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Latest News

The idea that people today can be bought and sold for a price seems unbelievable. But it is a reality.  The United Nations estimates that almost 30 million people across the globe are living in slavery. Today we call this “human trafficking” but it’s no different than slavery of the past. Men, women and children are bought and sold as a commodity for labor, prostitution, exploitation and the removal of organs.


Human Trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide, and it is happening throughout the world in every country including the United States. According to the US Department of State, 2 million women and children are victims of human trafficking every year in the United States, including 300 thousand children forced into child prostitution and child pornography. 


There are more slaves today than any other time in human history: Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, second only to drug trafficking. And while drugs can be sold once, a person can be sold several times a day.  


Incidents of human trafficking tend to spike alongside major sporting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl to meet the high demand for commercial sex. 


As this year’s Super Bowl comes nearer, please pray with the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ for the men, women, and children forced into slavery. 


Prayer to end Human Trafficking

Creator of us all, our words cannot express what our minds can barely comprehend and our hearts feel when we hear of children and adults deceived and transported to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor because of human greed.

Our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are being transgressed through threats, deception and force. We cry out against the degrading practice of trafficking and seek ways for it to end.

Strengthen the fragile-spirited and broken-hearted. Make real your promises to fill these our sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good and send the exploiters away empty-handed. Give us the wisdom and courage to stand in solidarity with them, that together we will find ways to the freedom that is your gift to all of us. Amen.

— Gen Cassani, SSND used with permission



It is with great joy that we announce the acceptance of our first live-in, full-time volunteer in the new PHJC Volunteer Program!

Libby Riggs has known our community for well over thirty-five years having been an affiliate and currently an Associate for six years. She is a member of the Associate Core Team and is steeped in our charism, mission and values.

The Sisters of Assumption Hall will be Libby’s Host Community. Libby will share ministry with our Sisters in Catherine’s Cottage, Catherine Kasper Home and Motherhouse for the next year.  

We send hearty congratulations and a very warm welcome to Libby and pray that the year ahead will bring many graces and blessings to her, the Sisters and all at The Center at Donaldson.

While The Center at Donaldson is unique for many reasons, one of the most important is our full-time recycling coordinator, Joyce Roberts.  Outside of hospitals and traditional “green” industries, this is rare.

“We save everything,” Joyce said.  “From foam box inserts to packing peanuts to cans and cardboard; the amount of different things we recycle here, people just wouldn’t believe.”  Joyce began her career at The Center almost six years ago as a part-time recycling coordinator.  Her path has meandered over the years, including 20 hours each in the business office and in recycling, to her current gig in 2014.  

It’s staggering the amount and variety of items recycled here. Most of them are handled at least three times by Joyce, including loading, processing and re-loading.  Since September 2015, she’s bailed about four tons of cardboard and one ton of plastic.   The plastic is separated into numbers.  Numbers one and two are recycled while numbers four through seven will be made into oil, since plastic originates from petroleum.  Currently not big money makers, Joyce says that if the market comes back, recycling at TCAD could become profitable.  “That’s not what’s important here,” she adds.  “What we do that’s important is recycle, reuse and keep it out of the landfill.”

In the Central Receiving Services building, Joyce works to break down old heating registers removed from Catherine Kasper Home into recyclable parts.  The components, like aluminum, copper tubing, wiring, and the metal itself are then recycled, diverting them from the landfill.  Joyce adds she can and will recycle anything here except televisions and computers, and she welcomes co-workers to bring in anything they might formerly have trashed for recycling.   

Joyce’s favorite part of the job is working with Sister Linda Volk.  “She gets things done,” Joyce said of Sister Linda as the pair caught up on separating plastics in the first floor recycling room on a rainy Monday afternoon.  “She’s a hard worker, and I enjoy keeping busy,” Joyce added.  Sister Linda likes working with Joyce as well; describing her as consistent, methodical in her work habits, and a creative problems solver, qualities Sister Linda sees as essential for the job.  “I feel we’re partners,” Sister Linda said.  “She’s a darn good worker and we have a lot of fun,” Sister Linda added.


More than $500,000 in grants have been given to local organizations to improve the health and wellness of vulnerable and low-income populations of Allen County. The grant money was provided by the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, a ministry sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.


“Allen County is blessed with many outstanding organizations that are improving the health and wellness of individuals in our community,” said Meg Distler, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Our mission is to continue the legacy of our sponsor by supporting organizations that care for the poor and underserved by helping them access quality medical care and wellness resources.”


The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ has had an active ministry in this community since 1868, and, through the Foundation, has invested more than $16.9M through 1,085 grants into 186 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 for the delivery of mental, physical and spiritual health care to the low-income and underserved in our community. Moreover, these grants are intended to build programming to address gaps that prevent individuals from attaining effective care that supports health and wellness. The funded agencies also reflect the shared values of the Foundation’s sponsor, especially showing dignity and respect for all and carrying on the mission of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in the area. 


The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation focuses their Community Impact into four main areas: Assuring a Quality, Affordable Healthcare Network, Connecting People to Health & Wellness Care, Integrating Refugee & Immigrant Health, and Promoting Life-Affirming Prenatal & Infant Care.


The following grants are among those awarded from November 2015 through the end of the year:


Assuring a Quality, Affordable Healthcare Network (Unrestricted Funds)


Matthew 25 Health & Dental Clinic - $105,000.00 

For the full-time Dental Director and part-time dentist position. 


Matthew 25 Health & Dental Clinic - $125,000.00 

For the Medical Director’s salary. 


Super Shot - $50,000.00 

For immunizations at Anthony Medical Center and Anthis Career Center.


Carriage House - $30,000.00 (in 2015 and 2016) 

To assist adults with limited resources to reclaim their lives from the devastation of serious mental illness by providing unique and effective Clubhouse Model psychosocial rehabilitation.


Connecting People to Health &Wellness Care (Unrestricted Funds) 


SoulMedic – RemedyLIVE - $30,000.00 

To grow the SoulMedic team, improve their technology and increase their ability to help teens and young adults find hope, through technology, amidst their struggle. 


Allen County Jail Chaplaincy - $15,000.00 

For educational and spiritual programs for the inmates of the Allen County Jail, to help them to understand the changes they need to make in their lives and help to equip them to make those changes. 


YWCA Northeast Indiana / Hope House - $18,750.00 

To provide on-site recovery group counseling and parenting classes to chemically dependent women in a residential program and Family Group therapeutic support to residents and their family members. 


Integrating Refugee & Immigrant Health (Unrestricted Funds) 


Catholic Charities - $8,500.00 

To help coordinate services related to health screenings and immediate healthcare for primary and secondary refugees. 


Center for Nonviolence - $17,500.00 

To provide health education, case management, medical translation and other related services to non-English speaking populations who have significant barriers to health services. 


Lutheran Agency for Missions to Burmese (L.A.M.B.) - $20,000.00 

To provide medical advocacy for Burmese individuals. 


Promoting Life-Affirming Prenatal & Infant Care (Unrestricted Funds) 


A Hope Center - $45,000.00 

To support and enhance the ongoing provision of quality, limited medical services (nurse-administered pregnancy tests, STI testing, limited first trimester ultrasounds, and prenatal vitamins). 


Lutheran Social Services - $10,000.00 

To enhance the health and wellness of teen parents and their children who participate in the Education Creates Hope and Opportunity (ECHO) program. 


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


Fort Wayne Community Schools - $10,932.00 

To purchase the early interventions combo kit, including vision and hearing screening equipment, to be utilized in the Family Resource Center to screen students new to the school district.


Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center - $580.00 

To purchase a VHS to DVD converter, cart, DVDs, and flat screen TV with built-in DVD player for conversion of all VHS tapes to DVDs for training purposes. 


Blessed Catherine Kasper Award for Outstanding Service to the Poor


Heart of the City Mission Foundation - $1,500.00 

For The Wash Room, an initiative to help families living in poverty have clean clothes and bedding, nurturing the health, hygiene, and economic well-being of marginalized families. 


Homebound Meals - $1,500.00 

To help fund the operations budget for delivering hot, nutritional meals to the homebound community of Fort Wayne.


About the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation 

The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, stewards resources to: 

Respond to community needs with grants; 

Leverage collaboration with community partners; 

Engage in transformational initiatives. 

We serve the poor in body, mind and spirit to achieve quality health and wellness, focusing on the community of Allen County, Indiana and may respond to needs among other underserved populations.


In addition to providing grants, the Foundation also provides programming to address gaps in services, including a Resource Directory of Allen County’s low-cost, quality healthcare resources. The Community Health Resource Directory is also available online at Two new directories in 2016 include a Pregnancy Resource Directory and a Refugee & Immigrant Directory.


The Foundation is also currently partnering with Parkview Health to provide the community with the H.E.A.L. (Healthy Eating Active Living) program. Part of the HEAL program brings fresh produce to food desert areas of Fort Wayne, and the program is sponsoring healthy cooking classes at Redemption House, Charis House, and Vincent Village. HEAL is also supporting community gardens at McCormick Place apartments and Redemption House.

In Memory of Sister Patricia Belting, PHJC

Tuesday, 05 January 2016 00:00

Sister Patricia Belting (formerly Sister Louise) a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ died on January 5, 2016 in the Catherine Kasper Home in Donaldson, Indiana. Sister Patricia is survived by nieces, Karen(Bill) Peak, and Mary Jones and nephews, Kurt Belting, Joseph Belting, Michael Belting, Mark (Terri) Huffman, Dan (Linda) Huffman, Chris (Ann) Belting, William (Becky) Belting.


Sister Patricia’s dedication and love for her family and the PHJC congregation was evident. In her jubilee reflection she wrote, “As I reflect on my life as a PHJC, the word ‘gift’ comes to my mind.  The call to religious life, the PHJC community in particular, continues to be an experience of change, support and growth in all areas of my life, body, mind and spirit.  I see this as a journey to wholeness until it is complete in the Godhead.”


A photo history collage of her family hangs in her bedroom where she would gladly reminisce with visitors about her family.  This was a cherished gift she received on her 80th birthday from her niece. 


Sister Patricia was born in Mishawaka, Indiana on February 24, 1932 to John and Agnes (Myers) Belting who preceded her in death along with her brother, John (Mary) Belting and her sister Maris (Edwin) Huffman.  She attended St. Joseph Grade School in Mishawaka and one year at Mishawaka High School then completed her high school education at Ancilla High School in Donaldson.  On June 25, 1951 she entered the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Congregation and professed her first vows on June 25, 1953. Sister received her Bachelor of Education degree at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and her Masters degree in Education at St. Francis College in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  


Sister served as a teacher from 1953 until 1975 in Chicago and Edwardsville, Illinois and Black Oak and Hammond in Indiana. In addition to the elementary grades, she was a Montessori teacher in Fort Wayne. Sister Pat commented that, “she thought she would be a teacher until she died, but she was mistaken and she never chose any career it just happened.”  


Following teaching, she continued as a Spiritual Counselor and earned her Doctorate of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from Garret Theological Seminary.  The learned skills were an asset to her as a member of the PHJC Novitiate team in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She was delighted to obtain a Doctorate in Ministry from the Pastoral Service Institute in Bloomington, Illinois and served as a Pastoral Psychotherapist and Transpersonal Therapist at the Samaritan Center in Elkhart, Indiana and the Healing Arts Center in Mishawaka.  From 1998 until 2009 Sister Patricia served as a Counselor and Spiritual Director in various areas in the Fort Wayne/South Bend Diocese. Sister Patricia officially retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2009.


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


May Sister Patricia rest in peace!



Thursday, January 7, 2016 from 4:30-8:00 p.m. EST

Catherine Kasper Home Chapel

Donaldson, IN

Welcoming her body:  4:30 p.m. EST

Evensong:  7:00 p.m. EST



Friday, January 8, 2016 at 11:15 a.m. EST

Catherine Kasper Home Chapel

Donaldson, IN

Word Gathering (Winter 2015)

Monday, 14 December 2015 00:00


  • Meet Andrea Proulx Buinicki – Our New Director of Development
  • GPPR – PHJC Compass for Discernment of the Future
  • Internationality, Education and Community in Action
  • Blessed Catherine Kasper Award 2015 Recipient – Chris Biggs, Motivated by a Love for God and Neighbor
  • Bethany Retreat House Hosts “Autumn Reflections” Annual Tea
  • An Update from Mexico: Into the Future
  • A Look at HealthVisions Fort Wayne
  • First Confirmation Retreat – A Success!
  • Incorporating the PHJC Operational Principles – Visioning into the Future
  • Coming Home…to Chicago
  • 13th Annual Nazareth Home Gala
  • PHJC Volunteer Program – Make a Difference with Heart
  • In Memory of Our Associates and Sisters

Associating News Winter 2015

Friday, 11 December 2015 00:00


  • Recommitment 2015 Concludes
  • In Memory of PHJC Sisters
  • Meet Our New Associates
  • Upcoming MoonTree Experiences
  • Coming Home Chicago Photos
  • The Spirit of Pentecost Fills Us Daily
  • Our Future Will Be What We Say It Will Be
  • Each One - Reach One
  • Making a Difference with Heart
  • Coming Home Chicago
  • John XXIII Retreat Center Events
  • Timeline Tales - St. Augustine
  • Coming Home Chicago Dates and Events

In Memory of Sister Maxine Peppenhorst, PHJC

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 00:00

Sister Maxine Peppenhorst, PHJC, formerly known as Sister Alicia, passed away November 18, 2015 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. Sister Maxine's gentle joyful spirit touched the hearts of her Sisters and the staff at Catherine Kasper Home. She will be remembered for her nightly blessings for each resident as she walked from room to room at Catherine Kasper Home (CKH). 

She was frequently heard by CKH staff and residents saying, “God has been very good to me,” and she shared God’s love with everyone she met. She expressed on several occasions that her greatest blessing and her greatest gift from God was her religious life – being a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ.

Sister Maxine was born to Edward and Frances (Kannall) Peppenhorst in Beckemeyer, Illinois in 1918. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 25, 1939. 

Sister Maxine taught at numerous schools and was also sacristan for several parishes. In Indiana she ministered at St. Monica, Mishawaka; St. Mary East Chicago; St. Bavo, Mishawaka; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Hammond.


In Illinois she served at St. Mary, Trenton; St. John, Quincy; St. Augustine, Chicago; St. Boniface, Germantown; and St. Anthony, Beckemeyer. She was always delighted to witness the improvement that the students made in their education and in their spiritual and physical growth during a school year. 


She retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2000.


May she rest in peace! 


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



Monday, November 23, 2015 from 4:30-8:00 p.m. EST

Catherine Kasper Home Chapel

Donaldson, IN

Welcoming her body:  4:30 p.m. EST

Evensong:  7:00 p.m. EST



Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 11:15 a.m. EST

Catherine Kasper Home Chapel

Donaldson, IN

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