While the holidays are behind us, the long days of winter still lie ahead. In mid-December, Sister Georgeann Roudebush provided insights into working through sadness and grief during an interview on Madison's WKOW that are relevant all year long.
Many entities have come together to bring about the Holy Family Warming Shelter, which was announced in late September, including government grants, private contributions, and corporate donations.
The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes joined the effort by providing a very generous donation. These funds will help with myriad costs associated with opening, operating, and future renovations of the warming shelter to care for individuals who find themselves unhoused in the Fond du Lac area.
Prior to opening, numerous renovations took place to ensure that the former downtown office building was ready to provide up to 30 individuals a warm, clean place to sleep; hot, nutritious meals; and access to community resources every night from November 15 through April this year. Additional renovations in 2024 will ensure clients have access to on-site showers.
The groups, organizations, and volunteers are what make the warming shelter possible on a day-to-day basis. The Fond du Lac Family YMCA, which is located a few blocks from the new warming shelter location, has agreed to provide access to showers throughout the winter, and local organizations are signing up to offer nightly meals or to purchase items from the shelter’s wish list. Staffing the shelter is also a partnership: St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Family each hired full-time staff people to work together to direct shelter operations year-round. Holy Family has also hired one full time seasonal position for the months when the shelter is in use.
The underlying causes that lead to the need for the shelter are also not going unaddressed. A consortium of community partners are coming together to find solutions to reduce the number of unhoused individuals in the community and make lasting impacts to improve access to housing. Sister Peg Spindler, CSA, who worked with similar populations in Gary for the past 20 years, now brings her expertise to Fond du Lac. “Homelessness is a systemic problem which can only be addressed through systemic solutions. It’s been inspiring to me to see so many individuals and agencies come together to make this a real communal, systemic effort. It’s a privilege to participate.”
In 2002, the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes released a statement of belief on peace and nonviolence. The 14-point statement included numerous calls to participate in public discourse and legislative action to promote peace and nonviolence. With that statement in mind, the congregation made another commitment to nonviolence by joining Nuns Against Gun Violence, a coalition of more than 60 congregations of Catholic sisters and their allies throughout the US.
Founded in April 2023, Nuns Against Gun Violence meets bi-weekly to discuss advocacy efforts and with the mission to affirm the value of human life through prayer, education, and advocacy for common sense, evidence-based, gun violence prevention.
As part of this effort, Tracy Abler, CSA’s Justice Coordinator, joined with other anti-violence action groups on September 21, 2023, in Madison, Wisconsin, for Gun Violence Prevention Day of Action. During the morning, legislators heard from experts and advocates who shared grim statistics regarding the constant and rapid increase in gun violence and deaths during the past three years. That afternoon, attendees met with legislative staffers to discuss five bills waiting to be brought to the floor.
In addition to advocacy, the congregation continues to pray for peace during their annual Peace Tree ceremony and throughout the month of December as individual sisters and associates join local vigils and events held each year to mark the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.
There are many ways for you to join the effort against gun violence:
- Host a prayer vigil using the “Lifting Our Light in the Darkness” service provided by Nuns Against Gun Violence
- Take time to become familiar with legislative bills in your state and call your state senators and representatives to demand they take the time to thoroughly read, understand, and support these life-saving policies.
- Pray a novena for peace during the advent season
- Sign up as an ally of Nuns Against Gun Violence or another peace building organization.
By uniting our voices and prayers, we can make an impact on the gun violence crisis.
Michelle E. Majewski, President of Marian University, has been named a 2024 Wisconsin Titan 100. The Titan 100 program recognizes Wisconsin’s Top 100 CEOs & C-level executives. “The Titan 100 are visionary leaders that inspire the Wisconsin business community. These preeminent leaders have built a distinguished reputation that is unrivaled and preeminent in their field. We are humbled to recognize the Titan 100 for their efforts to shape the future of the Wisconsin business community,” said Jaime Zawmon, President of Titan CEO.
Joining Marian University in 1987 as a faculty member of the Psychology department, Dr. Majewski later became program director, department chair, and the dean of two different schools within Marian University. She was awarded the James Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award along the way and enjoyed a long career in which she thoroughly enjoyed teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Following her retirement in 2018, she rejoined the University in 2020 at the start of the pandemic in her new role as Acting President. Six months later, she was named Marian’s 17th president.
“This is an amazing honor, one that is reflective of the work of my talented team of colleagues at Marian University, along with the outstanding work and dedication of our Board of Trustees. I am so fortunate to have the privilege to lead Marian University, the only Agnesian university in the world, to support her mission, to work with all of our dedicated faculty and staff and to support our students and over 21,000 alumni,” said Dr. Majewski.
“We are honored and blessed to have Michelle Majewski, a brilliant visionary woman with great wisdom and leadership, serve as President of Marian University, a CSA sponsored ministry. Dr. Majewski is passionate about furthering the mission and core values, educating the whole person to be of service in this world, and striving tirelessly to creatively sustain Marian’s future. CSA is immensely grateful for Dr. Majewski and for the recognition she so very much deserves,” said Sister Sharon Pollnow, CSA General Superior.
President Michelle E. Majewski, will be honored at the annual Titan 100 awards celebration on January 18, 2024, at Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI.
Each year in late October, the associate community comes together to recommit themselves to an ongoing relationship with the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes. They began their day by bringing food donations for the Mother Agnes Pantry at Marian University, before focusing on the day’s theme: Blessings and Hopes—A Deeper Look. Together, the group reflected on the blessings and hopes that had been identified during their June Visioning Day and committed to manifesting them while also remaining open to an unfolding future.
Just a few weeks earlier, the new Director of Associate Relationship was named. Kelly Robe has served as a home circle leader, member of the Coordinating Body, leader of the Associate Social Justice Circle, member of JPIC, solar array docent, adopt-a-highway volunteer, and member of the CSA Days planning committee. She felt drawn to being an associate after attending an Associate Fair at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality in De Pere and learned about this community of people who wanted to deepen their spirituality and connected with CSA's mission, charism, and spirituality.
She brings a background in coaching, project work, training and development from 20 years of experience in a corporate environment. Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Drake University before quitting law school to care for a relative with cancer. She is a life coach, certified integrative nutrition health coach, and certified Infinite Possibilities trainer. In her personal time, she enjoys swimming, reading, growing avocado plants, and spending time with friends and family.
Amid increasing uncertainty, she believes associates are called to be leaders and protectors of love. "Never underestimate what God can do with a small group of committed people!"
The timing of Kelly’s hiring allows her to begin in the role with a renewed commitment from all associates and with clarity from the October gathering, where associates clearly identified a desire “to experience more fully the richness of the mission, charism, and spirituality of CSA, to deepen understanding of what it means to be in relationship with CSA, to welcome others who are called to be associates, and to open ourselves to our unfolding future and growth.”
The November 2023 issue of Reflections & Connections is now available online for your viewing.
The seasons of creation invite us to embrace the transformative journey of life both personally and communally.
“Autumn is a place where words fall short. It is a magic that must be felt, breathed, experienced, and treasured.”
― Laura Jaworski
As we celebrate the season of fall and gently make space for winter, let us embrace the full landscape of our personal and communal lives. The beauty that we see in the vivid colors of our autumn canvas is a reminder of the sacredness of each life. And as the leaves take flight, we are gifted with the unobstructed vision to see the essence and complexity in all of life.
Pope Francis so exquisitely gives voice to the wholeness of life when he says: “Each of us shines like a star in the heart of God and in the fulfillment of the universe. At the same time though, we are called to form constellations that can guide and light the path of humanity, beginning with the places in which we live.”
During this holy season, how might the Divine be calling each of us to respond to the most vulnerable within our families, our communities, and our world?
With Caring and Grateful Hearts,
Sisters Sharon Pollnow, Peg Spindler, Madeline Gianforte, and Lael Niblick
CSA’s General Council, 2022-2026
Adelante Mujer/Advance Woman, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, seeks a candidate to lead organization that provides financial assistance to women medical students in Nicaragua. Daily operations are managed by an administrative team located in Fond du Lac WI.
We are seeking a passionate professional for the Executive Director position who will lead the organization in all functions and report directly to the Adelante Mujer Board of Directors. This is a non-benefited 20-25 hour per week salaried position. Executive Director is expected to spend a minimum of 16hrs/wk onsite.
The ideal candidate will have administrative skills, experience in fundraising and financial management, good communication skills in English (with Spanish helpful), with a background in higher education and/or healthcare a plus. Must be willing to travel to Nicaragua at least once annually when circumstances allow. Previous grant writing/reporting experience required. Comfortable using various forms of social media.
To access a full job description and submit a resume/vitae, please visit https://www.womanadvance.com/executive-director/
Resume is to include education, work experience and professional references and is due October 30, 2023.
Adelante Mujer, Inc./Advance Woman was founded in 2009 by Sister Ann McKean, CSA. Adelante Mujer is a life-giving investment in young women who aspire to become medical doctors in Nicaragua.
Homes, schools, and businesses nationwide are participating in the 28th Annual ASES National Solar Tour in order to help Wisconsin residents cut energy costs, enjoy tax credits, and assert their energy independence.
The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses―in southeast Wisconsin and across North America in-person and virtually—for the 28th Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event.
The national event will showcase how solar technologies can 1) drastically reduce monthly energy bills, 2) reduce harmful carbon emissions, and 3) improve property values, while taking advantage of tax incentives. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water, and slash monthly utility bills.
The ASES National Solar Tour occurs October 6-8, at a collection of tour sites and local tours across the country. The self-guided National Solar Tours have attracted more than 150,000 people in 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. National Solar Tours afford participants the direct perspectives of homeowners and installers about the costs, processes and economic and environmental benefits of going solar. The National Solar Tour also gives Wisconsinites a glimpse at how a variety of solar systems look in and around structures with different architectural styles.
“The National Solar Tour demonstrates an array of practical and economical solutions available right here, right now. It encourages neighborhood conversations addressing the growing need for clean energy,” ASES Executive Director, Carly Rixham, stated.
The National Solar Tour is free and open to the public, with numerous sites at private homes and businesses.
A short 4-minute virtual tour of the CSA solar array is available at csasisters.org/solar-tour. For those interested in exploring the CSA array in person, visitors can check in at the main entrance on weekdays from 8-4 to take a self-guided tour or CSA offers guided group tours of the solar panels by reservation throughout most of the year.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOLAR ENERGY SOCIETY: Since 1954, the American Solar Energy Society has led the renewable energy revolution. It is the nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the use of solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies across North America. ASES leads national efforts to promote solar energy education, public outreach, and advocacy. www.ases.org.