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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! 
Issue 3.06
March 23, 2015

Going Green!
Motherhouse Sisters dressed festively for the St. Patrick's Day holiday last week, and enjoyed a performance by the Olean Area Irish Dancers that morning. 
Congregational Leadership visits Brazil 

By: Margaret Magee, OSF  


  Last week, March 13-17, members of Congregational Leadership traveled to Brazil for the bi-annual Board of Directors meeting. Also in attendance for these meetings were: Chris J. Treichel OSF, Congregational Treasurer; the leadership from Jamaica, Teresita DeSouza OSF, Local Minister and Trinita Solnek OSF, Administrator; and the sisters of the Regional Leadership in Brazil. Assisting for these meetings were Congregational Secretary, Susan Hines,and associate, Sheila Vincent, who gifted us as translator.  

    Meeting as the Board of Directors we reviewed the annual financial reports, the investment policies and budgets of all four countries, congregational properties, and the recently updated actuarial report. We acknowledged with gratitude the blessings of good stewardship over the years and our need to be attentive to the responsibilities and the challenges before us as we move into the future.

  Besides our days of meetings we enjoyed the Eucharistic liturgy and festive lunch celebrating the 90th birthday of Celestine Fruscione OSF. Joining in this celebration were Celestine's nieces, Bella, Maryann and Judy, as well as Rita Frances Guaracsi OSF, and Carole Metz (many of our sisters will remember Carole as the photographer for many of our Golden Jubilee celebrations in Allegany).

  We joined our sisters and associates in the Anápolis area in a gathering and dinner at the home of associates Wilma and Vindar Amorim. We also visited the pre-formation community at Casa de Formacao Alverne with our sisters Maria da Paz de Jesus and Maria Abadia da Silva and met the two women who are aspirants in discernment. Let us hold these women, Eloenia and Cleise, in our prayer.

  We are most grateful for our time with our sisters in Brazil. Their warm welcome, hospitality and presence is gift. We are also thankful for all the members of the staff at Mãe Admirável who were so attentive to our needs and generous with their time. Blessings and peace to all!


Mission Society President makes first visit to Jamaica

By: Laura Whitford, President, St. Elizabeth Mission Society


   Have you ever heard a priest ask you to give God a round of applause during Mass? You would if you visited Alvernia Prep School in Kingston, Jamaica. This is how my first visit to a mission of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany started in February. Overall, my adventure was exciting, inspirational, and most definitely humbling. However, one of my defining moments there was this simple, and very Franciscan, act of being joyful.

    The last five months in my new role as president of the St. Elizabeth Mission Society and the Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation have been a whirlwind of meeting new people and learning new things. Part of my role is to raise money to support the Franciscan Sisters' ministries. While I'm feeling better acclimated, I often long for a more "hands-on" experience with the mission. My visit to Jamaica was just that. How wonderful it was to finally be able to put faces and places to the names and numbers that I see daily!

   Alvernia Prep was just one of seven schools I visited in Kingston where the Franciscan Sisters still have a presence. All of the children that I encountered were beautiful, respectful, and so loving that they almost knocked me over with their group hugs. The Mission Society provides monthly support to many of these schools to help with the Feeding Program for children who can't afford lunch.

   Another key component in Jamaica is Franciscan Ministries, which is also supported by the Mission Society. Sr. Grace Yap, OSF, heads Franciscan Ministries, which is the outreach arm of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany in Jamaica. Coordinating Canadian groups to build houses for those in dire conditions, bringing doctors in for travelling health clinics, and empowering leaders to make effective change are just some of the ways that Sr. Grace works to bring hope to the hopeless. Sr. Grace took me to three of the poorest areas in Kingston, which opened my eyes to the levels of poverty that I never could have imagined.

   I spent my 38th birthday visiting Porziuncula Farm in Braes River, which is a project of Franciscan Ministries. Someone gave the farm to Sr. Grace, and she hires young men to live and work there to give them a future. Still in its early development stages, the goal of the farm is to produce honey, pumpkins, sorrel and scotch bonnet peppers to sell while at the same time teaching these young men how to be self-sustaining.

   Finally, one of the best parts of my trip was staying at Immaculate Conception Convent and getting acquainted with our Jamaican Sisters. I truly enjoyed the fellowship with them (not to mention the delicious Jamaican food) and was assured that I now have another family when I'm able to return. In my many conversations with them, peppered with a seemingly endless string of questions, I heard the same message several times - they are able to do all that they do because God has blessed them in their work.

   The Mission Society provides over $150,000 per year in grant funding and ongoing support to programs where the Franciscan Sisters are actively serving in Jamaica, Brazil, Bolivia and the United States. We are only able to do this through the generous support of our donors. If you are feeling called to give or would like more information, please contact Laura Whitford at (716) 373-0200 x3237 or Online donations can be made at


Sixth Annual Womens Interfaith Prayer Service for Peace
Taken from: Franciscan Center, Tampa, Facebook page

   The Franciscan Center, Tampa, welcomed 80 women and one man who attended the Annual Women's Interfaith Prayer service on March 6, 2015. Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor gave the reflections, and several women read from the Quran, Christian and Hebrew Sacred Scriptures.

   Thank you to everyone who attended and shared their faith experiences. 


Vocation Awareness and FOCUS 11
By: Kathie Uhler, OSF

   It was an honor to represent the Allegany Franciscans at FOCUS 11, a two-day, annual vocation awareness event for 11-year-olds and 11th Graders of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, held February 10-11 this year. Colleen Brady, OSF, our Vocation Minister, had sent out a call for Sisters to assist her at the event. I had been spending some extra days with our Sisters at St. Elizabeth Convent in Tampa, in between two Chapter Planning Committee meetings. I answered Colleen's call and worked our exhibit table on the second day of the event. There were about a dozen other religious congregations and Diocesan ministries present. Only the 11-year-olds were in attendance that day.
   Have you been surrounded by the energy of about 400 11-year-olds lately? Well, it is daunting! Yet these Catholic school 6th graders were attentive en masse in the auditorium at St. Lawrence Church, a tribute to their teachers, most of whom seemed to be laywomen. Sister Immaculata, a Franciscan Sister of St. Elizabeth, in modified habit, really held their attention with the Keynote. She spoke about her experience of religious life, you might say, "in sound bites." Sister expertly sprinkled her talk with current jargon and had the kids screaming out their favorite vegetables at one point. This obviously related to something on TV or some app of which I am totally unaware.
   The organization of the whole day was impressive. There were group sessions that grabbed and sustained these youngsters' attention spans. We are talking boys and girls, of all sizes and shapes, at the tender age between childhood and youth. One session got some of us exhibitors involved up on the stage. We had posters naming the job we held before entrance into religious life, not our own job but someone else's on stage. The priest who was MC chose a student at random to match the correct job with each religious. This matching was done over and over with different students until most of the jobs were correctly matched. My job, soda jerk, was never matched with me. I have a feeling these young people did not know what a soda jerk is/was. But, you get the idea here: religious had a real life and worked real jobs before they entered.
   The main session was the Scavenger Hunt. This activity very cleverly drew all the students into the Exhibit Hall where they were each given a set of 10 questions. The answers were to be found at the exhibit tables. The question about the Allegany Franciscans was, "In which four countries are the Allegany Franciscan Sisters located?" Uncountable scavengers in waves came to our exhibit. The answers were right there, amidst many photos of the Sisters and Associates at work and play. Surprisingly, I had to help most of the students find the names of the countries. In between this, I asked some of them if they had thought about their future, trying to plant some seeds. I also inquired, a little faint-heartedly, if they read books. If they said yes, I gave them a bookmark with a prayer of Saint Francis on it. Actually, everyone I asked that question said right off that, yes, they read books!
   As with teaching itself, one never knows what influence one is having on young people. At the end of the day, FOCUS 11 showed me that Catholic schools are still outstanding places of good discipline and learning. With these tools, students are empowered to discern their vocations in due time.


Vocation Ministry at Respect Life event
By: Lucy Cardet, OSF, and Michele Dolyk, OSF
    On Sunday, March 8th, we went to Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School in Miami at the invitation of Sister Grace Helena, a Carmelite Sister, to all the religious of the Archdiocese of Miami to join them for their Respect Life event "The Walk for Life" began with Mass celebrated by a Brazilian priest for all those taking part in the event . After Mass, everyone  gathered and walked around the surrounding residential area witnessing their stance for Life. 

   In the meantime, we set up our booth outdoors, and were available to meet students, parents, representatives of other organizations, and youth groups upon their return. We gave out our vocation discernment materials (some in Spanish), including copies of our new FSA vocation flyer.
   It was inspiring to hear the speakers witnessing to God and Life, and
 we enjoyed their hospitality and the lively music of a Christian Reggae band. What a great way to spend a Sunday morning at the start of National Catholic Sisters Week!
   On Tuesday, we responded to another invitation which went out to all religious of the archdiocese to visit the students at Msgr. Pace High School.
 Dr. George Rodriquez, in the theology department, wanted the students to know that religious life is a real option for following Jesus. 
   We spoke to
students in five theology classes, sharing with them about God, as well as other topics, such as: a person's uniqueness, call, human desire (shared by Jesus) to make a difference and be happy, Incarnation, Jesus is alive and well here and now, relationship (taking time with God), and life choices.
   It was a delight to see former students as well as staff members who were either students or teachers at Corpus Christi School
. We were treated to a delicious lunch in the student/staff cafeteria.
   We were very impressed with the hospitality and family spirit which was exemplified by students and staff. They truly lived out their mission.


 Dare to Image
Dare to Image - Hospitality

By: Anne Martin Robonie, OSF


   I dare to image HOSPITALITY through the heart of Christ.  It is not what I do but rather what Christ is doing for us and in us.

   Reflect on the pierced heart, drained of all life-giving blood because Christ calls each one to enter the sacredness of that sit awhile and let the blood wash one clean.  If Christ shows partiality, it is for the lost, for the one inflicting pain on another, for the different, for the castaway.  He wills to offer eternal life to all.  He has redeemed all.

   The invitation challenges me.  I see the empty chair and suddenly,  I  realize that I have not accepted Christ' embrace. I search my heart and soul to come to the knowledge of why I am not accepting the hospitality. Do I pride myself that I let all enter the sacred space of my heart?  It may not be to the outcast but what about the lack of love and truth I did not show because I was too tired and couldn't be bothered?  Jesus show me again, the love of true hospitality.

   Do I have some wounds of being taken advantage of, or of being ignored? Let me run to the heart of Jesus and be healed and meet my brother and sister in that sacred space.

I observe the chair where someone sits.  The person is content to be in that place.  In fact, a smile is visible.  What is going through the person's mind and heart?  Has LOVE embraced and cast out all former separations? Is that me?

   The chair in the it Christ with welcoming arms outstretched or is it the Christ in me who has found in me, true hospitality? How do I want to live out hospitality?

   I find that each time I pray this, God speaks to me again. Has God spoken to you?


 From the Archives



Textbooks, yearbooks, and scrapbooks, oh my!

   For the past couple of weeks, Sister John Kevin and I have been hard at work unpacking the archival material that was housed in storage during the renovation of the Motherhouse. It's always a surprise opening up a box of material: what exactly are we going to find? One day, it might be box after box of award plaques. Another, it may be homemade scrapbooks created by the students in one of the sisters' nursing schools. Every day, however, is an adventure!
   Pictured here are the shelves that the textbooks and the yearbooks we've unpacked now call home, as well as some of the infamous storage boxes we have yet to unpack. Each box that we unpack gives us more puzzle pieces of the congregation's history that will eventually be turned into beautiful displays in the Heritage Room! 

Ellen Winger
Congregational Archivist


Upcoming deadlines: 

April 8, 2015 - First edition e-newsletter
April 22, 2015 - Second edition e-newsletter