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Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Loving God and neighbor without distinction: A pontifical institute of women religious of the Roman Catholic Church

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

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.”    

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




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