More than 70 sisters from South Carolina, Ohio and other states gathered in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in late November to participate in the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Collaboration for Ministry Initiative (CMI). The celebration was part of the ninth annual statewide conference co-sponsored by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, which are both ministries of the Sisters of Charity Health System. Focused on the theme, “Stronger Together with Faith and Gratitude,” the celebration and conference highlighted the impact of CMI over the past 10 years. The CMI supports congregations of Women Religious in their efforts to serve the poor and underserved of South Carolina.
The Sisters heard from three key perspectives of individuals who had been a part of the Initiative since its inception. Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, opened the panel, “It is very easy for me to reflect on the Collaboration for Ministry Initiative with pride and gratitude for all who have been a part of this wonderful ministry.”
Kathy Csank, CMI consultant who led the initial research with the sisters 10 years ago that later became the foundation for the formation of CMI shared, “This was one of the most incredible experiences of my lifetime to do this research and to listen to the sisters across the state. Each of the sisters who have been a part of this initiative is so gracious. They inspire us and give us faith.” Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina President Tom Keith added, “It’s been a wonderful 10 years with more than $2.5 million dollars invested in this initiative. This has been a hallmark and one of our signature efforts at the foundation. It’s been a blessing to us, and we look forward to the journey ahead.”
The Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, also joined the sisters for the weekend. He shared his gratitude for the work of women religious throughout the state, and also spoke to some of the pressing issues of the time, including Catholic education, immigration reform and the need for increased multicultural understanding when serving diverse populations. Bishop Guglielmone also led the Sisters in Mass.
The celebration also included the much anticipated unveiling of a book of sister stories, “Stronger Together: Looking Back with Gratitude and Forward with Faith.” The book shared the thoughts and reflections of sisters who have served in ministry in South Carolina throughout the 10 years. Designed by Langley Shealy, the communication director for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, each page brings alive a personal story from a sister. “These are our heart stories, and a great reminder of our presence to the people of God,” said Sister Johnna Ciezobka, CSSF, who ministers in Kingstree, South Carolina.
Pictured above is Bishop Guglielmone presenting several CSA sisters with a plaque of celebration and recognition stating, “I do hereby express my sincere gratitude to the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and to all the women religious who have participated in the Collaboration for Ministry Initiative over these past 10 years and pledge my support and prayers for its continued success.”
For more conference photos, visit the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina Facebook page.