Motherhouse to host annual Christmas Open House

December 3, 2019 by  

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will return to the annual Nazareth Motherhouse Christmas Open House this year. Bring the kids by for snacks and coloring and a chat with St. Nick while you take in the beauty of the historic Nazareth Motherhouse decked out in its Christmas finery.

All ages are welcome from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.

 

The Open House will include holiday music, coloring fun for the kids and, of course, cookies, along with punch and coffee.

Also included will be limited self-guided tours of the landmark home, which was built in 1902 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973. Numerous Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia will be on hand to welcome guests, assist with tours and serve refreshments.

This is the third year that Santa Claus has been invited to be part of the sisters’ Christmas Open House, and organizers are pleased by the increased turnout each year.

“Seeing the children’s faces light up when they walk in and see Santa and Mrs. Claus makes all the work worth it!” said Ambria Gilliland, assistant development director for the Sisters.

Last year’s hit Santa and Mrs. Claus — who on other days are known as Dell Lee and Annette Boswell of Leon, Iowa — will return again this year to delight their young guests. Be prepared for an entertaining time making Christmas memories and photographs that will last.

The easiest access is from the east parking lot (between the Motherhouse and the Community Garden). The event is free and open to the public. The Nazareth Motherhouse is located at 1300 Washington, Concordia, Kan.

Come join us and celebrate the season!

Obituary for Karma Imogen Smith-Grindell, CSJ Associate

November 25, 2019 by  

Karma Imogen Smith-Grindell passed peacefully in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2019, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Karma was born Nov. 28, 1940, in Columbus, Ohio, at 1:14 p.m. When first measured days after birth, she weighed 3 lbs. 10.5 oz. Her estimated birth weight was 3 lbs. 13 oz. She was born about 6 weeks early, and her twin brother who preceded her in birth died shortly after her arrival. She was not expected to survive, but defied the odds and returned to the home of her mother and father, Margaret Hayes Smith and Laban Conrad Smith, on Dec. 31, 1940. Her name was a testament to her birth story: Karma (Sanskrit — “Destiny”) Imogen (Greek — “Beloved child”) and (Gaelic — “Maiden”).

Karma’s younger brother, Hartman, was born in 1944. Karma’s father was a Navy officer, and the family relocated numerous times during her childhood for his postings. Her homes included Auburn, Ala., Galveston, Texas and the Canal Zone, Panama. She remembered with particular fondness the years in Panama. The family eventually settled in Terre Haute, Ind., where her father was a professor of English at Indiana State University. They enjoyed summers at family farms in Wisconsin, and had a litany of pets, including several dogs, ducks and chickens.

After graduating from Wiley High School in 1957, Karma spent a summer in France as a camp counselor. She then attended the University of Michigan where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She entered Harvard graduate school in 1962, where she was re-acquainted with her high school debate partner, Michael LR Donnelly, who would become her first husband.

They were married in 1964, and had two children: Anna Callysta was born in Boston in 1966, and Maxwell Conor was born in Madison, Wis., in 1969. The family would move to Manhattan, Kan., in 1972. Karma worked at Kansas State University as director of the English as a Second Language program, and was a doting and attentive mother. After the dissolution of her first marriage in 1981, Karma stayed in Manhattan for several years, then lived in Concordia, Kan., where she became an ecumenical member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Although not Catholic herself, Karma remained a committed and active participant in the CSJ Associates for decades thereafter. She also lived briefly in Pendle Hill, Penn., at a Quaker community.

After leaving academia in 1983, Karma became a Licensed Practical Nurse, providing hospice and home care to elderly residents in the farm country surrounding Manhattan, Kan. She later added skills in massage and energy work (shiatzu and jin shin jyutsu) which she applied generously to any who suffered the slings and arrows of physical or emotional injury. Fascinated by human psychology and the puzzles of our inner beings, Karma was for many years a learned practitioner of the Enneagram personality system, and an active participant in the vibrant international community of Enneagram students.

Karma married the love of her life, Rob Grindell, on July 8, 1989. For more than a decade, Rob and Karma traveled the world and reveled in the joys of each others’ company. Destinations included many of our United States by small plane (Rob piloting, Karma navigating), Greece, Mexico, Canada, Belize, Hawaii and Europe. Karma also made a memorable solo trip to Leh, Ladakh, as a participant in an international Buddhist women’s conference. Karma spent much of her adult life pursuing spiritual growth, and considered herself a Quaker catholic Zen Buddhist (lowercase “c” intentional).

After a long battle with cancer, Rob passed away on Dec. 19, 2000. Karma remained in Manhattan until 2006, where she was a beloved member of multiple spiritual communities. In 2006, she packed house and home and moved to Colorado Springs, where her brother Hartman and his wife Nancy lived. She continued to travel extensively, including many trips to California to visit her daughter Anna and grandchildren Maya and Dante. Her son Max’s family — wife Kelly and daughters Claire and Caroline — were blessed to have her nearby, and she was a frequent short-term guest in their household in Littleton, Colo., where the resident dogs would celebrate her arrival with wags and kisses.

Throughout her life, Karma was beloved by her community and friends as an individual who personified kindness. Alzheimer’s never robbed her of her inherently sweet and loving disposition, and to the end her caregivers adored her.

She is survived by her brothers Hartman and Nancy Smith of Jacksonville, Fla., and brother Forrest and Shiela Smith of Terre Haute, Ind.; her children Maxwell and Kelden Donnelly of Littleton, Colo., Anna and Burman Deshautelle of Agoura Hills, Calif., and Michael Grindell and Jennifer Grindell of Atlanta, Ga.; and grandchildren Claire, Caroline, Dante, Maya, Maclean, Samantha and Grace (all over the place).

A service in Karma’s memory will be held in the spring in Manhattan, Kan.

In lieu of flowers, please direct donations in Karma’s memory to Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, P.O Box 279, Concordia, KS 66901.

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

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Annual N2N Holiday Bazaar set for Nov. 23  

November 19, 2019 by  

The artisans at Neighbor to Neighbor create with all kinds of materials — acrylics and oils, embroidery floss and ribbon, and (of course) sugar, flour, eggs, butter and chocolate.

And all that “art” will be for sale at the eighth annual Holiday Bazaar & Bake Sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the downtown center, 103 E. Sixth St., Concordia.

Items featured in this boutique-style event include one-of-a-kind scarves, hats, blankets, tea towels, wreaths, paintings, floral arrangements, shopping bags and scrubbies.

The always-popular bake sale will feature cookies, candies, breads and other goodies. The event is the weekend before Thanksgiving, making it a great time to stock up on all of these sweet treats to satisfy holiday guests.

All the items are made by the women who come to the center, along with friends and supporters of the Sisters of St. Joseph who operate Neighbor to Neighbor.

Neighbor to Neighbor director Sister Missy Ljungdahl said there also will be a silent auction and a drawing for prizes which will include a toy trunk filled with zoo animals, a quilted wall hanging, a coffee basket, a chocolate trunk, a $50 Rod’s Grocery gift card, a $30 Hobby Lobby gift card and a $25 Walmart gift card.

Tickets for the drawings are available at Neighbor to Neighbor; the Nazareth Motherhouse, 1300 Washington St.; and Manna House of Prayer, 323 E. Fifth St., Concordia.

Tickets for the raffle cost $1, or six tickets for $5. You do not need to be present to win, but if you do win, you will need to make arrangements to pick up your prize.

Sister Missy reminds everyone that Neighbor to Neighbor will be closed Friday, Nov. 22, so that the staff and volunteers can prepare for Saturday’s event.

All proceeds from the annual event support the programs, artists and craftswomen at Neighbor to Neighbor, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

Eulogy for Sister Lucy Schneider — Jan. 15, 1927 – Nov. 10, 2019

November 12, 2019 by  

Vigil: Nov. 12, 2019 at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Betty Suther

“There are only two or three human stories,

but they go on repeating themselves

as fiercely as if they had never happened before,

like the larks in this country

who have been singing the same five notes over and over

for thousands of years.”

 

This quote from Willa Cather is how Lucy ended her life review (and indeed her life!) along with the words from Scripture: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”. This seems a fitting beginning for this reflection on the life of Agnes Adele Schneider, known to us as Sister Lucy Schneider. Sister Lucy left us to join the heavenly chorus on Sunday morning, Nov. 10, 2019, at 12:55 a.m.

We offer our sympathy to Lucy’s family and friends gathered here this evening, especially to her sister Mary, her many nephews and nieces, to her two living band members, Sister Doris Marie and Mary Augustine, and to her dear friend and companion Sister Therese Blecha, and to all of us Sisters of St. Joseph who have appreciated and loved our Sister Lucy these 70 years.

Agnes was born on Jan. 15, 1927, to Lucy and John Schneider six miles west of Salina, their sixth and last child. Her siblings were Frances, John, Margaret, Mary and Lucy. Their father, John, died in 1956 and their mother, Lucy, in 1977. Her sister, Mary Ryan, is her only surviving sibling.  

The Schneider family remained close and they often gathered at the family farm. This farm, referred to as “the Land” or the “pasture,” had a great influence in their growing up. During World War II, much of the farming was done alongside their father. By the time she was old enough to help with the farming, the three oldest siblings, Frances, John and Margaret (Sister Monica), were gone from home and the younger three, according to Lucy, “did the farming, joyfully though laboriously with Father supplying all the know-how and preparations.”

Agnes and her siblings attended Sacred Heart School in Salina and the girls attended Marymount. Music was a vital part of her life. The Schneider children had all taken music lessons from early on. Agnes continued studying music at Marymount as well, but she especially loved “playing by ear” as it gave her the most enjoyment. (It was always fun to have Sister Lucy at the piano. All anyone had to do was name a song and she would play it and we would all join in the singing! She’d often make up clever lyrics to familiar tunes for our many festive occasions.)

Agnes entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia in 1948, and entered the novitiate on March 19, 1949. At that time she received the name “Lucy,” (her mother’s and her sister’s name). Following first vows in 1950, Lucy was sent on mission to Grand Island, Neb. In the years that followed she was missioned to teach in high schools in Manhattan, Sacred Heart in Salina, Concordia and at Marymount College. In the meantime, she also earned her master’s in English at Marquette University in the early ’50s. During the 1960s she attended Notre Dame University earning her doctorate in literature in 1967. Her dissertation, Willa Cather’s “Land-Philosophy” in Her Novels and Short Stories, proved to integrate her own love of the land in rural America.

Upon returning to Marymount, she chose to live at the Children’s Home in Salina during the 1970s and enjoyed ministry there with Sister Mary Lou Roberts, Sister Therese Blecha and Msgr. Alfred Wasinger. She continued to call that “home” no matter where she ventured in ministry. In fact, she said about the St. Joseph’s Children’s Home: It has “grown right into the flesh and bone of my life … I went there in 1969 and have never really left there in any final sense.”

In 1976, Sister Teresa Regal was already working at Red Cloud Indian School, Holy Rosary Mission, at Pine Ridge, South Dakota. She encouraged Lucy to come and join her. This began her love for the Native American people! She spent a year – 1977 — in Pine Ridge and then returned to Salina and Marymount heading up the English Department while living at the Children’s Home.

It wasn’t long before she returned to the north and to Red Cloud Indian School and Holy Rosary Mission where she taught English in the high school, acted as librarian, played the organ for Masses, helped with many other activities of the reservation and just sharing life with the Lakota people. In 1983, Lucy changed locations and moved to our Lady of Sorrows Parish, St. Stephen’s, Lower Medicine Root in Kyle, South Dakota, and St. John of the Cross in Allen, South Dakota. For 14 years Lucy imbibed the culture of the Lakota people. Their culture, their land and their language created within her a genuine reverence and love for all things Lakota.  

She remained there among the Lakota people until June of 1991 when she took on the ministry of coordinator of community services at the Motherhouse, along with Sister Doris Marie Flax. She held this position with Sister Doris Marie for three years, and then with Sister Janice Koelzer, for five more. Lucy loved her time at the Motherhouse. In her words this time “gave her an opportunity to love and appreciate with gratitude the essential goodness of the Sisters and the lay employees.” Of particular note during these years was the land hurricane of 1992 and her admiration and gratitude to Jerry Gallagher who courageously and generously led the Motherhouse household through this difficult time. Also and not least, most of us will remember Maude Dog, whose steady presence graced the outside and sometimes the inside of the Motherhouse.

Following the eight years as Motherhouse coordinator, Lucy directed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Concordia. During the next few years she facilitated the coordination of the RCIA programs between Concordia and St. John the Baptist Parish in Clyde, dividing her time evenly between these two parishes.  

In July of 2000 Sisters Therese Blecha, Lucille Herman and Lucy moved to the community-owned house on 15th street in Concordia. During the years following her “retirement” from full-time ministry, (around the time of her 80th birthday!) Lucy loved playing the organ at the parish, playing for parties at Mt. Joseph Senior Village and Sunset Home, Inc., and sometimes entertaining at Marquis Place, an assisted-living facilitiy. She was also a Eucharistic minister at the hospital, a proofreader for the CSJ newspaper, served at the local food bank, wrote eulogies for “Grains of Wheat,” created song parodies for special occasions and did many of the other “invisible” jobs within the local Concordia community. Lucy described this time as the “FULL TIME PASCAL MYSTERY!”

Although Lucy suffered physical setbacks in the remaining years of her life, including Meniere’s disease and breast cancer, she continued living life to its fullest. Lucy’s love for life and for the land inspired all of us. After many happy years on 15th street, she moved to the Motherhouse in 2015 where she continued to be an inspiration to us. Her spirituality was evident in the way she lived her life. Her devotion to St. Joseph began as a small child. In her life review she said that she always prayed to Joseph “to know my vocation, to have continued peace in our family, and to have a happy death.” This devotion endured throughout her life, even until her death.

Lucy moved to Mount Joseph Senior Village in January of 2018. While there just last July, with a Mass celebrated by her nephew Father Bob Schneider in celebration of her 70th Jubilee, family and friends gathered to share stories and remembrances of Lucy’s full life. Those of us gathered there were enriched by the many stories shared by nieces and nephews and friends telling of their obvious love, appreciation and admiration for Lucy!

Reading Lucy’s life review is like reading poetry! For example, she tells about “the thorn in the flesh” that has occurred a time or two in her life — in ministry, in human relationships — “but also [in] pastures and fields and hills, wheat and gardens and rose rocks, cattle and dogs and cats, meadowlarks and magpies and music, pasqueflowers and sunflowers and alfalfa fields, winds and rains and snows, songs and poems and stories, not to mention grandpas and grandmas, mothers and fathers, teenagers and children and babies. P.S. Windmills!” Nothing is immune to suffering. This wisdom shaped her life. She learned it the hard way as we all do. She learned it in her own experience and from the land which she so dearly loved.

And here’s another quotation from her Life Review: “Someone has spoken of the Incarnation of Jesus in terms of ‘the scandal of particularity’ — Jesus’ being one man, of one time, place, culture. Like my Brother Jesus, I, Lucy, as one person, limited also by time, place and culture. The Father graciously wills it so. And God also graciously wills Jesus’ resurrection and that of “all our relatives,” as the Lakota people say, mine included.” Thus her vision of life came full circle!

In Willa Cather’s novel, “O Pioneers,” Lucy loved the quotation we heard in the reading for this evening’s vigil and it bears repeating:

“We come and go,

but the land is always here,

and the people who love it and understand it,

are the people who ‘own’ it, for a little while.”

Dear Lucy, your presence among us has, like the land, left its loving mark on us and all who have known you, and we are grateful for the gift of your presence these nine-plus decades. We have known you and loved you and we have “owned” one another for a little while. May you now enjoy your new home in “the land” where all your relatives who have gone before you reside!

 

Memorials for Sister Lucy Schneider 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 Lucy Schneider’s memory, click on the button below:

DonateNow 

 

           

           

           

Fall into our latest Messenger

October 22, 2019 by  

We hope you enjoy our October edition of the Messenger. It’s a big one!

Learn more about the mission work our sisters are doing in Brazil. Follow along as some of our sisters take a trip to the Mexico border. Rejoice as two sisters profess vows … and be sure to check our calendar page for upcoming retreats, seminars and fun events.

The print edition has been mailed, 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!

“Knuffle Bunny” will be featured book for November’s Reading with Friends

October 21, 2019 by  

November’s book for Reading with Friends at Neighbor to Neighbor will be “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” by award-winning writer Mo Willems.


Trixie, Daddy and Knuffle Bunny take a trip to the neighborhood Laundromat. But the exciting adventure takes a dramatic turn when Trixie realizes “somebunny” has been left behind.

The book will be read by special guest Dr. Adrian Douglas of Cloud County Community College.

Story time will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 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.

Eulogy for Sister Nancy Meade — Dec. 10, 1938 – Oct. 14, 2019

October 17, 2019 by  

Vigil: Oct. 17, 2019 at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Faye Huelsmann

I am privileged to share some of the life of Sister Nancy.

Music and musicals — only two of the gifts that defined Sister Nancy Helen Meade’s life. Nancy had a naturally cheery and welcoming smile and typically called people ‘sweety’ or ‘honey’. Even as I touched her arm to get her attention when she was bent over and simply waiting, waiting … she asked, “Honey, What can I do for you?”

Nancy was born Dec. 10, 1938, in Abilene, Kan., to Cornelius Samuel Meade and Minnie Belle Lake. Born two months early and weighing 3 pounds, she was baptized immediately. Nancy was the youngest of six children. She had three brothers and two sisters, all of whom are deceased. Her sisters were Frances and Mary Ann. Her brothers were Jack, Robert and Larry. She has several living nieces and nephews.

Nancy’s brother, Jack, gave her the nickname “Bird” during their early years because she was always singing.

After completing grade and high school in Abilene, she attended MaryMount College in the fall of 1957. Her plans were to major in music and chemistry and maybe be a med-tech since she had a sister who was a med-tech. During that year, Nancy made the decision to follow a religious vocation. I quote from an article written about Nancy when she celebrated 25 years of service in Boonville, Mo. About her vocation, she said, “You don’t really decide to become a sister. It’s like there’s this little voice that keeps bugging you saying, ‘Maybe this is the kind of work you need to be doing. Do the Lord’s work.’ ”

The following September 1958, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, the sisters who opened and staffed MaryMount College. She stated that she has never ever regretted the decision to become a sister.

Following her formation years, she was assigned to Aurora, Ill., to teach music, her first love and her first mission. She taught classroom music in the following years in Gladstone, Mich., and then went to Boonville, Mo., where she spent a total of 28 years. She also gave piano lessons.

She taught music in New Mexico for two years before returning to Boonville. During all those years she also obtained a master’s degree in music education from the University of Colorado, a degree in theater from Stephen’s College and obtained a certificate in youth ministry.

In regard to her music, she said she really loved doing musicals. To quote her, she said, “It was a blast.” For many years she involved the junior high students from the Catholic school and local community in the production of many musicals. Asked which was her favorite musical she readily said, “Peter Pan.” This even included the flying part! She had many who helped her in whatever way they could. A few of the other musicals she directed were “Oliver,” “Brigadoon, “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Oklahoma.” She produced a musical every year in Boonville during her years there. Someone told me she had it down to a science and each year most of the same crews came back to do their part, such as lighting, piano help and construction.

The students vied for playing the chosen main characters. Boonville’s famous Thespian Hall Theatre invited her to use their location after several seasons. That was a rewarding invitation! Those who worked with her acknowledged how good she was at getting people involved. Indeed, there was plenty to do and Nancy did a good job of directing so that everything ran smoothly.

In addition, she made sure you were having fun while you worked.

Nancy was accomplished in being the youth minister in the parish, a ministry she was invited to do in the 90s. She accepted this work after being assured that she could still teach religion in the school and work with the youth the rest of the time.

She loved taking students on trips to Washington D.C., helping with youth retreats and offering support to student groups. I imagine she went canoeing with some of them. Certainly Nancy loved canoeing and in one incident they got in a swirl and were dumped from their canoe — along with her dog — but managed to hang on to a log until they were rescued.

Nancy said she quit working when her hearing became impaired.

That was about 2004. Nancy was always an avid reader and during retirement years she had time to read. Those who supplied books to her had a hard time keeping up with her.

Even though she was retired, she did accept an invitation from Sister Pat Lewter and myself to come to Grand Junction, Colo., to live with us and help at our counseling center with office work for a year. She took on a project of making about 15 drums from various items she collected, decorated them and taught drumming to some of the adolescent groups held at CEC.

Now for a fun incident! A sister friend of hers from The Sisters of Charity, Linda Dean, lived in Grand Junction. Before Nancy knew it, her friend had talked her into submitting a peach pie for the Peach Festival held every year in Palisade. She had a delicious fresh peach pie recipe and to the astonishment of all of us, she won first prize! And of course, I got her recipe.

In her life history she stated that while living at the Motherhouse, she enjoyed helping out with jobs that needed to be done such as helping in the vegetable room — all the veggies brought in from the garden needed to be prepped!

Also included in what she said about her final years was, “My desire now is to grow spiritually through making retreats, reading and sharing with others. I am grateful for having grown up in a wonderful family. We loved each other, prayed together and shared experiences together. I loved the Mass and my years as a Sister of St. Joseph.”

In summary, I believe Maxim 64 fits her life: “ Strive to be kind always to everyone and unkind to no one.”

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, KS 66901.

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

DonateNow 

 

 

 

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.

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Panther Pride Garden Club visits Motherhouse garden

September 27, 2019 by  

Friday, Sept. 27, was a beautiful morning for a school field trip. Surrounded by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, the Panther Pride Garden Club explored the Nazareth Motherhouse organic garden.

This is the first year for the club, said Kristen Peltier, first grade teacher and club advisor at Concordia Elementary School. The members range from kindergarten to fourth grade.

Lyle Pounds, the organic gardener for the Motherhouse, greeted the kids and put them to work as they toured the garden.

Pounds played a guessing game with them where they identified fresh-picked beets, turnips and cucumbers, before sharing a little bit about the organic part of the garden.

“This has been a garden spot for over 100 years,” Pounds said. “This ground is so fertile. It hasn’t rained for a few days, but you can see the ground is still moist from all the organic matter in it.”

He showed the kids a trench filled with kitchen scraps running down a row in between rows of vegetables and zinnias.

“It looks like garbage, but its compost,” Pounds explained. “These are all scraps from the kitchen. Instead of having one giant compost pile, it goes into a row and is covered up. Next year we’ll plant vegetables there. It’s just like fertilizer.”

Pounds explained to the group that the sisters like to keep the garden organic, which means avoiding chemical fertilizers and bug sprays.

Then it was time to get to work. Pounds let them get their hands dirty harvesting radishes, green bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes and peanuts. They even picked a watermelon.

“The peanuts are normally a southern crop,” Pounds said as the kids plucked them off the roots of the plant. “This will be a meal for the squirrels in the wintertime.”

Many of the crops grown were for the benefit of the wildlife. Sunflowers will be used for seed for the birds, the zinnias attract the butterflies and hummingbirds, and one of the highlights of the trip was seeing all the black swallowtail caterpillars on a big bunch of fennel.

The group left with some of the harvest that they had picked, a plate of cookies from the Motherhouse kitchen, and a better knowledge of organic gardening.

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