The Southeast Alaska Catholic
July 22, 2011

By SIster Delia Sizler, SC

It is approaching a year since I moved to Southeast Alaska and I have yet to introduce myself. I am Sister Delia Sizler, SC or S. Dee or just Dee, a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati. The SCs of Cincinnati are direct descendants of the community founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1809. I first met the Sisters in high school in Cleveland, Ohio where I was raised with six younger sisters and brothers.

At 19, I left home and college for Cincinnati and entered religious life. After first vows I was missioned to teach elementary school and taught for 11 years in four schools in four different cities. With a new masters degree I ministered as assistant dean of students at the College of Mount St. Joseph. My vocational call has had me doing many things since then, including establishing a shelter for homeless women and children and directing a community based adult basic learning center. Later with Catholic Community Services of Northern Kentucky I was counselor to pastoral ministers. From there I started a counseling office, New Spring Center, where I ministered for 17 years primarily to families and individuals without insurance.

I have always been an avid supporter of conservation and environment protection of our earth home. Another interest has been the development of Associate membership in religious communities. The Sisters of Charity have included Associates for close to 40 years and I have been part of that movement since the beginning. In fact, it was our SC Associates who live here in Juneau who drew me to Alaska. I came with two Sisters and an Associate to visit in May of 2007 and returned again for a second longer visit in 2009 and felt the lure to live here. There is a growing SC Associate community here who kept inviting me.

God works in ways I could never have expected. I found myself closing New Spring Center in Cincinnati, my place of counseling ministry for 17 years, and moving to Cleveland to be in the city where my family lives. That only lasted a year and during that time I cared for my sister who died of brain cancer.

From there I traveled 3000 miles to Juneau, where I now live with Sr. Marie Lucek, OP on Douglas Island.

When someone asks me if I work for the parish I tell them I work for the Church though I am not employed by it. My ministry is at the AWARE shelter, the main shelter for women in abuse and rape emergencies in southeast Alaska. I am also starting Family Pastoral Service where I offer spiritual counseling to those who want this alternative to traditional counseling.

In June I had the opportunity to make anACTS retreat. What a wonderful experience and example of lay Christian service at its best. I am impressed with the dedication and commitment of the Catholic faith community here and I hope to be able to contribute to the growth of this community.

Another sign I belong here—I even love the weather. I hope to visit other southeast towns and get to know more of you. I invite you to learn more about my religious community at srcharitycinti.org. You can also email me at dsizler@gmail.com. It is a gift to be here in Juneau.