SBS Special Features
The SBS Special Features page highlights noteworthy information about our mission,
ministries, and recognition received by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament &
Associates for their work to effect unity and community among all peoples.
Bensalem Township Dedicates Bench to the SBS
Bensalem Township Public Safety Director, Fred Harran joined Mayor Joe DiGirolamo to dedicate a bench in honor of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (SBS). Members of Build a Better Bensalem Together Committee were also present as the bench was unveiled to some of the Sisters and their leadership representatives on June 3, 2019. A small luncheon followed the presentation.
Mayor Joe DiGirolamo reflected upon how much the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament have meant to the city, not only by their living within the area for over a century, but also the ways in the which the Sisters participated at meetings, events and in collaborative efforts to improve the community.
Below: Sr. Rosita Shiosee enthusiastically cheers as the bench is unveiled to some of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.
Sr. Pat Downs, SBS, who served on the Building a Better Bensalem Together coalition for many years worked collaboratively with city officials and committee members to bring unity and tolerance among different faith groups within Bensalem by giving residents and others the opportunity to observe and participate in the various religious services during Unity Week honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. This community organization also planned and organized various events throughout the community as part of its mission to reduce substance abuse and other adolescent problems.
Pictured far right: Sr. Pat Downs who served on the Building a Better Bensalem Together committee for many years, expresses gratitude to the committee members and Bensalem Township council members for the honor given to the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.
Mayor DiGirolamo noted that over the years, the Mission Center at the National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel was the site of many city meetings and events. As the director of the National Shrine, Sr. Pat and her staff worked with the township to facilitate those meetings and events.
The bench was chosen to honor the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and serve as a permanent reminder to all residents of Bensalem the important role that the SBS have held within the community. It will permanently reside in the area surrounding the township amphitheater, the public site of summer concerts and other events.
On the upper back rest area of the bench, a quote by Robby Novack is inscribed on a small plaque. It’s message is one that has become synonymous with the SBS for their dedication to social justice for all…“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a Somebody.”
The bench ensures that a part of St. Katharine Drexel and the SBS’s legacy will permanently be preserved in Bensalem. Bensalem Township Public Safety Director, Fred Harran, stated during the bench presentation to the Sisters, “Regardless of where you are located, you will always be with us.” Just another example of St. Katharine Drexel and the legacy of her Sisters being preserved for future generations.
Special thanks to police officer Muller who escorted some of our Sisters from Paul’s Run to the event and saw to their safe return home.
You can view the photo album on our Facebook page at this link.
Sr. Christine Smith, SBS,
Receives Robert L. Ruffin Award
Entering the novitiate of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1963 and later taking her vow of commitment in 1966, Sr. Christine Smith, SBS, was just at the beginning of her journey of following Jesus to work for justice within the Black and Indian communities. That lifelong journey has lead her to ministries in Louisiana, Alabama, Washington, D.C., Georgia, New Mexico, New York and finally Boston, where she received well-deserved recognition for her multiple ministries of community outreach and evangelization within the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.
Sr. Christine is one very busy woman with a fire of the Eucharist in her heart. Sister’s dedication to that “total gift of self” ministry of the SBS has lead her to visit the sick and shut-ins at homes, nursing care facilities and hospitals as the Pastoral Associate at both St. Patrick and St. Katharine Drexel parishes. Some other responsibilities assigned to her Pastoral Ministry work include directing RCIA and conducting Bible Study prayer groups. As if that is not keeping her schedule busy enough, Sr. Christine’s weekly ministries in Social Services at St. Patrick Senior Club (TWL) and St. Katharine Drexel Senior Club include assisting with guest speakers, cultural and entertainment trips and monthly health care screenings. She also participates in weekly gatherings in the Cyber Cafe with Emmanuel College Students and edits a column in the weekly bulletin entitled “Living the Liturgical Year with the words of Sr. K.D.”
Still amazingly, Sr. Christine sets time aside in her busy schedule to provide community outreach as a member of the Mount Pleasant Avenue, Vine and Forest St. Association. She has even been known to stand on local street corners with a placard in 3 languages reading…Catholic Church! God Loves You! Come Back! — keeping evangelization alive within her community. She also makes her religious presence known through the rosary and prayer as well as walking and talking with others throughout the neighborhood.
It is no wonder why she was selected to receive the Robert L. Ruffin Award at the 24th Annual Bishop James Augustine Healy Award Dinner for her “selfless sacrifice, creative vision and significant service to the Black Catholic community.” Some of her fellow Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament attended the event with her including SBS Vice President, Sr. Jane Nesmith, who gave the formal introduction at the awards presentation held on Nov. 18, 2017 in Massachusetts. Sister and the other award recipients, Sr. Joyce McMullen and Tchintcia Barro, have truly “fostered educational opportunities, demonstrated strong personal faith and compassion, and have reflected in their lives active concern for the unity of the Church”, some of the criteria required to received the award recognition.
Congratulations to Sr. Christine Smith, SBS! Be blessed as you continue to keep the charism of St. Katharine alive through your fruitful ministries. To view all of these photos, visit the album on our SBS Facebook page by clicking here.
Three SBS Recognized at Xavier University Founder’s Day Convocation Ceremony in New Orleans
Long-time biology professor and athletic faculty representative,
Sr. Grace Mary Flickinger, S.B.S. (center); Xavier President, Dr. Reynold Verret (left); and President Emeritus, Dr. Norman C. Francis ’52 (right) during the annual Founder’s Day Convocation honoring Sr. Grace Mary for her 50 years of service to the University. Sr. Grace Mary was awarded Professor Emerita status by XULA at the ceremony on October 10, 2017. Sister Grace Mary has recently retired to live out her ministry at Paul’s Run in northeast Philadelphia.
Also honored at the Xavier University Convocation Ceremony were two other Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament who have reached milestones in their teaching ministry at the school. Sr. Jean Marie Craig, SBS, marked her 35th year teaching Physical Education and working as an Associate Professor of the Division of Education & Counseling. Sister Jean Marie also celebrated her 12th year as the Director of Student Teachers. Fellow Sister, Sr. Donna Gould, SBS, was recognized for 20+ years in Academics as an English professor at the University (29, to be exact).
Congratulations to all three of these Sisters on receiving recognition for reaching these milestones, as well as for their hard work and dedication to providing excellence in education. We applaud your efforts!
NAACP Golden Feather Recognition
On Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, the NAACP Bucks County Branch #2253 acknowledged St. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed with the Pioneer Award for 2017 for being “one who goes before, showing others the way to follow” and for the many distinguished contributions made throughout the years. U.S. House Representative for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Gene DiGirolamo presented this citation,“…Throughout its history, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament has made inestimable contributions to the welfare of society through a sense of fellowship and through its programs, which are designed to enhance the quality for all. A succession of dedicated leaders and members has made this possible, keeping ever mindful of noble maxims of the organization.” State Senator, Robert Tomlinson, gave congratulations and recognition to the SBS for their “adherence to the highest standards of service which contribute in a meaningful way toward a better and more productive society.”
The Sisters also received a U.S. flag flown over the U.S. Capitol presented by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick in recognition of achieving the NAACP Pioneer Award. Sr. Jane Nesmith and Sr. Patricia Downs represented the SBS in accepting the flag, the Pioneer Award, and the citations at the 66th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet hosted at Parx East. During Sr. Jane’s acceptance speech, she reminded the attendees of the importance of the words of St. Katharine Drexel to “have a cordial respect for others in heart and mind; if there is any prejudice in the mind we must uproot it, or it will pull us down.”
Special congratulations to Joyce Hadley who was one of the Community Service Award Honorees. Joyce has a lengthy history of service throughout Bucks County and is a Life Member of the NAACP, where she has formerly served as Secretary and Vice President of the Bucks County Branch. Joyce is the Assistant Director of the Associates of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (ASBS), serves on the Social Justice Committee for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (SBS), and has been honored with many other awards for her community service. Congratulations, Joyce, on a well-deserved honor.