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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.

Living Our Charism

   Sister Lois Anne Palkert

   In a recent article in Health Progress, Ron Hamel and Michael Panicola acknowledge that “Health care in the United States is in a state of major transformation, the likes of which perhaps we have never seen.”  The transition reveals some very encouraging trends.  There are, however, trends that are concerning and challenging that could have an impact on our Catholic identity. 

   Catholic health care is motivated and defined by its faith in the redemptive act of Jesus Christ, participating in and continuing the healing ministry of Jesus. 

   Throughout our 100 year history, our involvement in the ministry of healthcare has evolved.  Now as a participating member of Catholic Health Initiatives we, along with each of the participating congregations continue to evolve as we each bring the unique gift of our founder/foundress to our ministry.  Each of these founders/foundresses, in their own unique way,   responded to the call of God to serve those in need of healing.  When we think of all that has come to be, we stand in awe of the mysterious and awesome ways God’s creative Spirit is at work.

   Our contribution to CHI is our Franciscan heritage, our unique way of living Gospel values that consistently gives meaning to our ministry.   Recent popular management writings stress the importance of “operationalizing values”.  According to studies the most successful corporations have a strong corporate culture; they have a sense of identity and values.  The creation of a corporate culture depends on the employees having a common knowledge of the “heroes and heroines, the values the organization chooses” and the stories that give life to these values. 

   CHI recognizes and values the work of the founding congregations.  To this end CHI has published a book, entitled Charism to tell the story of each of the participating congregations.  We bring to that rich tradition our story, the legacy of the Sisters who have served in our sponsored health care ministries.   That legacy continues today in our lay partners who embrace our congregational mission and values and the mission and values of CHI.   Within our healthcare system, especially at St Joseph Regional in Bryan we e continually provide opportunities strengthen our Franciscan heritage and tradition.

   Because we face an uncertain future we can be tempted to fearful in the face of the crises that confront us in Catholic health care.  Reviewing the history of the works of Sylvania Franciscan Health and before that Sylvania Services Corporation and the history of CHI sponsoring congregations shows us that crisis has always been a part of the ministry. History teaches us that our challenge is not greater or lesser-it is our own particular cross and challenge. 

   Frustration and despair are contradictions of hope.  Faith in the face of crisis is clearly evident in our history and the understanding of our charism and the charisms evident in the founders/foundresses of the congregations participating in CHI.  Knowing this makes our own choices in faith more meaningful.  We cannot allow size and sustainability to blind us to the importance of our fundamental value commitments.  Living out these commitments is a necessary condition for realizing our mission of revealing God’s healing and reconciling presence to the sick and suffering in the communities we serve.

   We begin our centennial celebration and prepare for chapter 2016 with the vision and confidence of Mother Adelaide who throughout her live was willing to risk in faith. 



  1. Re: Fond Memories

    Nice article-- I share many of those memories as a fellow-Detroiter and Boblo boat passenger. Readin

    --Sister Judy Z.

  2. Re: Keepers of the Faith

    Excellent blog--I love the connection of faith, women, and nature! Thanks for your reflection of an

    --Sr Julie

  3. Re: What I’ve Learned From My Move

    Well said!

    --Sr. Magdala

  4. Re: What I’ve Learned From My Move

    Well said!

    --Sr. Magdala

  5. Re: Our Tree of Life

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

    --Sr. Sharon Derivan

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 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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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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