The women religious celebrating milestones

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On Sunday, Feb. 2, Bishop Dennis Sullivan honored women religious jubilarians at Church of the Holy Family in Sewell, to mark World Day for Consecrated Life. Posing for a photo with Bishop Sullivan are Sister Patricia Sheeran, OSF (celebrating 60 years); Sister M. Ambrogina, DM (60); Sister Joseph Marie Hatch, DM (60); Sister Cherry Betty Butaslac, SOM (25); Sister Maristella Lastra, FMIJ (60); Sister Anne Pierre Reed, IHM (50); Sister Esther Anuta, SOM (25); and Sister Anne Winkelmann, SSJ (60). Not pictured are Sister Grace Maria Scandale, DM, celebrating 50 years, and Sister Maria Pietrzyk, LSIC, also celebrating 50 years. Photo by Debbie Troy
Those who do ‘so much work, so often hidden’
People hold candles during Mass to celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and World Day of Consecrated Life at Holy Family Parish, Sewell, on Feb. 2. Bishop Dennis Sullivan was the celebrant. At the Vatican, Pope Francis urged women and men religious to be people of hope, and he asked all Catholics to pray for the hundreds of thousands of women and men who continue to consecrate their lives totally to serving God and their brothers and sisters. He asked people in Saint Peter’s Square to join him in praying a Hail Mary for “the consecrated men and women who do so much work, so often hidden.” Photo by Debbie Troy

Ten women religious celebrating milestones in their ministry were honored in a Mass celebrated by Bishop Dennis Sullivan on Sunday, Feb. 2, World Day for Consecrated Life.

The morning liturgy at Sewell’s Parish of the Holy Family thanked Sister Esther Anuta, SOM and Sister Cherry Betty Butaslac, SOM (marking 25 years); Sister Maria Pietrzyk, LSIC, Sister Anne Pierre Reed, IHM, and Sister Grace Maria Scandale, DM (50 years); and Sister M. Ambrogina, DM, Sister Joseph Marie Hatch, DM, Sister Maristella Lastra, FMIJ, Sister Patricia Sheeran, OSF, and Sister Anne Winklemann, SSJ (60 years).

Sister Esther Anuta, SOM, raised in the Philippines, chose at the age of 18 to commit herself to a religious life. In November of 1989, she entered a formation center of the Hospitaler sisters of Mercy in the Philippines. In 1990, she was transferred to Rome to continue her religious studies, and five years later completed her studies and took her vows. While stationed in Italy she assisted in providing care to the elderly and disabled in various healthcare centers operated by the order. In 2000 Sister Esther was transferred to the sisters’ missions within the Diocese of Camden. She has spent her time here working with the elderly as activity director at Villa Raffaella Assisted Living, owned and operated by the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy in Pleasantville. 

Sister Cherry Betty Butaslac, SOM, born in the Philippines, graduated high school at 16 years old and immediately entered the Hospitaler Sisters’ formation center in her hometown. After studies there and in Rome, she professed her vows 25 years ago. In 2007, she began helping the sick and elderly at Villa Raffaella Assisted Living in Pleasantville, where she continues to serve.

Making her vows for the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1970, the Philadelphia-raised Sister Anne Pierre Reed, IHM, taught first grade at a variety of schools throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Saint Teresa School in Runnemede. She currently serves as pastoral minister to the sick at Saint Simon Stock Parish in Berlin.

Born and raised in Old Forge, Pa., Sister Grace Marie Scandale, DM, graduated from Old Forge High School in 1958 and worked in Scranton at Harper Publishing for nine years before entering the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy. After three years of formation, she made her first profession in 1970. After three years teaching elementary schools, she then taught at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Newfield, for six years before serving there as principal for 36 years.

Sister M. Ambrogina Aldeni, DM, is currently the Provincial of the Newfield Province for the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy. Born and raised in Treviglio, Bergamo, Italy, she entered the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy in Savona, Italy, at the Generalate House, where she made her Novitiate followed by first Profession in 1960. Serving mainly in education, Sister has served the Diocese of Camden as principal of Saint Mary, East Vineland; Saint Francis of Assisi, Vineland; Saint Mary Magdalen, Millville; and Saint Rose of Lima, Newfield.

Currently Provincial Treasurer of her order, Sister Joseph Marie Hatch, DM, made her first profession in 1960, entering the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1957. Born in Philadelphia, she graduated from Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary High School, Pottsville, Pa., and Misericordia University, Dallas, Pa. Since coming to the diocese in 1987, she has worked in religious education at Saint Rose of Lima, Newfield; Saint Francis, Vineland; and currently at Saint Mary, Rosenhayn, at Holy Cross Parish. 

Sister Patricia Sheeran, OSF, grew up in Audubon Park and is a graduate of Sacred Heart School, Mount Ephraim, and Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill. Making her first profession for the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany in 1960, she has served in various healthcare institutions and schools as a nurse and specialist, and is certified in reiki and hypnotherapy. Currently, she is a member of the clown group Kapo’s Gang, which brings joy and laughter to those in South Jersey.

Currently, Sister Anne Winkelmann, SSJ, is the Chief Clinical Officer for SODAT of New Jersey, Inc., which treats thousands of those suffering from addiction each year. She manages both treatment and prevention programs at sites in Salem, Bridgeton, Camden, Burlington and Gloucester. In addition to being a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor, and a certified addictions supervisor, the Sister of Saint Joseph has been a teacher, retreat leader and guest speaker throughout her ministry.

Information on other sisters was not readily available.