Volume 19, Number 6 | June 30, 2020

Sr. Emily’s First Vows During the Time of Covid

Left to right: Marianist Sisters Gabrielle Bibeau, Nicole Trahan, Emily Sandoval, Laura Leming and Leanne Jablonski

On Saturday, June 20, Sr. Emily Sandoval professed first vows in a celebration that was watched live stream by the Marianist Family around the world. Thanks to Bro. Leno Ceballos for providing the technical assistance to make this happen. People on 289 screens tuned in from Rome, India, Ireland and all across the United States.

Marianist Sisters Laura Leming and Emily Sandoval

The ceremony was presided by Fr. Chris Wittmann, with Sr. Laura Leming, who received the vows in the name of Sr. Gretchen Trautman, and Bro. Dan Klco who read the intercessions. In addition, Sr. Nicole Trahan, director of the Annunciation Dayton FMI community extended the welcome to those few sisters and brothers permitted to be present and to Emily’s family and friends and the Marianist family who joined in.

A new Marianist young adult lay community surprised Sr. Emily by decorating the house and sidewalk and the brothers of the Alumni Hall Community generously allowed the use of their chapel, Our Mother of Good Counsel, for the celebration.

The Marianist Sisters thank all those who have walked with Emily and the community during this time of her formation.

Learn more about Marianist formation.

See more photos.

A  Reflection During This Time of Pandemic by Rev. James Heft

Fr. James Heft is the founding president of the Institute of Advanced Catholic Studies at USC and a member of the Marianist Lalanne Community in Los Angeles, Calif.

Absence, Familiarity and Monasticism

So many uncertainties for such a long time. Three things, however, have proven constants: absence, familiarity and solitude. We all have become monks, a condition imposed on us, welcomed by some, but difficult for many.

Being in a “lockdown” situation, many of us have reached out more to others, to see how they are doing, to give them our love and support and to lessen our own feeling of isolation. Our hearts have grown fonder — we really value the human contact, virtual though it has to be. C. S. Lewis once wrote that the world is starved for solitude and friendship. If you cannot enter peacefully into solitude, you cling to friendships. You need them more than you give to them. But for some of us in lockdown with others, familiarity can bring to the surface quarrels and discord, even divisions. I read recently that once the restrictions in Wuhan were lifted, the divorce rate shot up. Read more.


Bernie Sammons
Giovanni Madriz
Jim Ford and his accompanist

On Friday, June 19, the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative(MSJC) Racial Justice Team and the Office of Hispanic Ministry of the Archdiocese of St. Louis held a virtual gathering called, “A Racial Dialogue Event.” It brought more than 90 participants together to address how to fight for racial justice in the United States today.

The event included prayer, song, reflections and discussions facilitated by a small panel. It was an opportunity to come together to pray and to work towards how to respond both personally and communally to the current unrest and injustice in our country.

Sr. Nicole Trahan led the attendees in several beautiful prayers and Jim Vogt, director of MSJC, emceed the evening. Jim Ford, director of Marianist Retreat and Conference Center, lead the group in song. Three different guest speakers highlighted: Racism & Oppression (Dr. Bernie Sammons), Immigration (Giovanni Madriz) and White Privilege (Trent Chambers).

Brian Reavey, director of Marianist Office for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, said, “The Juneteenth event was powerful. Gathering with members of the Marianist Family across the country to pray for, learn about and advocate for anti-racism was inspiring, especially during these trying times. The music was as reflective and lively as the three presentations and the chatbox conversations among attendees. The evening enlivened my spirit and refueled my fire for promoting racial justice. If you’re wondering where to turn or how to educate yourself further, I highly recommend reaching out to MSJC’s Racial Justice team for resources and support. Sr. Nicole Trahan and Maureen O’Rourke are the team’s co-chairs, and Jim Vogt is the staff liaison as MSJC’s director. We’ve all been working hard to provide the Marianist Family with more opportunities to educate ourselves, hear people’s’ stories and promote racial justice.”

See more photos.

A Marianist Moment

By Bro. David Betz

Praying with our Marianist Saints

Those of us who grew up in religious households have been taught that praying was communicating with or talking with God. Our parents spent time showing us how to hold our hands and position our bodies when it was time to pray. Of course, they also took us to church to model how to stand, to kneel and to respond to what was happening in the liturgy. As we grew up, we learned that prayer is a conversation initiated by God and it is our faith response to this initiation. Prayer is acknowledging God’s action in our lives. Henri Nouwen (see Following Jesus, Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety) described praying as a threefold task: listen, ask and dwell. He is reminding us that prayer is a time of paying attention to God’s love in our lives. We also came to know that there are five types of prayer: praise, gratitude, blessing or adoration, petition and intercessory. When we want to pray with the saints or our Marianist Saints it usually falls into the categories of petition or intercessory.

Read more.

Marianist Ministries in Action

One God, One People

On Friday, June 19, Immaculate Conception Parish in Dayton, Ohio, featured a live stream event, “One God, One People,” in response to the sin of racism.  The program was led by Fr. Bob Jones and included two reflections by Dr. Vince Miller and Sr. Nicole Trahan.

Sr. Nicole, the newly appointed co-chair of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative’s Racial Justice team, said, “It’s not enough to say, Everyone is welcome; I have friends or we have some parishioners that are all different ethnicities; we serve a diverse population or I work in a diverse environment, and that’s important to me.

“Don’t get me wrong, these are good things. But, that’s not enough.

“Sometimes, these realities can blind us to the actual issue — that we are all involved in a system of policies, procedures, expectations and behaviors — influenced by conscious and unconscious biases — that benefit one group over another.”

Watch the recording of “One God, One People.

Marianist Family Retreat Center Re-opens; 50th Anniversary Celebration Planned for November

While the beach at the Marianist Family Retreat Center in Cape May Point, New Jersey, still radiates the beauty of a warm summer afternoon, one thing’s been missing: the noise of families enjoying this oceanside setting.

But that’s about to change. “Starting June 29, we will open at half of our capacity,” said Anthony Fucci, director of the center. “We are accepting applications for our summer family retreats and notifying people of the status of their retreat on a case-by-case basis.”

Although Cape May Point reported no cases of COVID-19, the center had been closed due to the pandemic that devastated much of the East Coast and the world. Now that these areas are starting to reopen, the center is revving up its programs to accommodate families.

This year marks 50 years since the Marianist began offering retreats at Cape May. “We are planning an official 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 13-15,” said Anthony. But as with all things associated with the coronavirus pandemic, “we’re taking this one step at time.”

Still, “it feels good to start hosting family retreats,” said Anthony. “It’s the foundation of this ministry and everything we do.”

For more information about upcoming retreats, call 609.884.3829 or click here for link to retreat website.

Mountaintops and Deep Waters: Continuing Marianist Leadership Formation during a Pandemic

By Savio Franco, Ph.D.

Mountaintops and deep waters — our Lord Jesus formed his disciples on both. At the Marianist Provincial Office of Education and in Marianist-sponsored ministries, we follow this example in our leadership formation initiative called Mary’s Lead — an ecosystem of retreats, resources and relationships specially designed for Marianist educator-leaders.

Our first cohort of Mary’s Lead began its summer leadership retreat-in-daily-life on June 22 – 25, 2020. Like Blessed Fr. Chaminade’s sheltered-in experience at Saragossa, members of this group also sheltered in place, seeking and praying across long distances, but still in communion with each other. On this retreat, we reflected on the leadership formation of the disciples.

Here is an example:

Consider Peter. Think about some of his formative experiences on and around mountaintops. Perhaps you are envisioning the Mount of Beatitudes, picturing Peter listening to the greatest discourse ever spoken. Or maybe the hills around which Jesus multiplied those loaves and fishes — imagining an excited Peter distributing them to the thousands present. Or perhaps you visualizing the Mount of Transfiguration, with a dumbfounded Peter wanting to pitch tents and stay there. Or in contrast, Mount Calvary, and Peter’s painful absence, and later, the Mount of Ascension on which Peter gazed upon the risen Lord ascending into heaven.

Read more.

Marianist Family Members in the News

Brother Cletus Behlmann Mission San Jose (San Antonio, TX) Watercolor 5 x 7 in. Dimensions Pending Collection of Viridiana Benitez, PhD & Edward D. Vargas, PhD, MPH

Bro. Cletus Behlmann’s Artwork featured in Virtual Art Fair

On Saturday, June 13, Bro. Cletus’ artwork was featured in the virtual art fair Virtual Viva Poesia: Palabra, Musica, y Cultura celebrating 300 years of Mission San Jose, in San Antonio.

Originally scheduled for April 4, Viva Poesía 2020 responded to the pandemic by transforming itself into an online celebration of this year’s theme: “Mission San Jose: 300 Years.” All content centered on the storied three-centuries-long history of the “Queen of the Missions,” one of the most revered world heritage sites in the nation.

The sixth-annual event focused on the indigenous traditions rooted in the area for thousands of years and the resulting confluence of cultures that developed and remain vital to the beloved Mission San Jose.

To view the virtual are fair which includes Bro. Cletus’ artwork, click here.

Pray With Us

Please join us in prayer for these members of the Marianist Family.

Bro. Hugh Charlson – Early Years

Bro. Hugh Charlson – 2015

Bro. Hugh Charlson, 86, died June 25, 2020. Brother Hugh was a teacher who served cheerfully at many high schools across the former St. Louis Province. He will be remembered for his sly humor and his sincere, uncomplicated dedication to his roles as teacher and brother. His obituary will appear in the next issue of FamilyOnlineSee more photos.


Marianists Celebrate Jubilees

Each year, the Society of Mary recognizes brothers and priests who are marking milestones of their first professions of vows or of their priestly ordinations. This is the third group of 2020 Jubilarians we honor as a special section of FamilyOnline.


70 years of profession

I am very grateful and humbled for the blessing of being invited to become a member of Mary’s Special Family, the Marianists. Especially for one who had no interest in becoming a teacher but planned a career in business (being an entrepreneur)!

Read more.


70 years of profession

We were asked to give our thoughts on our lives and service as Marianists. That is not a hard subject upon which to reflect because my life in the Society of Mary has long been one of joy and service with those I love and with whom I live and work.

Read more.


70 years of profession

Bro. Gerard Sullivan is celebrating 70 years of religious life with the Society of Mary. He was born and raised in St. Louis and professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1950, in Galesville, Wisconsin. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies and a master’s degree in teaching (business administration) from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. He completed a two-year program in drug and alcohol counseling at San Jose State University.

Read more.


60 years of profession

I have become a better Marianist as a result of teaching and counseling. It has been a real privilege to serve as a teacher and counselor in a high school throughout these many years. I can honestly say that I always have looked forward to coming to school on a daily basis. It has been a joy to “serve, rather than to be served!”

Read more.


60 years of profession

I was born in St. Louis into a very large family: I had 10 brothers and two sisters. I met the Marianists at St. Mary’s in St. Louis and went to the postulate at Maryhurst to complete my education. I earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Saint Louis University, as well as a master‘s in divinity to complete my seminary training.

Read more.

Good to Know

Inspired to Serve

Since 1995, Grace Zollman has served as director of nursing at the Marianist Care Center in Cupertino, Calif. When Grace’s children were young, sometimes she would bring them to work to interact with the brothers. One of her children, her son Gian Pancipanci, became especially attached to Bro. Bob Wade, who served in World War II.

At a young age, Gian became fascinated with Bro. Bob’s U.S. Army service, stories and memories. Later in his life, Gian expressed a desire to serve our country like Bro. Bob. Last month, Gian Pancipanci was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army after completing his ROTC training at St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga.

On Memorial Day, Gian visited the grave of his good friend and mentor, Bro. Bob Wade, to offer his respect and gratitude with a formal salute.

Thanks to Bro. Jack Somerville for sharing this story.

See more photos.

Nonagenarians in Cupertino

L-R Bro. Howard Hughes (90), Bro. Frank Spaeth (97), Fr. Stephen Tutas, (93) Bro. Jim Leahy (94)

On Sunday, June 28, Bro. Howard Hughes celebrated his 90th birthday at the Marianist Care Center in Cupertino. He was joined by his fellow Marianists, also in their 90s, who live in community with him. Welcome to the nonagenarian club Bro. Howard!

Thanks Bro. Jack Somerville for sharing this milestone.

St. Anthony School Celebrates Drive-in Graduation

On May 29, St. Anthony School on Maui became the first high school in Hawaii to have an in-person graduation ceremony. Bro. Fred Silbereis reported, “Because of the small size of the graduation class (12 students), we were able to have an outdoor ceremony that allowed participants to observe social distancing but still be together. Parents and family attended by sitting in their cars like at a drive-in theater of olden days. Clapping could thus be augmented by the blowing of horns, which added enjoyment to the affair.” For the first time in many years, was held outside the school. Tim Cullen, Head of School, and Fr. Roland Bunda, pastor, were able to conduct the graduation ceremony from the stage while all in attendance were socially distanced according to COVID-19 guidelines. Congratulations to St. Anthony’s Class of 2020.

See more photos.

Stay in Touch


AMU Newsletter from the Association of Marianist Universities
The Fulcrum from the Marianist LIFE
District Update 35 from the Marianist District of India
Gifts and Tasks from the Int. Organization of Marianist Lay Communities
Justice Jottings from the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative

Magnificat from the World Council of the Marianist Family
MLC-NA e-News from the Marianist Lay Community of North America
NACMS Newsletter from the North American Center for Marianist Studies
Via Latina 22 from the General Administration of the Society of Mary

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