Current Events

Current Events

Reflections from Our 2013 Jubilarians

Thursday, 27 June 2013 00:00

jub-Sr JeanneSister Jeanne Koehler, PHJC

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory!” (A French proverb.) As I reflect on the span of 75 years as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, an avalanche of memories pours down. A resounding THANK YOU GOD rises up in my heart. I’m grateful for all those precious years—the graces God gave me through so many wonderful people and happenings in my life. My family, my Sisters, my many friends and associates along with those who challenged me are all a part of those memorable years. I thank God for ALL that has brought me to this peak celebration.

For 75 years I have been a teacher and still love it. From a first grade teacher to a college professor, I feel I have been an enthusiastic instrument of God’s love and caring.

As for the present and future, I feel I am God’s ENERGIZER and I hope He will keep recharging the batteries. I don’t think religious retire. Instead they recycle. They may slow their pace but they carry on, bringing God’s love and touch to others.

My prayerful hope this jubilee year will be to share the joy I feel and to be a living token of appreciation. A quotation from the book, SIMPLE ABUNDANCE clearly expresses my sincere sentiments. “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

 

jub-Sr VivianSister Vivian Brand, PHJC

My years as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ have been a time of joy, peace and challenges. In all of it I have found God’s loving Providence directing me, sometimes obscurely, but always surely. The community, my family and friends were a constant support for which I am most grateful.

Serving God’s poor in the education ministry was rewarding, especially at Ancilla College. Helping the students attain marketable skills to support themselves and their families was very fulfilling.

Our community works with “attentive ear and courageous heart” to discern where we are needed today and I believe, our loving God will direct us for the good of his people.

jub-Sr JulienneSister Julienne Smith, PHJC

One of my recollections is that after living in Donaldson for high school I would return home for summer vacation and every night I would turn in the direction of Donaldson and knew that would be my home in the future. My early experiences in high school and living in community have always made me feel that I was called to this life at a young age and I never doubted God’s call. Prayer continues to be the binding force in my life and I am grateful for the opportunity for daily Mass and prayers with the community.

After many years as a teacher and principal, as the vocation director and local leader at the PHJC Motherhouse and as the person responsible for the Ancilla High School girls for 10 years, I am still able to volunteer at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have been there for more than 20 years and I contribute to the ministry that continues there.

I am proud to talk of our ministries and how they have continued with lay leaders who continue the work begun by the Sisters with the same spirit as when we had sisters in every leadership role. Our international Sisters share that spirit around the world and all this because of how Mother Mary touches their lives.

jub-Sr InezSister Inez Wilmering, PHJC

It has been a long journey since 1922 when God called me in baptism and gave me the wonderful gift of faith. Faith has been my guide and support through the years and continues to grow as I experience God’s love for all of His creation.

The desire to serve God as a PHJC began when I was an aspirant for four years in Donaldson. After high school, I entered and spent the next 35 years ministering in hospitals, in the business office, nursing and teaching. I served in nine PHJC hospitals, even in the hospital where I was born.

In 1977, I returned to Donaldson and spent eight years living and working with our Sisters at the Catherine Kasper Home. These were joy filled years living with those who had spent years following Mother Mary in helping the poor, sick and children eagerly and joyfully.

I cherish this Year of Faith in which my jubilee is celebrated as special since my precious gift of faith has brought me to this time of my life. I hope and pray that God will continue to lead the community in faith and fidelity.

jub-Sr MagdalaSister Magdala Oswald, PHJC

As I reflect on my 60 years as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, I am filled with gratitude for the many years of service with young children at Angel Guardian in Chicago and at St. John’s children’s home in Belleville, Illinois. They are good memories of helping the children grow up in a world that gave them many challenges.

In more recent years I have ministered in various positions at The Center at Donaldson. I have enjoyed many years of service at the Lindenwood Retreat & Conference Center. It is a delight meeting so many folks who come to the Center and we have shared many joys and blessings as we continue to share in the charism of Blessed Mary Catherine’s way of service.

My hope and prayer for the future is that we will continue to grow as an international community in loving service wherever there is a need.

jub-Sr PatriciaSister Patricia Belting, PHJC

Throughout my 60 years as a Poor Handmaid I have been in contact with people in very special ways. I worked in ministry as a teacher, given private retreats and eventually became a Spiritual Counselor earning a Doctorate in Ministry Degree in Pastoral Counseling. In each of these blessings, I was allowed to touch people’s lives through spiritual direction, giving me great joy.

My time as a Poor Handmaid has given me many gifts and blessings both received with and from others. There has been back and forth learning from the individuals I have met throughout my time as a woman religious, making each relationship special.

My prayers for the future both for my community and myself are that we embrace the concept that we are all faithful to the call. My hopes and dreams have grown over the years to an endless number, so much so that I cannot begin to enumerate. I am confident in the Lord, knowing he will guide the way to peace and love.

In this Jubilee year, my greatest enjoyment was the visit from my nieces and nephews on June 1 when we celebrated our Jubilees at the Motherhouse.

jub-Sr CollettaSister Coletta Wrasman, PHJC

Before I was born, God called me to be a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ. Growing up on a farm, unknowingly my Mom and Dad began my formation by their prayerful, simple lives. Through grade school, the Franciscan Sisters continued to cultivate the call. When I became an aspirant in my sophomore year, the Poor Handmaids helped to make the call firm for me.

Our community has grown in awareness and concern for all people around the globe, especially for the poor and our PHJC Sisters in other cultures. We are ONE in God.

I am grateful for the gift of music which Mom and Dad encouraged and the PHJC community further developed. It enabled me to help many parishes with music at their liturgies.

Through each of my ministries God secretly prepared me for the next way of being for others. God has always given faithful love in my struggles and weaknesses, and in my strengths and gifts.

The community and my family and friends will join me in praising and thanking God who has been faithful to me these 50 (really 71) years. This fills my heart with joy.

jub-Sr RobertaSister Roberta Christianson, PHJC

I have been blessed throughout my life. I’ve been able to do the two things I love most: teaching and childcare. I’ve been blessed to live in Germany for 18 years. Also to have a good sense of humor and spirit of adventure, and it has been a wonderful life.

Since I returned to the USA in 2011, every day is different and certainly has not been boring. I am very happy to be a PHJC. I fell in love with the Sisters even before grade school. My love and desire to be like them deepened over the years. Mother Mary was right on target when she said, “It is a great honor to be a PHJC.”

My hopes and prayers for our community is that we place spirituality, faith and prayer above all. I pray we listen to God’s will, take Mother Mary’s words to heart, and that we seek always to serve others. For myself, I pray that I become a woman of faith. I pray I gently become old, never place myself first and that I will be kind.

I dream of a long future for the PHJCs and I believe we will have women to follow us. May we never become so business-like and big that we lose sight of the needy around us.

jub-Sr AnnemarieSister Annemarie Kampwerth, PHJC

God has blessed me in so many ways since becoming a PHJC. I have been able to experience a variety of ministries, meet and befriend some wonderful people and travel to many places around the world.

Presently I am working at HealthVisions Midwest in mission and education. HealthVisions has given me an opportunity to network with many people in a lot of different communities to improve healthcare for the underserved. It has helped me to realize that no matter what we do, it ripples out beyond us and the influence can be far reaching.

I hope as a community we can continue to be involved in issues in the Church and in society and stand up for what we believe. We need to continue to witness especially for the poor and underserved, preserve the gift of our environment and our gift as women to the Church. We have great ministries and we need to ensure that they will continue and share with our lay leaders that same passion to serve.

My greatest enjoyment during this Jubilee Year will be celebrating with my Sisters, my family and friends this special gift in my life. I also look forward to continuing my service as a PHJC.

jub-Sr VirginiaSister Virginia Kampwerth, PHJC

As I reflect on my life I find it so exciting, a life of learning and experiencing how different each person is, yet how very much alike each person is.

My birth family continues to be so important to me. Among my memories is the memory of hearing my dad sing when he was milking the cows in the evening. He loved farming and the outdoors, so I think that my love for nature was inherited from my dad. The “Sisters in my religious family” delight me each day, those living and those who live on in my heart and memory. Learning German has also been an amazing part of my life’s journey!

My hope is to continue using my gifts in whatever situation I find myself, whether teaching, being part of a leadership group or a group with whom I live and share ministry. Ministry is always about bringing the presence of God into that part of the world in which we are blessed to live. Understanding more, and living out of, the awareness of creation spirituality, continues to be the challenge our loving God shares with me each day.

My greatest enjoyment this Jubilee Year will be the surprise of sharing in whatever way possible!

Located in Chicago, IL, and Gary, Hobart, and Mishawaka, IN, Linden Houses provide affordable independent-living apartments for seniors and physically challenged individuals. Designed to meet the physical, social, and psychological needs of the residents, each Linden House creates a caring community as it promotes health, security, purposefulness, and the opportunity for interaction and involvement of residents.

Last year the Linden House in Chicago, the first facility established by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, celebrated their 20 year anniversary! What fun to see the residents enjoy a delicious dinner, lively entertainment and dancing! A good time was had by all.

We are pleased to announce that the Linden Houses have launched a new website. Check it out at: http://thelindenhouses.org

This website provides information on all four Linden Houses and includes information about their locations, how to contact the site manager for more information, amenities and activities at each facility. This new site will allow potential residents and family members to view information and learn how to apply.

PHJC Elect General Leadership Team

Monday, 06 May 2013 10:44

On April 30, 2013, after two days of prayers and reflections, the General Chapter delegates in Dernbach, Germany, elected Sr. Gonzalo Vakasseril as General Superior of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Congregation.

On May 2, the General Chapter elected the following General Councilors: Sr. Annemarie Kampwerth, vicaress; Sr. Barbara Spiegelhoff; and Sr. Shirley Bell. Together with Sr. Gonzalo, they are the newly-elected team.

Poor Handmaid delegates from nine countries elected the new team. They will take office in July 2013. With the prayerful support of the international congregation, they will serve for the next six years.

Currently, Sr. Gonzalo serves as a councilor on the General Leadership Team in Dernbach, Germany. Sr. Annemarie ministers at HealthVisions Midwest in East Chicago, Indiana. Sr. Barbara is a teacher in Limburg, Germany. Sr. Shirley Bell is the Director of Maria Center, senior living apartments, in Donaldson, Indiana.

Congratulations to all!

How I Spent Arbor Day Weekend

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 15:56

This weekend the staff of Catherine Kasper Place and our Fresh Food Initiatve clients were joined nearly two dozen community members at the Slataper Street farm for a tree planting to celebrate Arbor Day.

The Hoosier ReLeaf team brought us peach and nectarine trees, each in bloom and expected to produce fruit thisseason. As the team educated our clients, volunteers and the public I had the joy of taking some photographs of all the happenings. Now looking at the pictures, I find myself once again feeling lucky to be part of such an amazing community that includes gardeners, farmers, and citizens, all of whom appreciate the benefits of urban farming.

Much of the time I am engaged in the operations aspect of CKP so it was invigorating to spend my Saturday at the farm, under a gorgeous sky, with friends who share my belief that planting trees and flowers and vegetables is not only creating a better world now, but ensuring those who follow us can sit in the shade of trees and provide food for themselves in healthy soil.

There's a Chinese proverb that says, "Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come." When you look at the photographs you will see two dozen such singing birds, who all came out on a spring Saturday to celebrate our two new trees, and all the trees in our hearts.

On April 11, 2013, The Center at Donaldson, previously called The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Ministry Center, held a dessert reception at Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center celebrating the new name. The event was open to local business leaders and pastors from Marshall, Starke and LaPorte Counties.

Over the years, a variety of PHJC ministries have emerged and grown. During the evening, there were representatives from each ministry that gave a brief overview of what experiences are offered as part of The Center at Donaldson. Earthworks Market in Plymouth provided desserts.

These ministries offer intergenerational living and learning opportunities. These opportunities include Earthworks’ summer camps where children have fun while learning to care for the environment, Ancilla College classes for people of all ages, beautiful state of the art facilities at Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center, used by retreatants from around the world.

At The Center at Donaldson, you can also purchase delicious natural beef from Ancilla Beef & Grain Farm, and your loved ones are cared for at Catherine Kasper Life Center, the only faith-based Continuing Care Retirement Community in Marshall County. MoonTree Studios, the newest of the ministries, invites you to discover a variety of art experiences, which awaken and explore your inner creativity.

The Center at Donaldson - Experiencing the Unexpected - invites you to discover what opportunities we have and to come and visit. For more information: www.TheCenterAtDonaldson.org.

The Messiah by George Frideric Handel

Friday, 12 April 2013 16:24

A performance of The Messiah by George Frideric Handel will take place on Sunday, November 17, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. (EST) in the Ancilla Domini Chapel, The Center at Donaldson. The Messiah is one of the most famous and widely shared pieces of music in history.

The Messiah will be conducted by Dr. David K. Lamb of Columbus, Indiana. The choir will consist of Sisters and members of the wider community. Professional soloists will be from the Chicago Lyric Opera. Members of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra will accompany the performance.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Admission is free.

Following a process of discernment and prayer, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Chapter delegates, during the Provincial Chapter of Elections held April 5-7, elected a leadership team who will direct them during the next four years. Sister Judith Diltz was elected provincial and Sister Michele Dvorak as first councilor. Sister Loretta Schleper and Sister Carole Langhauser were elected as councilors.

Sister Judith Diltz, a native of Mishawaka, Indiana, took her first vows as a Poor Handmaid on August 6, 1969. Since that time she has ministered in education and served the Poor Handmaid Community. She taught English at various schools in Indiana and Illinois and served as the PHJC Vocation Director, Postulant /Affiliate Director, and Director for Development. Currently she is a Professor of English and Humanities and Faculty Assessment Coordinator at Ancilla College in Donaldson, Indiana.

Sister Michele Dvorak has ministered in education since 1976. She has been a teacher and principal in Indiana and Illinois and currently is an Associate Professor at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana where she also held the position of Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. Sister Michele was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and took her first vows on August 15, 1976.

Sister Loretta Schleper has served in different ministries since taking her first vows on August 6, 1965. She has been the Assistant Director at Villa Maria in Donaldson, an occupational therapist, house coordinator, nurse assistant, staff chaplain, the Director of Community Health Improvement program at HealthVisions of Fort Wayne and currently serves as the Volunteer Coordinator at Sojourner Truth House, a ministry sponsored by the Poor Handmaids in Gary, Indiana. Sister Loretta was born in Highland, Illinois.

Sister Carole Langhauser, born in Breese, Illinois has been in healthcare since taking her first vows on August 11, 1974. She has served as a staff nurse, oncology clinical nurse specialist at various hospitals in Indiana and Illinois and currently serves as the Vice-President of Mission Integration at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Sister Carole also ministered in Thailand in 1980.

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ community promised unity, support and collaboration to the new team during the next four years. Installation of the leadership team will be held on July 7, 2013 in the Ancilla Domini Chapel, Donaldson, Indiana.

Hot Off the Press

Wednesday, 27 March 2013 16:54
Color Word Gathering

Dear Word Gathering Readers,

It is with pleasure that I introduce our new color Word Gathering.

We hope you find it vibrant and informative. Word Gathering has been keeping our friends and families informed about the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and their ministries since the fall of 1978 when the first issue was printed. At that time the format was a one sheet, folded tabloid-size newsletter and Sister Mary Baird was the editor.

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