–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Sylvania Franciscan Village director Sophia Lloyd works closely with Laura Bertke.

The Sylvania Franciscan Village is much more than pine trees and the parkland at the Holland-Sylvania Road/Convent Boulevard corner, which houses the Sylvania Franciscan Village sign.

According to its director, Sophia Lloyd, the village is actually not a place, but a concept based on the relationships of the Sisters of St. Francis and their sponsored ministries. Those consist of LourdesUniversity and Sylvania Franciscan Ministries, which includes Rosary CareCenter and Our Lady of Grace, Bethany House and Sophia Counseling Center.

“The Sylvania Franciscan Village charter explains that the village was formed to harness energies for the greater good and benefit of those who share the Franciscan mission,” Lloyd noted.

“This Village was the vision of Sister Diana Lynn Eckel, the former Sisters of St. Francis congregational minister. The idea was to somehow pay tribute to how blessed the Sisters of St. Francis are and find a way to best share their many gifts. Recognizing that the sisters, as a group, are aging, the Village was one way to ensure their legacy lives on. The Village can further enhance the Sisters’ partnership with their sponsored ministries for extending the spirit of Francis in the world,” Lloyd stated. Members of the sisters of St. Francis, Lourdes University employees, the former Sylvania Franciscan Academy employees and Franciscan Services Corporation representatives were involved in planning of the Village.

“While the Village concept is based on the relationships within the Sisters of St. Francis and their ministries, we want to extend those relationships into the community,” Lloyd offered.

To that end, a Strategic Leadership Committee was formed to establish the focus and direction of the organization and set annual goals and objectives. An Advisory Committee works with Lloyd to establish activities that are aligned with the purpose of the village.

One of those activities is the annual Zero Waste Lunch held on or around Oct. 4 in honor of St. Francis. “We included students from St.Joe’s along with Lourdes faculty, employees and students and Rosary Care staff,” Lloyd said.

Intergenerational engagement between Lourdes students andRosary Care residents is another Village-sponsored initiative. In that vein, Lourdes English students are working on an oral history project. Students are partnering with Sisters of St. Francis to capture their individual stories in each sister’s own voice. “Not only is this bringing generations together but itis also promoting a better understanding of religious life,” Lloyd noted.

Other Village-sponsored activities include Taking a Sister to Lunch, Father Jim Bacik’s monthly and special lectures and TED Talks on Tuesdays, which bring current topics in focus and offers a place for community dialogue, according to Lloyd.

“We are always evolving,” Lloyd noted. “And we are always looking for ways to connect with the community to share our Franciscan values and mission.”