Over the course of 2016 some of our US Area’s sisters celebrated their Jubilee:

70 years

Sr. Miriam Bulcak – Sr. M. Pascaline Colling – Sr. Anita McArdle

60 years

Sr. Marie Martin Smith – Sr. Maris Stella Footen

50 years

Sr. Joanne Schuster

Let us thank God for their lives and for the way they generously gave themselves to the brothers and sisters in many different ways: May the Lord grant them serenity and full joy!

gi us 01“It’s truly a joyous life; I’ve been blessed,” says Sr. Miriam. Originally from Flint, Michigan, Sr. Miriam Bulcak entered the Congregation in 1946. Holding a degree in Business Administration from the University of Dayton, Sr. Miriam spent most of her active years in the Business Office in various hospitals in the Congregation. Over the years, she spent ministry time in Cincinnati, Covington, Dayton and Columbus hospitals. She transitioned into Pastoral Care where she served for over 15 years. In her most recent years, Sr. Miriam serves the Congregation in prayer and presence while sharing her love of baking with others.


 gi us 06“I was inspired by the Franciscan Sisters while an aide at St. Francis Hospital. They strengthened my desire for a vocation,” Sr. Anita McArdle remembers. Originally from Bronx, New York, Sr. Anita entered the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in September, 1946. She was prepared as a nurse through St. Michael Hospital in Newark. Later she pursued a degree in Nursing from St. John University and a second degree in Administration and Education from the same University. Her nursing was put to good use in Congregational hospitals in Schenectady and Jersey City. She transitioned into Administration first within the Congregation as a Provincial Councilor and later as an Executive Director in hospital settings in Jersey City and Hoboken. With her many gifts Sr. Anita served ten years as the first Director of Mt Alverno Center in Warwick, New York. For an interval of time, she again served the Congregation as a Regional Councilor. “As a Franciscan Sister of the Poor, the journey was not without its bumps, but one thing for sure, I never looked back!” To this day, Sr. Anita continues to serve the Congregation through prayer and healing presence.


gi us 05“Religious life has been a privilege and a blessing,” thinks Sr. M. Pascaline Colling. Originally from Quincy, Illinois, Sr. Pascaline entered the Congregation in 1946. She was a convert to Catholicism. She holds two degrees, one in Business Administration from the University of Dayton and a degree in Hospital Administration from St. Louis University. In addition, she held a certificate as a Nursing Home Administrator. Sr. Pascaline initially spent several years working in the Business Office of several hospitals in the Congregation in Covington, Dayton and Columbus. She transitioned into Administration and served in Kansas City and in Provincial Leadership. For over twenty two years, Sr. Pascaline was Executive Director of Schroder Manor, a long term care facility in Hamilton, Ohio. She remains actively engaged as a volunteer managing a resident gift store in Hamilton.


gi us 02Originally from Frostburg, Maryland, Sr. Maris Stella Footen entered the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in August of 1956. She entered the Congregation as a nurse and pursued her degree in nursing from Seton Hall University. In later years, she obtained two additional degrees in Community Health and Nursing, one from Long Island University and the second from the Catholic University of America. These are her words: "My life as a religious has enabled me to serve God and humanity in ways I would never have been able to do otherwise." How true, for over the years, Sr. Maris Stella put her nursing skills to good use in several of the sponsored hospitals of the Congregation in Brooklyn, Schenectady, Warwick, Hoboken and Newark. She also served as a nurse for three years on Rikers Island within the prison system. Her last years in nursing were spent in Home and Long Term Care. Sr. Maris Stella continues to serve the Congregation through prayer and healing presence.


gi us 03Originally from Speed, Missouri, Sr. Marie Martin Smith entered the Congregation in 1956. She was a convert to Catholicism. She studied radiology. In her early years, Sr. Marie Martin served in dietary and social service in Cincinnati, Dayton and Hamilton. After becoming a radiology technician, she served in Cincinnati and Dayton in hospital settings. She transitioned into Home Health Services and ministered in Cincinnati. She spent a year in the Senegal mission of the Congregation. She says: “I chose the right life. I always wanted to help others. I am thankful to God and all those who helped me to be a true Franciscan Sister for 60 years of my life!” Sr. Marie Martin now serves the Congregation in prayer and presence.


gi us 04“Spiritual life is the greatest adventure you can have; it brings challenges and opportunity to grow and to love and to encounter the divine within,” states Sr. Joanne Schuster. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sr. Joanne entered the Congregation in 1966 as a Practical Nurse. She pursued a degree in nursing from the University of Cincinnati and holds a second undergraduate degree in Theology from Xavier University followed by a Doctorate degree from the Union Institute in Administration of Health Care. She worked in the nursing field in Cincinnati for a few years before becoming a member of a Core Group that evolved into Franciscan Health System. The System devoted its energy to acute and long term care along with social service outreach across the Congregation’s sponsored facilities. Sr. Joanne eventually became the President of the System, a position she held from 1983 through 1996 and was Executive Director of the Franciscan Health Care Movement (1980-1993), and began the Foundation in 1984. She served in Regional and Congregational Leadership as well. Currently, she is devoted to wholistic alternative practice and spirituality.

Associate Ruthy Trusler

Published: January, 9 2017