Franciscan Sisters’ Community Gathering One of Hope

One day in the summer, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity gather together at our Motherhouse in Manitowoc for an all Community meeting. It’s a wonderful time to rejoice in our mutual call to share life in Christ.

Our life of unity begins and culminates in the celebration of the Eucharist. Mass is a priority in the schedule for those who follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ. We also treasure the fraternal charity, so dear to the heart of St. Francis. Conversation with our Sisters throughout the day is all about strengthening our common bond. Presentations keep us all informed on all that is going on in the moment and in the next year.

Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie’s address is always one of encouragement to live the Gospel with passionate zeal. She announced the names of a group of Sisters who will lead efforts for our 150th anniversary in 2019. Of course, there are many subcommittees, so everyone is invited to be involved given their own expertise and interests. 

Our hope is fostered by our service, not only at our Motherhouse and other missions in WI, but also going forth in joy to ministry in AZ, MI, MO, MS and OH. Our Sisters sent for the first time to St. Louis, MO and Chassell, MI will receive special supportive prayers. Watch for more information on our newest missions in the future. Our Sisters are also starting anew at St. Francis School, Yuma, AZ.


Franciscan Sisters Grateful for Manitowoc Serrans’ Hospitality

At a recent summer indoor picnic Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and other area priests and religious, received the generous hospitality of  the Manitowoc Serrans. Conversation was upbeat. Food was plentiful. Prayers offered together were sincere for vocations to the priesthood and vowed religious life. The gathering numbered about 90 people.

A Franciscan missionary Saint Junipero Serra is well known as the 18th century founder of a string of California missions. Like Saint Serra, the Serrans of today put faith into action. Whether through meetings, vocational programs, or personal involvement in school, parish and diocesan activities, Serrans accept the challenge of fostering vocations and encouraging spiritual growth.

Present at this gathering were Roncalli Catholic High School Campus Minister Taylor Geiger and Lasallian Youth volunteers. The young people aim to be agents of love in the spirit of St. John the Baptist de La Salle.  They commit themselves respond with bold creativity in the world today to a variety of service projects. Collaborating with the Manitowoc Serrans is one of those ways of outreach.At the end of the evening, Sisters offered our traditional sung blessing of St. Francis over our benefactors. Please join us in prayer for all the vocations needed in our Church.

Franciscan Sisters Witness 50 Years of Gospel Life

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie congratulates our Sisters celebrating 50 years of religious profession. Before their Reception as Novices, these Sisters chose the name Prophets of Peace as a title to model their Gospel lives.

Good morning and special congratulations to our Golden Jubilarians! We have gathered at this festive breakfast to celebrate the Prophets of Peace: Sister Ann Carla, Sister Annette, Sister Bernadette, Sister Charleen, Sister Donalise, Sister Jan, Sister Juden, Sister Kay, Sister Kathlyn, Sister Laura, Sister Marsaia and Sister Mary Kaye.

How appropriate your group title, Prophets of Peace, is for each of you, for the Congregation and for the whole world. A group title is chosen to unite individual endeavors toward a goal and strengthen bonds with one another through the years. According to the internet dictionary, a prophet is a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the Will of God. Peace is a state of tranquility, quiet, calm. Peace is freedom from civil disturbance, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. Peace is harmony in personal relationships.

Peace has been sought after from the beginning of time. This can be confirmed in the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

We recall that when Jesus entered the upper room after the Resurrection He said, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. (John 20:19-31)  In the first reading for the Mass this afternoon we hear from the Prophet Isaiah (55:10-11) his persuasion from God that peace is a reality. “So shall my Word be that goes forth from my mouth; my Word shall not return to me void, but shall do my Will achieving the end for which I sent it.

The Gospel Parable that will be proclaimed today is that of the Sower. We can liken the seeds of the Gospel to the Prophets of Peace and the many ways each of you carried out the Will of God through the various ministries in which you lived your vowed commitment and served God’s people in order to help build up the Kingdom of God.God sent His Word of Peace to every person who met you through your witness as a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity. The fruit of your sowing is not for you. It was to make Jesus known so that relationships with Him would flourish and grow. St. Paul in the letter to the Romans adds confidence in the expectation and hope for peace to come.

May this day be a day of joy-filled celebration with your Sisters, family and friends. In the name of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, thank you for the 50 years of being a Prophet of Peace, an inspired teacher and proclaimer of God’s Will. May The Lord give you Peace! Have a wonderful day!

Is calling you to be a Franciscan Sister? Click here.

Franciscan Sisters Health Assembly Centers in Christ with All of Creation

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity hold a ‘health workshop’ each year in the summer for our Sisters. This year Sister Roberta  (Bobbie) Doneth, a Sister of Saint Francis of Penance and Charity from Tiffin, OH, was invited to present on Sisters in Christ with All of Creation. Sister Bobbie serves as a retreat leader, spiritual director and a Franciscan speaker out of Canton, OH.

Her helpful talk centered on healthy self-talk amid building a spirit of goodness and gratitude toward others. It can be summarized in seven points in reversing negative inner chatter.

  1. Listen critically to what you are saying to your self and how you are saying it.
  2. Create psychological distance from yourself.
  3. Fit your conversation to your goal.
  4. Treat yourself as a friend.
  5. Say ‘I don’t’, rather than ‘I can’t’.
  6. Pray for God’s goodness for all you love and have difficulty loving.
  7. Live in gratitude!


Catholic Extension Recognizes Franciscan Religious

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and all involved at St. Gabriel Mercy Center, Mound Bayou, MS are one of the organizations recognized by Catholic Extension for bringing the light of Christ to poor communities across the United States. Read more.

The St. Gabriel of Mercy Center (Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi) in Mound Bayou in the Mississippi Delta, the poorest region in the poorest state, is led by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. The sisters partner with local organizations to provide services such as the St. Gabriel Closet, parenting and GED classes, a computer learning lab, senior services and summer youth programs. Said Franciscan Sister Monica Mary DeQuardo, Mound Bayou, there are many who stand on the margins of life, whether by choice or by chance. That is who we help.

Catholic Extension builds churches and the Church in America’s poorest place. Since its founding in 1905, Catholic Extension has distributed more than $1.2 billion in today’s dollars to dioceses and parishes that cannot support themselves. Catholic Extension is providing funding and resources for church buildings, leaders and ministries in order to build up and strengthen Catholic faith communities and unleash the transformative power of faith.

Franciscan Sisters Second Camino Pilgrimage

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Second Camino Pilgrimage was another hopeful heritage journey. Walkers and bikers gathered near the location of a former public school where Teresa Gramlich, our Community foundress, taught in Pine Grove, WI. Today this area is called Whitelaw, WI.

Archivist Sister Caritas Strodthoff read Mother Gabriel’s (Teresa Gramlich) own account of her days as a public school teacher. On the weekend Teresa walked or received a wagon ride to Clarks Mills from some of the parents of the children she taught.  The Fullmer family were especially helpful. Daughter Pauline felt the call to become like her teacher and would eventually become our future Mother Alexia.  

The 7 mile trek to Clarks Mills included walking near the current St. Michael Catholic Church. Very close to this location was the former Fullmer home. After reaching Hempton road outside of town, pilgrims walked peacefully, but picked up the pace with the arrival of flying insects in the area called Mosquito Junction. 

On arrival in Clarks Mills, cradle of our religious community, there was time for resting, more conversation, personal prayer and Eucharist. Father Richard Klingheisen, current pastor, presided at an 11 a.m. Eucharistic liturgy. Lunch followed on the parish front lawns. 

Pilgrims then left the church grounds and trekked from Morgan Road to Highway H to Century Road, before arriving at Alverno Road via Middle Road. Blessed with cold water on the way from a motorist, we walked among many waves of welcome from other drivers the last 9 miles. Needless to say with the coming of our 150th anniversary in two years, we are already planning next summer’s Camino. 

Franciscan Sisters Feature Sarah Hall’s Window at St. Richard Catholic Church, Borrego Springs, CA

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are delighted to feature Sarah Hall’s Easter Window found in St. Richard Catholic Church Borrego Springs, CA. With St. Francis, contemplate the beauty of sister glass! Peer into the lattice and be renewed in the grace of the moment.

In the glass you will see the desert landscape of St. Richards reflected in the window design.  Behind the crucified Christ is a opening of light and regeneration celebrating the resurrection.  It was a wonderful experience to create this window for the community at Borrego Springs, CA.

-Sarah Hall

About Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall is a stained glass artist from Canada.  Sarah Hall is internationally recognized for her large-scale art glass installations and solar projects. Over the past decade Hall has pioneered a new direction in architectural glass in North America: merging artistic glass design with technical innovations related to green building. Read more here.



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Franciscan Integration Includes Intercultural Sensitivity

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Marcolette Madden and Sister Carmen Marie Diaz facilitated a recent session on Intercultural Developmental Stages for continuing education for our Sisters.

In The Joy of the Gospel (Evangeli Gaudium), Pope Francis asserts: “In the diversity of peoples who experience the gift of God, each in accordance with its own culture, the Church expresses her genuine catholicity and shows forth ‘the beauty of her varied face.'”

Throughout our history, our Community has valued ‘the beauty of her varied face’ through our interactions with a rich variety of cultures. We reflected on the factors which have influenced our individual cultural identities. Delightful to the sharing were siting of experiences of how, in our varied ministries, we became aware of how we adapted to and reflected the cultures we serve over the years.

Also significant and helpful to the session were examples of intercultural competence from Milton Bennett’s Intercultural Developmental Inventory.

  • Denial of Difference
  • Defense Against Difference
  • Minimization of Difference
  • Acceptance of Difference
  • Adaptation to Difference: Cognitive and Behavioral Frame Setting
  • Integration of Difference

Franciscan Heritage: The Letters of Clare to Agnes

Franciscan Sister Louise Hembrecht presented two sessions on The Letters of Clare to Agnes.

The letters of St. Clare to St. Agnes of Prague (Bohemia) focus on God’s tremendous love for us, for all of humanity. Sr. Louise began by putting Clare and Agnes in the context of their time in history. It was a time of change and of political intrigue, but Clare doesn’t focus on the weakness or sin of her time, but rather on God’s love. She encourages Agnes to a God-centered poverty, a poverty that is based on love and generosity. She tells Agnes to place her mind in the mirror of eternity and gaze upon, consider, contemplate Jesus who Agnes desires to follow. Clare is caught up in the poverty, humility, and charity of God and this is her message to Agnes. Contemplation of God is a focus on the mysteries of faith, the crib, the cup, and the cross (or in other words, the Incarnation, the Eucharist, and the Crucified Lord.) It is not, however, an intellectual exercise, but a movement of the heart, of one’s whole being that leads to imitation.

The figure of Christ on the San Damiano Cross with head raised beckoned Clare. The figure of Christ on the Crucifix in St. Mary’s Chapel at the Motherhouse, also with head raised, beckons us to an embrace of Christ Crucified and to a generous response to God’s love. Clare’s letters to Agnes are also a call to us to gaze, consider, contemplate and to follow in the footprints of our God who is Love.

Franciscan Sisters Pray for Priests

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity pray for priests daily. However, in the month of June and July, prayers increase with the celebrations of ordinations of new priests and anniversary dates of many pastors of parishes, administrators in diocesan positions, etc. who serve with faithful love in the name of Christ.

This weekend some of our Sisters were present when Bishop David Ricken ordained Father Adam Bradley, Father Mark Mleziva, Father Matthew Rappl, Father Jon Thorsen and Father Zachary Weber to the priesthood at St. Mary Church, De Pere, WI. The ordination class is the largest in the diocese since 1991. Click here for more of Sam Lucero’s inspiring photos.

St. Francis of Assisi’ Exhortations to the Clergy, written after the Poverello returned from the Middle East, are fitting to share today. St. Francis’ words are ageless.

In every sermon you give, remind people about penance and that no one can be saved unless he receives the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord. When It is sacrificed on the altar by a priest and carried anywhere, let all peoples praise, glorify and honor on bended knee the Lord God living and true. May you announce and preach His praise to all nations in such a way that praise and thanks may always be given to the all-powerful God by all people throughout the world at every hour and whenever bells are rung.

After the celebration in De Pere on Saturday the bells rang loud and long! St. Francis would like that!