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Follow Sylvania Franciscans as they blog about living their mission of joyful service to all people. Each week you can read a new entry from the personal journal of a Sister and how she applies Franciscan values to her ministry and the impact they have on the community where she lives. If you like what you read, comment back. We’re always looking for a good conversation.

Our Tree of Life

By Sister Ann Carmen Barone, OSF

You say assembly and I think blue spruce. Odd connection? Not at all.

The beautiful blue spruce near the entrance to Queen of Peace Chapel was planted there at the conclusion of our first “directional” assembly, June 13-17, 1988.The small tree stood as the focus of our prayer in the Franciscan Center and “Every person” sat near it calling to mind those praying for us and our own need to pray.

Shaping Our Future. That assembly was unique. Sister Marie Andrée called all the Sisters to gather and imagine ourselves in 2008. We imagined from the perspective of women as lovers and learners, listeners and searchers of wisdom, and women in protection of Creation. I could feel the excitement in the air as we were asked to create compelling images and to plan the steps that would make that transformation from here to there possible. Leadership wanted the Sisters to take ownership of their work which would be passed on to our elected delegates at the Chapter of Affairs, which followed the assembly.

As we walked over for the closing liturgy we stopped and watched as Sister Marie Andrée and the assembly coordinators, Sister Rachel Marie and Sister Shannon, planted the blue spruce in it new home. The story doesn’t end there. The summer of 1988 was hot and very dry. Sister Paschal Rybinski took on the watering detail and you can see how her loving and dedicated care gave the young tree a refreshing start.

We were challenged and invited to do the same with the compelling images we created. Have we Sylvania Franciscans become a dynamic force for change in church and society, side by side in life and ministry with God’s people? Have we been fully committed to deepening our understanding of the spirituality of our Franciscan evangelical way of life? Have we transformed our campus into a creative center for Christian human development? Have we become Franciscan women collaborating with the laity, ever intensifying our efforts to promote human rights and dignity for all persons, with preference for the economically poor?

That beautiful tall and stately blue spruce continues to grow. I smile and think that we Sylvania Franciscans continue to be transformed as women of peace and seekers of justice. I give God thanks and praise for each Sister, living and deceased, who has watered our tree of life.

  1. Re: Our Tree of Life

    What a wonderful memory! And how things do come full circle!

    --Sr. Sharon Derivan

  2. Re: Care and Compassion Is Ageless

    How wonderful for all the people who live in that area how giving the chocolate cake


  3. Re: Laudato Si: Blessed Are You!

    Thank you for a great article. Especially liked your image of the Earth as a vending machine--how t


  4. Re: Stuck Inside

    And also abandon the cell phone within your bag!

    --prada replica

  5. Re: Fun, Joy, and Other Such Things

    Yes, we all need our hugs and smiles. My friends and co-workers know that they can get free hugs fro


Meet the Sylvania Franciscan bloggers. We invite you to join us helping the Christian community commit themselves to works that reverence human dignity, embrace the poor and marginalized, and respect the gift of all creation.

Sister Ann Carmen Barone

As Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Sister Ann Carmen Barone is responsible for developing consciousness of the Franciscan mission and for ensuring its implementation and integration into the community of Lourdes. Sister Ann Carmen also supports the other Vice Presidents and the President in their mission-related activities.

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Sister Nancy Linenkugel
Franciscan in the Marketplace

Sister Nancy Linenkugel has served in healthcare administration, education and leadership for the Sylvania Franciscans.  She is an accomplished cello player and a member of the Washington D.C.-based Medical Music Group, made up of doctors, nurses and medical professionals from around the country.  Sister Nancy is currently the chair of the department of health service administration and director of the graduate program in health services administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati.  She has served on the Sylvania Franciscan Leadership Team, was president of Chatfield College in Cincinnati, president and CEO of the Providence Health System and Providence Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio, and vice president of St. John Medical Center in Steubenville, Ohio.  

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Sister Sharon Havelak
Justice and Peace

Sister Sharon is an artist, educator and long-time peace activist, who currently oversees All Good Things, a store/gallery/gift shop featuring art by the Sisters, handmade soaps and lotions, and Fair Trade products.* She also serves as the coordinator of the Sylvania Franciscan’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation efforts, and teaches art history at Lourdes University. She keeps her creative juices flowing by painting on silk scarves.
* All Good Things gallery is located in our Sylvania Franciscan Village and many of the items are sold on our website.

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Sister Pam Nosbusch
Hospice Chaplain

Sister Pam is native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  She is a Chaplain with Gentiva Hospice in Nashville, Tennessee and is a Board Certified Chaplain with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.  Previous ministries include Theater Arts and Music Education and Pastoral Associate in Catholic parishes.

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Patrick Mills
Spiritual Enrichment

Pat is a husband and father living in Sylvania, Ohio. He has worked many years for Owens Corning in Toledo and elsewhere. He leads programs there for recruiting and developing talent early in their career, primarily for engineering and operations. As Pat and his family moved around the country, he has been blessed to fellowship in Cursillo, Christ Renews His Parish, bible studies and liturgical music ministry. He presently serves on the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania Associate Advisory Board, Chairs the Associate Spiritual Enrichment Committee and is a member of the Expansion Committee for Feed Lucas County Children. Pat is a pilgrim on the journey.

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Sister Lois Anne Palkert
Health and Human Services

Sister Lois Anne has had the opportunity to serve in a variety of ministries, initially as a teacher in Detroit and Toledo.  She transferred her teaching skills into formation ministry in Sylvania, then to Lourdes College where she was Director of the Lifelong Learning.  She then moved into parish ministry and served as a Director of Faith Formation and as a Pastoral Associate in two rural parishes in Minnesota.    From education she transferred to healthcare ministry and currently serves as the Director of Mission Services at St Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, Texas.

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Sister Julie Myers
Religious Life Reaching the Online Community

We are all called by God to be our best selves and to serve God in ways far beyond our imagining. Sr. Julie’s vocational  journey reflects this statement as she recently joined the team of A Nun’s Life Ministry—an online ministry where people come to the website and social media to talk about God, spirituality, prayer, community, ministry and more. Sr Julie’s ministry career has called her into service through Vocation Ministry and Sacristan duties for the congregation as well as Physical Therapist Assistant in an acute care/trauma hospital. 

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Sister Nancy Surma
Health and Human Services

Sister Nancy is a native of Detroit and was taught in grade school by the Sylvania Franciscans. Her early years were spent teaching and administering at the junior high and high school level. Life took a turn, as it so often does, and she served as administrator in four different Catholic colleges and universities, earning a doctorate in higher education administration along the way. She currently works for Sylvania Franciscan Health, the Sisters’ sponsored health and human service ministry, in the world of mission integration. Sr. Nancy lives with three other Sisters in a house that is filled with laughter and love.

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Sister Karen Zielinski
Health and Spirituality 

Karen J. Zielinski, OSF, is a Sylvania Franciscan who has lived with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) since 1975.  She writes, speaks and consults regularly on issues relating to spirituality and health. Her recent book, Hope and Help for Living with Illness (Franciscan Media) discusses chronic disease and coping strategies and is addressed to both caregivers and patients.  Karen also writes a blog on spirituality and wellness--Soul Sister-- for the National MS Society website.

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