Franciscan Sister’s Call includes Serving in Michigan Parishes

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Natalie Binversie reflects on the life of Sister Colleen Sweeting. Here’s a snippet of her reflection. For the entire sharing, click here: Franciscan Sister Colleen Sweeting Reflection

Sister Colleen loved her years as an educator. In eleven years she taught every elementary grade except First Grade. Sister Colleen was a principal for 21 years. As the years went by, Sister Colleen’s love for Scripture and Theology deepened. She became more interested in adult faith formation and wanted to minister in a different capacity in a Parish setting. Sister Colleen was granted the permission to attend Loyola University in Chicago. In 1990 she earned a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies.

After her studies were completed, there was an opening for a Pastoral Administrator in DeTour, Michigan. Sister Colleen ministered for ten years in the small towns of DeTour and Drummond Island. In 1999 Bishop James Garland appointed Sister Colleen to St. Christopher’s Parish in Marquette, Michigan. This is where Sister Colleen ministered for 18 years. In an interview at the time of being missioned to St. Francis Convent for the 2017-2018 year, Sister Colleen told the U.P. Catholic reporter, “I most liked being with people in all of my assignments. I’ve liked being part of their lives, not just when they’re sick and dying, but the good parts, too. I’ve worked with people of all ages, ministering to their spiritual and physical needs. It has been a wonderful opportunity, especially to live in Marquette, a college town. I will miss the spirit of the people. I will also miss being close to the water. I love water.”

Sister Colleen enjoyed cross country skiing, camping, being outside in nature, reading, listening to music, cooking, watching Packer football games and visiting people to up-lift their spirits.

At the time of her Jubilee Sister Colleen wrote, “The Lord’s Spirit is very evident in my everyday life. I thank the Lord for the gift of my vocation and the many people I worked side by side with as teacher, principal and pastoral coordinator. I have been given so many wonderful opportunities and I am grateful for each one. All is gift and my life has been deeply enriched by all of them. St. Paul expresses it so well in his letter to the Corinthians: I give thanks to my God for the grace of God, bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in Him you were enriched in every way.

 

God’s Call: Michigan Woman Responds

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Natalie Binversie reflects on the life of Sister Mary Louise Skutz. Read the entire reflection: Franciscan Sister Mary Louise Skutz Reflection

Sophie Mary Rose Skoezylas was born on May 10, 1925 to John Joseph and Helen Veronica (Guzior) Skoczylas in Cross Village, Michigan. She was the third youngest of nine children. She was baptized on May 17, 1925 at Holy Cross Church in Cross Village. Sophie was confirmed there on May 20, 1941.

Sophie’s parents immigrated to the United States from Poland and met in Camden, New Jersey. After they married, they worked to save money to buy 40 acres of farmland twenty four miles from the Mackinaw Bridge. This is where Sophie was born. She had four brothers and four Sisters. When she and her siblings were old enough to attend school they went to Holy Cross Grade School where the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity taught. The Franciscan Friars were the priests in the parish. Her parents chose the Catholic School over the nearby Public School because they wanted their children to learn the Catholic Faith.

After her grade school was completed, Sophie moved to Petoskey, Michigan and attended St. Francis Xavier High School where the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity taught. Sister Gabriel Kerner was the music teacher and taught Sophie to play the piano accordion. Her favorite teachers were Sister Ann Patrick Graney and Sister Margaret Krueger. These Sisters planted and nurtured the seed for Sophie’s vocation. They were easy to talk to about anything that was a concern. They helped Sophie discern her vocation through their affirmation and encouragement, through their loving care and understanding. Sophie had won the Valedictorian Scholarship to St. Mary’s Nursing College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She told the Sisters that she would check out the idea of being a Sister after nursing College. Sister Gabriel was to have told her, “Don’t give your old bones to Jesus. Go now! We have training for nursing and three hospitals you can nurse in.” Read more: Franciscan Sister Mary Louise Skutz Reflection

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

Franciscan Sisters Lead Michigan Bible Vacation School

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sisters Elizabeth Ann Miller, Veronica Schad, and Marsaia Kaster, conducted a Bible Vacation School in Spalding, Michigan. Twenty students arrived to join in the fun, learning, exploring, and praying.


The older students studied, worked out skits, and projects about various saints while the younger ones, including 4 and 5 year-olds used “binoculars” and went on hikes to find God-sightings. They also visited various places in the church, learned about appropriate church behavior, etc!!
On Thursday all rode the bus to DeYoung Zoo in Wallace, Michigan and saw many of God’s great creatures! Singing on the bus helped us have fun and prepare for Friday’s Mass where everyone received a little “rock” (in honor of Peter, the Rock) on which was drawn a fish with the Greek letters: IXOYE, meaning “Jesus, Christ, Son of God, Savior.” Hopefully during the year, we will hold that “Jesus Rock” and be reminded that we too are his friends and He asks us “who do you say that I am?”
Wednesday evening, after a potluck supper, Sister Marsaia led an interactive presentation on marriage and family issues from 5-8:15 pm

Franciscan Sisters Catechize in Michigan

Franciscan Sister Marsaia Kaster recaps a week in St. John Neumann parish in Spalding and Nadeau, Michigan. Sister Elizabeth Ann Miller and Sister Veronica Schad also spent the week catechizing children.

We had a very good week. June 23-29.
Arriving on Saturday, June 23, Sisters Elizabeth Ann, Veronica and Marsaia, attended two Sat, evening Masses and two Sunday AM Masses in the parish sites of St. John Neumann parish in Spalding and Nadeau, Michigan. After meeting some of the parishioners and advertising the Bible Vacation School week to be held Monday through Friday, the Sisters prepared their classrooms, looked over the names and ages/grades of their prospective students, and organized their lessons.

Franciscan Sisters catechize at Spalding Michigan

Monday morning brought an influx of 20 students. And the fun, learning, exploring and praying began. The older students studied and did skits and projects about various saints. The younger ones, including 4 and 5 year-olds used “binoculars” and went in hikes to find God-sightings. They also visited various places in the church, learned about appropriate church behavior, etc!!
All of the students attended Mass on Tuesday, and on Friday, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. They learned songs and Mass parts; some did readings and song leading.

On Thursday all (now) 23 students and about 10 adults, some with smaller children, rode the bus to DeYoung Zoo in Wallace, MI and saw many of God’S great creatures! Singing on the bus helped us have fun and prep for Friday’s Mass.

Each child and adult at the Friday Mass received a little “rock” (in honor of Peter, the Rock) on which was drawn a fish with the Greek letters: IXOYE, meaning “Jesus, Christ, Son of God, Savior.” Hopefully during the year, we will hold that “Jesus Rock” and be reminded that we too are his friends and He asks us “who do you say that I am?”
At the end of the week Sister Veronica asked the children what they had learned that week. One of the children said “I learned we are fish.” Right on! Yes, we are fish and friends of Jesus, eager to help Him fish for other friends!

On Wednesday PM, a potluck supper followed by an interactive presentation on marriage and family issues was held from 5-8:15. Sister Marsaia led the evening.

Each day the Sisters interacted with women who provided snacks for the children, and made lunch for the Sisters. In the evenings the Sisters went to the homes of lovely parishioners. We also attended a fund-raiser dinner for the parish secretary whose husband died recently. A highlight of the week was a ride on a “side-by -side” through the woods in dirt roads (that turned out to be VERY dry!) By the time we arrived to the dining place, our clothes, including our veils and glasses, were covered with dust! It was a great ride-many thanks to Debbie! After dusting off a bit and joining the parish catechists at table we were asked how we liked it. Laughing I responded “just call me Sandy!”

It was a great week! We saw “beautiful” cows – “cattle” I suppose! And many, many deer, along with many, many dear children and adults. Thanks to all of them and to Father Jacek, Mariah and Nel who assisted us.

Guest Exploring Religious Life from MI

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity welcome a young woman returning for a second visit to our WI Motherhouse who is discerning her vocation. We were able to meet her in Michigan City by car on our recent trip to Ohio and she will leave via the Milwaukee Lake Express ferry.

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