A new leadership team is elected every six years at a Chapter of Elections. A Chapter is the highest level of governance of the vowed members of the congregation. The word 'Chapter' describes both the meeting itself and the participants. The current Congregational Leadership's term is from 2012-2018.
Standing, L to R: Marilyn Geiger, OSF, Marlene Pinzka, OSF, Elaine Frank, OSF, Barbara Goergen,
OSF and Sue Reif, OSF. Seated, L to R: Joan Lewison, OSF, Christine Stanoch, OSF, and Marlys Jax, OSF
Standing, L to R: Charlotte Hesby, OSF, Barbara Haag, OSF and Jean Keniry, OSF
Sister Marilyn Geiger is Congregational Minister/President. She served as an Associate Minister on the 2006-2012 leadership team of the Rochester Franciscans. Her primary focus has been in healthcare, pastoral care and justice and peace ministries. She graduated from the College of St. Teresa in Winona with a B.S. in Nursing, and from the University of Washington in Seattle with a M.S. in Nursing. She also received a Masters of Divinity in Theology from Seattle University.
Sister Joan Lewison served as Associate Minister from 2012-2015. Prior to that, she served as administrator for the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary retirement center in Chicago, Illinois. Her prior experience included six years as co-director of the residential facility at Assisi Heights in Rochester (1999-2006). She holds a B.S. degree in elementary education from the College of St. Teresa in Winona and an M.S. in education administration from Texas A & I University in Kingsville, Texas.
Sister Christine Stanoch has assumed the role of Associate Minister. Prior experience includes work in pastoral ministry, counseling, teaching, and as a director of religious education. She holds a B.S. in education from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, and a Master of Pastoral Studies, with a concentration in spirituality, from Loyola University in Chicago.
In addition to serving as Councillors At-Large, Sisters Sue Reif, Barbara Goergen and Marlys Jax will continue in their current ministries. They are joined by Sister Marlene Pinzka, Congregational Treasurer, and Sister Elaine Frank, Congregational Secretary; both appointed for a second term.
Sister Sue Reif serves as the Executive Director of Healing Hearts, Restoring Hope. Prior to that, she was the Director of Restorative Justice for the Diocese of San Bernadino, California; a position she has held since 2008. Prior to that, she was the Coordinator of Prison and Re-entry Ministry for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She holds undergraduate degrees in elementary education, psychology and speech pathology from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, and a Masters in Pastoral Ministry from St. Thomas Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, with a concentration in Hispanic Ministry. In addition, she earned a Masters in Social Work from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Sister Barbara Goergen returned to leadership, having served as a Councillor At-Large since 2009. She holds a full-time position as a nurse practitioner for the Allergy and Asthma Medical Group and Research Center in San Diego, California. She obtained her B.S. in nursing from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, and an M.S. in Community Health as a family nurse practitioner from Texas Women's University in Houston, Texas. Her career also includes work as a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic in the 1980s.
Sister Marlys Jax currently serves as Outreach Coordinator for Assisi Heights, which includes hospitality and marketing the use of the Assisi Heights Spirituality Center and its sponsored events. She earned a B.S. in education from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, and has pursued additional education and leadership training in Spokane, Washington and various institutions in Minnesota.
Sister Marlene Pinzka is serving a second term as Congregational Treasurer. She has Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees in mathematics education and has ministered at the junior high, senior high, and college levels; most recently, on the faculty of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, for 17 years. S. Marlene co-chaired the Catholic Identity Committee and served on a variety of committees at Loras, including the Faculty Senate. She has worked with area elementary and secondary teachers and served as a mentor to students in the Dubuque school system. S. Marlene served as a board member and treasurer for People in Need, an interfaith outreach program for persons in crisis.
Sister Elaine Frank is serving a second term as Congregational Secretary. After starting college, she joined the Daughters of Mary, a small congregation in Florida, with a ministry focused on education and social work. In 1975, S. Elaine transferred to the Rochester Franciscan Congregation, and worked in retreat ministry, in the business offices at Assisi Heights and as administrator at the Tau Center in Winona. Following training in Clinical Pastoral Education and in Spiritual Direction, she became chaplain at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa and North Iowa Hospice in Mason City, Iowa. Before returning to Assisi Heights to serve in leadership, S. Elaine served on the staff at Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Janesville, Minnesota, from 1998-2006.
Sister Barbara Haag is serving as an Associate Minister She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the College of St. Teresa, Winona, MN and a Master of Science in Nursing from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. In 1976, she received a PhD in Foundations of Education from the University of Maryland. The majority of her career has been spent in nursing administration starting at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, and then serving as Assistant Professor of Nursing, Director of Graduate Program in Nursing and Professor of Nursing, respectively, at various colleges throughout the Midwest and in Washington, D.C. In 1993, she received a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministries at St. Mary’s College in Winona, MN, and shifted her attention to serving as a pastoral minister in various parishes in ND and WI, until she came to serve as Associate Minister on the leadership team at Assisi Heights from 2000-2006. She then returned to working in parishes in Minnesota Lake and Mankato, MN, until returning to Assisi Heights as an Associate Minister in 2015.
Sister Charlotte Hesby is serving as an Academy Board Member. She has been a hermit since 1989, and is currently a staff member of Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Janesville, MN. She holds a BS in Occupational Therapy from Mt. Mary College, Milwaukee, WI and an MA in Theology with a concentration in Spirituality from St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN.
Sister Jean Keniry is serving as an Academy Board Member. She has a bachelor’s degree in in nursing from the College of Saint Teresa, Winona, MN, and a master’s degree in community health nursing from Texas Women’s University in Houston, TX. Her nursing career was spent primarily in supervisory and administrator positions in Rochester, MN, Edinburg, TX, and Paducah, KY. She is also certified in religious studies and clinical pastoral education. From 2000-2008, Sister Jean served as the Congregational Treasurer, Sisters of Saint Francis, Rochester, MN. Then, from 2009-2013, she served as president of the Saint Marys Hospital Sponsorship Board, Inc., and continues to serve on the newly formed Mayo Clinic Values Council, representing the Academy of Our Lady of Lourdes (Sisters of Saint Francis) in Rochester, MN.