Latest News

Latest News

As members of LCWR, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ support this statement.

Word Gathering (Spring 2021)

Wednesday, 07 April 2021 17:05
 Joe

April 7, 1927 - October 26, 2020

Strengthened by the Holy Sacraments, Agatha DeBrock, Associate from Leopold, Missouri, passed peacefully into the arms of Jesus on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020.

Born Agatha Bernadine Tenholder to Martin and JoHannah Tenholder April 7, 1927, she was the third of six children. As a child, she loved swinging on the barn swing, the outdoors and her family. Agatha graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1946. She met her future husband, Edward DeBrock, at a dance where he was playing music. They married on August 27, 1947. From their union, they were blessed with four children, Elaine, Philip, Debbie and Kathy, all living in Leopold; nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Agatha celebrated her thirty-third year as a Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Associate this year. She is survived by a sister, Juliana Elfrink, also a PHJC Associate. Together as Associates, they often worked side by side with the PHJC Sisters who ministered in Cairo, IL. They would meet them for dinner or offer their summer cottage as a place to find rest from their ministries. Agatha was a faithful member of St. John's Catholic Church in Leopold. She was a past president of the Legion of Mary, past president of the Ladies Sodality, a Parish School of Religion teacher since 1953 and a proud Red Cross volunteer. Her Catholic faith meant everything to her.

Agatha joins her parents; four siblings; her husband; her son, Philip and two grandchildren, Christopher and Jessica in heaven.

The Funeral Mass was held on November 2, 2021 at St. John’s Catholic Church with the Rev. David Coon officiating.

 Joe

March 22, 1931 - November 1, 2020

Richard "Dick" Mitchell, Sr. age 89, of Quincy passed-away peacefully surrounded by his children. Dick was born in Mifflin County, PA on March 22, 1931, a son of John Henry and Florence May (Lynch) Mitchell. He married Barb Mason on June 21, 1952 in Quincy's St. Boniface Catholic Church and she survives. Dick was the father of seven sons and ten daughters; grandfather of sixty-eight; great grandfather of seventy; and great great grandfather of six.

Dick served his country as a member of the U.S. Army. He worked at Gardner Denver for twenty-three years prior to his retirement. He was devout Catholic who was actively involved at the former St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, serving as a Eucharistic Minister for several years and was part of the Over-the-Hill Gang. He was an Associate of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ for twenty-six years, he volunteered as a member of the St. Vincent Home Auxiliary, he had membership in the Knights of Columbus and W.C.U. Dick participated in Teens Encounter Christ, Quest, Cursillo and Residents Encounter Christ.

Dick liked camping and being outdoors. He had been active with both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts. He was known as Smokey the Bear at Camp Saukenauk, and he enjoyed his Boy Scout trips and canoeing.

He worked hard to provide for his family instilling in his children the ethic of hard work by his example.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held November 6, 2020 at in St. Francis Solanus Catholic Church. Interment in Calvary Cemetery.

 Rita

January 14, 1941 - September 25, 2020

Rita T. Nordhaus, age 79, of Germantown, passed away Friday, September 25, 2020 at her home.

She was born January 14, 1941 in Trenton, the daughter of the late Henry and Elizabeth Nordman, Fischer. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Rev. Henry J Fischer; and brothers-in-law, Larry Theising, Von Wheeler, and Arlo Millican. Surviving are her husband Franklin Nordhaus of Germantown, whom she married October 12, 1965. Rita was the mother of three and grandmother of three.

Rita formerly worked at Germantown Trust and Savings Bank in Bartelso and Community Bank of Trenton. She was a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church and Altar Sodality in Germantown, Mater Dei Mothers and Friends, former religion teacher, Girl Scout Leader, and Boy Scout Den Mother. In addition, Rita volunteered at Aviston Countryside Manor; was the dining room hostess at the church picnic for many years; and was an avid blood donor. She enjoyed playing cards, traveling, playing jokes on her family at Christmas, going to her grandchildren’s sporting events, and spending time with her family. Per her fellow PHJC Associate and friend, Kit Timmerman, Rita was always an optimist, and she spent much time praying. She said Rita loved going out to eat with friends, especially a group of friends that all attended Ancilla Domini. This year Rita was honored for her 10th anniversary as a PHJC Associate.

Memorial Mass was held September 30, 2020 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Germantown with Rev. Adrian Fischer and Rev. James Buerster concelebrating. Interment followed in St. Boniface Cemetery, Germantown.

Join us on August 15, 2021 at 10 a.m. EDT, as we celebrate...

In Memory of Sister Agnes Muehlenfeld, PHJC

Monday, 11 January 2021 12:03

Sister Agnes Muehlenfeld (Joan), Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, died on January 7, 2021 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana.

She was born in Quincy, Illinois on June 17, 1928 to Arthur and Caecilia (Broemmel) who preceded her in death along with her brothers James, Arthur and Joseph and her sisters Virginia Muehlenfeld, Rita Schulte and Milly Bruce. Sister was the sixth of seven children.

Sister Agnes entered the Poor Handmaids at the age of 18 in 1946. She professed her vows on June 25, 1949. Her ministry included time in Gary, IN and Milwaukee, WI. In both of these missions, she was a house Sister and cared for the needs of the Sisters who lived there. Sister’s longest ministry for 50 years was at the PHJC Motherhouse in Donaldson, IN. The Sisters lovingly recall that part of her ministry consisted in playing jokes on people. She considered this as her “hobby.” Sister lived her life of innocent fun, but Sister felt the favorite part of being a sister was the service she was able to offer to God for many years and the great graces she received in that service.

She officially retired on July 4, 2017 when she moved to the Catherine Kasper Home.

A private visitation will be held at the Ancilla Domini Chapel at the Center of Donaldson, IN on Friday, January 15, 2021 from 9:30 am to 11 am EST. The Mass of Resurrection will follow in the Chapel at 11:00 am EST and burial will follow the Liturgy in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Donaldson, IN. The services will be livestreamed beginning at 11:00 am EST: www.poorhandmaids.org/live.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, PO Box 1, Donaldson, Indiana 46513 or on www.poorhandmaids.org.

In Memory of Sister Margaret Urban, PHJC

Monday, 11 January 2021 10:23

Sister Margaret Urban (formerly Sister Raymond), Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ (PHJC) died on January 5, 2021 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana.

She was born in Wanlock, Iowa to Thomas and Mary (Slahta) who preceded her in death along with her brothers Bill, Thomas and Frank McEllis and her sisters Leona Vilianoff and Marie Spencer. She was the oldest of 6 children. Sister Margaret is survived by several nieces.

Sister Margaret entered the Poor Handmaid Community on December 1, 1942 taking the name Sister Raymond and professed her vows on June 25, 1945.

Sister Margaret received her B.A. from Alverno College Milwaukee WI and her Master’s degree from St. Mary College Winona MN. She was a Teacher/Principal for her initial years in ministry. She ministered at St. Augustine Chicago IL; St. Joseph Mishawaka IN; Angel Guardian Orphanage Chicago IL; St. Boniface Edwardsville IL; St. Monica Mishawaka IN; and St. Mary’s East Chicago IN. In 1987 she joined the community at St. Catherine of Siena Convent and for 18 years she provided Parish Ministry specifically to shut-ins. In 2005 she moved to the PHJC Motherhouse in Donaldson IN and provided community service. Sister was a witty conversationalist and had a wonderful sense of humor. She was an endearing friend and advocate for the elderly. Most especially Sister enjoyed her moments spending time before the Blessed Sacrament.

Sister Margaret lived for 2 years at Catherine’s Cottage and in 2015 she moved to the Catherine Kasper Home at the Center of Donaldson, IN.

A private visitation will be held at the Ancilla Domini Chapel at the Center of Donaldson, IN on Monday, January 11, 2021 from 9:30 am to 11 am EST. The Mass of Resurrection will follow in the Chapel at 11:00 a.m. EST and burial will follow the Liturgy in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Donaldson, IN. The services will be livestreamed beginning at 11:00 am EST: www.poorhandmaids.org/live.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, PO Box 1, Donaldson, Indiana 46513 or on www.poorhandmaids.org.

Word Gathering (Fall 2020)

Thursday, 03 December 2020 14:57

In Memory of Sister Julia Barry, PHJC

Wednesday, 25 November 2020 09:16

Sister Julia Barry (Catherine), Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ (PHJC) died on November 23, 2020 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was 95 years of age.

Sister was born in Belleville, IL to Patrick and Julia (Geehan) who preceded her in death along with her only sibling, Sister Christine Barry PHJC. Her parents were born in Ireland. Sister is survived by very special cousins.

Sister Julia entered the Poor Handmaid Community on September 8, 1943 and she professed her vows on June 25, 1946. On the occasion of her 70th Jubilee sister stated: “As I reflect on my life, I am grateful for the 70 years of my vowed life as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ. Seventy years ago, I did not realize the journey God had for me, or the plan of ministry He had for me. Now after many years of living in Community, I would gladly do it all over again.”

Sister Julia ministered in a variety of ways over the years, including homemaker, childcare, parish ministry, care for the elderly and community service. Places of ministry included St. Henry, Chicago IL; Angel Guardian Orphanage, Chicago IL; St. Vincent Villa, Fort Wayne IN; St. John Orphanage Belleville IL; St. Boniface Edwardsville IL; St. Mary Edwardsville IL; St. Augustine Chicago IL; Holy Angels School Gary IN; and 24 years of community service at the PHJC Motherhouse in Donaldson, IN.

She officially retired to Catherine Kasper Home in September 2016 at the Center in Donaldson, IN.

A private visitation will be held at the Ancilla Domini Chapel Friday, November 27, 2020 from 9:30 am to 11 am EST. The Mass of Resurrection will follow in the Chapel at 11:00 a.m. EST and burial will follow the Liturgy in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Donaldson, IN. The services will be livestreamed at: www.poorhandmaids.org/live.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, PO Box 1, Donaldson, Indiana 46513 or on www.poorhandmaids.org.

The Provincial Leadership of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ congratulate Archbishop Wilton Gregory on his appointment as a Cardinal in the Catholic Church. As members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, we support the below statement.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious rejoices over the news of the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a cardinal in the Catholic Church. Over the years we have been grateful to Archbishop Gregory’s leadership within the church where he has not only been a strong pastoral presence, but also a fearless outspoken critic of injustice. His public stances on many critical matters such as the repair of the US immigration system, race relations, climate change, sexual abuse within the church, LGBTQ matters, and much more reveal his deep integrity and courage.

In making this historic appointment of the first African-American cardinal, Pope Francis is clearly giving a message about the importance of assuring racial diversity at all levels of society and within the church. We are pleased that the African-American voice will be represented in this important decision-making body.

As an organization headquartered in the Washington archdiocese, we are especially pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with Archbishop Gregory. We look forward to this continuing relationship and congratulate him on this important recognition of his gifts and abilities as an outstanding leader.

The Provincial Leadership of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ endorse this statement as members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

The presidency and staff of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious congratulate President-elect Joe Biden, and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris and promise to work with them to build a society worthy of the values to which our imperfect union aspires.

After a difficult election season, it is time for us to take up the twin tasks of reconciliation and healing. In these challenging times it is critically important that we break through that which divides us one from another, repair fractured relationships and reclaim our essential unity.

The people of this pluralistic nation form a diverse community characterized by different beliefs, experiences, and interests. We know that our differences can be our greatest strengths; our disagreements, opportunities to seek the truth. Our challenge is to embrace those differences and together seek the common good lest we rend the bonds that unite us.

Now is the time to make space in our hearts and our communities for the needs and concerns of all God’s people, the undocumented mother, the Midwest farmer, the unemployed steel-worker, the suburban business woman, and the children and elders consigned to live in poverty. It is time to tear down the walls, real or imagined, which divide us by gender, race, class, geography, lifestyle, ideology, political party, and religious belief and to make room in our body politic for all who have been disaffected, disenfranchised, and discarded.

Now is the time to banish the fear that infects our souls and diminishes our hope. There is no room in this nation for fear of the other; no need to fear change; no reason to fear the future. This is a nation built on the dreams of our ancestors and the visions of our children. Our task is to make room at the table for every voice and every vision.

We thank those who turned out in record numbers to exercise their right to vote in a peaceful and respectful way. Their clear commitment to this democratic experiment of ours bodes well for the success of the difficult task that lies ahead.

We know that the work will be slow and arduous, and yet with Catholic sisters across this nation we renew our commitment to exercise courage in the face of injustice, fear and division. We will not shrink from the challenge before us to protect the sacredness of all human life, to dismantle white supremacy, welcome the stranger, care for creation, and to stand with those who have been exploited and marginalized by our throwaway culture.

We promise once again to be the healing presence of God. We pledge to hold the needs and concerns of all in the heart of a loving and ever faithful God. We recommit ourselves to the sacred task of building the Beloved Community of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so eloquently and we invite all people of good will to join us.

LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has more than 1300 members, who represent approximately 80 percent of the more than 40,000 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.

Contact: Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM|LCWR Communications Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Donaldson, Ind. and Charlottesville, Va.– September, 2020 – The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ (PHJC) is partnering with Fermata Energy to install a bidirectional electric vehicle (EV) charging system on The Center at Donaldson campus, located 90 miles east of Chicago, and 35 miles southwest of South Bend, Indiana.

Through collaboration, the Poor Handmaids sought to address the emerging needs of the surrounding communities through the lens of integral ecology, and saw an opportunity to build resilience into its sustainable agenda by installing a bidirectional charging system for its fleet of EVs.

“The Poor Handmaids keep pushing the envelope with technologies that accelerate the shift toward renewable energy. The more we can produce, monitor and manage flows of energy at The Center at Donaldson campus, the better,” said Adam Thada, Director of Ecological Relationships at The Center at Donaldson. “Fermata Energy’s bidirectional charging system provides that flexibility and will help us continue electrifying our fleet in an affordable way.”

Fermata Energy’s bidirectional charging system for EVs is the first in the world to receive UL’s new North American safety standard, UL 9741, the Standard for Bidirectional Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging System Equipment third-party safety certification. Fermata Energy’s V2G technology uses bidirectional charging and proprietary V2G integration software to turn EVs into sources of energy, giving their customers a clean and reliable alternative.

“Our patented system works by turning an EV fleet or building into a revenue-generating, clean-grid supporting energy management platform, without the need for major capital expenditures,” said Fermata Energy founder and CEO David Slutzky. “Fermata Energy's V2G solution will enable organizations such as the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ to maximize the use of renewable energy sources and reduce grid-operating costs.”

About Fermata Energy

Fermata Energy’s turnkey V2X system empowers electric vehicle (EV) owners to make money while their cars are parked. Fermata Energy makes it possible for electric vehicles to combat climate change, increase energy resilience, and reduce energy costs. For more information, visit www.fermataenergy.com, and follow us on Twitter (@FermataEnergy), LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram (@fermata__energy).

About The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ

Called in Baptism to proclaim by our lives and our works the presence of God in the world, we Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ accept the invitation to live a vowed life in community. We are inspired by Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and Saint Katharina Kasper, our foundress, to listen prayerfully, live simply, serve joyfully.

MEDIA CONTACTS
Fermata Energy:
Daniel Cherrin | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 313-300-0932
Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ:
Alicia Hammonds | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 574-935-1768

The Alliance for Catholic Education at Notre Dame sponsors a women’s vocation night every July in collaboration with the Chicago Archdiocesan Vocation Association. Sr. Connie Bach worked with Katie Moran and Taylor Kelly to plan this year’s event held virtually due to COVID-19.

Twelve undergrad and graduate students studying to become educators and volunteering throughout the country spent the evening in prayer and conversation with nine CAVA members.

During our panel presentation, topics such as community living, prayer life, the vows, discernment and “next steps” in the process were discussed. Breakout sessions were offered to ask questions of the sisters about these topics. These were followed by three sessions of “vocation speed dating,” also in break out rooms, where discerners could ask any questions of the sisters. The time was not nearly long enough as the women were very interested in the lives of the sisters!

There was great energy in the virtual rooms! Technology helped us to quickly form a sense of community despite COVID-19!

We closed with the following prayer:

Let your gift be to honor God with your heart, with your life, with every
breath you take and in every moment you are awake. May God’s will for
you be revealed in the right time and space, and may God find you ready
to follow that plan for a beautiful and precious life!

Sr. Connie Bach, PHJC
CAVA Events Coordinator

Get to know more about Sister Mary Ellen Goeller, Executive Director, System Services, in her new role as one of the four new executive directors at The Center at Donaldson.

What drew you to this new role within the ministries of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ?

As Executive Director of Ancilla Systems, Inc. (ASI), there were advantages of me moving into this new role, especially since the employees of ASI and The Center at Donaldson are entwined in their daily ministry.

What have you enjoyed the most so far in your new role?

I knew the other directors because of my work with them in their different roles and responsibilities in the past. While I always knew many of the activities that were happening at The Center at Donaldson, I especially enjoy working together with this group while we now talk about different events, listen, discuss any ideas and concerns, and come to a consensus as a team. We are really trying to make sure that sisters, residents and staff are aware and hear the same information on a timely basis.

What are your beliefs about motivating, influencing, serving and leading others?

As a PHJC, I/we are grateful to see the great leadership and care for the earth, as well as, everyone living, working and coming to The Center at Donaldson to see what a special place it is. I am so grateful and know there are many gifted individuals who share in our charism and we will journey into the future together.

Image Gallery

East Chicago, IN — Nazareth Home, a 24-hour group home for medically compromised babies and children has announced that it will be closing its doors after more than 25 years of service to Indiana children. Currently, there are no children living at Nazareth Home, and the organization will be officially closed on August 1, 2020.

Founded in 1993 by The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ to confront the growing problem of abused or abandoned children with unique medical needs, Nazareth Home has served 230 children from newborn to age six (6). Located in a quiet neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana, children were placed at Nazareth Home through referrals from the Department of Child Services and received the spiritual, physical, and emotional care that is so essential to early childhood development in a home-setting.

In early 2018, Nazareth Home received its license to be a group home. That same year, the Federal Government passed a bill that included the Family First Act, which drastically reduced the number of foster children placed into group homes. As a result, Nazareth Home, like other group homes, has been facing low census the past several years to the point that in mid-July there were no children in the home.

“This is a sad time for all of us. We can take comfort, when we remember all the special children, over the past 25+ years, who have better lives because they received spiritual, emotional and physical care at Nazareth Home,” stated Sister Joetta Huelsmann, Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, Provincial.

A special closing ceremony will be held for the dedicated staff and volunteers.

Nazareth Home is a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and administered by Ancilla Systems, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Take our survey to help us improve Word Gathering - Click Here

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ are aware of the sexual abuse allegations that have been made against liturgical composer, David Haas, and stand in solidarity with the victims. As new allegations of abusive conduct continue to be reported against Mr. Haas, we hold each victim and their families in prayer.

As a member of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ support the following views and statements made by this national organization of women religious.

Click here for the latest issue.

Resolutions to Action (RTA) is a quarterly two-page resource on a current justice issue, distributed electronically by LCWR. Published by the LCWR Global Concerns Committee, this resource provides theological reflection, social analysis and suggested actions.

One of the Core Values of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ is: The respect and dignity of the individual.

Page 1 of 17