Sisters Celebrate Perpetual Profession of Vows in Lodi, New Jersey

Sisters Celebrate Perpetual Profession of Vows in Lodi, New Jersey



From L: SM Juanita Arnister pins corsage on S Grace Marie Del Priore;
SM Monica Drogon does the same for S Dong Hong Marie Zhang

The Mass of Thanksgiving for the Perpetual Profession of Public Vows of S Dong Hong Marie Zhang and S Grace Marie Del Priore was celebrated on Saturday, August 26, at the Immaculate Conception Chapel in Lodi, NJ.  The two sisters had made their final profession on August 2 in Chicago, IL, during the concluding Celebration of the Eucharist of the Provincial Chapter.

More than 125 guests of Sister Dong Hong and Sister Grace as well as Felician Sisters from the New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania areas came together to give Praise and Thanksgiving to God, which was the theme of the Eucharistic celebration.

    Msgr. Joseph M. Curry, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Spotswood, where Sister Dong Hong resides, was the celebrant. Before the liturgy began, he expressed his extreme gratitude for having the opportunity to celebrate this special liturgy.

Father Noel Danielewicz, OFM, Conv, chaplain to the Felician Sisters in Enfield, CT, was the homilist.   He noted that the profession of final vows made by Sister Dong Hong and Sister Grace is a covenant response just as in the Sacrament of Matrimony.

ccFather Noel described the gift of Blessed Angela Truszkowska, foundress of the Felician Sisters, and how that gift, begun in Poland, has spread throughout the world to Brazil, the Americas, China, and Haiti. The spousal love practiced by all religious is based on the love of Jesus, the members of the community, the entire Church, and the whole world.

Music ministers at the Mass were S Maria Magdalena Vallellanes, cantor; SM Virginia Tomasiak, organist; Dave DeRienzo, trumpeter; five international sisters who study at Felician University and five Felician Sisters. Sister Virginia said, “The congregation was most spirited in joining the choir during the celebration.”

Music ministers at the Mass were S Maria Magdalena Vallellanes, cantor; SM Virginia Tomasiak, organist; Dave DeRienzo, trumpeter; five international sisters who study at Felician University and five Felician Sisters. Sister Virginia said, “The congregation was most spirited in joining the choir during the celebration.”

After the celebration of the Eucharist,  guests made their way to the new Immaculate Conception Convent for the reception where the third floor meeting room was transformed into a dining room. Decorations proclaimed the special day.

Sister Dong Hong received a unique collective gift. A large poster with pictures of the various Chinese groups to which she ministers was passed around during the dinner for everyone to sign and then given to her at the end of the day. This gift was most meaningful for her bank of memories.

Speaking for the Felician Sisters of North America, Sister Virginia offered praise to God for “the gift of Sister Dong Hong Marie Zhang and Sister Grace Marie Del Priore who have generously become permanent members of our Felician Franciscan family.”


Biannual meeting and renewal of vows

543The annually professed sisters arrived at Holy Name of Mary Convent in Mississauga, Ont., Canada for their biannual meeting and renewal of vows on Monday, August 14.

The sisters are: S Desiré Anne-Marie Findlay, S Heather Marie Deneen, and S Maria Louise Edwards, along with

S Maria Bakhita Waweru, MC, who is in the transfer process. They were joined by directors S Barbara Marie Brylka and SM Juanita Szymanski, and coordinator of 56formation S Suzanne Marie Kush.

The first full day, August 15, began with sung Morning Prayer for the solemnity of the Assumption and a festive Eucharistic celebration during which Sister Desiré renewed her vows as a Felician Sister.

SM Celestine Giertych, minister general, who is on vacation from Rome, joyfully received the renewal of vows.  Father Pawel Ratajczak, OMI, celebrant and homilist, noted how, just as Mary was called to give birth to Christ, religious are called to give birth to Christ’s love and presence with their actions and words.

A festive breakfast that included Tim Horton’s donuts as a treat, followed the Mass.

Guided by Sister Suzanne, the group participated in lectio divina on the Gospel of the day before Sister Juanita and Sister Barbara shared an overview of the formation assignments and meetings for the year. This year’s program for the annually professed will utilize human development materials provided by Saint Luke’s Institute and Zoom for more face-to-face discussions.

Sister Suzanne’s afternoon presentation focused on the Capuchin influence on Felician spirituality. She elaborated on the Capuchin call to a more balanced active/contemplative life that emphasized ministering to people in the cities. Sister Suzanne noted the importance of the example of St. Felix in Felician spirituality and the call to live in simplicity and joyfully in the Lord.

Since August 15 was also Sister Desiré’s feast day, Sister Celestine took the group to Stella Maris, a vacation condo on the shores of Lake Ontario for the sisters’ use. Following a short time visiting and enjoying the scenic views, everyone enjoyed an ice cream cone to celebrate.

Today began with an adventure for the annually professed group. Everyone awoke at 5 a.m. and joined Sister Celestine in watching the sun rise over Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto. After a brief stop for coffee, the sisters gathered in a nearby park with blankets and pillows and prayed while waiting for the sun to rise.

Sister Heather said, “Slowly, the red, orange and magenta colors of the sunrise illuminated the surroundings, and it was a beautiful moment to contemplate the amazing array of God’s creation, including sleeping swans that gradually came to life as the sun rose overhead.”

Filled with a sense of peace, the sisters returned to Holy Name of Mary Convent to witness and celebrate the renewal of vows for Sister Maria Louise. While the Gospel message emphasized the importance of gentle fraternal correction, Father Pawel mentioned the difficulty and need for it while living religious life.

Sister Celestine joyfully received Sister Maria Louise’s vows and the sisters at Holy Name of Mary Convent celebrated as well, even though the day was liturgically more low key.

Today’s session featured S Nancy Marie Jamroz presenting on communication. The first half of the day was spent exploring the many components of verbal and nonverbal communication. Sister Nancy utilized several video clips that illustrated her points well.

During the afternoon, Sister Nancy will present on the importance of communication in developing solid leadership skills.

Reflecting on their gathering thus far, Sister Heather said, “Overall, the annually professed sisters have had an enriching and delightful time growing in their vocations during their time at Holy Name of Mary Convent and really appreciate the welcome and hospitality of the sisters here.”

Renewal of Vows

uuuOn Thursday, August 17, annual professed sisters S Desiré Anne-Marie Findlay, S Heather Marie Deneen, and S Maria Louise Edwards, and transfer sister S Maria Bakhita Waweru, MC, along with their directors S Barbara Marie Brylka and SM Juanita Szymanski, and Director of Formation S Suzanne Marie Kush, participated in a retreat at Queen of Apostles Retreat Center just down the road from the central convent.

Father Pawel Ratajczak, OMI, presented two talks on “The Spirituality of Flexibility.” He noted three key points about living out the spirituality of flexibility: having a strong sense of self-worth/seeing one’s self in the image and likeness of God, humility/ letting go and keeping hope, and trusting in God’s providence/the ability to take plans with a grain of salt.

tttThe week’s activities culminated with Sister Heather’s renewal of vows. Again, Father Pawel was the celebrant and homilist, and he spoke about how vowed spouses of Christ are blessings for the world. As her sisters prayed with her, Sister Heather said “yes” to God’s call to the Felician Congregation for another year.

Sister Desiré Participates in 12th National Black Catholic Congress

Sister Desiré Participates in 12th National Black Catholic Congress


123S Desiré Anne-Marie Findlay, CSSF was among the more than 2,000 delegates attending the Twelfth National Black Catholic Congress in Orlando, FL, from

July 6-9.

Attendees gathered from dioceses across the nation to learn from each other and draw inspiration from speakers such as Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL, and Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, IL, author of the pastoral letter and study guide “The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015.”

Amid workshops on prayer, Bible study, and prison ministries were sessions on racism as a destructive force and lessons learned in the St. Louis Archdiocese from the unrest in Ferguson after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014.

The theme of Congress XII was The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.

During the opening Mass, held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, Sister Desiré proclaimed the first reading and later spoke on the topic of prayer on both Friday and Saturday during the conference.

Sister Desiré said her talk incorporated ideas surrounding prayer as sacrifice, as relationship, and ritual prayer. To read her blog post which includes the talk she prepared, click here.

Sister Desiré is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the conference and, not only to have shared an important aspect of her life as a Felician, but also to have attended as a black Catholic.

“It was a unique cultural experience and one that I hope to take part in again as I form my identity in light of my faith and ethnicity.”

However, she noted, anyone can attend since it is not a conference held exclusively for black Catholics. “Unfortunately, it only takes place every five years, but 2022 will likely come soon enough!”

Priests Pedaling for Prayers

By Jennifer Willems Catholic News Service PEORIA, Ill. (CNS) — After riding bicycles a little more than 340 miles over five days, three young priests of the Diocese of Peoria sailed across the Indiana state line April 28, bringing Priests Pedaling for Prayers to a close. “It does seem a little surreal,” Father Tom Otto […]

via ‘Pedaling priests’ complete 340-mile bicycle trek for vocation prayers — CNS top stories

Felician Sisters in Haiti

Every first Sunday of the month we go to a special Mass for children preparing for their First Communion in Jacmel. They are kids from the Catholic Schools and those who are in catechetical programs. So we bring 5 of our kids every month to this Mass in the new multi purpose center. This was […]

via Monthly Masses for children preparing for First Communion — Felician Sisters Haiti