Do you know . . .

3-photos_do-you-knowLeft, Sister Mary E. Wendeln with an award from Su Casa in Cincinnati; Sister Ceil Taphorn photo. Middle, from left, John and Carole Muhlenkamp, Sister Helen Weber, Joseph Thomas and Sister Maryann Bremke; contributed photo. Right, employees with 10 years of service posed with Sister Joyce Lanham CPPS president. From left, Sister Jeannine Kloeker, Sister Joyce, Linda Hageman, Jean Marie Henderson and Sister Nancy Recker; Michelle Bodine photo.

Sister Mary E. Wendeln received the Cesar Chavez Award from Su Casa Hispanic Center of Cincinnati at the organization’s 13th annual awards dinner and silent auction on May 10. The event was held at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.

The award recognizes a person who has a strong record of fighting for human rights and advocating for those less fortunate, said Jose Echeverria, a bi-lingual case worker at Su Casa.

Now a volunteer with Su Casa, Sister Mary works with people with landlord issues related to living conditions in apartments. She advises tenants on how best to work with their landlords to address issues. She also works to resolve court cases involving undocumented persons, Echeverria said. She also fills out applications for Family Jobs and Services so that the immigrant U.S. born children get the needed assistance, answers the phone, and makes people feel at home at Su Casa.

“She’s a good model to follow,” he said. “She’s a good leader. She inspires us to follow her steps on advocacy and raise a voice for the less fortunate.”

A longtime advocate for immigrants, Sister Mary spent 15 years with Casa of Maryland in the Washington D.C. area working as a coordinator of volunteers and a food distribution program. She also spent a year with the Christian Peacemaker Team in the Old City of Hebron. She has lobbied nationally to cut the military aid to El Salvador, to close the School of the Americas, and for the restoration and continuation of Medicaid and food stamp benefits for qualified immigrant families.

“I have been very fortunate since 1990 to have worked as service provider and an advocate to change the systems,” Sister Mary said. “I’ve just always tried to change policies so that immigrants would be included. I really feel the immigrant community is underrepresented in every institution and around every table.”

Precious Blood Sisters Martha Bertke and Elizabeth Westgerdes recently participated in Cancer Society Relay for Life events. On May 11, the Sisters walked at the Wally Post Athletic Complex in St. Henry as part of Relay for Life.

Sisters Martha and Elizabeth then traveled to Brighton, Mich. to visit Precious Blood Sister Joanne Belloli. The three sisters participated in the May 19 Cancer Relay for Life event at Brighton High School. A cancer survivor for 21 years, Sister Joanne has participated in Relay for Life for 19 of the last 21 years. At the Michigan event, survivors walked first, followed by care-givers and the general public.

Each year hundreds of Cancer Relay for Life events are held around the United States and abroad. In addition to raising money for cancer research, the event recognized cancer survivors for their courage.

Participating in the events and showing compassion for cancer survivors enabled the Sisters to live out their mission.

“This is one way we were a life-giving presence for others,” Sister Martha said.


Joseph Thomas, an April G.E.D. recipient, is the first client of the Brunner Literacy Center to achieve this status. Tutors and mentors gathered on April 3rd to congratulate and celebrate with the new grad. Joseph came to the BLC in April 2011 asking for assistance in reaching his goal. His two daughters attend Mother Brunner School and Joseph had learned about the literacy center through a flyer his children brought home.

Joseph saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. He has worked weekly with two tutors, Carole and John Muhlenkamp. Tutor and client efforts through the year resulted in significant progress. By early February Sisters Helen Weber (M. Herbert) and Maryann Bremke (M. Veronica), co-directors of the Brunner Literacy Center, judged that Joseph was ready to attempt a G.E.D and arranged for a pretest. Results indicated that Joseph was indeed ready.

After last-session touch-ups Joseph was urged to sign up for the test, and his scores far exceeded the minimum requirements. We are happy for Joseph and wish him all the best in reaching, what he tell us, are now his college goals.


The Sisters of the Precious Blood celebrated employee service anniversaries April 25 with a special lunch and recognition. Employees with 10 years of service posed with Sister Joyce Lehman CPPS president. From left, Sister Jeannine Kloeker (Leo Mary), Sister Joyce, Linda Hageman, Jean Marie Henderson and Sister Nancy Recker (M. Rachel). Michelle Bodine photo


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