Saturday, June 15, 2024
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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Sister Mary Ann Flax

70 Years

I am so grateful for my call to join the Sisters of St. Joseph. I experience women of prayer, joy, generosity, and a great love of God and neighbor.
A few years after I entered, an editor of a weekly newspaper interviewed me. He asked about my life as a Sister. I remember saying that a call to religious life was a vocation. It was reported in the newspaper as: “The life of Sister Mary Ann is a vacation.” Yes, my life has been a vacation with God and so many dear neighbors.
I am deeply indebted to my spiritual directors – especially two wise and holy men who were Cistercian monks: Father Thomas Keating and Father Theophane Boyd. Through their mentoring, I came to know that a deep sense of wonder, awe, joy, gratitude, and service flow from a holy space, a holy stance, and a holy exchange.
So, my vacation with God and the dear neighbors has been and is an unforgettable one.
Where have we been on vacation, and what did we experience and encounter? Come and see…
I hold in awe and appreciation the educational opportunities that have been such a gift. I mention our former Marymount College, Seattle University, Kansas State, and Loyola University in Chicago. These institutions’ staff helped prepare me for several ministries during the last 70 years. I hold in wonder and appreciation the schools Sacred Heart and St. Marys in Salina. There, I discovered the joy of teaching. In the schools and communities of Silver City, N.M., and Aurora, Kan., I developed my administrative skills. It was in Aurora that I initiated the parish singalongs. (What a blast!) I hold in wonder and gratitude the faith communities of Hoxie, Seguin, Grainfield, and Grinnell for the privilege of serving as a religious educator. What a joy to share the Good News with all ages. I also learned how to bowl there. (Trophies to prove it.) I hold in appreciation the faith communities of Northwestern Colorado, where I was privileged to serve as a coordinator of evangelization and catechesis. I was also privileged to provide pastoral leadership in a number of faith communities. Yes, the mountains and the people I did love. I also served as a pastoral minister in Lexington, Neb. What a joy to teach RCIA and other Scripture classes and coordinate and participate in this multicultural community’s many needed outreach programs. Our community is a miniature world that I am so privileged to serve. Rejoice, for awesome has been my vacation. Special thanks to God, family, Sisters, and co-travelers, and vacationers. Now, I am semi-retired at the Motherhouse in Concordia, Kan.