Niche crop: Founder of Franciscan Earth Literacy Center finding new growth as urban farmer

Balancing her Franciscan beliefs with her love of organic gardening and teaching, Sister Rita Wienken has found a unique niche at Toledo GROWs.

Formerly based in Tiffin at St. Francis, Sister Rita founded the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center in the mid-1990s and served as director until 2011.

Today, as an urban farmer, she is growing food for people in downtown Toledo while she trains the next generation to grow food.

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Toledo Botanical Garden/Toledo GROWS, of Toledo, Ohio 

Sr. Karen was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal

On Sunday, December 18 , 2016 Sr. Karen was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by Walsh University, and asked to give this address to the commencement class.

 

“Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Send these, the homeless, the tempest tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Please imagine for a moment all of our Hispanic brothers and sisters huddled here around me. I say that because this medal really belongs to them. They are the heroes. They are the ones who have walked the long journeys to get away from war-ravaged situations, extreme poverty, or gang activities, searching for a better life. They are the ones who have made the difficult decisions to leave loved ones. They are the ones who stand with courage and faith even in circumstances of prejudice and ridicule—yearning to breathe free. So---this is their medal! I accept it in their honor—to bring attention to them, praising them for sharing their rich culture with us, celebrating those who have attained permanent residency or citizenship, thanking them for teaching us about what it means to have deep faith and confidence in God, no matter what challenges they face.

How can I not quote Pope Francis here? About immigrants, he says: “they only want for their children what we want for ours…… “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, see their faces, listen to their stories.” Juan just received a deportation order. He has a wife and 2 little boys to love and care for. He is faced with a serious decision: hide in the shadows in order to stay here, leave his family behind, or take his children with him and end their educational possibilities.

 

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Canticle of the Sun

Enjoy listening to the “Canticle of the Sun” which was one of the songs sung at the Stigmata of St. Francis program held at St. Francis Home in September.

On the streets of Toledo or Hebron, Sister Paulette Schroeder focuses on caring for her brothers and sisters

By Nicole Walby

Staff Writer

nwalby@advertiser-tribune.com

 

Being one of 13 children living on a farm, a local activist learned the importance of discipline, hard work and standing up for those who don’t have a voice. Sister Paulette Schroeder of the Sisters of St. Francis grew up near Cleveland on a farm in Putnam County.

Schroeder worked hard as a child on the farm in the fields. There, she lived in an enclosed society not really exposed to those of diverse backgrounds. “As a child, the farthest I ever got was to Columbus to visit my brother in the seminary,” Schroeder said.

“We were not rich, with 13 children,” Schroeder said. “My father would make just enough to keep us going. We were not poor, but we didn’t buy anything we didn’t need.” Schroeder spent a lot of time out in the fields and garden.

“I learned discipline and my family was strict, but we would get the job done,” she said.

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Congratulations to Our Jubilarians Celebrating 50 Years

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Sister Linda Scheckelhoff, Sister Virginia Welsh, Sister Diane Hay and Sister Margaret Ann Seasly

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