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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.

Together we’re the Best!

Every story takes a village…

By Sister Karen Zielinski, OSF

My sister, Sister Judy, just had two total knee replacements.  She had her left knee replaced on Tuesday and then her right one a few days later, on Friday.  After six days in the hospital, she was released to Rosary Care Center to recover and do rehab. In two weeks, she was released and returned to her home in South Bend, Indiana.

That is the bare bones version—and now the rest of the story.

She had been anticipating and planning for her new knees for a couple of years. Her work as a producer for NewGroup Media took her to different “shoots” with her colleagues. Her ministry included lots of walking and a good amount of travel. So she began by seeking out an orthopedic surgeon near Sylvania, our Motherhouse, with the plan to recuperate in Sylvania. After several doctor’s visits, both her primary care and her knee doctor, she made plans for surgery.

She spoke with her colleagues at work and scheduled her time off. She called the staff at Rosary Care Center, and scheduled her tentative days for rehab. She talked with neighbors, her landlord about taking care of her plants, turning down the heat in her apartment, and keeping her Sylvania Franciscan Sister/Counselor informed of the steps that were unfolding. She even brought me her little Beta fish, “Bo” to feed while she was in Ohio.

Dozens of health care professionals—surgeons, anesthesiologists, recovery room nurses, dietary staff, physical and occupational therapists, inhalation therapists, social workers, receptionists and pharmacists all played a part in the flow of her surgery.  

Spiritually and emotionally, she felt blanketed in prayer and support. From the Sisters of St. Francis’ hotline, to the cards and calls and emails from lots of Sisters and friends, she was affirmed and encouraged to heal. She was tangibly shown she was not alone in this knee event. Other friends came bearing flowers and called or emailed her when she was further along her recovery. 

Two South Bend friends picked her up in Sylvania and drove her home. Neighbors there bought groceries, and one friend treated her to a number of frozen, homemade meals. Another friend visited her the first weekend home.  Once in Indiana, she met with a home nurse and more therapists.

Dozens of people made this surgery happen and happen successfully. Sister Judy is still recovering, and her prognosis seems excellent, thanks to all who played a part in the whole event. Everyone had a role to play, and each one was significant.

About ten years ago, I flew into LAX, Los Angeles International airport, to visit Judy when she worked there. That year, the airport had banners flying all around the parking lots and terminals, proclaiming, “Together, we’re the Best!”

So true when we all do our parts.

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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 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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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 Vocations

Why did you come to religious life….why do you stay?  As Vocation Minister for the Sisters of St Francis, Sister Julie addresses these simple questions that hold deep meaning and more in her blogging and in her monthly “Letter from the Vocation Minister” found on the Vocation link of the Sister’s Website.  We are all called by God to be our best selves and to serve God in ways far beyond our imagining.  Sister Julie has lived her calling as a Franciscan through the ministries of Vocation Minister, Physical Therapist Assistant, and as Sacristan for the Motherhouse Chapel.

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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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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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