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 2014 Jubilarians
Sister M. Paulissa Puisis
Sister M. Paulissa, a Chicago native from St. George Parish in Bridgeport, worked in education, music education, health care, and pastoral care. She was a teacher in the Chicago Archdiocese at Immaculate Conception (44th Street), Nativity BVM, St. Norbert (Northbrook, IL), St. Anthony (Cicero, IL), and Maria High School (Chicago, IL). She also taught in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Sister Paulissa ministered in health care and pastoral care at Holy Cross Hospital and Loretto Hospital, both in Chicago, IL. She currently serves in prayer ministry and is an active member of the SSC Green Team.
God has given me many countless blessings throughout my 80 years as a Sisters of St. Casimir. I have deep gratitude to God for allowing me to share my life with the Sisters, my family members, relatives and so many friends I met throughout my life.
God has given to each of us the gift of life, and it is a gift we can share through our prayers and sacrifices. My goal was always to enjoy life to the fullest and to bring God with me to everyone I meet.
So I would advise others to never pass up an opportunity to be with family and friends and show them kindness so they can pass that kindness on to others. Also, make music a part of your life. Music is praying to God in a special way.
Sister M. Teresita Miksas
Diamond Jubilee (75 years)
Sister M. Teresita, a Chicago native from Immaculate Conception Parish (44th Street), served in education, and was a supervisor of SSC schools. She was a teacher in the Chicago Archdiocese at St. Anthony (Cicero, IL), St. Casimir (Chicago Heights, IL), and Maria High School (Chicago, IL) and also taught in Nebraska and Pennsylvania. Sister Teresita also had a role in congregational leadership. She currently serves in prayer ministry.
By the time the Diamond Jubilee of my religious profession arrived, all was ready – including special accommodations for me at the Motherhouse – since I had moved to Mother Theresa Home in Lemont the month before. I did not have to worry about a thing! I had time to pray and reflect on the meaning of this jubilee for me.
First of all, I’ve been very blessed throughout these 75 years as a Sister of St. Casimir, especially during the years I was a part of Congregational leadership. During those years I was able to work with Sisters who were involved in all kinds of ministry throughout the United States. I was able to support them and show my concern for them. And this was a very blessed experience for me.
And today, living at Mother Theresa Home, I experience other blessings: the care and concern I have received during illness, the personal response to me in helping me to get well.
I entered the Congregation at a very young age (I was 16 years old when I left home) and am grateful for all the graces received throughout the years. I am especially grateful for being able to live close to my sister, Sister Margaret Miksas, and to help provide loving care for my mother during her later years.
Our Congregation continues to be a gift to the Church and the world through our hospitality to others, our diverse ministries, our care for those who are poor and who are aging.
I would advise a young person searching for direction in his/her life: Be certain and pray for direction. And take to heart these words which have always meant so much to me: “Do unto others as you want others to do unto you.”
Sister Margaret Petcavage
Diamond Jubilee (60 years)
Sister Margaret Petcavage , a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, from St. Joseph Parish, worked in education and administration. She was principal in the Chicago Archdiocese at Immaculate Conception (44th Street) and ministered in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, and Texas. Sister Margaret also served in congregational leadership. She is currently Vice Postulator for the Beatification Cause of Venerable Maria Kaupas and is a member of the SSC Advisory Committee.
As we go through life, quite often we are not truly conscious of time slipping by, but there comes a moment when we stop and reflect upon the past. A jubilee celebration is just such a reflective time. This celebration spoke of joy and thanksgiving to me, reminding me that the way of faith in God is lived out in laughter, in tears and most especially in gratitude. I have come to realize that gratitude to God and to those whom we love and live and work with, is the chain that binds us to each other and most especially to our loving Father. Meister Eckhart once wrote that, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was “thank you,” that would suffice.”
Throughout these past 60 years my life has truly been blessed with a variety of experiences, all for which I can only say. “Thank you, God.” My years of ministry brought me in touch with many students, parents and professionals, many of whom have become close and valued friends. The past few decades in my life were especially meaningful and blessed because of my work on the Canonization Cause of our foundress, Mother Maria Kaupas. It still is an awesome and humbling thought to know that I grew up and prayed in the very parish, St. Joseph in Scranton, PA, where Mother Maria had prayed as a young woman and where her spiritual life was nourished. Over the years this has had a profound influence upon me especially when I was asked to work on her Cause. I felt not only honored but overwhelmed, and soon began to trust more and more in the Spirit leading, not only me, but every one of us along the way to achieving this goal, namely future Sainthood for Mother Maria. We all know she is a Saint because of her heroic virtuous life, but now we wait to have the Church publicly proclaim this title, an honor she truly deserves.
Reflecting more on this Jubilee celebration, I have come to realize how deeply loved I am and we all are – by our loving God, a love none of us truly deserves. It became so evident that it was His calling in my young heart that brought me to a life of happiness and a life of giving and being there for others – namely, for my religious Community, students, family and friends. For this gift of a religious vocation, my heart overflows with gratitude. Quite often when I see our youth, happy for a time, but continuously searching for the ultimate happiness, how I pray that they would faithfully turn to the God who loves them; then they would find the true happiness they seek.
There is a dire need for religious vocations especially so that our work as Sisters of St. Casimir and all religious communities could continue in various ways. We have been a gift to the Church and society through our varied ministries in education, nursing, and pastoral care, — always giving, relating to one another in a way that is supportive and lifting up the spirit, because that is where God is. Today, thankfully, our additional gift to the Church and the world is that our religious communities have become powerhouses of prayer for a world hungering for peace.
Life is like a train ride. At times we get off and visit around the area. Then we get back on again and travel to a new place finding the gift of different faces, new adventures, dreams fulfilled, or moments of tears and also moments of laughter. And during that entire train ride, Jesus, our “dearest Friend,” to quote Mother Maria, rides with us, revealing all that life has awakened and strengthened within us. As I continue my train ride, my favorite quote from Paul (Ephesians 3:11) rides with me: “Glory be to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to God from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. ”