News and Events
Issue 2.2
January 27, 2014
In This Issue
Bushwick Housing Independence Project
Human trafficking is not a sport
Motherhouse renovations move forward
Four country formation meeting
Mapping spirituality
Our Lady of Lourdes recognized
Quick Links
Allegany Franciscan Website
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Feast of Saint Angela Merici
Angela Merici and her younger sister were left orphans when she was about ten years old. Angela joined the Secular Third Order of St. Francis and devoted herself with several companions to the education of poor girls. In 1535 they dedicated themselves to this work under the patronage of St. Ursula. They took no vows and wore lay clothes. In 1565 they formally became the Congregation of St. Ursuline. Angela died on January 27, 1540. Her body was clothed in the habit of a Franciscan tertiary and interred in the Church of St. Afra in Brescia, Italy.

Kathy Maire heads up Bushwick Housing Independence Project (BHIP)
Submitted by: Odette Haddad, OSF 

Bushwick Housing Independence Project (BHIP) was founded through St. Barbara's Church in Brooklyn, NY, in 2004.  Our own Kathy Maire, OSF, has been in charge of this project since 2006.  The primary goal of BHIP is to educate residents in order to empower them.  Click on the following link to view the video on an interview with Kathy and to read the article: Bushwick: A Tale of Affordable Housing by Yalda Mostajeran.



Human trafficking is not a sport
Press release from NY-CRC-STOP
(Photo of MetLife Stadium courtesy "section215")

Reports indicate that because hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the Meadowlands on February 2, New Jersey officials are bracing for a huge surge in sex trafficking. In a recent NY Daily News article, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the House anti-human trafficking caucus, revealed that Super Bowls have shown themselves to be one of the largest events where the cruelty of human trafficking goes on, lasting for several weeks. 

In collaboration with the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment and other anti-trafficking organizations, the New York Coalition of Religious Congregations to Stop Trafficking of Persons (NY-CRC-STOP), joined the efforts of thousands of persons in NY and NJ who have been trained to recognize any sign of forced prostitution. A Hotel Outreach Campaign was established to make contact with over 600 hotels in the NY Metropolitan area and provide anti-human trafficking awareness, education and resources. 

Reporting suspicious activity to the national Human Trafficking Resource Center (1-888-373-7888) can be the difference between slavery and freedom for individuals who are being trafficked. Concerned persons are encouraged to continue to educated themselves, their families, and other members of their community, synagogue, church or mosque about this evil, and advocate for national and state policies that fight trafficking and provide services to survivors. 

With the efforts and prayers of those involved in combating trafficking, Super Bowl XLVIII can be a "Big Win" in our nation's determination to eliminate human trafficking. 

For further information, contact NY-CRC-STOP, Regina Holtz, FSP ( or Mary Ellen O'Boyle, SC ( 
renovations continue to move forward
Submitted by: Margaret Magee, OSF

Within the last two weeks, renovations at the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse have moved into the front-central portion of the building, resulting in the closure of 

he front entrance, main lobby and chapel while work is completed.


While the chapel is closed, sisters are gathering in the second floor activity room in the St. Clare building (healthcare wing) for daily mass.


Work being done in the chapel involves cleaning and painting. The benches are being removed from the room to allow for stripping and restoration of the terrazzo floor, to restore it to its original state. The benches will also be stained before they are reinstalled. The walls will be painted, and the marble, windows and the Stations of the Cross will be thoroughly cleaned.


Renovations include the installation of a new sound system, as well as a new organ.


When work is completed, the benches will be reinstalled in the back section of the chapel. In the front, straight-back armchairs will be installed for the sisters.


This work is scheduled to be completed in time for Easter, which falls on April 20. 


Four country formation meeting a time of contemplation and unity

Submitted by: Margaret Magee, OSF



Formation representatives from the four countries served by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany met from January 21 to 23 at St. Clare's in Tampa, FL, to discuss the needs of formation, both initial formation and life-long formation, as we move together into the future.


Attending were United States representatives, JoMarie Streva, OSF; Patricia Klemm, OSF; and Mary McNally, OSF; Brazilian prepresentatives, Julieta Maria de Carvalho, OSF and, Maria da Paz de Jesus OSF; as well as members from Jamaica, Teresita De Sousa, OSF and Trinita Solnek, OSF; and Bolivia, Elvira Donaldson, OSF and Maria Miranda, OSF; and the Leadership team


The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and vision together the shared hopes for the future as one congregation with sisters in four countries, and with the many cultures and languages involved.


We were assisted in the meeting by our facilitator, Violet Grennan, MFIC, and our translators, Lucy Cardet, OSF (Spanish) and associate Sheila Vincent (Portuguese); and Michele Dolyk, OSF, who provided secretarial assistance throughout the meetings. As always, we are grateful for the warmth and hospitality from our sisters at St. Clares, as well as from our sisters at St. ElizabethHouse of Prayer, with whom we shared liturgy and an evening meal.


Our days and our time together were deeply enriched by the comtemplative prayer and times of silent refection, which helped us to connect in deeper ways, share deeper insights to the promptings of the Spirit




SoulPulse maps spirituality in daily lives

By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, FSA Communications Director


An ambitious professor at the University of Connecticut is attempting to map spirituality in the lives of everyday Americans, in real time, using social media and cell phone technology to complete research in real time. 


Professor Bradley Wright's project is called "SoulPulse", and it is an effort to better understand the role of spirituality the lives of Americans and how it impacts those individuals' well being. 


Upon reading about SoulPulse, I decided to sign up. The process is simple - give them my name, email and cell phone number, and take an introductory survey about my background, both demographic and religious, as well as my mental and physical health. 


Now, I will receive twice-daily text messages prompting me to take a new survey for a duration of two weeks.


What makes this research unique is that the surveys are to be completed in real time (or as close to real time as possible), so that the answers reflect your attitude and inner thoughts at that specific moment in time. 


According to Mr. Wright, the study is as much about understanding day-to-day spirituality (and how it is impacted by things such as amount of sleep and social isolation) as it is about allowing people to learn a little more about themselves and their own personal growth. 


Individuals from any religion are welcome to participate, and for sampling purposes, atheists and agnostics are also actively recruited to take part. 


Interested in learning more? Visit and sign up. 


Our Lady of Lourdes recognized for excellence

Press release from Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center



Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center has received the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™.  The distinction makes Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center among the top five percent of more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide for its clinical performance as measured by Healthgrades, a leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.


"We are honored to be among the nation's best hospitals for the third year in a row," says Alexander J. Hatala, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lourdes Health System. "Every day, Lourdes associates demonstrate a commitment to our mission of providing outstanding patient care.  To once again receive this award is a real achievement. Together with our many other awards-including 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery-our physicians, nurses and all other clinical and non-clinical team members prove that we are delivering high quality care on a consistent basis and across all specialties. This isn't a one-time, one specialty award."


Not all hospitals eligible for the distinction meet the final requirements.  For example, in the Camden, NJ metropolitan area, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center was the only hospital out of six eligible hospitals recognized as a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence.  Lourdes is recognized for its quality care across at least 21 of 30 common inpatient conditions and procedures evaluated by Healthgrades.


What the Numbers Mean

Healthgrades reviewed data from 2010 to 2012 and found that Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence had a 26.4 lower risk of in-patient mortality across 19 procedures and conditions. During this same period and for the same procedures and conditions, if all other hospitals performed at the level of Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence, 156,036 lives could potentially have been saved. 


"Recipients of the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence have demonstrated better than expected quality care. For patients undergoing treatment for select common conditions and procedures at these hospitals, this translates to a statistically significant lower likelihood of death or experiencing complications when compared to the rest of American hospitals," said Evan Marks, EVP, Informatics and Strategy, Healthgrades.


In addition to the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™award and the 2014 America's 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery award,Lourdes has also been recognized by Healthgrades with its 2014 Pulmonary Care Excellence Award and the 2013 Women's Health Excellence Award two years in a row, presented in the spring each year.  Lourdes has also been noted by Healthgrades this year for five-star achievements in:  Coronary bypass, valve surgery, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, colorectal and prostate surgery.


From the archives:


 Last week, Sister Mary Lawrence paid my office a visit and was kind enough to donate this picture to the Archives. Sister Mary Lawrence was once a student at one of the Congregation's first schools, St. Elizabeth Academy. The Academy was housed in the old Motherhouse in Allegany, and it was open for exactly 100 years: from 1861 to 1961.

The picture that Sister Mary Lawrence has donated is a portrait of the student orchestra at the Academy. Sister tells me that she was about 13 years old at the time it was taken. She described a beautiful auditorium that took up two floors at one end of the building. You can get a good idea of the size and beauty of the space from this picture.

Can you spot Sister Mary Lawrence in the picture? (Hint: She's one of the violinists!) The answer will be revealed in the next newsletter!

What are your memories of St. Elizabeth Academy? Please write to and share your experiences!


 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: 
Women's Retreat: The Joy of Enough

February 1, 9 a.m. - February 2, 11:30 a.m.
Led by Jill Biebel, MA and Sister Jeanne Williams, OSF
As women, we often think that we are not enough. Let's come together to explore opening the door to joy in the reality that we are enough.
Fee: $85/single room; $68/shared room; $60/commuter. Please RSVP by January 24 to reserve your space.

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: 

January 30 - Winter edition of
Allegany Connections
February 5 - Next edition e-newsletter