Meet the Associate Regional Representatives
Debbie Garland is the Southeast Regional Associate Representative for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. She currently resides in Hernando County, Florida, on the West coast, in an area called Spring Hill. It is just about 40 minutes north of Tampa.
Associates Debbie Garland (right) with Patrice Harty took part in the
Associate Pilgrimage to Baltimore and Emmitsburg, Maryland, last fall.
Debbie first became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity through S. Mary Loyola Mathia, who was in charge of the Associates at St. Francis Cabrini Church in Spring Hill. After suffering a personal tragedy, Debbie attended the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and joined the Catholic Church. She then felt compelled to become an Associate of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 2011.
As a Regional Representative, Debbie says she lives out the mission of the Sisters of Charity, “through my faith in God, reliance on the Holy Spirit, love of my Church and my fellow parishioners, and willingness to help wherever I can fill a need.”
Living at a distance from the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse, Debbie stays connected to the Community, through the congregation’s website and various Facebook pages. Every two months, she attends a Zoom meeting with the other Regional Representatives, and Director of Associates Chanin Wilson, Sue DiTullio, administrative assistant, and S. Louise Lears, leadership liaison. Also, once a year Debbie travels to the Motherhouse for Fall Congregation Days. Last year, she had the opportunity to participate in the Associate Pilgrimage to Baltimore and Emmitsburg, Maryland, with Sisters and Associates, to learn more about the life of Sisters of Charity Founder, Elizabeth Ann Seton.
For the past 15 years, Debbie has been a full-time real estate agent. She is also currently the chairman of the Educational Committee for Hernando County Association of Realtors. In the past, she has been asked to volunteer as the chairman or co-chairman for many other committees for the local Board of Realtors.
Debbie’s favorite part of being an Associate is, “the fellowship and love of the other Associates when we meet in our group and pray together. Also, to humbly think of being part of the wonderful legacy of the brave self-sacrificing women who started the Sisters of Charity with Mother Elizabeth Seton.”
In her spare time, Debbie collects gently used clothing for the Dawn Center in Hernando County, which helps abused women and children. Her hobbies include making fleece dolls, quilts, wooden flower boxes, bird houses, and shelving. She also loves gardening, kayaking, and fishing.
Associate Regional Representative, Pam Korte, made her commitment as an Associate in Mission in 2015.
“This feels like a blessed time of life to walk an intentionally deeper spiritual path,” says Regional Associate Representative, Pam Korte. For the past 37 years, Pam has lived with her husband and raised two sons in Madisonville, an eastside neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is part of a group of three Associates of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati that serve in the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky area.
Pam first became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity when she attended the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati) from 1968-1972 and was mentored by S. Augusta Zimmer, S. Ann Austin Mooney, and S. Loretto Ann McCarty. These Sisters fostered her passion for art and she went on to receive a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Louisville. Pam became a professor at Mount St. Joseph University and was mentored by many Sisters of Charity through her 30-year career. This generosity led Pam to become an Associate, making her commitment in June 2015. She says, “The process only increased my awareness of brave women who perceive and serve the needs of God’s people.”
Pam lives out the mission of the Sisters of Charity through daily prayer and caring for all of God’s creation. She finds that her skills of listening and encouraging students serve her well in a world where everyone should be encouraged to dream and love. She stays connected to the Sisters of Charity by participating in the many socials sponsored by the Associates for the Sisters. Pam is also involved in organizing an art show in Studio San Giuseppe at Mount St. Joseph University that will highlight, in part, the ministry of the Sisters of Charity at EarthConnection. A special piece of Pam’s art was given to Leadership at the last Chapter election and her papier-mâché globe was used in the Congregational Retreat.
For 38 years, Pam has maintained a ceramic studio called Korte Pottery. She continues to create porcelain art pieces and loves to read books of all genres. Currently, Pam is working on a series of essays about objects and people, titled, Museum of the Heart.
This sculpted artwork was created by SC Associate Pam Korte and was displayed in the Biophilia show at Studio San Giuseppe, Mount St. Joseph University, last fall.
The Cosmic Globe, displayed in the Motherhouse chapel, was made by Regional Representative, Pam Korte, for the Congregational Retreat.
Sisters of Charity Associate and Northeast Regional Representative, Carla Rush, with her family.
Carla Rush is the Northeast Associate Regional Representative for the Sisters of Charity Associates in Mission. She currently lives in Centerville, Ohio, south of Dayton, with her husband of 16 years, and her two children, Sophie and Charlie.
Carla first became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati during her senior year of college at the University of Dayton. After graduating, she decided to spend a year in service and found the Sisters of Charity Associate in Volunteer Ministry program, offering participants the opportunity to live a simple lifestyle, minister with Sisters and/or Associates, and participate in community gatherings and events. She was placed at The Women’s Connection in Cincinnati, Ohio, and had the opportunity to work alongside Sisters Mary Jo Gasdorf and Ann Hunt in serving the women and children of the community.
She recalls, “Working together with two Sisters of Charity gave me the gift of seeing the charism of the Sisters lived out each day.” During this time, Carla reflected on her service experience and learned more about the mission of the Sisters of Charity, “And the anchor of faith and spirituality that it gives to lay people.” Following the experience she made her commitment as an SC Associate in Mission in 2003.
When asked how she lives out the mission of the Sisters of Charity, Carla says she hopes she lives it each day as a wife, mother, and friend. She is inspired by Sisters of Charity founder Elizabeth Seton’s quote, “Contemplate how you are being asked to give your heart to God amidst your everyday activities.” She prays that she can bring God to every person with whom she interacts.
Carla is currently involved in many volunteer activities. Her children attend Incarnation School in Centerville, Ohio, and she serves as the PTO president, where she helps manage the fundraising budget and with various school activities. She is the marketing and development chair for NACAR (North American Conference of Associates and Religious), an organization that promotes the associate-religious relationship. Also, Carla is a team leader for Incarnation’s St. Vincent De Paul Society, organizing meals to be delivered to the St. Vincent De Paul Shelter.
Carla says what she enjoys most about being an Associate is, “being a part of a spiritual movement inspired by the Holy Spirit for lay people to connect to the charisms and missions of religious congregations.” In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and golfing with her family, reading, exercising, and crafting.
Pacific Northwest Associate Regional Representative, Destiny Sargeant, in Juneau, Alaska.
“Life is short and sometimes hard; wherever we can sow love and service and do it with a cheerful heart is a great thing,” says Destiny Sargeant, the Pacific Northwest Associate Regional Representative for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
Destiny, a resident of Juneau, Alaska, became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity through a friend, and was moved when she heard her talk about being part of such a loving, service-oriented community. She says, “I found myself almost begging to know more.” Destiny believes that she was drawn to become an Associate by her desire to belong to something bigger than herself.
Destiny has spent most of her adult working life providing service to others. She started out as a paramedic before returning to school to become a psychologist with a specialty in trauma. With her training in critical incident stress management she began working with military personnel and first responders to help them cope with their experiences. This eventually led to two weeks of service for the New York Police Department at Ground Zero after Sept. 11, 2001, which was, she says, an honor and a privilege.
Believing that the, “Mind and body connection is very important to living life well and serving others,” Destiny owns a women’s fitness center, called Curves, in Juneau. She also continues work in a private practice as a psychologist. Living in Alaska is a great joy for Destiny. The mother of two grown children says her hobbies include painting, gardening, learning Morse code, sport shooting, and hiking in the Alaskan beauty.
As an Associate, Destiny enjoys the sense of pride and community she has in serving others for the greater good. She admires all of the women who selflessly give their time and energy, not realizing how important they are to others.
To stay connected to the Community, Destiny visits the Motherhouse once a year, which is a great privilege for her as she made many new friends and connections on her first trip last year. She meets monthly with the Associates in Juneau and attends monthly ZOOM meetings with the other Regional Representatives. Destiny says these meetings, “help me grow, receive, and share ideas on how to reach more people and nourish my soul knowing that I am indeed connected to a greater cause and wonderful women which will outlast my earthly existence.”
Associate Carmen Ferguson is one of three Tri-State Associate Regional Representatives living in Cincinnati.
Carmen Ferguson is one of three Tri-State Associate Regional Representatives living in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Carmen first became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity in the fall of 2006 when she was hired as a fitness specialist at the Fitness Club at Bayley, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Following an invitation from Associate April Vale to attend a small group meeting for the Sisters and Associates, and learning more about the mission and charism of the Community, Carmen felt compelled to make her own commitment as an Associate in Mission in 2008.
Meeting new people and hearing their stories is what Carmen enjoys most about being an Associate. She says she is, “Amazed and inspired by the contributions that the Sisters of Charity and Associates have made in the world.”
In her role as a trainer, Carmen says she is able to live out the Sisters of Charity mission through her work helping others reach their goals. “I try to instill the mission and charism of the Sisters in every person I come into contact with,” says Carmen, “especially my family.”
Beginning this August, Carmen is very excited for the opportunity to take part in the 18-month Collaborative Leadership Development Program where she will get to meet, network, and learn from other Sisters and Associates from all over the country and from different cultures. Carmen will also gain the skills and confidence needed to become a leader in ministry and in her community. The program includes three four-day sessions in St. Louis, Missouri and online forums.
Because she has a great love for nature and taking care of the Earth, Carmen enjoys gardening, walking with friends, and running races. In addition, she loves to read.
Southwest Regional Representative Pat Grubelnik (left) with Associate Chanin Wilson, S. Whitney Schieltz, and S. Carol Wirtz on the border in El Paso, Texas, while on trip through New Mexico and Texas to meet the Southwest Associates in July 2017.
Presently residing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Pat Grubelnik is the Southwest Regional Representative for the Sisters of Charity Associates in Mission. She made her commitment as an Associate in July 2004.
Along with her responsibilities as a Regional Representative, Pat own and runs, Buttons and Balloons, a small toy store and advertising agency that sells custom promotional items like balloons and gift baskets in Colorado Springs. In addition, she is a lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Joseph Church (Colorado Springs). At her leisure, Pat enjoys scrapbooking, gardening, and fishing. She is also an amateur genealogist.
Having known the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati for most of her life, Pat decided to become an Associate through the encouragement of the late S. Mary Jean Fields and her deep admiration for all of the Sisters of Charity she knew. She says their good work in education, healthcare, peace initiatives, and their beliefs on immigration solidified her decision.
Pat and S. Mary Jean worked together at St. Joseph Church-Southgate (Colorado Springs) in 1989. S. Mary Jean taught her the Christian scriptural and spiritual practices of Lectio Divina and centering prayer, which Pat continues today to strengthen her faith and prayerfully meditate. She says, “I live out the mission of the Sisters of Charity by trying to be an example of fairness, acceptance, and living out the Gospel values called by God.”
Being an Associate has allowed Pat to form lifelong friendships with many strong and faith-filled people, and that is what she loves most about her calling.
Associate Tristate Regional Representative and nurse aide Mary Hirsch (right) assists S. Kathleen Houck in Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility.
In 2010, Mary Hirsch made her commitment as an Associate in Mission of the Sisters of Charity with the encouragement of Sisters Joyce Brehm and Margaret Marie Anthony. She first encountered the Sisters of Charity when she and her husband, Paul, attended weekend classes at Mount St. Joseph University and were welcomed by the late S. Jean Patrice Harrington. The couple opened, Mary’s Hallmark Card and Gift Shop, on Delhi Road (Cincinnati, Ohio) and were in business for 25 years. During that time, Mary formed friendships with many Sisters who often came in. After the store closed, the late S. Joseph Marion Shapelle encouraged Mary to apply for a position in Mother Margaret Hall, a nursing facility at Mount St. Joseph.
Thirteen years later, Mary continues to work as a nurse aide to Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall, where she, “Loves the everyday adventures!” Through daily prayer and taking care of the sick, dying, and elderly, Mary is able to live out the Sisters of Charity mission.
Recently, she has taken on the role of Associate Regional Representative. She is one of three reps for the Greater Cincinnati area, responsible for the northern region. Mary says one of the things she enjoys most about being an Associate is, “Being able to get together [with Sisters and Associates] and share the goodness of the Lord.”
Mary and Paul currently live in Delhi Township, and have been happily married for 42 years. They have two sons and five grandchildren. In addition to her work at Mother Margaret Hall, Mary is an usher, Eucharistic minister, and is involved in the study group at St. Antoninus parish.