Our Leadership Team

2022-25 Leadership Team

Meet our United States Provincial Team who are serving a first term together through June 2025.

Sister Jean Schafer, SDS, Provincial Leader (back, center)

Sister Sheila Novak, SDS, Provincial Councilor (back, left)

Sister Mary Evelyn Zimbauer, SDS, Provincial Councilor (back, right)

Sister Patrice Colletti, SDS, Provincial Councilor (front, left)

Sister Mary Lee Grady, SDS, Provincial Vicaress (front, right)

Sister Jean Schafer, SDS (Sr. Mary Christopher) describes her call to religious life as a “powerful gift” that has offered her opportunities to discover and share her talents, connect with diverse people in meaningful ways, and achieve a balance of community, prayer, and service. The former international leader for Salvatorian Sisters in Rome and founder of Stop Trafficking!, a monthly publication of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, now has the responsibility of leading her U.S. Province. She says, “My role is to keep the spiritual dimension before us – the ‘why’ of our life.”

Sister Mary Lee Grady, SDS (Sr. Melanie) believes “formation of the whole person – mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally – is essential to grow in one’s personal relationship with God.” That belief guides Sr. Mary Lee in her work on the New Membership Team and as she mentors women who feel called to religious life. It also inspires her love for singing in choral groups, swimming, reading and walking in the quiet of the day.

Creativity, intelligence, problem-solving, and a good sense of humor make Sister Patrice Colletti, SDS, Provincial Counsilor, a qualified member of our Leadership Team. She says “… all my ministries, since early adulthood, have been ministries of service to folks ‘at the margins’ of our society, or ministries of leading organizations who serve folks ‘at the margins’… Those ministries have taught me that leadership truly benefits from teamwork and collaboration.”

As the only Team Member not based in Milwaukee, she remotely manages her responsibilities from Sisseton, South Dakota where she teaches at Tiospa Zina Tribal School. Even with her days split between science projects and Team meetings, she still finds time for computer building and repairing, photography, and service dog training.

Sister Sheila Novak, SDS helped guide the global mission of Salvatorian Sisters when she served as Provincial Leader in the early 2000s. When a door opened to address the plight of women around the world, she stepped right in. Sr. Sheila’s passion to improve the quality of life for women has inspired her ministries ever since, including her work with immigrants and survivors of human trafficking.

Sister Mary Evelyn Zimbauer, SDS declares, “My desire to help people and advocate for others is engrained in me as a Salvatorian Sister and nurse.” Her sensitivity to the needs of others is a trait she developed in her 60 years of nursing. Although retired from her long-time ministry, Sr. Mary Evelyn continues to zealously serve people and her community as a Provincial Councilor on the Leadership Team, weekend on-call nurse for her fellow sisters, and first aid responder at Milwaukee events.