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2 Kindred Dawning Artist: Linda Bradford, RSM, 50-Year Jubilarian
With the dawn of the new millennium approaching, the College of Notre Dame, in Belmont, California, where I was studying art therapy at the time, chose as their theme for the Annual Art Therapy Exhibition, â€œImages for a New Millennium.â€? My thoughts focused on the grace and beauty of our Earth and the marvelous wonders of the universe that surrounds us. Surely, I thought, there are other dawnings on places yet to be discovered in this vast expanse of what appears, from our view, to be unlimited and intriguing vistas. The image here emerged from under a cover of sand, water and pigment, as I playfully and blindly engaged with the canvas.
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Dear Mercy Community, As we celebrate our West Midwest Community jubilarians, we are happy to present this jubilee booklet with a “new look.” With the advances in digital printing these days, color is as cost-effective as black and white. As a result, Sister Linda Bradford’s beautiful painting comes through in its splendid color on the cover and is reflected on every page. Constancy and change stand out in the extraordinary lives of our 69 faithful sisters. So many sisters were called to community early in their lives. They responded to the invitation of a sister aunt, a teacher’s modeling, or a priest’s suggestion, and entered the unknown but imagined territory of religious life. As we all are aware, some who entered subsequently left the community, and with the later changes in the Church, many realized their mission was elsewhere. Those whose stories are reflected here contain a beautiful constancy, a focus on a deeply felt purpose. As one sister observed, it was “the support and camaraderie of community” that allowed for this constancy. They found inspiration in each other and in the people with whom they ministered. Another sister expressed how important community support is: “I have been so blessed over these last 60 years to live, pray and work with women of deep faith and a great desire to help those in need in our day.” Their ministries were varied: we find a pharmacist, a composer, nurses, and teachers who kept refining their first vocations, adapting with new insights and opportunities. At the same time, many of our jubilarians embraced change by taking on new ministries. They gave their energies to parish work, pastoral ministry, spiritual direction, or hospice. Some went on to become college faculty members, hospital CEOs, and university deans. All lived into their calling in a changing world and a changing Church. The brief selections reflect joy and gratitude in the lives of our jubilarians. A sense of fulfillment and peace radiates from their reflections. One (Clockwise from left): writes, “I am grateful for all Judith Frikker, RSM these years of doing what I love.” Another informally adapted her Kathy Thornton, RSM motto to reflect her joy: “It’s been a blast. Thank you.” Judy Cannon, RSM We are grateful for the gifts of our jubilarians’ lives in fruitful Sheila Megley, RSM Michelle Gorman, RSM ministries and in building up the Community in which we all share. In Mercy,
West Midwest Community Leadership Team
Sister Corinne Bauer Entrance: September 8, 1938, Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1941 Final Profession: August 16, 1944 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Heart of Jesus Be My Love I feel I have been extremely blessed with the people that I have had the opportunity to meet as my life progressed as a Sister of Mercy. I thank God for the blessings He has given me in serving Him and His people.
Sister Mary Lenore Gardner Entrance: September 8, 1937, Cedar Rapids First Profession: July 16, 1940 Final Profession: July 16, 1943 Current Ministry: Volunteer at Mercy Medical Center
Motto: Dominus regit me â€“ The Lord is my Shepherd I AM GRATEFUL that I have been a Sister of Mercy for 75 years. I appreciate the support I have received from my community sisters, my good family and my students over the years. I am mindful of the sisters who have gone before me and their inspiration.
â€ Sister Mary Venarda Lance July 1, 1921 - April 19, 2013 Entrance: September 8, 1938 Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1941 Final Profession: August 16, 1944
Motto: Thy Will Be Done! In high school I was educated by the Sisters of St. Joseph. I spoke with the school librarian about careers in nursing, and she gave me the life of Florence Nightingale to read. I learned that the Sisters of Mercy were with her at the Crimean War and other battlegrounds. I talked with my pastor about the Sisters of Mercy, and he encouraged me to write to them. I found the address of the Aurora Community in the Sacred Heart Messenger and corresponded with them until I entered in September 1938, wanting to serve the poor, sick and the needy. After profession, I studied nursing at Saint Xavier College, and after graduating was assigned to the nursing staff at Mercyville Sanitarium at Aurora, Illinois, and at the Mercy Hospital Chicago Psychiatric Unit. After nine years in psychiatric nursing, I was assigned to study hospital administration at St. Louis University. Upon completion of the program, I served as President and CEO at Mercy Hospitals in Chicago, Davenport and Iowa City. After 20 years in Iowa City, I resigned from hospital administration and took clinical pastoral education at Loyola University. I served as hospital chaplain for nine years after which I retired to Mercy Convent, Chicago. My life was constantly enriched by the healing environment of the hospital and the experience shared with the Sisters of Mercy who are part of my life. I chose the new ministry after administration, wanting to concentrate on the spiritual needs of the sick and of the injured and the needs of the dying. I thank God for the relationships I have formed, and for the privilege of serving the healthcare needs of His people.
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Sister Evangeline McSloy
Sister Mary Agnes Tamisiea
Entrance: September 8, 1938, Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1941 Final Profession: August 16, 1944 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Entrance: September 8, 1938, Council Bluffs First Profession: March 12, 1941 Final Profession: August 16, 1944 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Deus Meus et Omnia (My God and My All)
Motto: All for Thee
I met the Sisters of St. Francis while attending elementary school. They offered a fine elementary education and lived out the values of religious life well. I went to Mercy High School, Chicago, where I also received a fine education. Drawn to the Sisters of Mercy, I desired to enter their (our) Community. The following assignments were great opportunities to give and receive; St. Cecilia School, Mercy Grade School music supervisor and formation ministry: postulants – 10 years, novices – three years and ministry with Sister Formation Conference – four years. I also spent some time readjusting with Poor Clares and was doing ministry in three African-American parishes until retirement. The lives of all these dedicated Sisters, and the lives of so many Catholic people, inspired me very much. There was no one highlight; everywhere I “ministered,” I learned very much. The importance of living by FAITH grew within me during all of these experiences. I must give great credit to the AfricanAmericans for their dependence on FAITH.
Sister Margaret Mary Moloney Entrance: September 8, 1938, Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1941 Final Profession: August 16, 1944 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Fiat Voluntas Tua
I wanted to be a sister ever since I was a little girl, and I have never regretted my choice. In my early years as a Sister of Mercy, I was an elementary school teacher, and I loved that. I enjoyed young children, and especially liked teaching second grade and fifth grade. Later, however, I went into pastoral ministry, and I liked that even better than teaching. I did parish work and ministered in several hospitals and nursing homes. Pastoral ministry really fit my personality. I enjoy talking to people and, in pastoral work, I could talk with them about faith, prayer and the mystery of God. I feel I was able to make a positive difference in their lives. I’m also grateful for the opportunities I had to travel abroad. My trips to Jerusalem and Rome were spiritually enriching experiences. For 75 years I have loved my religious vocation. I hope I have done good work for the Lord.
Sister Dorothea C. Turner Entrance: September 11, 1938, Council Bluffs First Profession: March 12, 1941 Final Profession: August 16, 1944 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: My God, I Love Thee
Sister Helen Weinfurter Entrance: September 8, 1938, Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1941 Final Profession: August 16, 1944 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: This is the Will of God – Your Sanctification Looking back to my first year of teaching some 30 first graders provokes a smile. Thirty years at Saint Xavier University teaching American Literature sparks good memories. Remembering students, some of whom I still see, assures me it was all worthwhile.
Sister Mary Timothy Brown Entrance: September 8, 1943, Detroit First Profession: March 12, 1946 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Through Mary to Jesus I am grateful to God for being a Sister of Mercy for 70 years.
their families. Her spirit of generosity and prayerful gratitude for all God’s blessings is a delight to all who know her as she continues to extend warm hospitality and assistance to those most in need.
Sister Mary Corkery Entrance: July 16, 1943, Cedar Rapids First Profession: February 2, 1946 Final Profession: February 2, 1949 Current Ministry: Volunteer and Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Domine ut Vidium (Lord, that I May See) Jubilee, a time to reflect on the many blessings I have received over these 70 years and say, “Thanks, God!” The many faith experiences have been a source of wonder to me, as I recall all who have graced my life by their presence. Members of my family, Sister companions, Associates and friends, who continue be a source of love, support, and encouragement on the Mercy journey. There were opportunities of professional growth to enhance the ministry of education. Many spiritual experiences continue to help me nurture and grow in my relationship with God and with all whom I live and work. I have experienced life in all aspects: success, struggles, challenges and continue to reflect on daily conversions. There is more time now to spend in quiet contemplation and solitude since I am in retirement and am able to choose volunteer work. There is also time to delight and find beauty in my surroundings, enjoy simple celebrations and humorous happenings. Jubilee is a time to celebrate!
Sister Mary Edwin Byrne Entrance: July 1, 1940, Burlingame First Profession: January 16, 1943 Final Profession: January 16, 1946 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: My Lord and My God For 51 years, Sister Mary Edwin ministered as a middle school teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles Schools. With her caring, outgoing personality, her first concern was for her students and
Sister Mary Fearon Entrance: February 2, 1944, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1946 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer and Author
Motto: Rabboni (Master) When I was in school, a friend shared that she would like
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to attend Mercy High because she needed a good preparation to become a nurse. We went over to Mercy High to see the principal, Sister Mary Agneda. After my friend explained her desire, Sister assured her that she would be welcome, and felt if she worked hard that Mercy High would have classes she could take in preparation for becoming a nurse. She then said to me, “Mary, I believe that someday you’ll be a very fine sister.” I wondered how she knew my secret desire! Her words returned to me often during my third and fourth years at Mercy. After I graduated from Mercy High, I found a job as a secretary. I enjoyed the challenges, but my heart kept saying, “Go to Mercy.” I finally decided to enter Mercy Convent in Des Plaines, Illinois, with six young girls. My motto is chosen from Sister Evarista’s RABBONI poem in the front of her civics class. It reminded me of my father’s advice: “You only have one life to live; choose the best for God.” Thank you, God, for my vocation, my parents’ faith, and supportive family.
Sister Renee Humble Entrance: September 8, 1943, Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1946 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: In Christ Jesus I thank God for my vocation as a Sister of Mercy when I have had an opportunity to serve the people of God. My primary ministry was in health care as a nurse educator and a mental health clinician. Nothing is more rewarding than teaching and watching behavior change as students learn. It is also rewarding to see people regain their health due, in part, to your care and support. I had an opportunity to administer at a large psychiatric hospital and a nursing home and rehabilitation center. Both experiences provided ample opportunity to share knowledge and teach others the skills and understandings needed to care for the mentally ill and the elderly. In the final years of active ministry, I transferred my knowledge and skills to parish ministry and care for the homeless. With gratitude I look back over the years and can only say, “All has been grace and blessing.”
Sister Lucia Lietsch Entrance: September 8, 1943, Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1946 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: God Alone I am grateful to God for my vocation and ministry and for the opportunity to celebrate with so many wonderful sisters.
Sister Maura Lowrey Entrance: September 8, 1943, Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1946 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Volunteer at Mother McAuley High School and Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Love is God As a junior at Siena High School, Chicago, I felt the need to “save souls.” A retreat priest talked vocations, and I thought that was what I wanted to do. The Sisters of Mercy were our teachers and thus my choice. I entered on September 8, 1943, and professed on March 12, 1946. After 12 difficult years of teaching and working in hospital kitchens, I was at our hospital in DeKalb and the radiologist was starting a class in technology. Permission given, I began a new course in life. Was I “saving souls?” I didn’t think so. After nine years, I took what I called my “20-year sabbatical.” God had plans and summoned me back. The day the Community accepted me was the happiest day of my life. My reason was the same as before, to “save souls,” but I now felt I knew the way – Love! If I love I can bring people to God, so my motto, “Love is God,” helps me in my new mission of volunteering at Mother McAuley High School and praying with my sisters and for those who have asked for prayers.
Sister Mary Rita Jane McCarron
Sister Mary Concetta Medina
Entrance: August 15, 1943, Council Bluffs First Profession: March 12, 1946 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Entrance: September 5, 1943, Council Bluffs First Profession: March 12, 1943 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Suscipe Domine
When people ask me how I feel about being in religious life for 70 years, all I can think of is, well, I’d like to stay a little longer if I may! My main ministry was teaching primary grades. First grade was my favorite because the children were so open to learning and there was so much I could teach them. I loved teaching through songs and poems, and they enjoyed that, too. Every place I’ve been has been my “favorite.” I was blessed with many happy years. Now I am enjoying retirement at Mercy Villa where we get wonderful care. I especially appreciate having time to pray every day.
My 70 years in Mercy community have been very happy ones. I was a teacher (grades 1-8) all my life, and never wanted to be anything else. I loved the children. Because I went to Adams State Teachers College in Colorado and taught for two years before I entered the Community, I was prepared to teach as soon as my novitiate was over. I still remember that I came out of the novitiate on a Wednesday and the following Monday I was sent to teach 5th and 6th grades at the old St. Wenceslaus in Omaha. I thank God for the many blessings I have received all my life.
Sister Kathleen McDonough Entrance: February 2, 1943, Chicago First Profession: August 16, 1945 Final Profession: August 16, 1948 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Through Him, With Him, And In Him I am glad that I made the decision to follow my own sister, Sister Edith, into convent life. I have had a wonderful life as a Sister of Mercy. I loved working in my ministry of teaching. I especially enjoyed working with little children. I also found great joy as an artist and a runner. All those I’ve come in contact with through the Sisters of Mercy have been good people. I am very well cared for.
Sister Dorothy Elizabeth Montgomery Entrance: August 15, 1943, Ilchester with Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur of Baltimore and Sisters of Mercy on July 30, 1976, Cedar Rapids First Profession: January 31, 1946 Final Profession: July 31, 1948 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: How Good is God I feel so thankful that God called me to be a sister when I was finishing boarding school. I’ve had an interesting life: raised by my grandmother, growing up in God’s country, Maryland, taught in New York and the Carolinas, as well as Iowa schools. I was given much and wanted to give back in return. I have been happy to give my life to God. During retirement, I was able to help the other sisters and be involved in many things, all of which I have enjoyed. I continue to grow closer to God through prayer and I know I am surrounded by love and caring people.
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Sister Rita Mooney Entrance: September 8, 1943, Des Plaines First Profession: March 12, 1946 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer and Volunteer
Motto: Serve the Lord in Gladness At this time of my 70th jubilee, two words describe my feelings – joy and gratitude. My gratitude extends to God, my Sisters of Mercy, family, friends and all those whom I have encountered through ministry, especially co-workers. By the time I was 8 years old, I already knew what I wanted to do in life. I would be a doctor and a sister. How could I know so soon? Circumstances brought it all to the front of my mind. My grandmother was a nurse, and my mother was very ill and died of TB. She was in a sanitarium in Aurora, Illinois, for five years before she died. That meant I went to see her as often as possible; that is we, my brothers and I, played outside on the playground and my Dad would bring her out to the balcony where we could see each other. We’d all smile and wave. That’s how we got to visit her. Thus, nurses and doctors played a huge role in my early life. The sanitarium was right across the road from Mercyville in Aurora, which was run by the Sisters of Mercy, so I saw the sisters frequently. My professional nursing ministry began in 1970 at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago. After two years of general nursing, I went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for preparation as a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist. From the very beginning, I loved the heart and knew that was where I wanted to specialize. So, you see, things do have a way of working out. I loved the people at Mercy – doctors, staff, patients and was very happy there. I never worked in any other hospital and had no desire to do that. I still miss the wonderful spirit which permeates the atmosphere there and I know Mother McAuley would be so proud of it. What a blessing my life has been, filled with many challenges, opportunities and much happiness. Indeed, all is a gift.
Sister Mary Redempta Scannell Entrance: July 19, 1943, Auburn First Profession: August 21, 1946 Final Profession: August 21, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Give As He Gave I was brought up in a strong Catholic family, but as a young woman I refused to talk to people about religious life even though a number of sisters and friends asked me to think about it. I attended the Mercy General Hospital School for nurses, and one day I went up to the chapel on the fifth floor. I saw several sisters in white cloaks kneeling in prayer for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I suddenly said to myself, “That’s the way I want to serve God.” I went downstairs and got an application for the Sisters of Mercy. I learned that you can say “no” to God all you want, but when he pushes you over the edge, you go over. After retiring from many years of nursing, I ministered to people with HIV/AIDS because they were so isolated and had a terrible life. I would go to meetings and find that women had no food for their children. They were too poor to buy diapers or formula. They needed someone to support and encourage them, so that’s what I did. I’m so proud of them now. Many have gone to school, gotten degrees as social workers and are out in the community helping others. I’m so glad that that God pushed me over the edge into the Mercy Community.
Sister Marita Shaughnessy Entrance: September 8, 1943, Chicago First Profession: March 12, 1946 Final Profession: August 16, 1949 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Serve the Lord in Gladness It is with much gratitude to the Lord that I celebrate my 70 years as a Sister of Mercy. My life as a Sister of Mercy has been blessed in ways I could never have imagined. I rejoice with the Mercy Sisters, my family, continued on page 10
relatives and friends. I thank the many people who have been my companions on my journey with the Lord.
Sister Mary Thecla Theisen Entrance: February 6, 1943, Detroit First Profession: August 16, 1945 Final Profession: August 16, 1948 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: All for Jesus As I celebrate Jubilee, I am grateful that God has seen me through the joys and sorrows of my life and helped me be faithful. My family had several priests and other sisters who inspired me through the years. My aunt, Sister Pauline, had the greatest influence. I am also grateful for my ministry of music and teaching.
Sister Marguerite Buchanan Entrance: February 1, 1951, Burlingame First Profession: September 2, 1953 Final Profession: September 2, 1956 Current Ministry: Volunteer, Spiritual Direction and Retreat Ministry
Motto: Behold Your Mother In reflection, I see that I was aware of a call to dedicate myself to God at a very early age. I remember being attracted to the “environment” of my Holy Names Sister-aunt. However, being a good “7” on the Enneagram scale, I loved the excitement of parties and boyfriends, fun and the excitement of so much that was new. God’s grace prevailed, however, and I applied to become a Maryknoll Sister in my senior year of high school. After an interview with the Maryknoll Sisters, they rightly discerned that I was
quite immature and needed more time to grow up. Nursing training at Saint Mary’s Hospital was where I chose to continue my so-called maturing. Except for Sister Noreen Ryan who took me under her wing, the sisters there were not attractive to me (and probably not me to them!). The counsel of Carroll O’Sullivan, S.J., prevailed, and I asked to join the Mercy Community in Burlingame after two years of nursing training. From the very beginning, I loved religious life, except for a very dark time of over seven years when I seriously questioned my call. I found Mercy life enormously supportive of my growth in mind, body and spirit. It has never failed to be stretching. It challenged me to adventure, risk and growth. I have cherished my ministries. It has been a privilege to be intimately part of people’s lives and to work with dedicated colleagues. I was with high school students for almost 30 years; I ministered at Mercy Center as retreat and spiritual director for another 30. Twenty years ago, while at Mercy Center, Sister Suzanne Toolan and I began a weekly centering prayer group at San Quentin, a prayer group at the federal women’s prison in the East Bay and Eucharistic ministering at the San Mateo women’s jail. The dire need for transition homes with a spiritual base for the incarcerated became very obvious and led to the founding of Catherine’s Center with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County in alliance with the Sisters of Mercy. After over 81 years of life, I feel enormous gratitude for the call to ever deepen my life in God, for the gift of being a part of a very alive Mercy Community, for great friends and for the challenge, inspiration and joy of ministry.
Sister Nancy Cahill Entrance: September 8, 1953, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Part-time Professor of Education
Motto: Yes, Father My journey began with the Sisters of Mercy at St. Justin Martyr elementary school and continued at Mercy High School and Saint Xavier University. The Sisters of Mercy offered me an excellent education in the liberal
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arts with an opportunity to travel and visit schools in New Zealand, Italy, England, and Ireland. The focus of my research was teaching methods in the area of early childhood education. I continue to draw on these rich experiences in my teaching today. I am grateful for all these years of doing what I love, and I try to pass this love of education on to my students.
† Sister Mary Catherine Daly September 13, 1936 – March 28, 2013 Entrance: September 8, 1953 Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959
Motto: Thy Will Be Done
Sister Virgena Clark Entrance: February 2, 1954, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Through Him, With Him, In Him Sixty years as a Sister of Mercy…As I ponder the gifts and graces that were mine to share through these years, I am filled with gratitude and joy in God’s love. My motto was inspired by the opportunities I had to attend Mass often as a child. Through experiences of teaching primary grades and First Communion classes, I felt drawn to work more with parents so that whole families might be brought closer to the love of God. The chance came when the inner city school where I was missioned to teach closed because the parents could no longer afford it. The priests of the parishes involved wanted CCD classes, and I was hired. The year was 1970, the beginning of the era of religious education. What kept me going in the face of some discouraging circumstances were the blessings, the challenges, the camaraderie of different religious communities, the education of catechists from the mutual sharing of talents as we worked on bringing to life the Good News of the Gospel to children, youth and adults. The Holy Spirit was always visibly present in the celebrating of the sacraments. God is good. With Mary I say, I am God’s handmaid. “Behold, the Mighty One has done great things for me…and Holy is Your Name!...my soul exalts You, Behold, my Lord…whose mercy lies on me.”
(from “Behold” by David Kauffman)
Sister Susan Dunnwald Entrance: August 1, 1952, Marion First Profession: February 2, 1955 Final Profession: February 2, 1958 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: All for Jesus “We hold a treasure not made of Gold” keeps resonating in my mind and heart as I reflect on my 60th jubilee. From entrance day, the first of August after high school graduation to almost 61 years later, I have found that this earthen vessel holds dear, innumerable treasured memories and the richness of opportunities which I never could have dreamed possible. I am so grateful for spiritual growth programs; friendships of spirit-filled, dedicated companions, co-workers and supportive faith-filled communities; educational opportunities – both formal and informal; challenges to keep me growing; the expectations and means to keep informed and involved in mercy and justice programs; the call to journey in leadership, the affirmation of companions. I appreciate all the travel experiences. It has been a very fast-moving life, packed full of wonder, excitement and fulfillment. I like to sing grateful daily praise to God, especially for my family and my RSM community of sisters. Deo Gratia!
Sister Carol Gussy
Sister Brigid Johnson
Entrance: February 2, 1954, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Entrance: September 7, 1953, Detroit First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Adjunct Professor, Tutor and Liturgist
Motto: Serve the Lord with Gladness
Motto: Christ Lives In Me
I have had a wonderful life’s journey as a Sister of Mercy and am ever so grateful for the call to the Mercy Community. I feel truly blessed to have been able to live such a full and grace-filled life.
Sister Mary Hannon Entrance: September 8, 1953, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Hospital Volunteer
I am very grateful for my vocation to the Sisters of Mercy. I have been so blessed over these last 60 years to live, pray and work with women of deep faith and a great desire to help those in need in our day—women who laugh and cry and pray and work hard to bring the Gospel alive in our world. It has been a particular privilege to minister at Mercy College of Detroit/University of Detroit Mercy for the last 35 years. Here I have touched and been touched by people who have worked against great odds to accomplish their goals. They have been an inspiration to me. I thank God for them.
Motto: Teach Me Love After high school, I entered the Sisters of Mercy, and through these years have made many friends and have had some wonderful educational opportunities, formal and informal. I taught for about 30 years – pre-school through college, sometimes (with the shared pep of my companions) seven days a week, sometimes the same days in schools and parish work. The basic work was primary grades and high school. I have also helped with family and am now also doing some hospital volunteer work. I am grateful for all that was gift of persons and learning and help to me in every situation.
Sister Mary Julia Kepros Entrance: January 20, 1953, Marion First Profession: August 15, 1955 Final Profession: August 15, 1958 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer and Volunteer
Motto: All for Thee Jubilee is a time to recall and celebrate the many blessings that have come through the years as we have been called by God and privileged to be a member of the Community of Sisters of Mercy. A time of thanksgiving to Almighty God!
Sister Marise Kessler Entrance: September 8, 1953, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Inner-City School Volunteer
Motto: Love Serves
I have tried to make a
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positive difference in the lives of everyone with whom I come in contact. Each day I pray for the energy, strength and patience to achieve this goal whether it’s through teaching, caring for the sick, decorating a place to beautify it, or simply running errands. It has been a privilege to have been called to be a Sister of Mercy for 60 years and to follow in the footsteps of Mother McAuley.
Sister Sheila Lyne Entrance: September 8, 1953, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: President and CEO of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center
Motto: With Christ in God As I look back over my 60 years as a Sister of Mercy, I feel immense gratitude. I have been so blessed to have the support of the Sisters of Mercy as I answered what I felt was God’s call to serve those less fortunate through my work in healthcare. The healing ministry touches every aspect of a person’s life. With the help of many talented people, I feel we have made a difference, although there’s always more work to be done. I am most grateful having chosen to be a Sister of Mercy. I pray that I continue to be blessed by the goodness and caring of our Catherine McAuley.
Hospital in San Diego. I can sum up my life in this line from one of my favorite prayers: “Gracious God, thank you for the gift of today. Invite me to discover Your presence in each person that I meet and in every event I encounter.”
Sister Judith Meyers Entrance: August 1, 1953, Marion First Profession: February 2, 1956 Final Profession: February 2, 1959 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer and Contributed Service
Motto: Dominus, Sicut Semper Effundar (Lord, Let Me Always Be as Water Poured) I have had 60 grace-filled years living as a Sister of Mercy. It is a wonderful time to reflect on all that has taken place and commit to all that will come. My motto has served me well, to be as water poured out – doing what and going where God directs. Memories are of God’s gifts which have always been so helpful, encouraging and sustaining. Many times His gifts came through my family, my Mercy sisters, friends, co-workers and also those I was privileged to minister to in service—the poor, the sick and uneducated. I am grateful that God blessed me with my vocation. All the joys and sorrow have made for a wonderful life, so that it can be said, “For all that has been, thanks, and for all that will be, Yes!” May God continue to bless all of us.
† Sister Geraldine McDonnell March 20, 1920 - March 28, 2013 Entrance: February 1, 1953, Burlingame First Profession: January 21, 1956 Final Profession: August 27, 1959
Motto: Fiat, Forever I am Thine. I am grateful for my 60 years ministering as a Sister of Mercy as an operating room nurse and director of nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco; then as nursing instructor and dean of the University of San Francisco School of Nursing; and in my later years as director of patient relations at Mercy
Sister Lenore Mulvihill Entrance: February 2, 1954, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Trust I am grateful to God, our Blessed Mother and Catherine McAuley for opportunities to help others and to live a life dedicated to spiritual values. I trust in God’s Mercy.
Sister Rita Parks Entrance: September 8, 1953, Council Bluffs First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Volunteer and Special Projects
Motto: Change Me into Yourself My life as a Sister of Mercy is a gift, a privilege, a blessing and a grace. It is a gift: “The gift you have been given, give as gift.” It is a privilege: “I have called you by name, you are mine.” It is a blessing: “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” It is a grace: “We should be as shining lamps, giving light to all around.” And in further words of scripture, “Goodness and kindness have followed me all the days of my life.” So it is with great joy that I continue the journey in this magnificent world that has been given to us, accompanied by marvelous companions – family, sisters, co-ministers and friends who continue to challenge me and shape me and amaze me with the tenderness of their love and care, the riches of their wisdom, and the generous sharing of their lives with me. And so I echo these words to my God who is Mystery, “For all that has been, thanks; for all that will be, yes.”
Sister Mary Lou Podzimek Entrance: August 1, 1952, Marion First Profession: February 2, 1955 Final Profession: February 2, 1958 Current Ministry: Hospice Chaplain
Motto: All For Thee Jubilee! My life in Mercy for 60 years reflects my love for Mercy and in Mercy. Serving God’s people through education, leadership, formation and hospital/hospice ministry has been a life filled with blessings and friendships as well as a source of spiritual energy. My family, community of sisters, friends and coworkers has added to my joys through celebrations
and in times of need. I have been fortunate to travel to places of beauty and inspiration. My time as a volunteer at Mercy International and praying at Catherine’s grave each day will never be forgotten and to be in Prague twice was a great joy. Two quotes that continue to nourish my passion for caring for others are: “Our Name is Mercy! Our Spirit is Compassion!” And as Catherine said, “We can never say it is enough!”
Sister Janel Sawatzki Entrance: September 8, 1950, Council Bluffs First Profession: March 12, 1953 Final Profession: August 16, 1956 Current Ministry: Mime-Ink Facilitator
Motto: It’s been a blast. Thank you. In 1953, I made my first vows. Sister Mary Alice Long was a provincial councilor at the time and she wished us 25 years of service. That wish has been granted two times over and more. Being a Sister of Mercy has been the joy of my life. I am so grateful for the vision of Catherine and all who have followed her. My motto when I pronounced my vows was “Behold Thy Mother.” When I celebrated my 50th Jubilee, I read an article in Mast that suggested that since I had probably grown in prayer and reflection since I was a novice, I should look again at my motto and see if it fit my life now. So, I took a long time and decided that I would change my motto to “It’s been a blast. Thank you.” I still ‘Behold my Mother’ and all of my prayer has turned to one of gratitude. It is great to be a Sister of Mercy.
Sister Angelene Schram Entrance: September 8, 1950, Council Bluffs First Profession: March 12, 1953 Final Profession: August 16, 1956 Current Ministry: Volunteer
Motto: All for Jesus I am grateful for these 60 years to a loving God who has
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guided me through the hills and valleys of my life. Only by the grace of God have I been privileged to serve his people in these various ways.
Sister Loretta Sedlmayer Entrance: September 8, 1953, Council Bluffs First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Parish Minister
Motto: Deus, Deus Meus Est The first 21 years of my life were the seeds that led to my call to the Sisters of Mercy. My mother, Elizabeth, by her faith and example, was an overwhelming influence in my years of formation. She had a great love for the Sisters of Mercy, and the sisters loved her too. The Sisters at Presentation and Saint Joseph Schools were the living examples of excellence in teaching who were dedicated to their call and always interested in individuals. My opportunities for teaching and serving in many other capacities reflect the gifts I have been given for service among the people of God wherever I have been. Our sisters have always been understanding, patient and supportive. THANK YOU, Sisters of Mercy, for showing me the way!
Sister Mary Sheehan Entrance: February 2, 1954, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: To Do But to Be Willing My 60 years as a Sister of Mercy have been and continue to be a gift. What is there to say except, “Thank you?” Thank you for the wonderful companions, the chance to be prepared for ministry and the chance to be part of so many positive experiences of giving to and receiving from others. And we were “owed nothing” from the start.
Sister Carolyn Snegoski Entrance: September 8, 1953, Council Bluffs First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Volunteer
Motto: Quid Retribuam Domino When I ponder my last 60 years, I am overwhelmed by how many graces God has showered upon me. I have had many opportunities, met many people and traveled to a number of places. I have been granted many religious experiences. Although I have had some health issues, God has given me the strength to recover from them. I have spent over 30 years in the beautiful state of Oregon, and it has made me more aware of the magnificent creation God has shared with us. Because of this, I have really become passionate about preserving our planet. My prayer life always leaned toward creation spirituality and now I relish my silence, centering prayer, and a love for creation more than ever.
Sister Suzanne Toolan
Entrance: July 1, 1950, Burlingame First Profession: January 24, 1953 Final Profession: September 2, 1956 Current Ministry: Music Composition
Motto: As a Little Child in Its Mother’s Arms My talent belongs to music. I have most enjoyed directing choirs, joining hearts and voices as one. Of my ministry at Mercy Center, wonderful space was available for a spirituality center and there was need for one in our area. I was fortunate to be in on the beginnings of the Center, and together we created a place that has been both a comfort and challenge to thousands of people through the years. One of the first pieces I wrote that began to be used throughout the country and beyond is, “I Am the Bread of Life.” I wrote it during a free period when I was teaching school. When the bell rang for the next class, I tore it up because I didn’t think it was good. When I left the classroom a freshman came out of the room next door and said, “What was that? It was continued on page 16
beautiful.” Well, I went to the wastebasket, scotch taped the manuscript and the hymn has had a life of its own ever since. I can only be thankful for the privilege of being a Sister of Mercy, living in this glorious place for these many years, and being part of a ministry that I love.
my hopes, dreams and labors for a better world. Fifty years ago, I became a pharmacist. These two vocations have worked well for me. These were gifts to me that hopefully I have used well. I am grateful for the love of my family, the Mercy Sisters and my many friends in the pharmacy profession. It is because of all of you that I have become who I am. Thank you.
Sister Therese Villerot Entrance: August 7, 1953, Detroit First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer
Motto: Thy Will Be Done
God has blessed me so much with family, vocation, and people to serve as a Sister of Mercy for which I am truly grateful.
Sister Margaret Wright Entrance: September 8, 1953, Des Plaines First Profession: August 16, 1956 Final Profession: August 16, 1959 Current Ministry: Pharmacy Consultant
Motto: Thy Will Be Done I knew I was going to enter the convent in the seventh grade. At that time, I was headed to the Sister Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary in Beaverville, Illinois. In the eighth grade, I met the Sisters of Mercy at Saint Xavier’s and at St. Pat’s Academy in Des Plaines, Illinois. In 1953, I entered the Mercy Community in Des Plaines. I believe we are called to a particular Community. In 1956, we were asked what ministry we were interested in. I suggested some type of healthcare field because of my science background. I became a pharmacist in 1962, and served at Mercy Hospital in Chicago and Aurora, Illinois, for many years. During those years I served on the Illinois State Board of Pharmacy, and met many pharmacists from across the country. They continue to be my friends and colleagues. Sixty years ago, I became a Mercy Sister and am grateful for the many women with whom I have shared
Sister Mary Richardine Blue Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Counselor
Motto: Forever Love In my journey of 50 years as a Sister of Mercy, I have a grateful heart for all those people who have walked with me during this time. From my training as a nurse, pastoral chaplain and now as a counselor/nurse, it has been a journey of God’s faithfulness to me and my trying to return my faithfulness to Him with the help of many people. May I thank you for all those years of support and love, and I promise to be faithful to those values that have been modeled to me during the past 50 years.
Sister Linda Bradford Entrance: July 15, 1963, San Antonio First Profession: January 22, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Art Teacher
Motto: God Alone Suffices Reflecting on my 50 years in religious life, my thoughts take me back to the beginnings of my
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vocation. As a child, I was deeply impressed by the image of Jesus on the cross. I thought if God loved me that much, what could I possibly do with my life to give him my best in return? I was good at drawing, so maybe I could be an artist and use the talent he gave me to the best of my ability. I loved learning and sharing what I had learned with others. Maybe I could be a teacher. Then I remembered how much I had always admired the holiness and goodness of the sisters who taught me. Was I good enough to be a sister? I finally decided on the day of my First Communion and made a promise to Jesus that if he helped me overcome my shyness, I would be a sister when I grew up. And so it happened that I became an artist, a teacher and a sister, who took the name Linda of Jesus Crucified. Now during this my 50th year, I feel so very thankful to all who have supported me on my journey and shown me that the love of God is truly unique and wonderful.
Sister Mary Ann Clifford Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Formation in Guyana and Spiritual Direction Formation
Motto: Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, Be it Done unto Me according to YOUR WORD As I celebrate 50 years of being part of the Mercy Community, I am full of gratitude, hope and excitement. Gratitude for life, family and each sister in the Community. Hopeful for the ways we are trying to respond to the needs of our time together and excited that I have been given the grace and health to continue living and working with sisters and the poor in Latin America. This call to Mercy and to the poor humbles me. San Francisco, Mountain View, Burlingame, Peru, Argentina, and Guyana are all of the places I have lived and ministered, which have been a challenge and a joy. I have learned from and laughed with the sisters that I have lived with, and I think I am being transformed by the many people and cultures that I have been privileged to live in the midst of.
Sister Marion Cypser Entrance: September 8, 1963, Chicago First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: September 27, 1975 Current Ministry: Principal, St. Catherine-St. Lucy School
Motto: Ask or Imagine My 50-year journey with the Sisters of Mercy has been both a gift and a blessing. The persons I have met along the way have influenced my life by challenging and inspiring me. They have filled me with energy to continue each day. They have loved and supported me. My ring motto, “Ask or Imagine,” has been a reality each day. All I have asked for has been fulfilled in ways I could not have imagined.
Sister Donna Deedler Entrance: August 7, 1963, Detroit First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: August 6, 1971 Current Ministry: Psychotherapist
Motto: Christ Jesus As I ponder the last 50 years, I ask myself, “Where has the time gone?” Have I been aware of the subtle yet profound changes that have taken place within me during my time in community? Did the changes happen without my awareness or attention to them? Did they make an impact on my life and thus influence the way I perceive things and the way I am? I have always believed that God has led me on a journey, and I, at times, had no idea where we were going. I believe God has a sense of humor, as I learned from the very beginning of my journey. I entered the Community twice (1961 and 1963) as I needed to learn more before I was willing to accept the call to religious life and all that it entailed. This time I stayed, and here it is 50 years later. I am so grateful that I was “re-called,” for my life has been so very blessed with an education to be able to minister as a teacher and social worker; with the gift of community where I have been inspired by courageous and selfless women; and with the faithful love of God who has led continued on page 18
me in ways I never would have imagined. I feel God’s presence in my life, and I believe any change in me for the better has been because of the Holy One’s abiding love.
Sister Karen Dunville Entrance: September 7, 1963, Detroit First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: August 6, 1971 Current Ministry: Assistant to Institute President
Motto: Love One Another Reflection on my 50 years in the Mercy Community stirs thoughts and feelings about the journey I began when I left my parents’ home and my brothers and sisters to enter the convent at 18 years of age, fresh out of high school, inexperienced and naïve. Yet I knew I was doing what was right for me. I recall the journey through stages of spiritual awakenings, faith development, and a lot of human growth and insight. Over the years, I have come to know myself through my daily living in community, my ministries, and my relationships within Community, with family members and with God. I have begun to see that the more I honestly know myself, the more I know God within me and within others. Knowing God is a never ending quest to know the meaning of life. Now I ask myself, “Where have the 50 years gone and what do I think and feel about them?” The years have passed quickly. The challenges that crossed my path made me pause and think about life. They made a contribution that strengthened me. I am grateful for them. My blessings include my family relationships and the strength of the bond I share with my sisters in this Mercy Community. Catherine McAuley has touched my life and causes me wonderment at the many ways she has inspired and enriched me. The opportunities and privileges I have had for spiritual growth, faith enrichment, education, and ministry have been great. And so I am feeling grateful and overwhelmed by God’s presence with me as I celebrate my life in Mercy.
Sister Mary Kilgariff Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Liaison Community Health Nurse
Motto: My Peace Be With You My experiences with the Sisters of Mercy were ones of their kindness and their quality of education while I was a student at Mercy High School in San Francisco, which always seemed to draw my attention. The principal, Sister Mary Grace, told the parents of nine children not to worry about the tuition because their “daughters belonged at Mercy.” I have never forgotten this generosity. Another strong aspect was that my parents, brothers and sisters were always supportive of my, off and on again, interest in joining the Sisters of Mercy. I was inspired to pursue my ministry when I was a young sister in formation. A few of us in our entrance group were taken on a tour of St. Mary’s Medical Center led by Sister Elizabeth Marie. That clinched it for me, and I began studies in nursing. I believe the highlight of my ministry years are the wide variety of nursing experiences I’ve had in the past and continue to experience today. Working side by side with my healthcare peers, physicians and the various multiple groups that I interact with each day has been very rewarding and motivating. I’m particularly motivated by the Sister Philippa Clinic staff and the generosity they have shown by providing care to the poor and disenfranchised people of San Francisco. I have always tried to bring who I am to my life in Community and my ministry because I felt this would be the most effective way to mirror our loving God and the Mercy charism. My supportive family and my friends inside and outside of the Community have been instrumental in my strong desire to live religious life now and into the future.
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Sister Esther McEgan Entrance: September 8, 1960, Dublin, Ireland First Profession: April 6, 1963 Final Profession: April 12, 1966 Current Ministry: Pastoral Minister
Motto: I can do all things in Him who strengthens me It’s hard to believe that I have reached this milestone: 50th Jubilee. I am grateful for the extraordinary example my parents and older siblings provided me - the youngest of seven children. The Dublin Mercy Sisters were not only great teachers, but our mentors and friends as students at Carysfort Teachers’ Training College. My years of teaching in Coolock and Rathfarnham, Dublin, were exciting years for me. I even enjoyed night school at University College Dublin. Then I was asked if I would go to San Francisco. I spent 13 years there, teaching and in administration at St. Brigid School. I returned to Ireland following a year’s sabbatical. Then I transferred to the Burlingame Mercy Sisters. I keep in constant contact with my Dublin Mercy friends, whom I meet during my home visits. In between, I spent five years in administration at both St. Anne and St. Dominic Schools - all in San Francisco. They were all wonderful years, but I then realized I needed a change. I was fortunate to receive positions in hospice Spiritual Care and at the Cathedral. When they became two full time jobs, I accepted a full-time position at the Cathedral. Pastoral Ministry to the Homebound is a privilege and most rewarding.
Sister Marilyn Ann Morgan Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Liturgical Design Consultant
Motto: Dwell in Me, as I in You Photographs show that I first met the Sisters of Mercy as a small child when some sisters from the Philippines were visiting some friends. I grew up in San Bruno, attended public schools and didn’t meet the Sisters of Mercy again until my sophomore year of high school.
When my mother took me to register at Mercy High School Burlingame, we went to the motherhouse instead of the high school. We met Mother Eleanor who quickly discerned that we were in the wrong place. My mother had told her she wanted to get me in school there. Little did I know how prophetic those words would be. I entered the Community after graduation from Mercy. My journey of 50 years in Mercy has taken me on a road I could not have imagined when I entered. I have been given wonderful opportunities along the way. I loved teaching little children, and I love working with adults, helping them to give “flesh” to their faith life in their churches, chapels and in works of art. Working with artists and artisans gives me great joy. There have been many challenges along the way and much joy in serving God’s people. I am grateful for all I have received in Mercy, which has made me the person I am today.
Sister Carlotta Oberzut Entrance: September 8, 1963, Chicago First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: August 16, 1970 Current Ministry: Counselor and Administrative Assistant
Motto: Yes, Lord The past 50 years have been an incredible journey! God is truly a God of surprises. God has led me in directions I could not have imagined. Through all the tumultuous changes over the past 50 years, I realize that I have been held in the tender hands of a merciful and loving God. There is much I am grateful for: the sisters who befriended, mentored, and loved me, and the wonderful people with whom I have ministered. I have grown into living the charism of Mercy as a teacher, social care coordinator, pastoral associate, counselor, spiritual director, advocate for peace and justice, regional community team member, and now ministering to homeless women in recovery from addictions. The journey of the past 50 years has been more grace-filled and life-giving than I could have ever imagined.
20 Sister Nancy Perlick Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Secondary Education and Healthcare Sponsorship
Motto:+Shalom I am blessed and grateful to be in this religious community. I would like to thank all of the sisters I have known and know now for all of their help, support, and encouragement over the years.
Sister Ana Maria Pineda Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Santa Clara University, Religious Studies Department
Motto: FIAT I was born in El Salvador, Central America, and came with my parents and my brother to the United States at the age of two. Early on, our family settled in the Spanish-speaking sector of San Francisco, California, affectionately referred to as the “Mission.” My parents enrolled us in St. Peter’s School as a way of ensuring that we would get a good education. It was here that I first met the Sisters of Mercy. It was also in this neighborhood that I was constantly inspired by the faith and hard-working lives of our Hispanic friends and neighbors. In God’s mysterious way, both these influences came together as a single call and vocation to the Sisters of Mercy. Throughout these many years, I have been constantly blessed in having a call to religious life and a commitment to the Hispanic community fill my life. The many opportunities to be part of the historical development of Hispanic ministry in the U.S. have been an undeniable blessing. I have been shaped and nurtured by the many involvements that have come my way, and by the support received from family, friends, colleagues, and those that have been part of my ministry. My heart is constantly filled with the most profound gratitude for the many
gifts and blessings received from God. This jubilee is another occasion to continue to celebrate God’s mercy and love.
Sister Carmen Rodriguez Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Spiritual Direction, Translations and Volunteer
Motto: Holy Spirit…To Love The rhythm of my life has been like that of a river, flowing where the current has taken me. Growing up part of a wonderful Mexican migrant family in California, I’ve always been in touch with God, the beauty of the Earth, the insights and the blessings that come from a simple life. My vocation seeds were planted in primary school with the Sisters of Mercy, taking root and growing with a certainty of that call up to this day. The heart knows. This call from God has been richly nurtured by my family, friends and particularly through my Sisters in Mercy who weren’t afraid to share their call – their heart stories. They had found Jesus/God in prayer, community relationships, ministry, and the Eucharist. Challenges, joys, blocks, and surprises along the way had made them more compassionate, humble and confident in the life they had been called to and chosen to live. God is the stronghold, tenderness and mystery in whom I live. It has been my privilege to be a Sister of Mercy since 1963. My service to God’s people has ranged from nursing, local community leadership, civic community networking, initiating parish health ministry programs, community outreach – providing basic needs, social work with the elderly – to translations and spiritual direction. A rich life that fills my heart with gratitude for the way God has led me through these past 50 years – golden years! I have loved my life, have loved others and been happy…and have felt loved by God and friends.
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Sister Janet Ruffing Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: Professor in the Practice of Spirituality & Ministerial Leadership and Spiritual Director
Motto: Shalom, I AM God was so real to me, I felt called to vowed life since I was a young child; church was the larger context of that call. On what I thought would be my last international travel experience in July of 1963, the central nave of St. Peter’s Basilica was set-up for Vatican II, the first session just ended; John XXIII had recently died; and the audience with Paul VI was behind the main altar. I grew up in religious life reading the council documents in a Community that already had a tradition of liturgical institutes, religious education programs inspired by Lumen Vitae, and an openness to the theologians who shaped the council. We heard lectures by theologians brought from all over the world to University of San Francisco’s summer school. Religious life had not yet changed much, but change already permeated our bible studies, liturgy, and our understanding of Church. We lived and prayed into a new way of life, and each change for me, at any rate, brought a deepening and an interior freedom to follow the leading of the Spirit, even when I was sometimes ahead of the group and sometimes behind. Our forms of living followed from our lives of contemplative prayer, ministerial creativity, and the dramatic cultural changes in all of our institutional ministries. We have been very happy in our lives and ministries as they continued to unfold among the People of God we call Church. At each turning, God has continued to address me, “Shalom, peace, do not be afraid, I AM (God) and I AM with you.”
Sister Mary de Chantal Selenger Entrance: September 7, 1963, Burlingame First Profession: August 3, 1966 Final Profession: August 21, 1971 Current Ministry: On Renewal
Motto: I Will Play in Thy Name
When I joined the Sisters of Mercy, I expected to be giving up my life as a pianist forever. Much to my surprise, however, following Vatican II with the many changes taking place in the Church and within religious life itself, I was “allowed,” actually “missioned” to once again give piano concerts. Performing has always been my “first love,” but I have also enjoyed participating in the liturgical life of our Church as a parish pianist/organist, playing for weddings, funerals and parish events, preparing adult choirs and children’s choirs for weekend liturgies, seasonal celebrations, sacraments, Christmas pageants, and school musicals. As I prepare for Jubilee celebration in August, I claim it as a time of renewal! A time “to let the land lie fallow,” to come away and to rest, to listen, to awaken and to take delight in the God-love within. Giving thanks to God and filled with such gratitude for my family, friends and Community, may I continue this journey, celebrating God’s great Mercy “playing in Thy Name.”
Sister Mary Catherine Sobeck Entrance: September 7, 1963, Detroit First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: August 8, 1970 Current Ministry: Volunteer Tutor
Motto: My Jesus, Mercy What a blessing to be a Sister of Mercy for 50 years. How good God is! What constitutes this blessing is not so easy to explain. To be a part of a community of women who serve their God without a question is the first part. Their answer is always, “Yes.” Living the “Yes” is not easy as one does not know what the future may hold. The “Yes” response takes a lot of trust. Another part of this blessing is to serve God’s people. In my case, teaching is as natural to me as loving my God. Being in a classroom or tutoring is a true blessing. One gets to witness the child or adult being born into knowledge that can then propel them into a world of service, self-esteem, love of neighbor and a deep desire to serve their God. Still another part of this blessing is to open up one’s own talents and gifts. Serving the community in the finance office was absolutely humbling, but very continued on page 22
gratifying. This particular service to the community was one I will always treasure. My hope for the future is that I will trust God enough to be a “yes” person to all his requests. Thank you, Catherine McAuley, for letting me be one of your daughters.
Sister Mary Paulita Walters Entrance: September 7, 1963, Detroit First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: August 8, 1970 Current Ministry: Readiness Center
Sister Anne Marilyn Tyler Entrance: September 7, 1963, Detroit First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: August 8, 1970 Current Ministry: Photography
Motto: I Believe When I reflect back over the past 50 years, I am most grateful for God’s calling to become a part of the Sisters of Mercy community; my path has been filled with blessings. Throughout most of my time as a sister, I have served as part of a dedicated healthcare team as the staff photographer recording and marketing our efforts to heal the sick, comfort the dying and provide care to the poor and underserved. Photography is perhaps an unexpected ministry, but one that has led me to truly see the beauty of God everywhere, in nature and architecture, and mostly in faces. I am inspired by the phrase, “The face of God is before me always.” I believe God led me to photography to help meet an essential need that everyone has: To be seen. It is an act of mercy to recognize someone as a child of God. My favorite example of this is the work I’ve done taking volunteer portraits each year for school children who cannot afford them – they are so happy to “be seen” and their smiles are coming directly from God’s love. My journey has brought people into my life, sometimes for a few moments and often for years of friendship. But, every time I am connected to someone through my ministry, it is a reminder to them and to me that God calls upon each of us to provide mercy, love and service. If we listen, we will hear His calling, and if we look, we will see His face everywhere.
My years as a Sister of Mercy have been a blessing. My 32 years in Benton Harbor have shaped me. Our call to serve the economically poor, coupled with a Mercy Action grant to start the Readiness Center has allowed me to live and to minister to God’s people listening to their needs and wants. Walking among the poor shapes and molds a person and helps one to reach their full potential. I am grateful to our Community and the people of Benton Harbor for providing me with this opportunity to grow in wisdom and grace.
Sister Margaret Weigel Entrance: September 8, 1963, Cedar Rapids First Profession: June 21, 1966 Final Profession: June 21, 1969 Current Ministry: Technology Support
Motto: Rejoice Always Every place I served had its challenges and rewards. I chose Rejoice Always as my motto because Advent is my favorite liturgical season, and this quote is part of the Sunday scripture readings near my birthday. It seems to me one must work to have a positive attitude in the midst of the challenges we face in our world and the Church today. As a Sister of Mercy I have been graced with the opportunity: • To challenge myself to use my skills and talents to serve others. • To “stand on the shoulders” of the Sisters of Mercy who have gone before us – these women are models because of their courage to take risks when facing the many challenges they encountered in the Church and in the world they lived in. • To collaborate with a group of gifted women with a variety of skills and personalities whose common goal is to be and bring Mercy to others. • To work with Mercy Associates.
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• To serve on our regional leadership during the formation of the West Midwest because it gave me the opportunity to work with, to meet and be inspired by a number of sisters at each of our locations in the WMW Community. • To work with numerous women, men, and children who have inspired me in my various ministries. • To sometimes receive from others more than I gave. In summary, words cannot really express my gratitude as I celebrate 50 years as a Sister of Mercy.
Sister Rose Wiorek Entrance: September 8, 1963, Chicago First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: May 17, 1975 Current Ministry: Editing and Transcription
Motto: I Have Been Loved A reflection from my profession has guided my religious life and will continue to do so as my journey of becoming continues: “I have called you by name; you are mine. I have loved you into being and have not ceased saying your name because you are a word that I have not yet finished uttering.”
Sister Dolores Zurek Entrance: September 8, 1963, Chicago First Profession: August 16, 1966 Final Profession: January 5, 1974 Current Ministry: Health Benefits Coordinator
Motto: Amen When I reflect on my life as a Sister of Mercy, I recall immediately the education received, opportunities provided and experiences made available to me throughout the years. It amazes me to remember all the people who have touched my life and encouraged me in so many ways. I am truly grateful for the support of family and friends. Now with the West Midwest Community, I truly enjoy getting to know other Sisters of Mercy and staff across the country!
Sister Karen Egri Entrance: August 14, 1994, Farmington Hills First Profession: August 11, 1995 Final Profession: August 8, 1998 Current Ministry: Consultant / Facilitator and Mercy Volunteer Corps Local Contact
Motto: Into Your Hands My life in Mercy has taken several forms: sister, co-minister, associate, and once again – sister. The call to Mercy, in whatever form, has been a life gift that continues to call me to become and challenges me to use the gifts and skills my God has blessed me with to serve His people and this Community. I have been blessed with awesome companions on this journey – family, friends, and those with whom I have shared community and ministry. They keep me genuine, provide support and insure I will never forget how to laugh or to care. I am who I am today because of their love and belief in me and God’s merciful grace. I am grateful for the 25 years as a Sister of Mercy that I celebrate and look forward to a future blessed with caring. Living into that future with Sisters, Mercy Volunteers, Mercy Associates, Mercy Companions, and other forms of membership yet to be, will indeed be an adventure, a mystery and the delightful continuation of “Kate’s folly” to which I say: “Into Your Hands…”
Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community 2013 Jubilarian Booklet Published through a joint effort of WMW Communications and Development Offices. A special thanks to WMW archivists, Life Center administrators, and staff members whose help has been invaluable in gathering information for this booklet. May 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org
W E S T
M I D W E S T
C O M M U N I T Y
7262 Mercy Road • Omaha, NE 68124 • 402.393.8225 • www.mercywestmidwest.org