Sisters honor employees and volunteers with annual luncheon

December 14, 2017 by  

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Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia treated employees and volunteers to their annual Christmas luncheon on Dec. 12 at the Nazareth Motherhouse. In addition to employees at the Motherhouse, staff came from the CSJ Center on Court Street, Manna House of Prayer and Neighbor to Neighbor. Volunteers who regularly give their time to the sisters’ various ministries were also included in the festivities.

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, president, welcomed everyone to the event.

“We always look forward to this every year. We come together as one,” she said. “Honesty, integrity, perseverance and character. We see this in all of you. God has blessed us with Concordia’s finest.”

Employees also receive a small  gift  as part of the Sisters’ tradition.

The food for the annual Christmas luncheon is all prepared and served by Sisters, as a small way of thanking employees and volunteers for their dedication during the year.

Santa and Mrs. Claus welcome a big crowd to Nazareth Motherhouse

December 11, 2017 by  

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It was standing room only for a while as families packed the Nazareth Motherhouse auditorium for the annual Christmas Open House on Dec. 10. Beautiful weather and the return of last year’s popular Santa and Mrs. Claus — who on other days are known as Dell Lee and Annette Boswell of Leon, Iowa — led to some long lines through the auditorium and snaking out into the lobby.

Luckily, many Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia were on hand to serve ice-cold milk and punch and a selection of Christmas cookies to the crowds waiting to meet Santa.

Others took advantage of holiday sale prices and visited the Nazareth Motherhouse gift shop, or took a tour through the historic home decorated for Christmas.

“I was extremely pleased with the turnout. Everyone seemed to have a great time,” said Ambria Gilliland, assistant director of development. “The sisters truly enjoy seeing the happiness in all the children. It’s exciting for everyone!”

 This year’s event also offered a drawing for a free door prize which was won by Luciana Thrash of Concordia.

Prize winners announced at Holiday Boutique

November 21, 2017 by  

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Crowded lines greeted early-morning visitors to the annual Neighbor to Neighbor Holiday Boutique on Saturday morning (Nov. 18) as eager shoppers queued up early to get first pick of the holiday goodies available for purchase.

The bake sale tables — featuring homemade cookies, candies, breads, cakes and other treats — gathered immediate attention. Then shoppers and supporters could turn their attention to the array of tables and stands loaded with hand-crafted children’s toys and clothes, decorations, quilts, kitchen items and jewelry.

All the items are made by the women who come to the center, along with friends and supporters of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia who operate Neighbor to Neighbor.

The event ended at 2 p.m. with a drawing for eight prizes:

  • Pam Campbell won the “Apple Fest 2017” quilt, with hand-appliqued blocks donated to Neighbor to Neighbor and design completed and stitched by master quilter Sandra Detrixhe.
  • Jeanette Denault won a Barbie-sized fashion doll with her own lace-covered closet filled with outfits handmade by Sister Susan Stoeber.
  • Naomi Larouche won a glazed ceramic wall-mount letter holder that was donated to Neighbor to Neighbor.
  • Alexis Seim took home a fashion doll with her own lace-covered closet filled with outfits handmade by Sister Susan Stoeber.
  • Vera Gerard was the winner of a Seth Thomas mantle clock, model No. 11, donated to Neighbor to Neighbor.
  • Pam Campbell also won a larger-sized fashion doll with her own closet filled with unique outfits handmade by Sister Susan Stoeber.
  • Vera Gerard also won the baby doll complete with crib, hand-made wardrobe, diaper bag full of accessories and a baby quilt made by Sister Susan Stoeber.
  • JoAnn Haist won the Barbie collectible music box entitled “Wedding Day 1959” complete with box.

All proceeds from the annual event support the programs, artists and craftswomen at Neighbor to Neighbor.

Santa Claus is coming to town for Motherhouse Open House!

November 16, 2017 by  

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Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will return to our Christmas Open House this year! And they’re bringing delicious cookies made by Mrs. Claus. Bring the kids by for snacks and crafts and a chat with St. Nick while you take in the beauty of the historic Nazareth Motherhouse.

All ages are welcome from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10.

The Open House will include holiday music, coloring and crafts for the kids and, of course, cookies, along with punch and coffee. Also included will be guided tours of our five-story landmark home, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973. Numerous Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia will be on hand to welcome guests, lead tours and serve refreshments.

Last year was the first time Santa Claus was invited to be part of the sisters’ Christmas Open House, and organizers were pleased by the turnout. 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 of her 3-year-old son. “He seemed a little afraid of a big man in a red suit, but went to her right away.”
Last year’s hit Santa and Mrs. Claus — who on other days are known as Dell Lee and Annette Boswell of Leon, Iowa — will return again this year to delight their young guests. Be prepared for an entertaining time making Christmas memories and photographs that will last.

“I was so happy to see all the young families who came out,” said Ambria Gilliland, assistant development director for the Sisters following last year’s event.
The easiest access is from the east parking lot (between the Motherhouse and the Community Garden). The event is free and open to the public.

Sisters say their farewells to Bishop Edward Weisenburger

November 2, 2017 by  

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The celebration of All Saints Day Mass at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia was both a joyous and bittersweet affair, as the Sisters welcomed Bishop Edward Weisenburger to celebrate Mass at the Sacred Heart Chapel, but also said their farewells.

Bishop Weisenburger was appointed as bishop of Tuscon, Ariz., on Oct. 3. He will be leaving the Salina Diocese and be installed in Tuscon on Nov. 29.

Bishop Weisenburger arrived early at the Motherhouse and took time to meet with many of the Sisters in the dining room before preparing for Mass. He was assisted at Mass by Father Henry Baxa and Father David Metz.

Following Mass, the Bishop and Fathers Baxa and Metz joined the Sisters and guests for lunch and fellowship in the Motherhouse dining room.

“We never leave here hungry,” Bishop Weisenburger laughed as he filled a plate. “I’ve always felt very at home here.”

“I am praying that a new bishop will be sent quickly,” Bishop Weisenburger told the Sisters. He also said that he felt welcomed in his new location as he had already met some Sisters of St. Joseph in Tuscon.

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, President of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, thanked the Bishop for his service.

“We are humbled and grateful that you found time to come celebrate with us today in the midst of your demanding schedule,” Sister Jean said. “You have been a wonderful friend and pastoral presence to us. You have always been open to discussions with us. We wish you every success.”

The Sisters and guests gathered in the dining room then gathered together to extend a group blessing over the Bishop as he moves onward.

“We do know you as a friend,” Sister Jean said.

Annual Pumpkin Patch to return to Motherhouse grounds

September 29, 2017 by  

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That hint of chill in the night air can only mean one thing — it’s almost time for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia’s annual Pumpkin Patch! This year’s family-friendly event will be from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22.

Last year, scores of little kids — with parents, grandparents and older siblings tagging along — flooded onto the Motherhouse grounds to become candy-corn tossers, corn pile players, hay rack riders and pumpkin pickers. And this year, there are even more activities in the works and plenty of fun fall photo opportunities!

The entrance will be at the east gate (between the Motherhouse and the Concordia Community Garden of Hope), and admission is $3 per person, with kids 2 and younger free.

Returning for a third year will be the popular hay ride around the Motherhouse grounds, as well as the corn pile, hay stack slide, pumpkin bowling, games, a scavenger hunt and other kids’ activities. New this year will be face painting and a maze. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes as they take part in the fun.

The event is organized by Ambria Gilliland, the Sisters of St. Joseph assistant development director, with lots of other staff members and volunteers lending a hand. For more information, email

All proceeds from the event benefit the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia and their ministries.

Community invited to celebrate a day of peace

July 13, 2017 by  

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The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia invite the public to join them for an International Day of Peace Celebration from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, in the auditorium at the Nazareth Motherhouse, 1300 Washington, Concordia.

This year, the International Day of Peace will focus on engaging and mobilizing people throughout the world to show support for refugees and migrants. The theme is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” This theme is based on the TOGETHER global campaign that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life.

The featured presenter will be Pastor Janai-Robinson-Makarov, of the Concordia Lutheran Church.

Admission is free, however everyone is encouraged to bring a donation of a canned food item to benefit area community food banks. Parking will be in the east parking lot.

The celebration will include fellowship, prayer, meditation, music and a peace walk. Light refreshments will include foods from a variety of countries, including Mexico, Ireland, Guatemala, Germany, Italy and Brazil.

The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is a holiday traditionally observed on Sept. 21. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people.
For more information about the International Day of Peace, visit

Jubilarians honored for 450 years of love and service

June 26, 2017 by  

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Family, friends and Sisters of St. Joseph packed the Nazareth Motherhouse’s chapel on June 11, as well as the dining hall at Mount Joseph Senior Village in Concordia on June 25, to celebrate “jubilees” for seven women of grace; sisters of St. Joseph who are celebrating the year of the anniversary of their entrance into the congregation as novices.

Together, the seven Jubilarians represented 450 years of love and service to God and the dear neighbor, fully demonstrating the theme of this year’s celebration, “All is Grace.”

The celebration began with a special Mass at 10:30 a.m. Jun 11, followed by an afternoon jubilee program at the Nazareth Motherhouse. A separate celebration followed on June 25 at Mount Joseph Senior Village, in Concordia, where Jubilarian Sister Margaret Rourke resides.

The Jubilarians honored with a special Mass and tribute program were:

Sister Vivian

      Sister Vivian Boucher, originally from Zurich, Kan., celebrated her 70th anniversary as a Sister of St. Joseph. She said that religious life has always been her first priority, with Catholic education her second. With a bachelor’s degree in math from Marymount College and a master’s in administration from College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., she has spent her entire career in education. Today, she continues to be a substitute teacher and volunteer at St. Columbkille Catholic School. Sister Rita Ann Mazanec presented her tribute, where she shared that one of Sister Vivian’s lesser-known talents was that she could fix anything electrical and that cars were her favorite toys.

Sister Christella

Sister Christella Buser, from Seneca, Kan., celebrated her 70th jubilee. She said her whole life “has just been pure gift.” After many years in music education at Tipton and Concordia, Kan., she served as president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia from 1965 to 1975. She was the Brazilian Mission Coordinator for the congregation before establishing the L’Arche Community in Overland Park, Kan. A published author, she continues to work in a variety of ministries based at the Motherhouse. Sister Norma Schlick presented her tribute, noting in particular her most famous literary work, “Flower from the Ark.”

Sister Gerrie

Sister Geraldine “Gerrie” Kokenge, of Seneca, Kan., also celebrated her 70th jubilee. Sister Gerrie said her main ministry in the community has been in the kitchens of many missions and places. One of her last missions as a cook was at the Salina Public High School, where she became good friends with many of those working with her. She is retired and living at the Nazareth Motherhouse. Sister Anna Marie Broxterman presented her tribute where she described one of Sister Gerrie’s talents as “being able to create aromatic and tasty works of art.”

Sister Margaret

Sister Margaret Rourke, originally from Brownell, Kan., celebrated her 70th jubilee at Mount Joseph Senior Village surrounded by many members of her large family. Her joyful, apostolic spirit was been evident throughout her life as a teacher, principal, a pastoral minister in a variety of parishes and as Mission Coordinator promoting the mission in Brazil. Her creative energy and zeal kept her on the road until she retired. Sister Chris Meyer presented her tribute at the Motherhouse celebration and Sister Marilyn Wall presented a reflection on her life at the Mount Joseph gathering. Sister Chris noted that she loved her work as Mission Coordinator and she loved to travel.

Sister Mary

Sister Mary Savoie, of Rudyard, Mich., celebrated her 70th jubilee. She said that, “I know myself most alive in fulfilling the mission and purpose of the congregation when I am involved in bringing people together for collaborative and participative praying, sharing, planning and implementing services for struggling individuals and families.” During the middle years of her life she connected with ministering among Sisters in Eastern Europe, following their 45 years of communist oppression. She served as president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia from 1983-87. Today, she ministers in Belleville, Kan., working with Republic County Health Department on the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction program and serving on the Republic County Ministerial Association and as hospice chaplain. Sister Margaret Nacke presented her tribute where she shared that, “Mary has a skill and passion for doing research that has does good for people.”

Sister Christine

Sister Christine Doman (Jan. 9, 1938 – March 17, 2017), of Grand Island, Neb., was celebrating her 60th jubilee year when she passed away in March. She ministered as an educator for many years, including as Principal of Sacred Heart High School, in Salina. She was President of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia from 1995-1999. She then returned to her calling as a teacher, before managing the Sisters’ hospitality house in El Paso, Texas from 2008-2013. She retired from active ministry in 2014. Sister Polly Kukula presented her tribute, noting that “She left before our party got started.” She likened her to a kaleidoscope with many varied gems.

Sister Janet

Sister Janet Lander was born in Santa Monica, Calif., and spent her childhood in Reseda, Calif. She is celebrating her 40th jubilee after being received into the congregation of Sisters of St. Louis before transferring her vows to Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia in 2006. With a bachelor and master’s degree in education and a master’s in pastoral ministry and post-master’s certificate in the practice of spirituality, she has spent many years as an educator and serving in campus ministry, as well as 5 years as a missionary in Brazil. She because a staff member of Manna House of Prayer in 2003, giving spiritual direction, guiding retreats, teaching candidates, serving as co-director of the Associate program and doing committee work and still serves there today as well as serving on the Congregational Leadership Council. Sister Marcia Allen presented her tribute, laughing as she wondered why anyone would want to come to Kansas from California. Her skills in Portuguese were noted as one of the many assets she has brought to the community.

Celebrants for the special Jubilee Mass were Father Kevin Cullen, S.J., of St. Louis, Mo., Father Xavier Nacke, OSB, of Conception Seminary, and Father James Hoover, the Motherhouse chaplain.

Sister Missy Ljungdahl emceed the June 11 Jubilee program, with music provided by Sisters Dian Hall and Teresa Hernandez.

In addition to the special Mass and tribute program, the day also included a celebration dinner for sisters, family and friends at the Nazareth Motherhouse. The meal was prepared and served by the Motherhouse dietary staff. The celebration at Mount Joseph featured decorated cakes and punch, as well as an open microphone session for family and friends to share their memories about Sister Margaret.

Motherhouse prepares for spring plant sale and garage sale

May 3, 2017 by  

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For the second year in a row, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia will be having a Spring Plant Sale, featuring plants, flowers and vegetables grown in the Motherhouse greenhouse by gardener Lyle Pounds. In addition, the annual Manna House of Prayer garage sale also will be held at the Motherhouse so shoppers can browse all the bargains at one convenient location.

For the second year in a row, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia will be having a Spring Plant Sale, featuring plants, flowers and vegetables grown in the Motherhouse greenhouse by gardener Lyle Pounds. In addition, the annual Manna House of Prayer garage sale also will be held at the Motherhouse so shoppers can browse all the bargains at one convenient location.

The sales will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Motherhouse, 13th and Washington streets in Concordia.

“We had so much fun last year, we decided to make it an annual event,” said Ambria Gilliland, assistant director of the sisters’ Development Office.

Along with plants and flowers, there will be hand-painted pots, signs and other garden art created by Development Office staff. Gilliland, development assistant Laura Hansen and Pounds have spent time throughout the winter and spring getting plants started and growing. The selection will include geraniums, marigolds, bulbs, bedding plants, hanging baskets and vegetables.

Gilliland and Hansen have been creating hand-painted pots and working with the Motherhouse maintenance crew to design wooden signs and other home décor, including items made from old windows from the Motherhouse.

All the proceeds from the Spring Plant Sale benefit the Sisters of St. Joseph and their ministries, while garage sale proceeds support Manna House programs, including the Helping Hands emergency assistance fund. Last year the event brought in more than $2,700 for the Sisters of St. Joseph and their ministries.

Kick off the holidays with ‘First Monday at Manna’ November feast

October 28, 2013 by  

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web-thanksgiving-picThe holiday season is beginning a little early at Manna House of Prayer, with a traditional Thanksgiving feast planned for the next “First Monday at Manna” fund-raising dinner.

The holiday dinner will be Monday, Nov. 4, with seatings at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. Guests are invited to arrive 15 minutes early for appetizers and hot cider or wine.

Reservations for the dinner at Manna House, 323 E. Fifth St., are needed by Oct. 31, by calling 785-243-4428 or emailing

The dinner menu will feature turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy and all the fixings of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, topped off with pumpkin pie for dessert.

Donations are welcome, with all proceeds going to the numerous Manna House ministries, including Helping Hands, a program that provides emergency assistance for people throughout Cloud County and operates a small food pantry.

The “First Mondays at Manna” dinners are part of the center’s 35th anniversary celebration, and will continue throughout 2013.

The final dinner of the year will be a Christmas feast complete with musicians playing and singing Christmas carols. That event will be Monday, Dec. 2, with seatings at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. Early reservations are welcomed.

The red brick building that is today Manna House was built in 1884 as the first Motherhouse of the newly arrived Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. The building at Fifth and Olive streets served as the convent and a boarding school, but it soon became apparent that a bigger building was needed to house Nazareth Convent and Academy.

So in 1903, the Nazareth Motherhouse opened at the corner of 13th and Washington streets, and the sisters converted their old home into St. Joseph Hospital.

An addition was built in 1915, and the significantly bigger facility remained a hospital until 1951, when the sisters built what is now Cloud County Health Center.

The sisters converted the building into a nursing home and it served as St. Anne’s Home for the Aged until 1977, when the new Mount Joseph Village was built on the west edge of Concordia.

Meanwhile, three Sisters of St. Joseph had opened Manna House of Prayer in Clyde and were reaching out to the community there.

By April 1978 the sisters in Clyde moved their program to the newly renovated brick building in Concordia, and it was dedicated as Manna House of Prayer.

Its mission, then and today, is to be a place were people of all faiths come for personal and communal prayer, on-going education, quiet time and counseling. Sisters who live there also provide youth ministry, facilitation services, spiritual direction and counseling.

In 2013 Manna House is home to seven Sisters of St. Joseph, several volunteers and two Cloud County Community College students, and has a staff of four laypeople. Throughout the year there are workshops on everything from “seasonal spirituality” and the ancient art of bobbin lacemaking to “meditation and movement” and the meaning and mystery of the rosary.

To learn more about Manna House, its ministries and upcoming events, go to

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