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

Dave and Jayme Schwantes, CSJ Associates

Silver City, N.M.

When talking with Dave and Jayme Schwantes it doesn’t take long to discover their expansive love for people and for the gift of life itself.

They have been involved with the RCIA program and served as Eucharistic Ministers, taking communion to the sick. Dave has helped build houses in Juarez, Mexico. They are active in a fund-raising drive for their parish hall, with Mardi Gras and Relay for Life.

“They are almost full-time jobs,” says Jayme. “The wonderful thing is that we enjoy what we are doing. We pick what we want to be involved with, and we pour our hearts into it. Sister Neria (Gross) got us involved taking communion to the sick. She assigned us people who were very ill. That was tough. We got close to those people, and it was very difficult losing them. We would take communion, stay for a visit, and sometimes even fix breakfast for them. It was a very meaningful association. We did that for many years until we got burned out. But even today people will sometimes request us. We think that Neria has a little connection, and is trying to get us involved again!’

“One of the nice things,” says Jayme, “is that this is such a small community that we get to know the business people. We enjoy just taking time to visit with the merchants. That is a wonderful, yet simple, pleasure.”

Jayme has a passion for gardening, has a pond stocked with goldfish and enjoys reading.

They dote on their grandchildren, attending their sporting events and school programs as they can. Grandparents’ Day at school, having lunch and meeting the children’s friends and teachers, is a day they look forward to.

Dave’s brother John, a Jesuit priest, introduced them to Jesuit Christian Life Communities (CLC). Dave recalls, “The CLCs are small, faith-sharing groups. John took us to one, and my reaction was ‘Wow!’ It was a difficult session,
definitely not a tea and crumpet group. The people were serious about wanting to deepen their faith journeys. It was something Jayme and I both yearned for. That was the beginning of our Emmaus group. We had about 14 people who came and stuck with it. Sisters Anna Marie Broxterman and Rosie Farrell were also invited to be part of that group. Anna Marie and Rosie were familiar with community life, so when things were going off this way or that way, they had a sense of how to bring us back to where we were.”

Being CSJ Associates is an important part of their lives. Dave says, “I don’t like comfortable community meetings where everyone agrees with everything. You don’t grow that way. A real trust has built up among us through the years. We can share our faith deeply and know it will be received. We share out of our personal stories. It is a whole different kind of community that is so nourishing.”

They see a need and hope for more CSJ Associate communities. Dave says, “With the Jesuits, two people just go around and start CLC groups. My hope is that someday, the CSJs could have a director or a resource person who would do the same thing. There is such value and spirit in small communities that I wish everyone had a chance to experience them.”

Dave and Jayme’s presence as Associates has been a gift to the Sisters. They are a joy and a comfort, and always, companions on the journey.

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