The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ are pleased to announce that Catherine Kasper Life Center is entering into a management agreement with Trinity Senior Services Management, Inc., a management subsidiary of Trinity Senior Living Communities, Inc. a Michigan nonprofit corporation.   

The Catherine Kasper Life Center, comprised of Maria Center apartments and Catherine Kasper Home, is a Continuing Care Retirement Community sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, that provides customized care options including independent-living, a skilled nursing care facility and a secured memory unit.

The Life Center, located in Donaldson, Indiana, also offers spiritual care, rehabilitation, recreational programs, and educational enrichment opportunities. The dedicated staff provides a high level of consistency in care, receiving the maximum five-star rating from Medicare & Medicaid Services, and has a reputation for quality care.

The Catherine Kasper Home began in 1970 as a retirement home for Poor Handmaid Sisters. In 2002 the Catherine Kasper Home was remodeled, licensed by the State of Indiana and began welcoming all people. In light of the state licensing and remodeling, the Catherine Kasper Home and the Maria Center became known as the Catherine Kasper Life Center.

Catherine Kasper Home, an 81-bed facility, will soon be adding a Hospice Suite in memory of Sister Nola Weiner, PHJC and a couple’s room. Future dreams include expanding the memory unit.

Catherine Kasper Life Center Board of Directors, along with the Administrative Team, did their due diligence with a three-year study before making the decision to enter into a management agreement with Trinity Senior Services Management, Inc.

Sister Judith Diltz, PHJC Provincial said, “We want to continue providing the best care for our residents both today and for tomorrow amid the many challenges that exist in long-term care.  This agreement with Trinity Senior Services Management, Inc. positions us for future success and provides opportunities that as a stand-alone we don’t have.  Trinity’s Gospel focus on being a compassionate and transforming healing presence is a fit with the values we live by.  They bring a lot of vision, new ideas, professional skills to the table.” 

Like the Poor Handmaids and Catherine Kasper Life Center, Trinity Senior Services Management, Inc. is committed to serving the poor and underserved. Formed in 2013, it is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. In the regional five-state area, Trinity cares for 35,000 residents in 37 communities. In Indiana, these include St. Joseph Health System, Visiting Nurse Association and senior living at Holy Cross, Trinity Tower and St. Paul’s in South Bend.

Consultants from Trinity will provide assistance to the Catherine Kasper Life Center with services such as finances, mission integration, marketing, human resources, clinical nursing, dietary, and plant management.

The Poor Handmaids will continue to sponsor Catherine Kasper Life Center and its Board will continue to provide governance. Changes will be implemented in mid-April.

Sister Germaine Hustedde recently opened a letter that began, “Dear Sister, my name is Ayoub. I don’t know you, but I love you.” Ayoub and his brother, Jeremiah, are residents of A Caring Place, a PHJC ministry founded by Sister Germaine in 2008 to house and educate homeless boys in Kenya, many who are also AIDS orphans.

As most Poor Handmaid endeavors go, it began to meet the needs of the time. While walking to the bus station to catch a ride to a nearby city, Sister Germaine noticed boys rummaging through garbage in search of food. She observed one child pluck a deep green cabbage leaf from the trash and wipe it on his pants as a crowd of boys gathered around him. Expecting a fight, she observed something transforming instead. The boy tore the leaf into pieces, sharing a portion with each hungry child. Tears welled in her eyes as she recalled the event. “That’s caring, which is how A Caring Place got its name,” she said.

On April 9, 2017, a lucky winner will be chosen to receive the quilt created by PHJC Sisters Germaine, Julia Huelskamp, Eileen Sullivan, and Magdala Oswald to raise funds for A Caring Place. The Sisters meditated on their hopes for the boys with each stitch. What started out as a humble, converted slaughterhouse with the capacity to care for 15 boys has grown into a place that provides housing, food, and an education for over 100 boys at a time. Through grants and fundraising, A Caring Place raises operating costs, which amount to $19,000 annually. The boys go onto trade school or college, and often keep in touch with Sister Germaine through letters.

She also received a letter from James recently. One of her original 15 boys, that letter began, “Congratulations Sister. You are now a Grandma!” The letter updated her about James’ career path as an auto mechanic and taxi driver, about his marriage, and the newborn son he and his wife recently welcomed. 

While she’s given a lot to the boys, Sister Germaine said she’s gotten so much more. “Kids who haven’t grown up with much are grateful,” she said. “Imagine the loss if thousands of children are deprived of their basic rights and needs. With A Caring Place, the boys will be a credit to God and their county.”



Dear Friends,

Bethany Retreat House began during my annual retreat in the spring of 1992 with a sense of God saying to me, “Just do it, Joyce!” regarding my 9-ear desire to provide silent retreat space in Northwest Indiana. I happily set about following that ”nudge” to bring to life what has become Bethany Retreat House. Established in August of that year, Bethany has served 6,115 guests over these 25 years.

Along with the many blessings that guests have received here, these years at Bethany have been for me personally a very happy and satisfying time as I have welcomed people for prayer and reflection and have had the privilege of a front-row seat to witness God’s work in individuals’ lives. I am immensely grateful for the goodness and the trust of Bethany guests, for the support of many generous donors and volunteers, and for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ who have provided infrastructure and monetary and spiritual support over the years.

God’s ongoing nudges and inspirations have continued to shape Bethany at every turn. Recent nudges lead me to act on my desire to let go of administrative duties connected with running a retreat house and to focus my energy on the interpersonal aspects of this ministry. To that end, Bethany Retreat House will close on June 30 of this year. Practically, this means there will no longer be retreat space available, the bookstore will close, and the autumn tea will no longer take place.

What will continue is my availability for ongoing spiritual direction, dream groups, a peer supervision group, and a women’s study group. I look forward to more years of ministry as a spiritual director and facilitator of faithsharing and reflection groups. 

For the time being, I will continue to reside at 2202 Lituanica Av. until another use for the building is determined by the Poor Handmaids. When that happens, I will move to a smaller place from which to offer spiritual direction and group work while also enjoying solitude for my own prayer and reflection and a bit more time to devote to quilting.

An upcoming newsletter will announce particulars about a bookstore sale and an open house date for people to come back to visit the retreat house one last time.

I know this is difficult news for many of you for whom Bethany is a spiritual oasis. Along with grieving this loss, I invite us to also be grateful for the many rich blessings we have all received at Bethany in these 25 years. Our God who has gifted us through Bethany will continue to provide for us Bethany Retreat House is a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in new ways, even as God provided for us before the retreat house began. I look forward to continuing relationships begun at Bethany and to being with many of you in ongoing spiritual direction and small groups.


Sister Joyce Diltz, PHJC, Director