Giving Tuesday is TODAY!

November 29, 2022 by  

TODAY IS GIVING TUESDAY! Giving Tuesday started in 2012 as a response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s a global movement that, in 2021, raised $2.7 Billion in the US alone!

This year we are requesting funds for Helping Hands. Visit the charity list on Amazon at https://smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ls/3O6OCQTJCFP3A or donate on our website at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/csjkansas?code=generic

Helping Hands was started in 1978. They offer food and toiletries through their panty and assist with utility and medical bills. The resource center in town has limited hours, and people can only visit every three months. Helping Hands does not have limits, and they are open 5 days a week. They routinely spend $20,000-$25,000 each year. They also started providing diapers and formula a few years ago filling a major void for young mothers and caregivers.

Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

September 1, 2022 by  

 

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I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.

— Helen Keller

Video of Funeral Mass for Sister Rose Beatrice Dreiling

August 11, 2022 by  

Please click the link to view.

 
 
 

Eulogy for Sister Rose Beatrice Dreiling — May 26, 1930 – Aug. 8, 2022

August 11, 2022 by  

 

VIGIL: August 11, 2022, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Missy Lungdahl

A wise, wonderful, witty woman-that’s our Rosey B. Today we come in gratitude for a life that impacted all of us-a life well lived. In reflecting on and reading Rose Beatrice’s life review, Maxim 4 comes to mind.

“Live, as much as you can, in such a way that your life in honor of the Holy Spirit,

may be a continual act of the most pure and perfect charity that you are able to practice toward God.”

Cecelia Dreiling was born May 26, 1930, in St. Peter, Kansas, to Peter and Clara Bollig Dreiling. She was the 7th of 10 children. Benedict, Lorene, Richard, Thomas, Eugene, Rose Marie, Augustine, Robert and James have all preceded her in death. She often said, “Being the 7th in line, I didn’t have to talk or be too aggressive. I was shy, sensitive, elusive, and observant…always present and seldom talking. Later I realized the gifts entrusted to me were observance, perception, and to see the humor in most situations.”

My parents taught us how to work, play, pray, and respect all of creation. My love for the outdoors is still magical and inspirational. I grew up in Collyer, Kansas, where we raised chickens, had a large flower and vegetable garden and were given lots of responsibilities in taking care of everything that was living. Mom’s priority was attending Mass, a devotion to Mary and the Rosary and she expected us to follow these devotions. As we got older, we thought we had outgrown some of this so we stayed out late one night … Mom met us with a Rosary and prayer book late that night. This was a lesson for life!

At 14 I decided to enter the convent with my sister Rose Marie, who was 16 at the time. Mother Chyrsostom came to Collyer to accompany us to Concordia. We had to stop at Marymount College since Mother had a meeting. We were introduced to the students who exclaimed, “They’re robbing the cradle.” However, those were the times.

Upon our arrival at the Motherhouse, we were introduced to others and settled in to our new home. That evening at recreation, we were asked to sing a song. The only song my sister and I could think of, “Don’t Fence Me In.” That was the last time for that song.

Entering into a new life at such a young age was bewildering, challenging, and filled with blessings. Being so shy was always a hindrance —G od’s patience and love as well as my devotion to Saint Therese guided me through many tunnels and provided many animated moments.

After making first vows in August of 1946, I stayed at the Motherhouse to finish my high school. My next stop was a semester at Marymount to begin my studies. The teaching assignments started right away. I was given a third grade class with 55 students in Chicago. I loved it! The years teaching in Chicago and Aurora, Illinois; Salina, Kansas, and Herndon and Grand Island, Nebraska; Booneville and Chillicothe, Missouri; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and McLaughlin, South Dakota; with grades K-8 were years of growing to know the many intricacies of God’s presence in my life and our world. God’s intricacies … I graduated from college in 1964 after having taught for 14 years and for 7 of those 14 I was teacher and principal. There was never a dull moment during those times.

My greatest hope and challenge came with Vatican ll when we were given permission to look for our own ministries and places to serve. I had always longed to work in the inner city and that opportunity came while responding to an ad in “Sisters Today.” This took me to St. Martin de Porres School in Milwaukee. This new opportunity offered time to become a little more self sufficient and share life with sisters of different communities. One of the greatest lessons my students and I learned together was that we could trust each other. My students worked with me in starting clubs, study groups, fund raisers, community service opportunities, and retreats. These moments really mattered.

Recently, Rosie B. shared her deep love for these years of her life with Sister Regina Ann. Together they knew the importance of the mission of the dear neighbor.

Rosie said, “At the age of 92, mom fell and broke her hip. She had been living and caring for my priest brother at the time. I knew it was time to leave the classroom and go to care for them. This was a BIG adjustment. Mom taught me so much about aging and shared great wisdom with me in those moments. She always let me know that I was good but having patience would be a real plus.”

I have learned … after Mom’s passing, I was asked to go to Medaille as administrator. This was another great learning opportunity as we shared this time of our lives moving into semi retirement. The years spent with Mom and our sisters really showed me how great the lives of seniors can be so I started to work with a Senior Companion Program. We visited the elderly and tried to help with their needs and offered a presence. For 16 years I really had a good time in Beloit, Plainville, Hays, and Wakeeney, Kansas.

At 83, it was time to move to the  Motherhouse where my time could be spent in prayer, working outside in the grotto, helping others, and with various hobbies.

Rosie fell and broke a hip on July 26. After surgery she said she wanted to come to the Motherhouse. She was ready to go home. Her homecoming days were spent with sisters and nurses at her bedside — thanking her for all the ways she impacted lives and asking her to remember us as she meets God. Her final farewell was August 8.

In closing I will close with a prayer written by Sister Rose Beatrice.

God, You captivate the heart,

You draw near with your mysterious touch,

Only to disappear quickly leaving a desire to want more of You.

 

 God, we thank you for the gift of our, “Ramblin Rose.”

To make an online donation in Sister Rose Beatrice Dreiling’s memory, click on the button below:

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Obituary for Sister Rose Beatrice Dreiling — May 26, 1930 – Aug. 8, 2022

August 8, 2022 by  

Sister Rose Beatrice Dreiling died Aug. 8, 2022, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas. She was 92 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia for 77 years. She was born in Victoria, Kansas, on May 26, 1930, to Peter and Clara Bollig Dreiling, the seventh of ten children, and was baptized Cecelia Bernita. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Feb. 10, 1945. On Aug. 15, 1945, Cecelia received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Rose Beatrice. She pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1946 ,and final vows on May 26, 1950.

Sister Rose Beatrice received a BA degree in English in 1964 from Marymount College, Salina, Kansas. By the time she received her diploma she had already taught school for 14 years and served as principal for seven of those years. From 1972 to 1974 she taught in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and then in 1974 she taught in Chicago, Illinois, for 12 years, which was the highlight of her teaching career. Upon retiring from teaching in 1987, she spent her years taking care of family members and doing parish work. In May 2013, she retired to the Motherhouse.

Sister Rose Beatrice was preceded in death by her parents and siblings. A Bible Vigil Service will be held 9:30 a.m. Aug. 11, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. in the Nazareth Motherhouse Auditorium with Sister Missy Ljungdahl as the eulogist. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Aug. 11, 2022, in the Motherhouse Auditorium with Father Barry Brinkman presiding. 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 Rose Beatrice Dreiling 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 Rose Beatrice Dreiling’s memory, click on the button below:

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Eulogy for Sister Charlotte Lutgen — Nov. 26, 1927 – July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022 by  

VIGIL: July 17, 2022, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Mary Jo Thummel

Be nothing to yourself and be utterly given to God and to the neighbor. — Maxim of the Little Institute of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Maxim 39

Charlotte (Geraldine) was born on Nov. 26, 1927, to Charles and Elizabeth (Koenigsman) Lutgen on a farm three miles northwest of Tipton, Kansas. She was the eldest of seven children: Charlotte, Leon, Robert, Richard, Lawrence, William and Carolyn Ann. She is survived by Leon and William.

During these depression years, and after suffering losses due to dust storms, grasshoppers, hailstorms and other hardships, Charles and Elizabeth decided to move to eastern Kansas and spent time in Piqua, Neosha Falls and Yates Center. After a valiant effort at farming and wanting a place where the children could be enrolled in a Catholic school, the family settled in Beloit, Kansas. Charles took up the trade of carpentry.

Charlotte graduated from St. John’s High school in Beloit in 1947 and had the honor of being class valedictorian. She received a Sister of St. Joseph Scholarship for Marymount Collegebut did not intend to go to college; so, forfeited the scholarship. However, since she planned to enter nurses’ training at St. John’s Hospital in Salina, Sister Theresa Vincent was able to get her a full three-year nursing scholarship.

In the fall of 1947, Charlotte started nurses’ training at St. John’s in Salina. The first semester was spent at Marymount College in Salina, Kansas carrying a full college schedule. It was during this time that her vocation “surfaced.” She had never really shared the idea of a religious vocation with anyone, not even her aunt, Sister Maxine (who was a Sister of St. Joseph), even though she had always had a great admiration for Sister Maxine and a deep desire to follow in her footsteps. A chance remark that Charlotte made, in this regard, was picked up by a college friend who lived in the same dormitory and who later said that she and her sister were entering the Sisters of St. Joseph in February. After many soul-searching hours Charlotte decided that she too would enter the Sisters of St. Joseph. This was shortly before the Christmas holidays and a lot of correspondence took place quickly. Letters were sent to Mother Chrysostom, and a visit took place with her. Charlotte quickly wrote her aunt, Sister Maxine, and told her. By the time vacation came all preparations had been made for entering in February. Charlotte waited until after Christmas to tell her parents. About their reactions, Charlotte says, “My mother was a little hard to convince but she never put any obstacle in my way. Dad in his very quiet way knew his prayers were being answered.”

On Feb. 2, 1948, Charlotte journeyed to Concordia with her parents and entered. She was allowed to dress up in her postulant’s uniform before her parents left. This was a sacred and emotional experience for all of them, including Sister Maxine.

Sister Therese Marie was the postulant mistress at that time. Charlotte said that in her quiet and religious way she led the ten postulants through days of homesickness, tears, joys, sorrows and the way and life of a sister of St. Joseph.

On Aug. 15, 1948, Charlotte received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas. She talked about the exhilaration of walking down the aisle in a bridal gown to become a bride of Christ. She said her heart was so full it could not be described in words. After reentering the chapel dressed in the habit of a sister of St. Joseph, the bishop announced her new name — Sister Charlotte. Charlotte was so glad to have Saint Charles Borromeo as her patron saint and was very happy to have a form of her father’s name, Charles.

On Aug. 15, 1949, Charlotte pronounced temporary vows and received her first mission assignment. It was for Saint Mary’s Hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, where she continued her nurses’ training.

In 1950, Charlotte’s father become ill with a heart condition. After he returned home, even though temporary professed Sisters were not allowed home visits, Sister Fidelis arranged for her to visit her dad at home. Charlotte was always grateful for her kindness. In November, while a patient in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia, her dad’s condition worsened, and it was decided to transfer him to the Medical Center in Kansas City. On Nov. 22, 1950, as he was being transferred, the ambulance driver routed the trip through Manhattan so Charlotte could have a short visit with her dad. Shortly before the ambulance reached Kansas City her dad suffered a stroke and died. Charlotte remarked, “How good God is — to have let me see Dad before He called him home to heaven.”

Charlotte’s nurses’ training was completed in March of 1952. She was then transferred to St. John’s Hospital in Salina. While there, she took pediatric affiliation in Wichita, Kansas, from May to August. The time away from Community strengthened Charlotte’s awareness of how much “the Community” meant to her and confirmed her calling to religious life.

In May 1952, Charlotte graduated from Saint Mary’s School of Nursing and took her State Boards at Emporia, Kansas. After about six months she received the happy news that she had passed her state boards.

After that, Charlotte served at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Sabetha, Kansas, the Rawlins County Hospital in Atwood, Kansas, and then went back to St. Mary’s in Manhattan.

During these years, she worked in x-ray, lab, surgery, obstetrics, floor duty, admissions, medical records, emergency room and, on occasion, in the kitchen.  I quote “not to do the cooking but wash the dishes.” I can see Charlotte’s shy smile as she wrote those words..

In January 1958 she was sent to Marymount to work on her degree in nursing and graduated in May of 1960 with a BSNE. (Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education)

In August 1960 Charlotte was missioned to St. John’s Hospital in Salina. An outstanding highlight during the two-year stay there was a trip to Rome, Italy, in December 1961 for her brother Richard’s ordination to the priesthood. Sister Maxine traveled with her to Rome.

Charlotte said, “Richard had spent the last four years there at the North American College. The pope, Pope John XXIII, granted the college permission to have the ordination in the Vatican due to the large class of sixty. Just to visit the Vatican was a privilege in itself but to witness an ordination for the first time and my brother being one of the ordinands was truly an experience of gratitude. While in Europe we traveled with my brother, Father Dick, to Switzerland where we spent Christmas high up in the Alps. From there we visited Vienna and Venice in Austria and journeyed back to Rome and visited several places there. My mother along with several relatives accompanied us. I know Dad was witnessing a son of his raised to the priesthood.”

Charlotte’s next missions were in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Belvidere, Illinois, and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia, Kansas.

In August 1971, after an eight-month illness from cancer, Charlotte’s mother died on Aug. 12, 1971. About this experience, Charlotte mentions that “she was very grateful for her five brothers who consoled her and welcomed her into their homes at any time.”

Charlotte continued working at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia. During this time the first and third floors were closed due to a decrease in patients. After many years of caring for pediatric and geriatric patients, Charlotte now made the adaption of learning to care for surgical patients. My observation of Charlotte’s nursing ministry was that it was carried out in a loving compassionate manner.

In October 1987, Charlotte took a leave of absence from nursing to stay with her brother, Father Dick, who had become critically ill. He was placed on a heart transplant list and had to stay in Wichita. Charlotte waited with him for six months until he received his heart on April 16, 1988. In June, Charlotte returned to Concordia to care for her own health and worked as a RN in Stafford Hall, here at the Motherhouse. When the St. Mary’s sisters were all moved to the Motherhouse, Charlotte resigned her nursing position and took up the position of purchasing and distributing supplies for the sisters in Stafford and the Motherhouse.

In January 2004, Charlotte started volunteer work at Mt. Joseph Nursing Home. Her brother, Father Dick, became chaplain at Mt. Joseph Nursing Home on Jan. 29, 2004. It seemed like an ideal opportunity to attend his masses as well as to help the residents in wheelchairs to and from the chapel. Later when the need arose, she became Eucharistic Minister, substituting for the regular Eucharistic Ministers as needed.

In January 2005, Charlotte moved to the Motherhouse and continued her usual duties at the Motherhouse and Mt. Joseph. Charlotte enjoyed the ministry at both places. Everyone was so grateful for her services, and she felt blessed to have plenty of quiet time to spend in prayer and “being.”

Charlotte was a very quiet, private person but she had a good sense of humor and lovely smile. She enjoyed crocheting but there were no pieces of her work in evidence in her room. I would guess that she had given them all away because that would fit with her giving nature.

Charlotte loved to read a wide variety of materials and on occasion, she selected one of the novels from our St. Anne Shrine library. (I check out books from that same library and would run across ones in which she has discretely written her initials and the date she concluded the book, in pencil, of course.) I don’t know if she wanted to remember that she had read that book or that it was one she wished to reread. I was always glad to find her markings because I knew I was assured of a good read.

Charlotte’s prayer books and rosary were always in evidence in her room. From my conversations with her, I know that prayer was a main priority and she not only said prayers but lived a life of prayer. She believed in a merciful loving God who shepherded her throughout her life. In one of her recent mission statements, she said, and I quote, “I want to be aware of the Sacred around and in me. I want to love all — knowing that at life’s end I will be judged on love.”

I began this short glimpse into Charlotte’s life by quoting Maxim 39 – “Be nothing to yourself and be utterly given to God and to the neighbor.” I certainly believe that Charlotte’s life attested to the living out of this Maxim.

 I would like to conclude by quoting the words that Charlotte used to sum up her life. “God is good. My religious life has been very rewarding. Truly our Lord’s words, ‘I have chosen you’ has been a daily reminder of my vocation God has given me and the way in which I am to live that vocation. I am ever grateful for the love and support my religious Community and my family have given me over these years.”

Dear Charlotte, we too are grateful to have had you as a part of our lives, we have been enriched.

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

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Obituary for Sister Charlotte Lutgen — Nov. 26, 1927 – July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022 by  

Sister Charlotte Lutgen died July 15, 2022, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas. She was 94 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph for 74 years. She was born in rural Tipton, Kansas, on Nov. 26, 1927, to Charles and Elizabeth Koenigsman Lutgen, the oldest of seven children, and was baptized Geraldine. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Feb. 2, 1948. On Aug. 14, 1948, Geraldine received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Charlotte. She pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1949 and final vows on Aug. 15, 1952.

In 1948, Sister Charlotte received a diploma in nursing from St. Mary School of Nursing in Manhattan, Kansas. In 1960, she received a BSNE in Nursing from Marymount College, Salina. She served as an RN in hospitals staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Manhattan, Salina, Sabetha, Atwood, Concordia, and Belvidere, Illinois. Beginning in 1988, Sister Charlotte served the community as staff nurse at the Motherhouse. In 2005, she moved to the Motherhouse to do volunteer nursing duties.

Sister Charlotte was preceded in death by her parents, one sister and three brothers. She is survived by two brothers, Leon and William. Bible Vigil Service will be held 7 p.m. July 17 in the Chapel of the Nazareth Motherhouse with Sister Mary Jo Thummel as the eulogist. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. July 18 in the Motherhouse Chapel with Rev. Barry Brinkman presiding. We respectfully request that anyone attending either service wear a mask.

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 Charlotte Lutgen 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 Charlotte Lutgen’s memory, click on the button below:

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Final details available for Marymount College reunion

July 12, 2022 by  

Download a registration form by clicking the link below

Registration Form

 


Neighbor to Neighbor welcomes Orphan Train Rider statue

July 5, 2022 by  

A new bronze Orphan Train Rider statue was unveiled June 4 just outside Neighbor to Neighbor in downtown Concordia. It was one of two statues debuting in Concordia over the June 4 weekend as part of the National Orphan Train Complex’s 19th annual Celebration of Orphan Train Riders.

The weekend also coincided with the sister’s annual summer Assembly and Jubilee celebration, so a large number of sisters and CSJ Associates were on hand to witness the statue’s unveiling outside the popular ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The Orphan Train Rider statues are a project of the National Orphan Train Complex, located at 300 Washington Street in Concordia. This statue was the 38th, and most recent statue, to be unveiled to date. The 11th and 12th Orphan Train Rider statues are located at the driveway entrance to the Nazareth Motherhouse and were dedicated on June 8, 2017. They honor Sister Eva Marie Vale and Sister Roberta Dreiling.

The new statue in front of Neighbor to Neighbor honors Cora Alice McVicker — also known as Eugenia Alice Cullivan Mulligan. The artwork was sponsored by John and Janice Strait in loving memory of Wilfred “Joe” and Gloria Hamel. Both John and Janice were in attendance for the unveiling, as was Patrick Mulligan, Cora/Eugenia’s son.
Sister Missy Ljungdahl, director of N2N, and Sisters Pat McLennon and Jean Befort, two of the original three founders of N2N, joined Mulligan in unveiling the statue of his mother.

Who was the orphan rider?

Cora McVicker was born in 1902 to Arthur and Emma McVicker. Just a few weeks after her birth, she was left in the care of the Sisters of Charity at the New York Foundling Hospital. She lived at the Foundling Hospital for two years, until 1904, when she was selected for placement in a western home.

Cora arrived in St. Mary’s, Kansas, and was placed with Catherine Cullivan of Belvue, Kansas. Her name was changed to Eugenia Alice Cullivan and she enjoyed a happy childhood with her adoptive mother and siblings.

Catherine died in 1915, and although most orphan train children would have been returned to New York, Eugenia remained with the Cullivan family, living with her adopted siblings.
Eugenia graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in 1917 and continued her education at the Nazareth Convent and School in Concordia. She graduated from the Nazareth Academy in 1921 with a teaching certificate.

Eugenia taught school in Wamego and Manhattan, Kansas. She dated Thomas Mulligan for two years and they were married in 1923. After the Mulligans wed, they moved to Topeka, where they raised their six children.

Thomas and Eugenia both passed away in 1989.

Sharing memories

As a crowd of sisters, family and other onlookers gathered in front of N2N that afternoon, they found the statue and informational sign concealed beneath a white shroud tied with golden cords.
National Orphan Train Complex curator, Kaily Carson, greeted the crowd and introduced John and Janice Strait as the donors, Patrick Mulligan, the son of Eugenia, along with several of his family members, and Sisters Missy, Pat and Jean on behalf of Neighbor to Neighbor. She encouraged all of them to speak to the crowd.

Sponsor Janice Strait explained how she and her husband decided to sponsor a statue in honor of her mother and father in front of one of the sisters’ ministries.
Janice said that her mother, Gloria, always had a deep admiration for the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

“When she was little she lost her dad, so there were four girls and my grandma alone raising them,” Janice said. “My mom was a pretty special gal and she always told us kids that when she was growing up that the Sisters of St. Joseph would help out her and her sisters.”

“My mom would walk down to where the sisters lived on 5th Street and the sisters would send food home with her for the family to eat.”

Janice also said that in her mother’s later years she loved seeing all the Orphan Rider statues in Concordia.

“She also used to watch the orphan train come to town when she was young. So this meant quite a bit,” Janice said. “My husband and I decided this was the perfect place to thank the sisters in some small way for all they’ve done for my mother. “

The crowd also heard from Sister Missy on behalf of Neighbor to Neighbor.

“I think of our sisters who worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital, that is now Manna House. They were so attentive to the hearts of others and I am just so grateful for all of that the legacy that they’re leaving,” she said, referring to the sisters who assisted Janice Strait’s mother. “I want to thank Janice and John for this. And I want to thank the family for coming, this means the world.”

In addition to Eugenia’s son Patrick and his family being present, Carson read a letter from Eugenia’s daughter, Noreen, who was unable to attend.

“We were all touched by this honor for our mother who was a saintly, humble and caring person who loved and respected all God’s creations. Mother especially enjoyed children, animals, plants flowers and music,” she wrote.

Patrick also expressed his appreciation on behalf of his family at seeing his mother’s legacy continue with the statue.
“It’s quite an honor to be recognized for this. I am the son of my mother, who was on the orphan train. Thank you so much for this honor. It is a privilege,” he said to the crowd.

After the unveiling, the crowd was invited into Neighbor to Neighbor for refreshments.

The bronze Orphan Train Rider statues are created by the Randolph Rose Collection in Yonkers, New York. To find out more about the Orphan Train riders and statues, visit https://orphantraindepot.org/

 

 

Jubilarians reflect on 490 years of love and service

July 1, 2022 by  

Each year, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia celebrate our Jubilarians — the remarkable women we celebrate on the noteworthy anniversaries of the date they were received as novices into the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

In 2022, we honored seven Sisters who together represent 490 years of love of God and service to the neighbor: Sisters Vivian Boucher, Mary Savoie, Rose Marie Dwyer, Eulalia Kloeker, Christina Meyer, Sylvia Winterscheidt and Regina Ann Brummel.

The Jubilee Committee selected the theme, “The Universal Love through Universal Presence” for their special year.

The Community will hosted a private celebration for the Jubilarians on June 5, 2022, at the Nazareth Motherhouse.

Each of these sisters has taken a unique path in her journey as a Woman Religious. To learn more about these special women as they prepare to begin their Jubilee year, we asked each one to write a short reflection that would be an answer to these questions:

What stands out to you about your years in religious life?

What do you cherish and how would you describe it?

75 Years – Sister Vivian Boucher

I was young and immature when I joined the Community.

Religious life has been a life-long process of maturation for me. I am grateful for all the people who have helped me along the way, especially the more experienced educators who helped me learn to teach and assist children.

After the second Vatican Council, when other sisters were looking for other types of ministry, I decided to give my life to Catholic education.

I started in lower grades and gradually went from grade school teacher to high school teacher and then to principal.

I am thankful for friends who gave me companionship and joy for many years.

While I was living alone, those friends especially meant lot to me. They were advisers who helped me over the rough spots.

I am most grateful for the opportunities to grow spiritually: the retreats every year, the theology workshops, the community meetings, and the many special speakers throughout the years. Mass has always been my guiding force. I cherish very much the opportunity to assist Mass frequently. I have never had any second thoughts about having joined this Community. It has been my life.

75 Years – Sister Mary Savoie

It is unbelievable that 75 years have passed since I said “yes” to the Lord’s call to dedicate my life as a Sister of St. Joseph. The support of Leadership teams and members of the congregation have been a source of strength in the opportunities I have had to minister in this country and abroad.

My desire as a young sister was to serve as a missionary in a foreign country. A need to remain in the United States and serve as a Nurse Educator superseded this desire.

Little did I realize that God would provide, but in a different way, for that desire such as participation in foreign ministries as responses to working with an international organization and from various sources. For example, work in Eastern Europe came as an invitation from U.S. bishops that provided opportunities to collaborate with sisters, some of whom spent years in prison under communist regimes.

I believe that God led me to Eastern Europe for many reasons. Certainly a conversion that opened my mind and heart to become as expansive as I saw their lives to be. I am sure that this chain of charity, which traverses the continents and the oceans, gives glory to God.

I believe that God calls me each day to serve others. God is in charge of my life, and if I truly put my trust in God, God will enable me to reach out each day to the dear neighbor, especially those caught in the net of poverty.

If I am faithful to God’s call, He will minister through me. Whatever my age, I hope to continue being a loving, kind and helpful person wherever and in whatever circumstances I find myself. God is ever present, walking with me.

My life has been and continues to be, abundantly blessed.

70 Years – Sister Rose Marie Dwyer

My family nurtured my religious vocation from childhood on. I was blest to be number two of 10 children. I learned chores, caring for babies and being there for others.

In high school in Leoville, Sister Zephyrine was sure that I was to be a Sister of St. Joseph. It was exciting because I was to be involved with people, and that has been my whole life, my joy.

This call has led me to be of service to so many people.

I am most grateful about my life as a Sister of St. Joseph because I was called to go to Brazil. I was always in the midst of a needy community. God found those places for me. I found the opportunities and transportation. Sometimes the transportation was borrowed horses, a motorcycle or a truck bed. In all of the villages there, wherever I went, I was simply a humble channel of love to all whom God wished to reach. Thank you God for using this lowly instrument as your Divine Plan so willed.

I had the opportunity to teach English to Hispanic workers.

The more I think about my life The more I know that I am always geared toward people … just to be there for people. … reaching out to them … walking with them … being there for them.

It starts with people and it ends with people.

I am so grateful for my CSJ Community who allowed me to live those 40 years in Brazil and gave me so much support. I am grateful to God for the rich life I have had and for God’s presence in all of it!

 

70 Years – Sister Eulalia Kloeker

In past years when attending anniversaries, birthdays and numerous milestone events in life, I frequently heard the remarks from older generations mentioning how quickly the years have gone by.

Now it is my turn to voice the same comment in serving God, the Church and the Dear Neighbor for 70 years.

At a glance, my life divides into thirds. The first as an elementary teacher; the second as a staff member in a parish; and the third will be called “miscellaneous.” Each had its mountain peaks and each had its hurdles.

A favorite image for me that I cherish has been to follow the light of the Holy Spirit. Long ago I found a verse card entitled, “Rabboni.” It reads in part as follows:

When I am dying,

How happy I shall be,

That the lamp of my life

Has burned out for Thee…

At one time the light of a candle mesmerized me and I indulged in the craft of candle making. Some were molded in sand, while others were fashioned in tin molds. One I made in multi-pastel colors burned well and was the focus of many small groups’ prayer sessions. Those attending often fixed their eyes on the flame.

One event that stands out that had an impact in my life was the Vatican II documents. Sixty years later many good people still struggle with the changes. I seldom think of the documents myself, but many good people still do and carry the question, “why?”

That brings me to the third section, “miscellaneous.” One experience was that of grooming others’ hair. My hands were gifted in cutting hair. While attending formal training, I discovered I had held the scissors incorrectly for about 10 years. That was a good laugh on me.

As I celebrate this milestone, I thank my parents for their example of faith, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the parents of children and the aged for placing their trust in me.

 70 Years – Sister Christina Meyer

This, my Jubilee year, has reminded me to acknowledge God’s generous gifts to me. My years in religious life have been marked by surprises and blessings. My response is one of profound gratitude to God, Community, family and friends.

Seventy years seems like a long time and I am grateful for each day and everyone who has been with me on this journey.

Some of my most memorable experiences that I recall are from years in pastoral ministry and being involved with RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) in parishes. The transformation and growth in faith that I observed and experienced in the candidates was often, for me, a ‘WOW.’

I was also moved when accompanying those who were ill and on their journey to the next life. I was amazed and inspired in observing the letting-go when recovery from illness was no longer possible. I have always felt profound gratitude and blessings in being allowed in homes or hospitals with family during this most holy time and mysterious experience.

My Community allowed me and supported me in this pastoral ministry, for which I am extremely grateful.

I am also very grateful for the ministry of Mission Coop. I have been involved with giving talks about the work of our sisters in Brazil for the past 11 years. This has taken me to many parishes in the dioceses of Kansas and Grand Island, Nebraska, where I have always experienced gracious hospitality from pastors and people.

For this, I am also very grateful.

70 years – Sister Sylvia Winterscheidt

When I reflect on my life’s journey the past 70 years, I am amazed and grateful for God’s abiding presence. I’ve had many opportunities for meaningful and varied ministries.

I’ve enjoyed years of teaching, of parish ministry, and through Spiritual Direction, of helping others discover God’s presence in their daily challenges and surprises.

As one called to be a Concordia CSJ, I cherish our charism of “love of God and love of neighbor.” I find examples of it in Community living, in our ministries, and in daily life.

I am especially grateful for an experience I had while being on staff at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Grand Island, Nebraska. Our Christian Service Committee responded to the pastor’s request to sponsor a Vietnamese family, coming from a refugee camp that day. The family consisted of three adults, one teenager and five children.

We housed them in a small hotel for a few days while we explored suitable housing. Early the next day, I checked on their immediate needs. As I drove closer to the motel, I saw the two young boys gleefully running barefoot through the fresh fallen snow. This was my introduction to the joys and challenges of companioning refugees. Watching this family begin to rebuild their lives, seeing their deep Buddhist faith, enriched my life. I know God is not finished blessing my life.

This 70th anniversary is just a comma in my life’s journey, not a period.

60 Years – Sister Regina Ann Brummel

I am delighted to celebrate my 60th Jubilee as a Sister of St. Joseph as I expressed ten years ago for my 50th Jubilee. Religious life for me has come to mean Jesus’ call to share life in our CSJ Concordia, Kansas, Community, including His friends and disciples. Jesus has brought us together with one another and with the dear neighbors without distinction.

One of the experiences of this solidarity that has been most significant for me is a “moment” when, after teaching in our schools in Plainville, Kansas, and inner-city Chicago, I became a Marymount College French instructor. An educational program led me to spend the 1975 summer in several countries of French-colonized West Africa. There, indigenous people called me to share a new way into the world neighborhood.

This neighborhood is anywhere our sisters and brothers have been and are suffering through political and economic injustice. As a Sister of St. Joseph, I have found myself alive when I can engage in friendship, collaboration and service between and among the poor and voiceless. Native (indigenous) people have taught me that this neighborhood is as close as our extended family and as near as all creation.

As I try to listen to the Spirit of Jesus, the neighbors have continued calling me to solidarity with the poor and marginalized, especially in American Indian reservations. The experience is a constant reminder that as long as I can share my gifts and talents, no matter where I serve in the world, my CSJ sisters are there also.

For several years, I have been teaching at the Turtle Mountain (Chippewa) Community College in Belcourt, North Dakota. The Turtle Mountain reservation is very close to the Canadian border and the International Peace Garden.      

A few years ago, several of our Sisters came to visit me here; that would be great again!

I believe that we are disciples, partners and collaborators with Jesus who gives His life to all, and whose only rule is that we love one another as He has loved us, the love of friendship. [John 15:12].

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