Current Events

Current Events

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ have a rich and lengthy history of serving the people of the Mishawaka and South Bend area.  To celebrate this history they are reconnecting with friends, family and people they have known, served and worked with in this area.  The event called, PHJC Coming Home Mishawaka/South Bend, will be held April 10-12, 2015.

 

Several events will be included in this weekend celebration. On Friday, April 10 from 6:30-9 p.m. EDT, a collaboration of the St. Pius X, Granger, young adult group and the Poor Handmaids will gather for a young adult evening of praise and worship, silent reflection, input, conversation and dinner. This gathering, for young adults in their 20s and 30s, will center on discernment and ways to find God’s guidance in relationships and work.

 

On Saturday April 11 at Marian High School in Mishawaka, a reunion for former Poor Handmaid Sisters and alumni of Ancilla Domini High School, Donaldson will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT.  At 2:00 p.m., the public is invited to a festival for all ages with food, children’s games, music and a variety of fun activities. Come and meet or reconnect with Poor Handmaid Sisters.

 

On Sunday, April 12 at 9 a.m., a prayer service will take place at Catholic Cemetery on Liberty and Jefferson Avenues in Mishawaka honoring the Poor Handmaids buried in the cemetery.  At 10:30 a.m. a Eucharist Liturgy will be held at the Bishop Crowley Activity Center at Marian High School.  Father Ted Franzman will celebrate Mass.  A brunch will follow at 12 p.m. in the main gym. There is no charge for the brunch but please register for easier planning. Besides the weekend events, Poor Handmaids are also visiting several schools in the South Bend and Mishawaka area this spring.

 

For more information and to register for any of these events click here or call Julie Dowd, PHJC Communications Director, at 574-935-1768.

Join Ancilla College in its new adventure 4 p.m. March 10 on 9B Road to witness groundbreaking on two buildings.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” said President Ken Zirkle. “We will house nearly 100 new students and have a student life center with dining open to the public. It’s a great time to be at Ancilla College.”

Building plans, managed by Michael Kinder and Sons, Inc., of Fort Wayne, will include three stories of double rooms with full bathrooms. Additionally, there will be a two-story open lobby with fireplace, meeting rooms and a prayer room. The $6 million project also includes a 150-person capacity student life center and dining facility with coffee bar, fireplace and fitness center.

The buildings are on schedule for an Aug. 1 opening, Zirkle said. “Ancilla College has long been the best deal in the state but now we’ve sweetened the deal.”

Room and board will be frozen for two years at $8,500, which includes a meal plan. This rate is better than most colleges in the state.

The opportunity to expand Ancilla’s enrollment and build a learning community on campus has enthusiastic supporters across campus but maybe none more than vice president of enrollment management Eric Wignall. ““It’s incredible. Ancilla College can now open its doors even further, to more students, and to people from across the country. And we are truly a great deal for students. We were already the lowest cost private college in Indiana, but we’ve managed to keep a full year of full time tuition plus room and board under $23,000,” Wignall said. “That’s less than the tuition-only cost of most private colleges in the United States. Ancilla students can get an associate degree in any of our 17 academic programs, play on one of our 10 athletic teams and live on campus for less money than any other independent college in the state,” he said.

Vice President of Development, Todd Zeltwanger, said Ancilla College will be conducting a room naming fundraising campaign for the two buildings.  More information will be forthcoming in the new future.

Zirkle said the buildings will have keyless entry and 24-hour security. “This is a beautiful, safe campus with gorgeous historic buildings, a lake and an art center. I would have sent all five of my daughters here if it had been possible back then,” he said.

Wignall said, “Students can apply for housing online at the college’s website: www.ancilla.edu. Room reservations are first-come, first-served with preference given to freshman. If you have questions about living here next year, just call 1.866.ANCILLA!” 

Ancilla College (www.ancilla.edu), part of The Center at Donaldson, offers 17 associate degrees and 10 athletic programs. Since 1937, the College has been a sponsored ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. It is a small, private, liberal arts school in Donaldson, Indiana. It is located two miles south of U.S. 30 on Union Road near Plymouth, Indiana.

Welcoming the Immigrant

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 00:00

The Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR) placed a call for volunteers to work with refugees in El Paso, Texas.  Sister Barbara Kuper, PHJC and Sister Kathleen Quinn, PHJC have responded to the invitation and are serving there from January 3 – February 3, 2015. Here is an update about their first week experience as told by Sister Kathleen.

Our main desire in volunteering to join others in El Paso was twofold.  We wanted to experience at the ground level what the new immigrant was challenged with and to be of assistance in serving their needs.  We had some idea of how our services could benefit their situation, but we knew we had much to learn.

We left Chicago, Midway Airport assisted by Sister Michele and we were on our way.  Both of us had a feeling of adventure with a little trepidation deep within and a real desire of being of service.  When we arrived in El Paso, Eina Holder, Director of Nazareth Hall, welcomed us graciously.  We then went to the Sisters of St. Joseph Convent and felt right at home after meeting Sisters. Louanne, Kay, Bernadette and Esther along with Pauline a lay missionary.  Sisters Louanne, Kay and Bernadette were volunteering at Nazareth Hall, Pauline volunteering at the Columban Mission and Sister Esther our “hostess with the mostess” who is the “house mother” and all so gracious in welcoming Barb and myself.

Words composed by Martha Aiken, OP set us on our Journey as the three Kings/ Wise Women set on theirs. “Just as the Maji followed the star and were drawn by a light as a source of their HOPE, so we too are drawn to see more clearly and ask ourselves, ‘What draws me?’ ‘Who calls me?’ ‘Where will my life’s journey take me next?’ Are we open and ready to see the light in another’s eyes, in their longing for hope and in their life’s journey?  Are we willing to travel afar, to experience unknown territory, meet people from all walks of life and from other cultures to find our God?  We have all said our “yes” through our vows and to each call that has come to us because of them. In so doing, we embody and radiate God’s love for us all.”  So we, too, have asked ourselves these questions as we begin our journey in El Paso at Nazareth Hall in welcoming the Guests who come from the Immigration department.

As we began our first week, we would like to walk you through our initial experience at Nazareth Hall and the many delightful and challenging experiences we had. Eina Holder, a very generous person and also a volunteer, gave us a thorough orientation of what was expected of us.  She was very direct in that we are not to ask the guest about their trials and tribulations in coming to the USA.  When the guests come, they are graciously welcomed “Bienvenido” and given the information that they are free to move around the building and even leave the building, but to let the receptionist know.  They are told very clearly that they are not in detention and that they would be assisted in their needs to be processed and to get needed transportation along with a shower, clothes if needed. It is also explained that all the persons assisting them are volunteers and that everything given is through the kindness of the various churches in El Paso. That Nazareth Hall is being used through the generosity of the Sisters of Loretto. These guest have papers from immigration that they may travel to family, friend or whoever will assist them.  They are to report to the immigration place in three months in the location they are situated. They are interviewed for basic information and then are assisted in their travel arrangements.  Some of the guests leave within the hour, if they have contacted a ride, some within 2-3 hours and some remain overnight.

Our responsibilities vary according to the needs of the guests.  We prepare the lunch for the guest and the volunteers.  Each evening volunteers from the various churches in El Paso bring in food for 20-25 persons.  This is four days a week.  The food left over from the evening meal is then prepared for the lunch the next day.  This is where we come in.  After checking all food available, we place in the oven to be reheated.  This has been a challenge, as for two days this first week the food did not heat up.  We did not realize this until we began to serve it, as the outside of the pan was hot.  By the end of the week we had the food situation under control, with a little sweat and words I won’t repeat.

Before the food preparation begins, we clean rooms, mop floors, clean toilets, showers and then anything we are asked to do like cleaning up the toy room, sorting toys, checking sheets, pillow cases and all bed wear.  We have enjoyed the children especially and Barb tells the story of the little boy who she got a warm coat for and he was so happy with it, he would not take it off.  We have received many guests from Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.  The expression on their face when they first come is one of fear and anxiety.  As they hear the welcome and experience the kindness of all, we receive many “gracias” and their expression is more relaxed and sometimes very joyful..

We have noticed that we have many women with their children, but often the husband is maintained in detention.  When inquiring about this, we are told there is very little rhyme or reason for this, and no definite reason is given.  When this happens, the wife asks to visit her husband, and arrangements are made for this.  Beth, a volunteer is most helpful in driving them to the detention center.  We have four detention centers in El Paso.

We ended our week with a farewell dinner at “Amigos” restaurant as Sisters Kay and Bernadette were leaving to go back to Montana on Saturday morning.  Very delicious meal was enjoyed by all and a delightful conversation.

 

 

Sr. Peg - Overall Influential Woman of the Year

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 00:00

Sister Peg Spindler, CSA, Executive Director of Sojourner Truth House was honored on November 6, 2014 as the Overall Influential Woman of the Year at the 2014 Influential Women of Northwest Indiana.

“I’m a little surprised, and honored, and humbled to be amongst so many women who do great things,” Sr. Peg said. “It is a privilege and honor. … I think it’s a great thing to recognize that women really are the movers and shakers in the community.”
Sister Peg has worked at Sojourner Truth House, a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ for 17 years helping women and children.

Sojourner Truth House is a day center for homeless and at-risk women and their children located in Gary, Indiana. The staff works with families to find solutions to poverty in the short term with food and clothing programs and in the long term by breaking the cycle of poverty with education and family strengthening programs. Every program, every action is an encounter towards empowerment, education, employment and living life in wholeness. Ethnically and racially diverse, the women come from all faiths and educational backgrounds.

Congratulation Sr. Peg!

DONALDSON – Graduating at the top of your class often means being honored by your high school and giving a speech at graduation. This year Ancilla College will add one more way to honor these high achieving students—free tuition.

Beginning in 2015 Ancilla College will be offering full tuition scholarships to the top high school graduates from schools in 10 north-central Indiana counties.

“Ancilla wants to reward high achievement and help local graduates get started on their college journey with the Ancilla College Valedictorian-Salutatorian Scholarship,” said Ancilla president Ken Zirkle.

Ancilla’s ‘Val-Sal Scholarship’ represents free full-time tuition, as much as $13,500 each year to local graduates who attend the college. It will be offered to the top students from public and private high schools in Marshall, Fulton, Porter, Pulaski, Jasper, Starke, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Elkhart, and Kosciusko counties.

Local salutatorians, traditionally students who graduate second in their class, will be offered up to $10,000 in free tuition to attend the college.

“Valedictorian and salutatorians are chosen by many local high schools. These are academic titles used to honor the top two students who are then traditionally chosen to deliver the farewell speech at graduation. The valedictorian is the student with the highest rank among his or her graduating class, the salutatorian is usually second highest rank by grades,” said Zirkle.

Some regional schools have stopped naming valedictorians as part of graduation while other schools sometimes name three or four with high GPAs.

“We know there have been cases where there is more than one student chosen for these honors and we plan on offering the scholarship to each student chosen by their school based on class rank,” Zirkle said.

Offering scholarships to top graduates is just one more way Ancilla is supporting students in pursuit of higher learning, Zirkle said.

In 2013-14 the college provided over $900,000 in academic, need-based, and athletic scholarships to students alongside what they qualified for in federal and state education aid. Over 93 percent of students at Ancilla received financial aid of some kind.

“Many of our students come from families that don’t have very much set aside for education. We work with students and their families to make college affordable. We know that investing in them will pay off not just for them but for the communities in which they live and work,” said Mike Brown, Ancilla’s chief financial officer.

“As with other Ancilla scholarship programs, the award for each student is coordinated with the student’s eligibility for federal and Indiana grants. The Val-Sal is just one more way we are supporting students who want to earn a valuable college degree at a place based on solid values,” Brown said.

Fast Facts about Ancilla College:
• Founded in 1937 by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ
• Indiana’s only junior college (private two-year college)
• 400 students enrolled in 18 degree programs
• Host to ten athletic teams in men’s and women’s sports; NJCAA

Poor Handmaids Come Home to Fort Wayne

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:00

Fort Wayne, IN -- The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Sisters are organizing several events called “PHJCs Coming Home” in various cities over the next few years. The purpose of these events is to reconnect with the people in some of the areas in which Poor Handmaids have ministered and share who they have been over the years, who they are today, and who they hope to be in the future. You are invited to “PHJCs Coming Home to Fort Wayne-Hessen Cassel,” the second of the PHJCs Coming Home weekends, on October 24-26, 2014.

• On Saturday, October 25, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. a reunion will be held for former Poor Handmaids and Ancilla Domini High School Alumnae at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in downtown Fort Wayne.

• At 5:00 p.m., Eucharistic Liturgy held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will celebrate the Poor Handmaid presence and ministry in the Fort Wayne area. Mass will be followed by a 6:00 p.m. reception at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.

• On Sunday, October 26, 2014, at 10:30 a.m., Eucharistic Liturgy will be celebrated at St. Joseph Parish, Hessen Cassel with Bishop Kevin Rhoades as celebrant. Brunch will follow at St. Joseph Parish hall. Hessen Cassel is the first ministry the Poor Handmaids started after arriving in the United States in 1868.

The public is invited to join the Eucharistic Liturgies and the free reception.

In addition, “Get to Know A Sister” Vocation Days will be held at some Fort Wayne area schools and a Theology on Tap style event is planned.

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ have served the Fort Wayne/South Bend Diocese since 1868 with a rich heritage in education, childcare, healthcare and other ministries. They continue to minister in the diocese today through their ministries St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and HealthVisions Fort Wayne.

For over 140 years, the Poor Handmaids operated or ministered at St. Joseph Medical Center in Fort Wayne.  In 1998, they sold the hospital and put a portion of the sale’s proceeds and local real estate holdings into their reorganized St. Joseph Community Health Foundation to maintain a ministry focused on continuing the PHJC legacy of helping everyone in the community, especially the poor and vulnerable, access healthcare and attain wellness. This strategy has enabled the Foundation ministry to provide over $15.2M through 999 grants to 182 Allen County community partners.  These grants have been vital in helping to secure the safety-net of low-cost medical clinics; establish health education and case management resources in neighborhoods where resources are scarce; providing for trained medical interpreters and health navigators skilled in language and culture; and establishing a network helping pregnant women secure support and resources for their yet-to-be born children and families.

At that same time, they also used a portion of sale proceeds to establish HealthVisions Midwest a community-based health improvement ministry with a location in Fort Wayne. The core principle of HealthVisions Fort Wayne is to build strong neighborhoods, through community partnerships using existing resources. HealthVisions Fort Wayne builds community capacity in order to reduce health disparities for underserved populations in need of care.  

Together with the Poor Handmaids, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and HealthVisions Fort Wayne invite you to the PHJC Coming Home events. For more information and to register for these events, www.poorhandmaids.org/cominghome.

New PHJC Leadership Elected in Germany

Friday, 22 August 2014 00:00

On August 14, 2014, the new leadership team of the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ German Province was officially installed during Mass in Dernbach, Germany. Sister Simone Weber begins her second term as Provincial. Sister Antonie Wiss, Sister Patricia Stümper and Sister Jaicy Jacob will serve as council members for the next four years.

After Mass, the celebration continued during lunch where Sisters, family, friends, co-workers and other guests enjoyed “Westerwälder Potato Soup and Catherine Kasper Bread.”

Congratulations to the new Provincial Leadership Team of the PHJC German Province. We wish you God's blessings.

Honoring Our 2014 Jubilarians

Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00

75 Years

 

Sister Maxine Peppenhorst, PHJC

Celebrating my profession as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ is a treasured gift from God. It brings to mind the countless blessings, joys, and challenges that I have experienced through these many years.

My greatest blessing was my call to religious life. From the time I was in second grade I wanted to become a Sister. My ministry was teaching in elementary schools. After fifty years, my active ministry ended.

For the next number of years I was missioned to St. Mary Convent in Trenton. These years were happy and helpful in aiding me to live a more relaxed life. Presently I’m enjoying life at the Catherine Kasper Home where life is quite different from convent life. It is a learning experience to live with lay people of different beliefs. This I enjoy because it stretches me as a person to accept various ways of thinking, of believing and it enables me to realize how loving and good God has created us.

A treasured blessing in my retirement is the spare time I have. This I can use for prayer, reading, and enjoying the outdoors. What joy will be mine when God welcomes me home with open arms saying, “Well done, good and faithful Sister Maxine, a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ.”

 

70 Years 

 

Sister Florence Kuhn, PHJC

With a grateful heart I praise God every morning because of His love for me. Now that I’m retired, I can appreciate the beauties of nature, like observing the cycle of the monarch butterfly from egg to birth at least 20 times.

Having Poor Handmaids as my teachers from grades 1 to 8 was another blessing at St. John’s School in Quincy. Their personalities and virtues attracted me, especially Sister Virginia, my eighth grade teacher. She encouraged me to be a Sister. After I pronounced my vows I asked to be a primary teacher. After 48 years as an educator, Mr. Wayne Messick invited me to come to Quincy to bring back St. Vincent’s Home and promote the charism of Mary Catherine Kasper. Her charism of simplicity, listening prayerfully and serving joyfully were my goals too as a Poor Handmaid.

I feel that I’ve touched many lives after 70 years. All my friends know I’m a St. Louis Cardinal fan since 1964 so my wish is that they win the World Series. Shout with joy to the Lord all the earth!

 

Sister Mary Edward Mason, PHJC

As I reflect on my childhood and family, I felt loved by my sisters, brothers, Mom and Dad. As a child, I attended Washington School and P.H.S. High School in Quincy, Illinois. Gardening was one of my hobbies.

I entered the convent on September 8, 1941. My main ministry was caring for children at Angel Guardian Orphanage, teaching primary grades and being hostess at our hospital. The beatification pilgrimage for Blessed Catherine Kasper was wonderful for me. I think we’re so blessed to have our foundress beatified.

I’ll never forget my sky diving experience. It was a gift from my family for my Golden Jubilee and now on my 70th Jubilee, I would enjoy seeing more vocations to our Poor Handmaid Community.

 

60 Years

 

Sister Lucy Megaro, PHJC

As I reflect on my past 60 years as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, I am most grateful to where the Lord has led me, and where he continues to lead me.

I have been blessed and challenged in many ways in the sharing of my gifts with people in the various stages of their lives. My ministries have taken me to Chicago, several towns in Iowa, and Cincinnati, Ohio. As a preschool teacher, a house parent for grade school boys and adolescent girls, a Nursing Assistant to the elderly in their homes, and a volunteer with children in the inner city, I always felt, when one door closed, the Lord was there to open another.

The many people I have met and served have been a gift to me, with the support of my community, family and friends. I continue to be a part of the support and prayer ministry as well as a caring presence to others during my retirement days at our Catherine Kasper Home.

My hopes, prayers and dreams for our community, is to pray and listen to where the Spirit is leading us in sharing our blessings with those most in need.

 

Sister Julia Huelskamp,PHJC

When I reflect on my earlier years in community, I recall how structured we were. We dressed alike, lived a scheduled routine, did not read the newspapers, watch TV or drive a car. We visited our family for three days every five years. We were experts in our works of teaching, nursing and taking care of children in orphanages.

In the 1960s we went back to our roots as was encouraged by Pope John XXIII. We studied the life of our foundress, had many meetings, lots of discussions, and we gradually changed. We returned to the charism that inspired Catherine Kasper to begin the PHJC Community.

I enjoyed all my ministries. I taught in schools, worked in group homes for troubled teens, served three terms on Provincial Leadership, volunteered in a Cambodian refugee camp for three months, and was a food service director for a program in Chicago for juvenile sex offenders.

My last ministry was working with our Sisters in the Catherine Kasper Home. Now I am retired, but keep busy doing things for and with the Community. The Holy Spirit is my guide and comfort.

 

50 Years

 

Sister Catherine (Katie Bobber, PHJC

I feel so blessed growing up in a family of deep faith. Saint Augustine’s Parish, Chicago was our “center” for church, school, social and parish involvement. Back then, the PHJC Sisters were my teachers and very influential in my life and my vocation.

Besides a few years in child care, the majority of my ministry years has been educating younger children. As a teacher, my students have enriched my life and hopefully I have influenced theirs to meet many of the challenges of today. In recent years I have become the School Campus Minister sharing my faith and gifts with the staff, parents and students from Pre K3 to Junior High.

As an American Poor Handmaid I take pride in all we do as an international community. I pray we continue to share our gifts and risk for our Church and society, especially among the poor. I believe in the message Catherine Kasper shared with us, “Our loving God always helps us if only we trust in Him.”

 

Sister Ann Linzmeyer, PHJC

As I review my life I have so many memories of the Spirit touching and molding me. Both in my family as well as in my community life, the Sacred Presence planted many seeds within me through my life experiences of joy, sorrow, laughter, failure, absence, wonder, loneliness, brokenness, beauty and forgiveness. I have had opportunities to experience such a variety of ministries both within the United States, as well as living and ministering in other countries. Such blessings!

As community, as women, and as Church, I hope that we continue to foster and enhance the sacredness of all peoples and all of creation, the healing of our world, and call people to justice, peace and love through our living.

Ministry is about bringing the Sacred Presence of God into the world in which we live, and welcoming the Presence we find in each person we meet and in all of creation. I hope to continue to be God’s blessing to others, especially the poor and under served, and to care for our environment.

 

 Sister Melanie Rauh, PHJC

My vocation has been as a religion and music education teacher followed by pastoral associate, faith formation and liturgy. Today I continue liturgical music ministry in Michigan City, Indiana.

I dedicate this Jubilee year to my immediate family: aunts, uncles and cousins, who have vowed their lives to the call of religious life. The American legacy began in 1863 with my great uncle, Father Ignatious Rauh, CPPS. Eight family members became priests, all members in the Precious Blood Order. My cousin, Father Harold directed me to “be at home in my heart.”

Seventeen people in my family became Sisters, six are deceased Poor Handmaids buried in Mt. Carmel cemetery: Sisters Geraldine, Consolatrix, Consolata, Louanne Muhlenkamp and Sisters Priscilla and Carissima Rauh.

I continue the legacy of dedicated ministry to the Catholic Church. I am proud of these who have finished their Magnificat journey and honor their blessings.

I celebrate the parental faith foundation of these 25 vowed people with their families. I wish to remember the individuals who these 25 people have served. My prayer celebrates 100 years when the first relative, Sister Geraldine, entered the congregation in 1914 and six of us have followed as PHJC.

 

Sister Edith Schneider, PHJC

I was born in a Catholic family of ten children in 1943. Often, when I reminisce on happy family times, I go back to the years when we lived on the farm where I felt very happy and secure. Vocation was never mentioned, but I know that the seeds of my vocation were planted during this time. I was happy as an aspirant, postulant, and novice, and professed first vows in 1964. I was very happy for six years as a primary teacher, but I was convinced that God wanted me to work with the poor in some other way and so my new dream was to learn Spanish and work with migrant workers.

I was not to work with migrant workers, but to go to Latin America. My ministry in Guatemala (1971) and Bolivia (1972-1976), changed my life irrevocably.

After Bolivia, I ministered in Chicago, Nicaragua and then 26 marvelous years in Mexico planting the seeds and seeing the congregation grow! I have loved parish ministry, and had many good years in vocation ministry. Now I look forward to formation ministry with aspirants, and feel great peace in helping foster the growth of leadership of our Mexican Sisters.

 

Sister Christine Styka, PHJC

As I look back over the years, I see all of life’s twists and turns. From the time I was a preschooler, Sisters and priests were a part of my life.

I thought about being a Sister a lot and eventually entered the Congregation of Sisters of St. Felix, on October 4, 1961. The Felician Sisters were my teachers in primary and high school. After I graduated from Loyola University I ministered as pastoral associate director of religious education for 15 years.

I remember being invited to a PHJC celebration. I was increasingly drawn to the charism of the Poor Handmaids. After much thought and prayer, I began the process of incorporation and in 1997 professed vows as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ.

The ministry that stands out for me was my time at Daystar in Cairo, Illinois. I was involved in social work, and I loved the simplicity of living there. I remember cooking and canning 25 turkeys for the thanksgiving meal to take to seniors and shut-ins.

 

Sister Joellen Tumas, PHJC

I was born in Back of the Yards on the Southwest of Chicago. When I mentioned becoming a Sister, my mom was horrified and asked her friend what to do. She was advised “send her to St. Augustine High School, those mean German nuns will change her mind.” Most of the Sisters were not mean, but just the opposite.

From St. Augustine I transferred to Ancilla Domini High School to become an aspirant. The journey on the less traveled road had begun. I was missioned to Angel Guardian Orphanage as a teacher then to St Joseph’s school where I served as the Pastoral Minister.

In 1990, St. Augustine closed. There was a need for one of the remaining parishes to open a food pantry. Holy Cross-Immaculate Heart of Mary accepted this challenge, and I ran it while being the Pastoral Associate. Besides working in the pantry, I became an advocate of Annulments for the Archdiocese of Chicago and opened Kids Café. As the food pantry grew, Casa Catalina opened.

Ministry for me is walking in the shoes of Blessed Mary Catherine as I follow the path chosen for me by God to live the gospel message of Jesus. Ministry is responding to needs as they arise. It is presence, listening, caring, serving, and being the voice of the voiceless and bringing hope to the hopeless.

 

25 Years

 

Sister Cathy Schwemer, PHJC

As I reflect on my life, what comes to mind are the many people whom God sent into my life. I have been blessed with family, friends, community members, coworkers and mentors. Each one has left an imprint on me; some good, some painful, all teaching me and molding me into the person I am today. My greatest joy was, and continues to be, walking with our Associate Community.

My outlook on ministry is both simple and challenging; I hope that I, as well as all my PHJC Sisters, want nothing more than to be about the mission and ministry of the Gospel in keeping with the spirit of our foundress Blessed Catherine Kasper. It is a challenge to be attentive to the voice of Spirit; it takes both communal and individual discernment and courage. But I believe that if we stay on this path, we will indeed live up to our name as the true servants of God.

My hopes for the future are pretty much in tune with my outlook on the present, being attentive to the call of the Spirit and to having the courage to follow that call, no matter where it may lead.

 

Sister Rosemary Snell, PHJC from the English Province

I first encountered the Poor Handmaids when I was a teenager on a school trip. The film fell out of my camera and Sister Edmunda who I didn’t know at that point, said, “Here child,” took the camera, and put the film back in.

I worked for the Sisters as the cook in St. Boniface Residential Care home in 1979. My desire was to convert these Catholic heretics to Christianity; I was in the Pentecostal Church at the time. God had different plans for me, and I entered the community as a postulant in 1985 and spent my novitiate in Germany. When I went back to England, I continued with studies in community care and welfare while working in the care home and parish.

I worked in the Residential Care home until it closed. During this time I studied and graduated with a Masters in Pastoral Theology. I then worked with an agency doing home care and enjoyed meeting the elderly on a more personal level. I am now studying level four Counseling Humanistic Integrative.

I feel blessed and very thankful to be a Poor Handmaid and so grateful for the many friends I have made in the countries in which the Poor Handmaids live and minister.