Franciscan Sisters Respond to Vocation Outreach Needs

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are blessed to receive invitations to share our life with others through vocation visits. Throughout the country this happened recently near Catholic School Week.  Sister Marlene Schwaller, Sister Mary Frances Maher, Sister Kay Klackner and Sister Elizabeth Benvie were generous in responding to  Diocese of Green Bay elementary schools regarding presentations on consecrated life.  Furthermore, in geographical areas around the Motherhouse, Sister Julie Ann Sheahan coordinated dates for visits of children with Franciscan Novices and Postulant Hilda whenever possible.

In January we were on the road to Appleton, Wisconsin, Xavier High School Junior Retreat day at Sacred Heart Parish. Novice Sister Cecilia Joy and Hilda shared about God’s call to them,  entertained questions and distributed a simple bookmark or Pax button bracelet made by the Sisters.

Sister Rosalyn Muraski, serving at St. Thomas More School, Green Bay, WI, invited us to join her for a vocation talk with students. We traveled to the school and met with the girls in their school chapel.

High school students from Columbus Catholic Central High School, Marshfield, WI were our guests for an overnight Motherhouse visit. Students toured our Motherhouse, prayed with us, and had recreation with those in the initial steps of becoming Sisters. Chaplain Father Daniel Sedlacek and teacher Tammy Riegl planned some chapel reflection time for them before they stopped at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family for a tour on the way home.

Franciscan Sisters Announce Camp Franciscan 2018

Discover God’s goodness! Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity invite young women active in their professional lives or in college as well as high school June 11-14, 2018 to Camp Franciscan: Do Not Be Afraid. You Have Found Favor With God. (Lk 1:30) Camp begins on June 11 at 10 a.m. and closes on June 14 at 1 p.m..

I learned that to bring yourself closer to God start with simple things and not being afraid to shine your light. – Allie, Wisconsin

What can you expect at camp?

  • Experience growth in your relationships: yourself, others, God and the world.
  • Discover skills for developing personal reflection and discernment of one’s vocation.
  • Encounter religious and develop an awareness of a call to be a Franciscan Sister.

I learned about dedication and how I really need to be more sociable and allow myself to be myself. – Isabel, Arizona

To register 2018CampFranciscanregistration  Download health record need: CampHealthForm Cost: $45
For more information, call or text Sister Julie Ann at 920-323-9632.

Franciscan Sisters Welcome Texas Postulant

Monday, January 15, 2018 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity officially welcomed Hilda Concepcion Medina as a Postulant in an afternoon Insignia of St. Francis Ceremony prayer service. This is the first step in her becoming a Franciscan Sister. Hilda is from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Midland, Texas of the Diocese of San Angelo. During her early years, she lived in nearby Clovis, New Mexico.

The Insignia of St. Francis was explained during the ceremony in a quote taken from Thomas Celano’s first book on St. Francis. It reads that “Francis made for himself a tunic showing the image of the Tau cross so as to remind himself of his call to imitate Christ”. Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie bestowed the insignia, a tau with the hand of Jesus covering that of St. Francis, to remind Hilda of her call to follow Christ with all of us Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Worn on a chain, it becomes the formal witness to all of being a Postulant.

John 1:35-39 was an important Gospel text for the ritual.

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”

He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.”

Does this Scripture text speak to you as you discern your own call from God? We invite you to our coming March 16-18, 2018 Franciscan Retreat Weekend or check out our other discernment options offered in the coming months. Click here.

Franciscan Sisters Join Tucson Race to Support Vocations

Following one’s vocation finds rich symbolism in running the race God has in mind for us. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Leonette Kochan and  Sister Mary Ann Spanjers had fun participating in the recent Diocese of Tucson 3rd Annual Color Walk/Run.  Over 300 people participated in this event that consciously focused on raising awareness as well as showing support for discerners, seminarians, priests, and religious brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Tucson. Indeed, it was acknowledged that all vocations are supported best by strong family lives.

Father Jorge Farias-Saucedo, Director of Vocations, awarded medals to worthy souls.(Sister Mary Ann was among the blessed in the religious category.)

The event culminated with an outdoor Mass celebrated by Bishop Gerald Kicanas! Pray with us that young people find the needed resources to enable them to respond to God’s call of service to His people.


Franciscan Sisters Convent Time Lapse Podcast

As summer begins, Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Novice Sister Cecilia Joy offers a backward time lapse glimpse of spring at the Franciscan Sisters Convent on Silver Lake in NE Wisconsin.

Discerning a call to religious life?

Join us for one of our upcoming retreats. See the beauty of our surroundings on site and in person!



Free Franciscan Sister Vocation Activity Book

Franciscan Sister Martinella Janz created a Franciscan Sister Vocation Activity Book to share with primary teachers for their students. It answers two questions: Sisters, who are they? What do they do? It is easily printed on 4 pages back to back.

The text includes a simple glossary of terms e.g. Sisters, Family and Convent. In addition to sharing information about Sisters, students are encouraged to reflect on questions like: What are you good at? What do you like doing? Who do you pray for?

One Catholic School teacher in the Platteville, WI area recently sent this message after sharing the book with her students.

“We loved doing the books today! All the girls were asking me how you become a Sister and how you know if that’s what God wants you to do. And the boys were all wanting to know if there was something cool like that they could do They also wanted me to ask you if you would pray for them. They thought that would be so cool. Yay! I was showing them pictures of the convent and the Mississippi school and the Sisters there today, too! They loved it!”

Download a pdf file of the activity book. Click here: Franciscan Sisters Coloring Book by Sister Martinella Janz. Comments are ever welcome.

Franciscan Sisters and Carmelite Nuns Discernment Retreat Review

On the 100th year anniversary of the Apparition of Fatima, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and Carmelite Nuns from Holy Cross Monastery Iron Mountain, MI welcomed 10 young women for a Silent Discernment of Spirits Retreat. Franciscan Sister Jacqueline Spaniola facilitated the sessions in the Grate Room. Our Blessed Mother’s powerful intercession was at work throughout the day.

St. Ignatius’ rules of discernment were presented with helpful examples. Retreatants were able to spend valuable personal time reflecting in silence on their own lives whether in chapel, social hall or outside. It was an awesome spring day.

Here’s some feedback from the young women themselves:

What touched your heart during this day of retreat?

  • Being able to interact with both active and cloistered sisters/nuns of different spiritualities
  • Ignatian principles of discernment
  • I really enjoyed learning about the two orders of Sisters.
  • Spending time to really open my heart to the Lord’s will
  • Being able to see the Sisters and getting a feel for their lives
  • Seeing where I’m already living the rules and having them explained and put in context
  • What to do in desolation was also helpful
  • The explanation of the Rules were beautiful and insightful.
  • There is not one right path to sainthood-many vocations put you on the right path

What part of the retreat did you find the most helpful?

  • Learning the Ignatian principles of discernment and being able to use the meditation/journal booklet
  • Having principles broken down into several talks
  • Lack of pressure to be discerning one particular vocation
  • All of it- learned a lot
  • Learning about the process of discerning God’s will
  • Making the pros and cons list for whatever you were discerning
  • Being able to talk with the Sisters-specifically the private spiritual direction with Sister Jacqueline
  • Talking with the nuns
  • The talks about the Rules of discernment, Q and A with Sisters, silence
  • Time for silence, meeting with the Sisters
  • The silence was helpful, silent time for prayer and meditation, opportunities for one on one questions with Sister Jacqueline was greatly appreciated.
  • The silent reflection times to work through in prayer all the information provided.

Are you in need of someone to listen to your own discernment journey? Carmelites can be reached at 906-774-0561. Franciscans are open to meeting you where you are for a face to face meeting. Call or text Sister Julie Ann at 920-323-9632. Consider some of our summer Franciscan discernment options at our Motherhouse. Click here.

Franciscan Sisters and Cistercian Nun Discernment of Spirits Retreat Review

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and Cistercian Nuns collaborated for a recent Discernment of Spirits Retreat. 12 young women responded to the invitation to learn more about St. Ignatius’ discernment process. Franciscan Sister Jacqueline Spaniola facilitated the retreat.

We share feedback from two questions asked at the end of the day-long  silent retreat held at Valley of Our Lady, Prairie du Sac, WI. We hope the young women’s responses, ages 18-33, may encourage others to consider this opportunity.

What touched your heart during this discernment day?

  • I appreciated the information of objectively being aware of thoughts and feelings over the course of a greater time and how to use this in discernment in life. was also in my heart not to over analyze.
  • Taking the time intentionally to examine my life and uncover more of who I am in order to continue my pursuit of Christ.
  • I realized that I am very blessed to have learned a ton in such a short amount of time. I am glad that God is God. I have had the opportunity to see that Satan has been making me miserable from time to time. This will help me overcome future occurrences!
  • I appreciated interacting with and being around all the Sisters and praying with them (Sext and None).
  • Being in community during prayer time (listening to the Sisters chant).
  • Learning that God desires good for us and that confusion, discouragement and depression come from evil spirits influence, not good spirits. And I need to pray more.
  • The opportunity to just spend time with Sisters-that isn’t something that happens in my parish. Few female role modes in the local Church.
  • I was touched by the Sisters’ generosity, sense of humor and joy. These handouts and exercises were also deeply insightful, and I hope to be able to share them in some form with the youth I serve as a youth minister.
  • I realized I need to spend more time in silence with God. I talk too much in prayer.
  • Listening to the Sisters pray and just getting some time for silence.
  • Most of all, I appreciated the long times in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

What part of the day did you find the most helpful?

  • I liked the time we were given to pray and use the reflection booklet about the rules.
  • I was able to really dive into the rules that needed the most addressing in my own spiritual journey and discernment.
  • Listening to the talks. It was all very organized and informative. With the handouts I didn’t have to worry about taking a ton of notes.
  • Talking through discernment: ways to prepare and how to put it into action.
  • Going over the rules(with great examples!)
  • It was very helpful to go through the steps of discerning God’s will.
  • Learning about the more subtle ways the devil can influence our decisions and discourage us.
  • All of it-especially examples of personal discernment. Good idea to have two different orders cooperate on a retreat and active/contemplative.
  • I really appreciated having such ample opportunities for silence, processing and journaling. It felt like just the right balance between content and solo processing time. The handouts were excellent, too.
  • Going through the rules and then having time to spend in silence and prayer.
  • I think in the future I’ll really appreciate knowing some rules!

Considering a Discernment of Spirits Day? Register for May 13 silent retreat in Iron Mountain, MI. Click here and view other options.

Franciscan Sisters Share Mound Bayou News

Franciscan Sister Emy Beth Furrer shares news from St. Gabriel Mercy Center, Mound Mayou, Mississippi, including Virginia Tech students’ visit, Diocese of Biloxi Youth Rally, Hammond, Louisiana outing and gathering of new board of directors.

Virginia Tech Students’ Visit

In early March twelve students from Virginia Tech came to provide volunteer services at St. Gabriel Mercy Center as well as to the civic community. Through a gift of one of our benefactors, Sister Monica Mary DeQuardo arranged for tickets and entrance into the Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi for the students and the Sisters where Taylor Swift, pop-rock singer, is being featured. (The only other Grammy Museum is in Los Angeles.)

Diocese of Biloxi Youth Rally

At the invitation of Ray Lacy, Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Biloxi and companion, Mr. Mark McMillan, Sister Monica Mary and Sister Emy Beth Furrer attended the 40th Diocesan Youth Rally in Biloxi to speak about the services offered at St. Gabriel Mercy Center. While on the Gulf Coast, the Sisters met up with friends of St. Gabriel Mercy Center, our St. Vincent de Paul benefactors from Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Louisiana Day Trip

A one-day outing to Hammond, Louisiana, to visit with Sister Juden Lang and her sister, Dorothy was a delight! Sister Juden was on her home-visit celebrating a family wedding. Niece Debbie, and husband, Mike, hosted us at their home with an authentic Southern luncheon: shrimp, catfish, crawfish, and all the trimmings.

New Board of Directors

Tuesday, March 21st brought the members of the new Board of Directors of St. Gabriel Mercy Center together for their first active session. Unfortunately, Mr. Vic Byas needed to be absent on this particular evening. Indeed, we are moving forward the mission, vision, philosophy, and values!


Franciscan Sisters Prepare for Camp Franciscan 2017

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity continue preparations for Camp Franciscan 2017: Run so as to win! (1 Cor. 9:24). Presently, there are 32 young women ages 8th grade graduates to college age coming from AZ, OH and WI.  Needless to say, we are excited to have our guests with us June 12-15, 2017.

Franciscan Sisters at San Xavier Mission Convent in Tucson, AZ report on their recent local action:

“We had a sunny day for our Camp Franciscan fundraiser to support the 10 young women from Tucson who will be participating; eight are from San Miguel high school and two are University students! Everyone contributed bakery and lots of time!  One of the girls from a San Xavier Mission family won the raffle for a stuffed dog–pure joy!”

Our Sisters serving in AZ are certainly encouraging young women to be with us. We are already prepared to take care of transportation needs on the ground, as well as in the air. A bus will be waiting at the Milwaukee airport to transport campers from Casa Grande, Maricopa, Tucson, Phoenix and Sierra Vista on Sunday evening, June 11. Some of our Sisters, as well as a religious education director from a Maricopa parish, will also be riding the bus with the campers. Ohio guests are also expected that evening at Holy Family Convent. Others coming from shorter distances will arrive by 10 a.m. on Monday morning.

Do  you know someone who is considering a religious vocation? We invite you to pass on our invitation. We have room for just a few more campers. We are planning what we anticipate will be meaningful community experiences. Small group interactions hope to encourage friendships among campers considering a call to be a Franciscan Sister.

To download a registration and health form, click here.