Saturday, June 15, 2024
Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Loving God and neighbor without distinction: A pontifical institute of women religious of the Roman Catholic Church

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‘Twas two weeks before Christmas, when all through the house
Every creature was stirring, probably even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
And St. Nick and the missus were already there!
The “house” in the original “Visit from St. Nicholas” was probably that of poet Clement Moore. But the house in this telling was the Nazareth Motherhouse, where children and families gathered eagerly early this afternoon to meet the Jolly Old Elf and Mrs. Claus.
Arriving just after 1, they quickly took to their task: Talking with children — even the hesitant ones — and posing for countless photos, with nary a cookie break between them.
Their visit was part of the Motherhouse Christmas Open House, which also included guided tours of the historic landmark building, holiday music, coloring for the kids and, of course, cookies, along with punch and coffee. Numerous Sisters of St. Joseph were also on hand to welcome guests, lead tours and serve refreshments.
But Santa and Mrs. Claus — who on other days are known as Dell Lee and Annette Boswell of Leon, Iowa — were the main attraction.
Several children were reluctant to take up the traditional seat on Santa’s lap, but were willing to try a turn sitting with Mrs. Claus. “I’m so surprised — and pleased,” one mother said after her son’s turn. “He seemed a little afraid of a big man in a red suit, but went to her right away.”
This was the first time Santa Claus was invited to be part of the sisters’ Christmas Open House, and organizers were pleased by the turnout.
“I was so happy to see all the young families who came out,” said Ambria Gilliland, assistant development director for the Sisters. “And it was nice to have people from the community who came for the tours or just to chat with the Sisters.”
At the end of Clement Moore’s poem, St. Nicholas “sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.”
But after this afternoon’s open house, this Santa and Mrs. Claus took a tour of the Motherhouse, with Sister Marcia Allen as their guide, and then sprang to their Honda for the drive back to Iowa.

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