Women of Strength 2016

Annamae Hein, Ed.D


NOMINATED BY: Magdalene Hein O’Leary, SFA Class of 1977

Annamae J. Hein, Ed.D. is a woman of both enduring strength and steadfast belief, who has lived her life in keeping with the adage, “each of us teaches all of us.” While her life has been filled with challenges, she has never shied away from making choices that fulfill Jesus’s teachings of love and service, even when it has required great personal sacrifice to do so. Her Catholic faith and the strong foundation of St. Francis Academy have given her the fortitude to persevere and instilled her with confidence that the Lord is always with her.
Looking back as her younger sister, Annamae had to grow up far too soon, becoming the caretaker for our mother at a young age. Taking care of someone you love with a serious mental illness requires significant patience, bravery, and sacrifice. Through her high school years at St. Francis Academy, followed by four years at Bloomsburg University, Annamae studied diligently, while working to provide financial stability for her own schooling and the housing and continual care of our mother. Annamae was a loving, compassionate caretaker until our mother’s passing in 2002.

While many would feel diminished under such responsibilities, Annamae took her experiences and channeled them into the betterment of herself and service to others. Her love of science and education, which developed from her friendship and the nurturing guidance of Sister Xavier at St. Francis Academy, led her to pursue further studies and an occupation as a teacher. She received her Master of Science degree in Education in 1988 and a doctorate in Education in 2005. She taught science to high school students at Louis E. Dieruff High School in the Allentown School District for 30 years. Students at Dieruff face many of the same barriers as those in inner city schools throughout our country, including poverty, with over 75% of students eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Annamae devoted her life to her students, participating in numerous programs to help teenagers achieve success, including School Within a School (remedial reading students), Interim School Science for pregnant girls (Allen High School), West Ed Reading Apprenticeship, and Alternative Education for over-aged Ninth Graders, offsite, homebound, inclusion, and mainstreamed students.

The trials and tribulations of teaching at an inner city school also led her to find ways to offset the students daily learning routines by founding and running The Environmental Park at Louis E. Dieruff High School. This immersive learning space includes two waterfalls, an anthropology pit, time capsule, bat house, bird feeders, composting, and teacher’s walk of fame. She partnered with her students to help support this work, including fundraising events and grants totaling more than $35,000.

In addition to her work with her students, she has remained a devoted scholar, publishing numerous articles in the areas of geology, education, and religious philosophy. Her published book, The Alpha and Omega of Jesus Christ, is a spiritual adventure in verse, taking us through the Nativity and Crucifixion of our Lord. This book, in particular, exemplifies her belief the human qualities demonstrated in the Bible are legitimate role models for today.
Annamae currently writes and administers the website, Matters of the Spirit, aimed at enhancing the spiritual journey of others by exploring where science and philosophy collide and coalesce. Even with her recent retirement from Dieruff, she is still quite motivated, taking on a part time role with the DaVinci Science Center as an Outreach Educator. This entails taking lessons to the elementary and middle schools and teach science inquiry.

Annamae’s quiet generosity knows no bounds. She helps neighbors at a moment’s notice, including driving them to and from doctor appointments. She has contracted for a generator on her property and is prepared to provide electricity to any neighbor within her radius when inclement weather dictates. An unsuspecting friend in need will find a filled grocery bag at their door, or money to hold them over till their next social security check arrives. She is a Eucharistic Minister at St. Ursula’s Parish and an active participant within this community.

​Dr. Annamae J. Hein, has touched so many lives, humbly, modestly and for no gain other than the hope that they, in turn, will give of themselves when the opportunity arises.

Elizabeth A. Kline

NOMINATED BY: MaryBeth (Kline) Mulicka, SFA CLASS of 1974

The Woman that is so deserving of the “Woman of Strength” Award is my beloved mother, Elizabeth (Betty) Kline. As I sit here composing this, my son and his wife are on their way to the hospital to have their first child. I can’t help but reminisce about how Mom was here for me and my siblings when we were becoming parents. She would put aside her daily routine and be with us for the first several weeks, doing our laundry, making our meals and cleaning our house, caring for our children ~ and all the while embracing the newest member of the family!

As far back as I can remember, Mom was totally immersed in the care of her family and community whilst living out her Catholic Faith every moment of every day. Caring for her own mother, she called her daily to see how her night was. She took my Grandmother on her errands ~ whether for shopping needs or doctor/hospital visits and weekly invited her to our Sunday dinner. After my Grandmother died, Mom took care of our Grandfather until his passing. All of this in addition to looking after her own six children and her husband!
My mother was equally committed to our community and was involved in the CWCC (Catholic Women’s College Club), Mercy Day School and CFM (Catholic Family Movement.) She also volunteered in various organizations within her parish, St. Ursula: Women’s Guild, Lector and Eucharistic Minister, Rosary Leader, to name a few. Mom attended Mass daily, and we knew never to call or disturb her at 3 o’clock…this was her private and sacred time to spend in her prayer room. She and Dad also ran the parish monthly food drive for New Bethany Ministries, collecting and delivering the food. When someone had a death in the family, Mom was the first to be on their doorstep with a meal or baked goods. Her cards and letters of support lift spirits immediately. In all, she goes about her way quietly, expecting nothing in return.

The Kline family was introduced to Saint Francis Academy (SFA) in 1970 when I was a Freshman. We were immediately drawn into the spirit at Monocacy Manor! Mom attended all the events ~ Christmas Vespers and the plays being her favorites. She gave birth to her last child when I started at SFA. I remember fondly her waiting for me after practices and basketball games. She always wanted the best for me and my siblings and St. Francis WAS the Best! My Mom LOVED the Sisters at St. Francis, so it was no surprise to any of us that when they asked her to sit with some of the Sisters in need, she was more than happy to oblige. She would always reprimand my Dad when, bag in hand, he would approach the Sisters in the kitchen with a request for sticky buns! Nobody made them better!

Now my sweet Mom is faced with a new way of life. She has cared for Dad for over 60 years, but now there are physical and mental challenges that require her to be available for him 24-7. The love they have for one another is undeniable and solid. When she was hospitalized overnight in April of 2015, he was lost without her. When she arrived home the next day, he looked lovingly at her and said “I had no one to kiss last night.”

​Everything my mother does, she does with quiet enthusiasm, gentleness, and a deep love of her God, his Blessed Mother and her family. She tries to do everything on her own claiming ‘we all have enough on our plate.’ My wonderful Mom never wants to burden her family with what is going on in her life. If ever there was a woman of strength, of love, of faith, of family, it is Betty Kline

 Barbara Martell

NOMINATED BY: Sister Marguerite Stewart, OSF
When I hear the words “woman of strength,” a name that readily comes to mind is Barbara Martell, MSEd., M.A., M.S. (Education, Holistic Spirituality & Spiritual Direction, Counseling Psychology and an Advanced Certificate in Applied Spirituality.) With extensive experience in retreat work and in spiritual direction, Barb is married and the mother of five children and grandmother of one.

At any given day, we might meet Barbara unlocking her spiritual direction room at St. Francis Center for Renewal, where she has guided many individuals from various walks of life, on their journey to God. Being a spiritual director is a gift for Barbara, but also a passion. Barbara is an insightful listener. Kindness and generous giving of herself is so evident. She is a woman of integrity, living and encouraging this gift in others. Finding its way through these many gifts is a keen sense of humor and an at-homeness with all she encounters. While Barbara established herself as an individual spiritual director, she recognized the importance of spiritual growth and the need for well trained spiritual directors. Barb has been a supervisor in the Spiritual Direction Practicum at Chestnut Hill College, became a professor at Moravian Seminary and, in time, co-formulated a graduate certificate training program for spiritual directors. Today this program is recognized as an excellent addition to the Seminary and gifts the Lehigh Valley with outstanding spiritual leaders. After class hours, Barbara can often be seen guiding and encouraging individual students.
If I were to ask Barbara Martell what she saw as her first and most important calling, without a pause her response would be: wife, mother and grandmother. Her love and devotion to her husband, Gary, and her five children, and one grand-daughter, Rose Elsie, cannot be mistaken. Added to that love and devotion is her care for her aging mother, Doris. Her mother, currently battling dementia, lives next door to Barb. Often, between classes or spiritual direction sessions, she can be seen running home to check on Mom.

Barbara’s life has not been free of pain and struggle. Some fourteen years ago she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. This was a severe blow to her and to her family. This new realization of the fragility of her life did not hold her back from courageously continuing to be who she truly is, a woman of strength. Barbara continues to use her gifts to serve God and the spiritual needs of God’s people. Living with her illness each day has helped her to help others in facing their own struggles. Her humor and positive attitude, in the face of weakness and pain are so evident.

In addition to spiritual direction, Barbara has been involved in leading programs at St. Francis Center for Renewal. As part of the retreat team, she helped to originate the Annual Women’s Spirituality Weekend. For more than 15 years, this January retreat designed especially for today’s contemporary woman, has been a popular and life-giving weekend at St. Francis Center. Barb leads Contemplative Retreats at our Center for the students of Moravian College and is also an active member of a group of spiritual directors in the Lehigh Valley (SDGLV). They meet regularly at the Center for their own enrichment as well as the enrichment of others., As part of SDGLV Barbara co-designed a program which focuses on topics related to holistic spirituality. This program, called Next Step, is now managed by the SDGLV planning committee and continues to bring many fine speakers and programs to our Center.
Another passion for Barbara is the promotion of peace and justice. She initiated a celebration in honor of the UN World Day of Peace, celebrated every September 21. The celebration took place at Monacacy Manor, and invited people of all faiths to come together to pray, reflect and share. Participants were invited to walk the paths on our property, praising and thanking God for the gift of peace. In connection with this day, a selection of films and discussions were held encouraging a greater awareness of the need for peace. In 2015 Barb organized a similar celebration at Moravian Seminary.

I have known Barbara Martell for many years. She has been a friend and mentor to me. Her love of God, her love of life, her service and love for the people of God has been a great inspiration to me. Her courage in the face of daily struggles speaks volumes. I see Barbara as a true WOMAN OF STRENGTH.

Sr. M. Rene Parent, OSF

NOMINATED BY: Sister Barbara Brown, OSF

​When I consider my sisters in community, I realize that each one holds some gift, some grace ~ which makes our journey together as Franciscan women a revelation of God’s faithfulness. Aside from the traditional relegating of Francis of Assisi to the birdbath, our patron is well known for the graces of simplicity and humility. Among the staff of Saint Francis Center for Renewal, there is a sister who by her presence, exemplifies these two graces to all she meets in daily in our community life and in her ministry.

So many times we answer the door at the Renewal Center and the person ~ often a former retreatant says: “I stopped by just to see Sister Rene. Is she home?” Often when groups come for their annual gathering, the first person they ask for is Sister Rene! Many retreatants, impressed by the gift of Sister Rene, have become volunteers at our Renewal Center. They do dishes, count sheets and towels, clean the cafeteria, etc. In addition, Sister Rene is generous with her time and her person. I know for a fact that she listens to her volunteers with patience and love. Along the way she teaches all of us that sometimes you don’t need to say anything profound, you just need to be there for someone.

Whenever I am rushing around, feeling too busy and overwhelmed, I look at Sister Rene and without a word the message is clear – “Slow down, Barbara! It’s not what we do, but who we are in the doing that counts.” I thank her for that unspoken message. Usually it’s just what I need in that moment ~ to take a breath and become mindful of God’s presence all around me and in each person I meet.

The gift of her courage is a result of the fact that Sister Rene has some struggles too. (She will probably be upset by the fact that I nominated her for this award – which means that she will be in the spotlight for a change.) Big crowds and a lot of attention make her feel uncomfortable, so it takes courage for her to be publicly recognized. Daily she faces the challenges of living with diabetes. However, she’s also optimistic, always encouraging others to look at the bright side of things. Every once in a while she comes out with a great joke and she has the ability to laugh at herself. Her creativity and effort at risk taking come forth when she juggles – scarves, balls, and sticks to music. She also enjoys writing – letters, poems, and lyrics to songs.

When I think of Sister Rene an image of the foot washing Jesus comes to mind. On the night before he died, Jesus made a point to teach his friends that serving others is at the heart of being a disciple of Jesus. Foot washing requires humble service and great love. In September of this year Sister Rene wrote to me: “Try to understand that there are specific needs among the volunteers. In the kitchen we are trying to build the Kingdom of God – one day at a time. As you know, God shows up in the most unexpected places.” After that what else needs to be said?

​For her years of faithful service to Saint Francis Center for Renewal and for her faithful Gospel witness, Sister Rene Parent is a true Woman of QUIET Strength!

Peace and all Good! We Would Love to Have You Visit Soon!


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