This summer, Newman University had the honor of welcoming sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) to campus from the general council international leadership team in Rome.
Uniting from around the globe
For each international leadership rotation every six years, the general council makes it a priority to try and visit each of the ASC ministries around the world. The ASC Wichita Center south of campus is one of four ASC centers located in the United States. Other locations include Columbia, Pennsylvania, Belleville, Illinois, and the U.S. Region Mission Center for the ASCs in St. Louis.
As a member of an international congregation, Newman Director of Mission Effectiveness Sister Therese Wetta, ASC, said it is always a gift to welcome an ASC from another country to Wichita.
“And as an ASC serving at Newman, it is a joy to help the sisters see the campus and learn more about Newman University,” Wetta added.
During their visit to Newman, the international sisters took a campus tour led by Michelle Tong, a student coordinator for the Admissions Office. The group of leaders explored the state-of-the-art Bishop Gerber Science Center, named for the late Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber. They also visited St. John’s Chapel in Sacred Heart Hall, which includes a mural and statue of the founder of the ASCs, St. Maria De Mattias.
Meeting the ASC leadership team
Sister Nadia Coppa of Italy serves as the general superior of the leadership team. Sister Weislawa Przybylo from Poland and Sister Matija Pavic from Croatia both serve as general councilors. Sister Maria Grazia Boccomazzo serves as general secretary to the administration team and Sister Monice Rini serves as general treasurer; both sisters hail from Italy.
For general counselors Sister Elsie Auzier-Vinhotte of Brazil and Sister Bridget Pulickakunnel of India, this overseas trip marked their first experience in the United States.
Pulickakunnel, who speaks Italian, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and English, said visiting the United States “has been a lifelong dream.”
“It was my dream one day to arrive here and to see how life is different,” Pulickakunnel said. “The whole world speaks about the United States of America, where things are all in a system. I haven’t gone around much and I didn’t have much interaction, but my first impression is that it’s a country that is welcoming with warm people who are very respectful of each other.”
Pulickakunnel explained that one goal of the visit to Wichita is to meet with the ASC sisters, wherever they are present, for a “team transformation.” Through small group sessions and meetings, the sisters will strive for an inner transformation that will allow them to better serve as a vessel of Christ’s love.
“We meet with them, we interact with them to understand the lives of the sisters and we see the ASC ministry our sisters are doing in each place,” Pulickakunnel said.
She added, “We always want to live what we profess, and I believe that religious life needs to be revived.”
The life of an ASC is a life dedicated to Christ
In Kerala, a southern state of India, Pulickakunnel’s work as an ASC sister involved counseling patients with HIV and AIDS, as well as providing support for orphan children born with the virus.
“We worked in a remote village with Jesuits, and the ASC established a 20-bed facility as a foster home for HIV-positive children,” Pulickakunnel said.
Sister Tarcisia Roths, ASC, a past president of Newman University, first met Pulickakunnel when she was a university student in India. Welcoming her to the states for the first time brought the lifelong experience as an Adorer “full circle,” Roths said.
“It’s amazing,” Roths said. “You can talk about the fact that we’re an international congregation, but meeting and even seeing photos of our sisters from all over the world brings that reality to life.”
From Wichita, the general council leadership team traveled to Belleville, Illinois, then to St. Louis and Columbia, Pennsylvania.
About the ASC sisters
More than 188 years ago, the ASC sisters were founded by Saint Maria De Mattias in Acuto, Italy. Today, the ASCs are an international congregation with around 1,200 vowed members and more than 2,000 associates. They serve on all inhabited continents and 26 nations.
Newman University was founded by the ASC sisters in 1933 and is the only higher education institution in the entire ASC congregation. Newman continues to be sponsored by the ASC sisters to this day.