Love Letter to the Sisters

“You shall know them by their fruits. Every good tree brings forth good fruit.”
MT 7:16a & 17a

Until a few short years ago, I had never heard the names Solana, Ernestine and Hilaria. The foundresses courageously followed God’s call to form the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (FSOLPH) 120 years ago, planting seeds that have blossomed in faithful prayer, care for creation, and loving, compassionate presence with others right up to the present day. What a huge part they’ve played in my life’s “movie” and maybe yours, too. Their prophetic vision and its empowering manifestations have enabled this Catholic convert from New Jersey to grow in hope and joy, to have experiences and opportunities, friendships and support that I otherwise would never have had. I can’t imagine who I’d be without the influence and spirit of those three women, handed down to me through the Sisters of today.

Do you know what has impressed me the most about the FSOLPH over the years? It’s their unwavering commitment to conversion of heart. No matter the situation, need or dilemma, they continually return to The Source for their strength and guidance. Many religious orders cultivate a contemplative stance, but what is so inspiring to me—what has changed me—is their gentleness and the respect they show for the movement of the Spirit, each other and themselves in the process. They go about doing good with a degree of patience, conviction and integrity that is a rare in this fast-paced, trend-conscious and often hypocritical world. What a valuable example for those of us who find it hard to slow down long enough amid all the busyness and distractions to hear what God might be trying to say.

In my opinion, one of the take-home messages of a relationship with the Sisters is this: You don’t know how choosing to turn your will over to God may impact the world. Just your simple presence or one act of fidelity to God might make all the difference in someone else’s life or the life of a person you will never meet. Solana, Ernestine and Hilaria could not have guessed in their wildest dreams all the people they would touch, including me, through their legacy of love.

Thanks, my beloved Sisters, and keep the faith. You’ll be changing lives for decades to come.

Past News

Celebrating the Life of Sister Barbara Siderewicz, OSF

SISTER BARBARA SIDEREWICZ, 1949-2024 Discernment is a contemplative life stance of being attuned to the Holy Spirit for the sake of Mission. -- Community Discernment Statement Sister Barbara Siderewicz gave her life totally to God when she professed her vows as a...

Celebrating the Life of Sister Clarice Faltus, OSF

Sister Clarice Faltus was born into eternal life at the age of 93 on March 2, 2024, after 69 years as a Franciscan Sister of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Sister Clarice Faltus, nee Barbara Ann, was the second of four daughters born to Clara and Bertram Faltus in East...

Celebrating the Life of Sister Joan Phyllis Dyreks, OSF

. SISTER JOAN PHYLLIS DYREKS Feb 23, 1938 -- July 16, 2023 . “What you hold, may you always hold. What you do, may you always do and never abandon.” — Letter of St. Clare to Agnes of Prague, 1237 This letter could easily have been written to our Sister Joan Phyllis...

Celebrating the Life of Sister Elaine Urbanek, OSF

SISTER ELAINE URBANEK September 1, 1923 – December 27, 2022 “It should be obvious that they are joyful, good-humored and happy in the Lord.” Third Order Regular Rule V,20 Indeed, Sister Elaine was joyful and happy in the Lord. Even as her slight body waited upon the...

In Praise of Regifting

Regifting gets a bad “wrap”—sorry for the terrible pun! During this season when we spend a lot of time and energy thinking about, shopping for, and purchasing presents, I think this practice deserves to be reconsidered. Sure, regifting can be a cheap and relatively...

Celebrating the Life of Sister Rose Marie Przybylowicz, OSF

SISTER ROSE MARIE PRZYBYLOWICZ, OSF October 6, 1939 -- September 9, 2022 A dear friend whom Sister Rose Marie accompanied through death often prayed “God, when you are ready call me; when you call me, let me be ready.” This prayer became her prayer the last two weeks...

FSOLPH Leadership attends 2022 LCWR Assembly

Our Leadership Team of Sisters Renita Brummer, Rosalie Wisniewski, and Ellen Horn took part in the annual conference of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious held August 9-12, 2022. The theme of the event, which Sister Renita described as an "incredible...

Celebrating the Life of Sister Angelita Laws, OSF

SISTER ANGELITA LAWS, OSF September 9, 1941 – July 1, 2022 “Let them be concerned to serve, love, adore and honor God, as best they can, with a single heart and a pure mind.” -- Third Order Rule 7 Sister Angelita Laws, as best she could, embodied these words of our...

Collaboration: God’s Gift

Here in southwest Wisconsin, spring has finally arrived. It took a while to get out into the garden due to rain falling every other day or so for weeks, but we were finally blessed with a dry stretch that made it possible to prepare the soil. As soon as I could, I...

Violence and White Supremacy Cannot Stand

Violence and White Supremacy Cannot Stand Wed, 2022-05-18 07:49 by asanders Our hearts are breaking as we once again come face to face with the racial hatred and gun violence that infect our land. The members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious extend...

Sr Amy & IVC, cont’d

The Ignatian Volunteer Corps is a lay organization formed in the context of Jesuit spirituality to give retired and semi-retired adults the opportunity to provide direct service. Individuals are matched with partner agencies in need of their specific experience or...

Trying Tenderness

What does the word “tenderness” bring to mind? Is it a young mother gently brushing the hair aside from her sleeping infant’s forehead? The nurse speaking words of reassurance to a scared patient? The gray-haired man spoon-feeding his wife who no longer remembers his...

Wonder-full Love

When we love someone and want to grow closer to them, we try to get to know them better. We wonder about their lives. We observe how they speak; how they act and react. We ask about their families, their occupations. We consider their thoughts, feelings, preferences,...

Laudato Si’ Action Platform

In 2015 Pope Francis issued the encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. The encyclical called for a common plan throughout the world to effect systemic change. That plan is the Laudato Si’ Action Platform calling seven sectors of society, such as...

Celebrating the Life of Sister Gale Bednarek, 1943-2021

On October 27, 2021, Sister Gale Bednarek, our resident Scripture scholar, left us for the fullness of God’s light and love. Sister Gale was baptized Lucille Michaeline, the name given by her parents Victoria and Lucian Bednarek, at St. Joseph's Church in Chicago...

The heavens are telling…

God is always with us. When the troubles of this world seem so very heavy, I, like many, look to God’s Creation for assurance, to find refuge and to seek balance. “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.” -- Psalm 19 How...

Celebrating the Life of Sister Victoria Munoz, 1941 to 2021

Our dear Sister Victoria took flight and went home to the Lord on Sunday, July 4, 2021. She had waited a long time for this homecoming often asking what was taking the Lord so long. Then in a flash of light on Independence Day, she was set free. Sister Victoria, born...

Submit & Be Fruitful

Have you ever thought about the word “yield?” If you’re a farmer or you watch the stock market, you’re certainly familiar with the concept of yield as in to produce, or “to give in return for labor or as profit” (see https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/yield.html)....

We rejoice in the Spirit.

Today, July 1, 2021, the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help discerned and elected (left to right) Sister Renita Brummer, Sister Rosalie Wisniewski and Sister Ellen Horn as their Congregational Leadership Team. These Sisters will lead the members in...

Celebrating the Life of Sister Charlotte Struckhoff, OSF 1939-2021

SISTER CHARLOTTE STRUCKHOFF, OSF, 1938-2021   Sing to the Lord a New Song! Our dear Sister (Joan) Charlotte Struckhoff left this world peacefully on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. She was born May 10, 1938 to Bede and Agnes Struckhoff in the beautiful rolling hills of...

Stay Open to Being Surprised by God

God’s universe is not structured the way we often think it is or how we think it should be. Why all this pain and suffering? But thank God that creation follows God’s pattern and plan and not ours! Like the women in chapter 16 of Mark’s Gospel, our intentions are...

Moving Beyond

One of the traditions of the Catholic faith that I treasure most is the observance of the Lent. Discipline is not a very popular concept these days, but I think our forebears in the faith, including Clare and Francis, the Desert Mothers and Fathers and many saints,...