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This workshop has been rescheduled for December 18, 2013 due to weather. A life overflowing with work, children, and filled schedules can make going back to school seem too difficult. News of tuition increases can make it seem too expensive. For some it may be the fear of going back to school after years away from classrooms and homework. Ancilla College is offering two ways adults can become successful college students in 2014.

On Wednesday, December 11th, Ancilla is holding a free workshop for adults who are interested in returning to school. “College for Adult Learners” is set for 6 to 7:30 pm on Ancilla’s campus in room 231. Workshop materials, food and parking are free.

“The workshop will feature information on Ancilla programs, classes and degree options plus offer insights into financial aid options for adult students returning to school after several years’ absence,” Ancilla’s Sarah Lawrence said.

Lawrence, the assistant director of Admissions at the college, said offering a free workshop was an easy way for adults to get a chance to see the college. “We’re offering the workshop in the evening so working adults can come in after work and see the options we have available,” she said.

“Over half of students in Indiana who attended college in the last ten years did not finish with a degree. At Ancilla we can work with adults to get back into college and learn the skills they need to succeed with flexible evening, online and Saturday courses,” Lawrence said.

Ancilla College is also trying to make it easier for adult learners to try out college by offering a free course to adult students as part of the “We Believe in You” program. “We Believe in You” allows any adult, 21-years and older, who has not yet earned 10 college credits, to take a class with up to three credit hours at no cost (free tuition and fees).

In addition, all students in the program will have an academic advisor to assist them with every aspect of attending college for the first time, including help with the registration process, completing a financial aid application, choosing educational opportunities, and more. Spring classes begin Jan. 6, 2014 at Ancilla’s campus near Plymouth.

“We Believe in You” was created in 1988 by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. “Over 50 people have taken part in this program,” said Admissions Director Eric Wignall.

“Many of them have gone on to take more classes and several have completed college degrees. They started with one course to test the waters and took advantage of the opportunity to restart their education. Adult students can use the ‘We Believe in You’ grant on top of other financial aid from federal and state programs to launch a college degree,” Wignall said.

Originally the program was designed for students who had never attended college, but this year the program was expanded to students and military veterans who may have taken a few courses but did not continue with a degree program. “If you are an older student who tried college, but earned less than 10 credit hours, you can come to Ancilla and get the extra help and information you need to be successful today,” Wignall said.

Both the free workshop and college course are ways that Ancilla is engaging with the region’s workforce. “College is not just for 19-year-olds. Working adults at any age can still earn a college degree, moving their education and career forward,” Lawrence said.

“Taking a college course in writing or computer technology can jump-start a college degree at any age. Faced with a difficult jobs outlook today I expect to see more students across Northern Indiana to take that first step in college and receive up to three credits of coursework for free,” she said.

For more information on the workshop or “We Believe in You,” please contact the Ancilla College Admissions Office at (574) 936-8898.

Sister Christiane Humpert, a German PHJC Sister, was the featured presenter for the Ancilla College Lampen Lecture series Wednesday, November 13.

Sister Christiane discussed the life and experience of Sister Aloysia Löwenfels, another PHJC Sister, who was a victim of the Holocaust.Sister Christiane has been a student of Sister Aloysia for some time and was born in Germany right before the beginning of WWII.

The story Sister Christiane shared was a touching account of how Sister Aloysia, a young Jewish woman, became a PHJC Sister.  Sister Aloysia was born into a German Jewish family but was educated like many young Jewish girls in a Christian school. She adopted the faith and left her family and home country to become a Sister in the Netherlands. During WWII she was found and arrested. She was sent to Westerbork, a holding camp in the Netherlands before being transported and killed in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

“A significant historical event such as the holocaust takes on new meaning when we hear the stories of individual persons deeply affected by the event.  The intolerance, prejudice, and hate shown to Sister Aloysia and the other Christian Jews who died with her show us how devastating these negative thoughts, emotions, and actions can be.   Our present generation has the task of combating the intolerance, prejudice, and hate that we see in our country and in our world.  A very big task,” explained Sister Carleen Wrasman, coordinator of mission integration at Ancilla College.

The Lampen Lecture Series is free lectures open to the public and is held in Room 231 at Ancilla College. The series was named for Sr. Joel Lampen, the first president of Ancilla College, who opened the doors of Ancilla to the local community. 

The Lampen Lecture Series was designed to combine the universality of the Catholic Church, the international character of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, who sponsor Ancilla College, and the Earth Charter to promote thinking beyond one’s own experiences and interests. 

The Lampen Lecture Series will continue in the spring semester.

In Memory of Sister Vivian Brand, PHJC

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 00:00

Sister Vivian Brand, PHJC passed away on November 17, 2013 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to Henry and Josephine (Foppe) Brand in Germantown, Illinois on April 11, 1917. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 25, 1938.

Sister Vivian spent her whole life in education.  She began teaching in 1940 at St. Boniface School in Edwardsville, Illinois and in 1946 she taught at St. Augustine High School in Chicago, Illinois.  In 1946 she came to Donaldson to be the assistant dean/dean, librarian and teacher at Ancilla High School and later, as teacher, dean, professor and library volunteer at Ancilla College.  From 1946 until her death she lived and worked in Donaldson.  She will be buried at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Donaldson. 

Regarding education, Sr. Vivian said, “Serving God’s poor in the education ministry was rewarding, especially in the college.  Many students were nontraditional; many were the first in their families to attend college.  Helping them to attain marketable skills to support themselves and their families fulfilled a purpose of the college.”

May Sister Vivian rest in peace!

Memorial contributions may be made to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, PO Box 1, Donaldson, IN 46513.

Former Governor of Indiana, Dr. Otis Bowen, was remembered on campus Thursday, October 31st.

Dr. Bowen had several connections to the Center at Donaldson including his time as an Ancilla College board member and Catherine Kasper Life Center resident.

“Dr. Bowen was a powerful advocate on behalf of Ancilla College and we are thankful for his service as a trustee and his contributions to the college.Through his generosity, Dr. Bowen has enabled us to continue to fulfill our mission.” said Dr. Ron May, president of Ancilla College,

In response to his dedication to Ancilla College and his time at the Catherine Kasper home, a “kousa” dogwood was planted. The hope is that the tree’s presence will remind those living, working, and studying on campus of Dr. Bowen’s generosity.

A small ceremony was planned for the event which included reflections by Dr. May, Margie Pixey, CKH chaplain, and Carol Bowen, Dr. Bowen’s wife. Todd Zeltwanger, executive director of institutional advancement at Ancilla College, opened the floor for audience sharing and several attendees included memories they had with Dr. Bowen. Sr. Carleen Wrasman, director of mission integration at Ancilla College closed the ceremony with a responsive prayer.

Dr. Bowen was elected Governor of Indiana in 1972 and served two terms in office. Later in his career, he was appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Reagan Administration, which he served until 1989. After his busy political career, he retired to Bremen, IN.

Ancilla College is a Catholic, liberal arts, Associate’s Degree college in Donaldson, Indiana, sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.


The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health Board recognized the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and their sponsor, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, on Monday, October 22 for their ongoing record of support which began in 2000.    Health Department Administrator Mindy Waldron read a statement noting that at a time when the funding of public health departments is at an all-time low in the United States--and Indiana specifically is 50th in terms of federal dollars coming to the state for public health initiatives -- the Foundation's ongoing support of important public health projects  has been exceptionally generous.

The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation's support began in 2000 with a grant of $622 to assist the Health Department in holding a Legislative Breakfast to speak to local legislators about five major public health issues in need of attention.  Since then, the Foundation has awarded 25 more grants including but not limited to a Teens Against Tobacco Public Service Announcement campaign, Lead Poisoning Prevention Case Managers salary support, the establishment of the Department's electronic medical records and most recently, medical interpreters enabling the treatment of Burmese refugees.  These grants have totaled $986,280 over the past thirteen years.

Read the full speech recognizing SJCHF's Meg Distler and staff by clicking here.

On October 13, 2013, hundreds of guests came to The Center at Donaldson to celebrate the Poor Handmaids' 90th year in Donaldson.  Guests were treated to an ice cream social at Catherine Kasper Home and popcorn and lemonade in Cana Hall while they perused the ministries’ displays or watched a slide show of pictures from the past 90 years.

Tours of the ministries and the beautiful chapel were available, as well as an opportunity to step back in time to rooms decorated with items used many years ago. Dressed in the original PHJC habit, Sisters Sharon Marie Fox and Rosemary Jung explained the antique items that were on display.  A time line of pictures lined the wall to Cana Hall.  Many people spent time looking at and reading about the Poor Handmaids and their ministries.  A video played showing how Poor Handmaids have reused and re-purposed items or rooms in their Motherhouse throughout the years. 

It was a beautiful fall day in Donaldson.  Guests strolled the grounds, sat and visited, and enjoyed their time at The Center.  Mr. Ed Savage, a Maria Center resident, won the raffled basket of items donated by all the ministries.

Sister Henrietta Okeke, PHJC professed perpetual vows in the Congregation of Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ on Saturday, October 5, 2013. Poor Handmaid Sisters, Associate Community members, Fiat Spiritus Community members, family and friends attended the Mass and dinner in celebration of her commitment to God.  Sister Henrietta is a Poor Handmaid Nigerian Sister currently living and completing her studies at Bethel College in the United States.

Sister Judith Diltz, PHJC Provincial of the American Province had the honor of serving as the primary witness and representative of the congregation.  With prayerful joy Sister Henrietta professed her vows of obedience, chastity and poverty.  She asked for the deepening of God’s love, the support of the Church, and, as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, to continue in the spirit of Blessed Catherine Kasper to respond to the needs of the day for the remainder of her life. 

Sister Judith Diltz responded, “We confirm that you, Sister Henrietta, are now one with us as members of this religious congregation of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, sharing all things in common with us for the future.” With that, Sister Henrietta received a standing ovation. 

Father John Zemelko, Father Mark Enemali, CSSp and Father John Eze were concelebrants at Mass. 

Congratulation Sister Henrietta!

Our vocation shows us . . . the path we should tread in the new year, namely to seek our loving God in greater perfection, to serve and to love Him more perfectly from one day to the next, from one week to the next, and from one month to the next.

-Blessed Catherine Kasper - Newsletter, December 1884

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ invite the public to join them in celebrating 90 years in Donaldson. The event will be Sunday, October 13, 2013 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. (EDT) at The Center at Donaldson, 9601 Union Road, Donaldson, IN.

Learn about the Poor Handmaids in Donaldson and the impact the congregation has made during its 90 years in Marshall County. There will be room displays depicting life in 1923 at Convent Ancilla Domini. Guided tours will be available at Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center, Ancilla College, MoonTree Studios, the award-winning Catherine Kasper Home and Maria Center as well as in the beautiful Gothic chapel. An old-fashioned ice cream social will be enjoyed at Catherine Kasper Home.

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ congregation was founded in 1851 in Germany. Convent Ancilla Domini was built in 1923 to serve as the Motherhouse of the PHJC American Province. Currently, Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ minister throughout the world.

Please join us for this interesting journey through time. For more information, please call (574) 936-9936.

This construction photo, taken in 1923, is of the front door entrance to the future Motherhouse for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in Donaldson.