Racial justice was focus of 2019 Theological Institute

July 23, 2019 by  

Racial justice, both in the Catholic Church as well as in the United States in general, was the topic at the July 18-21 Theological Institute at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia. The title of this year’s Institute was “The Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America.”

Dr. Shannen Dee Williams was the instructor and facilitator for the four-day event. She is a U.S. historian with research specializations in 19th and 20th century African-American history and religious history. She has done award-winning research and currently is an assistant professor of history at Villanova University.

“This July’s Institute with Shannen Dee Williams, PhD, was an eye-opener, to say the least. Possibly, it opened our consciences even more,” Sister Marcia Allen, a member of the Institute committee, said. “Dr. Williams, a brilliant historian of African American history, presented a stunning and profound picture of our United States history from the beginning of our nation to the present. Her lectures were made even more accessible through her use of names and faces.”

The keynote address was, “America’s Real Sister Act: Confronting the Uneasy History of Racial Segregation and Exclusion in Female Religious Life.”

“This project began 12 years ago when I was in graduate school,” Dr. Williams said.

“When I started researching and looking (for black sisters in history), I learned that two of the nation’s historical black sisterhoods had been founded in Savannah, Ga., in my mother’s home town. And yet she didn’t even know that there were black nuns,” Williams said. “Indeed, the schools she attended had been founded by these black nuns, and yet by the time she was in those schools in the 1950s, their history had been erased to her.”

“And I had to ask myself a very difficult question. Why? And also, how? How does that happen?” Williams said. “Historians on the African-American experience have always argued that the greatest weapon of white supremacy has not been its violence, but rather its ability to erase the history of its violence.”

“What didn’t I know about the history of these black nuns? What was so potentially dangerous about their historical memory that it had been erased from us? And I started on my path,” Williams said.

Dr. Williams is currently revising the manuscript for her first book, “Subversive Habits: The Untold Stories of Black Catholic Sisters in the United States,” to be published by Duke University Press.

Her research has been supported by a host of awards and fellowships, including a Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship for Religion and Ethics from the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, and the John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award from the American Catholic Historical Association.

“Her thesis was that because of the erasure of African-American names and faces our U. S. history itself has been erased and thus missing a key ingredient of what makes our nation what it is today,” Sister Marcia said. “She gave participants in this year’s Institute a new understanding of our U.S. history and thus our place in it — today. ‘We,’ she said, ‘are today’s history!’”

In addition to the keynote address, additional topics and group sessions included, “Reckoning with Christian Slavery,” “Confronting the Silenced Past,” “Slavery by Another Name,” Reckoning with American Segregation and its Legacies,” “Confronting the Contested Past,” and finally on Sunday morning discussing “What Must Racial Justice Entail.”

“Having attended the Theology Institute on racism, I am more convinced of how little we as Catholics have been exposed to Catholic Social Teaching,” Sister Jodi Creten, an Institute attendee, said. “What one doesn’t know, one cannot hope to understand.”

“This institute also opened my eyes to a history that has not been taught in our schools in the past,” Sister Jodi said. “For us to heal as a society, we need to know the sufferings of so many by unjust institutional laws that have kept people ‘in their place.’”

Members of the Theological Institute committee are Sisters Cathie Michaud, Janet Lander, Betty Suther and Marcia Allen, and Susan LeDuc, administrative coordinator for Manna House of Prayer.

Plans are already underway for the 2020 Theological Institute.

“It will feature Anthony Gittins, Holy Spirit missionary, who has through decades of experiencing other cultures come to understand the concept of interculturation, the subject of the 2020 Institute,” Sister Marcia said. “It is an important follow-up of this year’s racism and assumed white supremacy. Mark your calendars for the 2020 Institute on July 23–26. Be prepared to come away with 2020 vision!”

The Sisters of St. Joseph established the annual Theological Institute a way to continue their long-standing educational tradition, exemplified by the schools they founded and staffed, including Marymount College in Salina. The program is held each summer in Concordia. Over the years the Institute has featured a wide range of well-known theologians, historians and social justice advocates.

Discover Camp helps young Catholic girls discover their gifts

June 17, 2019 by  

Thirty-six junior high girls from around the area filled the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia with laughter, song and prayer during this June’s annual Discover Camp hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

“Each year we have a theme,” said Sister Anna Marie Broxterman, camp coordinator. “This year’s theme was, ‘Let Your Light Shine.’ ”

Under the guidance of camp coordinators Sisters Beverly Carlin and Anna Marie Broxterman, and camp directors Kate Brull and Anna Ivey, 36 girls came from across the area to spend June 13-15 with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Campers, many making return visits, came from Salina, Axtell, Manhattan, Bennington, Minneapolis, Beloit, Hanover, Hollenberg, Hays, Clay Center, Belleville, Clyde, Delphos and Osborne, Kan., as well as Mobile, Ala. Twelve high school- and college-age counselors, sisters, staff members and countless other volunteers rounded out the group. Volunteer Donna Reynolds returned as director of music.

Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia president Jean Rosemarynoski, CSJ, welcomed the campers on Thursday afternoon.

“For several weeks now all of our sisters have been so excited about you coming,” Sister Jean said. She told the campers about some of the history of the both the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Motherhouse prior to their tour later that evening.

“We have over 1,000 people each year that come through here on tours,” Sister Jean said of the historic building. “We like to share our space with others.”

The campers, divided into groups of six, spread their sleeping bags throughout the open space on the fifth floor of the historic Motherhouse, but shared meals and other activities — including a Nazareth scavenger hunt and afternoon bingo at both the Motherhouse and Mount Joseph Senior Village — with the sisters and residents who live there. The girls learned about teamwork by navigating a low ropes course with their group as well as creating and performing a group cheer.

In additional to using prayer, input sessions around the theme, poetry writing and journaling as tools to self-discovery, the campers enjoyed active games, crafts and swimming.

One shared activity Friday evening was a picnic on the Motherhouse grounds, with many of the sisters joining them to enjoy the beautiful weather, followed by a water balloon fight and movie.

The days of fun came to an end Saturday evening when campers’ families were invited to a special Mass in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Motherhouse, followed by an ice cream social hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

That morning, the campers had worked on a living rosary, and practiced their music and liturgy Saturday morning in preparation for Mass. They also attended presentation by co-director Brull entitled “Embracing our Uniqueness.”

Brull talked about the challenges of remaining true to yourself, your faith and friends as you transition into junior high and high school.

“I challenge each of you to go to God in prayer and ask for God’s help to be authentic,” Brull said. “God is our oxygen. God fuels our fire. We need God’s presence in our life.”

The Discover Camp for girls entering the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grades has become an annual event.

“We started in year 2000,” said Sister Bev Carlin told the campers. “Sisters Anna Marie and Pauline (Kukula) are the two that founded our camp.”

“People ask me ‘Why do you call it Discover Camp?’ ” Sister Anna Marie said. “It’s because it is about discovering yourself.”

Girls wanting to attend the 2020 Discover Camp are encouraged to apply early in the spring.

“In recent years we have a waiting list of girls who wish to come, but space cannot accommodate,” Sister Anna Marie Broxterman said. “When campers become old enough to become counselors, they eagerly make application.”

“For the first few years, the campers, counselors, and staff all had rooms at Manna House and we transported all to the Motherhouse for the daily activities,” Sister Anna Marie said. “But eventually fifth floor at the Motherhouse was re-wired and re-painted for youth events. Our maximum capacity is 36 campers, 12 counselors and two camp directors.”

“Sisters serve as camp coordinators and staff, although we do also have lay staff if and where needed, to assist in keeping all activities moving in some rhythmic order,” Sister Anna Marie said.

This year’s staff included sister staff members Pauline Kukula and Kathy Schaefer. Layperson volunteers included Donna Reynolds, Catherine Seitz and Maggie Zody. Counselors were Pam Zarybnicky, Regan Madrigal, Marissa Roberts, Isabella Matteucci, Paula Rolph, Kaetlyn Newell, Trinity Price, Caitlyn Burr, Vivian Leiker, Sara Del Real, Megan Anguiano and Maddie Blochlinger.

To learn more about Discover Camp, or how to apply to attend or become a counselor, visit www.csjkansas.org/for-kids/.

Bishop Vincke blesses sign memorializing St. Joseph Orphanage

May 15, 2019 by  

The St. Andrew Parish Hall in Abilene was the site of an amazing family reunion as former orphans, “townies,” and sisters, as well as families and loved ones, reunited in Abilene to share fond memories of their times at the St. Joseph Home and Orphanage.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia ran the facility for 43 years, from when they opened it in 1915 until it closed in 1958. The building, on the north edge of Abilene, just off Buckeye Avenue, was demolished in 1959.

The reunion took place Saturday, April 27. After taking time to review the many historical documents and items on display — including an old milk cap from the St. Joseph Orphanage Dairy — and greet friends, old and new, a DVD showing many old photos from the orphanage was shown.

Gasps of recognition and laughter filled the room as former orphans and townies alike recognized photos of themselves, or old friends and instructors.

Following the presentation, it was time for sharing. Many residents and family members shared what the orphanage meant to them growing up. There were a variety of fun stories about the competitiveness of working in the dairy barn, as well as various pranks and fun the kids would have when the sisters weren’t looking. There also were serious stories about what the time there meant to them, how they felt about the sisters, and the things they learned — not always from the classroom.

In attendance were five of Harold Scanlan’s six children. They worked with their dad at St Joseph Dairy and knew many of those in attendance. Milking the cows three times a day, washing the bottles and checking the caps were some of the many duties they had working side-by-side with the residents at the home.

Hank Royer, a “townie”— which was a kid who attended classes at the orphanage school but didn’t live there — brought along about 15 copies of 80 pages of historical orphanage documents to share. He said he attended there from 1954-58.

“It was not a free ride,” he said. “They worked.”

“It was a great learning experience for me,” he said. “It still sticks to me to this day. We can make a difference in people’s lives. It is something we need to do.”

John Smith, another townie, remembered riding his Shetland pony to attend class. “Mr. Scanlan would let us bed them down in the barn. And later I moved up to a horse,” he said. “I thank the nuns for the education I received.”

Wilfred Vargas, a former orphan resident, attended the reunion for the first time. He was the oldest living resident to attend. His nephew brought him up from Tulsa, Okla.

“That orphanage never left me,” Vargas said. “I miss those old days … all the kids. The fun we had, the skinny dipping … it was a beautiful life. A hard life, but it was a part of growing up.”

“When they would give us clothes, we thought of it as a gift,” Vargas said. “We appreciated every thing we got.”

He finished talking to the group about his memories with tears in his eyes as he said, “I love you all.”

Vargas spent quite a bit of time catching up with three-time attendee and former orphan Alvin Veesart and his wife. Both men were there in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Nona (Smith) Mendoza lived at the Home with her sisters, Leah and Laura. She was quiet in sharing but excited to see her first communion picture that day and pictures of her older sisters. The Smiths were there in the late 1940s early 50s.

Her husband, Gil, mentioned that one thing she really remembers and cherishes is the grotto.  “She loved that grotto,” he said.

Steven Hanson has attended each of the three reunions and is one of the younger residents along with Mike Weaver and Linda Vogan who attended for the first time. These three lived there and attended school in the 1950s.

Also in attendance was author Terry Needham, who wrote “When I Was a Child,” a book about his mother and uncles — Geraldine Pfeifer and her brothers Louis and Marcel — who lived at the orphanage.

“I spent 10 years researching it,” Needham said. He has since adapted it as a screenplay.

Another person remembered by many was Louis Truly. Louis grew up at the orphanage and lived there for many years.

Following the sharing of memories, volunteers served a lunch of Brookville Hotel chicken.

Then it was time for the final event of the day, presided over by Bishop Gerald Vincke: The blessing and dedication of the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home memorial sign at Mt. St. Joseph Cemetery.

The location of the sign on the cemetery property was to make sure that it was in a place that would always be under the ownership of the parish, Sister Carolyn Juenemann explained. The site directly overlooks the old orphanage property.

“We could never have done this without the help of Brian and Tom Whitehair,” said Sister Carolyn. “They are on the cemetery committee of St. Andrew’s Parish, which graciously permitted us to install the sign on their land.”

Despite the gusty wind, the majority of the group drove in a caravan to the cemetery to watch the blessing and unveiling of the sign.

“My brothers and sisters, as we begin to celebrate this rite in praise of God on the occasion of the unveiling of this beautiful image of the St. Joseph Orphanage and Academy, we must be properly disposed and have a clear appreciation of the meaning of this celebration,” said Bishop Vincke to the crowd gathered around the still-veiled sign despite the gusty winds. “When the Church blesses an object and presents it as a memorial to a significant ministry in the life of the Church, it does so for several reasons; That when we look at this memorial of St. Joseph Orphanage and Academy we will be motivated to seek the eternal life that is to come; that we will learn the way that will enable us to more faithfully follow Christ and to work toward achieving the goals of His Kingdom by serving His people.”

“This memorial sign can also serve as a reminder to use of the many persons who served in the ministry of education and loving care that took place here as well the many children and elderly who were the beneficiaries,” Bishop Vincke said. “May it also be a reminder of the many benefactors who made this all possible, especially the Diocese of Salina and the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Jean Scanlan, the artist who drew the design for the sign, unveiled it to the crowd. The sign was manufactured by Rawhide Iron Works of Norton, Kan.

This is the third reunion of the St. Joseph Orphanage, the previous ones being in 2010 and 2016.

“The first year we had 19 orphans that came, and maybe 7 townies,” said Sister Jan McCormick. “And since then we’ve lost 8 of those from the very first reunion.”

Sisters Jan, Carolyn, and Mary Lou Roberts all work on the committee to keep the reunion and memories of the orphanage alive.

For more information about the St. Joseph Orphanage, visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/stjosephorphanage.abilene.

 

Annual Motherhouse Plant Sale and Manna House of Prayer garage sale draws a crowd

May 13, 2019 by  

As a beautiful spring day began Saturday, a small group of workers were out just after dawn, getting ready for the 4th annual Motherhouse Spring Plant Sale.

Assistant Development Director Ambria Gilliland, administrative assistant Laura Hansen, gardener Lyle Pounds and helpful volunteers moved hundreds of plants from the Motherhouse greenhouse, plus set out scores of garden signs, decorative pots and planters and yard art of every description.

“This time of year, you never really know what kind of weather you are going to get,” Gilliland said. “But we were lucky to have a beautiful day.”

Meanwhile, sisters and volunteers from Manna House of Prayer finished all the preparation for the garage sale that filled four garage bays at the Motherhouse.

And the early morning preparation proved worth it as perfect spring weather brought eager customers to the Motherhouse for the 9 a.m. opening. Shoppers were lined up and waiting when the sale opened its doors. The hanging baskets, always a popular item, were quickly snatched up. By the time the fundraiser ended at 1 p.m., plant sale shoppers had contributed nearly $2,500.

“What a fun morning! The hanging baskets were a huge hit again this year and were mostly gone within an hour,” Gilliland said. “It’s always fun to see even the kids get excited about some of their finds. One little boy even promised to do extra chores at home if his mom would buy him an old wagon wheel.”

All proceeds from the separate garage sale go to further the ministries of Manna House in Concordia and the plant sale proceeds will help fund the coming replacement of the Motherhouse roof.

Gilliland organized the sale, with lots of assistance from Pounds and Hansen, along with the maintenance staff at the Motherhouse. The seedlings, flowers and hanging basket plants were grown in the Motherhouse greenhouse.

Neighbor to Neighbor to celebrate 10th anniversary of helping Concordia

May 10, 2019 by  

Neighbor to Neighbor will celebrate their 10th anniversary from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 10, at their facility located at 103 E. 6th Street, Concordia.

The public is invited to celebrate this amazing milestone for the community along with the sisters and volunteers that make this facility come alive. Everyone is invited to tour the center, enjoy refreshments and learn more about Neighbor to Neighbor and the programs, classes, services and activities it provides, all free of charge.

What is Neighbor to Neighbor?

Neighbor to Neighbor was the dream of three sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia who wanted to make a difference in the world. And sometimes making a difference begins in your own backyard.

Neighbor to Neighbor founders Sisters Pat McLennon, Jean Befort and Ramona Medina came up with the idea of a support center for women and women with young children. These founders came up with a plan, approached the Sisters of St. Joseph council, and with the gracious help of the council, the maintenance staff of the Sisters of St. Joseph, volunteers and the community, made the Neighbor to Neighbor of today a reality. Neighbor to Neighbor works closely to coordinate with other community resources so that services are not needlessly duplicated.

“We met with a lot of social agencies before we started to see if there was a need,” Sister Pat said. “We didn’t want to duplicate things that were already being done.”

“It doesn’t even seem possible that it’s been 10 years,” said Sister Jean. “It has far exceeded my expectations.”

The center offers classes in baking, cooking, painting, exercise, sewing and crafting, as well as supervised play times for young children. Many of the women just stop by to enjoy the camaraderie, a cup of coffee, a game of cards and catching up with friends. There are even laundry facilities available. All of the classes are free.

The dream focused on an old building downtown that needed a lot of renovation

“When the sisters approached me about creating a center for women and small children, there wasn’t a clear understanding to me on of how this was going to work,” said Greg Gallagher, facilities manager for the Sisters of St. Joseph. “Sisters Pat, Ramona and Jean shared thoughts and ideas.

“We put them on paper and created a plan, gave the plan to the Motherhouse maintenance staff, and created N2N,” Gallagher said. “What an outstanding creation this ministry became to the community!”

The maintenance staff and volunteers gutted the building and completely redesigned it to be the most useful for the sisters’ needs with a full kitchen, laundry, play room, art studio, offices and storage.

Longtime Concordians may remember earlier uses for the 1888 two-story building: An appliance and TV store, a Sears catalog center, a bar, an upstairs roller-skating rink in the years around World War II and an auto dealership sometime before that.

“We’ve been here for 10 years and haven’t had to repaint a thing,” Sister Pat said. “The women here have really taken care of it. It looks like new.”

Volunteers and community make a difference

Volunteers continue to pay a vital role at Neighbor to Neighbor today, teaching classes, helping in the kitchen and just providing a sympathetic ear.

“The Concordia community has really stepped up to the plate to help us,” Sister Pat said. “That spirit has continued, and has surprised me. We have had volunteers like Theresa Peltier and Sandra Detrixhe that have been with us since practically the beginning.”

Detrixhe has been helping people learn to quilt for nearly all of those 10 years.

“I’ve helped people learn to make their very first quilt. It’s an amazing feeling.” Detrixhe said. “This place is a family, a friendship. I get as much from being here as I give.”

“This is just a fabulous, fabulous place,” volunteer Cynthia Myers said. “We’re lucky to have this facility in our community. It was necessary and needed. I never dreamed we’d have a place like this in Concordia.”

Myrna Shelton, administrative assistant at Neighbor to Neighbor, keeps her hands busy in all the activities.

“I am grateful every day to be here. Every day is different, there is always something new,” Shelton said. “The main thing is to be present and listen to people. There is nothing else I’d rather be doing.”

In 2019, the Neighbor to Neighbor staff transitioned with the addition of new Director Sister Missy Ljungdahl. She returned to Concordia in July and has been learning the ropes and making relationships with the guests and volunteers.

“I love what Neighbor to Neighbor has done for Concordia,” Ljungdahl said. “The sisters have done an exquisite job of creating this place. I want to really listen and see that the needs of the community are met.”

“It has been such a joy to see our women create beauty, whether in painting an crafts and through creating beauty they are able to see their own inner beauty,” said Sister Ramona.

And the women have created friendships and bonds that go beyond just themselves. Many spend time making items to help people in other countries, such as clothing and shoes for children, or items for newborn infants.

“The way they’ve grown to help and support each other is such a surprise,” Sister Pat said. “And it’s been a wonderful ministry for an older group to have something to look forward to every day.

“It’s a dream come true,” Sister Pat continued. “And it’s all because of the people, the community.”

“They are truly present to one another … listening and helping one another,” Sister Ramona said.

For more information about Neighbor to Neighbor, email neighbortoneighbor@csjkansas.org or call 785-262-4215.

Annual Motherhouse plant sale and Manna House garage sale set for Saturday

May 8, 2019 by  

Ambria Gilliland works on projects that will be for sale at the annual plant sale.

It’s been a rainy week, but the forecast for this Saturday is full of sun for the annual Nazareth Motherhouse Plant Sale and Manna House of Prayer Garage Sale.   This year’s event will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 11 — just in time to pick up goodies for Mother’s Day.

“If you haven’t been to our plant sale, you must check it out,” said Assistant Development Director Ambria Gilliland. “Our organic gardener, Lyle Pounds, has been busy this winter preparing beautiful flowers and hanging plants to liven up the gloomiest of porches. But get here early, the hanging baskets go fast.”

Look for succulents, petunias, bedding plants, zinnia seeds, mixed planters and big, beautiful hanging baskets. Along with the plants, you will be able to browse many handmade crafts from painted wooden signs to flower pots and yard décor all made by the Development Office staff and our sisters.

While you’re here, be sure to check out the garage sale hosted by Manna House of Prayer. All proceeds from the garage sale go to further the ministries of Manna House here in Concordia and the plant sale proceeds will help fund the replacement of the Motherhouse roof.

Both events are located behind the Motherhouse at 1300 Washington in Concordia. You won’t want to miss out on all the beautiful plants and décor!

The Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America

May 1, 2019 by  

Speaker: Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, PhD

July 18-21, 2019

 

The 2019 Theological Institute will deal directly with the reality of racism. “The Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America” will be offered July 18-21 at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia.

The speaker will be Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, PhD. She is a U.S. historian with research specializations in 19th and 20th century African-American history and religious history. She has done award-winning research and currently is an assistant professor of history at Villanova University. Her research has been supported by a host of awards and fellowships, including a Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship for Religion and Ethics from the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, and the John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award from the American Catholic Historical Association.

She is currently revising the manuscript for her first book, “Subversive Habits: The Untold Stories of Black Catholic Sisters in the United States,” to be published by Duke University Press.

The event will include learning discerning processes through which we might begin to invite God to change us into the inclusive Christian body we are meant to be.

The institute will be from 5 p.m. Thursday, July 18, through 1 p.m. Sunday, July 21. Cost is $325. The registration fee includes the program, plus all meals from the Thursday evening meal through the Sunday noon meal, and housing with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

The Sisters of St. Joseph established the annual Theological Institute a way to continue their long-standing educational tradition, exemplified by the schools they founded and staffed, including Marymount College in Salina. The program is held each summer in Concordia. Over the years the Institute has featured a wide range of well-known theologians, historians and social justice advocates.

To register, email retreatcenter@mannahouse.org, visit mannahouse.org, or call (785) 243-4428.

 

St. Joseph Orphanage reunion set for April 27

April 18, 2019 by  

ABILENE — Bishop Gerald Vincke will dedicate and bless a new sign memorializing the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home on April 27 at Mt. St. Joseph Cemetery, Abilene.

The unveiling of the new sign will be one of many events planned for the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home reunion planned at the Parish Hall at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Abilene.

The sign was designed by artist Jean Scanlan, a member of St. Michael’s Parish in Chapman. Rawhide Iron Works in Norton constructed the sign. It was installed earlier this spring and will be officially unveiled and dedicated at the event.

Scanlan was on hand to watch the sign being installed. It was the first time she had seen her design recreated onto the metal sign.

“I was a little worried about the steeple,” she said of her artwork. “But it turned out really good!”

“We could never have done this without the help of Brian and Tom Whitehair,” said Sister Carolyn Juenemann, an organizer of the event. “They are on the cemetery committee of St. Andrew’s Parish, which graciously permitted us to install the sign on their land.”

The site of the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home is visible from the sign.

Sister Carolyn’s brother, Mel Juenemann, was the liaison between the Sisters and the sign company, and delivered the sign to the site.

The St. Joseph Orphanage and Home closed in 1958, so even the youngest surviving orphans are in their 60s now — and most are much older.

“I’ve been contacted by at least six people who lived at the home between the late 1930s and 1958 who are making plans to be at the reunion,” Sister Jan McCormick said, who along with Sister Carolyn, organized the reunion. “We don’t want to lose all their stories. We want to come together to remember this history and the people who were a part of it.”

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia ran the facility for 43 years, from when they opened it in 1915 until it closed in 1958. The building, on the north edge of Abilene, just off Buckeye Avenue, was demolished in 1959.

 

Schedule of events:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Begin gathering at St Andrews, 311 S. Buckeye, Abilene
  • 10 a.m. – Welcome and opening prayer
  • 10:30 a.m. – View DVD
  • 11 a.m. – Sharing and visiting
  • Noon – Meal
  • 1:30 p.m. – Prayer service led by Bishop Gerald Vincke, of the Salina Diocese.

 

Immediately following the prayer service, attendees will travel to Mt. St. Joseph Cemetery for the unveiling, blessing and dedication of the new memorial sign.

“We look forward to seeing many of you again,” said Sister Jan. “We want to spend time sharing, reminiscing, learning and celebrating.”

To RSVP, contact Sister Jan McCormick at janmccormick@rocketmail.com or (785) 479-6795, or contact Sister Carolyn Juenemann at scarolyn@gmail.com. Please visit the St. Joseph Orphanage page on Facebook for more details at https://www.facebook.com/stjosephorphanage.abilene.

There will be no charge for the event and meal, but a free-will offering will be accepted.

 

Friends and family make for another successful Spaghetti Dinner

March 19, 2019 by  

It isn’t just a spaghetti dinner. It’s a family reunion.

The Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia was filled with visitors on Sunday, March 17 — some were family, all were friends, and all enjoying the whirl that is the annual Motherhouse Spaghetti Dinner. In the midst of the prize drawings, silent auction, building tours, bake sale, musical performances and food, one of the most important attractions of this annual event was chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Everywhere you looked you could find reunions. Grandmothers and grandchildren volunteering together; nephews, nieces, uncles and aunts reuniting for dinner; or just friends in the community having a chance to sit down and enjoy a meal together.

The mystery grab bags were a hot item, selling out quickly. Visitors enjoyed selecting from custom-made Easter baskets, visiting the gift shop and picking up homemade baked goods at the bake sale.

The kitchen staff, buoyed by volunteers, served 550 dinners and the event raised about $10,700 to benefit the ministries of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

“What a great turn-out! We are so grateful to everyone who comes out and supports this event,” said President Jean Rosemarynoski, CSJ. “We always look forward to seeing the people, renewing old friendships and making new ones. Everyone helps make it a festive atmosphere. We rely on dozens of volunteers and are very grateful to all those who generously help us!”

Musicians performing were John Paul Breault, Sarah Jeardoe, Sarah Ganser and a trio of Theresa Hernandez with friends Melanie and Joel.

Table decorations were made by volunteers from Neighbor to Neighbor in Concordia.

In the prize drawings, the winners were:

  • $500 — Kelsey Koster, Minneapolis, Kan.
  • $200 cash — Marty Blocker, Hays, Kan.
  • $100 cash — Kelsey Koster, Minneapolis, Kan.
  • Nesco Pressure Cooker — Jim Blecha, Munden, Kan.
  • CharBroil grill — Carol Deters, Harveyville, Kan.
  • Quilt (made by Sisters Betty Suther and Jean Ann Walton) — Father Jim Hoover, Concordia, Kan.
  • $150 Visa gift card — Kelsey Koster, Minneapolis, Kan.
  • KU Basketball tickets —Theresa Brierton, Abilene, Kan.

After the drawing, several in the crowd joked that they wanted to find Kelsey immediately and take her to the casino with them, or at least buy a lottery ticket!

Helping to draw the winning tickets was Jack Gilliland, son of Eric and Ambria Gilliland, of Concordia.

The annual special event is organized by the sisters’ Development Office, with months of work by assistant director of development Ambria Gilliland and assistant Laura Hansen.

“As usual, the dinner was a success,” Gilliland said. “We were able to raise funds for our sisters and many ministries and had a good time doing so! Everything seemed to run smoothly because of our awesome volunteers. We are so grateful for our friends that come out to support us time after time!”

 

Nazareth Motherhouse prepares for annual Spaghetti Dinner

March 14, 2019 by  

It’s been a wet and snowy winter, but the outlook for Sunday’s annual Spaghetti Dinner at the Nazareth Motherhouse looks to be warm and sunny.

But all these weeks of rain and snow has made parking for this event a little more challenging. Luckily, Assistant Development Director Ambria Gilliland has a plan in place to make sure everyone will be able to enjoy the event.

“In past years we’ve been able to park cars on the grassy area by the east parking lot. Unfortunately, this year it will be too wet and muddy for that to be a good option,” Gilliland said. “If you arrive and the east parking lot is full, we encourage guests to park at one of the city park parking lots across the street, or along Washington Street.”

Gilliland said that the Motherhouse would have two shuttle cars constantly running throughout the event from the west entrance of the Motherhouse to the alternate parking areas for anyone who would like a convenient ride to the front door.

“Just keep an eye out for the silver Impalas that will have signs on the door designating them as shuttle cars,” Gilliland said.

Volunteers from the Knights of Columbus will be adding their valuable help to assist with parking as well.

The event begins with dinner at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 17. Meal tickets cost $8 in advance for adults and $10 at the door. Tickets for children cost $4 in advance and $6 at the door. Early bird meal tickets are available at the Motherhouse front desk until Friday, March 15.

Gilliland said that along with the spaghetti, attendees will be able to take a self-guided tour of the historic Motherhouse, which includes a stop in the Heritage Room where visitors can learn about the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Also on the agenda are a bake sale with homemade goodies, Easter baskets and a silent auction. Guests can also try their luck at the popular grab bag station by purchasing a random gift for $1, $2 or $3.

The concluding event of the day will be the raffle drawing which includes the following items:
• Three cash prizes: $500, $200 and $100
• Char-Broil grill/smoker combo
• Handmade quilt by Sisters Betty Suther and Jean Ann Walton (72” x 72”)
• Nesco 8-quart pressure cooker
• Two KU basketball tickets (date of game to be determined)
• $150 Visa gift card

The raffle tickets are available for $1 each, or six for $5 and the drawing will be held at 1:30 p.m. on the day of the event. Raffle tickets can be purchased in advance from the Nazareth Motherhouse or by contacting Laura in the Development Office at lhansen@csjkansas.org or 785-243-2113 ext. 1225. You do not need to be present to win.

The Nazareth Motherhouse is located at 1300 Washington in Concordia.

 

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