Meet Our Sisters
The SSC Administrative Team
The current SSC Leadership Team is shown here at their July, 2013 installation liturgy. From left: Sr. Margaret Zalot, Councilor/General Secretary; Sr. M. Immacula Wendt, Assistant General Superior/General Treasurer; Sister Regina Marie Dubickas, General Superior, and Sr. Theresa Dabulis, Councilor for On-Going Formation and Spirituality.
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
~ Reflections Upon Their Installation
Sister Regina Marie Dubickas was a teacher and a Vocation and Formation Director before receiving a doctorate in Psychology in 1995 and beginning her work in a hospital setting and later in private practice. She always found it a privilege to come to know people at a deeper level, help them discover their inner richness and strength, and accompany them during some of the more difficult parts of their life journey. The words of Mother Maria that are a particular inspiration to her are “God is here.” Sister Regina Marie enjoys reading and poetry, pinochle and Sudoku. “Our Chapter theme, ‘Behold, I am doing something new! Do you not perceive it?’ (Is 43,19) continues to resonate in my heart as we embrace the mystery of God’s call and all that is part of the unfolding of our community’s charism and mission. ‘Led by God’s Spirit and companioned by one another, we embrace our time as holy, our leadership as gift, and our challenges as blessing.’ (LCWR).”
Sister Immacula Wendt ministered for many years as a teacher and principal in elementary schools and as General Treasurer for the Congregation. As a loyal White Sox fan, Sister Immacula follows their games throughout the season. She also enjoys music and old movies.
“Behold, I am doing something new!” These words of the Prophet Isaiah perfectly express the core of my life as a Sister of St. Casimir. Throughout all the years, I have been blessed with the ‘new’ that the Lord has unfolded before me. A person cannot help but be in awe of the working of the Spirit – marvel at God’s love and goodness that go beyond one’s dreams or imagination. The ‘new’ blessed my life during 11 years in New Mexico, my ‘Land of Enchantment’ as teacher of so many little ones, preparing hundreds each year for their First Holy Communion, especially the children in the nearby mission parishes and airbases. The ‘new’ continued during my years as principal/teacher in Darien before returning to the Motherhouse to experience the ‘new’ as plant manager, renovator, General Treasurer, and General Superior. The ‘new’ of the past five years has led us down roads that only now we can see ‘have been so in sync with the plan of God’ as we strengthened the Sisterly bonds between the Sisters of St. Casimir and the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton, Pa and formally promulgated this covenant relationship, as we sold our 100 year old Maria High School to Catalyst Maria Charter School where today over 800 children are now receiving an excellent education following in the spirit of Mother Maria and using her words as their motto: “Always more, always better, always with love, as we transferred our Holy Cross Hospital to Sinai Health System, where it remains a vital Catholic Hospital, now scaring for the health needs of over one million people.
And it is the ‘new’ today, that leads me to carry out God’s plan in the life of my Sisters in Community, in the health care mission of Holy Cross/Sinai especially through the Catholic Monitoring Committee and Sinai Board membership, in the education mission of Catalyst Maria and the new Maria Kaupas Catholic Center, our VJM High School, and in the work of the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP). God’s plan is always perfect! We need to let it happen!”
Sister Margaret Zalot has spent most of her years as a Sister of St. Casimir ministering at Maria High School, first as a chemistry/physics teacher and then as Maria’s first President, and she loves to re-connect with Maria alumnae. As a board member of Villa Joseph Marie (Holland, PA), her alma mater, she continues to bring her ministry experience and her love for Villa to the board table as the board makes plans for a strong future for the Villa. She has also served as the Congregation’s Vocation and Formation Director, in Congregation leadership, and is actively involved in the Southwest Organizing Project. She continues to be inspired by Mother Maria Kaupas who wrote “May you give God the gift of an undivided love, a love faithful in all circumstances.” Sister Margaret noted: “As each new day unfolds there is a certain newness that is truly gift on both the personal and community level and that connects perfectly with our theme for the next five years that are captured in the words of Isaiah: ‘Behold, I am doing something new. Can you not perceive it?’” In her spare time, Sister Margaret likes to learn new things, read, write, sketch, and be creative, always finding new ways to share that creativity with others.
After teaching for many years, Sister Theresa Dabulis, began a new ministry as Director of Religious Education in Silver Spring, Maryland. She enjoyed working at the parish particularly with RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.) Later, as a clinical social worker, she advocated for the poor and marginalized at the Department of Social Services in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She continues seeking opportunities advocating for the poor attending weekly prayer sessions at the Detention Center in Broadview, Illinois praying for the families that are being ripped apart by deportation. Sister Theresa loves listening to music and is usually the first on the floor for a polka with others soon joining in. She enjoys taking walks in nature and if she could she would be at the ocean. Upon her 2013 installation Sister Theresa reflects, “What excites me now is that God is doing something new as our eyes and hearts are being open to perceive the newness of God in everything around us. It’s being AWAKENED to the HOLY. I believe we will implement the directives of the 2013 General Chapter with a newness that we could never imagine. Praise God. “
Our 2015 Jubilarians
Sister M. Dolorine Lopez
Diamond Jubilee (60 Years)
Sister M. Dolorine Lopez, a native of Folsom, Texas, served as an educator. In the Chicago Archdiocese, she was a principal at Providence of God and Our Lady of Vilna-St. Paul, and was a teacher at Immaculate Conception (Brighton Park) and St. George (Bridgeport). She also served as a principal at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Clovis, New Mexico. Sister M. Dolorine currently serves in Hispanic ministry as an Emergency Room Receptionist at Holy Cross Hospital.
Anniversaries are for more than measuring years – they are also for remembering graced moments. The past sixty years of my religious life have been filled with overwhelming graced moments. My heart overflows with gratitude to God and God’s people for these moments and for allowing me to continue in fidelity and love to him as a Sister of St. Casimir. How can one fully thank God for his love, faithfulness, and mercy?
My heart rings out with gratitude to my parents and also my family members and friends who continued to support me through my life’s ministries. How difficult it must have been for my Mother to allow me, the oldest, to enter the convent while she remained, caring for the other eight children. Yet her prayerfulness and strength and my family’s love supported me in the plan God had initially chosen for me, which was to leave home in my beloved Southwest and go to Chicago to become a Sister of St. Casimir.
Over the years, I continued to marvel how God had given me the courage and strength to carry out His work within my Congregation to whom I remain eternally grateful. What an incredible journey this has been of blessings, challenges, and relationships during my many years as a teacher and principal in elementary education. Now, too, my years at Holy Cross Hospital, working in the Emergency Room in various capacities, has been enriching. I feel I have touched many lives and, in turn, have been enriched by all who have touched mine. All of this would not have been as joyous and successful without the prayerful support of my religious Sisters and their faithful love. Together we have accomplished so much in God’s name.
Among the many grace-filled memories I cherish is my pilgrimage to the Holy Land on the occasion of my Golden Jubilee. To actually walk where Jesus walked and to visit the holy shrines was an experience of unbelievable joy. The Garden of Olives, the Hill of Crucifixion, and the Tomb of Christ were deeply moving experiences which remain with me to this day. How enriched my prayer life has become for having traveled there.
How blessed that my Jubilee year should happen in the “Year of Consecrated Life,” established by Pope Francis. I cherish within my heart his call to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion, and to embrace the future with hope.
My heart resounds with prayerful gratitude for my Community, my family, my friends, and all whose lives I have touched along this joyous path of living and carrying out the Gospel message.
Sister Bernadette Marie Janus
Diamond Jubilee (60 years)
Sister Bernadette Marie Janus, a native of New York City, New York, worked as an educator in the Chicago Archdiocese as a principal at Our Lady of Vilna-St. Paul and as a teacher at Nativity BVM. Sister Bernadette Marie was a teacher in Massachusetts and Maryland and a principal at St. Bede the Venerable in Holland, Pennsylvania. She also served as SSC Motherhouse Superior. Sister Bernadette Marie is currently the Local Coordinator for Sisters of St. Casimir at Our Lady of Victory Convent in Lemont, Illinois.
My heart is filled with deepest joy and much gratitude for all the graces and blessings received throughout these sixty years.
God put me on this earth to accomplish some things that only I could do. The desire to become a sister came at an early age, and the seed was watered by the exemplary influence of my beloved Grandparents and the Sisters of Saint Casimir.
Some very blessed experiences throughout my lifetime are being inducted into the Wall of Fame at Villa Joseph Marie, my Alma Mater, which is so precious to my heart, in September 2014, and celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Saint Bede the Venerable Parish of Holland, Pennsylvania, in May 2015, where I was the last religious principal serving God’s people for fourteen years.
Since years go by so quickly, my belief is that one should never let a single day slip by without doing some act of kindness, and my most favorite quote and incentive for living each new day fully is that of our Mother Maria: “ALWAYS MORE, ALWAYS BETTER, AND ALWAYS WITH LOVE.”
Sister Rita Marie Kerdock
Diamond Jubilee (60 years)
Sister Rita Marie Kerdock, a native of Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, served as a teacher and principal in the Chicago Archdiocese at Our Lady of Vilna-St. Paul, St. George (Bridgeport), St. Pius X (Stickney), Holy Cross School, and Nativity BVM. Sister Rita Marie also served in education in the Joliet Archdiocese and in Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. She currently tutors at Pope John Paul II School and Catalyst Maria Charter School in Chicago, Illinois.
The year is 2015…the year proclaimed by Pope Francis as “The Year of Consecrated
Life.” This is also the year I celebrated my 60th Jubilee of Religious Profession. I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. My heart is filled with gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy as I reflect on the many graces and blessings God has bestowed upon me!
My desire to become a Sister began at Holy Cross Elementary School in Mt. Carmel, PA, where I first met the Sisters as my teachers. It continued in high school at Villa Joseph Marie in Holland, PA. The love, happiness, and dedication of those Sisters drew me to pursue my own vocation to religious life.
I’ve experienced so many blessings and joys throughout my religious life through the love and support of my Sisters in community, students, parents, colleagues, and friends. I am most grateful for the opportunities I’ve had as a Sister of St. Casimir to minister in education in the primary grades throughout the United States and to serve God’s people of various cultures. They have enriched my life immensely!
I treasure my vocation as a gift from God, and I pray that I may continue to witness to others His love and care for them. God will never leave us – but holds us in the Palm of His Hand. In today’s world, we truly need God’s presence in our lives.
To a person discerning religious life – remember, we are all called to be at the service of the Gospel. Each one of us does this in her own unique way. We are all called to be the presence of Jesus today by our lives of service and commitment to God’s people. Religious life is a blessing to the church in which Sisters through their various ministries of education, health care, pastoral care, and social work have enriched the church and society through their dedicated witness to the love of Christ.
Jesus tells me, do not be afraid of the future – I am already there waiting for you, and I respond, yes, Lord, I can do all things in you who strengthens me!
Sister Wanda Marie Kamza
Diamond Jubilee (60 years)
Sister Wanda Marie Kamza, a native of Gary, Indiana, served as a teacher in the Chicago Archdiocese at St. George (Bridgeport), Immaculate Conception (Brighton Park), St. Joseph (South Chicago), St. Norbert (Northbrook), and St. Bartholomew (Waukegan). She also taught in the Rockford Diocese, and in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan. Sister Wanda Marie also had a role as Superior at the Maria High School Convent. She currently serves in the Ministry of Prayer and Presence.
There was no open display of angels coming down to tell me that I should be a nun. In fact, my preparation was riding my bike to school and church to help the Sisters clean. (No, I didn’t live there.) We played baseball, kick the can (all those fun games that were the pastime then). Before I knew it, at 17, with the guidance of Sister Ludwina, I entered the Sisters of St. Casimir.
My relatives and friends were curious as to what made me enter the convent. Just doing everyday normal activity in life, and the Sisters needing help.
Although I am not active in teaching at this time, it gives me a good feeling that many of our graduates are continuing to carry on the values and knowledge that we hoped to instill in them.
It was difficult to leave all our many institutions where we served, but it is comforting to know that what we started is being continued by others.
My heart is filled with gratitude to all the Sisters for the many kindnesses and memories I have experienced and cherish. The many Sisters I have known and who helped me in my teaching career, or religious development, play a large debt in my heart.
God bless all!
Sister Grace Ann Kalafut
Diamond Jubilee (60 years)
Sister Grace Ann, a Chicago native from St. Rita Parish (St. Simon Parish), served in education as an elementary and high school teacher and principal in the Chicago Archdiocese at Immaculate Conception (Brighton Park), Our Lady of Vilna-St. Paul, Sts. Peter and Paul, and Maria High School. Other educator assignments took place in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. Sister Grace Ann also served in congregational leadership and as General Treasurer. She currently serves in Vocation Ministry and Ministry of Accompaniment.
Rejoice and Be Glad!
Sixty years celebrating vowed religious life in the service of the Lord! What a privilege it has been for me to have answered the call from the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus as the Gospel teaches and to put into my life his words joyfully each day — through prayer and action in Community and being a witness to God’s love for all to whom I have ministered these many years.
Through the years, I have experienced many blessed moments as a teacher in grade schools and high schools, and as a Principal in these levels of education; serving as a member of the SSC Leadership Team; and very recently, caring for the Sisters as they made their transition to our new home at Franciscan Village in Lemont, IL. There have been many challenges in these ministries sustained through prayer and continuous support. Through all of this I have grown in understanding of peoples’ needs, reaching out to them with compassion, deepening relationships, and tending to my own immediate family in times of trial and sorrow.
We, the Sisters of St. Casimir, bring a great gift to the Church through our witness and proclamation in living out the Gospel message with faith and love for all people, and by being a presence wherever we are.
I am truly grateful to my Sisters in Community for their Sisterly and prayerful support, love, trust, and companionship, and to my family for journeying with me in my life with God these 60 years.
“Do not fear what may happen tomorrow.
The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day.”
– St. Francis de Sales