The Passing of Nazareth's Oldest Alum, Mary Agnes McGrail
Posted to website on 7/142014

Beloved by all who came to know and love her, Mary Agnes McGrail touched the hearts of others, and their lives were never the same. Devoted and dedicated to her faith and those around her, Mary Agnes' encouragement and love was unending. She lived by example, and knew what was important in life. To Mary Agnes, there was nothing more valuable or more rewarding than giving all you can possibly give of yourself to your family and faith.

 Mary Agnes' story began on June 9, 1912 in Kalamazoo, Michigan to William and Agnes (Grant) McGrail. The second of three children, Mary Agnes grew up with her brothers, Charles and William. Devout to their Catholic faith, Mary Agnes and her family faithfully attended and served their church. Her family eventually settled in the city of Detroit where she graduated from Visitation High School in 1930.

Mary Agnes went on to further her studies. She earned her B.A. from Nazareth College and her M.A. from the University of Michigan. After returning to Kalamazoo, Mary Agnes took a position supervising nursery schools for seven years before becoming a school social worker with Kalamazoo Public Schools. For 30 years, she gave from the heart, shared her talents and worked endlessly to be a beacon of light and hope.

Mary Agnes delighted in nature and beautiful, blooming flowers. She loved her canine companion, a black cocker spaniel who rarely left her side. She dabbled with writing, and quite talented. Throughout the years, Mary Agnes made a total of 14 trips to Ireland, and loved every minute of it.

After retiring in 1977, Mary Agnes became very active volunteering at St. Augustine Cathedral and over the years shared close friendships with many priests in the diocese.

After years living on her own, Mary Agnes' needs began to change. She moved into Friendship Village and over the 17 years she lived there, became an ever present fixture in the lives of the residents and staff there.

Mary Agnes McGrail, age 102, of Kalamazoo, passed away peacefully at her home in Friendship Village on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 with family members at her side. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers.

Visit with Mary Agnes' family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Wednesday, 4-7 PM at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler–Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Dr. where a Prayer Service will be held at 6:30 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will take place Thursday, 11:00 AM at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. A luncheon will follow the burial in the church hall.

Please visit Mary Agnes’s personal webpage at where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Nazareth Association, Bishop Dominic Ministry C/O St. Joseph Church, Sisters of St. Joseph or Friendship Village Employee Fund.

Update on Spirit Day 2014
Submitted by Randy Berd - Posted to website on 7/92014

We are busy putting the “finishing touches” on this year’s SPIRIT DAY and the total program will be posted on our website in mid-July. The excitement is definitely building! The Nazareth Board of Directors is most proud of the theme “WE REMEMBER WHEN…” especially the Saturday afternoon presentation. Similar to talk shows of years past, there will be a panel of CSJs telling stories about their early years in the novitiate and life both inside and outside of the Motherhouse! It will also be audience participatory and we will be able to reminisce about our years either on campus, at Borgess Hospital or St. Joseph Hospital in Flint.

The CSJs scheduled (and willing!!) to appear are:

  • Sr. Lenora Benda (formerly Sr. Mary Loyola)
  • Sr. Janet Fleischhacker
  • Sr. Joan Hastreiter (formerly Sr. Bede)
  • Sr. Theresa MacIntyre (formerly Sr. Wilfrida)
  • Sr. Grace Scola (Sr. Alphonsa)

Again, keep informed about SPIRIT DAY by checking this website every week. This year, you will be able to register on-line. So start contacting your classmates and begin to plan to have your own reunion within the larger Spirit Day reunion activities.

If you would like further information, please send us an email either through our website, emailing directly to the Nazareth Association office, or calling us at 269.342.1191. BE A PART OF THE EXCITEMENT AS WE CONTINUE TO KEEP THE SPIRIT ALIVE!

Board Meeting to be Held in Detroit Area - Members Invited
Submitted by Randy Berd - Posted to website on 5/22/2014

The Nazareth Association Board of Directors will be meeting on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at St. Mary Magdalen Parish (19624 Wood Street, Melvindale, MI  48122-1699) beginning at 10:30 am. All Nazareth Association members are cordially invited to attend the meeting that will conclude with a 4:30 pm mass at the church. Lunch and refreshments will be available. An RSVP is requested and may be made by calling the office (269.342.1191) or emailing Randall Berd at

Spring 2014 Newsletter
Submitted by Randy Berd - Posted to website on 5/16/2014

The Spring 2014 Nazareth Association Newsletter can be found by linking to the word "Newsletters" found in the left column. Your thoughts and comments are most welcomed, simply click on the Message Board tab. Thank you for Keeping the SPIRIT ALIVE!

Octavia Fellin Public Library to Receive 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service
Submitted by Mary Ellen Pellington - Posted to website on 5/06/2014

National Award Recognizes Exceptional Contributions of Octavia Fellin Public Library, Gallup, N.M.

WASHINGTON (April 24, 2014) – The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced that the Octavia Fellin Public Library of Gallup, N.M. is one of 5 libraries and 5 museums throughout the country to receive this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service.  The National Medal, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, has celebrated 20 years of institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.  The National Medal will be presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at an event to be held in the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 8. The Octavia Fellin Public Library is the only New Mexico library to have been awarded the national medal.

The Octavia Fellin Public Library serves not only the City of Gallup and McKinley County, but also neighboring counties and residents of Arizona.   The Library is committed to providing quality services and programs that are inclusive of its community’s diverse cultures and ethnicities, reaching out well beyond its four walls. Often referred to as the heart of the community, the library significantly contributes to the region’s quality of life. Serving as the crossroad of the community, it encourages the sharing of ideas and exploration of interests and assures that resources are reflective of community nee

Traveling to Washington, D.C with Library Director Mary Ellen Pellington will be community member, Maria Elena Reyes from the Navajo Nation. At the award ceremony Ms. Reyes will share the impact the Octavia Fellin Public Library has had on her life. She remembers her mother taking the long drive to Gallup, so that she could attend library programs and use its resources and computers. The library broadened her world and she now brings her children to the library.

Mary Ellen Pellington said, “We are all very humbled to be a recipient of the 2014 National Medal. We thank the City of Gallup and the entire community for making this possible.   In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the library’s name sake, Octavia Fellin, who served as Director from 1947 – 1990. Ms. Fellin was a true library champion in Gallup and will always be remembered for her contribution and commitment to this institution.”

Winners of the National Medal were selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. After the ceremony, StoryCorps – a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans – will visit the Octavia Fellin Public Library to document stories from the community.

These ten honorees exemplify the nation’s great diversity of libraries and museums, and they include a natural history museum, a children’s museum, a natural sciences museum, an aquarium, a botanic garden, public library systems, and a book center, all hailing from ten states.

“Congratulations to the 2014 winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. From programs that foster passion for science, literature and cultural heritage, to critical 21st century skills training for improved educational outcomes and workforce readiness, the services and programs of these institutions truly do make a difference,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We thank each of this year’s medal recipients for their innovation and their dedication to serving their communities.”

Celebrating 20 Years

This year, IMLS celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. For the past two decades, the National Medal has honored outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.  Including the 2014 winners, 142 institutions have received this honor.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.  Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.  To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact: Mary Ellen Pellington

Library Director


The Passing of Two Borgess Alums
Submitted by Gail Jorae - Posted to website on 4/14/2014

Judith Lee Klein, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, died peacefully with family at her side on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at Bronson Methodist Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer, including participating in a research study to help future generations. She spent 70 years among us before entering God's Kingdom. Judy was born February 9, 1943 in Jackson, MI to the late Richard and Margaret (Duchene) Gorman.

Judy retired after more than forty years in the nursing field, and enjoyed wintering in Florida since her retirement. She loved the game of golf. She also made fabulous heirloom quilts, imparting this passion with family and friends. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and friend to many. Anybody who met Judy, remembered Judy.

Judy is survived by her children, Mark (Megan) Klein of Asheville, NC, Pam (Chuck Dahlinger) Klein of Lawton, Kathy (Scott) Miller of Vicksburg and Matthew (Maria) Klein of Paw Paw; grandchildren, Rachael (Michael) Marshall, Lucas Ryan, Lindsey and Sydney Miller, Peyton and Jackson Klein and Nathan and Tanner Klein; sisters, Kathleen Campbell, Sue (Bob) Stellini and Patty (Gary) Dudicz; and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and her sweetheart, Miles Messenger of North Canton, CT.

Memorials in Judy's name may be directed to Stand Up to Cancer,


Mary Elizabeth Trombley, age 70, passed away September 27, 2013 in Lansing, MI. She was born February 18, 1943 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to the late Arnold E. and Olive Mae (Winling) Trombley.

She was a Registered Nurse and served in the U.S. Army. She worked as a nursing home inspector for the State of Michigan Dept. of Community Health where she has since retired from.

Mary is survived by brothers, Paul, Arnold, Mark, Tom; sister, Marguarite Miller and many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by 2 brothers and 1 sister.

According to Mary's wishes a cremation has taken place and no services will be held. Contributions in her memory may be made to the charity or organization of choice.

Share your memories and condolences online at Arrangements by the Holihan-Atkin Funeral Home, Grand Ledge.

ST. JOSEPH'S DAY Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Wednesday, March 19th
Submitted by Randy Berd - Posted to website on 3/03/2014

Although this is not a Hallmark Card Holiday, many religious goods stores have St. Joseph Day cards.  Understanding that the Sisters of St. Joseph (now the Congregation of St. Joseph) have a special affiliation with their patron saint, St. Joseph, this day allows us the opportunity to express our thanks for the education we received from them by sending a card, a note, a letter or an email.  They will love it!!

Please address your St. Joseph Day card, notes and/or letters to:

Sr. Mary Ann Dalton, CSJ
Nazareth Center
3427 Gull Road
Nazareth, MI 49074

or email to 

Sister Mary Ann and Sister Grace will display all cards, letters and emails on the walls outside of the CSJ Dining Room for all to read. 

VALENTINES DAY – Friday, February 14th
Submitted by Randy Berd - Posted to website on 1/22/2014

Are you mailing Valentine’s Day cards to your loved ones this year? If so, how about sending one to the Sisters of St. Joseph? What better way to brighten their days during this wintery season. Sr. Grace has volunteered to coordinate this effort and pass around the Valentines as they come in. Please send your card(s) to:

Sr. Grace Scola, CSJ
Nazareth Center
3427 Gull Road
Nazareth, MI 49074

Also, Sr. Grace “spoils” the Sisters residing in the assisted living wing with candy after lunch, on their bed pillows at night, etc. If you are shopping for Valentine’s Day candy, do think about purchasing an extra bag and delivering it to the Reception/Switchboard Desk at Nazareth Center for distribution. Simply label the bag – Attention: Sr. Grace.

A Message of Thanks
Submitted by Sr. Grace Scola - Posted to website on 12/09/2013

Dear Nazareth Alumni,

Our "Meet and Eat" group met this past November 2013. This was our second dinner. Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal, even though it is a small group.

It is a nice treat from our routine daily meals in the large dining room of Nazareth Center. It was a delight to cook for such an appreciative group. I welcomed the help from Nurse Jana, Sister Pat Mullen and a couple of Sisters from the Center. It was enjoyable work.

December is a month of many activities, as you well know, so we will resume the dinners in January 2014. Perhaps we will host two dinners a month.

Thank you again, dear Alumni, for making this project possible. And thanks to ALL for the candy treats you have been sending to us.

Gratefully, Sister Grace and Jana Van Antwerp

The "Meet and Eat" group for November 2013.

The Borgess School of Nursing Class of 1968 had their 45th Reunion in October of 2013 in Kalamazoo                                                                                                                                                                                         Submitted by Janis Ward  - Posted to website on 11/18/2013

The class photo from the night of dinner. Please note: Ruth Olech, seated bottom right, one of our instructors attended.

Written by Janice Candela - Posted to website on 11/07/2013

The History Room in the basement of the Mother House is not just a testament to our past Nazareth history, but also is a representation of the present activities of the Sisters. Thanks to the foresight of Sisters Mary and Martha Hallock with the collaboration of Sister Marilyn Sullivan and Sister Marie Travers, many artifacts have been preserved. Since 2006 Sister Irene Waldmann has been a major presence in preserving our past and encouraging our future.

There are two new displays that showcase what the Sisters are doing now. One is in the center of the room and shows photos of the on campus Sisters at work. It tells of the many activities which they do in order to help each other and to continue to be involved with a variety of activities. The other is a new kiosk at the entrance and shows the Sisters current off campus involvement with medical clinics, education and parish administration to name a few.

The History Room reflects on the past, celebrates the present and embraces the future. Nazareth is forever!

Written by Randall Berd - Posted to website on 10/31/2013

The Nazareth Association Board of Directors held its fall meeting on Saturday, October 20, 2013 at Nazareth Center. Highlights of the meeting were:

A new Executive Board was elected for the next two years. The officers are:

           Randall Berd, President
           Anita Rosenberg, Vice President
           Priscilla Swiat, Secretary
           Michael Coleman, Treasurer

The Board of Directors also welcomed four new members in addition to returning board member, Michael Coleman. They are Mary Ann Dalton, CSJ, Mary Margaret Lusch, Margaret Rasberry, and Karen Tavernier

An evaluation of last month’s Spirit Day was conducted with numerous accolades to Mary Van Tassel on her leadership skills in coordinating another successful weekend. Discussion was centered on increasing participation by the membership in addition to increasing on-line registrations for the next year.

Under the coordination of Dan Barrett, memorabilia sales have continued to increase especially among the newer items for purchase. In coordination with Michael Coleman (website coordinator), Dan hopes to have the link on the Nazareth Association website available with pictures of the clothing such as sweatshirts and hoodies up and running before the Christmas holidays.

A survey was conducted at Spirit Day that sought the opinions of the member present. The fall and spring newsletters received very positive remarks as well as the Spirit Day activities conducted annually. Of concern to the membership was the Nazareth Association website and how it should be more news worthy with updates. The board reviewed all comments and pledged greater energies in using the website as a better avenue of communication in addition to all social media.

The 2014 budget was passed and the contributions to the Community Service Grants and Scholarships were each raised to $10,000 from the present $8,000.

Understanding that the Association has been in existence for over twenty years now, the next year of 2014 will be used to review all policies and procedures in preparation for a five year strategic plan.

A calendar of the 2014 board meetings was distributed for review. Three will be held at Nazareth Center and the June, 2014 meeting will be held in the Detroit-area. All members are cordially invited to attend these meetings.

Spirited 50 Year Reunion for BSN Class of 1963
Written by Mary Van Tassel and Gladys Sudeikis, coordinators - posted to website on 10/22/2013

On the evening of Friday, September 27th, classes celebrating their special reunions rocked for the Borgess School of Nursing, class of 1963. We had 29 classmates that traveled back to Kalamazoo to share their stories and get reconnected. Those that were able to attend appreciated the classmates who came from Australia, California, North Dakota and Colorado. We especially enjoyed the history of Virginia Imanse Sargeant, when her husband David recounted her nursing and family experiences in his Australian accent.

We also learned that Peggy Brady Berkhousen is writing a book about our nursing school days and hopes to have it printed and available at next year’s Spirit Day (come to get a signed copy – maybe find yourself in a story).

We have several classmates still working including Sr. Lenora Benda, Rose Mary Kissane Eldridge as a Gerontolgical Nurse Practitioner, and Jake Burdick Russell who was unable to join use as she was called to work at a small hospital in Eaton Rapids. She reported she is the oldest nurse in the hospital and states new nurses are not as well prepared as we were to take charge.

We also learned that we have lost only 3 classmates, most recently Kathleen Henretty Wells (2012) and Kathleen Kane Jelsomeno (2010), both due to cancer of the breast. Jan Curaing Nicholson was the first to pass with a brain tumor. Our beloved teacher of Pharmacology, Vera Wallach has also passed this past year.

Classmates enjoyed a 50% discount on school memorabilia – shirts and jackets with the school seal. Check these out on our website:

We encouraged the husbands to come to Spirit Day and those that did enjoyed a free day at the Gilmore Car Barns and toured with guide Jerry Van Tassel. See you next year!

Pictures were taken at the luncheon and Friday evening. Look for these in our newsletter and on the website.

We ask that you continue to update us with your current contact information by emailing

FALL 2013 - SPIRIT DAY UPDATE - A New Tradition Begins

Written by Randall Berd - Posted to website 10/2013

The Nazareth Association has initiated a new tradition of commemorating the Congregation of St. Joseph.  Annually, the board will select a minimum of two sisters that served as exemplary professional, academic and spiritual mentors to students, faculty, and staff.  This year, CSJ Sisters Irene Waldmann, Mary Hallock and the late Martha Hallock will be honored for their years of service to the thousands of students they came in contact with during their respective administrative and classroom tenures.

In tribute to them and the CSJ community, trees will be planted in their honor on the grounds of Nazareth campus. 

“We are excited to begin this tradition,” said Anne Marie Bradley (NC ‘91), president of the Nazareth Association. “Trees represent growth.  So many of the Sisters gave us a firm foundation – our roots – both in our personal lives and professional careers and we want to continue to acknowledge their endeavors and sacrifices with this simple gesture.”

The event will take place on Saturday morning, September 29th, at the conclusion of the annual business meeting.  The site of the tree planting will be near the main entrance of the Transformations Conference Center.  “This location is most fitting and ideal.  We will be reminded each time we gather for future Spirit Days of the continuous transformation within us and these trees,” said Bradley.

Association members may also pay tribute with comments honoring Sisters Irene, Mary and the late Martha via the Nazareth Association website – specifically, under the MESSAGE BOARD tab.