Franciscan Sisters Begin New Mission in Michigan

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

August 29, 2017

Beginning a new mission in the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Sister Marcelyn Gervais, Sister Jacqueline Spaniola and Sister Carolee Vanness, moved August 2017 in the former St. Anne Rectory, Chassell, Michigan. Each of the Sisters introduced herself in a St. Albert the Great University Parish summer newsletter. Find here their personal accounts:

SISTER JACQUELINE SPANIOLA. I am honored to be missioned by my religious community to come and be a part of the Houghton and Chassell communities. I grew up in the Flint, Michigan, area and I am the tenth of eleven children. I have been a professed religious since 1972. My years as a Catholic school teacher (grades 5-8), a vocation director, religious education and adult faith formation director, and most recently working in the diocesan religious education and youth ministry department of the Diocese of Green Bay have given me the opportunity to travel to several states and to teach in Hawaii. I enjoy playing cards, learning computer programs, reading, teaching the faith, giving retreats and spending time with family and friends. I am excited to serve the St. Albert the Great and St. Anne faith communities.

SISTER MARCELYN GERVAIS. I was born in Dryburg, Michigan, the third of five children. Practicing our faith and helping others were a “way of life.” After high school graduation I entered the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. I studied and earned a B.A. degree from Silver Lake College, and later a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. All of my teaching and administrative years were in Wisconsin and Michigan. Retiring from the education field in 2002, I became Parish Assistant at St. Christopher’s Parish in Marquette were I truly love working with all age groups-especially the “seniors” and look forward to continuing that ministry at St. Anne’s in Chassell.

SISTER CAROLEE VANNESS. I was born in the small town of Algoma, Wisconsin, the third of nine children. We attended Catholic school and were taught by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. After eighth grade I felt called by God to join the Sisters. I entered the aspirancy, and after high school I became a postulant and began my studies. In 1974 I professed my first vows and made my final profession in 1980! My ministry has been teaching for 41 years. I’m looking forward to teaching first and second grades at Sacred Heart School in L’Anse. Of course, I’m praying for a mild winter and for no animal encounters when traveling! Know that your needs and intentions are dear to my heart.Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie and Council Members Sister Adrianna Schouten, Sister Anne Marie Lom, Sister Myra Jean Sweigart and Sister Theresa Feldkamp recently traveled to visit the Sisters and see their new surroundings first hand. Indeed, Pastor Father Ben Hasse was a gracious host. It was a delight to meet FOCUS missionaries and other young people assisting with outreach at the campus ministry center. (Needless to say, Father Ben’s raspberry yogurt pie-fruit picked from the parish garden-was a special treat amid touring!)

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