Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate “Profess for Life”-by Sr.Kathleen

In January 2012, I shared with you that part of our New Year’s resolution was to include a Sister Servants “Called by Name” vocation story in each edition of THE SOWER.  The purpose was to follow the example of the disciples in “saturating Jerusalem with the message of Jesus Christ.”  The stories were to show that sisters are real people with strengths and weaknesses, who try to respond to God’s call as Women Religious.   The intention was to confirm that a commitment to Jesus as a religious is still very relevant, a blessing, and a very much needed vocation in our society.  The affirming letters and comments from our readers to the individual sisters and to me were humbling, encouraging and hopefully a sign that parents, grandparents, friends and family will encourage women and men to enter religious life and the priesthood.
As Provincial Superior, I will share my vocation story in “wrapping up” this segment.   I was born in Whiting (Hammond) Indiana to Mary and Basil Hutsko, the youngest of four children.  My childhood upbringing centered on Church and family with a solid family unit – never experiencing a baby-sitter.  
My parents’ lives demonstrated to their children the importance of respect, hard work and service to others.  The Church was just a natural part of the fiber of our lives.  All of us attended St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic School, weekly Sunday Divine Liturgy, evening services, the annual pilgrimages to Uniontown, PA, and helping at all church and school functions.  I still remember the importance of confession as part of our family traditions.  Each time we went to confession, we had to ask each member of our family to forgive us for any hurt we had caused them.  This was not always easy, but it did give me a strong foundation of compassion and I learned not to hold grudges.  
I grew up at a time when the culture supported one’s faith and it was a blessing for parents to have a child become a priest or enter religious life.  My parents set a good religious foundation, and when my twin brothers entered the seminary to study for the priesthood, it just seemed natural.  
My journey was a little delayed.   I was familiar with the Sisters of St. Basil in Uniontown, PA as they were the ones who taught at our parochial school and I went every year to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help pilgrimage.  Although I admired the Sisters and liked being around them, I didn’t feel any pressure to follow in my brothers’ footsteps.  I worked in Chicago for a few years, but could not resist the feeling that I was being called to do something else with my life. I entered the Order of the Sisters of St. Basil in Uniontown, PA when I was 20 years old.   Unfortunately, after 10 months, due to my own struggles and fears, I returned home and went back to work in Chicago.   Two years later, I began to contemplate the call of religious life again.  However, this time it would be a risk as “people” and even my family would see it as an embarrassment if I failed again.
The internal struggles and growth that I experienced while I was a candidate with the Sisters of St. Basil enabled me to have the courage to be open to God’s call, and not be afraid to take a second chance at religious life.  I will always be grateful to the sisters for their role in my journey.
Eventually, at the age of 24, through the promptings of the late Rev. Joseph Bodnar, I entered the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in Sloatsburg, NY.  Although I was not Ukrainian, I was warmly accepted and felt at home with living out the Gospel values in the charism of the Sisters Servants.  
I graduated from Seton Hall University and most of my religious life has been in education as a teacher and principal.  The hundreds of students and parishioners, who have entered and touched my life, are a treasure which I will always cherish.  I was elected Provincial Superior in 2011 for a five-year term.  This ministry is a gift and a challenge for which I pray the grace to fulfill according to God’s plan.
It has not always been easy, but it has been life-giving.  It has been a joy to share the charism of Blessed Josaphata with women who are committed not only with their hearts but with their whole beings. Today, the Sisters Servants are still vital players in creating a vibrant church.  Our work is not done and as they say, the best is yet to come.  It is with a sincere heart that I zealously invite other women to pray for the courage to discern if God is calling you to be a Sister Servant of Mary Immaculate.

Sr. Charlotte Pipping, SSMI – “An Awesome Experience”

In August 1957 I, Sr. Charlotte Pipping, SSMI, entered the Eastern Catholic community of Ukrainian Catholic Sisters, known as the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, whose patron is Mary, the Mother of God. This Congregation had its main headquarters located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the time I was inquiring about whether I should embrace the religious life. Upon first inquiry, I was given a list of 6 Sisters’ convents that I could visit. My first choice to visit was located in Youngstown, OH. This convent was named Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I wanted to go there, because I had a great devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It was when I set a time to visit their home; I discovered the Sisters were known as the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. 
I had intended to visit for only two days, but I enjoyed my visit so much that I stayed a couple days longer. The Sisters Servants welcomed me so warm-heartedly, and I truly felt at home with them. When I returned home to Cambridge, OH, I quickly inquired further about what I needed to do from Sr. Bernadette, SSMI, who was then the Provincial Superior for both the USA and Canada. Upon receiving my instructions, I quickly prepared for my entrance into the Sisters Servants Novitiate, located in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. That happy day came on 
August 13th, 1957. 
There were many new experiences, as I tried out this new type of living.  Number one, of course, was to learn how to read and speak the Ukrainian language. Reading it was rather easy, but learning to speak was most difficult for me. What helped me the most, however, was singing the many beautiful songs hat honored the Mother of God and Jesus, and, especially singing the Divine Liturgy. 
I was the first American Sister to leave the Novitiate, and to return to the newly-erected American Province named in honor of the Immaculate Conception. At that time the American headquarters were situated in Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia, PA. 
My earliest childhood memories recall spending my formative years on several different sizes of farms in the rural areas surrounding Akron, OH. By age nine, my family decided to relocate to a farm in Guernsey County, located in southeastern Ohio. This particular geographical area was predominately Protestant. And most of my neighbors and school classmates were quite unfriendly towards Catholics. This experience helped me to value and to hunger for the Catholic faith. I grew in a steadfast desire and love for the Catholic faith, and I daily prayed to Our Lady of Perpetual Help to help me achieve the goal of being baptized. I earnestly turned to Mary to help me in my desire, and I entrusted all my concerns into her hands until I received this great grace from the Lord.
My maternal grandparents were of the Byzantine Slovak Ruthenian Catholic tradition. They arrived in America between 1890, and the early 1900’s, from the village of Kosice in northeastern territory of Czechoslovakia, known as Zimplinsky. My grandfather found employment in the coal mines located in Guernsey County, Ohio. They settled in the area of Pleasant City and raised a large family of 12 children. My grandfather was a Slovak Roman Catholic, but my grandmother was a Slovak Greek Catholic. It was due to her dedication and love for the Byzantine Catholic faith that she nurtured all her children in this faith tradition, and it was her love of prayer that impressed and attracted me to her deep faith. 
The faith of my paternal grandparents was of the Protestant German tradition. I never had the opportunity or privilege of meeting them because they lived in eastern Massachusetts, and worked in the textile mills of that area. My father, Paul, left home at the age of 14, shortly after the death of his mother, and his father’s remarriage.  Although, he had been baptized and nurtured in the Episcopalian faith, he did not continue to practice his family’s faith after he left home. In addition, because his family was from Germany and he experienced a lot of prejudice during his teenage years, my father forbade us to speak any foreign language or nurture any foreign customs in our family. He also opposed our embracing any Catholic faith traditions until we graduated from high school. 
Since we were farmers, from my earliest years, my brother and I were expected to help with the farm work. Our last farm home was located quite far from any Catholic churches. Therefore, it wasn’t until I was 16 years of age that I was able to first experience the beauty of our Byzantine Catholic Liturgical Services and customs. But when I did, it filled me with great joy, so much so, that I completely fell in love with the music and the words. 
During my very first experience of the Divine Liturgy, I was invited by my godmother, to join my relatives in the choir loft and sing the Divine Liturgy responses with them. I accepted because I love to sing. I still remember that day as if it were yesterday, we sang in English. I truly felt the Lord blessing me as we sang the Divine Liturgy responses that morning! That special experience left me completely awed and astounded by the incredible beauty of the Byzantine Liturgical music, as the powerful way the words spoke to me! That experience left its unforgettable impact upon my memory.
Without a doubt, any and all of the above early childhood experiences have, together, greatly served to guide me into ever deepening of my faith, and to continually deepen my relationship with God, and to ever dedicate my life to serving and praising Him in the vocation as a Sister Servant of Mary Immaculate. With that desire in mind I decided, after my visit to the Sisters Servants in Youngstown, many years ago, to choose the vocation of the Religious Life, and for the past 55 years, God has sustained me and blessed me as a Sister Servant.
Throughout those years, I have worked primarily in elementary parochial education, serving in the capacity as elementary teacher, as catechist, and even as principal. In 1985, my catechetical focus turned to assisting parish catechists in both the Stamford and Philadelphia Eparchies. I have also served as administrator of our St. Joseph’s Adult Care Home in Sloatsburg, NY.
Over the years, on many occasions, I have been asked what makes me most happy in my vocation as a Sister Servant. Most assuredly, it is in the moments when I have had the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of the many souls.  I have enjoyed the great blessing of sharing and teaching the truth of God’s love for them, and to help them gain a deeper awareness of their faith in God.  I have discovered and experienced the great joy and reward that comes to those who unselfishly choose to serve Our Lord, Jesus Christ in their vocation.

“Follow Me” Weekend

We Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate for the second year are hosting a "Follow Me" weekend from May 17-19, 2013 for young women from ages 19-40 at St. Mary’s Villa in Sloatsburg, NY. There is no cost for this weekend and it is for young woman who wants to follow Jesus closer however she is being called. It is an opportunity to develop new friendships, deepen your relationship with God as well as enjoy yourselves with other young women and Sisters Servants. You may download the fyer and registration form here or with your Pastor. You may send your registration via email to Sr. Eliane: 

Come and join us. Give yourself an opportunity to be blessed and feel the presence of God in silence and peaceful moments… 

SSMI Lenten Novena Letter 2013 – English

<div><img src=”/images/M.jpg” border=”0″ width=”207″ height=”122″ align=”left” />March 2013</div><div> </div><div>Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,</div><div> </div><div><span class=”Apple-tab-span” style=”white-space: pre”></span></div><div>This year the story of “Zacchaeus” was left out of the pre-Lenten Gospels in the Liturgical calendar, and I felt a little cheated.  I love Zacchaeus because he didn’t let the fact that he was a man of wealth (no matter how he got it) and had a certain social position or a certain standing among the people, stop him from stepping out of character when he had the impulse to “see Jesus.”  He simply had to see Jesus and open himself to the invitation of grace and repentance.  When he did, he was never the same again.</div><div>  </div><div>The Great Fast (Lent) is a wonderful time for us to experience our “Zacchaeus moment.”  It is a moment we must all earnestly pray for.  Like Zacchaeus we need to “desire” Jesus to be a part of our everyday lives, not just on Sunday or when we are praying for a job or for healing for our loved ones.  Lent gives us the opportunity to let go of our comfortable life by praying more individually and as a church family,  by fasting and by charitable giving, to help us reconnect with Jesus.</div><div> </div><div>As we prepare for the journey of the Great Fast or Lent, we Sisters Servants invite you to add your needs, joys, and sorrows, to our prayer intentions by using the enclosed form.  We also invite you to join us in prayer during the Lenten Novena which is from March 19 – March 27, 2013. May you experience your “Zacchaeus moment” and open yourself to the invitation of grace and repentance during the Great Fast (Lent.)</div><div>Sincerely in Christ,</div><div><br /></div><div>Sr. Kathleen Hutsko, SSMI                             </div><div>Provincial Superior</div><div><br /></div>

SSMI Lenten Novena Letter 2013

Березень 2013
Дорогі у Христі брати і сестри у Христі!
Цього року у літургічному циклі Євангелій, що приготовляють нас до Великого Посту, опущено притчу про Закхея, і я почуваюся обділеною. Я люблю Закхея, адже він не дозволив, щоби матеріяльні статки (не суттєво, яким чином здобуті), суспільний стан та позиція серед людей позбавили його можливости вийти за межі себе, коли він відчув нагальну потребу «побачити Ісуса». Закхей в дійсності мусив побачити Ісуса і відкритись на запрошення до благодати та навернення. Вчинивши це, він уже ніколи не був тією самою людиною.
Великий Піст є чудовою нагодою для кожного із нас пережити «момент Закхея», момент, про який нам слід щиро молитися. Подібно до Закхея, ми повинні прагнути, щоб Ісус Христос став невід’ємною частиною нашого щоденного життя, а не лише у неділю чи коли молимося про працю або про оздоровлення наших близьких. Піст дає нам можливість відійти від нашого комфортного життя завдяки поглибленій особистій та спільній молитві, постові та добрим ділам, які допоможуть нам поєднатися з Христом.
Приготовляючись до Великопосної мандрівки, ми, Сестри Служебниці, запрошуємо Вас доповнити наші молитви Вашими потребами, радостями та болями, заповнивши залучений формуляр. Принагідно запрошуємо Вас злучитися із нам у Великопосній Дев’ятниці, яка триватиме 19-27 березня 2013 року. Бажаємо Вам пережити «момент Закхея» і відкритися на запрошення до благодати і покаяння під час Великого Посту.
У Христі Ісусі
С. Катерина Гутцко, СНДМ
Провінційна Настоятелька

Journeying with Josaphata Newsletter

<p align=”center”><img src=”/images/newsletter%20for%20ssmi%20p1.jpg” border=”0″ width=”962″ height=”1141″ style=”width: 762px; height: 1023px” /></p><p align=”center”>&nbsp;</p><p align=”center”><img src=”/images/newsletter%20for%20ssmi%20p2.jpg” border=”0″ /></p><p align=”center”>&nbsp;</p><p align=”center”><img src=”/images/newsletter%20for%20ssmi%20p3.jpg” border=”0″ /></p><p align=”center”>&nbsp;</p><p align=”center”><img src=”/images/newsletter%20for%20ssmi%20p4.jpg” border=”0″ /></p>

Sr. Mary Ann Botsko, SSMI – The Mystery of a Vocation from God

<img src=”/images/Sr.%20Mary%20Ann%20Botsko1.JPG” border=”0″ width=”412″ height=”406″ align=”right” style=”width: 246px; height: 190px” />The first time that I thought of being a Sister was when I had made my First Holy Communion on April 19, 1964. The seed was planted by the good example of my parents, John and Mary Botsko, but even more so by my grandmother, Pauline Wolsnovich. My grandmother would pray the rosary every day, and her intention was for vocations. Little did my grandmother know that my twin brother Jerome George Botsko would be entering the Priesthood, and I, Mary Ann, would enter religious life. Yes, my parents, family, relatives, and friends were supportive of my decision of becoming a Sister. <p>I am the youngest in the family. Father Jerome George and I, Sister Mary Ann, were 13 minutes apart. I also have an older brother John Michael, and Thomas who passed away on June 12, 2004. All of us went to public schools through elementary, and high school. On Saturday mornings, I would have to attend class in our parish, St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Donora, PA, and this took place in the church basement. When I was in the sixth grade, we were asked to write an essay describing &quot;What career we would choose in life?&quot; At that time I felt the tiny whisper of God calling me to be a Sister. I remember sitting down and discussing with my parents that I wanted to join a community that honored the Blessed Mother. <img src=”/images/DSC_0312.JPG” border=”0″ width=”331″ height=”327″ align=”left” style=”width: 265px; height: 175px” /></p><p>I visited the Sisters Servants of May Immaculate for almost two weeks and remember talking to the Provincial Superior who at that was Sister Stephanie Sema, that I would like to keep in contact with the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. After much discernment I enter the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate on May 14, 1981. </p><p>God has blessed me in many ways, during the various ministries I had serving in parishes in Passaic, NJ, Spring Valley, NY, Auburn, NY, at St. Josaphat’s Seminary in Washington, DC. <img src=”/images/DSC_0418.JPG” border=”0″ width=”306″ height=”151″ align=”right” style=”width: 220px; height: 151px” />I enjoyed serving the retreatants at St. Mary’s Villa Spiritual and Educational Center, and serving the elderly residents at St. Joseph’s Adult Care Home, where they taught me patience, and I learned from their words of wisdom.</p><p>It has truly been a life filled with many experiences that I could never have imagined. Why religious life – it is a mystery. Why God called bother my twin brother and me, – this, too, is a mystery, but, I cannot imagine another kind of life and will always be grateful for my grandmother’s prayers, my parents’ good example and support and the whisper that I heard and recognized as a child.</p>

Sister Thomas (Dorothea) Hrynewich, S.S.M.I. – Joy, Peace & Love Found in Serving

The call to follow Our Lord, Jesus Christ is as complicated as it is simple. I came from <img src=”/images/Sr.%20Thomas%20Dorothea%20Hrynewich3.JPG” border=”0″ width=”334″ height=”500″ align=”right” style=”width: 220px; height: 314px” /><br />a good Catholic family. I am the oldest of four children born, June 2, 1924, to Tessie and Michael Hrynewich. My grandparents (Theodore and Rosalie Kulczycki) and parents were very active in the parish and attended church services regularly, which meant that we children did also. We attended catechism lessons given by the parish priest, Reverend Kopachuk. When the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate arrived in our parish in 1940, their enormous impact on the parish and on my family was plainly seen.<br /><br />I was a senior in Ambridge High when I had this thought of being close to God and serving others. The feeling of wanting to serve the church by teaching our Ukrainian people, of being close to Jesus and spend more time in prayer really bothered me. In order to get rid of this thought, (because I was having grand time with the &quot;teenage gang&quot; I was hanging our with), I prayed a number of novenas to rid myself of this thought. However, to no avail, the more I prayed against the thought, the stronger it got. Then, during a Great Fast mission given by Father Markiw, OSBM, I finally gave in and decided to belong to our Lord. Since my sister Irene and I were always at the convent helping the sisters, they thought we were interested in joining. One day Sister Lawrence said she was writing to the Provincial Superior in Canada and wondered if she could ask the Provincial Superior to accept us to the novitiate. I quickly answered, &quot;Sure.&quot; My sister said, &quot;No,&quot; and scolded me for not asking my mother first. At first, mother said I could not go. It was too far away, and she did not think I knew what I wanted. After much discussion and my constant crying at home, my mother finally gave in. I found out that the day before my announcing I was going to the convent, my dad made the remark that &quot;God gave them such good children, if He wanted one he would give one of them to Him.&quot;<br /><br /><img src=”/images/DSC_0554.JPG” border=”0″ width=”495″ height=”365″ align=”left” style=”width: 355px; height: 242px” />I entered the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate on June 21, 1942. After the blessing of the buildings and property in Sloatsburg, New York, I traveled 3,000 miles to Mundare, Alberta, Canada, with Sister Athanasia (one of the first seven girls to enter the Community). After two and a half years in the novitiate, I pronounced my first vows and was missioner to Detroit, Michigan. I then taught at St. Mary’s Villa Academy in Sloatsburg, NY and St. Mary’s Academy in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. My studies took me to University of Detroit; Fordham University in New York; St. Paul’s University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada; Regina Mundi in Rome, Italy and Catholic University of America in Washington. I spent six years in Rome, Italy, studying and in the General Curia. During the days of the &quot;Iron Curtain,&quot; I was privileged to accompany our Superior General to Germany, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia to visit our Sisters there. (My Mother used to laugh and say that I joined to see the world!) <p>I returned to the United States as Provincial Superior, serving a five-year term. I was the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Archeparchy of Philadelphia for twenty-five years. My mission today has me in Minersville, PA, at St. Nicholas School as the Principal.</p><p>All this was great but, the joy, peace, and love that are found in the complete surrender to God and serving others as Our Lord Jesus did is the most satisfying. </p><p>&nbsp;</p>