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.


Adelante Mujer Board of Directors Meeting via Zoom on July 17, 2020

2020 has challenged us to focus. It requires 20/20 vision for what we need to do and how to do it. As you can see, the Adelante Mujer Board of Directors has met the test. We are carefully managing the organization to the benefit of our 42 women medical students who depend on our support. We are developing plans to maintain donations despite the financial stress placed on so many people this year. We are preparing for the future with the stability demanded of all viable and small organizations like Adelante Mujer. Our current students need us for the next 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 years of medical school they face. The focus is on them.  

We are busy, we are blessed, we see clearly what is ours to do.  With your help and prayers, success will follow the 20/20 vision through the 2020 challenges we creatively embrace.

                    Top:  Rita Thomas, Joan Schilke, Esther Hicks 

Middle: Mary Gorske, Sister Susan Stucki, CSA, Sister Diane Bauknecht, CSA

Bottom:  Barb Senn, Sister Jean Perry, CSA, Recording Secretary, Paula Elmer

Not pictured, Dr. Ann Schlaefer who attended via phone Zoom

Sister Diane, CSA ~ August, 2020

How Students Apply Their Learning

Semester One of 2020 will soon be history for Adelante Mujer students in the Intercultural Medicine program of URACCAN University in northeast Nicaragua.  In addition to attending classes, doing assignments, and helping at the hospital, our students often do volunteer work by providing health care to family, neighbors, and needy people in the area.  Below are ventures of our sixth-year students. 

 Allison:  The photo I am sending you is of my granny.  I take care of her always.  I take her blood pressure and vital signs in the morning and at night because the situation we are in could affect her a lot.  She is elderly and should not be exposed to any contagion.  We all take great care, we use masks and wash our hands and disinfect everything to keep her safe.  

Jazmin:  Because of the global pandemic we are not working in the hospital.  The report I share with you is taken in the neighborhood where I live.  This patient has chronic-based pathology of high blood pressure.  I went to care for her, finding her high pressures of 140/100.  She was given advice for appropriate use of her treatment and is feeling better.    

 Judith:  We are learning about the most common pathologies in our environment and in the world such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, pyelonephritis, electrocardiogram reading, congestive heart failure, epilepsy, pneumonia, and others.  As a medical student I am always available to people who need my care either in taking blood pressure, giving injections, and providing information about medications.

 Maikelin:  From the end of March I started my clinical practices in internal medicine service which was a beautiful experience.  I always went to clinical practices at 6:00AM and left at 12.  Most of the patients assigned me were elderly people. … I was very pleased to attend them with humanism and love.  And, with a smile, I hear them say thank you.  It is a wonderful privilege.

Jenny:  My mother is diabetic and has hypertension and often does not feel well.  As a medical student, I keep an eye on her every day and help her with her medications.  With all the coved-19 people in my neighborhood they are in solitary confinement as a method of prevention.  But whenever they need my help they call by phone and I help them in whatever way I can.

Keyla:  I give volunteer services in blood pressure intakes and daily glycemia, in this way I also provide advice regarding diet and protective measures.  I carry out this activity taking all measures so as not to infect myself or infect others.

Mercy:  A gentleman was admitted to the orthopedic room for an injury on the sole of his foot.  With two weeks of antibiotics he did not improve.  It turned out that the disease had damaged the main vascularity of his foot. The next step was amputation.  I was in the surgery of that patient, I felt very sad because I imagine the anguish of that person. Maybe he thought the injury was minor and now he needed an amputation.

Sister Diane, CSA ~ July 2020

Adelante Mujer’s Secretary


My name is Marie Trebec and I was hired two years ago to serve as part-time secretary at the “international office” of Adelante Mujer, Inc. in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  Sister Diane, now the Executive Director, asked me to tell my story as to how this came about and what interests me about the organization.

I had previously worked for 35 years at a law firm in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and before that was a teacher for 15 years.  I am involved in music and liturgy work with the Sisters of St. Agnes (CSA) and love that part of my life.  Two years ago notice went out online to the CSA Associate Community (of which I am a member) requesting applications for a part-time position as secretary for Adelante Mujer, Inc.   I jumped at the chance to apply.  As a donor, I was aware of the work that Adelante Mujer did to solicit funds to support women in northeastern Nicaragua who were studying to be medical doctors.  Now I could be a small part in helping this most worthwhile cause.  The fact that the organization supports the training of women is another big plus for me.

On the two afternoons I work each week I enjoy keeping updated lists of students, lists of donors, charts of grants, printing thank-you letters, entering checks and donations in Quickbooks, filing, wrapping stethoscopes for the graduating doctors, and anything else for which I am needed.  An excellent way to learn about everything that goes on in the organization is to help in writing grants.  What eye-opening work!

During this COVID-19 Safer at Home time, I am able to continue with some of the work at home.  Sister Diane and I stay in touch online and hang work completed or to be done in a plastic bag on one another’s front doors.  We have it all worked out!  The picture is taken at my kitchen table office at home.

To me, one of the most amazing things about this program is that Sister Diane (and Sister Ann before her) knows each student personally and is concerned for the welfare of each one.  Sister Diane goes twice a year to Nicaragua to interview applicants, visit with students in various years of study, and keeps in contact with them via email and they with her.  Not many organizations can say they know each person with whom they are working and for whom the organization exists.

All of us working for Adelante Mujer are grateful to all of you who donate and keep the organization going.  I work here because I strongly believe in our mission.

Marie Trebec ~ June 2020

The Legacy She Left Us

                                                                        As I said, I know I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. I am running toward the only goal that                                                                               counts: to cross the line, to win the prize, and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed. — Philippians 3:13-14 (Source: The Voice) 

 The quotation above is not Sister Ann McKean’s, but it well could be. Anyone who knew Sister Ann can attest to the fact that, as foundress of Adelante Mujer (Advance Woman,) she “put everything on the line for this mission.” Whether it was the welfare of the students, the success of the doctors, the pursuit of grants, the wisdom of investments, the caliber of the Board of Directors, the succession after her retirement, Sister Ann gave total energy and attention to each aspect of her mission. Someone jokingly said, “No matter what we’re discussing, Ann always manages to weave the conversation to Adelante Mujer!” 

 Everything about Ann McKean’s life seemed to be preparing her for the final mission before “running toward the only goal that counts.” As a teen she was drawn to investigate various churches and their spirituality. By the time she graduated from high school Ann had decided that Catholicism was her call. On her 18th birthday she was baptized into the Catholic Church. That decision thwarted her plan to become a protestant missionary. What should she do? Become a Catholic sister was her answer. Friends introduced Ann to the Sisters of St. Agnes who taught in her home town, Decatur, Indiana. At the age of 19 Ann traveled to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to begin the process of becoming a sister. 

 Sister Ann’s professional preparation was for teaching. Assignments in New York, especially in Harlem, gave her glimpses into the disadvantages of people and families deprived of financial stability. Her missionary heart never forgot the plight of the poor. 

 Living in New York provided other opportunities for Sister Ann whose strong intellect and perpetual curiosity compelled her to delve deeply into the Scriptures she treasured as a protestant and theology she embraced as a Catholic. Always seeking to know and love God, Sister Ann pursued and earned a doctoral degree in historical theology from the prestigious Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation researched Karl Rahner’s Theology of Religious Life. The lone fish that entertained her over the past months was named Karl which demonstrates her esteem for Father Rahner’s timeless teachings.

 Sister Ann’s professional career spanned fifty years with the majority spent at college, seminary, and university levels. One former student claims that her classes were always well prepared and definitely worth the commitment she required. A seminary student, now a priest for 34 years, gratefully asserts that Sister Ann positively influenced his theology of Jesus which he lives and preaches to this day. 

 When there was need to initiate a new program or course of studies, Sister Ann she took the responsibility with professional leadership. When she needed a intellectual challenge, she became a student again and earned a pilot’s license. When she saw the need to help women in Nicaragua follow their dream for higher education, Sister Ann founded a program, Adelante Mujer. 

 Convert, vowed woman religious, teacher, student, doctor, professor, pilot, leader, foundress: Sister Ann McKean, CSA, PhD, “crossed the line, won the prize, and heard God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed.” She peacefully died on April 11, 2020, just on time to celebrate the feast of the resurrection (April 12) with Jesus the Anointed whom she faithfully followed all her life. 

 Sister Diane, CSA ~ May 2020