Sisters of Charity mark 80 years in Arizona

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Sr. Mary Elizabeth Lawrence, Sr. Marian Grace, __, ___, Sr. Marie Theresa Rishel, ___ and ____ (courtesy photo)

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Lawrence, Sr. Marian Grace Brandt, Sr. Maria Consuelo Pacheco, Sr. Susan Jenny, provincial councilor, Sr. Marie Theresa Rishel, Sr. Claudia Rushlow and Sr. Jeanne Bartholomeaux pose during a gathering for men and women religious in Tucson. (courtesy photo)

Today is the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. She founded the Sisters of Charity in the U.S. and Arizona Catholics have been served by the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill since 1933. Sr. Barbara Einloth traces the order’s ministry in the Grand Canyon State.

It’s been 80 years since the first Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill brought their educational, parish and outreach ministries from Greensburg, Pennsylvania to Arizona. They continue their active engagement in Tucson and Phoenix today.

The sisters’ commitment to the Church of the Southwest has been multifaceted. It expressed itself in education (kindergarten through high school), catechetics, work with Native American tribes and Hispanic communities, at the diocesan level, in pastoral ministry, outreach, music and liturgy, hospital chaplaincy, art, Hispanic deacon formation, care for the earth, counseling and social work. They have consistently shared the Gospel in myriad ways, impelled by the love of Christ.

Their work in Tucson took them to eight parishes and elementary schools plus Salpointe High School and the St. Nicholas of Myra Child and Family Centers. The Sisters of Charity provided pastoral counseling in Miami and Globe, catechetical services at the School for the Blind and hospital chaplaincy at Holy Cross, Nogales.

In the Phoenix Diocese, Sisters of Charity ministered at:

  • Seton Catholic Preparatory High School — where one still serves as a tutor — and St. Mary-Basha Catholic School in Chandler
  • St. Theresa, St. Catherine, St. Vincent de Paul, Most Holy Trinity, St. Stephen Byzantine, St. Martin de Porres and St. Matthew parishes in Phoenix
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Old Adobe Mission, and St. Daniel the Prophet parishes in Scottsdale
  • Queen of Peace in Mesa
  • Resurrection and St. Margaret in Tempe
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe in Guadalupe
  • St. John Vianney in Sedona
  • St. Henry in Buckeye

At the diocesan level, Sisters served at Kino Institute, the Malta Center and Mount Claret Retreat Center, as Chancellor of the Phoenix Diocese and Superintendent of Schools in Tucson.  And beyond Church-based programs, they lent support to Fr. William Wasson’s orphanage in Mexico, provided GED training through Phoenix Job Corps, offered counseling in Casa Grande, and social work at the Ocotillo cotton workers camp.  Through the years, a wide range of Sisters worked with the Pima, Apache, Tohono O’dham, Maricopa and Yaqui Nations, in various catechetical and educational endeavors.

Currently sisters of Charity direct the Ministry of Care and an Infant Baptism program at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale and tutor at Seton Catholic High School. In Tucson, sisters lend their skills and commitment to Salpointe High School, the Office of Vicar for Religious, women in Bible study, English Skills students at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona Medical Center. Celebrating the long tradition of which they are a part, they continue to serve the Church of Arizona because, in the words of their motto, “The Charity of Christ Urges Us.”

Editor’s Note:

Other Catholic Sun headlines mentioning the Sisters of Charity:

  • Sr. Lindena Grace, 39, shared her vocation story and advice as she prepared for perpetual vows in August 2012.
  • Profile of the ‘irreplaceable’ principal who retired from St. Mary-Basha Catholic School in Chandler in June 2012.
The Catholic Sun, as the official news source for the Diocese of Phoenix, shares in the mission of evangelizing the Catholic faithful, under the direction of the bishop, by providing news, information, education, a forum for discussion and guidance in matters of faith, morals and spiritual life.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Please ‘sisters’! I beg of you. Wear your habits. Dress like nuns. Let the world know who you are! Where are the young girls? Nobody in the picture looks like they are under the age of 70! I know Catholic Sisters have done wonderful things in America, and I was molded by The Sisters of Notre Dame. Your fashion sense is not good. The cloths look like you are all retired public school PE teachers. Does the bishop ever bring this up? God help us all. Peace……………………………..JO

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