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The purpose of the Good News is to further the Gospel mission of the sisters by sharing the good news of the congregation with our friends, family, companions, and sisters. Through this publication we share the charism of the congregation and invite others to become involved in our mission.
Good News is published three times a year (spring, summer, winter) by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. We welcome your feedback.
Winter 19 Edition
Combatting Violence by Working through Trauma
The Chester Community Coalition (CCC) was opened in 2018 to provide free, trauma-informed support services to families directly affected by violence. The first goal is to help clients come to understand the direct relationship between their feelings, their physical and mental health, and their actions. The second is to empower them with the skills to take care of themselves and to improve their quality of life. Read
Helping Sisters Be Their Best Selves
When Sister John Celeste Weitzel began noticing the trouble some of the sisters at the motherhouse were having with balance and weakness, she offered her services as a licensed physical therapist. She offers a comprehensive and holistic approach with helping sisters regain their strength and balance. Read
Read a feature article from past issues of Good News
- Summer 2019 – Serving God’s People in the Alaskan Wilderness
Sister Marian Leaf ministers to five parishes in the extremely remote Y-K Delta in Western Alaska. She travels from parish to parish by bush plane, boat, or snow mobile to share her Franciscan presence. READ
- Spring 2019 – Offering Hope and Healing at Aquinas Center – In her ministry at the Aquinas Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sister Mary Kennedy primarily serves immigrants and refugees from Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. The center offers clients much needed sanctuary as well as counseling, legal help, advocacy, and classes on everything from English to money management.READ
- Winter 2018 – Red Hill Farm: A Sustainable Oasis for Community, Solitude, and Organic Food
Red Hill Farm is a six-acre CSA located in Aston, Pennsylvania, that is owned and supported by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. Red Hill Farm provides produce for 120 members as well as for the sisters themselves. Since its inception Red Hill Farm has utilized organic practices, a commitment that goes hand in hand with the sisters’ corporate stand on care for creation. READ
- Summer 2018 – Companions in Mission: Join our Sisters in Living the Franciscan Spirit
Christian lay women and men with a Franciscan heart are invited to share in and live out the spirit and mission of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia within their own vocation and lifestyle, to learn the Franciscan spirituality and charism alongside the sisters, and to incorporate the teachings into their own lives. Read
- Spring 2018 – Forty Years of Service to Those Most in Need in Delaware
The mission of the Ministry of Caring has always been to identify and fill gaps in services for the poor in Wilmington, Delaware. Since 1977 many Sisters of St. Francis have served side by side with Brother Ronald Giannone in service to the people—from the first three sisters to answer the call to the sisters currently on the front lines. READ
- Winter 2017 – Franciscan Volunteers: Committing a Year to Service: The Franciscan Volunteers: No Risk, No Gain program invites lay women and men to commit to a year of service, sharing in the charism and mission of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. For Rachel, Mandee, and Theresa, the year turned out to be a fruitful, rewarding time infused with the Franciscan Spirit. READ
- Summer 2017 – Putting Francis in the Forefront: The Catholic Identity at Neumann University
The Neumann Institute for Franciscan Studies, with Sister Patricia Hutchison at the helm, works to ensure that the vision and values of Sts. Francis and Clare permeate the entire Neumann University community through a carefully scaffolded framework of coursework laid on a solid foundation of Scripture, social teaching, and Franciscan tradition. READ
- Spring 2017 – Welcoming All as Brother and Sister – Sister Marie Lucey has been working for justice for more than 40 years—a passion that continues through her work with Franciscan Action Network. As a lobbyist, Sister Marie works to promote immigration reform and to overcome racial bias. The docudrama, The Sultan and the Saint, is a major project in helping to build Catholic/Muslim relationships. READ
- Winter 16 -Light Amidst Darkness: Offering Hope to Asylum Seekers – Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE) in Baltimore, Maryland, helps those seeking asylum to rebuild their lives and their spirits by providing transitional housing, community, and other supportive services. Sister Anne Patrice Hefner works closely with the women at the center and offers hope and support. In addition, she developed the volunteer program and helps wherever needed.**Note – There was an omission in this article. The Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart were also one of the eight founding congregations of the Asylee Women Enterprise. They currently have six women living with them in Towson, Maryland. READ
- Summer 16 –Following Francis: The Order of Franciscan Seculars: For 400,000 women and men around the world, the Secular Franciscan Order provides a framework to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in the way St. Francis did. The OFS is open to all Catholics (not bound by vows to a religious order) to deepen their baptismal commitment by embracing the Franciscan way of life. Many Sisters of St. Francis serve as spiritual assistants to fraternities on both the east and west coasts. READ!
- Spring 16 – A Ministry of Cuddling: Sister Loretta Francis Mann Comforts Sick Babies: Sister Loretta Francis Mann has to have one of the most rewarding ministries—she gets to cuddle and sing to babies! Sister Loretta volunteers as a baby cuddler at the NICU at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. Her ministry is one of presence—being there to hold and comfort the babies when their parents can’t be. READ
- Winter 15 – Helping to Navigate a New Land: Immigrants Receive a Warm Welcome: As pastoral associate for Hispanic ministry for St. Laurence Parish, Sister Dominica LoBianco is charged with assisting immigrants in the area west of Philadelphia by helping them obtain the services, aid, and tangible items they need to survive in their new home. READ!
- Summer 15 – Always an Educator: A Life Changing Legacy of Love: Sister Thomasann Quinn’s title may have changed but her love for the students has not faltered. She continues interacting with the children at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Doylestown, planning religious services and activities, and infusing the school with a strong sense of Franciscan charm. READ!
- Spring 15 – On A Journey of Faith: Walking with the Seekers of God: Sister Mary Jo Chaves, a spiritual director at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Milwaukie, Oregon, shares her gift for walking with others on their spiritual journeys by helping to foster relationships with God. READ!
- Winter 14 – Keeping the “Catholic” in Catholic Healthcare:Since 1982 Sister Clare Christi, Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association president, has committed herself to representing the positions of the Church and the Catholic health ministry in legislative and regulatory matters at the state level. Sister Clare’s deep and abiding commitment to the values of the Catholic Church is part of what sets her apart on Capitol Hill. READ!
- Summer 14 – Sisters Help Build Hope in Haiti: Together the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and the Sylvania Franciscans accompany, empower, and support the people of Haiti. The mission is one that responds in multiple ways to the needs of the people. Projects include efforts to provide clean drinking water, agricultural aid, medicare care, education, skills training, and leadership development. READ!
- Spring 14 – LIFE to the Rescue; A Win-Win Solution to Senior Care: Sisters Marge Sullivan, Kate O’Donnell, and Lillie Murphy all work to ensure that elderly persons get the care needed to sustain their well-being outside a nursing home setting. This integrated care program includes medical and nursing services, day care, pharmaceuticals, and transportation. The focus on individual dignity and personal faith needs ensure that seniors in their programs are living–not just surviving. READ!
- Winter 13 – Campaigning for a Cure: Determined to Make a Difference: Sister Maggie Lopez has been battling cancer for the past 25 years. Although not a survivor of the disease herself, she is very passionate about finding a cure. Her job is to convince legislators to pass budgets and legislation that will fund cancer research, help prevent new cases, and increase access to healthcare. Sister Maggie is at the forefront of the effort to turn the tide against one of the biggest killers of the age. READ!
- Summer 13 – Sacrifice and Support: Charity Begins at Home: Caring for a family member can be a difficult and demanding task but Sisters Marie Inez Gonzales and Theresa Kevin Donahue do not go it alone. With loving support from their families and the Sisters of St. Francis, the sisters find joy and a renewed spirit of God in their ministry. READ!
- Spring 13 – Sisters Take Stand on Immigration–Walk with Immigrants: When anti-immigration bias seems to be growing, voices like those of Sister Marie Lucey and Sister Maureen Duignan are more essential than ever to promote respect and inclusion for individuals seeking to make the United States their home. Both sisters work with immigrants on an individual basis, walking with them through the challenges they face. READ!
- Winter 12 – Sister Unlocks Hope for Women in Jail: In a maze of concrete cell blocks surrounded by chain link and barbed wire, Sister Kathy Dougherty helps to inspire hope and personal growth in women who have hit rock bottom. READ!
- Summer 12 – Macdonald Center Provides Hope in the Heart of Portland: For the forgotten poor in the Old Town neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, the programs offered by the Macdonald Center are a lifeline. By developing deep, abiding relationships and offering support where needed, Sister Theresa Lamkin and the staff at the center offer emotional, spiritual, and financial support to individuals who would be otherwise all alone. READ!
- Spring 12 – CASA Program Gives Children a Voice: Being a voice for abused and neglected children is the heart of Sister Donna Fread’s job as a court appointed special advocate or CASA in Pierce County, Washington. READ!
- Winter 11 – Keeping Hopes and Dreams Alive: Educating Youth in Kenya: Students at Lawson High School in Kenya, Africa, are beating the odds and making plans for promising futures because they have been provided the opportunity for a quality education. Sisters Frances Cassidy and Rose Monica Katusz, along with seven Kenyan teachers, have made it their mission to help these students reach their goals through secondary education. READ!
- Summer 11 – Human Trafficking: The Shocking Reality of Modern-Day Slavery: Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. The numbers are shocking and, believe it or not, it is probably happening in your community. Learn what our sisters are doing to help combat this horrific crime and how you can help. READ!
- Spring 11 – Avila Retreat Center; Experiencing God’s Embrace: Often called one of Durham North Carolina’s “best kept secrets,” Avila Retreat Center provides a quiet, reflective environment for anyone who seeks nourishment for the bodyand soul. All are welcome, regardless of their faith tradition. Many ordinary people have found God there. READ!
- Winter 10 – Positive Parenting with a Nurtured Heart: Sister Theresa Elitz shows Hispanic parents in Wilmington, Delaware, some new techniques which help develop better relationships between them and their children. READ!
- Summer 10 – The newest sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Anna’s Place – a drop-in center for local residents – provides a variety of opportunities for personal growth. It’s a place where the feeling of acceptance and hope strengthens relationships. READ!
- Spring 10 – Love for Education Meets the Franciscan Spirit (St. John Vianney School); Healing the Homeless: More Than Just Medicine (Mary Howard Health Center). READ!
- Spring 09 – Saving Grace: A Safe Place to Learn in a Tough Neighborhood (Drexel Neumann Academy); 21st Century Sisters: A Compassionate Presence in a Violent World (Vocations). READ!
- Summer 09 – Growing to Inspire: Using Sports to Inspire Deeper Spirituality and Enhance Character Development (Neumann University); Seniors Serving Others: Building Relationships with a Common Bond (Corpus Christi Parish Ministry). READ!
- Winter 09 – Deep Roots and Relationship in Rural Country (St. Anthony’s Hospital, Pendleton); Serving Others Serving Time (Prison Ministry). READ!
- Spring 08 – All of God’s Children: Serving Mothers and Families in Need (Mother Bachmann Maternity Center); Logging the Miles to Lay a Foundation (Eastern Shore Parish Ministry). READ!
- Summer 08 – The Light Within: A Counseling Center in Ireland Helps Residents Through Dark Times (Beacon of Light); Making Ends Meet: Connections Count (Corpus Christi Food Pantry & Assistance Program). READ!
- Winter 08 – No Place like Home, A Refuge for People Living with HIV/AIDS (House of Joseph II); Listening with the Heart: Campus Ministry Program Prepares Young Women for Life (Benedictine Academy). READ!
- Spring 07 – Lending a Hand…Extending the Reach(Rebuilding New Orleans); Students in Demand: A Hallahan Tradition (Hallahan High School). READ!
- Summer 07 – Women’s Circles: Tapping the Power Within (IPJC); A Home for “In-Between” Times (St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter). READ!
- Winter 07 – Shelter from the Storm: Carrying on a Franciscan Tradition (Benedict House); Tradition and Change at Catholic High: Educating Young Women for Life (The Catholic High School of Baltimore). READ!
Make a difference — Participate in the Spirit’s action in the world.