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 Call to Continuing Conversion and Rite of Election 2019

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March 10, 2019

Mathematical solution to the Sock puzzle

Feb. 24, 2019

Local youth attend World Youth Day in Panama

Annual QUEST weekend honors Scouts

   The Dead Sea Scrolls series

 

   St. Nicholas School, Kinsley, Advent Cantata, Dec. 7, 2008

 

   

 

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A Pearl of great price

Sister celebrates her Native past, while

serving those who ‘hunger for the Lord’

By Charlene Scott Myers
Special to the Register

An old song says that when Irish eyes are smiling, they chase all your cares away. The eyes of Sister Virginia Pearl, CSJ, are a combustible combination: Irish and American Indian, and they brighten a room like a candle in a dark space.
A sister of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas, she recently was one of two sisters in the Diocese of Dodge City nominated for the Catholic Church Extension Society’s 2012 Lumen Christi awards.
The other nominee is Sister Matilde Reyna Donis Monterroso, MCMI, of Guatemala, who has been Parish Life Coordinator at St. Alphonsus Church in Satanta for 10 years and soon will serve in Kenya.
“I didn’t want to become a sister, but the Lord kept calling me!” said a laughing Sister Virginia, a chaplain for the past 20 years at the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility and the Larned State Hospital, and a teacher for many years previously.
“I thought being a sister would be dull,” she admitted. A descendant of Potawatomie Indians, she was born at St. Mary’s, Kansas 20 miles west of Topeka, where the first bishop of Kansas, John Baptiste Miege, a Jesuit, began his work among the Potawatomie.
Consecrated a bishop in St. Louis on March 25, 1851, Bishop Miege was invited by the Jesuits to establish his See at St. Mary’s Mission. The mission served the Potawatomie Nation, which included 3,500 Indians living in small villages on 30 square miles of land.  Bishop Miege built the first cathedral in Kansas there out of logs.
“Bishop Miege chose my great-grandfather, who came to this country from Ireland, to be the driver of his carriage,” beamed Sister Virginia.  “My great-grandmother, his wife, was Potawatomie.”
Her great-grandfather had to drive the bishop extremely long distances.
The “diocese” then was known as The Apostolic Vicariate of Indian Territory east of the Rocky Mountains. This ecclesial territory included a vast area that later would become Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Montana and Wyoming. Parts of North and South Dakota, west of the Missouri River, and a large portion of Colorado, were also in the vicariate.
“Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne (proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul II on July 3, 1988) taught my great-grandmother her prayers at Sugar Creek,” Sister Virginia added.
Sister Virginia’s ancestors were among the 859 Potawatomie who walked the “Trail of Death” from September to November of 1838 in a U.S. forced removal from St. Joseph, Michigan, to Sugar Creek, Kansas, beside the Osage settlement.
“Only 650 of the 859 Indians made it to Kansas,” she said. “Many of them (mostly the elderly and children) died along the way, and some ran away at night.”
Sister Virginia was one of 33 women featured in the book A Passion of Her Own, Life-Path Journeys with Women of Kansas. In the book, published in 2004, she tells the story of her ancestors’ “Trail of Death.”
“The Potawatomie people walked for 60 days at gunpoint,” she wrote. “It was such a deep injustice.”
The federal government had passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, forcing thousands of Indians westward on foot or by wagon from their eastern homelands. Cherokees from Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee staggered across nine states in a winter march, the Trail of Tears, to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), losing 4,000 to death along the way.
The Potawatomie who survived and their descendants were hardy folks, Sister Virginia pointed out. “I have an Indian cousin, Theresa Slaven Reed, who lives in Wheeler, Texas, and is 108 years old!”
Sister Virginia is a passionate advocate for the Native American community in the United States.
“My mother would tell us about her grandmother on ‘the long walk,’ she recalled. “Her voice would change, and her face would turn white. Her grandmother didn’t know when her parents had died, but she lived when so many children died. Her name was Equa ke sec, which means “the rising generation, the one who lives on.”
Sister Virginia’s Indian name is Na Mi Kwa, which means “Praying Woman.” (The Potawatomie had named Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne “Woman-Who-Prays-Always” because in her old age she would pray all night in their chapel.)
In 1997, the summer before Mother Teresa died, Sister Virginia met her in Calcutta and volunteered to work with the dying. A nun handed her a baby girl just a few days old found in a suitcase stolen by a thief. Sister Virginia cared for the infant, who was named “Teresa” after Mother Teresa.
The baby—like Sister Virginia’s great-grandmother--lived while so many others died.
Sister Virginia, a pastoral minister at Larned’s Mental Health Facility, has a heart for the poor, and for men, women, and youth who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
“I began working at the Larned Mental Health Facility, the Larned Youth Center, and Larned State Hospital 20 years ago,” she said.
She now serves only at the Mental Health facility, where she offers Communion services twice weekly, and prayer services for the incarcerated who wish to pray.
“It is a gift to be able to minister to them,” she added. “These men desire so deeply to come to pray. I cannot tell you the depth of these mens’ faith. They hunger for the Lord.”
After more than half a century as a religious sister, does she still think it is a dull vocation?
“I’ve never had a dull moment in my 52 years as a sister!” she answered with a hearty laugh.
“I call it a delight to be able to serve the Lord. I love my life!”

Past Issues

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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