Area nuns become leaders

The new Congregational Leadership at Sisters of St. Francis are, standing from left: Marilyn Geiger, Marlene Pinzka, Elaine Frank, Barbara Goergen and Sue Reif. Seated: Joan Lewison, Christine Stanoch and Marlys Jax. Photo provided

Three local nuns have been elected to serve on the Congregational Leadership at Sisters of St. Francis.

Sisters Joan Lewison of Adams, Barbara Goergen of Austin and Marlys Jax of Johnsburg received the honor during a prayer service on July 1 at Assisi Heights in Rochester.

The leadership’s focus will include care for creation (ecology), overcoming human trafficking, humane treatment and support towards immigrants, open communication through inter-religious dialogue and speaking out against oppression of women and children.

Family, friends and the Rochester Franciscan Community prayed and sang at the service to endorse the leaders’ mission.

The other sisters elected to the Congregational Leadership were Marilyn Geiger, Christine Stanoch, Sue Reif, Marlene Pinzka and Elaine Frank.

Lewison recently served as administrator for the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary retirement center in Chicago. Her prior experience included six years as co-director of the residential facility at Assisi Heights. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the College of St. Teresa in Winona and a master’s in education administration from Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas. She will serve as an associate minister.

Goergen returns to leadership, having served as a councilor 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, Calif. She obtained her bachelor’s in nursing from the College of St. Teresa in Winona and a master’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.

Jax 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 bachelor’s in education from the College of St. Teresa in Winona and pursued additional education and leadership training in Spokane, Wash., and various institutions in Minnesota.

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