Where Are Our Sisters Today?
Sisters of Charity today continue to deepen our engagement with persons who are living on the margins of society. Congregation members are active and engaged in programs and initiatives to support their basic, critical needs both locally and throughout the country.
Three days a week, S. Juliette Sabo serves as a second grade aide for Romero Academy at Resurrection in Price Hill (Cincinnati, Ohio). She works with the children in small groups to improve their reading and math skills. “It’s a blessing for me, and I see it’s a blessing for them too,” she says. In addition, S. Juliette volunteers one day a week at the Holy Family Food Pantry. Throughout her years she has had the opportunity to meet many friendly faces through welcoming and checking in clients.
As co-chair of the Cincinnati Child Poverty Collaborative, S. Sally Duffy (Cincinnati, Ohio) has spent countless hours using her influence to end poverty in local communities. S. Sally serves on numerous boards and committees, including TriHealth, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, Ohio Justice and Policy Center and Price Hill Will.
S. Noreen Ellison (Royal Oak, Michigan) serves as the spiritual advisor for two St. Vincent de Paul conferences, one for the Shrine of the Little Flower (Royal Oak parish) and the other for three inner-city Detroit parishes, referred to as the Blessed Rosalie Rondu Conference. Meetings include Scripture, reflection, faith sharing, opportunities to grow in friendship with one another and serving the needs of the poor through home visits.
S. Judith Metz (Cincinnati, Ohio) is the Community’s historian. In this role she serves on the Saint Elizabeth Seton National Shrine Heritage Committee, and is a consultant to present and former ministries of the SCs especially as they celebrate historical landmarks or events associated with Elizabeth Seton. She continues to work with the Seton Writings Committee; to prepare presentations on various aspects of Sisters of Charity history as requested; and has served as an advisor in the cause of canonization for Sister Blandina Segale.
A member of the Western Wildlife Corridor’s Board of Trustees, S. Joyce Richter (Cincinnati, Ohio) is responsible for the organization’s electronic mailings, leading hikes, and educating others about the areas as well as the importance in removing invasive species. S. Joyce is an Ohio-certified volunteer naturalist and is passionate about educating others on the importance of recycling and care of the Earth.
Author, writer, consultant and sociologist, S. Patricia Wittberg has conducted research on the Catholic Church and religious communities for the last 25 years. As an advocate for the poor and marginalized, S. Pat has found herself active in housing and redistricting efforts in Cincinnati and the State of Ohio. She currently serves as the director of the Seton Enablement Fund, a low-interest revolving loan fund established by the Sisters of Charity to enable the economically disadvantaged to develop themselves and their communities.
S. Patmarie Bernard (Cincinnati, Ohio) continues to find value in retreat work and the ministry of spiritual direction through the Sisters of Charity Spirituality Center. In her retirement S. Patmarie enjoys involvement with Santa Maria Community Services as an RN and gives time to its wellness outreach clinic. Bayley and the SC Music Ministry add to activities she enjoys.
S. Mary Jo Gasdorf (Cincinnati, Ohio) oversees the Sisters of Charity Gift Shop located in the Motherhouse. She credits her staff and their willingness to serve as the ‘spirit of the place.’ As a Price Hill native and 10-year past director of The Women’s Connection in Price Hill, S. Mary Jo believes that living life does not have age limitations.
A lifelong elementary school educator, S. Katharine Pinto tutors fourth graders at St. Dominic School and regularly volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul pantry downtown. In her spare time she takes time to enjoy nature walks and indoors you can find her knitting or crocheting blankets and hats for Good Samaritan Hospital’s newborns.
S. Patrick Ann O’Connor provides her services to the Sisters of Charity Finance Office, particularly as it relates to the personal needs of the Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall. She has been a faithful past board member of SC sponsored ministries and is a life-long gardener, photographer of nature and golfer. She currently serves the St. Vincent de Paul Conference for St. Dominic parish, Delhi.
S. Barbara Busch (Cincinnati, Ohio) is the executive director of Working In Neighborhoods, an organization that provides financial education and homeownership opportunities to low and moderate income residents throughout Greater Cincinnati. Most recently she has been appointed to serve on PNC Bank’s national Community Advisory Council to provide guidance for its community lending, investment and service efforts supporting its $88 billion Community Benefits Plan.
S. Sandy Howe (Cincinnati, Ohio) is the coordinator of the Newcomers Transitions Program, where she companions families seeking asylum, providing them with support and connections to adjust and live successfully in the U.S. S. Sandy has been responsible for arranging the medical, spiritual, social, legal and basic needs of families.
S. Annie Klapheke (Cincinnati, Ohio) is the registered dietitian at the Good Samaritan Free Health Center, an outpatient office for adults (18 and older) who have no health insurance; all services offered are free. She provides one-on-one nutrition counseling for patients with any diet-related diseases.
S. Juana Mendez (Cleveland, Ohio) serves as pastoral associate at St. Michael the Archangel Parish, which includes teaching RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation of Children). She is a lector, spiritual director, works with Eucharistic Ministers, the Legion of Mary, and the Social Justice committee. With a passion for immigration work, she finds herself helping parishioners from Latin and Central America complete filling out papers for Naturalization and attending the interviews as the interpreter.
S. Caroljean Willie (Cincinnati, Ohio) has extensive experience working with multiple cultures internationally as a teacher trainer, cultural diversity consultant and retreat director. She is a frequent speaker at local, regional, national and international conferences. She served two terms of office as the NGO representative at the United Nations for the Sisters of Charity Federation and continues to work with microfinancing projects in Africa. She currently serves as the program director for EarthConnection, an environmental center in Cincinnati.
S. Carol Brenner (Cincinnati, Ohio) continues to be involved in the ministry of spiritual direction through the SC Spirituality Center. She strives to say “yes” to whatever God puts before her. Motherhouse living in her retirement has been welcomed as a time to enjoy getting to know her Sisters at a deeper level.
S. Lynn Heper continues to share her nursing skills with her Sisters of Charity as a liaison as well as among her neighbors and friends living in the northern areas of Cincinnati. S. Lynn serves on the Board of Bethany House helping to address and alleviate the homelessness mothers and children have faced for far too long.
S. Cookie Crowley serves as the funeral coordinator for the Sisters of Charity, arranging for and fulfilling the individual Sisters’ end-of-life wishes. She is also the connector with the family members of the deceased Sister. S. Cookie remains grateful for her team members and all who assist her in seeing that the Sister’s farewell wishes are fulfilled.
S. Pat Newhouse is a Lansing, Michigan, native who was taught by the Sisters of Charity at St. Mary’s Lansing and chose to follow in their footsteps as a teacher and vowed religious. She taught in classrooms in Ohio and Michigan, retiring from parish pastoral associate responsibilities in 2007. Since, she has been a faithful volunteer with the elderly in fundraising efforts for the homeless shelter and food bank in Lansing. She continues to be proud of her service as a docent at the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Seton, Emmitsburg, Maryland, every summer.
S. Alice Ann O’Neill, a native of New Brunswick, Canada, has been a Sister of Charity for 20 years. She is an accomplished cellist who teaches cello to children as young as 2 years of age through high school and college students. As a Suzuki cello teacher trainer and a certified master teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, she has performed at the professional level, playing chamber music and performing cello recitals. Travel opportunities through her teacher training experiences continue to enrich her life.
S. Peggy Deneweth (Anthony, New Mexico) ministers at Proyecto Santo Niño in Anapra, Mexico, a ministry for poor children with special needs and their families. S. Peggy offers a loving presence at the clinic as she helps the children with exercises and therapy while teaching their parents how to do the treatments at home.
S. Pat Dittmeier (Cincinnati, Ohio) has provided deep listening, encouragement, guidance and support to students and clients throughout her 30 years as a Sister of Charity. In her current role at IKRON, S. Pat is a clinical supervisor as well as has her own individual counseling list of clients and is also responsible for IKRON’s Getting Out of Depression group.
S. Andrea Koverman (Anapra, Mexico) is the curriculum coordinator/educator for Proyecto Santa Niño, the clinic was established in 2003 by the Sisters of Charity to serve children with special needs and their families. S. Andrea is currently working on building partnerships in Juarez, Mexico and the U.S. to broaden the clinic’s services to include an accredited school program that is inclusiive of but not limited to children with special needs.
S. Louise Lears (Washington, D.C.) is a staff member for the Franciscan Action Network’s DC office. FAN is recognized for its advocacy efforts within core issues related to peace making, care for creation, poverty and human rights. In her volunteer role as director of creation care advocacy, S. Louise keeps herself updated on the many facets of care for creation, the relevant issues and how we can act.
S. Montiel Rosenthal, MD, (Cincinnati, Ohio) is a member of the core residency faculty for The Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Residency program. As clinical professor, she helps teach and train the next generation of Family Medicine physicians. S. Montiel’s particular area of interest is helping improve the mental and physical health of expectant mothers and their babies, especially the most socially and economically vulnerable ones.
S. Carol Wirtz (Anapra, Mexico) has been ministering at the U.S./Mexico Border for almost 30 years. She provides physical therapy to poor families with special needs children, those often underserved by Mexican health services. One of the most important components is teaching the parents, mostly mothers, to perform the therapies on their own.
S. Christine Okpomeshine’s (Yonkers, New York) initial professional training was in nursing and midwifery followed by a doctorate in public health. Early experiences offered her clinical experience with pregnant women and children in Sierra Leone. Currently S. Christine puts all this to use through Women’s Health Services in the Metropolitan Hospital, Manhattan, New York, orienting newly hired nurses. She also serves on the nursing faculty of the College of Mount St. Vincent (Bronx, New York).
S. Barbara Davis (Cincinnati, Ohio) serves as a member of the Corporation Board for Sponsored Ministries and also is on the Board of Directors for DePaul Cristo Rey High School. In retirement she remains involved as a volunteer, contributing to life at Mount St. Joseph University following her time as a trustee there. Giving of her time and talent seem to be second nature for S. Barbara.
S. Marty Dermody serves as the director of the SC Spirituality Center, arranging for and offering retreat and spiritual life opportunities for Sisters, Associates and friends of the SC Community. S. Marty is well known for her excellent photography, particularly in nature and she also enjoys birding.
S. Mary Catherine Faller is the Motherhouse campus director of hospitality, coordinating use of the MH spaces for group and individual use for Sisters, Associates and employees as well as guests from the outside desiring to use the facilities. She currently serves on the Board at Bayley, cantors for Mass, is a member of the SC Music Ministry and spends her free time crocheting baby blankets for Good Samaritan Hospital newborns.