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THE HOLY<br />


NAZARETH //<br />

VOL 14 //<br />

// NO 3 //<br />

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

Nazareth<br />



Celebrating<br />

Sisterly Love<br />



Dear Friends,<br />

The phrase “count your blessings” is<br />

familiar to many people, but how often<br />

do we actually pause to count our<br />

blessings and to ask ourselves what we<br />

are grateful for in our lives? Blessings<br />

are not limited to the extravagant gifts<br />

from the Lord that come occasionally<br />

when we least expect. Blessings are<br />

the things that have become a norm<br />

in our lives, things we have taken for<br />

granted -- our faith, a new day, the<br />

fulfillment of our basic needs, our<br />

relationships, and the countless other<br />

ordinary moments we experience.<br />

From early rising until going to rest<br />

each day, our lives are filled with<br />

countless blessings, reminding us of<br />

God’s unconditional love for us.<br />

The expressions of our gratitude<br />

for these blessings received are not<br />

limited to what we have received,<br />

to our good fortune or to our<br />

accomplishments. Our gratitude can<br />

also be extended to the blessings<br />

disguised in the many challenges,<br />

hardships, and sufferings experienced<br />

in life, especially during the Covid-19<br />

pandemic.<br />

The pandemic is perhaps the biggest<br />

life-changing event that many of us<br />

will experience. In recent months,<br />

the loss of lives and employment, the<br />

increase in fatigue and stress, the lack<br />

of medical, household, and personnel<br />

resources, and the experience of<br />

being quarantined and isolated has<br />

impacted and altered lives, forcing<br />

people to seek new and creative ways<br />

to adapt to our reality.<br />

The resiliency and creativity of<br />

individuals and families are evident in<br />

the pivotal changes many of us have<br />

made to our lifestyles. Many of the<br />

challenges and burdens we faced have<br />

become blessings. We found gratitude<br />

for simpler and slower-paced lifestyles,<br />

for increased quality time with family,<br />

and for innovative and creative<br />

ways to utilize time. Livestreaming<br />

became a blessing, making it possible<br />

for countless numbers of people to<br />

participate in Mass and Eucharistic<br />

Adoration throughout the day and<br />

night as we found comfort, strength,<br />

and peace through prayer. For many, it<br />

was prayer that uplifted and refreshed<br />

their lives in the midst of uncertainty<br />

and fear.<br />

Sr. Kathleen (right) during a stay-at-home<br />

meal with Sr. Lucille Madura.<br />

As we ready ourselves for the<br />

liturgical season of Advent, we reflect<br />

on an excerpt of the Magnificat,<br />

Mary’s words of gratitude spoken<br />

upon the occasion of her Visitation to<br />

her cousin Elizabeth in praise of God’s<br />

blessing upon her:<br />

My soul proclaims the greatness of the<br />

Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior<br />

for He has looked with favor on His lowly<br />

servant.<br />

From this day all generations will call me<br />

blessed;<br />

the Almighty has done great things for<br />

me, and holy is His name.<br />

This Advent, I invite each of you to<br />

write your Magnificat, your prayer of<br />

gratitude to God for the blessings you<br />

receive each day.<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/become-a-sister. Or contact<br />

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

or vocations@nazarethcsfn.org.<br />


5<br />

13<br />

9<br />

VOLUME 14 //<br />

NUMBER 3 //<br />

WINTER <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 Holy Family Service Corps<br />

continues to welcome new<br />

members<br />


6 A little investment goes<br />

a long way<br />


8 Reflections on our times<br />


14 Stay-at-Home Gala:<br />

Celebrating Sisterly Love<br />

16 Oktoberfest<br />

17 Pray the Holy Family<br />

Novena with us<br />



Sr. Julia Bargiel, CSFN, serves as director of religious<br />

education at Holy Trinity Church of Utica, NY.<br />

17<br />

18 Sr. M. Regis (Adele) Wesolowski<br />

19 Sr. Mary Martin (Geraldine) Duffy<br />

Editorial Board:<br />

Sr. Angela Szczawinska<br />

Sr. Barbara Frances Samp<br />

Sr. Carol Szott<br />

Sr. Jude Carroll<br />

Sr. Kathleen Ann Stadler<br />

Sr. Lucille Madura<br />

Sr. Marcelina Mikulska<br />

Sr. Marcella Louise Wallowicz<br />

Sr. Mary Louise Swift<br />

Sr. Teresilla Kolodziejczyk<br />

Katherine Barth<br />

Design/Print:<br />

McDaniels Marketing<br />

Questions, comments, suggestions?<br />

Please contact:<br />

Communications Department<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth<br />

310 N. River Road,<br />

Des Plaines, IL 60016<br />

847-298-6760, x144<br />

ttownsend@nazarethcsfn.org<br />

nazarethcsfn.org<br />

facebook.com/csfn.usa<br />

twitter.com/csfn_usa<br />

instagram.com/csfn.usa<br />

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



Holy Family<br />

Service Corps<br />

continues to<br />

welcome new<br />

members<br />

Holy Family Service Corps (HFSC),<br />

an extension of the ministry of Holy<br />

Family Institute (HFI) in Pittsburgh<br />

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

Nazareth, welcomed four returning<br />

volunteers and two new volunteers<br />

in August. The volunteers serve<br />

at various HFI’s ministries while<br />

living communally and earning the<br />

opportunity for an education grant<br />

at the conclusion of their service or<br />

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

upon the program they have chosen.<br />

Each volunteer is assigned a Sister<br />

Companion, a Sister of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth who journeys with<br />

him or her throughout the year. This<br />

year’s returning HFSC members are<br />

Ryan Crawford, Keilah Gussie, Julia<br />

Natalia, and Adele Smith. They join<br />

new members Abigail Whitehead-<br />

Zimmers and Ellen Beaudry.<br />

For second-year volunteers, Ryan,<br />

Keilah, Julia, and Adele, learning how<br />

to balance community life with<br />

graduate school and teaching has been<br />

the greatest challenge. “Throughout<br />

my time in Holy Family Service Corps,<br />

I began to recognize that I cannot<br />

give myself fully to each of these areas<br />

[community life, graduate school, and<br />

teaching] if I do not take the time to<br />

care for myself,” said Julia, a native<br />

of Pittsburgh’s Springdale area and<br />

graduate of Seton Hill University<br />

in Greensburg, PA. “I overcame the<br />

challenge of balance by striving for<br />

progress rather than perfection and<br />

allowing myself to learn and grow<br />

through the process.”<br />

Ryan, who is originally from Hershey,<br />

PA and is a graduate of Duquesne<br />

University, said that while his past year<br />

of service has been “very busy,” he<br />

has learned to manage his schedule<br />

by “planning ahead.” Knowing what<br />

is to come has helped him “to<br />

remain focused on Christ by having a<br />

consistent daily amount of prayer.”<br />

For Keilah, a daughter of career<br />

Navy parents and graduate of the<br />

University of Mary in Bismarck, ND,<br />

this second year of service work is an<br />

opportunity for her to work with high<br />

school students at Nazareth Prep, a<br />

shift from her work last year with<br />

elementary and junior high students<br />

at HFI’s specialized learning school.<br />

“High school was a big change for<br />

me,” she said. Like the ninth grade<br />

students she works with, she is finding<br />

her footing in the high school world.<br />


“I am still getting used to it but<br />

learning each and every day how<br />

to better teach and serve these<br />

students.”<br />

The pandemic has added another<br />

set of challenges for the volunteers,<br />

too. Adele, a graduate of Penn State,<br />

said she has had to “rethink how to<br />

do things” because of restrictions<br />

due to Covid-19. “Simple activities<br />

that I have taken for granted… I am<br />

unable to do. Or, I have to find the<br />

electronic version.” Despite the new<br />

learning environment, Adele believes<br />

she has grown a lot in the past year<br />

and has learned how to empower her<br />

students to advocate for themselves.<br />

“When we serve students, children,<br />

and people from all varieties of needs<br />

and abilities, it’s easy to say from the<br />

outside we know what ‘is wrong.’ I<br />

always ask the child what is wrong or<br />

what can be improved so they know<br />

that someone is fighting for them,”<br />

she explained. “My job as a special<br />

educator is to ensure my students<br />

get what they need and want to be<br />

successful. More importantly, I think,<br />

they’ll need to know how to say it<br />

themselves so they don’t have to rely<br />

on others to be their voice.”<br />

For Abigail, her first year teaching in<br />

the midst of a pandemic has taught<br />

her a lot. “Everyone’s first year<br />

of teaching is difficult but having<br />

your first year of teaching during a<br />

pandemic is very challenging,” she<br />

said. “It has greatly altered the way<br />

we teach and interact with students.<br />

However, every day I am learning<br />

more and growing as a teacher and<br />

a person.” A graduate of Millersville<br />

University in Pennsylvania, Abigail is<br />

serving as an eleventh grade cultural<br />

literacy teacher at Nazareth Prep.<br />

Also joining Abigail as a first year<br />

volunteer is Ellen who is serving<br />

in HFI’s In-Home Family Services<br />

program. With a degree in public<br />

health from St. Louis University, Ellen<br />

works with the In-Home Family<br />

Services staff to equip families with<br />

the resources and skills they need<br />

to handle issues of abuse, substance<br />

use, attachment disorders, grief,<br />

depression, anxiety, and other family<br />

problems.<br />

Even with the challenges of balancing<br />

work and school in the middle<br />

of a pandemic, the volunteers say<br />

they continue to grow personally,<br />

professionally, and spiritually. “Being<br />

able to see the principles [of Catholic<br />

Social Teaching] at work allows me to<br />

grow spiritually and trust that God<br />

put me in the right place at the right<br />

time,” said Julia.<br />

The same is true for Ryan who said, “I<br />

think my faith has grown substantially<br />

and deeply. I believe I am more at<br />

peace and serene, and willing to put<br />

things in God’s hands more so than<br />

my own. Even through the difficulties<br />

of the pandemic, I think an inner<br />

peace has remained because of my<br />

relationship with Christ.”<br />

To learn more about how you or<br />

someone you know can become a<br />

HFSC volunteer and grow in your<br />

relationship with Christ, please visit<br />

nazarethcsfn.org/service-corps/<br />

long-term-service or contact Lynn<br />

Guerra, Director of Volunteer<br />

Services at Holy Family Institute,<br />

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

The <strong>2020</strong>-21 HFSC volunteers.<br />

HFSC volunteer Julia Natalia with<br />

her Sister Companion, Sr. Annuntia<br />

Osmanski, CSFN.<br />

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



A little<br />

investment<br />

goes a long<br />

way<br />

by Tammy Townsend Denny,<br />

Communications Director<br />

Several months ago, Sr. Theresita<br />

Donach, CSFN, arrived at the home<br />

of the Stephen’s family with a bag full<br />

of coins in hand -- $10 in coins, to be<br />

exact. A close friend of the Stephen’s<br />

family and a pastoral associate at their<br />

parish, Sts. Philip and James Parish in<br />

St. James, NY, Sr. Theresita handed the<br />

bag of quarters and pennies to 12-<br />

year old Shane Stephen. “I want you to<br />

invest this for me,” she said. “Can you<br />

do it?”<br />

Having bought his first stock at<br />

around eight years old, Shane was<br />

up for the challenge. A self-taught<br />

investment genius with a fondness<br />

for watching Jim Cramer’s CNBC<br />

show “Mad Money,” Shane took Sr.<br />

Theresita’s $10 in coins and bought<br />

penny stock, turning the $10 into<br />

$30. With Sr. Theresita’s permission,<br />

he then used the $30 to invest in an<br />

index fund. Six months later, he had<br />

earned her $250. “It took way longer<br />

than I expected,” he said humbly,<br />

attributing the additional time to<br />

Covid-19.<br />

With guidance from his parents and<br />

encouragement from Sr. Theresita,<br />

Shane donated $150 of the profits<br />

from the investment to the Haitian<br />

Health Foundation’s Give-A-Goat<br />

Program. He also set aside enough to<br />

cover any taxes on the earnings and<br />

$50 to reinvest in the next project.<br />


While most children his age might<br />

think of setting up a lemonade stand<br />

or selling candy bars to raise money<br />

for a charity, Shane wanted to figure<br />

out a way to double or triple the<br />

money in order to help others who<br />

might not have the same opportunities<br />

he has. “There are a lot of kids and<br />

families who are less fortunate than<br />

me and others,” he said. “I thought<br />

it was only fair to give the money to<br />

charity… Just one family can make a<br />

difference.” Shane also pointed out<br />

that living in an area without a lot<br />

of traffic makes a lemonade stand<br />

impractical. And selling candy bars? He<br />

says using that method it would have<br />

taken at least two years to make the<br />

$250.<br />

Shane attributes his generosity to<br />

the example set by his family. “My<br />

mom and my dad are both doctors.<br />

They help people get on their feet all<br />

the time,” he said. He also recently<br />

assisted his brother with an Eagle<br />

Scout project that involved planting<br />

flowers and helping others.<br />

What advice does this budding<br />

stockbroker have for others who<br />

would like to follow his charitable<br />

example? “I wouldn’t really<br />

recommend investing in the stock<br />

market because there is always the<br />

chance that you could lose everything.<br />

If you have a couple of extra dollars<br />

or if you see a Go-Fund-Me page,<br />

just donate a couple of bucks.” Shane<br />

went on to explain that while Warren<br />

Buffett may give millions to charity, it<br />

doesn’t take a lot of money to make<br />

a difference in someone’s life. (By<br />

the way, he is reading one of Buffett’s<br />

books on business currently.)<br />

Beyond learning about money<br />

management and the stock market<br />

during his project with Sr. Theresita,<br />

Shane says he also has learned that<br />

we need to follow the Golden Rule<br />

and treat others as we would like<br />

“She’s always telling me we should try to be nice to<br />

one another,” he said.<br />

to be treated, a lesson Sr. Theresita<br />

reinforces each time she sees him.<br />

“She’s always telling me we should try<br />

to be nice to one another,” he said.<br />

In the future, Shane plans to attend<br />

Chaminade High School on Long<br />

Island, then study business at the<br />

University of Notre Dame. He also<br />

wants to attend Harvard for graduate<br />

school. His ultimate goal is to own<br />

a hedge fund. But, before becoming<br />

a world-renowned business leader,<br />

Shane has a more pressing goal --<br />

he plans to purchase KFC gift cards<br />

to help feed the residents of a<br />

local homeless shelter alongside Sr.<br />

Theresita. He hears that the residents<br />

there like KFC.<br />

The Give-a-Goat program<br />

sponsored by the Haitian Health<br />

Foundation gives pregnant<br />

goats to at-risk families in rural<br />

mountain villages in Haiti. The<br />

families raise the goats and are<br />

able to sell or drink the milk.<br />

Additional information is available<br />

at haitianhealthfoundation.org.<br />

For nearly 40 years, Sr. Theresita<br />

has been involved with various<br />

ministries in Haiti, including<br />

serving on the board for Forward<br />

in Health and making several<br />

mission trips to Haiti.<br />

The Haitian family with the goat<br />

Shane and Sr. Theresita donated.<br />

The goat was named “Tommy.”<br />

Photo provided by Haitian Health<br />

Foundation and used with their<br />

permission.<br />

Shane gives Sr. Theresita a check to<br />

purchase a goat for a family in need<br />

in Haiti.<br />

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



Reflections<br />

on our times<br />

As this very different sort of year<br />

comes to an end, we asked our<br />

sisters to share their thoughts on<br />

how <strong>2020</strong> has challenged them and<br />

inspired them. The following are four<br />

reflections that express gratitude for<br />

the graces we have received even<br />

during difficult times.<br />





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

Thursday, March 12 began like any<br />

other weekday for me: Lauds, Mass,<br />

breakfast, and off to ministry. Shortly<br />

before supper that evening, Holy<br />

Family University employees received<br />

a “blast email” notifying us that<br />

effective immediately classes would<br />

be suspended for three days while<br />

faculty transitioned their courses<br />

from face-to-face to online. On the<br />

same day, Archbishop Nelson Perez<br />

announced a dispensation from the<br />

obligation of attending Sunday Mass<br />

in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,<br />

though churches would remain open<br />

for the time being and Masses would<br />

continue to be celebrated. On March<br />

18, all public Masses were suspended.<br />

The next day, all non-life sustaining<br />

businesses in Pennsylvania were<br />

closed.<br />

Image top: A pizza created by sisters at one of our convents in Philadelphia.<br />

While it seemed as though the world<br />

was shutting down, we were fortunate<br />

on several levels. Father Mark, the<br />

priest who celebrates weekday Mass<br />

in our chapel, conferred with the<br />

director of liturgy for the Archdiocese.<br />

Since Delaney Hall is a private chapel,<br />

it was permissible for Father Mark<br />

to continue celebrating Mass for<br />

the sisters in our convent, as long as<br />

we all were Covid-free. Additionally,<br />

the University was prepared to<br />

conduct courses and provide services<br />

remotely. While the world shelteredin-place,<br />

we maintained our “normal<br />

schedule” within the confines of home<br />

base: Delaney Hall. Since there were<br />

no Sunday Masses being celebrated in<br />

the parishes, Father Mark was available<br />

to celebrate Sunday Eucharist in our<br />

Chapel.<br />

Typically, Saturdays are “free days”<br />

in our convent. Lauds and Vespers<br />

are prayed privately and there are<br />

no formal meals. A tradition was<br />

born from the Covid-19 lockdown:<br />

Saturday Night Sheltering in Place<br />

Suppers. Srs. Brendan O’Brien<br />

and Linda Joseph ChiChi used<br />

their culinary skills to feed our<br />

stomachs and souls. The informal<br />

gatherings with varied menus of<br />

pizza, hamburgers, stromboli, chicken<br />

fingers, roast beef sandwiches, and<br />

grilled cheese sandwiches with<br />

tomato soup, in addition to good<br />

conversation, were welcome respites<br />

from the monotony of the week.<br />

Online learning continued through<br />

the summer and despite the plan<br />

to resume face-to-face courses in<br />

fall, albeit on a limited scale, three<br />

successive instances of Covid-19<br />

necessitated the return to remote/<br />

online learning. Zoom and WebEx<br />

became new words in our vocabulary.<br />

However, despite the efficiency of<br />

online learning, some dimensions<br />

of social interaction within the<br />

educational infrastructure were<br />

missing. That left a void. On a more<br />

global level, it made me more aware<br />

of those who experience little, if any,<br />

human contact in their day during this<br />

pandemic.<br />

Very few expected the pandemic<br />

to drag on this long. The stress<br />

engendered by the pandemic stretches<br />

across boundaries of age. While<br />

there is much emphasis on how it is<br />

affecting the young, particularly with<br />

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


the cancellation of rites of passage<br />

such as graduation, its effect on the<br />

elderly, the ill, and the homebound<br />

can’t be minimized or dismissed.<br />

Diminished mobility and fear of<br />

contagion are real concerns that<br />

make these days more challenging.<br />

What a great opportunity, though,<br />

for the more able-bodied to put the<br />

corporal and spiritual works of mercy<br />

into practice. As a community, we<br />

are blessed by the presence of one<br />

another for sisterly support and to<br />

meet the challenges and overcome<br />

the struggles brought by Covid-19. It<br />

is a gift I don’t take for granted.<br />

THANK YOU,<br />



by Sr. Mary Bernard Wiecezak, CSFN<br />

When I left my office on March 13,<br />

<strong>2020</strong>, I did not realize it would be<br />

several months before I would be<br />

returning to my ministry. A new term<br />

in our vocabulary would change<br />

my life in a way that did not seem<br />

possible. All semblance of normalcy<br />

would be gone!<br />

I have had the privilege of engaging in<br />

ministry to the infirm, homebound,<br />

and dying members of St. Peter Parish<br />

in Danbury, CT for eleven years.<br />

During that time, God has given me<br />

the gift of accompanying our elderly<br />

parishioners in their final years, often<br />

interacting with family members and<br />

neighbors. With the confusion of this<br />

pandemic, it was now even more<br />

important that I maintain contact with<br />

those entrusted to my care.<br />

I searched through my notebooks and<br />

soon realized I was able to compile a<br />

list of over forty names and telephone<br />

numbers of people I had been visiting.<br />

While I would not have the joy of<br />

bringing them the Eucharist as I had<br />

done in the past, I could call them<br />

regularly. Mr. Alexander Graham Bell’s<br />

invention, the telephone, became our<br />

lifeline.<br />

Loneliness and isolation were two key<br />

factors with which all seemed to be<br />

dealing. A phone call, a shared prayer,<br />

or a song, was met with: “Thank you,<br />

Sister, and please call me again.” I<br />

assured them I would maintain regular<br />

contact. As a very wise doctor once<br />

told me: “Sister, you need them as<br />

much as they need you.” And, right<br />

he was, for I was not to be immune<br />

from the emotional effects that the<br />

coronavirus would have on all of us.<br />

Since March, two of my angels have<br />

gone to their eternal reward due<br />

to Covid-19. More than five others<br />

have died due to sickness and old<br />

age. I have managed to keep in touch<br />

with many family members who have<br />

suffered their own personal loss.<br />

In addition, I have had an open and<br />

very supportive contact with our<br />

pastor, Father Gregg Mecca, sharing<br />

information about patients and<br />

families. God continues to shower<br />

me with the blessing of continuing<br />

my family ministry under difficult and<br />

unusual circumstances.<br />

At the suggestion of two parishioners<br />

who lived in separate apartment<br />

buildings, we began a rosary crusade.<br />

As advertised in our parish bulletin,<br />

we would meet daily in prayer, asking<br />

our Blessed Mother to watch over<br />

and protect our family members, and<br />

bring to end this pandemic. As I join<br />

with my newfound “family” in prayer,<br />

I know that God is watching over us<br />

and through the intercession of His<br />

beloved Mother, we shall one day be<br />

together again.<br />

God has gifted me with this newfound<br />

ministry. For this, I shall ever be<br />

thankful. For when He closes one<br />

door in our lives, God always has a<br />

window open for us.<br />

Image left: Sr. Mary Bernard makes<br />

phone calls to those she serves,<br />

staying connected during the<br />

pandemic.<br />



CANTZ<br />

by Sr. Frances Smalkowski, CSFN<br />

If <strong>2020</strong> Covid-19 life can be summed<br />

up, I think it best to do so by putting<br />

most of it into two categories: “ustas”<br />

(pronounced “you-stas”) and “cantz.”<br />

Clearly, this means all I used to be<br />

able to do and all that I am no longer<br />

permitted to do in various areas:<br />

personally, communally, corporately,<br />

and ministerially, to name a few.<br />

Focusing initially on the positive<br />

regarding how <strong>2020</strong> has impacted<br />

my life, I share some thoughts:<br />

1. I have experienced a deeper<br />

realization of the constancy of change<br />

and how challenging it is, especially<br />

when it occurs at such a dizzying pace.<br />

2. I have a deeper awareness of how<br />

each of us handles change and stress<br />

differently from simply overeating to<br />

worsening of mental health issues<br />

already present.<br />

3. Because I am adding one vacation<br />

day to my regular work-week<br />

schedule, I have found more time for<br />

the outdoors; longer stays at meals/<br />

conversations; webinars and Zoom<br />

meetings on various topics; letterwriting;<br />

guitar playing; and, other<br />

creativity like reading, thinking, praying,<br />

and responding more easily from a<br />

discerning heart.<br />

4. Other new assets I have known<br />

included getting to see and know<br />

persons better through various<br />

nursing, chaplaincy, and work Zoom<br />

meetings and having the advantage of<br />

telephone counselling and spiritual<br />

direction sessions, as requested. Also,<br />

I have discovered a very gracious<br />

hairdresser among our community of<br />

sisters.<br />

Image top: Sr. Frances at St. John Paul II Center in Danbury, CT where she<br />

serves as the director of pastoral care.<br />

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


5. Praying together quietly during<br />

our Thursday Holy Hour is an extraspecial<br />

treat for which I am most<br />

grateful, if I am home that day.<br />

6. Serendipitously, I have truly<br />

appreciated the gifts of outstanding<br />

care and food service during my time<br />

of quarantine for what ultimately<br />

was a false positive Covid test result<br />

-- not to exclude the thoughtful calls<br />

and e-mails I received.<br />

7. In an extraordinary way, I have<br />

had the extensive support of the<br />

National Association of Catholic<br />

Chaplains (NACC) through their<br />

regular listening sessions and ongoing<br />

communications which have helped<br />

me not feel alone in my ministry.<br />

Most difficult aspects of <strong>2020</strong><br />

have included:<br />

1. the deaths of many residents I have<br />

known at the health center; as well<br />

as my own priest-chaplain of 13 years<br />

and our pastoral care dog mascot;<br />

2. my inability to minister in pastoral<br />

care as I had been able to do before<br />

Covid;<br />

3. missing all our regular pastoral<br />

volunteers and our daily interactions;<br />

4. missing a variety of planned events<br />

and the cancelling of others.<br />

What’s ahead? Since this answer is<br />

totally out of my control, I definitely<br />

still have hope as I prepare for the<br />

long haul each day.<br />

For me, it is similar to jumping out<br />

of a plane. I do know that God is<br />

with me as I go through each day,<br />

but I also know that God wants me<br />

to be connected to my parachute<br />

by doing my best to “eat, pray, love”<br />

and exercise along with trying to be<br />

my best self with the daily needed<br />

adjustments. Might this be skydiving at<br />

its finest?<br />

Image left: Sr. Frances helps with<br />

various housekeeping duties at<br />

the convent. Right: Srs. Frances<br />

and Mary Bernard in the convent<br />

chapel.<br />


HIDDEN<br />



by Sr. Angelica Zajkowski, CSFN<br />

During September and October, many<br />

of our Sunday Gospel readings dealt<br />

with vineyards, grapes, choice wine,<br />

and feasts. These parables reminded<br />

me of my own vineyard, very small by<br />

comparison to the biblical tales, but<br />

another one of my hobbies connecting<br />

directly to God’s loving goodness.<br />

My backyard vineyard at<br />

Transfiguration Convent consists of<br />

two grapevines that I planted outside<br />

the kitchen window nearly 25 years<br />

ago. One plant was Niagara (white<br />

grapes) and the other the traditional<br />

Concord (purple) variety. My tasks<br />

include pruning, weeding and watering,<br />

each April through September. I leave<br />

the fertilizing part to God, along with<br />

some rain, abundant sunshine and lush<br />

growing seasons. After several years<br />

of maturing, we were finally rewarded<br />

during the third year with a few<br />

bunches of wonderfully sweet grapes.<br />

Year after year, the harvest grew<br />

larger, and the pruning had to become<br />

more aggressive just to keep the<br />

vines under control. During previous<br />

years, the sisters looked forward to<br />

the harvest and really enjoyed the<br />

grapes. In recent years, I have been<br />

sharing fresh grapes with parishioners<br />

and staff, and more recently, began<br />

making jelly to enjoy during the winter<br />

months.<br />

Last year was an exception with no<br />

grapes to harvest because our spring<br />

weather was too cold and wet to<br />

set the buds. However, during this<br />

past, most unusual year, our Michigan<br />

weather was delightful for the most<br />

part and produced a wonderful grape<br />

harvest -- one of the best in my<br />

experience. After eating our fill, the<br />

large harvest resulted in processing<br />

several soup pots full of grapes to<br />

once again be boiled down and canned<br />

into grape jelly. Since I mix the Niagara<br />

and Concords, the juice is a lovely<br />

deep pink rather than the traditional<br />

purple color.<br />

This is not a new pastime of mine,<br />

but it became an additional feature<br />

to pass the time during Covid-19.<br />

My vineyard gives me reason to be<br />

outdoors a little more than usual<br />

during seasonally pleasant weather.<br />

More than that, it is a way to become<br />

closer to the Creator of the harvest<br />

and to enjoy his gifts to us. It is<br />

certainly a most unusual year, but<br />

there are so many blessings around us<br />

if only we look, and so much for which<br />

to be grateful.<br />

Image left: The Concord grapes that<br />

Sr. Angelica harvested this year.<br />

Right: Sr. Angelica checks on the<br />

Niagara grapevine for the right time<br />

to harvest.<br />

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



Stay-at-Home Gala:<br />



On Friday, October 23, our sisters<br />

took a technological leap and<br />

celebrated our first-ever completely<br />

online Stay-At-Home Gala. The event,<br />

titled Celebrating Sisterly Love, was<br />

held in commemoration of the 135th<br />

anniversary of the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth arriving in the US.<br />

Though the original intent was to<br />

hold an in-person event, it was clear<br />

that to protect not only our sisters,<br />

but also all of our dear friends, an<br />

online event was the best solution.<br />

So, we created a 30-minute video<br />

presentation featuring glimpses of<br />

the history of the sisters as well as<br />

greetings from our provincial superior,<br />

Sr. Kathleen Maciej, and even our<br />

superior general in Rome, Sr. Angela<br />

Marie Mazzeo. We were so touched by<br />

the outpouring of love we received in<br />

response to our Stay-At-Home event,<br />

including the generous support of our<br />

gala sponsors:<br />

INTECH Construction, LLC<br />

Holy Family University<br />

McMahon Automotive Group<br />

Nazareth Academy Grade<br />

School<br />

St. Katherine of Siena Parish<br />

WSFS Community Foundation<br />

Thank you for joining us for this<br />

very special event! The video<br />

presentation is still accessible on<br />

our Facebook page if you would like<br />

to view again or share with your<br />

friends. If you would like to make<br />

a donation to this event, you still<br />

can. Just go to nazarethcsfn.org and<br />

click “Donate” (please note in the<br />

comment section that your donation<br />

is for the gala). You may also drop a<br />

donation in the mail or call<br />

our National Development Office<br />

at 847-298-6760.<br />

Back row (l to r): Srs. Virginia<br />

Rozich, Mildred Chesnavage, Joyce<br />

Baritski; front row: Srs. Eunice<br />

Leszczynska, Aurea Stroik<br />

L to r: Srs. Marcelina Mikulska<br />

Boguslawa Cofala, Maria Sophia<br />

Gerlach,<br />

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


Oktoberfest<br />

by Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki, CSFN<br />

Earlier this fall, the Oktoberfest Committee and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth decided to cancel Oktoberfest<br />

scheduled for October 11, <strong>2020</strong>, due to the pandemic. As the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth celebrate 135 years<br />

in service to our God and his people in the US this year, we had hoped to invite our friends and benefactors to celebrate<br />

with the sisters.<br />

Our Oktoberfest events have always been held for the benefit of our sisters’ family outreach. This year, due to the<br />

cancelation of the in-person event, each person/family was asked to engage in a family activity of some sort (with social<br />

distancing in place, of course) during the month of October and to remember our sisters at table prayer, then forward a<br />

brief write-up and/or photo to us.<br />

On behalf of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, we extend our sincere appreciation for the many generous<br />

donations received in special remembrance of our Sisters’ 135th Anniversary. We greatly appreciate your support to<br />

enable our sisters to continue their mission in their daily ministries of service to, with, and for families. May the family of<br />

Nazareth, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, keep you safe and bless you with every good gift.<br />

Looking forward to seeing you at our next Oktoberfest event—October 17, 2021!<br />

Image bottom: Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki, center, at Oktoberfest 2019.<br />



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

December 27. Since 1989, friends of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth have joined us in praying the special Holy<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

holy-family-novena.<br />

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

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

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

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


In Memoriam<br />

Sr. M. Regis<br />

(Adele)<br />

Wesolowski<br />

July 12, 1923 - July<br />

25, <strong>2020</strong><br />

God has always been<br />

the Master Artist weaving together<br />

the colorful components in the life of<br />

Sr. Regis Wesolowski.<br />

Born July 12, 1923 to Mary and<br />

Wenceslaus Wesolowski, Adele was<br />

baptized at St. Josaphat Church in<br />

Philadelphia. This is where she later<br />

attended elementary school. Nazareth<br />

Academy High School became the<br />

next step on her journey, the journey<br />

which would come full circle when Sr.<br />

Regis returned nearly forty years later<br />

to teach art at Nazareth Academy.<br />

Adele entered the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth in 1939 after<br />

graduating from high school. She<br />

received the name Sr. Regis. This was<br />

a continuance of a family tradition as<br />

her aunt, Sr. Celine Bednarska was<br />

already a community member. Soon<br />

to follow Sr. Regis was her sister, Sr.<br />

Loretta and in due time, her sister<br />

Theresa’s daughter, Sr. Maria Annette<br />

Mallen.<br />

Sr. Regis received a certificate from<br />

the Holy Family Teacher Training<br />

School in 1944, complemented by a<br />

Bachelor of Science in elementary<br />

education from Villanova University.<br />

She earned a Master in Fine Arts from<br />

Catholic University in 1966.<br />

She taught at Nazareth Academy<br />

Grade School, St. Adalbert’s,<br />

Sacred Heart of Mary, St. Hedwig’s,<br />

Archbishop Ryan High School in<br />

Philadelphia and was principal at<br />

Queen of Peace in Ardsley, PA. It was<br />

during her time at Queen of Peace<br />

that God’s brushstrokes changed<br />

the pattern of her life. A serious car<br />

accident left her disabled. The grace<br />

of God coupled with her will and<br />

determination allowed her, after<br />

a long recovery, to add a different<br />

perspective to her life’s portrait.<br />

In 1975, Sr. Regis began her ministry at<br />

Nazareth Academy High School where<br />

she instilled in her students a passion<br />

for art. In 2000, Sr. Regis developed an<br />

interest in icons. This interest fed her<br />

soul in numerous ways. She designed<br />

Mass cards for the development office<br />

as well as producing works of art for<br />

the annual CSFN auctions. In 2005, Sr.<br />

Regis moved to Mount Nazareth in<br />

Philadelphia. There she continued her<br />

artistic work as long as she could.<br />

On July 25, <strong>2020</strong>, Sr. Regis was united<br />

with her Master Artist and Our<br />

Lady. The interment was private in<br />

keeping with current health and safety<br />

guidelines of the Sisters of the Holy<br />

Family of Nazareth – Holy Family<br />

Province.<br />


Sr. Mary Martin<br />

(Geraldine) Duffy<br />

September 10,<br />

1935 – October<br />

22, <strong>2020</strong><br />

With a twinkle in<br />

her eye and a broad Irish smile, Sr.<br />

Mary Martin Duffy brought kindness<br />

and compassion to her ministry as<br />

an educator. Born in Bristol, PA, a<br />

small town outside of Philadelphia,<br />

Geraldine Duffy was the daughter of<br />

Bernardine and James Duffy. She grew<br />

up with her sister Loretta, attended<br />

St. Mark’s Elementary School, and<br />

received her high school diploma from<br />

Nazareth Academy High School. She<br />

became a postulant in 1953, professed<br />

her first vows in 1956 and her final<br />

vows in 1962.<br />

She completed a BA at Holy Family<br />

University and an MA in teaching<br />

mathematics from Villanova University.<br />

Appreciating the essentials of her own<br />

education allowed her to bring the<br />

wonders of mathematical inquiry to<br />

her students.<br />

Sr. Martin’s ministerial career led<br />

her to serve in Philadelphia at St.<br />

John Cantius, Our Lady of Calvary,<br />

Visitation BVM, Nazareth Academy<br />

High School, and Nazareth Academy<br />

Grade School; in Florida at St. Brendan<br />

and St. Gregory parishes; and in<br />

Puerto Rico at Colegio Espiritu Santo.<br />

Sr. Martin loved a good story and had<br />

endless ones on hand. She never failed<br />

to elicit a grin from all who heard her<br />

jokes or were the recipient of her<br />

innocent pranks. According to one<br />

sister, “Her laughter could be heard all<br />

down the corridor, bringing a smile to<br />

everyone.” She enjoyed holidays and<br />

would find great costumes to dress<br />

up for Halloween. On St. Patrick’s Day,<br />

you could hear her singing, “When<br />

Irish Eyes Are Smiling” all day. Sr.<br />

Martin enjoyed nature. She treasured<br />

taking walks, growing tomatoes and<br />

appreciating God’s work in nature.<br />

In her retirement at Mount Nazareth<br />

in Philadelphia, she enjoyed making<br />

rosaries and visiting with the sisters.<br />

She always said as she made her<br />

rosaries that she prayed for all those<br />

who would use them.<br />

On October 22 in the early morning<br />

hours, Sr. Martin passed away. Her<br />

funeral liturgy was celebrated at<br />

Mount Nazareth Chapel on October<br />

26.<br />

Donations in memory of a deceased<br />

sister may be mailed to Development<br />

Office, Sisters of the Holy Family<br />

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

Plaines, IL 60016. Please include<br />

a note with the name of the Sister<br />

in whose memory you are giving.<br />

Donations may also be made online<br />

at nazarethcsfn.org/donate.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // WINTER <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 />



We are once again pleased to offer our friends and family oplatki for<br />

the Christmas season. Oplatki (‘oplatek’ is the singular form) are paperthin<br />

wafers of unleavened bread, embossed with symbols from the<br />

Christmas story. Our oplatki (2 x 4 inches) are baked by our Sisters in<br />

Nowogrodek, Belarus. This symbol of unity is made available to you with<br />

the sincere prayer that you will find peace of mind and heart as you<br />

recall the sacred mystery of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, born<br />

of the Blessed Virgin Mary.<br />

You may order these special wafers online at nazarethcsfn.org/donate/<br />

request-oplatki, or by calling our Development Office at 847-298-6760<br />

x137.<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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