Felicians in Kingstree

Sights and Sounds of Christmas in Kingstree, South Carolina
Nearer and closer to our hearts be the Christmas spirit.  –Charles Dickens
 
PREPARING. . . homemade decorations for the tree, outdoor Nativity for passers-by, props for the Nativity drama, food from food drives all over the state of South Carolina, 340 children’s jackets from the South Carolina Knights of Columbus, pillows, towels, and toiletries for residents of a boarding house from benefactors and area churches, laundry baskets filled with household items for the elderly
SM Jacqueline Benbenek
From L: SM Carol Piskor, SM Johnna Ciezobka, and 
SM Jacqueline Benbenek
RECEIVING. . . hats, glove sets, books, LCR games, toys, boxes of cereal, candy canes, Oreos, popcorn, McDonald’s gift cards, sweatshirts, body wash, crosses with Nativity scene from benefactors near and far including wives of Knights of Columbus; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School, Coraopolis, PA; St. Andrew Church, Myrtle Beach, SC; Prince of Peace, Taylors, SC, and many individual benefactors
SM Jacqueline Benbenek
PERFORMING . . . hand bells, jingle bells, singers, dancers, Santa, elves and the “holy story”; S Susanne read the Gospel of the Nativity on the steps of the courthouse as part of the town’s celebration, children gift the sisters with their program
At L: SM Johnna Ciezobka and SM Carol Piskor; 
at R: SM Jacqueline Benbenek
CELEBRATING . . . delights of food at the party sponsored by Kingstree United Methodist Church and Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, salad (lettuce, spinach, kale, radishes) made from the Children’s Winter Garden, the 25th anniversary gift from the Felician Sisters of North America; opening gifts from the sisters, enjoying a magic show and Santa, too.
From L: SM Jacqueline Benbenek, SM Carol Piskor, 
SM Susanne Dziedzic
Like Wise Men laying presents before the Baby, kindness begot this feast. And Jesus is the cause of it all. Thank you for 25 years of prayers and support.
May each Christmas find us more and more like Him. . .more simple, more humble,
more affectionate, more resigned, more happy, more full of God. 
John Henry Cardinal Newman
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Felician Sisters and company …

Felician Sisters, associates, and Madonna University faculty and staff brought Christmas joy to Cabrini Clinic for the Poor patients, families, and local neighbors at Holy Trinity School in Detroit, MI, on Tuesday, December  13.
Working in the kitchen

For more than 25 years,

S Victoria Marie Indyk has coordinated this annual event. This year, more than 20 volunteers wrapped presents and assisted at this special event to provide a live Nativity play, sing Christmas carols, serve a delicious spaghetti dinner, and help Santa to distribute presents to everyone.
Serving up the spaghetti

The festive spirit was alive with excitement as children and adults admired small Christmas toys and decorations on the tables that were donated for the party. As the volunteers dressed for the Nativity play, several young girls asked to be “angels” and a young boy was dressed to be the Drummer Boy.

At the end of the Nativity play, children from the audience were invited to come up and sit by Baby Jesus as everyone sang Christmas carols honoring Jesus on His birthday. Proud parents eagerly took pictures of the beautiful Nativity scene surrounded by their young children.
Shiranthi DeSilva leading the singing

Volunteers then served the participants homemade chicken soup made by Sister Victoria along with delicious spaghetti, salad, rolls, and dessert. Filled to the brim, everyone then waited for Santa to arrive.

Each person received a specially marked shopping bag that contained wrapped Christmas gifts of gloves, scarves, hats, hygiene kits, toys, clothes, candy, and age-appropriate presents. Presents for the men had been donated through St. Sabina’s Parish that had a “Giving Tree” as their special parish mission.
At the end, presents that were left over were given to local shelters and needy families in the downtown Detroit area.

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.

October filled with activity and fun …

The month of October was filled with lots of activity at the Montessori Center of Our Lady in Livonia, MI. According to SM Juanita Szymanski, on Halloween, the staff and the children had a fun time singing Halloween songs at Angela Hospice, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent, and St. Joseph Care Center.

Montessori families joined in the Family Fun event on Saturday, October 18, by generously donating apples to benefit Forgotten Harvest Mission to relieve hunger in metro Detroit and prevent nutritious food waste.

Not all work and no play in NM

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It’s round up time at the Ol’ St. Felix Pantry Corral in Rio Rancho, NM.

“Yes, that includes the cheese head,” said Jack Bunting, president and CEO of the Pantry.

“The cheese head is our very own Sister Paula Mary Palasz, assistant director of operations for the Pantry,” said Manuel Casias, vice president of development.

The rest, well they are just a bunch of rowdy good ol’ cowfolk volunteers.

Manuel continued, “Halloween is one of the best days at the Pantry especially as the kids light up when they see the costumes.” Last week, the Pantry was able to give away close to 300 pumpkins. Many are probably carved just in time for Halloween.

So “Giddy Up,” and Happy Halloween to all our friends, brothers and sisters of the Felician-sponsored ministries.

ffffFor 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.”

‘Anything is Possible’

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,