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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.


By Sister Lois Anne Palkert, OSF

Expressions of regret and horror, prayer services and moments of silence across the country followed in the aftermath of the shooting June 17 at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The rampage claimed nine lives as once again we, as a nation faced the grim, inexplicable spectacle of a mass slaying. The gun-man, a troubled 21 year-old, was filled with hostility rooted in racial hatred.

Making this attack even more difficult to endure is that it took place in a church, where violence in black churches has a long history.

“Persons burned churches,” remarked Rev, Teresa Fry Brown historiographer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, “because they thought the congregation of blacks together meant that was ferment for some kind of revolutionary action.”

“The inside of any church is a sanctuary,” Robert Guglielmone of the Diocese of Charleston stated the day after the rampage. “When a person enters, he or she has the right to worship, pray and learn in a safe and secure environment. For anyone to murder nine individuals is upsetting, but to kill them inside a church during a Bible study is devastating to any faith community.”

“There is something heartbreaking about the death happening in a place in which we seek solace,” commented President Obama. “We seek peace in a place of worship. At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries… with this frequency… and it is in our power to do something about it.”

Something is being done about it by N. Alana Simmons and her siblings. Their grandfather Rev. Daniel Simmons, a retired minister, was one of the nine shooting victims. Alana and her siblings are on a mission in honor of their grandfather and the eight other victims killed at Emanuel AME Church. The goal is: “Hate Won't Win.”

Alana used those words when she addressed the shooting suspect Dylann Roof at his June 19 bond hearing. They are the words embraced by the Charleston community as its mantra.

The Simmons grandchildren are now taking the words to another level with the “Hate Won't Win” challenge on social media. The challenge is simple: Do something kind for someone different than you. Go out of your way to speak to someone different than you. Post your story on social media. Follow the campaign on #HateWontWin.

In an interview by CNN’s Don Lemon, Alana explained: “All we're asking you to do is to show an act of love to someone who's different from you – someone of a different race, of a different religion, gender, even a different generation,”

"There's no policy that the government can make to change somebody's mind. We can't change somebody's mind and we can't change their hearts with policies. We want to change people's hearts and that's how we intend on doing it, by getting the masses to participate in love.”

“Those killed at Emmanuel AME spoke love, they preached love, they lived in love,” Simmons said of her grandfather and the others who were killed. And now they are committed to spread love.

Catholic Health Initiatives, the group that manages the hospital where I minister, has a foundational commitment to creating a culture of nonviolence, encouraging behaviors that reinforce peace, including efforts to promote and use non-violent language. Many words and phrases can be perceived as violent or aggressive simply through tone of voice, non-verbal expressions or context of the conversation. Phrases like: “shoot me an email; plan of attack, hit the target are engrained in work settings. One of the goals of the campaign is to avoid the use of these words or phrases in daily routines.

To support CHI values and its commitment to creating a culture of nonviolence, directors at St Joseph Regional Health Center received a guide for the use of nonviolent language. The guide listed words or phrases that may be perceived as violent with peaceful alternatives. For example: rather than saying “Destroy the competition” a peaceful alternative “Do better than the completion”. “Dead in the water” “It’s over” “shoot me an email” “Send me an email”. Leaders were to review the guide, consider how to take a more peaceful approach to their work and the work in their department, then spend time talking with their team members to identify ways to foster a culture of nonviolence by promoting the use of non-violent language.

Awareness followed by action can make a difference. CHI along with the Simmons’ grandchildren believes we can and will do something about violence: Spread love, promote a peaceful culture at work, at home and in the community.

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

    Well said!

    --Sr. Magdala

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

    Well said!

    --Sr. Magdala

  3. Re: Our Tree of Life

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

    --Sr. Sharon Derivan

  4. Re: Care and Compassion Is Ageless

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


  5. 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


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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