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Earth Day Fair

March 27, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

The Earth Day Fair returns to Founder’s Hall at the motherhouse of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (CSA) at 320 County Rd K in Fond du Lac. On April 22, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the public is invited to interact with Earth-focused exhibitors and participate in various planned activities.
Full event details are available at https://www.csasisters.org/news-events/earth-fair.cfm.

Exhibitors will be on-site from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. showcasing opportunities to care for our common home in many different ways. Some exhibitors may choose to stay during the film screening in the afternoon, but attendees are encouraged to come prior to 1 p.m. to see all of them.

Guided tours of the CSA solar array will be offered four times over the course of the day, with each tour taking approximately 30 minutes. The first tour of the day will begin at the array and continue for another 30 minutes to showcase some of the other areas of the 237-acre conservation easement. Pre-registration for the tours is encouraged, but not required and can be found on the CSA website. Visitors are also welcome to explore the property on their own throughout the fair hours after checking in to receive a visitor’s badge.

Jay Watson, a Wisconsin DNR Conservation Biologist, will lead a training session for those interested in joining Wisconsin’s Bumble Bee Brigade. This citizen-based monitoring network is designed to help improve understanding, management, and conservation of Wisconsin Bumble Bees. Once trained, attendees will be welcomed to seek out bumble bees on the grounds and return back for sharing photos and for identification assistance.

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., we will host a screening of The Letter, a new documentary about how spiritual values unite us in the face of a planetary emergency. The Letter builds on the teaching of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s encyclical on care for our common home, which itself stands on the catechism of the Catholic Church and teachings from popes over the last five decades. This film screening will include prayer, conversation, and a decision about how we will take action together.

Tales from the CSA Archives

March 22, 2023
By as told by Archivist Jenny Lukomski

When I first started working for CSA, I began with an inventory of the archive’s holdings and was excited to find several canisters of 16mm film. I couldn’t wait to see what was on them. The problem was most didn’t have any identifying information on them. Later, I found a DVD called “CSA Films” that I assumed contained the footage of these films, but they were all combined into one jumble of a digital file and there was no way to match the contents to each of the original films.

I thought of running the films through a projector in order to identify them but immediately found broken sprocket holes and worse, the scent of vinegar. As the acetate in the film base begins to decompose it off-gasses acetic acid which produces the vinegar scent. Once this chemical process called “vinegar syndrome” starts, it cannot be stopped and will speed up over time causing shrinkage and brittleness to the film base and dye fading of the images. I knew I had to preserve them soon before any further damage made it impossible.

Six 16mm and two Super8 films were sent to SceneSavers, a company specializing in archival media preservation. They cleaned and repaired the films before converting them to digital files.

The six 16mm films date from the 1940s and include both color and black and white footage of nursing students entering and leaving St. Agnes School of Nursing; laying the cornerstone of the hospital addition in 1942; investing and profession ceremonies; visiting Sunday with sisters and their families; and candidates and novices at recreation on CSA’s grounds involving volleyball games, dancing, and cookouts. The two Super8 films contain footage of a celebratory Mass for Sister Judith Schmidt at St. Joseph’s Church in Hays, Kansas, after her election as General Superior in 1977.

Sisters in the motherhouse came together on December 6, 2022, to watch the one-hour premier of the compilation of films. They enjoyed popcorn and walks down memory lane as they worked together to see who they could identify in the films.

It’s your turn! Head to www.csasisters.org/archives to view the films!

This article also appears in the February Issue of Reflections and Connections

Welcome New Staff: Kate Harms

March 15, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

CSA is pleased to welcome Kate Harms to the CSA archival staff. Kate joined the CSA team as assistant archivist on November 28 and finds joy in the minutiae of the past. “I love history, particularly finding the little details, and that’s my favorite part of working in the archives,” she said. Prior to working at CSA, Kate was a full-time student graduating from Plymouth High School, then earning her Bachelor's in History and Writing at Drake University in Des Moines, before completing her Masters in Information and Library Science in August at UW-Milwaukee. Outside of the office, she builds scale models, reads, and works—very slowly—on co-authoring a book with her best friend.

 

This article also appears in the February Issue of Reflections and Connections

Sisters Invite Groups to Schedule Tours

March 13, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (CSA) welcomes groups, including schools, corporations, and private organizations, to request a guided tour of the CSA solar array. Guided tours of the solar array require 30-45 minutes and are a great way to introduce concepts around solar energy. Tours of the array address a wide range of topics, such as how solar photovoltaic cells work, the jobs created by the solar industry, and why the sisters chose to invest in solar energy.

Based on the access routes to the panels and the volatility of Wisconsin weather, we recommend scheduling tours from May through the end of October to avoid excessive mud. Tours are available at no cost, but must be pre-scheduled by submitting the online form at www.csasisters.org/solar-tour. A PowerPoint about solar power and the CSA array is also available to download to assist with classroom preparation.

The solar array sits on part of the 237-acre conservation easement owned by CSA. In addition to the 880-panel solar array, the property includes forests, prairies, wetlands, farm fields, a cemetery, a labyrinth, nature trails, and three streams running down the Niagara Escarpment. The conservation easement document was developed in partnership with Glacial Lakes Conservancy and protects the land from commercial development for all time. Guided tours of the larger easement (in addition to the solar array) are available but require at least two hours to provide adequate time to access most areas of the property. To schedule this type of tour for a group, please call 920-907-2300 to discuss your request. Additional information about CSA’s property can be found at www.csasisters.org/earth.

Easement and solar array tours for individuals, families, and other small groups will be available during CSA’s Earth Day Fair on April 22, 2023. Pre-registration for tours is encouraged, but not required. An abridged easement tour will begin with a tour of the solar array at 10 a.m. and continue on to other areas of the property. Additional solar array tours will leave from Founder’s Hall at 11:15, 12:15, and 12:45. More details and links to pre-register are available online at www.csasisters.org.

Catholic Sisters Bring Awareness, Urge Action on Social Issues

March 08, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

Catholic Sisters across the state of Wisconsin are taking to the airwaves and internet during March to bring awareness and call for action to stop racism, forced migration, and climate change. These constructive, nuanced conversations exploring the intersectionality of these three social justice issues will be released on upcoming podcasts and posted to websites that will feature Sisters who have a wide range of experience and knowledge in advocating and working for change around these topics.

  • Sister Rose Jochmann, OSF, and Sister Sally Ann Brickner, OSF, will share with Earthbeat reporter Brian Roewe how Catholic Sisters in Wisconsin are working to end racism, forced migration, and climate change throughout the state. Sister Rose is a longtime advocate of sustainability efforts and was instrumental in integrating dozens of energy-saving measures to her community’s 2006 convent in Green Bay. Sister Sally Ann is the former director of St. Norbert College’s Peace and Justice Center to which she made significant contributions to its formation. Read more at https://www.ncronline.org/earthbeat.
  • The March 10 “A Nun’s Life” podcast will feature Sister Margaret Kruse, OSF, of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. Sister Margaret discusses her involvement with Sisters Program South, a program in Milwaukee that helps women involved in human trafficking get their lives back on track through a harm-reduction and housing-first approach. Sister Margaret talks about the vulnerability of these individuals seeking help, and the combined efforts of various religious organizations who have partnered in support of the program. Listen at https://anunslife.org/podcasts (under In Good Faith podcast).
  • NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and U.S. Catholic Magazine’s Just Politics podcast features Sister Maureen Jerkowski, SSSF, and her immigration advocacy work. She has ministered for nearly 20 years on the southern border. Since 2017, she has ministered in Des Plaines, IL, with unaccompanied, undocumented minors awaiting placement. She shares perspectives on forced migration and racism. Sister Mary Catherine Rice, OP, is also featured as she recently returned from the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada. and is promoting Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform. Brenna Davis from the Ignatian Solidarity Network is also featured. Listen at https://uscatholic.org/justpolitics/ under the title “Ten years of an eco-pope.”
  • Sister Lucy Slinger, FSPA, was recently featured online in her article titled “Deep Dive into the Intersectionality of Racism, Forced Migration, and Climate Crisis: Head, Heart, and Soul Knowing. She writes, “only when new ways of knowing are found can the profound systemic changes needed happen.” Read more at https://lcwr.org/resources/publications/fall-2022.  
  • The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (CSA) announces a new justice-focused newsletter called Bending the Arc. The title references a quote by Rev. Dr. King who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This twice-monthly digital newsletter from the CSA Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Office showcases the work of changemakers, opportunities to learn, and opportunities for you to help “bend the arc” toward justice. Read more at www.csasisters.org/news.
  • The Racine Dominican Sisters were recently featured by the Dominican Life website at https://domlife.org/2023/02/26/becoming-crew/ as they gather weekly as the “Becoming Crew” to take action on a social justice issue. To date, they have welcomed Afghanistan refugees arriving in Wisconsin, organized a winter clothing drive to provide warm clothes to families in need, and created a brochure about ways to contribute to a healthier environment.   

This statewide effort to bring awareness to the social justice issues of racism, immigration, and climate change and their intersectionality during Catholic Sisters Week March 8–14 was called forth by the Wisconsin region’s Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Congregations participating in the awareness effort include the School Sisters of St. Francis, Milwaukee; Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis; Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, Green Bay; Sisters of St. Agnes, Fond du Lac; Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa; Dominican Sisters of Racine; and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, LaCrosse. For more information, visit our Wisconsin Catholic Sisters Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wiscs

New Justice Focused Newsletter Announced

March 03, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

These cloudy, winter days, it’s hard for people to keep their spirits up.  But Amanda Gorman reminds us that, “… there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it; if only we’re brave enough to be it.” CSA justice and peace efforts shine light on the dark corners of our world whether those efforts are large or small. The Chapter 2022 Statement urges the congregation to find new and creative ways to do so, together. To that end, we invite you to sign up for a new, twice-monthly digital newsletter from the CSA Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office.

The name of the newsletter, Bending the Arc, references a quote by Rev. Dr. King who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The newsletter will showcase the work of changemakers, opportunities to learn, and opportunities for you to help “bend the arc” toward justice.

Sign up by visiting www.csasisters.org/JPIC/resources

This article also appears in the February Issue of Reflections and Connections

Breakfast with Women: Energizing Spirits

March 02, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

The wellspring of the sacred flows into and through all of us. Regardless of faith tradition, recognizing when you have lost touch with that source is step one. Getting back in touch with it is step two in replenishing our energy and connection with the world around us. CSA invites the public to join us for a morning of refilling your metaphorical cup together with other women from the Fond du Lac area community.

The event will feature an interactive keynote address by Sister Dianne Bergant, CSA. In 2014, as part of an interview for Global Sisters Report, she shared her thoughts on people’s relationship with the transcendent. She said, “It can be a sense of a relationship, or it can be a search for a relationship; so much depends upon the individual, but somehow or other there is a dimension of the transcendent. Searching for meaning, searching for God, having a relationship. Then we all live it out differently.”

Breakfast with Women: Energizing Spirits will be held March 16, 2023, in Fond du Lac, WI, in downtown's historic Hotel Retlaw. Check-in and breakfast will be available at 7:30 a.m. with the event starting promptly at 8:15 a.m. Our keynote address and formal discussion will last until 9:30, after which, attendees are welcome to stay for continued reflecting and connecting with others in the room until 10:00 a.m.

We hope to welcome women from all walks of life to energize their spirits and have kept the cost to attend the breakfast low in an effort to make it accessible. Please join us!

You can read more about the speaker at www.csasisters.org/breakfast

This article also appears in the February Issue of Reflections and Connections

Annual Report Now Available

March 01, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

Your donations, both large and small, are what allow CSA to continue participating in the mission of Christ by joyful service in the Church, always aware that we, too, are among the needy and are enriched by those we serve. All donations go to funding the ministry of your choice. The full annual report is now available at www.csasisters.org/donate

Thank you!

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