‘Heavenly Bits’ prove doggone good

November 5, 2009 by

Sisters Janis Wagner, left, and Christella Buser cut dog biscuit shapes from the peanut butter dough as part of the process in making Heavenly Bits.

Sisters Janis Wagner, left, and Christella Buser cut dog biscuit shapes from the peanut butter dough as part of the process in making 'Heavenly Bits.'


It was a blustery fall evening outside, but inside the large kitchen at the Motherhouse in Concordia, a cluster of Sisters of St. Joseph was warming up the room with enthusiasm for the task ahead of them.


The kitchen staff had all gone home for the day, and the “Heavenly Bits” crew has all paws on deck to create a specialty product that will feed dogs and benefit women and children in Concordia.


Sister Christella Buser laughs as she directs the biscuit-cutting process during the most recent production night.

Sister Christella Buser laughs as she directs the biscuit-cutting process during the most recent 'production night.'

“Heavenly Bits” dog biscuits are the brainchild of Sister Christella Buser, who has been “retired” for nearly a decade but has yet to stop working. She’d heard about another religious order that had developed a successful dog-biscuit company and focused her well documented energy toward finding out more.


“Lissie’s Luv Yums” is that earlier dog-biscuit success. It was founded in Great Falls, Mont., by Sister Johnelle Howanach, a member of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary of Davenport, Iowa, and her foster daughter, Melissa Clark.


Melissa — nicknamed “Lissie” — used her business to overcome the learning difficulties she faced due to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; she continues to use her success it to give others hope and to educate people about the potential damage from mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy.


Sister Christella has a simpler mission: To do something fun while raising funds for the new Neighbor to Neighbor center in downtown Concordia.


All the proceeds from “Heavenly Bits” will go to support Neighbor to Neighbor, scheduled to open in early 2010 in a storefront on East Sixth Street. The center will provide a wide range of programs and services — and a place just to get to know each other — for women and women with young children. Three Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia — Pat McLennon, Jean Befort and Ramona Medina — will operate the center and design the programs offered there.

Sister Francis Margaret Otter decorates bags of biscuits with dog-themed ribbons.

Sister Francis Margaret Otter decorates bags of biscuits with dog-themed ribbons.

The “Heavenly Bits” biscuits are mixed, cut, baked and packaged in the Motherhouse kitchen, under a state “Commercial Feeding Stuffs License” from the Department of Agriculture. They are available in three flavors (peanut butter, chicken and beef), in assorted flavors, and in either large or small bags. Small bags are between 4 and 6 ounces and cost $4; large bags weigh 14 to 16 ounces and cost $8.


They are available at the Motherhouse Gift Shop in Concordia, which is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They are also available by mail order, using this printable ORDER FORM.



“I knew I couldn’t do it alone,” Sister Christella explains. So she enlisted other sisters who also live at the Motherhouse: Sister Edwardine Flavin, to help with packaging; Sisters Francis Margaret Otter and Mary Esther Otter for their creative flair; and Sisters Janis Wagner and Geraldine Kokenge for their baking talents. Also lending a hand for the most recent “biscuit production night” was Martha Bryant, the Sisters of St. Joseph executive development director.


“We’re having fun,” Sister Christella notes, “and we’re laughing and helping people. What more could we ask?”

Sister Edwardine Flavin weighs each package of Heavenly Bits to ensure consistency.

Sister Edwardine Flavin weighs each package of 'Heavenly Bits' to ensure consistency.

Sisters Janis Wagner, left, and Geraldine Kokenge prepare the peanut butter dough to be cut into dog biscuits.

Sisters Janis Wagner, left, and Geraldine Kokenge prepare the peanut butter dough to be cut into dog biscuits.


Sisters (and sisters) Mary Esther Otter, left, and Francis Margaret Otter package the finished biscuits for sale.

Sisters (and sisters) Mary Esther Otter, left, and Francis Margaret Otter package the finished biscuits for sale.



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Comments

10 Responses to “‘Heavenly Bits’ prove doggone good”

  1. Diane Brin on December 5th, 2009 11:14 am

    The love of my life, Luke (a beautiful Golden retreiver), loved his Heavenly B’s. I keep him and his parents look after my cat, Lindsey as needed–a nice exchange. We are being N2N! Really enjoyed all the good looking pics and great article.

  2. Marilyn Stahl on November 16th, 2009 9:32 pm

    It’s a dog’s life. Kudos to canines’ fine friends.

  3. Julie CHristensen on November 10th, 2009 11:19 pm

    I love it!

  4. Missy Ljungdahl on November 10th, 2009 8:57 pm

    This is a great idea! Everyone wins in this situation…all the neighbors and ourselves too. Keep up the good work.

  5. Pat McLennon, CSJ on November 8th, 2009 2:36 pm

    We have been suprised by the outpouring of support for Neighbor to Neighbor…volunteers…grants…individual donations…invitations to speak to various groups…and then…who would have ever “thunk it”….HEAVENLY BITS!!! A whole new ministry serving our cannine friends (neighbors)…and all the proceeds given to N-2-N! Thank you all for your thoughtful creativity! Sarah this is a great article and pictures!

  6. Norma Schlick, csj on November 6th, 2009 1:52 pm

    Congratulations to you, Christella, and your fine crew. I enjoyed the photos and article written by Sarah. I have no “bones” to pick with you, and I wish you everysuccess with this communal project. All dogs will love it too.

  7. Jean on November 6th, 2009 10:33 am

    What an amazing ministry! It makes me wonder what Christella will be thinking up next….from Joy to Laughter to Heavenly Bits!! A special thank you from N2N ministry! And Sarah, a great article and very nice pictures!!

  8. Loretta Jasper, csj on November 6th, 2009 6:40 am

    I L-O-V-E it! This is definitely a sleeves-rolled-up form of unioning: with one another, and the dear neighbor (for N-2-N).
    Mac, service dog, in one of “my” schools within the Ft. Riley service area is already salivating just knowing that I am reading about this.
    Do I dare tell him? Do I share some “HB’s” with him, even though he already gets treats enough to fill five dog tummies per day. or do I just let him continue to wonder (in a begging sort of look) what’s going on?

  9. Jodi Creten, CSJ on November 5th, 2009 1:04 pm

    What a production and something to “crow”—-whoops!- bark about! What a neat idea, Christella and crew and what a community spirit!

  10. Christine Doman,CSJ on November 5th, 2009 1:01 pm

    Great news of your project and great pictures of your crew!

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