Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Fourth Sunday of Easter

Blessings on this Fourth Sunday of Easter! Franciscan Gospel reflection and questions are written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM. They are edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. If you would like to read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here: Franciscan Gospel Reflection April 22 2018 Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Please include this information when printing.

Photos: St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan

John 10:11-18

I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”

Background

The fourth Sunday of Easter is often called “Good Shepherd Sunday.” On this Sunday, in each year of the three-year cycle, the gospel reading is taken from the tenth chapter of John’s gospel, where Jesus draws on the image of a good shepherd in his teaching. The Jewish Christian community would have been familiar with shepherds of the day, and familiar as well with the use of this image in their religious teaching, in places like Psalm 23 and the prophet Ezekiel.

The gospel text for today is composed of two statements, each of which begins with the sentence: “I am the good shepherd.” In the first statement, Jesus portrays himself as a shepherd who takes his commitment to care for his sheep so seriously that he is willing to put his own life. Shepherds of the day were viewed as people who lacked moral responsibility. That Jesus would call himself a good shepherd would have drawn the attention of those who were listening.

Jesus’ second statement uses the image of the shepherd to describe a Christology, the relationship of God to the world in and through the second person of the Trinity. The shepherd is described as having a special and intimate relationship with God, which is extended, through him, to the sheep and beyond. His shepherding reaches beyond his fold to those that belong to other folds. These others also recognize his voice and follow him, becoming part of the “one fold.” He does not do this on his own, but because he is faithful to the will of God.

Shepherds of the day would often secure their sheep in a common pen for the night. In the early hours of the morning they would call to their sheep and lead them to pasture. If a shepherd was able fool a sheep from a different fold into following him, that unfortunate sheep would be slaughtered by the deceitful shepherd. Therefore, Jesus is using the image of a shepherd in a way that would be surprising to the people of the day. He is the shepherd who purposefully calls not only the sheep of his flock, but other flocks as well, not to destroy and take advantage of them, but to give them life.

Reflection Questions

1. Who in contemporary society would you cast in a similar light as a shepherd in Jesus’ day? What would Jesus be saying to you if he called himself a good _______ ?
2. Who are some people who risk their personal safety to protect others from danger? Who do you know personally?
3. Have you ever been in a situation where you put your well-being or reputation at risk to respond to the needs of another?
4. Would it be easier for you to live your life taking on possible personal bodily harm, or giving of yourself over the daily care of a person with special needs?
5. Who do you think Jesus was talking about when he said that he has other sheep not of this fold?
6. In the second portion of this gospel, Jesus talks about his relationship to the Father and to the flock. What qualities of that relationship stand out to you?
7. Can you take time to talk to God about your response to those qualities of God’s relationship to you, or the image of Jesus as a good shepherd, or some other thought that arose in you as you prayed with this text?

Franciscan Convent Hosts Xavier Appleton Silent Retreat

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s home, Holy Family Convent, was visited by Xavier High School, Appleton, Wisconsin teachers Katie Wesolek and Ann McKnight and students. The Theology teachers planned a silent retreat for a few junior and senior girls. All arrived later afternoon Friday and departed about the same time on Saturday.

Near the end of the retreat, a few Franciscan Sisters served on a panel with the retreatants. Represented were Sister Catherine Gilles, a former principal of Xavier, Sister Katherine Warning, former student of the school and Sister Mary Teresa, a current Novice teaching at Roncalli High School, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Students were free to ask their own questions of the panelists.

Discern Your Calling at Franciscan Camp

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are preparing for Camp Franciscan 2018: Do Not Be Afraid! You have found favor with God, June 11-14, 2018. Campers are already representing 5 states. Is God calling you to come?

Here are some reasons why some young women are coming. Do they sound like you?

I have many reasons for wanting to go to camp this summer. Ever since I was a young girl I have always been religious. I thank my parents for planting the seed of faith in me and nourishing it until I was old enough to do it on my own. As a little girl, I have always been intrigued with dedicating my life to God, to living a religious life. I know I am one of many girls and boys who face this problem, who don’t know if a religious life is truly their vocation. This is why I would love to go to camp, to see if this is truly my vocation, to see if that is the life God has planned out for me. – Ana

I would like to experience life as a Sister. To be honest, I really don’t know if I want to be a Sister, but I think if I go to the camp and experience the life of a Sister, I will see if the Sisterhood is for me. My Mom has always told me that if I want to be a Sister, she supports me with my choice. I think this is going to be an amazing adventure and experience for my life. -Jacqueline

I think that an opportunity like this does not come around often and you have to seize every moment. I would like to attend Camp Franciscan for the different learning opportunities. I would definitely love to learn more about the Sisters and how they knew the Sisterhood was their vocation from God. I also feel as this might affect my relationship with God in a positive way. -Katherine

Call or text Sister Julie Ann at 920-323-9632 with any questions. Find registration here. Campers are arranging fundraisers to pay for airline costs. We are grateful to the many generous people who support this experience. Sister Mary Ann Spanjers shares on our Sisters at San Xavier Convent Camp Franciscan Fundraiser.

Some highlights of our Camp Franciscan Fund raiser!

A sunny Sunday in April was filled with lots of home-made bakery, hand-made beautiful items made by the Tohono O’odham Natives, generous gift card donations from Tucson restaurants and donated yard-sale items. The parishioners and visitors of the San Xavier mission supported the fund-raiser for air-fare for the 11 young women going to Camp Franciscan. Many of the young women spent most of the day with the Sisters in the 90 degree sun selling and visiting with all the many people who were so generous with their support. Wisconsin here we come!!!

 

Franciscan Calendar: Saint Zita

For our April Franciscan Calendar Saint, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity highlight Saint Zita. Interestingly, even though she is remembered as a humble care taker of others’ homes, Dante in his Divine Comedy: Inferno, 21, v 38, expected his audience to know something about her. A follower of Saint Francis of Assisi’s Gospel living, her presence at daily Mass, fed her goodness and others’ needs.
Saint Zita-Milano Duomo

As a peasant girl at age 12, Zita began work as a servant in nearby Lucca. She was a pleasant person, who worked hard and was thoughtful of the poor. After years of working, the faithful servant became the head housekeeper. It was at this time that miracles began to happen especially with her concern for the hungry. It was told that one day she was caught by another servant taking leftover bread from the Fatinelli family to feed the poor. This servant reported her actions. When faced with the situation, the head of the household pulled open Zita’s apron, and instead of bread, only flowers fell to the ground. Another time, Zita remained in church past the usual hour of her bread-making for the family. She hastened home, all the while accusing herself of neglecting her duty, and found the bread made and ready for the oven. She never doubted that one of the family or one of the other servants had kneaded it, and going to them, thanked them; but they were surprised. They had not thought to make the bread.

According to legend, when she died at age 60, the church bells spontaneously began to toll. A bright star was also to have appeared above her attic. In 1580, her body was exhumed and found to be incorruptible. Her body remains today on display in a silver casket in San Frediano Church where she had prayed while alive.

Quote: “A servant is not holy if she is not busy; lazy people…is fake holiness.”
St. Zita, lover of Christ and the poor, pray for us.

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Third Sunday of Easter

The Third Sunday of Easter Franciscan Gospel reflection and questions are written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM. They are edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. If you would like to read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here: Franciscan Gospel Reflection April 15 2018 Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Please include this information when printing.

Photos: St. Anne Parish, Chassell, Michigan

Luke 24:35-48

Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

Background

Last week’s gospel was taken from John’s account of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples after the resurrection. In last week’s text he appeared to the disciples twice. The first time Thomas was not present. The second time Thomas was present with the others. The text for this week is from Luke’s account. The texts that the Church has chosen for the Easter Season might give the impression that the timeline of the gospels parallels our own timeline, but that is not the case. Here Luke is describing events that took place soon after Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32). As Luke describes the encounter of the two disciples with Jesus, he tells his readers that it was on “that very day” that the women, Peter, and the beloved disciple had all been to the tomb and discovered it empty. Today’s gospel follows the account of some disciples’ encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. The first line here refers to those disciples telling the others of their experience of Jesus on the road and the breaking of the bread.

The text describes Jesus’ appearance to a rather sizable gathering of disciples. In verses 33-34, not part of the text for today, Luke states, “So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them
who were saying, ‘The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!’”

Here Jesus greets them with the customary greeting of the day, “Peace be with you.” They are startled and terrified, even thinking that Jesus might be a ghost. Jesus first tries to assure them that he is real by inviting them to touch him, and then by eating fish. Having reassured them of his corporal reality, Jesus reassures them that he is truly the promised one. He refers to passages in the Law, the Prophets, and Psalms that point to his suffering and death. Their minds are opened to the profound meaning of their religious tradition. Luke does not tell the reader which passages Jesus referred to that day. Again, Jesus greets them with “Peace be with you.” His reaction to their fear and lack of faith is to demonstrate his physical presence and show them that he is the same person who was betrayed, condemned, and crucified. He also reminds them of his instructions to them. Jesus also makes clear to them that they are to be his witnesses. This commission to witness has been fulfilled already by the fact that two of them had returned from Emmaus with the news of what had taken place.

Reflection Questions

1. Have there been occasions when your emotions have been all over the place? (startled, terrified, filled with doubt and questions, joyful, amazed)
2. How does having questions or being troubled affect your relationship with those close to you? Is that also true for your relationship with God?
3. Are there scripture passages that have brought meaning or comfort to you in difficult times?
4. What would have been some of the possible emotions of the those gathered as the two told of their experience on the road to Emmaus?
5. What do you think would have been your response if you were one of those hearing of their experience on the road?
6. Jesus invites those present to see and touch the wounds of the crucifixion. Is it important to you that Jesus’ risen body still carries the wounds of the crucifixion?
7. Are there people in your parish, community, or family who need to know that Jesus is real?
8. At the end of the gospel text, Jesus tells them “you are witnesses of these things.” How do you respond to these words of Jesus?
9. Can you take some time today to talk with God about this gospel text, Jesus’ desire to show the disciples that he is real, his statement that they are his witnesses, or some other aspect of your relationship with God that arises from this text?

Discernment of Spirits Retreat: Career or Calling

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Jacqueline Spaniola offered a recent Discernment of Spirits Retreat at St. Anne Parish, Chassell, Michigan. We’d like to share thoughts from the retreatants in hopes that others might still consider an April 21 retreat that we are hosting with the Cistercian Nuns at the Valley of Our Lady Monastery, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.

Here’s what touched the hearts of the young women from St. Albert the Great Campus Ministry, Houghton, Michigan.

  • Biggest thing was learning about discerning spirits.
  • The way in which struggles I have are connected.
  • After learning the process of discerning God’s will, I went and prayed for Holy indifference. I would never have thought to ask for that grace.
  • Some of the information were ideas that I had contemplated, but had a hard time putting into words. The time of silence to reflect and learn more touched by heart most.
  • Today, God reiterated to me the goodness that He created me with and asked me to go back to just being with Him instead of always trying to ‘do’.
  • Having the silence during the Reflection periods was a really beautiful way to help me to be open to listening to God in Scripture. He is so good!

To register for the April 21st Discernment of Spirits Retreat with Franciscan Sisters and Cistercian Nuns of Valley of Our Lady Monastery, Prairie du Sac, click here. Call or text Sister Julie Ann at 920-323-9632 with any questions or for more information. One on one time with Sister Jacqueline or one of the Cistercian Nuns is also built into the day for those who desire this time.

Franciscan Sisters at St. Peter Mission Rejoice with Easter Vigil Candidates

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Martha Mary Carpenter, principal at St. Peter Mission School, Bapchule, Arizona, shares about the recent Easter Vigil celebration that welcomed 28 New Catholics.

Rejoice with us! On Holy Saturday we welcomed 28 new Catholics —twenty two are students in our school. This is the ‘breakdown’ of the newly baptized by grade: 2 2 year olds, 3 Pre-K students, 1 Kindergartener, 1 first grader, 2 second graders, 2 third graders, 3 fourth graders, 3 fifth graders, 2 sixth graders, and 5 junior high students, 4 parents (two of which are Sister Hilda Hersant’s former students!)


Interesting facts: The newly baptized are from 7 families.
One whole family, became Catholic on Holy Saturday—Mom, Dad, their 2 children, and their 5 nieces and nephews whom they are raising.
11 girls, 13 boys, 3 Moms, and 1 Dad
Of the 28 baptized, 19 were Confirmed and received their First Holy Communion. Nine were too young to receive all the Sacraments.

Sister Hannah Johnecheck started the Mission’s RCIA Program last year and we Sisters continued the classes, meeting every Wednesday night from 6:00-7:00 p.m.—some classes went much longer.

More families asked for Baptism, but we have a rule that the family must be part of the school for at least two years before being accepted into the RCIA classes. We want to make sure that they have ‘absorbed’ the Catholic culture, have positive Sunday Church attendance and a basic understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus—both in words and in good deeds.

Please PRAY with us:
We are beyond happy for our children and their families. We both cried and celebrated with the families on Holy Saturday during a Mass which seemed endless! Please join us in praying for our children and their families that their roots of faith in JESUS may grow deep and strong and produce great fruit and, hopefully VOCATIONS!

Franciscan Moment: Brother Paul R. Clark OFM Conv

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity feature Brother Paul R. Clark, OFM Conventual as our April Franciscan Moment Feature.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

A native of Louisville, KY I met the friars at St. Louis University (SLU) where I earned a bachelor’s degree. Twenty-five years ago this month I professed vows on the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola (7/31) which is fitting because St. Louis U. is a Jesuit University. I am a friar-brother who ministers in a non-church oriented ministry: I am a Registered Nurse who teaches and researches key nursing issues (such as workplace bullying and workplace stress) at the University of Louisville School of Nursing. Nursing students are the most fabulous students to teach as they are motivated to become professionals and sincerely want to help people

What attracted you to the Franciscans?

Fr. Mario Ross was the campus minister in the dorm where I lived at SLU. He dressed casually, not like a student, but like a campus minister: shorts (when it was warm) or slacks and a black, roman collared shirt with sandals. He was deeply spiritual and very student focused. During finals week he brought boxes of pizza to the dorm floors where we students lived, sat and shared pizza, and then packed up and moved to the next floor. He was kind and gracious and made a positive impression on me. He invited me to live in the friary over two summers while I was an undergrad, and that is where I met and got to know several other really fantastic friars.

What is the challenge of being a friar today?

Poverty and chastity are two vows that we friars (and other religious men and women) take that are not valued by society until after people get to know us. I worked as an Emergency Nurse for a number of years and co-workers would ask me how I bore the difficulty of not having a spouse. I talked about the freedom of having a religious community to root in along with the wings to work locally, nationally, and internationally with the people of God, sick patients, our Franciscan students, etc. No one understood how I could give up “control” of the money I earned, until I pointed out that because of their family’s financial obligations (child’s education, house & car payments, food, utilities, etc.) they generally don’t have control of their money either! After they understood the life which I and the other friars lived (and in some ways the similarities between the our lives), they understood the value of the vows. I believe they find value in the vows after experiencing the power of God in their lives through us friars.

What story or words of St. Francis are dear to you?

I love the story about Francis and the leper. The pre-conversion Francis, the knight and man-about-town, encounters a leper which made him quite afraid. People with leprosy were greatly feared because leprosy was/is so contagious. Francis overcame his fear, saw the Christ in that person who had leprosy, hopped off his horse, and hugged that man. By facing his fears, he overcame them, and he provided a moment of compassion and generosity for a person who generally was ignored at best and feared at worst. More interestingly, the leper almost immediately disappeared, leading some to speculate that the leper was actually Christ, providing Francis an opportunity to deepen his conversion experience.

Is there any past experience that is especially meaningful to you?

When I was a “novice” friar in coastal California, in my third year of formation (training before vows), I would often drive to the shore at Moñtana de Oro state park. I would sit on the sand dunes, perched 150 feet above the shore, and pray, read, and watch the waves crash over the rough, rocky beach below. The sea is amazingly spiritual and healing, and I loved falling in love with God on the shore up on those dunes.

May the Lord bless you, Brother Paul!

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: 2nd Sunday of Easter – Sunday of Divine Mercy

This Divine Mercy Sunday Franciscan Gospel reflection and questions are written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM. They are edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. If you would like to read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here: Franciscan Gospel Reflection April 8 2018 Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Please include this information when printing.

Photos: Christ Our Light Parish, Cambridge, Ohio

John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Background

Most Westerners have become accustomed to a world of visible information. Researchers have discovered that some learn best when information is presented visually, while others learn by doing. There are those who seem to take great pride in being people who want to see for themselves. Exemplifying this, Missouri is known as the “show me state.” Through the capabilities of technology, we can search the bottom of the sea for a missing plane, the vastness of outer space, or the events that are taking place in the middle of the night on the other side of the earth. This same technology can be used to deceive, cover up, and convince us that we are exploring real things that in truth exist only in our imaginations. Think of the powerful experience of 3D movies that are available in many parts of the world. This ability to see and learn about our world is so much a part of our daily life that we do not even notice that we are using these powerful tools of technology. Obviously, this was not part of the world in which Jesus or the early disciples lived.

Unlike the synoptic gospels, John’s gospel does not contain a Last Supper/Passover account. Instead, John precedes the passion and death of Jesus with a farewell address. As part of this address Jesus says, “My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:27-28) Later in that discourse Jesus again addresses the disciples, “you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything.” (John 16:22-23a) In the text for this Sunday, John describes how Jesus has fulfilled what he said in that farewell address.

The gospel text is composed of two almost identical appearances of the risen Lord. Both appearances take place on the first day of the week. The disciples are gathered, the doors are locked, Jesus appears in their midst, he greets them with the greeting of peace, and he shows them the wounds of the crucifixion. The repetition of these details draws attention to the ways the two appearances are different. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the absence of Thomas in the first appearance. When he his told by the others that Jesus has appeared to them, he refuses to accept their testimony, and he refuses to accept them as credible witnesses of the truth of their testimony. Even if the others have seen the risen Jesus, he will not believe unless he can not only see but touch the wounds. Thus, the second difference is that Thomas is invited by Jesus to touch the wounds of the crucifixion. Another difference is the kind of response the disciples and Thomas have to the presence of the risen Christ. In the first account, the disciples are filled with joy. In the second appearance, Thomas responds with a statement of faith in Jesus as his Lord and his God. The last difference is in the way the appearance impacts those beyond the event itself. In the first incident, Jesus commissions the disciples to be instruments of God’s forgiveness. In the second appearance, Jesus refers those who believe, but have not had the unique experience of Thomas and the disciples–he calls them blessed.

Reflection Questions

1. Where in your life are you in need of reassurance or a sense of peace?
2. Do you recall an incident when others doubted your truthfulness?
3. What do you think it was like to be in the room with the early disciples before Jesus entered?
4. How do you think the disciples felt when Thomas told them that not only does he not believe them, but that he will never believe unless he touches the wounds of Jesus?
5. How would you be different if the story of Thomas would have been omitted?
6. How would the church have been different if the disciples would have asked Thomas to either accept their testimony or leave?
7. How is your faith different because you have doubts?
8. If Jesus is inviting you, like Thomas, to come touch his wounds, how might you do that?
9. Can you take some time today to talk to God about your need for peace, or the role of Thomas in this gospel, or some other aspect of your relationship with God that arose in this gospel?

Franciscan Sisters Help Haiti Women’s Project

A weekly craft night at the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Motherhouse turned into a Helping Haiti project as 35 volunteers from the Community’s Motherhouse descended on the craft room and room 102 in Generose hall to lend a hand. Sister Linda Brandes, Coordinator of the craft room, was contacted by a Silver Lake College senior nursing student about the possibility of the Sisters helping to make personal hygiene items for the women of Haiti.

Obtaining a pattern from the student, Sister quickly gathered already donated fabrics and the other materials needed to make 300 items. Sisters who often help in the craft room each day started tracing the pattern so volunteers would have plenty to do on craft night, March 1. Various stations throughout the craft room and room 102 were organized with the necessary tools and fabric. Sisters began cutting, quilting, sewing, and turning the items right side out depending on the work in front of them—a type of assembly line approach. Much was accomplished in that single evening however, volunteers continued to work for the next several days.

Six senior nursing students, two nurses (Brianna Neuser, director of the SLC nursing program, and Dana Goetz an RN that works at Aurora), plus two other persons left for Haiti on March 9—the beginning of spring break.