Current Events

Current Events

Prayer for the People of Syria

Monday, 09 September 2013 00:00

Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.
Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.

O God of hope and Father of mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs.
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

[This prayer is adapted from Catholics Confront Global Poverty. . . , a collaborative effort of USCCB and Catholic Relief Services.]

Please help spread the news. We are asking your help in our effort to have the documentary, Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America, air on NBC stations across the country. This film is a one-hour account of the history of the contributions of Catholic Sisters to the history and culture of the United States, from their arrival on this land in 1727 to today.

The documentary will be available to all NBC affiliates, for broadcasts, at their discretion, from September 15, 2013 to March 15, 2014, as an episode of NBC's "Horizons of the Spirit" series, presented in partnership with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission. It is not a "must carry" program so each station decides when, or if, it airs the film.

New General Leadership Installed

Monday, 29 July 2013 00:00

On Saturday, July 27, the new PHJC General Leadership Team was officially installed in Dernbach, Germany.

Sisters Jolise May, Flora Vedamuthu and Christiane Huppert from the out-going Leadership Team, offered the new team bread and water, representing leadership’s responsibility to nourish each member of the congregation. A walking stick made of Lindenwood was also given representing direction of the congregation into unknown lands. Sr. Gonzalo Vakasseril (Superior), Sr. Annemarie Kampwerth (Vicaress), Sr. Shirley Bell (Councilor) and Sr. Barbara Spiegelhoff (Councilor) accepted these items, as well as the congregation's constitution, during a blessing given by Sr. Jolise, former General Superior.

After the celebration in the chapel, Sisters, friends and family gathered in the Motherhouse cafeteria for coffee and to celebrate together. Congratulations and blessings to the new PHJC General Leadership Team.

610 combined years as a Poor Handmaid

Monday, 15 July 2013 00:00

On Saturday July 6, ten of our Jubilarians celebrated 610 years as Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ! Typical of many PHJC gatherings, the celebration started with prayer and renewal of vows at Mass and continued with a festive meal and gathering in Cana Hall in the Motherhouse. Later in the evening, the celebration ended with an ice cream social and a presentation on the lives of jubilarians.

 

Sr. Jeanne Koehler, a 75-year Jubilarian, and Sr.Marlene Ann Lama wave to the Sisters at Catherine Kasper Home who were watching via closed circuit TV. Sisters Coletta Wrasman, Annemarie Kampwerth and Virginia Kampwerth, 50-year jubilarians, sing a song they learned as novices.

Sisters Inez Wilmering and Julienne Smith, with a combined 140 years as Poor Handmaids,  thank the Sisters for celebrating with them and making this a memorable day. Sisters Patricia Belting and Magdala Oswald enjoyed the noise makers that helped celebrate this special occasion.

 

All Jubilarians were just

New Leadership Installed

Friday, 12 July 2013 00:00

On Sunday July 7, 2013, the Poor Handmaids’ newly elected Provincial Leadership Team was installed during a Mass in Ancilla Domini Chapel. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Fort Wayne/South Bend Diocese presided. Bishop Dale J. Melczek of the Gary Diocese was a concelebrant along with several priests.

 

Sister Judith Diltz, Provincial, and Sisters Michele Dvorak, Carole Langhauser and Loretta Schleper, Councilors made their commitment to carry out their new responsibilities asking God for the strength to do their ministry.

Bishop Rhoades ended Mass with a congratulatory message to the Provincial Leadership Team reminding them that, “Without God we can do nothing; with God we can do anything.”

Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ delegates elected the Leadership Team at the conclusion of the Congregation’s governance meeting, Provincial Chapter, on April 7, 2013 in Donaldson. This team will govern the American Province of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ congregation until 2017.

leadership

The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, a ministry sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, announces $440,350 in grants in the first five months of 2013 to local organizations to improve the health, wellness and health care access for the low-income and vulnerable in Allen County.

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ have had active ministry programming in this community since 1868, and through this Foundation have invested $14,184,684 through 915 grants into 174 Allen County agencies since the sale of St. Joseph Medical Center in 1998. All grants are focused on helping to establish and maintain centers of excellence in mental, physical and spiritual health care delivery to the low-income in our community and building programming to address gaps that prevent individuals from attaining health and wellness. The funded agencies also reflect many of the values of the Foundation’s sponsor, including respecting the dignity of each person served.

 

In addition to providing grants, the Foundation also provides programming to address gaps in services, including operating Project Connect, which provides the Medical Interpretation & Healthcare Navigation Program for Burmese refugees and immigrants, and a Resource Directory of Allen County’s low-cost, quality healthcare resources. The Resource Directory also provides an alert service to upcoming health and wellness opportunities and fairs, which is available to the community on-line at www.sjchf.org.

The following grants have been funded in 2013 through May 31:

Unrestricted Funds

AIDS Task Force
$8,000
Provide for emergency medical assistance to men, women, and children living with HIV in Allen County.

Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health
$44,000
To continue to provide efficient, timely and accurate interpretation and translation services to refugees seeking medical and environmental services.

Cancer Services
$15,000
Support for Client Advocate program and financial assistance to help low-income cancer patients and their families with prescription costs and medical co-pays for cancer-related costs.

Catholic Charities
$27,000
For the Hispanic Health Advocate Program to provide supported services for Spanish-speaking individuals and families in order to maximize their access to health care services through interpretation, translation and coordination of health services.

Cedars HOPE
$7,500
To provide medical advocacy and supportive services for Cedars HOPE residents who were homeless, have a serious mental illness, and are of low income.

Community Transportation Network
$30,000
To provide affordable, dependable specialized medical transportation services for seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income persons.

Crime Victim Care of Allen County
$20,000
For the salary of the part-time immigrant victim care provider to assist clients in the Alcoholics Anonymous Support Group and related family groups for non-English speaking clients.

East Wayne Street Center
$20,000
To provide 50% of the Health Coordinator's Salary and Benefits.

Headwaters Counseling
$25,000
Operating support for mental health and substance abuse counseling to very low-income families and individuals ($20,000) and for mental health assessments and counseling as needed for partnering homeless shelters to provide centralized services to individuals in high-risk, homeless situations to move them towards wellness ($5,000).

Healthier Moms and Babies
$15,000
A matching grant furthering the mission of improving the outcome of pregnancy and reducing infant mortality among high-risk, low-income families.

HealthVisions of Fort Wayne
$1,500
Sponsorship for the 6th Annual Meeting of the Allen County Health Disparity Coalition on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, focusing on the topic of Healthcare Reform The Role of Mainstream Media.

HearCare Connection
$20,000
Support for hearing clinics for low-income individuals.

Hope Alive
$15,000
Support for apartment housing and comprehensive services to assist homeless women in becoming healthy, productive members of our community in the Transitional Housing Program.

Lutheran Social Services of Indiana
$25,000
To continue to maintain the level of Intergenerational Activities and staffing that enhances wellness for the children at Children's Village and residents of Lutheran Life Village.

McMillen Center for Health Education
$25,000
To provide vital health curriculum to youth preschool through fourth grade, teaching the importance of nutrition, wellness, fitness, and drug abuse prevention as it pertains to keeping their bodies healthy.

Mental Health America in Allen County
$20,000
To provide client advocacy and education for people living with mental health issues, so that they have access to the prevention, treatment and recovery programs they need to be successful.

NAMI of Fort Wayne
$4,850
To facilitate a Clergy Workshop and to develop training and ongoing support for NAMI Volunteer Advocates to help people impacted by incarceration.

National Conference of Burmese-American Catholics
$1,500
Support for spiritual health opportunities at the Annual Gathering Event of the National Conference of Burmese-American Catholics in Fort Wayne in September 2013.

Neighborhood Health Clinics
$50,000
To subsidize low-income, uninsured patients who receive dental services on a sliding fee scale, including the school Dental Sealant Program.

SoulMedic Media Group RemedyLIVE
$15,000
To continue to give Biblical guidance to young adults who come to the SoulMedic website or text with hurts, habits and hang ups.

Women’s Care Center
$35,000
For support as a platinum sponsor of the Tippmann-McArdle golf outing and to underwrite client care with the objective of helping more women choose life for their babies and have access to quality health care and health education.

Blessed Catherine Kasper Award for Outstanding Service to the Poor

Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County
$1,500
Operating support for "A Baby's Closet" to purchase safety car seats, baby cribs, diapers, and other items not donated so low-income families can adequately and safely care for their infants.

Fort Wayne Urban League
$1,500
To purchase curriculum, online assessment software, and supplies for science programming in the After School Academy.

Homebound Meals
$1,500
To subsidize low-income clients who are unable to pay the full cost of the hot nutritional meals.

Light of the Cross Outreach Ministries
$1,500
Operating support for "Taste and See: A Ministry of Healthful Eating."

Peanut Butter Ministries
$1,500
To provide meals to local low-income children during breaks from school.

Society of St. Vincent DePaul
$1,500
To transport individuals to their medical/therapy appointments in the Care Van.

Three Rivers Right to Life Educational Trust Fund
$1,500
To fund the Diaper Giveaway Project for low-income families.

Wellspring Interfaith Social Services
$1,500
To enable Wellspring to continue to provide services to those who live in the core of the city.

Frederick J. Pfeiffer Fund – in Honor of Charles F. and Henrietta Eckart Pfeiffer – for Medical and Surgical Equipment

Early Childhood Alliance
$4,000
To purchase hearing screening devices, printer and start-up supplies.

Reflections from Our 2013 Jubilarians

Thursday, 27 June 2013 00:00

jub-Sr JeanneSister Jeanne Koehler, PHJC

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory!” (A French proverb.) As I reflect on the span of 75 years as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, an avalanche of memories pours down. A resounding THANK YOU GOD rises up in my heart. I’m grateful for all those precious years—the graces God gave me through so many wonderful people and happenings in my life. My family, my Sisters, my many friends and associates along with those who challenged me are all a part of those memorable years. I thank God for ALL that has brought me to this peak celebration.

For 75 years I have been a teacher and still love it. From a first grade teacher to a college professor, I feel I have been an enthusiastic instrument of God’s love and caring.

As for the present and future, I feel I am God’s ENERGIZER and I hope He will keep recharging the batteries. I don’t think religious retire. Instead they recycle. They may slow their pace but they carry on, bringing God’s love and touch to others.

My prayerful hope this jubilee year will be to share the joy I feel and to be a living token of appreciation. A quotation from the book, SIMPLE ABUNDANCE clearly expresses my sincere sentiments. “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

 

jub-Sr VivianSister Vivian Brand, PHJC

My years as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ have been a time of joy, peace and challenges. In all of it I have found God’s loving Providence directing me, sometimes obscurely, but always surely. The community, my family and friends were a constant support for which I am most grateful.

Serving God’s poor in the education ministry was rewarding, especially at Ancilla College. Helping the students attain marketable skills to support themselves and their families was very fulfilling.

Our community works with “attentive ear and courageous heart” to discern where we are needed today and I believe, our loving God will direct us for the good of his people.

jub-Sr JulienneSister Julienne Smith, PHJC

One of my recollections is that after living in Donaldson for high school I would return home for summer vacation and every night I would turn in the direction of Donaldson and knew that would be my home in the future. My early experiences in high school and living in community have always made me feel that I was called to this life at a young age and I never doubted God’s call. Prayer continues to be the binding force in my life and I am grateful for the opportunity for daily Mass and prayers with the community.

After many years as a teacher and principal, as the vocation director and local leader at the PHJC Motherhouse and as the person responsible for the Ancilla High School girls for 10 years, I am still able to volunteer at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have been there for more than 20 years and I contribute to the ministry that continues there.

I am proud to talk of our ministries and how they have continued with lay leaders who continue the work begun by the Sisters with the same spirit as when we had sisters in every leadership role. Our international Sisters share that spirit around the world and all this because of how Mother Mary touches their lives.

jub-Sr InezSister Inez Wilmering, PHJC

It has been a long journey since 1922 when God called me in baptism and gave me the wonderful gift of faith. Faith has been my guide and support through the years and continues to grow as I experience God’s love for all of His creation.

The desire to serve God as a PHJC began when I was an aspirant for four years in Donaldson. After high school, I entered and spent the next 35 years ministering in hospitals, in the business office, nursing and teaching. I served in nine PHJC hospitals, even in the hospital where I was born.

In 1977, I returned to Donaldson and spent eight years living and working with our Sisters at the Catherine Kasper Home. These were joy filled years living with those who had spent years following Mother Mary in helping the poor, sick and children eagerly and joyfully.

I cherish this Year of Faith in which my jubilee is celebrated as special since my precious gift of faith has brought me to this time of my life. I hope and pray that God will continue to lead the community in faith and fidelity.

jub-Sr MagdalaSister Magdala Oswald, PHJC

As I reflect on my 60 years as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, I am filled with gratitude for the many years of service with young children at Angel Guardian in Chicago and at St. John’s children’s home in Belleville, Illinois. They are good memories of helping the children grow up in a world that gave them many challenges.

In more recent years I have ministered in various positions at The Center at Donaldson. I have enjoyed many years of service at the Lindenwood Retreat & Conference Center. It is a delight meeting so many folks who come to the Center and we have shared many joys and blessings as we continue to share in the charism of Blessed Mary Catherine’s way of service.

My hope and prayer for the future is that we will continue to grow as an international community in loving service wherever there is a need.

jub-Sr PatriciaSister Patricia Belting, PHJC

Throughout my 60 years as a Poor Handmaid I have been in contact with people in very special ways. I worked in ministry as a teacher, given private retreats and eventually became a Spiritual Counselor earning a Doctorate in Ministry Degree in Pastoral Counseling. In each of these blessings, I was allowed to touch people’s lives through spiritual direction, giving me great joy.

My time as a Poor Handmaid has given me many gifts and blessings both received with and from others. There has been back and forth learning from the individuals I have met throughout my time as a woman religious, making each relationship special.

My prayers for the future both for my community and myself are that we embrace the concept that we are all faithful to the call. My hopes and dreams have grown over the years to an endless number, so much so that I cannot begin to enumerate. I am confident in the Lord, knowing he will guide the way to peace and love.

In this Jubilee year, my greatest enjoyment was the visit from my nieces and nephews on June 1 when we celebrated our Jubilees at the Motherhouse.

jub-Sr CollettaSister Coletta Wrasman, PHJC

Before I was born, God called me to be a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ. Growing up on a farm, unknowingly my Mom and Dad began my formation by their prayerful, simple lives. Through grade school, the Franciscan Sisters continued to cultivate the call. When I became an aspirant in my sophomore year, the Poor Handmaids helped to make the call firm for me.

Our community has grown in awareness and concern for all people around the globe, especially for the poor and our PHJC Sisters in other cultures. We are ONE in God.

I am grateful for the gift of music which Mom and Dad encouraged and the PHJC community further developed. It enabled me to help many parishes with music at their liturgies.

Through each of my ministries God secretly prepared me for the next way of being for others. God has always given faithful love in my struggles and weaknesses, and in my strengths and gifts.

The community and my family and friends will join me in praising and thanking God who has been faithful to me these 50 (really 71) years. This fills my heart with joy.

jub-Sr RobertaSister Roberta Christianson, PHJC

I have been blessed throughout my life. I’ve been able to do the two things I love most: teaching and childcare. I’ve been blessed to live in Germany for 18 years. Also to have a good sense of humor and spirit of adventure, and it has been a wonderful life.

Since I returned to the USA in 2011, every day is different and certainly has not been boring. I am very happy to be a PHJC. I fell in love with the Sisters even before grade school. My love and desire to be like them deepened over the years. Mother Mary was right on target when she said, “It is a great honor to be a PHJC.”

My hopes and prayers for our community is that we place spirituality, faith and prayer above all. I pray we listen to God’s will, take Mother Mary’s words to heart, and that we seek always to serve others. For myself, I pray that I become a woman of faith. I pray I gently become old, never place myself first and that I will be kind.

I dream of a long future for the PHJCs and I believe we will have women to follow us. May we never become so business-like and big that we lose sight of the needy around us.

jub-Sr AnnemarieSister Annemarie Kampwerth, PHJC

God has blessed me in so many ways since becoming a PHJC. I have been able to experience a variety of ministries, meet and befriend some wonderful people and travel to many places around the world.

Presently I am working at HealthVisions Midwest in mission and education. HealthVisions has given me an opportunity to network with many people in a lot of different communities to improve healthcare for the underserved. It has helped me to realize that no matter what we do, it ripples out beyond us and the influence can be far reaching.

I hope as a community we can continue to be involved in issues in the Church and in society and stand up for what we believe. We need to continue to witness especially for the poor and underserved, preserve the gift of our environment and our gift as women to the Church. We have great ministries and we need to ensure that they will continue and share with our lay leaders that same passion to serve.

My greatest enjoyment during this Jubilee Year will be celebrating with my Sisters, my family and friends this special gift in my life. I also look forward to continuing my service as a PHJC.

jub-Sr VirginiaSister Virginia Kampwerth, PHJC

As I reflect on my life I find it so exciting, a life of learning and experiencing how different each person is, yet how very much alike each person is.

My birth family continues to be so important to me. Among my memories is the memory of hearing my dad sing when he was milking the cows in the evening. He loved farming and the outdoors, so I think that my love for nature was inherited from my dad. The “Sisters in my religious family” delight me each day, those living and those who live on in my heart and memory. Learning German has also been an amazing part of my life’s journey!

My hope is to continue using my gifts in whatever situation I find myself, whether teaching, being part of a leadership group or a group with whom I live and share ministry. Ministry is always about bringing the presence of God into that part of the world in which we are blessed to live. Understanding more, and living out of, the awareness of creation spirituality, continues to be the challenge our loving God shares with me each day.

My greatest enjoyment this Jubilee Year will be the surprise of sharing in whatever way possible!

Located in Chicago, IL, and Gary, Hobart, and Mishawaka, IN, Linden Houses provide affordable independent-living apartments for seniors and physically challenged individuals. Designed to meet the physical, social, and psychological needs of the residents, each Linden House creates a caring community as it promotes health, security, purposefulness, and the opportunity for interaction and involvement of residents.

Last year the Linden House in Chicago, the first facility established by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, celebrated their 20 year anniversary! What fun to see the residents enjoy a delicious dinner, lively entertainment and dancing! A good time was had by all.

We are pleased to announce that the Linden Houses have launched a new website. Check it out at: http://thelindenhouses.org

This website provides information on all four Linden Houses and includes information about their locations, how to contact the site manager for more information, amenities and activities at each facility. This new site will allow potential residents and family members to view information and learn how to apply.