigan and Ohio. She enjoyed teaching for 42 years and then worked in retail clerk at a religious goods store for a while. She now ministers at the Sophia Center, a counseling center on the Motherhouse campus in Sylvania, as a receptionist. She enjoys greeting and meeting people of all ages who come there for comfort and healing.
She has a special interest and love for Mother Earth and through her example she shows others the importance of reducing, recycling, reusing and refusing. She is especially concerned about the use of plastic in our environment and hopes to continue to encourage people to use less in their daily lives.
Sister Mary Jon Wagner, OSF
Sister spent many years in elementary education as a teacher and principal and also served as the Superintendent of Sandusky Catholic Schools from 2002-2008. Sister Mary Jon explained that she really enjoyed parish work and religious education while teaching and serving in administration. “Education filled my passion,” she said. Uniting with the heart of the people and creating relationships was most fulfilling. She began serving in leadership as the Assistant Congregational Minister in 2008 and went on to be the Congregational Minister and lead the Sylvania Franciscans from 2012-2020 in that role.
As she reflects on her 50 years as a Sister of St. Francis, she is grateful for the gift of and presence of the Holy Spirit leading her through the many opportunities presented to her during religious life. A very strong commitment in building relationships with her Sisters has been foremost in these years. She is grateful to each Sister.
Silver 25 Year Jubilarian (First Vows, 1995)
Sister Pamela Nosbusch, OSF
Sister Pam came to the convent in Sylvania well prepared for music ministry with three degrees in music. She plays a mean clarinet and does use her talent to occasionally play in churches and for the Sisters at special events in the convent chapel in Sylvania.
As a novice she volunteered at an HIV/AIDS agency during the height of the disease epidemic. She learned that it was okay to let others support and care for you which has become a lifelong lesson for her. She was Assistant Director of Educational Programs for the Franciscan Life Center in Sylvania, an adjunct faculty member in music appreciation at Lourdes College, worked in parish ministry and became a certified Chaplain working at hospitals and currently for a hospice in Nashville, Tennessee.