Racial justice was focus of 2019 Theological Institute

July 23, 2019 by  

Racial justice, both in the Catholic Church as well as in the United States in general, was the topic at the July 18-21 Theological Institute at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia. The title of this year’s Institute was “The Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America.”

Dr. Shannen Dee Williams was the instructor and facilitator for the four-day event. She is a U.S. historian with research specializations in 19th and 20th century African-American history and religious history. She has done award-winning research and currently is an assistant professor of history at Villanova University.

“This July’s Institute with Shannen Dee Williams, PhD, was an eye-opener, to say the least. Possibly, it opened our consciences even more,” Sister Marcia Allen, a member of the Institute committee, said. “Dr. Williams, a brilliant historian of African American history, presented a stunning and profound picture of our United States history from the beginning of our nation to the present. Her lectures were made even more accessible through her use of names and faces.”

The keynote address was, “America’s Real Sister Act: Confronting the Uneasy History of Racial Segregation and Exclusion in Female Religious Life.”

“This project began 12 years ago when I was in graduate school,” Dr. Williams said.

“When I started researching and looking (for black sisters in history), I learned that two of the nation’s historical black sisterhoods had been founded in Savannah, Ga., in my mother’s home town. And yet she didn’t even know that there were black nuns,” Williams said. “Indeed, the schools she attended had been founded by these black nuns, and yet by the time she was in those schools in the 1950s, their history had been erased to her.”

“And I had to ask myself a very difficult question. Why? And also, how? How does that happen?” Williams said. “Historians on the African-American experience have always argued that the greatest weapon of white supremacy has not been its violence, but rather its ability to erase the history of its violence.”

“What didn’t I know about the history of these black nuns? What was so potentially dangerous about their historical memory that it had been erased from us? And I started on my path,” Williams said.

Dr. Williams is currently revising the manuscript for her first book, “Subversive Habits: The Untold Stories of Black Catholic Sisters in the United States,” to be published by Duke University Press.

Her research has been supported by a host of awards and fellowships, including a Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship for Religion and Ethics from the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, and the John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award from the American Catholic Historical Association.

“Her thesis was that because of the erasure of African-American names and faces our U. S. history itself has been erased and thus missing a key ingredient of what makes our nation what it is today,” Sister Marcia said. “She gave participants in this year’s Institute a new understanding of our U.S. history and thus our place in it — today. ‘We,’ she said, ‘are today’s history!’”

In addition to the keynote address, additional topics and group sessions included, “Reckoning with Christian Slavery,” “Confronting the Silenced Past,” “Slavery by Another Name,” Reckoning with American Segregation and its Legacies,” “Confronting the Contested Past,” and finally on Sunday morning discussing “What Must Racial Justice Entail.”

“Having attended the Theology Institute on racism, I am more convinced of how little we as Catholics have been exposed to Catholic Social Teaching,” Sister Jodi Creten, an Institute attendee, said. “What one doesn’t know, one cannot hope to understand.”

“This institute also opened my eyes to a history that has not been taught in our schools in the past,” Sister Jodi said. “For us to heal as a society, we need to know the sufferings of so many by unjust institutional laws that have kept people ‘in their place.’”

Members of the Theological Institute committee are Sisters Cathie Michaud, Janet Lander, Betty Suther and Marcia Allen, and Susan LeDuc, administrative coordinator for Manna House of Prayer.

Plans are already underway for the 2020 Theological Institute.

“It will feature Anthony Gittins, Holy Spirit missionary, who has through decades of experiencing other cultures come to understand the concept of interculturation, the subject of the 2020 Institute,” Sister Marcia said. “It is an important follow-up of this year’s racism and assumed white supremacy. Mark your calendars for the 2020 Institute on July 23–26. Be prepared to come away with 2020 vision!”

The Sisters of St. Joseph established the annual Theological Institute a way to continue their long-standing educational tradition, exemplified by the schools they founded and staffed, including Marymount College in Salina. The program is held each summer in Concordia. Over the years the Institute has featured a wide range of well-known theologians, historians and social justice advocates.

Manna House of Prayer releases new cookbook

July 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 retreatcenter@mannahouse.org or call 785-243-4428.

Cool off inside with the July Messenger!

July 16, 2019 by  

The July edition of The Messenger is always an exciting one, and this year is no different. We are celebrating 1,205 years of love and service at Jubilee, enjoying all the fun and love at Discover Camp and celebrating the 10th anniversary of Neighbor to Neighbor in Concordia. Be sure to check our calendar page for upcoming retreats, seminars and fun events.

The print edition is in the mail today, and it’s available here right now as a flipbook. To open the flipbook edition, just use the black tool bar under the image below to flip through the pages:

Also, that little magnifying glass icon in the black tool bar below the Messenger will let you increase the size if you would like!

Applications now being accepted for 2019 Border Immersion

July 1, 2019 by  

September 9-16, 2019

Join us for a one-week experience that delves into the life and culture on the U.S./Mexico border.

We will see first-hand the struggles of immigrants as we visit shelters, agencies, parish ministries that serve them in El Paso, Texas,  and Juarez, Mexico. Passport required. We will attend Mass in one of the detention centers, which will require filling out individual forms.

This experience is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. In our commitment to Gospel living and nonviolence, we stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.

The week-long experience is provided by the Encuentro Project under the direction of Father Rafael Garcia, S.J. We will stay at 1837 Grandview, El Paso, a communal residence and base of the program, home to two Marist Brothers whose community is based at this project. This communal experience requires that participants are in general good health, able to climb stairs, and willing to share a room. We will participate in personal and group reflections and regular community evening prayer.

Participant’s cost: $400/person. Also, participants will be responsible for purchasing their own food as we travel to and from El Paso and will need to purchase their noon meal daily while there. Ground transportation will be provided by Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. It is imperative that applications be received by July 1, 2019.

For more information and/or an application form contact: Sister Anna Marie Broxterman, annacsj@csjkansas.org; 785-554-3829.

To download an application, click the link below.

2019 BorderImmersion

Discover Camp helps young Catholic girls discover their gifts

June 17, 2019 by  

Thirty-six junior high girls from around the area filled the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia with laughter, song and prayer during this June’s annual Discover Camp hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

“Each year we have a theme,” said Sister Anna Marie Broxterman, camp coordinator. “This year’s theme was, ‘Let Your Light Shine.’ ”

Under the guidance of camp coordinators Sisters Beverly Carlin and Anna Marie Broxterman, and camp directors Kate Brull and Anna Ivey, 36 girls came from across the area to spend June 13-15 with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Campers, many making return visits, came from Salina, Axtell, Manhattan, Bennington, Minneapolis, Beloit, Hanover, Hollenberg, Hays, Clay Center, Belleville, Clyde, Delphos and Osborne, Kan., as well as Mobile, Ala. Twelve high school- and college-age counselors, sisters, staff members and countless other volunteers rounded out the group. Volunteer Donna Reynolds returned as director of music.

Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia president Jean Rosemarynoski, CSJ, welcomed the campers on Thursday afternoon.

“For several weeks now all of our sisters have been so excited about you coming,” Sister Jean said. She told the campers about some of the history of the both the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Motherhouse prior to their tour later that evening.

“We have over 1,000 people each year that come through here on tours,” Sister Jean said of the historic building. “We like to share our space with others.”

The campers, divided into groups of six, spread their sleeping bags throughout the open space on the fifth floor of the historic Motherhouse, but shared meals and other activities — including a Nazareth scavenger hunt and afternoon bingo at both the Motherhouse and Mount Joseph Senior Village — with the sisters and residents who live there. The girls learned about teamwork by navigating a low ropes course with their group as well as creating and performing a group cheer.

In additional to using prayer, input sessions around the theme, poetry writing and journaling as tools to self-discovery, the campers enjoyed active games, crafts and swimming.

One shared activity Friday evening was a picnic on the Motherhouse grounds, with many of the sisters joining them to enjoy the beautiful weather, followed by a water balloon fight and movie.

The days of fun came to an end Saturday evening when campers’ families were invited to a special Mass in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Motherhouse, followed by an ice cream social hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

That morning, the campers had worked on a living rosary, and practiced their music and liturgy Saturday morning in preparation for Mass. They also attended presentation by co-director Brull entitled “Embracing our Uniqueness.”

Brull talked about the challenges of remaining true to yourself, your faith and friends as you transition into junior high and high school.

“I challenge each of you to go to God in prayer and ask for God’s help to be authentic,” Brull said. “God is our oxygen. God fuels our fire. We need God’s presence in our life.”

The Discover Camp for girls entering the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grades has become an annual event.

“We started in year 2000,” said Sister Bev Carlin told the campers. “Sisters Anna Marie and Pauline (Kukula) are the two that founded our camp.”

“People ask me ‘Why do you call it Discover Camp?’ ” Sister Anna Marie said. “It’s because it is about discovering yourself.”

Girls wanting to attend the 2020 Discover Camp are encouraged to apply early in the spring.

“In recent years we have a waiting list of girls who wish to come, but space cannot accommodate,” Sister Anna Marie Broxterman said. “When campers become old enough to become counselors, they eagerly make application.”

“For the first few years, the campers, counselors, and staff all had rooms at Manna House and we transported all to the Motherhouse for the daily activities,” Sister Anna Marie said. “But eventually fifth floor at the Motherhouse was re-wired and re-painted for youth events. Our maximum capacity is 36 campers, 12 counselors and two camp directors.”

“Sisters serve as camp coordinators and staff, although we do also have lay staff if and where needed, to assist in keeping all activities moving in some rhythmic order,” Sister Anna Marie said.

This year’s staff included sister staff members Pauline Kukula and Kathy Schaefer. Layperson volunteers included Donna Reynolds, Catherine Seitz and Maggie Zody. Counselors were Pam Zarybnicky, Regan Madrigal, Marissa Roberts, Isabella Matteucci, Paula Rolph, Kaetlyn Newell, Trinity Price, Caitlyn Burr, Vivian Leiker, Sara Del Real, Megan Anguiano and Maddie Blochlinger.

To learn more about Discover Camp, or how to apply to attend or become a counselor, visit www.csjkansas.org/for-kids/.

Jubilarians celebrate 1,250 years of love and service to God and the dear neighbor

June 10, 2019 by  

About 300 sisters, family and friends of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia gathered at the Nazareth Motherhouse on Sunday morning, June 9, to celebrate the Jubilee anniversaries of 20 sisters — together representing 1,250 years of love and service to God and the dear neighbor.

The annual celebration recognizes sisters who are marking milestone 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 were able to be present.

The theme of the celebration was “Weavers of the Spirit of Love.”

The celebration began with Mass in the Sacred Heart Chapel inside the Motherhouse at 10:30 a.m. Fathers Jim Dallen and Kerry Ninemire were the celebrants.

Sister Marilyn Wall welcomed the Jubilarians and crowd.

“Welcome to this day of gratitude and celebration,” Sister Marilyn said. “Many of you who are our guests today were also guests when these Jubilarians entered the novitiate.”

Sister Mary Jo Thummel led the Jubilarians in a renewal of their vows.

“O my God, I renew my vow of fidelity. My vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, hoping with Your divine grace to observe them faithfully all my life.”

They each were presented with gifts from the Community.

“You have truly been weavers of the Spirit of God,” Sister Marilyn said. “And the tapestry you have woven is magnificent.”

Following Mass, the sisters and their guests enjoyed a festive lunch provided by Larry Metro, food service manager, and his staff.

After lunch, a presentation to honor the Jubilarians began at 1:30 p.m. in the Nazareth Motherhouse auditorium. The room was packed with overflow seating, even up on the stage, to accommodate the large crowd of sisters and well-wishers.

Sister Denise Schmitz was the emcee for the occasion, with music provided by Sisters Regina Ann Brummel and Dian Hall. Sister Jodi Creten wrote a poem to celebrate the Jubilarians.

Learn the art of bobbin lacemaking at a retreat at Manna House of Prayer

June 6, 2019 by  

Hand-made bobbin lace will be the focus of a hands-on retreat set for June 23-30 at Manna House of Prayer in Concordia.Presenters Ronna Robertson, and Sisters Janet Lander, CSJ, and Mary Jo Thummel, CSJ, will teach beginners to advanced lacemakers in the art of doing fine hand-made bobbin lace.This year’s theme is “The Poetry of Lacemaking — The Creative Spirit In Our Lives.”

Each day will include instruction in bobbin lace making, both for those new to the craft and for those with some experience with it. Retreatants can also expect a comfortable private bedroom, home-cooked meals fresh from the garden, daily communal prayer and communal conversation, as well as daily spiritual input and a reflection guide for personal prayer.The original Sisters of St. Joseph came together in Le Puy, France, in about 1650, and members of that early congregation made bobbin lace as a way to support themselves and their works.

Today, the Concordia sisters have revived that centuries-old artistry in delicate bookmarks, angels and other decorations. Sisters Ramona Medina and Janet Lander started the event in 2008, Sister Janet said.

Last year, Marla Elmquist, of Lindsborg, attended for the first time.
  “When I saw the sisters doing bobbin lace at the Flower Nook in Salina, I learned about the retreat,” Elmquist said. “I immediately knew I had to come.

“This week has just opened a whole new door for me. It’s been incredible and the religious part fit me perfectly,” Elmquist said. “I’m hoping to go back and talk to people in Lindsborg and get people excited to come.”

“They kept our hands busy, our tummies full and our minds expanding,”
she said.
The weeklong retreat is held at Manna House each year and is open to anyone who wants to learn bobbin lacemaking.

Manna House of Prayer is a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.
For more information, email retreatcenter@mannahouse.org. The event will take place from Sunday, 5:30 p.m. supper on June 23 to Sunday, June 30, noon meal. Cost: $550 (plus materials). For more information or to register, contact MannaHouse.org, email retreatcenter@mannahouse.org or call 785-243-4428.

Neighbor to Neighbor 10th anniversary celebration attracts friends old and new

May 22, 2019 by  

Neighbor to Neighbor of Concordia, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph, opened their doors on May 10 and invited friends, volunteers and the entire community to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

“The years have gone by so fast, it just seems like yesterday that we started making plans for N2N and here we are 10 years later. It was such a gift getting to see and visit with dear friends who have been with us since the beginning, and getting to meet new friends who had never been into Neighbor to Neighbor,” said Sister Ramona Medina, one of the founding Sisters of N2N.

“It was delightful seeing how our guests were enjoying visiting with one another and surprised to see samples of some of the projects that our guests are engaged in,” Sister Ramona said.

More than 100 people visited N2N, located at 103 E. 6th Street, in Concordia, and enjoyed tours, greeting friends and viewing many of the projects that were in progress.

And of course, there were delicious treats, including cookies made by N2N volunteers. Door prizes included homemade wheat bread, gift certificates to the Motherhouse Gift Shop and children’s books.

New director of Neighbor to Neighbor, Sister Missy Ljungdahl, said, “I think one take away for me was the people who came in from town who said they had never been into the place and were really glad to know about it.

There was a great sense of community during the event.

“People were wanting to meet their friends there and they met lots of them and stayed for awhile,” Sister Missy said. “I am so grateful for all the sisters that came to help and enjoyed visiting with so many others.”

Greeting the guests were the original co-founders, Sisters Ramona Medina, Pat McLennon and Jean Befort, along with administrative assistant Myrna Shelton and director Sister Missy.

“N2N couldn’t have been a success without our dedicated staff, Myrna, volunteers and the support of you, our generous donors. It has been such a joy and life-giving
ministry getting to meet so many fantastic women, mothers and children. We have learned so much from one another and I am grateful,” said Sister Ramona. “We have spread our wings and have reached out to our dear neighbors in developing countries through our prayers, making over 2,000 dresses, shorts and shoes to make their lives more comfortable.”

More than 10 years ago, Neighbor to Neighbor founders Sisters Pat McLennon, Jean Befort and Ramona Medina came up with the idea of a support center for women and women with young children. These founders came up with a plan, approached the Sisters of St. Joseph council, and with the gracious help of the council, the maintenance staff of the Sisters of St. Joseph, volunteers and the community, made the Neighbor to Neighbor of today a reality. Neighbor to Neighbor works closely to coordinate with other community resources so that services are needlessly duplicated.

“We met with a lot of social agencies before we started to see if there was a need,” Sister Pat said. “We didn’t want to duplicate things that were already being done.”

“It doesn’t even seem possible that it’s been 10 years,” said Sister Jean. “It has far exceeded my expectations.”

The center offers classes in baking, cooking, painting, exercise, sewing and crafting, as well as supervised play times for young children. Many of the women just stop by to enjoy the camaraderie, a cup of coffee, a game of cards and catching up with friends. There are even laundry facilities available. All of the classes are free.

For more information about Neighbor to Neighbor, email neighbortoneighbor@csjkansas.org or call 785-262-4215.

 

Sisters honored at annual Religious Sisters Mass in Salina

May 16, 2019 by  

 
  
  By Karen Bonar, The Register
Salina — About three dozen religious sisters gathered May 14 at Sacred Heart Cathedral for the annual Religious Sisters Mass.
 
“Do you remember your calling?” Bishop Jerry Vincke asked the sisters during his homily. “How old were you when you heard that voice from your beloved in the depths of your heart and you responded, ‘Jesus, do you really want me to be a religious sister?’ And you heard the voice in your heart ‘Yes, I have called you.’ “
Sister Jean Befort was 18 years old when she entered the community 60 years ago.
 
“I never realized it would go so fast,” she said of her six decades as a religious sister. “Sixty years seems like an old number.”
 
She currently lives in Concordia and is semi-retired; she works part time with the order’s Neighbor to Neighbor program.
 
Likewise, Sister Doris Flax answered the call at a young age. She entered the community at 16 years of age, and was formally received into the community at age 17.
 
She has been the pastoral associate at St. Mary Parish in Ellis for 25 years.
 
“I enjoy doing communion service at the nursing home and visiting the homebound,” Sister Doris said of her parish work.
 
The annual Mass and luncheon is always a highlight of the year for her.
 
“I get to see the sisters I haven’t seen all year,” Sister Doris said. “It’s also nice to see the clergy. Otherwise, I wouldn’t see them.”

Bishop Vincke reflected on the religious sisters who influenced his life: his four aunts who were religious sisters.

“They played a huge part in my own vocation,” he said. “One of them, Sister Josephine, wrote the story of her life. What I remember most is that even though she was always happy and joyful when I saw her, life wasn’t always easy as a religious. She talked about the long hours of work, the times when she felt like the sisters did all the work, but the priests got all the credit. And through it all, she said she would do it all over again.”

The celebration was held on the feast of St. Matthias, who was added to the 12 Apostles after the death of Judas. The bishop reflected on the life of the saint, and compared it to the life of the sisters.
 
“You impacted life in Kansas and beyond because you were a witness to the resurrection,” Bishop Vincke said. “When you taught in our schools, you were a witness to the resurrection. When you served in our children’s homes, you were a witness to the resurrection. When you served in our hospitals, you were a witness to the resurrection. Thank you for continuing to be witnesses to the resurrection — even now.”

Bishop Vincke blesses sign memorializing St. Joseph Orphanage

May 15, 2019 by  

The St. Andrew Parish Hall in Abilene was the site of an amazing family reunion as former orphans, “townies,” and sisters, as well as families and loved ones, reunited in Abilene to share fond memories of their times at the St. Joseph Home and Orphanage.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia ran the facility for 43 years, from when they opened it in 1915 until it closed in 1958. The building, on the north edge of Abilene, just off Buckeye Avenue, was demolished in 1959.

The reunion took place Saturday, April 27. After taking time to review the many historical documents and items on display — including an old milk cap from the St. Joseph Orphanage Dairy — and greet friends, old and new, a DVD showing many old photos from the orphanage was shown.

Gasps of recognition and laughter filled the room as former orphans and townies alike recognized photos of themselves, or old friends and instructors.

Following the presentation, it was time for sharing. Many residents and family members shared what the orphanage meant to them growing up. There were a variety of fun stories about the competitiveness of working in the dairy barn, as well as various pranks and fun the kids would have when the sisters weren’t looking. There also were serious stories about what the time there meant to them, how they felt about the sisters, and the things they learned — not always from the classroom.

In attendance were five of Harold Scanlan’s six children. They worked with their dad at St Joseph Dairy and knew many of those in attendance. Milking the cows three times a day, washing the bottles and checking the caps were some of the many duties they had working side-by-side with the residents at the home.

Hank Royer, a “townie”— which was a kid who attended classes at the orphanage school but didn’t live there — brought along about 15 copies of 80 pages of historical orphanage documents to share. He said he attended there from 1954-58.

“It was not a free ride,” he said. “They worked.”

“It was a great learning experience for me,” he said. “It still sticks to me to this day. We can make a difference in people’s lives. It is something we need to do.”

John Smith, another townie, remembered riding his Shetland pony to attend class. “Mr. Scanlan would let us bed them down in the barn. And later I moved up to a horse,” he said. “I thank the nuns for the education I received.”

Wilfred Vargas, a former orphan resident, attended the reunion for the first time. He was the oldest living resident to attend. His nephew brought him up from Tulsa, Okla.

“That orphanage never left me,” Vargas said. “I miss those old days … all the kids. The fun we had, the skinny dipping … it was a beautiful life. A hard life, but it was a part of growing up.”

“When they would give us clothes, we thought of it as a gift,” Vargas said. “We appreciated every thing we got.”

He finished talking to the group about his memories with tears in his eyes as he said, “I love you all.”

Vargas spent quite a bit of time catching up with three-time attendee and former orphan Alvin Veesart and his wife. Both men were there in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Nona (Smith) Mendoza lived at the Home with her sisters, Leah and Laura. She was quiet in sharing but excited to see her first communion picture that day and pictures of her older sisters. The Smiths were there in the late 1940s early 50s.

Her husband, Gil, mentioned that one thing she really remembers and cherishes is the grotto.  “She loved that grotto,” he said.

Steven Hanson has attended each of the three reunions and is one of the younger residents along with Mike Weaver and Linda Vogan who attended for the first time. These three lived there and attended school in the 1950s.

Also in attendance was author Terry Needham, who wrote “When I Was a Child,” a book about his mother and uncles — Geraldine Pfeifer and her brothers Louis and Marcel — who lived at the orphanage.

“I spent 10 years researching it,” Needham said. He has since adapted it as a screenplay.

Another person remembered by many was Louis Truly. Louis grew up at the orphanage and lived there for many years.

Following the sharing of memories, volunteers served a lunch of Brookville Hotel chicken.

Then it was time for the final event of the day, presided over by Bishop Gerald Vincke: The blessing and dedication of the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home memorial sign at Mt. St. Joseph Cemetery.

The location of the sign on the cemetery property was to make sure that it was in a place that would always be under the ownership of the parish, Sister Carolyn Juenemann explained. The site directly overlooks the old orphanage property.

“We could never have done this without the help of Brian and Tom Whitehair,” said Sister Carolyn. “They are on the cemetery committee of St. Andrew’s Parish, which graciously permitted us to install the sign on their land.”

Despite the gusty wind, the majority of the group drove in a caravan to the cemetery to watch the blessing and unveiling of the sign.

“My brothers and sisters, as we begin to celebrate this rite in praise of God on the occasion of the unveiling of this beautiful image of the St. Joseph Orphanage and Academy, we must be properly disposed and have a clear appreciation of the meaning of this celebration,” said Bishop Vincke to the crowd gathered around the still-veiled sign despite the gusty winds. “When the Church blesses an object and presents it as a memorial to a significant ministry in the life of the Church, it does so for several reasons; That when we look at this memorial of St. Joseph Orphanage and Academy we will be motivated to seek the eternal life that is to come; that we will learn the way that will enable us to more faithfully follow Christ and to work toward achieving the goals of His Kingdom by serving His people.”

“This memorial sign can also serve as a reminder to use of the many persons who served in the ministry of education and loving care that took place here as well the many children and elderly who were the beneficiaries,” Bishop Vincke said. “May it also be a reminder of the many benefactors who made this all possible, especially the Diocese of Salina and the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Jean Scanlan, the artist who drew the design for the sign, unveiled it to the crowd. The sign was manufactured by Rawhide Iron Works of Norton, Kan.

This is the third reunion of the St. Joseph Orphanage, the previous ones being in 2010 and 2016.

“The first year we had 19 orphans that came, and maybe 7 townies,” said Sister Jan McCormick. “And since then we’ve lost 8 of those from the very first reunion.”

Sisters Jan, Carolyn, and Mary Lou Roberts all work on the committee to keep the reunion and memories of the orphanage alive.

For more information about the St. Joseph Orphanage, visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/stjosephorphanage.abilene.

 

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