Eulogy for Sister Geraldine Kokenge — Feb. 26, 1928 – Oct. 14, 2019

October 16, 2019 by  

Vigil: Oct. 16, 2019 at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Marilyn Wall

Sister Geraldine Mary Ann Kokenge was born on Feb. 26, 1928, in the midst of a dust storm. Her parents were Lawrence Kokenge and Frances Rosa Rallinger. She was the second oldest child and the first daughter. Her siblings were Raymond, the older brother, and three younger children, Helen, Elmer and Lorine (Peggy). Raymond and Helen preceded her in death. Elmer and Peggy, as well as numerous nieces and nephews, survive.

The family lived in the country near St Benedict, Kan., with their grandparents until Gerry was three years old. They then moved to Seneca where her dad was employed as a mechanic. Gerry attended Sts. Peter and Paul grade school. She said her early years were very difficult. She was a tall child and was seated in the back of the classroom. She was not able to see the blackboard so missed a lot of what was taught. She enjoyed playing with the neighborhood children. The family lived on the edge of town and had a lot of fruit trees and a large garden. She watched and helped her mother preserve the produce for winter. No doubt she began her cooking career there. Even in the last few years she would talk about the two pear trees they had and how the children did not like to eat them because they were gritty. Finally, her mother started making pear butter and that made eating them so much easier.

After graduating from high school, Gerry got a job at the Seneca Hospital. There she worked with Sr. Matthew Vopat who, Gerry says, was an influence in her vocation.

Gerry entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Feb. 3, 1947, along with Sister Ann Catherine Wiltz who was from Sabetha, Kan. She entered the Novitiate in August of 1947 and received the name of Sister Mary Justina. Her first profession was in August of 1948 and Final Vows were in August of 1951.

Sister Gerry’s main ministry in the community was in the kitchens of many missions and schools. She has remarked “Every place I went I enjoyed.”

Gerry considered herself most fortunate in that as a young sister Sister Maxine Lutgen was her mentor in the Motherhouse kitchen teaching her how to cook and bake. Gerry especially remembers Sister Maxine showing her how to make the 30 to 40 loaves of bread that were needed for the Motherhouse Community.

In her own words: “We would mix all of the ingredients together except the flour … making a “sponge” and waiting for it to bubble – then we added the flour and kneaded and formed balls of dough which would then rise in the pans til ready for the oven.” Gerry has also told me this procedure several times in the past years, and every time I hear it I think: “Isn’t this just like the presence and patience of our Creator God?”

Sister Maxine set her up for her many years of cooking and baking and Gerry always spoke of her with the utmost esteem and gratitude.

Further assignments took her to many places in Salina, Kansas: St John’s Hospital, Marymount College, St. Mary’s Convent and Sacred Heart Cathedral School and rectory and Sacred Heart Junior-Senior High School. She served in many other places including Schoenchen, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia, Grand Island, Neb., Oakley Kan., and Junction City Kan.

Sister Marcia Allen, who lived with Gerry in Junction City, said that “wherever she served, Sister Gerry’s loving nourishment added greatly to the quality of community life of the Sisters. Three meals a day for 20-some people might by some people be called drudgery, but Gerry’s ready and generous spirit never hinted at the burdens that might have accompanied her work. Her meals were delicious and nourishing and served with a spirit of hospitality. For us, she was the yeast of which Jesus spoke.”

One of Gerry’s last ministries as a cook was Central High School in Salina, which she enjoyed and became good friends with many of those working with her. There, she noted, one had to follow strict State guidelines. At one point the cooks were perplexed because the students were not eating their chili well. Gerry asked if she could add a bit of sugar to the recipe to bring out the flavor. It helped a lot and they even got the recipe changed by the State. Gerry also cooked at Kansas Weselyan College and loved the interaction and joking with the students, about 1500, who attended school there. They were especially fond of her biscuits and gravy. Gerry’s humor was always evident and enjoyed by all with whom she worked.

In all of her years of ministry Sister Gerry lit up when she spoke of her ministry of cooking and one sensed the joy she found in preparing meals for others.

In thinking about Sister Gerry and her ministry one realizes how her ministry colored her spirituality, and that as she prepared leavened bread, she also became leaven for those whom she served and loved.

Sister Joyce Rupp has a lovely reflection on being a handful of dough and being asked by God to be leaven for a whole batch of people so that faith will rise in hearts. As the dough is kneaded and formed beyond its expectations so we are shaped by daily dyings to self so that God can be our rising strength and we can love enough to be shared.

In 2000, Sister Gerry moved to Medialle Center in Salina. During her time there she volunteered at the Senior Citizen Center and at the public school and began to do tole painting. She painted on baskets and wooden objects and discovered, by surprise, that she was really a very good artist. When Medialle closed in 2006 she moved to the Motherhouse. There she visited Mount Joseph and did helpful works around the Motherhouse. She painted many items and some were sold in the gift shop here.

Gerry moved to Mount Joseph in January of 2018. She lived out the rest of her life there and left us on Oct. 14, 2019.

Gerry, we believe that you have risen with Jesus.

We believe that you know now the whole story of God’s incredible love for you.

We trust that you are celebrating with those who have gone before you,

But we will expect your presence and help here also.

As you are now with God, in a new way, your presence is God’s presence.

 

Memorials for Sister Geraldine Kokenge 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 Geraldine Kokenge’s memory, click on the button below:

DonateNow 

 

 

 

Sister Nancy Meade — Dec. 10, 1938-Oct. 14, 2019

October 14, 2019 by  

Sister Nancy Meade died Oct. 14, 2019, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kan. She was 80 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia for 60 years.

She was born in Abilene, Kan, on Dec. 10, 1938, to Cornelius and Minnie Lake Meade, the youngest of six children, and was baptized Nancy Helen. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Sept. 8, 1958. On March 18, 1959, Nancy received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Marie Cecile, later changing back to her baptismal name. She pronounced first vows on March 19, 1960, and final vows on March 19, 1963.

Sister Nancy received a B.M.Ed. in music education in 1967; followed by a M.M.Ed. in music education in 1972 from the University of Colorado. This was followed by a B.F.A. in theater from Stephen’s College in Columbia, Mo., in 1982. She taught in schools staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Aurora, Ill., Gladstone, Mich., Boonville, Mo., and Silver City, N.M. After retirement she moved to the Motherhouse in 2014.

Sister Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers and two sisters. A Bible Vigil Service will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 17, 2019, in the Nazareth Motherhouse Chapel with Sister Faye Huelsmann as the eulogist. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18, 2019, in the Motherhouse Chapel with Father Barry Brinkman presiding. The internment of cremains will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery.

Chaput-Buoy Mortuary, 325 W. Sixth St., Concordia, Kan., is in charge of arrangements. Memorials for Sister Nancy Meade 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, Kan., 66901.

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

DonateNow 

 

Snake meets farm in this month’s Reading with Friends book

September 20, 2019 by  

A class field trip to a local farm sounds like a pretty nice time … that is until one of the kids sneaks in his pet snake — a giant boa constrictor!

Find out more about this zany trip during October’s Reading with Friends, where the book of the month will be “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash” by Trinka Hakes Noble with illustrations by Steven Kellogg.

What starts as a ho-hum visit to a farm ends in a wild free-for-all when Jimmy’s pet boa constrictor decides to mingle with barnyard society. The book will be read by special guest reader Sister Jodi Creten.

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11 at Neighbor to Neighbor.

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.

International Day of Peace celebration Sept. 22

September 20, 2019 by  

The annual International Day of Peace will be celebrated locally from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Nazareth Motherhouse auditorium, 1300 Washington, in Concordia.

The non-denominational event will feature fellowship, conversations, prayer, thought-provoking discussions and international refreshments. It is free and open to the public. Please park in the parking lot on the east side of the Motherhouse.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations. It is traditionally celebrated on September 21.

This year’s theme is “Climate Action for Peace.” The theme focuses on the use of combatting climate change as a way to protect and promote peace worldwide.

Earlier this week, the City of Concordia proclaimed Sept. 21 as the International Day of Peace. Sister Christina Brodie and Pastor Bob Frasier, First Presbyterian Church, were on hand during the City Council meeting for the proclamation.

“The purpose of these events is to support the UN global initiatives on living a more sustainable life. We thought this year we would focus on how each one of us in Concordia can make a difference in how we live to minimize conspicuous waste,” Sister Christina said. “For example, in the world of horrific excess plastic waste, we as individuals can make a difference by using a refillable cup instead of purchasing plastic bottles, particularly for individual consumption. For example, in Canada, many of our sisters’ residences do not purchase plastic bottles nor allow them in their residences. We all as individuals can do our part to make this a better world for future generations.”

“I’ve been thinking about what happens to all the things we recycle, especially plastics. Some of the answers I’ve found so far are shocking and quite unbelievable,” Sister Judy Stephens said.  “There is so much plastic floating in our oceans that it is called ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch!’”

Sister Judy said that while researching the issue, she found statistics that show that currently more than 300 million tons of new plastic is produced annually, and less than 10 percent is recycled.

The United Nations calls upon all individuals to take action to tackle climate change — from turning off the lights to taking public transport, to organizing an awareness raising campaign in your community.

Reading with Friends returns in September with Pete the Cat and Toby Nosker

August 13, 2019 by  

September’s book for Reading with Friends will be “Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses” by Kimberly and James Dean.

“Pete the Cat wakes up feeling grumpy — nothing seems to be going his way. But with the help of some Rockin’ Magic Sunglasses from Grumpy Toad, Pete learns that a good mood has been inside him all along.”

The book will be read by special guest Toby Nosker of NCK Today.

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 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 neighbortoneighbor@csjkansas.org.

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

 

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

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.

 

Annual Motherhouse Plant Sale and Manna House of Prayer garage sale draws a crowd

May 13, 2019 by  

As a beautiful spring day began Saturday, a small group of workers were out just after dawn, getting ready for the 4th annual Motherhouse Spring Plant Sale.

Assistant Development Director Ambria Gilliland, administrative assistant Laura Hansen, gardener Lyle Pounds and helpful volunteers moved hundreds of plants from the Motherhouse greenhouse, plus set out scores of garden signs, decorative pots and planters and yard art of every description.

“This time of year, you never really know what kind of weather you are going to get,” Gilliland said. “But we were lucky to have a beautiful day.”

Meanwhile, sisters and volunteers from Manna House of Prayer finished all the preparation for the garage sale that filled four garage bays at the Motherhouse.

And the early morning preparation proved worth it as perfect spring weather brought eager customers to the Motherhouse for the 9 a.m. opening. Shoppers were lined up and waiting when the sale opened its doors. The hanging baskets, always a popular item, were quickly snatched up. By the time the fundraiser ended at 1 p.m., plant sale shoppers had contributed nearly $2,500.

“What a fun morning! The hanging baskets were a huge hit again this year and were mostly gone within an hour,” Gilliland said. “It’s always fun to see even the kids get excited about some of their finds. One little boy even promised to do extra chores at home if his mom would buy him an old wagon wheel.”

All proceeds from the separate garage sale go to further the ministries of Manna House in Concordia and the plant sale proceeds will help fund the coming replacement of the Motherhouse roof.

Gilliland organized the sale, with lots of assistance from Pounds and Hansen, along with the maintenance staff at the Motherhouse. The seedlings, flowers and hanging basket plants were grown in the Motherhouse greenhouse.

Neighbor to Neighbor to celebrate 10th anniversary of helping Concordia

May 10, 2019 by  

Neighbor to Neighbor will celebrate their 10th anniversary from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 10, at their facility located at 103 E. 6th Street, Concordia.

The public is invited to celebrate this amazing milestone for the community along with the sisters and volunteers that make this facility come alive. Everyone is invited to tour the center, enjoy refreshments and learn more about Neighbor to Neighbor and the programs, classes, services and activities it provides, all free of charge.

What is Neighbor to Neighbor?

Neighbor to Neighbor was the dream of three sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia who wanted to make a difference in the world. And sometimes making a difference begins in your own backyard.

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 not 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.

The dream focused on an old building downtown that needed a lot of renovation

“When the sisters approached me about creating a center for women and small children, there wasn’t a clear understanding to me on of how this was going to work,” said Greg Gallagher, facilities manager for the Sisters of St. Joseph. “Sisters Pat, Ramona and Jean shared thoughts and ideas.

“We put them on paper and created a plan, gave the plan to the Motherhouse maintenance staff, and created N2N,” Gallagher said. “What an outstanding creation this ministry became to the community!”

The maintenance staff and volunteers gutted the building and completely redesigned it to be the most useful for the sisters’ needs with a full kitchen, laundry, play room, art studio, offices and storage.

Longtime Concordians may remember earlier uses for the 1888 two-story building: An appliance and TV store, a Sears catalog center, a bar, an upstairs roller-skating rink in the years around World War II and an auto dealership sometime before that.

“We’ve been here for 10 years and haven’t had to repaint a thing,” Sister Pat said. “The women here have really taken care of it. It looks like new.”

Volunteers and community make a difference

Volunteers continue to pay a vital role at Neighbor to Neighbor today, teaching classes, helping in the kitchen and just providing a sympathetic ear.

“The Concordia community has really stepped up to the plate to help us,” Sister Pat said. “That spirit has continued, and has surprised me. We have had volunteers like Theresa Peltier and Sandra Detrixhe that have been with us since practically the beginning.”

Detrixhe has been helping people learn to quilt for nearly all of those 10 years.

“I’ve helped people learn to make their very first quilt. It’s an amazing feeling.” Detrixhe said. “This place is a family, a friendship. I get as much from being here as I give.”

“This is just a fabulous, fabulous place,” volunteer Cynthia Myers said. “We’re lucky to have this facility in our community. It was necessary and needed. I never dreamed we’d have a place like this in Concordia.”

Myrna Shelton, administrative assistant at Neighbor to Neighbor, keeps her hands busy in all the activities.

“I am grateful every day to be here. Every day is different, there is always something new,” Shelton said. “The main thing is to be present and listen to people. There is nothing else I’d rather be doing.”

In 2019, the Neighbor to Neighbor staff transitioned with the addition of new Director Sister Missy Ljungdahl. She returned to Concordia in July and has been learning the ropes and making relationships with the guests and volunteers.

“I love what Neighbor to Neighbor has done for Concordia,” Ljungdahl said. “The sisters have done an exquisite job of creating this place. I want to really listen and see that the needs of the community are met.”

“It has been such a joy to see our women create beauty, whether in painting an crafts and through creating beauty they are able to see their own inner beauty,” said Sister Ramona.

And the women have created friendships and bonds that go beyond just themselves. Many spend time making items to help people in other countries, such as clothing and shoes for children, or items for newborn infants.

“The way they’ve grown to help and support each other is such a surprise,” Sister Pat said. “And it’s been a wonderful ministry for an older group to have something to look forward to every day.

“It’s a dream come true,” Sister Pat continued. “And it’s all because of the people, the community.”

“They are truly present to one another … listening and helping one another,” Sister Ramona said.

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

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