Sabbatical

 
      Once again we are experiencing a living confirmation of Article 7 of our
FMM Constitutions, 
which defines the Institute as an international fraternity,
brought together by the Spirit…which announces the fullness of the Kingdom
when all people will be reconciled and gathered into the one People of God.
 
Mary Rose. Maria Rita, Shoko, Pauline and Stella have joined the
FMM Sabbatical Program at the Mission Resource Center / Bethany
bringing with them the energy and experience of the FMM charism as
it is lived with our Sisters in Pakistan, Canada, Taiwan, Korea and the United States. 

 

Caterina Isonni, fmm (Giovita di Gesu)

                  Caterina Isonni, fmm
                 (Giovita di Gesu)
                       Born: July 19, 1923
                       Pre-novitiate: September 15, 1945
                       Novitiate: March 19, 1946
                       First Vows: March 19, 1948
                       Final Vows: March 19, 1951
                       Born to Eternal life: July 15, 2015
 
   EARLY LIFE
    Sister Caterina Isonni was born in Ossimo Inferiore in Brescia, Northern Ita-
    ly. She was one of five children – Dominic, who died as a baby, Francesco,
    Caterina, Edvige and Roberto. Her mother, Teresa Conti, was from Berga-
    mo, (home also of Pope John XXIII) and her father, Antonio, was from
    Brescia.
She attended school in the Village of Ossimo and after completing her stud-
ies there, attended High School in Milano with the Sisters of St. Dorothy
GOD’S CALL
At a very young age, Caterina felt a call to be a missionary, and the parish priest encouraged her and said that God
would help her when it was time. At a very young age also, Caterina joined a Catholic Action Group. As a young
teenager, she went to Castelnuovo to take a course that would qualify her to teach young girls who would be join-
ing the Catholic Action Group. Here, at Castelnuovo Caterina met the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and, her call
to be a missionary so long ago, began to blossom once again. All this was happening to Caterina during a very
stressful time when Italy was suffering from the ravages of World War II.
MISSIONARY LIFE
Sister Caterina entered the Novitiate of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary at Grottaferrata on Sept 15, 1945. She
made her first vows also at Grottaferrata on March 10, 1948. After this Sr. Caterina worked in the Infirmary and with
hospitality in St. Helene’s in Rome. Her final vows were made in 1951 after she was missioned to the United States.
Initially, Sister Caterina was chosen to go to our missions in China but because of political difficulties in that country,
this was not possible. In the U.S.A. Caterina was destined to care for the physically and mentally disabled children at
a new foundation. This foundation was then known as the Kennedy Memorial Hospital. It was originally conceived
and sponsored by Cardinal Cushing and staffed by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. Today it is known as the
Franciscan Children’s Hospital.
Sister remained at Kennedy for twenty-three years as the Supervisor for a group of boys for whom she cared with
skill and understanding. She also contributed her natural expertise to overseeing the House Keeping and Laundry
Services. Of this part of her missionary experience, Sister Caterina says, “You had to be a Mother to the children – to
understand as much as possible their needs and to assist them in their difficulties.” Also, the parents needed to be
helped in dealing with the limitations and emotional needs of their son or daughter.
In 1971 Sister Caterina was missioned to Divine Providence Shelter in New York City where she continued to use her
special gifts. Here, she was the supervisor of a group of boys who had been taken from difficult home situations.
She remained in New York City five years and was then missioned to Cardinal Hayes Home for Children in
Millbrook, N.Y. Here again, she was the supervisor of a group of boys from difficult situations, and some with mi-
nor medical problems. She was at Cardinal Hayes Home for twenty-nine years. During her latter yeas there she
contributed to the ambiance of the Home by decorating the halls and special rooms for the different holidays and
seasons of the year. Outside she cared for the gardens with special care. Caterina said “As children we were always
taught to respect nature and all kinds of plants. They give us nourishment and bring beauty into our surroundings.
In 2005, Sister Caterina was missioned to Queen of Peace Community at Fruit Hill, North Providence and brought
her cheerful and kind ways to the Day Services for the Elderly until her health no longer permitted this. She re-
mained at the Fruit Hill Assisted Living Facility as long as possible but then, due to continued failing health, she was
missioned to St. Antoine Residence, where she ministered to staff and residents by her beautiful smile and gentle,
loving ways. These were her gifts to all she served in her ministries throughout her life. Sister Caterina was often at
prayer and at other times could be seen in her room reading a copy of  Birds and Blooms  magazine, keeping true to
her keen interest in nature. It could be said that Caterina loved all of God’s creatures and they all loved her back.
 

Herminia Coquia, fmm

Herminia Coquia, fmm             

              I came  across a small ID card that listed Sr. Herminia’s height as 4’ 6” tall. The saying “Good things or, let us say, good people come in small packages” certainly applies to Herminia. I found a letter in her file that she had written to the US Provincial on June 7, 1949, just six days before her final vows ceremony. She wrote, “…There is never a day, which I always hoped and prayed for, as this coming day of final profession. I have always realized the sublimity of our vocation, dear Mother, together with the wondrous privileges and graces entailed in it and I do plead God daily for final perseverance not only for myself but for each and every one of us. …” Our little sister was in love with her God and in love with her Franciscan Missionary of Mary vocation. These words of our foundress, Blessed Mary of the Passion resonate with Herminia’s words: “Jesus is generous. He has given Himself to us. Let us not think that it is too much to give ourselves entirely to Him, with all we possess, it is only a hundredth part of what He has given us. (First Conference of a Triduum on Love, Feb., 1902) Herminia’s first mission was to India. On October 30, 1949 in her letter to the Provincial she wrote, “Yes, dear Mother, the hand of Almighty God is beckoning me to far away India – my future land of destination and I may also add here, my future place of my soul’s sanctification.” From India where Herminia had been teaching, she went to Sri Lanka where she taught in high school. She was then missioned to Liberia where she taught in St. Theresa Convent School for nearly eight years before being missioned to Ghana. Here she was, as always, short in stature, but she was high in achievements. Herminia was asked to open a new girls’ high school, the first of its kind in the Upper West Region. “Open the school” meant she had to first build it. Herminia always said she began with nothing – not even a penny!!! Once again this little sister had a big challenge which she faced head-on, and was successful in building the school. She was the first headmistress 9   of St. Francis Girls Secondary School in Jirapa, Ghana. She had the joy of seeing one of her first students eventually become headmistress. Under Herminia’s direction the school grew and today it is known throughout Ghana for its excellence in educating women. Yes, good people do come in small packages!!! There are many other stories about Herminia’s wonderful work and accomplishments but she did not focus on her own achievements but rather on those of others who were her students. She once wrote, “A teacher’s responsibility in the molding of souls for God is indeed great and I am fully aware of this truth, for souls depend upon the laborious efforts a teacher puts into her work. May the Good God give me the necessary graces to educate and enable the ideals of my future students so as to make them fit courtiers for the Kingdom of God by leading them by word and far more by example, to Him who gave us life. With unflinching fidelity I shall try to accomplish all tasks of my daily duties.” Yes, good people do come in small packages. Herminia returned to the US Province after thirty-four years of overseas missionary life—to continue her missionary life here in the US until illness in 1999 curtailed her very active life. Her graciousness, gentleness, love, care and concern for others did not stop. She was always ready to listen, to pray for and to be with others. I think she was somewhat famous or perhaps infamous at Saint Antoine Residence for her seemingly never ending delicious treats that she offered to staff and residents. Yes, good people do come in small packages. In one of her conferences Blessed Mary of the Passion wrote, “I should like you to take away with you from this conference such a constant recollection of this first glance of Jesus, that it would maintain you in that state of complete readiness for death, which will enable you to say, ‘How happy shall I be when I have breathed my last sigh, when no longer hampered by this mortal body, I shall meet that first glance of Jesus and shall hear him say to me, ‘Come My dove, the winter is passed. Come with me to Paradise.’ “ (Rome, 9 February, 1903) God will be smiling because good people do come in little packages and this good person might just have a little package overflowing with goodies for all. Dear Herminia, may you rest in peace. Lois Pereira, fmm

 

 

Provincial Chapter 2015

                   Caterina Isonni, fmm  (Giovita di Gesu) 1923 – 2015

 

                                        Summer Sharings 2015

 


 

      Sr. Mary Motte, fmm presented:

   Mary of the Passion, A Credibile Witness
     to the Compassion and Joy of the Gospel”

   Please click  HERE to download a PowerPoint Presentation

 

 

 

 

 

                         Please click Here to see the Resolution Scroll

                                Please see the photo gallery HERE

                                                Sisters RIP   2011 – 2015