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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 3.08
April 27, 2015
Welcome, Carmelita! 


   Carmelita Murphy, OP, our 2016 Chapter Facilitator, is a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Carmelita has worked with numerous nonprofit organizations and religious congregations of women and men in North America, Europe and Latin America in their living out of their respective missions. 

   As President of LEAD, Inc., a consulting practice founded in 1995, she offers consulting and facilitation services in strategic planning, governance development, and leadership development.

   Carmelita's academic background is in theology and psychology and she holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spirituality and Organizational Development. Carmelita has served on the General Council of her congregation and as Prioress from 1988 - 1994.

    Carmelita's presentations at the April-May Assemblies highlight the following concepts as we journey together toward Chapter 2016:

-  Being a Learning Community

-  Governance as "Authoring Life"

-  Contemplative Dialogue Movement

Let us Be the Fire!


Assembly in Jamaica, West Indies will take place the weekend of May 9-10

House of Prayer for All People

By: Kathie Uhler, OSF 


The following is taken from an article about the House of Prayer for All People written by Sr. Kathie for the Franciscan Federation's newsletter, Musings, in November. A more recent update from Kathie will be featured in the upcoming edition of Allegany Connections to be released this week. 


   It is the beginning of my seventh week at the House of Prayer for All People, in Jericho.  What a privilege to be here, in the Holy Land, engaging in a ministry of prayer for peace and reconciliation:  all-inclusive under one roof of every religion, race, ethnicity, and spirituality. 

   Is this what Francis would do? Let's think for a minute:  In Francis' day, Christendom was one and the Muslims were strong. The pope had called for all Christians to participate as they could in the Fifth Crusade to convert or kill the Muslims. Francis thought out of this box. Never once rousing his followers to the pope's call or even  using the word "Crusade" in his writings (cf. Kathy Warren: 2003), he was obedient to Pope Innocent III, however, at least half-way. Francis set out to convert the Muslims or to have himself killed in the trying.

   Fast forward to 2014:  Is a House of Prayer in Jericho what Francis would do?

   I dreamed of the House of Prayer about ten years ago, during my years serving in Hebron with Christian Peacemaker Teams. The notion of integrating the three religions of the Book under one roof was not original with me. I had seen such a room at a monastery in Israel. Sharing the idea with CPT teammates of various denominations and with Muslim friends in Hebron was very gratifying - everyone loved the idea.  One Muslim said, "Of course! Religion must be brought into the (peacemaking) equation."  

   As time went on and I started the House of Prayer project in earnest in 2013 with my congregation's blessing, universal inclusivity became the thing.  This became evident to me as I spent two months in the West Bank this past winter scouting for a location for the HoP. I met with numerous persons of all faiths, movers and shakers, and ordinary folk. To a person, they told me, "Drop religions; they are too divisive here." I was relieved, in a sense, because universal inclusivity is Francis' way; it is what he would "do".

   Thus the name for the House of Prayer has been taken from Isaiah 56:7 - "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people."

   So far this meditation has dwelt on the mission of the HoP. But let me conclude by saying that the first six weeks here have been just short of tumultuous. The house in Jericho is the magnificent gift of a friend but, having said that, I must add that the ministry thus far has been one of rehabilitating a three-story building that has been vacant for two years. It was filled with sand and furnishings, and hundreds of books of no use to the HoP. These weeks have been the "physical" stage of life at the start of the House of Prayer in Jericho. As one religious leader in Jerusalem remarked prophetically in his letter:  "Your project is a creative and important initiative, and it will require a lot of collaboration."

   In her Presidential Address at the AFC 2014,* Edna Michel invited us to think and act out of the box. Please join me and Annerose Schulz, a Core member from Germany now serving at the HoP, in any of the many ways to participate in the House of Prayer project. Email:; and visit us at: 

*AFC: Annual Franciscan Conference.


Kathie returned home to the United States earlier then she had planned and is currently home in New York City.  To read the rest of this update, please see the upcoming edition of Allegany Connections, scheduled to be released this week! 


St. Joseph's Hospital Food Pantry a Success

Submitted by: Arlene McGannon, VP for Mission, St. Joseph's Hospital


   SJH's Mission Council organized a Food Pantry for team members in honor of

St. Joseph's Feast Day. The effort served more than 104 team members. Some of the comments from the grateful recipients were:

? "I came to shop, but I see the need. So, instead, I am going to donate some food."

? "Getting these basics will allow me to get something special for my family."

? "This is such a Christian thing to do."

? "This is why I am proud to say I work at St. Joseph's."

? "This is so nice. I can get things I wouldn't be able to buy at a grocery store."

   "From our perspective, team members were just so grateful for their many co-workers

who gave so generously," said Karen Cappello, manager, Mission Integration and Pastoral Care. "We had to encourage them to take more food. They were just so happy with one bag! They

hugged us and blessed us, and some cried. It was a very humbling and rewarding

experience. We hope to be able to do it again."



Vocation Survey

By: Jessica Gonzalez, Vocation Committee Member


Hello Sisters!

 Thank you so much for your warm and wonderful greeting at the Assembly in St. Petersburg! It was truly a pleasure to meet so many wonderful women devoted to their call! As we progress in developing our vocation strategy I would like to collect stories and pictures from as many Sisters as possible! Our goal is to share YOUR story and YOUR calling. Please send pictures of your work (volunteer and daily ministry), along with short answers to the questions below to 

Thank you and God Bless!


Survey Questions:

?         When did you hear your call?


?         How did you answer your call?


?         Where has your path taken you?


?         What is one word you would use to describe your vocation?


?         What have some of the challenges been for you, as a religious woman?


?         What is your greatest accomplishment?


?         What should young women know about religious life?


 Dare to Image - Franciscan Federation

Dare to Image - Franciscan Federation Sabbath Monthly Reflections 

   As we, the members of the Franciscan Federation, prepare for our Sabbath year let us, individually and communally, enter into prayerful contemplation. May this Sabbath time awaken the unfolding mystery and the challenge before us. May we Dare to Image!


April - Listen and reflect:


  • Ponder the Word, "Enlarge the place of your tent...stretch your tent curtains not hold back..."  (Isaiah 54:2)
  •  In your mind 's eye Dare to Image: GENEROSITY AND OPENNESS


   What insights have come to you or your group, cluster, local community in this contemplative sharing?

   Share your insights and reflections by emailing them to Denise Bunk-Hatch at We will share your insights in our FSA newsletter and will also send them to the Franciscan Federation for their Musings newsletter. 

 From the Archives

   One of the most interesting things about working in the Congregational Archives is discovering the Allegany Franciscans' connections to other congregations in the world. Recently, we were contacted by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Peekskill, NY, who are celebrating their 150th Jubilee this year.
   When several Italian sisters from the Missionary Sisters arrived in the United States in 1865, they spoke no English and knew little about American culture and customs. They reached out to another young congregation, our own Allegany Franciscans, for help. According to our records, Reverend Mother Teresa O'Neil sent Sister M. Elizabeth Bucher, pictured here, to Peekskill to assist the newly arrived Missionary Sisters. Sister Elizabeth spent several months living with the Missionary Sisters, teaching them English and helping them adapt to American culture. To this day, the Missionary Sisters feel a special connection to the Allegany Franciscans and remember them in their prayers during their Jubilee year.

   Sr. Elizabeth was one of the earliest sisters; her congregation number is 7! I wonder how long it took them to finalize and decide on the style for the habit? I wish we had a better photographic record from that time for me to trace!


    For more information on the history of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, click here


Upcoming deadlines: 

May 6, 2015 - First edition e-newsletter
May 20, 2015 - Second edition e-newsletter
June 15, 2015 - Allegany Connections Summer Edition