Franciscan Sisters to be honored at Founders’ dinner

STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan University of Steubenville will honor the Franciscan Sisters Third Order Regular of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother, with its 2013 Founders’ Award.

The annual Founders Association dinner is set for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Tony and Nina Gentile Gallery in the J.C. Williams Center.

Founded 25 years ago by a handful of women in a Franciscan University residence hall, the T.O.R. sisters celebrated their 25th anniversary this year.

“They’ve been so key in helping the ministry at Franciscan University,” said the Rev. Nathan Malavolti, T.O.R., vice president of Community Relations at the university. “They demonstrate a humble willingness to serve with joy. Everything is rooted in their life of prayer. To me, that reflects St. Francis, who was a humble proclaimer of the Gospel as he balanced his life with contemplation and service to others.”

The order was founded in 1988 to renew the contemplative dimension of the Franciscan penitential form of life. The T.O.R. sisters now have 37 members, including three novices, three postulants, and five candidates. They are based in the Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery in Toronto. Following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, they embrace the charisms of penance, crucified love, mercy, poverty, and contemplation.

The T.O.R. sisters have two mission houses affiliated with Franciscan University, the Santa Chiara Mission House, located on the main campus, and the Greccio Mission House, located at the University’s study abroad site in Gaming, Austria.

Through these mission houses, the sisters offer spiritual direction, Bible study, and residence hall advising to the students. They also coordinate Student Evangelization Networking Teams and run formation and retreat programs. Some sisters accompany students on spring break mission trips to places including Ecuador, Honduras, Chicago, and New York.

The sisters operate the Heart of Mary Mission House in Steubenville where they serve the poor.

They also run the Samaritan House Thrift Store, a clothing store and emergency food center, where they offer weekly praise and worship and Scripture study. Through LAMP Ministry, the sisters host a soup kitchen that serves over 100 people twice a month.

The Franciscan sisters also lead parish missions and retreats, speak at religious conferences, and offer vocation programs for children and youth.

Mother Katherine Caldwell, T.O.R., will accept the award on behalf of all the religious sisters.

During the dinner, the Rose M. DeFede Women’s Guild Scholarship will be given to Cheryl Myers, Buckeye Trail High School graduate; Rachael Oiler, Brooke High School graduate; Tiffany Ribar, Buckeye Local High School graduate; Natia Smith, Steubenville High School graduate; Mycaela Stewart Edison High School graduate; Jana Macheca, East Liverpool High School graduate; and Jamie Beauregard, homeschooled high school graduate.

The University Founders’ Scholarship will be awarded to Robert Callahan, Steubenville High School graduate; Katherine Ward, Catholic Central High School graduate; and Lacey Bennett, Weir High School graduate.

Dinner tickets cost $50 each and are available by calling Franciscan University’s Community Relations Office at 740-283-6406 by Friday.

The Founders’ Association Dinner was established in 1949 by the Rev. Daniel Egan, T.O.R., first president of the College of Steubenville, to draw the college and civic communities together.

The Founders’ Award was established in 1978 to honor men, women, and organizations for their contributions to Franciscan University of Steubenville and the local community.