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THE HOLY<br />




PROVI<strong>NC</strong>E<br />

// VOL 17 //<br />

// NO 1 //<br />

SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />

Nazareth<br />



The Blessed Martyrs<br />

of Nowogródek<br />



PROVI<strong>NC</strong>IAL SUPERIOR<br />

Dear Friends of Nazareth,<br />

There is a prayer attributed to St.Teresa of Avila that says:<br />

Christ has no body but yours,<br />

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,<br />

Yours are the eyes with which He looks<br />

Compassion on this world,<br />

Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,<br />

Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.<br />

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,<br />

Yours are the eyes, you are His body.<br />

Christ has no body now but yours,<br />

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,<br />

Yours are the eyes with which He looks<br />

Compassion on this world.<br />

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.<br />

the people with whom we interact. No matter your<br />

vocation or location, God has uniquely called and<br />

placed each of us to be His Body in this broken world.<br />

As we rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus during this<br />

Easter season, let us ask God to fill us with His Spirit so<br />

we may give testimony in being His hands, feet, and eyes<br />

of compassion.<br />

May God bless you and your loved ones.<br />

In the Holy Family,<br />

Sr. Kathleen Maciej<br />

These words are a daily reminder of the witness we are<br />

called to be in the world as followers of Jesus Christ. Do<br />

the actions of our lives, words, and thoughts reflect to<br />

others (and to ourselves) that we are representatives, living,<br />

breathing extensions of Christ’s body here on earth?<br />

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Martyrdom<br />

of our Sisters from Nowogródek, murdered by the Nazi<br />

regime. As I think about the Sisters, I marvel at their witness,<br />

each a unique example of Christ and each unified in the<br />

ultimate witness of humbly and heroically offering their lives<br />

as a sacrifice for those they loved.<br />

Most of us will never be called to mirror Jesus in this<br />

way, but every day we are given opportunities to be the<br />

living, breathing testimony of Jesus Christ in this world to<br />


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

love with us as we strive to recognize God in ordinary experiences.<br />

Learn more about our community life, our ministries, and our mission<br />

at nazarethcsfn.org/about-us. Contact Sr. Emmanuela Le, CSFN, National<br />

Vocation Director, at 682-203-967 or vocations@nazarethcsfn.org.<br />


Contents<br />



VOLUME 17 //<br />

NUMBER 1 //<br />

SPRING <strong>2023</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 />

Rachel Neubauer<br />

Proofreaders:<br />

Sr. Angela Szczawinska<br />

Sr. Mary Ellen Gemmell<br />

Katherine Barth<br />

Sr. Lucille Madura<br />

Amanda Giarratano<br />

Province Communications Committee:<br />

Sr. Mary Ellen Gemmell<br />

Sr. Angela Szczawinska<br />

Amanda Giarratano<br />

Katherine Barth<br />

Heidi Scheuer<br />

Sr. Emmanuela Le<br />

Sr. Marcella Louise Wallowicz<br />

Sr. Michele Fisher<br />

Sr. Rebecca Sullivan<br />

4 Sr. Mary Clare Nguyen<br />

Makes First Vows<br />


5 The Blessed Martyrs of<br />

Nowogródek<br />


10 My Escapades in Nazareth<br />

12 Sr. Beata Czyl<br />

Sr. Barbara Frances Samp<br />

Sr. Noemi Tereszkiewicz<br />

Sr. Janice Marie Blados<br />

Sr. Kathleen Maciej<br />

Sr. Mary Annette Gailey<br />


16 Sr. M. Elaine Skrzypczynski<br />

Sr. Jeanette Lawlor<br />


18 <strong>Spring</strong>Fest<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 />

communications@nazarethcsfn.org<br />

nazarethcsfn.org<br />

facebook.com/csfn.usa<br />

twitter.com/csfn_usa<br />

instagram.com/csfn.usa<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />



Sr. Mary Clare Nguyen<br />

and Vocations Director Sr.<br />

Emmanuela Le stop for a<br />

photo after Sr. M. Clare’s First<br />

Profession of Vows.<br />

Sr. Kathleen Maciej,<br />

Provincial Superior, greets Sr.<br />

Mary Clare Nguyen prior to<br />

her First Profession of Vows.<br />

Sr. Mary Clare Nguyen<br />

Makes First Vows<br />

On Saturday, Feb. 25, Sr. Mary Clare Nguyen made her First Profession of<br />

Vows at the Provincialate in Des Plaines, IL. She celebrated the day with<br />

family, friends, and Sisters of her community both in person and on Zoom.<br />

Sr. Mary Clare is originally from Vietnam, where some of her immediate<br />

family still lives. She had been discerning her vocation since 2017. Inspired<br />

by our Nazareth family and the life of our Mother Foundress, she felt at<br />

home among our Sisters.<br />

Please join us in prayers of thanksgiving for Sr. Mary Clare’s “yes” to God,<br />

as well as continued prayers for those currently discerning their vocation<br />

with the help of their mentors.<br />

Editor’s Note: It is with sadness that we share Sr. M. Clare Nguyen passed<br />

into Eternal Life on Saturday, April 8. An In Memoriam of Sister Clare will be<br />

featured in the next edition of Nazareth Connections. Rest peacefully in the<br />

Kingdom of God, Sr. Clare.<br />



80 Years Later,<br />


Editor’s Note: This year marks the 80th Anniversary of the<br />

Martyrdom of Blessed M. Stella and her Ten Companions,<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, the Blessed Martyrs<br />

of Nowogródek, who sacrificed their lives on Aug. 1, 1943,<br />

in Nowogródek, Poland. The Sisters were declared Blessed<br />

by virtue of martyrdom on March 5, 2000, by Pope St. John<br />

Paul II. Sept. 4 marks the Feast Day for the Blessed Martyrs<br />

of Nowogródek, a significant date as it reflects the day when<br />

the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth first came to<br />

Nowogródek in 1929. Each issue of Nazareth Connections<br />

this year will contain a story or reflection on these heroic<br />

witnesses.<br />

In this issue, we share with you text from a presentation<br />

entitled “Vindication & Glory” by the late Sr. Rita Kathryn<br />

Sperka, CSFN (1934-2014), given at Holy Family University’s<br />

two-day conference, “70 Years Later: The Global Impact of<br />

the Holocaust,” in 2009.<br />

We invite you to read along and have a “mini-view” into the<br />

story of the Blessed Martyrs of Nowogródek:<br />

On Sept. 4, 1929, when the Sisters of the Holy Family<br />

of Nazareth first came to Nowogródek, it was home to<br />

various communities, including Catholic Poles, Russian<br />

Orthodox Christians, Tartars, and Jews.<br />

Though a portion of the townsfolk did not welcome<br />

the Sisters, members of the Jewish community helped<br />

the Sisters move into their residence. That beginning<br />

period of strained relations with the townsfolk initially<br />

led the Sisters to consider withdrawal from the<br />

mission; however, as the Sisters became known in the<br />

community, cordial relationships gradually replaced<br />

the tension.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />


The Sisters’ temporary home was the original home<br />

of Adam Mickiewicz, considered Poland’s greatest<br />

poet. Once in their own facilities, the Sisters began to<br />

establish a residence for young women from the rural<br />

areas who sought higher education and a primary<br />

school (initially grades one to three, then gradually the<br />

upper levels). They also conducted craft classes for<br />

young women, allowing [people from] every subculture<br />

to intermingle.<br />

By the outbreak of World War II, all the original Sisters<br />

had been replaced by other Sisters who continued to<br />

unite the people through their services.<br />

Bishop Lozinski, who had invited the Congregation,<br />

entrusted the ancient church (fondly referred to as<br />

“Fara” by the people) to the care of the Sisters of the<br />

Holy Family of Nazareth. Historical events, including<br />

the marriage of the nobility and the baptism of Adam<br />

Mickiewicz, were significant for the parishioners.<br />

Because this church, known as the Church of the<br />

Transfiguration, was in need of extensive repairs,<br />

the Sisters spearheaded that task. To this day, the Sisters<br />

maintain the church. Even after the [execution] of the Sisters<br />

and the flight of the priest, the one surviving religious, Sr.<br />

Malgorzata [Banas], continued to pray with the parishioners.<br />

Over time, bit-by-bit information has allowed us to piece<br />

together an overview of the events. Before the Nazi<br />

penetration of eastern Poland, the Russian forces had<br />

occupied the land. When the German troops arrived, their<br />

overwhelming power was felt immediately. Priests and<br />

partisan fighters were dealt with ruthlessly by the Gestapo.<br />

When Traub, the German commander of the local forces,<br />

was away, the Gestapo arrested 120 townsfolk, mainly<br />

fathers of families, with the intent of executing them. Like<br />

Moses, who always resorted to prayer when faced with<br />

momentous decisions, Sr. Stella and the Sisters sought<br />

guidance in prayer on learning of this situation. Meeting<br />

with Fr. Zienkiewicz, Sr. Stella informed him that the Sisters<br />

resolved that if a sacrifice of life was necessary, they<br />

were willing to offer themselves to God in place of those<br />

condemned to death.<br />


Several of the Sisters walking in<br />

the Corpus Christi procession in<br />

Nowogródek.<br />

Stained glass from Nazareth<br />

Academy Grade School in<br />

Philadelphia depicting the<br />

Nowogródek Martyrs at work.<br />

Upon the return of Commander Traub, who had no<br />

prior knowledge of the Gestapo’s orders, he contacted<br />

his superior officers. He commuted the sentence of the<br />

previously arrested townsfolk, where some were sent<br />

to work in forced labor camps and a few returned to<br />

their families.<br />

Shortly after that time, the Sisters learned Fr. Alexander<br />

Zienkiewicz’s name was on the Gestapo’s new list. Believing<br />

the ministry of the priest was vital to the community, Sr.<br />

Stella informed the priest, “You, Father, are more important<br />

than we, so we are now asking God that if further sacrifice<br />

is needed, to take us rather than you.” Fr. Alexander and the<br />

[original] 120 [condemned] all survived the war. It is they,<br />

together with their families, who want the world to know<br />

the Sisters’ story.<br />

On July 31, 1943, a German dressed as a civilian<br />

approached Sr. Stella and ordered her to report to German<br />

headquarters with her Sisters at 7:30 p.m.<br />

As usual, the Sisters prayed with the people that evening<br />

and then proceeded to their assigned destination. On the<br />

way, they met Sr. Malgorzata, who wanted to go with them.<br />

Since Sr. Malgorzata was dressed in lay clothes for her work<br />

as a nurse in the local hospital, Sr. Stella instructed her to<br />

go home and look after the priest and the church until<br />

at least some of the Sisters returned. She believed the<br />

Nazis did not have an exact count of the Sisters.<br />

That encounter was the last time Sr. Malgorzata met<br />

the Sisters alive. Based on sources Sr. Malgorzata and Fr.<br />

Alexander happened upon over time, they pieced the<br />

facts together.<br />

Srs. Stella Mardosewicz, Imelda Zak, Kanizja Mackiewicz,<br />

Rajmunda Kukolowicz, Daniela Jozwik, Kanuta Chrobot,<br />

Sergia Rapiej, Gwidona Cierpka, Felicyta Borowik,<br />

Heliodora Matuszewska, and Boromea Narmontowicz<br />

were interrogated by the Gestapo. Growing up in<br />

a former Prussian sector of the divided Poland, Srs.<br />

Gwidona and Heliodora were educated in schools<br />

conducted in the German language. Consequently,<br />

they were the spokespersons for the Sisters. Those<br />

who overheard the interrogation commented on<br />

the contrast between the bellowing harshness of the<br />

Gestapo and the gentle, subdued responses of the<br />

Sisters. After 9 p.m., they were escorted to a waiting<br />

vehicle and driven beyond Nowogródek’s limits into<br />

the rural area. However, there was so much activity on<br />

the farms because it was still light out that they were<br />

obliged to return to the administration building.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS //SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />


The Sisters spent the next few hours huddled together in a<br />

small basement room on a dirt floor, where they prayerfully<br />

spent their last hours. Following their 4 a.m. departure on<br />

Aug. 1, the custodian entered the room where he found a<br />

crucifix that one of the Sisters had brought. He took that<br />

crucifix to his home and only returned it to the Sisters in<br />

the 1990s when he came to testify before the commission<br />

hearings prior to the beatification of the Sisters in 2000.<br />

Though his name had not been on the list of expected<br />

witnesses, his testimony and this prized possession were<br />

most welcomed. He had heard the Sisters praying together<br />

as they supported one another.<br />

In a wooded area surrounded by several small villages that<br />

used the meadow and woods as a shortcut, the Gestapo<br />

seized a young partisan to dig the Sisters’ grave. As they<br />

knelt in prayer, most of the Sisters were shot in the head<br />

so their faces were disfigured. Later that day, when one of<br />

the officers came to the home of a woman who had to<br />

prepare his meal, he was very drunk. Visibly overwhelmed<br />

by the carnage, the anxiety-ridden officer cried, “How they<br />

went. You had to see how they walked.” When the woman<br />

asked, “Who?” the officer responded, “You don’t know!<br />

Your Sisters!” After he affirmed their death, he warned the<br />

woman to keep quiet.<br />

Eventually, Sr. Malgorzata organized a “mushroom-picking<br />

expedition” with two women into the woods to investigate<br />

a new mound that someone had noticed in the woods. One<br />

of the women even carried her young daughter to help<br />

make their escapade more realistic. I met that child in 2000<br />

at the beatification of our Sisters in Rome. She had brought<br />

her grandson to Rome so he would have a living memory<br />

of the Sisters’ love of neighbor to pass on to his children<br />

and grandchildren.<br />

In March 1945, after the Nazi troops were forced to retreat,<br />

the Sisters’ remains were exhumed. On March 19, each<br />

Sister was placed in a separate coffin, then drawn by<br />

sled to be buried in individual graves near the Fara<br />

(the White Church).<br />

Sr. Stella with a local priest and some of<br />

her students.<br />

Sr. Kanizja with two of her First<br />

Communion students.<br />

Memorial to the Martyrs of Nowogródek<br />

at the site of their execution.<br />


Prayer through the intercession<br />

of Nowogródek Martyrs<br />

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

for the example of Blessed Mary Stella and Her<br />

Ten Companions, Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth, who by imitating Jesus Christ, offered<br />

themselves as a sacrifice of love.<br />

God of mercy and compassion, through<br />

the merits of their martyrdom and by their<br />

intercession, grant us the grace we humbly<br />

ask…(insert intention here)…<br />

so that like them, we may witness with our lives<br />

to the presence of the Kingdom of God’s love<br />

and extend it to the human family throughout<br />

the world. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.<br />

Amen.<br />

Blessed Martyred Sisters of Nowogródek, pray<br />

for us.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />


My Escapades in<br />

Nazareth 1898-1901<br />


Editor’s Note: Sr. Mary Simplicia of the Cross (Marian Ławecka<br />

– died July 18, 1963) was one of the very few who had the<br />

good fortune of meeting our Foundress, Blessed Mary of Jesus<br />

the Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska). During a visit with<br />

her eldest sister, Sr. Pancratius, who was then a postulant at<br />

the Precious Blood Convent in Pittsburgh, little Marian first<br />

encountered Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd who<br />

spoke with her. Marian soon followed her sister to Nazareth<br />

taking on the name Sr. M. Simplicia of the Cross. Several years<br />

later, their two younger sisters, Sr. Laura and Sr. Marinelle,<br />

joined the community, making them the first “Nazareth<br />

Quartet” in the history of the Congregation.<br />

The following excerpt comes from Sr. Simplicia’s “My Escapades<br />

in Nazareth,” a compilation of stories written from the time<br />

she was a boarder attending Holy Family Academy in Chicago.<br />

She writes, “So it was during the time of Mother Lauretta’s time<br />

in the Academy in Chicago that I had all kinds of adventures,<br />

more than any other of the girls. … I was of a very lively<br />

disposition and God endowed me with a brilliant memory, that<br />

made me useful at times, but also at times prone to mischief<br />

as one can see from the following ‘Escapades.’ … Enjoy reading<br />

and have a good hearty laugh, which is so beneficial to health.”<br />


One day, I was told by the Sister in charge of us to run<br />

quickly to the bakery and get a loaf of “razowy chleb”<br />

(pumpernickel bread). Naturally, I was told in Polish<br />

because only this language was used at that time.<br />

I knew what kind of bread it was but had no idea how<br />

to say it in English. So I went to Sister Superior, who<br />

had her education in London, and asked her what to<br />

call the black bread because I needed to buy a loaf for<br />

some guests who would have dinner at the Academy.<br />

The Superior, Sister Seraphine, told me the name is<br />

“pumpernickel bread” and made me repeat it a few<br />

times to say it correctly.<br />

As usual, I ran down Milwaukee Avenue, where all<br />

the large stores, banks, etc., were located. In front of<br />

a big store stood a crowd of people watching some<br />

spectacle. I tried to see what was happening, but to my<br />

dismay, I could not get through to see what was going<br />

on, so I continued on my way.<br />

Relieved, I said: “Exactly! That’s what the Superior<br />

called it. Please may I have a loaf of it?” He brought<br />

the loaf wrapped up and, giving it to me, said, “Wait a<br />

moment, little girl.” After a few minutes, he returned<br />

with a small bag of cookies, a rare treat we seldom<br />

saw, and then said, “The pumpernickel bread is for<br />

Sister Superior, and these cookies are for you, for the<br />

good laugh I had!”<br />

With a sweet smile, I thanked him, and taking the<br />

packages, ran home as fast as my legs could carry me.<br />

I made it back just in time! After I deposited the<br />

precious pumpernickel bread in the kitchen, I ran<br />

upstairs to tell the other girls about my mishap and to<br />

treat them to the goodies I got from the kind baker.<br />

The girls were overjoyed, and we laughed as we<br />

devoured these delicious goodies.<br />

As I set back on my journey to my great consternation,<br />

I realized I had forgotten the name of the “black<br />

bread.” I began running from one bakery to another,<br />

frantically looking through the windows to see<br />

whether I would recognize any “black bread” and not<br />

one loaf! As usual, I began to pray to my Guardian<br />

Angel to help me.<br />

“As usual, I began to<br />

pray to my Guardian<br />

Angel to help me.”<br />

I ran about a good five blocks searching in windows<br />

when I finally noticed a loaf of “black bread” in the<br />

shop window. Peeking in, I saw only one customer, so I<br />

patiently waited until she came out and then went in.<br />

The baker was an elderly big man with a kind face.<br />

He asked me, “What do you want, little girl?” I said, “I<br />

was to buy a loaf of black bread, but I forgot the name<br />

of it. It was like pumping something, but I don’t know<br />

what you pump… Maybe a dime or a penny?” And he<br />

laughed out loud, saying, “You don’t pump anything. It’s<br />

‘pumpernickel’ bread you want.”<br />

Holy Family Academy, Chicago, IL.<br />

Sr. Mary Simplicia of the Cross, (d. 1963).<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />



Jubilarians<br />

Sr. M. Beata Czyl | Ruby Jubilee — 80 Years<br />

It was in the eighth grade when Sr. M. Beata Czyl prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary in<br />

the month of May as a special way of asking guidance to know her future vocation.<br />

“Many times, I stayed longer, helping the Sisters after school,” recalls Sr. Beata. Leaving<br />

her family home at age 14, Sr. Beata began her high school years at Villa Nazareth High<br />

School in Des Plaines, IL, a boarding school where most of the young women were<br />

aspirants or postulants to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.<br />

After high school and her first profession, Sr. Beata began teaching elementary school<br />

students all the while attending evening and Saturday classes to get a bachelor’s degree<br />

in education from Loyola University in Chicago.<br />

In addition to her ministry as an educator in Illinois, Texas, Indiana, and North Dakota, Sr. Beata also served her<br />

community as a local superior, vice-provincial treasurer, and helped develop the local Association of the Holy Family. She<br />

currently is retired and devotes her time to a ministry of prayer.<br />

Described by her Sisters as hard-working, dedicated, joyful in Jesus, and devoted to Our Blessed Mother, Sr. Beata has<br />

also enjoyed her hobbies of flower gardening — especially roses — and learning about the Holy Land and Lourdes.<br />

As she reflects on her 80 years of service, Sr. Beata proudly recalls, “My most memorable convent experience and<br />

greatest joys in life were asking Mother Celeste to send at least two Sisters from Poland to Texas. These Sisters started<br />

arriving in 1986 [and continued to do so throughout the following years].”<br />


Sr. Barbara Frances Samp | Diamond Jubilee — 75 Years<br />

Celebrating her 75th year in religious life, Sr. Barbara Frances Samp grew up in Chicago<br />

and attended Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic parish.<br />

She was attracted to the Sisters at an early age, but soon forgot about it. “My mother<br />

passed away when I was in sixth grade. I never gave thought of going to the convent even<br />

though I helped the Sisters in church and admired them, but never thought much of being<br />

one,” said Sr. Barbara Frances.<br />

Then, a letter between her father and the local superior soon changed the course<br />

for Sister. “[One day my father received a letter from] Sr. Jolanta who told him I had a<br />

vocation. She included what I would need when I entered the convent and that I should<br />

go to the convent on Aug. 10, 1946. This was two months after I graduated from eighth<br />

grade. My father read the letter, handed it to my sister, and said to her, 'Get her what she needs.' We went shopping and<br />

on Aug. 10, I presented myself at the convent in Chicago, and here I am 78 years later.”<br />

Holding a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in secondary education, in addition to certifications<br />

in NTSCU Library LMS and Advanced Bible Studies from Catholic University, Sr. Barbara Frances has accounted for 57<br />

years in education and an additional 16 years devoted to Bible studies ministry. Her community would describe her as<br />

a passionate teacher who is gracious and quite organized. After serving 65 years in Texas, Sr. Frances now resides in<br />

Philadelphia and values the “family spirit of caring for each other” as what is most important about the CSFN charism.<br />

“[Though I am no longer as active as I used to be] I live out our charism [these days] through leading a Bible study for<br />

the Sisters at Mount Nazareth and praying for all families and their needs.”<br />

Sr. Noemi Tereszkiewicz | Diamond Jubilee — 75 years<br />

When asked what she would like people to know about religious life, Sr. Noemi<br />

Tereszkiewicz joyfully reflects, “It has been a blessing cup full of graces received<br />

throughout my [years of] formation and ministries.”<br />

Born in Ford City, PA, Sr. Noemi and her family moved to McKees Rocks, PA, and finally<br />

to Lawrenceville, PA where her family established Frank’s Bakery. “My parents and siblings<br />

had hearts of gold, full of love and sacrifice and generous toward me and all those whose<br />

lives they touched.”<br />

Following her high school graduation in 1945, Sr. Noemi went to work in a law firm in<br />

Pittsburgh and entered the Community in 1948. Much of Sr. Noemi’s ministry had been<br />

devoted to nursing. She ministered for 25 years at Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in<br />

Altoona, PA, and for 10 years at Ohio Valley General Hospital School of Nursing. Sr. Noemi was a staff nurse, supervisor,<br />

and director of the School of Nursing.<br />

In addition to her nursing ministry, Sr. Noemi also taught CCD to first-graders, hosted the Calix Society once a month<br />

for recovering alcoholics and their wives, and served as a Eucharistic minister and lector to her religious community and<br />

also at the prison in Pittsburgh.<br />

“I have experienced the beauty and saintliness of God’s people in many varied ways. My heart is filled with love and deep<br />

gratitude as I recall the reciprocal sharing of talents and skills, faith, and spirituality with religious and lay persons.”<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />


Sr. Janice Marie Blados | Golden Jubilee — 50 Years<br />

Sr. Janice Marie’s 50 years as a religious reflect the many blessings she received<br />

from God.<br />

“I really see the face of God in each person I encounter. I have been blessed to be in<br />

sacred, holy spaces with others and I have tried to create a space where they can feel<br />

comfortable and welcome.”<br />

Sr. Janice Marie entered the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth from St. Stanislaus<br />

Parish in Cleveland in 1973. With both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Duquesne<br />

University and a certification from the University of Pittsburgh in marriage and family<br />

therapy, Sr. Janice Marie has served in several ministry positions, including hospital<br />

chaplain, formation director, family therapist, and grief counselor. She currently serves<br />

as the superior at Holy Family Manor and is a volunteer Trauma Response Team member with the Neighborhood<br />

Resilience Project.<br />

“Both my parents died when I was younger,” she shared. “Because of my life experiences of loss, I have been drawn to<br />

those sacred spaces of being with the dying and those who grieve.”<br />

Sr. Janice Marie enjoys gardening and supports all teams that wear “Black ‘n Gold.” Spending time with family and friends<br />

is a special joy in her life and she especially enjoys comparing her height with that of her great nieces and nephews who<br />

are so much taller than she.<br />

“I believe my life has taught me that we only have today — no matter who you are. Every day is a blessing. I’ve been<br />

blessed with a loving family and community and friends.”<br />

Sr. Kathleen Maciej | Golden Jubilee — 50 Years<br />

The call to religious life was something that had been building within Sr. Kathleen Maciej,<br />

CSFN’s life since birth. Growing up in a home with parents who lived and taught the faith<br />

not only by their words, but by their example gave Sr. Kathleen a firm foundation. From<br />

there, she enrolled at the nearby Catholic School, St. Stanislaus in Brooklyn, NY, where<br />

she was taught by CSFN Sisters. “I recall whenever I was in the presence of the Sisters,<br />

there was a stirring in my heart, a desire to be with them.”<br />

All this came to actualization when in eighth grade, Sr. Kathleen was asked to write<br />

a paragraph about what she wanted to be in life and she wrote about being a Sister.<br />

Currently serving as Provincial Superior, Sr. Kathleen has previously served on the<br />

Provincial Council in Immaculate Heart of Mary Province, at Elmhurst, NY, Saint Jude<br />

School in Monroe, CT, and Our Lady of the Hamptons School in Southampton, NY.<br />

“What I enjoy most about my religious life is being with my Sisters. I welcome the opportunities when I can listen to<br />

the Sisters share their experiences of life in formation, ministry, experiences in community, and above all, their laughter<br />

in relating some humorous events,” said Sr. Kathleen. “I am in awe when I reflect on the faith, courage, wisdom, and<br />

sacrifices of our Sisters, past and present, who have forged the way so our Sisters today and those yet to come have a<br />

Nazareth to call home. Today, in the culture of our society, the rewarding aspect of my religious life is knowing that I can<br />

be a presence to individuals and families who are searching for God and faith, compassion and mercy, justice, and peace.”<br />


Sr. Mary Annette Gailey, CSFN | Silver Jubilee — 25 Years<br />

It was when she was 6 years old that Sr. Mary Annette Gailey, CSFN first realized she<br />

wanted to be a religious Sister. “I had a wonderful first-grade teacher, Sr. Rose Imelda<br />

Paterson, SSJ. She was kind, loving, and treated us with respect. I wanted to be just like<br />

her when I grew up.”<br />

But it wasn’t until years later when an invitation was posted in the parish bulletin about<br />

a discernment weekend that the tug to find out more wouldn’t go away. Trading in her<br />

18-wheeler for a new journey that is now 25 years long, Sr. Mary Annette felt drawn to<br />

the CSFNs as the community draws its inspiration from the life of the Holy Family, a<br />

devotion she’s held since her youth.<br />

Sr. Mary Annette finds “living with integrity and engaging all Creation and everyone<br />

[she meets] as family” is integral to her living out her CSFN charism. “I have a C.S. Lewis quote in my prayer book as<br />

a reminder: ‘Next to the Blessed Sacrament, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.’ This is the<br />

Incarnation, hidden and revered: Every heart is a Tabernacle, for every person is a child of God. And just as Christ was<br />

hidden in Nazareth in an ordinary life, my relationship with God is expressed in ordinary service, giving witness to love,<br />

care, and hope.”<br />

In her free time, Sr. Mary Annette enjoys a number of hobbies including gardening, feeding the birds, tinkering (fixing<br />

things), and learning to tend to native mason bees. Currently, she serves as a clinical systems solution architect and sees<br />

every encounter as an “invitation to be attentive to God’s presence.”<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />



In Memoriam<br />

Sister M.<br />

Elaine<br />

Skrzypczynski<br />

Elaine was<br />

born April<br />

19, 1940, and<br />

baptized at<br />

Holy Innocents<br />

Church in<br />

Chicago.<br />

As she was growing up, Sr. Elaine<br />

remembered wanting a brother or<br />

sister. Before long, her brother, Bobby,<br />

was born, followed by her sister,<br />

Patricia Marie. Elaine loved being a<br />

big sister.<br />

She attended grade school at Holy<br />

Innocents and then went to Holy<br />

Family Academy, where she met the<br />

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

She was delighted when assigned to<br />

Sr. Rita Mary Sebastian’s homeroom.<br />

Inspired by two close friends who<br />

decided to enter the convent and<br />

some words of motivation from<br />

Sr. Rita Mary, Elaine accepted the<br />

invitation to religious life. She joined<br />

her friends in receiving the postulant<br />

veil on May 1, 1957, and entered the<br />

novitiate in 1958, receiving the name<br />

Odilia. Sr. Elaine made her perpetual<br />

profession on Aug. 10, 1966, and some<br />

years later, returned to her baptismal<br />

name, Elaine.<br />

Sr. Elaine’s ministry for most of her<br />

life was education. She especially<br />

enjoyed teaching junior high school<br />

students and effectively did this at<br />

Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Hedwig,<br />

St. Margaret Mary, and St. Blase. She<br />

worked towards her master’s degree<br />

in education to prepare for service<br />

in education administration and from<br />

there, began an assignment as principal<br />

of St. Casimir School in South Bend,<br />

IN, followed by an assignment at St.<br />

Ladislaus School in Chicago, then<br />

returning to St. Margaret Mary<br />

School in Neenah, WI, where under<br />

her leadership as principal, she won<br />

the Excellence in Education Award<br />

from the Department of Education in<br />

Washington, D.C. Her last ministry in<br />

the field of education was as principal<br />

of St. Gilbert School in Grayslake, IL.<br />

Following her years in education,<br />

Sr. Elaine began classes in clinical<br />

pastoral education in preparation for<br />

spiritual services and chaplaincy. Sr.<br />

Elaine served in this new ministry at<br />

St. Andrew’s Retirement Home and<br />

eventually at Resurrection Life Center.<br />

In June 2014, Sr. Elaine transitioned<br />

into Ascension Living Nazarethville<br />

Place, where she spent her last nine<br />

years telling stories and providing<br />

a listening ear to others. Her smile<br />

attracted everyone.<br />

Very quietly in the late evening of<br />

March 13, <strong>2023</strong>, Sr. Elaine was called<br />

home to the Lord.<br />


Sister<br />

Jeanette<br />

Lawlor<br />

Sr. Jeannette<br />

Lawlor was<br />

born Aug.<br />

19, 1933, in<br />

the Tacony<br />

section of<br />

Philadelphia. She was baptized in<br />

St. Leo’s Church. Her family later<br />

moved and she began high school<br />

at Nazareth Academy, then entered<br />

the Sisters of the Holy Family of<br />

Nazareth on Dec. 8, 1950.<br />

She was accepted into the novitiate<br />

in 1951, made her first profession in<br />

1953, and final profession in 1959. Sr.<br />

Jeanette graduated from Holy Family<br />

College with a Bachelor of Arts<br />

in mathematics and from Villanova<br />

University with a Master of Arts in<br />

elementary education.<br />

Sr. Jeanette had an extensive career<br />

in education, sharing her gifts with<br />

Nazareth Academy Grade School,<br />

St. John Cantius, St. Stanislaus, St.<br />

Katherine of Siena, and Our Lady<br />

of Calvary. She sprinted to Queen<br />

of Peace in Ardsley, PA, Visitation<br />

in Trooper, PA, St. Gregory in<br />

Plantation, FL, and Colegio Espiritu<br />

Santo in Puerto Rico. Teaching God’s<br />

children was a passion of hers<br />

because in them she found the spirit<br />

of Nazareth.<br />

She served as Provincial Superior<br />

to the Sisters in the Immaculate<br />

Conception Province from 1989-<br />

1995 and in 2001, served as a<br />

delegate to the General Chapter<br />

that was held in Rome, Italy. She<br />

also served as Superior of Mount<br />

Nazareth and Infant Jesus Convent at<br />

Nazareth Hospital where she worked<br />

in mission effectiveness.<br />

She later took up ministry at Holy<br />

Family University in the Registrar and<br />

Finance offices, and in recent years,<br />

offered her services at Nazareth<br />

Academy High School and Mount<br />

Nazareth as receptionist, delivering<br />

mail and messages, checking the<br />

attendance of students, greeting<br />

visitors, and visiting the Sisters on<br />

the second floor of the Mount.<br />

Sr. Jeanette enjoyed reading a good<br />

book, kicking up her heels at a<br />

celebration, and was fully engaged<br />

with those around her always asking<br />

about family members, former<br />

students, fellow classmates, friends,<br />

workers, and families with whom she<br />

had associated. A woman of prayer,<br />

Sr. Jeanette could often be found in<br />

chapel imploring Our Lord and his<br />

Blessed Mother to take care of the<br />

many for whom she had promised<br />

prayer. She never hesitated to reach<br />

out to one in need and demonstrated<br />

a deep understanding of humanity and<br />

was a wise leader.<br />

On Jan. 9, <strong>2023</strong>, Sr. Jeanette was called<br />

home to the Lord.<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 />

USA, Inc., 310 N. River Road, 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 // SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />



<strong>Spring</strong>Fest<br />

Thank you to Sr. Clare Marie Kozicki and her committee for all the hard work they did in organizing this year’s<br />

<strong>Spring</strong>Fest fundraiser. Some 200 Sisters and friends gathered for delicious food, raffles, and a silent auction.<br />

For our Sisters, being able to gather face-to-face with our friends and benefactors was the best part of the<br />

afternoon. They are grateful so many would take time out of their busy schedules to attend our <strong>Spring</strong>Fest.<br />

Many thanks to our sponsors, without whom this event our not have been so successful: Gunther A. Dorth, Mitchell<br />

and Frances Wiet, Elaine Beatovic, Magna Properties 2, LLC, Fijal and Associates, Ltd., Maryville Academy, Maria Bradley<br />

and Martin Pfister, Bredemann Toyota in Park Ridge, Cruz-Sojka Funeral Home, Gregory and Shelley Reichle, and<br />

Joanne B. Johnson.<br />

Srs. Kathleen Ann Stadler, Maria Magdalena<br />

Rybak, Michael Marie Franzak, and Cindy<br />

Michelini enjoying <strong>Spring</strong>Fest and each<br />

other’s company.<br />

Srs. Rebecca Sullivan, Patricia Ann Koschalke,<br />

and Mary Kevin Hanek share a moment<br />

during the <strong>Spring</strong>Fest.<br />

Guests enjoying <strong>Spring</strong>Fest.<br />


We Invite You to<br />

Participate in Our Prayer<br />

Remembrance Program<br />

When a relative, friend, or loved one passes away,<br />

celebrates a birthday or anniversary, or is experiencing<br />

ill health, you can express your sentiments, honor them<br />

in a meaningful way, and offer a gift to the Sisters of the<br />

Holy Family of Nazareth – USA, Inc. Those you choose to<br />

honor will share in the spiritual works and prayer of the<br />

Sisters and be remembered during the daily liturgy and a<br />

special Mass each month. Their name will also be placed<br />

in the Prayer Remembrance book located in the chapel<br />

at our Provincialate House. Contributions to the Prayer<br />

Remembrance program are used to help care for our<br />

elderly and infirmed Sisters as well as those who continue<br />

to minister for and with families.<br />

If you wish to participate in the Prayer Remembrance<br />

program, order from our website (nazarethcsfn.org/<br />

donate/request-spiritual-greeting-cards), call us at<br />

847-298-6760 ext. 143, email us at csfn_development@<br />

nazarethcsfn.org, or write us at Development Office,<br />

Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth – USA, Inc.,<br />

310 N. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016-1211. We will<br />

send you as many greeting cards as you would like so<br />

you can send them to your relatives or friends, as well<br />

as a convenient reply envelope for your contribution.<br />

NAZARETH CONNECTIONS // SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />


310 N River Rd<br />

Des 310 Plaines, N River IL Rd. 60016<br />

www.nazarethcsfn.org<br />

Des Plaines, IL 60016<br />

www.nazarethcsfn.org<br />

Non-profit<br />

Organization<br />

U.S. Postage<br />

Paid<br />

Des Rockford, Plaines, IL IL<br />

Permit No. 2495 340<br />



If you would like to order spiritual greeting cards, please complete the order form below. You are welcome to order<br />

as many of each type as you would like. Our office will mail your cards.<br />

Then you’re invited to join Nazareth Legacy Society, a group created<br />

to recognize friends just like you who have let us know that they have<br />

Please send me Prayer Remembrance cards in the amounts I have indicated:<br />

remembered the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in their Wills or<br />

____ Estate General Plans. Card<br />

____ Birthday Card — Scenic ____ Anniversary Card<br />

____ In appreciation Birthday for Card your — future Floralgift, you ____ will be Get remembered Well Card in the daily ____ Thank You Card<br />

prayers of our Sisters. You will also receive a certificate denoting your<br />

____ Thinking of You Card ____ Memorial Card<br />

membership in the Nazareth Legacy Society and receive a special Holy<br />

Family key ring available only to Nazareth Legacy Society members. Your<br />

Please return your completed card order form to:<br />

name also will be inscribed on a special plaque in our Provincialate in Des Plaines, IL. Informing our Development Office<br />

Development that you have remembered Office, 310 N. our River Sisters Road, in your Des future Plaines, plans IL automatically 60016. entitles you to membership in this special<br />

Society! But we won’t enroll you as a member without your permission.<br />

Name_____________________________________________________________________<br />

It’s simple to join! Just complete the form on page 19 and return it to CSFN Development Office, 310 N. River Road,<br />

Address___________________________________________________________________<br />

Des Plaines, IL 60016. Or if you prefer, you may contact Katherine Barth at kbarth@nazarethcsfn.org or 847-298-6760,<br />

ext. 143 and let her know that you would like to be a member.<br />

City_________________________________________State________ Zip Code__________<br />

Thank you for including our Sisters in your Estate Plans. We are grateful for your faithful, caring support.<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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