Video of Funeral Mass and Eulogy for Sister Therese Blecha

January 7, 2021 by  

Please click this link to view the video of the Funeral Mass of Sister Therese Blecha which took place Jan. 7, 2021 at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia.


Eulogy for Sister Therese Blecha — April 15, 1941 – Jan. 4, 2021

January 6, 2021 by  

All of us, when reflecting on who Therese was at her core, have our own descriptions. What comes to mind for me is faithfulness. Faithfulness. When writing to Mother Helena asking to enter the novitiate in 1963, Therese wrote, “I have learned a great deal about God and loving and doing all for Him; the more I learn the more I desire to know and serve Him alone and so goes the cycle of love.” She further asked for God’s grace to “help her with that until He shall call me from this life.” That was Therese’s deepest hunger all those many years ago. Even with her diagnosis of Wegener’s Disease and especially in these past weeks we saw her remain resolutely steadfast in that desire.

Therese was born in Belleville, Kansas, on April 15, 1941 and baptized Eloise Ann. She was the second of six children born to Ernest and Eleanor Baxa Blecha. She had an older brother, Richard, and after her came Marjorie, Marie, Cathie and David. They grew up on a farm. She was educated in a one-room school house but said there were always three or four other kids in my elementary classes.

Therese’s main interests in high school were studying science, playing the flute in the band and singing in the chorus. She was homecoming queen during her senior year.

Therese had gone to public schools and so did not have contact with religious sisters except during Vacation Bible School in grade school.

After high school graduation one of her friends enrolled in Marymount College in Salina and so Therese was attracted to Marymount. Her advisor was S. Mary Grace who deepened her interest in chemistry. After her sophomore year she did mission work with Fr. Wempe in Alma, Kansas. This mission work including visiting all the homes in his parishes to talk about their family life but also to talk about their religious beliefs and practices. The home visits included non-Catholics as well as Catholics. Therese found this time very inspiring and life-giving. It helped her decide what she wanted to do with her life. She remembered the sisters from Vacation Bible School and those she knew at Marymount and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph at the end of her junior year. Incidentally, she entered the postulancy on her parents’ 25th wedding anniversary.

When she received the habit in August 1963 she was given the name Mary Therese. Later, in writing to Mother Helena asking to make temporary vows, Therese said, “The novitiate has enabled me to gain a deeper insight into religious life. I have begun to realize that the ordinary religious doesn’t travel the road the sanctity by jet but rather she must travel it day by day, sacrifice by sacrifice, trial by trial, with untiring effort. It may indeed be stormy weather at times but it is these difficulties which add to the joy of the religious for they are only visible proofs of God’s love.” After novitiate she returned to Marymount and graduated with a double major in chemistry and biology.

She began her teaching career at Saints Peter and Paul High School in Boonville, Missouri. As Therese said, “This was a challenge as I thought I knew everything about teaching but I quickly found out that I really didn’t know much at all. With the help of Sister Alexine Marie, I made it through the first year.” It was an exciting time because in addition to teaching all day, she helped with the music program, started the science fair, was in charge of class plays and proms, was the girls physical education teacher as well as head coach for girls’ softball, basketball and track. It was while coaching that Therese changed from the habit into secular clothing discovering it made running up and down the basketball court much easier.

Therese had a healthy ability to laugh at herself. She tells the story of being at Sacred Heart High School in Salina and deciding to change her teaching method from one of lecture-based to hands-on learning. After a while she asked the students how they liked this new method. They said, “Sister, this is so much better because you are so much less grouchy.” With a laugh Therese said she interpreted that in the most favorable sense and decided that meant that they got more individual attention.

Therese was asked to be a house parent at St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Salina. She found working with children who are not wanted by their parents a real challenge but Therese threw herself into that and worked to make each child feel cared for and loved. Throughout the years since then Therese often told many stories from the Children’s Home because that ministry touched her so deeply.

Therese was an educator par excellence. She was a lifelong student herself. She had a degree from Marymount with a double major in chemistry and biology, a Master’s from the University of North Dakota in chemistry and biology, a second Master’s from Kansas State University in organic chemistry and a PhD from Kansas State University in chemical education.

Therese continued to be fascinated with nature, astronomy and natural things created by God. She had a special passion for wanting to teach people about science who were not scientifically minded. Her dissertation for her PhD was on the “Development of Demonstrations and Models to be used in Classes for Non-chemistry Majors.” Her whole purpose was to enable those students to develop a positive attitude and appreciation of science. She wanted others to experience that same joy of being in awe of God’s creation that she did.

After Marymount College closed she taught at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, where she earned full professorship and tenure. Again, wanting to impart her love for science she developed a curriculum for teachers of elementary students enabling them to teach physics and chemistry to younger students. They were hands-on courses and she wanted teachers to teach the basic principles of science in a way that was fun and would encourage students to continue learning throughout their life.

In 1993 the Leadership Council challenged her again asking her to become treasurer of our Congregation. She accepted that position after much discernment and prayer. Therese acknowledged that she had no knowledge of accounting and financial management so, characteristic of Therese, she immediately threw herself into taking classes at the local community college and Kansas Wesleyan. Therese did find it difficult to go from being in a classroom interacting with people to being somewhat, as she said, “cloistered” in an office. In fact, she described that as quite traumatic for her but again we see the thread of faithfulness throughout her life. She threw herself into attending national meetings of treasurers, working with sisters and continuing to educate herself. That was Therese – willing to do whatever was needed. She held that position for 14 years leaving it in June 2008.

More recently, Therese served on the Leadership Council and served a second term as Vice-president of the Congregation She was just a few months into serving as vice-president when she became critically ill and was diagnosed with Wegener’s Disease. The disease affected her eyesight, her hearing, the loss of her hair, kidneys and more. Although Therese never complained it was a terrible burden for her to constantly wonder if her next pain or cough was a simple everyday pain or cough or whether it was the disease flaring up. Yet, when she could Therese continued to go into the office and serve the community as best she could.

Therese’s fervent desire prayed as a very young woman, “To know and serve God alone – the cycle of Love” can be seen in everything Therese did – her various ministries, her love of family and her Czech heritage – so proud of the people of Belleville, Cuba and surrounding areas, her appreciation for tasting beer from other countries, her affinity for music often cantering at mass, her true delight in following favored sports teams, her joy in God’s creation. One of Therese’s most notable attributes was her acceptance of people just as they were. Therese genuinely assumed the best in people.

Therese always said that her most precious possessions were her faith and her prayer life but quickly added that these would not be possible if not for the faith and prayer life of her community, family and friends. We bid farewell to Therese trusting her words that we have influenced her life and knowing that she has gifted us with her life and example in more ways than we can even know.




Obituary for Sister Therese Blecha — April 15, 1941 – Jan. 4, 2021

January 5, 2021 by  

Sister Therese Blecha died Jan. 4, 2021, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas. She was 79 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia for 57 years. She was born in Belleville, Kansas, on April 15, 1941, to Ernest and Eleanor Baxa Blecha, the second of six children, and was baptized Eloise Ann. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 8, 1962. On Aug. 14, 1963, Eloise received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Therese. She pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1964 and final vows on Aug. 15, 1969.

Sister Therese began her undergraduate studies at Marymount College in 1959. Upon completion of her novitiate she returned to Marymount and completed her bachelor’s of science degree with a double major in chemistry and biology in 1965. For the next four years she taught in Boonville, Missouri, before returning to Sacred Heart High School in Salina where she taught from 1969-71. Therese began graduate work in 1973 and by 1976 she had completed all course work for her master’s degree and then a second master’s degree. By 1981 she completed her research project in organic chemistry and received her Ph.D. from Kansas State University. She returned to Marymount to serve on the faculty from 1976 until the college closed in 1989. From 1989 until 1993 she taught chemistry at St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, Indiana.

In 1993 she was appointed as General Treasurer of the Congregation; a position she held until retiring in 2008. In 2012 she was elected to the Leadership Council of the Congregation; followed by being elected Vice President of the Congregation in 2016. Her term ended in July of 2020.

Sister Therese was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her brothers Richard, of Salina, and David, of Munden; sisters Marjorie Schmitz and Marie Chmidling, of Topeka, and Cathie Switzer, of Concordia. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Jan. 7 in the Motherhouse Auditorium with Rev. Barry Brinkman presiding. The eulogist is Sister Jean Rosemarynoski. Due to the safety precautions for Covid-19, the funeral mass will be private. However, it will be livestreamed on the Sisters of St. Joseph Facebook page. The burial will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. Chaput-Buoy Mortuary, 325 W. Sixth St., Concordia, is in charge of arrangements. Memorials for Sister Therese Blecha 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 Therese Blecha’s memory, click on the button below:


CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO LINK: Mass celebrates the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia’s 2020 Jubilarians

September 20, 2020 by  

Click on the video player to watch!

VIDEO: Click here to watch the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia honor their 2020 Jubilarians (Program)

September 18, 2020 by  


Click the link below to watch the the 2020 Jubilian program.



Sisters of St Joseph of Concordia honor their 2020 jubilarians!

Posted by Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas on Sunday, September 20, 2020

Eulogy for Sister Ann Glatter — March 28, 1929 – Aug. 8, 2020

August 10, 2020 by  

Vigil: Aug. 11, 2020, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Written by Sister Mary Savoie and read by Sister Jean Rosemarynoski

Sister Ann Glatter, daughter of Vincent and Ann (Frank) Glatter, was born on March 28, 1929 on a farm northwest of Amherst, Nebraska, and given the name Mary Alice Glatter. She had three sisters and three brothers; three died in infancy and Margaret, Nancy and Don are all deceased. Her 18 nieces and nephews have always been the highlight of Mary Alice’s life.

Mary Alice Glatter left home to follow God’s call when her parents would, no doubt, have appreciated her assistance with their busy family life on the farm. But God had always been first in her life and the life of her parents and family.

Mary Alice Glatter attended Sunny Side Grade School which was across the pasture from her home. She graduated from the Amherst, Nebraska, High School in 1947.

On February 2, 1948, a blustery blizzard cold day, at the age of 19 years, Mary Alice Glatter came up the long front steps of Nazareth Convent in Concordia, Kansas. Her possessions were a deck of cards, a little toy tractor, and a 10 cent set of silverware purchased at a store on her trip to Concordia. She walked in the front door totally unexpected as she had never answered the letter from the convent stating the date of entrance for the postulants.

When she entered the novitiate, Mary Alice received the name Sister Ann Vincent. In August of 1949, she pronounced her temporary vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity. She pronounced her final vows on Aug. 15, 1953. Her surviving band member is Sister Charlotte Lutgen. She later dropped the name Vincent and preferred just Sister Ann.

To share some highlights of Sister Ann’s life among us, I would like to quote some of the personal messages she wrote about herself for her 70th anniversary as a Sister of St. Joseph. We all know about the many years she provided tons of fresh vegetables and fruit for our meals here at the Motherhouse. But here is what she shared about herself as she celebrated her 70th year among us.

“There have been many joys in my life as a Sister of St. Joseph. I was able to serve the poor and needy in many ways. I supported many teenaged boys who were going through the court system and had them work out their probation with me in our community garden. Many other young people came and worked with me in the garden. I also appreciated the many times I was able to help men traveling through Concordia and in need of assistance. I called them ‘St. Josephs’ and tried to be, as Jesus would have been, helpful to them. Also, over the years I have been able to belong to and help the St. Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary, especially their Mardi Gras celebrations. I also spent many hours praying in the chapel, especially during the funeral services of our Sisters. In fact, I had the privilege of being a Hospice Volunteer during which I visited and prayed with many dying persons. Letter writing was also a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends and offer prayers for them. I am very grateful for my life among my Sisters of St. Joseph. I am truly blessed. My life has been full to the brim.”

Sister Ann Glatter’s life was one of admired talents, hard work, total self-giving, sensitive compassion, assistance to people living in poverty and down-trodden, and fulfillment of her deep and life-time oneness with the earth and God’s creatures. All she did was for the benefit of others.

She entered into contact with soil and she felt at one with the Earth. She once said of herself: “I probably would not have persevered in religious life had I not been able to be in touch with the soil and roam around through garden paths each day and night. A garden’s beauty is not only a thing of joy to me, but also a sign of God’s loving providence over all of us, his children.”

Sister Ann would not be happy with us if all we concentrated on were the so called ‘flowers’ of her life. As we all know, some of the garden in her life wilted and was drought stricken. There were several crooks and curves and near dead-ends in her life. She recently said this about her life: “There have been many trials in my life when temptations to live respectfully were painful to me, but with God’s help and the help of my community members, I labored untiringly in the Lord’s vineyard”.

Sister Ann also asked that the following reflection be added to her eulogy. I believe it is an honest reflection of her daily conversion of heart.

“In a sense my religious life mirrors the work undertaken in the garden. Daily existence in the convent has its quiet succession of hours, days, months, seasons and years in which I was given the time to labor spiritually for the good of my soul. The autumn of my life has arrived and I look forward to reaping from the seeds of my life with sincere humility. I pray daily to the Lord of the harvest, to be able to yield a bountiful crop rendering fruit into eternal life knowing that the humble work of my hands has been a form of prayer.”

Faithful to prayer, retirement offered Sister Ann the opportunity to spend a notable amount of time in the Motherhouse chapel, communing with, as she put it, ‘Our Blessed Lord’ and inspiring those who observed her daily communing with God, manifested in her relaxed, smiling, contemplative countenance.

Sister Ann died on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020.

So now we say, thank you, dear friend, for your life among us as we return you to God’s loving embrace.

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


CLICK HERE for Livestream link for Sister Ann Glatter’s funeral mass at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 11, 2020

August 10, 2020 by  

The live stream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11. If you are having difficulty with this feed, there also will be a Facebook Live stream, however the sound should be much better on this link.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for Sister Ann Glatter’s family, friends and Community.

Obituary for Sister Ann Glatter — March 28, 1929 – Aug. 8, 2020

August 10, 2020 by  

Sister Ann Glatter died Aug. 8, 2020, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas.  She was 91 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia for 72  years.  She was born in Amherst, Nebraska, on March 28, 1929 to Vincent and Anna Franke Glatter, the fifth of seven children, and was baptized Mary Alice. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Feb. 2, 1948. On Aug. 15, 1948, Mary Alice received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Ann Vincent, later changing to Sister Ann.  She pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1949, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1953.

Sister Ann served the community as gardener at the Motherhouse for 60 years. In addition to lawn and yard work at the Motherhouse, Sister Ann refurnished chairs and chapel pews and worked in ceramics. She was recognized in October 1996 by the Concordia Area Chamber of Commerce for her lifetime of volunteer service to the community. In 2000, Sister Ann was honored by the American Red Cross for donating blood 126 times. She was described as a “legend” in Concordia whom people knew and expected to turn up wherever there was action or a need for help. 

Sister Ann was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers and three sisters.  The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Aug.11 in the Motherhouse Chapel with Rev. Barry Brinkman presiding. Due to the safety precautions for Covid-19, the funeral mass will be private. However, it will be livestreamed on the Sisters of St. Joseph Facebook page and website.  The burial will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. 

Chaput-Buoy Funeral Home, 325 W. Sixth St., Concordia, is in charge of arrangements.  Memorials for Sister Ann Glatter 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 Ann Glatter’s memory, click on the button below:


Eulogy for Sister Geraldine Milke — July 7, 1932 – July 16, 2020

July 20, 2020 by  

Vigil: July 20, 2020, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Written by Sister Rita Plante and delivered by Sister Mary Jo Thummel

It is a privilege to have been asked by Sister Gerry to give her eulogy. Some years ago, when she asked me to do this, I said I would but please not too soon. She smiled. Her smile was her greatest gift to me and to those close to her, especially in her last years to those who were her care givers and the sisters with whom she lived. We lived together at South Mound here in Concordia in the 90s and both worked at the Motherhouse, she as Charge Nurse and I at the front desk. We lived with Sisters Margarita, Redempta and Evangelista. In 1998 the three sisters moved to the Motherhouse and there we were, a couple of sisters in a big house. That is when we became close friends. There is a book by Leon Bloy entitled “We Have Been Friends Together “ That sort of says it all for me.

Gerry’s favorite scripture verse was from Micah 6:8: “ He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? “ TO ACT JUSTLY AND TO LOVE TENDERLY AND TO WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD.” And she did.

 Gerry was born the youngest of 5 children.: Mildred, Francis, Clarence and Deloris.

She was born on July 7, 1932. She doesn’t mention her parents names but she tells us that her mother was very loving, patient and prayerful. Her mother’s special gift was that if she couldn’t say anything good about a person, she chose to say nothing. Her mother died in May 1968, at the age of 72, in the hospital where Gerry worked and Gerry was at her side. Of her father, she says she saw him as cold and jealous. However, during the last years of her mother’s life, she learned to know him as very loving, hurting and desiring to be loved. At her mother’s death was when he seemed to acquire all her beautiful qualities. Of him she said, “I now saw him as gentle, warm, loving, sensitive and caring.”

He died in December 1968.

She doesn’t say where they lived but I know was in Victoria and Hays Kansas area. Gerry was baptized Geraldine Agnes by Rev. George Karlin O FM Cap.

My childhood is very vague to me , she said. We lived on a farm miles away from town and I loved the outdoors and horseback riding. She attended a country school and in grades seven and eight was taught by Sisters of St. Joseph at a Catholic school. “I greatly admired these Sisters and would feel the desire to be one.” she said.       

She graduated from high school as salutatorian of her class and received a scholarship for Marymount College. Her father said she should go to Fort Hays because if she goes to Marymount, she’ll become a nun. To that she said “NOT ME!”

We know the rest of that story. Sister Alberta was her student counselor and a very special person in her life. She entered Marymount in September 1950. During the three-day retreat, she found herself picking up some pamphlets entitled: “Should my daughter be a nun?”

She says she promptly dropped them because she would probably marry someday. During those days, she said she become aware the Lord was calling her to religious life and tried to sleep the thought away, but it remained when she awakened. She prayed about it and then requested entrance into the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She entered on Feb. 14, 1951, and received the habit on Aug. 15, 1951, and given the name Sister Constance. She made her first vows in 1952 and final profession of vows in 1955.


From 1959 to 1962 she was in Atwood, Kansas, working in surgery and floor duty. These were good years and much work. This time was followed by a month of Tertianship, Silver City, NM.

From 1962 to 1965 she was in Belvidere , Illinois, where she was supervisor of operating and emergency room. She said she enjoyed that. “The last few months were supervising the medical floor which I found quite painful. This floor needed lots of organization but I embraced the challenge and did all I could.”

From 1966 to 1977 , Gerry went to Concordia, Kansas, to St. Joseph’s Hospital operating and emergency rooms. These are the beginning of what might be called the “Dark Night of the Soul.” During these years her parents died. During these years Vatican II happened and as she says “responsible freedom” entered into her life.

“I did not know how to handle this responsible freedom.”

Gerry sought help and was blessed with many teachers and mentors along the way. Sister Bette Moslander is mentioned as a constant mentor during this time. One of the things Bette suggested was Father Frost’s Personal Growth Seminar. Gerry accepted this and felt gifted to have the experience. She says, “Father Frost reflected Jesus to me in a very special and real way. I appreciated being accepted as a person with all my brokenness.” For her this was the “light at the end of the tunnel”

In 1981, Gerry’s next mission was St. Mary’s Convent in Concordia, of which she says, “I feel very enriched as I listen to and pray with our aged Sisters.”

 In 1982, she says she was asked by a priest to be his prayer partner during Lent. Of this she says “I find this both exhausting and humbling.”

Of November 1982 she shares a time of lukewarmness and frequent mood changes. This was very scary for her remembering what Jesus said about being neither hot nor cold … BUT as she reflected upon it she came to an awareness to STRIP SELF OF SELF, PUT ON JESUS CHRIST AND BE ONLY FOR GOD AND ONE ANOTHER.”

Her life story ends in 1982 … with her returning to her baptismal name, Geraldine Agnes. Of this she says, “I feel it is very significant at this time of my life, following the dying process of the past months. I feel called to rise to a new life in Jesus”

But this is not the end of the story … just the beginning …

In 2014, she wrote: I commit myself “ to act justly and to love tenderly and to walk humbly with my God.”

In 2018 Gerry wrote her last recorded commitment which stated “I commit myself to life for time and eternity.”

A Not So Perfect Sonnet for Sister Gerry Milke

Oh quiet friend you are so dear to me

Your smile says much more than I will know

Once your feet walked miles in the halls

Of hospitals,surgery rooms each day you’d go

To be God’s hands and heart in loving care

You rose each day and knelt to Him in prayer

For each patient, doctor, nurse you’d pray

That You oh God would be with them in every way.

But you I only knew at Nazareth

When you were nurse and I receptionist.

Your loving support, I counted on your prayer

I knew you prayed each day in the chapel there.

   My thanks I give to God for all your love

   And know you are held close in heaven above.


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



CLICK HERE for live stream video of Bible Vigil for Sister Geraldine Milke beginning 9:30 a.m. July 20

July 19, 2020 by  


The live stream will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, July 20. It also will include the 11 a.m. funeral mass. If you are having difficulty with this feed, there also will be a Facebook Live stream, however the sound should be much better on this link.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for Sister Geraldine Milke’s family and Community.

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