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Nazareth<br />


THE HOLY<br />


NAZARETH //<br />

VOL 13 //<br />

// NO 3 //<br />

WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />



A Nazareth Welcome<br />

for Our Affiliates and<br />

Postulant<br />



Listen<br />

EXPERIE<strong>NC</strong>E GOD’S PRESE<strong>NC</strong>E<br />


Sr. Kathleen Maciej, Postulant Kayla Danks, Sr. Marietta<br />

Osinska, and Sr. Gemma Pepera<br />

Dear Friends of Nazareth,<br />

Can you recall the last time you<br />

paused to listen to the sound of the<br />

wind, to the flickering of a candle,<br />

to the rustling of leaves, or to the<br />

crackling of wood burning? So often,<br />

these and other gentle sounds are<br />

present in our midst, yet we are<br />

not even aware of them because<br />

of the many external sounds that<br />

surround us – the noise from traffic,<br />

construction, emergency vehicles,<br />

televisions, radios, excited children,<br />

cell phones, computers, dogs barking.<br />

Our awareness and attentiveness<br />

to the gentle and quiet sounds in<br />

our lives can only become possible<br />

when we set aside all those noisy<br />

distractions and interruptions, when<br />

we center our lives in the present<br />

moment and embrace the solitude and<br />

silence in which we become one with<br />

God, experiencing inner peace. Our<br />

God is a God of silence and peace.<br />

The Rule of Saint Benedict begins with<br />

the words: “Listen with the ear of the<br />

heart.” We may ask ourselves how<br />

this is possible. What does it mean to<br />

listen with the ear of the heart?<br />

To listen with the ear of the heart,<br />

requires finding silence within<br />

ourselves and quiet in our external<br />

world. It requires the emptying of<br />

ourselves from all that clutters our<br />

lives in order to create a place of<br />

solitude, silence, and inner peace in<br />

which we can prepare to experience<br />

God’s presence and His gentle voice in<br />

the depths of our inner selves.<br />

In this issue of Nazareth Connections,<br />

you will meet Katie Allen, Kayla Danks,<br />

Becky Garcia, Binh Nguyen, and Molly<br />

Spiering (beginning on page 4) who<br />

have experienced what it means to<br />

“listen with the ear of the heart.” For<br />

the past several years, these women<br />

have been engaged in a discernment<br />

process to determine their vocation<br />

to religious life; they set aside time<br />

each day to encounter God in silence<br />

and solitude; and, they listened<br />

attentively to the gentle voice of God.<br />

“Listening with the ear of the heart”<br />

readied them to embark on a new<br />

journey in their lives with the Sisters<br />

of the Holy Family of Nazareth.<br />

Also in this issue, you will read Sr.<br />

Marcella Louise Wallowicz’s reflection<br />

(beginning on page 14) about<br />

preparing ourselves for the feast<br />

of Our Savior’s birth. She writes of<br />

the “pre-holiday angst” we can find<br />

ourselves in when we fail to quiet our<br />

inner and outer worlds.<br />

Friends of Nazareth, as we begin the<br />

Advent and Christmas season, I invite<br />

you to enter into the experience of<br />

“listening with the ear of the heart.”<br />

Take moments to listen to the gentle<br />

sounds of the season. Through silence<br />

and solitude, may you, too, experience<br />

God’s presence and hear His gentle<br />

voice. May the inner peace you<br />

experience be shared with all whom<br />

you meet each day.<br />

Lovingly in JMJ,<br />

Sister Kathleen Maciej<br />


We invite you to pray with us, to listen to God’s call with us and to love with us<br />

as we find God in ordinary experiences. Learn more about our community life,<br />

our ministries and our mission at nazarethcsfn.org/join-us. Or contact<br />

Sr. Emmanuela Le, CSFN, National Vocation Director, at 972-641-4496 x111<br />

or vocations@nazarethcsfn.org.<br />


5<br />

12<br />

8<br />

VOLUME 13 //<br />

NUMBER 3 //<br />

WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />

Nazareth Connections is published<br />

three times a year by the Sisters of<br />

the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

in the USA.<br />

Editor:<br />

Tammy Townsend Denny<br />

Proofreaders:<br />

Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki<br />

Sr. Jude Carroll<br />

Sr. Lucille Madura<br />

Contents<br />


4 Prayers for our new<br />

affiliates and postulant<br />


8 Meet our <strong>2019</strong> Holy Family<br />

Service Corps Volunteers<br />


12 Religious life during the<br />

exodus<br />

14 A Christmas Reflection<br />




Sr. Edyta Krawczyk and Sr. Malgorzata Majszczyk prepares to<br />

welcome our affiliates and postulant.<br />

18<br />

16 Sr. M. Germaine (Josephine)<br />

Grabowska<br />

16 Sr. M. Sylvine (Frances) Czarnecka<br />

17 Sr. M. Madeline (Catherine) Kanich<br />

18 Morning with the Sisters<br />

18 Oktoberfest <strong>2019</strong><br />

19 Pray the Holy Family<br />

Novena with us<br />

Editorial Board:<br />

Sr. Angela Szczawinska<br />

Sr. Barbara Frances Samp<br />

Sr. Carol Szott<br />

Sr. Jude Carroll<br />

Sr. Kathleen Ann Stadler<br />

Sr. Lucille Madura<br />

Sr. Marcelina Mikulska<br />

Sr. Marcella Louise Wallowicz<br />

Sr. Mary Louise Swift<br />

Sr. Teresilla Kolodziejczyk<br />

Katherine Barth<br />

Design/Print:<br />

McDaniels Marketing<br />

Questions, comments, suggestions?<br />

Please contact:<br />

Communications Department<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

310 N. River Road,<br />

Des Plaines, IL 60016<br />

847-298-6760, x144<br />

ttownsend@nazarethcsfn.org<br />

nazarethcsfn.org<br />

facebook.com/csfn.usa<br />

twitter.com/csfn_usa<br />

instagram.com/csfn.usa<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />



Prayers for our new<br />

affiliates and postulant<br />



Surrounded by friends and family,<br />

Katie Allen, Becky Garcia, Binh<br />

Nguyen, and Molly Spiering became<br />

affiliates of the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth on September 28<br />

at Jesus the Good Shepherd Convent<br />

in Grand Prairie, TX. As affiliates,<br />

Katie, Becky, Binh, and Molly will live<br />

with our sisters at our newly opened<br />

House of Discernment in Richardson,<br />

TX. Sr. Michele Vincent Fisher is<br />

serving as their director.<br />

Katie, a Texas native, has been<br />

actively discerning her vocation<br />

since 2011. She is currently working<br />

as an English and Spanish teacher<br />

at John Paul II High School in Plano,<br />

TX. From a large, loving family, Katie<br />

was drawn to a deeper discernment<br />

with our Congregation because of<br />

the holiness our sisters find within<br />

ordinary life. She also is attracted to<br />

our “commitment to praying for and<br />

serving families.” In both her daily<br />

living and in her spiritual life, she<br />

enjoys the communal aspect of being<br />

an affiliate.<br />

Becky, also originally from Texas, is<br />

one of three siblings. Raised in a “little<br />

family with great love and care,” she<br />

earned her bachelor’s degree in art<br />

with a focus on ceramics from the<br />

University of Dallas in Irving, TX. She<br />

currently works as the young adult<br />

coordinator and assistant to the<br />

youth minister at Holy Spirit Parish in<br />

Duncanville, TX. She was called to the<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

because of “the beautiful faith of [our]<br />

Mother Foundress and the tenderness<br />

the sisters have towards one another.”<br />

She began discerning her vocation in<br />

the fall of 2017.<br />

Binh was born in Vietnam where<br />

her younger sister and parents still<br />

live. She has been in the U.S. for five<br />

years and has two siblings in North<br />

Carolina. “We are far in distance, but<br />

close in heart,” she explained. Binh<br />

is currently pursuing an associate of<br />

science degree at Brookhaven College<br />

in Farmers Branch, TX. It is the love<br />

she sees among our sisters that drew<br />

her to discern with the Congregation.<br />

“God invited me to come, taste, and<br />

see,” she said. “…I am grateful for all<br />

the love that I received.”<br />

continued on page 6...<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />



Molly was raised on a farm in Powell,<br />

WY in a family who “loves good<br />

conversations, hard work, expeditions<br />

to the mountains… and laughter.”<br />

One of 11 children, she earned a<br />

bachelor’s degree in theology from<br />

Christendom College in Front Royal,<br />

VA. She is currently working as a<br />

housekeeper at Nazareth Retreat<br />

Center in Grand Prairie, TX and as<br />

the RCIA Coordinator at St. Anthony’s<br />

Parish in Wylie, TX. Our Mother<br />

Foundress’ “emphasis on seeking<br />

holiness through imitating the Holy<br />

Family’s life at Nazareth” really speaks<br />

to Molly’s heart.<br />

Please pray with us for these young<br />

women as they share in our life of<br />

prayer and community and get to<br />

know our Congregation better.<br />

For more information on our affiliacy<br />

program, please contact our vocation<br />

director, Sr. Emmanuela Le,<br />

at vocations@nazarethcsfn.org.<br />

6<br />


Also on September 28 in Grand Prairie, TX, the Sisters<br />

of the Holy Family of Nazareth welcomed Kayla Danks<br />

as a postulant. Kayla has spent the past year as an affiliate<br />

of our Congregation, beginning a transition from secular<br />

life and readying herself for postulancy. With Sr. Marietta<br />

Osinska as her director, she will spend approximately two<br />

years in a period of structured discernment. Growing up<br />

in Wichita Falls, TX, Kayla was first attracted to religious<br />

life after watching the Sound of Music. Her interest in<br />

becoming a Catholic sister continued into adulthood when<br />

she began attending our discernment retreats. “I fell in love<br />

with Nazareth when I learned what the charism is,” said<br />

Kayla. She is currently a full-time student at Mountain View<br />

College in Dallas.




Having affiliates discerning and a<br />

postulant entering the Congregation is<br />

a sign of new life and a future for our<br />

Congregation. These young women<br />

offer challenges that are enhancing<br />

our life in community, showing us<br />

there is a need for openness to new<br />

ways of thinking and calling for a<br />

willingness to accept changes that are<br />

happening as a gift from God.<br />

As for my own discernment, it<br />

began when I was in grade school<br />

spending time with the sisters. At this<br />

time I felt a desire to live with the<br />

sisters upon graduation from grade<br />

school. I was encouraged to wait<br />

until I graduated high school. During<br />

this time, I attended vocation fairs<br />

collecting information about many<br />

congregations; however, I always<br />

returned to the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth. I was drawn<br />

to them because of their warm<br />

hospitality and prayer life. I spent<br />

much time helping them and praying<br />

with them while I discerned my<br />

vocation.<br />

Sr. Karolyn Stobierski entered the Sisters<br />

of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 1964.<br />

She currently serves on the office staff<br />

at St. Adalbert Catholic Academy in<br />

Elmhurst, NY.<br />

Our new affiliates Becky Garcia,<br />

Molly Spiering, Katie Allen, and Binh<br />

Nguyen<br />

Our new postulant Kayla Danks<br />

(center) with Sr. Marietta Osinska<br />

(left) and Sr. Gemma Pepera (right)<br />

Our affiliates receive candles from<br />

Sr. Kathleen Maciej, provincial<br />

superior, during a ceremony that<br />

included several readings<br />

Each affiliate receives a medal of<br />

the Holy Family and our Mother<br />

Foundress during the Rite of Affiliacy<br />

Our new postulant Kayla Danks<br />

Postulant Kayla receives a medal of<br />

the Holy Family from Sr. Kathleen<br />

Maciej, provincial superior<br />

Sr. Karolyn Stobierski (left) with Sr.<br />

Angela Szczawinska<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />



Meet our <strong>2019</strong> Holy<br />

Family Service<br />

Corps Volunteers<br />

“We are all called to emulate the Holy<br />

Family,” explained Ryan Crawford,<br />

one of five Holy Family Service<br />

Corps (HFSC) volunteers who is<br />

serving this year at Holy Family<br />

Institute, a sponsored ministry of<br />

the Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth in Pittsburgh. Ryan went on<br />

to quote from Pope St. John Paul II’s<br />

Familiaris Consortio, “Through God’s<br />

mysterious design, it was in that<br />

family that the Son of God spent long<br />

years of a hidden life. It is therefore<br />

the prototype and example for all<br />

Christian families.”<br />

“Family is the backbone of society,”<br />

Ryan said, “and the starting point<br />

for building authentic, healthy<br />

relationships.”<br />

Authentic, healthy relationships<br />

that further God’s love through<br />

service to families are exactly<br />

what HFSC strives to develop<br />

among its volunteers during their<br />

year of service in the Pittsburgh<br />

area. HFSC, an extension of the<br />

ministry of Holy Family Institute<br />

and the Sisters of the Holy Family<br />

of Nazareth, ties together the gifts<br />

of prayer, service, and community<br />

to offer volunteers a powerful<br />

opportunity to be the change they<br />

want to see in the world. Not only<br />

do volunteers grow professionally,<br />

personally, and spiritually but they<br />

also interact with our sisters, learning<br />

our core values of faithful listening,<br />

loving relationships, and discovering<br />

God in the ordinary experiences of<br />

daily life. While serving in one of Holy<br />

Family Institute’s ministries, volunteers<br />

live communally and earn the<br />

opportunity for an education grant<br />

“The greatest joy I have experienced is seeing the<br />

difference that I can make in each student’s life,”<br />

at the conclusion of their service or<br />

earn a master’s degree, depending<br />

upon the program they have chosen.<br />

Originally from Hershey, PA and with<br />

a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from<br />

Duquesne University in Pittsburgh,<br />

Ryan is spending his service year coteaching<br />

religion classes at Nazareth<br />

Prep. Ryan joins volunteers Julia<br />

Natalia, Adele Smith, Keilah Gussie,<br />

and Maria Montoya to form this year’s<br />

HFSC volunteer group.<br />

For Julia Natalia, a native of<br />

Pittsburgh’s Springdale area and<br />

a recent graduate of Seton Hill<br />

University in Greensburg, PA with<br />

a Bachelor’s degree in English<br />

Literature and English 7 – 12 teaching<br />

certification, HFSC has helped her<br />

develop a sense of belonging and<br />

purpose as she co-teaches cultural<br />

literacy at Nazareth Prep.<br />


NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />


10<br />

“The greatest joy I have experienced<br />

is seeing the difference that I can<br />

make in each student’s life,” explained<br />

Julia. “We are helping to shape<br />

the future of the world by helping<br />

these students to reach their fullest<br />

potential.”<br />

Like Julia, volunteer Adele Smith finds<br />

great joy in helping the students at<br />

Nazareth Prep create “a culture of<br />

empathy and kindness” as she assists<br />

first year students and supports<br />

special needs students. With a<br />

Bachelor’s degree in English Education<br />

7 – 12 with a concentration in Speech<br />

and Communication from Penn State,<br />

Adele was attracted to HFSC for “the<br />

social justice standards and criteria<br />

they have set for themselves as an<br />

organization.”<br />

These ideals along with the<br />

opportunity to live in a community<br />

are what attracted Keilah Gussie<br />

to HFSC. As the daughter of career<br />

Navy parents, Keilah has traveled all<br />

over the world. With a Bachelor’s<br />

degree in Exceptional Learning from<br />

the University of Mary in Bismarck,<br />

ND, she is spending her service<br />

year writing a literacy and reading<br />

intervention program for grades K – 8<br />

for Holy Family Institute’s Specialized<br />

Learning School. “Like any job or<br />

task, you have great days, bad days,<br />

and everything in between,” she said.<br />

“I have experienced all of them, but<br />

each day I am starting to see small<br />

improvements and that makes it<br />

worth any challenge.”<br />

A willingness to embrace challenges<br />

characterizes the volunteer service<br />

Maria Montoya provides at Holy<br />

Family Institute’s Journey of Hope<br />

Program. Originally from Honduras,<br />

Maria provides nurturing and loving<br />

childcare for unaccompanied minors<br />

who await sponsorship in the U.S.<br />

Along with other Journey of Hope<br />

staff, Maria works to provide a safe<br />

and hopeful environment for the<br />

children, many of whom have endured<br />

long, perilous journeys. In addition to<br />

her work with the children, Maria also<br />

is learning to live in community with<br />

the other HFSC volunteers as they<br />

negotiate how to shop for groceries<br />

or which movie to watch together.<br />

It is this community life which Keilah<br />

says “is an adventure of its own.”<br />

As complete strangers coming<br />

from various backgrounds and with<br />

different likes and dislikes, the five<br />

volunteers have had to learn how to<br />

function quickly as a community. For<br />

this year’s group, the communitybuilding<br />

experience was hastened by<br />

the arrival of an unexpected visitor<br />

-- Steven the snake, who inadvertently<br />

got into the building not long after the<br />

volunteers arrived.

“For the next 30 minutes [after<br />

discovering the snake], we were trying<br />

to figure out what we were going to<br />

do with our new friend,” said Keilah.<br />

A lot of cooperation along with a<br />

few jokes and some laughter resulted<br />

in phone calls to their supervisor,<br />

one of the volunteer’s mom, and the<br />

handyman for the building. Of course,<br />

they had to name their new slithering<br />

friend, too. After a few tense moments,<br />

Steven was safely returned to the wild<br />

with the assistance of the building’s<br />

handyman. “After that experience, it<br />

became a lot easier to get to know<br />

each other,” Keilah said.<br />

Experience with snakes is not a<br />

requirement to be a HFSC volunteer;<br />

however, a willingness to live simply<br />

and in community with others along<br />

with a healthy sense of humor is<br />

needed.<br />

Ryan Crawford, Keilah Gussie, Maria<br />

Montoya, Julia Natalia, and Adele<br />

Smith during their commissioning<br />

ceremony.<br />

The HFSC volunteers with Srs. Maria<br />

Kruszewski, Audrey Merski, and<br />

Mary Lou Kwiatkowski.<br />

This year’s volunteers with Sr. Linda<br />

Yankoski, president and CEO of Holy<br />

Family Institute and Lynn Guerra,<br />

director of volunteer services at Holy<br />

Family Institute.<br />

To learn more about how you or someone you know can become a<br />

HFSC volunteer, please visit nazarethcsfn.org/service-corps/long-termservice<br />

or contact Lynn Guerra, Director of Volunteer Services at Holy<br />

Family Institute, guerra.lynn@hfi-pgh.org.<br />

Service Corps volunteers after their<br />

commissioning ceremony.<br />

Sisters and Holy Family Institute<br />

staff bless the new volunteers during<br />

the commissioning ceremony.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />



12<br />

Religious life<br />

during the<br />

exodus<br />

by Sr. Angela Cresswell, CSFN<br />

Editor’s Note: Sr. Angela Cresswell<br />

celebrated her 50th jubilee this year.<br />

As part of the celebration, she was<br />

recognized in the summer issue of<br />

Nazareth Connections where she<br />

mentioned that she entered the Sisters<br />

of the Holy Family of Nazareth at a time<br />

when many were leaving religious life.<br />

The following is a personal reflection<br />

from Sr. Angela in which she shares more<br />

about her experiences during this pivotal<br />

time in the history of vowed religious. Sr.<br />

Angela’s reflection is in no way intended<br />

as dogma or definitive research on<br />

Vatican II or the years that followed.<br />

When Pope John XXIII opened<br />

the windows of Vatican II (1962 –<br />

1965) to shake out the dusty rugs<br />

(antiquated practices) of past decades,<br />

it is doubtful he envisioned losing<br />

so many rugs (laity and religious)<br />

in the aftermath. Although many<br />

people breathed sighs of relief, if<br />

not exhilaration at the changes<br />

in the Church, others may have<br />

struggled to gasp for air fearful of the<br />

outcome of these changes. Several<br />

changes may have been especially<br />

welcome: permission to worship in<br />

the vernacular rather than Latin, to<br />

use contemporary expressions of<br />

song and instruments in worship, to<br />

assume roles in the Liturgy previously<br />

entrusted exclusively to the clergy.<br />

Subsequently, houses of consecrated<br />

religious assembled to discuss<br />

traditions and customs to see<br />

what might deserve an update, a<br />

fresh approach to serving others<br />

both within and without their<br />

congregations. They deliberated<br />

such topics as changes in the habit,<br />

schedules that were more flexible, a<br />

greater freedom for time of private<br />

prayer, individual choices for healthy<br />

physical outlets and vacations –<br />

numerous relevant matters. Surely,<br />

hope sprang eternal with its promises<br />

of revisions. What then happened to<br />

impel so many religious to abandon<br />

the vowed life?<br />

As I reflect on the decades of the 60s<br />

and 70s, it seems that much of society<br />

was changing rapidly, clamoring for<br />

new ways of thinking: politically,

socially, in terms of religion, fashion<br />

and behaviors. Demonstrations for or<br />

against some issues characterized the<br />

era. Perhaps the speed and uncertainty<br />

of outcomes contributed to the sense<br />

of anxiety permeating the atmosphere.<br />

In 1969, I, along with 11 other young<br />

women knocked, and entered the<br />

doors of the Congregation of the<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

in Philadelphia. We were far more<br />

aware of what was happening outside<br />

of religious congregations than inside.<br />

The decision to leave religious life<br />

was a deeply personal choice of each<br />

individual for a myriad of reasons.<br />

Because I knew relatively few sisters<br />

well during the first three years of<br />

initial formation, the news of those<br />

leaving did not have a strong impact<br />

on my desire to continue living as a<br />

religious. In addition, as novices, we<br />

were somewhat secluded from the<br />

professed sisters as we were learning<br />

about the vows and community life;<br />

one did not ask questions in those<br />

days.<br />

As my circle of friendships grew, the<br />

relationships that had developed were<br />

altered by those leaving, and I felt the<br />

loss deeply – especially the sisters<br />

who were instrumental in bringing<br />

me to Nazareth. A few friends shared<br />

their reasons for leaving. For others,<br />

I can only speculate that perhaps<br />

the proposed changes were not<br />

fast enough. External changes in<br />

community living may not have kept<br />

pace with the changes in the outside<br />

world, but they would eventually<br />

occur. I would later meet persons<br />

who had left and learned of the<br />

changes in community living. Some<br />

would ask me, “Do you think I should<br />

have stayed?”<br />

I expected religious life to be different<br />

from secular life in some ways and<br />

I still do. I knew that my call and<br />

response to the consecrated life was<br />

not a whim nor a coincidence.<br />

As I celebrate my 50th Jubilee, I<br />

experience a profound gratitude for<br />

my religious vocation, and even more<br />

for God’s fidelity in keeping me.<br />

Sr. Angela holds a PhD in Second<br />

Language Acquisition/Instructional<br />

Technology. She serves as an assistant<br />

professor at Holy Family University (HFU)<br />

and as the director of HFU’s Family<br />

Center, both in Philadelphia. She also is a<br />

Spanish instructor at Nazareth Academy<br />

High School also in Philadelphia.<br />

Sr. Angela Cresswell (left) with Sr.<br />

Daniela Bronka during the Provincial<br />

Assembly in 2018<br />

“Make and keep Our Lord your reason for what you do.”<br />

Sr. Angela at the Provincial Assembly<br />

in 2018<br />

I did not know that as I was entering,<br />

an appreciable number were leaving.<br />

With the optimism of youth, I do not<br />

imagine it would have dampened my<br />

enthusiasm for embracing this new<br />

life. Entering religious life was not<br />

an issue at the time; staying would<br />

become the challenge as it is with any<br />

commitment.<br />

My journey here was neither<br />

predictable nor easy. The words of<br />

both my mentor and novice directress<br />

stream often through my mind: “Make<br />

and keep Our Lord your reason for<br />

what you do.” With deeply spiritual<br />

women as mentors, and my God’s<br />

continual call to an ever-deeper union,<br />

the doubts and struggles that emerge<br />

have not triumphed.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />



A Christmas<br />

reflection<br />

by Sr. Marcella Louise Wallowicz, CSFN<br />

The anticipation of the feast of Our<br />

Savior’s birth challenges us to focus<br />

on what is really essential. We may be<br />

conflicted by how the media portrays<br />

Christmas and what our own hearts<br />

reveal. Is the size of the gift really the<br />

measure of the value of a relationship?<br />

The many advertisements aired for<br />

months leading up to the holiday<br />

and Holy Day would have us believe<br />

so. The recently beatified American<br />

Capuchin, Solanus Casey once<br />

counseled, “Material prosperity<br />

becomes the absorbing object of<br />

human endeavor as though there<br />

were nothing higher and better to be<br />

gained.” What greater love, indeed,<br />

what greater gift could God have<br />

given us than His only Son -- the<br />

real reason for the season? St. John<br />

of the Cross reminds us that in the<br />

twilight of life, God will not judge us<br />

on our earthly possessions or human<br />

success but rather on how much we<br />

have loved. Yes, learning how to love<br />

generously is a lifetime task!<br />

Sadly, for many, the preoccupation<br />

is with the transient material world<br />

and the tinsel trappings that begin<br />

long before the Savior’s birth and<br />

barely endure past December 25.<br />

Pursuing what fails to satisfy just<br />

produces an emptiness and a sense<br />

of purposelessness. The pressure of<br />

keeping up with our neighbors and<br />

friends in gift giving, a quid pro quo so<br />

to speak, simply adds to this discord<br />

and anxiety. The continuous piping of<br />

Christmas music over the radio and<br />

the endless Hallmark movies provide<br />

only a brief respite, if at all. For some,<br />

it only heightens the pre-holiday angst<br />

by reminding them of the many tasks<br />

that still need to be done.<br />

You may recall that poignant carpe<br />

diem lecture from Dead Poets Society<br />

where Mr. Keating, portrayed by<br />

Robin Williams, encourages his<br />

young affluent students to seize the<br />

day, but not necessarily in pursuit<br />

of material prosperity but rather to<br />

seek what feeds the soul. For like<br />

the rich man in the Gospel narrative<br />

who tore down his barns in order<br />

to construct larger ones for his<br />

surplus, “Each of us one day will stop<br />

breathing, turn cold and die.” What<br />

will be our legacy? In a more seasonal<br />

allusion, the love of the child Tiny Tim<br />

transforms Ebenezer Scrooge, the<br />

quintessential protagonist in Charles<br />

Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, from a<br />

cold-hearted miser to a model of<br />

generosity and kindness. The love<br />

of the Child at work in our lives is<br />

much more astounding. Not that<br />

we are necessarily cold-hearted but<br />

Jesus warms our hearts and that love<br />

enables us to open our arms and<br />

embrace those around us.<br />

As a child, my family Christmas<br />

celebrations were simple but<br />

meaningful. I grew up in an era<br />


where I did not receive every toy or<br />

game that I wanted; however, I had<br />

everything I needed. I experienced<br />

a world that was frugal yet kind.<br />

The love of my parents and siblings<br />

far outweighed the latest craze on<br />

TV. In school, we opened the daily<br />

door on the Advent calendar, sang<br />

carols, decorated classroom trees,<br />

and participated in Christmas plays<br />

and concerts not holiday pageants.<br />

Anticipation would build from<br />

Thanksgiving throughout Advent and<br />

into the Christmas season.<br />

One of my favorite Christmas movies<br />

is National Lampoon’s Christmas<br />

Vacation, because I can identify with<br />

Clark Griswold’s desire that his<br />

children experience a good oldfashioned<br />

family Christmas as I<br />

experience the nostalgia and gratitude<br />

for Christmases past.<br />

As a young religious, I lived with<br />

a sister whom I would call saintly.<br />

Many readers of Nazareth Connections<br />

might remember her: Sr. Michaelann<br />

Delaney. The convent I now live<br />

in (Delaney Hall) has a portrait of<br />

Sr. Michaelann in the lobby with a<br />

plaque containing this inscription<br />

(paraphrased):<br />






WE ARE GONE.”<br />

In life, Sr. Michaelann lived simply<br />

and touched countless lives as an<br />

educator and through congregational<br />

leadership. In death, she continues to<br />

touch lives. One way is through an<br />

annual tribute grant in her memory<br />

which provides monetary assistance<br />

to families in need. The Gospel writers<br />

agree that our focus should not be<br />

on accumulating possessions but to<br />

“store up treasures in heaven.”<br />

As we reflect on these coming days of<br />

Advent and Christmas, may we come<br />

to a deeper understanding of how<br />

to live more generously and without<br />

regret. As St. John of the Cross<br />

reminds us, “Our moments of being<br />

emptied can prepare us to be filled by<br />

God.” On these dark and wintry days<br />

in which nature may mirror our lives,<br />

may He who has come to redeem us<br />

find a warm and welcoming place in<br />

our hearts.<br />

***********<br />

Sr. Marcella Louise is an Associate<br />

Professor of Mathematics and Assistant<br />

Dean at Holy Family University in<br />

Philadelphia where she earned her BA<br />

in Chemistry. She also holds an MA in<br />

Mathematics from Villanova University<br />

and a PhD in Post-secondary and Adult<br />

Education from Capella University. She<br />

entered the Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth in 1978.<br />

The Christmas tree at Immaculate<br />

Heart of Mary Convent, Monroe, CT.<br />

Sr. Edyta Krawczyk shares the joys<br />

of Our Savior’s birth with children in<br />

Grand Prairie, TX.<br />

FAMILY DAY <strong>2019</strong><br />

A special thank you goes out to our friends and donors who joined us<br />

on November 3 for Family Day at Jesus of Nazareth Convent (Mount<br />

Nazareth) in Philadelphia. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Edward<br />

J. Petner, Jr who received this year’s Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth Tribute Grant. The grant is awarded each year to a person(s)<br />

or organization who exemplifies Sr. Michaelann Delaney’s virtues of<br />

compassion, love, and service toward others. (Sr. Michaelann passed<br />

away in 2002.) Grant honorees receive $5,000 to donate to the<br />

charity of their choice. The Petner’s selected the Children’s Hospital of<br />

Philadelphia – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as their charity.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />


In Memoriam<br />

16<br />

Sr. M. Germaine<br />

(Josephine)<br />

Grabowska<br />

May 25, 1914 –<br />

July 31, <strong>2019</strong><br />

Sr. Germaine is<br />

remembered for her<br />

calm demeanor, her gracious manners,<br />

and her beautiful smile. Born on May<br />

25, 1914, in Brooklyn, NY to Joseph<br />

and Lottie Grabowski, Josephine, as<br />

she was baptized, was the first of<br />

three children.<br />

Growing up in the Greenpoint<br />

neighborhood of Brooklyn, she<br />

attended St. Stanislaus Kostka School<br />

in Brooklyn where she was inspired<br />

by the good example and kindness of<br />

the sisters, often spending time after<br />

school helping them. At home, she<br />

was the little teacher to her siblings,<br />

sharing everything she learned at<br />

school.<br />

After graduation from St. Stanislaus<br />

Kostka School, Josephine and a few<br />

of her friends decided to attend high<br />

school at the new Nazareth Academy<br />

in Philadelphia with the plan to use<br />

their high school years to discern if<br />

they had a vocation to religious life.<br />

The young girls traveled by train to<br />

Philadelphia and were among the<br />

fi rst class of students to be educated<br />

at the newly constructed Nazareth<br />

Academy High School.<br />

On May 11, 1928, Josephine became a<br />

postulant. Two years later, she entered<br />

the novitiate, receiving the name Sr.<br />

Mary Germaine. She pronounced her<br />

temporary vows on September 1,<br />

1932 and perpetual vows on August<br />

15, 1938.<br />

With a Bachelor’s degree in<br />

Elementary Education from Villanova<br />

University, Sr. Germaine served in<br />

education ministry in Baltimore,<br />

MD; Wading River, NY; Worcester,<br />

MA; Plantation, FL; McAdoo, PA; and<br />

Norristown, PA. At the age of 97,<br />

after 34 years at Visitation BVM in<br />

Norristown where she had taught and<br />

performed unseen but essential tasks<br />

in the convent and in the school, Sr.<br />

Germaine made the decision to retire<br />

to Mount Nazareth in Philadelphia.<br />

At Mount Nazareth, Sr. Germaine<br />

spent her time visiting the sisters in<br />

the infi rmary and keeping current<br />

with her correspondence. After<br />

several months in retirement, Sr.<br />

Germaine needed medical attention<br />

in a hospital for the first time in<br />

97 years, though she remained in<br />

relatively good health for a number of<br />

years after that. Her mind was alert,<br />

and she continued to pray and read.<br />

In July, it became apparent that Sr.<br />

Germaine was becoming very weak.<br />

On July 31, in the 91st year of her<br />

religious life, she peacefully fell asleep<br />

in the Lord. Her Mass of Resurrection<br />

was August 4 at Jesus of Nazareth<br />

Convent (Mount Nazareth) in<br />

Philadelphia.<br />

Sr. M. Sylvine<br />

(Frances)<br />

Czarnecka<br />

January 10, 1924<br />

– October 3, <strong>2019</strong><br />

Sr. Sylvine was a<br />

woman of deep prayer and strong<br />

will. During her 78 years in religious<br />

life, she spread the Kingdom of God’s<br />

love with kindness, concern, and<br />


Born on January 10, 1924 to<br />

Alexander and Sophie (Kosinska)<br />

Czarnecki and baptized Frances Mary,<br />

she was the oldest of five children.<br />

From the beginning, our foundress had<br />

an important place in Frances’ life. In<br />

the sixth grade at St. Stanislaus Bishop<br />

and Martyr School in Ozone Park, NY,<br />

Frances contracted double pneumonia.<br />

Our sisters came to her home to<br />

place on her a relic of Blessed Mary<br />

of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances<br />

Siedliska), our foundress. Later Sr.<br />

Sylvine wrote of the experience,<br />

“No one expected me to live. I<br />

was hospitalized, and then sent to a<br />

sanatorium to recuperate. After four<br />

months, I returned home and was<br />

on time to receive the Sacrament of<br />

Confirmation.”<br />

She attended Nazareth Academy,<br />

arriving there in September 1939, and<br />

entered the Congregation on June 10,<br />

1941. As a second year novice, she and<br />

other novices helped the World War<br />

II effort by embroidering designs in<br />

banners for the various corps of the<br />

U.S. Armed Forces. She and her novice<br />

group also cut and sent out hosts for<br />

Mass to chaplains on the European<br />

front. She professed her final vows on<br />

August 15, 1950.<br />

From 1944-1946, she attended<br />

Holy Family Teacher Training School<br />

in Philadelphia, receiving a normal<br />

certificate for teaching. She also<br />

received a Bachelor’s degree in<br />

Education from Holy Family College<br />

(now University) in Philadelphia and<br />

a Master’s in Biology from Villanova<br />

University, Pennsylvania. Always an<br />

avid learner, Sr. Sylvine attended Holy<br />

Cross College and Boston College,<br />

earning additional credits in Physics,<br />

Chemistry, and Biological Sciences.<br />

Her first mission was to Hato Rey,<br />

Puerto Rico, where she spent nine<br />

years teaching in both Colegio<br />

Espirito Santo and in missions in<br />

Quintana, P.R. She also served in<br />

schools in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts,<br />

New York, and Connecticut. She<br />

taught 32 years on the elementary<br />

school level and 27 years on the high<br />

school level.<br />

After a long illness, Sr. Sylvine died<br />

on October 3 at Immaculate Heart<br />

of Mary Convent in Monroe, CT. Her<br />

Mass of Resurrection was celebrated<br />

October 7 at the convent chapel.<br />

Sr. M. Madeline<br />

(Catherine)<br />

Kanich<br />

August 26, 1940 –<br />

October 8, <strong>2019</strong><br />

With kindness,<br />

generosity, and<br />

sensitivity, Sr. Madeline touched many<br />

lives with her warm-hearted, good<br />

humor and with her commitment to<br />

serving families. Born on August 26,<br />

1940 to John and Ann (Jacubovics)<br />

Kanich in New York City, she was<br />

baptized Catherine Kanich at St. John<br />

Nepomucene Church and became a<br />

member of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish,<br />

Greenpoint, Brooklyn when her family<br />

moved there. She entered the Sisters<br />

of the Holy Family of Nazareth on<br />

September 8, 1956 and professed her<br />

final vows on August 11, 1965.<br />

Sr. Madeline earned a Bachelor of<br />

Arts degree in Psychology from Holy<br />

Family University in Philadelphia<br />

in1969 and a Master of Social Work<br />

from St. Louis University, Missouri in<br />

1971.<br />

Her first assignment was to teach<br />

in St. Mary’s Elementary School,<br />

Worcester, MA. After six years of<br />

ministry there, she devoted her life<br />

to Little Flower Children’s Services<br />

in Wading River, NY where she<br />

spent 27 years as a social worker.<br />

She also served as a cottage mother<br />

and adoption supervisor. Her strong<br />

advocacy for the children she<br />

represented was a blessing to so many.<br />

After her retirement from social<br />

work in 1998, she continued at Little<br />

Flower as an econome/buyer, ordering<br />

food and supplies for the institution.<br />

In 2016, Little Flower honored Sr.<br />

Madeline for her 50 years of service<br />

to the organization, recognizing her<br />

for “enabling the ‘lights’ of so many<br />

Little Flower youngsters to shine over<br />

the long years of her career.”<br />

In January 2016, Sr. Madeline came<br />

to live at Immaculate Heart of Mary<br />

Convent, Monroe, CT to receive<br />

nursing care due to an injury. A<br />

specially made electric wheelchair<br />

enabled her to maneuver through the<br />

corridors of the convent to the dining<br />

room, chapel, and community room<br />

and was often seen in the chapel<br />

making visits to Jesus. She served as<br />

the convent’s assistant superior, a<br />

moderator for the Associates of the<br />

Holy Family, and a member of the<br />

Holy Family Grant Review Board.<br />

After a short illness, Sr. Madeline<br />

passed away peacefully on October<br />

8. Her Mass of Resurrection was<br />

celebrated October 11 at the<br />

Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent<br />

chapel, Monroe, CT.<br />

Donations in memory of<br />

a deceased sister may be<br />

mailed to Development Office,<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth, 310 N. River Rd.,<br />

Des Plaines, IL 60016. Please<br />

include a note with the name<br />

of the sister you are giving<br />

in memory of. Donations<br />

may also be made online at<br />

nazarethcsfn.org/support-us/<br />

donate-now/.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />



Thank you from our<br />

Development Office<br />



More than 100 friends and sisters<br />

celebrated Mass and enjoyed<br />

breakfast at our annual Morning<br />

with the Sisters, held at our convent<br />

in Grand Prairie, TX. We love that<br />

the only purpose of this event is to<br />

celebrate our friendships with so<br />

many wonderful people! (photo right)<br />

OKTOBERFEST <strong>2019</strong><br />

Thanks to Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki and her committee for all the hard work<br />

they did in organizing this year’s Oktoberfest fundraiser near Chicago. Some<br />

350 sisters and friends of Nazareth gathered for delicious German food, raffles,<br />

silent auction, and rock-and-roll music performed by an Elvis impersonator, Rick<br />

Saucedo. Proceeds from the event will be used to assist the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth’s outreach to families.<br />

For our sisters, just being with friends and benefactors is the best part of any<br />

gathering. We are grateful that so many take time out of their busy schedules to<br />

attend our Oktoberfest fundraiser. (photos above and left)<br />



The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas and January 1. This year the feast falls on<br />

December 29. Since 1989, friends of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth have joined us in praying the special Holy<br />

Family Novena, written by Sr. Cathy Fedewa, for the nine days leading up to this feast.<br />

Each day of the prayer focuses on a different aspect or form of family life, some of them non-traditional. “For all families...<br />

for new families... for families in pain... for persons without families... for our brothers and sisters throughout the world...”<br />

Sr. Cathy explains, “When I was thinking about this prayer, all of those different aspects of family life came to me.”<br />

That year the sisters in Pittsburgh received ecclesiastical<br />

permission from the Diocese of Pittsburgh to print the novena;<br />

they sent it to friends and family on their mailing list, invited<br />

them to join the sisters in praying the novena. Eventually, the<br />

custom spread across what is now the U.S. province of the<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth - and beyond.<br />

We invite you to join in spirit with this worldwide time of<br />

prayer and also to use this novena at any time of the year. The<br />

novena is available on our website at nazarethcsfn.org/prayer/<br />

holy-family-novena.<br />

We also invite you to watch our Holy Family Novena video<br />

series featuring our sisters reading the novena. The videos are<br />

available online at bit.ly/CSFNHolyFamilyNovena.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <strong>2019</strong><br />


310 N River Rd.<br />

Des Plaines, IL 60016<br />

www.nazarethcsfn.org<br />

Non-profit<br />

Organization<br />

U.S. Postage<br />

Paid<br />

Des Plaines, IL<br />

Permit No. 340<br />



Is there a CSFN sister who was influential in your life—someone<br />

who helped you become the person you are? Maybe she taught<br />

you reading or prayed for you at a difficult time?<br />

One way you can honor her or her memory is by remembering<br />

the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in your Will. By<br />

carefully planning your Will, you can remember those charities<br />

and organizations which have been close to your heart<br />

throughout your life.<br />

If you would like more information about remembering the<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in your Will, or if you<br />

have already done so, please contact Katherine Barth at<br />

kbarth@nazarethcsfn.org or 847-298-6760, ext. 143.<br />

We, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, are called to extend the Kingdom of God’s love among ourselves and<br />

others by living the spirit of Jesus, Mary and Joseph whose lives were centered in the love of God and one another.<br />

We witness to this love through dedicated service to the Church, especially in ministry to the family.

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