We Are Strong

Last week, Adelante Mujer’s Board of Directors met.  The group meets three times a year to review, discuss, and plan the organization’s activities.

Front row from left are Mary Gorske, Sr. Doris Klein, Joan Schilke, Paula Elmer, Dr. Ann Schlaefer (outgoing). Back row from left are board president Barb Senn, Sarah Endicott DNP, RN, executive director Karen Heuberger, Rita Thomas, past executive director Sr. Diane Bauknecht, Dr. Gina Everson. Absent Jane Monahan.

As part of this meeting, we showed gratitude to our outgoing board member, Dr. Ann Schlaefer, who has shared her gifts with the board for the past six years.

 Dr. Ann Schlaefer left and Barb Senn

 We also had a display of all 70 of the women who have successfully completed our program and are now serving the population as medical doctors. It is a reminder of why we do what we do.

At our summer 2022 meeting, we had put closure to our strategic plan, so this meeting included work on our new strategic plan. As part of that process, we did a SWOT analysis. I want to share a few of the strengths we noted. First, we acknowledged the creative passion of our foundress, Sister Ann McKean, CSA, Ph.D. An organization is on sure footing when the mission can be passed on from the founder to others to carry on. Adelante Mujer is now working under its third executive director, demonstrating the continuing strength of the program. Another asset is our students. The women in our program are determined and hardworking. Their success shows the effectiveness of our program. Finally, we acknowledge as a strength, our resources. Not only do we have a committed staff and board, but we have faithful donors. Your generosity makes everything possible and we are grateful to you. 

~~~ Karen, October 2022 ~~~

A Note from our Outgoing President

Dear Friends of Adelante Mujer,

Over the past eight years, I have had the graced opportunity to assist in the mission of Adelante Mujer as a member of the Board of Directors.

When Sister Ann McKean, CSA, asked me to be part of the board, I hesitated a bit to begin yet another task in another country. However, Ann cheerfully allowed me all the time I needed to make a decision to commit to the mission for Nicaraguan women. After some months, I responded affirmatively because of CSA’s longtime commitment to Nicaragua in the services of education and health care. I did not just commit to Ann’s call but to an inner sense of my own life of ministry to the poor whether in Chicago, Nigeria, Mexico, or Israel. Those women were calling me.

The Board of Directors, at the time I joined, needed to organize itself as guardian of the newly incorporated Adelante Mujer. We had a very humble start but we had Ann’s focused vision about whom we were serving and how they would be educated at URACCAN University. Our purpose was not to build another institution but to support women medical students at a university where they were educated to be doctors using western and indigenous approaches to health care on the East Coast of Nicaragua. This mission-in-reverse approach is significant in a country like Nicaragua where systems succumb to the issues of climate change, poverty, and a host of other issues. This requires another way to serve, namely, listening to the needs at the base and work to meet those needs. This mission focus is not on buildings but on people having specific needs. With that in mind, the Board of Directors incorporated in the USA to serve as an outside source of assistance with no incursions on systems that we, or the people we serve, have no control to change.

With our eye on the work to raise funds for women, we established standards that the students are required to achieve in order to succeed in their system. The standards are high. The work of the board has internal expectations that any student accepted into the program be financed fully at the time of their approval. The results are impressive. The mutual commitment of the students and our organization is based on trust and a local support system that helps to understand the need for further assistance. Because we help students for URACCAN University, our organization benefits the university since most of the women medical students who graduate are in the Adelante Mujer program. Within the eight years of incorporation, Nicaragua now has 70 doctors who work in hospitals, clinics and at university level as teachers.  Because of the mission-in-reverse focus on the person rather than the institution, our program is well over 90% successful in terms of assisting students who graduate and serve. All of this has happened in the last 10 years beginning with Ann’s vision and the board’s support.

I am deeply grateful to be able to serve as one of the board members who have helped to design a program that is so successful in its mission goals. I hope that the board will continue its work for many years to come. I fully intend to support their goals with any assistance that I can give. 

Esther Suzanne Hicks,

Outgoing President


Passing the Baton

Throughout my 63 years as a Sister of St. Agnes, I have been blessed to work in various exciting and fulfilling ministries. Without a doubt, roles I played in Adelante Mujer these last seven-plus years were the ultimate definition of exciting and fulfilling! Working with Sister Ann McKean, CSA, PhD, the Foundress of Adelante Mujer, was never boring because her brilliant mind and daily ideas to improve the world were forever expanding. Sister Diane and KarenInteracting with more than one hundred medical students who overcome challenges beyond our comprehension was inspiring. Collaborating with numerous personnel in Nicaragua was a privilege and blessing as was working with our own office staff in Fond du Lac. Continue reading “Passing the Baton”

And the Board Works On

Due to the current pandemic, our regular meeting room was closed the day before the March meeting of Adelante Mujer Board of Directors. Our gathering had to be cancelled. Voting on important issues was conducted by email responses and business pretty much continued as usual. Then, before the Annual Meeting scheduled in July, it was agreed that an in-person, half day session was less than feasible and, besides, the facility for the meeting was still closed to outsiders. This time a 3-hour meeting by Zoom was scheduled and, gratefully, it proceeded without a hitch. The important ministry of Adelante Mujer goes on without an office to work in and without a meeting room for nine devoted women to discuss business in our familiar space.  Continue reading “And the Board Works On”

Shoulder Tap

Shoulder Taps

We have all heard the expression: Every once in a while God taps us on the shoulder. Nearly every minute of every day I hear things chiming, beeping, ringing, flashing, or clicking. Texts, emails, phone calls, ads, billboards, neon lights, and alerts all fight for my attention. How can I possibly notice a little tap? Continue reading “Shoulder Taps”


Adelante Mujer ~ International Headquarters

Tucked away on the third floor of the Sisters of Saint Agnes Nazareth Center & Court in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin U.S.A. is a tiny room no larger than 8’ x 10’. It contains a desk with a laptop computer, a printer, and a recently purchased chair for Sister Ann, one which she is able to get in and out of by herself.  Her walker is always nearby.  Next to this desk is a built-in closet.  Opposite that desk is a small table and another chair for one more person to work.  There’s little room to walk between them.  A window looks into the hallway.  The desk and walls are decorated with  photos of current and previous students, a clock, and a crucifix.

Continue reading “Adelante Mujer ~ International Headquarters”

9 Board Members

And Now We Are Nine

Adelante Mujer knows many, many blessings. Without a doubt, one of our great strengths is our very competent and dedicated Board of Directors. Seven members have guided the growth of Adelante Mujer until now. This blog proudly introduces two new members, each of whom was a guest at the July board meeting and was unanimously approved to serve a three year term with the other seven women directors.

Continue reading “And Now We Are Nine”