Creating a greener lifestyle

January 20, 2020 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

Start your January with our Jubilarians!

January 14, 2020 by  

The January Messenger is on its way to your home. It is full of news about all our sisters … but particularly our sisters celebrating their Jubilee years! Of course our other sisters are always busy. They study in Rome. They lead Catholic youth to conferences. And they work hard on many community fundraising events.

The Messenger is free to anyone who requests it (email or you can view it here online!

Thank you for supporting our sisters and we hope you enjoy celebrating our Jubilarians!

“The Mitten” will be featured book for January’s Reading with Friends

January 6, 2020 by  

January’s book for Reading with Friends at Neighbor to Neighbor will be “The Mitten” by award-winning author and illustrator Jan Brett.

The story starts off with a boy named Nicki who drops his white mitten in the snow. One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl in — first a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse, and what happens next makes for a wonderfully funny climax.

The book will be read by special guest Laura Hansen, administrative assistant in the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia’s Development Office.

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10.

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. at Neighbor to Neighbor, 103 E. Sixth St. 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

The monthly program has been a part of Neighbor to Neighbor’s regular offerings since September 2012.


Date set for annual Spaghetti Dinner

December 24, 2019 by  

Ready for the warmth of spring? Well take a quick trip to the islands at the Nazareth Motherhouse on Sunday, March 15, and warm up with our annual Spaghetti Dinner! This year’s theme is “Hawaiian Luau!”

“I can’t wait to see everyone in their Hawaiian shirts! We are going to have so much fun!” said Ambria Gilliland, assistant director of development for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

Serving about 560 people last year and raising $10,600, the event continues to grow each year. And this year is predicted to be just as successful.

The event begins with dinner at 11 a.m. 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 3 p.m. Friday, March 13.

Can’t make it to pick up the tickets? Just contact the Development Office to reserve them and they will be available at the ticket table in the meal line. Reservation deadline is 3 p.m. Friday, March 13.

Along with the spaghetti, attendees will be able to take a 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.

New this year is a fun prize drawing for anyone sporting their Hawaiian shirt! Say ‘Aloha!’ in your best Hawaiian garb and be in the running for a gift certificate to the Motherhouse Gift Shop.

Also on the agenda are a bake sale with homemade goodies and a silent auction with several items up for bid. Guests also can try their luck at the always 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:
• Multiple cash prices up to $500
• Char-Broil grill/smoker combo
• Signed, limited edition print of a painting
of Pope Francis by artist Rita Casper.
• Handmade quilt
• Monster web swing
• Four KSU basketball tickets (date tbd)
• $200 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 Hansen in the Development Office at or 785-243-2113 ext. 1221.

“Last year we were blessed to raise over $10,000 for our ministries. We are so grateful for such wonderful support and friendships,” Gilliland said.
“Our sisters look forward to this event every year. We love getting to catch up with our friends so we hope to see you there!”

Sisters of St. Joseph welcome community for open house

December 9, 2019 by  

It was standing room only for a while as families packed the Nazareth Motherhouse auditorium for the annual Christmas Open House on Dec. 8. Beautiful weather and the return of last year’s popular Santa and Mrs. Claus — who on other days are known as Dell Lee and Annette Boswell of Leon, Iowa — led to some long lines through the auditorium. Santa and Mrs. Claus posed for photos with all the children during the free event.

Many Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia were on hand to serve ice-cold milk and punch and a selection of Christmas cookies to the crowds waiting to meet Santa.
“I think we served more than 450 cookies,” Larry Metro, food service supervisor for the Sisters of St. Joseph, said. The iced, sugar cookies were a definite hit.

Other Sisters directed guests through the historic Motherhouse so that visitors could view the Heritage Center and Christmas decorations.

Some people might wonder why a convent would offer a visit with Santa, said President Jean Rosemarynoski, CSJ.

“We do it for several reasons. Many young families have not met religious sisters and this is an opportunity for a short visit with sisters, a tour of the Motherhouse and to learn more about us,” Sister Jean said. “There were adults who toured our new Heritage Room and afterward sought out a specific sister whose story they read to learn more about her and her work. That provided for a wonderful conversation!”

“Having Santa at the Motherhouse also provides a no-cost, fun experience between parents and children. There are coloring sheets for the kids and parents sit with them at the table,” Sister Jean said. “Many parents and grandparents were appreciative of having a place to share this experience with their children in a relaxed, welcoming environment.”

“Everyone had so much fun! Most of the kids were overjoyed to see Santa and Mrs. Claus but there were a few that were a little unsure,” said Ambria Gilliland, assistant director of development for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. “We had a great crowd! The sisters truly enjoyed interacting with the kids. Santa and Mrs. Claus are such good sports. Santa even traded hats with a little boy and had fun trying to coax a smile from the kids by getting them to say ‘Pepsi’ instead of the usual ‘Cheese!’”

This year’s event also offered a drawing for a free door prize.

The door prize was a hand-crafted wooden sign with the words “O come let us adore him” and a manger painted on it. It had battery-operated lights that looked like stars in the night sky. Danielle Haskett, of Concordia, was the lucky winner.

“I was so happy with the crowd we had,” Gilliland said. “Seeing the joy on the kids’ faces truly made the whole event worth the work.”

“Santa Bruce” will be featured book for December’s Reading with Friends

December 3, 2019 by  

December’s book for Reading with Friends at Neighbor to Neighbor will be “Santa Bruce” by award-winning author and illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

Bruce is a lot of things. He is a bear. He is a grump. He is a pretty decent cook. One thing Bruce is not? Santa Claus. But that doesn’t stop the whole forest from lining up to give them their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity … again.

The book will be read by special guest Tonya Merrill.

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 13.

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. at Neighbor to Neighbor, 103 E. Sixth St. 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

The monthly program has been a part of Neighbor to Neighbor’s regular offerings since September 2012.

Motherhouse to host annual Christmas Open House

December 3, 2019 by  

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will return to the annual Nazareth Motherhouse Christmas Open House this year. Bring the kids by for snacks and coloring and a chat with St. Nick while you take in the beauty of the historic Nazareth Motherhouse decked out in its Christmas finery.

All ages are welcome from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.


The Open House will include holiday music, coloring fun for the kids and, of course, cookies, along with punch and coffee.

Also included will be limited self-guided tours of the landmark home, which was built in 1902 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973. Numerous Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia will be on hand to welcome guests, assist with tours and serve refreshments.

This is the third year that Santa Claus has been invited to be part of the sisters’ Christmas Open House, and organizers are pleased by the increased turnout each year.

“Seeing the children’s faces light up when they walk in and see Santa and Mrs. Claus makes all the work worth it!” said Ambria Gilliland, assistant development director for the Sisters.

Last year’s hit Santa and Mrs. Claus — who on other days are known as Dell Lee and Annette Boswell of Leon, Iowa — will return again this year to delight their young guests. Be prepared for an entertaining time making Christmas memories and photographs that will last.

The easiest access is from the east parking lot (between the Motherhouse and the Community Garden). The event is free and open to the public. The Nazareth Motherhouse is located at 1300 Washington, Concordia, Kan.

Come join us and celebrate the season!

Obituary for Karma Imogen Smith-Grindell, CSJ Associate

November 25, 2019 by  

Karma Imogen Smith-Grindell passed peacefully in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2019, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Karma was born Nov. 28, 1940, in Columbus, Ohio, at 1:14 p.m. When first measured days after birth, she weighed 3 lbs. 10.5 oz. Her estimated birth weight was 3 lbs. 13 oz. She was born about 6 weeks early, and her twin brother who preceded her in birth died shortly after her arrival. She was not expected to survive, but defied the odds and returned to the home of her mother and father, Margaret Hayes Smith and Laban Conrad Smith, on Dec. 31, 1940. Her name was a testament to her birth story: Karma (Sanskrit — “Destiny”) Imogen (Greek — “Beloved child”) and (Gaelic — “Maiden”).

Karma’s younger brother, Hartman, was born in 1944. Karma’s father was a Navy officer, and the family relocated numerous times during her childhood for his postings. Her homes included Auburn, Ala., Galveston, Texas and the Canal Zone, Panama. She remembered with particular fondness the years in Panama. The family eventually settled in Terre Haute, Ind., where her father was a professor of English at Indiana State University. They enjoyed summers at family farms in Wisconsin, and had a litany of pets, including several dogs, ducks and chickens.

After graduating from Wiley High School in 1957, Karma spent a summer in France as a camp counselor. She then attended the University of Michigan where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She entered Harvard graduate school in 1962, where she was re-acquainted with her high school debate partner, Michael LR Donnelly, who would become her first husband.

They were married in 1964, and had two children: Anna Callysta was born in Boston in 1966, and Maxwell Conor was born in Madison, Wis., in 1969. The family would move to Manhattan, Kan., in 1972. Karma worked at Kansas State University as director of the English as a Second Language program, and was a doting and attentive mother. After the dissolution of her first marriage in 1981, Karma stayed in Manhattan for several years, then lived in Concordia, Kan., where she became an ecumenical member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Although not Catholic herself, Karma remained a committed and active participant in the CSJ Associates for decades thereafter. She also lived briefly in Pendle Hill, Penn., at a Quaker community.

After leaving academia in 1983, Karma became a Licensed Practical Nurse, providing hospice and home care to elderly residents in the farm country surrounding Manhattan, Kan. She later added skills in massage and energy work (shiatzu and jin shin jyutsu) which she applied generously to any who suffered the slings and arrows of physical or emotional injury. Fascinated by human psychology and the puzzles of our inner beings, Karma was for many years a learned practitioner of the Enneagram personality system, and an active participant in the vibrant international community of Enneagram students.

Karma married the love of her life, Rob Grindell, on July 8, 1989. For more than a decade, Rob and Karma traveled the world and reveled in the joys of each others’ company. Destinations included many of our United States by small plane (Rob piloting, Karma navigating), Greece, Mexico, Canada, Belize, Hawaii and Europe. Karma also made a memorable solo trip to Leh, Ladakh, as a participant in an international Buddhist women’s conference. Karma spent much of her adult life pursuing spiritual growth, and considered herself a Quaker catholic Zen Buddhist (lowercase “c” intentional).

After a long battle with cancer, Rob passed away on Dec. 19, 2000. Karma remained in Manhattan until 2006, where she was a beloved member of multiple spiritual communities. In 2006, she packed house and home and moved to Colorado Springs, where her brother Hartman and his wife Nancy lived. She continued to travel extensively, including many trips to California to visit her daughter Anna and grandchildren Maya and Dante. Her son Max’s family — wife Kelly and daughters Claire and Caroline — were blessed to have her nearby, and she was a frequent short-term guest in their household in Littleton, Colo., where the resident dogs would celebrate her arrival with wags and kisses.

Throughout her life, Karma was beloved by her community and friends as an individual who personified kindness. Alzheimer’s never robbed her of her inherently sweet and loving disposition, and to the end her caregivers adored her.

She is survived by her brothers Hartman and Nancy Smith of Jacksonville, Fla., and brother Forrest and Shiela Smith of Terre Haute, Ind.; her children Maxwell and Kelden Donnelly of Littleton, Colo., Anna and Burman Deshautelle of Agoura Hills, Calif., and Michael Grindell and Jennifer Grindell of Atlanta, Ga.; and grandchildren Claire, Caroline, Dante, Maya, Maclean, Samantha and Grace (all over the place).

A service in Karma’s memory will be held in the spring in Manhattan, Kan.

In lieu of flowers, please direct donations in Karma’s memory to Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, P.O Box 279, Concordia, KS 66901.

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


Manna House of Prayer releases new cookbook

November 23, 2019 by  

Hot off the presses! The Manna House Cookbook!

Sisters Betty Suther (left) and Denise Schmitz with a copy of their new cookbook.

“These are recipes that we have all used at Manna House over the years,” Sister Betty Suther said. “People have been asking us for our recipes forever.”

If you’ve enjoyed some of the delicious food while staying for a retreat at Manna House, now you can find out the secrets to the recipes!

The book is the hard work of Sisters Betty Suther and Denise Schmitz. The books are available at Manna House of Prayer and at the Nazareth Motherhouse Gift Shop. Cost is $15.

To request an online order, email or call 785-243-4428.

Annual N2N Holiday Bazaar set for Nov. 23  

November 19, 2019 by  

The artisans at Neighbor to Neighbor create with all kinds of materials — acrylics and oils, embroidery floss and ribbon, and (of course) sugar, flour, eggs, butter and chocolate.

And all that “art” will be for sale at the eighth annual Holiday Bazaar & Bake Sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the downtown center, 103 E. Sixth St., Concordia.

Items featured in this boutique-style event include one-of-a-kind scarves, hats, blankets, tea towels, wreaths, paintings, floral arrangements, shopping bags and scrubbies.

The always-popular bake sale will feature cookies, candies, breads and other goodies. The event is the weekend before Thanksgiving, making it a great time to stock up on all of these sweet treats to satisfy holiday guests.

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

Neighbor to Neighbor director Sister Missy Ljungdahl said there also will be a silent auction and a drawing for prizes which will include a toy trunk filled with zoo animals, a quilted wall hanging, a coffee basket, a chocolate trunk, a $50 Rod’s Grocery gift card, a $30 Hobby Lobby gift card and a $25 Walmart gift card.

Tickets for the drawings are available at Neighbor to Neighbor; the Nazareth Motherhouse, 1300 Washington St.; and Manna House of Prayer, 323 E. Fifth St., Concordia.

Tickets for the raffle cost $1, or six tickets for $5. You do not need to be present to win, but if you do win, you will need to make arrangements to pick up your prize.

Sister Missy reminds everyone that Neighbor to Neighbor will be closed Friday, Nov. 22, so that the staff and volunteers can prepare for Saturday’s event.

All proceeds from the annual event support the programs, artists and craftswomen at Neighbor to Neighbor, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

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