Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph


Called by God into the Fraternity of Francis, we live in Simplicity, Servanthood, and Joy, renewing the spirit of Mother Colette Hilbert, "In all things Charity."

Current News

Celebrating St. Francis at
St. Francis Park

October 4, 2022 the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph and Catholic Health decided to name this day St. Francis Park Day as we celebrate this momentous day as one community. Catholic Health named the building St. Francis Park because the Sisters who live here are Franciscans and because St. Francis was a peacemaker, healer and lover of all people.  That is what Catholic Health and the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph hoped St. Francis Park would be for the people who choose to live here:  peaceful, healing and loving care for one another.  Obviously, they chose to call it a Park because of the beauty of creation that is all around the house.


This year, 2023, all those at St. Francis Park will be celebrating our wonderful namesake:  St. Francis of Assisi with a special liturgy, viewing the movie, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, enjoying each other’s company by sharing at ice cream socials and learning more about each other and St. Francis of Assisi.  If you wish to know more about St. Francis Park go to:  St. Francis Park – Saint Francis Park

Hilbert College at St. Francis Park for Franciscan Day of Caring

Students, faculty, and staff were invited to participate in Hilbert College’s campus-wide Franciscan Day of Caring. This year Hilbert College is collaborating with over twenty community organizations committed to serving and strengthening the community through their mission and work. One of the groups that benefited from this Franciscan Day of Caring was the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph. Over 30 students came and helped to do heavy lifting and weeding around St. Francis Park. All those from Hilbert brought wonderful energy and joy to all with whom they spoke.

The Sisters were greatly impressed with the students as well as the Hilbert shirts many of them were wearing. On the back of the shirt was a quote from Mother Colette Hilbert, for whom the college is named, “In all things, Charity”. Charity comes from the Latin word, caritas, which describes a selfless, unconditional form of love grounded in the belief that everyone has intrinsic value. Hilbert students, faculty, and staff worked in multiple ways on their Franciscan Day of Caring. We are grateful that they were spreading the love that Mother Colette lived throughout her life.

To learn more about Hilbert College go to Hilbert College | Private 4-year College in New York State

Our Lady of the Rosary

October 7 is the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. The entire month of October is dedicated to praying the rosary because it is such a prayerful, meditative, and powerful prayer.  To know more about the rosary, a treasured devotion go to How to Pray the Rosary | USCCB

Sr. Lucille Ann belongs to Our Lady’s Rosary Makers.  This group was founded by Brother Sylvan Mattingly, C.F.X., in the late 1940s because he wanted to create a dedicated group of volunteers to make rosaries and, then, give them to others free of charge.  Before making the rosary, each rosary maker is asked to say the following prayer for those who will be using the rosary for prayer:

“Dearest Mother, to you we pray, bless the rosaries
we make today; with loving hands we add each
bead, bless the ones who in the United States and
in foreign lands, reach for them with outstretched
hands; And pray like we, that God hear our call, for
a world untied and peace for all.  Hail Mary and
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!”

Sr. Lucille Ann makes rosaries for each graduating class of All Saints School (formally Holy Rosary School) in Kenosha, WI, where she taught for many years.  Sr. Lucille Ann has makes rosaries for St. Francis Park, Hamburg, NY, Fr. Baker Manor in Orchard Park, NY, and Dialysis Center in Kenosha, WI.  She fills personal requests for rosaries, taking into account that someone might want a special rosary bead color or colors.

AmPol Eagle Visits St. Francis Park

Sr. Carol Clare invited the reporter from the AmPol Eagle, Reina Hanchak, who is a member of the Polish class that Sister Carol attends, as well as the author of a  garden column published often in the AmPol Eagle.

Sister Carol and Sister Sharon accompanied Reina, identifying native plants that surround St. Francis Park.

To read more about the AmPol Eagle go to The Am-Pol Eagle (

Enjoying the Fruits of Our Labor

In early spring Catholic Health sponsored the planting of tomatoes, peppers and strawberries at a number of their facilities, including St. Francis Park.  Some of the residents of St. Francis Park looked forward to enjoying fresh tomatoes.  Many of us were reminded of good times during the summer when our families enjoyed fresh tomatoes savored in many ways, especially tomato sandwiches

FSSJ Pray for the End of Human Trafficking

St. Josephine Bakhita was born around 1869 in Darfur (now western Sudan).  She was seized by slave traders. Over the course of twelve years (1877–1889) she was sold three more times and then she was finally given her freedom.  Josephine became a Canossian Sister and forgave her captors.


St. Josephine Bakhita is venerated as a modern African saint, and as a statement against the brutal history of slavery. St. Josephine Bakhita has been adopted as the patron saint of modern Sudan and human trafficking survivors.  She was canonized by St. Pope John Paul II. 

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph are committed to praying for the end of human trafficking.   We are grateful to Sr. Deborah Marie for sharing, on our prayer board for all the residents at St. Francis Park, the United Nations Blue Heart campaign to educate and help in the ending of slavery.  If you click on the picture with the blue heart you will more easily be able to read the information.   To learn more about ending human trafficking go to:


FSSJ Pray for the Unborn

Timeline Document for 125 Years of Sharing Hearts and Hands

FSSJ- 125 Years -Timeline
Our Leadership Team 
Sr. Jean Cherry, Councilor, Sr. Marcia Ann Fiutko, General Minister,
Sr. Andrea Ciszewski, Councilor

FSSJ 2022 Chapter

General Chapter Direction Statement

In these transformative times of change, challenge and collaboration, we, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, embrace our call to Widen the Tent of our Hearts for the common good of God’s people and our common home, Mother Earth.

We willingly extend our hearts and hands to:
– Accept into our lives all persons as our sisters and brothers and to join efforts to bring an end to racism;
– Continue our efforts to minimize climate change and its effects on the life of our planet; and
– Collaborate with lay and religious partners to develop sustainable services and governance for our Congregation.
In the midst of our Holy Aging, we freely offer our gift of a Franciscan ministry of presence.


We began our Chapter with a day of retreat lead by Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF – – pictured on the left.  The picture on the right shows Sr. Alexine and Sr. Ann Marie sharing their Franciscan stories of faith and hope.

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph spent some of their second day in Chapter widening the tent of our hearts by listening to Dr. Deidre DeBose (left), Vice President of Mission and Equity at Hilbert College.  She shared her story of the blessings of faith, honesty, and courage as she faced racism in her life.

The Sisters shared their faith and support of Dr. DeBose by giving her a blessing as she continues her work at Hilbert.


A particularly pertinent quote Dr. DeBose shared with us was,
“Privilege is not about what you’ve gone through,
it is about what you haven’t gone through.”
Janaya Khan




This tent, created by Sr. Ann Lyons, FSSJ and Sr. Lynne Anne Schimminger, FSSJ, was in the Chapter room, reminding us all of our call to widen the tent of our hearts.

Sr. Lynne Anne Schimminger, FSSJ was asked to create a logo for our 2022 Chapter with the theme Widen the Tent of Our Hearts.  She drew a Bedouin tent which would ordinarily have a closed back side. However, the back of this tent is open. It beckons us to move out into the future where God is leading us.  You’ll notice that the landscape has mountains and hills and is somewhat hazy. Our destination will become more defined as we engage in prayer and contemplative dialogue during the coming year.

The tent flaps are flowing with the breath of the Spirit, allowing for flexibility; the tent pegs are strong and durable to ground us in our Franciscan charism and the Gospel.

The striped colors of the tent signify our diversity since each Sister will be called to widen the tent of her heart in a unique, personal way. As we pray with this logo we are invited to sit awhile in the tent, enjoying the warmth and hospitality of God’s presence—and, then, to open wide the tent of our hearts bringing Christ to the world beyond ourselves.

Feel free to join with us in praying our Chapter Prayer below.

Prayer for Widening the Tents of Our Hearts

Gracious God, we are challenged by the prophet Isaiah to enlarge the tent of our hearts, open wide our tent curtains, lengthen our ropes and strengthen our stakes.

May we not hold back, but stretch our hearts to the limit, embracing all persons as our sisters and brothers.

May our tent stakes go deep to keep us rooted in Christ and
our Franciscan charism.

May we spread our tent flaps unsparingly, clearing out our biases and making room for more compassion.

May we keep our tent cloths supple enough to allow for flexibility, risk, and abundant blessing.

God of Extravagant Love, may we see your beauty reflected in all the faces of humanity that You so love.  Amen

FSSJ Celebrate 125th  Anniversary at
St. Francis Parish, Athol Springs, NY

Ambiance honoring Mother Colette Hilbert, our Foundress

Providing inspirational music and song:
Sr. Lucille Ann, Cantor
Sr. Andrea, Organist
Sr. Deborah Marie, Liturgy Coordinator

Fr. Ross Syracuse, Pastor at St. Francis Parish, gives the welcome to all at our celebration

Franciscan Friars who celebrated with us:
Fr. Ross Syracuse, OFM Conv., Fr. Michael Zielke, OFM Conv., Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv.,  Fr. Charles, OFM Conventual, Fr. Mark David Skura, OFM Conv.

Sisters singing their Charism song, Called by God.  This song was composed by Sister Deborah Marie Ciolek, FSSJ

Sister Marcia Fiutko, FSSJ, General Minister of our Order, invites the Sisters to renew their vows of Poverty, Celibate Chastity and Obedience.

Group picture!

Sister Marvina and friends!

Those who taught or ministered at St. Columba:
Sr. Deborah, Sr. Lucille Ann, Carmen Rivera (FSSJ Associate), Sr. Karen, Susan Odle.

Sr. Andrea and the Franciscan Friars

Sr. Ann Lyons and Sr. Lynne Anne Schimminger with friends

Friends from Catholic Health
Joyce Markiewicz, Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer at Catholic Health, and Jill Hirczak, Life Enhancement Director at St. Francis Park.

Dr. Brophy, President of Hilbert College, founded by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, presents a citation from the Hilbert Board of Trustees, staff and students in honor of  our 125th Anniversary.

Sr. Jean Marie Cherry with friends from the Franciscan Sisters of Allegheny and the Sisters of Social Service in Buffalo.

The Sisters started the day with the Sisters in Leadership pinning on corsages on each Sister.  Sister Marcia Ann, General Minister,  pins a corsage on Sister Angelis.  The corsages were made by Sr. Benedicta.

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph are grateful for all those who have helped us to remain safe and healthy during the pandemic. In gratitude for all our health care staff has done for us Sister Deborah Marie Ciolek ordered a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of Jesus blessing a health care worker. After the Sisters put the puzzle together, Sister Lynne Anne Schimminger prepared it to be hung in the Care Community area of St. Francis Park as a gift to all the health care givers, nurses, Home Health Aides and Resident Care Aides.

Immaculata Academy has New Life as The Oaks at South Park

For 88 years the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph served God’s people by educating young women at Immaculata Academy in Hamburg, NY.  They are grateful that the new enterprise, The Oaks at South Park,  pays homage to the history of the property while offering beautiful, private “carriage house style” luxury apartments that will provide safe housing.  For more information on The Oaks go to Home

The picture on the right is the cornerstone of Immaculata Academy with some of the articles found in it.

Hilbert College announced that a new baseball field and a new softball field has been named the FSSJ Field Complex, in recognition of the College’s founding congregation, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSSJ).  The FSSJ Field Complex, which is slated to be completed for the Spring 2021 season, recognizes the generosity of the Sisters, whose sale of the property adjacent to Hilbert’s campus specified that the fields would be made available for Hilbert’s exclusive use.


Each Franciscan Sister of St. Joseph is praying together or privately for our world at this time.  Some pray in Chapel, some in parlors.  Where or however we pray, God is with us.  Know that you and your families have us holding you tenderly in our hearts.

As St. Francis taught us by example, we not only pray when we pray together but our hope and our call is to “become a prayer.” It is something all followers of Jesus are called to do.

FSSJ News - St. Francis Park

Becoming St. Francis Park

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph have always been open to the Spirit of God and what God is asking of us at each time in history. In the 2000s the Sisters became more aware that we were being called to create a legacy of a new home – one that would be constructed in the Spirit of St. Francis’s love of creation and one that would allow us to open our home, our spirituality and our hope for the future to others. In 2010 the new Immaculate Conception Convent was built (LEED Platinum) at 5229 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, NY.

In 2018, Catholic Health purchased Immaculate Conception Convent and helped the Sisters’ vision become a reality with the opening of St. Francis Park, an independent living facility for seniors from all walks of life. We invite you to spend some time on this site to learn more.

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5229 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, NY 14075
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