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BVM News

For more information on any of these news articles contact Angie Connolly, Director of Communications, at 563.588.2351 or by aconnolly@bvmcong.org.

BVMs Unite With Others in ‘A Call to Compassion’


Award-winning journalist and author Margaret Regan shared the heartrending stories of people caught in the chaos of the U.S. immigration system during a presentation, “Immigrant Families Under Fire—A Call to Compassion in the Heartland,” with an audience of 200 at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, on March 30.

The event was sponsored by the Sisters of Charity, BVM and 29 co-sponsors who comprise Crossing Borders—Dubuque, a group of concerned citizens, organizations and religious who work to raise awareness of injustices experienced by immigrants and advocates on their behalf. 

Regan noted that thousands of deportations of undocumented individuals have occurred in the last 10 years and are still happening everyday in the United States, affecting children, spouses, neighbors, employers and communities.

One of her books, Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire (2015) investigates the fate of undocumented immigrants who are taken away from their families, incarcerated in detention centers, or deported back across the border.

Another book, The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands (2010), chronicles the tragic deaths of migrants in the desert. Both books are named Top Picks in the Southwest Books of the Year competition, and have been adopted in many university classrooms.

Crossing Borders member Mary McCauley, BVM (Mercedie) says, “Ever since experiencing the heartache and injustice suffered by so many men, women and children at the time of the infamous workplace raid at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, in 2008, I have been convinced that the first step in transforming our immigration system is to transform hearts. What better way to transform hearts than to share the stories of those directly affected by our current immigration system? What better way to set our hearts on fire!”

BVM Mira Mosle, also a member of Crossing Borders, spoke to the concerned and sober crowd, saying, "What to do? We want to pray. We want to weep. We want to do something. How will we find and encourage compassion in the heartland for our brothers and sisters?"

Area co-sponsors of the presentation include: Catholic Charities, Church of the Resurrection, Clarke University, Community Foundation of Dubuque, Dubuque for Refugee Families, Loras College, Nativity Church, Gwen Nilles, Father Jack Paisley, St. Raphael Cathedral, St. Patrick Church, St. Joseph Catholic Church Key West, Sinsinawa Dominicans, Sisters of the Presentation, Sisters of St. Francis, Sisters of the Visitation, and Sisters of Charity, BVM.

Regan’s books are available at River Lights Bookstore, Dubuque, which will contribute 10% of sales to Crossing Borders.

Post date 4.6.17


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BVMs Join in Making History

BVMs (l. to r.) Joellen McCarthy, Diane Rapozo and Rose Mary Meyer display their posters in front of the Capitol building.

BVMs (l. to r.) Joellen McCarthy, Diane Rapozo and Rose Mary Meyer display their posters in front of the Capitol building.

On Jan. 21, the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. marked the largest mass demonstration in U.S. history. Throughout the country and globally, 5 million people marched in cities and towns in a show of solidarity for human rights.

From coast to coast, BVMs andassociates joined the sea of participants in prayer and presence! The BVM Women’s Network sponsored three sisters to attend the D.C. march: BVMs Rose Mary Meyer (Sebastian), Diane Rapozo (Malia), and Joellen McCarthy. “I am thrilled that these rallies happened in hundreds of cities and towns in the United States, in many countries and all of Earth’s continents,” says Rose Mary. “Together we are strong.”

Both Diane and Joellen share that they were “hungry for a different way of people coming together” after the election campaign. “The experience in Washington generated in us such hope that we were encouraged to discover during the day in Washington and now in subsequent days, invitations to channel that positive energy to actions that can bring about change and work toward creating a world we can believe in.”

Associate Coordinator Kimberly Emery was also in D.C. for the march, and Associate Kathy Linhardt took part in the New York City march, while her daughters walked in D.C. and Los Angeles. Associate Coordinator Lori Ritz, during her visit to Iowa, joined her sister to march with supporters in Des Moines.

BVMs Barbara Gaul, Mary Ellen Meckley, Colleen McGinnity and Carol Cook rallied for the Chicago march. “It was a call to stand together, to use love as our strategy, to build on this day, to bring our energies to our local communities, to be involved,” says Carol. Associate Virginia Piecuch echoes Carol as she says, “The march in Chicago was an amazing experience to be one with women, men and children showing God’s diversity in our world.”

From Dubuque, Iowa to Milwaukee to San Jose, Calif., BVMs were present and engaged in the respective marches. Former Dubuque mayor Carolyn Farrell, BVM (Lester), joined by other Dubuque BVMs and associates, shared with the local group gathered in unity and support. “We are here, connected in spirit with the Women’s March on Washington, D.C.—lifting up positive energy, inspiring justice for all.”

Along with many others, BVMs Marilyn Wilson (Claudia Mary), Bette Gambonini (Esther Mary) and Elizabeth Avalos gathered with Associates Francis and Carol DeCarvalho and their family, and Associate Barbara Harper and her daughters, at the march in San Jose, Calif. Elizabeth shares, “Everyone was so positive—talking, laughing, holding their signs . . . our future is in safe hands.”

The Women’s March on Washington (www.womensmarch.com), urges supporters to join them in launching a new follow-up campaign: Ten Actions for the first 100 days. “Now, the real work begins.”

View Photos

Post date 1.30.17


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Heralding the War—BVM Coverage of ‘The War to End All Wars’


April 6, 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of American entry into World War I. On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress declared war on Germany. Eight months later, the United States officially declared war against Austria-Hungary on Dec. 7, 1917. While the Sisters of Charity, BVM publication, Our Herald, did not focus on the war, it referenced the conflict several times prior to the involvement of the United States.

The earliest mention of the war came in an October 1914 article that requested prayers for the new pope, Benedict XV, “whose accession to the throne comes in times so troublous, our prayers will be earnest and unceasing.” Two years later, the April 1916 issue noted that “Eastertide this year sees war, death and desolation stalking through the world. ‘Christian Civilization has failed,’ say our enemies. We need the strong, joyful hope of triumph and of life eternal that rings out in the Easter Alleluia; but we cannot know final defeat.”

Once America entered the war, it was regularly referenced in Our Herald. The October 1917 issue, the first published after U.S. involvement, informed the reader that “at Mount Carmel adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is kept up at all the hours of the day to obtain the blessing of peace.” It also noted that “prayers have been redoubled that the Nations at war may listen to the words of the Ambassador of the Prince of Peace” (Pope Benedict XV) who had recently issued a letter calling for peace.

In January 1918, Our Herald emphasized the importance of religion in education, arguing that war “has shown in a hideous series of object lessons . . . the result of educational systems, scientific and materialistic, in which religion had no part . . . Men educated under these systems used this knowledge for the destruction of their fellowmen and themselves.”

It also heralded the capture of Jerusalem on Dec. 9, 1917, by the combined forces of Great Britain, France and Italy, and proudly noted that the chaplain who carried the cross into Jerusalem was Rev. William Raphael Ludford, OSB, who had been educated by the BVMs at St. Mary Academy in Elgin, Ill. This issue also includes a more somber mention of the war—the name of Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimmons, “one of our Kansas City boys, the first U.S. Officer killed in France.”

The October 1918 issue, which included information on the influenza epidemic, was apparently published late as it also included a short article noting that before beginning Mass on the morning of Nov. 11, the chaplain announced the armistice had been signed. “With all the fervor of our souls, we offered the Holy Sacrifice in thanksgiving” and later that afternoon the Te Deum was sung.

This issue of Our Herald, as well as the January 1919 issue, include excerpts from letters sent home by some of the soldiers. In one letter, one of BVM St. Catherine Murphy’s brothers informs her that soldiers can receive communion any time after confession, “no matter how long our fast.” On a lighter note, he also tells her the American troops “hate the name ‘Sammie’ and ‘Yank’ is our name.”

In the past, history was often taught on a macro level—great deeds performed by great men. As the teaching shifts to more of a micro level, resources such as Our Herald become more valuable to researchers as they provide a glimpse of how history was documented “as it happened.”

—Jennifer Head
BVM Archivist

Post date 4.20.2017


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BVMs, Catholic Sisters ‘Get in the Habit’ of Kindness


The Sisters of Charity, BVM, together with other Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, will launch a new campaign, “Kindness: Get in the Habit,” during the fourth annual National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8–14.

The message, to encourage people to be kind toward one another, was created to counter the continued divisiveness seen throughout the country, and will be shared on billboards, in movie theater ads, through social media posts, and in Catholic school classrooms.

BVM President Teri Hadro says, “Those of us in the U.S. sometimes take water, food, shelter, clothing and respect for granted. Our sisters and brothers in need help us understand the real meaning of the Gospel and gift us with the opportunity to live Jesus’ message today and every day.”

The billboards feature an image of a homeless person receiving a cup of coffee, with the accompanying text: “Kindness: Get in the Habit.” Billboards will be displayed in six communities from the Quad Cities to La Crosse, Wis., including Dubuque.

Six similar images, all illustrating the “Kindness” theme, will be featured both on social media sites and on the big screen in local movie theaters, including Dubuque.

“Sometimes it’s easy to take the simple acts of kindness that are a part of daily life for granted—the smile, recognition of hard work, the ‘I’m praying for you,’” reflects BVM First Vice President Lou Anglin. “Those moments bring out the best in people. I don’t want to ever stop noticing them or being a part of paying them forward. They make a world of difference.”

LaDonna Manternach, BVM second vice president, agrees. “People I meet are generally kind and considerate toward their neighbors and those they meet each day. This is not what makes the news, yet it is the biggest deal out there—it’s even radical. We live in a world that longs for kindness and kinship with one another. Kindness connects us, consoles us, and inspires us at a very basic level. Let’s hear again God’s call to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ and be people that make a difference.”

The Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley represent 12 congregations whose collective mission is to spread the Gospel message in the 21st century. They are the Sisters of St. Francis—Clinton, Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary—Dubuque, Sinsinawa Dominicans, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery—Rock Island, Sisters of Mercy—West Midwest Community, Congregation of the Humility of Mary, Sisters of St. Francis—Dubuque, Sisters of the Visitation, Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey and the Carmelite Nuns.

Watch the video at: http://bit.ly/2mTyTe5

Visit them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/catholicsisters.

Post date 3.7.17


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Read the latest issue of Salt magazine!


Winter: 2017 Explore the Power of Solidarity
We invite you to explore in this issue of Salt—explore the power of healing and reconciliation with Joyce Cox, BVM (Petrine) as she walks “Phil’s Camino” on Vashon Island, Wash.; explore the power of music as it restores the joy of memories to BVM sisters; explore the power of unity against a wall built to divide people; and last but not least . . . explore the power of BVM Cubs fans to persevere!

Click here to download magazine.


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School Celebrates BVM Roots at 125th Anniversary

BVMs (l. to r.) Sue Effinger, Terese Shinners, Virginia Stone and Janet Desmond celebrate with DSHA President Ellen Bartel (center).

BVMs (l. to r.) Sue Effinger, Terese Shinners, Virginia Stone and Janet Desmond celebrate with DSHA President Ellen Bartel (center).

Divine Savior Holy Angels HS (DSHA) in Milwaukee marked the beginning of its 125th anniversary year with a special liturgy on Feb. 1. Alumnae and former teachers joined DSHA faculty and students in celebration of both the anniversary year and National Catholic Schools Week (NCSW), observed this year from Jan. 29–Feb. 4. This year’s NCSW theme “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service” is embodied in the story of DSHA’s roots.

Holy Angels Academy opened in Milwaukee in 1892, under the leadership of the Sisters of Charity, BVM, where it grew and thrived into the 20th century. In 1926, the Sisters of the Divine Savior established another high school in Milwaukee to educate young women interested in joining their order. In 1948, Divine Savior opened to all girls in the Milwaukee area. The two schools merged in 1970 to create Divine Savior Holy Angels HS. Since that collaboration, DSHA has grown to become the number one high school for girls in Milwaukee.

“Holy Angels was my alma mater and that of most of the women in my family,” said Terese Shinners, BVM (Ellena). “The BVM alumnae at the liturgy shared memories of our high school teachers and the excellent education we received. My favorite part of the day was reconnecting with former students and colleagues from my years teaching at DSHA.”

BVM Suzanne (Sue) Effinger (Frances Carol) shared, “The event today celebrating 125 years was a powerful experience for me. The welcome all of the alums received as we processed into liturgy brought me to tears.” Janet Mary Desmond, BVM added, “The spirit of joy, service and pride filled the celebratory 125 year anniversary Mass. Students and faculty welcomed alums and all witness to their excellent academic and religious education.”

In her welcome at the Mass, DSHA President Ellen Bartels noted, “As we open our liturgical celebration, we honor those who have gone before us in our Procession of Alumnae. These women, who have graduated from Holy Angels Academy, Divine Savior HS, and Divine Savior Holy Angels, represent the over 14,000 young women who have come through the doors of our foundational institutions and have gone out to make a difference in the world.”

Post date 2.9.17


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BVM Inducted into Loyola University Athletic Hall of Fame


On Jan. 21, during the Loyola men’s basketball game against Evansville University, Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM became the 173rd member inducted into the Athletic Department Hall of Fame at Loyola University Chicago.

At halftime during the game, Athletic Director Steve Watson and Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney escorted Sister Jean to the center of the court for her induction ceremony. After a video presentation showing Loyola men and women basketball players thanking Sister Jean for her support through the years, she received her Hall of Fame plaque amid a standing ovation.

Sister Jean, age 97, went to her first Loyola basketball game in 1962, and the rest is history! Her dedication to the towering athletes who dwarf her tiny figure is legendary. As chaplain of the Loyola men’s basketball team since the early 1990s, Sister Jean leads everyone in prayer before the games and shares her enthusiastic support, unflagging energy, and astute critiques for each one.

Thrilled by the honor, she says, “I appreciate being in the Hall of Fame with all those wonderful athletes, who have brought such honor to Loyola and have influenced so many people.”

In the past year, Sister Jean has also received an honorary doctorate from the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University. What could possibly be next for this diminutive BVM powerhouse?

Read the full story at Loyola Phoenix:

http://bit.ly/2kaM4og

Watch Video:

http://bit.ly/2k61NoM

Post date 2.3.17


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BVMs, Associates and Friends Gather in Solidarity


“No Mas! No More! Tear Down the Border Wall! Basta Ya, Basta Ya, Basta Ya!”

These were the words that rang through and around the border wall at the Nogales, Ariz./Sonora, Mexico border for the SOA (School of the Americas) Watch Oct. 7–10. BVM Associates Carol and Francis DeCarvalho, Kay Harrison and Elizabeth Fitting joined BVMs Elizabeth Avalos, Bette Gambonini (Esther Mary) and Marilyn Wilson (Claudia Mary), and friends Arline Nelson and Wally Inglis for the event.

They gathered together in solidarity with over 1,000 justice seekers to:
• bring attention to the injustices of the U.S. immigration policies;
• advocate for a shift in U.S. policy toward refugees;
• offer a positive narrative about immigrants and refugees;
• build bridges of understanding and dialogue;
• struggle against U.S. militarization at home and abroad;
• and to commit to continue to work for comprehensive immigration reform.

A march led by Veterans for Peace guided the group to the border wall. Stages set on either side of the wall created connections with those who have suffered at the hands of border patrol and immigration officials. Participants attended workshops on both sides of the border, studying various aspects of the issue—injustices in the U.S. detention centers, unequal economies, disastrous effects of free trade, and deportation of veterans.

They joined 40 other women religious and associates for Encuentro de Hermanas, to pray together and engage in conversation about immigration and their response as women religious. For over 20 years, many congregations have had missions on both sides of border towns in the southwest. Coming to the watch from several states, they networked and shared resources.

For everyone, it was an experience that saddened, challenged, energized and filled them with hope.

“Abre corazones, abre brazoes, abre puertas en bienvenida.”
“Open hearts, open arms, open doors in welcome.”
              from NCR Global Sisters Report – prayer at Encuentro de Hermanas, Oct. 8, 2016

Prayer by Marilyn Wilson, BVM: Ode to the Wall

For more information go to: www.soaw.org


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Join BVMs, Associates and Friends on an Ecuador Immersion Trip


The Sisters of Charity, BVM and BVM associates invite you to stand in solidarity through work, reflection and prayer with our sisters and brothers in Ecuador. The date for the trip is April 19–28, 2017. Registration deadline is March 1.

On this journey, you will live and work with BVMs Miguel Conway and Cindy Sullivan at the Working Boys’ Center in Quito, a place dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty. You’ll visit homes in the barrio and countryside. You’ll gather with the local community to help a family build a house. You will visit Otavalo’s renowned indigenous artisan open air market, where area villagers bring their wares to barter and socialize.

A two-day trip to Guayaquil is also offered, including a visit to Damien House, a clinic for Hansen’s disease patients, and Nuevo Mundo, a foundation school where poor children receive free education along with those able to pay tuition.

The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) in Dubuque, Iowa, are a community of Catholic women religious who minister in 16 states and Ecuador and Ghana as educators, pastoral ministers, counselors and advocates for the elderly and immigrants.

For more information contact:
Kimberly Emery, ACT (Associate Coordinator Team): kemery@bvmcong.org
or bvmoutreach@bvmcong.org.

Read this reflection by Peggy Geraghty, BVM about last year's trip to Ecuador.
http://blog.bvmcong.org/post.cfm/ecuador-immersion-trip-reflection

 


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Diamonds Celebrate Jubilee

BVMs Carl Loras Pilmaier and Janita Curoe process from their Jubilarian Mass celebration.

BVMs Carl Loras Pilmaier and Janita Curoe process from their Jubilarian Mass celebration.

On Sept. 11, 2016, the Sets of 1943, 1944 and 1946 gathered to celebrate their diamond jubilees at Mount Carmel, Dubuque, Iowa, with family and friends. Our jubilarians have been teachers, administrators, congregational leaders, chaplains, pastoral ministers, artists, librarians and much more. They have striven to educate and promote justice and caring for others and the earth in all their missions.

BVM Vice President Lou Anglin, in her welcome, shared: "Looking around the chapel this morning, our jubilarians continue to give testimony on how to live as women of faith in our world. They touch our lives and inspire us through their lives of faithful friendship, concern for the needs of the world, and devotion to prayer. They continue to be the eyes and hands of Christ and show us how to be the same."

Thank you Sisters!

To read more about each sister celebrating her jubilee, or to send her a congratulatory message, visit: http://www.bvmcong.org/whatsnew_jubs.cfm.

To view additional photos, visit: http://www.bvmcong.org/whatsnew_album_detail.cfm?galleryID=156.

 

Set of 1943
BVMs are: (standing, l. to r.) Geneve Moran, Jean M. Byrne (Jean Francis), Karen Pollard, Julia Acosta (Lorenzo), Eleanor Craggs; (seated, l. to r.) Rita Mary Zander (Magdalene), Mary Frances Shafer (Francis Edward), and Rose André Koehler.

Set of 1944:
BVMs are: (standing, l. to r.): Mary Ann Lenore Eifert, Mary McElmeel (Eugenne); (seated, l. to r.): Mary Enid Lodding, Mary L. Stokes (Charlotte), Carol Frances Jegen, and Barbara Cerny.

 

Set of 1946
All sisters entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1946, except for Mary Angela Buser, BVM, who entered Feb. 2, 1946. BVMs are: (standing, l. to r.): Marian Hurley (Willliam Marie), Kathleen O’Sullivan (Donall), Dorothy Gaffney, Joan Stritesky (Magdaletta), Mary Angela Buser, Helen Jeanne Hurley, Janita Curoe, Kathleen Spurlin (Bernardone), Carl Loras Pilmaier, Margaret Devereux (Williamette); (seated, l. to r.) Marie Neff (Charles Marie) and Dolores Doohan (Sarah James). 

 

 

BVMs Mary Ernest Rothe (l.) and Suzanne Stopper were unable to attend.


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BVM Leadership Team Message on Apostolic Visitation Report

We have reviewed the “Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States” and are pleased with the positive and affirming report. The picture of women religious in the U.S. is presented accurately.

The points lifted up for further reflection by the report concern the essence of consecrated life. Self-reflection is not a new process for BVMs who will continue to share insights with each other and with those with whom we minister as we have always done since our founding.

We are delighted by the collaborative nature of the report and its widespread availability and transparency. This form of exchange is a new experience from the Vatican and we are encouraged that dialogue will be continued.

We are especially grateful to all of our sisters who we have shared in this process from the beginning and to the countless other friends who have shown their support in multiple ways.

President, Teri Hadro, BVM
Vice President, Mira Mosle, BVM
Vice President, Kate Hendel, BVM

Presentation of the report on congregations of US women religious

Final Report of the Apostolic Visitation


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