Wednesday, July 24, 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

Sisters Shirley Meier & Dorothy Marquez

This is the way they are referred to, in one long word and a single breath: Shirley-and-Dorothy.

Have some furniture to move at the Motherhouse? Shirley-and-Dorothy can do that.

Want to organize an outing, to Rolling Hills Zoo or shopping in Salina? Shirley-and-Dorothy will put it together.

Need a picture hung? A computer desk assembled? The small aviary in the Motherhouse looked after? Something in Salina picked up?
Shirley-and-Dorothy.

They are, in fact, Sisters Shirley Meier, who this year is celebrating her 50th Jubilee with the Sisters of St. Joseph, and Dorothy Marquez, who entered the Concordia order in 1988.

In 2004, Sister Shirley came to the Motherhouse as “coordinator of activities and sisters services.” She was joined in 2005 by Sister Dorothy and they now share the title and a small office on the second floor. They laugh together when asked about the job description that goes with the grand-sounding title: “It’s anything that comes around,” Sister Shirley says. “When someone else can’t do it, Shirley and Dorothy can.”

Becoming the go-to team for sisters living at the Motherhouse had not been the original direction for either Shirley or Dorothy.

Sister Shirley was born in Pfeifer, Kan., and then moved with her family to Wichita. She came to Concordia to attend the sisters’ apostolic high school and entered the order as a postulant three months before she graduated in May 1959. She taught school for 37 years, including 31 at Salina’s Sacred Heart Grade School.

It was there she first worked with Sister Dorothy, who was born and raised in Tularosa, N.M.

Dorothy did not know the Sisters of St. Joseph as she was growing up. She was in her late 20s when she became acquainted with Sister Esther Pineda and a few others. Curiously, she was visiting the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Help Motherhouse in St. Louis, Mo., when she made the decision to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, and she became a novice in May 1988.

Her first missions were in Salina, working at Sacred Heart Cathedral and then at Sacred Heart Grade School as a secretary and liaison for Hispanic families.

“(Sister) Esther asked if (Dorothy) could come live with me while she was in Salina, and I had the room,” Sister Shirley recalls.

Thus began Shirley-and-Dorothy, serving root beer floats at a party to recognize the nursing staff, calling bingo, putting together shopping lists, or just being available to stop and chat.

“The neat thing is that we have to be flexible,” Sister Dorothy says. “You never know what the needs will be.”

But the sisters at the Motherhouse do know who will help them meet those needs: Shirley-and-Dorothy.

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