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!

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 After taking time to review the many historical documents and items on display — including an old milk cap from the St. Joseph Orphanage Dairy — and greet friends, old and new, a DVD showing many old photos from the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.

Annual Motherhouse plant sale and Manna House garage sale set for Saturday

May 8, 2019 by  

Ambria Gilliland works on projects that will be for sale at the annual plant sale.

It’s been a rainy week, but the forecast for this Saturday is full of sun for the annual Nazareth Motherhouse Plant Sale and Manna House of Prayer Garage Sale.   This year’s event will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 11 — just in time to pick up goodies for Mother’s Day.

“If you haven’t been to our plant sale, you must check it out,” said Assistant Development Director Ambria Gilliland. “Our organic gardener, Lyle Pounds, has been busy this winter preparing beautiful flowers and hanging plants to liven up the gloomiest of porches. But get here early, the hanging baskets go fast.”

Look for succulents, petunias, bedding plants, zinnia seeds, mixed planters and big, beautiful hanging baskets. Along with the plants, you will be able to browse many handmade crafts from painted wooden signs to flower pots and yard décor all made by the Development Office staff and our sisters.

While you’re here, be sure to check out the garage sale hosted by Manna House of Prayer. All proceeds from the garage sale go to further the ministries of Manna House here in Concordia and the plant sale proceeds will help fund the replacement of the Motherhouse roof.

Both events are located behind the Motherhouse at 1300 Washington in Concordia. You won’t want to miss out on all the beautiful plants and décor!

Republican Valley 4-H Club plants flowers for the Sisters of St. Joseph

May 1, 2019 by  

April showers bring May flowers — but who plants them?

On Wednesday, the Republican Valley 4-H club answered that question by planting about 15 planters full of flowering plants for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

Lyle Pounds, organic gardener for the sisters, invited the club to come help plant the big outdoor planters for the sisters.

He gave them direction on how to plant the pots on the porch.

“These are ornamental sweet potatoes,” he said. “We like those to be able to dangle over the side. And we want to alternate the colors of the petunias.”

The crew made short work of the porch and courtyard planters.

“This is an excellent community service activity,” Pounds said.

“They are very hard workers,” said Chrissy Henderson, 4-H club leader.

After getting their hands dirty with the planters, Pounds took them on a tour of the Motherhouse greenhouse. Finally, they ended up in the Motherhouse for a snack of cookies and a quick tour of the kitchens. While there, they were introduced to Sister Ann Glatter.

“Sister Ann was the gardener here for 60 years,” Pounds told the kids. “So she knows about getting dirt under her fingernails.”

Sister Ann thanked all the kids for their hard work.

The planters are all adopted by various sisters who will look after them over the upcoming summer.

The Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America

May 1, 2019 by  

Speaker: Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, PhD

July 18-21, 2019

 

The 2019 Theological Institute will deal directly with the reality of racism. “The Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America” will be offered July 18-21 at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia.

The speaker will be Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, PhD. 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. 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.

She 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.

The event will include learning discerning processes through which we might begin to invite God to change us into the inclusive Christian body we are meant to be.

The institute will be from 5 p.m. Thursday, July 18, through 1 p.m. Sunday, July 21. Cost is $325. The registration fee includes the program, plus all meals from the Thursday evening meal through the Sunday noon meal, and housing with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

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.

To register, email retreatcenter@mannahouse.org, visit mannahouse.org, or call (785) 243-4428.

 

St. Joseph Orphanage reunion set for April 27

April 18, 2019 by  

ABILENE — Bishop Gerald Vincke will dedicate and bless a new sign memorializing the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home on April 27 at Mt. St. Joseph Cemetery, Abilene.

The unveiling of the new sign will be one of many events planned for the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home reunion planned at the Parish Hall at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Abilene.

The sign was designed by artist Jean Scanlan, a member of St. Michael’s Parish in Chapman. Rawhide Iron Works in Norton constructed the sign. It was installed earlier this spring and will be officially unveiled and dedicated at the event.

Scanlan was on hand to watch the sign being installed. It was the first time she had seen her design recreated onto the metal sign.

“I was a little worried about the steeple,” she said of her artwork. “But it turned out really good!”

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

The site of the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home is visible from the sign.

Sister Carolyn’s brother, Mel Juenemann, was the liaison between the Sisters and the sign company, and delivered the sign to the site.

The St. Joseph Orphanage and Home closed in 1958, so even the youngest surviving orphans are in their 60s now — and most are much older.

“I’ve been contacted by at least six people who lived at the home between the late 1930s and 1958 who are making plans to be at the reunion,” Sister Jan McCormick said, who along with Sister Carolyn, organized the reunion. “We don’t want to lose all their stories. We want to come together to remember this history and the people who were a part of it.”

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.

 

Schedule of events:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Begin gathering at St Andrews, 311 S. Buckeye, Abilene
  • 10 a.m. – Welcome and opening prayer
  • 10:30 a.m. – View DVD
  • 11 a.m. – Sharing and visiting
  • Noon – Meal
  • 1:30 p.m. – Prayer service led by Bishop Gerald Vincke, of the Salina Diocese.

 

Immediately following the prayer service, attendees will travel to Mt. St. Joseph Cemetery for the unveiling, blessing and dedication of the new memorial sign.

“We look forward to seeing many of you again,” said Sister Jan. “We want to spend time sharing, reminiscing, learning and celebrating.”

To RSVP, contact Sister Jan McCormick at janmccormick@rocketmail.com or (785) 479-6795, or contact Sister Carolyn Juenemann at scarolyn@gmail.com. Please visit the St. Joseph Orphanage page on Facebook for more details at https://www.facebook.com/stjosephorphanage.abilene.

There will be no charge for the event and meal, but a free-will offering will be accepted.

 

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
 

Crunch for a Cause to help Neighbor to Neighbor

April 16, 2019 by  

Visit Taco John’s in Concordia from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 29, for Crunch for a Cause to benefit Neighbor to Neighbor in Concordia — a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph!

Be sure to let their staff know when you order that you are supporting Neighbor to Neighbor. And come inside and meet some of the staff and volunteers of Neighbor to Neighbor that night.

Taco John’s will donate 10% of all sales that mention Neighbor to Neighbor to the programs at N2N!!!!!

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