National Catholic Sisters Week
March 8-14, 2019

National Catholic Sisters Week is an annual celebration of Catholic sisters that takes place from March 8-14. It began in 2014 as part of National Women's History Month to broaden awareness of Catholic sisters and their contributions to the world. Its aim is "to inspire others to engage in self-reflection, service, and simple acts of kindness."

We hope that you will be inspired by how these HM Sisters live their mission of bringing more abundant life to God's people.

Sr. Sharon Cahill

Sister Sharon

Sr. Sharon Cahill wears a few hats in her ministry at Villa Maria: as liturgist for Magnificat Chapel and as part of the HM Membership Team in the Vocation & Formation office.

As liturgist, Sr. Sharon plans the daily and weekly Masses celebrated in Magnificat Chapel and special celebrations such as Jubilee; she also helps plan prayer services for community events.

“I was always involved in liturgy, even before I entered the community,” Sr. Sharon said. “I played guitar at St. Brenden’s in Youngstown, my home parish, and sang with the choir there. I’ve always loved music.”

Sr. Sharon became a teacher after she entered the community, but music always stayed with her no matter what she did. When the time came to earn her Master’s degree and perhaps become a principal, she took some time for discernment and decided that her path lay in music instead.

“Liturgy is about bringing joy and allowing people to have that experience of God,” she said. “I want what I do to help bring people closer to God and open their hearts to hear God’s voice within them. It’s all about bringing an atmosphere of worship and reverence and togetherness.”

Sr. Sharon also serves as one half of the HM Membership Team, where she works with women in formation in the HM Community, attends vocation fairs, and fields requests for information about the HMs from women interested in religious life.

“Sometimes you just have to ask-have you thought about religious life? You really have to listen for God, that little nudge saying ‘hey, consider it.’ It never hurts to consider,” Sr. Sharon said. “It’s a lot of conversations because you can’t rush that. Considering is just opening yourself to what does this mean and how would this affect who I am and what I do, and then you go from there. But you have to consider first.”

Is God calling you to religious life? Visit to learn more about the process or to get in touch with Sr. Sharon or Sr. Mary. Visit to read some of our sisters’ stories on how they heard that nudge to religious life. #NCSW2019 #sistersofhm #villamariapa

Sr. Ann McManamon

Sr. Ann McManamon ministers at the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality in Youngstown, Ohio. A joint venture of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, the Youngstown Ursuline Sisters, and committed laypersons, this Catholic Worker Initiative ministry opened its doors in November 2009 to serve those in need. They offer a warm meal, a safe place to relax, access to a shower, and a warm welcome to all. Monthly roundtable discussions of social justice issues are held the fourth Thursday of the month on topics such as human trafficking and refugees.

Sr. Ann has been involved in the ministry since its beginnings and loves to share insights and wisdom of the Catholic Worker’s focus on hospitality and justice with volunteers and guests. Visit to see how you can help. #NCSW2019 #sistersofhm #villamariapa

Sister Ann & volunteers

Sr. Barbara Wincik

Sister Barbara

Sr. Barbara Wincik serves on the HM Leadership Team. She was first elected to community leadership in 2013 and is currently in her second term of service as a councilor.

Sr. Barbara had just finished her Ph.D. and was ministering as a clinical nurse specialist and adjunct faculty member at the school of nursing at Xavier University in Cincinnati when the nudge came to consider community leadership.

“What I heard was the call from the community,” Sr. Barbara said. “Serving in leadership is not something I would have pursued on my own, but the call from the community was so strong that I knew I needed to listen to that, and I needed to listen even deeper to see if that’s really where God was calling me at this point in my life.”

And after much reflection, the answer was yes—she was being called to serve the HM Community in that capacity.

One of the things Sr. Barbara enjoys most about her role in leadership is getting to spend time with the older sisters because she admires their strength and deep faith. Serving in community leadership has also given Sr. Barbara the chance to learn more about herself.

“What I’ve learned about myself is that I can meet the challenge,” she said. “You’re meeting people on a day to day basis, and you’re guiding people and you’re listening. So I think one of the things that’s become stronger in me is that I can really listen in a different way than I did before.” #NCSW2019 #sistersofhm #villamariapa

Sr. Paulette Kirschensteiner

Sr. Paulette Kirschensteiner currently serves as the Director of Villa Maria Circle, an HM prayer ministry that began in 1937. Villa Maria Circle was created to include friends, relatives, and benefactors in the sisters’ prayers and also to provide financial assistance for the community.

For a small donation, a person can be enrolled in Villa Maria Circle for a specified period of time or in perpetuity, and enrollees receive prayers during four masses each week and in the daily prayers and works of the HM Sisters. Sr. Paulette has a variety of special occasion cards that can be used to enroll a loved one in Villa Maria Circle.

“I enjoy doing this job,” she said. “I enjoy talking to people on the phone or through email. Villa Maria Circle was founded in 1937 by some of the retired sisters and it’s still going today. Most people are really thankful for the prayers, and I think the need is still there.”

You can visit for more information or to enroll a loved one in Villa Maria Circle.

Sr. Paulette is also one of our sister artists. She taught art for 21 years at a variety of levels, and she now offers workshops and retreats through Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center a few times a year.

“Part of my reasoning behind offering the art workshops and retreats is that I’ve found in doing my own artwork that it’s a very prayerful experience,” Sr. Paulette said. “Doing something with your hands like art, even bread making, cooking, or gardening—things like that really help us access the right part of the brain that for me is the same part where prayer is.” #NCSW2019 #sistersofhm #villamariapa

Sister Paulette

Sr. Joanne Gardner

Sister Joanne Archives

Sr. Joanne Gardner is the Director of Archives and Records Management where she develops and maintains the collection of records that tell the story of the HM Community. The archives is particularly important to the community because the collection goes back to its origins. Primary documents, such as journals and other documents, tell the story from those first 10 years in a way that wouldn’t be possible if they did not exist.

“What’s wonderful, I think, is that we have photographs of the earliest sisters. For whatever reason, as poor as they were, formal photographs were taken. That is a wonderful thing that we have,” said Sr. Joanne. “And Mother Anna’s violin is in need of refurbishment, but to have it, to have copies of her music that she wrote and that she played—that’s priceless.”

Items related to the early history of the community are permanently displayed in the Heritage Room outside the dining room at the Villa. Those display cases include artifacts such as Mother Anna’s violin, examples of lace made by sisters, and other tools used during those early years in the United States.

But what Sr. Joanne enjoys about the archives is when people ask her to provide information about a particular topic or event in community history.

“Researching is what I like most about working the HM Archives,” she said. “When I can go looking and stumble across something that I didn’t know about—that is what excites me.” #NCSW2019 #sistersofhm #villamariapa

Sr. Ann Solma

Sr. Ann Solma has been living and serving in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood for over 20 years. She and Sr. Marie Veres founded Villa Montessori Center, a preschool program based on the Montessori education model, in the late 1990s. After Villa Montessori closed in 2015, Sr. Ann began working with Slavic Village Development (SVD). She currently serves as a senior advocate and collaborates with SVD’s housing stabilization program where she provides outreach to seniors to improve their quality of life. She is also very involved in the neighborhood supporting other projects that help organizations in Slavic Village improve life for all residents.

“One single organization cannot have the dramatic impact that everybody collectively can,” Sr. Ann said. “When you come together as a neighborhood and people work together and you have strong leaders, it’s possible to help raise the quality of education and everything else.” #NCSW2019 #sistersofhm #villamariapa

Sister Ann & SVD Staff

Sr. Colleen Ungashick

Sr. Colleen Ungashick is just one of many HM Sisters who carry on the grand tradition of being sister artists. But in addition to creating her own art, Sr. Colleen is also a registered art therapist and she thought she could use that background to develop a program that would benefit the retired HM Sisters who live at the Villa. So in January 2017, Sr. Colleen began offering art sessions to sisters at the Villa that combined concepts of art therapy, prayer, and relaxation. And the best part is that no previous art experience is necessary to get enjoyment from participating. Sr. Colleen chooses projects that are fun and easy for everyone to do.

“There’s something about making art with other people,” said Sr. Colleen. “It creates a sense of community. It helps to be open to it and not be afraid of it. You don’t have to do something well to make something beautiful. You just have to start and allow something to come forth.” #NCSW2019 #sistersofhm #villamariapa

HM Volunteers & Sisters