St. Francis Fund Awards

Fourteen Felician Sponsored Ministries Receive St. Francis Fund Awards

The Felician Services Board accepted the recommendations of the St. Francis Fund Committee and awarded $352,258 in grants to 14 projects in December 2015.

SM Barbara Ann Bosch, CEO, said, “This is the fourth round of grants awarded through the St. Francis Fund since its inception in 2012. Grant applicants were challenged to bring forward projects and programs that promote and advance Felician mission and core values through collaborative, community-based efforts with particular emphasis on serving our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.”

The grant submission deadline for this cycle was October 30, 2015. The Grant Committee members reviewed proposals against the published criteria during November and December. The Committee finalized its recommendations for the December Board Meeting.

“Our hope is that the St. Francis application process helps our ministries prepare grant requests that meet the standards of most foundations. We remain committed to helping them achieve that level of professional proposal preparation,” commented Mariita Conley, Felician Services Board Member and Chair of the St. Francis Fund Committee of the Felician Services Board.

Of the 21 grant applications submitted, 14 applicants will receive either a full or partial award.

The ministries whose programs and projects were selected include:

  • Enfield Montessori School, Enfield CT – New Toddler Program
  • Felician University, Lodi, NJ – Gerontology Institute Survey
  • Felician University, Lodi, NJ – MA in Counseling Psychology
  • Villa Maria College, Buffalo, NY – Student Centered Instruction
  • St. Felix Centre, Toronto, Ontario – Trash to Treasures
  • Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School, Coraopolis, PA – Nutrition of Students with Limited Means
  • Madonna University, Livonia, MI – Bridging Lost Gaps
  • Madonna University, Livonia, MI – Center for Catholic Studies and Interfaith Dialogue
  • St. Ignatius Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Philadelphia, PA – Nursing Instruction and Critical Skills Lab
  • Felician University, Lodi, NJ – Online Institute for Religious Studies and Education Ministry
  • Madonna University, Livonia, MI – Center for Humane Studies
  • St. Joseph Academy, Milwaukee, WI – Well Now
  • St. Mary’s Home, Manitowoc, WI – Dementia Center of Excellence
  • United Stand, Chicago, IL – Reading and Language are Possible

The FSI Board of Directors was pleased to learn of the many programs and projects suggested and the innovative approaches that the sponsored ministries designed to reflect the mission and charism of the Felician Sisters.

“The St. Francis Fund provides our ministries with an opportunity to expand services in their communities based upon needs identified in their strategic plans,” said Jack Cashman, Felician Services Board Member and St. Francis Fund Committee Member. “Hopefully, these grants are the catalyst or seeds for increasing their capacity to fulfill their missions.”

Award recipients will provide mid- and end-of-year accountability reports to the St. Francis Fund Committee as a vehicle to track the progress of the respective program implementations. The next funding cycle begins with application submissions between August and October 2016.

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Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Taylors, SC

Under the direction of Dr. Gaye Douglas, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Francis Marion University, we were blessed with 13 Senior II nursing students who prepared and served the Blessed Angela Meal at our Center. The students did an excellent job with the preparation of the meal and served with generous and compassionate hearts. Thank you Dr. Gaye and the students. I know they will be nurses with generous hearts and respect for the dignity of each person in their care. God bless you all!
11224766_10206505076172936_394460239433120656_nA very special Thank You to Father Chris Smith, Pastor of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Taylors, SC and all of the Parishioners for their very generous donations of book bags, knapsacks, socks, T-shirts, school supplies and boys’ and girls’ underwear. What a great way to help us get children ready for the new school year. A very special Thank You to Gary and Brenda Weakley for making the trip from Taylors to Kingstree with all of the goods. They are special folks! We are very grateful for their generosity to us. God bless you all!

He sat quietly and unassumingly

by Manuel Casias

He sat quietly and unassumingly. Although he had a limited vocabulary, his shivers on one of the coldest days of the year spoke volumes.

A wandering little pilgrim at St. Felix Pantry in Rio Rancho, NM, named Juanito was cold, and the thin wind-breaker he was wearing was hardly sufficient enough to keep him warm. I just happened to walk by when I noticed him and immediately called out. “Who does this child belong to?” I asked. His mother, who spoke broken English, told me that he was her little boy. I did not ask if he had another coat at home; rather, I simply smiled and told her that a coat had just come in for little Juanito and we were waiting for him to come in and get it. Confused and surprised, Juanito’s mom said, with incredible humility, Gracias.

This story is not uncommon at St. Felix Pantry where clothing is also provided to many families in need. In fact, just as many families who get food weekly from the Pantry also receive much-needed clothing from the Pantry’s clothing bank. From my perspective, it is hard to imagine little Juanito and other children like him in our neighborhood being cold, especially if they live just down the street from the Pantry.

This event reminded me of one of New Mexico’s oldest stories about the Santo Nino De Atocha (the infant child of Prague, the wandering little pilgrim) who sits in an old historic pilgrimage site in Northern New Mexico. Throughout the years, people from all over this great state have brought the small statue of Jesus shoes, coats, and a variety of things to wear as he goes out into New Mexico’s countryside performing miracles nightly. In ministry, we often tell people to accept strangers as though they were friends. You never know when Jesus will pay a visit. Warm and smiling, the wandering little pilgrim Juanito is indeed a new friend of Felix.

Was it Jesus visiting the Pantry’s clothing bank, cold, shivering, and hoping that we would tend to his needs? We will never know. What we do know is that St. Felix Pantry reaches out to all of its neighbors, big and small, during their neediest moments.

For Juanito, he spent the rest of that day warm and well-fed as all children should during these cold winter days. This is the hope that St. Felix provides to individuals like Juanito and families in need throughout the neighborhoods it serves all year long. The miracle provided us this day was the assurance and confirmation that St. Felix Pantry continues to respond with compassion and the work we do every day has sacred purpose.
Annually, St. Felix Pantry makes clothing available to nearly 6,000 families whose households range from one member to several members where many of them are children. Just recently, St. Felix Pantry partnered with the Rio Rancho Baptist church, sending clothing to 60 families in Juarez, Mexico, which is approximately seven hours south of St. Felix pantry.
We serve a God without borders and boundaries. Some of the neighborhoods we serve are seven hours away.

Reaching out to the Church in the Northwest Territories:

tttSM Jeanine Heath, faithful caretaker of the alms collection throughout Lent at Mother of Good Counsel Convent in Chicago, IL, presented the alms collected there during the Holy Thursday Liturgy.

Each day during Lent, she counted the money and then transferred it to a safe place, after placing a little note with the amount written on it by the collection bowl so that all knew the rising total.

The sisters united with one another and prayed for SM Celeste Goulet and the needs of the Church in the Northwest Territories:

As we bring up our alms for the poor, for Sister Celeste and the Slavey Dene Indians of Tulita, Northwest Territories, Canada, we pray . .


That through our Felician ministry there, the Slavey People may continue to uphold their native traditions while welcoming God within their lives, we pray . . .

Distribution of food and a touch of love … the Felician Way!

vvv Under the direction of SM Eliana Remiszewska and two other adult Teen Leaders from St. Turibius Parish in Chicago, IL, members of the St. Turibius Teen group worked after school to assist the St. Vincent De Paul Society.

The teens prepared packages of Easter goodies for the children, helped carry hams and food packages, and assisted in setting up Felician Hall in preparation for the food distribution to the needy.

The teens were also on hand to help families carry food and kept the children busy with art projects as they waited their turn to receive treats from the Easter Bunny.

Before the food distribution began, the teens joined hands in a circle with members of the St. Vincent De Paul Society to pray for God’s blessings upon all those who are in need and for all those who assist them.

nnnnnSM Francine Lagocki, SM Eunice Olbrantz, SM Barbara Ann Bosch, S Mary Beth Bromer, SM Eliana Remiszewska, members of the St. Turibius Parish’s (Chicago, IL) St. Vincent De Paul Society, gathered with other Vincentians in the parish’s Felician Hall to distribute food to needy parishioners on Tuesday, April 15.

In addition to distributing food baskets, hams, and gift certificates to the adults, the Easter Bunny provided treats for the children who came with their parents. Each child received Easter goodies and a book, and had their picture taken with the Easter Bunny.

Our international ministries

The Felician Sisters, being an international congregation, minister to people all over the world in many and varied ways.  A current update to our Ministry page gives a link to our sisters in our provinces in Poland.  The featured ministry for the month of January is our sisters in Kenya, a ministry of our Warsaw province.

International Ministries

Discovery! Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent

4rttThomas Merton once said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

A special afternoon of discovery at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent in Buffalo, NY, blessed approximately 35 members of St. Jude the Apostle Senior Club from North Tonawanda, NY, on Tuesday, June 25.

SM Amelia Pieczynski greeted the group at the entrance to the convent and led them to the main chapel, where she spoke about the exquisite stained glass windows in the chapel, crafted by Tyrol Company in Innsbruck, Austria. Sister Amelia shared her expertise not only on the iconography of the windows, but on Gothic revival architecture as well.

The group then visited the Felician Sisters Art Studio where they heard a presentation on the process of making stained glass windows by SM Ann Therese Kelly, who recently designed a large window for Villa Maria College in Buffalo and the chapel windows for Our Lady of Hope Provincial House Chapel. Many of the visitors were pleased to reconnect with Sister Ann Therese and learn of her work since she grew up in North Tonawanda and was a member of the former St. Albert the Great Parish. St. Albert’s became St. Jude the Apostle when the parish merged with the former Ascension Parish during the Journey of Faith and Grace in 2008. Participants enjoyed coffee and doughnuts in Alumnae Hall and completed their afternoon with a brief explanation of the Felician Heritage by SM Joanne Suranni.

According to Sister Joanne, the guests were impressed with the beauty and grace of Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, as well as the giftedness of the sisters.  

At the conclusion of the day, seminarian Michael Brown, who is doing his pastoral year at St. Jude the Apostle Parish, visited with two of his former teachers, S Emily Marie Jurecki and SM Patricia Tomasik. He said he felt a special blessing in visiting with the sisters who gave him the firm foundation in faith that he has had throughout his life.

Sister Joanne said the tour provided the guests with “a glimpse of Felician life and spirituality through the lens of our artists and historians.”

Sister Joanne and the group are extremely grateful to SM Kevin Szeluga, local minister of the central convent, and SM Vivian Maczonis, local minister of St. Aloysius Convent, for providing the hospitality and refreshments. They also expressed appreciation to Sister Amelia and Sister Ann Therese for sharing their knowledge and gift of time.