How Franciscan Sister Pen Pals Came to Be

Paul Keggington

May 21, 2009

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Some educators’ objectives in seeking pen pals for their students include improving reading and writing skills or learning more about another country. From another point of view, Second Grade Teachers of Holy Angels Catholic School, West Bend, WI, desired their students to make friends with religious Sisters and learn about their lifestyle. Thus began an already seven year old  friendship of exchanging letters between the little ones and the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity during this special First Communion year.

img_5613.jpgOn May 21, 2009, Sister Maria Casetta, OSF, original contact with Holy Angels School  when a community of Franciscan Sisters lived at San Damiano Convent, Slinger, WI, and other Sisters who are currently in touch with their second grade friends, met their pen pals face to face at the Motherhouse in Manitowoc, WI. Students, teachers, and parents also toured near by St. Francis Convent, as well as enjoyed lunch on the lawn overlooking Silver Lake.

Here’s a letter written February 21, 2003 to Sister Rosalani Gomes, OSF, who continues to be in touch with Rachel and her family in 2009:

Dear Sister Rosalani,

I am writing to you to let you know how much our daughter, Rachel Wilberg, enjoys being your pen pal. Rachel is a 2nd grader at Holy Angels Elementary School in West Bend. She has been your pen pal since the beginning of the school year, and thoroughly enjoys the distant/writing relationship she has built with you. Each time she gets one of your letters and/or notes she comes home and is very excited to share this with both me (her mom) and her dad.

img_5620_edited-2.jpgRecently, you sent her a delightful valentine note, stickers and photo of yourself. Your photo made it to our dinner table and soon became the topic of our conversation. There is no chance that the photo would have been “thrown out” as you suggested, once it was viewed. The photo has now given a smiling face to the warm words Rachel receives from you. Each note you write seems apparent that you have really invested time in getting to know and learn about Rachel. You have asked her specific and personal questions about her little brother and her dog, and this has made her feel as though you are truly a long-time, dear friend to her.

I just wanted to thank you for making Rachel feel so important and special. She, and our son, Riley, are truly the best gifts we have been given. We are honored to see that you have made a connection with her and have positively influenced her 2nd grade experiences. Thank you again for your prayers and kindness. You are special!

With our Appreciation and Blessings,

Renee and Ralph

Does this community of  Catholic religious do any further correspondence with children? Some Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity also write letters to students at St. Mary/St. Michael School, Cato, WI.

Do you have any experience of a pen pal?�

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