1 INTERCOM NEWSLETTER OF THE SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS, CLINTON, IOWA JANUARY & FEBRUARY th Anniversary Sisters Begin Year of Celebration Let s go back to that singular day at the Abbey at Gethsemani, in Kentucky where three courageous women made a leap of faith and began something they would never get to see to its end. That is what all of us have done along the way. We, too, will not see what is ahead of us. But we don t let that stop us because we must put one foot in front of the other and continue, determined, wherever it leads us. Happy birthday! And thank you Clinton for being part of our story and for letting us be part of your story, said Sister Anne Martin Phelan, President of the Sisters of St. Francis, as she concluded her welcome to the anniversary Mass Thursday, January 21. Approximately 150 people filled the chapel at The Canticle and the gathering space beyond to celebrate the 150 th anniversary of the beginning of the congregation. Bishop Martin Amos, Diocese of Davenport, and women religious from congregations in Dubuque and Davenport joined in the celebration. January 21, 2016 marks 150 years for the Sisters of St. Francis who began as a congregation in Kentucky and moved their Motherhouse to Clinton in Symbols of the past were carried in the procession of the Mass, such as a brick and the cross from the first Motherhouse in Kentucky. Guests were also invited to view historical displays (see photo page 6) and the Archives Room at The Canticle. Photos are clockwise: Sisters Hilary Mullany (left) and Donna Burke processing out of the January 21 Mass; Sister Janet Ryan and Janice Warner enjoying the reception that was held in the dining room; Sister Ida Green (right) greeting Associate Lydia Halbach before Mass; Sisters Emily Brabham (left) and Gael Gensler welcoming Bishop Martin Amos who presided at the Mass; and Sister Paschal Hocum enjoying the reception with Pastor Ray Gimenez of the Victory Center in Clinton. (see page 3 for events in 2016)
2 P A G E 2 Upcoming Events February 28, 6 p.m.: Lenten Vespers at The Canticle. March 1, 6 p.m.: Peace Soup at St. Boniface Church Hall. March 6, 6 p.m.: Lenten Vespers at The Canticle. March 8, 6 p.m.: Peace Soup at St. Boniface Church Hall. March 13, 6 p.m.: Lenten Vespers at The Canticle. March 15, 6 p.m.: Peace Soup at St. Boniface Church Hall. March 17, 6:30 p.m.: Social Justice Film Fest at The Cantacle. He named me Malala. March 20, 6 p.m.: Lenten Vespers at The Canticle. Worthy of Note Sister Mary Lou Carlson represented the Sisters of St. Francis at the Diocese of San Diego Jubilee. Along with eleven sisters and one other congregation celebrating anniversaries, the Clinton Franciscans were honored at the special Mass in January. Sister Bertha Zeiser celebrates her 105th birthday (above) at the Alverno with relatives and Sisters. (At right) Sister Francis Burke celebrates her 90th birthday at The Canticle with many relatives and the Sisters. Our prayers are requested for the repose of the souls of: Sylvia O Keefe, former Associate and aunt of Joyce Zarnik, who passed away January 14. Vincent Frohne, husband of Joan Ruebush Frohne, formerly Sister Miriam, who passed away February 8. Teresa Martinek, niece of Sister Ann Martinek, who passed away February 19. Former Sister Bernadette Veeneman Wagner, who passed away February 21. Retired Bishop John McNabb, OSA, who died February 26. Sister Judy McKenna, (center) who is currently doing volunteer tax work, is with the tax team at the parish Mardi Gras party in Belleville, Illinois. Sisters Joan Theiss & Teresa Kunkel at the anniversary Mass. The roses were sent by Associate Bob Ketelson for the special event. Day of Communion, February 29 A function of our general chapter: To examine the life of the congregation in light of the Gospel, the call of the church, the spirit of Francis, and the charism of the congregation. -Constitutions #100 Grace us, O God, with your divine presence as we journey together living active non-violence and peacemaking. Amen Canticle Chapel before anniversary Mass Sister Bea Griffin wishes to thank all who sent cards, phoned, or gave kind Sister Bea Griffin words of encouragement during her recuperation. I needed it! she said. She is not only grateful but would ask for the prayers to continue.
3 P A G E 3 150th Anniversary Year of Celebration Jun 2-7 Retreat (Canticle) Jun 22 Roots trip to Kentucky Jul 16 Jubilee, Mass (Prince of Peace) Jul 17 LumberKings baseball game Sep 30 Reunion weekend begins Oct 1 Clare Award (Prince of Peace) Oct 2 Reunion activities Oct 2 St. Francis Face to Face (Zion Lutheran) Oct 16 Peace Concert Dec 31 Prayer Service (Canticle) NRVC and Sister Sarah Sister Sarah Martz was a member of the young adult focus group which assisted the Vocation Ambassadors design team of the National Religious Vocation Conference in making sure the message, schedule, and goals were relevant to Catholic Young Adults. This new National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) program is being funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and is Sister Sarah Martz (center) open to teams of vocation ministers, communicators, and young adults. NRVC is a professional organization of vocation ministers that represents religious life. Go back to page Intercom Focus: Our Corporate Stands January and February: Ending Human Trafficking Doorways to Freedom Exhibit The Sisters of St. Francis Franciscan Peace Center (FPC) sponsored Human Trafficking: Doorways to Freedom a display to build awareness about human trafficking throughout January, Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The FPC used the opportunity to educate the public that human trafficking is happening right here in Iowa. The exhibit included a Trafficking Programs in St. Louis by Sister Marjorie Wisor series of doors displayed at 21 locations around Clinton. Each door was unique and contained photos, written words, and/or general information about human trafficking. Several of the displays had specific information about Iowans who are trafficking survivors telling of their experience. Information about warning signs of trafficking, the hotline number, and other educational materials were also available at each site. My first contact with trafficking programs here in St. Louis came through the Peace and Justice Office of the Sisters in St. Louis. In 2011, working with the Nix Special Events Groups, they succeeding in obtaining a collaboration agreement with the Renaissance Hotel managers regarding the extremely serious trafficking arrangements currently taking place at their hotel as well as at others in the city. The CSJ Sisters have sponsored several presentations open to the public to raise awareness of this egregious problem existing here in St. Louis Since then I have learned of two residential programs that have been set up in St. Louis: Covering House, incorporated in 2009 and receiving their first client in 2014; and Magdalen House, which opened in North St. Louis in Two other programs were brought to my attention, although I have not yet been able to contact them for further information: Healing Action Network (me.com) and St. Louis Coalition Against Human Trafficking. I was fascinated to learn about Covering House and would like to relate all I learned during a lengthy phone discussion with the founder, DeDe Lhamon. Videos Donated The Franciscan Peace Center donated two videos, Miss Representation and the Mask You Live In to area high schools as a way to expose students to the problem of sex trafficking. The videos were purchased with funding from the Dubuque Sisters of St. Francis. In 2009, Covering House was incorporated as a non-profit organization with the purpose of providing residential care for girls caught up in trafficking in St. Louis. Covering House was able to obtain a farm home on 50 acres of land for a minimal $1 annual rent. The home can house 5 girls and currently has a household of 3 members. The low occupancy rate was a purposeful decision in order to insure the group s goal of providing a real home. However, Covering House provides much more than just a place to live. Ms. Lhamon recited a long list of programs offered to the girls. In addition to individual counseling, they are provided with music and equestrian therapy, and are in collaboration with Missouri Botanical Garden working in horticulture therapy on their extensive acreage. Even more pertinent is their need for furthering their education. One of their residents is already on track to enter college. To strengthen their future independent living success, the girls are helped with cooking and nutrition classes as well as house-making skills. All is not work, however, and each Friday brings an outing for either entertainment or education (or both). Covering House publishes a newsletter that can be accessed at I would highly recommend it!
4 P A G E 4 Peace Soup Pax Christi of Prince of Peace Church and the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa, began Peace Soup this month. The series started February 16 and will continue through March 15. This year s theme is Amazing Graces, perceiving life s obstacles as opportunities. The series potraying former KWQC-TV Davenport, Iowa Sports Reporter and current Illowa Fellowship of Christian Athletes Area Director, Dan Pearson. The second speaker, Catholic Messenger Editor Barb Arland-Fye, spoke this month also. Speakers in March include award-winning counselor and former Dan Pearson (center) with Prince of Peace parish members Bill & Annette Sikkema Mater Dei High School (of Clinton) teacher Candy Reed; co-chairs of the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program for Eastern Iowa, Brad and Dawn Knutson; and Father Bill Kneemiller, deployed Army Chaplain and Diocesan Priest. For Dan Pearson, life s obstacle was actually his behavior at a job he loved. Once he became a Christian he found that he was able to ask God for help and then realized his work at the station was actually an amazing grace. TV is just this maddening daily routine of technology that sometimes is a lot of work. The people you deal with and the time, the weather guy goes thirty seconds long so they take it from you I can remember anger issues and swearing. God took that away. The other thing God took away is my view of people; especially teens. Shortly after a station announcement that sports time would be cut to two minutes, the Highlight Zone emerged; its popularity soared, and sports news was given more time instead of less. Pearson discovered he was seeing teenagers as fodder for the sales people, but through prayer he began to view the teens as an opportunity to honor God on the Barb Arland-Fye and her family basketball court or from the football field. I got to be around some of the best kids in the area. Barb Arland-Fye, Editor of the Catholic Messenger, spoke publicly for the first time about her adult son challenged with autism. The Peace Soup Committee realized her story was ideal for this year s theme, Amazing Graces. Arland-Fye spoke with her husband and two sons surrounding her, intensifying her words, Families with autism can feel a sense of isolation at times because the unusual behavior of the individual with autism may set them apart in public. Articles can be read in their entirety on the website. The coordinators of the Franciscan Peace Center (FPC) were pleased to have Congressman Dave Loebsack and District Representative Jared Mullendore as guests at the Franciscan Peace Center Advisory Committee meeting in January. Thanks were expressed to Representative Loebsack for his support of permanently extending the Earned Income Tax Credit when it presented to Congress, while other items were listed on a Lenten Retreat Focuses on The Environment About fifty persons attended the Lenten retreat that was held at the Canticle this month. The February 20 retreat, titled Living with Compassion, Caring for Creation, focused on the pope s recent encyclical, Laudato Si : On Care for our Common Home and provided information and ideas about living passionately for our Sister, Mother Earth. Sister Nancy Miller, OSF, Director of Franciscan Spirituality for the Franciscan Peace Center in Clinton, facilitated the retreat. Congressman Attends FPC Advisory Meeting Position Statement for him. Other issues were discussed at the meeting, such as Medicaid, Getting to Yes, poverty, nuclear disarmament, the power of nonviolence, domestic violence, hunger, human trafficking, and homelessness. Plans for FPC in 2016 were unveiled including a city bus campaign, Ted Talks on Tuesdays, the continuance of the Social Justice Film Fest each month, Share Our Sandwiches, Womens Justice Circle, and Action Alert Digest. Lodi Pippen Western Associate Lodi Pippen has been asked to lead a Kairos Outside group. Kairos, meaning an opportune moment, names the prison ministry group of Southern California which ministers to women. The term serving time on the outside refers to women who have or have had a loved one incarcerated. The group helps them to deal with the shame, embarrassment, and isolation they feel. For the past two years the Clinton Franciscan Family was Meeting with Congressman Dave Loebsack Associate to Lead Prison Ministry Group asked to sign up for prayer times during the group s retreat weekend in April as a way of letting participants know someone somewhere was praying for the group at every hour of the retreat. (See Intercom Mar Apr 2015) I look forward to being in leadership with this group of women who have suffered so much from incarceration, loneliness, lack of acceptance and being homeless. I am a bit excited about this offer, Lodi said. I do believe that I will take on this new adventure! I would be unable to do this without prayer support from the Sisters, Associates, Sojourners, and friends. Thank you for your support!
5 Trip to D.C. by Sister Janet Ryan Last fall I had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC for a Network-sponored day of lobbying our congressional legislators. Network is the Catholic social justice lobby. It was an intentional followup to Pope Francis congressional visit and his call for an economy of inclusion. As a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) intern with A Just Harvest, and a Franciscan sister, I partnered with sisters from around the country to encourage funding for much-needed human service programs such as Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and to make permanent the proven antipoverty tax credits: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). The day began with a rally on the front lawn of the Capitol, led by Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of Network. Several speakers shared their passion for the needs of those living on the margins and the importance of Congress passing Sister Janet Ryan Lobbies in Washington D.C. In January 24, pilgrims of St. Julie Billiart Parish in Tinley Park, Illinois, set off to walk the steps of Jesus in the Holy Land. The pilgrimage, planned by Sister Gael Gensler, included herself and 33 others. We stayed in Nazareth, Galilee and the old city of Jerusalem near the Jaffa Gate, said Sister Gael. We were so blessed - it drizzled only one day and then only while we were in the bus or at lunch. Since it was the off season for tourism, there was no waiting in lines at any of the holy sites. We had the Faithful Budget. I had the opportunity to meet directly with Senator Durbin and with staff from Senator Kirk s office. We shared stories of hardship from several Illinois constituents. I shared a story about a woman who has had her paycheck withheld on two occasions She could not make ends meet without the help of the LIHEAP. Another example was given of a woman who began her education to earn a degree and get a better job to support her children. Because she made more than $640 a month, her childcare assistance was cut, thus jeopardizing the possibility of remaining in college. Senator Durbin and Senator Kirk were very receptive to hearing stories of constituents in Illinois and reaffirmed commitment to the tax credits benefiting those on the margins. Senator Kirk s office was also receptive to solidifying the tax credits. At the end of the day, we reconvened at the Network office where each team of Sister Gael Gensler Visits the Holy Land New Orleans, continued from page 1 Sister Janet and Janice Warner after the anniversary Mass P A G E 5 Sisters shared the value of their experience lobbying. New friendships were made, civic responsibility renewed and gratitude was expressed for a government that provides the opportunity to have our voices heard. We ended with supper at a trendy restaurant near the Catholic University of America. It was the perfect ending to a unique experience for me. I am very grateful for the work of Sister Simone Campbell and all who work at and support Network, Inc. Its commitment to social justice and to accountability from our legislatures is an inspiration. ample time in Bethlehem and the Holy Sepulcher. A highlight of the pilgrimage was to walk a portion of the Trail of Jesus which winds through the mountains between the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth. After a glorious boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, we enjoyed a lunch of Peter's fish. (tilapia). There were so many highlights, each day brought wonderful blessings. "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow"!
6 P A G E 6 Sister and Associate to Attend Movie Premiere Julie Fawley (left) and Sister LaVern Olberding Sister LaVern Olberding and Sojourner, Julie Fawley will represent the Sisters of St. Francis at an advance screening of a new film by Brave New Films on March 3. The screening of Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA will be held in Culver City, California, for supporters like the Sisters of St. Francis. The film tells the stories of how guns, and the billions of dollars made from gun manufacturing affect the lives of everyday Americans. The movie features personal stories from people across the country who have been affected by gun violence, including survivors of victims families. The film exposes the powerful gun companies and the NRA are resisting responsible legislation for the sake of profit and thereby putting people in danger. The film looks into gun tragedies that include unintentional shootings, domestic violence, suicides, mass shootings and trafficking. Brave New Films plans, with the help of its partners, hopes to work toward a country where public safety is more valued than profit. Sister LaVern plans to expand the viewings of the film in her area. I have also requested a free film for home showings, said Sister LaVern Olberding. "So we will be organizing events among different circles of folks and spreading the word! The Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, which includes the Clinton Franciscans, will celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week 2016 with a new social justice campaign called Pray it Forward. The Pray it Forward campaign, funded by a grant from National Catholic Sisters Week, will feature six one-minute videos with Catholic Sisters holding signs illustrating social justice issues such as human trafficking, violence, and poor environmental practices. The videos ask viewers to join Sisters in raising awareness of and praying for resolution of the issues. Scheduled to begin on March 6, the videos will continue throughout National Catholic Sisters Week at All are encouraged to share the Pray It Forward posts on their own social media channels, ensuring these important messages spread to many others. The Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley represent 12 Plans for National Catholic Sisters Week Sister Theresa Judge filming a video at Loras College. View it March 9. congregations of women religious whose collective mission is to spread the Gospel message in the 21 st century. Serving a global population are these congregations: Sisters of St. Francis-Clinton, Sisters of the Presentation, Sinsinawa Dominicans, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery, Sisters of Mercy-West Midwest Community, Congregation of the Humility of Mary, Sisters of St. Francis-Dubuque, Sisters of the Visitation, Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey and the Carmelite Nuns. And together, we serve a global population. Find us on Facebook at catholicsisters. Video schedule March 2 Promotional video March 6 Care of the Earth March 7 Human Trafficking March 8 Immigration March 9 Peace and Nonviolence March 10 Forgiveness March 11 Love and Compassion March 12 Conclusion video Sister Ruth E. Westmoreland s (January) mission trip to Haiti has been postponed until next year. Things are too unstable there, Sister Ruth E. reported. She asks for prayers for the people of Haiti. Trip to Haiti Postponed Sister Ruth E. Westmoreland at Cafe On Vine Archivist Lanie Lass and display board th Avenue North Clinton, Iowa (563) Have news? Please