Allegany Sisters Go Digital With New Publication

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

ALLEGANY, N.Y. — Friends of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany have a new way to keep informed about the congregation’s activities.

The sisters’ communications team launched its first e-newsletter last fall, a publication that has been well received by both members and friends of the community.

“We have been looking for ways to make dissemination of information more timely within the congregation,” said Denise Bunk-Hatch, communications director. “The e-newsletter fit well with our other ideas of an expanded social media presence and a more current website.”

Connecting Sisters, Friends Around the Globe
The newsletter includes, but is not limited to, stories about the sisters, their associates and their partners-in-ministry, including their sponsored hospitals and corporations. Information about upcoming events as well as reviews, reflections and articles from the archives is also provided.

Recent topics include preventing human trafficking, renovations at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany, and a meeting of formation representatives from the four countries served by the sisters: Bolivia, Brazil, Jamaica and the United States.

“One major goal of this newsletter is to include information from all of the countries in which our sisters serve, not only the United States,” said Bunk-Hatch. “I research and write pieces, and receive submissions from sisters and others who wish to contribute. We also share stories from other sources, such as newspapers, in which our sisters have been featured.”

The e-newsletter is published the second and fourth Monday of each month. Everyone is welcome to subscribe by filling out the sign-up form on the congregation’s website. Submissions, suggestions and photos should be emailed to Bunk-Hatch at

Bunk-Hatch says the publication has been well received thus far.

“The response has been wonderful,” she said. “The sisters have embraced the e-newsletter and it is beginning to spread out to the community more and more with each successive issue. I have already seen an increase in submissions from sisters in the short time it has been in publication.”

The e-newsletter does not replace Allegany Connections, the congregation’s internal quarterly publication. The sisters hope the new newsletter will spread the work of the more than 150-year-old congregation beyond their “four walls,” according to Bunk-Hatch.

Chapter Initiatives in Action
The e-newsletter’s creation is one of several initiatives undertaken by the congregation’s current leadership team, installed in October 2012. In addition to creating a way to distribute information more quickly, the sisters are concentrating on goals set during their 2012 chapter.

“A great deal of the congregation’s current work is focused on initiatives established for the congregation at the chapter,” said Bunk-Hatch. “They include engaging in service with those who are unemployed, under-employed and those who are affected by these conditions, ministering as Franciscan ecclesial women in, with and for the Church, and continuing to live the congregation’s mission through the sharing of its Franciscan spirituality.”

The congregation is also focusing on using Franciscan spiritual development as a way of ministering with youth and young adults and promoting vocations, responding to the impact of ecological crises by working for personal and systemic changes to these crises, and by addressing the needs of affected persons through partnership with other groups.

Additional communications initiatives established by the sisters include the creation of their Facebook page. Bunk-Hatch also plans to create a clean, informational and up-to-date website along with a more clearly-defined identity or “brand” for the community that better connects sisters serving around the world.

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.