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S. Mary Frances Davisson

“From the time I was in the second or third grade, I knew I wanted to be a Sister,” says Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Mary Frances Davisson as she celebrates the 50th anniversary of her entrance into the Community. “The Sisters always seemed to be caring women, and were dedicated to helping their students learn. It was obvious they were prayerful and peaceful women.”

Sister Mary Fran was born and raised in Lima, Ohio, and attended St. Charles Borromeo grade school and Lima Central Catholic High School. After entering the Community, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. She then began a teaching ministry that took her to several grade schools in Cincinnati: St. Saviour (1972-1974), the campus school at the College of Mount St. Joseph (1975-1978), St. Boniface (1978-1982), St. William grade school (1982-1985), and Our Lady of Lourdes (1985-1989). She then served from 1989 to 1994 as the math in-service specialist for teachers of kindergarten through grade six in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Here, she developed activities, traveled to diocesan schools, and offered workshops.

During a renewal year at the School for Applied Theology in Berkeley, California, Sister Mary Fran participated in a weekend massage program and was inspired to change ministries. She completed 1,200 contact hours at the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts and received her license as a massage therapist. “God blessed me with the opportunity to offer people a safe, peaceful place where they can experience relief from physical pain, as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual pain,” she says. “God is the healer; I am but an instrument of God’s healing love.”

Sister Mary Fran has been trained in several massage methods, the most recent being the Anat Baniel Method. She offers a variety of massages through the Spirituality Center at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in Cincinnati, including Swedish, deep tissue, medical, and oncology massages.

Alongside her ministry in massage therapy, Sister Mary Fran enjoys creative projects and experiencing nature, having a great love of all creatures big and small. Every Christmas, she dresses as Mrs. Claus, serving at the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights for several years. She is thankful to be able to provide healing service to others through the Community and have so many opportunities over the years. “Any challenges were blessings as I developed new skills and discovered that I could do things that I never dreamed I would be able to accomplish,” she reflects. “All of this is a gift from God.”


S. Lois Jean Goettke

“To grow is to change. To change is to find a new way of being. We are being called into the ‘dance’ of creating something new,” Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Lois Jean Goettke says of the current Church as she celebrates 50 years with the Community this summer.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sister Lois Jean attended St. Lawrence grade school and Seton High School. After joining the Community, she received her bachelor’s degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. She began a teaching ministry that took her to several schools in Ohio, including St. Bernadette grade school in Westlake (1973-1976), St. Boniface grade and junior high school in Cincinnati (1976-1980), and St. John the Baptist grade school in Harrison (1980-1986), where she also served as co-principal from 1984 to 1986. She then served as principal at Bishop Leibold grade school in Dayton, Ohio (1986-1994) and at St. Brigid grade school in Xenia, Ohio (1995-2005).

From 2005 to 2007, Sister Lois Jean served as director of development at the Ministry Office at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in Cincinnati after a sabbatical which included Spanish language immersion in Guatemala. She was elected to serve two terms of congregational leadership for her Community at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse from 2007 to 2015.

In 2016, Sister began her current ministry at Holy Family Parish in Price Hill (Cincinnati, Ohio), serving as a pastoral associate. She also serves on the boards for DePaul Cristo Rey High School in Cincinnati and Mission Partners Guatemala.

S. Anita Parks

“Entering the Sisters of Charity in 1967 right out of high school, I had so much to learn about prayer life, religious commitment, ministry, and living in community,” Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Anita Parks says as she celebrates 50 years with the SC Community this year. “Seeing other Sisters use their emerging gifts and talents influenced my understanding of membership in the Sisters of Charity, both with their generosity and creativity of using their talents and growing in wholeness with the guidance of our loving God.”

Born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, Sister Anita attended Resurrection grade school and O’Rafferty High School in Lansing. After entering the Community in 1967, she received her bachelor’s degree in home economics from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Her home economics teaching ministry took her to Seton High School in Cincinnati (1972); Elizabeth Seton High School in South Holland, Illinois (1972-1980; 1981-1982); Holy Name High School in Cleveland, Ohio (1980-1981); and Eastern Illinois University (1983-1985).

After receiving her master’s degree in home economics from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, she decided to change ministries, starting preschool programs at St. Mary School in Marion, Ohio (1986-1993) and St. Martha School in Okemos, Michigan (1993-2011). At both of these schools, she integrated into the curriculum the importance of finding God in nature throughout the seasons. She has brought the value of respecting God’s creation into all grades at St. Martha School, where she began serving as coordinator of parish Christian services in 2011. In this position, she works with the school’s classes on seasonal prayer services and projects, visits and brings Communion to shut-ins, writes a weekly reflection for the parish bulletin, assists with afterschool care, and leads a group of female parishioners and students who make sundresses for girls in the Philippines.

The young students who participate in this group learn sewing from Sister Anita and the parishioners while creating sundresses for girls at the Lingap Orphanage in Cebu, Philippines. The group has come to know the couple that started the orphanage, giving the ongoing project a deeper sense of meaning. Sister says that she is grateful to use her home economic skills again and to put them to use teaching young girls to serve. She hopes that the recipients of the group’s simple acts of kindness will be inspired to believe in themselves.


S. Katharine Pinto

Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Katharine Pinto’s teaching ministry has brought her to students of all ages, from elementary school children to adult immigrants, and her hope is always that her service will help the greater good. “Hopefully their lives are being touched in positive ways that will lead them to develop their full potential, opening up new opportunities for them and enabling them to become all that God intends them to be so that they can make the world a better place,” Sister says of her current class of fourth graders as she reflects on her 50 years in the Community.

Born and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan close to the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Sister Katharine attended Shrine Catholic Grade School and Shrine High School. Having been taught by the Sisters of Charity, Sister felt drawn to the life from a young age and received support and encouragement from her family when she expressed her interest in joining the Community, which she did in 1967. She spent her formation years in Cincinnati, Ohio and Pueblo, Colorado, then received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Detroit (Michigan) in 1972.

Sister Katharine’s early years teaching elementary school took her to St. Lawrence Elementary School in Cincinnati (1972-1976), Shrine Catholic Grade School in Royal Oak (1976-1993), and St. Dominic Elementary School in Cincinnati (1993-2003). On teaching elementary school, Sister says, “One of the great delights in teaching young children is the remarkable growth that takes place in them during the duration of a single school year. It is also a joy to cross paths with former students later in life and learn about the things they have accomplished and become.”

“Summers provided opportunities that broadened my horizons and stretched my worldview,” Sister Katharine says. These opportunities included teaching Bible school in a number of locations, volunteering at St. Joseph Home in Cincinnati for adults and children with developmental disabilities, participating in G.A.T.E. which offers cultural immersion programs and pilgrimage opportunities in Latin America, and volunteering in Peru and Guatemala. Also during this time, Sister completed a master’s degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati.

Following a sabbatical year, Sister Katharine began helping adults who wanted to work toward their GED at Lower Price Hill Community School in Cincinnati, as well as teaching English to adult immigrants. “It was a privilege to listen to their stories and try to help them acclimate to life in Cincinnati,” Sister says. After serving there from 2004 to 2011, Sister began tutoring, currently tutoring and teaching fourth grade religion classes at Resurrection Catholic School in Price Hill, Cincinnati. She also volunteers with Hospice of Cincinnati, serves on the board of trustees and program committee for the Shelterhouse for the homeless, knits and crochets blankets and hats for infants at Good Samaritan Hospital, and serves on the Seton Enablement Fund Committee.


S. Donna Steffen

“The peace, joy, and spirituality of various Sisters who taught me, particularly in high school, attracted me to the Sisters of Charity,” says Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Donna Steffen as she celebrates her 50th anniversary with the Community. “When asked as a junior in high school why I wanted to enter religious life, I remember saying, ‘I feel so lucky and blessed in my life that I want to give myself to God.’”

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sister Donna was taught by the Sisters of Charity at St. Rose grade school and Marian High School. After entering the Community in 1967, she received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati) and began a ministry teaching high school math at Seton High School (Cincinnati), where she served from 1971 to 1979. Near the end of this ministry, Sister participated in Seton’s first Lay Pastoral Ministry Program, which prompted her to go back to school to receive her master’s degree in systematic theology from the Jesuit School of Theology (Berkeley, California).

Following the completion of her degree, Sister Donna began serving as pastoral associate at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in West Chester, Ohio (1981-1990). Her responsibilities in this position included involvement in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process. She began participating in the annual Beginnings and Beyond workshop sponsored by the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, giving presentations on the RCIA in the Cincinnati Archdiocese, and contributed to several publications on the subject. These publication contributions include a book entitled Discerning Disciples: Listening for God’s Voice in Christian Initiation (1997). She has given workshops in over 40 dioceses throughout the country and for the American military in Germany and Italy. She also currently offers webinars for liturgy training publications on discernment in initiation.

In 1988, she received a certificate in spiritual direction from the Jesuit Renewal Center in Milford, Ohio. She continues to offer spiritual direction, retreats, workshops, and prayer experiences in the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse labyrinth in Cincinnati. She is also a certified Enneagram teacher through the Helen Palmer School.

In 2011, Sister Donna became the director of novices for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. “One of my happiest memories is in my present ministry of novice director,” she says. “I have felt the confidence and support of our Sisters in so many ways. It is a privilege to accompany our newer members through their novitiate journey.”

S. Terry Thorman

Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Mary Therese Thorman says that first seed of a calling to religious life was planted in her by the Sisters who taught her from grade school through college, women she calls “joyful, creative, dedicated, and nurturing.” In particular, though, it was the spirituality of her college piano teacher who gave her the most inspiration for her vocation in music. “She made the connections between music and God. Music for her was inspired by God, a great gift from God,” recalls Sister Terry as she celebrates 50 years with the Community this summer.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sister Terry attended St. Andrew grade school in Milford, Ohio, and Archbishop McNicholas High School in Cincinnati. After entering the Community in 1967, she received her bachelor’s degree in music education from the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati). She began a music teaching ministry that took her to several schools, those in Cincinnati being Marian High School (1969-1970), Seton High School (1970-1976, 1979-1985), Price Hill Catholic School (1990-1991), and Holy Family Catholic School (1991-1994, 1995-1998).

For Sister Terry, one of the highlights of her teaching ministry was helping for 12 years with the “Seton-Elder Series at Eight,” a series that featured the performing art students from Seton and Elder high schools. She says that the opportunities to hone her creative talents through the series and teaching gave her the “perfect incubator to cut my teeth.” Also nourishing her talents and becoming a highlight in her eyes was her ministry at Divine Redeemer parish in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she served as a parish music minister from 1976 to 1979.
Sister Terry’s music ministry also led her to serve as a parish music minister at St. Brigid parish in Xenia, Ohio (1985-1987), and as director of music at St. Leonard parish in Centerville, Ohio (1988) and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Temperance, Michigan (1988-1989). In 1994, she received an equivalency degree in music therapy through an internship at St. Luke Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and began practicing music therapy at Mercy Health Western Hills Hospital (1995-2001).

Along with continuing music therapy at Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility and providing liturgical music at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in Cincinnati, Sister Terry offers piano classes for children at the Motherhouse and teaches piano at Peaslee Neighborhood Center in Over-the-Rhine, Ohio. The latter ministry is very dear to her heart. “I’ve met countless unforgettable children and adult students at Peaslee, and have worked with so many people who have a heart for the poor and a passion for justice.”