Proclaiming the Good News!
Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities – women who have devoted their lives to the service of God and the neediest of his people. Here you will find many resources you need to help you tell their important stories.
Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities
In our 150 year history we have:
Sister Beth Niederpruem Ministers with Refugees Seeking Asylum
Sister Beth Niederpruem has seen her workload at Vive in Buffalo more than double in the weeks following the release of new U.S. policies for immigration. Refugees seeking asylum have overwhelmed the safe house in their efforts to cross over into Canada.READ MORE
“We currently have between 30 and 40 people more than we can handle at Vive,” said Sister Beth. “We’ve been housing them in parishes and wherever we can find them places to stay.” Some of those at Vive have been in the U.S. for a long time while others have just arrived.
“Everybody is fleeing the country now and we’re coping with the crisis,” said Sister Beth. She noted that while many of Vive’s current residents are looking to get into Canada, “many of them don’t have the credentials. We just had one large family here from Haiti who couldn’t meet the requirements for Canada and they left. I don’t know where they’ve gone or what’s going to happen to them,” she said.
While the number of people being sheltered at Vive has increased, so has the length of their stay. The average was three to four weeks, but Sister Beth says it’s now difficult to tell how long people will be on site. “Things have slowed up at the Canadian border,” she said. “People are going over the border on their own and are getting picked up by authorities and the Canadian system has to deal with those people first.”
Another complication is the makeup of some of the families. “Right now we have two families of 10 people. One family is from Somalia and the other is from Guatemala. Both families are a mix in that some of the children were born abroad and some of the children were born here in the U.S. That’s really a mess,” she said.
As she spoke, Sister Beth was driving a van loaded with pots and pans to one of the temporary housing sites. The refugee center is in desperate need of sheets and blankets for single beds as well as pillows, towels and travel accessories, as it is unlikely the flow of people will slow any time soon.
“The stories we’re hearing,” she said. “It’s really difficult.”
Photo caption: Muwahi Robson and Sister Beth Niederpruem pick up supplies at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, New York where sisters and Franciscan associates generously pooled their resources in support of refugees.
Sister Margaret Carney Honored by Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
Sister Margaret Carney of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities is being honored for her many contributions to Catholic intellectual life. She will receive the Monika K. Hellwig Award from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities at the association’s annual meeting Jan. 28 in Washington, D.C.READ MORE
Prior to being named the 20th president of St. Bonaventure University (Olean, New York) in 2004, Sister Margaret held positions at the university including associate professor of Franciscan Studies, dean of the School of Franciscan Studies and director of the internationally recognized Franciscan Institute. During her term as the Institute’s dean and director she helped found the Bonaventure Texts in Translation Series. She worked with Joseph Chinnici, OFM, of the Franciscan School of Theology (California) and Brother Ed Coughlin, OFM, currently president of Siena College to help establish the Secretariat for the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition, which offers consulting for study centers, publishers and individual scholars of the Franciscan Order. She resigned from the presidency of St. Bonaventure in 2016 but continues to participate in designated initiatives for the university.
Sister Margaret’s early work included years in elementary and secondary education and ministries within the Franciscan community. As associate vicar for religious in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, she was the first woman to serve in that diocese’s chancery; she lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad in Franciscan studies; and was a member of the working commission of the Franciscan Third Order Regular mandated with drafting a new formulation of the Rule and Life for more than 400 congregations of Franciscan sisters and brothers.
Sister Margaret holds a master’s degree in theology from Duquesne University, a graduate degree in Franciscan Studies from St. Bonaventure University and became the first woman to earn a doctorate in theology at the Antonianum, Rome’s Franciscan University.
The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities was founded in 1899 and serves as the collective voice of U.S. Catholic higher education. Through programs and services, the association strengthens and promotes the Catholic identity and mission of its member institutions so that all associated with Catholic higher education can contribute to the greater good of the world and the Church.
Sister’s Dedication to Elder Care Earns Honors
For more than 40 years, Sister Ann Carville, Ph.D., has been concerned about the care of elderly vowed religious, not just in her own congregation but in other religious communities as well. She worked with international and national communities as they planned for the care of their senior members, advising them to take advantage of government programs and to transform their sick and infirm convent areas into hospital care units, hiring caregivers for various levels of care. She now serves as an elder care consultant for the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO).READ MORE
Her compassionate concern for senior religious and contributions in retirement planning for them has earned her the recognition of the Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, who recently awarded Sister Ann with the Father Jankola Lifetime Commitment to Servant Leadership Award.
“Your work with your congregation in caring for your elderly sisters has been outstanding and your outreach to other religious congregations as a consultant for the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) has made a difference in the quality of their lives,” said Sister Michael Ann Orlik, SS.C.M., general superior of the Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. “Your overall involvement in the care of the elderly on all levels is a reminder to us of the Gospel message of Jesus who came to heal us all.”
Sister Ann earned a doctorate degree in philosophy, human and organizational development from The Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, California. She began consulting with the NRRO after serving as community minister for her own congregation from 2001 to 2007. “I recognize there is much wisdom that is shared when people of all ages come together to talk about the complex issue of aging,” she said. “My goal is to help crystallize their ideas for the future.”
Of her award Sister Ann said “I am deeply honored to receive this wonderful affirmation from a group of dedicated women who are committed to this very same mission of service.”
Sister Alicia Honored for Commitment to Patients with Hansen’s Disease
Sister Alicia Damien Lau has pledged to remain at Kalaupapa until the last patient with Hansen’s disease leaves the island. She first came to Molokai in 1965, the year she entered her community when nearly 200 patients were still under quarantine and forbidden to leave the island. Today, seven patients remain.READ MORE
St. Marianne Cope is Sister Alicia’s inspiration. “When I look at the wonderful things St. Marianne did with the people of Kalaupapa, and her commitment to love them unconditionally, it’s my way of continuing in her footsteps,” she says.
In honor of her many works of love at Kalaupapa, The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem – Grand Priory of America awarded Sister Alicia the Companionate of Merit Award during the group’s investiture ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina on Oct. 29.
Richard Payatt, commander of the Grand Commandery of the West said he is grateful to Sister Alicia for going above and beyond her everyday works of charity and goodness to lead a beautiful pilgrimage to Molokai for the Order of St. Lazarus-Grand Priory of America. “Her guidance and assistance… to create the events and arrange the tour of Kalaupapa is beyond her normal work of charity and goodness,” he said. “It was a work of love.”
Sister Alicia said she was pleased to accept the award “on behalf of the hundreds of sisters in her community who have served in Kalaupapa through the years.” She also presented the group’s leadership with gifts from Hawaii including Hawaiian sea salt, candies and two books, “Pilgrimage and Exile” and “Damien & Marianne Pilgrimage Guide.”
The primary mission of The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem – Grand Priory of America is to create awareness and educate people about programs designed to combat Hansen’s disease. The group also works to promote organ donation programs.
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