Latest News

Latest News

Sister Kenneth Scheibal, PHJC, passed away August 10, 2015, at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to Joseph and Christine (Kriger) Scheibal in Glen Carbon, Illinois on September 28, 1927. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 25, 1950.

Sister Kenneth began a career in education in 1950.  For the next 38 years she served as a teacher and/or principal at schools in Indiana including St. Ann, Black Oak; St. Joseph and St. Monica, Mishawaka; Holy Spirit, Fort Wayne; and St. Catherine of Siena, Hammond. 

In Illinois, Sister Kenneth taught at St. John Orphanage, Belleville; Angel Guardian Orphanage, Chicago; St. Boniface, Germantown; St. John, Quincy; St. Mary and St. Boniface, Edwardsville; St. Anthony, Beckemeyer; St. Joseph and St. Augustine, Chicago; and Sr. Thea Bowman Catholic School, East St. Louis. Following her education ministry, she provided child care, ministry to the homebound, and pastoral care. Sister Kenneth believed it was a privilege to have taught thousands of children over the years.  

Sister Kenneth lived at Catherine Kasper Home. 

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 Alice Kunkel, PHJC

Monday, 10 August 2015 00:00

Sister Alice Kunkel, PHJC, passed away August 8, 2015, at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to John and Elizabeth (Rolfers) Kunkel in Carlyle, Illinois on July 27, 1921. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 25, 1947.

Sister Alice served 18 years as a teacher at St. Joseph, Fort Wayne; St. Bavo and St. Joseph Mishawaka, Indiana and at St. Boniface, Edwardsville and St. Mary, Carlyle, Illinois.  For the next 36 years she ministered in the business office at Convent Ancilla Domini and then served the PHJC Community as a volunteer.  

In reflection on her ministries, Sister Alice said, “After years of teaching, I came to the Motherhouse to work in the Business Office with Sister Symphoria and Sister Hermanda.  I loved the work very much. Besides loving the work and being here, the beautiful chapel was nearby and I found time for visits to the Blessed Sacrament.  It was a time to spend with my God whom I came to serve and love more fully.”

Sister Alice 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.

Despite thunderstorms the night before and the morning of, Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ denied responsibility for making the Ancilla College Golf Classic rain free on June 8.

The 20th annual event was at Swan Lake Resort. Thirty nine teams took part to raise money for the growing college.

After 19 years at the Plymouth Country Club, the Golf Classic was moved to Swan Lake to accommodate future growth. Said Tom Sibal, associate director of institutional advancement and tournament organizer, “We made a change in venue this year to Swan Lake. Having two golf courses to play on really helped to move the day along. We were able to finish play for 39 teams in just under four and a half hours. Everyone raved about playing at Swan Lake. I couldn’t be happier with the results.”

This year was the most successful for the event. The tournament, which followed a four-person Florida scramble format, raised over $25,000 for the Annual Fund which supports student grants and scholarships for the college. Guests walked away with nearly $12,000 worth of gifts in the form of door prizes, goodie bag favors and drinks and snacks on the course thanks to the generosity of 82 area businesses and individuals.

Contributing sponsors included Tiny Enterprises, LLC, TCP-The Complete Printer, Starke County Economic Development Foundation, Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, Oliver Ford, Michael Kinder and Sons Inc., Dr. Ron May, Lake City Bank, Fiduciary Management, Inc., Farm Fertilizer and Seeds, Inc., Chester Inc., John Chandler, Bomarko and 1st Source Bank. 

The winning team on the Black Course with a score of 56 played for Spoor’s Auto Sales and was comprised of Dan Spoor, Jim Magnuson, Kyle Meihoffer and Ralph Harmon. The winning team on the Silver Course with a score of 58 played for COJIM Properties and was comprised of Doug Hite, Phil Weybright, Bob Wise and Jay Polen. 

Ancilla College (, part of The Center at Donaldson, offers 18 associate degrees and 10 athletic programs. Since 1937, the College has been a sponsored ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. It is a small, private, liberal arts school in Donaldson, Indiana. It is located two miles south of U.S. 30 on Union Road near Plymouth, Indiana.

Sister Mary Edward Mason, PHJC, passed away June 19, 2015, at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to Edward Leland and Estella Carmel Mason in Quincy, Illinois on July 5, 1922. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 25, 1944.

Sister Mary Edward became a teacher in 1944 and taught hundreds of children throughout the years at St. Mark, Gary; St. Ann, Monterey, and St. Mary, East Chicago, in Indiana.  In Illinois, she taught at St. Augustine, Chicago; and St. John, Quincy. Her love of children was evident as a house mother and cottage mother at St. Vincent Villa, a PHJC orphanage in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Angel Guardian Orphanage, Chicago. In 1986 she became a Sister Hostess at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, Indiana and then served as a pastoral visitor at St. Vincent Home in Quincy, Illinois.

During her 60th jubilee celebration, she said, “My ministry at St. Vincent’s Home is somewhat special since it is only a half block from where I grew up and is in the parish I belonged to before joining the convent. I feel God has given me this ministry at St. Vincent’s Home to prepare for my own retirement years—God willing.”

A little adventurous, Sister Mary Edward’s family gifted her a skydiving experience which she said she would never forget.

Sister Mary Edward retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2006.

May she rest in peace!

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

Congratulations to our 2015 Jubilarians! In honor of the Jubilarians, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ community recognized them on Sunday, June 14 with a Mass and celebration at The Center At Donaldson in Donaldson, Indiana.

75 Years

Sister Richilde Dettmer, PHJC

I attended high school classes in Donaldson where I met Sister Severin, a kind and gentle woman. Through her I discovered an opportunity to work at the hospital in LaPorte, Indiana. The Poor Handmaid Sisters at the hospital impressed me with their simple living and prayerful life. It was then I decided to become a PHJC.

Over many years and through the lives of other Sisters, I learned what it means to be a Poor Handmaid. As with all of us, there were hurdles in my path, but God was faithful to me as I tried to live faithfully the vows I had made. Today, I am grateful to God for the call to be a Poor Handmaid. I say thanks to God and Sister Severin who never lost hope in me. 

My hope is to see our Community grow in number. That way we could encourage Sisters to work in foreign countries where our Poor Handmaid Sisters are already involved. Traveling, seeing something new, experiencing another culture has always been of high interest for me. My experience in Thailand opened my eyes to a greater awareness of poverty in the world and my need to support those who work there by my prayers. 

70 Years

Sister Margaret Urban, PHJC (Former Sister Raymond)

Sister Angelona, a teacher at Froebel High School in Gary, Indiana taught religion and one day asked me if I was happy. I said no because I wanted to go to a Catholic high school. She told me about the high school in Donaldson but my family could not afford it.

So I got a job and paid for my own education. After I graduated I wanted to join the convent and my mother said no because she needed my help. I said I would work for one year but I made up my mind after that I would go to the convent. I wrote to one guy in the army and asked him to stop writing me because I was going to the convent. He wrote back and said thanks for letting him know because he never wanted the Lord to think that he stole his girl.

After many years in education I wanted to do something different. I wanted to visit the sick and poor. After I got my Masters and worked in a parish, I became a Eucharistic minister. 

I hope the community can continue and keep the spirit of Blessed Catherine Kasper and continue to have a great concern for the poor.

60 Years

Sister Eileen Sullivan, PHJC (Former Sister Christopher)

Over the years I have grown in my understanding that I respond best to God and life when I listen with my heart. This is sometimes expressed in the awe and wonderment I experience when I realize that every moment in my life is filled with God’s grace. My heart is filled with gratitude for my family, friends and Sisters in community who have expanded my ability to listen with my heart by their love, understanding and faith in me.

As I reflect on my sixty-year journey in religious life I see clearly how listening with my heart has brought me peace as I responded to the challenges as well as the blessings along the way.

The heart-wisdom that I glean from prayer, community living and the use of my gifts through ministry has drawn me into a close relationship with God and his people. 

My hope for myself and for the community is that we continue to respond to the many opportunities to be true handmaids by listening to the God who speaks to our hearts.

Sister Rosemary Jung, PHJC (Former Sister Dolora)

There must be a mistake! Could 60 years have flown by so quickly?

My life has been ordinary.

Most of my ministry in Community has been to God’s little ones, the first and second graders I enjoyed in so many schools. Now some of them are grandparents and I have grown older, too.

For a short time I helped at Nazareth Home and then for five years at Carlyle Healthcare Center. Now I am back with the children working as a teacher’s aide.

I love the quote: “Teaching is to touch a life forever.” Hopefully the lives of the children I taught are still enriched by the time we spent together. I know mine is.

My life as a Poor Handmaid has been a blessing I would not trade for anything. It has been a privilege to belong to Blessed Catherine Kasper’s Community and to be inspired by the lives of so many good Sisters.

Gratefully celebrating God’s goodness to me with my Sisters, family and friends will be a great joy for me during my Jubilee year.

My life has been ordinary. 

Any ordinary woman looking for a wonderful, ordinary life should come join us.

Sister Therese Irene Galarneau, PHJC (Former Sister William)

Rejoice in the Lord always! Again, I say REJOICE. Sixty years since the profession of vows is in itself a blessing and a cause to rejoice. In the past sixty years wonderful people have come into my life and shared many good times as well as sad times with me – for these people – family, friends and Sisters in Community – I give thanks.

Wow, sixty years in education is unbelievable especially, since as a young Sister, I planned to retire at the ripe old age of 60. My experiences in the classroom are treasured. I never know what exciting “gems” the children will offer. If I had kept track of these “gems,” I could have written a bestseller.

It truly is a great honor to be a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ. My hope of the future is that our international community will be blessed with many vocations and will follow in Blessed Catherine’s footsteps with “attentive ear and courageous heart.” 

My greatest enjoyment during this Jubilee year is to celebrate with Community, family, and friends and to cherish each day as God-given.

50 Years

Sister Loretta Schleper, PHJC (Former Sister Dominic)

How Blessed I am to be a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ. When I was too young I said “Yes” to God and never changed my mind. I have wonderful memories of places I traveled, such as Germany, our PHJC foundation, Rome and the Holy Land.

When I was asked if I knew a Poor Handmaid who wanted to tour the Holy Land, I prayed on it and I kept hearing: “Here I am, send me.” I would say, “No really! who could go?” And again – “Send me.” I decided to ask to go and so it came to be. I loved walking where Jesus walked and ministered. I am happy I shared life with the other tour participants.

The Holy Spirit is active in the PHJC community collaborating with other women religious, being in dialogue with the church through the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, accompanying the poor, integrating and focusing on possibilities. We, Poor Handmaids, as an international community are partners in the work of the Spirit. 

My hopes and prayers for the community are that we be connected as faithful women, ministering to the poor and underserved, joining in strength and joy with co-workers, family, and friends, and listening to how God is present in our lives.

Sister Mary Carolyn Welhoelter, PHJC (Former Sister dePaul)

At nine years of age, my family moved to Tupelo, Mississippi. Since there were no Catholic schools
in the area, the only formal religion classes we had were in the summers when two Benedictine Sisters would come for two weeks to teach Catechism. They were my first inklings that I wanted to be a Sister.

Going into my senior year, the family moved back to St. Louis and to Catholic schools. One evening after graduation, I received a call from a family friend who asked me if I’d like to go with her to Chicago to visit her aunts, Sister Clement and Sister Leon, both PHJCs. On our visit they asked if we would like to go to their Motherhouse in Donaldson, Indiana. Yes!

We were totally awed by the beauty of the grounds, buildings, and friendly hospitality. We met Mother Symphoria, and she invited us to enter the Community. On the plane home, we both said we would enter. 

When returning to Donaldson, I was greeted by Sister Jeanette with arms open and a beautiful smile. My new life was about to begin that day of August 30, 1962!

Sister Mary Joan Trippel, PHJC (Former Sister Kristina)

I really enjoy getting to know PHJCs from around the world. We have a much richer life as we see how the charism of Blessed Catherine Kasper is shared by Sisters from very different cultures. One opportunity I had was my participation in the PHJC International Spiritual and Cultural Exchange Program. Again, it was a chance to meet and share with Sisters from USA, Germany and India.

Also important to me is the opportunity I have had to contribute to the growth of the Pro-Region of Mexico, to know our Sisters in Mexico, and to see them grow in leadership and in the spirit of Catherine Kasper. 

We are doing what Catherine Kasper began, working with the poor in many parts of the world today. There is always something each one of us can do, depending on our talents and our abilities at each stage of our lives. I hope that we continue to read the “signs of the times,” looking for what the Spirit calls us to do at this time in each place where Poor Handmaids are found, and that we support each other as we move into “unknown territories,” so that the theme of our last general chapter is really alive in all of us.

Sister Nora Hahn, PHJC

The memories that come to my mind as I reflect on my life are the opportunities I have been given: to travel and learn the cultures of so many different people; to care for my family members when they were ill; to study and get a Master’s from the University of Michigan; to take a sabbatical time in Texas and to have many significant retreats and the constant spiritual companionship of my spiritual director for almost 30 years.

I think the greatest ministry that we Poor Handmaids have to do and can do is to form the next generation of our ministry leaders/partners. Our ministries are really growing in helping so many people because there are so many committed persons who have learned, have caught, or already had within themselves, the spirit of Catherine, which is to serve those in great need. 

My hope and prayer for my own future is that I can continue to grow in love of God and of God’s people, especially my Sisters. My hope and prayer for our congregation’s future is much the same – that we can all grow in love of God and God’s people and to be of service where there is a need.

Sister Patricia Kolas, PHJC

When I entered the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in 1962, I thought I had an idea of who I was as a Sister and what I wanted to do in ministry – be a teacher. Then Vatican II began – the Holy Spirit was again at work in the Church, my religious congregation, my life and the world. Vatican II, working with the Holy Spirit, continues to influence my vision of being a woman religious as I minister, pray, live and believe.

I began my ministry as a teacher. After 12 years of teaching I was missioned as a pastoral minister in a parish. Since 1985, I’ve ministered as a counselor in two parishes and a counseling center in several Chicago suburbs. 

The Holy Spirit led Catherine Kasper to serve those most in need in her small village of Dernbach, Germany. That same Spirit calls me and the Poor Handmaids, who now live in a world linked by
fast travel and technology to meet the needs of the present moment. We will continue to be surprised by the Spirit, no matter what our circumstances, ages or numbers of Sisters.

Associating News Summer 2015

Monday, 15 June 2015 00:00


  • Companions on the Journey Retreat 2015
  • Reflections on Spiritual Companioning
  • Coming Home to Mishawaka • South Bend
  • Icon: Blessed Catherine of Dernbach
  • 2015 – A Recommitment Year
  • In Memory of Our Sister
  • PHJC Volunteer Program – Update
  • “Free Trial Offers” from MoonTree Studios
  • Lindenwood Retreat Offerings
  • Upcoming Events at John XXIII Retreat Center
  • Gathering XII and Associate Anniversaries
  • Associate Community 2015 Upcoming Events
  • Coming Home to Mishawaka • South Bend Schedule of Events

Word Gathering (Summer 2015)

Monday, 15 June 2015 00:00


  • The Linden Houses – A Fun Place to Live
  • International Ministries: Focus on Education and Health Care
  • Implementing the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Vietnamese Sisters at Home in Donaldson
  • Ancilla College Breaks Ground on Residence Hall and Student Life Dining Center
  • Coming Home to Mishawaka • South Bend
  • 2015 Poor Handmaid Jubilarians Celebrate
  • Celebrating Nurses’ Week
  • What a Wonderful World!
  • Plastic – The Problem with a Miracle Product
  • Creating Hope for the Hopeless
  • Baggin’s Story
  • An Update from Mexico – It Takes a Village…
  • Reflections on a Mission Visit to Mexico
  • Summer 2015 – MoonTree Invites Natural Builders
  • Call for Artists and Vendors – MoonTree Festival
  • In Memory of Our Sister
  • Coming Home to Chicago – Schedule of Events
  • In Memory of Our Sisters






Angel Guardian Home - Nigeria

Angel Guardian Home began in 2006 to help the abandoned and unwanted street children in Mgbele.  Most children that are found on the streets have families, but they are too poor to care for their children.  Many families, with support and counseling, are reunited with their children.  The Sisters continue to support these families through spiritual guidance, assisting parents with job skills and continuing education for the children. 



When the Sisters found Orluebube, she was malnourished, neglected and unwanted at the age of 3 years old.  Her father had left the village and her mother had died.  Her aunt believed that Orluebube's mother had died of AIDS and therefore she did not want to accept her into their family.  She was made to sleep under a tree in the family's yard, even during the rainy season. The Sisters brought her to the Angel Guardian Home where she was fed, clothed and most importantly, loved.  Today, Orluebube is a  normally developed little girl, loves school and is very happy.


To Learn More About the Angel Guardian Home, Click Here


The Caring Place - Kenya

Sister Germaine Hustedde, PHJC, has always been passionate about children. When she began working in Kenya, she immediately saw a need to give the young "street boys" a better life.  "These kids needed so much love and so much training and so much everything". 

 Sister Germaine tells this story, "I met a bunch of kids, boys primarily, digging through the rubbish with sticks or metal poles or anything they could find.  These kids were dirty and emaciated.  One day I came upon a kid with a big cabbage leaf and he looked at it like it was a piece of silver.  Kids came flocking.  He stood there and tore up that cabbage leaf into about 25 pieces.  Every kid got a bite.  We became friends.  One day when I came along, a bunch of them came up to me and in their very best English, they said 'Sister, we want to go to school!'  And I thought, what am I going to do with these street kids?  I promised them I would do something about it." 

She started the Caring Place in 2007 opening the orphanage in a small abandoned slaughter house.  She raised enough money to build a larger facility and in 2011 opened St. Joseph Home, aka "Caring Place", with rooms to house up to 75 boys.  These children, having no place to live, no one to teach them, no one to show them simple skills, now call the Caring Place home.

 To Learn More About the Caring Place, Click Here  


  St. Anne Mission Hospital - Kenya


St. Anne Mission Hospital, in Igoji Kenya, has been a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ since 2009. The hospital has experienced a lot of growth over the past six years. St. Anne's now provides dental services, a birthing center, outpatient services and a small surgical center. Recently, the hospital delivered their first set of triplets. The nurses from the mobile clinic visit the babies once a week to monitor their development. 

To Learn About St. Anne Mission Hospital, Click Here

Looking Towards the Future

Today, we are asking for your support and to partner with us in sustaining these ministries.  Your gift will help children at Angel Guardian Home, like Orluebube, receive the education, medical care and love they need to survive.  Your gift will help to ensure the boys at the Caring Place will have a place to live, opportunities to study and to learn job skills so that they have a brighter future.  Your gift will help St. Anne Mission Hospital continue treating those who cannot afford to have the necessary medical care.

For over 160 years, it has been the mission of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ to serve the sick, the poor and the homeless. We rely on partners like you to help us continue our mission. Your gift can have such an impact on the people we serve. If you are able, please give today. 



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