Latest News

Latest News

Meg Distler, Executive Director of St. Joseph Community Health Foundation received the Community Leadership Award from Healthier Moms & Babies on May 6, 2015. Healthier Moms & Babies is a program started at the St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and Meg in 1995.  

Meg was honored for her work in writing the initial grant that launched the program in 1995 and since, having been actively involved on its board, in fundraising, as a donor, as well as her activity on numerous other community boards.  The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation has also provided nearly $200,000 in support towards the program’s ongoing growth since 2003.  Congratulations Meg!

Sr. Bonnie Boilini, PHJC, JD presented a lecture entitled “Breaking the Silence: Elder Abuse, It Must Stop” as a part of the college's Lampen Lecture series Wednesday, April 22nd. Sr. Bonnie wanted bring awareness to the alarming prevalence of elder abuse in the United States. While many cultures revere the elderly in their community, too often older Americans are taken advantage of emotionally, physically, and financially by strangers and relatives alike. Sr. Bonnie is an attorney in Chicago who advocates for elders in abusive situations and she shared many of the cases she’s worked.


“Sr. Bonnie’s hands on experience as a court appointed Guardian ad Litem, a licensed attorney who investigates reports of abuse, brought to light how real this is in our own surroundings.  Sister called us to be watchful for signs of abuse, to have the courage to report suspected abuse, and to return to a culture of respect and care for our ‘wisdom people’” said Sister Jolise May, vice-president of mission integration at Ancilla College.


Many audience members were stunned by the sheer number of cases in Indiana alone and especially by the lack of case workers for Adult Protective Services. Audience members were encouraged to call 2-1-1 in any suspected cases of abuse. This hotline allows for anonymous reporting and will take the next steps for investigation.


Sam Soliman, sociology instructor, commented, “This was one of the hardest Lampen Lectures to sit through because of the disturbing nature of these abuses.” He was not alone in that sentiment. Sr. Bonnie certainly opened the eyes for all present at the need of awareness and discussions surrounding this topic.

“The Queens,” Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots, are coming to Ancilla Domini Chapel at the Center at Donaldson. Metamorphis Traveling Theatre, an outreach troupe of the Michigan City Acting Theatre, will present “The Queens” at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 3, 2015. “The Queens” is an original drama written by Ken Brelsford and directed by Judith Joseph and Doug Moon.


“The Queens” is the story of the political and family struggle for the throne of England between cousins, Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, otherwise known as Mary Queen of Scots. Mary Queen of Scots was the Catholic heiress to Scotland's throne. While not mentioned in Henry VIII's succession will, the strikingly beautiful princess was related to the Tudor line and had some claim to the throne. Although most English Catholics recognized Elizabeth's rule, the Catholic world officially denied the legality of Henry VIII's marriage to Ann Boleyn, since they did not recognize the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Under the Catholic interpretation, this made Elizabeth illegitimate and unfit to rule.


“The Queens” is a drama in nine scenes. Set against the splendid neo-Gothic architecture of Ancilla Domini Chapel, the actors in elaborate Renaissance costumes--Jeanoma Babcock as Elizabeth I and Judith Joseph as Mary Queen of Scots--will evoke the treacherous plots that circled the British monarchy in the late 1500’s. The story, revealed through dialogue, music and dance, culminates on the eve of the Scottish Queen’s beheading by order of Elizabeth I. 


The matinee performance will be followed by a reception with the Metamorphis Traveling Theatre Players with refreshments--Queen’s Cake. Tickets are now available for the performance; $12.00 per person or $10.00 for people 55 or better. Ticket sales benefit MoonTree Studios Scholarships for Women.


For tickets visit or call (574) 935-1712.

In Memory of Sister Barbara Bruns, PHJC

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 00:00

Sister Barbara Bruns, PHJC passed away March 17, 2015 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to Herman and Wilhelmina (Kreke) Bruns in Germantown, Illinois on July 11, 1919. She entered the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 25, 1940.

Sister Barbara began her long history in education in 1940 at Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago. From there she served in many schools as a teacher, principal and sacristan throughout Indiana and Illinois until 2005 when she retired to the Catherine Kasper Home.

During the 65 years, she taught at these Indiana schools: St. Monica and St. Bavo, Mishawaka; St. Ann and St. Mark, Gary; St. Vincent Villa, Holy Spirit and St. Paul, Fort Wayne; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Hammond; and Ancilla High School and College, Donaldson.

In Illinois she ministered at St. Henry and St. Augustine, Chicago; St. John the Baptist, Quincy; St. Anthony, Beckemeyer; St. Mary Convent, Trenton; and Mater Dei High School, Breese.

Sister Barbara wrote, "Most of my life has been spent in a classroom serving students." During these impressionable years, what a blessing it has been for me to lead hearts to our God and minds to knowledge."

Sister Barbara was a poet and wrote many poems for special occasions. Here is one for her special occasion.

Going Home

As I come to the last moment of my life

When my time on earth will be over then,

Be glad God is calling me home,

to join all the souls now in heaven.

Sometime you'll be journeying this way,

It is God's plan for everyone,

should you feel sad then and miss me

cheer up; let a kind deed be done.

This goodness will lift your spirit

As you join with friends you know,

live your life in charity and patience

as God's love your actions show.


Sister Barbara Bruns, PHJC

June 18, 2011


May she rest in peace!


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

Formation Newsletter (Spring 2015)

Monday, 16 March 2015 00:00


  • Life in Formation
  • Education
  • Final Vows


Where would you be without Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Sisters?

Where would you be without our Sisters? How did they influence your life? Many of us have had our lives touched by a Sister. Whether it was at school by a teacher, a nurse that held you when you were born or a warm hug at night at one of the many orphanages. Hundreds of young women became Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and influenced thousands of people, just like you.

Today, the congregation is alive and growing. Young women all over the world are working alongside Poor Handmaids to educate children, to minister to the sick, to visit the elderly and to provide shelter to young children and others who are homeless. These remarkable young women have felt a deep desire to follow in the footsteps of our Sisters, to give the same love and compassion to others, and to touch lives the same way yours has been touched.

Sister Raimunda of Brazil began reading at the age of seven – she read her father’s Bible. “While reading the story of Jesus, I began to feel a desire to do something for the needy people as Jesus did.” She lived with the Poor Handmaids in their boarding school for seven years and later asked the Sisters to join the congregation. As Sister Raimunda continues in formation to become a Poor Handmaid, she says her favorite part of being a Sister is the “relentless pursuit for simplicity and humility. It is also having the opportunity to be closer to the people, the poor and needy, and thus somehow finding a way of helping them.”

The Poor Handmaids continue to support these young women by offering housing, educational opportunities and daily living expenses as well as spiritual guidance and community life. When the congregation was founded in 1851 they never dreamed that 150 years later their mission would still be alive and growing as it is today. Living lives of simplicity and putting others before self, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ congregation is alive internationally with many American Sisters involved in worldwide ministries. For more information about the Poor Handmaids, or to make a donation, please visit

My Journey to Become a Poor Handmaid...

By Sister Amalia Conde Domínguez, PHJC

Eight years have passed since my first vows; when I pronounced them, I did it for my whole life. I still remember that very special day, when one person said to me, “These are the first vows; they don’t count.” I responded, “Of course they count, without the first vows, we can’t make the final vows.”

Time passed quickly. During this period of going forward, there were many trials, difficulties and joys, all of this in order to reach one of my goals: to give myself completely to God through my “yes,” like the Virgin Mary did, a yes from the heart and with conviction. And the journey continues; it doesn’t stop here.

Many thanks for all your support and prayers. May our Lord continue filling you with blessings. It is a great honor to be a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ.

To read the full story of Sister Amalia, visit

Your gift today helps to ensure the continued growth of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. You can help by sponsoring these young women to assist with the cost of their housing, education and daily living expenses. You will also help them to carry out the mission of educating children, ministering to the sick, visiting the elderly and providing shelter to young children and others who are homeless.

There are 110 young women in various stages of the Formation process all over the world. The average cost to support a Sister in Formation is:

Where would you be without our Sisters? Your gift can have such an impact, not only on the lives of these young women but on the people they serve. If you are able, please give today to help support these future Poor Handmaids.


Sister Judith Diltz, PHJC Provincial

Word Gathering (Spring 2015)

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 00:00


  • Bowen Fund Reception
  • A Legacy of Faith and Family
  • My Friendship with Sister Mary Baird, PHJC
  • Upcoming Events at MoonTree Studios
  • Conversations That Save Lives
  • Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life
  • Through the Magnifying Glass
  • Poor Handmaid Volunteer Program Update
  • The Halls Are Alive at The Center at Donaldson
  • An Update from Nazareth Home
  • Nursing Instructor Beth Bailey Serves in Haiti
  • Fracking: The Facts You Need to Know
  • Coming Home to Mishawaka • South Bend Schedule of Events
  • Caring Place – Widening Perspectives
  • In Memory of Our Sisters


The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ have a rich and lengthy history of serving the people of the Mishawaka and South Bend area.  To celebrate this history they are reconnecting with friends, family and people they have known, served and worked with in this area.  The event called, PHJC Coming Home Mishawaka/South Bend, will be held April 10-12, 2015.


Several events will be included in this weekend celebration. On Friday, April 10 from 6:30-9 p.m. EDT, a collaboration of the St. Pius X, Granger, young adult group and the Poor Handmaids will gather for a young adult evening of praise and worship, silent reflection, input, conversation and dinner. This gathering, for young adults in their 20s and 30s, will center on discernment and ways to find God’s guidance in relationships and work.


On Saturday April 11 at Marian High School in Mishawaka, a reunion for former Poor Handmaid Sisters and alumni of Ancilla Domini High School, Donaldson will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT.  At 2:00 p.m., the public is invited to a festival for all ages with food, children’s games, music and a variety of fun activities. Come and meet or reconnect with Poor Handmaid Sisters.


On Sunday, April 12 at 9 a.m., a prayer service will take place at Catholic Cemetery on Liberty and Jefferson Avenues in Mishawaka honoring the Poor Handmaids buried in the cemetery.  At 10:30 a.m. a Eucharist Liturgy will be held at the Bishop Crowley Activity Center at Marian High School.  Father Ted Franzman will celebrate Mass.  A brunch will follow at 12 p.m. in the main gym. There is no charge for the brunch but please register for easier planning. Besides the weekend events, Poor Handmaids are also visiting several schools in the South Bend and Mishawaka area this spring.


For more information and to register for any of these events click here or call Julie Dowd, PHJC Communications Director, at 574-935-1768.

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