News and Events
Issue 2.23
December 8, 2014
In This Issue
Apostolic Visitation
Shower for Mary
Advent Chapel decorations
Motherhouse convenience store opens
Sr. Roberta bids farewell to Bolivia
Franciscan Spirituality
Peace Prayer Cards are available to be ordered now! Please see the the November 24 Varia email, the Franciscan Spirituality page, or contact Denise Bunk-Hatch to order! 
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Did you know that a daily reflection is posted on our Facebook page, or that it is also shared with a Portuguese translation by our Sisters in Brazil? Take a look! 
Advent Blessings

 "God chose us in Christ before the world began, to be holy, blameless and full of love." 
   Today's feast of the Immaculate Conception is the celebration of God's choice of Mary. Mary's whole life gave witness to God's choice and her openness to become God-bearer. 
   We too are chosen by God. Let us witness to this gift by our being God-bearers for others. Maranatha! Come, Christ, Come!

Report on Apostolic Visitation to be Released
Excerpts taken from from an email message from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)

   LCWR has been informed that in a letter dated December 2, 2014, Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, OFM, secretary of the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL), invited superiors general in Rome who were involved in the apostolic visitation, to attend a press conference at the Holy See Press Office on Tuesday, December 16, 2014.

   In addition to the officials of the dicastery, Mother Clare Millea, ASCJ, the apostolic visitator; Sharon Holland, IHM, LCWR president; and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, coordinator of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, will take part in the press conference.


A review written by Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF, of the book "The Power of Sisterhood: Women Religious Tell the Story of the Apostolic Visitation" will be featured in next week's release of 
Allegany Connections. 
Shower for Mary benefits Baker Victory Services
By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, communications director

   A lack of snow didn't dampen the Christmas Spirits of the members of the Allegany and Olean communities, who showed up to give gifts at the 12th annual Shower for Mary, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany in cooperation with the Greater Olean Area Churches. 
   This year's recipient of the collective donations was Baker Victory Services in Lackawanna. Maureen Brown, Baker Victory Services' director of purchasing, was on-hand to experience the generosity of the Allegany/Olean community, and said she was overwhelmed by the response. 
   "Just to see all the different people brought together for something as simple as a baby shower," is beautiful, Maureen said. She was inspired to see children becoming actively involved in the giving of gifts, and said she is astounded by how generous people continue to be, even when faced with difficult economic times. 
   Donations to Baker Victory Services have been down over the past year, and donations collected at the Shower for Mary will be put to good use  by the organization. 
   "There's a great need, and this is going to go very far," Maureen commented. 
   Prior to the Shower for Mary, the creche scene in front of the Motherhouse was lit and blessed by Fr. David Tourville of St. Mary of the Angels Church. Fr. David was joined by Sr. Jean Hayes, local minister of the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, Pastor Dodi McIntyre of Creekside Chapel, Pastor Brad Chesboro of Trinity United Methodist Church, and Pastor Kim Rossi of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in leading the Prayer Service for the Shower for Mary. 

See the December 2014 edition of Allegany Connections for more photos!
Advent Chapel Decorations
By: Sr. Barbara Bartkowiak, OSF, Motherhouse Chapel Sacristan

(In this piece, Sr. Barbara explains the meaning behind the Advent decorations she has placed in the Motherhouse Chapel this Christmas season) 

   A symbol is worth many words and often conveys a deeper meaning.
   Our symbol for this Advent 2014 is taken from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom."
   In the time of the chosen people Isaiah was a prophet of hope. Violence, injustice, greed, and disharmony were prevalent. Isaiah says, "They that hope in the Lord will find strength." (Isaiah 40:31)
   So we look at our symbol and see a sign of hope.
   There is a mound of Earth and a dead tree stump is on it. We do not see the roots. There is life hidden in the roots. Out from this dead tree comes a small branch, buds, and soon a blossom.
   Isaiah's words have meaning for us today. As in the days of old, we experience violence, injustice, greed, and disharmony. We need hope.
   The word Advent means "coming." We hope for the fullness of God's coming and the bloom of the Kingdom on Earth.
   Deep within every heart are spiritual roots. These roots will produce life even after death experiences like loss of a spouse or friend, loss of a job, financial burdens, poverty, physical pain, and bodily diminishment.
   We will find strength in hope. Spiritual strength to produce new life. Let us look at what may seem like death and hope for rebirth.  

Conveniently Yours

By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, communications director


   Sisters in need of basic essentials such as tissues, lotions, pens and paper, even holiday d�cor, no longer need to look farther than the walls of St. Elizabeth Motherhouse.

   On Monday, December 1, the Motherhouse opened Conveniently Yours, a small convenience store and gift shop housed on the same floor as the dining room. 

   "The dream finally came true," said Sr. Jean Hayes, Motherhouse local minister. "The opening was very successful, sisters were happy and the goal was achieved."

   The shop is overseen by Helen Trainor, who spent hours with the sisters determining what items should be available in the store. Helen is a longtime affiliate of the congregation, and is happy to volunteer her time for the sisters. 

   Sr. Roseanne Duffy, recently retired from her position as assistant local minister, is assisting Helen, and said she is enjoying the experience. 

   "I just love it," said Sr. Kathleen Francis Honc of the store. "Helen has done a magnificent job." 

   Conveniently Yours will be open in the afternoon several days each week. Times and dates are posted on the door of the store. 


Sr. Roberta Bids Farewell to Bolivia

   Hard to believe my time in La Paz is ending.  This morning I went to the last Mass at the Monastery of the Oblates of St. Joseph in the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadlupe.  This is a small chapel with 20 - 25 in attendance at daily Mass.  The celebrant, Padre Antonio, is about 85. When we arrive he is kneeling in the front pew, back straight, praying the Rosary. When he finishes he gingerly walks up the steps, lights the candle on the altar, vests, and comes out singing and the people respond. There are no hymn books but they seem to know all the words and sing their hearts out.  He sings most of the parts of the Mass and there is rarely a homily. I will miss him. Continue reading


 From the Archives

Have you heard about the Archives' Oral History Project?  

   While most of the Archives' collections consist of documents and artifacts, oral history allows an organization to preserve the voices, personalities, and stories that give its history life. My favorite ongoing project has been to sit with individual sisters and associates and record their stories about living in and ministering with the Congregation. No two stories are alike, but it is fascinating to find the thread of deep faith and Franciscan values that is woven into each interview session. 

   As the collection of oral history grows, I'm developing a method to share this vibrant group of stories and memories with visitors. Very soon, I hope to establish an Oral History Repository Kiosk in the Heritage Room at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse. This interactive display will allow visitors to explore the collection and experience this wealth of knowledge, experience, and Franciscan spirituality for themselves. Stay tuned for future updates about this exciting new project!
   Are you a sister or associate who is interesting in contributing to the Oral History Project? Every story is another piece in the puzzle that is the history of the Congregation! I would love to hear from sisters or associates outside of the Allegany, NY, area in order to make travel plans for 2015. Contact the Archives at or call 716-373-0200 x3242 for more information or to plan for your interview! 


 Retreat Opportunities
Experiencing the Incarnation through Spiritual Companioning: A Scriptural Foundation
A retreat for spiritual directors and those who companion others in the Franciscan Tradition. 

Offered by: The Franciscan Center
February 23-27, 2015
Guided by: Nancy Schreck, OSF
Cost: $475 before January 30, 2015
         $500 after January 30, 2015

For more information contact Karen Davies, (813) 229-2695 or email

Upcoming deadlines: 

December 17 - Second e-newsletter December
February 15 - Spring Edition Allegany Connections deadline