2019 Christmas Letter

Greetings, Dear Friends and Associates of the Order,

We wish you peace, joy, health, and love as we once again look forward to celebrating the blessed birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It has been a couple of years since you have heard from us. A year ago Sr. Judith Marie was recovering from surgery which kept her housebound for a few months, even at the same time as she was finalizing the St. Anne’s Home project.

We Sisters continue working with our ministry at the Church of the Ascension, in the neighborhood in which we live, and in Rogers Park. We work at Church of the Ascension with various ministries. We assist with sacristy work, serving at the Eucharist, visiting the sick, and taking communion to people in nursing homes. Sister Judith continues to serve as an on-call Chaplain at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago. Sister Barbara Louise continues teaching English to non-English speaking people in the community who are preparing for their citizenship exams, a ministry which she enjoys performing very much.

Our outreach ministry at St. Anne’s Home for Recovering Women in Rogers Park, Chicago continues to flourish. Sister Judith Marie is serving as its Executive Director. The program has been running successfully since 2017 with the assistance of Miss Billie Williams who has done a wonderful job. We received a Special Use Permit from the City of Chicago this year allowing us to house up to fifteen women at a time in our Recovery Home. Chim Chim Daniel and Ashita Pathrose work on the weekends at the Home.

The Right Reverend Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop of Chicago continues to be our Episcopal Visitor, a role he has shared with us since 2009. The Reverend John Heschle continues to serve us as our Warder/Chaplain which he has done since 2011, although he has retired as the Rector of St. Paul-by-the-Lake in June, 2019. We have not had any new Associates for the past couple of years, the last new Associate being Mr. Ken Kelling in 2017. We would enjoy adding any new Associates if there are any persons interested.

We had a successful guest ministry at our guest house called Bethlehem House until December, 2007. At Bethlehem House, we housed there several men and women at a time. In 2007 the Church of the Ascension took the house from the Sisters. However, we continued receiving calls from people in need, and thus we started a guest ministry in the Convent a few years ago for women. Some stay long-term, some stay short-term. All of them continue to remain friends of the Sisters. We currently have five women guests in residence. Ashita Pathrose is a physician from India currently working as a research scholar at the Department of Radiology at Northwestern University Hospital in Chicago. Josephine Xu is working for an investment company in downtown Chicago. Chim Chim Daniel is from Kenya and has returned to the Convent after finishing her Bachelor’s Degree and is currently working in downtown Chicago. Roberta Rogers has been using her time at the Convent preparing to establish a similar House of Prayer and Community on the Southside of Chicago. Volha Ermilova is from Belarus and is working as a baker in downtown Chicago. Julie Kimani, who is from Kenya, has been living with us since 2014 and has been a great help to us. We have not had any new inquiries for the past two years and continue praying and seeking new vocations.

We would like to pray for and remember with gratitude and love those Associates and Friends who have entered into God’s Glory over the past year. The Right Reverend James Montgomery, former Bishop of Chicago and Episcopal visitor who passed away at the age of 98 in October of this year. Our long time Associate Joseph Warren, who was our senior associate, being 102 at the time of his passing in June of this year. Our long time resident and companion Dorothy Murray passed away in October of this year. Sister Barbara Louise and Associate Ken Kelling were weekly visitors to Dorothy for over six years while Dorothy was in a nursing home in Rogers Park. Juliet Pierce was a long time Friend of the Order when she passed away in June, 2019. Sister Olga OSA from our House in Bethany, Arlington, Massachusetts passed away October, 2019. Sister Judith Marie was able to travel to Massachusetts for Sister Olga’s funeral.

We celebrated St. Anne’s Day on July 28 with an Open House and picnic for the members of the parish of Church of the Ascension as well as with our Associates and Friends of the Order. It was well attended and everyone enjoyed themselves. We have also twice hosted the Ascension Book Group for movie showings at the Convent. Sister Barbara Louise remains a faithful member of the Book Group which is moderated for Church of the Ascension by our Associate Ken Kelling. We participated along with Church of the Ascension in the Open House Chicago program on October 19 when we welcomed over 130 persons to visit the Convent. We hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at the Convent for those who have no family to go to as we have done for the past several years. We continue to have our once a month Bible Study, Prayer Meeting, and dinner on the first Monday of the month.

We will continue to hold you all in our daily prayers. Together we can make a difference with God’s grace and mercy. We are grateful for your love, prayers, and support throughout all of these years. We extend our appreciation and thankfulness to our Parish Church, its present Rector Father Raymond, its Assisting Priests, and its members past and present. We would also like to extend our great appreciation to our Visitor Bishop Jeffrey Lee, our Warden, Father Heschle, as well as our Associates, Friends, Board Members, and Benefactors.

May the prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, St. Anne her Mother, the Apostles, the Martyrs, and all of the Saints, both men and women, who did God’s will in ages past, be a stronghold and refuge to you all.

Peace and Joy ++ Sisters of Saint Anne

“It is time to realize that it is not what happens to me in life that counts, it is what I do with what happens to me that is the measure of my happiness.”
– Joan Chittister OSB –