The scheduled Provincial Election Assembly in March 2020 was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic – and the continued inability to gather in person for elections throughout the next year – so in April 2021 the Atlantic-Midwest Province requested that their leadership in Rome, known as the General Council, appoint the next provincial council. With permission for this request granted by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL), the Sisters of the province participated in a discernment process to invite potential leaders to consider whether they were feeling called to serve. Reflecting on all of the invitations and recommendations, as well as other input from the Sisters of the province, the General Council entered into a time of their own dialogue and discernment from November 2-6, 2021, which led to the appointment of the following for a four-year term:
- Sister Charmaine Krohe Provincial Leader
- Sister Mary Roy Weiss Provincial Councilor/Vicar
- Sister Paula Dukehart Provincial Councilor
- Sister Mary Fitzgerald Provincial Councilor
- Sister Nancy Gilchriest Provincial Councilor
- Sister Margaret Malone Provincial Councilor
The new Council will be installed on December 8, 2021. “We are grateful to our sisters of the Atlantic-Midwest for their commitment and openness throughout the discernment process and assure the new Provincial Council of our prayerful support as they live out their faith-filled, generous response to provincial leadership,” said General Superior Sister Roxanne Schares when announcing the appointments. “May they receive the grace they need as they inspire the Sisters to creative fidelity in the commitment to carry out the unifying mission of Christ. In the spirit of our foundress, Blessed M. Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger, may they be women of peace, hope and love, for love gives everything!”
Sister Charmaine Krohe is currently the Provincial Leader and has been re-elected to that position, which she has held since 2016. During that time, she has overseen the closing and potential sale of multiple properties that the province currently owns, including two nursing centers in Baltimore and Connecticut, a large residence for Sisters in Wilton, Connecticut, and Notre Dame Convent in Waterdown, Ontario Canada, where the Sisters will lease back part of the property as a residence, while the rest will be used for an international school.
Sister Charmaine had previously served as President of Mother Seton Academy, and for 34 years she lived and served the African-American community at St. Ambrose Parish in Northwest Baltimore as teacher, pastoral associate, hospital chaplain, and founder of the St. Ambrose Outreach Center. “I am grateful to the new Council for their openness to serving in leadership during these challenging and complex times. It is a sign of great courage and hope for the province.”
Sister Mary Roy Weiss has been appointed Provincial Councilor and Vicar. She has been a religion teacher and campus minister at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, MD, since 2017. Although much of her career has been spent as an educator in religion and music, and as a music therapist in school settings, Sister Mary Roy has also worked in Vocation Ministry and as a Province Minister of Liturgy and Music.
Sister Paula Dukehart has been appointed as a Provincial Councilor. She previously served in the same role from 2008-2016 (and was Vicar from 2012-2016). Sister Paula started out as a teacher and later moved into pastoral counseling, Vocation and Formation ministry, and hospice chaplaincy. Most recently she has been Assistant Local Leader for the Villa Assumpta and Stella Maris communities of Sisters in Baltimore.
Sister Mary Fitzgerald has been appointed a member of the Provincial Council for the first time. Sister Mary has spent her career working in education from the grade school to university levels. On and off for 27 years she worked at the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, the first SSND school in the United States, where she was teacher, Vice-Principal, Principal and President throughout her time there. Since 2007 she has been at Notre Dame of Maryland University, which was also founded by the SSNDs as the first college for women in the U.S. Sister Mary was an Associate Professor.
Sister Nancy Gilchriest has also been appointed as a Provincial Councilor for the first time. She taught high school in Boston, MA, and Rochester and Brooklyn, NY early in her career and then progressed into higher education. After teaching at Notre Dame of Maryland for five years, she has been an Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Department at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, NY since 2006, She has also served as Director of the North America Vocation Team since 2016.
Sister Margaret Malone has been appointed as a Provincial Councilor for the first time, although she previously served in leadership as District Councilor at Notre Dame of Nsawam, which would go on to become part of the Province of Africa in 2011. Sister Margaret taught elementary and junior high grades in Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina throughout her early years as a Sister, before answering the call to go to Africa in 1994. She worked as a teacher, principal and administrator in schools in Nigeria, Kenya and South Sudan until 2019, when she returned to Baltimore.