On Saturday, June 30, 2018, the Sisters of St. Basil the Great gathered to honor eight of their own, a celebratory event recognizing 55, 60, and 65 year anniversaries of monastic life:
- Sister Olga Marie Faryna (55 years)
- Sister Francis Bukaczyk (55 years)
- Sister Rose Ann Bukaczyk (55 years)
- Sister Joann Sosler (60 years)
- Sister Genevieve Kotyk (60 years)
- Sister Maria Gerard Jessup (60 years)
- Sister Marie Francis Walchonsky (65 years)
- Sister Elizabeth Bertoldi (65 years)
The celebration began at the Holy Trinity Chapel with Msgr. Peter Waslo, the Sisters’ chaplain, and Father Edward Higgins concelebrating a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving. Following the Liturgy, the jubilarians were feted at a festive dinner during which Provincial Superior Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski thanked all of them for their decades of dedicated service to the Church, the community, and the world beyond. She cited Christ’s invitation to the apostles: “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of people,” elaborating on this theme by personalizing it as it applied to each jubilarian, thanking them collectively and individually, citing personal moments from their respective life journeys: “65, 60 and 55 years ago Sisters Olga Marie, Francis, Rose Anna, Genevieve, Joann, Maria Gerard, Marie Francis, Elizabeth, you heeded that call, pulled anchor and set sail.”
Sister Olga Marie (aka Sr. Anastasia), a native of Philadelphia, PA entered fifty-five years ago. Sister served in parishes in Auburn, NY, Parma, OH, Chicago, ILL and Philadelphia PA. In each instance she laid a foundation in Basilian and Ukrainian Catholic spirituality whether as teacher, prefect, catechist, mentor to Associates, or outreach to the elderly and the immigrant. In all instances she is a reminder of God’s presence among us. Sister is currently missioned to the Pastoral Ministry Office of the Parma Eparchy and resides in Ambridge, PA.
Sister Francis Bukaczyk, leaving home and family, joined with the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great in Christ the King Province in Argentina fifty-five years ago. Transferring to Jesus, Lover of Humanity Province in Philadelphia in 1985 Sister Francis has served in diverse places as a religion teacher. Sister’s assignments in Pennsylvania included Northhampton, Chester and Olyphant. She also taught in Parma, OH, Newark, NJ, and Chicago, IL. Sister truly loves the children she teaches and the feelings are returned by each child.
Sister Rose Ann Bukaczyk (aka Sr. Ivanna), responded to Christ’s call to follow Him first in Argentina, where she was born, and then in the United States of America. Since her transfer from Christ the King Province, her teaching career led her to Syracuse, NY, Parma, OH, Chester, PA, Olyphant, PA, Northampton, PA, Chicago, IL, New York and finally to Hamtramck, MI. In Michigan sister teaches at Immaculate Conception School in Warren, MI, as well as preparing children in the parish for first confession. Faithfully, Sister Rose Anna has carried out the mission of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great in each of her assignments.
Sister Genevieve, left Iowa and ventured to Fox Chase to enter the postulancy in 1958. In her sixty years as a religious her ministries have been diverse. She has served as a teacher, as a companion to sisters in Chesapeake, in the care for the orphans at Saint Basil Orphanage in Philadelphia. Sister has the wonderful ability of remembering others with cards, wishes and gifts. Her kindness and generosity is extended in a quiet, unobtrusive way as she extends a praying, healing life-giving presence. Sister now resides at the Motherhouse in Fox Chase extending a true Basilian hospitality as a receptionist.
Sister Joann (aka Sr. Martin) left Hamtramck, MI sixty year ago to take up residence with the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great in Fox Chase. Sister is never afraid to pull up anchor and travel through unchartered waters. Her service has been in so many spheres. Not only knowledgeable about finances. but most admirably her curiosity and love of the Order has led her into service in all levels of formation: vocation, pre-entrance, initial and on-going. Prior to her assignment to Fox Chase Sister was principal and taught at St. George Academy in New York City. Prior to that assignment Sister served in Newark, Northampton and Chester. Sister has also completed the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program.
Sister Maria Gerard, a native of Troy, New York, joined with the sisters in Philadelphia in 1958. Her sixty years of dedicated service included parishes in New York City, Parma, and Chicago. In each place she exemplified a ministry of compassion and love teaching the little ones about the love of God. The students, others she has touched are richer for her loving dedication, prayers and love. Sister currently prepares children for first confession at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Chicago as well as moderator of St. Nicholas School Sodality.
Sister Marie Francis departed from Centralia, PA leaving her mom and sister to begin a new life as a Basilian Religious. Sister has served in many capacities as teacher and principal at parishes in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Auburn and Hamtramck. Upon being assigned to Manor College in 1985 she took on the responsibilities as Dean of Students and Director of Security. Sister has also served on Province administration as a Provincial Councilor. Sister conscientiously carries out her responsibilities teacher, principal, provincial councilor. She brings inspiration and affirmation to her new responsibilities as part of the Motherhouse Team.
Sister Elizabeth (aka Sr. Thomas) wound her way from Mt. Carmel to Fox Chase to begin her service to the Lord. She has served in community positions as provincial councilor, coordinator of the Motherhouse, Associate Director and Treasurer. Sister served on the diocesan level in three eparchies (Philadelphia, Stamford and Parma) as teacher, principal and as pastoral minister. Sister was a trailblazer in the beginnings of the Basilian Pastoral Ministry Team in Pittsburgh. For six years Sister served as General Treasurer and House Superior in Rome. Sister is a person with a mission that includes witness and proclamation, worship, prayer and contemplation.
All of their lives have been one continuous call to follow Jesus as a praying, healing, life-giving presence. So many have been enriched by their presence as one in community, one in service and one in love. We pray that God will continue the work He has begun in each of them. God bless our sisters with many happy years. Mnohaya I blahaya Lita!
Sr. Ann Laszok, OSBM