GRIFFITH | “All as God wishes. He leads. I follow.”
Written by Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel more than 100 years ago, those words express the motto and the mission of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, the order she founded in Germany in 1863. On Sunday, the words also served as the focus of a celebration of the order’s 150th Jubilee at St. Mary Parish.
The Most Rev. Dale J. Melczek, bishop of the Diocese of Gary, celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving with nine priests concelebrating along with three ordained deacons that honored the Sisters and their foundress. The sisters in attendance included Sister Jane Marie Klein OSF, chairwoman of the Mishawaka, Ind.-based Franciscan Alliance Board of Trustees, and Sister M. Angela Mellady OSF, provincial superior of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration based in Mishawaka.
Melczek lauded the order for establishing hospitals and schools throughout the Diocese of Gary during the past 115 years.
“Hundreds of thousands of people in our diocese have benefited from the prayers, witness and ministry of the Mishawaka Franciscans,” Melczek said in his homily.
“They have shared the spirit and spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi with doctors, nurses, medical technicians, cafeteria workers and other staff, as well as patients and their families in the hospitals in our diocese,” he said.
“Likewise, they have shared the love of Jesus with lay teachers, school staff, parents, grandparents, as well as the students they have taught in our schools,” Melczek said. “What a gift God has given this local church.”
Members of the Knights of Columbus Abraham Lincoln Assembly 235 participated in the Mass at the church, which was decorated with the fruits of harvest and fall flowers in reds, oranges and yellows.
A reception followed the Mass at St. Mary-Hildebrant Hall for the 32 members of the Order of St. Francis, who came from Mishawaka, Fort Wayne and Chicago Heights along with more than 100 parishioners, former students and teachers of St. Mary School.
Commemorative books about the order titled “To Adore and To Work” were distributed free to those attending the reception. A DVD presentation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration also screened during the event.
The Rev. Theodore Mens, of St. Mary Parish, told those gathered that the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration have shared “their verve to make Christ the center of our parish.”
Melczek also praised the presence of the order’s novices and postulants who attended the celebration.
“You’ll notice there are so many here today with white veils and without veils. That means there’s a lot more (members of the order) coming down the pipeline” to teach in schools and be involved in health care, he said.
“This is amazing,” Sister Angela said of the event. “We are profoundly grateful to you.”