ALLEGANY, N.Y. — The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany celebrated their past and looked to the future during significant events and celebrations over the past few months.
On May 28 at the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse chapel in Allegany, the community honored members marking 50 years of religious life. Celebrating their golden jubilee were Sisters Michele Dolyk, OSF, of Miami, Fla., M. Chris Doherty, OSF, and Mary Croghan OSF, of Olean, Frances O’Dell, OSF and Chris Treichel, OSF, of Allegany, Mary Ellen Tucker, OSF, of Tampa, Fla., and Grace Yap, OSF, of Kingston, Jamaica.
The liturgy was presided over by Fr. David Couturier, OFM Cap., dean of St. Bonaventure University’s School of Franciscan Studies, with concelebrants Michael Duffy OFM, Thomas Walters, OFM, and Fr. David Tourville of St. Mary of the Angels Parish in nearby Olean.
Chapter 2016, a celebration of prayer, fellowship and planning, was held in Allegany from July 25 through Aug. 2. The chapter comprised 96 fully engaged sisters who participated in voting as well as a number of other attendees — both sisters and associates, laypeople who minster with the sisters and support their work – who participated in other ways.
The event began with a festive Eucharistic liturgy celebrated by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM. A beautiful opening ritual followed liturgy with sisters responding, “We will be the fire.” Chapter also included a retreat led by a friar from Brazil, Fr. Vitorio Mazzuco, OFM.
Generating Culture of Peace
“The presentations and processes of the chapter certainly enabled us to go forth and ‘be the fire,’ as the theme of chapter challenged us to,” said Sr. Margaret Mary Kimmins, congregational minister. “Having our sisters here from Jamaica, Brazil, and Bolivia helps us to better experience the Spirit’s presence among us.”
During the sessions, the community adopted the following chapter statement:
“Ignited by the fire of the Spirit and our Allegany Franciscan-Clarian charism, we lovingly gaze on the Source of All Goodness, and consider our mission and witness in the church and the world. We contemplate creation’s clamor for justice and peace; and transformed by the life and ministry of Jesus, we respond. We act as Gospel women and partner with others to generate a culture of peace and integrity, reflecting God’s love for our human family and common home.”
The chapter was presented in three languages — English, Portuguese and Spanish. The community’s last chapter was held in 2012.
The more than 150-year-old congregation currently has 238 sisters serving in four countries – United States, Jamaica, Bolivia and Brazil. Its members serve as teachers, nurses, secretaries, social workers, directors of religious education, doctors, accountants, artists, pastoral ministers, office workers, administrators, lawyers, counselors, aides, liturgists, spiritual directors, computer technicians, principals, musicians, massage therapists, librarians, environmentalists, chaplains, and justice advocates.
Installing New Leaders
One of the highlights of the chapter was the installation of new congregational leaders who will transition into their new positions in late September.
Sr. Margaret Mary Kimmins, OSF, is entering her second four-year term as congregational minister, a position she also held from 1996 to 2004. Prior to her re-election in 2012, Sr. Margaret Mary worked in religious community outreach with Bread for the World in Washington, D.C.
Entering her second four-year term as associate minister is Margaret Magee, OSF. Sr. Margaret served as general secretary for the congregation from 2000 to 2004. Prior to her election in 2012, Sr. Margaret served as associate director of the Franciscan Federation in Washington, D.C.
Elected as councilors were Sisters Odette Haddad OSF, Goianira Silva OSF, and Patricia Klemm OSF. Sr. Odette Haddad is entering her second four-year term as a councilor. A native of Jamaica, she ministered as a social worker in Tampa, Fla., prior to her election in 2012.
Sr. Goianira Silva has served the congregation extensively in regional leadership in her native Brazil, and as a congregational councilor from 2004 to 2008. She is currently ministering in pastoral education in Brazil and assists with Portuguese translation for the congregation.
Sr. Patricia Klemm is a New Jersey native and a first-time member of congregational leadership, although she has previously served in local leadership. Since 2004, she has worked as a pastoral associate at St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., also serving the congregation through work with vocations and formation as well as the Spirituality Committee.
More information about the work of the sisters can be found on their website, which contains the quarterly e-magazine Connections. News is also provided in the community’s bi-weekly e-bulletin which is published every other Monday.
— Karen Karaszewski is a freelance writer based in Western New York.
- History of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany: Video
- “Allegany Sisters Mark Milestones” – Aug. 26, 2014, HNP Today
- “Allegany Sisters Go Digital With New Publication” – Feb. 5, 2014, HNP Today
- “FAN Anniversary Reception Honors Sr. Margaret Mary Kimmins” – Nov. 12 , 2012, HNP Today
- “Allegany Sisters Publish Sesquicentennial History” — Jan. 21, 2009, HNP Today