News and Events
Issue 2.3
February 11, 2014
In This Issue
House of Prayer Update
Brazilians Welcome New Aspirants
Florida Sisters Offer Discernment Day
Reflection: That Was Then, This is Now
Diocese to pre-record Easter Mass
Quick Links
Allegany Franciscan Website
Like us on Facebook
Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes


   The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes celebrates the appearances of Mary to Bernadette Soubirous in a cave at Massabielle near Lourdes, France, in 1876. Since then Lourdes has been a place of pilgrimage, prayer and healing. 




   Today, we remember the staff, doctors, nurses and medical personnel at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, NJ. 

   Our Lady of Lourdes, built and sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, opened to patients on July 1, 1950, for the care of all people, regardless of race, creed or ability to pay. This statue of Mary atop the hospital has served through the years as a beacon of hope and sign of healing presence for the people of southern New Jersey.



Did you know? 


   The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany have an active Facebook presence that include daily reflections such as the one above. These reflections are not only shared in English, but shared and translated into Portuguese by our Sisters in Brazil. 

An update from Kathie Uhler on her proposed House of Prayer
Submitted by: Odette Haddad, OSF

Letter from: Kathie Uhler, OSF


   Greetings in the New Year!

   In late September I emailed the first House of Prayer Update.  I welcome persons new on the email list to Update #2 and thank others of you for your interest in the project early on. I had been waiting for some breakthrough before writing the second Update and, finally, it has come to pass, in several ways.

   To give evidence for this new stage in the development of the project, allow me to begin by saying that by late November, after dates had been set for some other commitments, I felt I could block out a two-month period for a trip to Palestine to scout locations for the House of Prayer and for a residence for the hosting Core Group.

   Fortunately, as a reservist member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, I was able to get a great deal through their travel agent on a flight to Tel Aviv from February 3 to March 24, 2014. I also arranged to stay for the first month at the convent of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, at their guest house in Jerusalem. I had often stayed there in the past. In the second month, I will have lodgings at The House of Bread, a guest house located just off Manger Square in Bethlehem. I have often stayed there with the owner, a Palestinian pastor, and his family.

   The most key event to report to you of these past many weeks was a visit with His Eminence Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Emeritus of Washington, DC. I was honored by the Cardinal's invitation to discuss the HOP proposal with him. This occurred on December 9. The Cardinal's advice was founded on his many years of work on behalf of human rights and religious freedom, especially in the Middle East. Among many wide-ranging responsibilities for the Catholic Church and society, His Eminence served for many years on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. He has visited many nations as a human rights advocate, and in 1996 he was invited to serve on the U.S. Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. From 1999 to 2001, His Eminence was a member of the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. In 2000, he was honored by the presidents of Lebanon and the United States for his work on human rights.

   The Cardinal offered his advice on several major points:

  • First in importance: His Eminence fully supports the proposal and is graciously permitting me to use his name.
  • He advised that the HOP focus on the Abrahamic religions or "the three religions of the Book":  Islam, Judaism and Christianity, as a start. I am adopting this suggestion. Some of you may recall that this was my original focus.
  • To this end, the Cardinal advised me to contact the Council of Religious Institutes of the Holy Land in Jerusalem. This group consists of the chief leaders of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, with whom the Cardinal has worked over the years. He gave me a contact with the Council. Relatedly in importance, he also suggested I be in touch with the Custos of the Franciscan Order in Jerusalem.
  • He advised me further to seek collaboration with Bethlehem University in Bethlehem. From my past years in Palestine, I have enjoyed a close connection with the De La Salle Christian Brothers there.

   I should be able to make these and other contacts while I am in the region in February and March. God willing. 

   For example, there are some other relevant contacts with whom I have had experience in recent years:

  • the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land
  • the prioress of the Monastery of the Sisters of Bethlehem in Israel, where I spent days of retreat many times; and the Comboni Mission Sisters, whom I have met at their retreat center in Bethany. I am eager to learn from these sisters how they have conducted a spiritual ministry in these difficult times.
  • The Tent of Nations, near Bethlehem; a Palestinian-owned, cross-cultural farming mission to build peace and reconciliation, since 1992.

   Other very positive new information regarding the project:

  • A woman with whom I am on a parish committee, Leila Araiche, has volunteered to work on the project, e.g. on fundraising.
  • My Christian Peacemaker Teams Hebron teammate, Dianne Roe, a charter member of the CPT Hebron Team from 1995, has confirmed that she wants to help me scout the location for the HOP in the West Bank.
  • Phyllis Bennis, of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, has offered to review HOP written materials from her secular standpoint as a Middle East expert and a long-standing non-violent peace activist.

   At this time I would like to invite each of you to consider how you might participate further in the project to establish the House of Prayer.  I wish to extend the ownership and excitement of this project along these lines:

 Ways to Participate in the House of Prayer

  • Testimonial - a written statement of support for the HOP from a person in a relevant field of expertise
  • Advisory Board - advises the executive director periodically in the establishment and maintenance of the HOP
  • Executive Team - small group, available "on call" to work closely with the executive director                                                                               
  • Core Group - host group of 3 members living at/near the HOP; formation program required;  9 in group  
  • Finance/Fundraising Committee - advice and activities; periodic electronic meetings                               
  • Sponsorship - commitment to a recurring, financial donation 
  • Contact - person interested in receiving email updates; open to providing services occasionally

   Please feel free to contact me for further details on the various ways to participate in the HOP project.

   It is my hope that, once the HOP location and residence for the Core Group are determined, the preparation for the Core Group may be arranged and a timeline for the opening of the HOP set. I will send periodic Updates in the coming months.

   I look forward to hearing from each of you. Please feel free to contact me at any time:

   I trust in your prayers continuing for guidance in this effort "to bring religion into the equation" of peacemaking in the Middle East. 

Brazilians Welcome New Aspirants

Submitted by: Marin�z Arantes da Silva, OSF

   It is with great joy that we come today to share with you the good news:

   On February 2, 2014 the Feast of the Presentation, we will receive into the Congregation three aspirantes (pre-postulant).  They will remain a few days at the Convent M�e Admir�vel while the Formation House Alvernia, in Jardim Primavera, Anapolis is being set up.


1. Gleise Damasceno de Jesus, Macajuba, BA.

2. Cristiane Maria Conceicao de Carvalho, Joanapolis, GO.

3. Suzanne Alves da Silva, Araguacema, TO.


   Noviatiate:   The postulant,  Nara Maria Jaime will do her canonical year at the novitiate, Portiuncula in Anapolis, GO.  After finishing her canonical year, the apostolic novice, Irm� Lorrayne, will have three weeks vacation with her family and then will be part of the community in Cristalandia, TO.

    Let's pray for our women in formation that they receive God's blessing and be faithful to the plan God has for their life in light of the Church and Congregation.


Motherhouse Chapel renovations continue


These photos show the Motherhouse chapel with the pews removed and the upper balcony blocked off. As reported previously, the chapel is undergoing renovations to help restore its beauty to its original luster - including refinishing of the floor, painting and extensive cleaning - and is planned to reopen in time for Easter, which falls on April 20, 2014.

Florida Sisters co-sponsor discernment day

 Submitted by: Margaret Mary Foley, OSF


   The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary, and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary are sponsoring a day of reflection for young women in the Tampa, FL, area. 

   The discernment day will be held on Saturday, March 22, at the Franciscan Center's Sabbath House in Tampa, FL. It is open to single, Catholic women between the ages of 19 and 35 and will be a day of prayer, reflection, conversation and fellowship. 

Reflection: That Was Then, This Is Now

 submitted by Pat Sheeran, Helen Owens, and Bernadette Schuler.


   In the days when we entered the Congregation, many did not have a college education or a professional orientation.  Candidates at that time seemed to have a higher level of maturity than the youth of today.  Sandra Schneiders notes that today adolescence is followed not by maturity but by "emerging adulthood" which lasts into the early thirties and involves putting off adult commitments.

   Older candidates of today usually come to religious life with an education, a professional orientation and a wealth of life experience.  Maybe God is inviting us to be risk-takers at this time by accepting older candidates who still have much to offer our world.  This implies building on what they bring and assessing each situation individually.

   It is healthier for body, mind and spirit to remain active and involved with others in our older years.  As Franciscan religious women, we are called to view our involvement not as work but as the ministry of sharing Gospel values.  Bringing a listening and compassionate presence to others with no desire to control the outcome is a way of extending a welcoming hospitality which is part of our Allegany Franciscan charism. 

   We may need to look at the area of productivity differently and see compassionate presence and welcoming hospitality as the heart of our mission and ministry as Franciscan religious women.  Sandra Schneiders makes the point that we are not here to be church workers but to share and spread Gospel values.  Maybe the word "retirement" needs to be redefined and reframed.  As we let go of our previous levels of ministry responsibility, our creativity can flow more easily.  We can let go of our concerns about what we accomplish and produce so new directions can emerge.


Diocese of Buffalo to pre-record Easter Mass 

Submitted by: Ann Przybylski, Daybreak TV


Daybreak TV Productions will be pre-recording the Easter Sunday Mass to be broadcast on ABC-TV affiliates. Pre-recording will take place at St. Joseph Cathedral on Saturday, March 8 from 10am-1pm. All are welcome to attend. Bishop Richard Malone will celebrate the Mass that will air across the nation. To join the congregation register online at or call 716-847-8745. Please wear your Easter attire!


 From the Archives
Did you know that the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany were the first American Congregation to establish a mission abroad? In 1879, the sisters accepted a group of Scottish Franciscans who were ministering in Jamaica into the Congregation, and they sent several Alleganies to join them in Kingston.



This picture is of Immaculate Conception Convent, circa around 1900. This convent would later be destroyed in a devastating earthquake in 1907. However, our sisters were undeterred. The convent was rebuilt, and our sisters remain a presence in Jamaica to this day!


Contact Congregational Archivist Ellen Winger at

 Retreat Opportunities
Presented by: Andre Cirino, OFM; Ann Bremmer, OSF

Held at the Mount Alvernia Retreat Center
158 Delavergne Ave
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

July 6-11, 2014
$500 registration fee
Presented by: Fr. Joseph Krastel, C.Ss.R.

Held at the Notre Dame Retreat House
5151 Foster Rd.
Canandaigua, NY 14424

July 13-18, 2014
$325 registration fee
Franciscan Center Retreat Offerings: 
Holy Week Retreat
April 16, 5 p.m. - April 20, 9 a.m.
Led by Father Anthony Carrozzo, OFM
To listen to and reflect upon the seven last words has become a common practice at this time of year. During this Triduum, we will not only listen to these final words of Jesus once again, but will also personalize them, placing them in the context of our own stories. Through the integration of the liturgies and our lives, we will celebrate Easter with the deeper understanding that this is our story too.
Fee: $255/single room; $230/religious; $135/commuter. Please RSVP by April 4 to reserve your space.

A Retreat with Bishop Thomas Gumbleton: Rebuilding the Church - St. Francis and Pope Francis
May 10, 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
A return to the Gospel message of Jesus for the 21st century.
Fee: $25, lunch included. Please RSVP by May 2 to reserve seating.

Silent Directed Retreat
June 23, 5 p.m. - June 29, noon
Led by Sister Mary Arghittu, OSF; Father Anthony Carrozzo, OFM; Sister Anne Dougherty, OSF; and Sister Jeanne Williams, OSF
During the silent directed retreat, participants meet daily with a spiritual director. The rest of the day is spent participating in daily Mass, time for prayer and contemplation, walking the grounds or labyrinth, creating art, listening to music and resting.
Fee: $440. Please RSVP by June 6 to reserve your space.

To RSVP for any of these retreats, please call (813) 229-2695, visit, or email

Upcoming deadlines: 

February 19 - Next edition e-newsletter
March 5 - First March edition e-newsletter