Rural Life adds Sisters to list of honorees
The Sisters of St. Joseph received a surprise honor Sunday afternoon when they hosted the annual Rural Life Day at the Motherhouse in Concordia.
Seven Roman Catholic families received the Monsignor John George Weber Century Farm Award for owning or farming the same land in the Salina diocese for 100 years or more.
But an eighth award was presented at the end of Sunday’s program, honoring the Sisters of St. Joseph for farming their land in Concordia since they arrived in 1884. Receiving the plaque on behalf of the Catholic congregation of women were Sister Anna Marie Broxterman, who had welcomed the crowd that filled the Motherhouse auditorium, and Sister Judy Stephens, who formerly served as a member of the diocese’s Rural Life Committee. Both sisters currently serve on the congregation’s Leadership Council.
Another surprise Sunday was the presence of Monsignor Weber, for whom the awards are named. Monsignor Weber, who recently celebrated his 93rd birthday, was a longtime advocate of the Rural Life Committee and the stewardship of the earth it represents.
Also taking part in the presentations was Salina Bishop Paul Coakley, who gave both the opening and closing prayers.
Sunday’s speaker was Steve Mitchell, a native Concordian who is now in his second growing season as the organic gardener for the Sisters of St. Joseph. He also farms land west of Concordia that has been in his family for more than 100 years.
“One of the joys in farming,” Mitchell told the audience, “is to grow a crop and see it go into the kitchen and be prepared, and then see people enjoy it — that’s what I have at the Motherhouse.”
Mitchell explained the crop rotation he is using on the 170-foot by 105-foot garden just to the south of the Motherhouse and detailed his efforts toward using organic substances and practices “for the good of the earth, and for the sisters’ health.”
But shunning non-organic chemicals is not without its difficulties, he conceded, “Squash bugs are still a challenge,” he said with a laugh. “We keep trying different things…”
As part of the program, the work done by Sister Ann Glatter — who was the Motherhouse gardener for 60 years — was also recognized. And Sister Ann was on hand to offer her encouragement to Mitchell and his efforts.
Mitchell also discussed the sisters’ plan for a community garden that will use organic methods. The garden, in the northeast corner of the Motherhouse grounds, will be a 100-foot by 200-foot plot broken into individual garden spaces that will be the responsibility of the participants.
The only stumbling block has been access to water, Mitchell said, and the sisters are working on obtaining a well permit.
The seven families honored Sunday each had an opportunity to tell the gathering a little about their farm’s history, and their ancestors who first came on the land.
The families honored were:
• Edward H. Kegle of Clyde, who farms land that was homesteaded by his great-grandparents Peter and Celesta Kegle in 1876.
• Dean Koch of Clyde, whose great-grandfather Charles Koch homesteaded near Clifton in 1877 and moved to the land west of Clyde that Dean and his wife Loretta now farm in 1908.
• Herman J. Koch, who is the grandson of Charles Koch and farmed the land near Clyde that his grandfather bought for his father in 1902. Herman Koch attended Sunday’s program, but his son Jeff Koch was the speaker for the family.
• The Muths Family Partnership, which began with Joseph Muths when his family moved to the Tipton area in 1887. Joseph’s son Julius farmed the land until his death in 1976, and the operation has now passed to the children of Julius and Delphine Muths. Delphine was on hand Sunday, and her daughter Carol Barry spoke for the family.
• John J. Schneider Jr., who farmed land west of Salina that his father, John Sr., purchased in 1905. John Jr., who took part in Sunday’s program, deferred to his younger sister — Sister Lucy Schneider, a member of the Concordia congregation — to relate the family’s history.
• The Edgar Schroeder Family, which farms land southwest of Tipton that was purchased by Charles and Frances Schroeder in 1905, adjoining the farm owned by his parents Phillip and Anna Schroeder. The farm is now operated by Chris Schroeder, who spoke on behalf of the family Sunday, and his wife Lisa.
• Paul Splichal, whose grandparents Wesley and Emma Splichal purchased their farm in Munden in 1905 and bequeathed it to Paul’s father, Joseph Splichal.
6 thoughts on “Rural Life adds Sisters to list of honorees”
Thanks, Sarah, for this article on Rural Life and for all the pictures. I really enjoyed reading about the day and also all the comments. So well done. Congratulations to the Sisters and all those who were given awards especially my hometown Tipton folks.
This is a wonderful story and the pictures are telling–the stories of a people whose love for the land and family has grounded our congregation here in this rural diocese. Here,we have nurtured the faith, fed the poor and cared for the sick for all these years. It’s a story that underlies our decision to remain rooted here when we made the decision not to join other Sisters of St. Joseph in the reconfiguration movement but chose instead to stay with our land and our people. How could we have chosen otherwise?
You really captured the spirit of the day, both with photo and script, Sarah. It brought back many happy memories of my early life on the farm in eastern Kansas; however, no family members now farm that acreage. Guess we weren’t as hardy as those folks who received awards Sunday It was great being in the audience!.
What a wonderful surprise to read about the Rural Life Meeting and Awards given at our Motherhouse on Aug. 16th!
Awards given to Judy and Anna Marie and especially the one of 60 years to Annie! It reminds me of the lovely flowers grown by Eva Marie and now Cese Green that also beautify our lovely grounds. May God continue to bless our land with the fruits of the earth and the works of the hands of Michael and crew! People of the earth and respect of the land are special to my heart coming from NE and the rich soil that my grandparents lived by for many years. My grandmother even took NE soil with her for her plants when she moved to CA!
I throughly enjoyed the presentations, which Sarah captured very well. My special interest was my own connection to the Tipton families, even though remote, since my father was 5 years old when he moved from the Tipton community, with parents, Peter and Katherine Reinert, and many older siblings. S.Anne
Thank you, Sarah, for capturing in picture and word those hardy pioneer folks (our CSJ community included, and Ann Vincent in particular!) who reverenced and cared for the land so faithfully for so many years and who continue to do so, despite the economic conditions. Every day of his life, my dad worked the land and always had a beautiful garden, and every summer I would go home to Michigan, the first thing I had to do was to visit dad’s pride and joy—his well-kept garden.In the fall when the sisters would return to teach at All Saiints, dad would have a carload of veggies for them, as well as for the neighborhood. Ann Vincent can attest to the rich loam in dad’s garden! Thanks for opening up the memories again!