Called to be a Franciscan Sister, Teacher and Nurse

Franciscan Sister Adrianna Schouten shares a reflection on the life of Sister Marion Gilles. Read the entire reflection here: Franciscan Sister Marion Gillis’ Reflection

Marion Mary Gillis was born on September 30, 1930 to Albert and Lillian (DeBoth) Gillis. Marion was the middle child of five, with two older brothers and a younger brother and sister. She was baptized at St. Joseph Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin by Reverend A.J. Schueller on October 12, 1930.

The first three of years of school began at Chappell School about a mile from their home. For the remaining grade school years they attended the newly built St. Joseph School which had 8 grades and 8 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Marion attended St. Joseph Academy where she was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. After graduation in 1948, Marion worked for the Green Bay Food Company as a comptroller.

In a letter to Mother Edna, dated April 24, 1952 Marion wrote
“I can’t quite make up my mind if I want to be nurse or enter the convent…I have been working since I left high school. I am now 21 years of age… I am now hoping very soon to get some sign from God as to what my vocations is to be… If I meet the needed qualification I would like to give the convent life a try.”
Very Truly Yours, Marion Gillis.

In a letter from Sister Mary Ellen, Mistress of Postulants date April 29, 1952, Sister wrote
“You mentioned that you wondered whether to become a nurse or enter a convent. We have a suggestion – why don’t you do both…If you have the necessary qualification you will most likely be permitted to follow the nursing profession. Of course in religious life the will of God is made known to us by our Superiors… You will discover that your happiness will be a result of their choices.”

Sister Marion entered Holy Family Convent on August 23, 1952. She was received on June 13, 1953 and was given the name Sister LaSallete. She returned to her baptismal name in the late 1960’s.

Sister Marion attended Holy Family College. She taught grades 1-6 from 1955 – 1960. She entered the Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing and graduated from there in 1963. From St. Louis University she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1967. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing from University of Texas in Austin in 1973. Read more.: Franciscan Sister Marion Gillis’ Reflection

Teacher Stuff: Sister Nancy and Luganda-English Folktale Book

Franciscan Sister Nancy Kinate, Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, encourages Ugandian Student Sister Magdalene Claire Takyala Nakimbugwe to publish a Luganda-English folktale book.

One folktale involves a boiling cooking pot and the characters Mr. Hare and Mr. Leopard, who are trying to best one another.

Another features a gorgeous young woman having trouble picking from her many suitors. She decides to put the young men to a test that requires climbing the tallest tree and bringing back a leaf from the very top.

These are two of 12 Ugandan folktales recently published in a book by Sister Maddy Takyala, a senior at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family. The bilingual volume, “Luganda-English Folktales,” is available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Sister Taylaka is a Roman Catholic Religious Sister in the Daughters of Mary Congregation (Bannabiikira), located in Bwanda-Masaka in the East African country of Uganda. She is an international Sister student sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, founders of the Silver Lake College of the Holy Family.

The English, education and computer science major plans to return to Uganda to teach after graduation.

The youngest of 11 children, Sister Takyala recalls how her parents would recount folktales as the family gathered around the fire during the evenings. “Children in Uganda know these folktales. They listen to them and share them with other children,” she said.

The idea to write down the stories came about when Sister Takyala enrolled in English Curriculum and Methods class for future English teachers, taught by Sister Nancy Kinate.

“I asked Sister Maddy where she would be teaching and realized that the Ugandan culture is rich in oral folktales that have been passed on for generations,” said Sister Kinate. “Most of the stories have never been translated into another language as far as we know.”

They decided that compiling a book of some of the folktales in the English and Luganda languages would be an ideal way for children in Sister Takyala’s home country to learn to read, write, speak, sing and think in both languages. The stories, which run side-by-side, bridge the gap from the known (the folktales) to the unknown (reading and writing in Lugandan, then later in English.)

“The book can be used flexibly but ideally for readers from sixth through 12th grades,” Sister Kinate said. “The accompanying teaching notes are referenced with the Common Core Standards to develop language arts and critical thinking skills systematically. Sister Maddy can teach concepts such as dialog, use of quotation marks, character and the other literary and grammatical aspects of English in a natural and familiar context.”

Because some of the stories are sung, the book also contains musical translations of the folktales. Sister Winifred Crevier and Sister Mary Carol Kopecky, Franciscan Sister musicians, helped with transcribing the music and lyrics.

Sister Takyala also put her computer skills to use by creating an app so that she could self-publish the paperback book.

Students in her home country aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the stories. Sister Takyala was pleasantly surprised to find that “Luganda-English Folktales” has generated a buzz among Ugandans living in United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia because they are interested in passing on their language and culture to their children.

Proceeds from sales of the book will go toward supporting the Ugandan orphans who are under the care of her religious community, Sister Takyala said.
She dedicated the volume to her nieces and nephews, and children in the U.S. and Uganda.

“We worked hard, but it was fun,” Sister Kinate said.
Affectionately called Sister Maddy, the author’s full name is Sister Magdalene Claire Takyala Nakimbugwe. To learn more about her book, “English-Luganda Folktales,” click here.