Franciscan Sister Carol Schmit was elected as the 21st community minister and president of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls during the Delegate Assembly held in Little Falls Feb. 27 to March 2.
Sister Carol is a former secondary school teacher, vocation director, missionary in Venezuela, administrative board member of the Franciscan Sisters and co-founder and director of Clare’s Well. At the time of the elections, she was serving as a missionary in Ocampo, Coahuila, Mexico.
Sister Carol said working on a diocesan team in Venezuela taught her the importance of “working as equals on a team and the beauty of immersion in another culture and language,” and her time at Clare’s Well retreat farm in rural Annandale also helped prepare her for this leadership role.
“It included all the aspects of being responsible, with other team members, for creating and running a business and knowing when it was time to pass it on,” she said. “More importantly, it taught me to be present daily to offering hospitality, sharing not only my space and meals, but my entire Franciscan life and caring for the precious 40 acres of land in our care.”
Sister Carol succeeds Sister Bea Eichten, who served as community minister from 2011 to 2018.
“I began my ministry as a faculty member of St. Francis High School located on our motherhouse campus,” Sister Carol said. “I now feel like I am coming home in a completely new kind of way. My community of sisters has become more dear to me as we slow down from our active ministries and come to a more quiet place of being present with each other — our associates, our families and the people we interchange with each day.”
Also elected as assistant ministers are Sisters Grace Skwira, Charlene Grossman and Carolyn Law. This four-member team, which will serve the congregation of 117 sisters from June 2018 through June 2023, will be responsible for the spiritual and ministerial life and mission of the congregation.
“For the last one-and-a-half years I have been living with our two Mexican sisters in the little desert town of Ocampo, Mexico, a precious time of transition,” Sister Carol said. “Now it feels like I am coming home. My sister community is my greatest gift. It doesn’t get any better than the opportunity to work daily with three other sisters on the leadership team who will support, question and love me.”