Nazareth Association
Nazareth Association


Anna Holahan was born in Detroit, Michigan, on June 8, 1915, the daughter of Thomas and Catherine (O'Neal) Holahan. Anna was a member of St. Bernard Parish in Detroit at the time of her entrance into the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth on June 21, 1930. She received the name Sister Theonilla at her reception on January 7, 1931. She pronounced first vows on January 4, 1933, and final vows on August 25, 1936.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Nazareth College, she pursued graduate studies in Home Economics at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. For several years Sister Theonilla taught in schools of the congregation, including St. David, Detroit, St. Augustine, Kalamazoo and St. James, Ferndale. She then moved into new ministry working in the SSJ Guild Office and in the business office of the congregation. In 1992 she retired, but continued a ministry of service to the sisters at Nazareth Center and Fontbonne Manor, in addition to assuming duties as administrative assistant to the Nazareth Association. Wherever she was, her co-workers recognized not only her talent and expertise in carrying out her many responsibilities, but her generous service to others.

Sister Theonilla was a woman with strong convictions, great faith and a wholesome sense of humor. She was most generous in responding to the needs of others. Sister Theonilla was grateful for the many opportunities that she experienced for spiritual, intellectual and psychological growth throughout her life. She often expressed that her life sustenance came from the motivation, support, love and inspiration of her family, CSJ community and friends. She was very close to her sister, Sister Bernita, and they companioned each other along life's journey. Now that God whom Sister Theonilla sought earnestly has welcomed her home and filled her with love and peace.

May She Rest in Peace


Thanks to the dedication of several of our members, the Association is offering a DVD. The DVD, The Nazareth Story: A Legacy of the the Sisters of St. Joseph at Nazareth, tells the story of the Sisters from their start in Le Puy, France, to their settlement in Kalamazoo. The DVD also documents several of their educational institutions, Barbour Hall, Nazareth Academy and Nazareth College, as well as, Borgess Hosptial. To order this wonderful DVD send in the order form below along with your contribution. The suggested contribution is $15 per DVD.


Order form may be found on Memorabilia Page

March 2010 Board Meeting Highlights

  • The bylaws of the Association were updated and amended. The main changes include adding the statement that the Board would put in a good faith effort to have its membership include at least one representative from each of the five schools and a CSJ member who can serve as a liaison between the board and the Mother House. As a result we were able to vote in Sr. Grace Scola who will serve in the liaison position.
  • The second major change to the bylaws was to create the position of Past President. This position will allow the Past President to serve on the Executive Committee. Since the Past President, typically, served two years as Vice President and two years as President, they will be able to provide rationale and a historical perspective to the Executive Committee.
  • The board also voted to allow the Scholarship Committee to award 3 additional $1000 scholarships this year.


2009 News




Passing of Sr. Mary Bader, November 19, 2009

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Sister Mary Bader. She died in her sleep on Thursday, November 19, 2009. A vigil service is set for 7:00 p.m. Sunday the 22nd and a Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday the 23rd, both in the Holy Family Chapel.

Sr. Mary Bader was 15 years old when she first entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth in 1932, according to her obituary, pronouncing her first vow in 1934 and her final vows in 1938. “She knew from a very young age what she wanted to do with her life,” Sister Joan McCabe said. “I’m sure at a very young age she never knew all the challenges and opportunities. ... I think she never envisioned all of that.”

Sr. Mary saw the good in every person and was generous with her talents, say her friends. As a nun, one might consider those traits requisite, or a given for one who takes a vow promising self-sacrifice. But, no, they say, Sister Bader was particularly gifted. “She had a great sense of trust in God and in her fellow human being, too,” said Sister Irene Waldmann, “and that’s why she attracted so many friends because everyone was good as far she was concerned.”

“I’ve known Mary for over 50 years,” said Sr. Joan. “One of our founders said go out into the city and go into the four corners and see what the needs are, and that’s what motivated Mary to do a lot of what she did. “She was an innovator; she helped create new things.”

For years, Sr. Mary was an educator. She earned an undergraduate degree in French from Nazareth, a master’s degree in French from the University of Notre Dame and a second master’s degree, in theology, from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame. She taught in several schools of the congregation, according to her obituary, including schools in Detroit and Flint, but also at Nazareth Academy, here in Kalamazoo.

Sr. Mary was president of Nazareth College from 1962 to 1974, shepherding the college through the turbulent years of the Vietnam War when student protests were common. Sr. Irene and others recalled how Bader understood some students’ passionate stance against the war, but encouraged them to channel their activism by volunteering for local causes. “She marched with the students down Gull Road and out to WMU and joined the protests out there. She was very world-minded,” Sr. Irene said. Sr. Mary was inspired to develop ways to help where she saw need and her faith made her approachable to her students, to laity and to people in the greater community.

Sr. Mary was involved with the Ministry with Community throughout its 31-year history, known for serving lunches on Thursdays during many of those years. She recognized that everybody had God-given gifts, including those in line for soup as well as the volunteers she worked alongside, said Judy Markusse, former executive director of Ministry with Community. “She was humble, gracious and put Christ’s call for us to serve each other very seriously.”

Sr. Mary was among the sisters who in 1985 developed the Bethany House, a shelter for abused and homeless women. She lived at the house for 15 of its 24 years, ministering to women who came to live there. “She was a person of great hope, and she was able to see the beauty in other people, and I think that’s what people recognized,” said Sr. Joan.

October 2009 Board Meeting Information

Our October meeting welcomed new officers to the Association - Michael Coleman as President, Anne Marie Scrhopp Bradley as Vice President, Dan Barrett as Secretary and Joyce McNally as Treasurer. We acknowledged the work of outgoing board members Charlene Theisen Durfee and Sr. Irene Waldmann and welcomed new board member Pricilla Swiat. Dates for our 2010 meetings were set, as well as Spirit Day 2010. We passed the proposed budget for 2010, made committee assignments and established the new Nazareth History Project Committee, who's mission is to preserve the history of the schools of Nazareth.

Gift to the Association 

The Association was notified after the passing of Marian Hankerd that she named the Association as a beneficiary in her will. We are very grateful to Marian for remembering the Association in her estate planning. Because of her gift, and the others we have received, the Association has been able to move to a more stable financial position and increase our good work.

2008 News



May 2008 Board Meeting Information

Our May 2008 board meeting brought about several important decisions/announcements that we would like to share:

Based on the recent monetary contributions to the Association, the board was happy to acknowledge the need to establish a Financial Committee. This committee will work on choosing an outside Financial Advisor, reviewing our current investments and establishing an Investment Policy.

There was a presentation by Sr. Betty Veenhuis regarding the new Borgess Nursing Home, which will be built on the campus of Nazareth. She reviewed the plans and discussed the Sisters' role in the project. More information regarding this project will be posted on our website once it is received from the Borgess Foundation.

The Oral History Project is progressing nicely. There will be a teaser preview shown at Spirit Day this year. Don't miss it! We are also encouraging people to attend both Friday and Saturday of Spirit Day this year to allow more time for interviews for this project to be conducted. If you are not aware, overnight accommodations can be arranged at Transformations, on the campus of Nazareth.

The 1st Marian Vyverman Nursing Scholarship will be awarded this year as a result of the generosity of the St. Camillus/Borgess School of Nursing alumni and the Vyverman family. Applications will be available on our website as soon as they are ready for distribution.

Nazareth Association Decides to Increase Scholarships and Grants

At the March board meeting, the board approved the 2008 budget. Within the budget were two noteworthy increases, grants and scholarships. The amount of grants available was increased by $2000. This increase will allow the Association to better assist the various ministries of Sisters at Nazareth. Scholarships have been increased by $2000 as well. It was decided to offer two additional $1000 scholarships this year. They will be called the Marie Vocelle Scholarship in Memory of Martha Hallock, CSJ, and the Marie Vocelle Scholarship in memory of Edith Morrison, CSJ.

If you are interested in establishing a grant or scholarship fund please contact the office at 269.342.1191

2007 News


Alum Remembers Nazareth Association and Honors an SSJ

On June 24, 2007 Mary Dolores Vocelle passed away. She was a 1934 graduate of Nazareth College and lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She wished to honor her aunt, Sr. Clotilde Vocelle who was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Mary remembered the Nazareth Association by listing it as one of her beneficiaries. Over $56,000 was left to the Association. The Association is very grateful for this donation, as it will be able to increase the amount of grants and scholarships given out each year. If you are interested in remembering the Association in your will, please click here for more information.

Fall 2007 Newsletter - Click here to open. See a list of previous newsletters and links at the bottom of this page.

2007 Scholarship Awards - for more details on scholarship click here

  • Lindsey Wilson of St. Joseph, MI (Barbour Hall Scholarship)
  • Ted Theisen of Benton Harbor, MI (Holohan Family Scholarship)
  • Brian Mick of Grand Rapids, MI (Sr. Kevin Whelan Scholarship)
  • Allison Rider of Vicksburg, MI (Sr.Rosemary Kenarny Scholarship)
  • St. Luke North End Women’s Life Center in Flint, MI
  • The Girls Association for Learning and Self-esteem program in Benton Harbor, MI
  • Bethany House in Kalamazoo, MI
  • The Choral Group at Dillon Hall (Senior Housing located on the Nazareth campus)
  • St. Frances Cabrini Clinic in Detroit, MI
  • St. John Vianney Catholic School in Flint, MI
  • St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Saginaw, MI
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Middle School in Detroit, MI
Passing of Sr. Martha Hallock on August 27, 2007

Martha Hallock was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 28, 1921, one of the twin daughters of Henry and Mary (Qualey) Hallock. Both were members of the St. Ann Parish in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, at the time of their entrance into the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph on July 2, 1943. Martha received the name Sister Catherine Siena at her reception on January 3, 1944, but later returned to the use of her baptismal name. She pronounced first vows on January 3, 1946, and final vows on January 3, 1949.

Sister Martha earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin from St. Mary of the Woods College in Indiana and a Master of Science degree in Library Science from the Catholic University of America in Washington. For eight years she taught Latin in high schools of the congregation including St. Benedict in Highland Park and St. James in Ferndale. Sister Martha and her twin, Sister Mary, then began almost forty years of ministry as head librarians at Nazareth College and on two different occasions Sister Martha served as Interim Academic Dean. In 1990 Sister Martha accepted the position of Receptionist/Secretary in the Sisters of St. Joseph Central Offices and she remained in that position for twelve years and then became secretary to the Director of Wellness in the congregation. Sister Martha was a competent teacher and librarian and has been a wisdom figure for many who came to respect her thoughtful insights. She enjoyed the constant love and support of her twin sister, Sister Mary, with whom her life and ministry were shared.

Sister Martha was a strong, courageous woman with a keen sense of humor and a willingness to accept and carry through any task that was asked of her. She was a woman of deep faith and prayer. She was fond of the motto of Pope John XXIII: “See everything, overlook a great deal, improve a little” and this motto was lived out in her life as a Sister of St. Joseph. Sr. Martha’s father died when she was very young and she and her sister Mary were exceptionally close to their mother whose great strength and unconditional love sustained them during their lives. Sister Martha was always grateful for God’s call to be a Sister of St. Joseph, for the love and support of her religious community and for her many friends who enriched her life. May Sister Martha now enjoy eternal rest and peace in the embrace of her ever-loving God.

May She Rest in Peace!

New Scholarship Established - Holohan Family Scholarship

Sr. Theonilla Holohan, CSJ has been volunteering in the Nazareth Association office for many years. Her dedication to our organization has been remarkable, taking care of many of the daily tasks that are required for any organization to function smoothly. Recently her sister Ruth Holohan, of Detroit, passed away. The Holohan family decided to establish a $20,000 scholarship fund with the Nazareth Association. We are very pleased to offer this scholarship in the Holohan family name.


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Keeping the Spirit Alive!

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Nazareth Association
3901 Emerald Dr, Ste N
Kalamazoo, MI 49001-7923

Phone: (269) 342-1191