Sr. Dominica LoBianco was asked by the group Faith in Public Life to represent the faith groups from the local area to lobby with SEUI, a union of service workers. The group stayed at the Renaissance Hotel. Both their first evening and the following morning, they were educated on immigration reform issues and trained on points for lobbying. The total group of about 100 people went to the southeast lawn of the Capitol for the prayer service from 10-10:30 A.M.—during which they experienced a severe downpour. Following the prayer service, they proceeded to visit our senators and representatives as a team.
Sr. Dominica and two of the lobbyers.
Between 25 and 30 Portland Companions in Faith enjoyed their 12th year of faith sharing and getting to know our sisters. They divided their time at their monthly meetings to include faith sharing as a major focus as well as studying the Third Order Rule that the sisters follow in order to getting to know our sisters better. The sisters explained how living the Third Order Rule forms the fabric of their daily lives in community. The companions also enjoyed the new study guide for companions on the Primacy of Christ—finding creative ways to approach the material as well as to share ways in which it has impacted their lives. Donations to Drexel Neumann Academy is another way in which the Portland companions give expression to their Gospel vision. They collect spare change monthly. In May, after collecting spare change for 10 months, they sent Sr. Maggie Gannon, the president of Drexel Neumann Academy, a check for $300. On July 19, 14 companions gathered for a pot luck picnic at Santa Chiara Convent where Srs. Theresa Lamkin, Celeste Clavel, and Mary Jo Chaves live. After a brief respite in August for planning the coming year, the group will resume their gatherings on September 2—beginning their 13th year together. Want to know more about our companion program? Visit our website, http://www.osfphila.org/companions.
Sr. Loretta Francis Mann was recently featured in an article in the Hartford, Connecticut newspaper, The Courant. The article described Loretta’s work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford where she cuddles premature and sick infants. Loretta explained that, while the babies need long-term care, their parents often have other responsibilities that prevent them from being at the hospital full-time. During the time that Loretta volunteers in the unit, she reads to the babies, sings to them, and rocks them to sleep—all after having prayed for them. The article also outlines Loretta’s earlier ministry experiences and summarizes her rationale for her present work as a volunteer. Check out the article and the great photos at http://www.osfphila.org/http%3A/%252Fwww.osfphila.org/inthenews.
Sr. Elaine Thaden is one of our vocation directors. The following is a summary of just one of the activities in which she is involved--the VOCARE program in Spokane, Washington.
From July 7-10 the sisters of the Spokane diocese held our annual vocation awareness experience for young women ages 13 to 18. Thirty-eight excited, interested, great-hearted girls attended from eastern and western Washington, eastern Oregon, and Idaho. Half of these were returning participants for the second and third time. Although they have little or no exposure to sisters in their home areas, it was heartening to see how these young women longed to learn more about religious life. Our team of sisters from various congregations took the “first-year” girls around town on a bus to learn first-hand about the different ministries and community life-styles of our own sisters as well as the Sisters of Providence, the Holy Names, the Missionaries of Charity, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, the Poor Clares, and the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church.
For the returning participants, we provided new ministry-site visits, a special retreat day, deeper input on the nature of religious life, and an evening when the girls could visit one- on-one with a sister of their choice. Besides our core team of sisters, 20 other local sisters came to the Diocesan Retreat Center to tell their stories, answer questions, and conference privately with the young ladies. This made it possible to included congregations we could not visit on the bus trip: Carmelites, Dominicans, and Benedictines. Involving all these sisters was not the only way VOCARE was a community-wide effort. Approximately $6,000 had to be raised to keep the cost at a minimum for the girls. We reached our goal with help from the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Daughters, parish fund raisers, and the Serra Club. In addition, most of the meals were provided by groups such as Home Schooling Parents, Secular Franciscans, a local restaurant owner, the associates of the Holy Names Sisters, the Diocesan Retreat Center, and the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church who reside there.
The girls’ evaluations indicated that it was well worth the months of preparation, the energy expended during the four days, and the coping with 98-100 degree weather. One typical response was “ I would love to attend again in order to learn more about religious life and to see if it may be my calling, to have a time to get away and have my faith grow and become stronger, and to have fun with all the wonderful sisters and my new friends.”
At the end of the 2014 school year, Sr. Elizabeth Murphy retired as principal of St. John Vianney School in Orlando. Parishioners and guests from throughout the diocese were invited to a dinner and evening of celebration recognizing Elizabeth’s 28 years of service and dedication –both as teacher and principal. Sr. Donna Desien represented the congregation at the celebration. The invitation encouraged guests—through various levels of sponsorship and as a way to “truly recognize and celebrate her achievements”—to become “part of the legacy that Elizabeth…shared with the…school and parish community.” And Elizabeth’s plans for her “retirement”? She has already agreed to remain in the parish and to serve as the assistant director of development.