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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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.”

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.