Franciscan Sisters at Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI

by Sister Julie Ann on April 1, 2008

Silver Lake College chapelToday forty Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity live in community on the campus of Silver Lake College of the Holy Family. Learn more about their lives together and in service to God’s people of Manitowoc county and beyond from the Sisters themselves.

Silver Lake College windowsThe college’s proud history was born out of an ever-growing need for the education of Sisters and for professionally prepared teachers in Catholic institutions. 

Mother Edna wrote in a November 1, 1954 letter: As religious, our first task is to make ourselves fit for his (God’s) service. As a Community we have the obligation of training our young members properly for the work that will be assigned to them, and in order to do that we must build a college. Now, we must act. With every passing day Our Lady of Guadalupethe need becomes more imperative. When we sit down like the man in the gospel story to count up our assets, we find none except you-and our Blessed Mother…it will be her project, launched in her year (1954-a Marian year), and dedicated to the formation of other Mary’s, who will double for her.”

Since its beginnings as Holy Family College in a wing in the Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, numerous curriculum studies and accreditations have strengthened the mission of this liberal arts institution of higher education. During this month of April, North Central Accreditation is once again scheduled for its formal on-site visitation.

17 thoughts on “Franciscan Sisters at Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI”

  1. srosangela says:

    I am happy to be able to serve our Community and others at Silver Lake College. I am the Manager of the Curriculum Resource Center located in Brideen Hall, our Education Department. It serves teachers, staff, students, home school families, and others. There are text books K through High School, children’s books, Teacher Resources both books and manipulative materials, videos and other materials and books. At first I was a little fearful that I could do this job, but my years teaching in grade school have helped me, and I enjoy the work and helping others find what they need. I also enjoy getting to know the faculty, staff and students who use the Center.

  2. Sr. Rosita says:

    Having served at the college in various capacities for twenty years now, I have seen many changes. I was instructor and now am Manager of the Media Production Center and Director of Technology Services and Transportation. This allows me to work with Administration, Faculty, Staff and Students. Many times my job requires problem-solving, but it is a joy to help individuals accomplish the seeing of an idea become a real product they are proud to have and share.

  3. Sister Kay Klackner says:

    I am the Director of Teacher Education at Silver Lake College. I have the privilege of helping individuals meet their goals and dreams of becoming certified teachers who want to make a difference in the world. I do enjoy it!
    I am counting down the days to a dream of my own. In a few weeks I will have the incredible opportunity of a Franciscan pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome. Oh, to walk the ground that St. Francis and St. Clare walked and hear the sounds and smell the air! I carry all Franciscans and friends of Franciscans with me on this wonderful journey.

  4. Sister Mary Bodwin says:

    I have taught at the college for 29 years.These have been very rewarding years. I am an instructor in the history dept. and I am very grateful to my Franciscan Community for giving me the opportunity to teach at Silver Lake College.So many people have touched my life and helped me become a better person.

  5. Springtime is a perfect time to share the story of Silver Lake College. The academics and activities made available here make for a fuller life for the students and other members of the Colllege community. Students are preparing projects to share at the Annual Symposium. This culminates their many efforts at learning during this year. It should be fascinating! Do come!

  6. I have been at Silver Lake College for the past twelve years working as an aide in the Art Department. I have enjoyed the years here and will have fond memories of the companionship of our Sisters and the dedication they have to promote the Word of God in their teaching. I have seen and experienced their excellence in teaching in all the Liberal Arts courses. I am very proud of the teaching that is being done here not only by our Sisters but also our lay faculty. There is also a feeling of support and willingness to work together to accomplish the goals being set. May the college succeed in its many endeavors is my prayer for them.

  7. Sister Mary Ann Nugent says:

    Serving as a Franciscan Sister at Silver Lake College for the past ten years has provided me some very unique opportunities. I have tracked the educational progress of numerous college students and, as a Certifying Officer for the State of Wisconsin, I have endorsed the license applications for hundreds of new teachers now teaching in parochial and public schools. Additionally, I have been privileged to teach several core Education classes over the years.
    This past week I just completed teaching a delightful group of students in an Issues in Education Seminar. I was extremely pleased with the interesting and informtive collaborative research reports given by the 17 seniors enrolled in this course. Topics of their reports included the following:
    School Violence Prevention Programs
    Drug Prevention Programs
    Assisting Autistic Children
    Correlation of Class Size and Achievement
    Effectiveness of No Child Left Behind
    The Effects of Divorce on Children

  8. We grow in strength because we are called to be in community as Sisters one to another. We also thrive in the richness of our individual personalities and gifts. Thanks so much for sharing a wee bit of yourselves with us!

  9. Sister Marcolette Madden says:

    Ever since I had Sister Mary Delores Meyer as my second grade teacher at St. Agnes School in Mingo Jct., Ohio, I have aspired to become a religious sister as well as an educator. Those life themes have come “full circle” here at Silver Lake College in the sense that my ministry in as a member of the Education Faculty affords me the opportunity to grow spiritually as well as professionally. The commitment of the discussion group to which I belong; the opporunity to play the oragen once a week for Mass; reflection on the legacy of the sisters who taught here during my undergraduate work, as well as well as the dedication of the sisters currently assigned as staff, faculty and volunteers; and the keen interest of our lay faculty in Franciscanism all contribute to the foundation upon which my professional work is grounded. It becomes very natural to talk with teacher candidates about the “vocation” of the teaching ministry in contrast to teaching simply as a career.

    Besides teaching several methods courses in which students integrate math, social studies and science content with appropriate pedagogical practice, and “Supervisory Skills for Cooperating Teachers,” I also supervise clinicians the student teachers. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I harken back to my experiences as an elementary and middle school teacher, as well as principal – and all the ways my Sisters mentored me. I pass that wisdom on to our teacher candidates.

    Recently I had the opportunity to pursue a second Masters Degree through Marquette University in Milwaukee. That work focused on current research in curriculum and instruction, as well as practical applications. It has been energizing to integrate so much of what I learned in the Marquette program into course work and committee work here at Silver Lake College: the WebQuest project in the Social Studies Methods course, the implications from the research study, “Fostering an Understanding of Cultural Diversity,” and involvement with the President’s Commission on Diversity.

    When I was asked to serve as chair of the President’s Commission on Diversity a couple years ago, one of the main reasons I accepted was that the theme is central to the history of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Our origins are rooted in the rural, immigrant experience. It was out of this context that our educational mission took shape, both reflecting and responding to the culture in which it was immersed. Solidarity with the poor, the needy, and the powerless was the vision of the Foundresses, a perspective that continues to guide mission of our religious order.

    The Diversity Statement of Silver Lake College resonates with that theme: “Silver Lake College believes that diversity is integral to the educational and developmental experience of all learners. As a college community, we strive to be inclusive in recognizing and valuing opportunities to integrate dimensions of diversity in broadening our interpretation and understanding of humanity. We respect and uphold the many facets of human identity in helping support and strengthen our college mission, vision and values.”

    It is a blessing to live, pray, and work at Silver Lake College.

    Sister Marcolette Madden

  10. I have served here at Silver Lake College for over 20 years, first as an administrator and now teaching school administration in an innovative program. It’s the end of our spring term and students completing the program gave their final presentations last Saturday. That day is always a time of reflection for me as well as for them. I am both proud and humbled by the way these people have not only mastered the content but have “caught” the underlying values and the stance of Servant Leadership that we hold dear as a Franciscan College. They have also taught me much and inspired me with the care they show for their students.
    I am thankful to the Lord that He called me to be not only a Franciscan Religious, but a Franciscan Educator. It’s a wonderful, meaningful vocation!

  11. Sister Ritarose Stahl says:

    I have been at Silver Lake College for 19 years serving in the College Library. For the past 8 years I have been Director of Library Services. I have always loved library work especially when I can help students, faculty and staff find the information they need. We have lovely students here, polite and friendly, which shows that we can have hope in our young people.

    Our Motherhouse and College are both located in a rural area on Silver Lake. As Franciscans we appreciate the natural beauty with which we are surrounded. Francis loved creation and we follow in these footsteps. We teach the Franciscan values and each year one of these values (i.e. peacemaking, compassion, joy, community, justice, reverence for creation etc.) is practiced. We also began a One Book One Campus project in which all members are encouraged to read the book and then discussion sessions are formed. This year we read The Lessons of St. Francis by John Michael Talbot. We try to instill the spirit of St. Francis all through the College.

  12. Sister MAriella Erdmann says:

    I have served at Silver Lake College for 31 years as a art professor. The arts have always been upheld by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and so as a liberal arts college sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters, the college continues the proud tradition of the arts in its curriculum. I believe in the college and I am proud to be a member of the Franciscan order.
    The arts are humanizing and I find that teaching art gives me much opportunity to direct my students not only to be good artists but also to good people. To have a special talent of an artist brings with it a responsibility to use this God-given gift for the the common good. Art and beauty can help to lift up our minds and heart to the Creator of all. Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to artists in 1999 pleading with them to once a gain use their talents to raise peoples minds to the Transcendent. What a great challenge!!

  13. Another blog from Sr. Catherine —
    I see that we all talked about work — and work we do! But we also pray and play together. Our schedules are pretty varied, and even include Saturday teaching, so Sunday is the time we have a better chance to get together over meals, etc. and enjoy each other’s company. What made me think to add this blog is that I am getting ready to go down and get things started for Sunday dinner. I love to cook and am lucky enough to be able to give our regular homemaker a break one Sunday a month. Some of us also like to bake and so there is always a very nice Sunday breakfast to relax over too.
    Last Sunday we hosted an Ice Cream Social for Sisters over at the Motherhouse. It was such a nice afternoon — time to sit and visit with them over ice cream sundaes. Since many of the Sisters in the Health Care section were not able to come over, they have invited us to join them for a get-together in May. We are looking forward to that!
    At this time of year our Community celebrates our Jubilees in Religious Life. We have four celebrants in our house so we will be having a special celebration party for them next Saturday evening. That party will have just a twinge of sadness in it because we’ll also be celebrating our time with a couple Sisters who have been assigned to another place for next year. But it will be a time filled with Franciscan joy and we will have fun!

  14. Sister Camilla says:

    Silver Lake College of the Holy Family is the place to be! Our brand promise is “Learning to Connect Mind and Spirit the Franciscan Way.”

    I had the privilege of studying at Holy Family College, now Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, in preparation for learning how to be a Catholic school teacher. My educational journey includes being a teacher and a principal/administrator in nine Catholic schools staffed by our Franciscan Sisters. The journey has many rainbows because I am able to serve God’s people of all ages.

    Have I returned to Silver Lake College of the Holy Family to learn more? Yes, and then some! I presently minister in the administrative wing with President Dr.George Arnold and the Vice Presidents of the College. The learning curve has been energizing and enriching. The College is blessed with administrators who truly desire SLC to BE and to BECOME the very BEST learning center it can be!

    There are many golden opportunities to serve on committees and participate in meetings while helping to keep the Franciscan Way part of the agenda. A highlight of each day is mingling with an awesome College community of administrators, faculty, staff and students who value both people and learning. I try daily to respond the Micah way: “Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God.”

  15. Sister Nancy Kinate says:

    Living, working, praying and playing at Silver Lake College is a blessing deluxe. Its location near the woods and lake and its beautiful chapel are added dimensions I really appreciate. However, it is the faith and learning community, especially the students, that make life and ministry here exta-GOoD. Many students would not have the opportunity for higher eduation if this small, Catholic and Franciscan liberal arts college were not here.

  16. Sister Mardelle Meinholz says:

    Hello. I am the Director of Mission at Silver Lake College, a new venture for me. About a week ago a group of students and I traveled to Br. David Darst Center for Justice and Peace, Spirituality and Education in Chicago. The first evening we visited people at a men’s warming shelter and served them supper. We were welcomed with great hospitality. The entire weekend we were present to the people who, because of various circumstances, had no where to live or had difficulty obtaining food. Everyone was blessed with new eyes to see the goodness of life they had.

  17. carolyn Haser says:

    Hi Sr. Marie dePorres Nancy!

    Remember me? Sister Dorothy from the Pittsburgh Franciscans? I think of you often and wonder where and how you are doing. The last time I heard anything was when you were out West. It would be wonderful to contact you and catch up.

    I think of Sister Thomas Moore very often. WE used to keep in touch at least once a year. The last time we talked I found out she was having trouble with her eyes. It just isn't fair. She had a very large impact on my life. Did you know she came to Pittsburgh once and stayed with my husband and little boy( he's now 40 years old goog grief!!!)? I have been wondering how she is or if she has passed away. Could you please let me know?

    Reading your posting brought back beautiful memories of the college and the gorgeous surroundings. My experience there, mainly the people, have left such wonderful memories.

    Please write me if you can. My email is I would so love to hear from you. Say Hi to Sister Lewis. What is she up to?

    Write soon

    Carolyn Haser (Sister Mary Dorothy)

    9 Raleigh Place

    Pittsburgh, PA 15239

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