Grateful to be mortgage-free!

Burning The Mortgage -014-WEB

Motherhouse mortgage is retired thanks to your generosity

by Renae Bauer

(Oct. 17, 2015) -- It’s a cool autumn morning at the Motherhouse and Sister Sharon Lasee is heading outside with her walker for her regular circuit around the building. Sister Gerald Lu Maye is busily pulling weeds around the rose bushes while Sister Marietta Samz tends to the last of the herbs remaining in the Sisters' summer garden.

These seemingly simple tasks are gifts made possible by you, our generous donors to our Motherhouse fund. About 10 years ago we seriously pursued the need to accommodate our older Sisters who, like the general population, are living longer and sometimes needing adaptive surroundings. We embarked on a vision to build a handicap-accessible Motherhouse that reflected our Franciscan value of caring for God’s creation by minimizing our impact on the environment.

Thirty-five of our Sisters moved into the new Motherhouse on June 25, 2006, and while a portion of the facility was paid for, we have been carrying a mortgage – until now. Because of your generosity, which once again exceeded our hopes and prayers, we were able to fulfill our mortgage obligation.

“Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for our friends who supported this endeavor,” says Sister Donna Koch, Community President. “Your generosity allows our Sisters to have a quality of life that hadn’t always been possible for Sisters who have gone before us.”

Unlike the former Motherhouse, the current building accommodates medical equipment from walkers and wheelchairs to hospital beds and hearing assistance devices. Bathrooms are more plentiful and more conveniently located. Plus, all common space (front entrance, chapel, dining room, parlor) is on one floor making our visits with family and friends far more comfortable for them and us.

Additionally, environmentally friendly practices have been incorporated into the heating and cooling of the building as well as with our water usage inside and out. And if you ever visited the old Motherhouse you probably remember having to stand up to look out the windows. Not anymore. The new Motherhouse “allows our Sisters to go outside when it’s pleasant, and to enjoy the outdoors from inside when the weather is inclement,” says Sister Donna.

As part of our commitment to sustainability practices, we have implemented one of the largest above ground solar arrays in the state of Wisconsin. It generates about 30 percent of our electricity while reducing our carbon emissions. We have enjoyed sharing our solar journey with individuals, school groups and organizations this past year and invite you to learn about it or come and see it firsthand. The site is open to visitors from May to October. More details are available on our solar page.

We thank God for your friendship and will continue to hold you in our prayers.


Stay in touch -- This story originally appeared in the Sisters' newsletter. Subscribe to our FREE printed newsletter (issued five times a year) and our FREE e-spiritual reflections (weekly). We enjoy hearing from you so visit our “Send a Greeting to Sister” page and say hello. Thank you and God bless!

Sisters sing a verse of Deo Gratias (“Thanks Be To God”) as they symbolically burn the mortgage papers at a special ceremony marking the Motherhouse debt retirement. (Renae Bauer photo)