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November 2, 2020

The Motherhouse is made even more beautiful by the grounds surrounding it. What is the name of the park to the east of the building?







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September 17, 2020

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Sister Ilia Delio brings humor & clarity to “Evolutionary” theology

July 20, 2012

In 16 hours of lectures stretched over four days, author and theologian Sister Ilia Delio traveled 3,000 years into the past — and then speculated on what it will all mean centuries into the future.

With her on the journey were the nearly 100 participants in the 2012 Theological Institute held last Thursday evening through Sunday morning at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia.

The annual educational forum is usually held at Manna House of Prayer, but the record turnout required more space so it was moved to the Motherhouse auditorium.

More than a quarter of the attendees were lay people, while about 20 percent were sisters from other congregations. The rest were Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia and CSJ Associates. Participants came from as far away as New Mexico, Texas, Georgia and Wisconsin.

Delio’s presentation was titled “Evolutionary Christianity: Hope for the Future” and drew from her 2011 book, “The Emergent Christ: Exploring the Meaning of Catholic in an Evolutionary Universe.”

As a senior fellow in science and religion at Woodstock Theological Center, located within Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Delio is uniquely qualified to discuss both the history of theology and the newest developments in quantum physics today. She holds two doctorates: one in pharmacology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and one in historical theology from Fordham University. A Franciscan sister, she has served as chair and professor in the Department of Spirituality Studies at the Washington Theological Union, where she also served as director of Franciscan Studies. Her previous books include “Simply Bonaventure,” “Franciscan Prayer,” “The Humility of God” and “Christ in Evolution.”

For last week’s Theological Institute, Delio began with a discussion of the roots of Christian beliefs, beginning with the Greek idea of an earth-centered, well-ordered universe. Layered onto that, she said, was a theology that comes from the 13th century — with the earth at the center and humans as the pinnacle of creation, as the image of God.

Despite scientific discoveries in the ensuing centuries — and particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries — she argued that Christianity is “still hung up on heliocentrism. Forget about dealing with evolution.”

But for Christianity — and Catholicism — to be relevant in today’s world, she argued, Christians have to realize that “science has opened new windows for us.”

With humor, clarity and quotes ranging from French philosopher, paleontologist and priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to the lyrics of Led Zeppelin, Delio allowed her audience to look through many of those windows with her. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW SLIDESHOW)

 

• • • • • • • •

She traced physics back 13.7 billion years to the Big Bang, and came forward through Charles Darwin and “On the Origin of Species” to Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity, touched on chaos theory and then explained the importance of the so-called “God particle” — the subatomic Higgs boson — that has just been discovered.

Through it all, she helped the attendees understand the advanced physics while maintaining the spiritual connection.

All the complex explanations and connections, Delio insisted, come to one simple conclusion: “God is love, the fountain fullness of love, the unstoppable love of love itself, always in the process of becoming more love.”

Delio’s seminar was the 22nd annual Theological Institute presented by Manna House of Prayer and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. The 23rd annual Institute next summer will feature Sister Catherine Michaud, a theologian and former professor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., discussing the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

 

High school girls can ‘Be-YOU-t-full’ at new camp

June 27, 2012

Each year at the end of Discover Camp, the oldest girls know it’s the end of their summer adventure with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Some of them have been in Concordia as Discover Campers for three years — when they were entering sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Then they “graduate” — and there has been nothing like Discover Camp for older teens.

That will change June 13 when Camp Be-YOU-t-full begins, designed specifically for Catholic girls entering ninth through 12th grades.

“Parents and teachers and the girls themselves have asked for something after Discover Camp,” explained Sister Beverly Carlin, the vocation director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. “So we sat down with some college-age women to get their ideas, and they all said this is such an important time, when girls are trying to figure out who they are.”

As a result of those conversations, Sister Bev and a team of college-age “camp counselors” put together the three-day Camp Be-YOU-t-full.

It will begin Thursday afternoon, June 13, and continue through Saturday evening, June 15, with the campers staying at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia. The cost is $75 and there are a limited number of $25 scholarships available. Registrations are available online; CLICK HERE for the form to print out and complete. Or, for more information, contact Sister Beverly at 785/220-7996 or srbevc@csjkansas.org

The registration deadline is May 31.

With the camp name playing on the word “beautiful,” the focus, Sister Beverly said, will be “discovering the beauty God created in us.”

Young women today struggle to “become fully who we are, and not just be like everybody else,” she added.  Issues of today’s culture, peer pressure and Catholic faith and values will all be camp topics.

But like Discover Camp, Camp Be-YOU-t-full will also feature games, crafts, swimming and a change to meet other girls from across Kansas and beyond. The camp will conclude with Mass at 6:30 p.m. Friday, followed by an ice cream social hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Campers’ parents are invited to join the girls for the Mass and social.

In addition to Sister Beverly and a number of college women, camp staff will include sisters and other volunteers. The team hopes to have about 20 campers taking part.

 

 

 

 

Discover Camp comes to the Motherhouse!

May 31, 2012

Like swallows to San Juan Capistrano, the Discover Campers arrived at the Motherhouse in flocks this afternoon, eventually numbering 40 girls in seventh through ninth graders. With them came another 20 mostly teenage counselors along with damp directors and other volunteer staff members.

• • • • • • • •

Serving as camp director for the second year is Jessica Thompson of Kansas City, Kan. Sister Beverly Carlin, vocation director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, continues as camp coordinator, and numerous other sisters volunteer to help with the three-day annual event. The theme of this year’s Discover Camp is “Ambassadors for Christ.”

More photos will be posted as the camp continues, Please check back here.

Sisters thank nursing staff during special week

May 10, 2012

As National Nurses Week was wrapping up, the sisters who live at the Nazareth Motherhouse were wrapping up a week of special thank yous. And the biggest token appreciation came this evening (Thursday) when the sisters treated the entire nursing staff to a supper of Subway sandwiches, small gifts and low-key recognition during a party at the Motherhouse.

 • • • • • • • • •

Meanwhile, director of nursing Alfreda Maley presented each sister who worked in the health care field as well as the “nurse’s helpers” among the sisters to single cut roses and applause.

The theme of the 2012 Nurses Week was “Advocating. Leading. Caring.” National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, the birth date of Florence Nightingale.

April ‘Messenger’ now available

April 17, 2012

“Volume 2” for 2012 goes in the mail this afternoon (April 17), but if you just can’t wait, you can download a PDF of the new issue of The Messenger now. It’s in two sections this time, to make downloading a little easier:

For pages 1 to 7, CLICK HERE.

For pages 8 to 16, CLICK HERE.

 

There is never any advertising in The Messenger, so donations to help defray production and mailing costs are always appreciated. Just click on the DONATE button below.

 

Immigration ‘Reports’ look at myths, reality

April 15, 2012

Iliana Holguin and Allie Devine have distinctly different backgrounds and live in two very different worlds, yet on Saturday afternoon it was clear they share a passion for immigration reform. And it was clear that both women see such needed changes in national and state law as both humane and pragmatic.

Holguin and Devine were the main speakers at a presentation titled “Immigration Reform & What it Means to Rural Kansas,” held at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia and organized by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Iliana Holguin of El Paso, Texas

Holguin is an attorney and executive director of Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, the largest provider of free and low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees and their families in El Paso, West Texas and Southern New Mexico. She remembers growing up in El Paso when it and Ciudad Juarez, its much larger neighbor just across the U.S.-Mexico border, seemed like one big city.

“As a child I traveled with my mother to Juarez every morning and it never seemed like I was crossing an international border,” she recalled as she began her “Report from the Border.”

But that was before 9/11 and increased national security — and before violent drug cartels turned Juarez into what is now called the “Murder Capital of the World.”

“The laws have changed dramatically in the last 50 years,” she said, while American attitudes toward immigrants have changed as well.

She began her presentation by citing six common myths about immigration today:

  • Having a child born in the U.S. allows parents to stay. (These so-called “anchor babies” are U.S. citizens, but their parents are not and are subject to deportation.)
  • Marrying a U.S. citizen automatically allows the spouse to come to the U.S. or to stay here. (This is one pathway to citizenship, but it is not automatic.)
  • Immigrants come to the U.S. to get welfare. (Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for any kind of welfare and even documented immigrants are not eligible for the first five years they are in the country.)
  • Immigrants pay no taxes. (Both documented and undocumented immigrants pay sales and income taxes just like anyone else. For Social Security taxes and most income taxes, she noted, undocumented immigrants provide a “windfall” because they pay those taxes through payroll deductions but have no way to get it back.)
  • Most immigrants entered the U.S. illegally. (Although estimates vary, most studies agree that about 75 percent of the immigrants in the U.S. entered legally.)
  • Immigrants can come to the U.S. legally if they want to.

“Immigration laws today are very, very complicated,” Holguin said.

Most visas issued to enter the U.S. legally are based on either family connections or employment, she explained. But for 2012, there will be just 226,000 “family-based” visas issued for immigrants from anywhere in the world, which means there is a lengthy backlog for people who want to join family members here.

As an example, this year there are 23,400 visas available for the unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens — but according to an April 2012 federal bulletin, those adult children would have had to apply for one of those visas in May 1993 to now have moved to the front of the line. And if their relative is a “lawful permanent resident” instead of a citizen — commonly called a Green Card holder — the backlog is larger and the wait will be longer.

The challenge for workers who are trying to come into the U.S. legally can be even greater, Holguin said.

While “priority workers” and those with advanced degrees have a good chance of receiving visas, “other workers” — typically the kind of employees needed for agriculture and meat processing plants such as those in Southwest Kansas — are only allotted 10,000 visas a year. And, Holguin noted, the April 2012 bulletin lists an eligibility date of September 2002 for that class of visa.

“So how many people think an employer will be willing to wait 10 years for their employee?” she asked the 50 or so people in the audience at the Nazareth Motherhouse.

Another dramatic shift in immigration law, Holguin said, has been the focus on border enforcement. “Cost have increased exponentially in the last 10 years,” she said, “and that’s not just on the border but throughout the United States.”

A huge portion of that goes to the 350 or so detention facilities that have been established in the U.S. In 2009 (the most recent year for which details are available), about 380,000 immigrants were held in these detention centers, at a cost of $1.7 billion.

“Immigration violations are civil,” Holguin pointed out. “Half of the immigrants in detention have no criminal record.”

In El Paso, there are two detention facilities that together house 1,900 adults. (There are also four facilities for children, with a total capacity of 200.)

The cost to detain each adult is $86 per day, so the total cost for the two adult facilities in El Paso is $63 million per year, Holguin said — $86 times 365 days times 1,900 detainees.

She said various studies have shown that less expensive alternatives to detention would work just as well, but neither the government nor the private companies that run detention centers are willing to consider those.

“Immigration detention has become such a lucrative business that there’s a lot of resistance to alternatives,” she added.

 

Allie Devine of Topeka

Meanwhile, in Kansas — like in many other states — alternatives to federal immigration policy have been at the forefront for a number of years.

Former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Allie Devine explained the history of immigration discussions in Kansas and how a current proposal came about.

“As Iliana was on the border fighting those issues and as Congress every year lost its nerve to address immigration,” Kansas business interests began changing the way they thought about the issue.

“The first thing everybody says is, ‘This is a federal issue; there’s no role for the states,’” she said. “For five years, the Kansas business community said that — and we said it because we believed it. But we also understand the political environment that we’re in.”

So, beginning in 2008, “while we understand it’s a federal issue and there still needs to be federal reform, we realized that we need to do something (in Kansas) and do something different.”

That “something” has grown into a coalition of 27 groups “representing virtually every aspect of the economic base of Kansas,” Devine said, that has come together to oppose measures put forward by Secretary of State Kris Kobach and at the same time propose an unusual bill to help provide workers for Kansas businesses.

State Rep. Elaine Bowers, R-Concordia, listens to the presentation at the Nazareth Motherhouse Saturday.

Devine said the most unusual aspect of House Bill 2712 and its Senate companion, SB 399, is that it brought together business lobbyists and advocacy groups on a single issue, so that they were working side by side for what may have been the first time ever.

“What happened us probably one of the greatest things I’ve seen in all aspects of 25 years in state government,” she said. “We changed the hearts of lobbyists that were focused only on business interests. They now see this as a human rights issue and a community protection issue.”

Instead of the punitive “Arizona-style” laws that have been put forward by Secretary of State Kobach, HB 2712 creates a method for undocumented workers to remain in Kansas. If it becomes law, under 2712 a worker would have to:

  • Prove he or she has been in Kansas for five years
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Agree to study toward English proficiency
  • Agree to work in an industry that needs labor

If the worker meets those criteria, the state of Kansas would support his or her application to remain in the U.S. with legal work authorization. The costs of the new program would be covered by businesses that would pay a $1,000 registration fee and an additional fee of $200 for each employee hired as part of the new program.

She said HB 2712 “would basically put people in a holding pattern, with lawful status, until they can come into the system” of entry visas, as Holguin described.

After designing HB 2712, Devine said, “We were waiting for the immigrant community to tell us they could never support it — but they said, ‘Yes, we’ll support it, because we have nothing else.’”

HB 2712 remains in the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs, where the last action on it was a set of hearings in mid-February.

If it doesn’t pass, Devine said her coalition will continue to work with the federal government on the same idea but through other channels.

Arturo Ponce from Liberal, Kan., talked about his own experience as an immigrant 24 years ago. He attended the presentation with his wife, Dora.

Also speaking at Saturday’s presentation were Arturo Ponce, who works with the United Methodist Mexican American Ministries in Liberal, Kan., and Sisters Anna Marie Broxterman, Judy Stephens and Esther Pineda. Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, welcomed those attending the presentation and explained the congregation’s focus on immigration reform. Cheryl Lyn Higgins, coordinator for the sisters’ Neighborhood Initiatives offices, was the emcee for the event.

• • • • • • •

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia gave unanimous support to an Enactment Statement on Immigration in November 2011. For a copy,  CLICK HERE.

 

Congregation welcomes associates from Ness City, Manhattan

March 31, 2012

Sister Rosabel Flax, second from right, introduces new CSJ Associate Rosalita Flax of Ness City, Kan., to the Sisters of St. Joseph during a commitment ceremony at the Nazareth Motherhouse Saturday afternoon. Looking on are new CSJ Associate Catherine Seitz of Manhattan, left, and Sister Mary Jo Thummel, second from left.

CSJ Associates from across Kansas and beyond took part in a ceremony this afternoon (Saturday, March 31) as two new members made their first commitments and 14 members renewed their commitments.

• • • • • • • • •

The simple ceremony at the Nazareth Motherhouse concluded the annual weekend Associates Retreat, in which all 16 had taken part, at Manna House of Prayer.

The new CSJ Associates are Catherine Seitz of Manhattan, Kan., and Rosalita Flax of Ness City, Kan.

The associates renewing their annual commitment Saturday were:

  • Carol Arts of Concordia
  • Sheryl Bahr of Rossville, Kan.
  • Betty Bombardier of Concordia
  • Janet Chapman of Concordia
  • Amber Charboneau of Dewey, Okla.
  • Jane Christensen of Concordia
  • Rita Collette of Concordia
  • Stephanie Hudson of Kansas City, Mo.
  • Susan LeDuc of Ames, Kan.
  • Bill and Susan Riordan of Salina
  • Myrna Shelton of Concordia
  • Jennifer Spangler of Overland Park, Kan.
  • Nancy Welsh of Topeka

CSJ Associates are Christian men and women from all ages and all walks of life who are committed to Gospel values, who feel drawn by the charism, spirituality and mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who want to deepen their own spiritual life and who are willing to give themselves in service to the dear neighbor.

As associates, they meet monthly with other associates and sisters, participate in the prayer life of the congregation and attend retreats, assemblies and celebrations of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

There are now more than 30 CSJ Associates in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and New Mexico, as well as at least that many working with the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Brazil mission.

For more information on the CSJ Associate program, contact:

Sister Jean Befort at jeanbefort@sbcglobal.net or Sister Janet Lander at janetmarycsj@yahoo.com

or go to www.csjkansas.org/about/associates/

Fun day builds girls’ awareness, confidence

March 30, 2012

Sister Julie Christensen, far right, watches as senior girls from Sacred Heart and St. Xavier high schools try "mirroring" each other in an exercise at the Nazareth Motherhouse Friday (March 30).

Eighteen high school seniors spent today (Friday, March 30) at the Nazareth Motherhouse in activities that looked for all the world like silliness and play.

• • • • • • •

But the point of the annual daylong retreat for senior girls was much more serious: To help them understand the challenge of being faithful to themselves as they move into adulthood and the next phases of their lives.

Girls from Sacred Heart High School in Salina and St. Xavier High School in Junction City took part in the program, let by Sisters Beverly Carlin, Julie Christensen, Anna Marie Broxterman and Polly Kukula.

To keep the group energized after lunch with the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Motherhouse dining room, Sister Julie led an exercise in “mirroring,” in which one girl led the gestures and movement as her partner attempted to exactly follow, or mirror, those actions. The idea, Sister Julie said, was to maintain eye contact and do the exercise in silence — but that proved too much of a task for a room full of teenage girls. Amidst giggles, each pair tried to be perfect mirrors.

In real life, Sister Julie asked at the end of the exercise, who do we try to mirror? Whose actions do we try to copy, and why do we do that?

As the girls go into unfamiliar situations after high school graduation — whether it be college or a job or the military — they will find themselves copying the actions of people around them as they try to get comfortable and fit in, Sister Julie said. “But the one person who is always there, who should always be a reflection of the true you, is the person looking in the mirror,” she told the group.

Also taking part today was Alice Jones, a senior at Kansas State University, who talked to the girls about her own transition from high school to college.

Other presentations during the day focused on the emotions that come from being out of our comfort zone and finding the courage to take risks.

The girls also joined the sisters for Mass at the Motherhouse.

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