Meet Our IHM Associates


Kathy NicholsKathy Nichols

Meet our Associate, Kathy Nichols, a native Baltimorean. She delights in this fact and readily shares her love of Baltimore. Kathy shared with me that both sides of her family immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1800s. She knows Baltimore well and enjoys traveling to the historic sights there. Baltimore, a city with very strong Catholic roots, is the birthplace of St. Mary’s Seminary which was established in 1791 as the first seminary in the U.S. Kathy recalls visiting the lower chapel of St. Mary’s Seminary on Paca Street in 2001. At the time Kathy was struck by the feeling that she was in a very holy place. Little did she know then the significance that it would have for her someday. Years later, as Kathy began her journey toward becoming an IHM Associate, she studied the history of the IHMs and learned that Elizabeth Lange and Almaide Duchemin came to worship and pray regularly in the lower chapel. For Kathy, as an IHM Associate, the lower chapel is, indeed, holy ground.

Kathy is passionate about many things – her parents, children and grandchildren; her Irish/German heritage; the special needs children and adults whom she encounters every day; becoming an IHM Associate; her beloved city of Baltimore. Reminiscent of Elizabeth Lange and Almaide Duchemin, whom she greatly admires, Kathy has spent her adult life caring for and ministering to persons with special needs—children, in particular.

Taught by the Daughters of Charity at St. Dominic’s Elementary School in Baltimore, Kathy continued her education in Baltimore. She attended Seton High School and Loyola College where she received Bachelor's and Master's Degrees of Science in Speech Language Pathology. Kathy began her career in the Baltimore City school system at a special education school for 13 – 21 year olds. There she focused on language development—helping nonverbal children learn how to communicate.

After her own children reached school age, Kathy went to work in the Baltimore County school system. She worked with children in elementary grades doing testing, treatment, and therapy for 13 years. Kathy continues to serve children with special needs under the auspices of the Baltimore County’s Office of Child Find. Currently she serves children three to five years of age, many of whom are on the autism spectrum.

Kathy feels called to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities. The Beatitudes are her driving force. In the evening, she takes time to reflect on how she has embraced the Beatitudes during the day. As she lives out each day, Kathy frequently turns to St. Alphonsus and says, “St. Alphonsus, pray for me and all of us.” Kathy visits with her parents often. Her mother is Kathy’s role model and matriarch of the family. Kathy’s two daughters and two grandchildren are her pride and joy. She lives near her grandchildren and sees them at least weekly. Once a week, the family gathers at Kathy’s parents for dinner. Kathy loves nothing more than having her grandchildren spend the night.

When she started down the path to become an IHM Associate, Kathy became more reflective about her spiritual journey and her desire to go deeper. She belonged to a spiritual book reading group for several years and met Sister Madeline Swaboski in the group. Madeline invited some of the members of the group to consider becoming associates. When Sister Jean Louise Bachetti came to speak to the group about the IHM Sister Associate Relationship, Kathy immediately felt drawn to the experience. She loves to learn history and has reveled in the history of the congregation – particularly Mother Theresa and her strong connection to Baltimore. Kathy admires Mother Theresa’s strength, courage, and steadfastness. The Core Values to which Kathy is especially called are Justice and Respect for Diversity. Her life’s work is a testament to these Core Values.

In her covenant, written on the occasion of her commissioning ceremony, Kathy wrote, “I vow to embrace Mary, placing my heart in hers, and using the holy lives of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Theresa Maxis Duchemin, and Louis Florent Gillet as my models. I am proud to associate myself with dear Mother Mary Lange and her mission in Baltimore, the city of my birth.”

We are proud to claim Kathy as an IHM Associate in the first Circle of Grace in Baltimore. We offer our prayer, support, and friendship as we continue on the journey.

Nancy SissonNancy Sisson

One of the questions on the application for IHM Associate Relationship is “Why are you interested in becoming an IHM Associate?” Nancy Sisson’s response was “I don’t know the answer yet – it has not been revealed to me, although I have an inkling. Maybe I need to open my heart to hear what is being spoken to me.”

Nancy’s faith-filled response touched me deeply. It takes courage to move into mystery! During the introductory period Nancy and her Circle of Grace made a pilgrimage to the IHM Center for a retreat in preparation for their commissioning ceremony. Says Nancy of this time with the sisters in the Center, “All of the sisters whom I encountered showed me how much their hearts are filled with God’s love. I want to show what is in my heart and share it with those around me.” Isn’t this what the quest for God is—God inviting and our responding to the call?

Nancy has been responding to God’s call all of her life. She firmly believes that the Holy Spirit has opened many doors for her over time. She met the IHM Sisters in La Plata, Maryland in her very early years and was educated by them for twelve years at Archbishop Neal School (ANS). Among the IHMs whom Nancy remembers from her days as a student at ANS are Sisters Mary Pio, Isidor, Agnes Bernard, Mary Nicholas and Mother St. John. Nancy and her husband, Jimmy, married in 1973 and later had a daughter, Christine, and a son, Francis. Christine and Francis attended ANS in the ‘80s and ’90s and now Nancy’s grandchildren are being educated there. After nearly 20 years on Capitol Hill, Nancy began working at ANS where she stayed for another 20 years. She retired from ANS in 2015. Nancy’s influence on the ANS community is felt to this day.

Today and for the past several years, Nancy is focused on gratitude. She reflects on her life as daughter, niece, wife, mother, grandmother and teacher and recognizes all the gifts God has bestowed on her thus far. Nancy treasures three gifts in particular. She had the privilege of spending a lot of time with her mother in the final months of her mother’s life. When Nancy’s beloved husband, Jimmy, was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, the expectation was that he would live a few months. Nancy and Jimmy were able to share two-and-one half more years together. Six weeks later Nancy’s father passed away and Nancy was blessed to spend the night with him before he went into cardiac arrest. Nancy regards these moments as pure gifts from God.

Nancy lives her life in constant gratitude which prompts her to treat others as she wants to be treated. She does not focus on a specific area of ministry but, rather, opens herself to the opportunities presented to her each day. Nancy’s mantra throughout each day is “Love others as I have loved you.” She pays attention to how she greets whomever she meets during the day and looks for opportunities to help those whom she meets. She sees every encounter as a gift from God. Having been so well blessed in her life, Nancy is constantly trying to be aware of God’s gifts. This “attitude of gratitude” allows Nancy to live the IHM Core Values and Charism to which she committed on the day she was commissioned as an IHM Associate. Nancy and the other members of her Circle of Grace come together each month. They pray, share what is going on in their lives, discuss various readings, and lean on one another for support and friendship.

In her covenant with God through the IHM Associate Relationship, Nancy prays, “O Love, O Light, O Constant Companion, hold me close and bless me as I continue on the journey You have plotted for me. Never let me  go for I will cease to be. I pray to be open to Your graces and do what You place in my heart. I accept Your offer to dance this dance with You!

It’s been a wonderful dance, so far! Thank you, Nancy, for your faithfulness and commitment to the IHM Core Values and Charism each and every day.

Ann L. WilliamsAnn Williams

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

This quote from the prophet, Jeremiah, is Ann’s favorite scriptural passage. Early in a recent conversation with me, Ann expressed keen interest in the life of Theresa Maxis. Later, as I reflected on our conversation, I immediately made the link between Jeremiah’s words and Mother Theresa’s life. While Theresa’s life was anything but easy, she did, indeed, prosper in ways she could not have imagined. Ann is in awe of Theresa’s humanness, resourcefulness, single-mindedness, courage, resilience, passion, integrity and hope. Ann learned about these virtues, demonstrated time and again by Theresa, while preparing to become an IHM Associate. Ann loved learning about Mother Theresa and was delighted to visit some of the places where Theresa actually lived and carried on the ministry of IHMs. Ann’s Circle of Grace went to Vestal, NY to spend a day with our Vestal Associates and Sister Robert Mary Murphy. During the course of the day, they travelled to the Choconut Valley in Susquehanna County and visited Old St Joseph’s Church and the graves of some IHM Sisters who are buried there. Ann’s Circle also travelled to Immaculata, PA where they visited the gravesite of Mother Theresa. Ann regards both these visits as unforgettable opportunities to experience the essence of Theresa and her congregation.

Ann first learned about IHM Associates from her friend, Janice Richardson, a colleague at Marywood. As Janice explained what it means to be an Associate, Ann realized that she wanted to learn more. At that point in her life, Ann was searching and wanted to “go back to being the Catholic I was raised to be.” She also wanted to learn how she might begin to “give back”—life had been very good to Ann and she wanted to share some of her gifts with others. Ann joined the Circle of Grace that Sister Jane Snyder was about to convene. Ann and the others in her Circle of Grace were commissioned in June 2012. Ann’s experience in her Circle of Grace, the larger IHM Associate community, and the congregation evokes in her a deep sense of gratitude. She expresses that she is “most grateful for the Catholic whom I have once again become.”

Ann has been aware of the IHMs and their ministry at Marywood since the late ’60s. Her two cousins were students at Marywood College at the time, and Ann remembers coming to Marywood with them. She prizes a photo of herself in the chapel of the beloved motherhouse. Ann received her undergraduate degree in communication arts from Marywood in 1984 and her Master of Arts in communication arts in 2007. As a Marywood student and then as an employee for 16 years, Ann was very aware of the importance of the IHMs on campus. While learning to become an IHM Associate, Ann came to understand the impact that the Sisters have had not only on campus, but also in our world. Over the years Ann has had the privilege of knowing and working with Sisters Dorothy Haney, Patricia Matthews, Cathy Luxner, Jane Snyder, John Michele Southwick, and Rosemary Rogers among others. She has witnessed these sisters and other IHMs demonstrating on a daily basis the core values and charism of the Congregation. Today Ann is working for Friends of the Poor and the IHM Sisters in their Office of Development. She loves being with the Sisters every day. She is delighted to be part of the magnificent work begun by Sister Adrian Barrett and continued by Sisters Maryalice Jacquinot and Ann Walsh, and now by Meghan Loftus and her staff and volunteers. Ann is happy to work with Sister Ann Monica Bubser and her staff to identify and meet the needs of the congregation, so that our beloved IHM Sisters have the resources that are necessary to carry on.

Ann knows that God has plans for her - plans for her to prosper, plans to give her hope and a future – a future that is very much rooted in our IHM Charism and Core Values.

Maureen Kitner Maureen Kitner

From the moment I reconnected with Maureen Kitner three years ago, I felt as if I had known her closely for years. I remember meeting Maureen in 1965 on the day I entered the congregation with Maureen’s sister, Mary Ann O’Neill. At that time Maureen was known as Sister Gabriel Marie. I recall that she was an enthusiastic, energetic young sister who seemed to attract young and old alike. From 1965 to 1968 I did not see much of Sister Gabriel Marie or Sister Mary Leo (Maureen and MaryAnn’s sister, Kathy, who had entered in 1962) except on our visiting days at the IHM Novitiate.

Three years ago the Circle of Grace in Pittsburgh, under the guidance of Sister Delia Marie McNeirney, completed their discernment process and preparation for becoming IHM Associates. Sister Ellen Maroney and I travelled to Pittsburgh for the commissioning ceremony in November 2015. Among those being commissioned that day was Maureen Kitner. I was eager to see her again after 30 or more years.

In our conversation I learned that Maureen’s parents married in 1936 and Maureen, the oldest of six, was born in 1939. Her parents moved to the Duquesne Heights section of Pittsburgh (Maureen describe this as the Irish part of the Mount) where she started second grade at Saint Mary of the Mount School affectionately known as SMOM and met the IHMs for the first time. She remained at SMOM through twelfth grade. Her parents were also educated at SMOM. Maureen’s mom’s best friend was Dorothy Sullivan who later entered the IHMs and took the religious name of Sister M. Davida Sullivan, IHM.

Throughout her years at SMOM Maureen was close to the IHMs. She “was always with the sisters.” She helped out wherever she was needed and remembers, in particular, helping the sisters clean. Maureen remembers with fondness Sister Paula Baier, her second grade teacher; Sister Hosina McCloskey, one of her high school teachers; and Sister Josine Shannon, also a high school teacher. One vivid memory of Maureen’s is the trip to Scranton organized by Sister Hosina. Sister took the girls in the Sacred Heart Club to Scranton to witness sister

Redempta Sweeney receive her white veil. It left a lasting impression on Maureen. She also fondly remembers Sister Josine’s message to her,” What you are is God’s gift to you; what you become is your gift to God.” It was then, during her high school years, that Maureen felt called to become an IHM Sister. She entered on September 7, 1957, with Sister Karen Marie O’Neill. They bonded immediately and are still very good friends today.

During her years in the congregation Maureen served enthusiastically in a number of missions, the first of which was 33rd Street in New York City and then on to Greensboro, NC, where she served during the days of Martin Luther King’s marches. There she voted for the first time casting her vote for John F. Kennedy. These were days of deep passion and high energy for Maureen. Maureen was then sent to Cathedral in Scranton and was there for the assassination of John Kennedy. One of the blessings of these years was that Sister Josine lived there also.

From Cathedral Maureen’s went to the little town of Patton in rural central Pennsylvania. It was in Patton that Maureen learned to drive and it was there that she realized it was time for a change. She left the congregation in 1971 and returned home to SMOM. Maureen taught in Pittsburgh diocesan schools until she secured a position at the Board of Education in Pittsburgh in 1975. In 1978 Maureen began her teaching career in the Pittsburgh public schools. She felt a special call to teach in the inner city schools where she taught for 17 years.

In 1980 Maureen married her beloved Bill, a shy bachelor who was neither Irish nor Catholic. Bill converted to Catholicism in 1997. Maureen and Bill were very active in their parish (SMOM) particularly in the ministries of peace, social justice and hospitality. Maureen speaks of the ministry of hospitality in these words, “I truly love this ministry where we welcome visitors from around the world. We do this at home as well.” In February 2016, Bill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and then esophageal cancer. He passed away on Maureen’s birthday, March 14, 2016.

Sister Mary Bride O’Malley was a tremendous influence on Maureen. Maureen has been active in the SMOMAlumni Association, which was led by Sister Mary Bride, since Maureen’s return to Pittsburgh. When Sister Mary Bride passed away in 2013, true to her spirit and deep love for the Sisters of IHM, Maureen was concerned about the loss of the IHM presence at SMOM. She wanted to find a way to keep the IHM spirit alive there. Maureen approached the pastor about making a pilgrimage to Marywood with some of the SMOM alumni. In the summer of 2013, a group of 13 including the pastor made a pilgrimage to Marywood and the IHM Center. Sister Redempta Sweeney met with them and asked if they might be interested in becoming IHM Associates. And so, the Pittsburgh Circle of Grace was started. Members of the Circle include Maureen, Grace Harding, Joan Kuzel, Bonnie McCarthy, Debbie Pirring, Madonna Smith and Peggy Testa. These women are very involved in the parish where they extend the IHM Charism and live the IHM Core Values as they pledged to do on their day of commissioning.

Maureen exudes the spirit and loving enthusiasm expressed in the words of David Haas from his album Come and Journey with Me. “Come to the song, come to the dance. Bring all you are, bring all you’ll be: And come with your voice, come with your heart. Come and journey with me”

 We pray for and with Maureen and her Circle of Grace – in gratitude and hope – that they have the courage, strength and energy to continue their journey as IHM Associates at St. Mary of the Mount parish.

Rosanne Ellis    Rosanne Eillis

"I cannot remember a time when the IHM Sisters were not a part of my life.”

And so began my recent conversation with Rosanne Ellis. I met with Rosanne to learn about her journey to becoming an IHM Associate and the way she lives out her commitment to the IHM Charism and Core Values. During the time we spent together, I felt as if I were visiting with a long-time friend. Maybe it’s because she spoke about many of the IHM Sisters who taught her at St. Paul’s in Green Ridge and at Marywood College (many of whom I have known). Maybe it is because we both come from Irish Catholic families and were raised similarly. Maybe it is because it is a pleasure to be in the company of someone who exudes the IHM spirit, core values, and charism.

Rosanne describes herself as an only child with six brothers and sisters. She and fourteen cousins grew up within two blocks of one another, walked to school together, played together and shared meals in one another’s homes. Rosanne’s dad passed away when she was very young and her maternal grandmother took care of Rosanne and often six of her cousins while her mother worked and her aunt was busy doing other things. She was raised with a strong sense of family and her life still revolves around her family. Rosanne’s mother and one of her aunts graduated from Marywood College in the 1930s. She has a vivid memory of Children’s Day at the college. She and her cousins put on their best clothes and spent the day at Marywood playing games, riding ponies, and eating. Bishop Hannon attended Children’s Day every summer. Rosanne says that somewhere there is a photo of the bishop with Rosanne and her cousin, Joanne, in front of the Liberal Arts Building.

After graduating from St. Paul’s High School, Rosanne attended Marywood College and attained a degree in Home Economics Education. Within a few years she married and was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom with her son, John and daughter, Kate. Today John is an attorney and Kate is a medical lab assistant. When her children were in school, Rosanne volunteered at St. Clare’s and St. Paul’s schools. She and her friends who had children in these schools were always helping the sisters and supporting the schools in myriad ways. During this time Rosanne was a member of Immaculate Conception Parish and was a Eucharistic Minister and served on the Family Life and Parish Mission Committees.

In January 2007 Rosanne started working at Our Lady of Peace Residence (OLP) as secretary to Sister Jean Coughlin, administrator. She loves working at OLP and being in close relationship to the sisters. Rosanne speaks of her experience in these words, “When you enter the door at Our Lady of Peace Residence, you are enfolded in the peaceful, loving embrace of its essence. I am blessed to work in this atmosphere. The sisters who reside here truly know how to ‘rest in God.’ It is inspiring and humbling to witness the way they set aside their own infirmities and devote themselves to praying for others—individuals and the world at large. They take a particular interest in the well-being of the staff at OLP and it is a great comfort to know that we are always under their prayerful protection…Into this atmosphere I came. What I have found is affirmation, caring, and friendship from resident and non-resident sisters alike.” The sisters and staff at OLP found the very same gifts in Rosanne.

After some time Rosanne was invited to an information session to learn about the IHM Sister-Associate Relationship. She formed a Circle of Grace with another woman and Sister M. Alphonsa Consilio and soon realized that she had been living the core values and IHM charism all her life - at home with her mother, grandmother, and cousins, as a student in school with IHM sisters and, thereafter, in her role as wife and mother. Becoming an IHM Associate was the right next step for Rosanne. She was commissioned as an IHM Associate on April 1, 2011. In her covenant with God through Associate Relationship with the IHMs, Rosanne writes, “I feel that I have been led to this point by the Spirit drawing me in with an irresistible force. My journey heightens my senses to an awareness of God’s presence in all the tiniest moments.”

We delight in your relationship with IHM, Rosanne. Thank you for the gift you are among us.

Beverly CapannaBeverly Capanna

Beverly Capanna was commissioned as an IHM Associate in January 2012 in St. Petersburg, FL. Her relationship with the IHM Sisters, however, goes back to her youth as a student at Holy Angels School in Hays, PA, a section of Pittsburgh. Beverly received her elementary education from the IHMs at Holy Angels and went on to graduate from St. Mary of the Mount High School. Beverly is very proud of the fact that her grandfather, George Felix, helped build the wooden structure known as Holy Angels Church. Permission was granted by the diocese to build the church in 1903 because 36 families had to travel a distance of several miles to attend mass and receive the sacraments. Our IHM Sisters taught in the parish school from 1938 until 1970. Beverly remembers with fondness two IHMs from her years at Holy Angels School - Sisters Ricardus Tuskey and Catherine Ambrose. She also has vivid memories of Sister Clarice Reddon who was stationed at St. Mary of the Mount when Beverly was in high school there.

After graduating from high school, Beverly went to work for the Pittsburgh National Bank (PNC) where she was employed for five years. During that time Beverly married her husband, Bill. They had two children, Lorna and Mark. Beverly was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom while her husband worked for US Steel and US Air. When her children were 10 and 7 years old, Beverly and Bill moved their family to Florida. For four years they owned and operated a family restaurant. Bill then went to work for Hughes Supply, before moving to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Beverly was employed by Florida Federal Savings and Loan for 11 years. She then accepted a position at Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office where she is still employed. Bill has retired from the county sheriff’s office. Beverly and Bill have been married for 52 years. Beverly likes to tell the tale that for 45 years she did everything at home. Now, in his retirement, Bill has taken complete responsibility for the household.

Several years ago, Sister Flo Marino invited Beverly to participate in a six-week Scripture study course at Holy Family Parish. Her friend, IHM Associate, Jeanine Storer, piqued Beverly’s curiosity about becoming an IHM Associate. Shortly thereafter Beverly joined a Circle of Grace with several other women. She was commissioned with Grace Harding (a former IHM Sister), Joan Morey and Linda Speare-Gonitski. Her Circle of Grace still meets each month to pray, discuss current articles and share their lives. Grace Harding has relocated to Pittsburgh and is part of our Circle of Grace at St. Mary of the Mount. Beverly’s ministries are several and varied. She is the captain of the Eucharistic ministers in her parish and a member of the Stewardship Committee and the Council of Catholic Women. Beverly is very engaged in the Faith and Action for Strength Together (FAST) whose primary focus is social justice. She has a fierce commitment to social justice and each day, as stated in her covenant, she recommits “to seek justice for all our brothers and sisters and, by that, obtain a deeper love for our God.” Beverly is committed to her associate relationship with IHM Sisters. Above all she greatly admires the IHMs’ willingness to serve anyone who is in need. She experiences IHMs as warm, loving, and understanding—just as she did many years ago at Holy Angels Parish and at St. Mary of the Mount.

Beverly HartjeBeverly Hartje

Recently I spent a few hours with Beverly Hartje, one of our IHM Associates from the Cresco, PA, area. We met because I wanted to write an article about Beverly for the IHM Newsletter and I had asked Beverly to share with me her story, her faith journey. I left Beverly that day deeply moved by her journey to becoming an IHM Associate. As I made my way back to the office from Beverly’s home, the refrain from David Haas’ "I Am With You" became for me the theme of Beverly’s story.

Do not be afraid, I am with you I have called you each by name Come and follow Me, I will bring you home I love you and you are Mine.

Beverly and her family were Baptists until Beverly was 11 years old. The family then became Methodists. Today Beverly is very active in the Mountain Home United Methodist Church in Mountain Home near Cresco.

Beverly is a graduate of University College, Rutgers. While working full time, she attended night classes for ten years until she earned her degree in psychology. During this period Beverly worked with the Girl Scouts (she has devoted much of her life to scouting) and for an insurance company as a rater and supervisor. After attaining her degree, Beverly joined the Peace Corps and worked with the 4H organization in Uruquay, South America. While in South America she also worked with local groups other than 4H, started a girls’ volleyball team and started the equivalent of candy stripers in the local medical clinic. When Beverly returned to the US she began a career as a social worker for a private agency in New Jersey and eventually in the Division of Youth and Family Services in New Jersey.

Over time Beverly stopped participating in the Methodist Church, lost her faith and fell into a period of what she refers to as “spiritual bankruptcy.” She says that particular period of her life was like living in a fog.

In the late 1990s Beverly retired and moved from New Jersey to the Poconos into a new two family home that she designed with her sister and brother-in-law for their retirement. The home is inviting and comfortable; it is in the middle of a wooded property that welcomes Mother Nature into the home through many lovely windows. After a few years, both Beverly’s sister and brother-in-law passed away. She was in deep grief and at a loss and reached out to a grief support group conducted by Sister Gloria Frank, IHM. It was during this period and with the support of this grief group that Beverly regained her faith after many years of a complete lack of belief in God. She gradually began to spend time at the IHM retreat center (across the street from Beverly’s home) and felt surrounded by IHM Sisters and others who shared their faith with her. Beverly was deeply comforted by this support and love.

About eight years ago some of the sisters invited Beverly to become an IHM Associate. She accepted the invitation and joined a Circle of Grace facilitated by Sisters Anne Mary Boslett and Gloria Frank. In 2011 Beverly and Daniela Rivera were commissioned as IHM Associates in the chapel at the retreat center in Cresco.

Later this month Beverly and three other Cresco area associates will start and facilitate a new Circle of Grace thereby continuing to extend the IHM presence in the Mt. Pocono area.

Beverly is very active in local community endeavors. She is on the Board of Directors of the Friendly Community Center in Mountain Home, PA. She teaches a variety of craft classes each summer at Promise Land State Park and has done so for the past 18 years. For five years Beverly conducted Sunday School classes for pre-schoolers in her Methodist church—something she especially loved because it was (and still is) a constant reminder of her faith and the many blessings she enjoys from our good God. Beverly will tell you that, with God’s grace and the love and support of friends, the local community, and her Circle of Grace, she has come full circle in her faith.

We delight in our relationship with you, Beverly, as an IHM Associate and we pray for and with you and your new Circle of Grace as you continue to be the presence of IHM in Cresco, PA.

Karen RossmellKaren Rossmell

“There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:25-37

This passage from Luke’s gospel is a favorite of Karen Rossmell, IHM Associate. In fact, Karen’s daily life is shaped by Luke’s words. To say that Karen lives life to the full is an understatement. She says that she must give life her all. Karen proudly acknowledges that her family is her life…her husband of 31 years, Leo and their two adult sons, Michael and Steven. But this family who is her life extends far beyond these three men. Karen makes a practice of positively affecting all those whom she meets during the course of a day. She aspires to truly love her neighbor as herself. Throughout the day Karen is focused on what she can do to help others. She spends most weekdays at Marywood University where she is an employee and a student. Karen is a secretary in the Psychology/Counseling Department. She has a BS in Psychology from the University of Scranton and is pursuing a BA in Religious Studies with a minor in Counseling from Marywood University. Karen has worked at Marywood for four years. She began her career there in the Housekeeping Department. In addition to fulfilling her job responsibilities and studying, Karen is a member of the Marywood Concert Choir.

When not engaged in something at Marywood, Karen is immersed in her family and her community in Dunmore, PA. Friday nights in the autumn will

find not only Karen but also her immediate family and her parents, brother and cousins at the Dunmore High School football game. The Rossmell family has been fans of the local team for generations. The rest of the weekend finds Karen and her extended family cheering on Penn State and the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, starting on Friday and into Saturday and Sunday, Karen wears the colors of her favorite high school, college, and professional teams!

Karen is a member of Saints Anthony and Rocco Parish in Dunmore. She grew up in a strong Italian Catholic family and has been a member of her parish since childhood. She recalls (with a wide smile on her face) walking home from Sunday Mass and delighting in the aroma of the “sauce” cooking on the stove in her family’s kitchen. Karen has been an IHM Associate for 14 months. In the autumn of 2015 she and two of her peers in the Housekeeping Department at Marywood decided to attend an Evening of Prayer at the IHM Center. The prayer that evening celebrated Founders Day and included a recommitment ceremony for local IHM Associates. Karen and her friends were drawn to the notion of the IHM Sister-Associate Relationship and immediately after the prayer that evening asked how they might learn more about becoming associates. Before long Karen and her two friends were invited to form a Circle of Grace with Sisters Mary Denise Thomas and St. Kenneth Polley. On July 17, 2016, Karen, Cheryl Kosydar, and Pamela Chairge were commissioned as IHM Associates.

In her covenant written at the time of her commissioning, Karen specifically refers to her lifelong relationship with Mary. She has deep devotion to Mary and identifies Mary as her never ending source of strength. Karen makes a point of taking time when she is on Marywood’s campus to pray to Mary at Our Lady of Victory statue which stands midway between the Liberal Arts Building and Nazareth Hall.

Karen volunteers regularly whenever a need is identified. She recently took vacation leave to volunteer with other IHM Associates to prepare for occupancy a local shelter for homeless women and children.

The closing words of her covenant capture Karen’s spirit and desire to uphold the IHM Charism and Core Values – “Lord, You have always been there for me by guiding and protecting me. Now, dearest Lord, let me be there for You, wherever I go and in whatever I do.” It is with gratitude and joy that we celebrate Karen as an IHM Associate.

Dianne Rogers YoungDianne Rogers Young

Who shall find a valiant woman? She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future. She speaks with gentle wisdom. She deserves the respect of everyone. Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but the woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone. - Proverbs 10:10, 25-26, 30-31

Dianne Rogers Young has been in love with the IHM Sisters since she met them in kindergarten at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) Parish in Rocky Mount, NC, where Sister Carol Baden was her teacher. She attended public school for grades one through four and returned to OLPH for grades five through eight. Sister Honor Lenihan prepared Dianne to receive her First Communion when she was in the fifth grade. After high school Dianne worked for a year as catechist in North Carolina. She was active with the Mary Missioners and the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart, programs for young women interested in religious life. She continued to discern her vocation during the following year when Dianne provided day care for babies and toddlers and also worked in an ice cream shop.

In 1968 Dianne entered the Scranton IHMs. She was the mother of her band. She left the community as a junior professed sister and returned to her beloved Rocky Mount. There she met her husband, Chris, upon his return from a tour of duty in Vietnam. Early on Dianne brought Chris to the convent to meet the sisters who later attended her wedding at OLPH. Chris and Dianne have two daughters, Hollie and Heather and four grandchildren. Dianne’s mother, Elaine Rogers, was very close to the sisters. She even named one of her daughters, Kena Rosemaron, after our Sister Rosemaron Rynn.

A few years into their marriage Dianne’s husband became ill and she became the sole provider for her family. She worked in the public school system for 17 years and during the summers was the director of Rocky Mount’s summer day camp. During those years Dianne was a volunteer catechist in the parish on Sundays until the pastor at OLPH offered her the position of Director of Religious Education (DRE). She served in this position for 21 years until she moved into a part time role two years ago. Dianne is a certified Master Catechist and Lay Minister in the Diocese of Raleigh. Dianne has also served for 11 years as the Tar River Deanery Coordinator for the Diocese of Raleigh. One of Dianne’s favorite ministries is the bible study class she has conducted for the past 15 years at the Nash Correctional Institute in Nash County, NC. She also prays regularly with the male prisoners and is preparing two men there for Baptism. Dianne and the prisoners celebrate the Eucharist once a month with the pastor of OLPH and participate in various services during each liturgical season.

Dianne says that the IHM spirit “is always in my heart.” She has been a witness to the IHM spirit, Charism and Core Values her whole life. She is dearly loved by her band members and keeps in touch with them including those who have left the congregation. In her words, she simply cannot “give up being the mother of my band.” It is no surprise, then, that when Dianne read a small article about the IHM Sister-Associate Relationship in IHM Connections, she immediately felt called. At the time there were no IHM Sisters living near Dianne. Sister Betty Bullen, who lived about 40 miles away, welcomed the opportunity to join Dianne in her journey to become an IHM Associate. Betty speaks of this journey with Dianne as a true blessing for her. She says that Dianne and she “became each other’s ‘local community.’” Betty speaks readily of Dianne’s commitment to living the IHM Core Values, particularly the manner in which Dianne shares the redeeming love of Jesus in her devotion to her husband and family, her parish, the men in the prison, her band members and IHM sisters with whom she is still in contact.

Dianne names four IHMs who made a tremendous difference in her life. She speaks of Sisters Honor Lenihan and Carol Baden with great fondness. Sister Mary Mark Lowery has a special place in Dianne’s heart. Mary Mark was especially kind to Dianne and her family and was a real help to her in her husband’s illness. Dianne says that, even now, when someone in the parish mentions Mary Mark’s name, they cannot stop telling wonderful stories about her. Dianne also speaks of the privilege it was to work with Sister Joan Coyne when she was in Rocky Mount.

We are grateful to Dianne for keeping alive the IHM spirit in Rocky Mount, NC, and for doing so with real affection and grace. She is indeed a valiant woman in our midst.

Maura Aguilar PaivaMauraAguilarPaiva
by Sister Ancilla Maloney, IHM

In 1993 the IHM Sisters were invited by Bishop Albano Quinn, O.Carm. to open a parish on the outskirts of the south Andean city of Sicuani, Peru. The sisters soon realized that they needed someone who spoke the Quechua language if they were going to minister to the people in their neighborhood. Those who knew her suggested Maura Aguilar, the principal of a local elementary school. Maura recalls one Sunday afternoon when she was invited to the sisters' house to learn about the creation of the parish and the sisters’ desire that Maura help them.

She accepted the invitation and so began her life in the parish of San Felipe. Gradually, thanks to the guidance of Sister Eileen Egan, Maura and the sisters became friends and she began to help them in their meetings with their neighbors. For the most part, the parishioners of San Felipe were families from the surrounding mountains who were accustomed to having Mass only once a year.

After Maura retired from school, she enthusiastically began to teach the Quechua speaking catechists and assisted with the Sunday masses. Maura focused on the adults who spoke only Quechua. She taught them to use the Bible, prepared them for the sacraments and taught them the value of our life in Christ. As a member of the San Felipe parish team who has responsibility for six mission chapels in the mountains, Maura enjoyed new experiences of friendship with the sisters as she learned how to be a member of the team. Maura’s responsibilities include taking Holy Communion to the sick, officiating at funerals and leading the Sunday service in San Felipe if the priest is unavailable and Sister Eileen is away. Maura also serves the community of Pampa Anza and every Sunday morning she leads the Liturgy of the Word for this mission.

Maura and her husband, Domingo, have a son, Henry, who is a doctor. Henry and his wife Marcella have two sons – Diego is completing his studies to become a doctor like his father and Gabriel is an undergraduate student who is studying political science. Maura spends her spare time offering hospitality to their family members who visit their home from many areas of Peru. She loves to cook and also enjoys weaving. As an educator, Maura taught elementary school for 25 years—10 years in the Andean mountain communities and 15 years in Sicuani.

When Sister Eileen Egan invited Maura and six other women to form a Circle of Grace in 2002, Maura says that she "took very seriously the experience of a spiritual life and felt the presence of God in a personal way." She began what Maura refers to as "a profound formation in the spirituality of St. Alphonsus... My association with the IHMs has deepened my faith and sense of responsibility as a Christian. I have learned simplicity from them and to share what I have. I am grateful for each minute God has given me. Thanks be to God and to the Sisters for accepting me, such as I am, on this journey - a thousand thanks." An associate for seven years, Maura has dedicated herself to the people of San Felipe and Pampa Anza. In the spirit of St. Alphonsus and Theresa Maxis, Maura remains true to her covenant which she wrote at the time of her commissioning. We rejoice in and celebrate the presence of Maura among us.

Patricia EcclestonPatriciaEccleston

“Oh, my God, God of awesome, indescribable love, I ask you to guide my heart and my actions, as I choose to walk as an associate with the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. You alone know what is deep inside of me. You alone know the longing I have to serve you.” These words in Pat’s covenant with God and the IHM Sisters capture Pat’s joy in being invited by God to embrace a new beginning, another new life in Christ. So it was in June 2010, Pat Eccleston was commissioned as an IHM Associate in Palm Coast, Florida. In her letter to Sister Mary Persico in which Pat asked to be accepted as an IHM Associate, she expressed her absolute faith in God’s unconditional love for her. Pat regards this conviction as God’s greatest gift to her.

For many years Pat did not know the IHMs. She and her three siblings received their elementary education from the Ursuline Sisters in Ozone Park, NY. She attended public high school and faithfully attended CCD classes. When Pat married her husband, George, he was not Catholic. When they started their family, George wanted their four children to be raised Catholic. Pat and her family lived in Freeport, Long Island, where she taught religious education for 11 years. During these years she was also secretary to their pastor and president of the Altar and Rosary Society. She and George helped sponsor a Vietnamese family, and Pat taught the children to speak English. She looks back on these years and says, “What fun! I loved raising our terrific bunch of kids!”

Over the years, one person in particular had a tremendous impact on Pat – her longtime friend, Sister Constance Kennedy, a Sister of St. Joseph. She is the person who told Pat that God loved her more than she could ever imagine. Pat believed Sister Constance and to this day, spreads this good news to everyone she meets. A move to NJ brought Pat to a new parish where she taught religious education for nine more years – often in her home. After their children left home, Pat and George moved to Palm Coast, FL where they volunteered in the local community and the parish of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. After George’s death in 1999, Pat became even more involved in her parish and the new church and school. Dominican Sisters staffed the school and when they left, the Scranton IHMs arrived. Sister Nancy Elder was the principal and Sisters Mary C. Ryan, Mary Luke Zaleski, Ann Berendes, and Helene Hicks were there as well. Pat remembers that the parish loved having the sisters there – IHM spirituality was evident in everything they did. Pat and others wanted to work with these sisters and serve the parish as partners in ministry. The sisters, Pat and some of her friends shared meals, prayed together, visited the sick, and conducted parish retreats and other programs. Some time later, Sisters Ann Berendes and Helen Hicks invited Pat and two other women, Betti Lou Gaus and Liz Pietro, to form a Circle of Grace and consider the call to become IHM Associates. These three women were commissioned on June 15, 2010. Pat says that on the day of her commissioning, she “was fi lled with the overwhelming feeling of God’s unsurpassing love.” This past year Betti Lou Gaus went home to God. Liz Pietro and Pat still meet in their Circle to talk, pray and share their lives and God’s abundant love for all of us. Pat still facilitates a scripture study group in her parish that Sisters Mary Ryan, Ann Berendes and Helene Hicks started years ago.

Pat’s message to all the IHM Sisters is this: “You Sisters are so real. I have great respect for you. You truly know God and our God makes Himself present in each one of you. Thank you for being who you are!”

Madonna SmithHopeSmith

A deep desire to keep the IHM spirit “alive” in her parish is one of the reasons that Madonna Smith desired to become an IHM Associate. The other is that being an IHM Associate is the “closest thing to becoming a vowed religious at this stage of my life.” Madonna is a lifelong resident of the Mt. Washington section of Pittsburgh, PA. She is also a lifelong parishioner of St. Mary of the Mount Parish, where our IHM Sisters taught and ministered for 102 years. Madonna was taught by the IHMs for 12 years at “the Mount.” Madonna’s first grade teacher, Sister Adelaide Marie, is the person who alerted Madonna’s parents to the fact that she seemed to have a hearing loss. After an evaluation at DePaul Institute in Pittsburgh, Madonna was diagnosed with a 60/40 bilateral hearing loss. The Sisters at DePaul wanted to enroll Madonna in their education system; however, Madonna’s dad insisted that she enroll in a real school. Off to St. Mary’s she went…always sitting in the front row where she learned to lip read. This was not an easy feat, says Madonna, because of the fact that the sisters wore bonnets that surrounded their faces!

Madonna believes that St. Mary of the Mount afforded her a great beginning that has lasted a lifetime. She holds the IHM Sisters in awe and reverence. Madonna remembers the Sisters as kind and patient and it seemed to her that they enjoyed a loving life with one another in community. The Sisters were Madonna’s neighbors – she grew up with them. Madonna took piano lessons from Sisters Ann Theresa and Ina and practiced the piano in the convent because she did not have a piano in her home. In her senior year at the Mount she was eligible for a full scholarship at any state college. Madonna felt that she had a religious vocation but thought that she had to go to Marywood College if she wanted to be an IHM. Her widowed mother could not afford to pay the tuition for Marywood. Consequently, Madonna went to the Community College of Allegheny County, transferred to Penn State University and graduated with a degree in Psycho-Social Science. She later attained a Masters degree in Secondary Education/Guidance Counseling from Duquesne University.

Three of Madonna’s dear friends are Sister Louis Marie Verchick; Connie Wilt, who was Madonna's classmate at the Mount; and Sister Harriet Jackson (RIP). Sister Harriet's mother and Madonna's mother were friends and Madonna and Connie correspond regularly.

Madonna has spent her adult life working with and ministering to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and children with behavioral health challenges. Until she retired in 2013, Madonna worked for 41 years as an Executive Assistant for Partners for Quality, Inc., a human services agency that serves developmentally disabled and behaviorally challenged adults and children in Pittsburgh. Working in human services with people who have intellectual and physical challenges has been very rewarding for Madonna. In her career she has lived the IHM Core Values.

In 2012 the diocese of Pittsburgh closed St. Mary of the Mount School and the last two IHMs left. In the months thereafter another parishioner of St. Mary of the Mount and a former IHM Sister, Maureen O’Neill Kitner, prompted Madonna and some of their friends to think about how they might keep the spirit of the IHMs alive at the Mount. Subsequently they made a pilgrimage to Marywood and met Sister Jean Louise Bachetti, who introduced them to the IHM Sister-Associate Relationship. A Circle of Grace was formed and the six women in the Circle were commissioned in November 2015.

Their Circle of Grace meets regularly and most recently they have chosen to reflect on Pope Francis’ writings. Currently they are focused on how to practice the Core Values within the context of Francis’ writings about mercy. When Madonna is not working as a volunteer at Partners for Quality or St. Mary of the Mount, she enjoys cooking and entertaining guests in her home. She is an avid walker and loves volunteering wherever there is a need. Madonna says that she has ample opportunity every day to live the Core Values and the IHM Charism to which she committed when she became an IHM Associate. She is being true to her promise to keep the IHM spirit, Charism and Core Values alive at the Mount.

Peg DalyPegDaly

Peg Daly lives every day trusting that "God is always taking care of me and my family in every way. Trusting in God’s plan always brings me peace." One of Peg’s favorite Scripture passages is Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

IHMs have been involved in Peg’s family for the past 30 years—since her oldest child started school in St. John the Evangelist’s K-3 program in Silver Spring, MD. Peg’s four adult children have grown up with IHMs. Peg says that the IHM Sisters are part of the community of adults who have helped her and her husband, Tim, raise their children.

A serious automobile accident several years ago forced Peg to give up her teaching career, a career that she loved. After three back surgeries, many sessions of physical therapy and other medical treatments, Peg slowly began to realize that perhaps God had different plans for her. She easily fell into the role of being a stay-at-home-mom and became involved in many of her children’s activities, particularly those at St. John the Evangelist School. Peg speaks about this early period of involvement at St. John’s in these words, “There was one person who roped me in immediately.” That person was Sister Kay Lannak.

Peg regards Kay as her mentor and spiritual guide who gently saved Peg by asking her to help with school projects and fundraisers. Over time Peg served on various volunteer teams including the school advisory committee, the Blue Ribbon and Middle States teams, the 60th anniversary of St. John’s School committee and parish celebrations of the sisters’ anniversaries of profession, to name a few. When Kay’s requests seemed impossible to Peg, Kay reminded her that the Lord would work through her and send her whomever and whatever she needed. “Divine Providence” was Kay’s motto and she taught Peg to trust in it…God would provide everything necessary.

Among the various contributions that Peg has made at St. John’s Parish in the recent past include responsibility for Confirmation preparation, serving as a Eucharistic minister and lector, teaching Faith Formation classes and participating on the liturgy committee and the school advisory board. Kay showed Peg that she has gifts that the local church needs and helped Peg develop the confidence to use her gifts in not only St. John’s School, but also the larger parish community.

In 2010 Kay invited Peg and five other women from the parish to become IHM Associates. They were commissioned in May 2015 just two months before Kay passed away. In her covenant with the congregation as an IHM Associate Peg expresses her desire to work toward being, in all aspects of her life, a person who truly loves and forgives. She believes that her bond with the IHMs is the key to deepening and living her faith.

We celebrate her presence among us.

Jo-Ann BacaJo-Ann Baca

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Jo-Ann Baca, one of our Delaware associates, has lived her life in the spirit of this passage from Paul’s letter to the Galatians from the time she was a young girl and sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit during her  Confirmation. Jo-Ann was educated by the Immaculata IHMs in Broomall, PA. When her family moved to Delaware she attended public high school and continued her education at the University of Delaware and Wilmington University. She began her professional life as a teacher of children with special needs and believes that God called her to this “vocation.” Over time Jo-Ann became a reading specialist. Eventually, she earned her doctoral degree in educational leadership. She went on to hold positions in state leadership, taught undergraduate and graduate education courses, and created her own educational consulting business, Service for Student Success.

Jo-Ann’s personal life challenges deepened her spirituality and she realized that she was uniquely qualified to help divorced Catholics through the arduous marriage annulment process. Jo-Ann says that the day she was commissioned as a Tribunal Advocate was a defining moment in her life.

After becoming a member of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in 2014, Jo-Ann met Sister Redempta Sweeney and participated in the parish’s adult formation committee’s book study which Sister Redempta facilitated. After the completion of the book study, Sister Redempta invited Jo-Ann and several others to consider forming a Circle of Grace. Jo-Ann and two other women were commissioned as IHM Associates in September 2016. She says that she is filled with joy and gratitude in her relationship with the IHMs and that she has never seen such joyful people with such deep passion.

Jo-Ann and her husband, David, are the parents of four adult children and two grandchildren. As a retired educator, Jo-Ann continues to respond to the many ways in which God calls her to serve others. She rejoices in the fact that she has the time to pursue whatever God is asking her to do. Jo-Ann is very involved in Stephen Ministry in her parish. Stephen Ministry is a counseling ministry that provides care and counsel to those in need. The name, Stephen Ministry, reflects the care and concern demonstrated by St. Stephen, one of the first deacons in the early church. He was selected by the Apostles to help with their mission in Jerusalem. As a leader in Stephen Ministry, Jo-Ann has trained new groups of ministers in the skills of effective listening, empathy, and assertive Christian responses. Jo-Ann is also certified to provide pet-assisted volunteer therapeutic visits to any person in the community who would benefit from interaction with a well-trained, loving pet. She values highly concern for the poor, simplicity of lifestyle, and people with disabilities. Additionally, Jo-Ann is a faithful follower of James Martin, SJ and Richard Rohr, OFM.

In her covenant written for her commissioning as an IHM Associate, Jo-Ann pledged “to continue to grow for the rest of my days, rejuvenated by the fellowship of my sister servants who strive to recognize Your spirit in everything, welcoming and embracing all into an ever-widening and inclusive circle of Your love.”

May God bless you, Jo-Ann as you go about extending the charism and living the Core Values of our beloved IHM Sisters.

Mona GrifferMonaGriffer

“In Judaism, the concept of covenant (brit) is central to the faith. In defining one’s relationship with God, each partner has responsibilities incumbent upon him or her. Through my personal friendships and professional relationships with many IHM Sisters at Marywood University and St. Joseph’s Center, I became increasingly drawn to the idea of IHM Associate Relationship.” These words from Mona Griffer’s covenant written at the time of her commissioning in 2007 readily convey that covenant and commitment are at the core of Mona’s being. Mona expresses that her experience with IHM Sisters awakened in her the desire to form a new covenant with God through IHM Associate Relationship.

Mona, the only child of Orthodox Jewish parents, grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in a neighborhood with Catholics of Italian or Irish descent and Jews from Eastern European backgrounds. She attended public school and received her religious education at a local temple. She has fond memories of sharing holiday traditions and having rich discussions about various religious practices and interfaith worship with friends and family. She says she learned at an early age that God’s presence is everywhere, in everyone, and part of everything.

Mona attended Brooklyn College, City University of New York and began her professional life as the assistant executive publisher for the international division of a major academic publishing company. There she learned to appreciate and embrace culturally diverse perspectives. She earned her master’s degree in speech-language pathology and later her doctorate in child and youth studies. After earning her doctorate, Mona accepted a faculty position at Marywood in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is the founding director of the master’s program in Speech-Language Pathology. This year Mona was elected a Fellow by the American Speech-Language–Hearing Association (ASHA)—one of the highest forms of recognition in her profession.

Mona views her profession as her ministry. It is also her passion. She embraces every aspect of her life with real fervor. When she is not teaching at Marywood she is otherwise advocating for children and youth with special needs. Mona has held several leadership positions in her profession and is very active in her synagogue as well as the Jewish Diversity Center in the Abingtons. She also teaches kindergarten and first grade children in her congregation’s religious school.

Mona identifies very strongly with Theresa Maxis Duchemin and Louis Florent Gillet. She believes that her personality traits are consistent with Theresa’s convictions. Mona likens her style of being in this world to Theresa’s – a pioneering spirit and going against the establishment. She views Theresa Maxis and Louis Gillet as proactive change agents who engaged in out-of-the-box thinking.

When asked, “What is the one thing that you want people to know about you?” Mona’s immediate response was “I really love Marywood.” From the first moment she met Sisters Patricia Ann Matthews and Mary Reap, Mona felt a deep spiritual connection that she cannot explain. Her love of Marywood, the IHM Sisters and those whom she serves radiates from within her as she goes about each day “giving back.”

Lynn and Bob TurnerLynn-Bob-Turner

“I have found the community that I did not know I needed. We share the sacredness of our lives with each other when we share a meal and prayer, as the first communities of the Church would have done.”

“Our Circle of Grace creates for me the forum in which I gain knowledge, deepen my faith, and better understand the spiritual dimension of who I am and the person I am becoming.” These words spoken by Lynn Turner and her husband, Bob Turner are the articulation of the value they place on being part of a Circle of Grace as IHM Associates. Bob and Lynn have been IHM Associates in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua in North Beach, MD since 2011. Lynn and Bob were educated by Sisters of Divine Providence and the Sisters of Notre Dame respectively. They first met the IHMs when the Sisters taught their four children at St. Mary of the Assumption School in Upper Marlboro, MD. In the early 1990s they met Sister Ann Parker, IHM at St. Anthony’s in North Beach. Before long Lynn volunteered to assist with the faith formation classes and shortly thereafter as a teacher. Sister Ann prevailed upon Lynn to step up to this challenge. Lynn says that Sister Ann taught her how to teach and to rely on the Holy Spirit. Sister Ann instilled in Lynn the realization that being a catechist is a vocation. Says Lynn of this experience of teaching Faith Formation classes for 23 years now, “I know the Holy Spirit is behind me and in front of me because I have no explanation for being able to stand in front of a group of young people and make sense. I have grown into a different person because of this. In the experience of teaching our youth I have crossed the threshold into another sacred place.”

When Sister Ann invited Lynn to become part of a Circle of Grace, Bob wanted to support Lynn in this endeavor. Bob acknowledges that he had been “going through the motions” in terms of his faith and realized that he desired to deepen his faith to more effectively influence his adult children and grandchildren. Like Lynn, Bob has found a true community in their Circle of Grace. The Circle for Bob is “an immediate family of faith.” They meet every month for a meal and prayer. They share with one another their joys and their sorrows. All of the members of the Circle are very involved in parish ministry at St. Anthony’s. The Ladies of Charity, an organization greatly influenced by St. Vincent de Paul, serve the poor, the ill and the marginalized in the local area. Among other activities, the Ladies run a food pantry that serves anyone in need. Bob and Lynn are very active in the pantry, as are several others in their Circle of Grace. The outreach that Bob and Lynn offer the local community is, for them, an extension of their commitment to live the IHM Core Values and extend the IHM Mission to those in need. In his covenant with the IHM congregation at the time of his commissioning, Bob pledged to “strive to provide a quiet example of my Catholic faith by virtue of the manner in which I conduct my life.” Lynn expressed in her covenant her intention to” trust more in God’s providence as did Mother Theresa Maxis and to always offer the joyful, loving, hospitable, and self-emptying service” that is so integral to the IHM spirit and mission. We thank you, Lynn and Bob, for following in Theresa’s footsteps and being our pilgrim companions on our journey into the future. May our good God bless you.

Bob ShawBobShaw

Bob Shaw personifies these core values of Marywood University in his role as Director of the Counseling/Student Development Center and in his life aside from the university. As Bob says, "Serving young women is what called Marywood into being a century ago." Today Bob serves people at Marywood who struggle with being in higher education. He believes that he and other Marywood faculty and staff are here to receive, welcome and serve others just as the IHMs initially welcomed and helped young women attain a college education. In his personal life, Bob very publicly lives the university’s core values as the pastor of a small rural congregation at the Harding Church of Christ in Harding, PA, where he has served since 1978. Bob is married for forty-four years to Karen who shares his commitment to the parish and the local community. Karen and Bob have two adult sons and one grandson.

A Pittsburgh native, Bob received his undergraduate degree and a Masters in Theology/Doctrinal Studies from Abilene Christian University. He went on to earn a Masters degree in Psychology/Clinical Services from Marywood in 1986 and his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Immaculata University in 2000. Since the mid-1980s Bob has ministered in a variety of mental health facilities, engaged in private practice, participated in a pastoral care program and served as chaplain to residents in homes for the aging. Additionally, Bob has taught at Marywood for the past 18 years.

A Pittsburgh native, Bob received his undergraduate degree and a Masters in Theology/Doctrinal Studies from Abilene Christian University. He went on to earn a Masters degree in Psychology/Clinical Services from Marywood in 1986 and his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Immaculata University in 2000. Since the mid-1980s Bob has ministered in a variety of mental health facilities, engaged in private practice, participated in a pastoral care program and served as chaplain to residents in homes for the aging. Additionally, Bob has taught at Marywood for the past 18 years.

Bob’s first encounter with Scranton IHMs occurred in 1990 when he worked with Sisters Patty Tippen and Terry O’Rourke in a program entitled "Widening the Space of our Tent." The program was intended to enhance the sisters’ experience of community. At the time Bob was a young Protestant minister who felt called to a deeper engagement with the sisters. Bob mentions, in particular, three IHMs at Marywood who were an early influence on him – Sisters Elizabeth Pearson, Gail Cabral and Mary Talbot Kelleher. In addition to teaching Bob in class, Gail and Beth also taught parenting classes to some members of his parish community in Harding. While completing his pre-doctoral internship at Allied Services here in Scranton, Bob met Sister Amanda Del Valle, who was in training to become a physical therapist. At the time that Bob assumed his position as director of Marywood’s Counseling Center, he met Sister John Michele Southwick who has been engaged in campus ministry at Marywood for 30 years. Bob describes these IHMs and other sisters at Marywood as the most welcoming people he has ever known. He was drawn by the spirit of hospitality that is so evident in the sisters. Over time his relationship with the IHMs continued to unfold and deepen. Bob felt called to bear witness not only to Marywood University’s Core Values, but also the core values and charism of the IHM congregation. Five years ago Sister John Michele invited Bob to participate in a Circle of Grace after he shared with her that he had, for decades, felt "a harmonic resonance and kinship with the IHMs." Bob’s experience in his Circle of Grace has been, in his words, "very rich." In a word, Bob captures the essence of his relationship with the IHMs as "sacred.

We thank you, Bob, for sharing your gifts and spirituality with us and for the manner in which you are living the core values of the IHMs and Marywood University.

Barbara KaneBarbara Kane

In the passionate spirit of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, we joyfully participate in the redeeming love of Jesus which impels us to proclaim the Good News of God’s unconditional love for all. -The Charism of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The word joyful doesn’t begin to capture the essence of Barbara Kane, one of our associates from Binghamton, New York. The photo of Barbara in this article gives us a sense of the manner in which she radiates the love of Jesus to all with whom she comes in contact. Barbara has been an IHM Associate since 2012 in one of several Circles of Grace facilitated by Sister Robert Mary Murphy. Barbara graduated from Binghamton North High School and went on to get her Bachelor’s degree from SUNY in Oswego, NY. She first met the IHM Sisters in the RCIA ministry in the Binghamton area during the 1980s. Barbara’s introduction to Marywood came when she attended a music conference about liturgy for children. Later Barbara returned to Marywood as a graduate student. She wrote her thesis on the evolution of ministry and was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies. She speaks with deep respect about Marywood University and treasures the education she received there.

In 1992 Barbara began 21 years of service in St. Ambrose Parish in Endicott, NY. There she served as Director of Religious Education, Parish Life Coordinator and Director of Faith Formation. She has also taught in diocesan programs and facilitated days of reflection and retreat. Currently Barbara serves as the Parish Life Director for the Catholic Communities of Eastern Broome County, N. Practically speaking, she manages the day-to-day programs and activities of four parishes: St. Mary’s, Kirkwood; St. Joseph’s, Sanitaria Springs; Our Lady of Lourdes, Windsor and St. Joseph’s in Deposit. An important dimension of her pastoral work in the e parishes is the opportunity to engage in and lead a number of regional ecumenical endeavors. She is the executive director of the Sophia Center for Spirituality in Broome County, NY. The Sophia Center is a local ecumenical center off ring resources and programing for people and faith communities seeking to deepen their relationship with God. Barbara is delighted to be an HM Associate. She describes the IHM Sisters as “strong, compassionate and prophetic women of faith” and believes her own spirituality is enriched by the mission, charism and core values of the congregation. She firmly believes that our “gracious and bountiful God” called her to become an associate. For Barbara being an associate is a vocation

Barbara says that her incredibly supportive family of husband and, four adult daughters and two grandchildren gives her the energy and freedom she needs to fulfill her parish administrative and pastoral responsibilities. A lover of music and baseball, Barbara also enjoys reading historical novels and books about theology. She is avid reader of Richard Rohr, among other spiritual writers.

Barbara says that her incredibly supportive family of husband and, four adult daughters and two grandchildren gives her the energy and freedom she needs to fulfill her parish administrative and pastoral responsibilities. A lover of music and baseball, Barbara also enjoys reading historical novels and books about theology. She is avid reader of Richard Rohr, among other spiritual writers.

With joy and thanksgiving Barbara celebrates her association with the congregation. Her desire is that through her ministry, prayer, and an ongoing relationship with the sisters and other associates, she may contribute to the rich and dynamic witness of the IHMs.

Debra HardisonDebra Hardison 2016

When I asked Kieran Williams, IHM, to tell me about IHM Associate, Debra Hardison’s involvement in Holy Trinity Parish, Williamston, NC, and in the local community, Kieran described with enthusiasm some of the ways in which Debbie serves there. A wife, mother and grandmother, Debbie has for years given her heart and soul to her parish and her community. From the very beginning in the early 1980s, Betty Bullen, IHM and thereafter Kieran involved Debbie is just about everything. Debbie says that she loves them both for it.

Her ministry at Holy Trinity in Williamston includes among other things conducting religious education, directing the parish’s food pantry, working with mission and youth groups, leading Sunday morning Scripture and communion services in two languages and serving on the parish retreat committee. Debbie also serves with the Raleigh diocese as a certified master catechist (among the first in the diocese) and is a certified lay minister. Debbie partnered with Kieran in building a strong faith formation program in Williamston which became a model in the deanery and within the Raleigh Diocese in how to teach laity formation.

Debbie’s commitment to diversity is evident in her outreach at her parish and Martin Community College (MCC) where she manages the bookstore. One of the ways in which she demonstrates this at MCC is the creation each month of a window display dedicated to globalization and diversity. The display is intended to broaden and challenge the diverse student population’s view of their world. The students range from recent high school graduates to displaced workers who have spent 20 or more years in companies that have closed. She uses this project for outreach to students who may feel isolated on campus and in their communities.

After Kieran left Holy Trinity Parish, Debbie assumed responsibility for facilitating the Circle of Grace begun by Kieran—she continues to work with these associates; they are the IHM presence in Williamston. When a young woman who was considering becoming an IHM Associate asked Debbie what she likes best about being an associate, Debbie responded with this sentiment - "It is the sense of community and being connected to something deeper in my life. Being an associate calls us to expand who we think we are as a daughter of God."

Debbie’s covenant with the congregation at the time of her commissioning makes clear to us her commitment and love of the IHM Sisters. "I am a daughter of the Most High God. I am constantly being called Home every minute of every day. Some days I hear His voice calling me.... Some days I search for His voice walking in silence. Other days I run from His voice, feeling unworthy. On these days, I miss the companionship and return trusting in the promise of enduring mercy. Through the IHM Sisters, with them and in God, I am being called into a relationship that will make me a better woman of God…a daughter capable of fulfilling the mission, the journey He has created for me. In the companionship of these amazing women, rooted in the life of our Holy Mother, May, in the cision of Mother Theresa Maxis and Father Louis Gillet, empowering all  around them to recognize their own dignity and self-worth, I offer thanksgiving to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

The sprit and charism of IHM is alive and well at Holy Trinity, in the Williamston community and the Diocese of Raleigh.

Alejandra MarroquinAlejandra Marroquin

Alejandra Marroquin is Guatemalan by birth, a U.S. American by adoption, and a citizen of the world.

Alejandra describes herself in these words with a keen sense of the many ways in which our God has gifted her.  Alejandra’s covenant that she wrote for her commissioning on July 30, 2011, gives expression to her desire to share in the graces she sees in the IHM Congregation—community support, social justice, teaching, and assisting the less fortunate.

Born in Guatemala City, Alejandra lived there until the age of thirteen and moved to New Jersey in 1993. Later she found her way to Penn State University and earned a degree in Psychology.  After graduation Alejandra volunteered for 16 months with the Friendship Mission in Mexico (girls' home, women’s prison, and daycare).

A resident of Scranton for eleven years, she has spent her life here in service to others.  For the past ten years Alejandra has worked closely with IHM sisters in serving the local Hispanic community in an effort to help gain access to resources in the greater Scranton area.

For seven years, Alejandra ministered with Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton as a Relief Assistance Caseworker, providing resources to clients in need of various types of material assistance.  In 2012 she assumed responsibility for the Hispanic/Latino Program of this agency where Alejandra provided translation/interpretation services as well as assisting clients with medical, legal and personal appointments.

A lector at St. John Neumann Parish, Alejandra also serves on the parish council there.  As a member of the IHM Congregation Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee, Alejandra was instrumental in planning the 2013 Nuns on the Bus Immigration campaign visit to Scranton. She is now working on the 2016 Nuns on the Bus campaign.

In May Alejandra will receive her Masters in Social Work from Marywood University. She will be awarded the Sister Eva Connors Peace Medal for her involvement in the pursuit of peace, participation in community activism and commitment to peace and social justice.

In her written covenant as an IHM Associate, Alejandra concludes with these words, “Thank you, Mary, for saying ‘Yes’ and letting yourself be the first tabernacle; may your courage always remind me that with faith in your son there are no obstacles. I pray that Mary always guides me… with the assistance and encouragement of the IHM Congregation”.

Patricia RohsPatricia Rohs 2016

On February 19, 2009, five women from Queen of Peace Catholic Community, Gainesville, Florida were commissioned as IHM Associates.  Among those women is Patricia Rohs, whose dedication to her relationship with God and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is beyond ordinary.

Pat was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio where she attended Catholic Schools from kindergarten through college.  From the Sisters of the Sacred Heart she learned the value of prayer, meditation and silence – although she believes she was a difficult student! Her marriage to her husband, Tom, brought the blessing of four children and nine grandchildren.  Pat’s life has taken her in various directions from homemaker to a high school Health and Home Economics teacher to a member of various boards.

Most important to her is the relationship she now shares with the IHMs as an associate.  Pat met the IHMs in 2001 through the ministry of school secretary at Queen of Peace Catholic Academy.  As part of the Queen of Peace Catholic Academy community, she was led to enrich her spiritual journey through the implementation of the IHM Core Values, thereby extending the charism and spirit of the sisters.  Pat served on the initial Advisory Committee for the IHM Associate Relationship from 2011 until 2014. She not only attends the gatherings for the commissioned associates in her Circle of Grace, but also embraced and supported other women their introductory period that culminated in their commissioning.

Two years ago, Pat expanded her IHM focus to the formation of a teen group, the Theresa Maxis Circle.  She was a key member of the committee to set the agenda, brainstorm ideas and implement a program that energized young teens so that they, too, could speak and live the IHM Core Values.

Whether assisting her family members in need, serving as a Eucharistic Minister at church or preparing for a Circle meeting, Pat lives, prays and articulates the values of our Congregation.