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Fall 2010 A Publication of the Sisters of St. Francis and Their Ministries

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1 Fall 2010 A Publication of the Sisters of St. Francis and Their Ministries Inside Peace Workshop Iraqi Student Visit Healing in Hebron

2 2 Greetings From the Community Minister Dear Friends, God give you peace! These are the words St. Francis of Assisi urged his followers to use in greeting others as he described in his Third Order Rule how those who follow Christ should act: Let the sisters and brothers be gentle, peaceful and unassuming, mild and humble, speaking respectfully to all in accord with their vocation. Wherever they are, or wherever they go throughout the world they should not be quarrelsome, contentious, or judgmental towards others. Rather it should be obvious that they are joyful, good-humored, and happy in the Lord as they ought to be. And in greeting others, let them say, God give you peace. (Rule #20) We Tiffin Franciscans, sisters and associates alike, take this admonition seriously. We believe that wherever we serve we are called to spread peace. Whether we are ministering in a parish, providing care for the elderly or sick, participating in marches or protests, teaching classes or leading discussion groups, or working to diffuse and transform violent situations, we want our presence to speak of peace. We hope you will find evidence of this in the stories presented in this issue of our magazine. In our community s Directional Statement we say: Recognizing our oneness with all peoples as brothers and sisters and abhorring the violence within the human family, we will proclaim the pace e bene of Francis to break the cycle of violence. We commit ourselves to be forgivers and reconcilers within our congregation and among those with whom we live and minister. This is the ideal that we keep in front of us as we face the challenges of daily living and serving others. Many years ago I read the story of a silver-haired woman who called herself only Peace Pilgrim. From 1953 until her death in 1981, she walked more than 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace. Her message to everyone she met was: This is the way of peace overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love. Peace Pilgrim was not a Franciscan, but she had a Franciscan heart. We thank all of you who have adopted a Franciscan heart by supporting our peacemaking efforts and our other ministries. May your Franciscan heart be filled with peace, joy, and good humor! Gratefully, Sister Jacquelyn Doepker Community Minister The magazine is published four times a year for friends of the Sisters of St. Francis Community by the Mission Advancement Office of the Sisters of St. Francis. Reader responses may be submitted to Sr. Sara Aldridge, Director of Mission Advancement, at Community Minister: Sr. Jacquelyn Doepker Sr. Mary Kuhlman Sr. Andrea Inkrott Sr. Edna Michel Sr. Joanne Lammers St. Francis Community Ministries St. Francis Spirituality Center Board Chairperson: Rev. Donna Van Trees Executive Director: Sr. Roberta Doneth St. Francis Senior Ministries Board Chairperson: Dominic Fabrizio Executive Director: Robert Hauzie Franciscan Earth Literacy Center Board Chairperson: Michael Brown Executive Director: Michael Conner 200 St. Francis Ave. Tiffin, OH Publisher Sr. Sara Aldridge Editor/Writer Kate Oatis Layout/Design Linda Williams Green news is good news To help us cut down on costs and paper, will you please share your address with us? We ll use instead of snail mail to keep you informed about what s happening in the St. Francis Community. Just send your address to: tiffinfranciscans.org. On the Cover: Sister Paulette Schroeder serves as a peace worker in Hebron. (See pages 6-7 for the story.)

3 3 Teaching peace in a violent world Whether we like it or not, we are all enrolled in a class -- Violence because violence is all around us. It s reflected in the media, our values. Some of us get extra tutoring from family or co-workers. The fact is, we live in a culture of violence, says Judy Hofmann, a Tiffin Franciscan who co-facilitates workshops at the Spirituality Center with Sister Mary Kuhlman. Sister Mary and Judy offer two JustFaith programs each year. This fall, participants meet once a week for eight weeks to explore the power and potential of nonviolent peacemaking in a class called Engaging Our Conflicts: An Exploration of Non-Violent Peacemaking. Course materials are provided by JustFaith Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. Participants learn how to deal with conflict and find ways to prevent destructive behavior. Ministries, which, according to their web site justfaith. org, provides programs that transform people and expand their commitment to social ministry. Through these lifechanging opportunities, members of a church or parish can study, explore and experience Christ s call to care for the poor and vulnerable in a lively, challenging, multifaceted process in the context of a small faith community. Judy believes there s a general tendency in American culture to think our enemies are more violent than we are. We think the only way to deal with that violence is to accommodate it or return it with violence. The program gives people the opportunity to apply nonviolence to real issues, Judy says. By offering tools to help participants see others as more human, rather than less, it helps engage them in a powerful and ongoing transformation, Judy says. Participants learn how to deal with conflict and find ways to prevent destructive behavior. Judy has been an associate of the Sisters of St. Francis for six years. Helping people to think and behave in a nonviolent way Helping people to think and behave in a nonviolent way is very important to the sisters. Teaching this course is one thing we can do to help the effort. is very important to the sisters, she says. Teaching this course is one thing we can do to help the effort. If you d like information on the JustFaith courses, please contact Judy Hofmann at or or Sister Mary Kuhlman at tiffinfranciscans. org or ext. 113.

4 4 Promoting peace within fosters peace in the world Sister Jane Frances Omlor is leading the Little Portion Green project. Passive solar house gets big help from friends The Franciscan Earth Literacy Center s (FELC) straw bale project, Little Portion Green, is the first project in North America to use Millcell insulation, which is made from 100 percent recyclable glass bottles, says the project s chairperson, Sister Jane Frances Omlor. The insulation was paid for by a grant from OSS Solid Waste Management District. The house now has a foundation, thanks to the many folks who purchased straw bales to help pay for it, and to the following: Sisters of St. Francis, David and Gail Steinmetz, National Machinery Foundation, Greater Fostoria Community Foundation, Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, Kneeskern Family Foundation, Angie Herring, Cathy Carr, Arthur Friemoth (deceased), June Bollinger, Donald and Judy Miller, John Aiello, Republic Lumber, OSS Solid Waste Management District and Andy Schroeder Electric and Ken Schroth Plumbing, who donated time, skills and materials. Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed by early November. For more information, contact Mike Conner at or Self-care is an important aspect of caring for others and caring for the Earth. The Franciscan Earth Literacy Center (FELC) continues to help with the effort by broadening its reach and expanding its programming. The FELC, renowned for its summer camps and programs for children, adolescents and teens, added adult education programs in early 2010 at a cost of just $8 each program. We had great attendance our first season about 20 to 30 people in each class, says FELC Director Mike Conner. Mike says the FELC intends to offer more adult programming. We have a tendency to think of education as for kids when, actually, it s kind of silly to leave adults out. There are plenty of adults interested in a variety of topics that we can provide information about. Mike is quick to point out that the folks teaching the programs are professionals in their fields. And he adds, We try to make sure people leave with something. We want it to be experiential and to get them engaged in what we re doing. To give you an idea of the types of programs being offered for adults, we include the ones offered this fall: Preserving the Harvest presented by Ruth Anne Musgrave, who taught the We have a tendency to think of education as for kids when, actually, it s kind of silly to leave adults out. There are plenty of adults interested in a variety of topics that we can provide information about. basics of canning fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on pickles, jams and jellies. Ruth Anne is the Director and Extension Educator, family and consumer science for the Seneca County OSU Extension Office. Why Raw? A Beginner s Guide to Raw Food Health presented by Lauren Austin Smith, who shared the benefits of a raw food diet. She taught participants how to incorporate raw foods into their diets and shared her family s story of how a raw food diet changed their lives and improved their health. Lauren is a certified raw food teacher, chef and nutritionist. Aromatherapy 101 presented by Lia Ricci-Sons. Aromatherapy is a useful tool for encouraging good health, increasing wellness and promoting healing. Learn more about aromatherapy, its history, how it applies to holistic health, common uses in the home, along with demonstrations. Lia is a clinical holistic health practitioner and holistic life coach practicing in Bowling Green, Ohio, where she operates Asherah s Garden, a holistic health and education center. For information on the FELC s programs, visit felc.sfctiffin.org. You may also contact Mike Conner at or

5 Celebrating local food and wine 5 Seven chefs, three vintners, produce from Seeds of Hope Farm and nearly 300 guests made for a beautiful celebration at the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center s (FELC) 3rd annual Summer Harvest Gourmet Gala August 14. Indeed, about 280 people enjoyed the event, which presented specialties prepared by Chef Todd Garrett, The Inn at Ohio Northern University; Chef Michael Bulkowski, Revolver Restaurant; Chef Jimmie Jones, Heidelberg University Dining (Aramark); Chef Mike McClellan, Mercy Hospital; Chef Glenn Teets, Tiffin University Dining (AVI); Chef Angel Moreno, Moreno s Casual Dining; and Chef Alex Love, Camden Reception & Conference Center. Wines prepared by Chateau Tebeau Vineyard and Winery, Hillside Winery and Matus Winery were much appreciated by an already appreciative crowd! The beverage sponsors were Tiffin University and Heidelberg University. The tent sponsors were MLAD, AVI, Alvada Construction Company, Clouse Construction Corporation, Sunny Farms Landfill, Sacksteder Worland Insurance, Filmtec, Reineke Family Dealerships, Fabrizio Chiropractic. The event is the FELC s only fundraiser, aside from an annual appeal letter, says FELC Director Mike Conner, who stresses the symbolism behind the food and beverage choices. The idea is to promote local foods and wines through an event that lifts up those two things while making a special evening. A few of the yummy dishes the chefs prepared for the event: Seeds of Hope Farm vegetables in cabbage leaves with roasted tomatoes; summer nicoise salad with a fresh herb vinaigrette featuring fresh green beans, redskin potatoes, vine ripened tomatoes, hard boiled egg, olives and capers and red onion; potato leek soup; peach panna cotta with raspberry gelee; poblano chicken fajitas; pulled pork with garden pico de gallo. Plans are underway for next year s Gala! We ll be sure to keep you posted. The idea is to promote local foods and wines through an event that lifts up those two things while making a special evening. Mike Conner, FELC director

6 6 Finding peace in the Middle East Every three months, Sister Paulette Schroeder returns to Tiffin to give talks, set up connections and raise funds for her peace work in Hebron. Sister Paulette is a member of Christian Peacemakers Teams (cpt.org). To give you an idea of what CPT does, we include here an excerpt from the organization s web site: Partnering with nonviolent movements around the world, CPT seeks to embody an inclusive, ecumenical and diverse community of God s love. We believe we can transform war and occupation, our own lives, and the wider Christian world through the nonviolent power of God s truth, partnership with local peacemakers, bold action. CPT places teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict. These teams seek to follow God s Spirit as it works through local peacemakers who risk injury and death by waging nonviolent direct action to confront systems of violence and oppression. On a recent trip home, Sister Paulette talked about her life and work in Hebron. As she spoke, we imagined such work isn t easy for the sprightly sister. But when asked about her work, instead of deflating, she remained upbeat. Not easy because she lives in the part of Hebron that has been patrolled by Israeli soldiers since the 1994 Oslo Accords. People are tried by martial law, unlike the settlers and the Israelis who are judged by civilian law, Sister Paulette explained. Across from where I live, soldiers are on rooftops, and they have access to every rooftop. Guns are pointed everywhere. This diminutive (in stature only) sister takes big steps for peace. We patrol the streets a lot. As we walk, we talk to people, monitor Across from where I live, soldiers are on rooftops, and they have access to every rooftop. Guns are pointed everywhere. problems. If a man is surrounded by soldiers and his ID is confiscated and we re there when it happens, we ask the soldier what happened. I ll say something like, Come on, this guy is going to work. Often, the soldiers will give the ID back quickly and let the man go. When a man was apprehended and kept for three hours blindfolded, Sister Paulette says she asked one soldier if he had been ordered to take the man. She says he nodded his head up and down and indicated the soldiers have a quota they need to reach. (Former Israeli soldiers have a web site where they share info about occupied territories: shovrimshtika.org). The peace group members also have a presence at the checkpoints, Sister Paulette On Peace Recognizing our oneness with all peoples as brothers and sisters and abhorring the violence within the human family, we will proclaim the pace e bene of Francis to break the cycle of violence. We commit ourselves to be forgivers and reconcilers within our congregation and among those with whom we live and minister. From the Sisters of St. Francis Directional Statement Sister Paulette walks the streets each day and takes action when she feels called to.

7 Being there as a Christian peacemaker, I stand for dignity of the individual. Peacemaking has been one of our charisms since the 1990s and is part of our Directional Statement. Peace can not exist without justice. 7 said, adding, And we respond to calls about home invasions, do a lot of advocacy via the internet, host delegations from other countries and visit families of kids in prison. Sister Paulette says her work as a peacemaker directly correlates to the Sisters of St. Francis mission. Peacemaking has been one of our charisms since the 1990s and is part of our directional statement. Peace can not exist without justice. She says what s happening in the land of Jesus contradicts His message and that of St. Francis, who wanted us to be brothers and sisters to each other. Being there as a Christian peacemaker, I stand for dignity of the individual. To find out how you can help support the work of the Sisters of St. Francis in Hebron, contact Sister Sara Aldridge at tiffinfranciscans. org or call her at ext Sister Paulette has this Israeli security officer lined up in her lens as he has her in his. Sister Paulette stands in the field of a Palestinian whose irrigation system has just been destroyed. Sister Paulette says making friends with the people is what she likes best about her peace work. An unsettled feeling From Sister Paulette Schroeder s most recent letter about her work in Hebron: The settlers here in Hebron are moving ahead inch by inch. Slowly, it becomes clear to those of us working in the West Bank that strategies are in place for eventually confiscating the Old City, the treasured Ibrahimi Mosque, the five Palestinian shops and land in front of the Mosque. Diplomacy is failing. The world refuses to pay serious attention to the voice of the Palestinians, still after 60 years of Israeli military occupation. The locals say that what the settlers want, they get. With precise timing, disciplined deliberation and much strategizing for its illegal grabbing of the land, the work of the Israeli Government makes the possibility for peace impossible. Here, too, the world stands by, allowing Israel free rein, with only a slap on the hand. Last week in another incident, the two-level-law of the land played itself out before our eyes. Close to a checkpoint, the soldiers damaged a car of an elderly Palestinian man who had parked his car close to the barrier so he could complete some errands. He received no apology, no recompense for the damage to his car. He has no recourse to the law. I ask myself often: How do these people manage to go on with hope in their hearts? I hear the cries of the common people: What did I do to have my land taken from me? It is difficult to hear such pleas and to know my government is causing so much of this pain.

8 8 Building bridges between angels and guides Everybody s mixed up at Angel Academy and Bridges Community Academy on the campus of the Sisters of St. Francis. And we mean that in a good way. Both places simply build on what we all already know: Older folks and younger folks have always loved each other. Think about it. While teens often have issues with their parents, their grandparents somehow skate. And older folks, too, love the teeny ones. The students interact so well with the residents, and they re also a big help to us. We re so A little backstory: Dona Kaufman and Judy Back founded Bridges Community Academy in 2004 to help gifted students reach their full potential. They d considered renting some space from Heidelberg University but had about 65 more students enroll than they anticipated. glad to have them here. Leanne Smith, Elizabeth Schaefer Apartments Bridges Academy is located in the basement of Elizabeth Schaefer Apartments. Luckily, one of their board members heard the Sisters of St. Francis had some space in the basement of the Elizabeth Schaefer Apartments and, voila!, six years later, this match made in heaven is still happily paired. We ve made so many good friends here, Dona says. Dona, the school s director, and Judy, the academic director, stress to the students and their parents that their school is the home of Elizabeth Schaefer residents first and our school second. The students and there are now 180 of them really enjoy the residents and vice versa, Dona says. We invite residents to our plays, open house and parents night, for example. Residents also come down to tutor or give a speech about Angel Academy students enjoy occasional visits from residents of St. Francis Home. something that happened in their lives. Kids go upstairs to go Christmas caroling and to have Thanksgiving dinners. And they also set up the chairs for the residents for programs and help with other tasks. Leanne Smith, director of residential services and public relations for Elizabeth Schaefer Apartments, agrees with Dona and Judy that the relationship between students and residents is rewarding for all. It has just been a tremendous benefit having the academy in the building, Leanne says. The students interact so well with the residents, and they re also a big help to us. We re so glad to have them here. There s intergenerational activity happening in the basement of St. Francis Home, too, where Angel Academy is located. Angel Academy provides daycare and pre- Kindergarten programming, says Paulette Price, director. And the children enjoy visits from Rocking Grandmas, women who live in St. Francis Home who take the elevator to the lower floor to spend some time with them. Being located here is a benefit to the children, Paulette says. It s like a home away from home for them. They learn and they play, and if they need a hug, we hug them.

9 100 years young and living well At her 100th birthday on September 9 of this year, Sister Charlotte Kessler enjoyed visits with almost 100 percent of her family, including her big sister, 104-year-old Victoria Theis. In fact, she says the party was so lively that last night (nearly two weeks after the party) was the first good night s sleep I ve had since! Sister Charlotte has been a Tiffin Franciscan for 87 years. I m the oldest in our community, she says, eyes alight. She says she felt called to religious life very early. I just prayed so much that I would grow up to be just I have been blessed with a lot of good support from my family and from the congregation. like her, she says, recounting happy memories of her second-grade teacher. Sister Charlotte entered the convent right after graduating from eighth grade. She spent 48 years as Sister Charlotte enjoyed visiting with her older sister Victoria at Sister s birthday party September 9. a teacher for various schools around Ohio. I enjoyed getting the children to appreciate music. They loved singing and square dancing, and they were so good at it. My students still write to me and say how much they enjoyed those classes, she says, pointing to a pile of birthday cards and letters. Sister Charlotte continues to enjoy her life as a resident of St. Francis Home. I m very blessed to still have my good mind. And I enjoy the staff members here. The nurses and I like to tease each other. 9 Men at peace Dick Scheiber and Gus Terry have several things in common: They both lived in Tiffin for many years, they re Catholic, they remember WWII like it was yesterday and they lost their wives within a few weeks of each other last summer. Both women lived in St. Francis Home for quite some time before passing away. Their husbands say they would not have wanted their wives to be anywhere else during their last days than St. Francis Home. Every morning I would wheel her to Mass and every evening we d pray the rosary together in her room, Dick says. The staff treated her like family. The men also appreciate the priest who says Mass for the residents most mornings. Even Fr. Kieran Kay would come down the aisle and make the sign of the cross on FeFe s forehead and say, Good morning, sweetheart, Dick says. Gus Terry and Dick Scheiber both say their wives simply returned home when they died. They say they appreciate the lives they shared for so many years with their wives. The day before she passed on, she looked at me with the same warm look in her eyes, just like 40 years ago, Dick says. I had my cheek against hers and 20 minutes I can t say enough about the care she received. The staff treated her like family. Dick Scheiber later, she was gone. Gus says his wife is like an angel who is with me all the time. The night she passed away, I couldn t sleep, and I felt a breath of air on my forehead and knew it was her. Both men say they feel very peaceful when they think about their wives deaths. Death is a take-off, an ascension. Why should we feel we lost something? They re home, Dick says.

10 10 Reaching out for peace Not all Americans agree on U.S. engagement in Iraq. Indeed, even within families there are diverse opinions on that topic. Many, though, are crystal clear about how to treat people, including those against whom one s country has waged war. Sister Carol Inkrott, for example, didn t hesitate when asked if her parish would be interested in helping sponsor an Iraqi student s education at Bluffton College. Sister Carol has been the pastoral leader for St. Mary s Parish in Bluffton for nine years. The Iraqi Student Project asked if we would sponsor a student. And now, we re like her family. The young woman receiving help from St. Mary s Parish in Bluffton is Tamara Al-Sammarraie, who arrived in August to begin her education. As part of her application process, Tamara had to write a letter about herself and her life. We include an excerpt here: After Iraq was destroyed nothing in my life was the same again. I finished my school in that year late because of the war. A lot of problems appeared... but the main problem was discrimination. After one year we had received many letters that threatened my father and promised to kill him because he was a retired military pilot. We decided to leave Baghdad and go to Syria. After three years in Damascus, my father returned to Baghdad in September, 2007, but on his way he was kidnapped between the Iraqi border and Baghdad and we never saw him again or even heard from him ever. I want to go back to Iraq to try to do something to help. That is my goal and plan. Tamara Al-Sammarraie Tamara says she appreciates the opportunity she s been given. I am studying something I really like, Tamara says. People are so amazing with me. My host family is like my second family, and Sister Carol is like a mother to me. They are always here for me. Tamara receives free tuition from the college, and the parish commits to raising $12,000 a year for room, board, books, fees and money for spending. She is majoring in early childhood education and says she knows what she wants to do when she graduates. I want to go back to Iraq to try to do something to help. That is my goal and plan, Tamara says. By sponsoring Tamara, Sister Carol says, we are creating goodwill and helping to repair the damage we ve done because of the war. Sister says the group set up Tamara s college dorm room by organizing a giving tree. Then they held a shower for her, which provided, among other things, a laptop, refrigerator and bike. We strive to create community wherever we are. Our ministry flows from the Gospel command to love God above all things and to love our neighbor even as God loves us. From this relationship of love flows our focused thrust on biblical justice and peace. From the Sisters of St. Francis Constitution St. Mary's Parish in Bluffton is sponsoring Tamara while she attends Bluffton College. When she arrived, they showered her with gifts for her dorm room. Helping Tamara is important for our community because we re learning it doesn t matter if we re Christian or Muslim, we re all people, Sister Carol says. It s about peacemaking. It s a small thing we can do. According to its web site, the Iraqi Student Project (ISP) is a grass-roots effort to help young people who have studied in Iraq acquire the education they need to participate in rebuilding their country. To this end, ISP seeks the help of American colleges to offer these students that which the United States does very well: excellent undergraduate education. Tamara s application letter offers a glimpse into her character, which ultimately is what allowed her to make the decision to travel to the U.S. for her education. Perhaps many people would say that I shouldn t go to America for studying, because they think that I would face difficulties as an Iraqi girl. For me I think I should go to the U.S. and take the risks. Everyone has to take risks in order to develop their skills, have their own experiences and to learn from their mistakes. If you d like more information on how to help support Tamara while she studies for her degree, please contact Sister Carol Inkrott at com or The web site for ISP: iraqistudentproject.org.

11 Working for justice 11 In a word, peaceful. That s how Bernadette Caramat thinks of her sisters, the Sisters of St. Francis. Bernadette has been an associate since 2001 when she and her husband, Jose, moved from Virginia to Ohio. Since then, she says, the sisters have been modeling peace and justice for me. Bernadette serves on the Outreach and Justice Commission at St. Peter s Parish in Huber Heights, Ohio. In an offhand manner, Bernadette talks about her duties as a member of that commission. I help with soup suppers for the poor and with the JustFaith programs we offer. I help with respite care through Catholic Social Services. But my pet project is trying to abolish the death penalty in Ohio. Indeed, Bernadette and others from the parish protest in Columbus when there s an execution. There are several Blessed by Haitians After the earthquake last January that killed one of her congregation and a child she was caring for, Sister Carmelle Voltaire says when she looked into a mirror, she saw the face of the Haitian people, reminiscent of St. Clare s admonition that when we look into a mirror we should see the face of Christ. reasons we oppose the death penalty, Bernadette says. The main reason is that it s not right in the eyes of God. We have no right to revenge, no right to kill people. Bernadette gets together with her Tiffin Franciscan family at least once a month, either in Kentucky or Tiffin. They give me a lot of hope that God is present. Sometimes you feel so alone and struggling out there. They re all about love and joy and simplicity. Bernadette Caramat (bottom row in green) works with a team on peace and justice issues as a member of St. Peter s Parish in Huber Heights, Ohio. Sister Carmelle and Sister Simone Achille, recently on retreat at the Spirituality Center on the campus of the Sisters of St. Francis, founded a Franciscan order of sisters 14 years ago in Haiti because they felt called to the Franciscan way of life. The sisters run a school and an orphanage. The earthquake took everything, she says, and there is still great need. If you d like to make a donation to this effort, please send it to: Sisters of St. Francis, 200 St. Francis Avenue, Tiffin, Ohio and designate it for the Haitian Sisters. A gift for Christmas We agree it is nice to open gifts at Christmas and to oo and ah over the contents. But what if you gave a gift that gives a gift? Wouldn t your loved one be just as pleased? To give a donation in someone else s name is a gift, one that s received by the folks who will benefit: the people in Cuernavaca, future generations who benefit from our attention to green initiatives today, folks in Appalachia, new immigrants, the families at Padua Center, the Spirituality Center, the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center, Senior Ministries. As you know, there's no end to the need. For details on making a donation in someone s name for Christmas, please contact Rhonda Wolpert at You may also visit sfctiffin.org Give a Gift to make an online donation. Sister Simone Achille, left, and Sister Carmelle Voltaire started a Franciscan order of sisters 14 years ago because they felt called to the Franciscan way of life.

12 The St. Francis Community Magazine is published by the Mission Advancement Office for the St. Francis Community. Correspondence may be sent to: Mission Advancement Office 200 St. Francis Ave. Tiffin, OH Mission Advancement Office 200 St. Francis Avenue Tiffin, OH Or visit us on the web: True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice. St. Francis of Assisi Help the mission The Sisters of St. Francis rely on the generosity of friends to help them fulfill their mission to serve. Monthly gifts are a convenient way to help. If you re interested in learning how you can contribute on a monthly basis, please contact Sr. Sara Aldridge at or God is our refuge and our strength Goodbye, convent! Hello, green space The sisters made a decision in July 2009 to demolish the eastern half of the convent "... so we would not be using resources to maintain space we no longer needed," says Sister Jackie Doepker, community minister. "We chose to redirect our resources into ministry so we could continue our service to others further into the future." The decision was made after research into other uses for the buildings did not elicit interest; the asbestos was a drawback for renovating the space. The sisters held a farewell ritual in April because "the buildings hold many precious memories of our community life," Sister Jackie says. "We realize how blessed we've been to have the use of these buildings for so many years. We wanted to thank God for being our refuge and strength through the years." No, St. Clare isn t texting. She s looking in a mirror. (See Blessed by Haitians on page 11 for a little information about why.)

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