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THE HOLY<br />



// VOL 14 //<br />

// NO 2 //<br />

FALL <strong>2020</strong><br />

Nazareth<br />



Reflection on<br />

Covid-19<br />



Dear Friends of Nazareth,<br />

I write this letter to you at a time of<br />

great uncertainty in our nation and in<br />

our world. The pandemic continues<br />

across the globe, leaving few lives<br />

untouched by the physical, societal,<br />

and economic realities of the virus.<br />

Civil unrest continues in response<br />

to racial injustice, reminding us that<br />

racism and prejudice exists across<br />

our nation. Illness, violence, and<br />

destruction are everywhere. It is easy<br />

to succumb to despair and frustration<br />

at the many challenges we face.<br />

Where do we find hope when all of<br />

these difficulties may leave us feeling<br />

hopeless?<br />

I am reminded of the words of our<br />

Mother Foundress, Blessed Mary of<br />

Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances<br />

Siedliska), when she wrote: “It is futile<br />

to dwell on one’s misery and spiritual<br />

poverty, rather, one needs to strive<br />

for love and perfection in spite of<br />

them.” As Sisters of the Holy Family<br />

of Nazareth, we are called to create<br />

communities of love and hope which<br />

celebrate the oneness of the human<br />

family. We believe it is through God’s<br />

love, manifested in our life of service,<br />

that we can help bring hope to families<br />

in all their many forms.<br />

During the past few months, our<br />

sisters across the province have<br />

embraced adventurous and creative<br />

ways to bring love and hope into<br />

our world in crisis. Our sisters<br />

who serve in education ministries<br />

have continued to connect with<br />

their students in virtual classrooms.<br />

Those who minister in healthcare<br />

continue to serve the needy and<br />

vulnerable. Those in parish ministries<br />

have worked diligently to keep the<br />

faithful connected to Christ. Other<br />

sisters have made face-masks for<br />

frontline workers, brought meals<br />

to homebound seniors, prayed with<br />

those who are incarcerated, sent<br />

cards to those in need of cheer,<br />

made phone calls to check on friends<br />

and family, and continued to pray<br />

for the end to these challenging<br />

times. By staying active in spreading<br />

the Kingdom of God’s love and not<br />

dwelling on misery, we have found<br />

hope.<br />

There is hope in the four new<br />

postulants we welcomed into the<br />

Congregation on June 28 in Grand<br />

Prairie, TX. Katie Allen, Becky Garcia,<br />

Binh Nguyen, and Molly Spiering<br />

joined Kayla Danks who became a<br />

postulant in 2019. You may read more<br />

about the newest members of our<br />

Congregation on page four.<br />

We also find hope in the joyous<br />

dedication of our sisters who<br />

celebrate jubilees this year. Though<br />

formal celebrations were canceled<br />

for the safety and protection of<br />

everyone, I invite you to offer prayers<br />

of thanksgiving for our diamond<br />

Sr. Kathleen praying in solidarity with all<br />

for our troubled world.<br />

jubilarian, Sr. Eunice Leszczynska,<br />

our golden jubilarians, Sr. Mary Ellen<br />

Gemmell and Sr. Loretta Rose Tallas,<br />

and our silver jubilarians,<br />

Sr. Maria Therese Nguyen, Sr. Hanna<br />

Paradowska, Sr. Maria Magdalena<br />

Rybak, and Sr. Trina Marie Ulrich.<br />

As we move forward in these different<br />

times into an unknown future, let<br />

us remember the many graces God<br />

blesses us with each day and continue<br />

to find hope in our service to others.<br />

I also invite you to keep in mind these<br />

words from our Mother Foundress:<br />

“Strive for peace, meekness and<br />

also forbearance with oneself and<br />

others; not a forbearance that justifies<br />

wrongdoing, but a gentleness that is<br />

serene and humble.”<br />

We continue to pray for the peace,<br />

health, and well-being of you and your<br />

family.<br />

In the Holy Family,<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<br />

13<br />

7<br />

VOLUME 14 //<br />

NUMBER 2 //<br />

FALL <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 Prayers for our new<br />

postulants<br />


6 Adventures with God<br />

<strong>2020</strong> JUBILARIANS<br />

10 Sr. Eunice Leszczynska<br />

Sr. Mary Ellen Gemmell<br />

Sr Loretta Rose Tallas<br />

Sr. Maria Therese Nguyen<br />

Sr. Hanna Paradowska<br />

Sr. Maria Magdalena Rybak<br />

Sr. Trina Maria Ulrich<br />



18 Thank you from our<br />

development office<br />


Sr. Theresita Donach CSFN, pastoral associate at Sts. Philip and<br />

James Catholic Church, St. James, NY.<br />

17<br />

14 Sr. M. Lucille (Margaret) Lukasiewicz<br />

Sr. M. Alma (Leokadia “Lillian”) Bak<br />

Sr. Donna Marie Davis<br />

Sr. M. Roselita Bradley<br />

Sr. Stella Louise Slomka<br />

Sr. M. Regina (Helen) Jaszwinski<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 // FALL <strong>2020</strong><br />



Prayers for our new<br />

postulants<br />


With sisters, friends, and family from<br />

across the U.S. watching on Zoom,<br />

Katie Allen, Becky Garcia, Binh<br />

Nguyen, and Molly Spiering became<br />

postulants of the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth on June 28 at<br />

Jesus the Good Shepherd Convent<br />

in Grand Prairie, TX. Our sisters<br />

welcomed the new postulants in a<br />

formal ceremony where each of the<br />

young women received a medal of the<br />

Holy Family.<br />

Katie, Becky, Binh, and Molly joined<br />

Kayla Danks, who began her<br />

postulancy in 2019. With Sr. Marietta<br />

Osinska as their director, the young<br />

women will begin a period of<br />

structured discernment.<br />

4<br />

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

discerning her vocation since 2011.<br />

From a large, loving family with what<br />

she describes as two “official” and<br />

many more “unofficial” siblings, Katie

was drawn to our Congregation<br />

because of the holiness our sisters<br />

find within ordinary life.<br />

“The soul which aspires to the life of union with<br />

Jesus and accepts its requirement, will not be<br />

harmed by her weakness, interior opposition, or<br />

sinful tendencies, as long as she does not yield to<br />

them, but focuses her attention upon Jesus, heeds<br />

Him, and remains devoted to Him.” --Blessed Mary<br />

of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska),<br />

Rome, June 16, 1886<br />

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

one of three siblings. She earned her<br />

bachelor’s degree in art with a focus<br />

on ceramics from the University<br />

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

discerning her vocation in the fall of<br />

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 six<br />

years and has two siblings in North<br />

Carolina. Binh is currently pursuing<br />

an associate of science degree at<br />

Brookhaven College in Farmers<br />

Branch, TX.<br />

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

WY. One of 11 children, she earned<br />

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

Christendom College in Front Royal,<br />

VA. She went on to serve as the<br />

associate director of pastoral ministry<br />

at Holy Trinity Church in Cheyenne,<br />

WY.<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 discerning a<br />

call to religious life, please contact our<br />

vocation director, Sr. Emmanuela Le, at<br />

vocations@nazarethcsfn.org.<br />

On Being Received<br />

as a Postulant<br />

(Forty Years Later)<br />

by Sr. Frances Smalkowski, CSFN<br />

With a crown of golden braids<br />

Made from my long curly hair<br />

Excitedly I rushed<br />

To Your awaiting arms.<br />

With such enthusiastic wonderment<br />

I could hardly walk<br />

In my new black nun’s shoes<br />

That memorable predawn hour.<br />

Forty years later<br />

I carry the same enthusiasm<br />

But a deeper joy and peace<br />

Amid the realities of all I have been called to.<br />

Knowing Your arms still await me<br />

I walk more slowly<br />

But with greater confidence<br />

In all You have promised.<br />

From left to right: Kayla Danks, Binh<br />

Nguyen, Molly Spiering, Sr. Marietta<br />

Osinka, Sr. Kathleen Maciej, Becky<br />

Garcia, and Katie Allen.<br />

Our postulants in Grand Prairie, TX.<br />

Becky Garcia receives her Holy<br />

Family medal from Provincial<br />

Superior Sr. Kathleen Maciej.<br />

Katie Allen receives her Holy Family<br />

medal.<br />

Molly Spiering receives her Holy<br />

Family medal.<br />

Binh Nguyen receives her Holy<br />

Family medal.<br />

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



Adventures<br />

with God<br />


COVID-19<br />

by Sr. Marcelina Mikulska, CSFN<br />

Have you found yourself drifting away<br />

from God because of challenging daily<br />

life experiences during this pandemic?<br />

Covid-19 spreads not only physical<br />

illness and death, but also confusion,<br />

unpredictability, hopelessness,<br />

loneliness, and desperation. For many,<br />

this confusing time is a spiritual battle<br />

and a search for truth. Our lives,<br />

enriched by faith, revere truth. That<br />

truth allows us to see that all humans<br />

are multifaceted beings who are able<br />

to spread the Kingdom of God, even<br />

amidst the discord in our streets,<br />

stores, homes, and hearts. There is<br />

hope in God’s love. There is much to<br />

be learned every day if we slow down<br />

and pay close attention to God’s<br />

intimate whisper.<br />

The coronavirus should not serve<br />

as a reason for us to stop seeing the<br />

opportunities before us. Instead, let<br />

this time be an adventure with God,<br />

who created us and sustains our<br />

lives. Through the faithful connection<br />

with the Good News of God and<br />

fulfillment of the mission in the world,<br />

the Church supports and elevates<br />

truth, goodness, and beauty in society.<br />

It also strengthens peace for the<br />


We may also turn to the example<br />

of Blessed Mary Stella and her Ten<br />

Companions who experienced<br />

a pervasiveness of violence in<br />

Nowogrodek during World War II. The<br />

Eleven Martyrs saw their experiences<br />

in the light of faith. The long hours<br />

after their arrest, the night prayer on<br />

the floor of the commissariat’s cold<br />

and damp basement, and the morning<br />

walk to the place of their execution<br />

on August 1, 1943 must have seemed<br />

an eternity. Certainly, it must have<br />

seemed much longer than our current<br />

lockdowns. Our Martyred Sisters<br />

surely sensed the unconditional love<br />

of God. They accepted the challenge<br />

to be faithful to their calling. Together,<br />

their sacrifice saved numerous families.<br />

greater glory of God. Even during<br />

this chaotic period in our world, we<br />

hear the apostolic appeal, “Indeed,<br />

the right time is now. It is the time<br />

of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). It<br />

is an appropriate time to change<br />

window of her upstairs room on Via<br />

Machiavelli in Rome. In all probability,<br />

she may have felt like she was<br />

experiencing a quarantine, such as<br />

we have experienced during shelterin-place<br />

orders. During our current<br />

“During this challenging time, what should we<br />

embrace to fulfill our call to sainthood? What should<br />

be left behind? Let’s be present more for people<br />

around us and become a walking sign of gratitude.<br />

Let’s try to be people of creative solutions for Christ<br />

by spreading beauty, goodness, and truth.”<br />

our hearts. It is a time of meaningful<br />

opportunities. Jesus did not need to<br />

change his perfect heart; yet, he went<br />

to the desert. During this Covid-19<br />

pandemic, Jesus calls us to the<br />

desolate places of our hearts.<br />

Our Mother Foundress, Blessed Mary<br />

of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances<br />

Siedliska) wanted to celebrate life<br />

even when it seemed like there was<br />

nothing to celebrate. For a long<br />

time, she was bedridden and prayed<br />

before the Eucharist from the little<br />

times of quarantine, there are plenty<br />

of opportunities to build and improve<br />

our relationships. Blessed Mary of<br />

Jesus the Good Shepherd can be our<br />

model in this regard. Her example<br />

can be a catalyst for change. Despite<br />

her sickness, ostracization, spiritual<br />

dryness and longings, problems,<br />

concerns, anxieties, and grotesque<br />

intrusions, she found her rest in God.<br />

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


The predominance of war in Europe<br />

during the 1940s brought numerous<br />

difficulties, fear, painful isolation,<br />

barriers to faith, and futility of work.<br />

Ungodly systems overtook authority<br />

in the Church. The Servant of God Sr.<br />

Malgorzata Banas, who was the one<br />

remaining CSFN in Nowogrodek not<br />

killed by the Nazis, had the courage to<br />

act and speak the truth.<br />

She was a steward of freedom and<br />

faith. She proactively found a solution<br />

and collaborated with others so the<br />

freedom to worship in Nowogrodek<br />

would never be taken from the<br />

people, and they would abide in<br />

God’s presence. Sr. Malgorzata, “The<br />

Guardian of the Tabernacle” as she<br />

was called, experienced her own<br />

lockdown behind the door in the<br />

sacristy of the Fara in Nowogrodek<br />

while safeguarding the Presence of the<br />

Blessed Sacrament. She didn’t know<br />

how long she would stay there. The<br />

place was tight and cold. Food and<br />

water were scarce. Her life was in<br />

danger. Yet, God provided for her and<br />

good people helped her to survive<br />


that unprecedented time. She paid<br />

it forward by nurturing the religious<br />

spirit of the townspeople. She<br />

experienced the existential solitary<br />

time, used it wisely, plunged into deep<br />

reality, and fulfilled her mission. The life<br />

of the Servant of God Sr. Malgorzata is<br />

yet another example for us to turn to<br />

during our pandemic.<br />

Reflecting upon those who lived<br />

before us, let us take seriously the<br />

truth of our faith by practicing the<br />

corporal and spiritual works of mercy.<br />

May the goodness of Christ’s mercy<br />

fill our time. The examples of God’s<br />

holy people will help us to turn<br />

freely toward goodness. They show<br />

the tremendous significance of our<br />

existence and mission regardless of<br />

our difficulties. God’s Grace works in<br />

and through us despite our limitations.<br />

During this challenging time, what<br />

should we embrace to fulfill our<br />

call to sainthood? What should be<br />

left behind? Let’s be present more<br />

for people around us and become a<br />

walking sign of gratitude. Let’s try to<br />

be people of creative solutions for<br />

Christ by spreading beauty, goodness,<br />

and truth. God’s people, the Church,<br />

are the “universal sacrament of<br />

salvation.” Let us remember that we<br />

are destined for eternal life. Let us<br />

savor and cultivate the beauty and<br />

goodness of God.<br />

Sr. Marcelina entered the Congregation in<br />

1996. She earned a BA in early childhood<br />

and elementary education and an MS in<br />

counseling psychology.<br />

Sr. Theresita Donach prepares for<br />

an “adventure with God” at Sts.<br />

Philip and James Catholic Church.<br />

Srs. Maria Magdalena Rybak and<br />

Marta Gadzinowska have a little fun<br />

with Mother Foundress and a face<br />

mask.<br />

Sr. Gabriela Duszynska uses the<br />

“meaningful opportunity” of our<br />

times to make cloth face masks to<br />

help others.<br />

Sisters find “creative solutions” to<br />

spread Christ’s beauty and love with<br />

safely distanced birthday greetings<br />

for Sr. Winifred Chopak.<br />

Sr. Virginette Rypniewski finds<br />

“creative solutions” to create face<br />

masks.<br />

Sisters in Philadelphia are a<br />

“walking sign of gratitude” for the<br />

face masks a donor made.<br />

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


<strong>2020</strong> JUBILARIANS<br />

Congratulations<br />

TO OUR <strong>2020</strong> JUBILARIANS<br />



Entered June 27, 1945<br />

Sr. Eunice says that her “yes” to religious life opened her heart to God’s<br />

presence in the beauty of creation. Her travels in the last 75 years as a Sister of<br />

the Holy Family of Nazareth have introduced her to diverse cultures, customs,<br />

and traditions around the world. An understanding of this diversity has guided<br />

Sr. Eunice in her social work ministry, as she inspired countless families to build<br />

healthier and happier homes. Reflecting on her parenting education workshops<br />

Sr. Eunice Leszczynska pictured center<br />

at the Family Center at Holy Family University, she says, “Seeing [the parents’]<br />

joy of accomplishment when receiving their certificate of accomplishment made me feel I was really living our charism.”<br />

The kindness, excellent teaching, and prayerful devotions of the sisters who taught her at Nazareth Academy in<br />

Philadelphia inspired her to enter the Congregation. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in social work from the Catholic<br />

University of America in Washington, DC, a certificate in family therapy from the Center for Family Learning in New<br />

Rochelle, NY, and a certificate in parent education from the Parenting Resource and Education Network in Fort<br />

Washington, PA. She has served as a teacher at the elementary, secondary, and college levels, childcare worker in homes<br />

for dependent and neglected children, administrator at residential treatment homes for children, family counselor, and<br />

parenting educator.<br />

Sr. Eunice attributes these accomplishments to her strong relationship with the Lord which she says stays “fresh and alive<br />

through prayer, holy hours, and special devotions.” That prayer life also helps her to be present for her sisters when they<br />

need her and “to grow in communal love, joy, and support.”<br />




Entered September 8, 1970<br />

It was her desire to help families, as she saw so many Catholic sisters doing,<br />

which first drew Sr. Mary Ellen to her vocation. Reflecting on her 50 years as<br />

a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Sr. Mary Ellen believes she is called to<br />

“live my Nazareth calling joyfully, accepting obstacles, and placing all events into<br />

the hands of our Father and Maker.”<br />

With a BA in English and an MA in bilingual-bicultural education and administration of schools, Sr. Mary Ellen has served<br />

as a teacher and principal in Philadelphia and in Puerto Rico as a teacher, principal and associate superintendent. In<br />

2007, she received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, a medal from the Pope conferred for distinguished service to the Catholic<br />

Church by lay people and clergy. In 2007, she was also honored with the Doctor of Humane Letters from Holy Family<br />

University in Philadelphia.<br />

She has served and continues to serve with a grateful heart; she recognizes God’s Providence in her life, always thankful<br />

for her family, her sisters in community, and all people where she has had the privilege to serve. Today, Sr. Mary Ellen<br />

shares her joyful gifts of prayer and hard-work as provincial secretary and councilor for our US province and as an online<br />

Spanish instructor with Holy Family University. She says, “At all times, I strive to follow Jesus, knowing I am going to<br />

the Father; knowing that I serve the Church and listen attentively to the teaching of the Holy Father as so many of our<br />

Sisters do and have done before me; no matter what the task at hand.”<br />



Entered May 31, 1970<br />

Sr. Loretta Rose is an educator at heart. In her 49 years as a teacher, she has<br />

inspired countless young people to learn and grow in their love of God. Her<br />

Master’s degrees in education, theology, and Christian spirituality coupled with<br />

her heartfelt interest in the well-being of others allows her to be a supportive<br />

listener among her students and among her sisters in the Congregation. In<br />

addition to her work as a second grade teacher at Immaculate Conception<br />

School in Grand Prairie, TX, Sr. Loretta Rose is also a member of the CHRISTUS Health Northeast Texas Board of<br />

Directors and serves as a spiritual director in the Association of the Holy Family.<br />

Influenced by the Catholic sisters she knew, Sr. Loretta Rose ultimately heard her call to religious life in prayer. It was the<br />

daily, community prayer of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth that drew her to the Congregation. A half-century<br />

later, prayer continues to play a vital role in her life. For inspiration in her vocation and her ministry, she turns to the<br />

prayer lives of Blessed Mary Jesus of the Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska) and other saints.<br />

“In my religious life, I have found deepening prayer and growth in my spiritual life to be the most satisfying,” she says.<br />

“Spiritual directors, retreats, education in theology and Christian spirituality, family ministry, and Nazareth community<br />

prayer and fellowship have supported this deepening growth.”<br />

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





Entered August 27, 1995<br />

Sr. Maria Therese says she is “very proud” to be one of the first Vietnamese<br />

sisters in our Congregation. She was drawn to the Sisters of the Holy Family<br />

of Nazareth for our simplicity and “Holy Family way of living,” as she puts it.<br />

However, she believes it was her readings of St. Therese of Lisieux’s The Story of<br />

a Soul and St. Pope John XXIII’s Journal of Soul that first inspired her to consider<br />

religious life. Though she has faced challenges through the years, Sr. Maria<br />

Therese’s joy, love, and compassion have helped her grow and flourish in her vocation.<br />

“The most important thing to me within the charism of our Congregation is charity,” she said. “Without charity and love<br />

no one can function and live well in community. I see myself living and maintaining this charity in all I do.”<br />

Through the years, she has remained truthful to herself in her community life. That truthfulness has enabled her to share<br />

her gifts and talents with the members of the Congregation. Known for her radiant smile and infectious laughter, Sr.<br />

Maria Therese radiates Nazareth joy as she fills the hearts of those with whom she ministers with the love of God. She<br />

currently volunteers as a parish religious education teacher and is pursuing a degree in religious studies from Holy Family<br />

University in Philadelphia. Between her studies and her volunteer ministry, she also enjoys practicing her piano skills and<br />

listening to both classical and country music.<br />



Entered August 26, 1995<br />

There is a verse from scripture that has been with Sr. Hanna from the very<br />

beginning of her religious life: “Everyone who has given up houses or brothers<br />

or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will<br />

receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life” (Mt 19:29). Looking<br />

back on the last quarter century, Sr. Hanna believes this verse still holds true for<br />

her journey as a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth. “Because of the gift of<br />

faith and because of my response to God’s call, I have had the privilege to minister to so many.”<br />

A board-certified chaplain with an MA in spirituality from Loyola University in Chicago, Sr. Hanna currently serves in<br />

pastoral care at Ascension Living’s Casa San Carlo Retirement Community in Northlake, IL. Over the last 12 years in<br />

various pastoral care ministries, she has been a peaceful and calming presence in hectic and emotional situations. Sr.<br />

Hanna also volunteers in detention centers ministering to immigrants. She has “had the privilege to minister to families…<br />

in their darkest hours.”<br />

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (now St. Teresa) inspired Sr. Hanna, as she began to explore the possibility of entering religious<br />

life. After researching various communities, she was drawn to the hospitality, family spirit, daily Eucharistic adoration, and<br />

simplicity of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. “I think that our Nazareth charism and ministry to families is so<br />

vital and needed today,” she says. “God - in His Son - chose to be present to people in their needs, their weaknesses, their<br />

poverty, and their ordinary life experiences.”<br />


Sr. Maria Magdalena Rybak<br />

pictured center<br />



Entered August 26, 1995<br />

“Nowhere in the world would I be able to discover my gifts, my talents, my<br />

weaknesses, and my strengths as I did here in Nazareth, with my sisters,” says<br />

Sr. Maria Magdalena. A certified critical care registered nurse, she shares her<br />

gifts of compassion and gentleness with the patients and families she serves at<br />

AMITA Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines, IL. Nursing was her full-time<br />

ministry until two years ago when she was elected to the leadership team of<br />

our US province. “My ministry in nursing really helped me to see that there is<br />

more, that I can do more,” she said. “Taking care of the sick, lonely, suffering, and<br />

vulnerable opened up my heart to God’s call.” She now ministers part-time as an ICU nurse along with her full-time work<br />

as a provincial councilor.<br />

The simplicity, family spirit, and hospitality of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth attracted Sr. Maria Magdalena<br />

to religious life. “When I first got to Ostrzeszów (one of our Convents in Poland), I felt like it was home; I felt safe; I felt<br />

accepted,” she says. “I knew this was it.”<br />

Over the last 25 years, Sr. Maria Magdalena says she has had abundant opportunities to travel and to learn new cultures<br />

and languages that she never dreamed possible. But, it’s the community with other sisters that makes her heart “jump for<br />

joy in gratitude and puts one big smile on my face.” Reflecting on her time in the Congregation, she said, “God has given<br />

me a gift and this gift is my vocation to Nazareth, for which I am grateful until the day I will take my last breath.”<br />



Entered August 6, 1995<br />

As teacher and chair of the theology department at Aurora Central Catholic<br />

High School in Aurora, IL, Sr. Trina strives to make the Catholic faith, the Bible,<br />

and the salvation found in Jesus relevant in the lives of the young people in her<br />

classroom. With an MA in Biblical Studies from Catholic Theological Union in<br />

Chicago and her extensive spiritual discernment and formation, Sr. Trina shares<br />

a wealth of scriptural knowledge and experience with her students. Throughout<br />

her years in the classroom, she has inspired numerous students to deepen their love of Jesus and their understanding<br />

of the oneness of the human family. In 2018, she took these lessons outside the classroom when she led a grace-filled<br />

pilgrimage to Rome, guiding her students through real-life encounters with their faith and with the Holy Father.<br />

As a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth, she says she “gives witness to God’s primacy in a person’s life,” a witness<br />

that helps her “continually make God present in the lives of people today.” The spirituality of our sisters along with<br />

encouragement from her mother led Sr. Trina to enter the Congregation. Today, she continues to find inspiration in our<br />

incarnational spirituality and apostolic and contemplative way of life.<br />

Sr. Trina believes God has been guiding her to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth from her earliest beginnings,<br />

since she was baptized on November 21, 1971, the feast day of Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances<br />

Siedliska), foundress of our Congregation.<br />

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


In Memoriam<br />

Sr. M. Lucille<br />

(Margaret)<br />

Lukasiewicz<br />

June 10, 1930 –<br />

January 21, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Margaret was born<br />

on June 10, 1930 to Clement and<br />

Anna (Kujawska) Lukasiewicz in the<br />

Lawrenceville area of Pittsburgh.<br />

She grew up in a neighborhood of<br />

row houses that displayed a homey<br />

character, reflecting the original<br />

Polish immigrants who valued keeping<br />

families close to one another and to<br />

the Church.<br />

The second of four children, Margaret,<br />

was baptized in Holy Family Parish<br />

and attended the parish grade school<br />

staffed by the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth. She became a<br />

postulant on June 20, 1946, completing<br />

her high school education at Mount<br />

Nazareth Academy. She professed<br />

her first vows in 1951 and final vows<br />

in 1957. Sr. Lucille began her life of<br />

ministry at Mercy Hospital in Altoona,<br />

PA serving as an assistant to the<br />

pharmacy department.<br />

Beginning in 1953 in Detroit and<br />

later in Erie, PA, Cleveland, OH,<br />

and Pittsburgh, PA, Sr. Lucille taught<br />

elementary school. Her special caring<br />

presence was also felt by students<br />

at St. Frances Cabrini High School in<br />

Allen Park, MI where she served as<br />

librarian beginning in 1967.<br />

In1995, Sr. Lucille began ministering<br />

as a manager at John Paul Plaza, a<br />

senior high-rise in Pittsburgh. In 2007,<br />

she served as live-in night manager<br />

and activity director at Marian House<br />

Manor in Altoona, PA, until her<br />

retirement in 2015. Although it pained<br />

her deeply to leave this ministry, she<br />

recognized the tell-tale signs of her<br />

increasingly frail health. As a resident<br />

in Holy Family Manor in Pittsburgh,<br />

Sr. Lucille kept alive her mission of<br />

sharing God’s love with others.<br />

Sr. Lucille passed away on January<br />

21 at UPMC Mercy, Pittsburgh. Her<br />

Mass of Resurrection was celebrated<br />

January 24 in the Holy Family Manor<br />

Chapel.<br />

Sr. M. Alma<br />

(Leokadia<br />

“Lillian”) Bak<br />

November 26,<br />

1920 – February<br />

28, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Those who knew Sr. Alma were aware<br />

of her great sense of humor. She<br />

loved telling jokes. During the last<br />

few years of her life, when the sisters<br />

would get together for celebrations<br />

at Nazarethville, it was Sr. Alma’s<br />

responsibility to come prepared with<br />

at least three jokes.<br />


Born on November 26, 1920 to<br />

Ottilia and Alexander Bak in Chicago,<br />

Leokadia “Lillian” was the fourth of<br />

five children. In seventh grade, she<br />

heard a sister share stories about<br />

Africa and Asia which inspired her to<br />

want to become a missionary so she<br />

could convert the masses. Leokadia<br />

responded to God’s call and entered<br />

our Congregation in July 1940. She<br />

professed her first vows on August 1,<br />

1943, the same day the eleven sisters<br />

of Nowogrodek were martyred.<br />

Sr. Alma began teaching in 1943. She<br />

later earned a bachelor’s degree from<br />

De Paul University, Chicago. Sr. Alma<br />

served in many parish schools in the<br />

Archdiocese of Chicago, including<br />

St. Ann, St. Casimir, St. Hedwig, St.<br />

Andrew, St. Adalbert, St. Josaphat, St.<br />

Ladislaus, and St. Hyacinth, as well as<br />

at St. Adalbert in Whiting, IN. Sr. Alma<br />

brought joy, comfort, and love to all<br />

those around her and inspired many<br />

with her incredible faith.<br />

She was small in stature, but with the<br />

heart of a giant. Sr. Alma would have<br />

celebrated 80 years in religious life<br />

this year.<br />

Sr. Alma passed away quietly and<br />

peacefully at Nazarethville in Des<br />

Plaines, IL while resting on the<br />

afternoon of February 28. Her wake<br />

and funeral were held on March 5 in<br />

Des Plaines.<br />

Sr. Donna Marie<br />

Davis<br />

August 31, 1948 –<br />

March 10, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Donna Marie was<br />

the fourth of Agnes<br />

and Paul Davis’ ten children. Born on<br />

August 31, 1948 in Cincinnati, OH, she<br />

was baptized at St. Anthony Church<br />

and retained a special devotion to St.<br />

Anthony all of her life. Donna grew<br />

up in a home where religion was a<br />

priority. It was during these growing-<br />

up years that she developed a sense<br />

of caring for others as she assisted<br />

with the care of her siblings while her<br />

mother was ill.<br />

Donna entered the Sisters of Our<br />

Lady of Charity in Carrolton, OH in<br />

1966 and remained with them for<br />

30 years. She was given the religious<br />

name Sr. Anthony and served at<br />

St. John’s Villa in Carrolton, OH, a<br />

ministry dedicated to assisting those<br />

who are developmentally disabled.<br />

When the Sisters of Charity were<br />

in the process of re-organizing, Sr.<br />

Anthony sought another community<br />

and began the transfer process to<br />

our community. In June of 2000, Sr.<br />

Donna Marie professed her perpetual<br />

vows as a Sister of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth.<br />

As a Certified Nursing Assistant<br />

(CNA), Sr. Donna Marie enjoyed<br />

helping everyone. Later when Sr.<br />

Donna Marie became a resident at<br />

Nazarethville in Des Plaines, IL, she<br />

continued to help where she could,<br />

especially with the sisters and those<br />

who were dying. She didn’t want<br />

anyone to die alone and would spend<br />

hours praying at their bedside.<br />

Sr. Donna Marie died peacefully<br />

surrounded by sisters, friends, and<br />

family on the morning of March 10.<br />

Her funeral Mass was celebrated<br />

March 13 at the Holy Family Convent<br />

Chapel in Des Plaines.<br />

Sr. M. Roselita<br />

Bradley<br />

August 28, 1932 –<br />

May 9, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Born in Philadelphia,<br />

Roselita (Rose) was<br />

the seventh of Francis and Margaret<br />

(Lehn) Bradley’s 12 children. She<br />

attended St. Hubert Catholic High<br />

School in Philadelphia where she<br />

began to realize that God was calling<br />

her to religious life. After working for<br />

two years, she responded to God’s call<br />

and entered the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth on September 8,<br />

1952 and professed her perpetual<br />

vows on March 9, 1961.<br />

Sr. Roselita taught at the elementary<br />

level for several years at Saint John<br />

Cantius School in Philadelphia; Queen<br />

of Peace School in Ardsley, PA; and<br />

Saint Mary School in Worcester, MA.<br />

She then accepted a teaching position<br />

at Nazareth Academy in Philadelphia.<br />

She was a graduate of Holy Family<br />

University and Villanova University.<br />

During the summer of 1983, Sr.<br />

Roselita was elected secretary general<br />

of the congregation. During her nine<br />

year term, she was present for the<br />

Beatification of Blessed Mary of Jesus<br />

the Good Shepherd, the introduction<br />

of the Cause for Canonization<br />

of Sister M. Stella and her Ten<br />

Companions, and the visit of Saint<br />

John Paul II to the Generalate.<br />

At the conclusion of her term<br />

of office, Sr. Roselita returned to<br />

Nazareth Academy where she spent<br />

the next ten years teaching and<br />

serving as the assistant principal.<br />

After having been blessed for many<br />

years with excellent health, it became<br />

necessary for Sr. Roselita to reside<br />

at Mount Nazareth in Philadelphia to<br />

receive the care she needed.<br />

Her days were spent living simply,<br />

praying for the needs of the<br />

Congregation and of her family and<br />

friends, and preparing for heaven.<br />

On the evening of May 9, Sr. Roselita<br />

passed away. Her interment was<br />

private.<br />

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


Sr. Stella Louise<br />

Slomka<br />

November 13,<br />

1920 – May 16,<br />

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

Sr. Stella Louise was<br />

born in Chicago on November 13,<br />

1920, the third of four children to<br />

Polish immigrant parents, Joseph and<br />

Antonina (Sledzinska) Slomka, who<br />

were active in the St. Adalbert parish.<br />

On September 2, 1934, she began her<br />

aspirancy. At the end of her last year<br />

of high school, she was received into<br />

the novitiate and given the name of<br />

Edelburg. In the 1960s, she returned<br />

to her baptismal name.<br />

She professed temporary vows on<br />

July 8, 1940. After a year and a half of<br />

studying to be a nurse, she became<br />

a student in the School of Radiology.<br />

In 1944, she was asked to go to Texas<br />

where she served until 1955 as an<br />

x-ray technician in Dalhart, Wichita<br />

Falls, and Tyler. When she returned to<br />

the Chicago area, she studied at St.<br />

Louis University earning a Bachelor’s<br />

in commerce, then a Master’s in<br />

hospital administration. She was<br />

appointed administrator of St. Mary of<br />

Nazareth Hospital in Chicago where<br />

she remained for forty years.<br />

Realizing that St. Mary’s Hospital,<br />

built in1894, no longer met the needs<br />

of the multi-cultural community of<br />

the Humboldt Park/West Town<br />

neighborhoods of Chicago, Sr. Stella<br />

Louise began envisioning a new<br />

16-story, 490 bed hospital. Her<br />

proposal led to a long process with<br />

seemingly insurmountable challenges.<br />

Undeterred by obstacles, Sr. Stella<br />

Louise persisted. After a long and<br />

difficult battle, the new St. Mary<br />

of Nazareth Hospital Center was<br />

dedicated in January 1975. Sr. Stella<br />

Louise’s leadership in reviving the<br />

surrounding community is widely<br />

recognized. Sr. Stella Louise retired in<br />

1999.<br />

In 2013, at the age of 92, she<br />

decided it was time for a transfer<br />

to Nazarethville. For the final years<br />

of her life, she spent many hours in<br />

prayer, reading and reflection, and<br />

journaling. She passed away on the<br />

morning of May 16. Her interment<br />

was private.<br />

Sr. M. Regina<br />

(Helen) Jaszwinski<br />

January 13, 1930 –<br />

May 17, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Sr. Regina had a great<br />

devotion to Jesus<br />

in the Blessed Sacrament and to Our<br />

Lady. Pleasant, cheerful, optimistic, and<br />

genuinely grateful, she was alert to<br />

the needs of others and devoted to<br />

helping as she could. Born in Chicago<br />

on January 13, 1930, she was the third<br />

of three children born to Joseph and<br />

Anna (Cheslar) Jaszwinski. Sadly, her<br />

two older brothers did not survive<br />

infancy. She attended St. Adalbert<br />

Elementary School and St. Mary High<br />

School in Chicago.<br />

She entered the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth in August 1948.<br />

She taught for a year in Chicago. The<br />

following year she was sent to Rome<br />

to study at the Regina Mundi Institute,<br />

during which time she also prepared<br />

for and professed final vows. Upon<br />

her return from Rome she was the<br />

Director of Sisters in Temporary Vows<br />

briefly before teaching in Chicago.<br />

In 1968, Sister Regina was transferred<br />

to Texas where she taught in Irving,<br />

Fort Worth, and Dallas. After six<br />

years, she returned to teaching in<br />

Chicago. She retired in 2004 at the<br />

age of seventy-four and ministered at<br />

St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center<br />

(now AMITA Health Saints Mary and<br />

Elizabeth Medical Center) in Chicago<br />

as a part-time receptionist for nine<br />

years.<br />

In 2013, at the age of 83, she<br />

requested a transfer to Nazarethville<br />

in Des Plaines, IL. She continued to<br />

be active for all 90 years of her life. Sr.<br />

Regina passed away on May 17. Her<br />

interment was private.<br />

16<br />

Donations in memory of a<br />

deceased sister may be mailed<br />

to Development Office, Sisters<br />

of the Holy Family of Nazareth,<br />

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

IL 60016. Please include a note<br />

with the name of the Sister in<br />

whose memory you are giving.<br />

Donations may also be made<br />

online at nazarethcsfn.org/<br />


135 Years in the U.S.<br />

It was Independence Day 1885 when<br />

11 of our sisters, along with our<br />

foundress Blessed Mary of Jesus the<br />

Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska),<br />

arrived at New York Harbor, having<br />

made a treacherous transatlantic<br />

crossing. That evening, they boarded<br />

the train for a two-day, cross-country<br />

journey to serve Polish immigrants,<br />

answering a call to serve, teach, and<br />

care for immigrant children and their<br />

families.<br />

On July 4, <strong>2020</strong>, we celebrated the<br />

135th anniversary of our sisters<br />

arriving in the U.S. In recognition<br />

of this milestone and to reflect<br />

on our beginnings in this country,<br />

we share with you a passage from<br />

our foundress’ diary in which she<br />

envisioned our ministries in the U.S.:<br />

“Here at the crib, I envisioned<br />

America so clearly, taking root in<br />

the spirit of the Holy Family, a spirit<br />

of love and of the freedom of the<br />

children of God. It seemed clear to<br />

me that Jesus willed to transport our<br />

work even there, so far away. There<br />

is no love without sacrifice, but it is<br />

a pleasant one for us, a very happy<br />

one because it is for Jesus. It consists<br />

in a separation without the hope of<br />

meeting again here below. Here the<br />

sacrifice hinges on the Kingdom of<br />

God within us through accomplishing<br />

His purpose and expanding His<br />

kingdom. There, at His crib l submitted<br />

myself and my beloved sisters.”<br />

Our Mother Foundress seated,<br />

center, surrounded by some of the<br />

first CSFNs to arrive in the U.S.<br />


Because of restrictions in place due to Covid-19 and out of an abundance of care for the health and safety our sisters,<br />

friends and benefactors, we will not host any in-person events this fall. Instead we will cancel, postpone, or change the<br />

format of our events.<br />

Below are listed changes by event:<br />

• Morning with the Sisters, Grand Prairie, TX, September 27, <strong>2020</strong> – CA<strong>NC</strong>ELED<br />

• Oktoberfest, Des Plaines, IL, October 11, <strong>2020</strong> – CA<strong>NC</strong>ELED<br />

• Celebrating Sisterly Love Gala, Philadelphia, PA, October 23, <strong>2020</strong> – CHANGED TO A VIRTUAL EVENT<br />

Additional information will be available soon.<br />

• Family Day, Philadelphia, PA, November 1, <strong>2020</strong> – CA<strong>NC</strong>ELED<br />

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



Thank you from our<br />

Development Office<br />

Looking back at 2019, it’s hard to believe how much has changed. Covid-19 has altered almost every aspect of our lives.<br />

Things we took for granted – going to Mass each Sunday, blowing out the candle on a birthday cake, celebrating the<br />

marriage of family members, or just enjoying the company of our family and friends – are now complicated endeavors.<br />

Masks, social distancing, canceled events have become the norm.<br />

What hasn’t changed in all the Covid-confusion is your generosity to our sisters. For this, we are more grateful than<br />

we could ever express with mere words. Because of you, we can support the needs of all our sisters, so they, in turn,<br />

may “further God’s kingdom by building communities of love and hope among ourselves and among the families of the<br />

world…”<br />

Every time we have asked you, our loving and faithful benefactors, for help, you came through for us. You never let us<br />

down. For example, last year your generosity helped us replace the out-of-code fire alarm system at our Grand Prairie,<br />

TX convent; an air handler at Mount Nazareth convent in Philadelphia, PA; and a water chiller for our Des Plaines, IL<br />

convent.<br />

As friends go, we couldn’t ask for any better than you! You are a gift to us – a blessing to us – and we are grateful. Please<br />

know that our sisters keep you in their daily prayers.<br />

We would also like to offer many, many thanks to the wonderful individuals who have served on our committees and/or<br />

have been instrumental to the success of our fundraising events. There is truly no way to thank them enough for the time<br />

and talents they have shared with us.<br />

2019 Nazareth Retreat Center Committee, Southwest Area: Tim Moloney, Mary Jean Moloney, Bill Quinn, Polly<br />

Weidenkopf, Sr. Francesca Witkowska, CSFN, Sr. Mary Louise Swift, CSFN, Sr. Rita Fanning, CSFN, Sr. Marietta Osinska,<br />

CSFN<br />

2019 Oktoberfest Committee: Elaine Beatovic, Irene Delgiudice, Gunther Dorth, Margaret Gorder, Dan Gott,<br />

Michael Hoban, Jacqueline Hyzy, Jackie Pokorny, Mary Puente, Bob Neil, and Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki, CSFN .<br />

2019 Holy Family Academy Alumnae Committee: Lydia Cabello, Margaret Gorder, Monica Hernandez, Adriana<br />

Jimenez, Jacqueline Hyzy, Cindy Perales, Jackie Pokorny, Mary Puente, and Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki, CSFN<br />

Income<br />

Expenses<br />


Join “Friends of the<br />

Sisters” Monthly Giving<br />

Program<br />

There is now a simple, convenient and safe way for you to donate monthly to the sisters without the need to write a<br />

check every month. First, decide on a monthly gift amount that fits your budget. Then, complete the authorization form<br />

below, allowing your bank or credit card company to transfer this amount directly to the sisters on a monthly basis. Your<br />

monthly gift helps support our retired sisters.<br />

If you want to change or stop your gift, or if you move, change banks, or get a new credit card, just pick up the telephone<br />

and call us. We can quickly make any changes. You may also visit our online donation page at nazarethcsfn.org/donate or<br />

call Katherine Barth, development director, at 847-298-6760, ext. 143.<br />



I agree to make a contribution of $______ per month.<br />

___ Please bill my credit card each month. I have provided my credit card information for my monthly donations below.<br />

___ Please transfer my monthly gift from my checking account using the automatic payment plan. I’ve enclosed a check<br />

for my first monthly gift.<br />

Account No.:_________________________________ Exp. Date:_________________ Security Code:________<br />

I authorize my bank/credit card company to transfer the amount indicated on this form from my account on a monthly basis. I<br />

understand that a record of each donation will be included on my year-end summary and that I can cancel my donation at<br />

any time.<br />

____________________________________________________________ _________________<br />

Name (signature required)<br />

Date Signed<br />

Name: _____________________________________ Address: ______________________________________<br />

City: _______________________ State: ____ Zip: ______________ Email: ____________________________<br />

Birthday:_________________<br />

Please complete this form and return it to:<br />

CSFN Development Office, 310 N River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016-1211<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // FALL <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 />


In celebration of the 135th anniversary of the Sisters of the Holy Family<br />

of Nazareth in the US, please save October 23, <strong>2020</strong> for our virtual<br />

CSFN Gala “Celebrating Sisterly Love”! We are pleased this year to<br />

present a special Stay-At-Home Gala where all of our friends can join<br />

us as we show our sisters some love from the comfort of our own<br />

homes! Please save the date for this exciting event! Can’t wait to “not<br />

see you” there!<br />

If you have additional questions, are interested in becoming a sponsor,<br />

or would like to make a contribution to the event, please contact Heidi<br />

Scheuer, assistant development director, at 847-298-6760, ext. 238 or<br />

hscheuer@nazarethcsfn.org.<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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