‘Bernardine Bonanza’ special event to benefit retired sisters

To help offset their economic retirement challenges, the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters of Reading are hosting their ninth annual fundraising event, “Bernardine Bonanza,” on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the McGlinn Conference Center, at the motherhouse in Reading.

The night will include live music by the Uptown Band, great food, exciting auctions and all-around fun. Tickets are $95, with proceeds from the event benefitting the growing number of retired Bernardine Franciscan Sisters.

The Bernardine Franciscan Sisters have served the people of Reading for over 125 years beginning with their care for orphans at St. Francis Home, then their teaching at local parishes, the two former Catholic high schools (Holy Name and Central Catholic), their Montessori School and Alvernia University, which was founded by the sisters in 1958.

Today the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters minister in seven states across the United States, throughout Brazil, in the Dominican Republic, and in the African countries of Liberia and Mozambique. They have touched countless lives and continue to do so to this day.

Recently the sisters established an Adult Literacy Center in downtown Reading where people of low economic standing take classes in ESL (English as a Second Language) and computer skills or obtain their GED (General Education Development). In addition, they run “Doorways to Hope,” a preschool program for at-risk children in north Reading.

Many people today lead fulfilling lives because of the sisters’ influence, education excellence and compassionate care.

The sisters work faithfully in carrying out the mission of Jesus wherever they are. However, with few sisters working full time, and more and more reaching retirement age, they must balance the ongoing works of their mission with the rising cost of providing care for their members, many of whom are sick, retired and very elderly.

Today over 65 sisters live at their retirement home, St. Joseph Villa in Reading, with an additional 20 living at their motherhouse. They have opened the doors of their retirement home to other religious communities, and in November 2019 welcomed nine retired sisters from the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Development Advisory Board of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters invites everyone to “Make it a Habit” by attending the event or making a monetary gift in honor of your favorite sister. You may purchase tickets, become a sponsor or make your gift at www.bfranciscan.org. For more information, call Sister Maria Bartos at 484-334-6815.


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