A Tour of Our American Roots

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A TOUR OF OUR AMERICAN ROOTS

RECALLS HISTORY AND A CENTURY OF CARING

Story written for Ministry on the Move

by Sister Jean Stickney, LCM

March 3, 1993

It is with great pride and joy that I write this article in an attempt to share some of the wonderful feelings and thoughts that were mine during our recent tour of the first Little Company of Mary convent on 4130 South Indiana Avenue. The building, as it stands in good condition, today is known as the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. The Pastor, Dr. Lou Rawls, graciously welcomed our wide-eyed group to visit our American roots and tour the buildings which today he and his group of dedicated associates are so proud.

As you may know, in 1896 a three-story brick building was built on the lot adjacent to the original frame house which our sisters called their first American home.

As our gracious hosts warmly welcomed us to this historic place, my mind wandered as I imagined the joy and gratitude felt by the eight Sisters who first lived in their new convent. This three-story building with finished basement, must have seemed very spacious and modern compared to their first modest frame home donated by Mr. Charles Mair in 1893.

The well-worn stairs remain today as a vivid reminder of the following 45 years in which many families came to the Sisters seeking nursing care for a loved one at home. Never were they refused, no matter what the illness, distance from the convent, or their ability to pay.

Many small bedrooms lined the halls. As I entered each room, I pictured our Sisters with Typhoid slowly recuperating in those rooms after nursing patients during the epidemics. I wondered, in which one of these rooms did Sister Elizabeth, a novice, make her Profession of Vows on the day of her death in 1898? I felt a deep sense of renewal knowing that many women with dedication and commitment came to join our pioneering sisters in a “Journey of Unconditional Love” which continues today.

As we entered the parlor and gathered in front of the fireplace, I could still feel a cozy atmosphere and a sense of community realizing that this was the place where our Sisters had celebrated holidays as well as holy days. Here they supported one another, laughed, and read and re-read letters from Sister companions in Ireland, England, Rome and Australia. Many meetings, plans and beginnings must have been discussed here in this fireside room. It must have been right here in November of 1896 that Mr. Charles Mair presented the Sisters with a large donation, on the day McKinley was elected President and in hopes of an economic recovery when “people felt more secure.”

It was here that 81 women gathered to begin the first Auxiliary Membership Drive in 1926. Here they made plans to establish their first hospital in Evergreen Park. As we moved to the Chapel, along the left wall we admired three large stained-glass windows. The middle window depicts the Calvary Scene, and the inspiration for the title of our community. It was this little group that stayed in the company of Mary on Calvary who remained faithful to Jesus. Faithfulness was the grace that our Sisters prayed for daily as they experienced many peaks and valleys, hopes and struggles in this new and unfamiliar land. I sensed that it was here that our most generous benefactor, Mr. Mair and his new bride, joined with the Sisters as they celebrated the opening of the new convent.

The other stained glass windows in the Chapel, worn but in recognizable condition portray Saint Veronica, Saint Stanislaus, Saint Patrick and Saint Cecelia. How appropriate for these windows to adorn the first LCM chapel as they depict the special patrons of our Community, especially of the first two superiors, Sister Veronica and her successor, Sister Patrick. It was truly a unique experience to behold the windows and to know the special meaning they hold.

Another special moment was catching a glimpse of the Seven Last Words of Christ, still readable, as inscribed on the beams and borders along each wall in the first Chapel. Although some words had been replaced by recent repairs, the statements and their deep meaning remain today.

Father, Forgive them for they know not what they do.

Amen, Amen! I say to thee, this day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.

Woman, behold thy son: Son, behold thy mother.

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

I thirst.

It is consummated.

Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.

Having the opportunity to view the symbols that embody our spiritual traditions as Little Company of Mary Sisters, made Sister Nancy, Sister Kathleen, Sister Joseph and myself, as the new generation of Little Company of Mary Sisters, feel very much at home in this historic place.

I am certain that you will all agree that we are each indeed, very fortunate to be here in the year 1993, as we dig for our roots, recall our heritage and celebrate 100 years of our Little Company of Mary ministries in America.

Sister Jean Stickney

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wordsSister Jean Stickney loved words – both written and spoken. In fact, one year at Christmas she asked for a Thesaurus.

She enjoyed the art of conversation. “Well hello there, anything newsy?” or “How’s every little thing?” were familiar greetings - always genuinely interested in whatever was going on in your life, both personal and professional.

Her heart’s desire was to compile a book. Sister Jean lived a joy-filled life and had so many wonderful stories and ideas to share. The task of organizing several essays and articles, numerous journals, mountains of notes to consider, bits of paper with ideas for stories, specific words that evoked emotions, and even pictures that captured her imagination into one entity was, at times, overwhelming, but truly a labor of love.

Sadly, our beloved Sister Jean passed away in October 2014 before her work could be finalized.

We’d like to share with you some of her writings. Enjoy!

Prayers

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Pope Francis' Prayer for
Jubilee Year of Mercy

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like
the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees
you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved.

Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from
being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene
from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured
Paradise to the repentant thief.

Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the
words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
"If you knew the gift of God!"

You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the
God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness
and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in
the world, its Lord risen and glorified.

You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in
weakness in order that they may feel compassion
for those in ignorance and error: let everyone
who approaches them feel sought after, loved,
and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with
its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a
year of grace from the Lord, and your Church,
with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to
the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the
oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession
of Mary, Mother of Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father
and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
Amen.

Little Company of Mary Hospital United In Prayer While Mourning the Loss of Two Beloved LCM Sisters

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Sister Jean Stickney, L.C.M., and Sister Anna Kim, L.C.M., lost their lives in a tragic car accident on Sunday, October 5, 2014

Walk Cropped 2Evergreen Park, IL, October 6, 2014 ─ Little Company of Mary Hospital is deeply saddened by the passing of Sr. Jean Stickney, L.C.M., and Sr. Anna Kim, L.C.M. They were stopped at the intersection of 95th Street and Cicero Avenue in Oak Lawn on Sunday afternoon when their car was struck in a head-on collision. Sr. Sharon Ann Walsh, L.C.M., also was in the car and is currently in stable condition.

“There is no doubt that our Hospital suffered a tremendous loss last night,” said Dennis Reilly, President and C.E.O. for Little Company of Mary Hospital. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, Physicians, Administration and employees, we send our deepest sympathies and condolences to Sr. Jean and Sr. Anna’s families. They were compassionate women who devoted their lives to caring for others. We continue to pray for all who were involved in yesterday’s accident.”

Sr. Jean Stickney, L.C.M., was born in Nashua, NH, on June 18, 1928. In 1951, Sister Jean joined the Sisters of Little Company of Mary (L.C.M.), an international congregation founded by Venerable Mary Potter in 1877 in Nottingham, England. Her past ministries include Evergreen Park, IL; Cambridge, MA; Torrance, CA; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sr. Jean was a prolific writer and talented storyteller. She served on the Board of Directors and numerous Hospital committees. Staff and patients alike were touched by her warmth and engaging smile.

Sr. Kab Kyoung Kim, known as Sr. Anna Kim to those who knew her here in the United States, was born in Seoul, Korea, in 1966. She was a member of the Little Company of Mary Sisters in the Korean Province,  visiting the American Province of the Little Company of Mary Sisters for the past 2 ½ years for the purpose of pursing her studies as well as gaining an understanding of LCM ministries in the United States. Sr. Anna assisted with Little Company of Mary’s comprehensive bereavement services, more specifically the children’s support group, entitled “The Heart Connection.”

Sr. Anna had a warm and gentle personality, was artistically inclined and greeted everyone with a smile.

The entire Little Company of Mary Hospital family is heartbroken over the loss of these two special women. Although they will be greatly missed, they will never be forgotten.

Arrangements are pending. Tribute gifts may be directed to the LCMH Foundation to support the continuing tradition of professional, responsible, compassionate, and quality care that remains at the core of our LCMH Catholic healthcare ministry.  The LCMH Foundation may be contacted at 708.229.5067 or online at www.lcmh.org/foundation 

A Mother’s Day Tribute

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A Mother's Day Tribute

Several years ago, I received a phone call from a young man who serves in our country's armed forces.  He had just returned from Iraq, where he luckily escaped a suicide bombing attack.  This near death experience had touched him deeply.  During his temporary leave of absence from the military, he began to reflect on his past.  He wanted to express his gratitude to the Sisters of Little Company of Mary for their vital role in his life.

It seems that his own mother was frightened mother-to-be when she arrived at Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers to deliver a child more than 30 years ago.  This young mother was deliberating whether or not to have an abortion or to give her child up for adoption when a Little Company of Mary Sister befriended her.  With the Sisters' love surrounding her, she decided to keep her child and was forever grateful for this important decision – as was her baby.

Our Foundress, the Venerable Mary Potter, dedicated our congregation to the Maternal Heart of Mary.  The Congregation is named for the "little company" of faithful followers who stayed with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, at the foot of the Cross throughout his suffering and death.  This upcoming Mother's Day, may we remember all mothers – both here with us today and smiling down on us – and the sacrifices that they have made.  Happy Mother's Day!

Sister Jean Stickney, L.C.M.