News from the Felician Sisters

Felician Sisters of North America on Facebook

On Monday, February 11, 2019, the Felician Sisters of North America will officially launch our Facebook page. Visit us and Like our page so you can see all the great content we will share. We’ll post the link here once the page goes live.

Felician Delegation in Panama for World Youth Day

Sister Judith Marie Blizzard, Sister Desiré Anne-Marie Findlay, and Caroline Stanfill, program outreach coordinator, spent their first full day in Panama for World Youth Day on Tuesday, January 22.

Traveling with 43 other pilgrims from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, they began their journey on Sunday evening, January 20, arriving by bus via an overnight trip from Costa Rica.

After settling into their home for the week, the group from Pittsburgh ventured into the hot and bustling city, standing shoulder to shoulder with pilgrims from around the world. They participated in the opening Mass, and then spent the evening relaxing, eating, and getting ready for the week ahead.

Sister Desiré said, "Even after a difficult night on the bus and a whole day on our feet, it seems we are all very energized by the kindness we are experiencing in Panama. People call out Bienvenidos a Panamá! (Welcome to Panama) from their windows while countless cars honk and drivers happily extend the same greeting.

"We can't believe we finally made it here, and I guess they feel the same way. It's a reminder to me that we are not the only pilgrims, but that the people of Panama share in the graces and beauty of the pilgrimage as well."

St. Felix Centre Opens Second 24-Hour Respite Site

On December 22, 2018, the Felician Sisters of North America celebrated the opening of a second Felician-sponsored 24-hour respite site in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, just in time to provide Christmas shelter and warm meals for those in need.

St. Felix Centre, a sponsored ministry of the Felician Sisters, has been operating a 24-hour respite program in partnership with the City of Toronto since November of 2017. In the fall of 2018, the City of Toronto requested that St. Felix Centre assume operation of a new type of respite program utilizing a semi-permanent structure. 

“St. Felix Centre 2” is equipped to provide up to 100 guests with accommodations, meals, showers, laundry facilities, as well as housing and case work support.

Respite Program Director Brian Harris said, "Our program is open to both men and women independently as well as couples, and the whole site is pet friendly. The expansion of our respite program to two sites will allow St. Felix Centre to continue the work started by Mother Mary Angela and the Felician Sisters." 

Felician Sisters Represented at NCCYM

The Felician Sisters of North America were represented at the 2018 National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (NCCYM) this past weekend by Sr. Desire Anne-Marie Findlay, Sr. Felicity Marie Madigan, and Caroline Stanfill.  Held at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, FL, from December 6-8, 2018, the event hosted campus ministers from across the country. Sr. Desire and Sr. Felicity provided visitors to our booth with information about the Felician Sisters and Felician Associates, while Caroline offered information about the Felician Volunteers in Mission.

Advent Retreat in Lodi, NJ

Approximately 60 Felician Sisters and Associates gathered in Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel in Lodi, NJ, on Saturday, December 1, for an Advent Day of Reflection. Father Bogumil Misiuk, an associate pastor at Saint Catharine's Church in Glen Rock, directed the day articulating the theme "Watching Mary during Advent as a pilgrim and stranger in this world, serving the Lord in poverty and humility."

The day began with morning prayer followed by the first conference, based on humility as the foundation of prayer. Father reminded the participants that, because of her humility, Mary emptied her soul so that God would fill it.

During the late morning Eucharistic celebration, Father spoke about Jesus and Mary being pilgrims and strangers, especially in their travels to Bethlehem for the census, and in his third conference, Father vividly described the poverty experienced by Mary and Joseph at the birth of Jesus. Opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a Eucharistic Holy Hour rounded out the day.

At dinner, SM Juanita Arnister, local minister, expressed appreciation to Father Bogumil on behalf of the sisters for his efforts to help live out the yearly theme: As pilgrims and strangers in this world, serve the Lord in poverty and humility.


Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground in Newark, Delaware

Despite some inclement weather, the Our Lady of Grace Village Groundbreaking Ceremony took place on Friday, November 16, in Newark, DE. Father Joseph Piekarski, pastor of St. John the Beloved Parish in Wilmington, offered blessings at a gathering before the groundbreaking and again at the site. Remarks were provided by Cynthia Karnai, COO, Delaware State Housing Authority and Karen Speakman, executive director of NCALL, the organization that worked to secure tax credits for the affordable housing project with the members of the Our Lady of Grace Board. Board members present at the ceremony included Sister Aquinas, SM Antonelle Chunka, and Mary Lynn Owen, senior ministry advisor from Felician Services, who has diligently served as a champion of this project. Several of the Felician Sisters from Lodi, NJ, also attended the event, including SM Bridget Becker, SM Charlotte Wszolek, SM Barbara Ann Kemmerer, S Marie Alexander Siegel, SM Elaine Lechert, and S Lenore Marie Murawski.

For the sisters who lovingly served at Our Lady of Grace over the years, the occasion marked a new beginning to this beloved ministry. As SM Christopher Moore, provincial minister, was unable to attend due to impassible roads, Andrea White, president of Felician Services, delivered Sister Christopher's prepared remarks, which included the following: "Scripture admonishes us to care for the needs of our brothers and sisters: food, clothing and shelter are the most basic of those needs. So it is not profit or politics that brings us here today but the love of Christ which impels us to follow his mandate. Thus, Our Lady of Grace Village represents the transformation of one social need - care of orphans - to another, appropriate to our times - affordable housing."

The first of the three phases of this project is set to open in July 2019. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be planned in early fall 2019 as the project nears completion.

Dedication of New Mission Complex in Jacmel, Haiti

On October 10, 2018, joyful voices rang out in Jacmel, Haiti, giving praise to God and asking him to bless the newly constructed Felician mission complex. Mission co-directors Sr. Marilyn Marie Minter and Sr. Mary Inga Borko have served Haitian young people, children, and families in need since their arrival in September 2012. The dedication of this facility marks the beginning of a new phase of this Felician ministry of presence.

Read more about the Felician mission in Haiti on their blog.