Up Close and Personal

Many of our sisters trace their introduction to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia to their educational history and Sr. Eileen Valerie Kulacz is no exception. However, for most sisters that introduction involved a student/teacher relationship. In Sr. Eileen’s case the connection grew out of a student/student relationship that began when she was a earning a degree in computer business systems at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “I associated with a group of older students on campus, one of whom was Sr. Gerald Helene Connelly,” Eileen explained. “She later became my sponsor. The IHM sisters who sponsor Marywood were quite surprised that I didn’t choose their congregation since Sr. Gerald was the only Franciscan on campus!”

Looking back over her life, however, Sr. Eileen realized that the Franciscan influence had been part of her life since childhood in both home and parish life. Both the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph and the OFM Conventuals served in her parish in Chicopee, Massachusetts. “As I look back, the Franciscan influence was always present, especially through my father who was a Franciscan at heart,” she recalled. In a video, The School of Fish, created for Neumann University’s Institute for Sport, Spirituality, and Character Development, Eileen described family fishing trips with her dad during which she learned the basics of family values, relationship- building, and care for creation. Read more