A mission collection has been part of the Vacation Bible School experience at St. Brigid Parish in San Antonio, TX, for at least two years, according to S Dorothy Ann Mary Moczygemba, director of religious education.
This year, the children worked to collect $500 to help combat chikungunya fever in Haiti and to help with adoptions of children at Providence House near their parish.
With the help of S Marilyn Marie Minter and SM Inga Borko of the Felician mission in Haiti, the children learned that chikungunya is pronounced “chick coon goon ya.” They practiced saying “chick coon goon ya” and told their parents about how Tylenol was all that people needed to avoid long term damage from the fever. “Not only did they meet their goal by the end of the VBS program,” Sister Dorothy said, “but collected $645.02 to be split evenly between the Haiti Mission and Providence House.”
Weeks later, in the church narthex, a young boy proudly demonstrated to Sister Dorothy that he still remembered how to pronounce “chick coon goon ya.” An adult who had been involved with the VBS program recognized the fever in a news item reporting that the fever had been identified in the States
Since August, 2011, the sisters at Blessed Mary Angela Care Center in Buffalo, NY have been blessed to have Sister Jyothisha George and Sister Sunitha Joseph from Andra Pradish, India, as nursing assistants providing loving care to the sisters in the care center.
During that time, Sister Jyothisha received piano lessons from SM Claire Doyle. During the afternoon of Thursday, July 10, many sisters from the care center as well as Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent attended a piano recital presented by Sister Jyothisha, during which she performed some of the musical pieces she has learned to play. At the conclusion of her performance, she was joined by Sister Sunitha and Sister Pushpa, their general superior, who sang the Indian national anthem, Jana, Gana, Mana accompanied by Sister Jyothisha on the piano. Following the performance, Sister Pushpa informed the sisters that a keyboard will be procured for Sister Jyothisha for her use when she returns to India as principal of Fatima English Median School where more than 1,000 students are enrolled.
Sisters Pushpa, Jyothisha, and Sunitha are members of Christ the Light Congregation which follows the Rule of St. Benedict. On Friday, July 11, the feast of St. Benedict, the sisters renewed their vows after the Gospel at the morning Eucharistic liturgy. Sister Jyothisha arranged an exquisite memorial in honor of St. Benedict in front of the altar to enhance the chapel for the feast. As they knelt before the altar, the three sisters renewed their vows.
For more than two decades, if not much longer, SM Ramona Borkowski, founder of the Felician School for Exceptional Children in Lodi, NJ, has hosted a mid-summer crab feast/pizza party for the sisters of the Immaculate Conception Convent Complex.
This year’s party took place on Wednesday, July 16, following Evening Praise. Five bushels of crabs and approximately 25 personal pizzas–plain, pepperoni, sausage, white, white with pepperoni–brought extraordinary dining delight to the sisters of Immaculate Conception Convent, Holy Spirit Convent, Saint Felix Convent, and Our Lady of Lourdes Care Center. Dinner accompaniments included beer, soda, seltzer, and lots of candy bars.
SM Virginia Tomasiak said “Our wishes of gratitude cannot be expressed adequately to Sister Ramona who is a model of generosity, kindness and compassion. Throughout the year she remembers us in countless ways. We always promise our prayers for her and we want the Felicians of North America to hear about her goodness.”
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Submission to God’s will led sister where she did not expect to go when she entered the convent. God called her away from her beloved community to minister to a very ill family member for seven years. She brought the tender love and care of Jesus to one in great need of compassionate love. While living outside the Felician Community, Sister faithfully attended daily Mass where she was nourished with the Bread of Life despite the distance from a church and inclement weather. With the help of her sister who relieved her, Sister continued to make monthly days of recollection and annual retreats where she was refreshed and ready to continue her service of care.
In her later life, our Hidden Treasure faced physical hardship caused by the loss of her right leg. Wheelchair bound, she spent more time before the love of her life in adoration and prayer. Though she experienced severe pain at times, she continued to warmly share community with her sisters and helped them in any way she could. She had a kind smile and enjoyed a good party.
In March of 2012, God, whom she served with her whole heart, called our Hidden Treasure to himself. She has now joined Blessed Mary Angela and all the Felicians on whose shoulders we stand interceding for the community she loved in life.
Do you know our Hidden Treasure?
It’s SM Hortulane Wierciszwska (at left), one on whose shoulders we stand (New Jersey)!
Franciscans Gather to Cultivate Kindom Power in St. Louis
Before the sun rose on Friday, July 18, Felician Sisters from across Our Lady of Hope Province headed to the city of St. Louis, MO, to attend the Annual Franciscan Federation Conference .
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson warmly welcomed the group of approximately 275 sisters, brothers and priests in his warm, friendly manner. He spoke words of gratitude and encouragement, affirming the persons and ministries of all those present.
Theme for the 2014 Conference was Cultivating Kindom Power. Father Michael Crosby, OFM, Cap, and Margie Will, OSF, were the keynote presenters.
A highlight of Sunday morning was the moving Morning Prayer prepared by S Maryann Agnes Mueller, chair, JPIC subcommittee, ably assisted by S Nancy Marie Jamroz, that focused on the refugees of climate crisis. Sister Maryann also presented at the JPIC Meeting on Human Trafficking that took place on Friday afternoon, prior to the opening of the Conference.
The Federation honored 27 members of Franciscan religious communities during the Sunday evening banquet. S Lynn Marie Zawacka, CSSF humbly accepted the Federation award as someone who creates a sense of hospitality/ inclusivity and who works toward widening our circles of compassion to include those persons who are often overlooked or excluded. “The gathering is a profound tribute to all the sisters and brothers acknowledged for their spirit of hospitality and inclusivity that makes them real models of cultivating kindom,” reflected Sister Nancy.
In attendance were: SM Christopher Moore, provincial minister; S Nancy Marie Jamroz, vicar; members of the leadership team, S Constance Marie Tomyl, SM Geralyn Mroczkowski, S MaryAnne Olekszyk; and S Judith Marie Blizzard; SM Jeanine Morozowich; S Maryann Agnes Mueller; SM Andrew Budinski; S Esmeria Marie Bastos; SM Jean Ryder; S Lynn Marie Zawacka; S Marlene Marie Sliwka; SM Monica Anne Blazuk; S Susan Adele Marie Tippett; and S Marie Teresa Soltys.
The First Felician Sisters in North America
Five Felician Sisters answered the call to serve in North America. They were truly pioneers, in every sense of the word.
They came to the then small farming village of Polonia, Wisconsin—a frontier town of sorts that sat ten miles from the nearest railway station. It was certainly a new frontier for the five Polish Sisters, knowing little more about their new venture other than they had come to serve.
But it was their singular mission—to serve God’s people wherever they were called to serve, and their dedication to the Felician mission to help bring about the spiritual renewal of the world—that propelled them.
They traveled from their Polish homeland in a 27-day odyssey that included travel aboard the steamer Ethiopia, crossing stormy seas and battling intense seasickness.
With the blessing of Blessed Mary Angela, the Sisters came to this frontier town on the American frontier at the request of Father Joseph Dabrowski, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Polonia, who saw the urgent needs facing the immigrant children and families who had settled in this town. He knew he needed help in ministering to this new population—a population with vast social and educational needs.
Haitian Madonna University Student: ‘Anything is Possible’
S Rose Marie Kujawa, president, Madonna University, sent this letter, “a sample” of “the letters we received from one of the Haitian graduates. I thought you might enjoy it.”
To you all who welcomed us,
Thanks! Thank you for this learning experience. Thank you for having understood our need to pave the path for future Haitian Madonna students. My studies at Madonna University have equipped me with the tools I need to really spark a change in my country. Your willingness to welcome us has opened my eyes to a whole new world in the sense that my dedication to thrive has been restored. I no longer feel apprehensive about what my future holds.
In support of my classmate’s moving speech, I would like to say that we are indeed grateful for your hospitality. This has been a rather inspiring opportunity that will stay with us for our remaining years, no doubt. What made it all so special is this feeling of “anything is possible” that I’m sure we’re all riding right now. With a group as sharp as ours, what’s to stop us from conquering the world?
The best regards,