Living the mission, feeding the soul.
More than 100 Years of Mission and Ministry
As joyful servants among all people, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania live the Gospel through a variety of ministries. In addition to their primary work, our Sisters are also active in many ways that speaks to their generosity, care, compassion, courage, and creativity.
Sr. Ann Carmen Barone
Sister Ann Carmen has extended our Franciscan presence and spirit through her volunteer service as a board member of Sylvania Area Family Services, an Advisory Council member at Franciscan Care Center, an honorary chair for Cardinal Stritch High School capital campaign and through a variety of presentations at area parishes. Her gift in liturgy and music is a blessing to many gatherings throughout the Toledo diocese. Her Franciscan hospitality gives a warm welcome to many a Rosary Care Center visitor.
Sr. Ann Francis Klimkowski
Sister Ann Francis engages with two non-profit groups both related to Toledo Sister Cities International (TSCI). As president of the board, she promotes its mission and ours to foster world peace through education, cultural exchange and business. TSCI acts as a bridge to eight Sister City groups and sponsors the Youth Academy, a two week cultural immersion for high school students from these cities as well as the annual International Festival. She is also president of the Toledo Poznan Alliance board, which promotes the Polish culture.
Sr. Ann Marie Chmielewski
Sister Ann Marie loves volunteering at Franciscan Library, especially when she is able to introduce others to new books, guide them to topics of interest, feature book displays for upcoming retreats and events, and receive book recommendations. Above all, she delights in making the library environment a homey, welcoming space. In her local community she enjoys cooking, grocery shopping and taking housemates to appointments.
Sr. Ann Marie Emon
Sister Ann Marie loves Springtime! It means being outdoors, planting and maintaining the garden in front of Rosary Care Center. In favorable weather, you can meet her and Sr. Pat Taube traversing the campus enjoying its beauty and freshness. Indoors, she displays her artwork on RCC 4th Floor for others to enjoy, is a member of Queen of Peace choir, and serves as secretary for the resident council. She also participates in activities at the Thomas M. Wernert Center, such as women’s support group, art groups and daily exercise program.
Sr. Ann Lorette Piekarz
Sister Ann Lorette after receiving hospice volunteer training, spent five years as a respite volunteer to individuals and families. When she attended sessions through the Alzheimer’s Association, she was drawn more and more to serving the older adult with memory issues. Her experiences challenge her beyond her comfort zone and make her feel whole. She learns from those in memory care how to live in the present moment and to communicate through word and action that “I love and accept you as you are.” For her, it is an opportunity to enter a new world of presence and connection.
Sr. Antoinette Dudek
Sister Toni’s previous ministry in education included years in the classroom as well as in the role of principal and serving as Assoc. Executive Director of elementary education initiatives for the National Catholic Education Association during the 1990’s. She brought considerable energy and insights to various committees and boards, including the Hope Learning Academy and Bethany House. She currently volunteers for special projects at the Motherhouse and brings her characteristic humor to brighten the days for Sisters and residents at Rosary Care Center.
Sr. Austin Onisko
Sister Austin enjoys being with people and finding humor in life’s experiences. She is a welcome visitor to our Rosary Care Center (RCC) residents and accompanies several for their appointments. She spends a lot of her time with her 93-year-old sister Loretta who is a RCC resident. She is also known for her behind-the-scenes Franciscan hospitality.
Sr. Barb Vano
Sister Barb brings life and spirit to our values as a Franciscan Pilgrimage Program leader and co-chair of our OSF Charism committee. In the civic community, she supports the needs of the developmentally challenged by serving on the Personnel Committee at Josina Lott Residential and Community Services and serves the long-term care residents of St. Leonard as an Advisory Council member.
Sr. Brenda Hawley
Extending her love of the earth and its people, Sister Brenda uses her “green thumb” to assist in urban gardening through the Toledo Grows organization and maintains the Queen of Peace Chapel plants that are used to enhance the chapel decorations. She is a receptionist and scheduler for Sophia Center at the Canticle Center and is an on-call driver for her Sisters.
Sr. Brenda Rose Szegedy
Sister Brenda Rose is grateful for the daily opportunity to companion others through retreat ministry and spiritual direction. She also looks forward to writing letters of encouragement to the sick and hospitalized, visiting the homebound among the retreatants in the area, companioning two Sylvania Franciscan Associates through spiritual visits and frequent communication, and praying daily for the many intentions of those requesting to be remembered in prayer and those in need of prayerful support, strength and a listening heart.
Sr. Barbara Ann Borkowski Sister Barbara formerly taught Religion at ND Marist Academy in Pontiac MI, involving her students in activities that serve the poor, care for the earth and promote peace. She and her students supported the MI Animal Rescue League, are prepared gallon bags of trial size items for St. Aloysius Church and boxes of Kleenex for Grace Centers of Hope for the homeless. She promotes a strong school and classroom recycling program and actively participates in an International Peace Day in September.
Sr. Barbara Stallman
Sister Barb is a member of a faculty/staff group that crochets prayer shawls for sick or grieving members of the Lourdes community. She finds it a satisfying and relaxing outreach project and her family, too, has been a grateful beneficiary. During the LU Week of Service, she eagerly joined students in the Labre Project for the homeless. She is a long-time Companion to two of our Associates. Her commitment to preserving a clean water supply led her to join the Toledo Waterways Initiative Program Advisory Committee which updates the conditions of local sewers and waste water.
Sister Brigid loves singing in choruses and choirs, harmonizing with others in both music and life. Getting her hands into the soil of her garden patch of perennials and annuals is a special treat. She delights in seeing things and people grow, whether they be flowers or students who need her extra time and attention. When teaching theology at Lourdes University she especially enjoys working with young adult students. She always treasures opportunities to delve deeply into theological and genealogical research, always hoping to discover the “heart” of the matter.
Sr. Catherine Laboure’ Busam
Sister Catherine Laboure’ found in Sr. Rose Therese, founder of Bethany House, an example of how to live life joyously and in service to others. She prays for our sisters, employees, families and the needs of our world. She looks forward to returning to her ministry of serving her elder Sisters at RCC. Her patron saint, Saint Catherine Laboure’ served the elderly in Paris, so she is a good example for Sister Catherine. Once, asked for her job title, she responded, “It is Sister.” Her guiding daily question, “What have I done to better things today?”
Sr. Carol Hoffman
These days you’ll find Sister Carol tending more than a century’s worth of the Sylvania Franciscan archives in the basement of Regina Hall. In her free time, she loves reading mysteries and enjoying the Motherhouse landscape.
A native Toledoan, Sister Carol Hoffman spent nearly 50 years in the ministry of education, 30 of those teaching first grade in New Orleans, LA, a city she remembers as being alive with music. She taught at St. David in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina destroyed 80% of the city including their Parish. Soon after, she and other Sisters set up a relief effort working out of a FEMA trailer to help those displaced by the tragedy.
Her current interests include reading novels set in Amish country, growing plants, listening to the oldies and working crossword puzzles.
Sr. Carolyn Giera
Sister Carolyn is the Transitions Coordinator for the Sisters of St. Francis. She is a member of the Lourdes University Board of Trustees and a member of the Advisory Council at Madonna Manor in Villa Hills, KY. Although she is involved in addressing a variety of social justice issues, her particular interests are working to eliminate the death penalty and address the immigration challenges.
Sr. Clarinda Coffel
(LCC North) Sister Clarinda volunteers in many areas of pastoral care at St. John the Baptist Parish in New Brighton. For her, offering “a listening ear” is at the heart of her volunteerism. Seeking and discovering what parishioners need and responding to the unmet needs of the parish community is her focus. It might be visiting homes of parishioners in hospice care, being present before and after hospital stays, helping with advance funeral planning, or simply stopping after Mass for a friendly chat.
Sr. Dorothy Jayne Krupp
Sister Dorothy Jayne loves music and loves to sing. She helped in the formation of the Twin City Community Chorus in 2012. The group, which offers two concerts a year, has performed selections from “The Messiah” and “Mozart’s Creation,” and continues to expand their repertoire. Since 2001 she has served as an Associate Companion and in November 2014 welcomed Kendra Berni from Dennison, OH as an Associate.
Sister Eileen shares her Inner Franciscan through blending her training as an educator and counselor by providing therapy through Sophia Counseling Center, volunteering at Alverno Studio and Cherry Street Ministries and by sharing time with the residents at Rosary Care Center. Sister Eileen cherishes times for solitude and prayer and deeply believes and celebrates “In Christ we live, and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) as the essence of her life. She relishes time in creation and can often be found wandering the woods, Canticle Gardens and sacred shrines on the Motherhouse Grounds. Sister Eileen understands prayer as “a way of life for us – all the time and everywhere” and embraces the shared call to be “so filled with God that adoration flows from the depth of our inner life… with joy and thanksgiving.” (TOR Commentary on Prayer)
Sr. Eve Marie Korzym
Sister Eve Marie is a catechist at heart! She is always seeking ways to make the Gospel relevant to others in their daily lives. Her lifelong motto is Luke 4:18-19. It might mean bringing a deeper and practical understanding and experience of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy during Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy at Our Lady of the Pines in Fremont, OH. Or, it might be offering a guide for memoir writing. Through it all, she brings to awareness that the “kingdom is here!”
Sr. Fidelis Rubbo
Sister Fidelis, following her ministry in Haiti, continues to be a joyful servant among the people. Whether she is caring for family members, visiting our sick Sisters, participating in the LU Labre Project for the homeless, extending hospitality and sharing the fruits of her garden with others, she seeks to be present and attentive to each moment. She is engaged in studying Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si”, joined the Citizens Climate lobby and the Haiti Stateside Committee and is presently renewing her Franciscan call through the Assisi Pilgrimage experience
Sister Faith is a chaplain who provides spiritual and emotional support to patients, families and staff. She also leads a spiritual support group for patients with behavioral health concerns. She is a member of the Franciscan Spirituality Experiences Advisory Committee and assists by providing ideas and feedback on the experiences offered through the Center. She finds that her ministry and volunteerism is sustained through participation in a meditation group of neighboring Sisters in the Plymouth, MI area who meet monthly for contemplation and sharing.
Sr. Francis Jerome Serewa
Sister Francis Jerome finds great satisfaction in all her volunteer activities whether it’s preparing for Mass at RCC, taking communion to residents, delivering daily newspapers to her Maria Hall community, assisting with hospitality or taking care of community cars. She is a willing driver for short local commutes. The source of her positive energy and generous spirit, she believes, comes through her time in daily personal prayer, especially the Stations of the Cross, Holy Hour, and reflection on the Mysteries of the Rosary.
Sr. Geraldine Nowak
A long-time volunteer for Franciscan Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation initiatives, Sister Geraldine is currently a member of the SOSF Refugee Committee and is the contact person with the Director of US Together, Toledo. She is also involved in on-line advocacy for the issues of Immigration/Refugees, the Death Penalty, Care for Creation, Human Trafficking, Peacemaking and Non-Violence, Gun Violence and other issues expressed through NETWORK, the Catholic Social Justice Lobby Group, and the Franciscan Action Network. Sister Geraldine can also be found participating in local rallies for the above issues and serves as a driver for Maria Hall residents who no longer drive.
Sr. Geraldine Paluszak
Sister Geraldine creates a healthy balance between her time for reflection and her volunteerism. She believes in fostering peace within her own heart and is guided in her service by Phil. 4:13: “I can do all things in God who strengthens me.” She participates in a worldwide movement called Walk Free, which addresses modern slavery. Locally, she supports Bethany House and Clare’s Pence. She is a dedicated Associate Companion to Mindy Jenson-Muska. Twice a week, she welcomes visitors to Umbria Square and assists All Good Things in stuffing prayer pillows and preparing cards for sale.
Sr. Gervase Lochotzki
Sister Gervase is a woman of many talents. She loves music and, as a former choir member at her parish for many years, she formed many lasting friendships. While ministering in Appalachia, she learned to make her own dulcimer which she proudly continues to strum. A creative and life-long learner, she wrote her autobiography. She has a great sense of humor easily detected by the twinkle in her eye. A serious card player, she knows “when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em!”
Sr. Grace Ellen Urban
Sister Grace Ellen is grateful to her family for planting in her a love of gardens, an outreach to the poor and a strong social justice stance. She plants, cares for and winters over some seeds and flowers that beautify our campus. She cares for the Portiuncula and decorates our outdoor shrines for the Christmas season. During the summer months, she helps deliver garden fresh vegetables and fruits grown in our gardens to St. Louis Soup Kitchen. Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement influence her interest in politics and response to current social justice issues.
Sr. Gretchen Faerber
Sister Gretchen shares her culinary skills far beyond her holiday bake sales. Proceeds from her Halloween bake sale are donated to various ministries. Her delicious breads and chocolates find a home at the silent auction tables during our yearly Gala celebration. Her organization of support letters and bags of treats from our Sisters welcome the new Fall LU students and accompany them on their habitat trips. She also regularly donates sweets from her Bake Sales for the LU Labre Project. Food for the body becomes food for the soul!
Sr. Helen Frances Spears
Sister Helen Frances finds enjoyed a long ministry in volunteerism hospitality. She shares the gifts of presence, hospitality and communication with her Sisters in Our Lady of Grace Hall. The image of Jesus knocking on the door influences her response to all and she becomes both giver and receiver of God’s kindness, patience and compassion.
Sr. Irenaeus Samsel
Sister Irenaeus has a special love for our Sisters at RCC and wants to be for them as they are for her—models in Franciscan life and mission. Her greatest joy is listening to their stories. Her presence among our Sisters snowballed after she herself was a patient/resident. She finds it a privilege to be on call, to help with transportation, to visit residents daily, to update their health status with families and the Marians, to be their advocate. In addition, she enjoys cooking for her local community and participating in the Sisters’ choir.
Sr. Janice Marie Peer
Sr. Janice Marie works in Pastoral Ministry at Franciscan Care Center, where she serves in whatever capacity Sr. Jordan requires–resident visits, communion distribution, completing spiritual assessments, and chapel activities, to name a few. She is also a team member for RCIA at Rossford All Saints and designs and leads catechetical formation programs for the Diocese. Once a week she volunteers at All Good Things, Rosary Care Center location, selling Franciscan merchandise. During the summer she assists Sr. Jeremias and Sr. Grace Ellen with outdoor projects. Living in Rossford, Ohio, she keeps the Franciscan presence alive in a city where so many Sylvania Franciscan Sisters ministered.
Sr. Janeen Sobcak
Sister Janeen celebrates life every day. As a Sylvania Franciscan for 75 years, she sees her life as a miracle of grace. As her pace has slowed, she recognizes herself as gentler, more compassionate, taking time to be with others whether in person or by letter. In her Third Age Prayer Ministry, she relishes the opportunity to daily hold the community, her family and the world before God. She is an avid reader and often recommends and shares books with friends and her OLG community. With a window that looks out on the freshness of nature, her room may be her hermitage but the world is her cloister.
Sr. Jeanette Zielinski
Sister Jeanette is involved in the Liturgical Music Ministry at both Queen of Peace Chapel and Rosary Care Center Chapel. She serves as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, member of the Sisters’ choir, lector, and minister of hospitality at Queen of Peace Chapel. She is also a Motherhouse volunteer assisting as opportunities arise.
Sr. Jordan Schaefer
Sister Jordan finds creative ways to respond to the various needs of the Franciscan Care Center residents. Because they enjoy being outdoors, she helps keep the courtyard gardens attractive and well-maintained. She enjoys facilitating Senior Retreats and recently introduced one on the “Credo of Pope Francis.” A deep spirit of gratitude inspires her to “pay it forward.”
Sr. Jane Mary Sorosiak
Sister Jane Mary is grateful to Srs. Helen Chmura and Agneta Ganzel with whom she created the first mural on campus at the Franciscan Center. From then on, her work has found a home on campus and nationwide in churches, schools, libraries, hospitals and care centers. Alverno Studio is the heart of a community of volunteers who, with her, bring humor, reflection and faith to their work. When the murals are completed, it may be the end of the task for her but it is only the beginning for others who will appreciate, be inspired and uplifted and find a new medium for prayer.
Sr. Janet Snyder
Sister Janet pursues beauty. As D.H. Lawrence writes: “The human soul needs beauty even more than it needs bread.” She has pursued a variety of art forms such as watercolor (her first love,) print-making, sculpture, calligraphy, oil painting, pencil drawing and ceramics, and knows it feeds her soul. It is her pursuit of beauty that continually sharpens her sensitivity to the world around her.
Sr. Jeremias Stinson
Sister Jeremias, through her ministry and volunteerism, brings a contemplative spirit and dignity to manual labor. In creating and maintaining reflective spaces on our grounds, she welcomes others, regardless of age, religious persuasion or occupation to experience God-moments along the wooded trails, at the Portiuncula, hermitages, shrines, and gardens. Recognizing her own poverty, she identifies with the poor around her. Association with Helping Hands of St. Louis, growing a Garden for the Poor and building a polyhouse, which provides food year-round, gives flesh to our Franciscan values.
Sr. Josephine Dybza
Sister Jo returned to the Motherhouse after many memorable years spent in ministry in Haiti. There, she helped carry water, build fences, weave rugs and care for the villagers. On campus, she can often be found helping out in All Good Things Art and Gifts, painting with acrylics and spending time with the elderly Sisters in Rosary Care Center.
Sr. Joy Barker
Sister Joy, through her volunteer prison ministry at the Milan Prison, provides Communion Services twice a month and is part of the once-a-year Cursillo retreat team for inmates. She also offers Bible study, Reflection and Spiritual direction for University of Toledo students and parishioners at Corpus Christi Parish and is a member of the Haiti Stateside Committee.
Sister Judy began a new ministry as an Administrative Assistant at the Sophia Center in August 2020. She retired from classroom teaching in June 2019 after 43 years helping first and second graders learn and grow.
Sister Judy is an active member of St. Joseph Parish in Sylvania. She is a Lead Eucharistic Minister and Lector.
She enjoys baking and shares her homemade goodies with various organizations.
Sister Judy uses television ministry to spotlight social issues rooted in Gospel values, especially as practiced through the ministries of men and women religious: service to minorities, education, domestic abuse, criminal justice reform, healthcare, housing, and women’s needs. Her direct service has involved counseling women recently released from the state penal system; literacy efforts for adults; cooking and baking for the homeless at the local Catholic Worker House; and leading an interfaith discussion/sharing group on growth in mystical spirituality and contemplative prayer.
Sr. Joan Jurski
Sister Joan serves as the Director of Franciscan Spirituality Experiences for the congregation. In all her volunteer activities she hopes to be a conduit of our Franciscan spirit and values. It becomes a reality as she serves on the Lourdes University Board, connects with new LU students through the First Year Experience and the LU Habitat groups. Her membership on the JPIC committee and other campus committees gives her an added opportunity to help others discover the gift of Franciscan peace, justice and community.
Sr. Josina Antolak
Sister Josina is among the 40 million Americans who care for a friend or family member who is ill, frail or disabled and whose care-giving role is more long-term and more intensive. Sr. Josina recognizes both the blessing and burden of this family responsibility in her life and relies on God’s everyday assistance in responding with patient understanding and compassion. She is a ready advocate for those who suffer from mental illness. She generously volunteers her help with the driving needs of our Sisters and is a prayerful presence to the dying.
Sister Julitta finds deep satisfaction in her ministry of Spiritual Care to the residents at Rosary Care Center and Our Lady of Grace Hall. She is part of the Spiritual Care Team that provides an opportunity to attend daily Mass and offers room visits with prayer and Holy Communion. The special feast days throughout the year offer some creativity in decorating and flower arrangements. Sister Julitta continues to be active in the Associate program, as a member of the Associate Advisory Committee and a Companion Sister to both a current member and a new candidate for the program. Other interests include attending Drawing Classes at Lourdes University and the Sylvania’s monthly book club.
Sr. Julie Myers
Sister Julie continues to support congregational vocation efforts beyond her full-time ministry as Program Director for “A Nun’s Life Ministry.” With a background in health care, she is a valuable member of the Advisory Council for Providence Care Centers. She is a frequent blog writer for our Congregation’s website and enhances our liturgical celebrations through her volunteerism as sacristan and song leader.
Sr. Karen Daniewicz
Sister Karen serves as a LCC Co-Rep and is a member of the Transitions Team. As a Hennepin County social worker, she loves the challenge of assisting clients in their transitions through active listening, creative problem solving, and next-step planning. She finds community presentations rewarding and recently volunteered as a speaker for an American Lung Association support group. As part of her work team, she chooses to be involved with co-workers in vulnerable, tender times offering a quiet presence that is supportive and healing.
Sr. Karen Zielinski
Sister Karen has a special mission to individuals and families with chronic health issues. She is a member of the auxiliary of the Ability Center of Greater Toledo and is involved in activities to keep people with disabilities independent. For 25 years she has participated in the local MS Society through talks, the annual Sisters Walk and writing. She is active in the National MS Society and its wellness initiative and created a blog focused on spirituality and mindfulness.
Sr. Kateri Theriault
Sister Kateri serves those employees of her community who are not Sisters, as Director of Mission Integration. This is new position for our community and she is happy to have been asked to use her past experience in Mission Integration to create this service for our the lay employees. She encourages daily commitment to the Statement of Mission newly created by the lay employees themselves, as well as their daily witness to their core values. Her ministry is to continue to offer encouragement to all employees and to assist managers and supervisors as they strive to enhance their services and the services of their co-workers. She is inspired, daily, by their commitment to the Sisters and to the Mission of the Sisters.
Sr. Kathleen Ottrock
Sister Kathleen has been an active resident at Rosary Care Center– perky, energetic and involved in many of its activities. Now, she has settled into a more peace-filled mode, balancing her once active life with one of contemplation. She meets others with a welcoming greeting accompanied by a big smile. The teacher in her is reflected in surprising ways. She celebrated her 60th Jubilee in 2017.
Sr. Kathleen Skog
Sister Kathleen utilizes her teaching skills each Tuesday at a local school in a program called CARS (Children Are Real Special.) As a Board Member of Faith Mission, she is instrumental in providing housing, food, clothing, medication and the services of a free clinic to the poor of Washington County. She is also an Advisory Council member of St. Joseph Hospital, Navasota, Texas and serves as a Eucharistic Minister at her local parish.
Sr. Kathleen Casey
Sister Kathleen who lives in a senior apartment, brings her caring heart to other residents who are in hospitals, hospice, nursing homes or individual apartments. Every other Wednesday she invites residents to a coffee and cookies get-together in the community room. She also participates in 2-3 craft shows featuring items from All Good Things. She collects clothing and household goods from residents which she donates to Joseph’s Coat, a free-of-charge distribution center. She knows well that opportunities for volunteerism can be found in one’s own backyard!
Sr. La Donna Pinkelman
Sister La Donna has aspired to be a woman of prayer since childhood through her family’s example and encouragement. Through the years, her special devotion to the Sacred Heart, her personal prayer and poetry written within the joys and challenges of daily living and her faithfulness to journaling led to a desire to share her prayers and poems with others. Through the support of a friend, three reflection books called Franciscan Flowers are now in print. From her room’s writing table into the hands of her readers, she offers words of hope, wonder, compassion and gratitude.
Sister served at Saint Joseph Health System in Mishawaka, IN where she was the Vice President for Mission Integration, Ethics, Spiritual Care and Community Outreach Services from 2005 until 2019.
Volunteerism is a priority for Sister Laureen especially with groups that enhance human dignity and provide easy access to services for everyone. She is past Board Vice-Chair of Hope Ministries, which serves and houses homeless families and individuals, and past Board Chair of HealthLinc, the largest federally qualified health center system in north central Indiana. She is a founding member of a Community Benefit Council, a coalition of 50 agencies which serves the Michiana areas, and of the Honoring Choices Board that educates people on end-of-life healthcare choices and the ethical decisions therein. Sister is a LIFE FELLOW of the American College of Health Care Executives. She now resides in Sylvania and is presently a Certified End-of-Life-Doula.
Sr. Lois Anne Palkert
Sister Lois Anne believes that whatever she does, whether in full-time or volunteer ministry, it is all about sharing the gift of presence. As she attends local community events, serves as lector, Eucharistic minister, or sacristy team member at St. Joseph Chapel, St. Joseph Health, Brenham, TX, helps with Associate gatherings, she lives the mission of joyful service among the people.
Sr. Lorena Dulas
Sister Lorena enjoys volunteering as a driver for Sisters’ appointments, airport runs and emergency availability. Inspired by the book, “God’s Bucket List” by Teresa Tomeo which gives a refreshing look into the richer life that God desires for us, she found a colorful bucket and started her own bucket list. Ex. “Do a kind deed and visit a friend”. She invites others to join her in filling and fulfilling her bucket list. Blessed with a lovely tea set in her room at OLG and a spirit of hospitality, others are welcome to come in for “a spot of tea”!
Sr. Magdala Davlin
Sister Magdala volunteers her time and talent through her relationships at Alverno Studio and in the community. Because of her mentors in the arts and the opportunities to experiment with different media, she eagerly shares her gifts of art and beauty. She recently completed a full-size sculpture of Mother M. Adelaide with colleague Patrick Dubreuil. Fundamentally, she believes that everything we are and do is a prayer and a work of art.
]Sr. Marge Zacharias
Sister Marge, when recovering from surgery, enjoyed “being volunteered to.” She experienced the generosity of friends, neighbors and Sisters who clean her car from snow, vacuum, help with laundry, bring chicken soup, and escort her to therapy. However, it is in the time shared following the task that is the greater gift. Her vulnerability from double surgeries opens the door for deeper stories heard and shared, strength and faith renewed. Everyone becomes the giver and receiver, everyone the blessing and the blessed.
Sr. Margretta Wojcik
Sister Margretta finds it a gift to visit at an area nursing home and be present to parishioners before and after the monthly Mass and at several of its special social events. She experiences the power of Christian service among the volunteers at St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen in Detroit where she volunteers. As a member of the Detroit Archdiocese Vocation association, she is involved in the planning of activities, particularly the celebration of The Year of Consecrated Life.
Sr. Marguerite Polcyn
Sister Marguerite experiences both the tragedies and transformation of women inmates incarcerated at CCNO (Corrections Center of NW Ohio) and the men imprisoned at TOCI (Toledo Corrections Institution-Maximum level), where she is a Eucharistic Minister. Each Wednesday afternoon she is also responsible for catechesis and/or RCIA at TOCI. Since 2001, she has heard and wept over their stories, many of them victims of Human Trafficking. Additionally, she volunteers as a Eucharistic Minister at Franciscan Care Center, welcomes visitors to Rosary Care Center once a month at the reception desk, and accompanies and/or drives the Sisters in RCC and OLGH for doctor appointments. She says she is on the road a lot!
Sr. Maria Goretti Sodd
Sister Maria Goretti loves to be with people, and is a resident of RCC where she uplifts and is uplifted by those around her. Her prayer and reflections center on gratitude, primarily, for her call to religious life. She is grateful for all the gifts given to her as a teacher and administrator and all the support received from co-ministers and friends. “It’s been a good journey, a good run and it ain’t over yet! Thanks be to God!”
Sr. Maria Pacelli Spino
Sister Maria Pacelli gives life to our mission through a number of civic, religious and community activities. For the past 25 years she participated in the MS Walk and is a loyal fundraiser for Bethany House. She is a member of the Advisory Council of Franciscan Care Center and a participant in the Marian program. You can find her sorting mail in Umbria Hall, working in Alverno Studio, assisting in chapel liturgies, accompanying Rosary Care Sisters to doctors’ appointments, singing in the choir and welcoming and supporting LU students in their outreach efforts.
Sr. Marie Andree Chorzempa
Sister Marie Andree has a heart for the Haitian people going back to 1998 when she volunteered in Aquin at the Haiti Project of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Following the experience, she wrote a series of articles in the Poverello offering the Community an opportunity to experience mission in Haiti.
Sr. Mary Thill Sister Mary spends her days working in the community archives. She is often asked to pray for someone or some special intention and assures the person asking that she will indeed pray for them and their intention. She meets monthly with a Muslim/Christian group of women and men who share a meal and discuss some aspect of their respective religions as well as their personal faith journeys. It is a life-giving experience to meet with these folks as we share our common ground rather than our differences.
Sr. Mary Ann Grzeskowiak
Sister Mary Ann shares God’s love by her very presence and interaction with others. It might be through getting to know students, faculty and workmen at the LU Ministry House, or casual meetings on her daily walks. It is the smile, the hello, the listening ear, the compassionate heart that makes a difference in the lives of others. Her hospitality at LU ice cream socials and her warm welcome to friends and visitors for feast day and funeral liturgies “preaches the Gospel at all times, and, sometimes with words.”
Sister Mary Ann is a massage therapist with an office located in Rosary Care Center. She values each person she serves with dignity and honor. Her background in both the art and science of nursing is apparent as she takes time to pay attention to each person as well as their ailment. Sister brings a personal touch to her visits with RCC residents, and weekly on-call emergencies. Through these experiences, she continues to be inspired by the spiritual energy present within our elders. She is an Associate Companion to Helena Louviaux and Pat Stimson and enjoys sharing our Franciscan charism.
Sr. Mary Frances Reichenberger
Sister Mary Frances generously volunteers her services through the National Association of Social Workers and other social service organizations. She is also an advocate for the underprivileged on issues that adversely affect them. While working for our community newsletters and blogs, she appreciates the time for reflection that helps deepen her Franciscan commitment and call to mission.
Sr. Mary Jon Wagner
Sister Mary Jon creates a balance between her responsibilities as Congregational Minister and her volunteerism. She offers her presence and service at liturgical functions and in her pastoral attentiveness to our Sisters and their needs. Bethany House and Lourdes University are special beneficiaries of her social outreach efforts. She remains faithfully connected to former ministry colleagues and remains a supportive presence to them.
Sr. Mary Peter Kaminski
Sister Mary Peter is passionate about saving the earth, preserving the environment and promoting a new cosmology. “Nature is the visible living garment of God,” is the motivation behind her involvement in the Intercommunity Collaborative Task Force and our JPIC Committee. In her care for plants and animals she experiences a mutual fostering and exchange of life. Through her jewelry making, crochet items, painted Easter eggs, she participates in God’s ongoing creative action. Customers in All Good Things appreciate her beautiful creations.
Sr. Nancy Ferguson
Sister Nancy is passionate in her advocacy for children dating back to her experiences at St. Anthony villa in Toledo and El Ranchito in New Mexico. As a CASA volunteer in Toledo, she works for juvenile court judges and advocates on behalf of abused and neglected area children, seeking their best interests in the court, child welfare and social service systems. She also ministers at Rosary Care Center as the Mission Integration Director.
Sr. Nancy Linenkugel
Sister Nancy is a blog column writer for “Global Sisters Report” which is a project of the National Catholic Reporter. Her membership in the Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra, the Xavier University Chamber Orchestra and the Xavier University “Magis” string quartet and the National Medical Musical Group allows her to share her musical talents and delight audiences within and beyond the greater Cincinnati community.
Sister Nancy Surma uses the skills she developed during her many years in education ministry in her current ministry in healthcare. She oversees mission integration and spiritual care efforts for CHI Living Communities, an eldercare provider whose backbone is the original senior living campuses of Sylvania Franciscan Health. One effort she is especially supportive of is continuing the legacy of the Sylvania Franciscans at the healthcare ministries that joined Catholic Health Initiatives (now part of CommonSpirit Health).
Sr. Nancy Ann Johnson
Sister Nancy takes her mother’s words to heart: “Always ease the burden of others the best you can.” As a pilgrim on life’s journey, this is her drumbeat! Through many opportunities and experiences from teaching, caring for the sick, physical therapy, diabetic wound care to making Holy Aromas soaps and lotions, she has used her gifts of organization, inventiveness, caring and teamwork very well. In her present struggle with illness, she is learning to let God be God and to trust God’s direction in “easing the burdens of others the best that she can.”
Sr. Nora Klewicki
Sister Nora serves as the Director of Regina Sprituality Center. Sister professed her vows as a Sister of St. Francis in 1964. Like most sisters of her generation she began as an elementary school teacher. After a short time, she began to work in secondary education and then moved on to adult education and parish ministry. In 2007 she was missioned to Providence Care Centers in Sandusky Ohio where she worked as Director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care coordinator.
Sr. Pam Nosbusch
Sister Pam receives renewed energy for her Hospice ministry through music and community. She plays the clarinet and sings in her church choir at St. Ann’s Parish in Nashville, TN. The choir members provide a local close-knit community of support. The geographic area of her ministry is so wide that the driving time provides space for prayers of thanks for the communities who give her fuel for the mission.
Sr. Patricia Gardner
Sister Pat enjoys singing in our Chapel choir and is a member of the Good Company chorus. She is a volunteer for CASA– Court Appointed Special Advocates – a non-profit organization of volunteers who work for the juvenile court judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children so that every child can be safe, have a permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive. She continues to keep in touch with four of the older children from El Ranchito de Los Ninos, and is a STOP! committee member.
Sr. Patricia Taube
Sister Pat gives thanks to God for every experience in her life through which she can be of service to others. She recently offered a retreat day to residents at Franciscan Care Center on giving mercy and forgiveness and looks forward to a similar retreat at Clare Commons. She also gives retreats to Confirmation candidates on compassion for self and others. Her phone ministry includes support to prisoners, spiritual direction, and companioning two Associate family members and two friends who are candidates. She is present at our yearly SFV Wellness Fairs and is a support to our new LU students.
Sr. Patricia Zielinski
Sister Pat is a “Jack and Jill of All Trades.” Along with a strong reliance on God, she brings her skills in nursing, organization and chaplaincy to those she serves at RCC. She especially enjoys being with and accompanying residents in emergency situations. Her prayerful and comforting presence creates an atmosphere of calm and peace. On each resident’s birthday she becomes the “Visiting Spirit” of joy and celebration. She is truly among the people, providing encouragement and support to residents, staff, families, Marians, and faithful friends.
Sr. Paula Blevins
Sister Paula knows there is music in heaven because it is music that refreshes and feeds her soul. She plays clarinet in the local Toledo Polish American Concert band. They practice weekday evenings and perform concerts in the surrounding area communities. Music has many ways and places to be expressed: in care for our earth, concern for the poor and peacemaking. For Sr. Paula, in all she is and does, music is the language of her heart.
Sr. Pauline Kijek
Sister Pauline is a Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel and is a willing helper around the Motherhouse. She volunteers one day each week in Sister Gretchen’s Kitchen, and works regularly making Holy Aromas soap and body washes that are sold in All Good Things Art and Gifts. She gives caring support for a local friend who needs help around the house and assistance with daily errands.
Sr. Penny Dunn
Sister Penny has an opportunity to use her pastoral ministry experience by offering retreat and seasonal presentations at Catholic parishes in Bryan, College Station, Huntsville and Corsicana, Texas. Closer to home, she is both a lector and Eucharistic minister at the hospital chapels. She has inherited a Cavachon dog, Charlie. Charlie and Sister Penny are both being trained for pet therapy so he can round with her visiting patients and staff within the St. Joe’s healthcare system in Bryan. Listen here to a podcast where Sr. Penny talks about religious life and her health care ministry, recorded in October 2020.
Sister Rachel currently serves on the Leadership Council as the Treasurer and Councilor and is the Director of the Sophia Counseling Center. During campus lunch hour gatherings, the Sophia staff offers tips on dealing with loss and grief, and living mindfully and healthily. As a member of the Transitions team, she is a contributor to the “Happy, Healthy, Holy” newsletter. In addition, she lends her voice to the harmony of the Our Lady Queen of Peace choir at our liturgical celebrations.
Sr. Rebecca La Point
Sister Rebecca enthusiastically supports Lourdes University students by maintaining a sustained interest in them and their activities, in their outreach efforts, athletic games, in researching and nominating students for awards, and serving as a campus tour guide. She is very involved with activities sponsored by Lourdes University and the LU education department. She is a monthly volunteer at St. Louis Soup Kitchen and actively participates in community vocation efforts throughout the year.
Sr. Rebecca Rutkowski
Sister Rebecca has ministered in the Diocese of Biloxi since July of 1993. Initially hired as Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities, she was named Chancellor in 2002 and has served as Chancellor for three bishops. Her duties change with each bishop and now include immigration paperwork, safe environment, Archives, Records Management and other areas of responsibility. The Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi serves the 17 southernmost counties of the state yet has only nine Sisters besides herself in full or part time ministry. In light of that, Sister Rebecca volunteers at a small rural parish in the northern part of the Diocese and visits there at least twice a month.
Sr. Ricarda Witt
Sister Ricarda celebrated her 75th Jubilee in 2019. Since taking first profession, Sister Ricarda engaged in a variety of ministries, including serving 42 years in education, 17 years managing inventory at Holy Cross Hospital in Detroit, and, since 2004, co-directing the Sylvania Franciscan Archival Department where she is credited for digitizing nearly 100 years’ worth of photographs.
Sr. Rita Jane has recently returned from Bryan, TX where she was very involved in St. Joseph Parish, in addition to her ministry as a chaplain for more than nine years at St. Joseph Regional Center, and St. Joseph Manor Nursing Facility, Rehab and Assisted Living.
Sister is currently involved in helping with Pastoral Care Ministry at Rosary Care Center, and going to the Franciscan Care Center on Thursday to distribute communion to Catholic residents along with visiting patients. She enjoys helping Sr. Gretchen get ready for bake sales, sings in the choir at Our Lady of Peace Chapel, and is a volunteer receptionist once a month at Rosary Care Center.
Sr. Ritamary Pyzick
Sister Ritamary puts all her well-honed pastoral ministry skills to good use in her volunteer ministry at Sophia Center. Through her past experiences at the marriage tribunal, in sacramental preparation, visiting the homebound, comforting the grieving at the parish level, she has touched lives from the very young to the elderly. Her warm welcome as she answers the phone at Sophia and her front line comforting and reassuring presence to clients is a heartwarming gift to those she encounters. She also maintains friendships with the parishioners of St. Raphael (now St. Thomas the Apostle). A special time each year is the September Fall Festival where Sister volunteers by selling tickets and meeting so many familiar people. This is all a very special part of her life after spending 30 years at the parish.
Sr. Rosalma Kmiec
Sister Rosalma is an active member of the Marian ministry. Her pastoral visits to residents, whether at RCC or during their hospital stays, are welcomed. The mementos and pictures that appear at a Sister’s wake are the result of her loving and reverent selection and preparation. Her “green thumb” has produced beautiful and fruitful flower and vegetable gardens at Abba House over the years, reflecting her care and concern for Mother Earth.
Sr. Roselynn Humbert
Sister Roselynn is involved in her parish, St. Pius X as a Eucharistic Minister, lector, choir member and facilitator of Club 55 which offers older adults social gatherings several times a year. She provides the space and environment in Sylvania for an bi-annual Scrapbooking event with the proceeds benefitting the Sophia Center Charity Fund and Bethany House. Her creativity finds a home in her specialty card-making classes through All Good Things and Lourdes University Life-Long Learning. Building new relationships and developing a sense of community is at the heart of her volunteerism.
Sr. Rosemarie Fredericks
Sister Rosemarie volunteers in a variety of ways that benefit both individuals and the local community. For over 40 years she has donated blood every three months to the American Red Cross. She participates in the parish annual Service Days where she helped with projects for the mentally challenged and at a garden dedicated to growing food for cancer patients. She is a member of the parish Welcoming Committee and is particularly attentive to visiting families in their time of loss and grief. She also serves on the Election Committee and shares her culinary skills cooking for the discernment retreat.
Sr. Rosine Sobczak
Sister Rosine is acting President for the Science Alliance for Valuing the Environment (S.A.V.E.) and helps plan environmental activities and award deserving teachers, community members and persons of service on behalf of the environment. She is also a member of the Environmental Wellness Committee for the SFV and serves on the Green Fund committee. The Christ Child Society Spirituality Committee welcomes her assistance for reflection days, Masses and spring luncheons.
Sister Ruth Margaret is a Franciscan presence to the staff, teachers and children at Immaculate Conception School in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. She has a love of music and was an organist in several parishes. Also, you can find a line of her cards in All Good things Gift Shop.
Sr. Samuel Lubeck
Sister Samuel brings an abundance of energy to any endeavor. She is a member of the “soap brigade” in All Good Things and keeps tapping more of her skills “hidden under a rock”. Learning to wrap soaps was one such skill and she has quickly become an expert, too, in preparing ingredients for new projects and delights in the team’s creativity. Her teaching experience is an asset when offering to review and judge essays for local competitions.
Sr. Sandra Rutkowski
Sister Sandra is a great supporter of student activities at Lourdes University, whether it’s attending an athletic game, being present for fund-raising events, or writing encouraging notes to new students and Habitat volunteers. She is also Director of Library Services at Lourdes. She is a member of the congregation’s vocation team and the Queen of Peace choir, as well as a participant in events sponsored by the Diocese and Vicar for Religious Office. And, aren’t we grateful for the birthday cards we receive from her and Sr. Rebecca each year?
Sister Serra serves as a Eucharistic minister at Queen of Peace Chapel and reads Friday intercessions in Rosary Care Chapel. She is responsible for scheduling the usage of the hermitages and is a welcoming presence for many of our campus guests. Sister is a member of the Formation Integration Team, the Election Committee, and offers her organizational skills as support service for the Administration Offices.
Sr. Shannon Schrein
Sister Shannon looks for opportunities to share one of her finest gifts – teaching and opening up new moments of discovery – for LU students, the Corpus Christi RCIA candidates, the Associates, those who attend her SFV presentations and our own Congregation. She simply loves to be among the people passing on her energy, enthusiasm and Franciscan joy through breaking open the Word and sharing the gift of music. In fact, she believes it’s the gift of her family’s musical DNA that naturally causes her to burst into song at any moment!
After ministering for 15 years in the field of education, teaching junior high for 11 years and serving as an elementary school principal for 4 years, Sister Sharon obtained a law degree and was admitted to practice in Ohio, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. She now ministers by serving on the staff of a federal district court judge, which she has done for almost 30 years. Sister Sharon cares about all of God’s creation. She serves on the board of Forget-Me-Knot Pet Rescue, a non-profit organization in Ohio that rescues pets and arranges for their adoption to a “fur-ever” home.
Sr. Sharon Havelak
Sister Sharon is guided by St. Bonaventure’s quote: “Justice is restoring to beauty what has been deformed.” Each Sunday she joins members of the NW Ohio Peace Coalition to witness to peacemaking on Toledo street corners. She is a member of the justice and peace subcommittee of the U.S. Bishops Association of Catholic Priests which has taken a stand on various social issues. Recently, she joined the Toledo Diocesan Task Force on “Laudato Si.” What she loves most of all is painting scarves and donating them to various fundraising groups.
Sr. Sharon White
Sister Sharon discovers in her ministry at the Eastside Learning Center that opportunities for service find her. And, it happens through paying attention and being in relationship with staff, students and families. Many children to whom she ministers at the Center live in shelters. In conversation, she found that one of her tutors was homeless and she negotiated living space and furnishings for her. She participated in a classroom, “Extreme Makeover” for another. In seeking assistance, she is awed by people’s generosity and the ways that, together, they “pay it forward.”
Sr. Theresa Darga
Sister Theresa is a member of the current Leadership Team, serving as the Assistant Congregational Minister. She enjoys working with the Advancement and Communications Departments well as the All Good Things Gift shop. She takes time to visit the sisters and residents of Rosary Care Center and Our Lady of Grace Hall, listening to their stories, encouraging them, and sharing in their wisdom. As a member of the Bethany Board, she supports our mission of bringing peace into the lives of women and children affected by domestic violence. She loves to cook and enjoys preparing casseroles for the poor and homeless through the LU Labre Project.
Sister Thomas More is the reliable “back-up” organist in Queen of Peace Chapel. She is part-time volunteer sorter of U.S. mail in Umbria Hall. With the help of her mother’s tried and true recipes, she loves to bake pies, cookies and cakes for her local community and neighbors. Apple pie is her specialty. The Lourdes University Labre Outreach Project is occasionally the happy recipient of her homemade casseroles for the poor.
Sr. Ursula Jay
Sister Ursula experiences joy, creativity, and surprise as she continues to experiment with color form and technique in watercolor and charcoal. Her efforts result in beautiful and meaningful framed pictures and cards that find a welcome home in All Good Things. Besides sharing her artistic gifts, she offers her service as an LCC Rep for Rosary Care Center and as a future Associate Companion.
Sister Valerie Grondin is an associate professor at Lourdes University, teaching future teachers in the education department. She serves on the Faculty Senate and the Assessment Committee at Lourdes. She is a lector and Communion distributor at St Patrick Historic Parish. Sister has recently been appointed to the Sisters of St. Francis Franciscan Ministries Board of Trustees. Ministry for the sisters also includes membership on the Assembly Committee and the representative from the Assembly Committee to the Election Committee.