Latest News

Latest News

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.

 

 

In Memory of Sister Helen Watkins, PHJC

Monday, 29 December 2014 00:00

Sister Helen Watkins, PHJC, formerly known as Sister Nicholas, passed away December 29, 2014, at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to Elmer and E. Jeannette (Kinnett) Watkins in Taylorville, Illinois on September 21, 1934. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on July 16, 1959.

Sister Helen ministered in healthcare since 1955 as a nurse, clinical instructor, nurse practitioner, community health coordinator, or in administration at such institutions as St. Elizabeth and St. Anne Hospitals, Chicago; The Center at Donaldson, Donaldson, Indiana; St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago, Indiana and Matthew 25 Medical and Dental Clinic, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

From 1968 to 1970 she spent 19 months in Vietnam caring for refugees and as an adviser.  Previously she reminisced, “The time I spent in Viet Nam was an invaluable experience for me, it was good learning about a different culture, a simpler lifestyle which offered a chance to think, sort things out, and figure out what’s important in life and in nursing.”

In 2009 when she celebrated her 50-year jubilee as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, she wrote, “Although our ministries have changed, we have continued to seek and find new ways to serve the poor, the sick and the children.  I’ve never served in a ministry that I didn’t come to love both the people I served and the people with whom I worked.  With each change I always thought it was the best, only to find the next change was the best.”

Sister Helen retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2012.

May she rest in peace!

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

 

In Memory of Sister Aline Clesen, PHJC

Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00

Sister Aline Clesen, PHJC passed away December 9, 2014, at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to John and Susan (Sampont) Clesen in Chicago, Illinois on August 10, 1916. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 26, 1937.

For her entire career Sister Aline ministered in education.  For 64 years, she taught, or was principal, in several schools in Southern Illinois and Chicago; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and New Ulm, Minnesota. For 25 of those years she worked and volunteered in the Registrars Office at Ancilla College, Donaldson, Indiana. Sister Aline also served as organist and sacristan at several of her ministries.

When previously asked what it means to be a Poor Handmaid, she replied, “To me being a Poor Handmaid means that I should first of all search out my faith in a service of poverty, chastity and obedience and display the spirit of simplicity as I reach out to my Sisters in community and to others whom I meet or work with in loving service.”

Sister Aline retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2001.

May Sister Aline rest in peace!

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

Associating News Winter 2014

Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • North Region Welcomes Nine New Associates
  • Recommitment 2015
  • Meet Our New Associates
  • Poor Handmaids Coming Home to Fort Wayne/Hessen Cassel
  • Photo Gallery: Coming Home to Fort Wayne/Hessen Cassel
  • MoonTree Studios and Gallery Invites You
  • Upcoming Events at John XXIII Retreat Center
  • The First Pioneer Sisters of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in the United States of America

Word Gathering (Winter 2014)

Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00

IN THIS ISSUE…

  • Sister Peg – Overall Influential Woman of the Year
  • Food Pantry and its Director Are Rooted in Back of the Yards
  • The Joy of Celebrating My Final Vows
  • Co-workers Visit the Poor Handmaids’ Roots
  • Generational Opportunities Abound
  • Embrace the Bigger Picture: 2014 Catherine Kasper Award Winner
  • Sister Power Fuels Volleyball Spirit
  • An Update from Catherine Kasper Home – Meet Their New Therapy Dog
  • Photo Gallery: 2014 Harvest Dance
  • “Yeah, we need to talk about this…”
  • PHJC Coming Home to Fort Wayne • Hessen Cassel
  • The Biggest Family in Belleville
  • Ancilla Soccer Best in School History
  • Ancilla College Hosted 2nd Annual Changing Lives Scholarship Dinner
  • An Update from the Development Office
  • Lindenwood’s Bookstore – Something New!
  • Stopping the Cycle of Violence
  • Living the Values – Ice Bucket Challenge for Autism Speaks
  • Photo Gallery: Memorial Concert – Honoring Mary Lou McCarthy-Artz

 

Maria Center Celebrates 25 Years

Friday, 14 November 2014 00:00

Maria Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Sunday, November 16, 2014 with an open house from 12:30-4:00 p.m. EST.  During the celebration, some of the apartments will be open for viewing. Tours will be available in the beautiful Ancilla Domini Chapel. Music by Kennedy’s Kitchen, an Irish music group, will perform in Cana Hall located on the lower level of the main building from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. and hors d’oeuvre will be served.
 
Maria Center, a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, is an independent senior living center and part of the Catherine Kasper Life Center (CKLC). It features charming, unfurnished efficiency, studio, and one- and two-bedroom apartments. Maria Center is on the grounds of The Center at Donaldson, which offers intergenerational programs of Ancilla College, Earthworks, Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center and MoonTree Studios.
 
If interested in independent senior living apartments or just a day in Donaldson, join the open house celebration, enjoy an afternoon of music and food, and see all that Maria Center has to offer. Representatives will be available to answer any questions. Everyone is invited.
 
For 25 years Maria Center has been offering comfortable living at an affordable price in the Plymouth area.

 

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