Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph - Hamburg New York


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Current FSSJ News

Sister Ann Marie, Sister Marcia Ann, Sister Sharon, Sister Michael Marie and Sister Judith Elaine
  The Leadership Team of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph is comprised of General Minister, Sister Ann Marie Hudzina; Associate General Minister, Sister Marcia Ann Fiutko; and Councilors Sister Sharon Goodremote, Sister Michael Marie Jordan and Sister Judith Elaine Salzman

FSSJ Chapter Commitment
Enriched and hopeful, we, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, embrace opportunities to extend our Mission.

We commit ourselves to:
* Engage in covenant relationships; and,
* Call for awareness, prayer and action against human trafficking.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CONVENT: An Oasis of Franciscan Hospitality

Is your church, school, organization, business or special interest group looking for a comfortable and lovely setting for an upcoming meeting, a day retreat or in-service session? Immaculate Conception Convent is the ideal location for your next event. Located at 5229 South Park Avenue in Hamburg, New York, our facility is open to various groups. Whether an evening meeting or a full day event with lunch included…we will make your stay comfortable and peaceful.
Immaculate Conception Convent
Conference Room
  Our large meeting room and chapel will accommodate 100 guests. Looking for something a bit smaller? Our conference room seats 12 and a smaller meeting room seats 8 guests. There are also two comfortable sitting rooms, a library and Wi-Fi access for your convenience. During breaks, you can stroll through our outdoor space with park-like settings. For further information and availability, please contact Sister Ann Lyons, Director of Programs, at 716-649-1205 (ext. 1010) or e-mail: To print out a tri-fold brochure, please click here. You may also stop in and take a tour of our facility.
Community Room
One of two sittings rooms
Outdoor space behind convent
ICC entrance


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

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph held their annual gathering of all their sisters in mid-July. During this Forum, the sisters participated in a day-long retreat about personal and communal transformation. They explored new opportunities to live their Franciscan mission to "live the Gospel" according to their charism of Fraternity, Simplicity, Servanthood, and Joy. In addition, the FSSJs held presentations regarding other aspects of their future ministries and community life.

The theme for next year's Chapter was presented during an evening ritual; it is Embracing Our Sacred Journey. The sisters hold Chapters every four years to set directions for their communal life in the Church and to elect a new leadership team.

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph welcome Sisters Raymond Syjut, Lucille Ann Puntillo and Deborah Marie Ciolek to Immaculate Conception Convent. Each of them has served in education and parish ministry for many years in Michigan and Wisconsin.

In their new residence at ICC, they will begin new ministries to further the mission of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph.

On September 8, 2017, The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph celebrated the 120th anniversary of the founding of their congregation. In 1897, Sister Colette Hilbert accepted the Franciscan habit and charism. It was then that she began the congregation’s mission of serving God’s people where there was great need – in her time, it was educating Polish immigrant children. Over the past 120 years, the congregation’s ministries evolved into education, health care, social work, pastoral care, and justice issues – always in response to the needs of the times. As the congregation moves into the future, it will continue to seek and respond to the ministerial needs of the Church and society by “witnessing the Gospel in joy, peace, committed to prayer, service, and care for all creation.” (FSSJ Mission Statement)
Sister Ann Marie, General Minister
Display honoring Mother Colette, Foundress

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

Please join the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph in prayer on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 2:00 PM at Immaculate Conception Convent.
Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope
Jesus was a refugee and friend of outcasts. What about you and me? Will we dare to follow in Jesus' footsteps?

The Western New York Leadership Conference of Women Religious, heeding the call of the US Bishops, is inviting all to join us in an opportunity for prayer, advocacy and support for refugees.

Pope Francis himself, in his Message for the 100th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, challenged us with these words: “Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.”

In January 2003, the U.S. Catholic Bishops released a pastoral letter on migration entitled, "Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope." In their letter, the Bishops stated "Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection. Those who flee wars and persecution should be protected by the global community. This requires, at a minimum, that migrants have a right to claim refugee status without incarceration and to have their claims fully considered by a competent authority."

Yes, we are called to be “Together on the Journey of Hope.” We are being challenged to look into the eyes of a refugee and there find our brother or sister in Christ. LCWR’s commitment to walking with refugees has a long history. Vive was founded in 1984 by members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, NY. These founding mothers saw a need to assist the influx of individuals from Central and South America who wanted to seek asylum in the United States or Canada due to the inability to return to their homeland. Women Religious communities housed and helped asylum seekers at their convents until one of the convents in Lackawanna, NY was converted into a housing facility, called Vive La Casa. Vive La Casa eventually moved into a former school building at 50 Wyoming Avenue, Buffalo, NY where it still operates today.

In March 2015, Jericho Road Community Health Center assumed operations of Vive La Casa. Vive La Casa then became known as Vive, a program of Jericho Road. Jericho Road is now committed to carrying the 30-year legacy of providing legal aid and safe refuge to persons seeking asylum in the United States and Canada.

You too can make a difference! Join us for prayer, an opportunity to learn about advocacy opportunities, and while you’re at it, bring along with you some personal hygiene items that can be donated to refugees in Jericho Road’s VIVE program.

Join us at one of our prayer services:
Sept 15th at 7:00PM at St. Mary Center, 241 Lafayette Avenue, Buffalo, NY
Sept. 17th at 2:00PM at St. Mary of the Angels Convent, 201 Reist St., Williamsville, NY and at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, 115 East Main St., Allegany, NY
Sept. 24th at 2:00PM at Immaculate Conception Convent, 5229 South Park Ave., Hamburg, NY and at the Sacred Heart Center, 22 Meadowbrook Parkway, Cheektowaga, NY
Sept. 24th at 4:30PM at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, 600 Doat Street, Buffalo, NY

If you cannot join us but would like to learn more about Welcoming the Stranger, some good resources include:
Jericho Road Community Health Center
The US Bishops
Justice for Immigrants
Three Common Myths about Refugees
May we be strangers no longer, but instead, brothers and sisters, as we continue together on this journey of hope!

The Franciscan Federation of the Sisters and Brothers of the Third Order Regular of the U.S., including the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, and their associates resolved “to stand in solidarity with Native American People in care of their land and of our Sister, Mother Earth” in a resolution affirmed by some 240 attendees representing 61 member congregations at their annual meeting, just ended.

The Resolution, promoted by the JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee) of the Federation, is rooted in the words of Pope Francis in the encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, #146: “It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift of God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact and maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best.” The resolution goes on to say, “As Franciscans, being in solidarity with our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters, in particular Native Americans, we act on the words of Pope Francis in the encyclical: #217: ‘Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork, it is essential to the life of virtue; it is not an option or a secondary aspect of our Christian life.’ #218: ‘In calling to mind the figure of St. Francis of Assisi, we come to realize that a healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion.’ ”

This resolution calls for a pledge to learn about the enduring effects of the Doctrine of Discovery, including its application in US law as the justification for claiming that Native Americans do not have title to discovered lands, that they are mere tenants on their ancestral lands. This Doctrine of Discovery is the result of three Papal bulls that provided the moral and legal rationale for Christian explorers to confiscate all land and possessions of the inhabitants of “barbarous nations.” Members of the Franciscan Federation are encouraged to “learn from Indigenous Peoples about their history and cultures and to value their worldview that respects the interconnectedness of all life, including that of Mother Earth” and, “in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi” to seek pardon for the sufferings imposed upon Indigenous Peoples and to petition Pope Francis to revoke the Doctrine of Discovery.


HE IS SEEN IN – the LOVE expressed through your HEART,
the COMPASSION revealed through your SPIRIT, the KINDNESS
displayed through your ACTIONS, the BLESSINGS received
through your LIFE.
~ Roy Lessin
On Sunday, May 14, 2017, a renewal of vows was held in the Motherhouse chapel where many of our sisters celebrated their Anniversaries of Profession. The day culminated with a May Crowning led by the Jubilarians. God’s blessings to all our Jubilarians and we prayerfully remember our deceased Jubilarians.
Srs. Bertina, Marvina and Loretta
Srs. Ann Marie, Benilda and Christine (seated)
Srs. Edmunette, Joyce and Marie Colette (seated)
Sr. Benilda with Bishop Richard Malone
  The Diocese of Buffalo also honored the faithful service of women and men religious throughout the diocese as they celebrated their Jubilees together on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at a liturgy presided over by Bishop Richard Malone at St. Joseph Cathedral. Following Mass, a reception was held at the Catholic Center.
And finally, a Jubilee celebration Mass was held for Sister Ann Marie Hudzina who celebrated her 50th Jubilee and Sister Benilda Nadolski and Sister Christine Songin who celebrated their 75th Jubilee on Sunday, May 28, 2017 in the Motherhouse chapel. Following Mass, a reception was held at Immaculate Conception Convent with family, friends, fellow Sisters and FSSJ Associates who helped the Sisters celebrate this joyous occasion!  
Sisters Benilda, Ann Marie and Christine
Sisters Benilda and Sharon
Sisters Christine and Marcia Ann
Sister Ann Marie
Sr. Ann Marie with her sister, Dolores, and brother, Michael
Sr. Ann Marie with her sister-in-law, Debra, her nephew, Christopher and his friend, Amy
Sr. Ann Marie with her sister-in-law, Catherine, brother, Michael and Father Michael Sajda
Sr. Ann Marie with her brother-in-law, Gerald and sister, Dolores
Sr. Ann Marie and brother, Michael
Sr. Raymond, Sr. Ann Marie and Sr. Alexine
Jubilee Reception
Jubilee Reception
Jubilee Reception
On May 28th, Sister Ann Marie celebrated her 50th Golden Jubilee along with Sister Benilda and Sister Christine who celebrated their 75th Diamond Jubilee. We honor this year’s Jubilarians, who through their ministries, have helped so many others grow in faith, knowledge and character. Their examples show how selfless living can help wake up the world! Below is a profile of each of our Jubilarians.
  Sister Ann Marie Hudzina was taught by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph and attributes her desire to become a member of the community to the sisters who taught her. For almost thirty years, she ministered in the field of education as a teacher and principal at the elementary school level and as a teacher at Immaculata Academy. Throughout these years, she exhibited her strong professional responsibility and enjoyed the success that came with it.

Sister has also ministered in various capacities within the congregation including vocation director, formation team member and as a member of numerous committees. For almost sixteen years, Sister Ann Marie has served in congregational leadership and is currently completing her second term as General Minister. She has worked with the leadership team and with all of the sisters to determine how best to live the FSSJ Mission and Charism into the future. All of her efforts are for the good of the congregation and the good of God’s people.
Sister Ann Marie is a woman of integrity. A deeply spiritual person who finds the Divine within, she shares her spiritual insights so others may benefit from them. She is personable, sensitive, open minded, decisive, and kind. No matter how or to whom she has ministered, Sister has lived her vowed life as a religious through service to the congregation and God’s people.
Sister Benilda Nadolski, ministered most of her 75 years as a teacher and principal in Catholic parishes in the East. She made every effort to develop a strong faith community wherever she ministered. As a principal, Sister demonstrated outstanding leadership, promoted innovative practices and inspired enthusiasm, creativity and trust among her faculty members. These efforts awarded her with “The Principal of the Month” by Grolier Education Services and “The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award” for her services at Sacred Heart School in Danbury, CT. Throughout her years, Sister Benilda has recognized God’s presence in her life especially when situations were difficult. This enabled her to draw her strength from God. Her inspiration comes from Jesus’ words “Be not afraid” and the life and words of our foundress, Mother Colette Hilbert, always remembering her words, "in all things charity.” Sister Benilda truly lives this out in her community life.
Sister Benilda is a kind, warm, and sensitive person who is always been available for others. She has always been grateful for the years she has served God and the people of God.
  Sister Christine Songin’s life has lived out through the motto, “To Jesus through Mary.” Born on May 13th, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Sister has always had an ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Throughout her professional life as a teacher in the elementary school, high school and college levels where she taught science and biology, she instilled her love for Mary into her students.

Her path in life took another direction when she left the field of education and became a registered nurse. She was involved in a science research project at the Catholic University of America, working on the cancer drug, tamoxifen. It was her gentle and joyful approach as she cared for her patients that endeared her to so many sisters and laity as well.
Her gentle, warm, and caring demeanor portrays her Franciscan spirit. She is energized when she can be with and among people. Her musical talents have brought much joy and festivity to community events. Sister Christine is also a gifted “story teller” who can share experiences from fifty years ago. To this day, Sister continues to invite people into conversation to share the goodness of God in their lives. She has a true attitude of gratitude for all the blessings that God has given her throughout her life.

On March 29, Sr. Carol Czyzewski, FSSJ, represented the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph at the Climate Change March in Washington, DC. She joined with many faith groups to march in favor of protecting the steps being taken to address climate change. Despite the 90° temperatures, the marchers persevered for the sake of Sister Mother Earth.

Of her experience, Sr. Carol said, “What a powerful and emotional experience to join so many people of all ages, creeds, races, and issue advocates for truth and justice for human dignity and for mother earth--they came from many far away states! Their presence boosted my hope that wisdom and good will prevail even as political forces aim to endanger what sustains life and what promotes peace.

Pictured below: Sr. Carol and participants in the Climate Change March.

  Sister Benedicta Dega, FSSJ recently received the Volunteer of the Year Award from Autumn View Health Care Facility in Hamburg, NY. Sister Benedicta has been volunteering at Autumn View since 2015. The Director of Activities, Amy McKnight, informed Sister Ann Marie of the residents and staff’s gratitude for all that Sister Benedicta does at Autumn View:

* Enhances the spiritual awareness within the facility
* Provided over 14,000 spiritual visits
* Conducts various programs such as Bible Study, Stations of the Cross, Communion services
* Spreads God’s Word as well as simply providing a warm touch and friendly smile.
* Makes each holiday special by making cards, holiday pins and sharing with the residents the true meaning of that holiday.

Dr. Brian Dougherty, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Detroit, announced that Sister Geraldine Kaczynski, FSSJ, has been named the Archdiocese of Detroit Principal of the Year. Sister Geraldine will receive her award at a special dinner honoring outstanding teachers and scholar athletes throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit on June 5th.

Sister Geraldine is well respected for her outstanding leadership in Catholic Education by her principal colleagues, clergy, and administrators in the Archdiocese.

In addition, Sister Geraldine was an honoree at the annual Franciscan Federation conference held in Buffalo, NY from June 16-19 at the Adam's Mark Hotel. She was one of "31 Sisters and Brothers of member congregations who, like St. Bonaventure, 'embodies the best of our teaching tradition' or 'who, in their ministry, embodies the values of being incarnational, personal, communal, transformative, engaging the heart and developing servant-leaders'." (See pictures below)
(Standing) Sisters Michael, Sharon, Marcia, and Emily Therese; (Seated) Sisters Joyce, Geraldine and Stephen
Sr. Geraldine receiving her award
Sisters Geraldine, Sharon and Marcia

Human Trafficking continues to be one of the worst evils of our time. The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph committed themselves to prayer and work toward ending human trafficking in a more focused way in 2014. The sisters hope to awaken hearts and deepen commitments to work for a world where every person is free and able to live with dignity and freedom.

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph fully support Pope Francis, who in January 2015, devoted his yearly Peace Message calling for an end to human trafficking. Human trafficking is also known as modern day slavery. Pope Francis said in his Peace Message, "Today, as in the past, slavery is rooted in a notion of the human person which allows him or her to be treated as an object," rather than a brother or sister. We cannot allow modern day slavery to go unnoticed.

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

Sister Carmeline
  St. Francis of Assisi had great love and respect for the Holy Eucharist. In his Letter to the Entire Order, Francis wrote, “The Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself under an ordinary piece of bread…He gives Himself totally to you.”

The Eucharist is the source and center of our lives as Catholics and as Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph. Sister Carmeline Ryan feels especially blessed to be involved in our new Host Ministry at Immaculate Conception Convent, the Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph.
Sister's responsibilities, which she performs daily, include ordering cartons of hosts of various sizes (white and wheat) from a wholesale company, and counting, packing and mailing the appropriate number of hosts to her "customers." These include local parishes, convents, nursing homes, hospitals and cemeteries. All packages are shipped by computer via UPS and mailed the next day with a monthly prayer remembrance card. Customers are also reminded about our Health Center's "Powerhouse of Prayer" and that they can also request prayers when needed. As she packs each order, Sister Carmeline says this prayer: “Soon, dear Jesus, these tiny wafers of bread will become your Body when they are consecrated. Please bring peace, love and comfort to all who are hurting in our troubled world today.”

What motivates Sister Carmeline to come to work each day full of joy are Mother Colette's words of wisdom..."Manifest your love, not by words and tongue, but by action and truth!" Sister Carmeline hopes she has brought the love of Christ to those she has met on the way, displaying the charism of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph: Fraternity, Simplicity, Servanthood and Joy.
Sister Carmeline packing hosts for shipping
~ Sister Carmeline's Journey~
Sister Carmeline
  Sister Carmeline's previous ministry as an elementary teacher and principal enabled her to be patient and eager to begin each day wondering what new, exciting things will happen. No two days were the same, especially with the little ones. Sister also believes that her nursing ministry taught her to be exact, more analytical, to look at all sides of a situation, and to be more compassionate in dealing with others.

Sister Carmeline brought Jesus to those she served for all her years of educational and health care ministry. Today she continues to bring Jesus closer to the hearts of God's people through our Host Ministry. She feels that distributing the bread that will someday become the "Body of Christ" is a great privilege that extends our FSSJ mission throughout almost 40 parishes in areas of Western New York.

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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