St. Joseph Orphanage reunion set for April 27

April 18, 2019 by

ABILENE — Bishop Gerald Vincke will dedicate and bless a new sign memorializing the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home on April 27 at Mt. St. Joseph Cemetery, Abilene.

The unveiling of the new sign will be one of many events planned for the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home reunion planned at the Parish Hall at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Abilene.

The sign was designed by artist Jean Scanlan, a member of St. Michael’s Parish in Chapman. Rawhide Iron Works in Norton constructed the sign. It was installed earlier this spring and will be officially unveiled and dedicated at the event.

Scanlan was on hand to watch the sign being installed. It was the first time she had seen her design recreated onto the metal sign.

“I was a little worried about the steeple,” she said of her artwork. “But it turned out really good!”

“We could never have done this without the help of Brian and Tom Whitehair,” said Sister Carolyn Juenemann, an organizer of the event. “They are on the cemetery committee of St. Andrew’s Parish, which graciously permitted us to install the sign on their land.”

The site of the St. Joseph Orphanage and Home is visible from the sign.

Sister Carolyn’s brother, Mel Juenemann, was the liaison between the Sisters and the sign company, and delivered the sign to the site.

The St. Joseph Orphanage and Home closed in 1958, so even the youngest surviving orphans are in their 60s now — and most are much older.

“I’ve been contacted by at least six people who lived at the home between the late 1930s and 1958 who are making plans to be at the reunion,” Sister Jan McCormick said, who along with Sister Carolyn, organized the reunion. “We don’t want to lose all their stories. We want to come together to remember this history and the people who were a part of it.”

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia ran the facility for 43 years, from when they opened it in 1915 until it closed in 1958. The building, on the north edge of Abilene, just off Buckeye Avenue, was demolished in 1959.

 

Schedule of events:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Begin gathering at St Andrews, 311 S. Buckeye, Abilene
  • 10 a.m. – Welcome and opening prayer
  • 10:30 a.m. – View DVD
  • 11 a.m. – Sharing and visiting
  • Noon – Meal
  • 1:30 p.m. – Prayer service led by Bishop Gerald Vincke, of the Salina Diocese.

 

Immediately following the prayer service, attendees will travel to Mt. St. Joseph Cemetery for the unveiling, blessing and dedication of the new memorial sign.

“We look forward to seeing many of you again,” said Sister Jan. “We want to spend time sharing, reminiscing, learning and celebrating.”

To RSVP, contact Sister Jan McCormick at janmccormick@rocketmail.com or (785) 479-6795, or contact Sister Carolyn Juenemann at scarolyn@gmail.com. Please visit the St. Joseph Orphanage page on Facebook for more details at https://www.facebook.com/stjosephorphanage.abilene.

There will be no charge for the event and meal, but a free-will offering will be accepted.

 

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