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THE HOLY<br />


NAZARETH //<br />

VOL 14 //<br />

// NO 1 //<br />

SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />

Nazareth<br />



Newborn girl left in box<br />

on convent lawn<br />

60 YEARS LATER<br />



Family<br />


Dear Friends of Nazareth,<br />

Between the liturgical seasons of Advent<br />

and Lent, the Catholic Church celebrates<br />

with solemnity the Feast of the Holy<br />

Family, which is also a congregational<br />

feast for the Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth.<br />

Celebrated on the Sunday after<br />

Christmas, the purpose of this feast is to<br />

present the Holy Family as a model for<br />

all Christian families. The family home<br />

of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph would have<br />

been, in numerous ways, just like any<br />

other home. They would have shared<br />

in conversations, laughed and had fun,<br />

disagreed, shared meals, labored, and<br />

would not have been exempt from some<br />

of the difficulties and challenges that face<br />

most families. They would have lived a<br />

normal family life in every way.<br />

Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd<br />

(Frances Siedliska) drew inspiration for<br />

our Congregation’s unique spirit from her<br />

reflection on the life of the Holy Family<br />

of Nazareth. She envisioned her sisters<br />

living a life rooted in a deep relationship<br />

of love with God, and faithful dedication<br />

to God’s service. She stated it this way:<br />

Left to right: Sr. Julia Bargiel, Sr. Barbara Sudol, Sr. Mary Frances<br />

Przybylski, and Sr. Kathleen Maciej<br />

“The purpose for which this congregation<br />

exists is to cooperate with Christ and His<br />

Church in building the Kingdom of God’s<br />

love, that Kingdom which first blossomed<br />

miraculously in the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth.”<br />

Shortly after her arrival in the United<br />

States in 1885, Blessed Mary responded<br />

to the current needs of the families<br />

she encountered in Chicago, New York,<br />

and Pennsylvania. Together, with a small<br />

group of sisters, they staffed schools,<br />

hospitals, and orphanages to care<br />

for the immigrants, the sick, and the<br />

homeless; they educated children; and,<br />

they provided assistance to those unable<br />

to communicate because of language<br />

barriers. Those who were weak, helpless,<br />

and at risk experienced Jesus’ healing<br />

presence, compassion, and mercy through<br />

these courageous women who sacrificed<br />

and endured many hardships to build<br />

the Kingdom of God’s love in the U.S. for<br />

families. Family was at the heart of their<br />

mission.<br />

One hundred thirty-five years later, the<br />

situation is much the same. We encounter<br />

great numbers of the poor who lack the<br />

bare necessities of life and are at times<br />

harassed and exploited -- families forced<br />

to leave their homelands, orphans who<br />

have lost their parents, victims of violence,<br />

and the homeless who roam the streets<br />

of our society.<br />

Each day, we see before us individuals<br />

and families struggling, the vulnerable<br />

who are at the mercy of the hardhearted,<br />

and those crying for help whose<br />

voice is often unheard. For these people<br />

and others, the charism for the Sisters of<br />

the Holy Family of Nazareth is a beacon<br />

of hope for the world today.<br />

I invite you to join with us in daily prayer<br />

to the Holy Family for all the families of<br />

the world:<br />

O Holy Family, bless and protect all the<br />

families of the world, safeguard their<br />

unity, fidelity, integrity and dignity. Enable<br />

them to live according to God’s law that<br />

they may fulfill their sublime vocation.<br />

May their lives be a reflection of yours<br />

and may they enjoy your presence forever<br />

in heaven.<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 />


4 10<br />

7<br />

VOLUME 14 //<br />

NUMBER 1 //<br />

SPRING <strong>2020</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 Newborn girl left in<br />

box on convent lawn - 60<br />

years later<br />

8 The “daughters” of<br />

Blessed Mary of Jesus<br />

the Good Shepherd: An<br />

excerpt from Kwiatki<br />

Franciszki Siedliskiej<br />

(Flowers of Frances<br />

Siedliska)<br />

12 A ministry of light and<br />

hope in the Philippines<br />



13<br />

14 Sr. Ann Marie (Patricia Ann) Cwick<br />

15 Sr. M. Irene Geisheimer<br />

15 Sr. M. Barbara Ann Nowosielska<br />

16 Sr. M. Ruth (Judith Ann) Ruster<br />

16 Sr. M. Audrey Kimbar<br />

18 Spiritual greeting cards for<br />

your family, friends, and loved<br />

ones<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 />


Judy Jean Kaenel (seated, center) during a December 2019 visit<br />

to the Provincialate in Des Plaines, IL, sixty years after being<br />

found as a baby on the grounds of the convent.<br />

nazarethcsfn.org<br />

facebook.com/csfn.usa<br />

twitter.com/csfn_usa<br />

instagram.com/csfn.usa<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />



Newborn girl<br />

left in box on<br />

convent lawn<br />

60 YEARS LATER<br />

It was around 7:30 in the morning<br />

on September 23, 1959 when a<br />

groundskeeper for the Sisters of<br />

the Holy Family of Nazareth in Des<br />

Plaines, IL heard a cry. That cry led<br />

him to a box tucked under a bush<br />

near the convent’s shrine to the Holy<br />

Family where he found a baby girl<br />

lovingly dressed in a pink and white<br />

floral dress and gently wrapped in<br />

blue and white striped blankets. Sr.<br />

Constance Kuczwara, CSFN, who<br />

was a second-year novice at the time,<br />

recalls an announcement being made<br />

to the novices about a baby that was<br />

found near the shrine. “I remember<br />

that we were told that the baby was<br />

OK,” said Sr. Constance. She also<br />

recalls praying for the baby in the days<br />

after she was found.<br />

In the kitchen of the convent that<br />

morning in 1959, the baby was<br />

baptized Mary Alice. Among the<br />

stories told about that blessed day is<br />

one where the sisters considered the<br />

possibility of keeping Mary Alice and<br />

raising her, as our Mother Foundress<br />

had done decades earlier with other<br />

orphans. Quickly, the sisters knew the<br />

right thing to do. Police took Mary<br />

Alice to Resurrection Hospital. She<br />

was eventually moved to St. Vincent’s<br />

Orphanage where she was later<br />

adopted and named Judy Jean Kaenel.<br />

Sixty years later, on a chilly December<br />

day in 2019, Judy Jean Kaenel sat at<br />

a table with Sr. Lucille Madura, Sr.<br />

Constance Kuczwara, and Sr. Clare<br />

Marie Kozicki in the provincialate<br />

in Des Plaines, now located across<br />

the street from the original convent<br />

where she was found. Outspoken and<br />

energetic, Judy looked as if she was<br />

sitting around the family table with<br />

relatives she’s known for years. And, in<br />

many ways, she was.<br />

“You are my first family,” Judy said to<br />

the sisters. “I’ve always looked at all of<br />

you as my first mothers.”<br />

“When you think about it,” Sr.<br />

Constance said with tears forming in<br />

her eyes, “we have mothered so many<br />

children in schools and in healthcare.”<br />

4<br />

continued on page 6...

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />


Though the sisters were her “first<br />

family,” Judy bonded immediately with<br />

her adoptive family and credits them<br />

with helping her become the person<br />

she is today.<br />

Though she has experienced<br />

moments of hardship in her life,<br />

she says there have also been many<br />

blessings. She recalled one Christmas<br />

in the 1980s when she had no heat<br />

in her home, no gifts for her children,<br />

and had used the last of the food – a<br />

box of brownie mix and oatmeal – for<br />

their dinner. There was a knock on<br />

her door at 11:30 that night. When<br />

she opened the door, she found a<br />

pile of wrapped presents and food<br />

and diapers and envelopes with cash<br />

for her and her children. “I made a<br />

promise that day that if I came across<br />

someone in need I would help them,”<br />

Judy said.<br />


Through the years, Judy has searched<br />

diligently for her birth parents,<br />

exploring every possibility from old<br />

yearbooks to newspaper clippings,<br />

many leading to dead ends. Then, in<br />

July 2019, an Ancestry.com DNA test<br />

connected her with a gentleman who<br />

was possibly her brother. Additional<br />

DNA testing at a local lab confirmed<br />

that the gentleman’s father was also<br />

her father. Just hours before he passed<br />

away, Judy’s father was able to give her<br />

the first name of the woman believed<br />

to be her mother but he could not<br />

recall any other information.<br />

Judy’s search continues for the face of<br />

the woman who saw her in her first<br />

moments of life. “I want to let [my<br />

birth mother] know it is OK,” Judy<br />

said. “I’m OK… I want to hug her and<br />

hold her hand and tell her how safe I<br />

was.”<br />

Today, Judy is “mother” to five children<br />

by birth and by loving care. She serves<br />

as president of ABATE, a motorcycle<br />

education and safety taskforce, and<br />

lives in the far western suburbs of<br />

Chicago.<br />

An article from the Chicago Tribune,<br />

September 24, 1959.<br />

Judy Jean Kaenel (seated) during a<br />

December 2019 visit to the convent in<br />

Des Plaines, IL. Also pictured (l to r):<br />

Sr. Phyllis Siedlecka, Sr. Constance<br />

Kuczwara, Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki,<br />

Sr. Virginia Zielinski, Sr. Lucille<br />

Madura, and Sr. Marie Kielanowicz<br />

The Sacred Heart Provincialate in the<br />

1950s. The sisters moved to a newer<br />

building across the street in the mid-<br />

1990s.<br />

Judy, in the back row between the<br />

images of Joseph and Mary, with the<br />

sisters who were on hand to greet her<br />

during her December 2019 visit.<br />

A group hug with Judy and her “first<br />

family.”<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />



The “daughters” of<br />

Blessed Mary of Jesus the<br />

Good Shepherd:<br />


(FLOWERS OF FRA<strong>NC</strong>ES SIEDLISKA)<br />

Written by Sr. Amata Nowaszewska, CSFN and<br />

translanted by Sr. Angela Szczawinska, CSFN<br />

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Sr. Amata Nowaszewska’s recently<br />

published book, Kwiatki Franciszki Siedliskiej (Flowers of Frances Siedliska). It is reprinted<br />

here with permission from Sr. Angela Maria Mazzeo, superior general for the Sisters of<br />

the Holy Family of Nazareth. Written and published in Polish, the following portion of<br />

the book was translated by Sr. Angela Szczawinska, CSFN. Please note that Sr. Amata<br />

uses the names ”Mother Mary” and ”Blessed Mary” to refer to Blessed Mary of Jesus<br />

the Good Sheperd, Frances Siedliska, foundress of our Congregation. She also notes<br />

that there are various versions of the stories surrounding the adopted children. The one<br />

thing we know for sure, as Sr. Amata says, Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd<br />

(Frances Siedliska) opened her heart to the abandoned children of her time. Sr. Amata is<br />

currently serving in the Holy Name of Jesus (Warsaw) Province.<br />


It is hard to tell exactly how it came<br />

about. Time has blurred the tracks,<br />

and the archives are extremely<br />

taciturn on this matter. Where did<br />

the cute black girls surrounding<br />

Mother Mary [Blessed Mary of<br />

Jesus the Good Shepherd, Frances<br />

Siedliska, foundress of the Sisters of<br />

the Holy Family of Nazareth] in the<br />

old photographs come from? And<br />

what about other photos of African<br />

American girls shyly posing for the<br />

camera in the Nazareth Sisters’<br />

albums? Particularly noteworthy is the<br />

image of little Mamie in a white dress<br />

and with a light-colored ribbon in her<br />

dark curly hair. The child is standing<br />

on a chair covered with a fluffy<br />

blanket, and in the background, you<br />

can see a table with Mother Mary’s<br />

portrait. There is a caption on the<br />

photo: “Baby wait for Mama. Baby help<br />

Mama! Little Mamie. 1897.”<br />

We know for sure that Mother<br />

Mary’s heart was particularly sensitive<br />

toward abandoned children. She<br />

wished she could help all neglected<br />

and orphaned street children, and<br />

she was especially moved by the fate<br />

of dark-skinned orphans in times<br />

of racial segregation in the United<br />

States. That is why several girls found<br />

themselves in Chicago in the care of<br />

the sisters. We know the names of<br />

five black girls (Mamie, Alma, Stella,<br />

Grace, and Yolanda) and a biracial girl,<br />

Lauretta. Traditionally, two of them<br />

are considered to have been adopted<br />

by Mother Mary and the other ones<br />

– thanks to her encouragement – by<br />

Mother Lauretta Lubowidzka. It was<br />

not adoption in the modern sense,<br />

initiated in the US by an act of 1851<br />

(Massachusetts Adoption of Children<br />

Act), but probably some form of<br />

contract that provided care to<br />

orphaned children.<br />

Some of the adopted girls were<br />

brought up and educated in Europe<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />


10<br />

(Paris, Rome and Polish convents).<br />

About one of them, Blessed Mary<br />

wrote in a letter to her spiritual<br />

director, Father Anthony Lechert:<br />

“Can I bring along a small, four-yearold<br />

black girl? An extremely good<br />

child, very attached to me, and she<br />

speaks English beautifully, not Polish,<br />

though. She is such a darling, this child.<br />

I think she will be a good child.”<br />

A whole century later, the grandson of<br />

one of these girls, Yolanda Charleston,<br />

wanted to learn about the family<br />

history, intrigued by his grandmother’s<br />

fluent command of Polish. In 1994,<br />

Yolanda’s daughter, Lauretta Frances<br />

Travis, contacted Saint Mary Hospital<br />

in Chicago [known as Saint Mary of<br />

Nazareth Hospital at the time and<br />

now known as AMITA Health Saints<br />

Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center]<br />

and so the family renewed contacts<br />

with the sisters. In her childhood,<br />

Yolanda (born in 1889) and her older<br />

sister were looked after by Mother<br />

Mary. The girls were brought up in<br />

the care of the sisters in the USA and<br />

Europe. Yolanda returned to Chicago<br />

in 1910, graduated from nursing<br />

school, and started a family.<br />

She worked, among others, as a<br />

court translator, being fluent in<br />

English, Polish, French, and Italian. She<br />

named one of her daughters Lauretta<br />

Frances in honor of her guardians:<br />

Mother Lauretta Lubowidzka and<br />

Mother Mary Frances Siedliska. She<br />

“I wish we could love these children even more and<br />

undertake sacrifices for them for the sake of Jesus,<br />

so that we should not remain indifferent…”<br />

maintained close contact with the<br />

Nazareth Sisters. They obtained a<br />

papal blessing for her on the occasion<br />

of her marriage to Thomas Wilson<br />

(1918), they helped her family when<br />

her son died in the difficult times of a<br />

great crisis. “We went to the Sisters<br />

as you go to grandma’s house - for<br />

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter ... The<br />

sisters were our only family” – one of<br />

Yolanda’s daughters, Gloria, reminisced<br />

about her childhood years later.<br />

Mother Mary quietly dreamed that<br />

maybe some of the dark-skinned<br />

girls taken in by the sisters would<br />

become Nazareth sisters and “maybe<br />

the Lord Jesus will allow, it may be<br />

the beginning of the mission with<br />

the Indians,” as she wrote to Mother<br />

Lauretta (October 20, 1890). This<br />

happened in the case of Lauretta<br />

Brahland, a Native American or<br />

biracial woman born in 1889, who<br />

entered the Congregation of the<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

in 1908, receiving the name of Sister

Maria Priscilla. Unfortunately, Sister<br />

Priscilla fell sick and died at a young<br />

age in 1931 in Clayton (New Mexico).<br />

According to the family of Yolanda<br />

Charleston, her blood sister joined<br />

the Congregation. It might have been<br />

Stella Charleston, or Sister Mary<br />

Ann (1883-1963), although there are<br />

some different versions of the events.<br />

Mother Lauretta brought Stella to<br />

Paris, where the young girl started<br />

school.<br />

She spent her first years of religious<br />

life close to Mother Mary in Rome.<br />

Musically and linguistically talented,<br />

she served generously for many years<br />

as a teacher in France. Not only did<br />

she teach English, music, and catechism<br />

at a Nazareth school, but she helped<br />

refugee priests and taught French at<br />

the Institute Catholique. During World<br />

War II, the Germans imprisoned<br />

her as an American citizen (1944).<br />

She spent the last years of her life in<br />

Rome and died there. She is buried in<br />

the tomb of the Congregation at the<br />

Campo Verano cemetery.<br />

Alma Mosley (1897-1965), associated<br />

with Mother Lauretta, became a<br />

Nazareth Sister, too. Little Alma did<br />

not leave Mother Lauretta’s side<br />

whenever Mother was at home,<br />

even in the chapel. Once during<br />

the singing of the antiphon Alma<br />

Mater Redemptoris (Holy Mother<br />

of the Redeemer), the girl exclaimed<br />

delighted: “They are singing about<br />

me!” Another time at the beginning<br />

of the night prayer - compline, when<br />

silence fell during the individual<br />

examination of conscience, Mother<br />

Lauretta tired after an exhausting<br />

day, fell asleep in her kneeler. Alma<br />

proudly took her place, knocking on<br />

the kneeler three times - a signal that<br />

the prayers were over. The sisters<br />

obediently left the chapel without<br />

finishing the compline, much to the<br />

embarrassment of the provincial<br />

superior – Mother Lauretta. At the age<br />

of 19, Alma joined the Congregation<br />

and became Sister Miriam of the<br />

Heart of Jesus. She completed her<br />

religious formation in Rome but<br />

spent most of her religious life in<br />

Philadelphia ministering at the office<br />

of Nazareth Hospital.<br />

We do not know the fate of other<br />

children for whom the sisters became<br />

family. Dark-skinned “daughters” were<br />

not the only children they looked<br />

after. In Brooklyn, the sisters took<br />

care of a sick, one and a half year old<br />

orphan boy and in Scranton a fiveyear-old<br />

girl, whose mother could<br />

not look after her. They also ran<br />

orphanages, mainly for children of<br />

Polish immigrants. It was a practical<br />

expression of Mother Mary’s dream:<br />

“I wish we could love these children<br />

even more and undertake sacrifices<br />

for them for the sake of Jesus, so that<br />

we should not remain indifferent…”<br />

Sources<br />

Positio, vol 2, p. 445<br />

Bl. Mary of Jesus the Good<br />

Shepherd’s letter to Father Anthony<br />

Lechert, June 14, 1893, CSFN<br />

Archives, Rome<br />

Pevese P.: Memorandum re: Wilson<br />

Sisters, Feb. 10, 1890, CSFN<br />

Archives, Rome<br />

Mother Foundress’ letter to Mother<br />

Lauretta Lubowidzka, Oct. 20, 1890,<br />

CSFN Archives, Rome<br />

Counsels from the Heart #111, p.<br />

173<br />

From left to right: Grace and<br />

Yolanda, two of the “adopted<br />

daughters,” along with two young<br />

women identified as Marya and<br />

Alicia.<br />

A statue of Blessed Mary of Jesus the<br />

Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska)<br />

protecting a child with her cloak,<br />

Tyler, TX.<br />

Yolanda and Stella, two of the<br />

“adopted” daughters.<br />

A photo of Mamie, one of the<br />

“adopted daughters.” This is the<br />

photo mentioned on page nine.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />



Many times my willingness to love<br />

them was a struggle for them to<br />

hold on to. Sometimes what I had to<br />

offer them seemed so unproductive,<br />

even though they wanted to see it<br />

in a trusting way. As the boys grew<br />

over the years, so did I. Together, we<br />

discovered many new and exciting<br />

things along the way.<br />

As I journeyed with these boys, there<br />

were many challenging moments, as<br />

each child tried to embrace their own<br />

abuses and neglected situations. Each<br />

boy I cared for was a special love<br />

letter from God.<br />

A ministry of<br />

light and hope in<br />

the Philippines<br />

by Sr. Janet Kemmler, CSFN<br />

I have had various assignments in<br />

the Philippines, but perhaps one of<br />

the most blessed was that of caring<br />

for boys over the last 18 years of<br />

my 23 years spent in the Philippines.<br />

These boys showed me that even<br />

when there is darkness and loss of<br />

everything, we can still find hope in<br />

the rubbles of everyday life. In doing<br />

so, they led me to a greater unfolding<br />

of my life and a deeper awareness that<br />

life itself is one big commitment to<br />

service within God’s Kingdom.<br />

Not all these boys were able to<br />

survive their darkness because of<br />

situations, family crisis, and abuse of<br />

all kinds. Their darkness carried a long<br />

journey of uncertainty, even though I<br />

was there to help them. It was a deep<br />

privilege for me to care for these<br />

boys and to serve them, as the many<br />

grace-filled moments contributed to<br />

my own spiritual growth. For some<br />

of the boys, I was a mystery and to<br />

others we held a deep bond of love<br />

and respect for each other. Each day,<br />

as I assumed my care for these often<br />

unwanted boys, I received much more<br />

in return.<br />

Whatever my assigned mission in<br />

life, my ministry was not based on a<br />

position I held. It was my commitment<br />

to encounter the human aspect of<br />

my journey, touching the lives of<br />

others. It was never about what I<br />

did, but was rather about how I lived<br />

out my life for God. Life is about<br />

human conditions and our journeying<br />

together which helps us to grow<br />

and transform our existence for<br />

something greater than ourselves.<br />

Even as a child, I felt that to be a<br />

missionary didn’t mean I would<br />

have to leave a place I called home.<br />

For me, to be a missionary is to<br />

connect to others and together<br />

discover a connection to God’s love<br />

of all peoples of the world, where<br />

differences give us a glimpse of heaven<br />

here on earth. At the end of every<br />

day, my mind would drift in prayer, as<br />

I wondered whether I had given these<br />

boys a true glimpse of God’s love for<br />

them.<br />

God sent me to these boys for a<br />

reason. I know that for sure. The<br />

question that hounded my soul was,<br />

how do I unfold their hearts to the<br />

love of God when their lives had<br />

so many losses? I dreamed of ways<br />

to bring us together for a better<br />

tomorrow where they could embrace<br />


Children are often plunged into<br />

situations that they have no control<br />

over. Many children fall through the<br />

cracks where they struggle to see<br />

themselves as special and unique. And<br />

those of us who try to help them<br />

must realize this can only be done<br />

in God’s time. Injustices come into<br />

children’s lives unannounced. And they<br />

can be left wondering how love can<br />

change their world when what they<br />

have experienced cannot be erased<br />

from their minds. Offering these<br />

children hope, helps begin to heal<br />

their broken hearts.<br />

their own self-worth and giftedness.<br />

After all the hurts, abuses, and dark<br />

moments they experienced, how<br />

could I bring the light of hope back<br />

into their lives again? How could<br />

these boys, whom God had led me<br />

to find, trust in a God they felt had<br />

abandoned them?<br />

As an adult, I had to enter their<br />

world in order to feel and understand<br />

their experiences, their pains, their<br />

journey of confusion and help them<br />

to understand their struggles. At the<br />

same time, I had to broaden my own<br />

world and find my space to learn and<br />

to better understand how to best<br />

care for them.<br />

Children see the world differently<br />

than we do as adults. Children may<br />

be small, but soon they grow to be<br />

the future of the world. Many of the<br />

boys were angry at God, their parents,<br />

and even at society who should have<br />

protected them and given them a safe<br />

environment in which to grow up.<br />

We often seek treasure amid the<br />

rubble of situations where we have<br />

been refused the comforts of love<br />

and trust. What a child experiences<br />

in an abusive situation is very scary<br />

for them. The letting go of a bad<br />

experience needs much support, love,<br />

and time for healing.<br />

We all battle with dark moments<br />

where we struggle to understand<br />

what it means to be loved and cared<br />

for by others. It is a challenge to know<br />

ourselves, especially in those dark<br />

moments where letting go should<br />

become an experience of love and<br />

appreciation allowing us to move on<br />

to something new and exciting.<br />

Healing broken hearts was perhaps<br />

one of my biggest obstacles because<br />

the innocence of these children had<br />

been taken away.<br />

In Isaiah 45:3, it says: “I will give you<br />

the treasures of darkness and riches<br />

hidden in secret places so that you<br />

may know that it is I, the God of Israel,<br />

who calls you by your name.”<br />

There is a sacred mystery to what<br />

we sometimes experience in those<br />

dark moments of our lives. Perhaps<br />

it is God’s way of telling us that the<br />

darkness we are experiencing is<br />

His gift of adventure to find Him in<br />

a deeper way. Darkness comes in<br />

various forms where the unknown of<br />

a new assignment takes us to places<br />

we might never have chosen for<br />

ourselves.<br />

Sr. Janet entered the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth in 1964. She has<br />

a bachelor’s degree in nursing from<br />

St. Joseph College in Standish, ME. She<br />

also holds certificates in nursing and<br />

administration. Before her recent return<br />

to the U.S., Sr. Janet was serving as<br />

administrator for the Mercy Halfway<br />

House for Boys, a CSFN ministry in the<br />

Philippines, but as she says it was only<br />

title and didn’t necessarily reflect the<br />

heart of her ministry. Many of the boys<br />

she worked with are now pursuing college<br />

degrees or working in well-established<br />

careers. The Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth have been ministering in the<br />

Philippines since 1982. To learn more<br />

about the Philippine Province and the<br />

CSFN ministries in that area, please visit<br />

the Congregation’s Philippines web page<br />

at bit.ly/CSFNPhilippines.<br />

Sr. Janet Kemmler with one of<br />

the boys she worked with in the<br />

Philippines.<br />

Sr. Janet back in the U.S., October<br />

2019.<br />

We all experience moments of<br />

questionable emptiness. Thus, we are<br />

forced to face things that lead us to<br />

search for something that would make<br />

us feel safe and secure.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />


In Memoriam<br />

Sr. Ann Marie<br />

(Patricia Ann)<br />

Cwick<br />

June 7, 1955 –<br />

November 21,<br />

2019<br />

Sr. Ann Marie<br />

was a private person with a gentle<br />

presence. Kind, helpful, organized, and<br />

disciplined, she used great care when<br />

fulfi lling the responsibilities entrusted<br />

to her. A faithful and loyal friend, Sr.<br />

Ann Marie supported others in quiet,<br />

often hidden ways.<br />

Born on June 7, 1955, she was the<br />

oldest of the five children of John<br />

and Lorraine Cwick. Baptized Patricia<br />

Ann (Pat) at St. Adalbert Church in<br />

the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago,<br />

she attended the parish school and<br />

always spoke with affection about her<br />

old neighborhood. As a young teen,<br />

Pat attended Holy Family Academy in<br />

Chicago and, following in her mother’s<br />

footsteps, served as a volunteer and<br />

later as a nursing assistant at St. Mary<br />

of Nazareth Hospital (now AMITA<br />

Health Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Medical<br />

Center). She would later dedicate<br />

34 years to ministering as a medicalsurgical<br />

and oncology nurse at St.<br />

Mary’s, holding in her heart with<br />

special care and prayer those who<br />

suffered from cancer.<br />

She entered the Congregation in<br />

1973 and professed her perpetual<br />

vows in 1981. She attended Oakton<br />

Community College in Des Plaines,<br />

IL and St. Mary of Nazareth School of<br />

Nursing in Chicago. She was awarded<br />

her certifi cate as a registered nurse<br />

in1980. She earned a bachelor’s in<br />

nursing from DePaul University in<br />

Chicago in 1990 and a master’s in<br />

pastoral ministry from Catholic<br />

Theological Union in Chicago in 2007.<br />

In 2013, Sr. Ann Marie left her muchloved<br />

ministry at St. Mary’s, the last<br />

Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

to minister at the hospital founded<br />

by our sisters in 1894. In God’s<br />

mysterious plan, the move from St.<br />

Mary’s opened a new avenue for Sr.<br />

Ann Marie to begin working as a<br />

parish nurse at St. Cornelius Parish<br />


in Chicago where she ministered<br />

until she became terminally ill in the<br />

summer of 2019.<br />

With quiet, courageous strength,<br />

she faced her rapid decline and<br />

approaching death, offering a great<br />

witness to all of us.<br />

Sr. Ann Marie engaged fully in the final<br />

details of her life’s journey, choosing<br />

the readings for her funeral Mass,<br />

selecting the clothes she would<br />

wear which included the shoes she<br />

wore for celebrations. She died<br />

peacefully on November 21, 2019 at<br />

Resurrection Hospital in Chicago. Her<br />

Mass of Resurrection was celebrated<br />

November 25 at St. Cornelius Church<br />

in Chicago.<br />

Sr. M. Irene<br />

Geisheimer<br />

November 10,<br />

1924 - December<br />

8, 2019<br />

A Norwich, CT<br />

woman through<br />

and through, Sr. Irene journeyed<br />

into this world as the daughter of<br />

Rudolph and Anna Geisheimer. After<br />

completing her elementary education<br />

at St. Joseph’s School, she traveled to<br />

Nazareth Academy High School in<br />

Philadelphia as a student. Entering the<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

in June 1941, she professed her final<br />

vows in Rome, Italy in May 1950.<br />

Sr. Irene, formerly known as Sr. Amata,<br />

received a bachelor’s degree from<br />

Villanova University and a master’s<br />

degree from Middlebury College. She<br />

also completed studies in German<br />

at the University of Wisconsin and<br />

traveled in 1973 for a sabbatical to<br />

Johannes Gutenberg University in<br />

Mainz, Germany.<br />

Ministering in Catholic education at<br />

Holy Rosary School in <strong>Spring</strong>field, MA,<br />

as well as at St. Adalbert School and<br />

Nazareth Academy High School in<br />

Philadelphia, Sr. Irene’s primary focus<br />

was to enable the young women she<br />

mentored to see God in all things.<br />

Always willing to go the extra mile,<br />

she never hesitated to scrub that<br />

extra pot or to listen to those who<br />

sought her advice.<br />

In 2006, Sr. Irene began a new chapter<br />

in her life in prayer ministry at Jesus of<br />

Nazareth Convent (Mount Nazareth)<br />

in Philadelphia. Upon meeting a nurse<br />

for the first time, Sr. Irene would say,<br />

“Look into the eyes of Jesus and know<br />

He made you and He loves you.”<br />

All those who helped her, received<br />

a smile, a blessing, and a thank you<br />

from her whenever they rendered her<br />

some service.<br />

In November, Sr. Irene celebrated<br />

her 95th birthday. The sisters joined<br />

her for a singing fest with English and<br />

Polish tunes. She received white roses<br />

that day which had special significance<br />

for her. She had related some time<br />

ago that her parents had told her that<br />

the soldiers in Poland received white<br />

roses upon returning from war and<br />

that a special song was sung in their<br />

honor. When she still could, she sang<br />

that song faithfully each Sunday.<br />

On December 8, Our Lady<br />

accompanied Sr. Irene into the hands<br />

of her merciful God. Her Mass of<br />

Resurrection was December 12 at<br />

Jesus of Nazareth (Mount Nazareth)<br />

chapel in Philadelphia.<br />

Sr. M. Barbara<br />

Ann Nowosielska<br />

July 24, 1938 –<br />

December 18,<br />

2019<br />

Barbara Ann was<br />

born July 24, 1938,<br />

the first of two daughters of Joseph<br />

and Sophie Nowosielski. She grew up<br />

on the north side of Chicago, where<br />

she, her sister Betty, and their parents<br />

lived.<br />

Sr. Barbara Ann deeply appreciated<br />

the love and support of her family<br />

throughout her life. She valued the<br />

friendships of her youth formed at<br />

St. John Cantius Grade School and<br />

at Holy Family Academy in Chicago<br />

where the seed of her vocation was<br />

nurtured. During her sophomore<br />

year at Holy Family Academy, Barbara<br />

worked at a bakery where she saw<br />

first-hand expertise in baking at work.<br />

Later in her life, many would enjoy<br />

meals prepared by Sr. Barbara Ann<br />

who built community with food.<br />

She entered our Congregation in<br />

1956 and professed her final vows<br />

in 1965. She earned a Bachelor of<br />

Science degree from De Lourdes<br />

College in Des Plaines, IL and a Master<br />

of Arts degree in history from Dayton<br />

University in Ohio.<br />

Sr. Barbara Ann began serving in<br />

education ministry in 1960 at St.<br />

Andrew in Calumet City, IL, then<br />

moved to Immaculate Heart of Mary<br />

in Chicago. In 1965 she was sent to<br />

Texas, and spent the next 17 years<br />

ministering in Fort Worth, Irving,<br />

Dallas, and Grand Prairie as a teacher<br />

as well as principal. In 1982, she<br />

returned to Chicago and taught at St.<br />

Ann School. In 1985, she settled at St.<br />

Emily in Mount Prospect, IL where she<br />

served for 34 years.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />


Being an educator was life-giving for<br />

Sr. Barbara Ann. She once wrote, “I<br />

enjoy the challenge and excitement of<br />

teaching young people. They give me<br />

life, hope for the future and a sense<br />

of satisfaction. Being with youth keeps<br />

me young and adventurous.”<br />

She loved to serve others and is<br />

remembered for her preparation of<br />

luscious meals, especially her famous<br />

rum cakes. The lessons she taught, the<br />

example she gave us, the challenges<br />

she laid before us, and the faith she<br />

exemplified for us are all gifts that she<br />

shared.<br />

Sr. Barbara Ann passed away on<br />

December 18. Her funeral Mass was<br />

celebrated on December 23 at St.<br />

Emily Church in Mount Prospect, IL.<br />

Sr. M. Ruth<br />

(Judith Ann)<br />

Ruster<br />

April 17, 1937 –<br />

January 6, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Howard and<br />

Dorothy Ruster<br />

welcomed the arrival of baby Judith<br />

Ann on April 17, 1937 in East<br />

Stroudsburg, PA. Soon, the family<br />

moved to Philadelphia where Judith<br />

attended Our Lady of Czestochowa<br />

Grade School. Wise before her years,<br />

Judith converted to Catholicism at<br />

the age of 10. She was baptized in the<br />

Our Lady of Czestochowa Church on<br />

April 27, 1947 and began her religious<br />

journey within the Church.<br />

After graduation from the eighth<br />

grade, Judith entered the Aspirancy<br />

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

Nazareth and attended Nazareth<br />

Academy High School in Philadelphia.<br />

Judith entered the Congregation on<br />

January 10, 1954. On August 13, 1955,<br />

she became a novice and received the<br />

name Sr. Mary Ruth. She professed her<br />

perpetual vows on August 11, 1962.<br />

Sr. Ruth received a teaching diploma<br />

in history and governance and her<br />

bachelor’s degree from Holy Family<br />

College (now Holy Family University)<br />

in Philadelphia in 1965. Her quiet<br />

yet firm personality endeared her<br />

to the children and youth she taught<br />

at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary<br />

in Scranton, PA; Visitation BVM in<br />

Trooper, PA; and Our Lady of Calvary,<br />

Nazareth Academy Grade School,<br />

Archbishop Ryan High School, and<br />

Nazareth Academy High School<br />

in Philadelphia. She also served as<br />

the athletic director for girls at<br />

Archbishop Ryan High School and<br />

as principal or vice-principal in St.<br />

Katherine of Siena, Our Lady of<br />

Calvary and St. Adalbert Schools.<br />

In 2008, she began ministering as<br />

the director of religious education<br />

for St. Katherine of Siena Parish in<br />

Philadelphia.<br />

In 2009, Sr. Ruth began to experience<br />

some health issues. Always active,<br />

Sr. Ruth was given the responsibility<br />

of the dining room, liaison to the<br />

food service, and oversight of the<br />

employees at Jesus of Nazareth<br />

Convent (Mount Nazareth) in<br />

Philadelphia. Her gentle smile and<br />

twinkle in her eyes made everyone<br />

feel at ease with her.<br />

As Sr. Ruth’s condition deteriorated,<br />

her sense of humor never diminished.<br />

Her love for and imitation of the<br />

infant Jesus, the simplicity of his life<br />

and his obedience to Mary and Joseph,<br />

marked her entire life.<br />

Sr. Ruth passed away on January 6 at<br />

Jesus of Nazareth Convent (Mount<br />

Nazareth). Her Mass of Resurrection<br />

was January 10 at Mount Nazareth.<br />

Sr. M. Audrey<br />

Kimbar<br />

May 1, 1938 –<br />

February 3, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Born May 1, 1938<br />

in Worcester,<br />

MA to Alexander and Josephine<br />

(Sokolowska) Kimbar, Audrey Helen<br />

was the thirteenth of fourteen<br />

children. She was baptized at Our<br />

Lady of Czestochowa Church in<br />

Worcester and later attended St.<br />

Mary’s Grade School and High<br />

School where she was educated by<br />

the Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth. The large Kimbar family<br />

provided the love, loyalty, bonding, and<br />

communion that would become such<br />

an important foundation for Audrey’s<br />

entire life, enriching not only her<br />

natural family, but each local Nazareth<br />

community in which she lived.<br />

On graduating from high school,<br />

Audrey received a scholarship to<br />

college, but instead discerned a call<br />

to religious life and entered the<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

in1956. The following year, Audrey<br />

received her religious name, Sr. Mary<br />

Clementia. She later returned to<br />

her baptismal name. She spent her<br />

novitiate in Rome and returned to<br />

the U.S. after professing her first vows<br />

in 1959. She professed her perpetual<br />

vows in 1965.<br />

She earned a bachelor’s degree in<br />

nursing from Catholic University<br />

in Washington, D.C. in 1964 and a<br />

master’s in aging from North Texas<br />

State University in Denton, TX in<br />

1985.<br />

Through the years, she served at<br />

Nazareth Hospital, Blessed John<br />

Neumann Nursing Home, and<br />

Immaculate Mary Nursing Home in<br />


Philadelphia; Holy Family Nursing<br />

Services in Allentown, PA; and<br />

Bethania Regional Health in Wichita<br />

Falls, TX.<br />

In 2001, due to declining health, Sr.<br />

Audrey left healthcare and began<br />

ministering as an assistant in the<br />

library at Nazareth Academy High<br />

School in Philadelphia. Her work with<br />

faculty, staff, and the young women at<br />

Nazareth Academy was an enriching<br />

mutual opportunity for the entire<br />

school community to experience her<br />

compassion and wisdom.<br />

Sr. Audrey loved her ministry at<br />

the high school, but due to her<br />

progressive illness, she chose to move<br />

to Mount Nazareth in Philadelphia<br />

where she continued to serve where<br />

she could, to listen and offer advice<br />

when asked, responding always to<br />

anyone in need.<br />







Sr. M. Lucille Lukasiewicz June 10, 1930 - Jan. 21, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Sr. M. Alma Bak Nov. 26, 1920 - Feb. 28, 2019<br />

Sr. Donna Marie Davis Aug. 31, 1948 - March 10, <strong>2020</strong><br />

At the beginning of January <strong>2020</strong>,<br />

her health began to decline even<br />

more. On the morning of February<br />

3, peacefully and quietly, Sr. Audrey<br />

slipped into the hands of her long<br />

awaited, Merciful Savior. Her Mass<br />

of Resurrection was February 6 at<br />

Jesus of Nazareth Convent (Mount<br />

Nazareth) Chapel in Philadelphia.<br />

Donations in memory of<br />

a deceased sister may be<br />

mailed to Development<br />

Office, Sisters of the<br />

Holy Family of Nazareth,<br />

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

Plaines, IL 60016. Please<br />

include a note with the<br />

name of the Sister in<br />

whose memory you are<br />

giving. Donations may<br />

also be made online at<br />

nazarethcsfn.org/donate.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />



Spiritual greeting cards<br />

for your family, friends,<br />

and loved ones<br />

Now you can remember family and friends with a very special gift – an annual<br />

enrollment in our Spiritual Greeting Card Program. This program of the Sisters<br />

of the Holy Family of Nazareth offers you the opportunity to enroll your<br />

family, friends, and loved ones in the daily prayer intentions and monthly Masses<br />

offered by the sisters. Each card features photography or artwork of our sisters.<br />

If you would like to order spiritual greeting cards please, go online to<br />

nazarethcsfn.org/donate/request-spiritual-greeting-cards. You may also<br />

call or email the Development Office at 847-298-6760, ext. 143 or<br />

kbarth@nazarethcsfn.org.<br />

18<br />


Verse:<br />

May God bless you<br />

and keep you<br />

in His loving care.<br />


CARD<br />

Verse:<br />

Thank you so much.<br />

Your kindness is truly<br />

appreciated.<br />


Verse:<br />

Let not your hearts be troubled.<br />

Believe in God; believe<br />

also in me. In my Father’s<br />

house are many rooms. If it<br />

were not so, would I have told<br />

you that I go to prepare a<br />

place for you? And if I go and<br />

prepare a place for you, I will<br />

come again and will take you<br />

to myself, that where I am you may be<br />

also. And you know the way to where<br />

I am going.<br />

~John 14:1-4


CARD<br />

Verse:<br />

O Holy Family, bless and<br />

protect all the families of<br />

the world; safeguard them<br />

in every way. Enable<br />

everyone to be faithful to<br />

their baptismal call to<br />

holiness. Grant us the<br />

grace to see God in the<br />

simple and ordinary<br />

moments in our lives, so<br />

that we may give<br />

ourselves in service to<br />

others. Amen.<br />


Verse:<br />

May the Holy Family bless you with<br />

birthday joy and cheer.<br />

May the gifts of love and peace<br />

be yours today and throughout<br />

the coming year.<br />


CARD<br />

Verse:<br />

Happy Anniversary<br />

God bless and enrich<br />

the love you share<br />

with each other.<br />


CARD<br />

Verse:<br />

Just a note to let<br />

you know that I am<br />

thinking of you.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2020</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 />





O most blessed Trinity, we praise and thank you for the<br />

example your servant, Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good<br />

Shepherd, has given us by imitating the life and virtues<br />

of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Grant us the grace we<br />

ask through her intercession for your greater glory,<br />

for the sanctification of souls and for the extension of<br />

your kingdom on earth. Amen.<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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