"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

A Continued Connection: Meet Our Newest Associate Cheri Bissett

By Katelyn Rieder

Cheri Bissett made her commitment as an Associate in Mission on April 20, 2024

On April 20, 2024, Associate Cheri Bissett made her initial commitment in the Immaculate Conception Chapel at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse. The decision to become an Associate was the result of a powerful connection to the Sisters of Charity—namely one Sister in particular who remained a strong, positive influence on Cheri throughout her life.

Cheri was born and raised in the south side of Chicago, Illinois, and attended Elizabeth Seton High School (currently known as Seton Academy) in the late 1960s. Several teachers at the school were women religious. One of those teachers was Sister of Charity Frances Maureen Trampiets, who was teaching English at the time. As Cheri was going through a difficult time in her sophomore year of high school, S. Fran “took her under her wing,” as Cheri put it.

“She was an enormous support to my sisters and me. She really became part of our family.” Cheri recalled various memories of going out together on the weekends, spending time together and doing fun activities. S. Fran would go on to remain a constant and positive presence in Cheri’s life throughout many major life events, including getting married and having children.

Cheri met her husband, Ed, while they were both in high school. Elizabeth Seton High School was an all-girls school, and Ed went to a larger public school in the area. Respective school dances would often invite both schools so that the teenagers could intermingle. It was because of one of these dances that the pair met. They went to prom together in 1970 and married several years later.

The couple moved around the United States for several years in search of work, Ed in the research science field and Cheri in nursing, specifically hospice care. They have lived in Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Illinois, and more. They settled in Detroit, Illinois, for many years and had three children during the time—Peter, Patrick, and Meghan. Cheri took on a stay-at-home mom role and retired from being a hospice nurse in 2014. She now is a part-time volunteer for a hospice organization, mainly consisting of visiting with patients to give caregivers a break.

When Peter and Meghan were born, Cheri recognized her special relationship with S. Fran by making her their godmother. Throughout the entire family, Sister was instrumental. “She would always be so sweet,” said Cheri, smiling. “She would always introduce me as the daughter she never had.”

S. Frances Maureen Trampiets and Associate Cheri Bissett (right) at her daughter Meghan’s Baptism in 1990.

Needless to say, Cheri has been connected to the Sisters of Charity for almost her entire life. S. Fran had asked her before, “Have you ever thought about being an Associate?” but with raising three children, it didn’t feel right at the time. Now with them moved out and starting their own families, Cheri felt comfortable to begin the Associate journey from her home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“I feel like it was something that was always in the back of mind that I was trying to do,” she says. “So I’m very happy that I can fulfill it now because it was something that she had hoped I would do.”

Despite not having much memory of her first interactions with the Sisters of Charity, Cheri knew the congregation was special, specifically concerning its continued involvement with certain social justice platforms. She said, “I was aware that the Sisters were very spiritual, and yet very aware of the needs of the environment. I think all of that was very attractive to me. They were putting their spirituality into actions that were visibly helpful to the world.”

S. Fran passed in 2021, and Cheri made many visits to Mother Margaret Hall during her decline. She is confident that this continued involvement with the Sisters of Charity as an Associate will help keep S. Fran’s spirit alive. Cheri’s mentors throughout the process were S. Noreen Ellison and Associate Therese Frey, who both live in drivable distance to Ann Arbor. She believes that these two women have also helped her tremendously along the path to becoming an Associate.

“I think having this connection with the Sisters of Charity is helping me feel like I’m growing and continuing to be with a Community that I know meets my goals for being a good person. It’s a continued connection,” she says.

Welcome to the Sisters of Charity, Cheri!

(From left) Associate Cheri Bissett met the late S. Fran Trampiets at Elizabeth Seton High School in South Holland, Illinois, in the late 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Us