Sister Miriam Racas, OSF
Eighty years as a Sister of St. Francis of the Providence of God has provided Sister Miriam Racas with numerous opportunities to use her gifts in service to God’s people. A native of Detroit, MI, Sister Miriam joined the community in 1941 from the city’s St. George Parish. She embarked on her ministerial life as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher at Pittsburgh’s St. Casimir School, followed by assignments in parishes from Rochester, NY, to Philadelphia and numerous parish schools in between. She also served as principal in several of these same communities. Her final assignment was principal at St. Francis of Assisi School in Gallup, NM, where the student body was comprised chiefly of Native American and Latino students. Sister Miriam also ministered at Covenant House in New York City and served two years in Utena, Lithuania. Later, she worked as a dietary manager at the Franciscan Spirit & Life Center, as well as a receptionist at the motherhouse. Sister earned her B.A. and M.A. in Education at Duquesne University. Today, Sister Miriam’s continues her mission of prayer and presence at Presbyterian SeniorCare in Oakmont, PA.
Sister Francine McDonald, OSF
A native of Grand Rapids, MI, Sister M. Francine McDonald was the youngest and only girl of 11 children in the McDonald household. She describes how her brothers displayed immense patience in letting their kid sister tag along with them. Initially, Sister Francine attended the city’s Sts. Peter and Paul Parish School before graduating from Catholic Central High School. Soon after, she entered our congregation. Her first assignment was as a third-grade teacher at St. George School in Cleveland, which was the beginning of a 44-year ministry as an elementary teacher in Moon Run, Homestead, Pittsburgh, Coopersville, MI, Elizabeth, NJ and West Mifflin. Sister Francine is a graduate of Duquesne University with a B.A. and M.A. in Education. She currently resides at the former Nativity parish rectory in South Park, PA where she ministers through prayer and presence in the parish.
Sister M. Edward Urban, OSF
Sister M. Edward Urban was born in Lithuania in 1932. Her American-born father, Anthony, had actually returned to Lithuania in 1931, where he met and married Anne. Seven years later, her parents decided to return to the United States, settling in Cleveland, OH, where Sister Edward enrolled in St. George Parish. After graduating from Notre Dame Academy, she entered our congregation. Sister’s initial assignment was Grand Rapids, MI, followed by Elizabeth, NJ, New Kensington and Bethel Park. Sister’s life was punctuated with another opportunity when in 1963, she was missioned to Brazil where she ministered as a teacher, principal and pastoral minister for 47 years, returning to the motherhouse in 2010 and assisting in the archives department until 2017. Sister Edward earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education at Duquesne University, where she also earned credits toward her Master’s degree before her departure to Brazil. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sister Edward volunteered at the Franciscan Child Day Care Center in Pittsburgh. Presently, she assists with administrative projects as needed and is engaged in the ministry of prayer
Sister Maristela Carlos Rodrigues, OSF
Sister Maristela Rodrigues was born in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil on April 11, 1931. She is the sixth of a family of ten. Sister entered the congregation in 1951 as a postulant in Vila Alpina, Brazil then began her novitiate in 1952. Shortly after making profession in 1953, she began 60 years of ministry serving as teacher, principal, pastoral minister, Director of Formation and Coordinator of the Chapel at Pio XII School, where there is one regular Sunday Mass.
In 2012, Sister Maristela began residing at Recanto Paz e Bem and is using her creativity in the area of arts and crafts, as well as greeting visitors and helping out where needed.
Sister Madalena da Silva, OSF
Sister Madalena da Silva entered our congregation in Brazil in 1956. During her early ministry, Sister Madalena served as a pediatric nurse at our maternity hospital in Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais. She then served many years in pastoral ministries throughout Brazil, including in the Children’s Pastoral, a national effort to eradicate infant mortality through efforts to better the health of both mother and child. Currently residing in our Paz e Bem house, Sister Madalena is engaged in the ministry of prayer and creates beautiful embroidery.
Sister Odete Pereira da Silva, OSF
Sister Odete Pereira da Silva entered our congregation in Brazil in 1961. She served many years in educational and pastoral ministries. She also served as formation director and local minister at Paz e Bem house, where we care for elderly and infirm Sisters in Brazil. Sister Odete currently serves as the Director of the St. Clare and St. Francis Social Center in Vila Alpina, São Paulo.
Sister Antônia Maria Alves da Silva, OSF
Sister Antônia Maria Alves da Silva entered our congregation in Brazil in 1996. She has served in a number of rural missions and in our schools, as well as in Vocation Animation ministry helping young women discern a religious vocation. Sister Antônia currently serves as our Novice Director, guiding young Sisters in learning more deeply our charism and mission, as well as our Franciscan life, prayer and discernment.