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The Franciscans and the Recker Book Part 5 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, February 25, 2013 10:25 AM

In days gone by when a girl “joined the convent” she would be headed for an occupation of teaching, nursing, cooking or housekeeping. Just a few years ago those were the careers of women outside the convent also. If she were a wife and mother her occupation included all of those.

Times have changed for the nuns as well as others. When I look back “a stay at home mom” was pretty good, after all. We just didn’t have as much money to spend.

Vatican II really changed convent life. The sisters still spend much of their time in prayer, which is good for all of us.

After Vatican II, during the “sixties” the sisters modified their habits with shorter veils that showed some hair and shorter skirts. As time went by most of their attire consisted of any nice dress or suit in the Franciscan Brown. A cross on a chain or a pin was also part of the outfit. Many sisters also put their veils aside. Before that they didn’t have to worry about a “bad hair day”. With all the changes nuns were asked to make, some sisters suffered traumatically while others felt an exhilarating freeing of the spirit. The sisters were asked to become mature, valiant, concerned, up-dated, involved Women of the Church. Prayer still remains a very important part of their life-styles.

Today, only a few nuns wear the Franciscan Brown, along with a more comfortable veil. Sister Edna Ricker and Sister MaryAnn Lucke wear this modified habit.

The Franciscans are not behind the convent walls anymore. Today they can wear almost anything that is respectable. Naturally they would avoid clothing that was not respectable.

The Sisters of St. Francis have taken up a variety of occupations. Just a few are teachers. Many live right among the people they work with, while helping them find a better way of life

Sister Jackie (Jacqueline) Doepker is the Community Minister, formerly referred to as the Mother Superior. Sister Jackie said “My doors are always open”. Jackie lived in Kalida until age seven, when her family moved to Tiffin. She entered the convent in 1961, following graduation from high school.

The Tiffin Franciscans govern themselves with a five member Franciscan Council. With Sister Jackie at the helm, the other members of council are Sr. Mary Kuhlman, Sr. Joanne Lammers, Sr. Edna Michel and Sr. Andrea Inkrott. All five members of the Council are from Putnam County.

Sister Jackie is one of the Recker Book cousins. She lives in the Independent Living area of the Franciscan campus. Her 97 year old mother lives there also, in her own apartment. Jackie’s father died recently so Jackie is nearby to help her mother. Sister Jackie shares her apartment with Sister Paulette Schroeder.

Sister Paulette recently returned from a three year tour of duty with the CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) on the West Bank in the Middle East. She lived in Hebron, Israel and worked in Palestine, with the Muslim people, sharing their stories and working toward reconciliation between Israel and Palestine.

The Sisters have missions in several states in our United States, including West Virginia, N. Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida and Texas, where they work with the poor children and adults.

Sister Linda Scheckelhoff, a native of New Cleveland is a pastoral minister at La Trinitaria Chiapas, the southernmost state in Mexico. Sister Linda said “We really try and help empower the women there…..We want to help them to become aware of the dignity and rights of women in their society and within the church.” Usually women in their culture do not have a voice. Sister Linda said it has been rewarding to witness the development of women and youth in that country. You can learn more about Sister Linda and the Mexican women by contacting her at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The nuns have various Apostolic Works in Ohio, which include St. Anthony’s Villa (home for children) St. Francis Home and Elizabeth Schaefer Apartments on the Tiffin Campus, the St. Francis School of Music with Sr. Marietta Kill (from Landeck) as the instructor, several hospitals and the St. Anthony Pilgrim House in Carey, which is a place for visitors to stay while visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation. They also serve at the Padua Center in Toledo.

Sister Maurice Kleman is now retired after serving as Novice Mistress and as a nurse in the convent infirmary. Several other sisters are retired. Sister Edna Ricker, lives at the Franciscan Convent now. Until recently she lived on the family farm, near Ft. Jennings, where she cared for her sister Eleanor, who recently passed away. She also visited the Van Crest Home in Delphos, bringing cheer to the patients. She is now a minister of prayer.

Sister MaryAnn Lucke is semi-retired while serving as the coordinator of transportation of the convent. She is also in charge of the mail room and the outdoor fish pond. She is also Sister Edna’s right hand companion. They are cousins and were neighbors growing up near Fort Jennings.

Sister Yvonne Fischer, a Delphos native is in charge of Novices and is a pastoral associate at St. Joseph’s Church in Plymouth.

Sister Jane Schimmoeller lives in a house that hosts immigrants and helps them get started in a new country. Sister Toni (Antonia Rode) a native of Landeck, lives in Toledo, where she does volunteer work.

Sister Rita Wienken, another Landeck native, is the founding director of the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center and is current manager of the FELC’s Seeds of Hope Farm. The farm is strictly an organic operation. Families and individuals can become members or have shares in the Seeds of Hope Farm. They work a number of hours on the farm and share in the produce. This is also a hands on learning experience for children. People learn to care for the earth. We need soil, water and air to be healthy. They make their own compost on the farm from 3,000 bags of leaves, 300 tons of horse manure, 300 tons of wood chips, sawdust and other organic materials.

Sister Jane Frances Omlor is the community “potter”. Her works of art are sold in the gift shop. She was recently featured in the “Ohio” magazine, as being the superintendent of Little Portion Green, a 1,000 square-foot passive-solar house on the Tiffin Campus. A description of this house will have to be saved for another time.

The Franciscans lost one of their members recently. Sister Emma Pothast, 1918 – 2013 passed away on Feb. 8.  She  was  a  native  of Landeck.

The Franciscans launched the Associate Program in 1973. Members may be man or woman, 18 or older, single or married, separated, widowed, clergy or anyone who desires to live and share the Gospel life with the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin.


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