New backyard structure honors sisters’ service at Manna House

September 9, 2015 by

The new pergola at Manna House of Prayer honors Sister Liberata Pellerin, left, and the late Sister Bette Moslander.

The new pergola at Manna House of Prayer honors Sister Liberata Pellerin, left, and the late Sister Bette Moslander.

(Special thanks to Sister Kathy Schaefer for her photos)

Sisters gathered at Manna House of Prayer Sept. 1 to honor two old friends who had a special wish for the spirituality and retreat center in Concordia.

The occasion was the blessing of a new arbor-like pergola, dedicated to Sister Liberata Pellerin and the late Sister Bette Moslander for their years of service at Manna House.

“Bette’s wish years ago was to get a pergola for the concrete slab in our backyard where once had stood what we called the ‘Alpine Hut,’ ” explained Sister Betty Suther, now administrator at the retreat center at 323 E. Fifth St. That shed was removed about 10 years ago.

After Sister Bette’s death March 22, 2015, the sisters decided to use gifts made in her memory to pay for the new wood structure. Added to those funds were gifts made in honor of Sister Liberata for her 75th anniversary as a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia in June.

Sister Bette moved to Manna House in late 1989. As she wrote later, Manna House — a spiritual retreat center that the sisters had opened about 15 years earlier — “was proving a financial drain on the community and … we needed some new kind of programming if we were to make a success of the prayer house.”

The programs she helped develop included the Sarah Sabbatical, the Magnificat Program, Congregational Spirituality Retreats and, in 1996, the annual Theological Institute that continues today.

She lived there and continued to take part in retreats and workshops until failing health forced her to come to the Motherhouse shortly before her death at age 92.

Her constant companion throughout the years was Sister Liberata, who returned to Concordia with Sister Bette in the late 1980s. Until last year when she moved to the Motherhouse, Sister “Liebe,” as she is known, led retreats, offered journaling workshops and served as a spiritual director at Manna House.

Sisters from throughout Concordia, novices from the Sisters of St. Joseph Federation and students now staying at Manna House, and staff took part in the dedication and blessing ceremony.





3 Responses to “New backyard structure honors sisters’ service at Manna House”

  1. Dottie Moss on September 9th, 2015 10:53 pm

    Love incarnate– and beauty!

  2. Tim Walter on September 9th, 2015 10:21 pm

    Glad to see that Sister Liberata is still going strong. She was singularly responsible for me still attending the Catholic Church. She taught us in the 7th and 8th grade at St. Theresa Academy in Cawker City Kansas. I’ll never forget her. Great to see you again!

  3. Betsy Gasperich-Miller on September 9th, 2015 9:25 pm

    How wonderful and appropriate to honor these two caring, loving women……who dedicated their lives to being Sisters to all………I treasure them and salute them……..sending love, prayerful hugs and blessings to all the Sisters of St. Joseph!

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