Recommended reading

March 21, 2017 by  

Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution (2001) – Ken Wilber

In this tour de force of scholarship and vision, Ken Wilber traces the course of evolution from matter to life to mind and describes the common patterns that evolution takes in all three of these domains. From the emergence of mind, he traces the evolution of human consciousness through its major stages of growth and development. He particularly focuses on modernity and postmodernity: what they mean; how they impact gender issues, psychotherapy, ecological concerns, and various liberation movements; and how the modern and postmodern world conceive of Spirit. This second edition features forty pages of new material, new diagrams, and extensively revised notes.

Spiritual Ecology: The cry of the Earth (2016) – Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (editor)

The first edition of this book fostered the emergence of the “Spiritual Ecology Movement,” which recognizes the need for a spiritual response to our present ecological crisis. It drew an overwhelmingly positive response from readers, many of whom are asking the simple question, “What can I do?” This second expanded edition offers new chapters, including two from younger authors who are putting the principles of spiritual ecology into action, working with their hands as well as their hearts. It also includes a new preface and revised chapter by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, that reference two major recent events: the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical, “On Care for Our Common Home,” which brought into the mainstream the idea that “the ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem”; and the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, which saw representatives from nearly 200 countries come together to address global warming, including faith leaders from many traditions. Bringing together voices from Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, and Native American traditions, as well as from physics, deep psychology, and other environmental disciplines, this book calls on us to reassess our underlying attitudes and beliefs about the Earth and wake up to our spiritual as well as physical responsibilities toward the planet.

Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to Journey of the Universe (2016) Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (editors)

Prominent theologians, ethicists, scientists, and activists explore specifically Christian responses to the Universe Story and its implications for the contemporary environmental crisis. Beginning with excerpts from recent statements by Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the book includes contributions by John Haught, Ilia Delio, Catherine Keller, Larry Rasmussen, and more.

The Strength of Her Witness (2016) – Elizabeth Johnson

The Gospel of John recounts the story of an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at the well. After their conversation, she goes out to tell her neighbors about the mysterious stranger, and many of them believed “on the strength of her witness.” These essays, drawn from around the world, reflect the many ways that women have reflected on and borne witness to the person, teaching, and praxis of Jesus Christ in light of their own varied contexts. These contexts include their struggles for life amidst wrenching poverty, racism, and violence; their experience of being female in male-dominated structures in the church and society; and their commitment to promote justice in view of the human dignity of women, all done in tandem with their faith relationship with the living God.

Original Meditation: The Aramaic Jesus and the Spirituality of Creation (2016) – Neil Douglas Klotz

The New Story about the Oldest Stories in the World Today apocalyptic predictions and images dominate popular culture and social media. Yet for most of our history, human consciousness focused on the mystery of beginnings, not endings. Our ancestors felt that the most powerful energy and clearest vision for the future could be found at our inception. They meditated on stories of the Great Beginning as the way to go forward. Original Meditation is two books in one. First it investigates the ancient tradition of creation mysticism and shows how Western culture became sidetracked into an increasingly narrow, apocalyptic world view. Second, it shows how we can begin to recover an authentic meditation on our shared beginnings, a meditation that can bring us into a more embodied and compassionate present. To help us on our way, Neil Douglas-Klotz offers us a living anthology of voices, from a mystical view of the first chapters of Genesis, to the Aramaic words of Jesus, to translations of mystical voices like Jelaluddin Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Meister Eckhart, and the Jewish Kabbalists.

Blessed are the Consumers, Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint (2013) Sallie McFague

For decades, Sallie McFague has lent her voice and her theological imagination to addressing and advocating for the most important issues of our time. In doing so, she has influenced an entire generation, and empowered countless people in their efforts to put religion in the service of meeting human needs in difficult times. In this timely book, McFague recalls her readers to the practices of restraint. In a world bent on consumption it is imperative that people of religious faith realize the significant role they play in advocating for the earth, and a more humane life for all.

 Inclusivity: A Gospel Mandate, (2015) Diarmuid O’Murchu

The strongest case yet for an inclusive church, the kind that was and has been, and lays bare its historical, theological, and spiritual roots. Diarmuid O’Murchu holds tight the millions on the margins as well as the outsiders who honor Jesus but feel they don’t fit in because of alternative vision or minority status resulting form race, ethnicity, social standing or sexual orientation. Inclusivity is not only for Christians but also for people of other faiths attracted to the vision and life of Jesus but disenchanted with the language of exclusivity and power. It presents faith dynamic characterized by discipleship with an adult Jesus in the service of an adult God. It is a gift of the “Pope Francis effect,” an inevitable drive to reach out and bring in. It is the next step in a movement toward spiritual wholeness.

The Christian Future and the Face of Earth – Thomas Berry

Like no other religious thinker, Thomas Berry has been a prophetic voice regarding Earth’s destruction and the urgent need for human response from the Christian community. This book collects Berry’s signature views on the interrelatedness of both Earth’s future and the Christian future. He ponders why Christians have been late in coming to the issue of the environment. He reflects insightfully on how the environment must be seen as a religious issue, not simply a scientific or economic problem. In powerful and poetic language Berry presents a compelling vision of the sacredness of the universe and the interrelatedness of the Earth community. Drawing on Thomas Aquinas and Teilhard de Chardin he brings the Christian tradition into a cosmology of care for the whole of creation.

Personal Transformation and a New Creation – Ilia Delio (editor)

“Dr. Bruteau is a philosopher of great measure whose work should be required reading for all who seek the deepest truth about themselves.” –Sue Monk Kidd, author, The Secret Life of Bees

Top scholars examine the theories of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin through the lens of Beatrice Bruteau’s pioneering work on evolution and consciousness. Contributors include Cynthia Bourgeault, Ursula King, Barbara Fiand, Kerrie Hide, Gabrielle Stoner, Kathleen Duffy, John Shea, Carla De Sola, and Joshua Tysinger.

Partaking of God – Denis Edwards

The natural world around us is in crisis. We know it has a dynamic, evolutionary character. How might we understand this world in relationship to God?
Partaking of God builds on the foundations of the dynamic Trinitarian theology of Athanasius. It develops into a theology of the Word as the divine Attractor and the Spirit as the Energy of Love in evolutionary emergence. Then it explores God’s suffering with creatures, the humility of God in creation, church teaching on the human soul in relation to neuroscience, and grace and original sin in relationship to evolution. It culminates in a Christian theology of ecological conversion.

So Far From Home – Margaret Wheatley

I wrote this book for you if you offer your work as a contribution to others, whatever your work might be, and if now you find yourself feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and sometimes despairing even as you paradoxically experience moments of joy, belonging, and greater resolve to do your work. This book describes how we can do our good work with dedication, energy, discipline, and joy by consciously choosing a new role for ourselves.

‘The Gruffalo’ to be featured story for April’s ‘Reading with Friends’

March 20, 2017 by  

Young readers will have a rollicking good time as they root for an enterprising mouse who makes up a terrifying monster — a gruffalo — to scare off would-be bullies.  The children’s story “The Gruffalo” will be featured at  the next “Reading with Friends” on Friday, April 7. 

The cheerful, rhyming text will lead Concordia preschoolers through the forest as the tale of the imaginary gruffalo becomes more and more menacing. Soon all of the mouse’s tormentors are scared away. The mouse scoffs at them, for everyone knows “There’s no such thing as a gruffal… .” But a turn of the page reveals — you guessed it — a gruffalo, that thinks the mouse will “… taste good on a slice of bread.” Undaunted, the rodent devises a plan to frighten the monster off. 

The story, by author Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler, is an international best-selling and award-winning sensation with more than 13.5 million copies in print worldwide. It has been made into an Oscar-nominated animated film and a stage musical that was performed on Broadway. It was voted England’s favorite bedtime story. Ron Elniff of Concordia will be the guest reader.

The “Reading with Friends” monthly story times for children ages 3, 4 and 5 begin at 10 a.m. at Neighbor to Neighbor, 103 E. Sixth St. Each session includes playtime and a snack, plus children receive a free copy of that day’s book to take home. Parents, grandparents and other caregivers are invited to enjoy coffee and snacks downstairs at the day center for women while the story is being read upstairs.

There is a limit of 30 children per session so parents need to register for each session in advance by calling Neighbor to Neighbor at 785/262-4215 or mailing

The monthly program has been part of Neighbor to Neighbor’s regular offerings since September 2012. This is the final session for the 2016-17 school year.

“Reading with Friends” is funded in part by a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Fund, through the Community Foundation for Cloud County.

Deadline nears for Weekend of Exploration in June

March 20, 2017 by  

During what may be the busiest weekend of the year at the Nazareth Motherhouse, the Sisters of St. Joseph are inviting single, Catholic women to join the festivities — and to learn more about religious life.

For the second year, the Sisters have scheduled the Weekend of Exploration — set for June 8-10 — to coincide with their Spring Assembly, “Profession Day” and annual Jubilee celebration.

The reason for the timing, say the three members of the sisters’ Vocations Team, is to give women who may be interested in the diverse forms of membership offered by the Concordia congregation a chance to meet all the Sisters of St. Joseph who “come home” for this weekend each spring.

Sister Lorren Harbin

“The busiest weekend at the Motherhouse is the perfect weekend to have guests,” said Sister Lorren Harbin, an agrégée sister who lives in Fruita, Colo. “Sisters from all over the states are home and enjoying the Jubilee celebrations of years of service and new members are with family and friends to celebrate their vows of commitment as well. It is a joyous time.”

The Weekend of Exploration begins with supper Thursday evening, June 8, and continues through Saturday evening, June 10.

On Saturday, the women participating will be invited to attend the special “Profession Mass” in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Motherhouse.

Sister Dian Hall

Sister Dian Hall — one of the three members of the Vocations Team — will profess her final vows as a canonical Sister of St. Joseph, while D.J. Rak of Junction City, Kan., and Mary Jo Sullivan of Norman, Okla., will profess their vows as agrégée Sisters.

They will also be invited to stay for the Jubilee Mass and celebration on Sunday, June 11, honoring seven Sisters who are marking significant anniversaries of when they were received into the congregation as novices. Together those seven women represent 450 years of love and service as Sisters of St. Joseph.

“The women here for the Weekend of Exploration will experience a myriad of experiences of our life, from the candidacy, to profession, to the Jubilee celebration of many, many years of fidelity. It is a unique opportunity to experience all aspects of religious life,” explained Sister Dian, who lives in Cartersville, Ga. “Although society tells us that nothing lasts and promises are often broken, our life tells a much different story of faithfulness and trust.”

In 2006, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia reached back to their roots in 17th century France and re-established a type of committed spiritual life for women known as “agrégées.”

An agrégée — pronounced ah-gre-ZHEY — did not make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. But she lived according to the rules of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and was recognized by the local people and the local churches as a Sister of St. Joseph.

Agrégée sisters are defined as single Catholic women (who may be never married or widowed, or who have had their marriage annulled) who commit themselves to active and inclusive love of God and the dear neighbor as expressed in the spirit and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

There are three significant differences, however.

  • “Canonically vowed sisters” profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, as defined by canon — or Church — law. As part of the vow of poverty, an individual sister relinquishes all personal wealth and income; at the same time, the congregation assumes responsibility for her economic well being for the rest of her life.
  • “Agrégée sisters” profess a vow of fidelity to the congregation, but it is noncanonical, meaning that it is not governed by Church law and is instead a private vow between that sister and the Concordia congregation. It also means that the agrégée does not relinquish her finances to the congregation, and the congregation assumes no financial responsibility for her.
  • Women interested in either form of membership begin their candidacy with about two years of discernment and study. At the end of that time, those who feel called to canonically vowed religious life will enter a “novitiate,” when they leave their previous life and live as part of the sisters’ community but have not yet taken up their works as a Sister of St. Joseph. For a woman who feels called to agrégée membership, there is also a third year of study and preparation, but they do not leave behind their outside lives. Instead, they meet with mentors and study around their regular work and life schedules. And once they have professed their vows, they continue in that work and life schedule.


In the past decade, nearly 20 women have come to the congregation, most as candidates for agrégée membership and two as canonical sisters.

For the June Weekend, four “inquirers” — or women interested in learning more — have registered to attend so far. And there’s plenty of room for more; eight women took part in the 2016 Weekend. The deadline to register is June 1.

Sister Pat Eichner

“My hope is that the women that participate come away with a better idea of who we are as Sisters of St. Joseph,” said Sister Pat Eichner, the third member of the Vocations Team who lives in Concordia. “They get a glimpse into our lives and what we are about as women religious, which will help them in their discernment of if they are being called to our community.”

During the Weekend of Exploration, the women will have a chance to meet both canonical and agrégée sisters and candidates at the Motherhouse and Manna House, the sisters’ spiritual retreat center. There are also presentations planned on the history and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, plus Mass in the Sacred Heart Chapel and time for prayer and contemplation.

Women interested in learning more are invited to contact any of the Vocations Team members:

Sister Dian Hall, at  770-546-6461   or

Sister Lorren Harbin, at 970-260-2287  or

Sister Pat Eichner, at 785-243-4428 or

More information about the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia is also available at and

Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by  

“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.”

— Brian Tracy

Eulogy for Sister Christine Doman: Jan. 9, 1938-March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017 by  

VIGIL: March 19, 2017, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Marcia Allen

Live out your whole life with one desire only – to be what God desires you to be…

— Maxim 73

Sister Christine Doman

Christine Doman’s life review reflects this maxim with amazing clarity. She lived her whole life with passion and effectiveness, an inclusive worldview that was at once idealistic and realistic. She never saw anyone whom she couldn’t help and she never overlooked anyone. She was prevailed upon by many – religious superiors, clergy, school superintendents, and families in need to the extent that she often felt over-extended but never exhausted by the labor of love that she had for students, parents, immigrants and school systems and, eventually, the congregation itself in her roles of leadership, first as Executive Councilor/Regional Coordinator and then as President, and in the end given totally to refugees and prisoners. This, in a nutshell, is a portrait of this excellent apostolic woman and Sister of St. Joseph.

Barbara Jene Doman was born at home on Jan. 9, 1938, the first of two children, to Hazel Williams and Paul Eugene Doman. At the time her father was working in the fruit farming industry in Grand Junction, Colorado. Two years later her brother, Charles, was born. Her family moved frequently throughout her early years. From Colorado they went to Lusk, Wyoming; then on to Grand Island, Nebraska. In Grand Island, her father worked in the Ammunitions Depot and later was sent to Pennsylvania where he learned to be a radio technician. In the meantime, her mother worked at the Depot making bombs. She started school in Grand Island walking a mile each way to and from school as a kindergartner. Of this experience she said: “I was so bundled up that I could hardly walk in my leggings.” She consented to the leggings because she didn’t want to wear the long brown stockings that were the thing in those days.

From Grand Island, they went back to Lusk, Wyo., with a brief interval in Laramie, and then back to Grand Island. By the fourth grade she was in Rangley, Colo., where her dad worked in the oil fields. About these days she says that everyone was poor and they “all made the best of it.” There was no church in the town so the school was used for services. Her aunt had married a Catholic and she also joined the Church, so they all went with her aunt and uncle to Mass each week. Earlier she had been sent to the Presbyterian Sunday School but the family didn’t actually belong to any church.

By 1948 the family was back in Grand Island. Because of where they lived she and her brother had to stay at a Children’s Home after school until their father picked them up. She says in her life review that it was here that she learned about children who were much worse off than she. She helped in the baby nursery. She felt lucky to have a family.

In the winter of 1949, a fellow worker invited her father to take instructions in the Catholic Church. What followed was that her mother also took instructions. The family was baptized in June of 1950. It was the Holy Year and they were among 50 people who were baptized. Her family attended the new Catholic parish that was just being established, Blessed Sacrament. She and her brother took catechism lessons during vacation school from the Sisters of St. Joseph. They were scheduled to make their first communion at the end of the vacation school. However, while singing in the choir one Sunday, she saw her parents going to communion and she ran downstairs to receive with them. Her brother saw her in line so he got in line too. This wasn’t exactly the plan and the two had to go to Father Hayden to see what was to be done with the two of them. As you might guess, Father Hayden took the news benignly and they were allowed to make a formal appearance with the rest of the class the following Sunday.

From then on, she and her brother attended St. Mary’s grade and high schools. It was there that she got her first part-time job: secretary to Father Hayden who was chancellor and editor of the diocesan newspaper. She and a companion did typing and newspaper articles after school.

During these years she found herself attracted in special ways to God. She attended daily mass and evening devotions. She liked to just stop in church for quiet moments with God. On these occasions, she felt God fill her heart with great joy and happiness that she did not find in any other part of her life. She said of these experiences: “I would beg Him to never let anything stand in the way of my vocation if that was what he wanted.” Of their new found Catholic identity she says that “the lively Church life of the Cathedral kept our family busy and since we lived only two blocks from the church we would frequently go to the devotions as a family.”

The attraction of a vocation to religious life grew in her and on Sept. 8, 1956, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in Concordia. Her mother was very happy but her father was upset. Eventually, her father seemed to come around to her being a member of the community. She belonged to a group of 9 postulants, three of whom remained through the tumultuous years of the 1960’s and ‘70’s: Sisters Marie Carmel Garcia and Paulette Hake. She made first vows on March 19, 1958, and final profession on March 19, 1961. Her profession group was the first to be sent to Marymount College to the “House of Studies.” She spent one year there and then began teaching.

Her assignments as a teacher began after her year at Marymount. She began at St. Joseph and St. Anne’s in Chicago in fifth grade. Since the Holy Angel’s school fire had occurred the year before, the basement classrooms were closed so she taught in half-day shifts; hers was in the afternoon. From Chicago she went to Boonville, Mo., as principal. After a semester at Marymount to finish her degree – a bachelor’s in History, she was assigned to Grand Island. This pleased her no end. But this pleasure was short-lived. She was sent to St. Xavier’s in Junction City so that she could attend graduate school at K-State while she taught in Junction City. She graduated from K-State with a Master’s Degree in Education in 1967. From there she went to Oakley as principal and junior high teacher. During her Oakley years she served on the Education Commission and in 1970, Sister Christella asked her to be Director of Educational Planning for the community. This created the need to leave teaching.

She moved to Salina and set up office there. She was given part of the reception room in the Catholic Charities Office on Ninth Street. In this tiny space she kept all the records and documents from all the schools in the diocese as well as the documents of the Sisters where she kept them updated. She worked part time for the diocese and part time for the community. She visited all of the schools in the diocese and all of the Sisters in schools where they taught. At the same time, she was asked to be principal of the St. Mary’s School in Salina. This proved to be too much so she resigned after one year.

In 1971, the community initiated the practice of Open Placement. Each Sister was responsible for interviewing for her position under the direction of the community. At this point she was appointed to serve on the Diocesan Board of Education, a position she held for fifteen years. In 1972 she was appointed Director of Personnel for the Community. She helped Sisters seek new employment and work out negotiations and problems where they served. During the 10 years she was Director of Diocesan Education she was also asked to be the principal of Sacred Heart Grade and Junior High School. She loved teaching but a hardship during this time was the constant challenge to find housing for the small community with whom she lived. Their landlords were inconsistent in their promises to not sell their properties.

Highlights of these years included a directed retreat at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one at Manna House of Prayer, and the month-long Life Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This latter was an intensive study of the spirituality and spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Besides the program, the participants were able to listen to the translators of the primitive documents who also lived and worked on the campus as well as the sisters writing the Core Constitution who were also working there at the time. She reveled in the day classes and the evening fun.

In 1980 Father Merlin Kieffer was made the new Superintendent of the Diocesan schools. He wanted to be the Director of Education but Christine did not want to trade positions so she resigned from her position. She continued to teach and serve on various community committees. In the summer of 1983 she, with the community, sponsored a summer migrant program in Salina. The novices were invited as part of their ministry program. Most of the students were Mexican or Vietnamese. Several Sisters volunteered to assist her along with the novices. The St. Joseph Foundation and Sacred Heart Parish, Salina, helped finance the six-week project. This program was so successful that the adults in it asked for its continuance during the year. Christine began evening classes three nights a week for the rest of the year. To these classes came Mexicans, Vietnamese, Puerto Ricans and Czechoslovakians, all wanting to learn English and find work.

Christine summed up her work through the 1980’s in Salina in the following words (taken from her Life Review):

“Through these years I have shared their joys of feasts and sorrows of death and illness in their homes. Sharing with the migrants and aliens deepened my faith life and gave me a better understanding of poverty, the dignity of people and the beauty of their gracious hospitality, even in the midst of loneliness for their homeland and the poverty of beginning a new way of life in a culture so foreign to them.

“I have been called to take a mother to have her baby in the middle of the night; waited out…the tragedy of watching her die, transporting her in the arms of her father to the mortuary in Salina on a cold November night, and the sad burial of her the next day. I’ve danced at their weddings and enjoyed the feasts of their ancestors and the Chinese New Year. I’ve sat on the floor with newspapers as a tablecloth because the group was too large for the table and everyone had to be a part of the celebration together. I’ve come to learn a few Vietnamese words and I know how to prepare rice their way…. I’ve come to respect their elders as they do, gone to court with them to interpret for them…; I’ve helped to get a boy out of jail; I’ve gone to the probation officers with two young boys who got into a street fight because of name calling; I provided transportation to those who needed it for job interviews; I’ve dealt with all levels at the Job Service Office. I’ve spent hours at health clinics, learned about the WIC Program and welfare practices. I’ve sat at interviews and filled out dozens of forms; I’ve spent hours in the hospital with people with unknown health problems or emergency cases to help interpret for the nurses and doctors. I’ve taught people the value of going to sales and particularly to garage sales; I’ve collected food, clothing and furniture for the poor; I’ve stored it at the rectory and school and many generous people have helped to provide blankets and coats for the needy.”

In 1991, Christine was elected to the Congregation’s Executive Council as Regional Coordinator and then in 1995 as President. These elections caused her to leave ministries very dear to her heart. But she applied the same passion that had led her in the preceding years to her years in service to the community. She helped Sisters discern their ministries and retirement, the letting-go sacrifices of “dear people to come home.” During these years the Council began long range planning for eldercare. Eventually, the Council decided to build onto the Motherhouse Stafford Hall over the swimming pool areas. Sisters from St. Mary’s and other floors at the Motherhouse moved into the new wing. St. Mary’s Convent was closed; an auction was held and the property was put up for sale. During her term the St. Mary’s property in Silver City, NM was also put up for sale; however, no sale was completed. Highlights of her time in office were two visits to Brazil. She was deeply inspired by her time with the Sisters there. Shortly into her term as President, Sister Veronica Roy, one of the Councilors, was killed in a car accident on her way back from visiting Sisters in Salina. Because having fewer members on the leadership team had already been considered, the Executive Board decided to keep a team of four during the rest of this term of office. During these years she continued her friendship with her many Vietnamese families. At the same time, she wrote endless letters to congress people in the Kansas and National legislatures. She addressed such issues as the rights of immigrants and immigration reform, controlling US foreign military sales; stays of execution and abolition of the death penalty. She was also a member of the LCWR Region XIII planning committee for integration of the proceedings of the 1995 Synod on Consecrated Life. .

Christine left office in 1999 and her plans for a sabbatical in San Antonio to learn Spanish were interrupted by family crises. She moved instead to Highland, California to be near her family and also responded to a plea to take on a principalship for a school that closed within a year. Then she took a position at St. Anthony’s school in San Bernadino as seventh-grade teacher. About this time of continuous change she said: “It seemed to be that disruption followed me in every avenue of my life through these years. But God helped me through it all and I met many wonderful friends through these hard years of life’s realities!! — on mission in the most unusual and unsuspecting circumstances where all I could be was ‘present’.”  

In 2008, Christine found stability in El Paso at our home on Grandview Avenue. She worked in the diocesan Peace and Justice Office as Restorative Justice Ministry Director. Her ministry included the opportunity to prepare ministers through the Tepeyac Institute who were to serve the people incarcerated in the 5 state or federal prisons in the El Paso Diocese, as well as the juvenile detention center. They also served those released from the systems. This ministry involved the formation of strong faith communities that walked with the persons in their parish who had been released from prison. Her letters attest to her relish for this ministry. (I can attest to this also from firsthand experience as a visitor to one of her training sessions.) While in El Paso, she also volunteered with the various agencies and groups who worked with the immigrant population as well as kept the Grandview home as a place to live for volunteers at Annunciation House. During this time she was Director of the Congregation’s Shared Ministry Commission and a member of the Justice and Peace Advisory Board.

By 2014 it was evident that her health was failing and it was necessary for her to resign her positions and return to the Motherhouse. Soon after, she was diagnosed with lung cancer which eventually took her life. She died at the Nazareth Motherhouse on March 17, 2017.

We will remember her for her totally unselfish giving to those in need and eventually to those here with whom she lived; her ability to befriend easily and faithfully; her easy conversation ability; her passion and efforts for justice; and finally, but not least, her amazing and unfailing sense of humor and ready wit in awful circumstances and personal suffering. Christine was an idealist with an impeccable sense of realism and matter-of-fact practical ability to meet needs where she found them. Her heart led her unfailingly. For all this, and for the simply splendid person she was, we shall miss her. Christine, for your almost 60 years of presence among us, your community, and your continuous generosity toward your family through 79 years, we thank you.

 • • • • • • •

Memorials for Sister Christine Doman may be given to the Sisters of St. Joseph Health Care/Retirement Fund or the Apostolic Works of the Sisters; P.O Box 279, Concordia KS 66901. To make an online donation in Sister Christine’s memory, click on the button below:


Educator Sister Christine Doman dies at Motherhouse

March 17, 2017 by  

Longtime teacher and educator Sister Christine Doman died early this morning at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia. She was 79 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph for 60 years. 

The vigil service will be 7 p.m. Sunday, March 19, in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Nazareth Motherhouse, with Sister Marcia Allen as the eulogist. The Mass of Christian burial will be at 4 p.m. Monday, March 20, also at the Motherhouse, with Father James Dallen presiding. Burial will follow in the Nazareth Convent Cemetery.

She was born in Grand Junction, Colo., on Jan. 9, 1938, to Paul and Hazel Williams Doman, the younger of two children, and was baptized Barbara Jene. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Sept. 9, 1956. On March 19, 1957, Barbara received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Christine. She pronounced first vows on March 19, 1958, and final vows on March 19, 1961.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at Marymount College and later completed a master’s degree in education from Kansas State University.

Sister Christine was a teacher for more than a dozen years, serving in schools in Chicago, Boonville, Mo., and Junction City and Oakley, Kan. In 1972, she was named director of educational planning for the Salina Diocese and remained in that position for eight years. Leaving there in 1980, she spent the next 10 years as principal of Sacred Heart High School in Salina.

In 1991, Sister Christine was elected to a four-year term on the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Council, and in 1995 she was elected president of the congregation.

After completing her four-year term, she returned to teaching, in Highland, Calif. In 2008, she moved to El Paso, Texas, and for five years managed the Sisters of St. Joseph hospitality house there.

She retired from active ministry in 2014 and returned to the Motherhouse, where she lives today. This year she was celebrating her 60th jubilee as a Sister of St. Joseph.

Sister Christine was preceded in death by her parents and one brother. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Nancy Doman.

 • • • • • • •

Memorials for Sister Christine Doman may be given to the Sisters of St. Joseph Health Care/Retirement Fund or the Apostolic Works of the Sisters; P.O Box 279, Concordia KS 66901. To make an online donation in Sister Christine’s memory, click on the button below:


Stage set at Motherhouse for orphan train statues

March 16, 2017 by  


The raised stone wall has been built, the paving stones have been set, the new trees and shrubs have been planted, the information board has been recemented… Now all the new entry to the Nazareth Motherhouse needs is the bronze statue that will honor two little orphan train riders who grew up to become Sisters of St. Joseph.

Early in March, workers from Republican Valley Landscaping began working beside the Motherhouse’s main driveway, first temporarily removing the information board that tells about the landmark building and the Sisters of St. Joseph, Then Nick Jackson and his crew began building a curved retaining wall of white stones. That was filled with dirt and gravel to form the base for the red paving stones that recreate the platform. Next came landscaping plants, and resetting the large sign.

With the “stage” prepared, all that’s left to do is wait for the arrival of the bronzework — a small bench upon which two little girls, and a dog, will be seated.

The unveiling will be sometime later this spring.

The piece is expected to be the ninth in National Orphan Train Complex’s statue project, recognizing the contributions of those who began life as Orphan Train riders.

The bronze piece at the Motherhouse entrance will honor Sisters Eva Marie Vale and Roberta Dreiling.

Sister Roberta Dreiling

Genevieve Dreiling — who would take the religious name of Sister Roberta — was born in New York in 1899. She was just over 2 years old when she was put on a train west. When she arrived in Victoria, Kan., she was adopted by a Catholic family there.

In 1917, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph and served in numerous missions until her death in 1995.

Gertrude Vale — who would take the religious name of Sister Eva Marie — was born in 1900. She was barely over a year old when she was sent to a family in Schoenchen, Kan.

Sister Eva Marie Vale

She remained with that family until she was 9, when they decided to return her to the orphanage in New York.

But a priest in Tipton, Kan., stepped in and asked his housekeeper to care for the girl. A year later, the housekeeper’s sister, who lived in Walker, Kan., adopted Gertrude into their family. She remained there until she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1921. Sister Eva Marie died at the Motherhouse in 1982.

As the 19th century ended, those two toddlers, like thousands of other orphaned, abandoned or neglected children, had become the wards of two aid organizations in New York City.

The earliest group was the Children’s Aid Society, which had been formed in 1853. Those in the care of Children’s Aid would be taken in groups of 10 to 40, under the supervision of at least one “western” agent, to selected stops along the rail line.

The agents would plan a route, send fliers to towns along the way, and arrange for a “screening committee” in towns where the children might get new homes. The committee then helped in finding parents and placing the children who arrived.

The second organization grew out of St. Peter’s Convent, which served the oldest Roman Catholic parish in New York City. In 1869, the Sisters of Charity needed more space for abandoned children than their convent provided, so they opened the New York Foundling Hospital.

Both Genevieve and Gertrude were in the care of the Foundling Hospital.

Instead of hired agents or local screening committees, the Foundling Hospital worked with priests along the railroad routes to match abandoned children with Catholic families.

When the Orphan Train Movement began in 1854, it was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets of New York City. By the time the last Orphan Train delivered its cargo to waiting families in 1929, an estimated 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children had been placed throughout the United States and Canada.

The Orphan Train Rider statues are being created by the Randolph Rose Collection in Yonkers, N.Y.

8 statues already in place

Concordia has been home to the National Orphan Train Museum for about a decade, and in January 2017 proclaimed itself Orphan Train Town.

The other statues placed in Concordia so far, and their locations, are:

  • Roberta “Happy” Slifer, Cloudville playground in the City Park
  • Kansas Riders Statue, Brown Business Services
  • Hallie Garwood, Cloud County Historical Society Museum
  • The Fallen Soldier Memorial, Concordia American Legion
  • Teresa Martin, Frank Carlson Library
  • Elmer and Ethel Barney, Britt’s Fountain and Gifts
  • Miriam Zitur, Broadway Plaza
  • Father Paul Fangman, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 15, 2017 by  

“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”

~ Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

Motherhouse retreat encourages self-discovery for teens

March 14, 2017 by  

Sister Marcia Allen, back to camera, talks with the Sacred Heart High School seniors touring the Nazareth Motherhouse this morning.

The transition from high school to college can be difficult for even the most prepared students. A daylong retreat today at the Nazareth Motherhouse offered Sacred Heart High School seniors advice on how to handle the upcoming challenges.

“First semester wasn’t that great, but it got better,” said Kate Schieferecke, a 2015 Sacred Heart graduate now in her second year at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Kate Schieferecke talks about her experience moving from high school to college.

“I felt like I was beyond prepared. I was pretty socially adept,” the economics major said. “I went in with confidence that I would rock college. But that’s not how it went.”

Homesickness, loss of friends and family support groups, overly high expectations and other distractions were just a few of the difficulties Schieferecke told the 14 students that she experienced. Her most helpful piece of advice for the college-bound women?

She advised them that before they leave for college to decide who they wanted to be.

“Having a conscious awareness of who I wanted to be helped me make good decisions,” Schieferecke said. “Faith is no longer built into your schedule. You have to make a conscious decision on how it will fit into your life.”

While making new friends in college may be more difficult than depicted on TV and in books, following core values and having a knowledge of inner self can make finding quality friends easier. Schieferecke said she wrote down who she wanted to be and based who she hung out with and where she went on statement.

“If you go looking for apples, you go to the produce section,” Schieferecke said. “If you are looking for really good, solid Catholic friends, go to campus ministries.”

Schieferecke’s advice came on the heels of a meditation exercise led that morning by Sister Marcia Allen that encouraged students to look deep inside themselves and answer two questions: Who am I really and what do I want for my one and only life? The young women used writing and drawing among other offered techniques to help focus their meditation on their inner desires.

“Your most significant relationship is with yourself,” Sister Marcia told the students. “God is in us, and we are in God.”

Every spring the Sisters of St. Joseph host the senior girls from the Catholic high school in Salina. In addition to prayer, attending Mass with Father David Metz, meditation and discussion, the teens toured the historic Nazareth Motherhouse and joined the sisters who live there for lunch.

Motherhouse Spaghetti Dinner becomes a family affair

March 12, 2017 by  

Spaghetti is the main course at the Sisters’ annual spring fundraiser, but other activities were a part of drawing what may have been a record crowd to the Nazareth Motherhouse today.


Yes, there was spaghetti, of course. And prize drawings and a bake sale and tours of the historic Nazareth Motherhouse. Yes, there was a silent auction and even a quilt sale, along with live musical entertainment, grab-bags and Easter baskets.

Yet what there was most of was family — cousins and siblings and nieces and grand-nephews and… well… family of every description, who came to today’s annual Spaghetti Dinner hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph for something of a family reunion.

Many arrived in big bunches of family, spanning three or four generations. Others came in ones and twos to remember an aunt, great-aunt or other relatives who had been a Sister in Concordia.

“I never met her,” said one young woman of a great-aunt who had been a Sister and is now buried in the Nazareth Cemetery behind the Motherhouse, “but this place and these women were such important parts of her life… I just wanted to be here.”

She and her family were among hundreds of guests, along with untold volunteers, Sisters and staff, who filled the Motherhouse for today’s annual spring fundraiser.

Kitchen staff, buoyed by volunteers, served a record 625 dinners and the event raised $10,927 to benefit the ministries of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Musicians performing today were the Bent Wind with a Kick, John Paul Breault, Sarah Jeardoe, Amber Rogers and Sheri Johnson.

In the prize drawings, the winners were:

  • $500 —Carroll Macke, Kansas City, Kan.
  • $300 cash —Kevin Shelton, Randall, Kan.
  • $200 cash —Cindy DeLeón, Concordia
  • Keurig coffee maker —Vicky Sweet, Salina
  • CharBroil grill —Ruth Reinert, Dodge City, Kan.
  • Quilt (made by Sister Betty Suther) — Debbie and Keith Sells, Belleville

Helping to draw the winning tickets was Austin Scheel, a great-great-nephew of Sister Norma Schlick.

The annual special event is organized by the sisters’ Development Office, with months of work by assistant director Ambria Gilliland and assistant Laura Hansen. During the dinner, Sister Loretta Jasper coordinated the legion of volunteers who came from across the state to help.

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