Eulogy for Sister Anne Martin Reinert — Aug. 13, 1931 – June 8, 2022

June 13, 2022 by  

VIGIL: June 13, 2022, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Judy Stephens

Maxim 55. Be nothing to yourself and be utterly given to God and to the neighbor.

Sister Anne Martin Reinert was born on Aug. 13, 1931, and was baptized Irene Catherine Reinert. Her parents are Anna (Geerdes) Reinert and Theodore Reinert. She was the second of nine children, all born at home with the help of a midwife that was her aunt.

Her siblings are: Mary Ritter (deceased), Madonna Cully (deceased), Wilfrid Reinert, Caroline Jacobs, Janet Berger, Dennis Reinert, Katherine Fitzgibbons (deceased), and Ruth Reinert.
Irene grew up during a time of drought and dust storms in Kansas. The family produced their own food. Their mother made their clothing from flour sacks. They had a gas lantern for light in the evenings. Her Dad said that she “cost the most” because by the time she was born they needed a washing machine and a sewing machine!

Some of the things that impacted her greatly as a child was her own frail health caused by chronic tonsillitis. She suffered from earaches often and pain in her legs. Her Mother would not let her play too hard so that she wouldn’t cry at night with pain. Later her tonsils were removed, but their influence stayed with her.

When her youngest sister Ruth was still a baby, her mother Anna became ill with rheumatic fever and was in bed for six weeks. Irene, being the oldest daughter at home now, took on the responsibilities of being mother, nurse, and tending to all the household chores. Her older sister, Mary, was attending high school in Wichita with the Precious Blood Sisters, but was there to help when she came home.

Irene’s entire childhood was spent in the small rural community of Seguin, Kansas. Her First Communion was memorable. She said her hair was cut really short for the event, and a classmate’s hair and veil caught fire as they came to the altar to receive the Eucharist! Thankfully, the priest was able to put it out!

Praying the rosary and litanies was a family tradition, especially during May and October. Sometimes they sat on the front porch and could see the Milky Way take form while they prayed.
Irene’s vocational call is most striking. She said “From early days when brothers and sisters would tease me of boyfriends, my mother would say that I would be a ‘Sister!’ I believed this to be true and resisted as much as I could. I would avoid saying the prayer for vocations whenever I could, because somehow I was afraid God would want me.”

Her parents strongly believed that their children should receive a Catholic education. She attended the public high school in Leoville that was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Her teacher was Sister Alexine Marie who taught “how vocations come about.”

On hearing this instruction, Irene promised herself that she would never enter the convent! She finished high school at the public school in Hoxie, so no longer feared religious life. Except she continued to avoid saying the prayer for vocations.

After graduation, Irene when into nurses training at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manhattan, Kansas. This led to classwork at Marymount, and she said, “Again I found myself confronted with the possibility of a religious vocation.”

Sister Clement Marie, her counselor, asked her if she had ever thought she was being called to a religious vocation. Irene said, “It was as if she read the secret of my heart, of what I feared most.”
Sister Clement Marie invited her to Concordia and to visit the Motherhouse.

After that visit, Irene wrote, “The time arrived and with a mixture of tears and homesickness,” I could “no longer fight the inevitable.”

In 1949 she asked permission of her parents by writing a letter and placing it under her father’s dinner plate on Christmas Day. It was indeed a special dinner and a special day.

Irene entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 8, 1950. On March 19, 1951, those who received the habit with her were: Sisters Mary Evan Griffith, Benedicta Moeder, Ann David Averill, Josetta Augustine, Leah Smith, Cecilia Green, and Rosalyn Juenemann. Irene was given the name Sister Anne Martin. Of this group, Sister Cecilia Green is here in the name of all of them. Of her band members she commented that Sister Benedicta and Sister Leah both showed a generous, loving way to die.

Sister Anne Martin was assigned back to St. Mary’s hospital in Manhattan. She found it hard to balance her studies and prayer. She received her nursing degree from Marymount College in 1955 and made her final profession the same year.

Her first mission was as a night nurse at St. Mary’s hospital, again in Manhattan. She recalls two special events while missioned there. Sister Fidelis arranged to take four of them along with sack lunches to Pilsen, Kansas, to visit the hometown of Father Emil Kapaun. Sister Kathleen Flood was the driver. Upon reaching the farm house where he had lived, his Mother greeted them and invited them in. After their visit and as they were leaving, she gave them a black knit shawl that was his. They removed a tassel from the shawl and divided it among them and Sister Anne Martin placed hers inside her profession cross.

Another special event was a road trip to visit the new hospital in Belvidere, Illinois.

In 1965, Sister Anne Martin was assigned to St. Joseph Hospital in El Paso, Texas. She traveled there by train, arriving the next day “in a dry desert where even the cactuses were dry,” she said. She felt emotional and homesick, but in time “grew to love El Paso and the people.”

In her writings she reflected about the years following Vatican II when so many changes were taking place. Especially difficult for her was when sisters chose to leave the community. She said each time it was like another funeral for her. At times she wondered if she should also go. During this very trying time she sought counsel from her regional coordinator and from her spiritual director.
A turning point for her was when a dear cousin, Peter Reinert, who was ill with polycystic kidney disease, needed a kidney donor. She found in herself a strong desire to be his donor. With that she said, “I began not only to have the desire to live, but to be the one who would donate the kidney. It made sense that I needed to get on with my life …. I began active participation in my own life….”
She felt much support from the Sisters in Concordia and sought out employment and living. She was accepted into one of the initial small group living homes. She was given permission to be a kidney donor, although that never came about.

These events seemed to be the turning point in her life. She began to “take active part in discovering myself first as a person who is loveble, and then as a person who voluntarily was living a vowed life in a changing community.” And that “God is Love!”

Sister Anne Martin then became part of the initial staff that started the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program at St. Joseph Hospital in Concordia. This was a “most joyous nursing experience.” When that program closed because of lack of funding, she was offered a sabbatical year in 1984. She attended the CREDO program of theology courses at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Upon returning to Concordia, she and Sister Mary Esther Otter were invited to help start St. Clare House in Junction City, Kansas, with Sister Viatora Solbach. While there, she worked the evening shift at the hospital in order to provide income for St. Clare House.

Later she and Sister Susan Kongs lived together and were asked to have a novice live with them, which they enjoyed very much.
After 17 years working at the hospital in Junction City, Anne returned to Concordia in 2002 to assist with the elderly sisters at the Motherhouse under the direction of Sister Francis Cabrini. She also enjoyed this very much.

In 2006, Anne went home to Seguin to care for her elderly mother. She said ,“What a blessing it was for me to be there for her in the last moments of her earthly life.” Her mother died Nov. 22, 2007. She returned to the Motherhouse to live on 4th floor.

Sister Anne was appointed as Community Life Coordinator for the Sisters at Mt. Joseph in July of 2009. Of this ministry she said, it “always kept me busy but I loved every minute of it.” She visited each sister every day, accompanied them to doctor’s appointments and responded to their individual needs.

When Anne was no longer able to drive and tend to the Sisters’ needs, Sister Janet LeDuc became the Community Life Coordinator at Mt. Joseph.
Sister Anne Martin moved to Stafford Hall in March 2016, now needing nursing assistance. She said that she still needs “to downsize the many things I have carried from one mission to the next!” But her real mission was to nap and to pray. She closed her remarks with gratitude for everything.

Sister Anne Martin died peacefully on the afternoon of June 8, 2022.

I will close with this scripture from the gospel of Matthew: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Mt. 25; 21

To make an online donation in honor of Sister Anne Martin Reinert, click the link below.


Eulogy for Sister Dorothy Hoover — Nov. 14, 1929 – Jan. 30, 2022

April 3, 2022 by  

Vigil: Feb. 3, 2022, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Janet Lander

In the Maxims of the Little Institute, written by our founder, Fr. Jean-Pierre Médaille, we hear the invitation: “Accordingly, pursue to the very end and with gentleness and vigor what you have once and for all resolved and what you prudently believe corresponds to the greater glory of God.” (MLI, 67) Sister Dorothy Hoover passed into eternal life on Sunday, Jan, 30, 2022. In her life, I believe we will find an example of one who lived this maxim well.

Dorothy Josephine Hoover was born Nov. 14, 1929 in the hospital in Junction City. Her parents were Laurence and Josephine (Caspar) Hoover. She was baptized at St. Xavier Church,  Junction City, on Jan. 5, 1930. Her younger brothers, Bernard and James, were born in the next few years. Bernard was to marry and become a doctor. Jim became a priest in the Salina Diocese.
They all grew up on a farm two miles east of Junction City. Dorothy often shared memories of all they had to do on the farm. But one of her most vivid memories from her youth is that of being saved from drowning when she was 14. She recounted, “My life went before me. I am grateful to the mercy of God for surviving.”

Dorothy and her brothers were active in 4-H and also took piano lessons from the Sisters of St. Joseph. Dorothy attended both grade school and high school at St. Xavier’s. She was always grateful for her 12 years of Catholic education. She graduated from high school in May of 1947. In her life review she says, “Our Catholic faith had a high priority in the family … To miss Sunday Mass was never an option. Our family life was much involved with St. Xavier’s Parish. We took eggs from the farm to the sisters every week when I was a child. … Attendance at school had a high priority and we were rewarded if we worked for grades. I grew up surrounded by much extended family. … Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas were big family reunions.”

After high school, Dorothy and her best friend, Pat, chose St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wichita for nurses’ training. While she was in training she accompanied a school chorus. She graduated in August of 1950, and began working at St. Joseph’s Hospital. From 1951 to 1952 she also attended Kansas State University for three semesters. In an attempt to support herself while going to school, Dorothy worked at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manhattan, and then as staff nurse at the Junction City hospital in the fall of 1952. While she was there she began actively discerning whether to enter religious life.

On February 11, 1953, Dorothy became a postulant with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. She received the habit, and the name Sister Mary de Lourdes on August 15, 1953. She made first vows August 15, 1954 and final vows August 15, 1957. There were three sisters in her band. One left and S. Janice Koelzer pre-deceased her.

After novitiate, Sister Dorothy spent one year in the House of Studies at Marymount, and then began her ministry as a Sister of St. Joseph. From then until 1999 Sister Dorothy gave herself to ongoing ministries in nursing and pharmacy, as well as the teaching of nursing. To do so, she also engaged in various programs of study: a BS in nursing from Marymount, a degree in Pharmacy from Creighton University, a Masters in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Missouri, and another Masters in Medical-Surgical Nursing at Kansas State University Medical Center, not to mention other courses, such as Psychiatric Nursing, plus numerous workshops. She ministered at St. John’s Hospital, Salina, the hospital in Seneca, St. Mary’s in Manhattan, Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis, Johnson County Mental Health Center in Olathe, KS, and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kansas City. She also taught at Avila College, Marymount College and Creighton University.

In her life review Dorothy reflected on the joy she also found in serving both students and patients. She also looked back on these years saying, “I have enjoyed community life on the missions where I resided. …I have found my Sisters in religion as loving, caring and supportive women. I am grateful for this.

The joy of a sabbatical year arrived in 1998-99. This was a time of transition. Sister Dorothy’s sabbatical included the Sarah Sabbatical program at Manna House, in Concordia. Then she went away for an Ignatian 30 day retreat, followed by volunteer work at Manna House and at Open Door in Junction City. She recounted that the highlight of this year was a trip to the Holy Land and Greece with Sister Marilyn Foote. About her trip she reminisced, “We were able to walk where Jesus trod…I had wanted to do this for a long time.” All of this was bookended by two summers at Creighton University studying in the spirituality program. Learning was a passion for Dorothy.

Post-sabbatical time found Dorothy transitioning into new ministries, offering spiritual direction, and teaching spirituality courses for the Salina Diocese. She began doing volunteer work, including being a hospice volunteer and giving a dream workshop at Manna House. She began this early period of retirement, residing first at Medaille Center, Salina; then Hillside Convent, Concordia.

Finally Dorothy moved to the Motherhouse in 2008 where she appreciated having more time for prayer and growth in the interior life. Initially she helped at the reception desk and with driving to medical appointments. Dorothy typically served behind the scenes, helping the sisters with computer, doing notetaking or bookkeeping. One thing she excelled at and enjoyed over the years was playing bridge.

At the end of her life review Sister Dorothy expressed gratitude and hope saying, “I am grateful to God for God’s many blessing…religious vocation, retreats, educational opportunities, friends, ministries. I especially thank my CSJ community….” “In the time remaining in life,” she added, “I hope to grow in my journey to God and love of the dear neighbor, …and to be a joyful presence.” In this year’s Commitment to Mission and Ministry she embraced the words of Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, “Above all, trust in the slow work of God. … Only God can say what this new spirit forming in you will be.”

Now, dear Dorothy, your spirit and God’s are one; growth in your journey has come to its fullness in Christ. You have given yourself over into the loving and grace-filled hands of our God. We entrust you as one who has lived out our Maxim 73: “Live out your life with one desire only: to be always what God wants you to be, in nature, grace and glory, for time and for eternity.” (Maxims of the Little Institute). We are grateful to God for your life among us, Dorothy.

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


Obituary for Sister Dorothy Hoover — Nov. 14, 1929 – Jan. 30, 2022

February 1, 2022 by  

Sister Dorothy Hoover died Jan. 30, 2022, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas. She was 92 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia for 69 years. She was born in Junction City, Kansas, on Nov. 14, 1929, to Laurence and Josephine Caspar Hoover, the oldest of three children, and was baptized Dorothy. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia on Feb. 11, 1953. On Aug. 15, 1953, she received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Mary de Lourdes, later returning to her baptismal name Dorothy. She pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1954, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1957.

Sister Dorothy received her BSN in nursing from Marymount College in 1962; followed by a BS in pharmacy from Creighton University in 1965, an MA in guidance and counseling in 1976 and a Masters in Nursing from Kansas University in 1982. Dorothy ministered in hospitals staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph as head nurse and chief pharmacist. She was a nursing instructor and lecturer in Pharmacology at Marymount College and a nursing instructor at Avila College and Creighton University spanning 43 years. In 2006, she moved to Concordia where she volunteered within the community.

Sister Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by two brothers, Dr. Bernard (Sheila) Hoover of Baldwin, Missouri, and Father James Hoover of Concordia. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3, 2022, in the Motherhouse Chapel with Rev. Barry Brinkman presiding. Sister Janet Lander is the eulogist. To attend the funeral all must be fully vaccinated, boosted and wear a mask. The funeral will be live streamed on the Sisters of St. Joseph Facebook page. The burial will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. Chaput-Buoy Mortuary, 325 W. 6th St., Concordia, Kansas, is in charge of arrangements. Memorials for Sister Dorothy Hoover 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 Dorothy Hoover’s memory, click on the button below:


Eulogy for Sister Rosalyn Juenemann — Jan. 8, 1932 – Jan. 27, 2022

January 30, 2022 by  

Vigil: Jan. 30, 2022, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Marcia Allen

Here, indeed, is a valiant woman! A woman of integrity and generosity, of matter-of-fact authenticity, simplicity and honesty. She was beautiful and wise and kindly attentive to others; straight as an arrow in her assessment of troublesome situations; faithful to truth and merciful in her judgments. God rescued her from an early death and she did not let God down!

Rosalyn Susanna Juenemann was born at home on a farm near Leoville in Western Kansas on Jan. 8, 1932, during the dust storm years. She was the fifth of 10 children born to Rosa Kaus and Fred Juenemann. Her older siblings were her sister, Rita Schwarz and three brothers, Bernard and Lawrence, both deceased, and Norbert. Younger than she were: Alvera Long and John, both deceased, and Gerald, Melvin and Carolyn. (Melvin and Carolyn are with us here this evening.)

Her childhood was spent on the farm where she learned to cook, not just for the family but at times for the harvest crews. She also learned to embroider and milk cows, garden and share life with its ups and downs, its work and play. The Juenemanns were a family of musicians. She participated in the family hobby of playing music as family fun and for various events, especially dances. Rosalyn added to the enjoyment through her ability with piano and accordion. She attended a country school where she received an excellent education. She and another student graduated 8th grade with firsts in the county academic tests. From country school she attended high school for three years in Seldon, Kansas, and the last year in Decatur County High School in Oberlin, Kansas, where she hoped to earn a teaching certificate upon graduation.

As luck would have it, the state changed its certification requirements that year and she needed to go to college for a 60-hour certificate. Although she had a scholarship to Fort Hays State College, she chose to go to Marymount College in Salina, Kansas, where she also received a scholarship. She chose Marymount because all of her other education had been in the public school system and she wished to attend a Catholic institution. Her aunt, Sister Albertine Kaus, was also a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, the community that owned and staffed Marymount. She had had a desire to enter religious life for several years; her choice of the Concordia community was largely influenced by her aunt, Sister Albertine.

But back to God’s saving grace to which she credited the rest of her life. When she was three years old she fell into the stock tank while in pursuit of a marble she had accidentally dropped into it. Luckily her parents spotted her floating body and rushed her to Leoville where her Aunt Margaret was a nurse. For the next three hours, her aunt applied mouth to mouth resuscitation, and, with many other efforts surrounded by intense prayer, Rosalyn came back to life. According to her, she suffered no brain damage from those hours as well as no other ill effects with the possible exception of being afraid of water. To move through that fear, she took swimming lessons as an adult! She also mentioned that when she sometimes forgot a name, she would say: “Guess I have brain damage!”

Rosalyn entered the Community of St. Joseph on Sept. 8, 1950. On the journey, she and her two youngest siblings sat in the backseat of the car, sobbing because she was leaving home. When her father finally asked her if she wanted to go back, she said no, but continued to cry all the way to Concordia. She received the habit and her new name, Sister Mary Frieda, on March 18, 1951, and made final profession on March 19, 1955. She did receive her 60-hour certificate and went out to teach for the first time in September of 1953. Her first experience was in Antonino, Kansas, where she taught first, second and third grades all in one room. She often went to Vincent, Kansas, on Saturdays where an excellent and experienced teacher, Sister Mary Jo Fraser, taught her how to teach primary children.

After the Antonino experience she went back to Marymount for study and remained through the following school term. She took teacher training classes and asked if she could take piano lessons. She did so well that she was asked to major in music! She said that she had previously played the piano and the accordion by ear and was grateful to learn music through formal methods.

She spent several years in various elementary schools: Pfeifer, Salina- Sacred Heart, Oakley, Gorham and Plainville in Kansas and the St. Louis School in Chicago, Illinois. In most of these schools she taught music full time: classroom music and private music lessons. As a teacher she established immediate rapport with the students convincing them that they enjoyed singing and/or playing. As one student said at the end of her tenure: “You’re the best music teacher I ever had!” This particular student added a remark that more than likely illustrates what Rosalyn stressed as she taught: “Maybe someday I will even relax my wrists and count!”

In 1973, Rosalyn began Pastoral Ministry. This was a work of service not only new to her but within the post Vatican II Church as well. Her first experience was three years on the Western Slope of Colorado for the Diocese of Denver. She and three other sisters were responsible for religious education and pastoral ministry in 10 parishes along Highway 40. They were hired by the diocese rather than by the parishes. Rosalyn mainly visited shut-ins, rest homes, hospitals in her pastoral capacity, set up prayer groups, trained organists and guitarists, helped with liturgical celebrations, took communion to the home-bound, hospitals and rest homes. She also did some individual counseling. By year two the need for marriage enrichment programs emerged and she along with four married couples set up programs that eventually stretched beyond the original ten parishes into the entire Western Slope. These programs led to the establishment of pre-marriage programs for engaged couples.

Her discernment led her to take up Pastoral Ministry in three parishes in the eastern most reaches of the Salina Diocese: Greenleaf, Washington and Morrowville. Although she was often lonely she was comforted by the work and was deeply touched by sharing the parishioners’ moments of joy and tragedy: baptisms, weddings, Eucharist, birthdays, Christmas, family meals as well as the trials, anxieties, hardships and sorrows that make up the personal lives of people in the parishes and towns in general. She also taught Religious Education and conducted several weekly Bible Study groups, organized prayer groups, attended meetings of the women’s organizations, parish councils, inquiry classes, programs for marriage enrichment and marriage preparation, as well as visiting the rest homes, hospitals and home-bound taking them Eucharist or just visiting with them. She also worked with organists and choirs. At times she was asked to take marriage testimonies for people who were seeking annulments. This also describes the work that engaged her when she left this area and began working in Clay Center and Miltonvale, Kansas.

In 1987, Rosalyn was asked to take up the work of Coordinator of Community Services at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas. She partnered Jerry Gallagher who was the Motherhouse Administrator. She said that he was a joy to work with. She attended to the needs of the Community of sisters living there while Jerry oversaw the work of maintenance and supervision of lay employees. Although this work drew her from her dearly loved parish work, she proved to be a natural in her coordination of the many services needed to guarantee the quality of life for the sisters living there. About this work she said, “The four years at the Motherhouse were blessed years. I experienced the joys, sorrows, struggles, holiness and brokenness of these very precious women. During those four years we had many deaths and funerals. It was such a grace to be present with so many as they entered the fullness of life. Just to be a prayerful, comforting presence for them as they struggled with pain, suffering, weakness, doubt, fear and acceptance was such a grace-filled blessing for me personally.”

Four years later, Rosalyn was elected to community leadership as Executive Councilor and Regional Coordinator. From 1991 – 1995 she not only participated in the various administrative and leadership roles but engaged with the sisters in pastoral presence as they discerned direction for their lives, health and retirement needs, changes in ministry and the joys and sorrows that attend life in general.

In 1995, after years of nearly relentless work, Rosalyn chose a sabbatical year. She happily went to various programs such as the Sarah Sabbatical and visited relatives and friends throughout the United States. It was a time of leisure and catching up. And best of all, she said, she was welcomed to Chapman as her home base where her sister, Sister Carolyn, lived and worked as the parish administrator.

After her sabbatical it was back to parish ministry, the love of her life. She worked in Colby as Pastoral Associate, then went on to Junction City, St. Xavier’s Parish, until 2004. By this time, she was feeling that it was time to slow down. She retired to Concordia on Memorial Day, 2005 and took up residence with the community at Hillside Convent.

Retirement took on a new look with Rosalyn, however. She was soon in Plainville, Kansas, once again, where this time she said that her aim was “to carry Christ’s presence to the people of the parish by being present at the parish gatherings and doing whatever ministry the Parish Administrator invites me to help with, especially to the older members in nursing home or in their homes, with the freedom to do that as time and energy allow. I desire to be a gentle, peaceful, prayerful, loving presence to all,” she wrote. Her ministry eventually branched out into the hospital in Plainville, the prison in Stockton and the Ministerial Alliance meetings as well as tending families at wakes, funerals and anything else that she was invited to do. About this work she often wrote in her mission commitment statements that she wished to go about it “with the greatest possible love that the grace of God chooses to manifest through me.”

This is the description of a true apostolic heart. And it is the true portrait of Rosalyn. It is basically impossible to do justice to all that she gave herself to through the decades. She was a force to be reckoned with and at the same time a gentle, caring presence. She was uncannily insightful where the needs of people were to be found and identified; at the same time, she had the ability to invent the means to meet the needs and the initiative to carry out the necessary work. Above all, she was able to engage others in the work in true communal fashion.

Through all these years of apostolic labor and loving presence, Rosalyn was devoted to excellence in the work which she was about. Her file shows dozens of workshop and program certificates from Pastoral Administration to Scripture courses; therapeutic touch and reminiscing therapy for the aging; ethics and end-of life-issues, hospice, the meaning of ministry in rural areas, changing hospital policies and procedures, as well as programs for discernment, communication, assertiveness training, how to work with difficult people, legal issues, child victims of physical and sexual abuse, and many others. She went to great lengths to become and remain effective in her pastoral work. She also served on boards for the Nazareth Convent and Academy, the Edwin Vincent O’Hara Institute for Rural Ministry, Salina Diocese Rural Life, Tractors for Our Daily Bread and the Concordia Community Concert Series.

At the same time that she was busy in self education opportunities and dedicated school or parish work, she was a story teller. Along with her Life Review which was the source for this eulogy, she kept vivid accounts of many of the places in which she ministered. The first such story was the daily record of the beginning of the new mission at St. Louis, Chicago. From her arrival with Sister Corona Beaumier on Aug. 7, 1959, through the furnishing of their very bare building beneath their classrooms, through the first three months of school, she faithfully described their efforts to find and purchase inexpensive kitchen utensils, bed linens, living room and dining room chairs, equipment and books for the students, and above all, teachers for the school. She described the walls created out of cardboard boxes that made up the rooms of their makeshift home. Eventually, the new school was built along with a convent for the sisters, but the first year was one of privation and parishioner generosity, great sacrifice and uncertainty, hard work and cheerful ingenuity. Eventually, they were able to host guests, a source of pride, especially, when the guests came from St. Joseph and St. Anne’s in Chicago or sisters passing through from Concordia to other missions.

Rosalyn loved deeply, generously and effectively without an ounce of sentimentality. Wherever she lived and worked she was a gift. (Our family was the beneficiary of her gifts. She tended my mother in her diminishment enabling her to enter into her late life and old, old age with graciousness, thanks to the Rosalyn’s spiritual companionship and real friendship.)

In 2012 Rosalyn came to live at the Motherhouse, hoping to be helpful in any way that she could over the next several years. Among her tasks were giving tours of the house to guests, occasionally playing the piano or organ, serving as librarian and above all, praying. Throughout these years she desired to be a prayerful and joyful presence. Those who lived with her will testify to her effectiveness in this. By 2019, Rosalyn was no longer able to write out her own mission commitment statement, but her work of prayer continued until her death on Thursday morning, Jan. 27, 2022. She died peacefully and quietly with her sister Carolyn and several other sisters beside her.

We have words of wisdom from our founder that seem to describe Rosalyn: He encourages us to meet the other with an alert and attentive heart and then befriend the spirit in that person with effective love – love that produces results, love that meets the need of that unique person who is searching for healing, relief from suffering, wholeness. Rosalyn proved to be a master at this way of life. She did not consider herself a great apostle; was generally not in the forefront but content to be in the background; however, her manner of being inspired confidence and a willingness to confide in her. She was the presence she prayed to be, the presence that conveyed God’s love. In spite of her protests of being shy, she was outgoing, effective in love and generous to a fault.

Rosalyn, thank you for your life among us these nearly 72 years. Your presence blessed us; your life mentored and modeled our ideal for us. We bless you in your new journey and above all, we thank you.

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Obituary for Sister Rosalyn Juenemann — Jan. 8, 1932 – Jan. 27, 2022

January 27, 2022 by  

Sister Rosalyn Juenemann died Jan. 27, 2022, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas. She was 90 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph for 71 years. She was born in Leoville, Kansas, on Jan. 8, 1932, to Frederick and Rosa Juenemann, the fifth of ten children, and was baptized Rosalyn Susanna. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia, Kansas, on Sept. 8, 1950. On March 18, 1951, Rosalyn received the habit and was given the name Sister Mary Frieda, later returning to her baptismal name. She pronounced first vows on March 19, 1952, and final vows on March 19, 1955.

Sister Rosalyn received a BME in music education in 1966 from Marymount College, Salina, Kansas, followed by a MA in counseling from Emporia State College, Kansas, in 1973. Sister Rosalyn taught primary grades and music in Ellis County, Salina, Plainville and Oakley in Kansas. Later she served as a pastoral associate in Colorado, and in Washington and Clay Counties in Kansas for 11 years. She was elected to the Leadership Council of the Congregation in 1991 for a four-year term. After this service, Rosalyn served as pastoral associate in Colby, Chapman, Junction City and Plainville, Kansas. She retired to the Motherhouse in 2012.

Sister Rosalyn was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers and one sister. She is survived by two sisters, Rita Schwarz and Sister Carolyn Juenemann; and three brothers, Norbert, Gerald and Melvin. A Bible Vigil Service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30, 2022, in the Nazareth Motherhouse Chapel with Sister Marcia Allen as the eulogist. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Jan. 31, 2022, in the Motherhouse Chapel, Father Barry Brinkman presiding. To attend the vigil or the funeral all must be fully vaccinated, boosted and wear a mask. The vigil and funeral will be live streamed 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, Kansas, is in charge of arrangements. Memorials for Sister Rosalyn Juenemann 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, Kansas, 66901.

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


Eulogy for Sister Philomene Reiland — April 11, 1941 – Aug. 2, 2021

August 6, 2021 by  


Vigil: Aug. 5, 2021, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Mary Jo Thummel

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and organs,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.


Philomene (Barbara Frances Reiland) was born on April 11, 1941 to Edward and Philomena Monaco Reiland in Aurora, Illinois. She was the second of three children: James, Barbara, and Thomas. She is survived by James and Thomas.

Barbara says very little about her growing up years but I know she kept in close touch with her family members and always spoke well and proudly of each of them.

Barbara was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph from grade school through college. She remembers sitting on a piano bench in first grade. This is when she started taking lessons from Sister Edmund. In 5th and 6th grades Sister Irene taught her organ and violin. She loved her music lessons and found them fun.

Barbara felt called to be a religious from the time she was in 4th grade and started attending daily Mass. In the fall of 1955, she and a group of six other young women came from Aurora, Illinois, to attend the Apostolic School at Nazareth Motherhouse. She loved the school, the teachers, the good education she received, and felt that it was a really fun experience.

In 1959, Barbara entered the postulancy. She professed her first vows on Aug. 15, 1960, and was given the name Philomene. She professed final vows on Aug. 15, 1963.

About her early ministry, Philomene says, “I taught for 14 years in Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois and loved it tremendously!”

In 1980, Philomene went into church music ministry full time. Her duties in that ministry included coordinating liturgical music and music personnel, selecting and training song leaders and parish musicians, being a resource and assisting at weddings and funerals, overseeing the condition of all parish musical instruments and church sound system, being responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of missalettes and music issues and being available to help with the parish Religious Education Program. This is only a partial list, because, as many know the parish ministry contract usually ended with a statement that generally ended with, “and other duties, as needed.”

Several times I visited Philomene in several of the parishes, where she ministered and I know that she enjoyed working with all ages of students training and teaching anything having to do with music. She made learning music fun and the students reacted by giving their all and responding to Philomene with eagerness and enthusiasm.

Father Richard R. Kramer, who is a retired priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, and a dear friend of Philomene’s, had this to say about her and her ministry. “Philomene was a good witness to the Catholic faith and women religious. She had a tremendous sense of humor and loved to be around people. She is a real credit to the Sisters of St. Joseph!!! I can speak for many parishioners and friends when I say we truly loved you, Sister Philomene and will always miss you deeply. But now play your music and sing your personal songs to the Lord Himself and His angels.”

Philomene loved everything music. She had a bachelors in music education, and a masters of of arts in church music and liturgy. The piano and organ where her instruments of choice but she could also play the guitar, violin, string bass, bass guitar and accordion. She once played the accordion in the middle of Soldier Field in Chicago. Philomene also had a lovely singing voice and taught voice students. She has composed musical scores. In late 1981 she composed a Mass in honor of our Centenary Year, which we celebrated in 1983. She named it Mass Joseph Fili David.

In 1986, Philomene, asked for and was given a sabbatical year …  a year of sabbath …  to take time to study and sometimes travel. Philomene did both. Her parents had given her a Silver Jubilee gift of a trip abroad. She signed up for an organ study tour of East and West Germany, France, Luxembourg and Belgium. Highlights of her tour were the birthplaces of Bach and Handel, many of the places where Bach worked as a church musician and all the organs that the tour group could get their hands on — sometimes as many as four in one day. The most intense experience was the time in East Germany behind the Iron Curtain. It made all of them happy to be Americans and live in a free country.

The place of the arts in Europe were an inspiration to Philomene. The organs were in tip-top shape, the art work had been lovingly restored, the countryside was beautiful and they were constantly in awe at the marvelous sights.

Philomene says that her time of living in New York was a marvelous experience. She lived with the Sisters of Charity and was close to Broadway, Times Square, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Lincoln Center and Juilliard, where she was attending classes. The highlights of her time in New York were her organ lessons from a great teacher, her other classes and the dedicated students.

One other component of her year was Matthew Fox’s Creation Spirituality Program. She was excited by the fact that she found touchstones in his spirituality that she felt were compatible with our own charism. She considered her Sabbatical year most enriching and profitable spiritually and musically.

Philomene had a real heart for the poor and those that she felt were in need in some way. She personally did what she could for the poor near her living and working situation, wrote letters and petitioned city officials. She urged us to reach out to a number of groups through our St. Joseph Ministry Fund. Philomene could be a force to be reckoned with.

I believe that Philomene’s music was her deepest prayer. It was the expression of the Godly love at her core. When she helped us as a group to prepare for our special celebrations, she had a way of working with us that brought out the best in us and enabled us to make beautiful music together. She could make both us and the musical instruments she was playing sing praise from our hearts.

Philomene said, “My passions in life are praising the Lord, vocations and music! In the life of a CSJ there is never a dull moment! I have been a sister for 62 years and feel like it has just been a year. Every day is new, different and full of blessings and surprises!”

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and organs,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150 is called the musicians Psalm. It is an eloquent, passionate cry to all creation to give the praise of which God is due. It is a prayer of unlimited praise of God using everything that can be used to worship God. There are nine instruments named – trumpet, harp, lute, tambourine, dancing (ram’s horn), strings, organ, cymbals (two kinds). The many instruments symbolize that every class and group of people are called to praise God.

Philomene’s life was certainly one of praise to God through music! Over and over on her commitment slips she reiterated “I commit myself to use and share my musical gifts and talents in whatever way that I can, to give God glory.”

Philomene, we trust you are now truly sharing your musical gifts and talents with all the other heavenly musicians.

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Video of Vigil Service for Sister Philomene Reiland

August 5, 2021 by  

Please click the link to view.

Obituary for Sister Philomene Reiland — April 11, 1941 – Aug. 2, 2021

August 3, 2021 by  

Sister Philomene Reiland died Aug. 2, 2021, at Cloud County Health Center in Concordia, Kansas. She was 80 years old and a religious sister for 62 years. She was born in Aurora, Illinois, on April 11, 1941, to Edward and Philomena Monaco Reiland, the second of three children, and was baptized Barbara. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Feb. 2, 1959. On Aug. 15, 1959, Barbara received the habit and was given the name Sister Philomene. She pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1960, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1963.

Sister Philomene received a bachelor of science degree in music education in 1968 from Marymount College, Salina, Kansas. In 1976 she received a master of arts degree in church music from St. Joseph College, Rensselaer, Indiana. Sister Philomene did post graduate work in organ performance at the Julliard School of Music, New York.

Sister Philomene taught in Salina, Kansas; Chicago, Illinois; and Grand Island, Nebraska. She was the parish director of music in Concordia, Kansas, and Sterling, Illinois; assistant profession of music at Sauk Valley Community College, Dixon, Illinois, and director of music in Libertyville, Illinois. She gave private piano lessons in Grayslake and Sterling, Illinois, while serving as director of music at St. Mary Parish in Sterling, Illinois.

Sister Philomene was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by two brothers, James of Montgomery, Illinois, and Thomas of Raleigh, North Carolina. A Bible Vigil Service will be held 7 p.m. Aug. 5 in the Nazareth Motherhouse Chapel with Sister Mary Jo Thummel as the eulogist. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m.  Aug. 6 in the Motherhouse Chapel, Father Barry Brinkman presiding. Masks are required. The burial will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. Chaput Buoy Mortuary, 325 W. 6th St., Concordia, is in charge of arrangements. Memorials for Sister Philomene Reiland 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 Philomene Reiland’s memory, click on the button below:


Video of Sister Ramona Medina’s Bible Vigil and Eulogy service on July 20, 2021

July 21, 2021 by  

Eulogy for Sister Ramona Medina — March 14, 1937 – July 16, 2021

July 20, 2021 by  

Sister Ramona Medina was born on March 14, 1937, in La Jara, Colorado, the 13th child of fourteen born to Celina Romero and Juan Medina. She passed away on July, 16, 2021, here at the Motherhouse. Ramona was preceded in death by her parents and these siblings: Adelmo, Marie, Sister Lucia, Joe, Sister Dora, Sister Aurea, Celina, Sister Joseph Mary and Gilbert. She is survived by: Sister Celinda who is in Atchison, Luis in Alamosa, Colorado, and Sister Rufina in Framingham, Massachusetts. Ramona was baptized Elvira Elidia and was called “Vera” by family and friends.

           In August of 1939, when Ramona was 18 months old, her mother Celina died in childbirth. With the oldest of the 13 children being Adelmo in his teens, the death of their Mother was a great loss. I quote Ramona; “Relatives and friends offered dad advice … ‘Give the two or three youngest children out for adoption, split them up to live with other families.’ Dad listened, but then called a family conference. Our grandparents and the older children had a say in making the decision. It was decided that the family would stay together.”  

Their plan was that when each of the daughters graduated from high school, she would remain at home and care for the younger children until the next girl graduated. Then she was free to pursue further education.

            Ramona has more to say about growing up in this family!

“Regarding my childhood days…I am so grateful for the opportunity to have lived on the farm/ranch … .enjoying and savoring God’s presence in nature and all of creation with my dear dad and with a loving, caring and fun family. Dad was strict, but gentle; he taught us by his example and deep faith, the importance of prayer in our daily lives, having a grateful heart, caring for one another and those we encountered daily,” especially the less fortunate. “There was always room for one more!”

            She continues, “Since we couldn’t afford to have store-bought toys, we learned to be creative and made our own toys and had fun coming up with our own games, making mud pies, making stilts, ice skating during the winter months and played baseball or whatever, with our many cousins …. I have such fond and treasured memories of my childhood days …. I truly believe mom has cared for each of us from heaven. I have always felt her presence as a child growing up and even now, as I am growing older.”

            Juan Medina instilled strong values in his children: faith was foremost, love and care for family as well, the importance of education and hard work, and welcoming the stranger. As Ramona’s siblings completed high school, they studied for their careers and became successful.

            Here is Ramona’s story about her life choices, “During my high school years, I tried not to think about being a sister because I felt that I was being expected to follow in my sisters’ footsteps (Six of her sisters had already entered different religious orders!). During my senior year my boyfriend and I were talking about marriage following graduation from college. However, during the senior prom as my boyfriend and I were dancing, I suddenly felt an emptiness deep within and I knew at that moment that NO human person could satisfy me. God was calling me to be a sister! I knew at that moment that my one and only true lover was GOD. I entered the Benedictine Order in Atchison, Kansas, in 1955. I treasure the 19 years I spent with the Benedictines. I grew spiritually and formed fond relationships during that time ….. I transferred to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Concordia, Kansas, in 1980 because I sensed I had an apostolic and not a monastic heart. My heart was at home and at peace with the Sisters of St. Joseph.”

She stated that her “one desire is to continue working daily towards total union with God, to serve God, the dear neighbor and to care for our earth with tireless love and dedication as a Sister of St. Joseph.”

            Her education: Sister Ramona attended Mt. St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas, earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1970. In 1983 she received a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

            Her ministries are many: While with the Benedictines she served as an elementary teacher for 15 years. After transferring to the Sisters of St. Joseph, she served in occupational therapy from 1981 to 1999 in a number of hospitals and nursing homes in Kansas City, Lakeland, Florida, and in Kansas — Onega, Ellsworth and McPherson. In 1999 she was elected to the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Joseph, where she served as a Regional Coordinator until 2009. After serving in leadership, she joined Sisters Pat McLennon and Jean Befort as co-directors for creating a ministry called Neighbor to Neighbor for women and children here in Concordia. That ministry continues on today. In 2012 Sister Ramona moved to the Motherhouse.

            A bit more about Ramona’s professional life as an occupational therapist. In 1987 she was named Employee of the Year at Swope Ridge Health Care Center in Kansas City. In 1988 she applied for a copyright for her creation of seven dolls and two puppets for working with adults with physical limitations. In 1990 she received a certificate of appreciation for her work with students at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

I quote: “You have been an excellent role model for our students. You are the epitome of the words ‘caring’ and ‘giving.’ Your creativity and resourcefulness help our students understand the unlimited potential for occupational therapists to serve.”

When Ramona was in Ellsworth she began an occupational therapy program in 1993 for the residents of Good Samaritan Village, helping them “progress to the point where they can return home or at least become more independent.” In 1995 she established an occupational therapy department at Memorial Hospital in McPherson. She is quoted as saying, “What I like most about my job is that one can be extremely creative. It is very challenging. I guess the rewarding part is that you really give patients a new lease on life.  Make them productive and functional as possible. We help improve the quality of their life.”

            Sister Ramona was also an artist. Her paintings are of detail and of beauty, even as her eyesight began to fail her. She was an excellent instructor of painting and taught women at Neighbor to Neighbor to paint.

            She also excelled in lace-making! This was an original craft of our first Sisters in the 17th century in France and now blossoming again here in our congregation. Sister Ramona created many intricate and beautiful works of lace and was also an instructor of lace-making.  She was invited to create a lace tabernacle cover for a parish near Kansas City. Eventually, that same pattern was used to adorn the outside of the church structure.

            Ramona used her crafting skills in endless ways here at the Motherhouse! She created many centerpieces and projects upon request. And always, many of us signed up quickly to work with her.

            So much about Ramona cannot be captured in words. She lived with such energy, creativity and with presence to each person. Her joyful spirit was evident, even when she wasn’t feeling well. She lived with a positive attitude. She truly reflected the Jesuit saying, to live with “glad and practical cooperation” with God’s grace.

            Sister Ramona’s health began to fail her in the fall of 2019 and she was diagnosed with melanoma cancer in November. She lived this part of her journey with the same courage and energy, never withdrawing or losing hope. At the end of May, she wrote this message to all of us: “Spare me perfection. Give me instead the wholeness that comes from embracing the full reality of who I am, just as I am.” (David Brenner)

Her words: “…embracing the full reality of who I am” has led me to choose Hospice. Yesterday I made that decision and immediately knew an incredible peace in my spirit. I am grateful to God for that grace and grateful to each of you for the support I have known on this journey with melanoma …With gratitude beyond measure, Ramona.”

            These are her closing words in her life story in which she uses Jesus’ words from John’s gospel. “Loving and gracious God, ‘I have glorified you and finished the work you have given me to do.’ (John 14:4) Please welcome me to my/our ETERNAL HOME where I/we will rejoice and see you face to face.”    

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