Our St. Mary’s Pallottine Community, Huntington, as well as all of our USA communities, had been preparing for Sr. Izabela Swierad, Superior General’s visit for weeks. The lovely prayer composed by Sr. Francesca Lowis was prayed daily by the Community, until her arrival. We were expecting Sr. Izabela to arrive on Sunday, July 14th. However she surprised us by coming one day earlier. Sr. Mary Grace Barile, our Provincial Superior accompanied her from Buckhannon. Our small Community (Srs. Mary Terence Wall, Elisabeth Heptner, Angela Madera, and Joanne Obrochta) greeted her at our supper meal. It was a great joy to see her again.
The week-end was spent in sharing news from other houses and countries. We were updated on the sisters we knew; especially those that Sr. Elisabeth Heptner knew and worked with.
Sr. Izabela’s visit was a continuously busy one. She met with each sister individually, giving her all the time she wanted. She also made several walking trips to visit each sister in the Infirmary. Later in the week, Sr. Mary Grace accompanied her to St. Louis, by car, to visit the Renewal Center to meet the Director, Ms. Marillyn Webb and tour the facility for a day. Sister was pleased with all she saw and learned on that visit. On her return, there were many other visits with personnel associated with our apostolates. Sr. Izabela met with the three Hospital CEO’s; Mountain Health Network President and CEO Mr. Michael Mullins, St. Mary’s Medical Center President and CEO Mr. Todd Campbell, and Cabell Huntington Hospital President and CEO Mr. Kevin Fowler. During her time with these leaders, sister was pleased, encouraged and had a feeling of peace as she heard of their dedication to keeping, as the acquired Medical Center, our Mission and Values alive, as the institutions of Mountain Health Network serve the people of the Tri-State area.
On Monday, July 22, Sr. Izabela met with the local Community, including the Infirmary sisters that were able to come to the convent. We met in the convent parlor, beginning the meeting with the prayer used specifically for the success of the visit. Sr. Izabela gave a general summary of her visit, which included suggestions, spiritual encouragement and positive insights for us. She also shared slides and pictures of sisters in different missions, as well as showing a history of the Pallottine Missionaries and the Roman Pallottines. We enjoyed her stories. Afterwards, we had lunch and concluded the day with picture taking.
The visit came to a close Tuesday, July 23rd, as Sr. Izabela left for Laurel with Sr. Mary Grace and Sr. Mary Terence, for more meetings and then farewells. During Sr. Izabela’s last few days in Laurel, Fr. Frank Donio, SAC visited also the sisters of our Laurel community.
We felt enriched by her visit, as she instilled hope for our future. Knowing our aging community, we felt the enthusiasm of positive growth and of deeper commitment to our apostolate, ourselves, and our future. We thank and appreciate Sr. Izabela for her enriching visit with us. We felt the enlightenment and blessings of a wonderful visit.
Sr. Joanne Obrochta SAC