Skip to content
HomeUpdates2021 Jubilarians

2021 Jubilarians

In 2021, we are grateful to celebrate and rejoice with our 5 Sister jubilarians and one Covenant Companion jubilarian. We celebrate their lives and their commitment to living Gospel values. To learn more about each Jubilarian click the button with their name.


70 Years

Sister Dorothy Birk

What attracted you to the Wheaton Franciscans?

I was taught by Franciscan Sisters and Franciscan Fathers. During my high school years, Father Jesper Maus, a friend, introduced me to Sister Hyacinth at St. Anthony’s Hospital. Sister was the one who convinced me to go to Wheaton. I was taught by the Franciscan Sisters from Mishawaka, Indiana for 12 years.

Favorite Ministry?

Pueblo, Colorado was my favorite place.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a person who was willing to serve others.

65 Years

Sister Theresa Langfield

What attracted you to the Franciscan way of life?

My home life: example of my parents-daily Mass, daily family rosary, emphasis on prayer and faith in God, and my parents high regard for priests and sisters. I was taught by sisters through grade and high school. I tried to “ignore” my vocation and explore other ways of life, but this attraction was not to be silenced! I seriously considered the Community of sisters who taught me and other communities, but was always drawn back to the Wheaton Franciscans… I am grateful for the richness and joy that this life has been.

Favorite Ministry?

The Bridge Ministry was a touchstone time in my ministry—the late 1960s movement from the predictable to the creative and cutting-edge ministry—addressing changing needs of the times—a growthful and rich time. As a pioneer in our (and religious communities in general) shelter ministries, I am always challenging to use my gifts and to rely on God’s guidance for each step. It has been an amazing experience of our Community’s dreams coming true as we serve God’s least ones in countless ways, while offering affordable shelter.

Sister Mariette Kalbac

What attracted you to the Wheaton Franciscans?

When I was in high school, I worked as secretary at the Franciscan Fathers Provincial Headquarters in St. Louis. I was attracted by their Franciscan spirit of joy and brotherliness, and learned more about Franciscan religious life from the chaplain at our high school, Fr. Boniface Baum, OFM. I became acquainted with the Wheaton Franciscans at St. Anthony Hospital through my girlfriends who worked there. I used to purposely stop by St. Anthony’s on my way home from high school and meet the Sisters as they were coming through the halls from the refectory. I got to know Sr. Joanette well. I came to visit Wheaton several times when Sr. Hyacinth arranged for a car and driver to take interested young women to visit our Motherhouse. I also got to know the Precious Blood Sisters very well since they taught me in both grade and high school. I think the directing factor for Wheaton rather than O’Fallon was the Franciscan spirit and personal contact, plus my desire to be a nurse rather than a teacher!

Briefly share a highlight of your story:

I have precious memories of my visits to Assisi where I could breathe in the spirit of Francis and his followers who are there today—and visit the placed that were special to him in terms of blessing, conversion, death and resurrection. I also cherished the opportunities I had to retrace the stops of Mother Clara Pfaender, where she lived, ministered, suffered and died. This contact with our roots helped me deepen my understanding and love for our particular Congregational charism. I have also appreciated the opportunities to develop relationships with our Sisters in the various Provinces and at the Generalate, as I came to know them through visits and in working with them at Congregation meetings, Plenary Council meetings and General Chapters. This international contact has stretched my global consciousness and helped me grow in understanding of “being sister.”

Sister Jane Petzel

What attracted you to the Wheaton Franciscans?

I can’t say I was attracted to the Franciscan way of life, specifically, since my knowledge of Francis was minimal. But at age thirteen I knew I wanted religious life. I wanted to teach and I wanted to care for children, especially those who needed the most love and attention. I was taught by Franciscans in grade school. They were kind and they were tough, but even the “toughest” had a soft spot for their children. I loved and respected them. I fell in love with their way of life.

By the time I met the Wheaton Franciscans I had experienced many years of living religious life. I have experienced many years of living religious life. I have always believed in the future of religious life and knew there was a healthy way, as well as an unhealthy way, to live in community. Only the healthy way would attract new members. The Wheaton Franciscans live as if there is a future, and I wanted to be part of that.

How would you like to be remembered?

A former student of mine, in both seventh and eighth grades, came to see me when she was in graduate school at Northern Illinois. We talked about those school days, what we remembered most from those years. “I don’t remember you as my teacher,” she said, “I remember you as my friend.” I think that’s my favorite way of being remembered.

60 Years

Sister Alice Drewek

What attracted you to the Wheaton Franciscans?

My sister, Pat, was in our Community for a period of time and naturally my family and I came to Wheaton to visit. I liked what I saw…especially the warmth and hospitality of the sisters I met. I also worked at St. Joseph Hospital in the dietary department for Sister Leander and enjoyed that experience as well. I wanted to be a nun ever since I was in third grade and chose this Community because people seemed genuinely happy. I really didn’t understand what the Franciscan part was all about until years later. I can’t imagine being anywhere else!

Briefly share a highlight of your story:

Sisters Jackie, Diane, and Mary Ellen and I have a fun canoe story that is too long to write about but lots of fun to tell. Ask us!

How would you like to be remembered?

As a heart-warming, whole-hearted and a good-hearted person.

Covenant Companions

25 Years

Jeanne Guilfoyle

What attracted you to the Wheaton Franciscans?

My search on the spiritual path led me to a chaplain I worked with at Lehigh Valley Hospital Center in Allentown, PA in the early 1990s, named Naomi Hroncich. Naomi, a Covenant Member of the Wheaton Franciscans, invited me to participate in a women’s spirituality group called “The Seekers.” Through Naomi, I was introduced to the Wheaton Franciscans, where I found the spirituality I had been seeking. I was attracted to the warmth, hospitality, and generosity of this community. I was introduced to a God much bigger than the God I had come to know up to that point. I came, I saw, I joined. The alluring spirit of God’s love caused me to leave familiarity and move to Wheaton. My attraction to the Wheaton Franciscans can best be expressed in the words of St. Francis himself, “Would that God grant me the calling to join hands with these happy, carefree people of God. For they speak truly of what I have already longed to become.”

Briefly share a highlight of your story:

When my family and I moved from Philadelphia to its suburbs when I was eight years old, I was introduced to two neighbor girls of the same age; one directly across the street and one directly in back of our house. All these years later, Leslie, Barb and I remain life friends (now 57 years and counting). We have grown up together and shared each other’s lives and families. Sometimes, more like sisters than friends, we have sailed choppy and smooth waters at various times in our lives; accompanied each other in happy and sad times in our lives (Les drove out with me when I made my move to Wheaton), and of growing and stretching to understand each other as we have changed through the years. Most of this has been done at a distance since we were 18 years old. Best of all, we still appreciate the rare gift we have through each other.

Remembering Our Deceased Jubilarians