SSJ-TOSF Sisters Celebrate Jubilees

This article was posted on: May 2, 2018

STEVENS POINT – The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis will celebrate Jubilees on May 26 at the St. Joseph Convent. This includes four sisters who currently reside at the Motherhouse. They are:

Sister Frances Jerzak is celebrating 75 years. She taught for here first five years in community before attending Marymount Hospital School for Medical Records in Garfield Heights, OH, and a clinical pastoral education program at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Paul, MN. She managed the medical record department and admissions at River Pines Sanatorium in Stevens Point; Divine Infant Hospital in Wakefield, MI; St. Joseph Home and Hospital; Marian Catholic Home, Milwaukee; and was office manager at a psychotherapy clinic before retiring to the St. Joseph Motherhouse in Stevens Point, where she is chauffeuring sisters to appointments and running other errands. She also served as provincial secretary of the St. Joseph Province Leadership Team and as coordinator of personal services at the St. Joseph Motherhouse.

Sister Loretta (Mary Helen) Zelewski, who is celebrating 75 years as a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, sees gratitude as being very important in life. “I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had working with the poor, elderly and others,” she says. Sister Loretta served as a homemaker and pastoral worker at missions in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Puerto Rico. In Wisconsin, this included convents in Milwaukee, Beaver Dam, Menasha and Wausau. She also worked in the kitchen at St. Joseph Convent (the Motherhouse) in Stevens Point. From 1963 to 1971 and from 1973 to 1984, she was helping parishes, schools and sisters at two missions in Puerto Rico. She says the highlight of her 75-year ministry was “visiting the sick, the shut-ins and the lonely – bringing them Jesus, joy and hope.” Today Sister Loretta is retired and “serving wherever needed” at the St. Joseph Motherhouse in Stevens Point.

Sister Alice Trebatoski, who celebrates 70 years with the Sisters of St. Joseph, Third Order of St. Francis, has had a varied ministry ranging from teaching to starting new projects, many of which reshaped her religious community. A Stevens Point native, her family moved to Milwaukee, where she graduated from St. Mary Academy in 1947 and she the community a year later. Her teaching ministry included stops in Duluth, MN, Stevens Point, Stanley and Milwaukee while she earned degrees in biology. In 1958, she returned to teach at the newly-opened Maria High School. In 1964, she returned to Notre Dame University in South Bend, IN, at the invitation of the biology department.

As a member of SSJ-TOSF committees and leadership, Sister Alice was involved in changing and shaping the community after Vatican II. This included working on the community’s Self Study and Evaluation, which led to the sisters looking at community life and ministry in different ways. She joined four others to live and work in a poor neighborhood in Bronx, NY. She taught biology at Pace University. In 1973, she moved to Chicago and helped start Prologue, an alternative high school for dropouts. After serving in the SSJ-TOSF leadership, she worked in fund development at the Spanish Center Centro de la Comunica Unida in Milwaukee. She retired in 2006 and lives at St. Joseph convent in Stevens Point.

Sister Barbara Jean Peplinski is celebrating 70 years with the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. When she applied to the Sisters in 1945, she said her reason was simply “To serve God in a better way.” She has been doing that for 70 years as a student, teacher, principal, organist, superior, provincial secretary, novice directress, health care worker and pastoral care worker. Today, she is retired and helps out at the Motherhouse in Stevens Point as needed.

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