Bi-National Migrant Las Posadas in Mexico

Franciscan Sister Mary Ann Spanjers shares on the recent Bi-National Migrant Las Posadas in Mexico.

Sister Leonette, Sister Rosalyn and Sister Mary Ann participated in the annual Bi-National Migrant Las Posadas with hundreds of others including Mexico’s Diocese of Nogales Bishop Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez and Diocese of Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger.

Mary on the donkey with Joseph walking next to her led the pilgrimage. At this time when caravans or exodus of Central Americans coming to the borders with migrants and refugees who are forced to leave their countries of origin because of violence as they look for asylum, many who are deported and others in search of a better future, they knock on the doors of our lives and they ask about our comforts, the unequal distribution of goods, corruption, violence and impunity and many other ruthless acts that create this movement of people. Called by faith and hope of one human family, and as children of the same Father, we came together to celebrated the BiNational Posada, a symbol of a beginning and welcome for all migrants.

At the four stops we heard true stories of immigrants from various countries as they related their horrific experiences of violence, poverty, rejection and faith in God as they looked for refuge and welcome. Both Bishops related how with the Church there are no borders. The pilgrimage concluded at the Kino Border Comedor (Food Kitchen) where all the pilgrims were invited to a warm meal!

Walking 18 Mile Pilgrimage for Vocations in the Church

Franciscan Sister Leonette Kochan shares on her memorable pilgrimage experience of walking 18 miles for the intention of vocations in the Diocese of Tucson.

In support of Vocations Awareness and in solidarity with Pope Francis’ Share the Journey Campaign for Immigrants and Refugees, the Diocese of Tucson Vocations Office, under the direction of Father Jorge Farias-Saucedo, sponsored a walking pilgrimage from several parish locations to San Xavier Mission. Pilgrims, numbering over 160, began at one of several locations. The furthest starting points were St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in northern Tucson and Our Mother of Sorrows Parish on the far east side of Tucson.

From those points, walkers tread miles and miles toward San Xavier Mission. Other groups joined the two routes from different points. From the north, walkers joined the group from St. Margaret Mary and Our Lady of Fatima parishes, and from the east others joined the group from St. Monica and Our Lady Queen of All Saints parishes. The pilgrimage concluded with Mass at the Mission.

Sister Leonette Kochan walked the 18 miles with the pilgrims from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish to the Mission. Sister Carla Riach and Sister Rosalyn Muraski joined the pilgrims celebrating Mass at San Xavier Mission.

What’s Helpful about San Xavier Mission Discernment Day

Are you literally waking up to questions about your vocation? Wondering if God is calling you to be a Franciscan Sister? Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity serving in Arizona recently collaborated to offer a discernment day for young women. The perfect location was a favorite pilgrimage destination site, San Xavier Mission Del Bac, Tucson.

Here’s what the discerners had to say about the day.

What touched your heart during this discernment day?

  • The Sisters- always welcoming, kind and insightful
  • Hearing the Sisters’ stories
  • Seeing Sister Mary Teresa. I missed her a lot. The fact that you all fed us.
  • The passion the Sisters have for their vocation
  • Time spent with the Sisters…I really was meant to be here today.
  • Getting to meet such a young Sister! Not very often-or ever-that I’ve seen someone my age in a veil.
  • Reuniting with all the Sisters

What part of the day did you find the most helpful?

  • When the Sisters talked about their vocation, it was helpful for me in trying to find mine.
  • Reflection questions (workshops)
  • the 10 minute prayer/meditation times
  • Being able to sit down and talk to the Sisters
  • Open discussion
  • How much Sisters supported vocations, even for those who don’t finish the program
  • I liked the balance between group time and reflection time in the morning. It’s so hard to find a space to be quiet.
  • Parting into groups and going to different topics in the booklet

If you would be interested in a discernment day, call or text Sister Julie Ann at 920-323-9632 or contact us here.

Meet the Franciscan Sisters at Yuma Arizona

November 9 was a special day at Immaculate Conception Convent in Yuma. It was  our Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Founders’ Day. Sister Ann Mary Hart looks over pictures of our beginnings in Wisconsin as Sister Mary Beth Kornely lights the candles for our evening prayer.

On this day we especially recalled that Immaculate Conception Convent was our first Arizona mission home.  Today Sister Ann Mary, Sister Janet Rose and Sister Lorita Gaffney are still serving at Immaculate Conception Catholic School as support staff to the principal, staff and students.

Sister Mary Teresa Bettag is shown selecting the song for the special office we used for our evening prayer. Sister Mary Teresa is a Theology and math teacher at Yuma Catholic High School. Sister Alexandra Bettinardi also serves in needed secretarial services in the school. Both enjoy the students and faculty taking part in other activities as well.

Sister Mary Beth and Sister Hannah Johnecheck feel blessed to minister at St. Francis School in Yuma. Sister Mary Beth assists with staff needs and Sister Hannah is the second grade teacher. Our Community returned to serving at St. Francis a year ago. It is good to see the vitality of the school and the goodness of the families.

We like to count our blesssings and actually have a blessing bowl. Besides the recent Founders’ Day, we also recalled the goodness of being able to witness the wedding of one of the teachers at Immaculate Conception School. We actually received corsages! May the Lord bless all the good people of Yuma.


Franciscan Sister Responds to Students’ Learning Needs

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Mary Karen Oudeans shares more on her role as an Instructional Interventionist Leader for the Diocese of Tucson.

To accomplish the mission of meeting the needs of All students in the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Tucson, the Catholic Schools provide a Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) framework and CARE Team process. This initiative allows all students to meet their learning potential: getting the critical high-quality instruction and interventions they need so that minor learning needs do not grow into significant impediments. The hope is that students who need enrichment do not go unnoticed within the Catholic school environment.

Although originally designed as a multi-step delivery system to determine eligibility for special education services, RtI2 in the Catholic schools is more a functional framework to determine where there is misalignment between the educational environment and the learner, utilizing the expertise of school personnel to establish a problem-solving milieu to adjust the school’s response when learning is not occurring at the expected rate. If the school’s response doesn’t increase the rate of expected learning, instructional supports are intensified to meet the needs of the student. According to Dr. Michael J. Boyle (2018), “…Catholic schools can marshal what resources they have and create a systems response to those students who may not be making expected responses [to instruction]. Using the RtI/MTSS framework can also provide the necessary schema to address students who have more significant learning needs. RtI2/MTSS provides the foundation to creating a systematic approach to address the more complex learning needs of students.”

To complement this initiative, the diocese invited Dr. Michael J. Boyle, Ph.D. as keynote speaker to the convocation. Teachers appreciated meeting someone whose expertise was actually being used in in our schools.

Franciscan Discernment Day at San Xavier Mission

Called to be a Franciscan Sister? Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are hosting a discernment day at historic San Xavier Mission on November 18, 2018.

Experience a place of enduring faith, meet our Sisters and have lunch with them at their convent near by. You will have reflection times to ponder St. Francis of Assisi’s own discernment journey and his drawing on the Gospel for making important decisions in his daily life. Includes Sunday Eucharist. Begins at 9:30 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m..

San Xavier Mission, 1950 San Xavier Road, Tucson, Arizona
For more information call or text Sister Mary Ann at 920-320-1627
or Sister Carol at 520-678-8800.
Register here:


Franciscan Sisters’ Journey to St. Andrew Convent

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Joellen Kohlmann shares on the move to St. Andrew Convent, Sierra Vista, Arizona.

It has been quite the month getting ready to move into the new fixed up Convent here in Sierra Vista. The parish purchased a four-bedroom house across the street and began fixing it up while we were away this summer. When we returned the crew was just beginning on the new roof.

About a week later the HVAC system was attached – oh my, what a load! You even get a view of our monsoon clouds.

Packing up is always a challenge…this is just the beginning. No picture of the final look in this room as it may have been embarrassing to see how much stuff one accumulates and there aren’t many extras.

The parish offered two times for parishioners to see the progress. The first time it was truly under construction and we were busy choosing colors and listening to new ideas. The people really liked the tours and were amazed at all the space in what looks like a small house from the front.

One day we were surprised to see the house all painted. There was still plenty of work to do but now things are really looking good. We have all new windows and they slide so easily. These two men are the contractor and parish representative in charge of renovations.

Here is a view of our back patio and Arizona room which faces west to the mountains and sunset.

Monday, Sep. 17th was moving day and we were so busy no one thought of taking pictures…sorry. The local Knights of Columbus moving crew arrived just before 8:00 am and by 10:30 am all of our things and boxes were in the new Convent! Wonderful but what chaos! And then un-packing began.

After six hours Sr. Doris and Sr. Joellen took a few minutes to have lunch amid the boxes etc. And we were still smiling. The tech from Cox was busy connecting us and by 4 pm we had phone, internet and TV…yeah…but really no time to watch.

Monday evening the Secular Franciscans brought dinner – spaghetti, breadsticks, lettuce salad, waldorf salad, watermelon, cookies and pie! What a feast. Of course we did manage to put stuff away so we had a table to sit around, And oops…forgot pictures again…but then we could barely function! Bed was welcomed and greatly enjoyed.

Tuesday morning we enjoyed a short walk across the street to Mass and when we returned we enjoyed coffee, news, and conversation on our patio.

You can tell that much progress has been made by Tuesday night we can see our kitchen and even part of the new dining set. Thankfully the washer and dryer were hooked up and we did many loads from the move.

And now…our first home cooked meal of chili on our new gas range! It is wonderful to have a gas range just like when I was growing up!


As of today, Wednesday, we are amazed at our progress but there are still many boxes to unpack and much settling in still looming.

On Sunday, October 7th, after the 10:00 am Mass, Fr. Greg will process from Church to our new chapel to bring Jesus home for us and bless our new St. Andrew Convent. We are looking forward to welcoming some of our Arizona Sisters along with the Carmelite Sisters from Douglas and the building and grounds committee members to a luncheon with us. More later…

Dedication of St. Andrew Convent in Sierra Vista, Arizona

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Doris Jurgenson writes about an upcoming dedication of St. Andrew Convent, Sierra Vista, Arizona.

…Father Greg is very excited about having a convent in his parish-and Sisters, too!

We are moving the week of September 17, so we are busy packing. The convent matches the church and other buildings.

Women of the parish and the Knights of Columbus will help us move our things. Please keep us all in prayer.

The dedication of St. Andrew Convent is on Sunday, October 7, 2018. Immediately following the Mass there will be a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the Divine Mercy Chapel to the convent. A light lunch will follow in Madonna Hall.

Franciscan Sister is Diocese of Tucson Interventionist

As we highlight our Sisters living at St. Anthony of Padua Convent, Casa Grande, Arizona, we follow now in the footsteps of Sister Mary Karen Oudeans. As an Academic and Behavioral Interventionist for the Diocese of Tucson, August is a busy time for professional development sessions.  Sister Mary Karen assists Principals and teachers to use this time to work together to help all children succeed.

One important part of her ministry is to to be an active member of the  Department of  Education’s Catholic Schools Planning Meetings. New school years beg for conscientious brainstorming sensitive to new needs. This meant having a significant role in the  diocescan-wide New Teacher Formation Workshop.

Sacred Heart School , Nogales’ Professional Development Sessions are key to this institution’s on-going faculty education. Sister Mary Karen was called upon to help facilitate group strategies. She also traveled to do Professional Development Sessions at St. Francis School in Yuma, Arizona. May the Lord bless her continued service in the days ahead whether on the road, on the internet or through conference calls.

Altar Servers: The Future of Our Catholic Church

Franciscan Sister Carol Seidl, principal at St. Anthony of Padua School, Casa Grande, Arizona, shares about a recent liturgy at the parish recognizing the generosity of Altar Servers in our Catholic Church.

Franciscan Sister Carol Seidl prepares altar serversa at St. Anthony Casa Grande

Sunday at our 10:30am Mass about 60 young Catholics were commissioned as Altar Servers for St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Parish.

The Knights of Columbus lined the aisles as the boys and girls processed down the aisle holding their new Altar Server robes. The older altar servers who have served more years than the younger ones were commissioned as the MC’s or Master of Ceremonies role. The smiles on the faces of these young people and their reverence were very impressive. Our Church is still alive.

Parents were asked to vest their child/ren. It is because of the parents that many of these altar servers make it to Mass every Sunday. Hats off to parents who are truly passing on the Catholic faith for as we know “Parents are the first teachers of the Catholic faith”.

Many of the altar servers attend our Catholic School which began  August 6th. We will see these servers at our Wednesdays school Mass.