Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Ramona Medina

July 21, 2021 by  

Click the link below to view the Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Ramona Medina.

Video of Sister Ramona Medina’s Bible Vigil and Eulogy service on July 20, 2021

July 21, 2021 by  

Eulogy for Sister Ramona Medina — March 14, 1937 – July 16, 2021

July 20, 2021 by  

Sister Ramona Medina was born on March 14, 1937, in La Jara, Colorado, the 13th child of fourteen born to Celina Romero and Juan Medina. She passed away on July, 16, 2021, here at the Motherhouse. Ramona was preceded in death by her parents and these siblings: Adelmo, Marie, Sister Lucia, Joe, Sister Dora, Sister Aurea, Celina, Sister Joseph Mary and Gilbert. She is survived by: Sister Celinda who is in Atchison, Luis in Alamosa, Colorado, and Sister Rufina in Framingham, Massachusetts. Ramona was baptized Elvira Elidia and was called “Vera” by family and friends.

           In August of 1939, when Ramona was 18 months old, her mother Celina died in childbirth. With the oldest of the 13 children being Adelmo in his teens, the death of their Mother was a great loss. I quote Ramona; “Relatives and friends offered dad advice … ‘Give the two or three youngest children out for adoption, split them up to live with other families.’ Dad listened, but then called a family conference. Our grandparents and the older children had a say in making the decision. It was decided that the family would stay together.”  

Their plan was that when each of the daughters graduated from high school, she would remain at home and care for the younger children until the next girl graduated. Then she was free to pursue further education.

            Ramona has more to say about growing up in this family!

“Regarding my childhood days…I am so grateful for the opportunity to have lived on the farm/ranch … .enjoying and savoring God’s presence in nature and all of creation with my dear dad and with a loving, caring and fun family. Dad was strict, but gentle; he taught us by his example and deep faith, the importance of prayer in our daily lives, having a grateful heart, caring for one another and those we encountered daily,” especially the less fortunate. “There was always room for one more!”

            She continues, “Since we couldn’t afford to have store-bought toys, we learned to be creative and made our own toys and had fun coming up with our own games, making mud pies, making stilts, ice skating during the winter months and played baseball or whatever, with our many cousins …. I have such fond and treasured memories of my childhood days …. I truly believe mom has cared for each of us from heaven. I have always felt her presence as a child growing up and even now, as I am growing older.”

            Juan Medina instilled strong values in his children: faith was foremost, love and care for family as well, the importance of education and hard work, and welcoming the stranger. As Ramona’s siblings completed high school, they studied for their careers and became successful.

            Here is Ramona’s story about her life choices, “During my high school years, I tried not to think about being a sister because I felt that I was being expected to follow in my sisters’ footsteps (Six of her sisters had already entered different religious orders!). During my senior year my boyfriend and I were talking about marriage following graduation from college. However, during the senior prom as my boyfriend and I were dancing, I suddenly felt an emptiness deep within and I knew at that moment that NO human person could satisfy me. God was calling me to be a sister! I knew at that moment that my one and only true lover was GOD. I entered the Benedictine Order in Atchison, Kansas, in 1955. I treasure the 19 years I spent with the Benedictines. I grew spiritually and formed fond relationships during that time ….. I transferred to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Concordia, Kansas, in 1980 because I sensed I had an apostolic and not a monastic heart. My heart was at home and at peace with the Sisters of St. Joseph.”

She stated that her “one desire is to continue working daily towards total union with God, to serve God, the dear neighbor and to care for our earth with tireless love and dedication as a Sister of St. Joseph.”

            Her education: Sister Ramona attended Mt. St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas, earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1970. In 1983 she received a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

            Her ministries are many: While with the Benedictines she served as an elementary teacher for 15 years. After transferring to the Sisters of St. Joseph, she served in occupational therapy from 1981 to 1999 in a number of hospitals and nursing homes in Kansas City, Lakeland, Florida, and in Kansas — Onega, Ellsworth and McPherson. In 1999 she was elected to the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Joseph, where she served as a Regional Coordinator until 2009. After serving in leadership, she joined Sisters Pat McLennon and Jean Befort as co-directors for creating a ministry called Neighbor to Neighbor for women and children here in Concordia. That ministry continues on today. In 2012 Sister Ramona moved to the Motherhouse.

            A bit more about Ramona’s professional life as an occupational therapist. In 1987 she was named Employee of the Year at Swope Ridge Health Care Center in Kansas City. In 1988 she applied for a copyright for her creation of seven dolls and two puppets for working with adults with physical limitations. In 1990 she received a certificate of appreciation for her work with students at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

I quote: “You have been an excellent role model for our students. You are the epitome of the words ‘caring’ and ‘giving.’ Your creativity and resourcefulness help our students understand the unlimited potential for occupational therapists to serve.”

When Ramona was in Ellsworth she began an occupational therapy program in 1993 for the residents of Good Samaritan Village, helping them “progress to the point where they can return home or at least become more independent.” In 1995 she established an occupational therapy department at Memorial Hospital in McPherson. She is quoted as saying, “What I like most about my job is that one can be extremely creative. It is very challenging. I guess the rewarding part is that you really give patients a new lease on life.  Make them productive and functional as possible. We help improve the quality of their life.”

            Sister Ramona was also an artist. Her paintings are of detail and of beauty, even as her eyesight began to fail her. She was an excellent instructor of painting and taught women at Neighbor to Neighbor to paint.

            She also excelled in lace-making! This was an original craft of our first Sisters in the 17th century in France and now blossoming again here in our congregation. Sister Ramona created many intricate and beautiful works of lace and was also an instructor of lace-making.  She was invited to create a lace tabernacle cover for a parish near Kansas City. Eventually, that same pattern was used to adorn the outside of the church structure.

            Ramona used her crafting skills in endless ways here at the Motherhouse! She created many centerpieces and projects upon request. And always, many of us signed up quickly to work with her.

            So much about Ramona cannot be captured in words. She lived with such energy, creativity and with presence to each person. Her joyful spirit was evident, even when she wasn’t feeling well. She lived with a positive attitude. She truly reflected the Jesuit saying, to live with “glad and practical cooperation” with God’s grace.

            Sister Ramona’s health began to fail her in the fall of 2019 and she was diagnosed with melanoma cancer in November. She lived this part of her journey with the same courage and energy, never withdrawing or losing hope. At the end of May, she wrote this message to all of us: “Spare me perfection. Give me instead the wholeness that comes from embracing the full reality of who I am, just as I am.” (David Brenner)

Her words: “…embracing the full reality of who I am” has led me to choose Hospice. Yesterday I made that decision and immediately knew an incredible peace in my spirit. I am grateful to God for that grace and grateful to each of you for the support I have known on this journey with melanoma …With gratitude beyond measure, Ramona.”

            These are her closing words in her life story in which she uses Jesus’ words from John’s gospel. “Loving and gracious God, ‘I have glorified you and finished the work you have given me to do.’ (John 14:4) Please welcome me to my/our ETERNAL HOME where I/we will rejoice and see you face to face.”    

To make an online donation in Sister Ramona Medina’s memory, click on the button below:




Creating a greener lifestyle

July 19, 2021 by  

Even the smallest acts can be transformative… Consider any (or all) of these, to create a greener lifestyle:

  1. Stop junk mail, or at least recycle it.
  2. Use low-flow faucets and toilets.
  3. Turn your water heater down.
  4. Ask local utility companies (or other groups) for conservation information.
  5. Use latex rather than oil-based paint. Dispose of paint without threatening groundwater.
  6. Support local efforts to recycle tires.
  7. Buy cars that get the best mileage. Get regular tune ups and rotate and balance tires every 8000 miles.
  8. Clean and replace air filters on vehicles and on air conditioners regularly.
  9. Clean and keep in optimal condition all appliances, especially freezers and refrigerators.
  10. Wash your car yourself, from a bucket.
  11. Stop using moth balls, oven cleaners, air fresheners and permanent ink markers that are harmful to your respiratory system.
  12. Don’t top off the tank.
  13. Replace lawns with stonework and drought resistant plants. If you keep a lawn don’t cut it shorter than 2 inches, and leave grass cuttings on it as a natural fertilizer. Water in the early morning, and don’t water the sidewalk.
  14. Make sure your auto oil is recycled.
  15. Turn down the heat at the office when closed, or at home in unused areas, or when away for more than a day.
  16. Have an energy audit.
  17. Never burn trash.
  18. Properly dispose of all hazardous wastes or materials. Stop using poisons.
  19. Don’t buy anything that cost an endangered species animal its life.
  20. Don’t buy new when you can buy a good product used. Don’t throw away something that still works. Keep using it or pass it along.
  21. Before purchasing, ask, “Is this a want or a need?”
  22. Eat low on the food chain, organic if possible. Avoid GMOs. Eat at home as much as possible, and don’t waste.
  23. Turn off the water during the shower while using hair products. Don’t leave water running while shaving.
  24. Don’t use toxic products on yourself, your pets, your home or your land.
  25. Create a backyard wildlife refuge, bird sanctuary and/or vegetable garden.
  26. Consider solar panels or setting up a gray water system.
  27. Check seals on windows and doors. Repair and use weatherstripping.
  28. Let your dishes air-dry rather than using the drying cycle on the dishwasher.
  29. Ask leaders to take action on climate change.
  30. Avoid air travel when possible.
  31. Completely unplug from technology at least one day/month.
  32. Check companies’ green practices before investing in their stock.
  33. Take a daily walk, run, or bike ride in nature, or at least sit out on your porch and enjoy it.
  34. Recycle and up-cycle everything possible, rather than adding to the landfill.
  35. Become conversant in the economics, politics and science that can save creation.

FINALLY, Teach and encourage others to live ecologically respectful lifestyles.


CLICK HERE for more from the Ecological Integrity Committee.

To learn more about ecological integrity, or to offer ideas, contact Sister Judy Stephens at 785-243-2149 or

Obituary for Sister Ramona Medina — March 14, 1937 – July 16, 2021

July 16, 2021 by  

Sister Ramona Medina died July 16, 2021, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas. She was 84 years old and a religious sister for 66 years. She was born in La Jara, Colorado, on March 14, 1937, to Juan and Celina Romero Medina, the thirteenth of fourteen children, and was baptized Elvira Elidia. She entered the Atchison Benedictine Order in 1955, then transferred to the Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia, Kansas, on Dec. 21, 1980. On Dec. 11, 1955, Elvira received the habit and was given the name Sister Ramona. She kept this name when she transferred to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas. She pronounced first vows on Dec. 16, 1956 and final vows on Jan. 1, 1959.

Sister Ramona received a B.S. in education in 1970 from Mt. St. Scholastica College, Atchison, Kansas. In 1983 she received a B.S. in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas. Sister Ramona worked as an occupational therapist in Shawnee Mission, Kansas City, Onaga, Ellsworth and McPherson, Kansas, and in Lakeland, Florida. She was elected to the Leadership Council of the Congregation in 1999 and served for eight years as a regional coordinator. In 2009 she co-founded the Neighbor to Neighbor ministry in Concordia, Kansas.

Sister Ramona was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and six sisters. She is survived by two sisters, Sister Celinda Medina of Atchison and Sister Rebecca Medina of Framingham, Massachusetts; and one brother, Luis of Monte Vista, Colorado.

A Bible Vigil Service will be held 7 p.m. July 20 in the Nazareth Motherhouse Chapel with Sister Judy Stephens as the eulogist. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. July 21 in the Motherhouse Chapel, Father Barry Brinkman presiding. If you have not been fully vaccinated we ask that you wear a mask and social distance out of consideration for those who are immunocompromised.

The burial will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. Chaput Buoy Mortuary, 325 W. 6th St., Concordia, is in charge of arrangements.

Memorials for Sister Ramona Medina 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 Ramona Medina’s memory, click on the button below:


Mass of Christian Burial and Eulogy for Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller

July 1, 2021 by  

To view the Mass and eulogy for Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller that took place July 1, 2021, at the Nazareth Motherhouse, click the link below.

Eulogy for Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller — June 5, 1946 – June 26, 2021

July 1, 2021 by  

Vigil: July 1, 2021, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Vera Meis

My deepest sympathy to you who are mourning the death of Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller, our community, Barbara’s family, her sisters Anna and Linda and their children, cousins, her aunts, brother priests, bishops, former members of our community and the youth of the diocese.

Barb’s birth was unique. She was born in an Austrian train’s boxcar, enroute to Germany. The year was 1946 and the Russians had taken over the Apacellers’ native Hungary, so the family was headed for what they thought would be a better life.

Sister Barbara Ellen was known to most of us as “Sister Barb”— a woman of Great Love who touched the hearts of many people. She had a special gift of being able to relate to the youth of our Diocese. I believed Barb learned about loving and creating community from her mother, Barbara. Barb’s mother created a community with the children in the neighborhood by teaching them German songs and plays. She wanted them to know their heritage.

Barb had a special love for the youth of the Salina Diocese and desired to teach them the richness of their Catholic Faith. She loved them and they love her.

Barb was all about relationships, the importance of them which brought her to being nominated for the Extension’s Lumen Christi Award among many other forms of recognition.

The youth showed their love by attending retreats, going to National Catholic Youth Convention, helping with Prayer and Action and many religious programs. She had over 1,000 youth attend National Catholic Youth Conference. Other Diocese called Sister Barb with offers of a position in their Diocese. No one could miss the smile on Sister Barb’s face as she listened to the Young Church as they professed their faith in talks and actions.

Our Sister Barb had a deep and lasting love for the Church and her God and His people. She kept in touch with all the women who were in her group when she entered the convent. They formed a lasting bond with each other and continued to meet for years.

Our Sister Barbara Ellen had many challenges: she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and had to take treatments for cancer. She also needed both knees replaced. Barb was like the “Energizer Bunny” constantly moving so she could get back to her ministry in a short time. She had many good friends. She related well with the Clergy beginning with getting to know them and supporting them in their ministry. They became friends. Sister Barb would stand up to them if she didn’t agree with them but always did that with respect. She respected them and they respected her.

Sister Barbara spoke of her prayer life. How she would give the first hour of the day to God in private prayer then would attend Mass.

In Barb’s name I wish to say to you what she would want me to say. “I love you.” She believed we should tell people we love how we feel. So if they are the last words we can say to them you and they will feel blessed.

So in her name I say to you:   “I LOVE YOU”

To make an online donation in Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller’s memory, click on the button below:


2021 Theological Institute

June 28, 2021 by  

Ecology and Theology: A Profound Invitation to Choose New Life

July 15-18-2021

This year’s Theological Institute will be held virtually via Zoom

The Theological Institute is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas. It is an adult learning experience aimed at deepening our roots in the Christian tradition and exploring its implications for living the Gospel in the contemporary world.

Contemporary understandings of ecology affirm a relational vision of life. All is connected! A living sense of faith also draws us into the reality and deep mystery of interrelationship.

This institute will explore the dynamic interface between ecology and religious consciousness. It will do so within the unprecedented context of our times, perhaps best described through a lens that points to intrinsic connections between environmental degradation, the devastation of Covid-19, poverty, racism, prejudice, unjust economic and political structures, alienation, isolation and a rise of nationalism.

Limited number of partial scholarships available for lay participants on first-come, first-serve basis. Inquire at Manna House of Prayer, 785-243-4428.

Register online at

We are living in hard times in which such connections have a negative, disruptive and suffering impact on individual lives, communities and the world. Hidden in the challenges and struggle of these times, though, is a profound invitation to choose new life inspired by relations expressed in ecology and faith. These relationships promise transformative, hope-filled gifts for our time and for the future.


Mary Rowell, CSJ, is a Sister of St. Joseph in Canada. Sister Mary teaches moral theology and Catholic social teaching at the University of Toronto. Based at Villa St. Joseph Ecology and Spirituality Centre in Cobourg, Ontario, Mary is also a spiritual and retreat director. She leads retreats and workshops, lectures extensively and provides facilitation services across Canada and the United States.

Currently, Sister Mary is the Vocation and Formation Director for the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada and President of the National Association of Vocation and Formation Directors (Canada).

Formerly a nurse and nurse educator, Sister Mary has worked in health care and education in the U.K., Canada, and numerous countries in Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Eastern Europe, where she specialized in opthalmological care and blindness prevention programs. She also has worked in the field of clinical bioethics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ontario.

Formerly director of graduate programs in bioethics at the University of Toronto, Sister Mary is also a researcher for the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute and works in consultative roles for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Schedule of events (held virtually on Zoom)

JULY 15: Opening Session: 6:30 – 8 p.m.

JULY 15: Morning Session: 9:15-11:30 a.m. Afternoon Session: 2 – 4 p.m.

JULY 17: Morning Session: 9:15-11:30 a.m. Afternoon Session: 2-4 p.m.

JULY 18: Concluding Session 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Institute fees

Pre-registration required by July 1, 2021.

$50 non-refundable pre-registration fee required, applicable to total cost.

Limited number of partial scholarships available for lay participants on first-come, first-serve basis. Inquire at Manna House of Prayer, 785-243-4428.

Register online at

Obituary for Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller — June 5, 1946 – June 26, 2021

June 28, 2021 by  

Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller died June 26, 2021, at her home in Salina, Kansas. She was 75 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia for 56 years. She was born in Wittmannsdorf, Austria, on June 5, 1946, to Sebastian and Barbara Assmann Apaceller, the second of three children, and was baptized Martha Elizabeth Stefanie.

She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Sept. 8, 1964. On Aug. 15, 1965, Martha received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Barbara Ellen. She pronounced first vows on August 15, 1966 and final vows on August 15, 1971.

In 1970 Sister Barbara Ellen received her B.A. Degree in Theology from Marymount College, Salina, Kansas. She taught in Fairbury, Nebraska. From 1976-84 she was part of a pastoral ministry team in western Kansas. Sister Barbara Ellen became the Director of Youth Ministry for the Salina Diocese in 1984 and remained in that position until her death.

Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by two sisters, Anna Flaim of New Buffalo, Michigan, and Linda Fregeau of Aurora, Illinois.

A Bible Vigil Service will be held at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 118 N. Ninth Street, Salina, on June 30. The Sisters of St. Joseph and the family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. A social will follow the wake service in the parish hall. All are invited to attend. The Mass of Christian Burial will be a private service for Sisters and family only at the Nazareth Motherhouse with Father Don Zimmerman presiding and Father Bill Surmeier and Father Barry Brinkman concelebrating. Sister Vera Meis is the eulogist. The burial will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. Chaput-Buoy Mortuary, 325 W. Sixth St., Concordia, Kansas, is in charge of arrangements. Memorials for Sister Barbara Ellen 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 Barbara Ellen Apaceller’s memory, click on the button below:


Public wake service for Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller

June 28, 2021 by  

The wake service for Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller will be at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 118 N 9th Street, Salina Kansas, on Wednesday, June 30. Viewing will be from 5 to 7 p.m. The vigil service, led by Father Barry Brinkman, will begin at 7 p.m. A social will follow in the parish hall. All are welcome to attend.

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