SYLVANIA—The new five-member leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania was installed June 24 during a liturgy celebrated by Toledo Bishop Leonard P. Blair in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel on the motherhouse grounds in the Franciscan Village.
The new five-member leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, pictured with Bishop Leonard P. Blair, includes, from left: Sister Rachel Marie Nijakowski, councilor, Sister Sharon Derivan, councilor, Sister Mary Jon Wagner, congregational minister, Sister Theresa Darga, assistant congregational minister, and Sister Patricia Gardner, councilor. (Photo courtesy of Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania)
Sister Mary Jon Wagner was installed as congregational minister, Sister Theresa Darga as assistant congregational minister and Sisters Patricia Gardner, Sharon Derivan and Rachel Marie Nijakowski as councilors. The team, elected to serve from 2012 until 2016, will oversee the day-to-day operation of the congregation and serve as councilors for all the members.
Sr. Wagner most recently served as assistant congregational minister for the Sylvania Franciscans.
Sr. Darga spent the last 23 years as principal of St. Joseph School in Lake Orion, Mich. Sr. Gardner most recently served as councilor/congregational treasurer for the Sylvania Franciscans. Sr. Derivan has served as a law clerk/staff attorney in the U.S. District Court in Akron for 23 years, and Sr. Nijakowski, a licensed psychologist, is the founder and executive director of Sophia Center in Sylvania for 19 years.
During the installation, each of the sisters responded to her new ministry by saying “Lord God, I have heard your voice. With a full heart I respond, here I am, Lord. I come to do your will.”
In return, all of the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters present replied: “The Lord has called us to be Gospel women in joyful servanthood among all people. We praise God for your presence among us, your ministry to us and with us. We pray that you be renewed in spirit and put on Christ. We promise you our love, our prayers and our support. Together, let us be transformed by Christ and embrace our Franciscan Future.”
Bishop Blair addressed the new leadership team saying: “In the name of the church, and especially the church of Toledo, I thank you for your willingness to minister to your sisters in the role of leadership. To you and to all of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, I promise the prayers, support and gratitude of those with whom you share the spirit and the mission of the Lord Jesus.”
Following Mass, more than 200 family, friends and sisters went to the Franciscan Center for a meal of celebration with the new leadership team.