Weekly news: June 24, 2019

Holy Family principal Clara Isom retires

This month, Clara Isom, principal of Sacred Heart Southern Missions’ Holy Family School in Holly Springs, MS, retires.

Clara, speaking at the Educare conference in Spain

Clara has been a part of the school since 1960, when she was a first-grade student. She and her five siblings grew up on a farm near Holly Springs.

“My mother and grandparents had a strong belief in the value and the necessity of education even though they had little of it themselves,” said Clara. “And they wanted to make sure that we had a Christian education; a holistic education, even though they might not have known what that word meant. They knew that St. Mary’s would give us that and more.”

When Clara was a student, the school was known as St. Mary’s. It later became CADET and then transitioned to its current name.

Clara said that it was at St. Mary’s where she “learned about my own worth, my value as a human being. I remember feeling loved and cared for and I also learned that I could do whatever I wanted to do in my life. That’s a lesson that has carried me through my life and it is a lesson that I hope our children at Holy Family are learning too.”

After graduating from CADET in 1972, she returned as a teacher’s aide. While working as an aide, she studied for her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Rust College, and later, earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a teacher, director of the CADET Childcare Center, and since 2009, as principal of Holy Family School.

Clara has been a familiar presence at international Dehonian educational gatherings and Mission Education.

Tunia Sangster, who has served as a principal and teacher in Memphis, succeeds Clara. She is pictured at the top of the page (right) next to Clara (left).

Sr. Norma speaking at the Dehon Lecture

Called to “do something!”

At the Dehon Lecture in April, Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, challenged listeners to “do something” about the nation’s broken immigration system. She said that as U.S. citizens, all are “complicit” in the actions of the government, and when citizens disagree with the government’s actions they must speak out. Individuals may have little or no influence on political leaders, but, she added, in large numbers, voices can be heard.

After Sr. Norma’s talk, a group of SCJs met with Mark Peters, province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, to talk about they could “do something,” as she suggested. They recommended to Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, that the province develop a broad-based coalition of Catholics to engage with lawmakers. “He gave the go-ahead, and within two months a coalition was formed that includes several local religious communities and lay people from southeastern Wisconsin,” said Mark.

Their two goals: 1) educate Catholics on issues surrounding migration in light of Catholic social teaching, and 2) organize Catholics to engage lawmakers in a non-partisan way and help them develop bipartisan solutions to immigration reform.

The group recently got meetings with top-level staffers from the offices of both Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), with the promise of continued dialogue, and have formed a task force to develop and present educational programs in parishes.

The group is also coordinating with key officials of the Milwaukee Archdiocese to get support for their efforts, and plan to have a meeting of all supporters on Thursday, July 11, at 10:00 a.m. at the Provincial Conference Center in Hales Corners.  Fr. Ed is tentatively scheduled to give the benediction and welcome.

All SCJs are welcome and encouraged to attend the gathering. “And if you are not able to be there, please pray for its success,” said Mark. If you have questions, you can contact Mark at 414-427-4273 or email him at: justdir@usprovince.org

David Schimmel leads prayer at the Reunion

Reunion follow-up

David Schimmel, director of Dehonian Associates and organizer of the June 10-11 Former SCJ Reunion, writes: “Sixty-one participants, including spouses, attended the Former SCJ and Former SCJ Seminarian reunion. Each participant’s folder included a Member Directory with snail mail and email addresses, phone numbers and other information. The Member Directory is only available as a hard copy; it is being sent to all individuals on the Dehonian Esprit de Coeur mailing list.”  If any SCJ would like a copy of this Member Directory, please contact David at dfschimmel@juno.com or 773-743-1288.


Fr. Praveen Kumar Richard, SCJ, a member of the Indian District, will join the SCJ community in South Dakota, where he will assist with ministry at St. Joseph’s Indian School. He has been in the United States for the past year, living and studying at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

Thank you!

Fr. Sugi

Fr. Agustinus Sugiarno, SCJ (“Sugi”), a member of the Indonesian Province, is another SHSST student who is completing his studies and starting a new assignment. He returns to Indonesia, where he will become the assistant to the provincial treasurer.

“This is a unique and a new kind of ministry for me,” wrote Fr. Sugi in a letter of thanks to Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, and others who assisted him during his time in the United States. “I will be in-charge of establishing the new Development Office in our Indonesian Province. We currently have for about 180 priests and religious brothers serving more than 30 parishes in six dioceses, three elementary to senior high schools with their dormitories, one orphanage, two Catholic universities, three retreat houses, one publication house and several communities of migrant workers.

“We also have around 80 brothers who are preparing for their priesthood in three formation houses. With these all rapidly growing ministries, it has been a priority for the Indonesian Province to have stable, accountable financial structures and funding. So, I still need your prayers and support for my future and the future of the Indonesian Province. The US Province has been supporting our Province, and I cannot thank you enough for this.”

Reflecting on this past year, Fr. Sugi wrote that “I will never forget a year of living together with my Dehonian brothers from the US Province… I would like to thank Fr. Ed Killianski SCJ, whose vision of interculturality in his leadership has opened a new path to building a real Dehonian community, a mosaic of differences united in the Heart of Christ.” Fr. Sugi went on to thank the many people who have been a part of his life during the past year, including his English instructors, members of the Sacred heart Monastery Community and staff at the Province Development Office.

If you would like to keep in touch with Fr. Sugi, you can write to him at: gie.arno@gmail.com

Keep in prayer

Kevin Huffstetter, the father of Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, has entered hospice care. Please keep him and the family in your prayers.

Fr. Carlos Luis

Programmatic letter released

Last week the general administration released its programmatic letter for its six-year mandate. In its introduction, Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, and the council write:

“As soon as we started our service in the General Government, we began visits to Entities and communities of the Congregation… We have a lot to tell each other. We need to hear one another. In any case, aware of our gifts and limits, the community is the place to remind us, without gloss or ambiguity, of Paul’s exhortation: “Have among yourselves the same attitude as Christ Jesus” (Phil 2,5).

“In the face of the temptations of self-absorption and indifference, Sint unum (Jn 17,11) offers our personal and communal life as a healthy dynamic for ‘progressive liberation from egoism, which is the refusal of the love of God and of fraternity’ (Cst. 95). In docility to the Spirit, we want to continue entering into this dynamism that enables us to accept ourselves, understand ourselves, love ourselves and overcome the personal, cultural, ethnic and social resistances that disfigure our true identity and mission.”

Click here to download a PDF of the letter in English.

Feast-day letter

Just as we were about to hit the “send” button for the Fridge Notes, we received the general administration’s letter to the Dehonian Family for the feast of the Sacred Heart. Click here to download a PDF of the letter.

New department at SHSST established

Kelly Kornacki

A new department has been created at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology: the Intercultural Preparation for Ministry (IPM) Department. The department will include the English and Culture Studies Program, the Hispanic Studies Program and the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies.

Kelly M. Kornacki, academic director of the ESC program (pictured at right), has agreed to serve as vice president of the department and will serve on the President’s Council.

“The IPM Department provides a way to raise the profile of our programs dedicated to intercultural and inter-religious ministry preparation which is becoming a need that is more and more evident in the US context,” said Fr. Tom Knoebel, out-going SHSST president-rector. “In addition, it provides a way to increase the voice of these three programs in the seminary’s life and administrative structure. It also redistributes some of the administrative load currently placed in the academic department. Finally, the addition of Ms. Kornacki provides a much-needed woman’s voice on the President’s Council.”

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in July include: Fr. Bill Marrevee (83) on July 5, Frater Long Nguyen (40) and Fr. Johanes Yuliwan Maslim (55) on July 15, Fr. Richard Woodbury (75) and Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo (37) on July 19, Fr. Dominic Peluse (73) on July 22, Fr. Vien Nguyen (46) on July 27 and Fr. Peter McKenna (70) on July 29. Happy birthday!

Schedule notes

The Provincial Offices will be closed this Friday, June 28, for the feast of the Sacred Heart. The offices will also be closed July 4-5 for Independence Day.

Closing shot

Fr. Charles Brown, SCJ, is pictured below, being thanked for his work in India prior to his return to the United States. In May and June he taught a three-week course to Indian SCJ theologians on the Synoptic Gospels. This was his third visit with the theologians and the second full scripture course that Fr. Charlie has taught there.

Click here to subscribe to the weekly news (Fridge Notes) via email