Question of the Day

November 1, 2018

Since 2009, the Sisters of St. Joseph and other groups in Concordia have been a part of a community-wide initiative. What is it called?

Question of the Day

July 21, 2018

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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

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.





Concordia missionary to carry Little Dresses to Africa

June 19, 2012

During a visit this week to Neighbor to Neighbor, Chelsey Horkman chats about her upcoming mission to Africa.

The Little Dresses for Africa will soon be headed to Africa, packed in the luggage of a Concordia woman who will serve as a missionary in Burkina Faso for the next three years.

Chelsey Horkman learned about the 100 dresses made by women at Neighbor to Neighbor through a fellow member of The Wesleyan Church in Concordia. In fact, it was that church member, Sandi Hubert, who took the idea for the project to the women’s center in downtown Concordia to begin with.

Sandi Hubert shows off a "Little Dress" made from sunflower fabric as women gathered at Neighbor to Neighbor this week to meet Chelsey Horkman.

When Hubert first learned about the Little Dresses for Africa project from a sewing program on television, she talked with Sister Jean Befort at Neighbor to Neighbor about it. Sister Jean in turn talked with Sister Ramona Medina, another of the three Sisters of St. Joseph who run the center, and before long there was something of a mini manufacturing line of sewing machines set up.

More than a dozen women embraced the project and by early May they were halfway to their goal of 100 little dresses. As word about the project got out, donations of fabrics, thread and other sewing notions flowed in.

Then Hubert asked Horkman to help deliver the completed dresses when she goes to the small West African nation of Burkina Faso next month.

Horkman, a Concordia native and graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, has being studying French in Quebec, Canada, for the past year as preparation for a three-year mission with Child Evangelism Fellowship. She leaves for Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in mid-July.

There are three other CEF missionaries serving in Burkina Faso, she noted, but she is the first  non-native to serve there and will be the only one in the capital city.

The small nation of Burkina Faso is within the red square.

Burkina Faso is roughly the same size as the state of Colorado but has about 3½ times as many people. The high population density and limited natural resources — issues shared with its neighboring countries — make that area of West Africa one of the poorest regions in the world. About 60 of the Burkinabe people are Muslim and another 15 percent practice tribal religions, with the remainder predominantly Catholic, according to the World Factbook.

The 25-year-old missionary, the daughter of John and Marj Horkman of Concordia, has already been to the equatorial nation three times, but each visit was for just a month. This time she is committed to a three-year stay with the goal of starting “Good News Clubs” for children and then teaching others to carry on her work.

Her goal in Ouagadougou, a city of about 2 million people, is “building relationships” with children as a way of introducing them to Christ.

That goal seems to blend perfectly with the Michigan-based Little Dresses for Africa Inc., a nonprofit Christian organization that began in 2007.

Founder Rachel O’Neill of Brownstown, Mich., believes that Little Dresses for Africa deliver a small dose of hope and love to girls across the poorest regions of Africa (and now, around the world), in the form of simple sheaths sewn by volunteers using mostly donated fabric and notions and then delivered by individual travelers — whether tourists, mission workers and even a National Geographic photographer — to wherever they’re needed.

So far more than 560,000 dresses from all 50 states have been distributed in 31 African countries, as well as Honduras, Guatemala, The Philippines, Cambodia, Mexico, Haiti and poverty-stricken areas in the United States.

Horkman will add to that flow 100 more dresses — each with a matching hair band and a label that reads “Made with care, especially for you by your friends at Neighbor to Neighbor, Concordia, Kan., USA.”

But that doesn’t mean the project is completed for the women at Neighbor to Neighbor, Sister Ramona adds with a laugh. “Now we’ll just start on the next 100.”


More about ‘Little Dresses’

The Little Dresses for Africa — sometimes called “pillowcase dresses” because the simplest way to make them is from pillowcases — are brightly colored sheaths with ribbon ties at each shoulder.

To create them, the downtown Neighbor to Neighbor center has become something of a mini-manufacturing line: On a recent afternoon, it includes one woman to cut the fabric, another to sew the seams, another to add binding to the edges and sew on the ties, still another to add the label (“Made with care, especially for you by your friends at Neighbor to Neighbor, Concordia, Kan., USA”) and a final woman to iron and package the dress and its also-handmade matching hair band.

To learn more about Little Dresses for Africa, you can go to the organization’s website:


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 or Sister Janet Lander at

or go to

Sister adds testimony against HB 2576

February 14, 2012

 Sister Esther Pineda, director of the Justice and Peace Center in Salina, on Feb. 15, 2012, submitted this letter of opposition to Kansas House Bill 2576. The so-called “Anti-Harboring Bill” would make it a crime to harbor or assist any person who is subsequently found to be in the United States without documentation. The Kansas House of Representatives is holding hearings on HB 2576 and other immigration-related measures this week.

The full text of the letter is below. Or, for a copy in Word document format, CLICK HERE.


February 15, 2012


House Federal and State Affairs Committee
Representative Steve Brunk, Chairman
Topeka, KS


I am submitting this written testimony to be filed with the record of testimony in opposition to HB 2576.

We, Sisters of St. Joseph have been in Kansas since 1883 ministering to the needs of Kansans in the area of education and health care.  Our religious Charism and faith calls us to be attentive to the most vulnerable; among them, the immigrant who finds himself/ herself away from home and, often, in vulnerable situations.

It goes without saying, that our immigration policy is broken. We are pained by the inability of the Federal Government to enact a fair and humane immigration policy; therefore, causing undue and unnecessary hardships on the immigrant who is present among us.  As a community of faith, we are committed to fair and just solutions, but these solutions only come through the Federal government who is charged with the responsibility of immigration; States trying to “piece meal” a solution is at times harmful and at best, not helpful.

In a desperate grasp of the issue, this Kansas legislation (HB2576) is proposing that communities of faith, such as mine, choose between following the law and following the dictates of our faith. Aiding those in need is one of the basic tenants of our faith and of our Religious Community.  The Sisters of St. Joseph must consider the “dear neighbor” without distinction. We take seriously the teaching of Jesus who said, “In Matthew’s text on the Final Judgment : “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a  stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35) .  And I don’t believe Matthew added: AND YOU MIGHT BE ARRESTED FOR DOING SO!

Specifically, we oppose any legislative proposal (such as HB2576) that would:

  • Require clergy and lay leaders to enforce  immigration policies, discriminate based upon immigration status, or take legal responsibility for failing to report the undocumented to immigration officials,
  • Create barriers to essential services for those eligible, particularly the U.S.-born children of mixed-status households.

Living according to our faith and community’s directive to extend compassion should not be criminalized as “harboring.”

Sister Esther Pineda, CSJ

Congregation names Leadership Council

February 6, 2012

Sister Marcia Allen

Sister Marcia Allen has been re-elected as president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

She was named to the position Monday as the congregation’s three-day “Senate of Elections” came to an end. The Senate — the Concordia congregation’s highest deliberative body — convenes every four years, and the schedule depends on the agenda. This Senate began in November 2011 with an assembly of all the sisters in the Catholic religious order and then concluded this week with the Leadership Council elections.

Sister Marcia will serve on the Council with six other elected leaders. Five of those six are completing their first terms on the council and were re-elected for another four years.

The new term will begin on July 1.

For Sister Marcia, a native of Plainville, Kan., the 2012-16 term will actually be her fourth stint as president. She was first elected in 1987 and then re-elected in 1991. Under the congregation’s Constitution, there is a limit of two consecutive terms as president. But she was elected again in 2008.

Sister Marcia was received into the congregation in 1959. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Marymount College and a master’s degree from Kansas State University. Later she earned a doctorate in applied ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Ind.

The other council members re-elected Monday were:

  • Sister Jean Rosemarynoski

    Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, who was elected vice president. She is currently the congregation’s Development Director and has served the last four years on the council. A native of Wichita, Sister Jean was received into the congregation in 1994. She received a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University and master’s degrees from Kansas State University and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Prior to her election to the council four years ago, Sister Jean served as communications director for the congregation. Previously she was a special education teacher, served on the Cloud County Resource Council and was a staff member at Manna House of Prayer in Concordia.

    Sister Beth Stover

    Sister Beth Stover, of Beloit, Kan., who has served since 2008 as vice president. She was received into the congregation in 1960. She received a bachelor’s degree from Marymount College and a master’s from St. Louis University. Before being elected to the council in 2008, Sister Beth was program director for the North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging. Before that she had served as director of laboratory services in hospitals, as administrator of the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia and as executive director of Catholic Charities of Salina.

    Sister Anna Marie Broxterman

    Sister Anna Marie Broxterman, of Baileyville, Kan. She has been a Sister of St. Joseph since 1959 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Marymount College and a master’s degree from Regis University in Denver. The longtime vocation director for the congregation until her election to the council four years ago, Sister Anna Marie earlier served as a hospital nurse, as a staff member at Manna House of Prayer in Concordia and as a campus minister.

    Sister Judy Stephens

    Sister Judy Stephens, who is originally from Oakley, Kan. She was  received into the congregation in 1961 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Marymount College and a master’s from the University of Detroit. She served in the Hispanic ministry for the Catholic Charities of Salina before her election to the council in 2008. Previously she had done similar work in Silver City, N.M., and Palomas, Mexico, and was on the staff of Manna House of Prayer in Concordia.

    Sister Mary Jo Thummel

    Sister Mary Jo Thummel, a native of Plainville, Kan. A Sister of St. Joseph since 1959, Sister Mary Jo received a bachelor’s degree from Marymount College and a master’s from Creighton University in Omaha. Before her election to the council in 2008, she was the pastoral associate for St. Francis Xavier Parish in Junction City, Kan. Previously she had served as an elementary school teacher, parish minister and retreat director.

Sister Therese Blecha

The new member of the council is Sister Therese Blecha. Originally from rural Republic County, Kan., she has been a Sister of St. Joseph since 1963. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Marymount College, master’s degrees from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and Kansas State University, and a doctorate in chemical education from Kansas State. She is currently the administration accountant for the Sisters of St. Joseph and also teaches and tutors part time at Cloud County Community College. She has also taught chemistry and science at other colleges and served as general treasurer for the congregation from 1994 to 2008.

Sister Regina Ann Brummel, who has served on the council since 2008, did not seek re-election.


11th bishop of Salina Diocese named today

February 6, 2012

Bishop-elect Edward J. Weisenburger

Salina — Pope Benedict XVI today named Msgr. Edward J. Weisenburger the new bishop of the Diocese of Salina.

The announcement was made official at noon today in Rome (5 a.m. Central time).

Bishop-elect Weisenburger, 51, presently is the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the rector of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Oklahoma City. He succeeds Bishop Paul S. Coakley, who was named archbishop of Oklahoma City on Dec. 16, 2010.

Bishop-elect Weisenburger was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 19, 1987, at the cathedral in Oklahoma City by Archbishop Charles A. Salatka. He was parochial vicar of St. Mary Church in Ponca City, Okla., from 1987 to 1990. He then began canon law studies at the University of St. Paul in Ottawa, Canada, where he earned the pontifical J.C.L. degree.

Upon his return to the archdiocese in 1992, he was appointed vice chancellor and adjutant judicial vicar. In addition to Chancery duties he also provided weekend parish and prison ministries from 1992 to 1995 and served as an on-site chaplain for rescue workers in the weeks following the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

In the fall of 1995, Bishop-elect Weisenburger was elected to the Council of Priests and appointed to the Archdiocesan College of Consulters. He has served as a member of the Seminarian Board for 15 years. In June of 1996, he was appointed vicar general of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese. He has been an officer with the Archdiocesan Tribunal for almost 20 years and has served in various capacities, including promoter of justice for the cause of canonization of Father Stanley Francis Rother, Servant of God. On Oct. 2, 2009, he was appointed a prelate of honor to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, with the title reverend monsignor.

Bishop-elect Weisenburger has served as pastor of two parishes, from 1995 to 2002 at Holy Trinity Parish in Okarche, Okla., and from 2002 until now as
rector of the cathedral in Oklahoma City.

Bishop-elect Weisenburger was born on Dec. 23, 1960, in Alton, Ill., to Edward John and Asella (Walters) Weisenburger, the third of their four surviving children. His father, now retired, was a military officer and his mother, who was born and raised in Ellis County, Kan., was a homemaker. He spent two years of his childhood in Hays, Kan., but grew up primarily in Lawton, Okla., where he graduated from high school in 1979. He attended Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., graduating with honors in 1983. He then attended the American College Seminary at the Catholic University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium. He graduated with honors, earning the pontifical S.T.B. in theology along with an M.A. in religious studies in 1986 and a master’s in moral and religious sciences in 1987.

He is a member of the Canon Law Society of America, is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a Knight Commander in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. When time permits, he enjoys reading and occasional travel.

The date for the ordination and installation of Bishop-elect Weisenburger as bishop of Salina will be announced in the near future.

Georgia woman joins congregation as agrégée candidate

November 23, 2011

On hand for the agrégée reception were, from left, Sister Diane Brin, Sister Helen Mick, new candidate Crystal Payment, Father Bill Hao, Sister Jodi Creten and fellow candidate Dian Hall.

Crystal Payment of Douglasville, Ga., became the newest candidate for Agrégée membership in the Sisters of St. Joseph during a simple ceremony Sunday (Nov. 20).

She is the seventh woman currently in the process to become an agrégée, a form of membership in the congregation that dates back to its founding in 1650 and that was revitalized by the sister in Concordia in 2006.

From left: Crystal's daughter-in-law Patrice, son Andrew, Crystal, granddaughter Megan and daughter Julie.

Crystal was received by Sister Diane Brin of Rome, Ga., representing the Leadership Council of the congregation, as well of her two mentors, Sisters Jodi Creten and Helen Mick of Atlanta. Also on hand was Dian Hall, an agrégée candidate who lives in Cartersville, Ga. The reception took place at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody, Ga.

Crystal’s spiritual director, Father Bill Hao, gave her a special blessing at the end of the service.

The term agrégée — pronounced ah-gre-ZHEY — comes from the French for “attached to” or “aggregated with.” It is a form of membership in the religious congregation that dates back to our founding in 17th-century France, when Sisters of St. Joseph were either canonically vowed “principal sisters” or so-called agrégée or “country” sisters. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia re-established — and revitalized — this form of religious life in 2006. Today there are six women who have professed the vow of fidelity to God and to the congregation as agrégées.

Crystal and the other candidates will spend up to three years studying, both with their mentors and other members of the congregation, and ultimately  deciding if this form of religious life fits them and their spiritual needs.

For more information on the agrégée movement, contact Sister Bette Moslander at 785/243-4428 or

Or, for an archive of all our news about agrégées, CLICK HERE.


Lunch group endorses Year of Peace for 2012

November 16, 2011

Bruce Nutter, a regular participant in the "working lunches," asks a question during Wednesday's event at the Nazareth Motherhouse.

During Wednesday's lunch meeting, Sister Jean Rosemarynoski explains a survey she created asking for feedback on the Concordia Year of Peace.

Those taking part in the 16th Community Needs Forum “working lunch” Wednesday were fewer in number, but bursting with ideas about the future of the nearly 3-year-old process. They were equally enthusiastic about one of the best-known projects that grew out of the forum: The Concordia Year of Peace.

In recapping the idea behind the Year of Peace, Sister Jean Rosemarynoski — who has chaired the committee guiding the effort — said that when it began in September 2009, it was intended as a 16-month effort. It was expected to continue through the end of 2010 and to celebrate peace and teach about living a nonviolent life. When “Another Year of Peace” was announced for all of 2011, committee members committed to another year of regular columns in the Blade-Empire plus a book of past columns, radio commentaries on KNCK, peace-related films at Cloud County Community College and partnerships to help organize the National Night Out in August and the Peace Fair at the Nazareth Motherhouse in September.

The committee wants to continue its efforts into 2012, Rosemarynoski said at Wednesday’s lunch, and needs opinions about what Year of Peace efforts have been most effective as well as suggestions on how to move forward.

Participants at Wednesday's lunch took a couple of minutes to complete the Year of Peace survey.

Earlier this week, she posted a short online survey to gather information. Anyone in Concordia or Cloud County may complete the survey, which is available at this web link:

“I really liked the National Night Out event,” said Melina Hemphill at Wednesday’s lunch. “It was something that really worked. We should do that every year if not twice a year.”

Holly Brown agreed. “The National Night Out was totally fun. We had three or four blocks, with people of all ages. It was nice to meet our older neighbors and have our kids meet them.”

The Year of Peace Committee and the Concordia Police Department co-sponsored Concordia’s participation in the National Night Out in early August. Some two dozen neighborhoods hosted block parties or other activities so neighbors could get to know each other.

Melina Hemphill of the Concordia office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilation Services gave an update on changes in the state's "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families" program that took effect Nov. 1.

Sister Betty Suther called the regular columns written by community members and published in the Blade-Empire “exceptional.” “They keep us thinking about peace,” she added.

Others cited a number of other Year of Peace activities as particularly important: The Civility Pledge, “Engage” book study and workshop, the Peace Fair (in partnership with other groups) and “Year of Peace Supporter” signs posted around town.

Sister Bette Moslander noted that since 2012 is a presidential election year, the Year of Peace could focus on” humanizing the political process — to help keep the conversation respectful and meaningful.”

Or, suggested Crystal Paredes, “Maybe we should change it up a little, so make it a Year of Giving for 2012.”

The Year of Peace Committee is expected to meet soon to consider all these ideas and information from the online survey, and then will announce plans for 2012.

The two dozen or so lunch participants also had ideas about the future of the Community Needs Forum, which started in the fall of 2008 with informal lunches with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Wednesday’s lunch was the 16th meeting in the process.

“At the beginning, we asked you what was important to you,” said Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph, which has hosted all the meetings. “Now we’re asking you that again.”

Community issues raised during the meeting included homelessness as we go into the winter, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and challenges getting information out to the community.

The next working lunch is set for Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Nazareth Motherhouse, and everyone is invited to take part. You do not have to have attended earlier forums to join the process now. If you have questions or would like more information about the Community Needs Forum, contact Sister Jean Rosemarynoski at 243-2149 or



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