CSJ Associates renew commitments, welcome candidates

April 18, 2018 by  

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As part of the annual CSJ Associates Retreat, three new associates made their first commitment Saturday while other Associates renewed their commitment to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. The spring weekend retreat took place April 6-8 at Manna House of Prayer in Concordia.

The 7 p.m. Saturday commitment ceremony was the highlight of a weekend filled with prayer and fellowship. The retreat concluded with Mass on Sunday morning at the Nazareth Motherhouse and dinner with the Sisters.

A CSJ Associate is a Christian adult who is committed to Gospel values, feels drawn by the charism, spirituality and mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph, desires to deepen one’s spiritual life, is willing to give oneself in service to the “dear neighbor” and is committed to building community.

CSJ Associates are men and women from all ages and all walks of life. They meet regularly for prayer and sharing either in groups or one-on-one.

CSJ Associates renewing their commitment at the retreat were:
Susan LeDuc, Janice Carroll, Catherine Seitz, Myrna Shelton, Gerry Parker, Bill Riordan, Nancy Welsh, Rosalita Flax, Susan Riordan, Stephanie Hudson, Jennifer Spangler and Amber Charbonneau.
New candidates are Mary Lee Kenworthy, Aurora, Kan., Dawn Knipp, Bogue, Kan., and Mary Denise Carleton, Concordia.

For more information about CSJ Associates, contact CSJ Associate Catherine Seitz at sdseitz@cox.net or Sister Janet Lander, janetmarycsj@yahoo.com or call 785/243-2149 or visit www.csj kansas.org/about/associates/ .

Spring into a new Messenger!

April 18, 2018 by  

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Spring into a new Messenger

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The April edition of The Messenger is always an exciting one, and this year is no different. We have Sisters and Novices at the border, a Spaghetti Dinner recap, exciting news from the Marymount Alumni Association and a calendar bursting with activities for the future.

The print edition is in the mail today, and it’s available here right now as a flipbook. To open the flipbook edition, just click on the image below:



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‘Fancy Nancy’ will be the next offering at Reading with Friends

April 17, 2018 by  

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Have you ever wished that your life was just a bit more posh? And maybe you would like it if your family would just dress up a bit more?

Then you might identify with “Fancy Nancy,” this month’s featured book at Reading with Friends at Neighbor to Neighbor.

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, April 20. Megan Nuff will be the guest reader.

The story times for children 3 to 5 years old are usually on the second Fridays of the month and all begin at 10 a.m. at Neighbor to Neighbor, 103 E. Sixth St. April’s session was moved back a week due to Kindergarten Round-up. Each session includes playtime and a snack for the children, plus each child will receive a free copy of that day’s book to take home.

There is a limit of 30 children per session so parents must register in advance. 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.

This year’s Reading with Friends is made possible thanks to a generous donation from Betty Drake of Beloit.

Eulogy for Sister Therese Richstatter — Dec. 21, 1929 – April 13, 2018

April 16, 2018 by  

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Vigil: 7 p.m. April 16, Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Marilyn Wall

Live out your whole life with one desire only, to be what God desires you to be
In nature, grace and glory in time and in eternity.  (Maxim #73)

Sister Therese Richstatter was born on Dec. 21, 1929 in the Clay Center Hospital.  She was the youngest of two children with a sister named Frances who was a year and a half older than herself.  Her parents were Edward and Martha (Klemm) Richstatter and they lived on a farm south of Greenleaf, Kan. She was baptized in St. Michael’s Church in Kimeo and given the name Anna Elizabeth.

Kimeo, at that time, was a thriving and faith-filled community centered around the Catholic Church. There were families on practically every section and most of the families were large. There were two masses on Sunday morning and the Church was full for both masses. The Church was (and still is) large and beautiful, its steeple can be seen for miles around. Anna and her sister attended a one room school half a mile from their home.  On Saturdays they attended religious instructions.  The Sisters of St. Joseph taught religious vacation school every summer in Kimeo.  It was there that Anna first met our sisters. She and Frances received their First Holy Communion together.  Anna had just completed first grade.

Therese wrote in her life review: “I was born at the beginning of the depression and we were poor.  Because there were no boys in our family, my sister and I helped with the chores on the farm. I attended Green High School in Green, Kan.  I boarded with a family who owned a furniture store there. In high school I played basketball and was in the junior and senior plays.  It was in high school that I first felt called to religious life. I used to read missionary magazines and wanted to be a missionary.  I attribute my religious vocation primarily to my parents who set a good Christian example.  They never encouraged me to enter religious life and I felt that they would rather that I didn’t. But they never did anything to make it difficult for me to do so.”

 “After I graduated from high school in 1948, I worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia. I entered the convent on Sept. 7, 1949.  I received the habit on March 19, 1950 and was given the name Agnes Therese.  I later dropped Agnes from my name.  I made final vows on March 19, 1954. The Novitiate was a most happy experience. There were 15 of us in our band.”

The only surviving members of her band are Sisters Alice Marie Stalker and Rita Ann Mazanec.

 “My mother died July 20, 1954 and my father died Dec. 16, 1958.  My sister, who had crippling arthritis since she was sixteen, died April 14, 1978.  This was one of the hard things for me.  When other sisters went home for visits, I had no family left to visit.”

Therese graduated from Marymount in 1967. She then earned a Master’s Degree in Theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. During her studies there she wrote a paper titled:  “Love in the Epistles of Paul” I will quote from that paper later and that is why the readings tonight and tomorrow at Mass are from St. Paul and on love.

 Therese loved her years of teaching, and said that one of her favorite years was her first mission year at St. Joseph and Ann School in Chicago. She also taught at Concordia, Clyde, Cawker City, Grand Island, Booneville, Tipton and Salina. She particularly enjoyed preparing students for First Holy Communion.  She also enjoyed being Sacristan, and later, Eucharistic Minister and taking communion to the sick wherever she was missioned. In 1987 she earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science from Emporia State University and then was librarian at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Topeka. She had a great love of learning and was very well read.

 Of her own spirituality, Therese said: “My experience of God is a constant presence, who has always been there in my life as long as I can remember”. 

In her composition on love, she identified this reality also: “Here faith does not mean adhering to God’s word so much as belonging to Christ in a gift of oneself to God which is so total that it permits God to communicate God’s life to us and to work in us.”

Is this not also an apt description of our ministry of presence?

Therese also, over the years of her ministry,  engaged in many activities as volunteer and this speaks to her love and compassion for people. She taught religion in Huntington Beach, Calif., in a program called Sonshine.  She also taught reading in a summer enrichment program on the Oneida Indian Reservation in Wisconsin. In Topeka, she volunteered at the public library and the Better Business Bureau, taught RCIA and passed mail on Saturday mornings at St. Francis Hospital. At Medaille, she volunteered in the Green Thumb Program.

 In her Commitment to Mission and Life Statement for the year 2015-2016, Therese spoke directly out of the experience of life that has been hers in her later years and once again identified her experience of presence to God.  “I sit and wait, unable to do my own care; I wait for when others decide it is time.  My prayer is waiting … waiting for meals, Mass, communion.  May God bless my waiting, and God’s desire in my life.”

Therese, your wisdom, knowledge, sense of humor and your givenness have enriched us all.  We are grateful for your life among us and know that now you are totally in God and present to us and encouraging us in all ways.

I would like to close with a blessing from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 3, verses 17-19.
“May Christ, who has dwelt in your heart through faith,
And has been the root of charity and the foundation of your life,
Enable you to grasp fully with all the holy ones,
The breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love,
And to experience this love which surpasses all knowledge,
So that you may attain to the fullness of God”.


Memorials for Sister Therese Richstatter 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 Therese Richstatter’s memory, click on the button below:


Creating a greener lifestyle

April 16, 2018 by  

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

Buy at the farmers’ market.
Eat locally grown and in-season produce.


Eulogy for Sister Barbara Bader — Jan. 13, 1923-April 7, 2018

April 11, 2018 by  

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VIGIL: April 11, 2018, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Mary Savoie

Let us tonight, not only pray for Sister Barbara, but also reflect with gratitude for her life among us as a Sister of St. Joseph.

I ask you to walk prayerfully with me during the next 20 to 30 minutes as I present a review of her life, first a biography, secondly information about her education and ministry experiences, and thirdly, and perhaps most important, some of the wonderful and touching inspirations Barbara leaves with each of us.

Aurelia Marie Bader was born, seventh of a family of nine children, January 13, 1923, on a farm in Rhineland, Mo. Her father, Leo Bader, and mother, Petronilla Buecker, raised four sons, Aloysius, Urban, Jerome and Henry, and five daughters, Theresa, Genevieve, Aurelia, Barbara and Nellie. Nellie is currently the only family member remaining and living in Giltner, Neb.

Aurelia Marie Bader, at the age of 19, on May 9, 1942, entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas. On March 19, 1943, she received the religious habit and the name of Sister Mary Barbara. She pronounced her first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on March 19, 1944, and her final profession on August 15, 1947.
After completing her novitiate, Sister Barbara earned a B.A. from Marymount College in Salina, Kan., and a M.A. in Educational Administration and Counseling from Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. Sometime later, she completed training in psychology and became certified in counseling and as a spiritual director.
Sister Barbara’s ministries of teaching and serving as a principal took her to Chicago (1945-50) where she taught first-grade students; to Cawker City, Kan. (1951-54) to teach first through fourth grades; and to Damar, Kan., to serve as principal and teach first and second grades. In 1962, Sister Barbara was instrumental in establishing a new Catholic school in Oakley, Kan.; from 1968-71 she served as principal of the Catholic school in Beloit, Kan., and principal of the Catholic school in Manhattan, Kan., from 1972-79.

Her final active ministry was in Grand Island, Neb., from 1984-2003 where she served primarily as Director of Religious Education. In addition to all of this, during the last 12 summers of her active ministry, Sister Barbara served as Spiritual Director during retreats at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Sedalia, Colo.

Sister Barbara, at age 81, having given lovingly and generously to the service of the dear neighbor for a total of 59 years, on Oct. 17, 2004, retired to live her remaining years, filled with grateful prayers and kindness, at our Nazareth Motherhouse and Mount Joseph in Concordia, as she said: “to semi-retire and take up less demanding ministries.”

As Sister Barbara was preparing for her 70th Jubilee celebration as a Sister of St. Joseph, she was asked: “What best captures for you what these 59 years of active ministry meant to you?”

She quickly replied: “I loved working with children and their parents, their zest for life and new learning challenged me in my own vocation. Certainly, opening a new school in Oakley was a high point in my life as I witnessed the deep desire, sacrifices and enthusiasm of parents to enroll their children in a Catholic school. This convinced me even more of the importance of our teaching ministry as Sisters of St. Joseph. I must say, however, that my ministry in Grand Island was very special. Working so closely with dedicated parents and adult religious teachers taught me so much about my own faith and dependence on God.”
What was the driving force which propelled Sister Barbara through so many years of dedicated service to the dear neighbor?

Visiting personally with her during those years of her living at the Motherhouse and at Mount Joseph Nursing Care Center, and being able to read and reflect on the personal notes she kept during retreats, gave me a glimpse of an answer to that question.

There is no doubt in my mind that Sister Barbara had a deep and compelling desire to always grow in her knowledge and love of God. So often she quoted her favorite scripture passage: “The advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.”

During a recent retreat, Sister Barbara wrote this of herself: “My desire is to continue to strive to grow in the love of the Lord, to follow His lead and inspiration, and to give my entire attention to prayer and the love of those who assist me each day. I want to be ready to follow the Lord wherever and whenever He calls me. Most of all, I know that the Lord loves me and calls me to an ever closer relationship with Him. I want to take the Lord seriously and live my daily life honestly in terms of His love for me and my response to that love.”
Sister Barbara left this final message which she asked me to share tonight: “To all my dear family, relatives, and especially members of my religious community. I want you to rejoice and be happy knowing that I have now entered into the presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. My one desire while on earth was to make a return for that great unconditional love I received from sharing with you my life and ministries as a Sister of St. Joseph. I thank you all, especially my loving family, members of my religious community and all who have helped me to grow and deepen my relationship with God. I will be praying for all of you from heaven until we once more will be united never more to be separated. God bless all of you!”

Thank you, dear friend, Sister Barbara Bader, for your life and love.

Memorials for Sister Barbara Bader 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 Bader’s memory, click on the button below:


Sisters of St. Joseph plan Volunteer Day for April 7

March 27, 2018 by  

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The 2nd annual Sisters of St. Joseph Volunteer Clean-Up Day set for Saturday, April 7, has been cancelled due to the forecast for frigid temperatures.

Volunteer Clean-Up Day coordinator Laura Hansen said she will be working individually with volunteers to still try to help people who requested assistance on more temperate days in the near future.

If you have questions, you can call or e-mail Hansen at lhansen@csjkansas.org, 785-243-2113 ext. 1221


The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia are organizing another volunteer day on Saturday, April 7, to help people in Concordia that need assistance with light yard work and setting discarded items at the curb for Concordia’s 2018 city-wide clean up, “Refresh Concordia.”

Individuals, groups or organizations interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact Laura Hansen, Volunteer Program coordinator with the Sisters of St. Joseph, at (785) 243-2113 ext. 1221 or volunteer@csjkansas.org

“The Sisters of St. Joseph-sponsored Volunteer Clean-up Day was a huge success last year and much of that success was due to our very ambitious, outgoing and hard-working group of volunteers. In just a matter of hours we were able to complete yardwork and clean-up tasks at nine local residences, plus Manna House of Prayer, North Mound, and the Community Garden,” Hansen said. “We had student volunteers from the Concordia High School, their club sponsors, Concordia community members and parents, along with some personal friends I was able to snag, and together we had a wonderful morning.”

Volunteers will meet to register and receive their assignments from 7:45 to 8 a.m. April 7 in the east parking lot at the Nazareth Motherhouse, 1300 Washington. Clean-up supplies will be provided, but volunteers are encouraged to bring work gloves, sunscreen and to wear work clothes, a ball cap and closed-toed shoes. Lunch will be provided after the event in the east parking lot.

“Last year we were fortunate to have nice weather, support from the city and local businesses, and just the right balance of applicants and volunteers. Our applicants were very appreciative and gracious and so much was accomplished at each location. Everything just went so smoothly and I can’t brag on the volunteer groups enough.” Hansen said. “The Sisters’ Volunteer Committee had a great idea to plan this community event last year and we hope that this year it will go just as splendidly. We invite anyone who is free on the morning of April 7 to join us.”

The event is a great opportunity for students to get in community hours, Hansen noted.

The volunteer clean-up day will precede the City of Concordia’s planned “Refresh Concordia” day for residential areas during the week of April 9-13.

Those needing assistance should fill out an application form at the Concordia Senior Citizens Center by March 29 or contact Hansen at 243-2113 ext. 1221 or email volunteer@csjkansas.org. Priority will be given to those with physical limitations, including the elderly and people with disabilities. Please note that filling out an application doesn’t guarantee that you will receive assistance. You must be able to have someone present while the volunteers are helping at your residence. You will be contacted for more information.

Check out a slide show of volunteers working at last years event.

Friends and family enjoy annual spaghetti dinner at Motherhouse

March 18, 2018 by  

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

The Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia was filled with visitors on Sunday, March 18 — 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 the one-on-one conversations.

Catching up. Renewing friendships. Sharing memories.

One of the family members visiting was Dee Levett, of Florida, the biological sister of Sister Christina Brodie. She posted the winning bid on the custom rustic Kansas porch bench that was part of the silent auction. Her bid of $1,000 secured the bench.

“Since it won’t fit in my suitcase, I guess I better donate it,” Levett smiled. She donated the bench to the Manna House of Prayer where it will no doubt be a popular item.

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

Kitchen staff, buoyed by volunteers, served 571 dinners and the event raised $11,252.28 to benefit the ministries of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Musicians performing were Randy Halfhide, John Paul Breault, Sarah Jeardoe and Sarah Ganzer.

In the prize drawings, the winners were:

  • $500 —Rita Cooper, O’Fallon, Ill.
  • $200 cash —JoAnne Crispin, Hays, Kan.
  • $100 cash —Laura Jo Meyer, Concordia
  • Keurig coffee maker —Chris Wilbur, Belleville, Kan.
  • CharBroil grill —Becky Maguffee, Salina, Kan.
  • Quilt (made by Sisters Betty Suther and Ann Glatter) — Jeanette Kreimer, Blue Springs, Mo.

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.

“We had such a fun day,” Gilliland said. “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!”



Follow the Yellow Brick Road to annual Spaghetti Dinner

March 8, 2018 by  

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Tickets are now available for the 2018 Sisters of St. Joseph Spaghetti Dinner, the biggest event of the year at the Nazareth Motherhouse, 1300 Washington, Concordia.

A winning raffle ticket could win the owner a new CharBroil grill, a hand-crafted quilt, a Keurig machine or cash prizes.

The dinner is set for Sunday, March 18, with dinner being served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Advance dinner tickets cost $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 5-12, and are available at the Motherhouse, at Manna House of Prayer and at Neighbor to Neighbor. They are also available by calling the Sisters of St. Joseph Development Office, (785) 243-2113, ext. 1225, or emailing agilliland@csjkansas.org.

Dinner tickets at the door will cost $10 for adults and $6 for children. (Children 4 and younger eat free.)

The theme of this year’s spring fundraiser is “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” and it features activities for the entire family, tours of the historic Motherhouse and performances by local musicians. There will be drawings for prizes of up to $500 cash, a silent auction and the popular “grab bag,” with gifts for $1, $2 and $3. Homemade baked goods and Easter baskets will be available for sale.

A variety of Easter baskets will be available for purchase.

Throughout the event, the Nazareth Gift Shop will be open.

Tickets for the drawing cost $1 each, or six tickets for $5. Ticket holders in the drawing choose which prize to try for. This year there are cash prizes of $500, $200 and $100, plus a CharBroil gas grill, a Keurig coffee maker and a 69” x 84” quilt constructed by Sister Betty Suther and hand-quilted by Sister Ann Glatter.

Winners will be drawn about 1:30 p.m., but you need not be present to win. Bidding in the silent auction will close at the same time.

In 2017, a record 625 people attended the sisters’ spaghetti dinner, which raised almost $11,000 to support the Concordia sisters and their ministries.

Get ready for Spring Fling at Neighbor to Neighbor

March 8, 2018 by  

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The women of Neighbor to Neighbor invite the community to celebrate a Spring Fling with them March 9 and 10. Baked goods, crafts, spring dresses, Easter decorations, paper poppies, aprons and artwork will all be on display and for sale at Neighbor to Neighbor at 103 E. Sixth St, Concordia.

An early “sneak peek” will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 9 following the monthly Reading with Friends. Everyone is invited.

On Saturday, March 10, Neighbor to Neighbor will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for everyone who didn’t have a chance to visit on Friday. All proceeds go to benefit the programs for women and children that N2N provides.

Visitors can expect the usual outstanding baked goods that are always a highlight of any Neighbor to Neighbor event. Other items include hand-sewn spring dresses, hand-crafted Easter items, gifts and much more.

Sister Jean Befort said that events like “Spring Fling” encourage teamwork among the women that visit Neighbor to Neighbor.

“The women have enjoyed working on these crafts so much,” Sister Jean said. “A lot of these projects take a lot of teamwork. So it gets a lot of people involved. It motivates them to come back the next day. They are always looking forward to the next project.”

For more information, call Neighbor to Neighbor at (785) 262-4215 or email neighbortoneighbor@csjkansas.org or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/N2NConcordia/

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