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

Felicians and the poor

During the month of December, the employees and sisters of the Blessed Mary Angela Care Center along with Sharon Secrist, director of nursing, and Melissa Green, clinical supervisor, collected items that mothers could use for their children at Gerard Place in Buffalo, NY. Gerard Place assists mothers with their children until they get themselves established.
SM Nicolette Wichrowski and SM Patricia Tomasik, mission awareness coordinators, sponsored the project  which was aligned with the Felician core value for ministry of “solidarity with the poor.” They helped procure baby bottles, bibs, diapers, wash cloths, formula, blankets, and little outfits for the children.
SM Shawn Czyzycki,  a board member for Gerard Place, accepted  gift bags containing these items as the care center’s donation and delivered them to Gerard Place.
Sister Nicolette said, “We enjoyed finding things that would help those most in need during this most joyous season of the year, Christ’s Birth.”

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.


Maame Agyemang, a student in SM Barbara Ann Kemmerer’s class at Immaculate Conception School in Elkton, MD, was received into the Catholic Church on Friday, May 17.

Maame received the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist for the first time with the entire student body present.  She is originally from the country of Ghana and Sister Barbara Ann has been her teacher for the past two years.

Sister Barbara sponsored Maame as her godmother. Her father is in Kenya on business but her mother was present and her brother will be attending ICS next year.

Sister Barbara Ann said, “Who knows? This could be a vocation in the making. Maame has been an example to all, exemplifying what a good Christian should be.”

In service to the Church

fPicture1or over 25 years as his secretary, and as my predecessor as Chancellor, and in his retirement years as his administrative assistant, nurse, cook, friend, confidant and so much more.

The life of Bishop Edward T. Hughes, second bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ, who died this past Christmas Day, was celebrated at a Memorial Mass on Thursday, January 3, and at the funeral liturgy the following day.

The introduction to Father O’Connor’s homily summarizes the gratitude of the Church of Metuchen for Sister Mary Michaelita:

“Before I begin my homily, I hope you would permit me to say a few personal words to someone who has been of incalculable service to Bishop Hughes not only through his years as Bishop of Metuchen, but continuing for over 15 years after his retirement as well.

“That person–as most of you know–is Sister Mary Michaelita Wiechetek. She has served him so faithfully and continuously for over 25 years as his secretary, and as my predecessor as Chancellor, and in his retirement years as his administrative assistant, nurse, cook, friend, confidant and so much more.

“Sister, the Church of Metuchen owes you a tremendous debt of gratitude for all you have done and all you have been for our beloved Bishop Hughes. No one except yourself and God will ever know all of the many things you have so selflessly done for him over the years, and I know you always did them loyally and lovingly.

“I know Bishop Hughes was most grateful for your personal ministry to him. He told me so many times, even in the days before he died. And his family and all of us here today want to say a deep and heartfelt “Thank you!”

SM Virginia Tomasiak said, Her ministry in the Church of Metuchen will be a special part of the history of the Felician Sisters of North America!”