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Sesquicentennial Traveling Exhibit at FDL City-County Building in July

July 03, 2020
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

Archivist with Panels

Please join the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes as we celebrate 150 years of our arrival in Fond du Lac. 

The Sisters of St. Agnes feel blessed to live and minister in a community with organizations and individuals committed to promoting peace and furthering human dignity in daily life and in systemic ways. Let us continue to collaborate on these mutual goals. 

The traveling exhibit features the stories of our past, present, and future in Fond du Lac and will be on display throughout the community in 2020.

July 6-July 31: Exhibit at Fond du Lac City-County Building

September 1-September 30: Exhibit at Fond du Lac Public Library

Fond du Lac Nuns and Nones Begins

June 17, 2020
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

This article appears in the May Issue of Reflections and Connections.

Three people engaged in conversationOn March 5, immediately following the 16th annual CSA Women’s Leadership Breakfast, the new Fond du Lac chapter of Nuns and Nones had its first gathering. The name of the group, taken from the national organization, references gatherings between women religious (“Nuns”) and spiritually-diverse attendees who may not fit into a specific religious identity (“Nones”). Six Sisters of St. Agnes joined seven “Nones” to reflect on spaces of sacred hospitality, the national Nuns and Nones mission statement (“We create prophetic communities of care and contemplation that incite courageous action.”), and the constant need for self-reflection. The conversation was lively and, while attendees were looking forward to another gathering, the plans for connecting in person were scuttled.

They now look forward to reconnecting virtually.

Individuals interested in learning more about joining future Fond du Lac Area Nuns and Nones gatherings can find details at here.

Read the full issue of Reflections & Connections here.

Subscribe to Reflections & Connections here.

Book Review: Ordinary Sisters: A Story of the Sisters of St. Agnes in Latin America 1945-1995

June 10, 2020
By Sister Dianne Bergant, CSA

This article appears in the May Issue of Reflections and Connections.

Sister Jean watches the book in printOrdinary Sisters: A Story of the Sisters of St. Agnes in Latin America 1945-1995 is not the last chapter in the history of the congregation. It is actually the middle chapter, enlarging the section of the original book where the Latin American mission is reported. Though this second book focuses on one aspect of the congregation’s life and ministry, it throws light on the entire congregation’s concern for and support of this ministerial project.

The data unearthed by Sisters Margaret Lorimer and Jean Perry have made this chronicle a page-turning story. One cannot but be amazed at the commitment and courage of the Sisters who responded readily to the call to minister to under-served sisters and brothers, first in Nicaragua and then in the broader Latin American countries. The first women to venture out were trained teachers and nurses. However, they were almost immediately called upon to establish the very ministry sites they had been sent to staff. Their letters home and the mission chronicles they wrote convey the excitement they felt, the mutual love that blossomed as they moved from place to place, and the appreciation for the simple pleasures of life that they came to know with the people. These written documents as well as the stories that circulated in both Latin America and the States honestly described the difficulties they experienced as well: lack of resources, periodic opposition of local and national groups. Most distressing was the ever-present reality of war. Despite the constant danger they faced, there was no thought of returning to the States. They chose to stay with the people.

The story of the Latin American mission shows that the spirit and enthusiasm of Mother Agnes Hazotte and her Sisters continues to inspire and motivate the Sisters of St. Agnes. They might be Ordinary Sisters, but their commitment continues to be extraordinary.

Order a copy of the book here.

Read the full issue of Reflections & Connections here.

Subscribe to Reflections & Connections here.

21st Annual Walk for Sojourner Truth House

June 09, 2020
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

This Saturday, June 13, Sojourner Truth House will host their annual "Walk for Sojourner Truth House." This year the walk will be virtual, which means you can walk anywhere with anyone! 2020 marks the 21st year of the Walk for Sojourner Truth House. Proceeds from the walk support the mission of Sojourner Truth House to provide hope and help for homeless and at-risk women and their children and under-served citizens of Gary and Northwest Indiana.

Executive Director, Sister Peg Spindler, CSA, says, "The homeless and hungry of Northwest Indiana have not stopped being homeless and hungry because of this virus. In fact, because of this pandemic there will be more of them...  I'll be walking out there and I want you to be walking, too."

You can read all about the work of Sojourner Truth House, as well as the link to register for the walk, on their website.

Banner and button to register for walk.

 

CSA Statement in Response to the Murder of George Floyd

June 03, 2020
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

CSA Logo

In the spirit of our CSA Statement of Mission which reads, “we continue to respond in our own times to those whose faith life or human dignity is threatened”, we strongly condemn the police-killing of another black man on the streets of our nation. We mourn with the family and friends of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahamaud Arbery, David McAtee, and all the others who have lost loved ones to law enforcement violence. The continued killing of black people; the constant harassment of people of color; and the denial of the rights and dignity of our black neighbors must end now.
 
We recognize the sin of racism and the terrible reality and frustration of those suffering from our nation’s 400-year history of institutionalized racism. In that spirit we…

Grieve injustice in our world.

Stand in Solidarity with our sisters and brothers of color 

Acknowledge our own privilege.

Support those assembled in peaceful protest. 

Pray for an end to violence.

Unite ourselves with others to dismantle racism.

 
The Leadership Team of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes
Director, Office of Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation, CSA

 

Celebrating Our History

June 03, 2020
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

Collage of historical images of sisters in Fond du LacThis article appears in the May Issue of Reflections and Connections.

The history of Fond du Lac is inextricably linked with the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes. In 1870, when the sisters first moved from Barton, Wisconsin, to a plot of twelve city lots on East Division Street, Fond du Lac was the state's second largest city and a major railroad hub. Mother Agnes Hazotte knew that Fond du Lac offered sisters the opportunity to teach in the city’s parish schools while also continuing to teach in the towns surrounding the city. Within days of their arrival in Fond du Lac, she set up a school in a rented house in the city. The congregation would later establish St. Agnes School of Nursing, St. Mary’s Springs High School, and Marian College (now University).

The sisters, and particularly Mother Agnes, in partnership with civic leaders and doctors, were also instrumental in bringing modern healthcare to Fond du Lac. After repeated requests from the city, the sisters opened a hospital. Relying on their faith, administrative skill, and $55,000 in seed money from the Fond du Lac Business Man’s Association, St. Agnes Hospital opened on July 1, 1896. While the earliest sisters focused almost exclusively on bringing healthcare to Fond du Lac, others took their expertise to different states and countries. Over the years, their healthcare ministry expanded to care for the elderly, help people in addiction recovery, and support survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.

In the mid-60s, when Vatican II encouraged religious orders to reexamine their role in the modern world, the congregation expanded its areas of ministry. In 1990, their current mission statement was written to include “a broad commitment to systemic change for the quality of life, justice for the economically poor, furtherance of the role of women in church and society, and mutuality, inclusivity, and collaboration.” Through their collective voices, they have issued corporate stance statements on women (1989), peace & nonviolence (2002), the death penalty (2006), human trafficking (2007), and care of the earth (2016). Additionally, the sisters, recognizing the interdependence of environmental, economic, scientific, social, and cultural systems, strive to be peacemakers and stewards of the natural resources entrusted to the congregation. To further these goals, a Justice, Peace, and Ecology Committee was formed in 1990 which led to the creation of a full-time position: Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Coordinator.

In the past few years, as immigration dominated headlines, CSA held demonstrations to oppose the immigrant family separations and the proposed Muslim travel ban. They met with government representatives to advocate on immigrants’ behalf, helped to organize the public prayer gathering in support of the LGBTQ+ community following the Pulse nightclub shooting, hosted a Trans-Forming Love workshop to assist people in understanding the transgender community, and sponsored numerous local events to end violence against women and girls. CSA currently hosts monthly meetings of Fond du Lac Pax Christi, a group that promotes non-violence, peacemaking, disarmament, and reconciliation locally and throughout the world.

Other notable impacts in Fond du Lac include:

  • working with ASTOP and Agnesian Healthcare to provide counseling to survivors of sexual and domestic abuse;
  • supporting the establishment of the Blandine House, named after Sister Blandine Eisele, a pioneer in the treatment of alcoholism;
  • helping establish the first hospice program in the city, first at St. Agnes Hospital and eventually becoming Hospice Home of Hope;
  • partnering with the Sophia Foundation (now Sophia Transformative Leadership Partners) to support leaders to learn and practice servant leadership
  • modeling sustainable energy by installing 880 solar panels; the largest solar array in the county when it was installed in 2016;
  • advocating equity in sports and supporting Title IX legislation;
  • addressing the needs of local, low-income single parents by establishing the Marian University Working Families Grant Program which provides funding for tuition, rent, childcare, and food for the families;
  • and serving victims of domestic abuse at Bethany House of Hospitality (now Solutions Center) through volunteer & board work.

The work of the sisters has rippled beyond the city’s borders to have similar impacts around the globe. With the support of the Catholic community, city leaders, and local citizens, the sisters have ministered to the Fond du Lac community in the spirit of their founders with simplicity, hospitality, and missionary zeal for 150 years.

Learn more about CSA's history in Fond du Lac here.

Read the full issue of Reflections & Connections here.

Subscribe to Reflections & Connections here.

A Call to Lament and Mourn 100,000 US Deaths

May 28, 2020
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

A Call to Grieve & Honor those Who Have Died

As we mark the death of 100,000 people in the U.S. from COVID-19, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is partnering with other faith leaders calling for all people to spend time during the weekend of May 29-31 to lament and mourn the 100,000 persons who will have died in the United States from COVID-19, and to pause at noon on June 1 to honor the deceased.

An unprecedented group of 100+ national faith leaders—from Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions representing major denominations, national faith-based organizations, local congregations, and millions of people of faith across the country—call for a National Day of Mourning and Lament. Together, they look to federal, state, and local elected officials to observe Monday, June 1 as National Day of Mourning and Lament, a day marked by moments of silence, lowering of flags, interfaith vigils, ringing of bells, and civic memorials.

This call is being supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors who represent over 1,400 mayors across the country. Mayors lead on the frontline of the COVID-19 response effort and continue to model critical local leadership amid this difficult time.

Together, interfaith leaders and mayors across the nation will call us to mourn, lament, and honor the dead, acknowledge the unequal nature of our suffering, pray together for the healing of the nation, and recommit to the difficult work ahead.

The National Day of Mourning and Lament will follow a weekend of diverse services–Friday Muslim, Saturday Jewish, and Sunday Christian (including Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American) all united in times of lament and mourning for the dead. The vocation of remembering will unite across lines of religion and traditions and transcend our politics.

Sister Dianne Bergant, CSA, featured on "Passion Matters" Video Series

May 27, 2020
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

There have been few blessings from the pandemic of Covid-19. However, a rebounding of the environment may be one.

From clearer skies to purer waters the global pause has allowed us to see what happens when humankind stops business as usual, and nature is rebalanced.

Dianne Bergant, CSA is an Old Testament scripture scholar who has written and lectured about the ecology and our shared responsibility for our common home. In this interview Dianne Bergant, CSA shares with Edward Beck, CP why the ecology has become a passion for her, and why it should be one for us as well.

This video and the description above were developed and produced by Passion Matters.

Passion Matters is produced by Passionist Media, an organization of the Passionist Community of the Province of Saint Paul of the Cross. They produce media content focused on faith, inspiration, justice and social and global responsibility.

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