Latest News

Latest News

Retirement didn’t last very long for Dr. Kenneth Zirkle. This week he takes over as the interim president of Ancilla College.

“I had to break it to my family carefully. My wife and daughters all thought I would take some time off, but the opportunity at Ancilla was one I couldn’t pass up,” Zirkle said.

The retirement this summer of Ron May left a gap at the college that was filled when the board of trustees sought an interim president to step in as the college’s ninth president. Zirkle, who retired as the chief academic officer at Mercyhurst University North East last fall, was approached to step in at Ancilla.

The one year appointment is an interesting assignment for the Pennsylvania native. “Ancilla is a remarkable school serving a diverse set of communities here in northern Indiana. This is the best kind of challenge. This year I will work with the faculty, staff and trustees to move the institution forward while they search for a permanent president. Even in one year we can continue to do great things,” he said. Zirkle brings decades of executive experience to his term at Ancilla. His career spanned several universities in different states including the State University of New York , University of Findley (Ohio), Becker College (Massachusetts), Post University (Connecticut), and Mercyhurst University (Pennsylvania).

“I’ve had success building programs at institutions serving the same types of students that Ancilla does. The beauty of a small college in your community is the strength of it as a resource for everyone. Adult students looking to change their careers, high school students looking to start early and build a college transcript, and traditional high school grads all have real options at Ancilla,” Zirkle said.

Zirkle’s educational background is just as deep. His own college journey began in Pennsylvania at Edinboro State College, and graduate work continued at Syracuse, Rutgers, Harvard, and Penn State where he earned his doctorate.

“I grew up and still live on a farm in northwest Pennsylvania. My wife Chris is there and this year will be a little stretch as I visit her and she visits me here,” he said.

“Ancilla College has a strong mission to provide higher education and support for learning to everyone in the region. That has been a lifetime goal of mine and part of what I have done at every place I’ve been honored to work at,” Zirkle said.

Associating News Summer 2014

Monday, 07 July 2014 00:00


  • Retreat Making Space for God
  • Associate Community 2014 Upcoming Events
  • East Three Associate Receives Award for Hospice Volunteerism
  • Timeline Tales
  • In Memory of Our Associates and Sister
  • Events at MoonTree Studios
  • Directory Updates
  • Upcoming Events at John XXIII Retreat Center
  • Lindenwood Retreat Offerings



Word Gathering (Summer 2014)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:00


  • Graduates Live Ancilla Values
  • Annual 2014 State Survey
  • MoonTree Studios and The Center at Donaldson — We Filled a Few Empty Bowls!
  • Give a little, take a little…Walking hand in hand with marriage, family, and the spirit of the Poor Handmaids
  • Development Happenings
  • Coming Home to Southern Illinois
  • Collaborating Helps Provide Needed Services
  • Honoring Our 2014 Jubilarians
  • In Memory of Our Associates
  • The Charism of Catherine Spreads
  • An Update from Mexico
  • Catherine Kasper Life Center Welcomes a New Executive Director
  • Associates Celebrate Anniversaries
  • St. Augustine Reunion


In Memory of Sister Stephen Brueggeman

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 00:00

Sister Stephen Brueggeman, PHJC died June 15, 2014 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born Frances Josephine Brueggeman to Anthony and Helen (Dunkel) Brueggeman in Centralia, Illinois.

In 1945 she entered the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ congregation in Donaldson, Indiana and professed first vows on June 24, 1947.

Sr. Stephen was a graduate of Loyola University, Chicago with a B.SN.ED (Cum Laude) and a M. ED with a major in Education and a minor in Psychology. She also attended Cornell University for Hospital Administration and Wright Junior College for Accounting and Economics.

She began her ministry in healthcare in 1945 as a nurse at St. Anne’s Hospital, Chicago, a Poor Handmaid hospital. For the next 24 years she worked at St. Anne’s as a nurse, director of the nursing school and hospital administrator. After leaving St. Anne’s Hospital she ministered at St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago, Indiana for 10 years as the hospital administrator.

Sister Stephen was a lobbyist for the Illinois Nursing Association after she impulsively got up during a Nurses Association meeting and defended the three-year hospital schools of nursing. She said she spent many hours in Springfield, Illinois legislature not only working to pass a new Nurse Practice Act, but also other legislative maters.

Sister Stephen served as the PHJC Provincial Superior of the American Province from 1979-1985.

After leaving office she returned to St. Catherine Hospital as Coordinator, Mission and Philosophy Education and then as Vice President of Mission Effectiveness at Ancilla Systems Incorporated, Hobart, Indiana. In 1997 she served the PHJC community, wrote a series of books on the history of the Poor Handmaids and volunteered her time at Nazareth Home. She was a wonderful storyteller and writer.

She retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2012.

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

After nearly a 46 year career in education, with the past 8 years spent as president of Ancilla College, Dr. Ron May, was celebrated Saturday, June 7th as he prepares to enter retirement. Dr. May, a native Hoosier from southern Indiana, began his education at Vincennes University and eventually earned a doctoral degree from IU in Bloomington. He has had a long career in education including teaching K-12 and higher education and serving in higher ed. administration.

Saturday¹s celebration took place at The Center at Donaldson where over 100 family, friends, colleagues, and community members showed up to wish May well. The event was hosted by the Ancilla College Board of Trustees. May was presented with several honors and departing gifts including a resolution from Tusculum College in TN honoring him as an alumnus and former Dean of Faculty, a plaque featuring the Ancilla Domini Chapel from the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, the sponsors of Ancilla College, and a Captain¹s Chair engraved with Dr. May¹s name, years of service and Ancilla College seal from the Board of Trustees.

Dr. May reflected after the event: "It has been a great honor to have served as President of Ancilla College these last eight years. The mission and values of the college are close to my heart and that made it easy to serve and hard to step down. My entire career has been a blessing. It has led me and our family to many colleges and communities. That diversity has enabled us to enjoy a broad range of experiences over the course of my career. But this is not an end. It is a new beginning and we look forward to what the next phase of our lives together may bring."

Sister Margaret Hanon, PHJC passed away on May 29, 2014, at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to Otto and Fannie (Stocking) Hanon in Gary, Indiana on December 28, 1921. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 25, 1942. She has one living sister, Sister Mary Boby, PHJC.

Sister Margaret ministered in education for 55 years. She taught, or was principal, in several schools in Southern Illinois and throughout Indiana and Minnesota. She said, “I enjoyed the challenges and gained valuable experiences with each move. I especially cherished the two years at Holy Cross School in Wendelin, Illinois, a rural parish in the Belleville Diocese.”

Her last teaching ministry was at Ancilla College as an English Professor. After leaving full-time teaching, Sister Margaret continued to be involved as a volunteer, tutor, and Advocacy Coordinator. Throughout her years in education she also played the organ at many of the ministries. She retired in 1997.

May Sister Margaret rest in peace!

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

On May 18, 2014 at 2 p.m. Ancilla College held their annual pinning ceremony at the Catherine Kasper Life Center. Approximately 150 people were in attendance for the pinning of 17 students who have completed the degree of ASN @ Ancilla College. Students were pinned with the Ancilla College nursing pin exclusive to the College¹s nursing program by friends, family, or faculty who are also nurses. It is a way of passing the torch so to speak to the next generation of nurses.

Donna Ignatavicius was the guest speaker for the ceremony. Donna is a renowned book author and nurse leader in nursing education. Donna spoke of the four C's of nursing care.

After the ceremony, students and guests were received by Mrs. Ignatavicius and nursing faculty. Cake and punch was served.

PHJC's Coming Home

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ are organizing several events called “PHJCs Coming Home.” The purpose of these events is for the Sisters to reconnect with the people in some of the areas in which they have ministered and to share who they have been, who they are today and who they hope to be in the future.

The first Coming Home event will take place in Southern Illinois from June 26-29, 2014. Over 30 Sisters have signed up to visit Southern Illinois and to reconnect with all who have been a part of their lives.

Various activities are being planned at several of the parishes in the Belleville Diocese and at Mater Dei High School in Breese, Illinois. The Sisters invite everyone to join them at Eucharistic Liturgies, prayers, Vocation Day, meals with friends and parishioners, a Reunion for Former PHJCs and Alumni from Ancilla Domini High School, and a Festival with food, music and fun. Something for all ages!

For more information and to register for any of the events, click on the Coming Home Tab above. We hope to see you there!

Page 10 of 29