Sister Madeleva honored

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sister M. Madeleva (Wolff), CSC
Sister Madeleva was honored at a Women’s Equality Day gathering held August 26 at Indiana University South Bend’s Civil Rights Heritage Center. The event, “Celebrating South Bend Women: 150 Years of Leadership, Service and Achievement,” spotlighted 21 area women, both living and dead, who have contributed in some significant way to the past, present and future of South Bend. See more at

Catch an Rk cuddle

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sister M. Elena (Malits) enjoys a cuddle with Rk (aka Ricky), a special guest and pet therapy volunteer, who visited the sisters in the Hospitality Room on August 24. We have a wonderful pet therapy program at Saint Mary's with visitors coming weekly to share their animals with us.

Listening to the Spirit within

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sister Lillian
by Sister Lillian Nyakaisiki, CSC

Language is inadequate and too limiting to express how I felt when I sensed God’s presence deep within me that day. I was nine years old and I had received the sacrament of first Communion. It was a key moment in my life, an experience of profound love, deep satisfaction and joy.

From then on, I started feeling a desire to be closer to God. I could not think of a better way than to become a religious, and I kept my hopes alive until I was a proper age. I saw the nuns in my parish — Virika Parish in Fort Portal, Uganda — how they would come to church and pray, visit the sick, feed the hungry. I wanted to be like them in their service. I prayed to God to show me the right path and I believe that God directed me to Holy Cross.

I came to know the congregation from a friend who also happened to be interested in religious life. We shared our dreams and hopes during my years at nursing school. We both decided we would visit two congregations. The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross happened to be the first, and from that day I never looked back. I had found my home.

To young women seeking their vocation I offer this advice: Take time and listen attentively to the Spirit within. Discern your feelings and ask God to guide you in each step that you take.

Sister Lillian Nyakaisiki graduated with a master’s degree in global health from the University of Notre Dame in July 2015 and has returned to Uganda to serve in health ministry. She made her initial profession as a Sister of the Holy Cross in September 2005.

White Peace

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A poem by Sister M. Madeleva (Wolff), CSC
Photo by Sister Ellen Mary (Taylor), CSC
The whiteness of the moon is on the world,
Sleeping and beautiful;
Across the blue remoteness drifts and clings
The wandering whiteness of a single cloud.
One passionless mountain lifts its face to heaven,
Wrapped in white peace and very far away.
To the quick bosom of the earth is pressed
The fragrant whiteness of a little flower.

The light of your white soul shines on my life,
And in my heart the whiteness of your love
Burns always.

Sister Madeleva was an outstanding woman in the Catholic literary and academic world. She wrote over a dozen books of poetry and critical prose and lectured to students and faculty members throughout the United States and Canada. She died in 1964.

Solidarity with South Sudan

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Madeline Louis, intern, Moreau Primary School, Kirinda, Uganda
Forging an optimistic future

After decades of civil war in South Sudan, bishops of that country in 2005 invited international religious communities to consider serving in South Sudan to help address the country’s critical educational, health and pastoral needs. Since that time, religious congregations have been involved in a collaborative project titled Solidarity with South Sudan, which empowers and supports the Sudanese people to rebuild their lives, communities and societal structures. Today, there are more than 260 congregations — including the Sisters of the Holy Cross — supporting this project in different ways.

In a country where illiteracy rates are very high and few children have access to primary education, instructing local people how to teach basic skills to children and young adults is vital. In response, Solidarity with South Sudan has established two teacher training centers to help meet an immediate need for 26,000 primary teachers. One of the project’s goals is to improve educational opportunities for women and girls.

“Only 27 percent of people age 15 and above are able to read and write,” wrote Sister Joan Mumaw, a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and U.S. regional development director for Solidarity with South Sudan. “Most of those already teaching have from four to six years of primary education and no teacher training!”

The Sisters of the Holy Cross at Moreau Primary School in Kirinda, Uganda, have offered internships to graduates of Solidarity’s teacher training colleges. This summer, a young woman named Madeline Louis joined them to broaden her teaching experience. She is a graduate of Solidarity’s teacher training college at Yambio, Western Equatoria, South Sudan.

“The Sisters of the Holy Cross at the moment do not have the personnel to directly serve in South Sudan,” said Holy Cross Sister Jacinta Katusabe, headmistress of Moreau Primary School, “but we want to give a chance for the Sudanese people to experience our ministries. The objective is to mentor the young women so they gain experience of working with people of different nationalities.”

The congregation’s Ministry With the Poor fund is providing Madeline with room and board for six months, as well as a small stipend for her personal needs.

“Many thanks for your generosity,” wrote Sister Margaret Scott, a member of Our Lady of the Missions from New Zealand and principal of Solidarity Teacher Training College, Yambio. “I have spoken with Madeline and she is very grateful for this opportunity to do an internship with you and the sisters in Uganda.”

In addition to this internship program, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross has provided financial support to the Solidarity with South Sudan project since 2009.

God comforts us

Monday, August 17, 2015

Suffering is a deep mystery of life. It is true that we have little power over most suffering, but we can control how we let the pain affect our lives. Suffering can deepen our faith and makes us sensitive to the suffering of others. Experiencing a hurt or loss can enable us to be more compassionate and loving to others in similar situations.

Feast of the Assumption

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mary is the perfect model of how we should live — in simple faith, trustful hope, and selfless love of God and others.
God in heaven,
all creation rightly gives you praise,
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul to be with him in heaven.
May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Oh-so yummy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Café opens for sisters at Saint Mary’s
The mural in the sisters’ Beach House Café nears completion. Front, left to right, Isabel Miller, Sister Gladys Marie (Martin), Sister M. Michaeleen (Frieders) and Sarah Herman;
Sophie Raymond is on the ladder. 

It took several weeks to transform a vacant dining area at Saint Mary’s into a casual social space for sisters to enjoy fun, food and music. Creative planning, initiated by Sister Gladys Marie (Martin), envisioned a beach scene to encompass the entire back wall of the café. But who, she wondered, would paint it? Lee Ann Moore, director of activities and volunteer services, came to the rescue.

Lee Ann asked a young volunteer, Isabel Miller, to take on the project. Isabel immediately recruited three of her friends — Sophie Raymond, Sarah Herman and Hali Barany — to help. All four women are college sophomores and graduates of Saint Joseph High School, South Bend, Indiana. They devoted much of their free time this summer to paint a peaceful scene of ocean, sky and sea gulls, and then dedicated the mural to Marcia Dirksen, Isabel’s deceased grandmother.

At the café’s grand opening, Isabel’s mother, Joan, who also volunteers at Saint Mary’s, stated that both of her daughters love to come to the convent to volunteer. “It’s a happy place to be,” she said, “and they love hearing the sisters’ stories.”

Sister Gladys Marie expressed her gratitude to the many people who generously contributed their time and support to make this dream a reality. The Beach House Café is truly a gift; it was accomplished entirely from donations and donated service.

Living life with hope and faith

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Christians must strive to be beacons of hope. We must live our lives proclaiming our belief that Jesus came to save the world. God will never abandon us.

What does God have in store for you?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

by Sister Jacinta Katusabe, CSC

Sister Jacinta
Find God’s voice in all that you do each day. There will be tough moments but “do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). Only by listening to that inner voice do we come to learn what God has in store for us.

I was in primary school when I first heard God’s call and realized I wanted to serve God in a special way. Further involvement in my church strengthened this desire. The religious who served in the area of Uganda where I grew up played a role in my pursuit of a religious vocation. Their hospitality enabled me to see how they served God. They were together with God in all they were doing.

I wanted to be with God in this way. I went to my father and asked if there were women who lived like the religious men I had witnessed. He said yes and he promised to get answers to my questions. He introduced me to the Holy Cross Congregation (priests and brothers) in East Africa, who helped me in my journey of discerning my call to religious life. Through them I came to know the Sisters of the Holy Cross. I felt the love and the openness of their shared lives. I enjoyed the spirit of being part of the Holy Cross family — sisters, brothers and priests.

Trust in God. Listen. God will always provide what you need.

Sister Jacinta is headmistress of Moreau Primary School in Kirinda, Uganda, which offers coeducation to more than 300 students from nursery through the sixth grade.

If you think you might have a call to the religious life or want to know more about the Sisters of the Holy Cross, please contact us.

Sister Joan Marie invited to White House

Sister Joan Marie Steadman, who serves as executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), was invited by President Barack Obama to be present at the White House on August 3 and stand on stage with him when he unveiled his clean power plan. The president thanked Sister Joan Marie for her leadership in rallying Catholic sisters across America to work for climate change.

Sisters of the Holy Cross are committed to animating Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si': On care for our common home, which focuses on ecological issues and the care of creation.

Our Lady of Holy Cross School goes green

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sister Esther Adjoa Entsiwah, headmistress of Our Lady of Holy Cross School, Kasoa, Ghana, digs a hole to initiate the tree planting for Arbor Week.
by Sister Cynthia Godia Bienaan
     On June 11, 2015, sisters, staff and students of Our Lady of Holy Cross School, Kasoa, Ghana, carried out a tree-planting exercise officially called Arbor Week. Arbor Week takes place at different times of the year around the world. In Ghana, the first week of June is dedicated to tree planting as well as different activities that encourage taking care of the environment. This is because most parts of the country experience a lot of rain during June.
     The exercise of tree planting was first introduced in Ghana by Sir Fredric Gordon Guggisberg in 1925 as a way to protect the environment. The practice, however, nearly collapsed, but in 1998 the Catholic Church in Ghana in collaboration with the Christian Council of Ghana and the Environmental Protection Agency reintroduced the celebration and named it Arbor Week. Since then a lot of effort has been made by various leaders, both civil and religious, to educate communities, institutions, businesses and individuals on different greening activities, especially in the urban sector.
     Archbishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of Cape Coast, in whose archdiocese our sisters live and minister, addressed an audience of chiefs, elders and people in a little town called Abura Dunkwa some time ago on environmental issues. This followed a call to all Ghanaians — especially to Catholics from the bishops in Ghana — to take care of the environment. In his speech, the archbishop emphasized the need to protect the environment as it plays an important role in our human existence. He encouraged every household to plant a tree each year in order to help sustain the environment.
     The trees were provided by the Justice Committee in Ghana and some staff members. Before the tree planting, the students were taught about the importance of trees in the environment and the need to take care of trees, animals and rivers. Because of these classes, even the nursery school children (age 3) and kindergarteners (ages 4 and 5) had a fair idea of what the day was about.
     Sister Esther Adjoa Entsiwah, headmistress, led the school in a short prayer service excerpted from Holy Cross’ Earth Day prayer service, after which some teachers and sisters also gave instructions on how to take care of the plants. The entire school took part in this exercise, which was dubbed “Breathe Better, Live Healthier and Longer.”
     Tree planting has become a necessity in Ghana due to the fast depletion of forests in the country. The students were glad they are able to be a part of a movement aimed at making the environment a better place for all living species. The students, sisters and staff are very grateful to the Justice Office of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Ghana for sponsoring this event.

God is our shelter

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Our faith in God gives us the strength we need to live meaningful lives despite the pain and suffering we see all around us. It is our relationship with God that enables us to live through hard times and difficult situations without becoming hopeless or giving in to despair. Knowing that God truly loves us and cares about our well-being and that of all creation is the source of our inner strength.