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Inaugural ‘National Catholic Sisters Week’, March 8-14

Week highlights the lives, mission and work of Sisters

The first National Catholic Sisters Week takes place March 8 - 14 as part of Women’s History Month.
To highlight this important week, the Register has asked several Sisters in the Diocese of Dodge City: 1) What is your greatest joy? and 2) What is your greatest challenge?
The purpose of NCSW is to bring greater awareness to Catholic Sisters and to make their presence more widely known and visible on a national level.
Women religious have made, and continue to make, vital contributions in education, health care, criminal justice, social justice, theology, the arts, and politics. This is more than a “Catholic” story.
Wherever good things are happening, there are often Sisters involved making a tremendous difference. Catholic Sisters stand with the poor and vulnerable, regardless of race, socioeconomic status or religion.
In addition to highlighting the significant role that Catholic Sisters have had historically, National Catholic Sisters Week will focus on a contemporary view of these women -- their lives, their mission, and their works. The goal is to shed light on the tremendous impact Catholic Sisters continue making today.
National Catholic Sisters Week is possible because of a three-year grant provided by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to St. Catherine University where the initiative was launched. (The preceding was printed with permission.)

Sister Anita Schugart, OP
My greatest joys:
My greatest joy comes from belonging to a Congregation of Women Religious (Dominican Sisters of Peace) who are so involved in Peace and Justice issues----Care for the poor and disenfranchised, human trafficking, care for the earth, and  missionary work--- to name a few.
My greatest challenges:
My greatest challenge is to accept my own advancing age and the fact that I do not have the energy to be more active in these ministries.    My work now is to hold these ministries and the people involved in prayer.

Sister Catherine Therese Paulie, CSJ
My greatest joys:
One of my greatest joys is celebrating the birth process of a child into a family, especially in a family where God plays an important role.  The anticipation, the preparation, sharing the good news, the joy and pride as the baby is baptized in the midst of the parish community – God’s miracles, indeed, bring joy to my heart.
My greatest challenges:
A great challenge is struggling with someone in pain whether physical suffering or mental anguish.  I hurt with them and pray for guidance – to get out of the way – to somehow let God’s healing and comfort take over the situation – to not tell them what they should do or how they should be.

Sister Irene Hartman, OP
My greatest joys:
As a teacher to hear a student say, “Now I understand that”;
As a chaplain in a chemical dependency unit, to see joyful faces after a 5th step completed;
As a leader with the RCIA groups: to celebrate the Easter Vigil;
As a Sister to have opportunities to celebrate Eucharist almost daily;
As a helper in a parish to teach, preach, write, and assist as needed;
As an itinerant preacher to travel to many states and proclaim the Gospel;
As a pilgrim to traverse the Lands of St. Dominic and journeys of St. Paul;
As a Catholic Sister to enjoy freedom to practice my religion.
My greatest challenges:
To move from teaching children to adults;
To move from my typewriter to learn how to use a computer;
To make daily study a priority;
To continue to search the Scriptures and to follow the footsteps of Jesus;
To be thankful every day for good health and a long life.

Sister Andre Kravec, OP
My greatest joys:
When I think about my greatest joy, I think it is two-fold.  My first joy is that of community, even though I do not live with other Sisters, but am working singly in a parish.  The fact that my Sisters know what I’m doing, support me in my efforts, keep me in prayer -- all these make me feel very close to them. Many of us, even if separated by distance, keep in touch via a phone call or e-mail.  All of this helps me to not feel in isolation.  I guess what I’m saying is that community is way more than just living together in the same residence, it’s a union of hearts, purpose, and a sense of the Gospel.
My greatest challenges:
My greatest challenge is making certain the woman I am, my motivation for what I do, and the image I project is that of a woman of faith and prayer.  This vocation has been difficult at times but it also is a great source of joy.  I am glad to be who I am, where I am, and to have the privilege of working with God’s people.

Sister Jolene Geier, OP
My greatest joys:
My greatest joy has been that I was called by God to live as a Dominican Sister.  I heard that call as a five-year-old first grader at St. Mary’s School in Garden City.  In those tender years of growing up I was encouraged by my parents and my Dominican teachers to follow that call.  In 1952 I was able to be obedient to that call when I was accepted as a Postulant to live in community with the Great Bend Dominican Sisters.  Over and over again I said “yes” to different ministries that I was entrusted to, even though at times I did not have the credentials or preparation needed to do the work.  My prayerful “yes” and support of my community, family and friends helped me do the ministry which God desired.  Obedience works if you are doing God’s will.  
My greatest challenges:
These ministerial challenges included establishing our Lay Dominican Associates and being involved in many social Justice events and projects.  These last 10 years with many ecumenical Christians we have established the Life Giving Center, a transitional housing ministry for homeless women and children.  Being on staff at the Heartland Center for Spirituality is also a constant delight to be present to the many people who come to our Spiritual Oasis.  My favorite prayer is “Thank you, God, for my wonderful Life.”

Sister Renee Dreiling, OP
My greatest joys:
My greatest joy is sharing with those who come to me for spiritual direction or counselling, the tremendous support and unconditional love I have received from the Sisters with whom I have shared community over the years. Living a vowed life is a tremendous gift, and the Sisters have loved me into a greater wholeness. It is a gift I enjoy passing on to others.
My greatest challenges:
My greatest challenge is twofold: trying to figure out how to share the awesome life and many blessings we have in religious life in order to inspire young women to join us; and not having younger people here to carry on the ministry!

Sister Virginia Pearl, CSJ
My greatest joys:
One of my greatest JOYS has been a gift to be able to serve women, men and youth in our Larned Youth Correctional Center, The Mental Health Facility and Larned State Hospital. Before I began I thought it would be a negative for me to be employed in these facilities serving youth, women and men who were incarcerated. I have been serving for nearly 25 years in these facilities and it has become a highlight in my life. I grew to know the depth of pain many of our youth and adults continue to encounter. Just one example of what joy prevails is when the persons who are in the Recovery Program do a recall of their lives. They write what their plans are in order to be sure to clinch the depth of their personal work ahead for themselves. There is joy as they write their plan and graduate from the program. Being asked to participate in their graduation and knowing the depth of their prayer for themselves that they have developed, the depth of their gratitude to all who have helped to inspire them to be able to graduate is gratifying and inspiring. It is truly a healing ministry that continues to bring JOY to my heart.
My greatest challenges:
For many years I lived at Heartland Farm. It was the most delightful life of gardening, delivering an alpaca, and harvesting roasting ears. Yet, a challenge to have enough hours in the day to do all of the outdoor projects that needed to be accomplished. I also worked off of the farm several days a week.

Sister Rose Mary Stein, OP
My greatest joys:
My greatest joy is the freedom I feel to use my God-given gifts to witness Christ to others.  The Dominican Sisters of Peace continues to challenge me to reach out to those in need and empower God’s people to use their gifts for the good of others.  We all have gifts that God wants us to use to help each other, poor, rich, of our faith, not of our faith, and to do it with joy in our hearts.
My greatest challenges:
My greatest challenge is to stay faithful to the gospel.  Praying with a heart that is positive.  Knowing there is evil in the world, but always finding the good in all people.  Remembering to affirm the good I see and not being critical.



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