Leap into spring with a Messenger full of updates on what the sisters are doing!

April 16, 2019 by  

It’s time to catch up with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia with the April edition of the Messenger.

Spring is here and the sisters are hard at work. Ever wonder what a sister does every day?

Be sure to check out the Messenger.
 
The print edition is in the mail, and it’s available here right now as a flipbook. To open the flipbook edition, just click on the image below and use the arrows in the bar to scroll through the pages. Need to make it larger? Click on the magnifying glass icon with the “plus” sign in the middle
 

Sister Norma Schlick: June 8, 1930 — April 8, 2019

April 11, 2019 by  

VIGIL: April 11, 2019, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Marcia Allen

Norma Schlick was the youngest of five girls born to Walter and Cecilia Bohnart Schlick on a “dusty rural Nebraska farm not far from the little town of Wood River.”
She was born on June 8, 1930. Her older sisters, Leona, Alice, Loretta and Marie, have all preceded her in death. Her brother Theodore “Ted” survives with his wife, Mary.

She says of her early life that they were a happy family and that their social life revolved around their one-room public school that was two miles from their farm. They attended the Wood River Catholic Church and were taught the Baltimore Catechism by a stern Irish pastor, the Rev. T. D. Sullivan, every Saturday afternoon. She said that these classes were scary but she enjoyed getting a holy card when she could recite perfectly.

What she called a “traumatic event” was the sale of their rental farm in 1942. It was sold to the government for the installation of a munitions factory. The family moved to Grand Island and the children were enrolled in the St. Mary’s Catholic School. It was here that Norma met the Sisters of St. Joseph. She gives credit to her teachers, Sisters Alberta Marie, Wilhelmina, Cosmas, Sabina Marie and Ursula, for her vocation. She said she not only admired and was inspired by them but she also simply fell in love with them!

Norma entered the community in September 1947 at the age of 17. She received the habit March 19, 1948, and was given the name Sister Mary Walter. She made first profession March 19, 1949, and final profession March, 19, 1952.

She began teaching in Salina, then moved to the very small rural mission in Collyer and from there moved to the community’s largest school, St. Joseph and St. Ann’s in Chicago. Following this she was asked to go to St. Louis University to study and prepare to teach German language and literature at Marymount College. This she did, earning a B.A. in 1959 with magna cum laude and M.A. in 1961, and then went on for a year of study in the German and Russian languages at the University of Munich, Germany, on a Fulbright Scholarship.

In the summer of 1963, she earned a scholarship for studies at the Institute of Contemporary Russian at Fordham University in New York. In the summer of 1965, she studied German literature at Harvard. In her life review she calls these years of study a turning point in her life. Once her studies in German were complete, she taught in the language department at Marymount College.

In 1969, following the Renewal Chapter, Norma was appointed Director of Placement for the Community. She initiated a procedure which enabled the community to make the transition from assignment of sisters to where they would live and what work they would do to assisting them in their choice of work and where they would live.

In 1971, she was elected to the Executive Council and left Salina for Concordia. She served as Regional Coordinator from 1971 to 1975 and then was elected vice president from 1975 to 1979. At the same time, she served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Saint Mary Hospital in Manhattan, Kan., and the Saint Joseph Hospital in El Paso, Texas. As vice present, she was director of personnel and ministry for the entire congregation.

It was during these years, 1975–1979, that she contributed to a project that most of the communities of St. Joseph and our members in particular considered her most generous contribution — not just to our community but to communities of St. Joseph in general.

With four other Sisters of St. Joseph — Marie Anne Mayeski, of Orange, CA; Mary Pat Hastings of Cleveland, OH; Virginia Quinn of Rutland, VT; and, Patricia Byrne of Baden, PA, — she spent hours, days and months over several years researching and composing the document that was eventually called our “Core Constitution.” This group spent their summers working in the shadow of the Sisters of St. Joseph’s US Federation Research Team A as that group researched and translated our primitive documents.

The Core Constitution Committee used the material the Research Team provided, plus the contemporary reflections on the CSJ Life produced by the participants of the Federation Life Institutes where members of CSJ communities across the United States and Canada reflected on their lives in mission under the influence of the CSJ spirit and spirituality. All of this material became the sources from which the Constitution Committee drew up a basic template that illustrated the fundamental Rule for all Sisters of St. Joseph, at least in the United States.
What Norma contributed to this work was her ability to clarify and synthesize complex concepts and produce an articulate statement that said concisely what was meant. It was from this Core Constitution that our own post Vatican II Constitution was written. We have Norma to thank for our success in producing the document of which we can be proud to use as our Constitution for our Concordia Community of St. Joseph.

At this time, she said that she was ready for something else. Having spent almost 30 years in the community she “decided to choose works that interested and challenged” her, to use her words. Thus, she became the Communications Director for the Congregation. She loved creating the first newsprint paper, “The Sisters of St. Joseph,” and doing the other public relations work required. After five years of this work, she became secretary for L’Arche Heartland in Kansas City, a non-profit organization dedicated to group living for persons with handicaps under the direction of Sister Christella Buser.

She took a year’s sabbatical in 1986-1987 in what was called the “Active Spirituality Program for the Global Community,” held in Cincinnati. During this program, Norma experienced many opportunities that created a heightened awareness in justice issues.

She attended programs from NETWORK, Quixote Center, Common Cause, Center of Concern, the D.C. L’Arche community and others. With her conscience sharpened, she wrote many letters to the editor. At the end of this program she was appointed General Secretary for the Congregation and continued this work until 1995. She enjoyed these years, she said, because it allowed her to put her gifts and talents to good use for the service of the community.

In the 1990s, Norma became aware of the fact that sisters who were preparing to retire or already in retirement needed assistance in the transition from active employment to what is called in the usual progression of life, retirement. Recognizing that sisters never retire from the mission, but only from specific works of service, Norma began courses at the College Misericordia in Dallas, Penn., over several years that certified her as a “Retirement Planning Specialist Religious.”

Norma had a brilliant mind and was an excellent student. During her studies she became conversant not only in German but also in Russian. She studied these languages for the sake of their literary contributions and could read, write and speak in both.

She was also an impeccable proof reader in English. As I checked back over her transcripts, I wondered why she graduated only magna cum laude and found that she had Bs in chemistry and physics, with straight As in every other subject. I suppose that she can be forgiven this, given the fact that she was fully competent in German and Russian AND English!

Perhaps the gratitude tribute from the community at the end of her years as Congregational Secretary sums up her talent as well as her contribution best. It reads as follows:
“Thank you for your dedication — for remembering, for reminding, for bird-dogging, for record keeping, for your accuracy, for your stable presence, for anticipating vital details and keeping us out of lots of trouble, for helping us do the nice things, for making us look good. Thank you for all the thank you notes, the get well notes, the sympathy notes and the congratulations you sent in our name. Thank you for knowing what to save and what to throw away; thank you for your writing skills, your peerless proofreading skill; your intelligent application of policy and procedures; your perfect sense of the appropriate; thank you for being able to say the important things in 25 words or less; thank you for safeguarding and safekeeping the corporation as well as the Congregation for these years; thank you most of all for your generosity in doing all of this. Thank you for being with us, your sympathy and empathy, your support and your presence. We have relied on you totally and you have been faithful and strong, giving and forgiving. We needed you and you were here — totally here. And what’s more we could rely on your beautiful singing voice. In fact, you taught us to sing German Christmas carols! Thank you so much.”

Toward the end of her life Norma took charge of the prayer board here at the Motherhouse. She received prayer requests from people throughout the country and sometimes, the world, and carefully kept them posted for community prayer. She had a system for posting and reporting and eventually rotating intentions off of the board.
About her personal life she said that she loved, above all, this community … what it stood for and the individuals in it.

She took seriously the life to which she was committed. She said that the Senate decisions were especially precious to her. The one that she particularly treasured was the decision in 1991 in which we emphasized “How we want to be with one another and with the earth.”

She also valued her ties with her family. She said at one point that “the school of human experience has taught me many things about life and death.”
Those family members and friends whom she lost broke her heart, yet, in the midst of this sadness, she said she watched new life spring up as new family members were added and the Community of St. Joseph here in Concordia continued to add new members and retain its fidelity to the charism and mission with courage and generosity.
All of this, she said, taught her that she would have to face her own passage into old age and even into death.

“I want to face life with courage,” she said. “I want to continue to grow in the charism of our dear Congregation — in unity and reconciliation — with myself, my dear neighbor and with God. Most of all, I want to be a good human being, in turn with the universe of whom I am a child. And, someday, I want to see God face to face!”
Thus, ended her life review. I believe that we can say that, indeed, all that she wished she fulfilled — or all that she wished was fulfilled in her.

Norma was that person who had the courage to face life right up to the end. She did it with patience, humility, courage and good humor. And especially, with compassion and gratitude for those who cared for her. We can be sure that Norma, a valiant woman to the end, is indeed enjoying the face of God today.

Norma left this life for another on April 8, 2019.
Norma, may all that you prayed for be yours. Thank you for your love for us; for your gracious service to this community; for your years of fidelity through good times and bad; thank you for you. You have indeed been a gift to this Community of St. Joseph!

May you be enjoying God face to face!

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

DonateNow 

‘The Wonky Donkey’ to be April’s featured book at Reading with Friends

April 10, 2019 by  

This month’s book for Reading with Friends will be “The Wonky Donkey” by Craig Smith with illustrations by Katz Cowley. Kids will enjoy the award-willing song in the book along with hilarious illustrations.

The book will be read by special guest Dr. Bruce Douglas.

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, April 12.

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 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 grant from the Community Foundation for Cloud County.

Nazareth Motherhouse prepares for annual Spaghetti Dinner

March 14, 2019 by  

It’s been a wet and snowy winter, but the outlook for Sunday’s annual Spaghetti Dinner at the Nazareth Motherhouse looks to be warm and sunny.

But all these weeks of rain and snow has made parking for this event a little more challenging. Luckily, Assistant Development Director Ambria Gilliland has a plan in place to make sure everyone will be able to enjoy the event.

“In past years we’ve been able to park cars on the grassy area by the east parking lot. Unfortunately, this year it will be too wet and muddy for that to be a good option,” Gilliland said. “If you arrive and the east parking lot is full, we encourage guests to park at one of the city park parking lots across the street, or along Washington Street.”

Gilliland said that the Motherhouse would have two shuttle cars constantly running throughout the event from the west entrance of the Motherhouse to the alternate parking areas for anyone who would like a convenient ride to the front door.

“Just keep an eye out for the silver Impalas that will have signs on the door designating them as shuttle cars,” Gilliland said.

Volunteers from the Knights of Columbus will be adding their valuable help to assist with parking as well.

The event begins with dinner at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 17. 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 Friday, March 15.

Gilliland said that along with the spaghetti, attendees will be able to take a self-guided 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.

Also on the agenda are a bake sale with homemade goodies, Easter baskets and a silent auction. Guests can also try their luck at the 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:
• Three cash prizes: $500, $200 and $100
• Char-Broil grill/smoker combo
• Handmade quilt by Sisters Betty Suther and Jean Ann Walton (72” x 72”)
• Nesco 8-quart pressure cooker
• Two KU basketball tickets (date of game to be determined)
• $150 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 in the Development Office at lhansen@csjkansas.org or 785-243-2113 ext. 1225. You do not need to be present to win.

The Nazareth Motherhouse is located at 1300 Washington in Concordia.

 

“Nibbles the Book Monster” to be March’s featured book at N2N

February 21, 2019 by  

The March book for Reading with Friends will be “Nibbles the Book Monster” by Emma Yarlett.

Nibbles is a very naughty book monster — he’s chomping, munching and nibbling his way through fairytales that don’t belong to him! Children will love to lift the flaps, peek through the peepholes, and chase Nibbles through a fantastical world of books in this quirky story.

The book will be read by guest reader Sue Sutton. Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, March 8.

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 neighbortoneighbor@csjkansas.org.

The monthly program has been a part of Neighbor to Neighbor’s regular offerings since September 2012. The next Reading with Friends events will be March 8.

This year’s Reading with Friends is made possible thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Cloud County.

The January 2019 Messenger is full of Jubilarians!

January 22, 2019 by  

It’s time to catch up with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia with the January edition of the Messenger.

This month we celebrate and honor our 20 Jubilarians! That’s right! Twenty sisters with 1,205 combined years of service and love to the dear neighbor!

The print edition is in the mail, and it’s available here right now as a flipbook. To open the flipbook edition, just click on the image below and use the arrows in the bar to scroll through the pages. Need to make it larger? Click on the magnifying glass icon with the “plus” sign in the middle:

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is Jan. 11

January 11, 2019 by  

January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the U.S. This resource, from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, CA, is a prayer calendar. Pray for all whose lives are impacted by the crime and sin of human trafficking using this calendar.It begins today and ends on the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita on February 8.

Annual Spaghetti Dinner set for March 17

January 4, 2019 by  

Are you feeling lucky? Well put on your green and make your way to the Motherhouse on Sunday, March 17, for our annual Spaghetti Dinner!

Serving more than 600 people last year and raising $12,000, the event continues to grow each year. And this year is predicted to be just as successful.

Laura Hansen (left) and Ambria Gilliland display the quilt and Char-Broil grill/smoker that will be prizes in the raffle drawing.

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 Friday, March 15.

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.

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.
Also on the agenda are a bake sale with homemade goodies and fun Easter baskets and a silent auction with several items up for bid. Guests can also try their luck at the 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:
• Three cash prizes: $500, $200 and $100
• Char-Broil grill/smoker combo
• Handmade quilt by Sisters Betty Suther and Jean Ann Walton (72” x 72”)
• Nesco 8 quart pressure cooker
• Two KU basketball tickets (date tbd)
• $150 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 in the Development Office at lhansen@csjkansas.org or 785-243-2113 ext. 122.

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!
And make sure to wear your green … I can’t guarantee that you won’t get pinched if you don’t!

Eulogy for Sister Margaret Jilka: Feb. 17, 1930 — Dec. 12, 2018

December 17, 2018 by  

Vigil: Dec. 16, 2018 at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Layla Kloeker

This evening we come together to honor and pay tribute to Sister Margaret Jilka: aunt, cousin, friend and Community member to all of us.

In 1999, at the time of her 50th Anniversary, Sister Margaret wrote that “We are not so virtuous as the angels, nor so beautiful nor so powerful, but we are much more interesting.”

Sister Margaret’s interesting life began on Feb. 17, 1930, as the youngest of five children to Jerome and Agnes Wearing Jilka. She was given the name of Margaret Mary. The family house was on the east edge of Salina, Kan. Today, we would call it at an acreage for they had a cow and other animals, chickens and ducks and a large garden. In our present time it is an area filled with beautiful homes and curvy streets south of Marymount and the cemeteries.
Margaret recalled that their house burned one night when she was about 3 years old. That house was followed by a brick house in the same location. Her Dad joined his brother Ed in the Jilka Furniture Store in downtown
Salina.

Sister Margaret’s educational life began at Sacred Heart Grade School and High School in Salina. Her early years
were happy. As a teenager in high school she wrote in her life story that those years were happy but difficult.
“I had a lousy self-image and was very insecure.” She fell into the pressure of peers, joined the crowd and was wild and free! Margaret envied her sister Ruth because Ruth was good and beautiful. Also during high school an-
other girl came to live with the Jilka family. She was an orphan girl who was with the family through high school and college until her marriage.

During high school, Margaret confided to Sister Joseph Patricia her desire to enter the Community of the Sisters
of St. Joseph. Sister Joseph Patricia responded with, “The life may not always be easy, but oh, the Teacher!”

Sister Margaret entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 8, 1948. She made First Profession on March 19, 1950
and was given the name Sister Mary Eugene. She made Final Profession on March 19, 1953. Living band members
are: Sisters Lucy Schneider, Mary Augustine and Doris Marie Flax. This year, 2019, was to be her 70th anniversary
as a Sister of St. Joseph.

Margaret recalls that her first introduction to Thomas Merton was when his newly published book, “Seven Story
Mountain” was read for table reading the year that she was a postulant. In the novitiate, Sister Margaret admired
Sister Therese Marie, her Novice Director, and was impressed with her spirituality. However, trying to articulate her
own struggles was difficult.

Around age 20, Sister Margaret was missioned to Chicago to teach kindergarten and first grade. With no training,
it was a difficult adjustment. So difficult that she thought of leaving the community. Her next mission was Monett, Mo. Again, five more years at the primary level. She became ill and needed an
emergency operation.

A turning point in her life came at Cure of Ars, in Leawood Kan., where she had the courage to ask for a different grade level and was given grade four. After a year and a half she was transferred to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Concordia, and finished the semester with grade six.

While in New Almelo, Kan., she met Father Bill Killian who took an interest in the sisters. She also appreciated
the wide open spaces in which to walk, think and pray.

During the transitional years after Vatican II, she began a religious education degree. In the 1970s, another rural
setting was Cawker City. She and Sister Jean Befort traveled to a circuit of parishes to help with religious education programs. In 1973, during her time there, her mother came to live with her. Also, she would invite her cousin, Elea-
 nor Wearing, a resident at Mount Joseph, to her place for a vacation.

The family had a pasture north of Salina. She spent many hours there and established a relationship with her
nieces and began picturing herself teaching high school religion. However, she began feeling restless and inadequate
again and visited her cousin who was a member of Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity. She also made a
workshop on journaling with Ira Progoff.

This was an interesting turn in her life. Her contemplative eyes were opened. She desired a simpler lifestyle
and she acquainted herself with Fordham University, the Greenwich Village where Thomas Merton had lived and
visited Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker House. Later, she returned to Fordham and completed a masters degree in
theology with a thesis on a portion of Thomas Merton’s writings.

Later, after we had become friends, she handed me a Thomas Merton holy card, “Thoughts in Solitude.” She
said, “That’s me over and over, in years past.”

The card reads: “I do not see the road ahead of me … the fact that I think that I am following your will does
not mean that I am actually doing so. But the desire to please you God, does in fact please me.”

In Margaret’s own words: “The spiritual writer, poet, social critic, contemplative … Thomas Merton has added a
unique design to my life. Because of my love for and interest in Merton’s life and writings, I believe he has made a
vital and irreplaceable contribution to my spirituality and prayer life. His method of writing, his journey and sharing
… the articulation of his faith story profoundly affected and challenged me.”

During her years in Grand Island she helped begin the Search Retreat for students out of high school. Her moth-
er lived there with her also, but when her mother’s health began to decline she moved back to Salina. She worked at Sacred Heart High School for one year. She missed the support of her previous years and took a part-time position
in pastoral care at St. John’s Hospital. This worked out well. Her mother passed in 1990.

Another new experience in the Church now was “Certification in Pastoral Care” and she applied for the CPE
program in Wichita. Later she wrote, “This pastoral care ministry has become very meaningful for me. I plan to
continue after the CPE Program in Wichita.”

Everywhere she went she had appreciation for nature which she called a gift. About her love for nature she
wrote: “The pasture is rich with hills, vast open spaces, bright and fragrant. The pasture is what my beloved is to
me. I walk alone. Solitude nourishes my spirit and gives me opportunity to be or rest in God’s love. I am alone with
God, the Creator of my being. In nature my heart is opened to His love. The presence of love within the ordinary
events of life, like a walk in the pasture fuels and energizes my spirit to spread His love.”

It was not unusual to see a dog accompanying her on these walks.

I think in these last years, if she had been able, she would be quoting Pope Francis, his book “Laudate Si” and his
love for all of creation much like she quoted Thomas Merton on Solitude.

Many people believe that eternal life begins at death. In reality it begins with our Baptism. In a reflection that
Margaret wrote on the occasion of her 50th Jubilee she says: “God calls us to be in touch with our center, the still point, the God within. We each hear that call within our lives. In that call we realize that our ministry is the expres-
sion of who we are. The journey of each of us is to find that depth … to find God at the center of our life.”

For nieces and nephews, and all of Margaret’s friends, you will find that Sister Margaret’s love for you will be a
deeper and fuller love that is enriched by God’s own love and direction for you. Death does not separate us but
deepens our union with God and with one another.

“Live out your life with one desire only:
to be always what God wants you to be,
In nature, grace and glory
for time and eternity.” Maxim 73

 

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

DonateNow 

‘The Night Before Christmas’ featured book at Reading with Friends

December 11, 2018 by  

Neighbor to Neighbor has a very special book planned for this month’s Reading with Friends — “The Night Before Christmas,” by Clement C. Moore.

Since it was first published anonymously in 1823, “The Night Before Christmas” has enchanted children with the story of St. Nicholas climbing down the chimney and filling all the stockings before springing back to his sleigh. Many families read the poem every year, and this is an edition to treasure. The cherished verse is faithfully reproduced and accompanied by illustrator Charles Santore’s lavish illustrations.

Reading this most-loved poem is a classic family tradition and adds a magical component to every child’s Christmas!

The book will be read by special guest Curtis Genereux.

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14.

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 neighbortoneighbor@csjkansas.org.

The monthly program has been a part of Neighbor to Neighbor’s regular offerings since September 2012. The next Reading with Friends events will be Jan. 11.

This year’s Reading with Friends is made possible thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Cloud County.

 

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