Producing good fruit: 101 religious celebrate combined 6,000 years for God

Fr. Albert Sandor, OFM Cap., smiles during a luncheon for religious jubilarians Sept. 10 at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. Fr. Sandor, who is celebrating 65 years of consecrated life, entered the Capuchins in 1956, where his first assignment was to care for an ailing 86-year-old Fr. Solanus Casey. (Photos by Michael Stechschulte | Detroit Catholic)

2022 consecrated life jubilarians give God thanks for decades of service producing 'good fruit' through lives of mercy

DETROIT — Giving thanks for 101 men and women celebrating milestone anniversaries of their vows to religious life, totaling a combined 6,000 years of service to God and neighbor, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron celebrated a special Mass on Sept. 10 at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

The archbishop celebrated an intimate Mass with several of the jubilarians and their religious brothers and sisters in the seminary’s chapel. This year, 25 communities represented in the Archdiocese of Detroit have members celebrating jubilees of 25, 50, 60, 65, 70, 75 or 80 years of service.

The archbishop noted how rare it is to have representatives of so many communities together for a single celebration.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron preaches during a Mass to celebrate religious jubilarians Sept. 10 at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. The archbishop likened consecrated life to a tree that "produces good fruit," echoing Jesus' words in the Gospel.
Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron preaches during a Mass to celebrate religious jubilarians Sept. 10 at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. The archbishop likened consecrated life to a tree that "produces good fruit," echoing Jesus' words in the Gospel.

“(This Mass) is about solidarity among all you in consecrated life,” Archbishop Vigneron said during his homily. “We wouldn’t always be together naturally for these kinds of celebrations. Religious Sisters of Mercy, friars — to have everyone together is truly a blessing. But it’s also an occasion for me as the principal pastor of the local Church to acknowledge how we are blessed by the way you sisters and brothers live your charisms by the ministries you perform. And so, in making that acknowledgement, I join you in giving thanks to God for your jubilee.”

Archbishop Vigneron commented on the day’s Gospel from St. Luke, during which Jesus tells his disciples that “every tree is known by its fruit.”

“Today, in this archdiocese, we give God thanks for the good fruit that has been produced by your consecrated life and the ministry that has followed,” the archbishop said. “The Gospel reminds us to think about the tree. What is the tree? You are the tree from which this good fruit has been produced.”

If the lives of those in consecrated life are the “tree,” the root of such trees is the grace of God himself, given in the Eucharist during each Mass, the archbishop continued.

Felician Sisters recite a prayer for increased vocations during a Mass for religious jubilarians Sept. 10 at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
Felician Sisters recite a prayer for increased vocations during a Mass for religious jubilarians Sept. 10 at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

“Where does the strength come from for the fruit that you produce? It is the grace of the holy Eucharist, in which you continue to be strengthened and nourished in your abandonment to the will and plan of God the Father,” Archbishop Vigneron said.

“That’s where the good fruit comes from; that’s how a good tree lives," he added. "We give thanks for you in Christ, and Christ in you. He is, in his cross and rising, the source of the power that has moved you to be faithful to your vows and your aspirations.”

After Mass, the jubilarians gathered in the seminary’s parlor for a luncheon and fellowship, where Sr. Mary Ann Wyllie, CSJ, and others reflected upon the graces of their vocations.

Sr. Wyllie, who is celebrating 60 years with the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth, said her vocation was inspired as a young student at St. Veronica School in Eastpointe and Regina High School in Harper Woods, taught by the sisters whom she would eventually join as an adult.

“It was the sisters I met in grade school,” Sr. Wyllie told Detroit Catholic. “They seemed so happy and so smart and so nice to the kids, and I thought, ‘I want to do that.’”

Sr. Mary Ann Wyllie, CSJ, smiles during a luncheon for religious jubilarians Sept. 10. Sr. Wyllie said the example of the sisters who taught her in grade school inspired her decision to follow in their footsteps with the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth.
Sr. Mary Ann Wyllie, CSJ, smiles during a luncheon for religious jubilarians Sept. 10. Sr. Wyllie said the example of the sisters who taught her in grade school inspired her decision to follow in their footsteps with the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth.

Sr. Wyllie said she’s grateful for the opportunities to give back to others as a teacher herself, serving over the years at St. Edmund, St. James, St. Dennis and Bishop Gallagher High School, among others.

Another jubilarian, Fr. Albert Sandor, OFM Cap., admitted that when his vocation began 65 years ago, the Capuchins weren’t his first choice, having discerned a vocation with the Trappists and Camaldolese monastic orders.

But looking back, Fr. Sandor has no doubts God placed him where he was supposed to be. As a 17-year-old graduate of St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt. Calvary, Wis., in 1956, Fr. Sandor’s first Capuchin assignment was one he’ll never forget.

“I joined the Capuchins in 1956, and Fr. Solanus Casey was still living,” Fr. Sandor told Detroit Catholic. “I was appointed to take care of Fr. Solanus for almost a whole year.”

At the time, Blessed Solanus was 86 years old and in failing health, and Fr. Sandor — then studying for the priesthood himself — would help the saintly friar vest for Mass. Blessed Solanus died the next year, but Fr. Sandor remembers him like it was yesterday.

An icon and relic of Blessed Solanus Casey are pictured inside Sacred Heart Major Seminary's chapel. Fr. Albert Sandor, OFM Cap., a 65-year Capuchin jubilarian, recalled living with Blessed Solanus, whom Fr. Sandor said was "down to earth, like Jesus was."
An icon and relic of Blessed Solanus Casey are pictured inside Sacred Heart Major Seminary's chapel. Fr. Albert Sandor, OFM Cap., a 65-year Capuchin jubilarian, recalled living with Blessed Solanus, whom Fr. Sandor said was "down to earth, like Jesus was."

“Fr. Solanus was very down to earth, like Jesus was. He kept his feet on the ground. He let his feet be dirty, his hands be dirty. He was more human,” Fr. Sandor said. “When you become more holy, you become more human. He was very human, reaching out to people, caring for people no matter what.”

During that year, Fr. Sandor recalled, he had developed a stutter and was worried his superiors wouldn’t let him be ordained because of it.

“I only asked him once, but I mentioned that to him,” Fr. Sandor said. “He didn’t say anything except those two words, ‘Don’t worry,’ and he waved his hand. And slowly, my stutter went away. It wasn’t immediate, but over the years it went away. And when I was ordained in 1982, preaching became my strong point.”

2022 Religious Jubilarians

Adrian Dominican Sisters

  • Sr. JoAnn Fleischaker, OP (75 years)
  • Sr. Shirley Mary Heymes, OP (75 years)
  • Sr. Margaret Lane, OP* (75 years)
  • Sr. Noreen Agnes O'Connell, OP (75 years)
  • Sr. Janet Persyk, OP (75 years)
  • Sr. Norma Dell, OP (70 years)
  • Sr. Jean Horger, OP (70 years)
  • Sr. Frances Mary Kernasovich, OP (70 years)
  • Sr. Arlene Kosmatka, OP (70 years)
  • Sr. Janet Kubiak, OP (70 years)
  • Sr. Barbara Cervenka, OP (65 years)
  • Sr. Bernitha Glombowski, OP (65 years)
  • Sr. Janet Traut, OP (65 years)
  • Sr. Linda Nora Bevilacqua, OP (60 years)
  • Sr. Lenore Boivin, OP (60 years)
  • Sr. Kathleen McGrail, OP (60 years)
  • Sr. Bonnie Motto, OP (60 years)
  • Sr. Janet Schaeffler, OP (60 years)
  • Sr. Suzanne Schreiber, OP (60 years)
  • Sr. Mary Ellen Leciejewski, OP (50 years)

Benedictines

  • Fr. Michael Green, OSB (60 years)
  • Fr. Gregory-David Jones, OSB (25 years)

Bernardine Franciscan Sisters

  • Sr. Marie Cacciatore, OSF (60 years)
  • Sr. Gemma Legel, OSF (60 years)
  • Sr. Karen Anne Wieleba, OSF (50 years)

Capuchin Franciscans

  • Fr. Daniel Crosby, OFM Cap. (65 years)
  • Fr. Albert Sandor, OFM Cap. (65 years)

Congregation of Christian Brothers

  • Bro. James McDonald, CFC (60 years)

Congregation of Mariannhill Missionaries

  • Fr. Raymond Lucasinsky, CMM (60 years)
  • Fr. Kevin O'Doherty, CMM (60 years)
  • Fr. Timothy Mock, CMM (60 years)

Congregation of St. Basil

  • Fr. Joseph Moffatt, CSB (70 years)
  • Fr. Mauel Chircop, CSB (50 years)
  • Fr. Patrick Fulton, CSB (25 years)

Congregation of St. Joseph of Nazareth

  • Sr. Mary Ann Ankoviak, CSJ (65 years)
  • Sr. Valerie Binder, CSJ (65 years)
  • Sr. Cathey DeSantis, CSJ (60 years)
  • Sr. Patricia Hergenroether, CSJ (60 years)
  • Sr. Mary Ann Wyllie, CSJ (60 years)

Conventual Franciscans

  • Fr. Patrick Stoffer, OFM Conv. (25 years)

Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy

  • Sr. Norah Sonia Duru, DMMM (25 years)

Felician Sisters

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Albanian)

  • Sr. Vitore Rushaj, FIC (25 years)

Home Visitors of Mary

  • Sr. Barbara Dakoske, HVM (65 years)
  • Sr. Elizabeth Harris, HVM (65 years)
  • Sr. Mary Jane Kleindorfer, HVM (60 years)

Miles Christi

  • Fr. Patrick Wainwright, MC (25 years)

Missionaries of Charity

  • Sr. Brunetta Beck, MC (25 years)

Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME)

  • Fr. Dino Vanin, PIME (50 years)

Religious Sisters of Mercy

  • Sr. Mary Rachelle Harper, RSM (70 years)
  • Sr. Elaine Sova, RSM (60 years)
  • Sr. Charlotte Young, RSM (60 years)

Regnum Christi

  • Ms. Regina Doyle (Regnum Christi) (25 years)
  • Ms. Lucy Honner (Regnum Christi) (25 years)

Servants of Jesus

  • Sr. Christine Mihelcic, SJ (70 years)

Sisters of Divine Providence

  • Sr. Ruth Ann McDermott, CDP (60 years)
  • Sr. Patricia Eeckhout, CDP (50 years)

Sisters of the Good Shepherd

  • Sr. Janice Rushman, RGS (60 years)

Sisters of St. Francis (Sylvania, Ohio)

  • Sr. Margaret Zacharias, OSF (60 years)

Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

  • Sr. Annette Boyle, IHM (80 years)
  • Sr. M. Lurana Sankovic, IHM (80 years)
  • Sr. Beth Wood, IHM (75 years)
  • Sr. Mary Ann Ford, IHM* (70 years)
  • Sr. Margaret Gaffney, IHM (70 years)
  • Sr. Janet Lemon, IHM (70 years)
  • Sr. Mary Ann Markel, IHM (70 years)
  • Sr. Joan Monsour, IHM (70 years)
  • Sr. Roberta Richmond, IHM (70 years)
  • Sr. Celeste Schoppy, IHM (70 years)
  • Sr. Noreen Tenbusch, IHM (70 years)
  • Sr. Nancy Ayotte, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Marie-Esther Haflett, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Helen Ingles, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Carol Kelly, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Mary McCann, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Patricia Rourke, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Janet Ryan, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Rose Mary Sam, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Patricia Solesz, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Annette St-Amour, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Monica Stuhlreyer, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Margaret Mary VanVelzen, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Elizabeth Walters, IHM (60 years)
  • Sr. Esther LeDuc, IHM (50 years)
  • Sr. Barbara Northrup, IHM (50 years)

Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines)

  • Bro. Faustino Paez, SAC (50 years)

Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

  • Fr. James Creighton, SJ (75 years)
  • Fr. John Heim, SJ (70 years)
  • Bro. James Small, SJ (70 years)
  • Fr. W. Jared Wicks, SJ (60 years)
  • Fr. Francis Daly, SJ (50 years)
  • Fr. Gene Donatelli, SJ (50 years)
  • Fr. John Ferone, SJ (50 years)
  • Fr. Bernard Owens, SJ (50 years)
  • Bro. Richard Hittle, SJ (25 years)
  • Fr. William Murphy, SJ (25 years)

*Deceased



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