A Visit to Dorothy Day House

When the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality opened on Belmont Avenue in 2009, it was thought a small amount of folks may need its service.

That hasn’t been the case. With meals Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and lunch for those receiving showers Wednesday afternoons, dozens of guests visit the Dorothy Day house each week. Pre-COVID, there were sometimes more than 100 guests each dinner.

We and our Associates, along with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary and local lay persons, continue to collaborate at the house. Sister Ann McManamon, HM, who served as director from early on until spring of this year, did a wonderful job of organizing meals from her community’s Associates, ours, and local groups, restaurants and individuals.

A recent Wednesday preparing dinner at the Dorothy Day House. From left are Ursuline Associates Barb, Aimee, Cindy, Jim, Larry, Linda, Dan and Sister Kathleen McCarragher. Sister Kathleen calls bingo on Wednesday afternoons.

The house is now led by a two-member team, comprising Ursuline Associate Dan Wakefield and Valeria Gonvalves.

It offers not only meals, showers, and monthly roundtable discussions on social concerns, but also the opportunity for guests to relax, feel safe, and as one man recently told Ursuline Associate Ruthanne, “Be treated like a human.”

Our founder, St. Angela Merici, taught us to care for the poor of pocket and spirit. As Christ himself stated, “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, you do unto me.”

Dorothy Day was an American who founded the Catholic Worker movement. At a young age, after her family suffered tragedy and became poor, she learned first-hand how hard life can be for those in need – not just from the lack of necessities or frills, but from the humiliation the poor can endure.

Living Holy Lives

When St. Angela Merici founded the Ursulines in 1535, she promised, “You’ll witness wonderful things if you direct all to the praise and glory of God.”

The wisdom of her words proves true in the 21st century! Our Sisters are engaged in gospel service with wonderful people around the Mahoning Valley.

Several work with families in the diocese. Sister Mary Alyce Koval ministers at St. Luke and St. Charles parishes, Sister Janice Kusick at St. Angela Merici Parish, Sister Martha Reed at St. Columba Parish Cathedral, and Sister Regina Rogers at St. Edward Parish, all in Youngstown.

Other Sisters are active with our major ministries. Sister Patricia McNicholas serves as donor relations director for all of Ursuline Sisters Mission. Sister Norma Raupple leads our Immigrant Outreach program and works closely with volunteers and Associate formation. Sisters Carole Suhar and Darla Jean Vogelsang work with women in our Immigrant Outreach program as well.

Sister Nancy Dawson helped 13 incarcerated men become Catholics through our Prison Ministry. Still others maintain their own ministries. Sister Dorothy Kundracik operates our Altar Bread Ministry. Sisters Bridget Nolan and Diane Toth bring food and friendship to seniors through Meals on Wheels. Sister Marie Maravola brightens lives as a pastoral minister at the Antonine Village in North Jackson.

Sister Mary McCormick educates the next generation of faith leaders as a professor and academic dean at St. Mary’s Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Cleveland.

Many more are active in ministries offered from the Motherhouse. Sister Pauline Dalpe is a mental health counselor. Sister Nancy DiCola oversees some of our archiving efforts. Sister Elizabeth Anne Freidhoff keeps us all going as Community Secretary. Sister Mary Ann Diersing helps in our administrative office. Sister Jan Gier is a friendly face and voice to visitors at our Motherhouse front desk.

Sister Eileen Kernan offers spiritual direction at home and in the field. She, along with Sisters Kathleen McCarragher and Marlene LoGrasso, also began a “Nuns & Nones” group in 2022.

Sister Kathleen Minchin continues to serve with our HIV/AIDS Café. Sister Nancy Pawlen ministers with our Education & Wellness programs, our Volunteer Outreach Ministry, and with St. Rose Parish, Girard.

Sister Marilyn Hoover earned a gold medal for the 90+ age group when walking the 5k of our Nun Run. Sister Charlotte Italiano keeps in touch with contacts at Holy Family and St. Joseph the Provider schools.

Sisters Mary Ann Coz and Helen Nordick are active with our Prayer Ministry.

We keep all of you in our prayers, and hope you’ll keep us in yours as well.

From left, front row, are Sisters Mary Ann Coz, Marilyn Hoover, Nancy Dawson, Helen Nordick, Diane Toth, Jan Gier, Marlene LoGrasso, and Charlotte Italiano. Middle row are Sisters Eileen Kernan, Marie Maravola, Bridget Nolan, Kathleen Minchin, Martha Reed, Kathleen McCarragher, Regina Rogers, Elizabeth Anne Freidhoff, Nancy Pawlen and Mary McCormick. Back row are Sisters Darla Jean Vogelsang, Pauline Dalpe, Janice Kusick, Nancy DiCola, Dorothy Kundracik, Patricia McNicholas, Norma Raupple, Mary Ann Diersing, Carole Suhar and Mary Alyce Koval.

World AIDS Day

Ursuline Sisters Mission is sponsoring a Red Ribbon Display in downtown Youngstown, Ohio to honor the roughly 800 people in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties living with HIV as part of local commemorations for World AIDS Day.

Each of the 80 ribbons on Federal Square represents 10 people.

Thurs., Dec. 1, 2022, World AIDS Day, the public is invited to an event at that location beginning at 4:15 p.m. Rev. Joseph Boyd of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown will lead the group in prayer, followed by remarks from Mayor Jamael Tito Brown on the work to end HIV and overcome the stigma experienced by those touched by the epidemic.

Also speaking will be Laura McCulty Stepp, Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry director, Erin Bishop, Youngstown Health commissioner, and Tim Bortner, founder and president of Full Spectrum Community Outreach.

Shelley Turner of Equitas Health and Bortner will lead “A Walk of Remembrance” to Wean Park, where Full Spectrum Community Outreach will host a candlelight vigil to remember those who we have lost to the disease. Equitas Health also will provide warm drinks and snacks from Mocha House.

The Premier Bank Tower Clock, Market Street Bridge and the walkway from Wean Park to the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater will be lit in red that day in support of World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day was established in 1988 to reflect on the lives lost to HIV/AIDS, and to honor the more than 38 million people worldwide living with HIV.

2021 Labyrinth Walk Schedule

The Ursuline Education & Wellness Center, 4280 Shields Road, is offering several Guided Labyrinth Walks this season.

This year’s overarching theme is respect. Each walk will be led by a different facilitator with the meditation centering on a related theme. Respect is a virtue central to the ministries of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, who began their work in the Mahoning Valley in 1874, and to the mission of St. Angela Merici, who founded the Ursuline order in 1535.

All persons of faith are invited to participate in these free, weather-permitting events. Walks generally take 20 minutes to ½ hour.

This year’s schedule is:

Thurs., June 17, 6:30 p.m.: Respect People Different from Ourselves
Thurs., July 15, 6:30 p.m.: Respect Yourself
Thurs., Aug. 19, 6:30 p.m.: Respect in Relationships
Thurs., Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m.: Respect Other Faiths
Sun., Oct. 17, 2 p.m.: Respect Creation

The labyrinth is open year-round from dawn to dusk for all persons of faith. There is no cost to use the labyrinth, which is accessible for different physical abilities and offers ample parking.

Printed guides are provided at the Labyrinth’s entrance giving suggestions for following the path, but there is no right or wrong way to experience the sacred walk.

For more information, call the Ursuline Education & Wellness Center at 330-799-4941 or visit theursulinecenter.org.

The Ursuline Education & Wellness Center is sponsored by Ursuline Ministries and furthers the mission of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown.

What Is a Labyrinth?

The labyrinth is an ancient pattern found in many cultures around the world. Labyrinth designs were found on pottery, tablets and tiles dating as far back as 4,000 years. Many patterns are based on spirals from nature. In Native American culture, it is called the Medicine Wheel and Man in the Maze. The Celts described it as the Never Ending Circle. It is also called the Kabala in mystical Judaism.

One feature they all share is that they have one path which winds in a circuitous way to the center. The labyrinth design at the Ursuline Center is a replica of the 11-circuit labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral in France. This pattern, once central to cathedral culture, was inlaid into the stone floor in 1201. 

Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, find balance, and encourage meditation, insight and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural tool of well-being. They can be found in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, memorial parks and retreat centers as well as in people’s backyards.

The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds into the center. The person walking it uses the same path to return and the entrance then becomes the exit. The path is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally.

Generally there are three stages to the walk: releasing on the way in, receiving in the center and returning; that is, taking back out into the world that which you have received.

‘It’s All Good!’

Sister Martha wears many hats these days. All have been affected uniquely by COVID-19.

She’s just returned to work with differently-abled adults. Her client is on the autism spectrum, hearing impaired, legally blind and nonverbal.

“I was excited to be with my client, and she was excited to be with me,” Sister Martha says of their summer reunion. “When she heard my voice, her face lit up and she gave me a hug.”

Sister Martha hadn’t seen her for almost a year-and-a-half because of COVID.

 “I make sure she gets her meds, we cook dinner together, we clean up together and enjoy each other’s company,” Sister Martha says. “I’m teaching her how to get her own drink of water.”

This aspect of Sister Martha’s ministry is through Iron & String Life Enhancement, or ISLE, a nonprofit based in Youngstown. She works one shift a week with the residential program.

Meanwhile, Sister Martha also is the pastoral minister and director of religious education for St. Columba Cathedral Parish in Youngstown.

Sister Martha with a CCD gathering shortly before COVID

In that ministry she’s helping parishioners find normalcy in our adjusted reality.

“We have young servers again in Mass. We have precautions like hand sanitizers around the church. We ask that if parishioners don’t want to keep their bulletins they dispose of them.

“Some people are still doing their own distancing. With CCD, we’re no longer doing Zoom, but we’re moving from a weekly meeting to once a month with the whole family — Growing in Faith Together.” 

St. Columba CCD had great attendance during the pandemic, she notes, because some families who had impediments to coming in person found it convenient to do so online.

“I welcome everyone with open arms,” she says, demonstrating with her arms wide and a smile to match on her face, but noting it’s not safe to resume hugging yet. “I welcome parishioners returning to Mass by name. We feel God’s love by loving our neighbors.”

Loving her neighbors is another way Sister Martha ministers. She, Sister Mary Alyce Koval and four other traditionally-abled friends founded a bible study group for people different abilities called The Five Saints (for saints Christine, Columba, Luke, Nicholas and Patrick).

Members of The Five Saints bible study group—Jim Shagla, Tim Gilboy, Sister Martha Reed and Jimmy Sutman

“We need to be open as a church including people with disabilities and all abilities to come and pray together,” she observes.

With about 20 members including the core team, it began meeting at the Cathedral a couple years back. Members share scripture, prayer and a small snack one day a month.

Meetings moved online during the height of the pandemic, but the group’s back to gathering — now at the nearby ISLE location.

“We all have a desire to experience God’s love through relationships, prayer, liturgy, and most importantly, one another,” she posits.

Sister Martha has a special place in her heart for adults with different abilities. She wasn’t identified as having dyslexia until 5th grade and didn’t learn how to read well until college.

And speaking of college, Sister Martha also is pursuing her second master’s degree. In her academic career, she earned a bachelor of science in Pre K Education, a master’s in Special Education, and now is working towards a master’s in pastoral ministry through Loyola University in New Orleans.

A local group pursuing the degree had been meeting for classes with a facilitator. But when the pandemic started, they weren’t allowed to meet traditionally.

“We got permission to meet by Zoom, but now we’re two semesters behind. We’re going to graduate together in May of 2023,” she says, noting they’re all now studying individually in the online portion of their courses.

While the ups and downs brought by the pandemic can be difficult, Sister Martha’s faith keeps her positive.

“Julian of Norwich has a famous quote – ‘And all shall be well.’  I’ve changed it a bit. My motto is, ‘It’s all good.’ God equals love,” she says. “Be patient with one another and listen to where God is leading us.”

Sister Martha refers to the second counsel of St. Angela Merici, founder of the Ursulines in 1535, for more direction.

“With things going on in our world today, not only the pandemic but with racism and violence, we all need to remember to be gentle with each other and show compassion,” she says. “That’s what I’m trying to do, just listening and praying with others. Yes, it’s easier to sit with some, but we’re called to sit with each other.”

A Great Team

From Sister Norma Raupple:

We’re having a great summer with children in our Beatitude House Immigrant Outreach program.

Helping me are Jenne and Marta, who’ve been mentoring children for more than five years. Jenne is now employed as the Child Wellness Coordinator for Beatitude House and Marta just completed a year with AmeriCorps, serving through Ursuline Ministries

Their time and presence with children throughout the summer at Mill Creek MetroParks, GROW Camp at Villa Maria and the public library has made a huge difference.

Working with community partner the YBI, or Youngstown Business Incubator, has been a highlight. The children were taught how to create and implement a business plan for selling lemonade.  

A YBI expert teaches the kids about running their own business

“Something that stood out to me about the Lemonade Day work the kids were doing was how enthusiastic they were to work together,” Marta says. “The excitement about creating something that was their own product and collaborating to make it possible was awesome to see.

“It has definitely been one of the best summers for our kiddos!” she continues. “I am so excited for them to see their planning come to fruition!”

Jenne was impressed with the children’s hard work.

“The children went through the process of how to be an entrepreneur. They learned about setting goals, saving money, giving back to their community, marketing, advertising, product testing, and how to sell their goods,” she reports. “Through collaboration the children worked in groups and pairs to create their own lemonade and name for their business.”  

You can visit our lemonade stand Fri., Aug. 6 from 11 a.m-noon at the Eugenia Atkinson Recreation Center 903 Otis St., Youngstown, Ohio 44510

If you’d like to volunteer with our children’s program, contact Jenne at [email protected].

Fighting Poverty with Education

For nearly 150 years, the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown have been dedicated to the education of women, men and children. The creation of the Ursuline Sisters Scholars Program grew out of a clear need to address people living in poverty.

It was painfully apparent that those who did not pursue a higher education found themselves restricted to low-wage jobs with insufficient wages and few opportunities for advancement.

There was no better advocate for the poor than Sister Jerome Corcoran. She felt strongly that the key to breaking the cycle of poverty was to earn an education.

She knew an advanced education equates to higher wages, better healthcare outcomes, an increased sense of pride in self, more stable families, and in turn, a more solid community. It was through her hard work and dedication that the Ursuline Sisters Scholars program was born.

Sister Jerome was amazingly well-educated in her own right. She began her educational journey at St. Columba Elementary School and was a 1934 graduate of Ursuline High School.

She attended St. John College, Cleveland, earned a BA in English from Sisters College at the Catholic University of America in 1942.

She then earned an MA in English from Catholic University and a Ph. D. in Education from Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1952.

Throughout 79 years of active ministry, Sister Jerome dedicated her life to advocating for the poor through education. In 1967, Sister Jerome conducted GED classes in Youngstown enabling people to earn a high school diploma. In 1976, she began Millcreek Children’s Center for preschool education in the city of Youngstown.

In 1998, Sister Jerome, along with Sister Mary Dunn and the Board of Developing Potential, Inc. began a charter school, Youngstown Community School. Sister Jerome retired from the Millcreek Children’s Center in 2012. In 2013, the year after she retired, she kept going and created what would become the Ursuline Sisters Scholar’s program.

Believing everyone deserve access to a quality education to achieve a better and brighter future, Ursuline Sisters Scholars, a program of our Beatitude House ministry, helps college students from low-income families achieve their academic aspirations through mentorship and financial assistance for school-related living expenses.  The goal is to break the cycle of poverty through education and help underprivileged adults overcome everyday challenges.

In 2020 alone, the Ursuline Sisters Scholars program served 54 students, 16 of which reached graduation (61% of whom were single parents). 55 students have been served so far in 2021. In the past 3 years (2018-2021) a total of 94 students have been served.

The program awarded three scholarships for the Fall 2020 semester. Tymira received $1,000 from the Beeghly Fund for Scholars. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work at Ursuline College, and graduated during the Spring 2021 semester. Ashlee received $1,000 from the Boardman Rotary Fund for Scholars and is currently working on her associate degree in occupational therapy at Kent Trumbull.

Nasheema received $1,000 from the Kennedy Fund for Scholars. She graduated from Trumbull Career & Technical Center with her license in practical nursing and will use this scholarship to further her education at Cuyahoga Community College and earn her associate of applied science degree in nursing. 

Three scholarships were awarded for the Spring 2021 Semester. Rasha received $1,000 from the Comerford Fund for Scholars and is studying Health Information Management Eastern Gateway Community College. Kathryn received $1,000 from the Boardman Rotary and is working on her bachelor’s degree in social work at Youngstown State University. Lastly, Ashlee received $500 from Ursuline Sisters Fund for Scholars and is working on her associate degree in occupational therapy at Kent Ashtabula. 

The program had three graduates during the Fall 2020 semester. Luz graduated from Mercy in the College of Nursing. Theodora earned a degree from Youngstown State University in Hospitality Management, and Beth earned a degree in Integrative Studies from Kent State Ashtabula.

There are five students who graduated or are graduating between May-July 2021. Chondia and Kara will graduate from Choffin in Licensed Practical Nursing. Amanda will graduate from Kent State Ashtabula with a degree in Human Services. Yasmeen will earn a degree in Paralegal Studies from Eastern Gateway Community College, and Tymira will graduate from Ursuline College with a degree in Social Work.

We’re proud of all our graduates, and thankful to Sister Jerome for her passionate work to raise people up through education. What started with 12 students in 2013 has grown into a hugely successful program with an 80% success rate helping so many to break the cycle of poverty.

Donations to this program to continue Sister Jerome’s work can be made by contacting Beatitude House.

Sisters on the Frontlines Grants, Part II

For a second time, the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown were chosen for Sisters on the Frontlines grants. The grants were administered by Catholic Extension, based in Chicago.

Here’s how our Sisters helped people especially suffering during the pandemic:

Sister Martha Reed, Pastoral Minister and Director of Religious Education for The Cathedral of St. Columba Parish, Youngstown

COVID-19 has hit some families harder than others. Such is the case for a couple with three teenagers from St. Columba Parish, near the heart of downtown Youngstown. On Jan. 2, the father was hospitalized because he’d contracted COVID-19; by Valentine’s Day, he needed a double lung transplant to survive.

“The doctors described his lungs as being like shattered glass after COVID ravished them,” Sister Martha describes. “My heart aches for them. They’re a great family of great faith.”

Dad is still recovering in a hospital in Columbus, more than three hours’ drive from the family home in Youngstown. Mom and the teenagers travel to Columbus as often as possible.

Not only has the father been unable to contribute to the household income during this time, doctors say it will be quite some time before he’ll be able to work.

Meanwhile, bills have accumulated. Sister Martha used her $1,000 to purchase gasoline and food gift cards for the family, so that affording to visit dad and affording groceries will be two less concerns for a short time.

“It humbles me to be able to help this family through this grant from Catholic Extension,” Sister Martha says.

Sister Regina Rogers, Pastoral Associate for St. Edward Parish, Youngstown

Sister Regina Rogers ministers at a parish in the heart of a poverty-stricken neighborhood on the city’s north side. There, she’s encountered “Mary,” a single mother of two who works in housekeeping in the hospitality industry, one of the hardest hit from COVID-19.

“She has touched my heart deeply,” Sister Regina states.

“In her I see the struggles of a single parent with two young children who wants to better her life,” she continues, “but keeps running into obstacles.”

Mary is the victim of a so-called “Catch 22,” Sister Regina says.

“What a bind. If she doesn’t go to work, she doesn’t get paid, but if she doesn’t have child care –which she hasn’t had for over a year because of the pandemic — she can’t go to work,” Sister Regina explains. “It is a blatant example of the negative effects of being poor.”

Sister Regina is very grateful for the $1,000 Sisters on the Frontlines grant from Catholic Extension, which she used to purchase gift cards for food and gas. This will enable Mary to divert the money she earmarked for feeding her family and traveling to and from work to retain child care.

“Hopefully, the gift cards can help her get ahead. I only wish that people who make the rules could meet her and talk with her,” Sister Regina observes. “She is truly an example of faith and perseverance. She is the face of the working poor for me.”

Sister Patricia McNicholas, Donor Relations Dir. of our Beatitude House ministry, Youngstown

Sister Patricia is helping “Angela,” a young mother of two who suffered quite a blow during the pandemic.

For six years, Angela worked for minimum wage at a gas station, never receiving a raise.

When the owner applied for and received CARES act funding, she inquired when employees would benefit. The owner told her it was all for him, fired her and falsely accused her of theft.

Her unemployment was held up. The severe loss of income left her and her children homeless and in serious debt.

Sister Patricia used her $1,000 to help cover back utility bills so that Angela has the ability to get housing. Further, Sister Patricia and the staff of Beatitude House arranged for Angela and her children to move into permanent housing June 1. This was made possible because of the Sisters on the Frontlines grant from Catholic Extension.

“This will give them a stable home,” a grateful Sister Patricia notes. “In addition, it will give her young children a place where they can get outside and play.”

Sister Kathleen McCarragher, volunteer minister at Mahoning County St. Vincent de Paul Society Dining Hall and Food Pantry, Youngstown

Sister Kathleen, her brother and sister-in-law and father have long been volunteers with the Mahoning County St. Vincent de Paul society, located in downtown Youngstown.

According to census data, Youngstown has the 2nd highest poverty rate in the nation, with more than half its children living in poverty, and a significant elderly population.

Further, the St. Vincent de Paul location is situated near the campus of Youngstown State University and therefore accessed by hungry students.

During the pandemic, the dining hall has distributed packaged meals/food supplies outdoors.

Ordinarily, volunteers and parishes contribute to stocking its shelves and supplying food. Unfortunately, the pandemic has resulted in a decrease in those donations, while the need by guests, as well as the number of guests, greatly increased.

Sister Kathleen used her $1,000 grant to purchase grocery items.

“I used the grant money to purchase enough food, with items such as crackers, peanut butter and canned foods, to fill 50 boxes of food that the Mahoning County St. Vincent dePaul Food Pantry distributed to those in need in our area,” Sister Kathleen says.

“The funds also allowed me to buy ground beef and other foods for the Dining Hall,” she continues. “The Dining Hall serves hot meals to an average of 200 people a day.”

The experience meant a great deal to Sister Kathleen on a personal level, she says.

Sister Kathleen Minchin, Director Emeritus of our Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry, Youngstown

Nearly 80% of the individuals served in the HIV/AIDS Ministry are living in poverty.

For many of them, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused even more hardships and challenges.

Many clients in our ministry work in the food service and hospitality industries. Because of the COVID pandemic, they either lost their jobs or had reduced hours.

This issue, along with children being at home more because of remote schooling and limited children’s programming, has led to an increase in food needs for clients.

Sister Kathleen used her $1,000 Sisters on the Frontlines grant from Catholic Extension to purchase items for our food and personal goods pantries. Items purchased include pasta and sauce, cereal, and canned stew, vegetables and fruit. The grant also was used to purchase such items as soap, cleaners, toilet paper and paper towels.

“Receiving this grant money has allowed us to provide emergency food assistance for those in need, and it has helped to alleviate some stress in their lives,” Sister Kathleen states.

“As Ursuline Sisters, we strive to meet the needs of the times,” she continues. “During these exceptional times, this funding allowed us to meet these needs with hospitality, respect, and compassion for those adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sister Mary Alyce Koval, Parish Leader for St. Luke Parish, Boardman

St. Luke’s Social Concerns Committee offers a monthly pantry distribution to meet needs not covered by the SNAP program. It offers such non-perishable and personal care items as toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, etc.

The pantry has seen a great increase in need since March 2020. Not only does the pantry have new visitors, the need increased for some people because households had to combine due to financial woes caused by the pandemic.

St. Luke’s pantry is wholly funded through the generosity of parishioners, who themselves have unfortunately suffered financial difficulties because of COVID-19.

“Thanks to the Sisters on the Frontlines grant from Catholic Extension, there are 50 families in our community who received their usual monthly bag of paper products and personal care items,” Sister Mary Alyce states.  “But in addition, this month they were surprised with ‘bonus’ gifts of an extra stick of deodorant, tooth brushes and toothpaste, shower gel and sunscreen.”

Sister Mary Alyce notes that many of us take the ability to purchase these items for granted, especially something like sunscreen with summer approaching, but the families who visit her parish’s pantry don’t have that option and come to St. Luke’s out of necessity.

“These families received these items as a gift,” she says. “I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Sister Norma Raupple, Director of the Beatitude House Immigrant Outreach Program, Youngstown

The mission of Beatitude House is to help create homes, provide educational opportunities and foster healthy families.

As director of its Immigrant Outreach Program, Sister Norma Raupple has “the privilege of accompanying immigrant families in their journey toward a better life.”

These families come from countries around the world, including from Asia and the Middle East, but mostly from Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America. Most live in poverty.

Many work low-paying jobs in the food service, landscaping and hospitality industries. They didn’t have enough hours before COVID struck to qualify for unemployment during pandemic layoffs, and even though they’re returning to work, they’re earning very little.

“The laundry detergent and cleaning supplies I was able to purchase with this grant definitely makes their daily lives manageable and enjoyable,” Sister Norma observes. “The purchases help about 20 families with children.”

Sister Norma extends her gratitude to Catholic Extension for how the $1,000 Sisters on the Frontlines grant allowed her to help these families.

View a short video of how we administered the first round of grants.

Super Director of Senior Living

Peggy Eicher has a kind heart.

The director of our Ursuline Sisters Senior Living Ministry has worked extra hard during this pandemic to lessen the hardships for our residents.

Peggy, with gift bags of hand sanitizer and masks she recently made for the residents.

In addition to keeping in constant contact to make sure the residents’ needs are being met, she’s offering support services that include weekly COVID-19 fact sheets, and providing residents with hand sanitizer and disposable face masks.

When restrictions were their most stringent, Peggy and our Sister Darla Vogelsang also created a safe chapel space in the Ursuline Center’s auditorium.

Ursuline Sisters Senior Living was established in 2013. This ministry provides independent living for people ages 55 and over of moderate income.

“Residents — who include, women, men and couples — enjoy, socialize, and look out for one another,” says Peggy, who also is an Ursuline Associate. “Thirty four residents have lived here since the ministry began and several of the original residents continue living here.”

The ministry also provides the current 23 residents many opportunities for physical, spiritual, social and educational growth, with access to numerous programs on-site offered through the Ursuline Education & Wellness Center, such as SilverSneakers land and water classes.

While classes and events have been postponed during the pandemic, we’re working to restart our programs as soon and as safely as possible.

And rest assured that we’re praying for the safety of you and your loved ones during this pandemic, and that all will be over soon.

Helping Others Heal

Sister Pauline Dalpe is receiving more calls these days, and COVID is the cause.

A counselor for 35 years, Sister Pauline says many calls begin as a plea for prayer.

“Then they tell me their situation. That’s when we do more than just pray,” she says.

Not all the folks need more counseling, but Sister Pauline’s client base remains steady. First meetings often are in person following
all safety protocols, then shift to conversations by phone or Zoom.

“In between phone calls, I try to send them a note of encouragement, something inspiring,” she states.

“During the nicer weather, we moved outdoors, sitting by the garden and the woods,” Sister Pauline continues. “That was such an enriching experience. The environment was comforting and nature itself de-stressed everybody. It offered us privacy and multiple benefits.”

To learn more about Sister Pauline, visit our YouTube Channel’s Vocation Stories playlist. To learn more about her counseling ministry, visit our Women in Ministry playlist.

Delivering Meals on Wheels

Sister Diane, left, and Sister Bridget

Even before the pandemic hit, millions of older adults in the U.S. faced a problem: hunger.

Not only do they live on fixed incomes or in poverty, they often lack the ability to grocery shop and cook.

That’s why the Meals on Wheels program is important. Two of our Sisters, Diane Toth and Bridget Nolan, minister with the program locally and say it enriches the lives of the volunteers and recipients.

Our Sisters deliver hot and cold meals once weekly. Other volunteers deliver on other days. With current safety protocols, our Sisters call folks on their route instead of visiting when they drop off the food.

“I like to offer them a cheerful greeting and chat a little bit,” Sister Diane comments. Sister Diane began volunteering with the ministry when she retired a year ago. She had long ministered as a social worker for Windsor House.

Since she’s from Struthers, Sister Diane was given a route in her hometown and Lowellville. She also works with our Prison Ministry.

Sister Bridget started ministering with Meals on Wheels about six years ago. She drives her Canfield route from May to October.

“People’s living situations change, so the route changes,” she says. “When I first started I had five or six homes I visited, but I’ve had up to 10.”

In addition to her ministry with Meals on Wheels, Sister Bridget is our archivist, curating our historical artifacts and documents. She also drives Sisters to their doctor appointments and shops for the Motherhouse.

HIV/AIDS Ministry: Dedication Overcomes Difficulties

Like many of you, Dan Wakefield, director of our HIV/AIDS Ministry, and Sister Kathleen Minchin, director emerita and one of its founders, have been especially challenged during this pandemic in gathering food and essential products, such as toilet paper.

Almost all of the ministry’s clients live at or below poverty level, and benefits don’t cover things like personal items and paper products.

But the two are persevering! The pantry isn’t full, but shelves aren’t bare. And they’ve found new ways to offer service, such as a monthly drive-thru café, complete with a home-made meal.

A Virtual Visit with Beatitude House

By Jessica Driscoll-Owens
Communications & Community
Relations Coordinator

A Virtual Visit with
Beatitude House

For nearly 30 years, Beatitude House has adapted to meet the changing needs of our clients and our community. With the onset of this pandemic, our lives have been turned upside down. Everyone is affected and at Beatitude House, caring for over 200 people daily, in three different programs, has taken a great deal of creativity.

The pandemic has been challenging for all families, but for those working to maintain permanent housing while changing the habits that left them homeless, the struggle is even more difficult. We’ve been working diligently to keep those in our programs housed, supplied with fresh food, as well as provided rent and utility assistance as needed.

As all of our clients have very low or no-income. We provide most of their basic necessities.

In addition, the majority of our case management, tutoring and mentoring sessions turned virtual. We’ve established regular check-ins and are making sure to provide extra care for those struggling with technology or online learning.

In May of 2020, we began a Child Wellness initiative to further support the children of Beatitude House. This initiative has helped ease the burdens our children are facing.

We’ve engaged our kids to keep them busy and set up desks for them to have their own work spaces, while making sure they had Wi-Fi and tablets if needed.

This year has also brought challenges financially. Our largest fundraiser, as well as all other events, had to be canceled. General donations have slowed dramatically and many foundations have stopped general funding to focus on COVID specific needs. Our resources at this time are being stretched very thin.

As we prepare for Christmas, your help is desperately needed. With your help, we can make sure all of the women and children in our programs experience the love and excitement they truly deserve this holiday season.

Donations last year kept our families warm.

When you provide gifts for our families, they feel so blessed knowing there are wonderful people in this world who truly care! Gifts for our women and children can be found on our Amazon Registry here: https://smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ls/2V42EJ98GLMMQ/ref=smi_ext_lnk_lcl_cl

Catching up with the Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry

By Dan Wakefield, Director

Dan Wakefield, director of our HIV/AIDS Ministry, and Linda Titus, director of its children’s program.

The Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry has continued to provide services for the men, women, and children in our area who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Our ministry has started providing tele-health services for clients at our clinic, we began a virtual tutoring and counseling program with our children’s program, and we have continued to provide food and other necessities for those in need.

Each month, we have been one of the beneficiaries of Ed Muransky’s and the United Way’s Satur-Day of Caring, which distributes essential groceries to the home-bound in our ministry.

We continue to honor our long-standing tradition of our Café event in Canfield. However, now we provide a drive-thru for the people we serve, so that, with social distancing, they still can obtain nutritious food to help with their family’s meals.

We’ve partnered with local restaurants to also include a take home meal for people each month. We hope someday to be able to return to offering the social support group component of this monthly event.

Lastly, our ministry is working hard to obtain donations to ensure we are able to provide our families with holiday meals this year. We have been so fortunate over the years with help from volunteers and friends of the ministry, and it means so much to those who would not have the means for a turkey or a ham to be able to sit as a family and enjoy their holiday meal.

Any donations of food, or grocery gift cards would be appreciated. If you’re interested in helping our families in this way, please call me at 330-793-0434.

Sisters on the Frontlines

Seven Sisters receive $1,000 grants, helping hardest hit by COVID-19 troubles

Watch a 1:26 video of our Sisters on the Frontlines

By Michele Ristich Gatts

Not only did COVID-19 threaten *Mary Smith’s health, it seriously threatened her livelihood.

Mary, a member of Beatitude House’s Ursuline Sisters Scholars Program, performs housekeeping for a Mahoning Valley hotel. When the pandemic forced quarantines and travel halted, she was laid off – but couldn’t collect unemployment. It’s happening to many people working low-paying jobs.

Sister Patricia McNicholas

“Some people laid off because of COVID-19 didn’t receive unemployment because they didn’t have enough hours,” explains Sister Patricia McNicholas, donor relations director for Beatitude House.

But thanks to a generous grant from the Sisters of Charity Foundation, Cleveland, Sister Patricia was able to help Mary and two other Scholars, all of whom are single mothers. Seven of our Sisters received grants of $1,000 each to directly help the women, men and children served by our ministries who are most affected by the COVID crisis.

Part of the national Sisters on the Frontlines initiative, the program recognizes that Catholic Sisters are always on the frontlines with ministries that help everyone – especially the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged. And in times of crisis, Catholic Sisters are always among the first to respond.

Together, our Sisters helped more than 100 people struggling because of COVID-19 related issues.

Most of the funds were spent for personal care items, cleaning and paper products — things that are hard to come by for everyone with shortages on store shelves, but especially for those who lack transportation to search for items and for those who are out of work. The items also cannot be purchased with Ohio EBT, commonly called “food stamps.”

Sister Mary Alyce Koval

Sister Mary Alyce Koval, parish leader for St. Luke Church, Boardman, says her parish’s pantry has experienced an increase in visitors since the pandemic hit. She used her grant to underwrite the purchase of goods for both St. Luke’s and Youngstown St. Vincent de Paul’s pantries.

“One woman I spoke to said that since COVID, her son got laid off. As a result, he couldn’t pay his rent on his home, so he had to move in with her,” Sister Mary Alyce says. “Now she is supporting herself, her son and his wife, and their two [children]. The little bit we can give helps.”

St. Columba Cathedral Parish in downtown Youngstown also is experiencing an increase in visitors. Sister Martha Reed, parish minister and director of religious education, also operates the pantry for St. Columba.

Sister Martha Reed

“With COVID-19, we’ve had many new clients knocking on the door, asking for food,” Sister Martha observes. “Here in Youngstown there is a food desert in our area.

“I give the people who come a bag of food once a month. It’s not enough. I wish I could do more.”

Before the grant, St. Columba’s pantry shelves were bare. Sister Martha used her $1,000 for items such as soup, pasta and cereal.

Visitor *Mrs. Nord laments, “With this virus, I cannot get food. They provide for my family when I can’t pay for it.”

“When I need food and come here, they always take care of me right away,” adds *Catherine. “During these hard times, [I] can’t get food for my children.”

Ensuring kids don’t go hungry is of great concern for Sister Regina Rogers, a longtime educator and pastoral associate for St. Edward Parish on Youngstown’s north side. The parish also operates a food pantry for neighbors.

Sister Regina Rogers

“When children are home all day, the chances of them having breakfast, lunch and dinner decline,” reports Sister Regina. City children, she notes, are attending school online for the remainder of 2020. “This grant enables us to provide for the children breakfast bars, healthy snack food, lunch food, so that while they are home, they are eating.”

Sister Kathleen McCarragher used her grant money to help a large family she’s ministered with for many years. *Jane is raising her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Sister Kathleen McCarragher

“The COVID virus hurt her family in many ways,” Sister Kathleen states. “The children no longer had free breakfast and lunch, her grandson lost his job, and some of her family was looking to her for emotional as well as financial support.”

She used the funds to help Jane with rent, purchase food and other grocery items.

“The experience allowed me to feel as if we had changed her life,” Sister Kathleen posits. “I have lived the vow of poverty for 44 years, but to know someone who lives in poverty every day opened my eyes to the very different meanings of the vow.”

Sister Norma Raupple

For families in Beatitude House’s Immigrant Outreach Program, Sister Norma Raupple purchased laundry and cleaning supplies and helped one family having especially tough times with food.

“They really try to get by with as little as they can,” Sister Norma states. “Anything they receive they’re grateful for.”

Many of the families have fathers who work in landscaping and mothers who work in food service. Both industries declined and cut workers’ hours because of the pandemic, she notes.

“Their income is decreased, and it was already low to begin with,” says Sister Norma.

That’s also the story for clients of our HIV/AIDS Ministry. Sister Kathleen Minchin, director emeritus, used her grant for pantry supplies.

Sister Kathleen Minchin, right

“It has helped us feed the hungry, demonstrate that we are present with them, and help provide hope for the future,” she says. “Given that nearly 80% of our clients are at or below the poverty level, the COVID crisis has stretched their resources even thinner.”

The Sisters of Charity foundation awarded $1,000 grants to 61 Sisters in 10 northeast Ohio religious communities. The foundation and all of the Sisters involved – including us – continue doing what we can to help the vulnerable populations victimized further by the pandemic.

We’re deeply grateful for the help these grants enabled.

Though Ohio’s COVID-19 restrictions have eased somewhat, pandemic concerns still affect the availability of and hours for many of our clients working minimum-wage jobs. For instance, Mary, from our Scholars program has gone back to work, but with severely slashed hours.

Her recent paycheck to support her family — $82.

* The women’s names have been changed to protect their identity.

We’re hosting our first ever VIRTUAL Nun Run! You can run or walk the virtual race from any location – on the grass, sidewalk, trail, treadmill or track — at any time during November.

Usually, this event benefits the children’s program of the Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry. This year, it also benefits children served by Ursuline Preschool & Kindergarten.

Your participation is a wonderful way to support our vital ministries and programs, stay active, and get the whole family involved in a healthy activity.

And for those who love our Nun Run t-shirts, you can still get a t-shirt this year!  If you register by Oct. 7, you’re guaranteed a race t-shirt, which you can either pick up at the Ursuline Center or have mailed to you.

Our HIV/AIDS Ministry continues to provide services to children and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. We provide weekly, individualized, virtual tutoring sessions with the children to assist them with completing their school work. We created a private YouTube channel to showcase the talents of the children and children’s programming staff. We provide food and personal hygiene items to the families most severely impacted by this crisis. We created academic and educational kits that were distributed to the families each week during the summer. We continue to offer support for the children and families experiencing anxiety during this time.

Ursuline Preschool & Kindergarten is unwavering in its mission to provide the best early childhood Catholic education in our community. Our staff has worked tirelessly to keep students engaged with remote activities, Zoom classes, mystery readers, and social and emotional connections with their classmates and their school. We also reached out to our school families, providing food and household essentials needed due to job loss and hardships associated with the pandemic. We’re always looking for ways to raise money to help struggling families.

More than ever, our children need help. If you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities and/or participating in the 6th annual Nun Run virtual race, please visit www.runsignup.com/nunrun. If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected], or call 330-793-0434.

No matter how fast or slow you think of yourself, it’s time to own it. There’s speedy for you, and then there’s your own version of a leisurely jog, and that’s the great thing about running—you can go at your own pace.

Running coaches will note multiple reasons why runners should incorporate different paces into their training. One of the most important reasons is because so many runners suffer injuries from not running slowly enough—or ever.

Think about it: Many runners simply head out the door and go as hard as they can. There might be a little variation depending on the day or terrain, but generally speaking, they have one pace and it’s go. Alternatively, if you’re always taking it super easy, where you are rarely breaking a sweat or not breathing hard, you should also challenge yourself with some speedy efforts. Variety is the key.

If you follow an official training plan, you’ve likely seen instructions for easy runs and faster ones. But a lot of beginner runners don’t really understand what that means—or why.

What Does It Mean to Run Slow?

Your own version of “slow” can be thought of as conversation-pace running. If you can pretty easily have chat with a buddy, then that’s your slow speed, if you are looking for healthy supplements visit bigeasymagazine.

To give you an idea of the difference in fast and slow for two different runners, here’s the kind of information in the pace charts used by Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) coaches:

  1. Say you can run a 5K in 30 minutes, that’s a pace of 9:40 (fast); your easy long run should be 12-minute miles (slow).
  2. If you can run a half marathon in under 2 hours (about 9-minute miles), a slow run would be 10:22; you could expect to run a 5K in 25:30, at an 8:13 pace.

If you’re more apt to track your heart rate on runs, a gentle pace would likely find your heart rate at approximately 110 to 140 beats per minute.

These numbers may give you some idea of where you should be if you keep track of your time, pace, or heart rate. If not, don’t worry. These differences also relate to your effort and breathing—which relates back to the idea of being able to hold a conversation. If you think you’re the slowest runner out there (lots of people think this, but there’s no reason to compare yourself to anyone else) and still breathing hard and feeling like you’re going all out most of the time, then you aren’t going slowly enough at times, for more information visit Thehealthmania.

What Are the Benefits Of Running Slowly?

Getting in your slow running time, at a conversational pace, has many benefits for your body (and a few for your ego):

  • Strengthens muscles in legs, torso, and arms
  • Adapts tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones to stress of running
  • Promotes efficient running form.
  • Teaches patience, discipline, and how to handle physical discomfort
  • Trains the cardio, respiratory, and muscular systems to work more efficiently
  • Prevention of bone and back pain.
  • Increases the quantity and size of mitochondria, improving oxygen use and glycogen stores

Longer life span could potentially be added to that list, as well. In general, runners have an estimated 25 to 40 percent reduced risk of premature mortality. However, a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that consistent slow and moderate-paced runners had an even lower risk of all-cause mortality than non-runners or strenuous runners.

Virtual Ministry May Be Necessity Now, but It Isn’t New

Just about every church in the United States has moved to online ministry to mitigate the danger that congregational gatherings will further spread COVID-19.

There’ve been plenty of bumps in the road. Not everyone who’s spiritually savvy is technologically so.

But our own Sister Therese Ann Rich is among the few who embraced online ministry years ago. For several years, she’s taught online classes for the Diocese of Youngstown. She helped design and operate many of our ministry websites and our community website, social media pages and other online outreach. She’s the administrator of the website and eNewsletter for St. Edward Parish in Youngstown. She also served on the design committee for diocese’s newest website design.

Social media, she notes, is a key tool for 21st century ministry.

“Social media can help you be where your audience members are,” she says.

“As church, our ministry is to help and serve others. The question is — how can we serve someone if we do not go to or cannot be where they are?”

Sister Therese Ann cites data from Statista.com, which shows that out of the 7 billion people on the planet, more than a third are on social media channels.

“If you and I, as ministers, are not present in this platform, how can we serve and minister to the billions of people who congregate on social media?” Sister Therese Ann posits.

Social media can help ministers create positive influence in society, she continues.

“As custodians of God’s word, we are called to influence the world. We are the salt and light of the world. We are the yeast that is destined to influence the dough. We are the vessels that carry solutions to the world’s biggest problems. And social media is where people are asking the questions, looking for answers and spending time researching,” Sister Therese Ann says. “Studies show that an average person spends close to two hours a day on social media. If our ministry is not present on social media, how can we influence the people who are crowding around this space for hours?”

Social media, she points out, also can help religious leaders build community.

“God’s plan for His Church is to operate as a community. And social media networks are designed to facilitate community building. That is why I believe the Church and social media are such a good fit,” Sister Therese Ann states. “Building a community online requires specific technology, features and infrastructure. Most social media networks come with those features already built in – members only content, group events, group calendar, privacy settings, instant messaging facility, notifications, etc. We have experienced the growth and depth of an online community.” 

Further, Sister Therese Ann says, social media can help you convey your ministry’s vision.

“God has given us a mission that can impact society and build His kingdom. It is good for us to share it with as many people in as many ways as possible,” she says.

“Social media is designed to take a message and spread it among a specific group of people. So if we take our vision/mission and communicate it to our audience on social media, then people may want to help us accomplish that vision,” Sister Therese Ann continues. “Using social media, we can communicate our mission visually and interactively, making it more engaging and interesting.”

Ministering to Refugees

By Sister Norma Raupple

Living in nylon tents, often with no sleeping bags and no layers of clothing, does not keep families warm when temps dip into the 40s.

This is a reality for asylum-seekers at the U.S./Mexico border.

In mid-December, I led of group of seven women – Ursuline Sister of Mount St. Joseph Jacinta Powers and five young adults — to border towns around Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico. We were in solidarity with those waiting for their turn to meet with U.S. Immigration officials. The refugees fleeing violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador camp on the Mexican side in pup tents because of MPP, Migrant Protection Protocols.

We volunteered through the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, sponsored by Catholic Charities. Fifty refugee families whose claims are being processed were living there. We made sandwiches, distributed clothes, served meals, cleaned bathrooms and showers, played with children and prepared 10 wagons to pull across the International Bridge. The hungry, destitute people formed an orderly line when they saw us coming. They were grateful for the sandwiches, diapers, rice, toothbrushes, and other necessaries we handed them.

As I listened to Luke’s Gospel reading about Jesus being wrapped in swaddling clothes at Christmas Mass, I was praying for these families. One morning it was below 45 degrees Fahrenheit in Matamoros. 

For those living in the tents, we had offered them the cardboard from boxes of snacks as padding between them and the earth, but they don’t have extra clothing to wrap their children. Fortunately, doctors and nurses with Global Response Management (GRM) are there to offer medicine when the asylum-seekers fall ill. 

Let us pray:  O God, open our hearts to the refugees among us. Help us trust in Your providence, that we may embrace them with Your compassion and welcome them with generous and joyful hearts. Help us to be Your light to immigrants, sharing our abundance and celebrating their unique gifts.  (Ambrosiana)


Sister Norma Raupple is the Director of Immigrant Outreach for Beatitude House and a member of the Leadership Team for the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown. To read other stories about the trip, which include photos, click here.

Grateful for Grants

The Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown have received three grants: a $25,000 grant from The Florence and Ward Beecher Foundation, dispersed over two years; a $20,000 grant award from the Youngstown Foundation; and a $2,000 award from the Home Savings Charitable Foundation. The grants will be used toward a paving project at our Motherhouse campus in Canfield, Ohio.

“Our drives and parking areas accommodate visitors to and employees of the Ursuline Sisters’ Motherhouse, Ursuline Education & Wellness Center, Ursuline Center Pool, Ursuline Preschool & Kindergarten, and Ursuline Sisters Senior Living. They’re utilized by more than 1,500 people a month,” states Sister Mary McCormick, general superior.

Cracks and uneven pavement are evident in this photo of “The Circle,” the drive outside the main Motherhouse entrance and parking lot for the Ursuline Sisters Senior Living residents, during our recent event, The Nun Run.

Drainage concerns causing flooding of access roads and parking areas will be addressed. Broken pavement that endangers persons using assistive mobility devices and strollers will be repaired.

Because of growth in demand for programs at the Motherhouse, we are adding 27-30 parking spaces and converting several existing spaces to be reserved for handicapped visitors.

 “We are very grateful to the Florence and Ward Beecher, Youngstown and Home Savings Charitable foundations for these grants, which will help in making our outdoors more accessible and safe for visitors,” Sister Mary continues

R.T. Vernal Paving & Excavating, North Lima, will begin minor aspects of the repairs this fall with the majority of the project to be completed in spring 2020. The cost is $325,000.

This capital improvement project is part of ongoing maintenance and improvements to the Motherhouse complex. Since 2012, the Ursuline Sisters have invested $8 million in property upgrades. Various grants, including previous grants from The Youngstown Foundation, and private donations have funded approximately 18% of these improvements.

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Jan Strasfeld, executive director of the Youngstown Foundation, presents Sister Mary McCormick, general superior of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, with a ceremonial check to signify her foundation’s $20,000 grant.

Ursuline Sisters Receive Grant from Homes Savings Charitable Foundation

The Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown have received a $2,000 grant award from the Home Savings Charitable Foundation. The grant will be used toward a paving project at our Motherhouse campus in Canfield. In addition to improvements to three drives and five parking lots, we’re adding parking spaces to accommodate growth in demand for our programs. The new spaces will be reserved for handicapped visitors.

“Our drives and parking areas accommodate visitors to and employees of the Ursuline Sisters’ Motherhouse, Ursuline Education & Wellness Center, Ursuline Center Pool, Ursuline Preschool & Kindergarten, and Ursuline Sisters Senior Living. They’re utilized by more than 1,500 people a month,” states Sister Mary McCormick, general superior. “We are very grateful to the Home Savings Charitable Foundation for this grant, which will help in making our outdoors more accessible and safe for visitors.”

The cost for the project, which begins in the next few months, is $325,000.

Ministry in Action

Brigid Kennedy, president of our Ursuline Ministries, is the 2019 recipient of the Nonprofit Leader of the Year award bestowed by the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber.

Brigid, who has long been involved with the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, received the award at the Chamber’s annual Salute to Business Breakfast Aug. 29. Many in the crowd were so touched by her remarks that we’ve received numerous requests to share them.

Thanks to our friends at Armstrong, you can view Brigid’s acceptance speech or the entire video of the event.

Below are her comments, for those who prefer to read them.

“I want to thank the Chamber for this award and all of you for coming out so bright and early to celebrate the honorees and our Valley. I accept this award, gratefully, on behalf of Ursuline Ministries…on behalf of our board members and management team members, some of whom are with me today…and on behalf of the Ursuline Sisters and our lay Associates, employees, and volunteers. Thank you.

I want to applaud the Chamber for including a Nonprofit award among your annual honors. Nonprofits must meet many of the same expectations that any business does—hire, train, and keep quality staff; manage investments and balance the budget; market ourselves to the community; and of course, provide services. And as a nonprofit, we have an added responsibility, to mission…to the mission for which we were created, and to the vision and values that guide us in that mission.

A moment ago, I said that I accept this award on behalf of those who make up Ursuline Ministries. We are social workers, counselors, nurses, bookkeepers and grant writers…we are teachers from preschool to grad school…we are the living Ursuline Sisters and all those who’ve gone before us…we serve in prisons, hospitals, parishes, at a labyrinth, a homeless shelter, and a swimming pool…we provide for hungry kids, scared immigrants, lonely seniors, and 1st generation college students…we care for children and adults living with HIV, families torn apart by divorce, and clients struggling with addiction…we minister where poverty, mental illness, trauma, grief, violence, and every kind of disadvantage or even outright brokenness would otherwise prevail…we answer phones and drive vans and cook meals and sweep floors…and we pray. We are Ursuline Ministries. On our best days—and there are so many of those—we provide real hospitality and inclusion, we serve with radical compassion, we respect and honor and see the face of God in the person in front of us, and we give hope. And we can’t do any of that without you…without the support we receive from the business community and from our nonprofit partners, without the little old ladies who faithfully send $2 each month and without the large foundation and government grants. You all join us in mission, and we are lifted up a little higher by this affirmation of the value of our work. Again, on behalf of Ursuline Ministries, thank you for that support.”

An Expression of Gratitude

Our own Brigid Kennedy, president of Ursuline Ministries and longtime employee and volunteer with our ministries, was an official nominee for the 2019 ATHENA Award, bestowed by the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber. This prestigious award honors women of the Mahoning Valley “who strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishment; women who excel in their chosen field, have devoted time and energy to their community in a meaningful way and also open doors so that others may follow in their path.”

While Brigid wasn’t chosen the for the highest honor, we are very proud of all she has accomplished on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged locally, and honored to minister alongside her.

Following is the letter she wrote after the May 16 event:


While I didn’t bring home the trophy, I was honored to be among the company of last night’s Athena nominees and the many who have come before us, including three of the women in our group! I am humbled by the support and commitment of the incredible Ursuline Ministries leadership team who nominated me and with whom I have the privilege of serving every day.

The application and follow up questions, on paper and video (!), were daunting, but gave me a chance to think about not just what I’ve done so far in my life, but who I am, what and who have formed me, and how much lies ahead to do and become. The poet Mary Oliver famously asked, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

The women honored last night are answering that question well. They are making a difference in education, health care, finance, small business, social services, community development… Mary Oliver says elsewhere, “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world,” and there’s no danger of that for these women.

My own story is no more remarkable than that of so many of the people who have influenced and inspired me, including the Ursuline Sisters and Associates who have mentored me, the boards and staff who work alongside me, and my family and friends who have always supported me.

These people—and so many of you were in attendance—have brought me to this moment. God’s movement in my life, while not always clear to me at the time, has been through these relationships, through the abundance of love I have received, and through those we serve and love in turn. And that movement, those gifts, that love… will continue.

“Love… deeply and without patience,” says Oliver. “Let God and the world know you are grateful. That the gift has been given.” I am grateful that the committee asked us each to take the time to think about our “one wild and precious life.” I’m grateful that so many came to celebrate our answers. I’m grateful for the answers that, together, we will continue to give. And I am grateful “that the gift has been given.”

Thank you,


Members of the Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry with Brigid Kennedy, nominee and president of Ursuline Ministries, at the ATHENA Award banquet May 16, 2019. From left are Sister Kathleen Minchin, one of the ministry’s founders and its longtime director, Dan Wakefield, current director, Brigid, Terry Mitchell, clinic nurse, Kathy Austrino, volunteer, Linda Titus, children’s and family program director, Donna Bellino, secretary, Kevan Sullivan, cafe and pantries director, and Lauren Handwork, housing director.

AmeriCorps Member Service Openings

 Education Specialist: AmeriCorps Member Position

Service Term: Full-time, half-year position. Health benefits and housing available. Upon completion of required service hours there is an AmeriCorps Education Award. Applicants must be 21 years or older.

Position Description: The Education Specialist will apply her/his existing skills set to the job while gaining valuable on-the-job experience. The Education Specialist will be responsible for developing and implementing curriculum for immigrant families in English Language Learning and other basic skills instruction, mentoring the children and creating opportunities for social development with mothers and children, as well as tutoring children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, and those living in poverty. Position could also include engaging with staff, clients and volunteers at other nonprofit sites/ministries administered by the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown.

Candidates are encouraged to apply their education, energy and vision to make a difference in our ministries and the lives of people served by them.

Candidate Description: Candidates should hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and desire to devote six months of their life to service at Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown ministry sites in the Youngstown area. Applicants must present at least three excellent references, take initiative, be dependable, be licensed drivers with reliable transportation, and should demonstrate leadership qualities.

Job Start/End Date: January-July 2019.

Position Compensation Package: Full-year participants receive a twice-monthly stipend that totals $13,700 a year for 1,700 hours of service at nonprofit sites through The Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown. At the end of the full-year service term, participant will receive a $5,800 AmeriCorps Education Award toward future education or to pay off student loans (find more info here). Half-year participants TBA.

Loan forebearance with interest accrual. Health benefits/housing available. Travel expenses to attend mandatory AmeriCorps meetings will be funded. Additionally, candidates will be welcome at Ursuline Sisters’ events and will be offered non-mandatory opportunities for sharing in prayer and community life of the Ursuline Sisters.

Application Instructions: Interested parties should contact the director as soon as possible. Applicants must pass a federal background check. Positions will be filled at director’s discretion.

Contact: Sister Norma Raupple, Dir. of Outreach, 330-792-7636, 330-261-4729, [email protected];
4250 Shields Rd., Canfield, Ohio 44406; www.theursulines.org.

Position Opening: Administrative Assistant

The Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown have an immediate opening for the following full-time position:

Administrative Assistant – Mission Advancement

The Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown are Catholic nuns responding together to the most critical needs of God’s people in northeast Ohio. Since 1874, we have lived the Gospel and adapted our ministries to meet the needs of the times.

We are searching for a full time administrative assistant. Successful candidates will have excellent administrative skills with a strong attention to detail. You will be fully engaged in furthering the mission and ministry of the Ursuline Sisters.

Responsibilities & Requirements

  • Ability to maintain database of supporters
  • Accurate organizational skills
  • Exceptional customer service and oral communications skills, over the phone and in person
  • Strong written communications skills. Administrative assistant will create thank-you notes, other correspondence and proofread documents, requiring an excellent grasp of grammar and spelling.


  • High school diploma or equivalency
  • Post high school education a plus
  • Must be computer savvy
  • Must take initiative
  • Must be adept at working independently and as a team member

To inquire further or apply, contact Mrs. Michele Gatts, Director of Mission Advancement, at [email protected]. When sending your resume, include at least three references or letters of recommendation.


Christmas 2017

Come Christmas!

No one is ever really ready for Christmas.

Nativity2011If we were really all prepared:
If every gift we had contemplated had been obtained;
If every present was beautifully beribboned;
If all the goodies our friends deserve were baked and cooled, and stored just so;
If each and every person we love was gathered for our celebration;
If we never snapped at someone we care about, nor stopped short of being all that we could be;
If our minds were 100 per cent loving and our hearts were 100 per cent generous;
They truly would be ready
—and truly we would not need Christmas quite so much.

So come, Christmas, most needed of seasons.

Come with the reminder that love does not depend on
Perfection but on willingness to risk connection.

Come into the unready manger of our hearts
That we may feel the warmth of new life
And give flesh to the promise of hope
That cries to bring healing into our world.

Come Christmas!
Come, Love,
Come, Hope.
Be born in our unready hearts
On this silent and holy night.

[M. Maureen Killoran]


Sister Mary Dunn

Sister Mary Dunn is the daughter of the late Elverton and Nellie Gallagher Dunn. Mary Dunn's Jub Pic She entered the Ursuline Sisters from St. Nicholas in Struthers after graduating from Ursuline High School.  She earned a B.S. in Education from Youngstown State University and an M.S.E. from St. John College, Cleveland.  All of her years in ministry have been in elementary education.  She taught at St. Charles and St. Luke schools; she then served as principal at St. Luke and St. Patrick, Youngstown.  After working at the Mill Creek Children’s Center for two years, she became one of the founders of Youngstown Community School currently serving as principal there.

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Ursuline Ministries: In the Valley for Good

Ursuline Ministries: In the Valley for Good

As part of our legacy planning, we’ve created the corporation Ursuline Ministries.

This new entity is led by Brigid Kennedy, formerly our HIV/AIDS Ministry co-director. Dan Wakefield has been named Director of our HIV/AIDS Ministry.

Ursuline Ministries comprises Beatitude House, Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry, Ursuline Preschool and Kindergarten, Ursuline Sisters Senior Living and The Ursuline Center ministries.

You can find out more about the good work done by our ministries by visiting Our Life and Ministries.

The creation of Ursuline Ministries is part of a long-range plan that acknowledges the good, creative work of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, past and present, and the fact that there are fewer of us than in previous years.

Over the last few decades, our ministerial relationships with lay colleagues have been very fruitful. The creation of this corporation, and an advisory board, will help our ministries to bear much fruit going forward.

Pictured here are members of the board, which is accountable directly to the Ursuline Sisters. At the top row from left are Sisters Patricia McNicholas, Mary McCormick, chairperson of the board, and Norma Raupple. Middle row is Brigid Kennedy, Ursuline Ministries president. Front row are Frank Dixon, Patricia Fleming, Scott Schulick and Shelia Triplett. Missing from the photo are Sister Regina Rogers, Mary Beth Houser and Patrick Lowry.

This group will help us strengthen mission integration and develop legacy planning to keep our vital ministries vibrant for decades to come.

Additionally, we’re grateful for a $10,000 grant from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland which it bestowed to help with our legacy planning and ministry coordination efforts.

AmeriCorps Volunteers Give, Gain Much

Laura, Emily, Janie

Guest Contributor: Rachel Gobep

For some it’s money. For others prestige. For Emily Anne Martin, the best motivation to work hard comes from helping others.

“Happiness is truly not found by making a lot of money, but instead by making a difference,” Martin comments.

Through the federal AmeriCorps program, Martin is one of three women performing post-college service with the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown. The AmeriCorps program provides opportunities for college graduates to perform anywhere from six months to two years of service with a nonprofit, school, public agency, or community and faith-based organization. Communities gain valuable service and the participants gain valuable experience toward their future careers.

Martin was pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Nonprofit Management at Kent State University, when “I realized that before I graduated, I should gain some real world experience in a nonprofit setting. Not to mention I was ready to move on and do something more meaningful.”

Martin serves as a Nonprofit Management Specialist at Beatitude House, Youngstown, where she interned while earning her baccalaureate. The Ursuline Sisters’ ministry helps homeless women and their children break the cycle of generational poverty through housing, education and other assistance.

“I help with developing a system for tracking volunteers, assist in creating marketing materials, plan and volunteer at events, sort donations and work with other homeless social service agencies in the area,” she says.

Martin and her fellow AmeriCorps participants have contributed 1.4 billion hours since 1993 toward making the world a better place through volunteering, engaging with the community and improving people’s lives, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.

It’s a concept that seems simple. But according to participants like Laura Roch, the benefits are complex and unexpected.

“Not only have I learned a lot about myself through my service experience,” she says, “I have learned more about my hometown than I would have ever known had I not taken advantage of this amazing opportunity.”

Roch is serving as a Nonprofit Management Specialist for the Ursuline Sisters. Initially she planned to pursue a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling after graduating from KSU in 2016, but a former instructor of hers from Ursuline High School recommended the AmeriCorps position with the Ursulines.

Through her work with the Ursuline Sisters’ ministries, Roch’s opportunities have ranged from tutoring youth from disadvantaged and privileged homes to helping Spanish and Arabic-speaking women learning English to working with the incarcerated at a local prison – and more. Her work experience at Huntington was a big advantage.

“I’ve learned how to better serve individuals of different races, socioeconomic status, and personalities,” she observes. “I’ve learned how to lesson plan, empower individuals, and run meetings about different topics and projects I’m working on. I have become much more aware of the environment around me, rather than being so naive of things going on in the town where I’ve spent 23 years.”

Roch says her work with the Ursuline Sisters has brought her closer to God because she sees the struggles that others go through daily.

“After seeing the issues and things people right down the street from me deal with, I have not been able to turn a blind eye,” she states. “I know that prayers will be answered and these people will be helped soon.”

Janie Rosko serves as an Education Specialist for the Ursuline Sisters. While in college, she volunteered several years at Potter’s Wheel, the Sisters’ immigrant education program in Youngstown. After graduating from Youngstown State University in 2016 with bachelor’s degrees in both Philosophy and Psychology, Rosko decided to wait before pursuing graduate studies.

“I decided to take this [AmeriCorps] opportunity because I wanted to gain experience serving all varieties of people in all types of situations,” she states.

Among her many on-the-job experiences, Rosko co-teaches an English Language class to immigrant women, serves as a tutor and mentor for children at Ursuline Preschool and Kindergarten, Canfield, the Potter’s Wheel and Casa Madre, Youngstown, the Ursuline Sisters’ HIV/AIDS Ministry providing mentoring and other assistance to children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

“Serving various kinds of people can be challenging at times,” Rosko observes, “but I’m gaining so much knowledge and feel right where I need to be at this moment in time.”

Sister Norma Raupple, Director of the Young Adult Outreach Ministry for the Ursuline Sisters, says Martin, Roch and Rosko “perform a great service by bringing their education and enthusiasm to the Sisters’ ministries and make a positive impact on the lives of those served.

“The women involved with us through AmeriCorps grow by developing their abilities in taking initiative and honing their leadership skills,” she continues. “They become more confident, relate well to the children they work with and become good role models.”

Martin, Roch and Rosko all highly recommend AmeriCorps to anyone considering their career after graduating college.

“It is immensely rewarding and there is much more to learn than one may originally believe,” Rosko posits.

AmeriCorps participants must be 21 years or older. In exchange for working full time, they receive a twice-monthly stipend and are eligible for health benefits and housing. Upon completion of their contract, they earn an education award they can use toward future studies or for paying off student loan debt.

Rachel Gobep is majoring in Journalism at Youngstown State University and interning as a Strategic Communications Specialist with the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown.