“power to the powerless.”

Be it resolved that we, as persons of faith in relationship with all of Creation, and in a privileged position of faith leadership within our society as members of the Franciscan Federation, are called to personal and communal reflection that leads to action to sustain our one planet Earth, so that all Creation may share in the generous gifts of Earth provided by our Creator and Sustainer God. Climate change, especially those changes caused by human ignorance, indifference and greed, calls us to be prophets of change-to act in prophetic ways to halt human-induced abuse of Earth’s resources that are given to be shared by all.  As followers of St. Francis of Assisi we are called to right relationship with our Sister Mother Earth, our home.

ppSM Francis Lewandowski was among the 27 honorees at the Franciscan Federation Banquet on Sunday evening.  This year’s honorees were sisters who reflect  the beauty and goodness of God through artistic expression–music, poetry, drawing, flower arrangements, etc., and who, with artistic expression, bring “power to the powerless.”

Sister Francis was chosen because, through her ministry, she disseminates pertinent information to community members and uses her gift of artistic expression as she designs program booklets for provincial and congregational chapters and assemblies, prepares and publishes cards, monographs, and books, and creates settings for major functions. She currently is coordinating a ministry of presence project in the city of Detroit. After visiting Felician missions in Kenya, Brazil and Haiti, Sister Francis created a photo display to foster awareness of the people, their living conditions and the challenges poverty poses for them. In Jacmel, Haiti, in 2013 and 2014, Sister Francis conducted week-long art classes for youth. The students self-organized into “The Felician Artists of Haiti” and continue to use what they have learned to produce art pieces, placemats, coasters and trays to sell,and are learning basic business practices they can use for future employment. This endeavor is one way to “bring power to the powerless” and hope for the future!

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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.

Felician Center in Kingstree, SC,

Theresa Long, teacher, and Jeffrey Hulbert, teacher and mission integration coordinator at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School (OLSH) in Coraopolis, PA, traveled south with seven students to the Felician Center in Kingstree, SC, on Sunday, June 21.

SM Susanne Dziedzic, cssf SM Johnna Ciezobka, and  SM Jacqueline Benbenek, cssf of the Felician Center, along with SM Ruth Warejko, cssf from Buffalo, NY, as well as

SM Anthony Kubat, cssf and SM Catherine Ryzewicz, cssf from South Bend, IN, greeted the OLSH volunteers.

Sister Ruth Warejko, cssf will assist with the prayer and rituals of the week while Sister Anthony and Sister Catherine will please the palates of the volunteers with their delicious meals that will include a Southern staple, “pimento cheese sandwiches.” The group is lodging at Springbank Retreat Center (10 miles away) for the duration with all meals and activities taking place at the Felician Center.

Father Matthew Bulala, pastor, and Father Felix, a visitor from Tanzania, concelebrated the first morning liturgy and extended a blessing on the group for their week of service ahead. Orientation took place on Monday followed by serving at St. Philip Pantry in Lake City, SC, stocking the Felician Center food pantry, and tagging clothing for the Clothing Closet.

At far right: SM Catherine Ryzewicz and SM Anthony Kubat
feed the OLSH volunteers

The OLSH teens also spent time preparing for the Big Sister, Big Brother three-day mini-camp reviewing a Gospel story, for example, the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, and the Good Samaritan, that will be taught to children who usually attend the Learning Center. Jeff Hulbert
is the designated song leader of B-I-B-L-E to
the tune of the familiar B-I-N-G-O.

According to Sister Susanne, the first evening concluded with Sister Ruth and Sister Jackie leading a teenage-friendly reflection on Lazarus and the Rich Man. “Do you change the channel on your TV when you see an invitation to support a cause to help the poor? Have you engaged in other kinds of service to your sisters and brothers in need?” The volunteers shared their insights and look forward to the days ahead to respond even more.

“This is an event of family,”

oooooMore than 300 people gathered at the Laurel Manor Banquet and Conference Center in Livonia, MI, on Wednesday evening, May 20, to bid a fond farewell to  S Rose Marie Kujawa.

After serving 14 years as President of Madonna University, Sister Rose Marie will retire at the end of June 2015.

The reception offered University administrators and staff, Board members, Felician Sisters, and friends the opportunity to share memories and rejoice in the many blessings and accomplishments that have been a part of Sister Rose Marie’s legacy.

Following the opening prayer, Andrea Nodge, vice president, University Advancement, welcomed the crowd to “an entertaining program about one of our favorite people.”

In her remarks describing Sister Rose Marie’s legacy of achievement, SM Christopher Moore, provincial minister, said, “Sister Rose Marie’s ministry here at Madonna is a beautiful incarnation of the spirit of our beloved foundress, Blessed Mary Angela, whose boundless love of God and surrender to God’s will in compassionate service and total availability is what each Felician Sister strives to imitate.

The Honorable Michael Talbot, Chair, Board of Trustees, said he came to know Sister Rose Marie as the principal and chief cheerleader of Madonna University. He noted the challenges facing higher education across the country and said, “Sister Rose Marie has been living her prayer life and it’s been a lesson for me.” He announced that a rose garden outside the Franciscan Center–The Sister Rose Marie Kujawa Rose Garden–would be dedicated in her honor.

In a video entitled “Remember and Rejoice,” individuals and groups from various segments of the University community expressed their appreciation to Sister Rose Marie and also took advantage of the opportunity to say goodbye.

Jack Kirksey, mayor of the city of Livonia, was last but certainly not least among the individuals expressing gratitude, not only for Sister Rose Marie’s accomplishments at Madonna, but also for her innovative community outreach programs, building partnerships and alliances.
Just before the conclusion of the program, when Sister Rose Marie took the podium, she said “These accomplishments are not mine alone. Rather, it is about all of us working together.” She continued, “This is an event of family,” and then credited her birth family, Felician family, Madonna University family, and Livonia family for the blessings of the past 14 years.

In the true Felician Franciscan Spirit

We are one in the Body of Christ,

popNine Felician Sisters attended the ordination of Eva Monroe Ruth as minister of the word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) on Sunday, August 11.

Eva Ruth serves as a volunteer at the Felician Center, sometimes telling Bible stories, sometimes teaching music and handbells, often serving the Blessed Angela Meal and more.

On August 15, five Felician Sisters–SM Adrian Jumbelic, S Grace Marie Spera,  S Virginia Marie Klonowski from Coraopolis, PA, along with S Jeanette Skornia and  S Kathryn Mary Elliott from Chicago, IL,–joined the Kingstree Felician Sisters in assisting the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church with the Hands of Christ program that provides clothing and school supplies to children in kindergarten to grade 5. All of the sisters participated in the Service of Blessing when their hands were washed by the minister. The sisters helped to register families, fitted clothing, and offered Franciscan joy and presence to the 250 children who were served in two hours.

Afterwards, the 50 volunteers shared a meal.  During the meal, Blessed Mary Angela–in the person of  Sister Kathryn–made an appearance to express her gratitude to the members of the Presbyterian Church for their support and volunteer hours offered to “her daughters” at the Felician Center.  Blessed Angela also affirmed the congregation for their church-sponsored programs of outreach offered in solidarity with the poor.