News and Events
In This Issue
St. Francis Wing door decor
Thomas Merton Centenary
Inequality in Society
Apostolic Visitation Report
Franciscan Spirituality
A new reflection has been posted on the FSA Spirituality page. Click here to read this piece and view its accompanying artwork. 

Peace Prayer Cards are available to be ordered now! Please see 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! 
Issue 2.24
December 22, 2014
Warm faces at the 
Warming House
   Pat Shirley, OSF, takes time each Wednesday to help at the Warming House, which is a ministry of St. Bonaventure University. Here she is pictured with Barbara Bartkowiak, OSF.
Motherhouse St. Francis wing gets a festive makeover
By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, communications director 
   This Christmas season, a stroll around the St. Francis wing of the Motherhouse is sure to put anyone in the holiday spirit. The doors of the area are decorated in festive holiday themes by staff members in various departments of the Motherhouse, including maintenance, nursing, activities, housekeeping, dietary, and pastoral care. 
   The initiative was the idea of Monica Colts, the Motherhouse activities director, who said, "My inspiration was the sisters and staff, I thought that this would be a fun way to bring everyone together during this special season and to add to the festivity of Christmas at the Motherhouse." 
   The door themes are both religious and secular - Frosty the Snowman; Silent Night; The Grinch Who Stole Christmas; Let it Snow; Hark the Herald Angels Sing; Silver Bells; All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth; Jingle Bell Rock; Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer; and The Three Kings. 
   "It has sparked cheerful conversation among sisters and staff," Monica said. When the doors were completed, the activities staff began giving sisters tours of the wing to show off the work. "Everyone is impressed with the creativity of the staff," she added. 
   On Friday, Sr. Eva DiCamillo, Sr. Charlotte Reilly, and Sr. Concilia Flaherty were the judges for the most creative door, and the winners were announced during the employee Christmas party that afternoon. The winner was the nursing department's Silent Night door. Congratulations! 
Thomas Merton Centenary
Submitted by: Helen Owens, OSF 

   The Sisters of Mercy in Merion, PA, will  be hosting an event in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Merton, who spent a period of time at St. Bonaventure University and had a great deal of respect and love for the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. 
   The event, called "The Centenary of Thomas Merton: Monk, Mystic, Activist, Poet, and Person", will be held on Sunday, March 22, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy in Merion. 
   The press release for the event reads: 
   "We are so fortunate to have Jonathan Montaldo - past president of the International Thomas Merton Society, former director of the Merton Center at Bellarmine University, Merton scholar, author, editor, retreat and pilgrimage leader - to lead us in the day's reflections on the legacy of Thomas Merton in our present day and into the future. 
   We begin with welcome and a morning presentation. At lunch and informally, participants will share wisdom and Merton stories. Marianne Hieb, RSM, will facilitate the opportunity to gaze at some of Merton's calligraphic works. We will hear about his wide range of interests, his correspondences, and his activist influences." 
   Registration is required, and space is limited. Those interested in registering are asked to call Marianne Hieb at or call her at 856-324-0512. 
Inequality in Society

By: Gloria Oehl, OSF 


    "In a tweet  read around the world this past April, Pope Francis told over 10 million online followers, in nine different languages, "Inequality is the root of social evil." The pope's diagnosis did not go over well with many American Catholics, who criticized the statement as being radical, simplistic and confusing."

   This is the introduction to an article by Bishop Robert W. McElroy in the November 3, 2014 issue of America Magazine.

With the issue of inequality in our society on the front pages, this article is recommended for your reading of an evaluation of market assumptions and Catholic social teachings.

   Many responses to this article cited the success of our economic system compared to the rest of the world but I believe that we need to always look at the big picture from the side of the those who are least among us.  There is always room for improvement and conversion on the part of each individual, business enterprise and government.

   To quote the closing paragraph:  "Pope Francis, in his vision of the inclusive society, has given us the opportunity to challenge these assumptions directly with the force of the Gospel and the substance of justice. It is essential that the Catholic community in the United States, both as followers of Jesus Christ and as citizens who love our country, bring this message of inclusion with all of its power to bear upon the questions of poverty, exclusion and inequality."


   Read the article from America magazine



LCWR President participates in Vatican Press Conference for Apostolic Visitation Report 

Taken from the LCWR January Newsletter


   The Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life invited LCWR president Sharon Holland, IHM to Rome to receive the report of its apostolic visitation of US women religious and to participate in a December 16 press conference where the study was shared publicly.

   A copy of the report, the text of the remarks delivered at the press conference, and links to interviews with Sharon; Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, SV, chair of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious; and Mother M. Clare Millea, ASCJ, director of the apostolic visitation are available at

   LCWR offered a response to the report, which states: 

   The apostolic visitation gathered a large amount of data both through questionnaires and through the respectful listening that took place on the part of visitation teams as they conducted more than 90 onsite visits to various orders of women religious throughout the United States. We are pleased that this data, as well as the experiences, hopes, and dreams shared during the onsite visits, resulted in an accurate report of both the blessings of US women's religious life as well as its challenges. The report, which conveys a good understanding of the transitions that have occurred in religious life since the Second Vatican Council, is offered without negative judgment or any facile solutions. Instead, the synthesis of data resulted in a realistic and appreciative account of women's religious life in the United States.

   We are grateful that each religious institute has been entrusted with discerning its way forward in fidelity to its mission in the church. We are confident that US women religious will carefully read and study the report, discuss it with others, and discern what its call is to their own institute. We believe that the report will become a basis for important conversations in our own communities, and in our work with the pastors of the church and the laity.

   While the Vatican's decision to conduct an apostolic visitation caused great pain and anxiety for many Catholic sisters, our members frequently speak of how our experience of the study became the source of profound transformation for our institutes. The process led us to study the heart of our vocation as we engaged one another in significant conversations that explored our spirituality, our mission, our communal life, and our hopes for the future. As we did so, our bonds with one another grew even deeper and our understanding of the potential of this life to serve the needs of the world grew even keener. Media throughout the world covered the report and the press conference. Among the outlets carrying stories were: Washington Post, New York Times, National Catholic Reporter, America Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Commonweal, USA Today, The Guardian, and the Vatican Insider, some of which included interviews with Sharon, as well as LCWR president-elect Marcia Allen, CSJ and past president Carol Zinn, SSJ.

   Prior to the press conference, Sharon and the other press conference speakers attended a Eucharistic liturgy celebrated by Pope Francis.



 From the Archives
Merry Christmas from the Archives! 
   To get into the spirit of the season, right now you can view this beautiful painting in the Heritage Room of the Motherhouse. It depicts a 1964 Christmas party for underprivileged children at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. The sisters seated in the front row are identified as: Mother M. Clarita Davis and Sisters M. Anne Elizabeth Primont, Maura Harrington, and Florence Mary McVarish. The sisters in the back row are: Sisters Phyllis Coughlin, M. Carleen Rooney, and M. Edith Bowlen. The sister who is standing behind Santa Claus is also identified as M. Anne Elizabeth Primont. This is because the painting was done from a combination of three photographs.

   This beautiful piece of Allegany Franciscan history will be on display in the Heritage Room of St. Elizabeth Motherhouse through the New Year. For those at the Motherhouse or in the area, stop by and take a look today!


 Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! 
From Congregational Leadership and the Generalate Staff

Upcoming deadlines: 

January 7, 2015 - First January edition of e-newsletter
February 15, 2015 - Spring Edition Allegany Connections deadline