Creating a greener lifestyle

June 18, 2018 by  

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

Completely unplug from technology at least one day a month.


CSJ Associates gather for commitment ceremony and social

June 11, 2018 by  

The Topeka-Manhattan area group of CSJ Associates gathered the evening of June 9 with other associates, sisters and candidates for a ceremony and social.

Connie Palacio made her first commitment as an Associate, and Mary Jo Hobbs was welcomed as a candidate for association in a simple prayer ritual in the chapel.

Sisters Anna Marie Broxterman and Rosemary Foreman shared the roles of group Animator and sponsor for these two women. Catherine Seitz led the ceremony as co-director of the congregation’s associate program. There were about 40 who participated in the prayer and social.

Photos courtesy Sister Kathy Schaefer

Eulogy for Sister Margaret Rourke — Dec. 23, 1947 – June 1, 2018

June 11, 2018 by  

VIGIL: June 11, 2018, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Marilyn Wall

“As for your zeal, it will always be proportionate to the love for God in your heart; see that it springs from a great love and it will be great.” 

— Maxims of Perfection, Chapter XI, No.1

Sister Margaret Rourke was born on a very cold night, Dec. 23, 1927, at her family’s farm home, 11 miles northwest of McCracken, in the southeast corner of Trego County.  She was baptized, Margaret Louise, at St. Mary’s Church in McCracken on Jan. 14, 1928. She was the fifth of seven living children.

Of her childhood, she said, “I grew up close to the soil and close to nature. As a child I spent time contemplating the vastness of the sky and its distance from the earth. I loved to explore the green pastures, play in the waterholes after a rain, climb hills with my brothers and sisters and play imaginary games under the trees or on the hillside.”

Margaret talked about one of her earliest awakenings about God. It was on a bright Sunday morning when she was about five years old. The family was riding to church with the five oldest children seated in the back and she was sitting on a cream can, as was customary.  She asked, “When will we be finished going to Church?”

Her mother and the others tried to explain that they would never get finished. “We will go every Sunday every year all the time.” She said that was unfathomable to her, but it caused her to ponder who this God might be and what was he like.

One of the things she said she really lacked was social interactions with children outside her family and relatives. She went to a one-room school with about 10 students. She had one classmate through third grade, and that classmate was her cousin, Marjorie Rourke. After third grade, Marjorie’s family moved and Margaret was the only one in her class. However, she said her high school years were a good contrast.

When Margaret was ready for high school, her two older sisters, Lucille and Eileen, who had stayed home a year to help during their mother’s illness, were ready for their junior and sophmore years. The three of them stayed at an apartment that her family rented in Ellis and went to school there.

After high school, Margaret went to Marymount in Salina. She said that she felt early in her time there that she might be called to religious life … but she waited until the end of the year to talk about it just in case a young man might sweep her off of her feet. In the end, God’s call was clear. Margaret entered this community of St. Joseph on March 19, 1947 … 71 years ago. On March 19, 1948, she received the habit and the name Sister Mary Thomasine. Living band members are Sisters Christella Buser, Vivian Boucher and Mary Savoie.

Her first mission was Tipton where she taught grades 1, 2 and 3 (about 45 children). Sister Christella, who was in her band, was also in Tipton for the same five years. Her second mission was Leoville, where she taught the same grades but had only about 26 children. Also on that same mission in Leoville was Sister Ann Louis, her principal. The two of them became lifelong friends and supported each other in all areas and especially in their spiritual journeys. After two years in Cawker City, she was assigned to Sacred Heart High School to teach math which was a real stretch for her. But the biggest stretch was going to St. John’s High School in Beloit to teach biology, chemistry and physics. She had taken one course in chemistry seven years earlier and five hours in biology in summer school. With Sister Marie Kelly’s help she survived.

In her life review Sister Margaret relates, “The years after the Vatican II Council were both rocky and exciting. I considered my nine years in Clyde to be more growth-producing that any other nine years in my life.” At Clyde, Margaret worked with Sister Judy Stephens and an innovative team that offered catechetical education and pastoral support to several parishes in the region. In Margaret’s words, “The changes, the new ministry, my readiness to risk growing, my experience with the CPE course under Father Frost at Independence, Iowa, the many workshops, conventions, courses, congregational thrust toward renewal, friendships, outings and travels were all contributing factors.”  

Eventually, Margaret took a position in adult education and parish ministry at Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Overland Park, Kan. This position lasted for 12 years, and as in all of her ministries, she continued to grow in zeal and in her life with God.

Throughout her life Margaret was courageous in the cause of justice and relentless in the alleviation of poverty. In her “retirement” from active ministry she was mission coordinator for Appeals for our Brazilian Sisters. This she did with the same enthusiasm and diligence as she did everything else. For ten-plus years she organized parish presentations and did many of them herself. When her presentations took her to western Kansas or to Colorado she loved to spend an overnight with her family.

On the occasion of her 50th Jubilee she reflected, “For me this is a moment of facing the NOW at a deeper level of realization of how each of us has become who we are today because of our gifts … gifts that surfaced from our deepest center or gifts from one another and from all of creation.”

Margaret also maintained a close relationship with her family over the generations participating in and planning many family reunions and celebrations and being of help and support whenever someone needed her. Margaret was very close to her nieces and nephews. In these past years she has been a pivotal point for her nieces, who have loved to come here to Concordia from their various home bases to dote over and stimulate Margaret … and to find time to nourish their own relationships with one another. The sisters here in Concordia have also benefited from the joy and fun they bring.

Even as a resident at Mount Joseph, Margaret’s eyes have sparkled with zeal and acceptance. She has exemplified for me and many others the portrait of a Sister of St Joseph: “in her face the reflection proper to our Congregation — continual joy of spirit.  This is the quiet inner glow of the Sister whose life in the service of Jesus has been successful.”

Memorials for Sister Margaret Rourke 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 Margaret Rourke’s memory, click on the button below:



Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia celebrate nine jubilarians

June 11, 2018 by  

Pictured: (Standing left to right) Sisters Mary Lou Roberts, Norma Schlick, Catherine Michaud, Charlotte Lutgen, Pauline Kukula, and seated, Ann Glatter. Not pictured, but still celebrated, are Irma Maria Nair de Sousa Lima and Irma Maria das Dores Sales (both currently in Brazil) and Sister Barbara Bader.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia celebrated nine jubilarians on Sunday at the Nazareth Motherhouse and thanked them for 555 years of devoted service to religious life.

The annual celebration recognizes sisters who are marking noteworthy anniversaries of the date they were received as novices into the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Since the special day comes at the end of the congregation’s annual June Assembly, almost all of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia are able to be present.

Six of the congregation’s nine jubilarians were able to attend Sunday’s celebration.

The event began with a festive brunch for the jubilarians and their friends and family at 10:30 a.m. in the Nazareth Motherhouse, followed by the Jubilee Program at 12:30 p.m. in the Motherhouse auditorium. The Jubilee Liturgy followed at 2:15 p.m. in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Motherhouse presided by Father David Metz, of Concordia. He also gave the blessing of the jubilarians.

The 2018 jubilarians honored Sunday were:

• Sister Barbara Bader, originally from Rhineland, Mo., who grew up in Nebraska, received into the Sisters of St. Joseph on March 19, 1943, and celebrating her 75th. She died on April 7, 2018.
• Sister Norma Schlick, from Wood River, Neb., received on Sept. 8, 1947, and celebrating her 70th. She lives at Mt. Joseph Senior Village in Concordia.
• Sister Ann Glatter, from Amherst, Neb., received on Feb. 2, 1949, and celebrating her 70th jubilee. She lives at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia.
• Sister Charlotte Lutgen, from Claflin, Kan., received on Sept. 15, 1957, and celebrating her 60th jubilee. She lives at the Motherhouse.
• Sister Pauline Kukula, from Tipton, Kan., received into the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 15, 1957 and celebrating her 60th jubilee. She lives in Salina, Kan., and teaches at Sacred Heart Jr.-Sr. High School in Salina.
• Sister Mary Lou Roberts, from Belleville, Kan., received into the Sisters of St. Joseph on Aug. 15, 1958, and celebrating her 60th jubilee. Today she lives and serves in Salina.
• Sister Catherine Michaud, from Fort Collins, Colo., celebrating her 50th, jubilee. She was received on Sept. 5, 1967, and today lives and serves in St. Paul, Minn.
• Irma Maria Nair de Sousa Lima of Terasina, Brazil, received on Feb. 20, 1966, and celebrating her 50th jubilee. She continues to live and serve in Teresina, Piauí, Brazil. She was unable to attend.
• Irma Maria das Dores Sales, of Ibiapina-Ceara, Brazil, received on Jan. 25, 1969, and celebrating her 50th jubilee. She continues to live and serve in Teresina, Piauí, Brazil. She was unable to attend.

Sister Marcia Allen, as the reflector for the jubilee program, set the tone.
“Their lives are the models of what we all hope for,” she said.

Sister Dian Hall, who acted as moderator for the program, said, “Our sisters are beautiful example of flowers who have bloomed and spread their love.”
The theme of the 2018 celebration was “The Seed becomes the Rose.”

During the program, various sisters stood to give tribute to the jubilarians.

Sister Vera Meis spoke about Sister Barbara Bader.
“Wherever she saw a need, she would be the first person to volunteer her talent or gifts,” Sister Vera said. “She was a woman who wasn’t afraid to do something new. She helped start the school at Oakley, Kan. She was an innovator. She wasn’t afraid.”

Sister Janis Wagner gave tribute to Sister Ann Glatter.
“She is an icon of generosity,” Sister Janis said. “Only God knows how many people she helped in this community.”
She told the well-known story of how Sister Ann assisted so many people in the area in her little pickup as well as her endless hours in the farm and orchard.

Sister Carolyn Junemann gave tribute to Sister Charlotte Lutgen by saying, “During our time together at St. Joseph Hospital, she was totally dedicated to the needs of the sisters. She was truly the rock for us. She probably doesn’t even realize the impact her life made on my life and so many others.”

Sister Norma Schlick was given tribute by Sister Pat McLennon.
“One of the wonderful gifts you have given to us is your words,” she said, referencing Sister Norma’s work in drafting important documents for both the Federation and the community, as well as her talent for languages. “We are truly grateful for your gift.”

Sister Carm Thibault gave tribute to Sister Pauline Kukula. Her tribute turned into Sister Polly giving a rap demonstration of how to remember the names of the apostles and the 21 epistles. It was obvious why she continues to be a favorite teacher at Sacred Heart.
“Thank you for helping so many students who will never forget what you’ve done for them,” Sister Carm said.

Sister Marilyn Stahl gave tribute to Sister Mary Lou Roberts, by noting her dedication to prison ministry and the former Catholic Children’s Home.
“Her natural strength is ministry,” Sister Marilyn said. “She’s still doing jail/prison ministry today and I think she always will.”

Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller honored Sister Catherine Michaud by saying, “What a blessing you are to our community. Whenever I am around Cathy I want to be more like her.”
“She is making a difference in the diocese in St. Paul, Minn.,” she said. “They are blessed to have her.”

Sister Janet Lander spoke about Irma Maria das Dores Sales, who was one of the first postulants in Brazil in 1967.
“She knew the people, really knew the people with whom she worked and lived,” Sister Janet said. “Dores, we are deeply grateful to you.”

Sister Donna Otter spoke for Irma Nair de Sousa Lima’s tribute. Nair was the youngest of the group of the first eight postulants to enter CSJ in 1967 in Brazil.
“As a sister, Nair was always available for a mission. She was a missionary at heart,” Sister Donna said. “She has a passion for the mission.”

“They are our heroes, our mentors, our models,” Sister Marcia Allen said as the program closed. “We say, ‘Thank you, Sisters.’”
The jubilarians each received a gift from the congregation along with a decorated bag of cards and other small mementoes.


Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia oppose separation of immigrant families

June 6, 2018 by  

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas, are in strong agreement with the following statement issued by LCWR, (Leadership Conference of Women Religious):

“As women of faith, as Catholic sisters, we strongly oppose the Trump administration’s decision to forcibly separate parents from their children in an effort to punish families seeking safety in the United States. Mothers and fathers are taking tremendous risks to bring their children to safety. These are families fleeing violence and death in their home countries. They have every right to ask for protection in the United States and the Trump administration is legally and morally obligated to give them a fair chance to seek asylum,” Teresa Maya, CCVI, (Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word and President of LCWR), stated. “It is impossible to imagine the fear of a child being ripped from the arms of her mother or the pain of a father watching a stranger take his son. It is cruel and inhumane and it must stop. Our faith demands it and our national values require it. We are better than this.”

The Sisters of St. Joseph have a long history of being in solidarity with immigrant families. We are spurred on by Catholic Social teachings, which are based on the Gospel of Christ Jesus. We stand with the Bishops of the Catholic Church to work toward the development of just immigration laws that support the sanctity of human life and the unity of families.

June 5, 2018

Theological Institute to explore challenges of a multi-cultural church

June 6, 2018 by  

The 2018 Theological Institute will explore the reality of a multi-cultural Church, its challenges and energies; the ramifications of a secularized culture and our religious identity within a Church that is urged and directed by Pope Francis’ “Joy of the Gospel,” which outlines the evangelization of Catholic life and the culture within which we live.

Dr. Nancy Pineda-Madrid

The 2018 Theological Institute will feature presenter Dr. Nancy Pineda-Madrid. She is associate professor of theology and Latina ministry at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. She holds a Ph.D. in Systematic and Philosophical Theology from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Calif.
She is the first theologian to publish a book on the evil of feminicide, arguing that this tragedy demands a fresh consideration of what salvation means. Her book, “Suffering and Salvation in Ciudad Juárez,” has become required reading in classrooms across the country.

In addition, she has co-edited two books “Hope: Promise, Possibility and Fulfillment,” and, the just released, “The Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire,” as well as articles addressing questions of soteriology, suffering, religious symbols, popular Catholicism and Latina feminist theology.
She is currently working on a book on Guadalupe as a religious symbol.

She is former president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS), and former vice president of the International Network of Societies of Catholic Theology (INSeCT). She lives in Boston with her spouse Larry Gordon.

This year’s institute examines the ways in which human beings become aware of their need for salvation, with particular attention to the diversity of the church. How does the diversity of the church contribute to our experience of salvation in history? What are the various ways in which the Catholic faith has understood salvation?

The Theological Institute is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. 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.

Registration Information
Dates: The Institute begins 5 p.m. July 12 with the evening meal and concludes with lunch on Sunday, July 15.Costs
Registration: $150
Room and board: $150
One-day attendance only: $65
Preregistration required by July 1.
A limited number of partial scholarships are available for lay participants on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information, contact Manna House of Prayer, 785-243-4428

Mass celebrates all religious Sisters in the Salina Diocese

May 16, 2018 by  

The Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia was host to the annual Mass of Appreciation and Thanksgiving for all religious Sisters serving in the Salina Diocese on Wednesday, May 16. About 50 religious sisters from three congregations attended the Mass.

This was the first time that the annual appreciation Mass has been held in Concordia, said Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. The event started with Mass at 11 a.m. with Father Frank E. Coady, Diocesan Administrator, in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Nazareth Motherhouse followed by a luncheon in the Motherhouse dining room.

“The fact that it was here this year let a lot more of us attend, because otherwise three-quarters of us couldn’t go,” said Sister Cese Green, of Concordia, referring to many of her fellow retired sisters who are restricted health-wise in their mobility.

In addition to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, the Missionaries of the Eucharistic Heart of Christ the King in Salina and the Missionaries of the Holy Savior and St. Brigid in Hays attended the service and luncheon.

In attendance to honor the Sisters were Fathers Frank Coady, Diocesan Administrator, of Manhattan; James Hoover, of Concordia; Kerry Ninemire, of Manhattan; Jerry Morgan, of Salina; Larry Letourneau, of Salina; Don Zimmerman, of Manhattan; Henry Baxa, of Belleville; Steve Heina, of Clyde; David Metz, of Concordia; Keith Weber, of Salina; John Wolesky, of Solomon; and Msgr. James Hake, of Salina.

“We have gathered here today to thank you for what you do and what you continue to do,” Father Coady said during the Mass. “You Sisters have lived in the classroom, witnessed in the hospital, been dedicated to the poor. You have made a profession of this faith.”

Following the Mass, the sisters and priests had time to renew old friendships over lunch.

“Many of the sisters and priests have worked together. It was wonderful for them to have an opportunity to visit with long-time friends,” said Sister Jean Rosemarynoski. “The sisters appreciated sharing our home with the priests, other sisters who minister in the diocese and guests from the chancery.  We were delighted with the day!”

LCWR releases “However Long the Night: Making Meaning in a Time of Crisis”

May 14, 2018 by  

THE AUTHORS FROM LEFT TO RIGHT AROUND THE TABLE: Annamarie Sanders, IHM, Scranton, Janet Mock, CSJ, Baden, Pat Farrell, OSF, Dubuque, Sharon Holland, IHM, Monroe, Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA, LaCrosse, Carol Zinn, SSJ, Chestnut Hill, Florence Deacon, OSF, Milwaukee, Marcia Allen, CSJ, Concordia, Joan Marie Steadman, CSC, South Bend, and Mary Hughes, OP, Amityville.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has released a new book, However Long the Night: Making Meaning in a Time of Crisis, that chronicles what the organization learned as it went through a six-year doctrinal investigation by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
CDF publicly questioned the fundamentals of LCWR and called for a reform of the organization, an action that stirred great concern among members of the Catholic church, and many others throughout the world who saw the Vatican’s action as repressive and unjust.

In the book, the Catholic sisters who were leaders of LCWR during those years share what helped them navigate that crisis in ways that might be useful for anyone attempting to work through confrontation in today’s fractured world.

The authors not only explain how they led a large and complex organization through this difficult period, but with great transparency share how their own spiritual grounding helped them make this journey. Through the sharing of their own stories, these leaders describe methods, processes, and practices that are readily translatable for use by other individuals, communities, and organizations as they weather a crisis.

Readers will see how these women handled the decisions that confront any of us when faced with conflict. How to build relationships that cross divides? How to embody humility, while staying true to one’s mission, and operating with integrity? How to manage anger and respond with strategies that create peace? How to find truth in complex situations? How to handle media attention if the conflict becomes public?
Each chapter of this inspirational book includes questions for the readers’ own reflection. The questions can also serve as guides for book groups and discussion circles.

Chapter five is co-written by our own Sister Marcia Allen and Florence Deacon, OSF. It is titled. ”Relationships Matter: Nonviolence and the Pressure to React.”

“Our job, as leaders of the conference, was to make sure the truth came out, but that nobody lost their dignity or respect,” Sister Marcia Allen said, reflecting on the writing process.

Marcia Allen, CSJ
Florence Deacon, OSF
Pat Farrell, OSF
Sharon Holland, IHM
Mary Hughes, OP
Janet Mock, CSJ
Annmarie Sanders, IHM
Joan Marie Steadman, CSC
Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA
Carol Zinn, SSJ


This dramatic story of power, discernment, hope, pain, and, ultimately, faith, should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the Catholic church in our age.

— James Martin, SJ, author of “Jesus: A Pilgrimage”
and consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication

Available through Amazon
• 184 pages — ISBN:
• Print: $14.99 — Kindle:

Motherhouse Plant Sale and Manna House garage sale set for May 5

April 30, 2018 by  

Ambria Gilliland displays one of the barn quilt pieces that will be up for sale at the annual Spring Plant Sale.

For the third year in a row, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia will be having a Spring Plant Sale — featuring plants, flowers and vegetables grown in the Motherhouse greenhouse by gardener Lyle Pounds — as well as the annual Manna House of Prayer garage sale.

Both events will be on the grounds of the Nazareth Motherhouse, 13th and Washington streets in Concordia, so shoppers can browse all the bargains at one convenient location.

The sales will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at the Motherhouse. And this year has a new twist that will allow gardeners to take a little bit of the Motherhouse home with them.

Visitors will be allowed to dig up perennial plants from four select beds in the Motherhouse’s sunken garden and take them home to be transplanted in their own yard for the price of a donation.

“The four beds are being redesigned by Trish Remley at Grassland Gardens in Miltonvale, so we want to find these plants a good home,” Pounds said.

Shovels will be provided, but guests are encouraged to bring buckets, boxes or bags to transport the plants. The cost of the plants will be by donation.

Plants include bulbs, coneflowers, iris, dwarf daylilies, columbine, Shasta daisies, black-eyed Susans and a lot of mums.

“The plants are just now coming up so it’s an ideal time to be transplanting,” Pounds said.

Along with plants and flowers, there will be hand-painted pots, signs and other garden art created by Development Office staff. Ambria Gilliland, assistant director of the sisters’ Development Office, development assistant Laura Hansen and Pounds have spent time throughout the winter and spring getting plants started and growing. The selection will include geraniums, bulbs, bedding plants, house plants, hanging baskets and vegetables.

“We had so much fun the first year, we decided to make it an annual event,” said Gilliland.

All the proceeds from the Spring Plant Sale benefit the Raise for the Roof project for the Sisters of St. Joseph, while garage sale proceeds support Manna House programs, including the Helping Hands emergency assistance fund. Last year the event brought in more than $2,600 for the Sisters of St. Joseph and their ministries.

CSJ Associates renew commitments, welcome candidates

April 18, 2018 by  

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 or Sister Janet Lander, or call 785/243-2149 or visit www.csj .

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