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59th Lourdes Commencement announced

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Clyde S. Scoles

On Saturday, May 13, Lourdes University President Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D., will confer bachelor and master’s degrees during the 59th commencement exercises. Clyde S. Scoles, Director of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, will provide the commencement address. Receiving honorary doctoral degrees this year are Mr. Scoles and the late John F. Meier, retired CEO of Libbey, Inc.

Lourdes University’s commencement ceremony occurs at the SeaGate Convention Centre. Prior to the ceremony, the Baccalaureate Mass takes place at 10 a.m. in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel on the campus grounds at 6832 Convent Blvd., in Sylvania. The presider for Baccalaureate is Rev. Robert J. Wilhelm.

Both events are free and open to the public. For information about Lourdes University’s baccalaureate mass and commencement ceremonies, visit

Clyde S. Scoles
Doctor of Letters, honoris causa
Dedicating his career to championing Ohio libraries, Clyde S. Scoles has served as the Toledo Lucas County Public Library Director since 1985. He recently received the prestigious Ohio Library Council 2016 Hall of Fame Librarian Award for his lifetime of service and visionary reimagining of the library as an engaged, community-created asset.

Mr. Scoles’ previous leadership roles were with the Columbus Metropolitan and Zanesville libraries, the Ohio Legislative Reference Bureau in the Statehouse, the American Library Association, the Ohio Library Council and OHIONET, Inc. A Past Director/Trustee, Treasurer and President of the Council of Bibliographic and Information Technologies (CoBIT) in Columbus, he is a member and former judge of the American Institute of Architects/American Library Association for Library Building Awards, and serves on the Advisory Board of Wayne State University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

An author of several articles and publications in professional journals, Mr. Scoles received the Outstanding Service Humanitarian Award from the Toledo Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa and was named one of twelve Men of the Year recipients from the Zanesville Jaycees.

His education includes a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. A lifelong learner, Mr. Scoles has led the Toledo Lucas County Public Library into the future by continually investing in new technologies and resources which keep the library a relevant and vital institution.

John F. Meier
Doctor of Business, honoris causa
A respected business professional, John F. Meier made his mark locally, nationally and worldwide. From 1993 until his retirement in 2011, he served as Chairman and CEO of Libbey Inc., the largest manufacturer and marketer of glass tableware in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world. Joining Libbey in 1970, his early career assignments were in the field of marketing and sales management. He assumed leadership of the company in 1990 and in 1993, led Libbey’s IPO process and became Chairman and CEO.

Possessing broad international business experience, Mr. Meier served in Belgium as the marketing and sales manager of a foreign subsidiary of Libbey from 1974 to 1979. His resume also included a number of international initiatives including the acquisition and divestiture of Libbey Canada and the creation of Libbey’s joint venture in Mexico – Crisa – which became a 100% wholly owned subsidiary in 2006.

His acquisition and divestiture experience included businesses in Belgium, Canada, England and Japan, countries where he also served as a Board of Directors. Throughout his career, Mr. Meier worked on international trade matters in our nation’s capital, most notably concerning the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) proceedings. Additionally, he had extensive experience with regulatory agencies including the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Prior to his death, Mr. Meier served on Lourdes University’s President’s Advisory Council, the Board of Directors of Applied Industrial Technologies and Cooper Tire and Rubber Co., and was an emeritus board member of his alma mater Wittenberg University. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from Bowling Green State University.

‘The Sultan and the Saint’ documentary showing planned

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

The Sylvania Franciscan Village, the United Muslim Association of Toledo and the Franciscan Action Network are sponsoring the Toledo premiere of the documentary :

“The Sultan and the Saint”
on Sunday, March 19
4:30 p.m.
in the Franciscan Center of Lourdes University
6832 Convent Blvd.
Sylvania, OH

A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons, the documentary presented by Unity Productions Foundation details the story of Muslim-Christian Peace. During the Crusades, Saint Francis of Assisi risked his life by walking across enemy lines to meet the Sultan of Egypt, the Muslim ruler Al-Malik al-Kamil. This remarkable encounter and the commitment to peace of the two men behind it sucked the venom out of the Crusades and changed the relationship between Muslims and Christians for the better. This amazing story is brought to life with dramatic reenactments and renowned scholarship. Scholars interviewed include Michael Cusato of St. Bonaventure University; Sr. Kathy Warren, Sisters of St. Francis; Suleiman Mourad, Smith College; Homayra Ziad, Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies; Paul Moses, The Saint and the Sultan and others.

Although the event is free and open to the public,
reservations are encouraged.

RSVP at:

The film is recommended for adults and children 12 and older.
For more information about the documentary showing, contact Sophia Lloyd, director of the Sylvania Franciscan Village
or 419-824-3533
Dr. M.Y. Ahmed
or 419-350-0115.

To learn more, visit:

Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center expands to adjoining space

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Jackie Moore gets a helping hand with the coffee pot from Tracy Wilson.

In less than two years, Jackie Moore and her husband, Michael, have achieved another milestone as they expand the TBIRC to include the space next to the center. “We have known we needed more space since the center opened,” Moore reported. “So we were delighted when this space next to us became available. We have big plans for each of the three rooms we will be adding.” Of the many possible programs Moore is looking to add, she is most enthusiastic about a nutrition program.

“Many with TBI, including me, lose their appetite and forget to eat and drink. The brain needs protein and hydration to function so we need to offer visual and tangible ways to help TBI participants to develop healthy eating habits. This is just one example of what we can do in our every day lives to further our recovery,” Moore related.

According to Moore, the new space will allow participants a place to make the no-sew fleece comfort blankets and do other crafting projects. There will also be a space for classes and support groups to meet, and even a multi media room along with a quiet room, which is so important for participants according to Moore. “This new space will also be used for our speech groups and offers us the opportunity to have an educational room where we can do ‘lunch and learn’ programs and presentations. We can have a recreational area with enough room for our two Wii games and a place to play corn hole. We will also have dinner and movie nights.”

“This additional space will allow us to use our present space for greeting new participants, taking care of administrative duties, to house our resource library and more,” noted Tracy Wilson who serves as Moore’s administrative assistant

Wilson also serves as a caretaker for her husband who suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident two years ago. “She knows how to talk with and work with people with TBIs. She also complements me and what I do. She is very good at all those thing I need help with and we make a great team,” Moore explained.

“This is such a wonderful place,” Wilson said. “People who come here soon learn this is a judgment-free area. People are accepted for where they are.” People can enjoy support groups, speech, cognitive and memory groups and crafting opportunities. There are also educational seminars for healthcare professionals, students, survivors and caregivers.

“We started the center so that people who are survivors of traumatic brain injury, and their caregivers, have a safe place to go. We also serve as a resource center providing people with the kind of help they need,” Moore said. “There is no judgment here. We work as a team and everyone helps each other.”

According to Moore, people receive support, art and music therapy, nutrition assistance, counseling, help with paperwork, yoga classes, information about clinical trials, rehabilitation, crafts and much more. “We even have presentations by professionals pertaining to traumatic brain injury.”

Moore, who suffered a traumatic brain injury due to an auto accident, cannot read or write and requires constant supervision. “After my injury, there was no information readily available and no support available. My husband, Michael, has been wonderful, helping me to put together all of this information so that we can share it with others who are in this same situation,” Moore said. “We are compiling quite a library for survivors and caregivers.

Participants come to the center during the week to hang out or to take part in some activity from making no-sew fleece comfort blankets and other activities. Scheduled speech, cognitive and memory groups and support groups meet regularly

Moore credits the generosity of the community with the center and all of its furnishings. “We have been extremely blessed to have the center and to receive so many donations and items to furnish it and make it work,” she stated.

In addition to the help the center has received from community donations, Moore and Wilson are hosting a fundraiser:
“In An Instant”
at the Pinnacle
March 11
featuring guest speaker Lee Woodruff, best-selling author, speaker and caregiver to her husband, Bob Woodruff, a TBI survivor and ABC TV anchor.

Registration is from 4-5 p.m. with appetizers, books signing and viewing the live auction item.
The program begins at 5 pm.
with dinner at 5:25 p.m.
The Woodruff speech at 6:15 p.m.
Followed by the live auction at 7:30 p.m.

Proceeds benefit the Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center and tickets are available online at


Lourdes to offer eSports scholarship

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff


Lourdes University has expanded its Gray Wolves collegiate program to include eSports. A member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the school will be the first in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference to offer an eSports scholarship program.

“The addition of an eSports program promotes a holistic approach to collegiate athletics. As a liberal arts institution, we value and recognize the important aptitude and skills these students will bring to Lourdes University. Competitive video gaming requires students to possess excellent critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills – which are transferable to their academic pursuits. In addition, these individuals must follow a strong fitness regimen and have a healthy mind and spirit,” said President Mary Ann Gawelek.

Cory Cahill, assistant Men’s and Women’s Gray Wolves Volleyball Coach, is directing the eSports program. A former competitive gamer, his success in this popular and emerging sport helped pay for his college education.

Lourdes University is currently recruiting a part-time coach who will seek talented video gamers who have competed nationally and internationally in the high school and/or collegiate arena.  The Gray Wolves eSports students will compete in two leagues – the National Association of Collegiate eSports and the Collegiate StarLeague.

As a Catholic and Franciscan University, Lourdes eSports student-athletes will focus on competitive video gaming without participating in any video gaming programs that feature first-person shooting. Lourdes President Dr. Gawelek emphasizes that this type of video gaming does not add any specific skill that is applicable to an individual’s academic studies.

The Lourdes University eSports Gray Wolves teams will play in the new Gaming Arena located in the rec center on campus. Non-student athletes will enjoy a new Gaming Room designed for recreational gamers and those affiliated with the university’s Gaming Society student organization.

High school and college students interested in competing on the inaugural Lourdes University eSports teams can visit:

or contact:
Cahill at
or 800-878-3210, ext. 8945.

Lourdes’ nurse anesthesia students gain clinical experience in the nurse anesthesia learning laboratory on campus

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Nurse Anesthesia Program Director, Dawn AuBuchon, MS, CRNA, and Nurse Anesthesia Program Assistant Director, Howard Brown, MSN, CRNA, look on as students Mike Jablonski, Jackie Harris, Caitlin Overbaugh, Alisha Goedde and Elizabeth Charronlearn to intubate their ‘patient.’


Roz Harrison operates the mechanism to enact the ‘puking patient’ stimulation for students David Wilcox, Aaron Collins, Elias Epie, Shekira Williams and Kelly Studer.

Roz Harrison operates the mechanism to enact the ‘puking patient’ stimulation for students David Wilcox, Aaron Collins, Elias Epie, Shekira Williams and Kelly Studer.


Students Lyzee Vadecaveye and Amanda Warner, left and Ciara Lozano and Amber Kenney, right, watch as Richard Peiffer works with a ‘patient.’

Students Lyzee Vadecaveye and Amanda Warner, left and Ciara Lozano and Amber Kenney, right, watch as Richard Peiffer works with a ‘patient.’

As the fourth cohort gets ready to graduate after completing its 28-month study, the sixth cohort of the Lourdes University Nurse Anesthesia program is well into its first phase of the program. The 15 students spend most of their time in the classroom, however, each Monday they are in the Lourdes nurse anesthesia learning lab for three hours working with a group of human patient simulators or high fidelity manikins to develop skills prior to their clinical experiences. A favorite session of the faculty and students is titled the “puking patient,” requiring students to react quickly to what could be a very critical situation.

“Our students are exposed to a variety of experiences that prepare them for real life situations they will find as they move into their clinical experiences,” noted Dawn AuBuchon, MS, CRNA, Nurse Anesthesia Program Director. Students begin rotating to one of the 15 different off-campus clinical sites beginning their second semester. The classroom and clinical experiences are integrated to offer students the opportunity to apply the theory they learn into actual practice. While the clinical experience increases, classroom instruction continues throughout the program.

“This is a very intense program and extracurricular employment is highly discouraged. Students spend approximately 60 hours per week in training for the entire 28 months,” AuBuchon pointed out. She said students who complete the program have experienced well over 2,000 clinical hours and have been involved in over 800 cases. “Our students are well trained and have no trouble finding a job. Our students have had 100% employment before graduating from the program. Many students have gone on to work in CRNA only practice, which is a type of practice allowing them to function in the capacity for what they are fully trained to do as nurse anesthetists. CRNAs can run their own businesses and contract with hospitals or can be hired by hospitals and other health care facilities,” she reported.

“Those who are accepted into the program must exhibit a high level of responsibility and a dedication to their patients and their career,” she noted.

In addition to the didactic and clinical training, AuBuchon said a top priority of the program is to help students learn self-care and wellness. “This is a very intense program, and it is important for students to find a balance with school, family, and their own needs in order to achieve a well-rounded career. This is why we developed a Wellness Program in fall of 2014. The wellness program has been one aspect of the program students love. Three times a year we plan group activities. One of the activities includes the students’ families as well,” AuBuchon said.

The program is for nurses who have a foundation of quality nursing practice, critical thinking, leadership, diversity, and a holistic nursing philosophy.

AuBuchon is currently working toward obtaining her Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree. She said there are plans for Lourdes to offer a BSN to DNP program to begin in 2022 with its first graduates in 2025.

Lourdes University MBA students set for Dubai immersion

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Front row, L-R: Ivonne Mendoza, Monica Morales and Kara Thomas. Second row: Haley MacRitchie. Third row, L-R: Willie Eaton, Dr. Patricia O’Connell and Aretha Gilmer. Fourth row, L-R: Xavien Cohen, Lance Sheard and Antoinette Allen. Fifth row: Andrew Brock. Final row, L-R: Gregory O’Shea, Jonathan Farrell, Zach Steinmetz, and visiting Assistant Professor William Keller, MBA.

Front row, L-R: Ivonne Mendoza, Monica Morales and Kara Thomas. Second row: Haley MacRitchie. Third row, L-R: Willie Eaton, Dr. Patricia O’Connell and Aretha Gilmer. Fourth row, L-R: Xavien Cohen, Lance Sheard and Antoinette Allen. Fifth row: Andrew Brock. Final row, L-R: Gregory O’Shea, Jonathan Farrell, Zach Steinmetz, and visiting Assistant Professor William Keller, MBA.

Dr. Patricia O’Connell, Lourdes University College of Business and Leadership professor, will travel on a global immersion tour with 13 students enrolled in the Master of Business Administration degree program to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. During the eight-day immersion, students will tour and meet with business executives as well as experience the region’s culture and traditions.

Sylvania residents Xavien Cohen and Haley MacRitchie are two of the MBA candidates who will depart Jan. 1 and return Jan. 9. This marks the seventh international immersion for MBA and Master of Organizational Leadership students. To date, the graduate program has offered immersions on four continents. Previous graduate cohorts have studied business, economy and culture in Brazil, China, England, Italy and South Africa.

MBA student Monica Morales has arranged a corporate connection with international colleagues. The Inside Sales specialist at Schindler Elevator in Holland, Ohio, worked with management to arrange a group tour for herself and fellow MBA candidates at the company’s headquarters in Dubai. In addition, Ms. Morales is excited to travel internationally for the first time and to meet and interact with other businesswomen. “It is my understanding that in Dubai, business women are quite accomplished and respected. The immersion offers me the opportunity to learn more firsthand and to see how other cultures conduct business overall,” said Ms. Morales.

Fellow MBA student Gregory O’Shea works as a quality intern at Pilkington North America, Inc. In that position, he regularly collaborates with engineers and supervisors in the U.S. and the United Kingdom to perform quality testing on production samples, maintain laboratory hardware and software, and generate regular quality reports.

The Dubai experience is even more special to MBA student Jonathan Farrell who has never flown. Owner of JF Landscaping, he currently serves as a marketing assistant intern and project manager at Interface Performance Materials, Inc. In this role, he works directly alongside the executive sales-leadership team handling sales projections, marketing communications and market expansion projects. “In our MBA program, we’ve learned that Dubai has a specific business culture. It is more laidback with less hierarchy and a mutual respect for everyone,” adds Mr. Farrell.

Many of the MBA students are excited to view all of Dubai’s architecture – from ultra-modern, to minimalist and classic design. This hub of the modern Middle East offers an eclectic landscape. In preparation for the immersion, Mr. Farrell, Ms. Morales and Mr. O’Shea have created a logo, and are planning to record and share the experience through blog posts, social media updates and photo and video uploads.

Sisters of St. Francis celebrate their centennial; look forward to their future

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Sister Mary Jon Wagner, OSF serves as Congregational Minister.

Sister Mary Jon Wagner, OSF serves as Congregational Minister.

“We stand on the shoulders of those who were before us and look to the future based on the vision of the past,” said Sister Mary Jon Wagner, Congregational Minister of the Sisters of St. Francis.

“This year of celebration of our 100-year anniversary has been a time of reflection,” she added. “It’s as if the ‘DNA’ of the Sisters of St. Francis has been passed on through the years and will continue on in the years to come.”

In 1916, a small group of Franciscans from Rochester, Minn., moved to Toledo to teach Polish immigrants in city Catholic schools. The next year, those 23 women under the direction of Sister Mary Adelaide Sandusky managed to purchase 89 acres of farmland in Sylvania and formally established the Motherhouse for the Sisters of St. Francis, Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes of Sylvania.

Through the years, they have answered the call for education, healthcare, social work, religious education, parish and spiritual direction, outreach to the elderly, and meeting the needs of the poor and marginalized.

“We build collaborations with those who share our mission and our values, ” Sister Mary Jon stated. “We are called, we plan, develop and build. Then we form partnerships and turn projects over under our sponsored ministry. We are not silos. We reach out and connect with our lay brothers and sisters who share the Franciscan spirit and ministry.”

For example, Lourdes University was originally founded for those entering the Sisters of St. Francis order. Through the years, the institution evolved and admitted some lay women. Later, Mercy School of Nursing personnel needed an educational component for its nursing students and Lourdes, under the auspices of the Sisters of St. Francis, admitted nursing students some of whom were men, which led to the inclusion of both male and female students. First a school, then a college and now a university, which evolved into today’s institution, the administration has been taken over by lay partners met the Sisters’ goal as sponsor.

“The Sisters of St. Francis continue in a sponsorship role and we have members of our leadership team who sit on the board of trustees,” Sister Mary Jon reported.

She cited the movement of Franciscan healthcare to a large Catholic healthcare management company as another example of the Sisters’ business vision. “We answer the call, we fill the need, then we find partners to hand off the facilities so we can find and fill other needs,” she explained. “We live the Gospel and do whatever it is that we are called to do. We take what we have and we build on that in keeping with our mission and values that have remained in place for the last 100 years. That legacy will always continue as we walk with one another and continue to form partnerships with those who share our mission. We are all in this together. We share the joy and spirit of one another.”

She added, “Our legacy will continue as we keep our vision alive and become those shoulders for the next group to stand on.”

Transfer equivalencies offered for former ITT students

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Lourdes University Director of Undergraduate Admissions Shawn T. Bussell announced transfer-friendly equivalencies for ITT students. “As a university that has long provided strong undergraduate programs for working adults and transfer students, Lourdes welcomes any former ITT student who wishes to complete his or her bachelor’s degree,” said Mr. Bussell. Transfer scholarships are also available.

In September, ITT Educational Services, a for-profit educational company, announced it was closing nearly all of its campuses leaving current ITT students unable to fulfill their undergraduate degree at that institution.

To assist these students, Lourdes University Admissions and Financial Aid representatives are available to help determine the number of credits that will transfer as well as available financial aid.

A private Catholic institution of higher education, Lourdes University, the Higher Learning Commission and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education accredits its business programs. Former ITT students can enroll at Lourdes to complete their Bachelor of Science degree in one or more of the following majors: accounting, business administration, health care administration, human resource management, integrated business, and marketing.

Interested students can contact an admissions representative at:
419/885-5291 or
800/878-3210, ext. 5291.

A current list of transfer equivalencies for former ITT students is available at:


Lourdes nursing students experience real life situations thanks to simulation

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
Publication Date: 11.01.16

Lourdes Nursing Lab Instructor Sarah Thomas , right, plays the role of the ‘interfering girl friend’ during a clinical simulation while nursing students  Corinna Anderson ,  Taylor Walterreit  and  Kaitlin Kurz  handle a ’patient crisis’ situation.

Lourdes Nursing Lab Instructor Sarah Thomas , right, plays the role of the ‘interfering girl friend’ during a clinical simulation while nursing students Corinna Anderson , Taylor Walterreit and Kaitlin Kurz handle a ’patient crisis’ situation.

Lourdes nursing students experience real life situations using human patient simulation, better known as high-fidelity mannequins, with virtual and computer- based simulations, to teach psychomotor skills, or role play.

“Because of our well-equipped lab, students are prepared for what could happen during real life experiences,” noted Director of the Nursing Skills Learning Lab Melissa Pietrzak, an alumni of Lourdes University School of Nursing. “Our simulations provide a rich learning opportunity for students to integrate what they learn in theory while making real-time clinical decisions just as they would in the hospital setting.”

“Thanks to the forward thinking of the administration and the generosity of our many supporters, we have been able to add sophisticated, computerized mannequins that can be programmed to make heart and lung sounds and even simulate giving birth,” Pietrzak added.

The human life simulators are incorporated into the lab curriculum, where advanced nursing students spend from three to six hours per week. The focus is on evidence-based practices and fundamentals for those students beginning their clinical experience. The second phase includes pharmacology, assessment and mental health, which could include the utilization of the low-fidelity mannequins, or those without any interactive features. According to Pietrzak, those mannequins are helpful for students in administering medications and giving injections, among other procedures.

Simulation has provided a diverse perspective for all of the nursing students that range from first semester students through fourth semester. The interactive mannequins that are provided for each simulation are seen as key in achieving safe, quality, patient-centered care. The learning lab classes provided at Lourdes University give the students the opportunity to deal with complex problems and critical events in a non-threatening environment.

“Our goal is to prepare our students to build their critical thinking knowledge that will demonstrate sound, safe, clinical decisions,” Pietrzak said.

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, simulation is an educational process that imitates the working environment and requires the learner to demonstrate procedural techniques, decision-making and critical thinking. Studies show that students involved in active learning obtained through stimulation retain knowledge longer, report more self-confidence and express a higher level of satisfaction with the learning experience.

“In addition to our human life simulators, our nursing lab teaching assistants role play and. many times, students will volunteer to play the roles as well. Our simulations are structured around what the students are learning from their theory classes to support all components of learning styles,” she explained.

“For example, the fourth semester advanced students participate in a simulation that includes a high-fidelity mannequin set up to play a ‘man’ named Steve Austin, who is experiencing a heart condition and was rushed to the hospital. His ‘girlfriend,’ regularly played by staff member Sarah Thomas, interferes with the nursing students dealing with the heart crisis. Those students learn to assess their ‘patient’s’ condition, determine procedures in response to his clinical manifestations, also known as his signs and symptoms, and focus on patient care, while the ‘girl friend’ attempts to distract them. Eventually the goal is to administer actions to save ‘Steve’s’ life, all of which is videotaped,” she said.

Following the simulation experience, students and instructors take time to debrief. This includes reviewing the recorded simulation so the students and instructor can evaluate their performance, which enhances the entire experience, according to Pietrzak. “The advantages to simulation allow the learner to experience a crisis situation before it occurs in the clinical setting,” she said.

Lourdes nursing students Kaitlin Kurz and Taylor Walterreit continue to treat their ‘patient,’ Steve, while dealing with his ‘girlfriend,’ played by instructor Sarah Thomas, during a clinical experience in the Lourdes Nursing Lab.

Lourdes nursing students Kaitlin Kurz and Taylor Walterreit continue to treat their ‘patient,’ Steve, while dealing with his ‘girlfriend,’ played by instructor Sarah Thomas, during a clinical experience in the Lourdes Nursing Lab.

Sisters of St. Francis enjoy 100-year history in Sylvania

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

For the past 100 years, the Sisters of St. Francis have been a significant component to the Sylvania community.

In 1916, a small group of Franciscans from Rochester, Minn., moved to Toledo to teach Polish immigrants in city Catholic schools. The next year, those 23 women under the direction of Sister Mary Adelaide Sandusky managed to purchase 89 acres of farmland in Sylvania and formally established the Motherhouse for the Sisters of St. Francis, Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes of Sylvania.

Two longtime members of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania community, Sister Marie Andree Chorzempa and Sister Ann Francis Klimkowski have fond recollections of their part of the history. They both made significant contributions to  the Sisters of St. Francis community and what is now known as Lourdes University.

Sister Marie Andree Chorzempa

Sister Marie Andree Chorzempa

Sister Marie Andree was charged with beginning the process of growing Lourdes College from a two-year institution to a four-year college during her tenure as president. Sister Ann Francis, who took over the office of president in 1983, implemented the move to four-year status.

According to Sister Marie Andree,  who joined the Franciscan community in 1939 at the age of 12, the campus was a very big place with lots of trees and only a few buildings. “Looking back at all of the changes and growth tells me so much about the pioneering spirit of the Sisters and Mother Adelaide; their vision, determination and conviction of what religious life was to be,” she reflected. “Mother Adelaide was an artist and had been a dean at St. Theresa’s College in Winona, Minn. She had great trust in God’s plan but asked what could she and the Sisters do with the 89 acres of yellow sand. She knew how to reach out to others for help and learned that evergreens would grow in yellow sand. She and the Sisters planted evergreens and established the academy for young girls entering the Sisters of St. Francis community. Mother Adelaide believed in the importance of the arts and stressed the value of a liberal arts education, which is evidenced everywhere on the campus today.

She continued, “We are so blessed that she was here. Her appreciation for the aesthetics has been incorporated into everything here. The broadness of her vision allowed Mother Adelaide to do all that she did here and still progress in other ministries. In addition to building the academy and growing it into Lourdes College, she started many hospitals and was on top of all phases. She knew what Sisters to place where.”

Sister Marie Andree completed her education graduating from St. Theresa College in Winona, Minn., received her master’s degree from St. Louis and her Ph.D. from Oregon State University. She said that Mother Adelaide required all of the Sisters to be educated at different places. Sister Marie Andree taught at the elementary, high school and university levels and served as president of Lourdes College for two years. She served on the General Council for eight years and as General Superior for eight years. She then served in parish ministry and ministered in healthcare administration for seven years. She also served as a teacher trainer for religious education at the Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico for five years. She returned to Sylvania and spent nine years working in the archives of the Motherhouse.

“I am blessed that I have gotten to know the revelatory nature of human experience,” she offered.

Sister Ann Francis was 22 years of age when she joined the Sisters of St. Francis and began her journey with the community in 1953. She continues to marvel at the relationships she has developed with all of the Sisters.

She recalls that when she first arrived, there seemed to be a mystique about the community  “People in the area were very curious about the campus and often would conjecture about all the activity there. The Sisters were open to  becoming better known and made a concerted effort to be good neighbors, a philosophy that continues today,” she said.

 PIC Sister Ann Francis Klimowski

PIC Sister Ann Francis Klimowski


However, when Lourdes was first opened in 1958, it served primarily the Sisters of St. Francis. Education of the Sisters had always been paramount. It wasn’t until 10 years later or so, that Lourdes welcomed lay women to campus.

In the early 1970s, an agreement with St. Vincent’s School of Nursing led to males attending classes on the Lourdes campus. “It was during the late 1970s that the Sisters of St. Francis leadership authorized a feasibility study to determine if there was support for a four-year Catholic college.

When Sister Ann Francis put on the mantle of president, she and her team did research on adult learners and began to develop programs to attract that student demographic. “We saw the beginning of the Lourdes Auxiliary and the birth of fundraising for scholarship programs,” she said.

Sister Ann Francis, whose academic training in education led to a 21-year teaching career as an elementary teacher and high school teacher and principal before joining the faculty at Lourdes College where she taught and was a dean before becoming president for 17 years. She then returned to teaching in the Masters of Organization Leadership program, a position she maintained for seven years. “I love being in the classroom,” she noted.

She added, “Each time I was asked to do something, I was prepared. The leadership of the Sisters has always been able to focus on the abilities of each of us and has made sure that we were well prepared for the jobs we would be doing.”

“Now, we have moved to attracting more traditional students, which has been made possible by adding the athletic program and student housing,” Sister Ann Francis said. “And throughout our history, the Sisters have always been very supportive of Lourdes.”

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Address: 5657 N. Main #1 Sylvania, OH 43560

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