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For more information on any of these news articles contact Angie Connolly, Director of Communications, at 563.588.2351 or by email@example.com.
BVMs Join Coalition Against Human Trafficking to Host Presentation
“Am I a Human Trafficker?”
Chris Cox , campaign manager of The Human Thread, will explore this question in a presentation at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27, at Clarke University’s Jansen Music Hall, 1550 Clarke Dr., Dubuque, Iowa. Hosted by the Coalition Against Human Trafficking in the Tri-State Area, the event is free and open to the public.
Long committed to faith-based advocacy and the work of justice, Cox will reflect with others on where our clothing comes from and how living in right relationship with our brothers and sisters on distant continents helps us to lead more joyful, faith-filled lives.
Coalition member Diane Rapozo, BVM (Malia) shares, “The Human Thread seeks to raise consciousness and empower people to advocate for the plight of garment workers worldwide. We are grateful to have Chris Cox come to the Dubuque area to speak. The BVM community has graciously provided Chris with hospitality.”
After 16 years of working in multicultural, low-income parishes in the United States and Latin America, Cox began to manage The Human Thread campaign last year, an outgrowth in part from the Bangladesh clothing factory fire which killed more than 1,100 people and injured 2,000 more. The workers were paid $50 per month.
BVM Irene Lukefahr, another member of the Coalition, says, “Sometimes I wonder about the working conditions and wages of those who labor to make most of the clothes I wear. Many of our BVM sisters and staff signed some of the 8,000 postcards from The Human Thread organization, sent to retailers Kohl’s and Macy’s, urging them to develop an apparel brand that pays a just wage. Hopefully, this one small effort on our part will help make a difference for those victims of labor trafficking.”
Cox will offer analysis and suggestions about how consumer choices impact the lives of so many who are often invisible to us and outline some decisions that can help us stand in solidarity with some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The Coalition Against Human Trafficking in the Tri-State Area is a faith-based network that began at the request of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), encouraging all religious community members and associates to work together against human trafficking through education and advocacy.
For more information contact:
Joy Peterson, PBVM
608-748-4411, ext. 164
Post date 2.13.17
School Celebrates BVM Roots at 125th Anniversary
Divine Savior Holy Angels HS (DSHA) in Milwaukee marked the beginning of its 125th anniversary year with a special liturgy on Feb. 1. Alumnae and former teachers joined DSHA faculty and students in celebration of both the anniversary year and National Catholic Schools Week (NCSW), observed this year from Jan. 29–Feb. 4. This year’s NCSW theme “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service” is embodied in the story of DSHA’s roots.
Holy Angels Academy opened in Milwaukee in 1892, under the leadership of the Sisters of Charity, BVM, where it grew and thrived into the 20th century. In 1926, the Sisters of the Divine Savior established another high school in Milwaukee to educate young women interested in joining their order. In 1948, Divine Savior opened to all girls in the Milwaukee area. The two schools merged in 1970 to create Divine Savior Holy Angels HS. Since that collaboration, DSHA has grown to become the number one high school for girls in Milwaukee.
“Holy Angels was my alma mater and that of most of the women in my family,” said Terese Shinners, BVM (Ellena). “The BVM alumnae at the liturgy shared memories of our high school teachers and the excellent education we received. My favorite part of the day was reconnecting with former students and colleagues from my years teaching at DSHA.”
BVM Suzanne (Sue) Effinger (Frances Carol) shared, “The event today celebrating 125 years was a powerful experience for me. The welcome all of the alums received as we processed into liturgy brought me to tears.” Janet Mary Desmond, BVM added, “The spirit of joy, service and pride filled the celebratory 125 year anniversary Mass. Students and faculty welcomed alums and all witness to their excellent academic and religious education.”
In her welcome at the Mass, DSHA President Ellen Bartels noted, “As we open our liturgical celebration, we honor those who have gone before us in our Procession of Alumnae. These women, who have graduated from Holy Angels Academy, Divine Savior HS, and Divine Savior Holy Angels, represent the over 14,000 young women who have come through the doors of our foundational institutions and have gone out to make a difference in the world.”
Post date 2.9.17
Join BVMs, Associates and Friends on an Ecuador Immersion Trip
The Sisters of Charity, BVM and BVM associates invite you to stand in solidarity through work, reflection and prayer with our sisters and brothers in Ecuador. The date for the trip is April 19–28, 2017. Registration deadline is March 1.
On this journey, you will live and work with BVMs Miguel Conway and Cindy Sullivan at the Working Boys’ Center in Quito, a place dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty. You’ll visit homes in the barrio and countryside. You’ll gather with the local community to help a family build a house. You will visit Otavalo’s renowned indigenous artisan open air market, where area villagers bring their wares to barter and socialize.
A two-day trip to Guayaquil is also offered, including a visit to Damien House, a clinic for Hansen’s disease patients, and Nuevo Mundo, a foundation school where poor children receive free education along with those able to pay tuition.
The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) in Dubuque, Iowa, are a community of Catholic women religious who minister in 16 states and Ecuador and Ghana as educators, pastoral ministers, counselors and advocates for the elderly and immigrants.
For more information contact:
Kimberly Emery, ACT (Associate Coordinator Team): firstname.lastname@example.org
Read this reflection by Peggy Geraghty, BVM about last year's trip to Ecuador.
BVM Inducted into Loyola University Athletic Hall of Fame
On Jan. 21, during the Loyola men’s basketball game against Evansville University, Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM became the 173rd member inducted into the Athletic Department Hall of Fame at Loyola University Chicago.
At halftime during the game, Athletic Director Steve Watson and Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney escorted Sister Jean to the center of the court for her induction ceremony. After a video presentation showing Loyola men and women basketball players thanking Sister Jean for her support through the years, she received her Hall of Fame plaque amid a standing ovation.
Sister Jean, age 97, went to her first Loyola basketball game in 1962, and the rest is history! Her dedication to the towering athletes who dwarf her tiny figure is legendary. As chaplain of the Loyola men’s basketball team since the early 1990s, Sister Jean leads everyone in prayer before the games and shares her enthusiastic support, unflagging energy, and astute critiques for each one.
Thrilled by the honor, she says, “I appreciate being in the Hall of Fame with all those wonderful athletes, who have brought such honor to Loyola and have influenced so many people.”
In the past year, Sister Jean has also received an honorary doctorate from the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University. What could possibly be next for this diminutive BVM powerhouse?
Read the full story at Loyola Phoenix:
Post date 2.3.17
MUSIC & MEMORY Rekindles the Past for BVM Sisters
What if we could unlock the buried, joyful memories of an elderly or infirm person with just a song, helping them connect with life again through music?
The MUSIC & MEMORY program, founded by Dan Cohen and based in Mineola, N.Y., was created as a nonprofit in 2010. Its mission is to “bring personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology” (www.musicandmemory.org). Since its inception, the program has successfully implemented iPod personalized music programs in care organizations throughout the United States and Canada.
The Sisters of Charity, BVM at Mount Carmel in Dubuque, Iowa, thank you for your contributions on #Giving Tuesday (www.bvmcong.org/support_donate.cfm) Nov. 29. Over $15,000 has been raised to help enrich the lives of our elderly sisters as they enjoy the music of their memories!
Three people—a BVM associate, BVM employee, and Dubuque Senior High School student—have come together, working to enhance the lives of our sisters in the memory care unit.
The idea to bring the therapeutic program to the elderly BVM sisters at Mount Carmel came from wellness department Activities Aide Dawn Merges. After staff viewed the documentary, “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory,” (http://bit.ly/1qKvUNk) showing the results of the MUSIC & MEMORY program, they were unanimously on board to initiate the program.
Challenges include engaging in research with the elderly sisters to learn about their favorite music from years gone by, obtaining iPods for storing the music, and educating and training staff to implement the program.
But Dawn feels the challenges are well worth it. The program “helps unlock isolation, relieves worry and anxiety, and facilitates pain management,” she says. “Seeing the sisters in their rooms—singing, smiling, tapping their feet, and enjoying their lives—is incredibly moving.”
BVM Associate Sharon Scully spends time visiting with the sisters, reminiscing and sharing. “My job is to talk to each sister and identify what kind of music she loves,” says Sharon. “We need to do this now, before the elderly sisters are no longer able to communicate with us.”
Sharon grew up in a house full of music and feels that she is simply “sharing with my friends, the sisters. And they teach me as well.” She believes that MUSIC & MEMORY generates opportunities as a multi-generational project—with tech-savvy younger aides and nurses helping the sisters to find new joy in life through the music of their memories while they, in turn, learn about the older generation.
Sibani Ram is not your typical high school sophomore. Like many young people, she likes music, books and learning about the world. But she also wants to do something about what she learns.
After watching the movie, “Still Alice,” which depicts a middle-aged college professor who finds herself battling Alzheimer’s disease, Sibani shares, “’Still Alice’ left me deeply stirred and scouring the internet for a creative way to help those with mental health illnesses.”
Looking for a local care center that used the program led her to the BVMs at Mount Carmel. “I’m grateful to have the chance to work with the sisters to advocate for the 24-hour online #GivingTuesday (www.bvmcong.org/support_donate.cfm) fundraiser on Nov. 29,” she says. “This is a terrific opportunity for anyone who believes in the power and delight of music. MUSIC & MEMORY is where the arts meet the sciences, transforming the quality of life, one care center at a time.”
BVMs Join in Making History
On Jan. 21, the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. marked the largest mass demonstration in U.S. history. Throughout the country and globally, 5 million people marched in cities and towns in a show of solidarity for human rights.
From coast to coast, BVMs andassociates joined the sea of participants in prayer and presence! The BVM Women’s Network sponsored three sisters to attend the D.C. march: BVMs Rose Mary Meyer (Sebastian), Diane Rapozo (Malia), and Joellen McCarthy. “I am thrilled that these rallies happened in hundreds of cities and towns in the United States, in many countries and all of Earth’s continents,” says Rose Mary. “Together we are strong.”
Both Diane and Joellen share that they were “hungry for a different way of people coming together” after the election campaign. “The experience in Washington generated in us such hope that we were encouraged to discover during the day in Washington and now in subsequent days, invitations to channel that positive energy to actions that can bring about change and work toward creating a world we can believe in.”
Associate Coordinator Kimberly Emery was also in D.C. for the march, and Associate Kathy Linhardt took part in the New York City march, while her daughters walked in D.C. and Los Angeles. Associate Coordinator Lori Ritz, during her visit to Iowa, joined her sister to march with supporters in Des Moines.
BVMs Barbara Gaul, Mary Ellen Meckley, Colleen McGinnity and Carol Cook rallied for the Chicago march. “It was a call to stand together, to use love as our strategy, to build on this day, to bring our energies to our local communities, to be involved,” says Carol. Associate Virginia Piecuch echoes Carol as she says, “The march in Chicago was an amazing experience to be one with women, men and children showing God’s diversity in our world.”
From Dubuque, Iowa to Milwaukee to San Jose, Calif., BVMs were present and engaged in the respective marches. Former Dubuque mayor Carolyn Farrell, BVM (Lester), joined by other Dubuque BVMs and associates, shared with the local group gathered in unity and support. “We are here, connected in spirit with the Women’s March on Washington, D.C.—lifting up positive energy, inspiring justice for all.”
Along with many others, BVMs Marilyn Wilson (Claudia Mary), Bette Gambonini (Esther Mary) and Elizabeth Avalos gathered with Associates Francis and Carol DeCarvalho and their family, and Associate Barbara Harper and her daughters, at the march in San Jose, Calif. Elizabeth shares, “Everyone was so positive—talking, laughing, holding their signs . . . our future is in safe hands.”
The Women’s March on Washington (www.womensmarch.com), urges supporters to join them in launching a new follow-up campaign: Ten Actions for the first 100 days. “Now, the real work begins.”
Post date 1.30.17
Read the latest issue of Salt magazine!
The new issue of Salt is now online! Read how our BVM sisters and staff come together in community. Click here to download magazine.
Congratulations to BVM Golden Jubilarians!
Mary Ann Cronin, BVM and Susan Coler, BVM celebrated their golden jubilees with an Evening Prayer of Jubilee and Gratitude on April 12 in the Mount Carmel Motherhouse Chapel, followed by a reception. Read more about these sisters at http://www.bvmcong.org/whatsnew_jubs.cfm
LCWR Expresses Deep Concern about Executive Orders
LCWR Expresses Deep Concern about Executive Orders
January 30, 2017
We emphatically endorse the statement issued today by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR): “We strongly object to President Trump’s attempts to limit our ability to heed God’s call to welcome the stranger (Mt. 25:35) and to care for those most in need (Mt 25:40), and we are particularly concerned about rules and regulations that deny access to refugees because of their religion, race, or nationality. It is a violation of our faith and every norm of humanity.”
With the LCWR, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary “vow to continue to welcome refugees and minister to immigrants. [We,] LCWR, and its members will continue to press for restoration of refugee resettlement, relief for families, an end to needless deportations, and the closure of all family detention centers. We will continue to advocate for compassionate, bipartisan legislation that fixes our broken immigration system. We will continue to stand in solidarity with families, regardless of immigration status, who labor daily to provide safety and security for their children.”
Leadership Team, Sisters of Charity, BVM
Teri Hadro, BVM
Lou Anglin, BVM
LaDonna Manternach, BVM
BVMs Appointed to Dual Leadership Positions at Xavier College Preparatory
Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix has announced that longtime Principal Mary Joan Fitzgerald, BVM (John Raymond) will become the school’s president, and Vice Principal of Academics and Campus Minister Joan Nuckols, BVM will become its new principal. Both positions are effective July 1, and exemplify an emerging administration model of dual leadership structure offering shared authority and responsibilities to better serve Catholic high schools, students, families and communities.
As principal since 1974, Mary Joan Fitzgerald has built a tradition of excellence at Xavier, winning numerous awards for academic excellence and innovation. Joan Nuckols joined Xavier in 1974 as history teacher. Prior to her current position, she served as department chair of social studies and theology and continues to teach Advanced Placement European history. She holds two master’s degrees, one in European history and one in education administration.
The school has been staffed by the Sisters of Charity, BVM since 1943, when they established the Catholic high school for girls known as Xavier College Preparatory.
BVMs, Associates and Friends Gather in Solidarity
“No Mas! No More! Tear Down the Border Wall! Basta Ya, Basta Ya, Basta Ya!”
These were the words that rang through and around the border wall at the Nogales, Ariz./Sonora, Mexico border for the SOA (School of the Americas) Watch Oct. 7–10. BVM Associates Carol and Francis DeCarvalho, Kay Harrison and Elizabeth Fitting joined BVMs Elizabeth Avalos, Bette Gambonini (Esther Mary) and Marilyn Wilson (Claudia Mary), and friends Arline Nelson and Wally Inglis for the event.
They gathered together in solidarity with over 1,000 justice seekers to:
• bring attention to the injustices of the U.S. immigration policies;
• advocate for a shift in U.S. policy toward refugees;
• offer a positive narrative about immigrants and refugees;
• build bridges of understanding and dialogue;
• struggle against U.S. militarization at home and abroad;
• and to commit to continue to work for comprehensive immigration reform.
A march led by Veterans for Peace guided the group to the border wall. Stages set on either side of the wall created connections with those who have suffered at the hands of border patrol and immigration officials. Participants attended workshops on both sides of the border, studying various aspects of the issue—injustices in the U.S. detention centers, unequal economies, disastrous effects of free trade, and deportation of veterans.
They joined 40 other women religious and associates for Encuentro de Hermanas, to pray together and engage in conversation about immigration and their response as women religious. For over 20 years, many congregations have had missions on both sides of border towns in the southwest. Coming to the watch from several states, they networked and shared resources.
For everyone, it was an experience that saddened, challenged, energized and filled them with hope.
“Abre corazones, abre brazoes, abre puertas en bienvenida.”
“Open hearts, open arms, open doors in welcome.”
from NCR Global Sisters Report – prayer at Encuentro de Hermanas, Oct. 8, 2016
Prayer by Marilyn Wilson, BVM: Ode to the Wall
For more information go to: www.soaw.org
Diamonds Celebrate Jubilee
On Sept. 11, 2016, the Sets of 1943, 1944 and 1946 gathered to celebrate their diamond jubilees at Mount Carmel, Dubuque, Iowa, with family and friends. Our jubilarians have been teachers, administrators, congregational leaders, chaplains, pastoral ministers, artists, librarians and much more. They have striven to educate and promote justice and caring for others and the earth in all their missions.
BVM Vice President Lou Anglin, in her welcome, shared: "Looking around the chapel this morning, our jubilarians continue to give testimony on how to live as women of faith in our world. They touch our lives and inspire us through their lives of faithful friendship, concern for the needs of the world, and devotion to prayer. They continue to be the eyes and hands of Christ and show us how to be the same."
Thank you Sisters!
To read more about each sister celebrating her jubilee, or to send her a congratulatory message, visit: http://www.bvmcong.org/whatsnew_jubs.cfm.
To view additional photos, visit: http://www.bvmcong.org/whatsnew_album_detail.cfm?galleryID=156.
Set of 1943
BVMs are: (standing, l. to r.) Geneve Moran, Jean M. Byrne (Jean Francis), Karen Pollard, Julia Acosta (Lorenzo), Eleanor Craggs; (seated, l. to r.) Rita Mary Zander (Magdalene), Mary Frances Shafer (Francis Edward), and Rose André Koehler.
Set of 1944:
BVMs are: (standing, l. to r.): Mary Ann Lenore Eifert, Mary McElmeel (Eugenne); (seated, l. to r.): Mary Enid Lodding, Mary L. Stokes (Charlotte), Carol Frances Jegen, and Barbara Cerny.
Set of 1946
All sisters entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1946, except for Mary Angela Buser, BVM, who entered Feb. 2, 1946. BVMs are: (standing, l. to r.): Marian Hurley (Willliam Marie), Kathleen O’Sullivan (Donall), Dorothy Gaffney, Joan Stritesky (Magdaletta), Mary Angela Buser, Helen Jeanne Hurley, Janita Curoe, Kathleen Spurlin (Bernardone), Carl Loras Pilmaier, Margaret Devereux (Williamette); (seated, l. to r.) Marie Neff (Charles Marie) and Dolores Doohan (Sarah James).
BVMs Mary Ernest Rothe (l.) and Suzanne Stopper were unable to attend.
BVM Leadership Team Message on Apostolic Visitation Report
We have reviewed the “Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States” and are pleased with the positive and affirming report. The picture of women religious in the U.S. is presented accurately.
The points lifted up for further reflection by the report concern the essence of consecrated life. Self-reflection is not a new process for BVMs who will continue to share insights with each other and with those with whom we minister as we have always done since our founding.
We are delighted by the collaborative nature of the report and its widespread availability and transparency. This form of exchange is a new experience from the Vatican and we are encouraged that dialogue will be continued.
We are especially grateful to all of our sisters who we have shared in this process from the beginning and to the countless other friends who have shown their support in multiple ways.
President, Teri Hadro, BVM
Vice President, Mira Mosle, BVM
Vice President, Kate Hendel, BVM
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