“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.


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.

“Helping others is what we need to do.”


Students at the Enfield (CT) Montessori School collected pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters for Pennies for Patients, their Lenten project.

Pennies for Patients is an organization that collects money to benefit children suffering from Lymphoma and Leukemia. After collecting the coins, the children in S Carol Marie Saladin’s class separate the coins and count the amount of money they have in their box.

Sister Carol said, “It is a great learning tool for the children.  In addition, they learn about having empathy and compassion for children who are seriously sick and need the help of others.”

Annabel and Hannah, students in Sister Carol’s class, said that they enjoyed collecting the money because it was helping children. Abby said, “Helping others is what we need to do.”

One Sister’s Concern for the Poor

SMGeorgette's 063The Food Pantry at Villa Maria College, in Buffalo, NY,  began in 1986 when it became evident that a number of students and employees were in financial difficulty.   Inspired by a magazine article from the Los Angeles Times describing student outreach at Palomar College in San Marcos, California, Villa Maria Professor Joseph Yonder, conceived the idea of outreach to those in need.  Beginnings were small; a single table in the cafeteria near a door for easy access and anonymity, and a few bags of donated non-perishable goods became the base for student and neighborhood outreach to the poor and hungry.

In 1987, Sister Josette Smigielski , campus minister at that time, recognized the growing need for expansion, and moved her office to make way for enlarging the Food Pantry.  Soon donated items made the room a storage area and a hospitality space to provide a refreshing cup of coffee to clients as they waited for service.

In 2008 the Villa Maria College Food Pantry was renamed and dedicated to Sister Mary Josette Smigielski, who passed away suddenly on January 17, 2008.

Under the direction of subsequent campus minister, Frank Antonucci the pantry grew and expanded to its present service of approximately 560 households and 1200 individuals per month.  From one table in the cafeteria, to a quarter of the basement floor of the College’s Music Building in just over 20 years is testimony to the community outreach and ministry of Villa Maria College.

Picture1In 2013, Sister Mary Michaelanne Galas, through prayer and discernment, thought it might be time to change her ministry from the classroom to another venue.   Today, Sister Mary Michaelanne Galas, a cherished friend of Sister Josette, manages the Sister Mary Josette Food Pantry to carry on her vision of serving needy students and members of the community.  This is not only a wonderful tribute to her friendship for Sister Josette, but also an example her true Felician Francican service.

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.

Sounds of laughter and words of gratitude echoed throughout the Country Diner in Enfield, CT, on Sunday, May 19, as many friends and supporters gathered for the ‘Tip-an-Angel’ breakfast fundraiser that benefits the Felician Adult Day Center (FADC).

According to Director of Institutional Advancement S Patricia Marie Iagrosso, the event was very profitable. Joe Ravalese, owner of the Diner, worked side by side with the sisters.

Sister Patricia said that many of the people who came to support the fundraiser remarked about how happy they were to be served by the sisters and enjoyed ‘tipping their angel.’

She continued, “We are very grateful to our many friends who help us–through events like this–to give quality care to our clients.”