Meet the Sisters

Sr. Donna Banfield, SBS

In 2015, Sr. Donna Banfield, SBS, began working with Center Director Ella Williamson on establishing valuable programs and resources as the Youth Health Program Coordinator at the St. Joseph’s/Candler African- American Health Information and Resource Center (AAHIRC) in Savannah, Georgia.

AAHIRC’s primary initiative is to address health matters and concerns of primarily the African American community within Chatham County. Established over a decade ago, the Center conducts health screenings and sponsors events that educate and provide valuable resources for the general public who are restricted by unfortunate circumstances. The center also focuses on promoting healthy lifestyles, enhancing healthcare services and reducing the incidences of health conditions prone to affect many African-Americans. Strategically located in a highly impoverished area, the Center seeks to be a haven of hope for those plagued by persistent poverty. Almost two decades ago, the St. Joseph’s/Candler African-American Health Information and Resource Center (AAHIRC) became the vision of CEO Paul Hinchey as part of the larger Health System’s mission service to the Black Community and general public within Chatham County.

The Center’s mission is “rooted in God’s love, we treat illness and promote wellness for all people.”

Sr. Donna Banfield, SBS, has become a vital member of the center, assisting with Children’s Services such as storytelling hour, professional puppet shows, 4-H Comunity Club and the summer sessions of the Healthy Kids Cooking Camps. Together, with the Center’s Director, Ella Williamson, Sr. Donna helps impact the lives of both children and families through the services and resources that are provided. She has worked as the Youth Health Program Coordinator at the Center since joining them in 2015. Prior to that, Sister Donna served as a Catholic
School Principal.

“As a Catholic School educator for over 30 years, it is always a joy to see the ‘light bulb’ shine when a child grasps a new concept!”

Sr. Nathalee Bryant, SBS

A native of West Philadelphia, Sr. Nathalee Bryant, SBS, became interested in the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament while working with the SBS at St. Ignatius Rectory. Following her graduation from Chestnut Hill College in 1958, Sister entered the novitiate. As a postulant, she was assigned to library with Sr. Guadalupe, which later inspired her to study Library Science at Villanova University. She has served at Xavier University Prep, now known as St. Katharine Drexel Prep, non-consecutively for 23
years, teaching generations of students. Sr. Nathalee has taught religion classes, worked as a substitute teacher and as a librarian. In addition to her responsibilities as a librarian — keeping track of the books, doing library orientations, presenting DVDs; she is also in charge of Channel 1, a nationwide news channel. Sister trains the students in using the equipment and reporting of the local news. Sr. Nathalee also participates in the Archdiocese Mass Choir which entails practice once a month, concerts 2-3 times a month, and she supports the school’s sports teams with her presence at the game/events.

Sr. Christa McGill, SBS

After relocating to Paul’s Run in northeast Philadelphia from working dual duties teaching Sophomores at St. Michael Indian School and serving as Pastoral Life Coordinator at St. Anthony Parish in Many Farms, Arizona, Sr. Christa McGill, SBS
used her contacts within the Philadelphia Archdiocese to locate her new ministry —
a process which only took a mere phone call or two to find. After speaking on the phone and then visiting with Pastor of St. Athanasius Parish, Fr. Joseph Okonski, Sr. Christa agreed to assist their parish school with Faith Enrichment for students from Pre-K through 8th grade. In addition to this, she also assists with RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation of Children) which includes preparation for the Sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. She also facilitates Retreat Days for faculty, staff and Archdiocesan employees. Often, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament must rely upon the charity of others to perform their ministry work. Sr. Christa is most grateful to St. Athanasius School Principal, Ms. Andrea Tomaino, who gives Sr. Christa a ride to and from the school on the two days a week that she is on campus. Faith Enrichment is guided by materials based upon the Sophia Institute for Teachers. It consists of groups of 15-20 students who come to Sr. Christa for approximately 45 minutes twice weekly, somewhat shorter for the younger children. The student population is comprised of approximately 300 black students ranging from African Americans to Haitians, to immigrants from Senegal and Ghana whose parents have chosen to enroll them into Catholic School for their education. There is a wide mix of religious backgrounds which include the following faiths: Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehova Witness, and others, so the focus is a broader Christian based approach to faith — to remain inclusive to all.

“The ministry work I do is God-centered…unifying the best in other people’s faith backgrounds.”

Depending upon the age group, the students view videos, work on word searches, coloring sheets and other materials developed for learning about the Gospel and faith enrichment. All of the students take turns every other week in participating in Adoration in the Church. Sr. Christa is awestruck at how quiet and reverent even the little ones are during this time of reflection and prayer.

Sr. Pat Marshall, SBS

Sr. Pat Marshall has been a lifelong advocate for human rights, and starting in 1981 became the first Director of the Social Justice Office for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She caught the eye of CBS News reporter, Leslie Stahl, and producer Jay Kernis back in 1998 with her work related to social justice and the corporate world, however, it was her lengthy work with ICCR that landed her their 2012 Legacy Award.

ICCR, established 45 years ago, is an interfaith alliance that bands together faith-based communities to promote corporate responsibility through shareholder activism — encouraging companies to act justly not only to their employees, but the workers who produce/create their products. It also challenges companies to be socially conscious in regards to product branding — to not o end groups of people or negatively depict their heritage, and to combat racial and gender discrimination within corporations. Sr. Pat’s work with ICCR since the early 80s has always strived for win-win solutions for both corporations and the people negatively affected by corporate policies.

Sr. Mary Norbert Moline, SBS

Sr. Mary Norbert Moline, SBS, believes that every day should begin with the Power of Prayer — the electricity that flows through each day.
As a member of St. Martin de Porres Parish,
Sr. Norbert joyfully welcomed the invitation to serve the Parish by extending its Ministry of Care and Outreach. The formation of a prayer group that meets regularly has been an awesome experience in bringing Sister and the parishioners together in praise and intercession. The group meets in the Parish Chapel. However, those who can’t come to the Church are not left out — they get to experience outreach in prayer and by phone visitations. Living at Paul’s Run Retirement Community, Sister Norbert makes every day a day of opportunity to share a personal service and/or prayer with someone who can no longer come to Chapel. She assists weekly serving as a minister of the Eucharist, and also enjoys helping in the monthly preparation of meals for the homeless, and for women and children living in a shelter.

Sr. Rita Radloff, SBS

St. Peter Claver Catholic School just celebrated its 95th Anniversary, however,
like most Catholic Schools located within low income areas it struggles to keep its doors open, and remains in debt. That is just one
of many reasons why Sr. Rita Radloff ’s presence at the school is greatly valued. Normally, resources such as tutors and Reading Specialists would not be available to the students due to budget cuts. Sister Rita’s ministry provides reading assistance with grades K-7, every day for approximately 4 hrs. each day. The groups she meets with are small to provide more individualized attention to the needs of each student within a group setting. In addition, she also works with the teachers to enhance the learning experience of the students in their classroom, and provides other areas of general support, as needed. One of those is helping to mend the Kinta vests worn by
the students.

“People call on us ‘to do the little things.’

Sr. Rita has an extensive background in education. She formerly taught in St. Louis, MO, and served as a Principal in Lake Charles, LA; Chicago, IL and Birmingham, AL. She joined the novitiate of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1956, after high school. She initially entered with the intention of being a social worker and to work on a reservation with Native Americans, however, she was guided towards education. In addition to her position at the school, Sr. Rita assists a blind woman on Saturdays, and is a driver for a Sister at the Holy Family Community.

Sr. Margaret Sullivan, SBS

When Sr. Margaret Sullivan, SBS, was preparing to move to Philadelphia from Birmingham, AL, she took to the internet in search of a place in which she could contribute hands-on ministry work. That is where she first discovered St. Francis Inn Ministries, an organization providing services to residents and homeless individuals in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. It was founded by two Franciscan Friars in December 1979 to respond to the current needs of the poor. Today, they provide multiple services: daily meals through St. Francis Inn and its generous benefactors; and other basic essentials are available at the Thrift Store; education and support to end the cycle of poverty provided through the St. Francis Urban Center, and a safe haven for women dealing with abuse, addiction and poverty is provided at the Thea Bowman Women’s Center. These services are provided with dignity and respect for those in which they serve.

“St. Francis Inn offers a listening ear and a helping hand in a nonjudgmental environment, assisting the guests (not called clients) to help themselves to use this opportunity for bettering their life in Kensington.”

A driver picks up Sr. Margaret so that she can volunteer her time once a week to assist at the Inn distributing meals to the guests, many of whom offer blessings back to her and other volunteers for their service and kindness. She noted that there is a sign that appears on the inside of the front door reminding all that Jesus is at the door...what a loving reminder of treating others as you would treat God.