Concordia sisters name new Leadership Team

February 4, 2016 by

The new Leadership Team elected today are, from left, Sisters Mary Jo Thummel, Jean Rosemarynoski, Therese Blecha, Marilyn Wall and Janet Lander.

The new Leadership Team elected today are, from left, Sisters Mary Jo Thummel, Jean Rosemarynoski, Therese Blecha, Marilyn Wall and Janet Lander.

A woman well known throughout Concordia has been named to lead the Sisters of St. Joseph for the next four years.

Sister Jean

Sister Jean

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski was elected president of the Concordia congregation this afternoon as the sisters’ four-day “Senate of Elections” neared its conclusion. The Senate — the congregation’s highest deliberative body — convenes every four years, and the schedule depends on the agenda. This Senate began in October 2015 with an assembly of all the sisters in the Catholic religious order and then culminates this week with the Leadership Council elections.

Sister Jean will take office July 1, succeeding Sister Marcia Allen, who has served as president for the past eight years.

Sister Jean is a native of Wichita and lives in Concordia. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Washburn University and then master’s degrees at Kansas State University and St. Mary University in Winona, Minn. Before being received as a novice in the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1994, she worked as an educator for the Topeka Public Schools, and later at Parkview Passages in Topeka as administrator for education.

She has served as communications director and development director for the congregation, and was first elected to the Leadership Council in 2008. In 2012 she was elected to a four-year term as vice president of the congregation.

Throughout her tenure on the Leadership Council, she has been active in civic organizations, as a member and president of the Rotary Club, board chair for the Concordia Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee. In addition to her other duties, the 63-year-old is also currently serving as interim Motherhouse administrator of sister services.

She will serve with a new congregational Leadership Team that was also elected this afternoon.

Sister Therese

Sister Therese

Sister Therese Blecha was elected vice president of the congregation.

Sister Therese, 74, was raised in rural Republic County, Kan., and currently lives in Concordia where she serves on the congregation’s Leadership Council.

She holds multiple degrees in chemistry, including a bachelor’s from Marymount College, Salina; master’s from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and Kansas State University; and a Ph.D. from Kansas State.

She was received into the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1963, and then spent 25 years teaching — first at Saints Peter & Paul High School in Boonville Mo., and Sacred Heart High School, Salina, and later at Marymount College and Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind.

In 1993 she was appointed treasurer and director of business affairs for the congregation in Concordia, and served in that role until 2008. She was elected to the Leadership Council in 2012 and also serves as treasurer for the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph. She has also been a member of the Community Foundation for Cloud County board of director, and currently serves on the board of the Cloud County Resource Center.

Sisters Jean and Therese will be joined on the Leadership Team by three newly elected councilors. They are:

Sister Janet

Sister Janet

Sister Janet Mary Lander, originally from Santa Monica, Calif. Sister Janet, 58, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles and another master’s in pastoral ministry from Boston College. She also completed a post-master’s certificate in the practice of spirituality at Boston College.

She originally entered the Sisters of St. Louis of Woodland Hills, Calif., and then in 2003 came to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

She lives at Manna House of Prayer in Concordia, where she serves as a spiritual director and retreat leader. She has served as co-director of the CSJ Associates program since 2005 and been a member of numerous congregational committees. She has also had an active role in the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph, serving on committees for associate directors and federation artists, as well as teaching in the Federation Novitiate currently based at Manna House.

Sister Mary Jo

Sister Mary Jo

Sister Mary Jo Thummel, a native of Plainville, Kan., who was received into the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1959. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Marymount College in Salina and then a master’s in Christian spirituality from Creighton University in Omaha. She has also completed certificates in spiritual direction from Creighton and in corporate ministry from St. Louis University.

She was a teacher at various schools for 22 years, and then moved into parish ministry. She served in Gorham, Kan., for 12 years and later in Oakley and Junction City, Kan., and was a member of the Diocesan Parish Council. In 2008 she was elected to the congregation’s Leadership Council and then re-elected to another four-year term in 2012.

Sister Mary Jo, 74, lives in Concordia, and is assistant director of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph Novitiate based at Manna House of Prayer. She also serves on the board of the Community Foundation for Cloud County

Sister Marilyn

Sister Marilyn

Sister Marilyn Wall, originally from Aurora, Ill., who was received into the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1961. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Marymount College in Salina and then master’s degrees from Kansas State University and St. Louis University.

Early in her religious life, she was a teacher in Fairbury, Neb., and Manhattan and Salina, Kan. She then taught biology for several years at Marymount College and eventually served as a social worker at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia. She then joined the staff at Manna House of Prayer.

From 1987 to 1991 she served on the congregation’s Executive Council, and then began a new ministry working in parishes. She has lived and served as pastoral administrator or associate or parish life coordinator in Oberlin, Selden and Leoville, Kan. (1994-2002), Washington, Morrowville, Hanover and Greenleaf, Kan. (2002-2009), and Wilson, Dorrance and Holyrood, Kan. (2009-2012). Today at 73, she is pastoral associate in Washington, Kan., where she is also secretary for the Washington County Ministerial Association and a chaplain with Meadowlark Hospice.



8 Responses to “Concordia sisters name new Leadership Team”

  1. Twila Logsdon on February 28th, 2016 1:14 pm

    Congratulations to each of you. May the Holy Spirit continue to rest on your shoulders, and buzz in your ears as the work as a Team.
    God bless
    and thank you to the Sisters who are going on to other duties.

  2. margaret hickey on February 25th, 2016 10:48 am

    Congratulations to the new leadership team and to Marcia and her past leadership team for a ministry well done. We look forward to meeting you at LCWR national gathering in Atlanta.

  3. Carolyn Zimmerman on February 24th, 2016 4:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing your good news. It turns out that I’ve known Sister Jean Rosemarynoski for several years. We met back in the day when her mother was a volunteer at Topeka’s Marian Clinic and I worked there as the development director. I’ve known Sister Jean McKenna for even longer and I strengthened my tie with your community when I made the acquaintance of Donna Schneweiss and worked with her on seeking abolition of the death penalty in Kansas. I later had the privilege of traveling to El Paso in the summer of 2014 with Sister Ester Pineda (RIP) and the others who were seeking to learn more about the assistance being provided to the women and children coming across the border. That trip remains a precious memory to me and I was glad to share what I learned with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth at a meeting of the Sisters and Associates. I salute the CSJ Community for its ongoing work and send my congratulations to each one of the newly elected leaders. May all your efforts be blessed with great success! — Carolyn Zimmerman, SCLA

  4. Rita Schwarz, ASC on February 5th, 2016 10:20 am

    Congratulations! May each of you be blessed through your ministry. My prayers go with you.

  5. Natalie Cain on February 5th, 2016 9:20 am

    What a blessing you all are to your Congregation and to all of us in the Federation and beyond.! Congratulations and prayers as you lead and guide through these special times.


  6. Gloria Philip rsj Argentina on February 5th, 2016 2:26 am

    Thank you dear Sister, and Congratulations!
    Thanks dear Marcia for your Ministry
    We have been praying for all of you ….

  7. Nancy Sullivan on February 4th, 2016 7:43 pm

    Congratulations to you all and thank you for accepting the important ministry of leadership in these challenging times.

    Nancy Sullivan, CSJ
    Executive Director
    Canadian Federation of the Sisters of St Joseph

  8. Griselda Martinez Morales on February 4th, 2016 7:30 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS SISTERS!! I offer my prayers in this new mission that you are receiveing.

    My greetings to all the Community!

    Love Griselda

Feel free to leave a comment...