Reading with Friends set for May 14

May 6, 2021 by  

Reading with Friends at Neighbor to Neighbor will be both in person and as a Facebook Live event on May 14.

May’s book will be “How to Babysit a Grandma” written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish. This New York Times bestseller is sure to be a great book to share over and over again.

This month’s guest reader will be Tonya Merrill.

Pre-registration is required to come to the live event at Neighbor to Neighbor, and masks are required in the building. Pre-registration also is required to pick up a free book in advance. However, the video will be free for anyone to watch on Neighbor to Neighbor’s Facebook page. www.facebook.com/N2NConcordia

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, May 14. The video will stay on the Facebook page after the reading for anyone to enjoy later, in case they can’t make it at 10 a.m.

Sister Missy Ljungdahl, director of Neighbor to Neighbor, said the first 25 children to pre-register will be able to pick up a copy of the book whether the child is attending in person or online (one per family).

The story times for children 3 to 5 years old are on the second Fridays of the month and all begin at 10 a.m. To register, call Neighbor to Neighbor at 785/262-4215 or email neighbortoneighbor@csjkansas.org.

The monthly program has been a part of Neighbor to Neighbor’s regular offerings since September 2012. Neighbor to Neighbor is located at 103 E. 6th St. in downtown Concordia.

Spring brings a new Messenger — click to read online!

May 3, 2021 by  

Be sure to check out this spring’s Messenger that is full of news about our Sisters being active and helping their communities, news about the 2021 Spaghetti Dinner and the continuation of our new series on immigration.

If you would like to be on the Messenger mailing list, just give Laura Hansen in the Development Office a call or email at: 785-243-2113 ext. 1221, lhansen@csjkansas.org. To read online, just click on the page below and use the magnifying glass tool to zoom in and use the X tool to make it full sized so you can enjoy the full page.

 

Creating a greener lifestyle

May 3, 2021 by  

To learn more about the Sisters of St. Joseph Ecological Integrity Committee, CLICK HERE.

 

Before purchasing an item, ask yourself, “Is this a want or a need?”

 

Living a Life of Giving

April 26, 2021 by  

Sister Susan Stoeber, a life-long career nurse, may have retired from nursing … but she hasn’t retired from helping people and bringing joy to people’s lives.

Sister Susan is well-known in the area from her 45 years as a nurse at the local hospital, now known as Cloud County Health Center, in Concordia. But she hasn’t let retirement from her career slow her down from giving back to the community and making people happy.

These days she works a few days at the Nazareth Motherhouse, maintaining a supply center of over-the-counter medications, personal hygiene supplies and other basic necessities and special requests for the sisters. She said she followed in the footsteps of Sister Charlotte Lutgen, also a retired nurse, who took care of purchasing and distributing supplies for the sisters for years. When Sister Charlotte retired, Sister Susan took over in about 2017.

“I do shopping, restocking and distributing. The sisters fill out slips and then I pick up the orders,” Sister Susan said. “Sister Charlotte continued to help as long as she could.”
But many people know Sister Susan for what she does when she’s not working — crocheting whimsical animals that are always in demand.
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Sister Susan with some of her creations.

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“I worked 45 years at the hospital here in town (Concordia). After graduation I started here and I stayed here,” Sister Susan said. “When I started as a nurse we didn’t have an intensive care unit, so I worked the MedSurg floor. That’s short for Medical Surgical floor. I graduated in 1970, and we got our Intensive Care Unit on the third floor in 1972 or ‘73, and then I was educated for that and that’s where I worked the entire time until things changed with technology and I started working between the two.”

She said she was always excited about medical advancements.

“We were a small hospital, but some of the new doctors there started new procedures, and that was exciting, and we got a lot of post surgical patients,” she said. “I saw a lot of changes between now and then.”

Retirement was a change.

“I miss it, that was all I knew.”

She said she had hoped to make it 50 years in her career, but with the changes in computer requirements it became too difficult to take care of patients and handle the technology.

Crocheting to help others

Another way Sister Susan is known in the area is for her crocheted animals. Thanks to her roommates she had as a nurse in Concordia, she learned to crochet and advance her skills.

Sister Susan lived with Sister Leah Smith and Sister Jackie Kircher since the 1980s. They are both now deceased.

Sister Leah taught her how to crochet and how to make rosaries — both of which she continues to do. Some of her rosaries and many of her stuffed animals can be found in the Nazareth Motherhouse Gift Shop.

“It keeps me busy. I have to be busy all the time,” she said.

Sister Susan said she started out finding patterns on Pinterest. If it is something simple like a small teddy bear she’s made before, she can make one in a day or two. If it is more complicated … well that depends.

“Now if it’s a new pattern and big, it can take a long time,” she pulled out an intricate, large stuffed alpaca. “This took me forever. The first try was real difficult. The second one I tried probably took me a week to make.”

Other popular designs she has made were baskets with baby dolls with a full wardrobe of crocheted clothes, various species of dinosaurs, and a crocheted ‘Baby Yoda.’
Her designs are usually at the Motherhouse Gift Shop, but she’s also shared them with Neighbor to Neighbor for their annual Holiday Boutique.

“I make a lot for N2N. Last year we had a little truck that one of the guys did and I made all of the little animals that went in the back.”

She has a dinosaur grouping planned for the next time N2N can host one of their events in person.

Sister Susan also does custom orders, including a group of 15 honey bees for a girls’ sports team.

“One girl asked me if I’d ever made a Baby Yoda. I said, no, but if I can find a pattern I will. So I made her a Baby Yoda,” she said. “If they come up to me and make a request I will try to do it.”

Her Baby Yodas have been a best seller in the gift shop and at the annual plant sale.

She also donates her work to charity.

“I called the Cloud County Resource Center one year and asked if she’d want a bunch of the small teddy bears and she was tickled pink. I took them two tubs of stuff to give to their Christmas programs,” she said. “This year I asked and they weren’t doing it due to Covid, so I took them to Neighbor to Neighbor and they gave it to all the kids for their Christmas packages.”

Currently she’s working on a bunch of teddy bears for a group in Lindsborg that is sending baskets to kids in need overseas.

Managing supplies

When she’s not crocheting, or helping out driving sisters to appointments, she manages the supplies. She said she tries to keep the shopping to once a week, but there has been more demand since more sisters have returned to the Motherhouse.

But the job has its benefits.

“The best thing about coming here and having this position is getting to know the sisters, because, as a nurse, you don’t get involved in the Motherhouse stuff a lot. I didn’t even come to a lot of the meetings, because of work. So getting to know the older sisters personally means a lot to me,” she said. “And I think that is the best part about this job.”

Prayers on Wheels

April 26, 2021 by  

Sister Janet LeDuc enjoys a fulfilling, yet difficult, ministry as a Hospice minister for Meadowlark Hospice, headquartered in Clay Center, Kansas.

“I love what I do. My goal, if I can do nothing else, I’d like to be a healing presence of compassion and care that can let people know that God loves them very much on their journey. And he is truly with them,” Sister Janet said.

Sister Janet has devoted her life to a ministry in health care. She entered the health care profession as a nurse in 1968, and became a certified hospital chaplain in 1978.

“And then I went back to study holistic health. In that experience I really found the love for working with the aging, the sick and the dying,” Sister Janet said. “And so over the years, especially since 2003, I’ve been involved with hospice, and I was on a hospice team and a palliative care team.”

Sister Janet was working at Mt. Joseph Senior Village in Concordia taking care of aging sisters, but was volunteering for Meadowlark Hospice. They were interested in her working full time, but at that time it wasn’t possible.
And then, it finally all came together. Sister Janis Wagner told her that she was moving back from Clay Center to the Motherhouse, so her house was available, and no sisters were at Mt. Joseph. She dropped by Meadowlark Hospice to talk to the director and discovered that their staff chaplain had just retired.

“I went home and prayed about it and thought about it and called the leadership team and now here I am in Clay Center,” she said. “I was already attending the Meadowlark meetings and being tested (for Covid). And now I’ve been more fully involved with the team. My heart has always wanted to be in hospice full time.”

Now instead of being in just one facility, Sister Janet often finds herself on the road.

“Instead of walking the halls of the hospital, I’m traveling through the community to be present with people in their homes or facilities, nursing homes, or wherever they are,” she said.

From left: Amy Burr, BSN, RN, and Program Director for Meadowlark Hospice with Sister Janet LeDuc, Hospice Chaplain, and Audie Hartman, RN, and Patient Care Coordinator for Meadowlark Hospice. They are all a part of the team at Meadowlark Hospice, which serves five and a half counties in the north central Kansas area.

Meadowlark Hospice serves multiple counties. She said her longest regular trip is an hour drive. But that can change at a moment’s notice.

“I have an average of eight clients at a time, so I choose when I travel and can do my own scheduling unless they call me unexpectedly. Then I move and I go there right away. And I never know.”

Amy Burr, BSN, RN, and Meadlowlark Hospice Program Director said that Sister Janet’s flexibility and willingness to respond wherever she can makes her a valuable part of the hospice team.

“I don’t think there is any person on our team that is ever hesitant to give Sister Janet a call because they are never fearful of ‘oh will she be able to do it, where is she at?’ You know that when you call Sister Janet and you need a prayer, even if she’s driving down the road where ever. She pulls over and has the prayer or whatever is needed for the patient at that time. If she can get to them she gets to them.”

And even a prayer can make a big impact.

“One instance is a family that she went and prayed with and she just absolutely prayed from her heart what she was feeling for that family. It was so beautiful how she did it, they contacted us and wanted a copy of the prayer that she read,” Burr said.

The only problem was, there was no written prayer. Those were Sister Janet’s thoughts at the time. There was no written prayer to copy.

The role of a hospice chaplain is important, not just to the patients but also to support the hospice staff.

“It’s a very important piece of what hospice is able to provide. We’re not just the sliver of the pie where we go in and make sure that people are comfortable. We’re making sure that people are comfortable on all levels,” Burr said. “And that’s emotional, spiritual, physical and all. And having that piece where people allow her to come into their homes and provide that comfort is very important in end of life journeys.”

Audie Hartman, RN, and Patient Care Coordinator for Meadowlark Hospice, said that having Sister Janet available as a chaplain, even sometimes just by phone, helps. She shared a particular story where she was in the field and was able to reach Sister Janet to assist her via her phone.

“I am not a spiritually strong person. I don’t feel comfortable praying. I don’t even know what to say, so I had that conversation with her at one point and she was able to provide me with resources and some songs I could play at the bedside. So that was very helpful, but then also being there for me that day when I was at a bedside, and it was a Covid unit and the family couldn’t get in.”

“They were on the other side of the window and I was in the room holding her hand. Sister Janet was on the phone praying for her. It was just a very sad, beautiful moment all in the same breath,” Hartman said.

Covid restrictions have caused unique problems for hospice caregivers. Many times they are allowed in the facility, while a family member is not. And sometimes they have to find a new way to communicate completely.

“With Covid at nursing homes — I’ve done it through the windows, I’ve done it through a phone speaker, and that was an effective way, but through a window doesn’t work. I think we all know that,” Sister Janet said. “And one of the greatest crosses to bear is that I may have the privilege to go in, but a family member can’t go in. So I always try to be careful what I say or I don’t say because I feel that one member of the family should be able to go in. I think how it would be if it was my family member. I’m grateful hospice can go in. But how painful that is. That is very painful.”

But acknowledging the family’s pain makes Sister Janet more effective.

“That’s what Janet’s done well during Covid. She’s acknowledged that their families cannot be with their loved ones and be there. She is very much abolishing that idea that hospice care is not just for that patient and she reaches out to those families as well and provides that support, that conversation that they need to have,” Burr said.

And that family support is part of the care that hospice provides. They provide bereavement care for family members for a full year after a death.

Sometimes that means meeting a family member in their home, or meeting them at a restaurant. Whatever makes them comfortable.

And sometimes the care comes in the form of a card.

“I never thought that a card with a prayer in it could be so powerful,” Sister Janet said.

But she was approached by a family member at a funeral who said that the prayer came at a time when they were very low and she will never know how powerful that message was.

“Well that helped me. Never underestimate the power of what you are doing. The power of sending a card,” Sister Janet said. “I just feel this ministry isn’t a ministry in isolation.”

Meadowlark Hospice serves Clay, Cloud, Republic, Washington, Marshall and the western part of Riley County.

The Interdisciplinary Group meets every other week to assess situations and address concerns.

And the end of the meeting, Sister Janet prays over the team.

“At the end of the meeting we have stones and we speak the names of everyone who died to remember them,” Sister Janet said.

“It’s a journey of mystery for all of us. We do it all together,” she said. “I feel honored and very happy to be a part of the hospice team and glad to do what I can.”

Consider becoming a CSJ Associate

April 19, 2021 by  

Front Row Left to Right: Mary Denise Carleton, Myrna Shelton, Susan LeDuc, Susan Riordan, Nancy Welsh. Back Row Left to Right: Rosalita Flax, Mary Kenworthy, Amber Charbonneau, Bill Riordan, Dawn Knipp Desbien.

  Sisters of St. Joseph Associates are Christian women and men of all ages and from all walks of life. Associates experience: the joys of participating in small faith communities, a closer association with the Sisters of St. Joseph, growth in their spiritual life, meaningful opportunities to serve God and the dear neighbor, and communal support in living the mission in their daily lives.  If you have this desire we invite you and all Christian men and women to join us in our mission.

If you would like more information or are considering becoming a CSJA contact us at:

•  Catherine Seitz, Seven Dolors , Manhattan, KS  (785) 564-9282                               

•  Gerry Parker, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Salina, KS (785) 577-1650

•  Susan LeDuc, St. John the Baptist (Clyde) Concordia, KS (785) 249-3313

•  Dawn Knipp Desbien, St. Joseph’s, Damar, KS (785) 737-3622

The Associate Team Left to right: Catherine Seitz, Gerry Parker, Susan LeDuc, and Dawn Knipp Desbien.

 

2021 Theological Institute

April 1, 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 www.mannahouse.org

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.

Presenter

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 www.mannahouse.org

Nazareth Mother House Plant Sale will be May 8

March 29, 2021 by  

The annual Nazareth Motherhouse Plant Sale is set for 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 8 — a perfect time to shop before Mother’s Day on May 9.
This year’s sale will be outside, and social distancing and the wearing of masks will be requested.
Assistant Director of Development Ambria Gilliland, along with the Motherhouse Organic Gardener Lyle Pounds, have been hard at work this winter planning some unique new offerings for this year.
In addition to the fan-favorite hanging baskets, this year will feature an array of amazing succulents in creative settings that will be sure to be a topic of conversation in your garden or on the patio.
The sale will be behind the garages on the west side of the Motherhouse, 1300 Washington, Concordia, Kansas. We look forward to seeing you!

Sisters stand against racism and misogyny

March 25, 2021 by  

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas, stand in solidarity with the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and Leadership Council of Women Religious in condemning racism and misogyny in light of the recent violent acts against the Asian-American and Pacific Island communities.

The evils of racism and misogyny stand in direct opposition to the dignity of human life and our presence as the image and likeness of God in the world.

We pray for healing and peace for all who have been, are, and will be affected by violence due to racism and sexism in our world. And we pray that our God who unites us all will transform our hearts so that we may truly be one in Christ.

 

U.S. Federation Stands Against the Racism and Misogyny Directed Towards the Asian-American and Pacific Island Communities

 

The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph joins the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in condemning racism and sexism in all their harmful forms — whether the violent acts of white supremacists and misogynists or the daily acts of hate and discrimination that diminish us all.

We grieve with the citizens of Atlanta and the Asian-American and Pacific Island communities. We mourn with those who have lost loved ones to hateful acts of violence, with all who live in fear, and with all whose dignity is threatened by xenophobia and chauvinism. We lament the racism and sexism that continue to afflict our communities, threaten neighbors, and denigrate all we hold dear.

We acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism and sexism. We vow to use our Gospel Charism and mission of unifying love for the healing and transformation of the world to commit ourselves to cleanse our hearts and rid our land of these twin evils. We promise to continue to use our collective voice and energy to build God’s beloved community where all are one.

To learn more about this issue and how to get involved, we encourage you to visit these organizations:

  • Asian American Advancing Justice- Atlanta:  a nonprofit legal advocacy group protecting the rights of Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in Georgia and the Southeast
  • AAPI Women Lead and #ImReady Movement: supports AAPI women and girls with workshops and and research, and promotes movements such as #ImReady, which addresses issues like gender-based and racial discrimination and sexual harassment in the community
  • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: a national organization, founded in 1974, working to protect and promote civil rights for Asian-Americans

Sisters put pen to paper for Write for Rights

March 20, 2021 by  

Some of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia gathered together on the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 10, to participate in the annual Write for Rights campaign to honor International Human Rights Day.

“Write for Rights is a program of Amnesty International,” said Sister Anna Marie Broxterman, member of the Sisters’ Nonviolence Committee. “They send out letters about specific people who are imprisoned — and particularly in this year — in detention centers, who need to be freed because they have been treated unjustly.”

Sister Anna Marie said that Amnesty International has sent them the addresses of all of the embassies that need to be contacted, or in some cases the director of the detention centers.

“They send us information and their pictures. It tells us something about that person and their situation. They also send a mock letter to the embassy that we can use,” Sister Anna Marie said. “If anyone wants to write their own letter, there are instructions on how to do that effectively.”

Several tables in the Motherhouse dining room were covered with flyers containing the photos and the stories of this year’s group that Amnesty International found to be in urgent need of help. Also on the table was a stack of Motherhouse postcards created by Ambria Gilliland, assistant director of development, that the sisters could use to write directly to the incarcerated or detained person.

“If we want to send a card of solidarity to that person, we have postcards where we can write a brief note just to tell them that we are thinking of them and praying for them,” Sister Anna Marie said.

Another sheet in the room was a list of the persons who have been freed because of the letter writing campaigns.

“For this year, there was just one person from last year to whom we wrote that has had relief,” Sister Anna Marie said. “It also shows people from other years. We have been doing this for several years.”

“Today is Human Rights day, that’s why today is chosen to be the focal point for meetings such as this,” she said. “But I don’t have to have the letters postmarked until Jan. 31, so there is still time for people to be involved.”

Write For Rights is Amnesty International’s largest annual human rights campaign. People around the world write letters on behalf of people who need urgent help. If you are interested in writing, visit the Write for Rights website at https://write.amnestyusa.org/ for more information.

 

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