Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph - Hamburg New York


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Current FSSJ News

Sister Jean Marie, Sister Marcia Ann, Sister Judith Elaine
  The Leadership Team of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph was elected at the Congregation's 22nd General Chapter in July of 2018. Elected were Sr. Marcia Ann Fiutko, General Minister, Sr. Jean Marie Cherry, General Councilor and Sr. Judith Elaine Salzman, General Councilor.

FSSJ Chapter Commitment

The Leadership Team will lead the members in fulfilling their Chapter commitment which reads in part: We... Embrace our Sacred explore ways to embrace full participation in our community life, new expressions for our mission, and hope-filled plans for our future. We welcome God's invitation to co-create our future possibilities for the common good of God's people.

Welcoming New President of Hilbert College
The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph are proud to be the Founders of Hilbert College. Sr. Edwina Bogel, FSSJ fulfilled her dream to create a college in the Southtowns that would especially serve first generation college students. As Hilbert continues to grow, the new president, Dr. Michael Brophy visited the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph at St. Francis Park to meet the Sisters and learn about their Franciscan charism so that he will be better able to share this charism with faculty, staff and students during his years at Hilbert. Dr. Brophy was given a tour of FSSJ Heritage Room and chapel to learn the story of Mother Colette Hilbert whose name Hilbert College bears.

After his tour, Dr. Brophy met the Sisters and was welcomed by Sr. Marcia Ann Fiutko, FSSJ, General Minister. The FSSJ Leadership Team, Sr. Marcia Ann, Sr. Jean Cherry and Sr. Judith Elaine Salzman presented Dr. Brophy with a pitcher, sharing with Dr. Brophy the wonderful advice Mother Colette gave to all her Sisters, “You cannot pour anything from and empty pitcher”. This quote reminds us to take time for prayer, reflection and dialogue in order to be open to God’s Spirit in all we do.

Dr. Brophy shared with the Sisters his happiness and excitement becoming President of Hilbert College. He is looking forward to his family joining him in June to live in Orchard Park, NY and becoming a part of the WNY community. He is grateful for the dedication of the Sisters in their prayerful support of Hilbert and will work with Sr. Marcia Ann on the Mission Committee of the College to maintain the Franciscan Spirit at Hilbert College.
Women Religious Celebrate Gerard Place
Gerard Place, which provides supportive services for homeless mothers and their children, first opened its doors in 2000, the culmination of the work of twelve Congregations of Women Religious in the Diocese of Buffalo, one of which is the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph. Sisters from each of the twelve congregations gathered at Gerard Place, 2515 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14215, to celebrate the creation of the Community Center which will service, not only the families already at Gerard Place, but will offer the following to the surrounding community:
- The Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Early Childhood Academy (EduKids) - Giving children access to high quality and affordable child care
- Training to become Licensed Practical Nursing, Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Healthcare Aide
- Opportunity to complete your high school education.
Gerard Place is dedicated to improving the lives of people striving to break the cycle of poverty in their lives. To find out more about the Community Center at Gerard Place go to

Each Congregation of Women Religious who sponsor Gerard Place has a special recognition give over the each doorway into the Community Center.
Celebrating Sister Mary Anne Siwak

Sr. Mary Anne Siwak’s forty years of dedicated ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Athol Springs, NY was celebrated by dedicating the parish’s new gathering space to her. The parish has been working on planning for a Gathering Space at the front of the Church this past year. When it came time to name the gathering space the parish unanimously voted to dedicate the space to Sr. Mary Anne Siwak, FSSJ. As stated in the program of the dedication, “Sr. Mary Anne has served St. Francis as a Teacher, Principal, Catechetical Facilitator and Collaborator in the many events, activities and programs of the parish. Through her example and service to God and God’s people, she has been instrumental in leading innumerable people of all ages to a closer relationship with God and the Church”.

At the dedication, Sr. Mary Anne and a number of her fellow Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, prayed with the parishioners and shared the joy of the blessing and dedication of the Sr. Mary Anne Gathering Space. As the plague that was installed says, “Dear Sister Mary Anne, May God grant you His choicest blessings now and always! With grateful hearts, your Faith Community of St. Francis.“
Fr. Ross Syracuse, OFM Conv, pastor and Sister Mary Anne
Official Ribbon Cutting
Appreciative Parishioners


PLEASE NOTE: Beginning June 30, 2016, all transcripts and employee records will be available through Nancy DiBerardino at the Diocese of Buffalo. The main phone number is (716) 847-8700.

Sister Jean Cherry, Administrator
Immaculata Academy
Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace
Every year the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph invite others to come and remember the importance of our call to be peacemakers with a prayer service. This year using the Prayer of St. Francis the Sisters saw the seasons as a means to learn “where there is injury pardon, where there is despair hope…”. Caring for creation is part of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph Mission Statement and reflecting on our present time in history with climate change causing so many natural disasters, fires, floods and droughts, the Sisters feel it is important to remind themselves and others to put light where there is darkness and love where there is hate.
The Sisters also provided a letter people could sign asking our government to put addressing climate change on the top of their agenda and to support the work of the COP24, which is a meeting of the U.N. Conference of the Partners Convention on Climate Change being held in Katowice, Poland December 2-14, 2018.
May we all continue to pray: “May our loving Creator enrich us with a feeling of community with creation around us, and an authentic sense of responsibility for Earth’s well-being”. Amen
FSSJ Christmas Spirit Shared with Youth
Recently the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph were joined by the sixth and seventh graders of the Faith Formation Program of SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Hamburg, NY. The gathering was in the Spirit of Christmas, signing Christmas cards for the people who receive meals through the Meals on Wheels program. The young people and teachers joined the Sisters, sharing stories and laughter as they signed the cards for the people who would be eating their Christmas dinner by themselves.
The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph have been signing cards to be given to Meals on Wheels for over 10 years and were excited to share this event with young people. All together this year the Sisters, their Associates and other friends of the Sisters have signed 3,000 cards which will find their way into people’s homes.
The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph were recently able to witness one of their beloved ministries come full circle. As part of their mission to minister to God’s people where there is great need, in 1949 the sisters began operating and sponsoring St. Mary’s Home for the Aging in Detroit, Michigan which moved in 1960 to Livonia, MI as Marycrest Manor. For decades, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph attended to the health and social needs of aging in the Detroit/Livonia area. The sisters always desired to give their very best to the residents. When it became clear in the early 2000s that they were no longer able to provide the quality of care they wished to offer, they sought out a partner with similar values who could carry on the healing mission of Jesus.  
Legacy Walk - that was then...
That partner is Trinity Health Senior Living who took on the sponsorship of the institution and has grown it into a continuum of care facility. The original nursing home, Marycrest Manor, was updated and continues to serve those with critical needs. In the past ten years, Trinity Health has added a state-of-the-art independent living component and most recently, assisted living and rehabilitation components. In early October, Sister Sharon Goodremote, who serves on the Leadership Team of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, was able to join Sister Judith Salzman and Sister Alexine Machowicz , who continue to minister at Marycrest, for the grand opening of the completed Marycrest complex.
Legacy Walk - this is now.

Retirement is unheard of in religious life! St. Francis counseled, “…in the holy love which is God, I beg all of you…to serve…the Lord God…in whatever way you are best able to do so, for that is what God wants above all else.” (ER 22:25-26) The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph have always taken this to heart. Ministries change from time to time but the mission always remains. When the time comes that a sister is unable to “go out to ministry,” the ministry comes in to us. The photos show several sisters bagging rice to be sent to the poor in Nicaragua. This regularly-scheduled ministry, along with signing cards for Meals on Wheels, praying for those who call in with intentions, and other “in-house ministries,” affords the sisters the opportunity to keep in touch with the needs of God’s people and to contribute to the mission of the congregation.
Sisters Joyce, Anzelma, Ann Margaret, Lucille Ann and Michele Malota, Activities Director
Sisters Loretta, Deborah Marie, Helen D, Joyce, Teresina and Carlene Marie
May we be strangers no longer, but instead, brothers and sisters, as we continue together on this journey of hope!

On Sunday, May 13, 2018, a renewal of vows will be held in the chapel when many of our sisters will be celebrating their Anniversaries of Profession. Each of the jubilarians, as well as all of the members of the congregation, strives daily to live out their charism statement, “We live in Fraternity, Simplicity, Servanthood and Joy,…” In Fraternity, they relate as sister with all persons to whom and with whom they minister. They see all of creation as sister or brother and therefore live the Gospel with a loving mindset. In Simplicity and humility, each of these jubilarians makes choices that reflect the goodness of God. Through Servanthood, our sisters continuously seek ways to be of service to God’s people in their interactions with others. With Joy is the hallmark of how they present themselves to the world each day, knowing that God is always with them.
Sr. Benedicta Dega
  Sisters Benedicta Dega and Alexine Machowicz are celebrating their 65th anniversary of profession and Sr. Emily Therese Bloom is celebrating her 70th.
Sr. Benedicta’s two Master degrees from Marquette University and Christ the King Seminary reflect her two major areas of ministry. She was a long-time educator at the elementary and high school levels in her earlier days of ministry. Sr. Benedicta then transferred her skills into various pastoral ministries including pastoral care and hospital chaplain. Sr. Benedicta currently serves as a dedicated pastoral volunteer at Autumn View HC facility in Hamburg, NY.
Sr. Alexine Machowicz became a full time and very dedicated elementary teacher after receiving her Bachelor degree in Education from Cardinal Stritch College in Detroit, MI. It was a natural fit for her as she has an infectious joyful spirit. Later in her life, Sr. Alexine shared her joy as the Activities Director for the residents at Marycrest Manor (now known as Sanctuary at Marycrest). Currently, Sr. Alexine volunteers as a pastoral visitor to those in the various levels of care at Sanctuary at Marycrest. 
Sr. Alexine Machowicz
Sr. Emily Therese Bloom
  Sr. Emily Therese Bloom used her teaching skills at the elementary, high school and college levels after receiving a Master in English from Niagara University. Her years of teaching were interrupted for a time when she offered to be one of the first group of missionaries of the congregation to serve in Brazil. After receiving her Master degree in Clinical Counseling, she offered those skills, along with her teaching abilities, at various institutions including as executive director of Boys Hope of Florida and as a jail and clinical counselor. Those ministries were also interrupted for a time when she served on the Leadership Team of the congregation, a role she held again later on in her career. Sr. Emily currently serves as an active and faithful volunteer at Gerard Place Housing Development Fund Company.
God’s blessings to all our Jubilarians and we prayerfully remember our deceased Jubilarians.

  Human trafficking continues to be one of the worst evils of our time. The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, like many congregations of women religious, have taken a stand against this evil. In mid-February the sisters hosted a prayer service with and for members of the local area and parishes to awaken hearts and deepen commitments to work for a world of freedom for all. Human trafficking is as present in the US as it is across the globe.
Pope John Paul II said of Bakhita, “Was it not a moment of refreshment and renewal, offered by Christ the Good Shepherd to the whole Catholic community of the Sudan, when, in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, Josephine Bakhita was elevated to glory among the Blessed of the Church? She thus became a model of virtue and holiness of life for Christians. To religious believers everywhere she speaks of the value of reconciliation and love, for in her heart she overcame any feelings of hatred for those who had harmed her.”
May each of us ask God for the courage and wisdom exhibited by Josephine Bakhita so that we may stand in solidarity with those who are trafficked and that together we will find ways to the freedom that is God’s gift to all of us.

Below is a list of ways for you to get involved and be a voice for those who have none.

~ Pray
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

~ Support an Already Existing Organization
Every penny counts in the struggle for freedom. Your support matters.

~ Get Educated
Knowledge is power. Allow yourself to be informed.

~ Educate Others
Sharing is easy. Consider some ways to spread the message.
Visit FAASTINTERNATIONAL.ORG (Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking)

~ Advocate
Speak, Act, Do…all on behalf of those who cannot.

~ Volunteer
There are a variety of ways that YOU can help!

~ Report Cases
If you see something that doesn’t look right, report it. 1-888-373-7888.

~ Buy Slave Free Products
Support freedom with your purchases. Know where your goods come from.
Click on the following link for more information: GoodGuide

~ Get Your Church Involved
We believe that God has uniquely designed the church to be his avenue for hope and restoration for the world.

~ Sporting Events
For upcoming sporting events, write to coaches, athletes, hotels and/or sponsors about human trafficking: WithoutExploitationToolkit.pdf

Mary's Way
  As the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph sculpted their new home, they filled their new surroundings with symbols important to them in a beautiful park-like setting.

Now they invite you to join with them in remembering those special people and moments that have shaped our lives, as they create Mary’s Way and Joseph’s Green, places of gratitude and remembrance. Benches and winding walkways offer opportunities for prayer and reflection.

The focal point of Mary’s Way is the beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother that stood above the entrance of our former Motherhouse. Adorned with a simple stone shrine, she reminds us of standing in humble simplicity before our God. Our St. Joseph statue with the child Jesus, central to Joseph’s Green, reminds us of the gentle care with which Joseph raised the boy Jesus. For many years this statue graced the grounds of our former Motherhouse. As St. Joseph is the patron saint of a happy death, this area is a fitting place to remember your deceased loved ones.
Joseph's Green
  Incorporated into each of these venues are areas of brick/pavers where you can concretize the treasured thoughts of loved ones or special events. We invite you to purchase a brick/paver to celebrate the specialness of a relative or friend, to reverence the memory of a deceased loved one or mark a milestone event in life’s journey. As you and our sisters walk the grounds of our new Motherhouse, your cherished remembrances will be brought to the hearts and prayers of those who read the inscriptions. The engraved brick/pavers offer a meaning and lasting way to pay tribute.

For further information, you may contact Sr. Lynne Anne at (716) 649-1205 ext. 2125 or e-mail

Order Form

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph have created a high school program entitled Franciscan Studies Program: Lessons on Franciscan Spirituality through the lives of St. Francis, St. Clare and Colette Hilbert, FSSJ. Each component/year focuses on one of the four Third Order core values of humility, poverty, conversion and contemplation. The two-week components are all inclusive with complete lesson plans; readings from Francis, Clare and Colette Hilbert, Foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (these can be substituted by readings of other founders/Franciscans); reflection questions; study of a Franciscan symbol; prayer service; suggested assessements and a bibilography.

To purchase of copy of the 117 page program in a binder for forty dollars ($40.00),please contact Sr. Jean M. Cherry, FSSJ at

©2009 Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph

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