The PATHWAYS of PAUL Pilgrimage, Sept. 18-28, 2019 -- Information

 
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Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

   The Dead Sea Scrolls series

 

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

 

   

 

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After 43 years serving in Nigeria,

Sister Rita Schwarzenberger says,

‘The greatest joy for me is to see lives changed’

 

 Editor’s Note: The Southwest Kansas Catholic posed several questions to Sister Rita Schwarzenberger, a Dominican Sister of Peace, via email. The Kansas native serves in Nigeria. 

Southwest Kansas Catholic: Where were you born?

Sister Rita Schwarzenberger: I was born in Collyer, Kansas (directly north of Dodge City, just north of I-70), the third of eight children.

SKC: How long have you been a Sister?

Sister Rita: I entered the convent in 1960, made temporary profession in 1963.

SKC: Can you tell me what it was that compelled you to become a Sister?

Sister Rita: I think your word ‘compelled’ is a good description. Not only did I go to Catholic grade school and was often helping the Sisters or Priests with one task or another, I was also very much exposed to the life of a Sister because our family often went to see our aunt, Sister Michael, in Great Bend, and on the way we stopped in Liebenthal to visit our great uncle, Father Francis Uhrich.

So when you use the word “compelled”,  I sometimes tell people I did not choose to become a Sister; I was prayed into it. And as you might be aware, I have a sibling whom I followed into the convent, my older sister who worked for some time in the RENEW program in Dodge City Diocese, Sister Francine.

SKC: How long have you been serving in Nigeria?

Sister Rita: I came to Nigeria in 1975 to join the Dominican Sisters from Great Bend who were ministering here.

It was a big change for me to come from a small town in Kansas across the ocean, but it had been a dream of mine to be a missionary.

Initially I was involved in teaching, but later was asked to work for the northern Nigerian Dioceses in works of Justice and Peace. As that was handed over to Nigerians, I took up the work of directing the Hope for the Village Child Foundation. The Foundation was started by a friend of mine who left the country in the year 2000. I was free at that time to accept, and have been working there ever since.

SKC: Are there other Sisters from Kansas working with you? Any Nigerian Sisters?

Sister Rita: Initially I was part of a group of Sisters from Great Bend, but due to a number of circumstances, health issues, aging and sadly, of the death of some whom I met here, I am now the only Sister of the original ones from Great Bend still here.

However, the Sisters left a marvelous legacy in the foundation of a group of Nigerian Dominican Sisters who are doing wonderful work and who will soon take on the work that I am doing.

SKC: How is the faith of the people served? Are they mostly Christian? Muslim? Or a mix?

Sister Rita: Hope for the Village Child Foundation is an NGO, not a faith-based  program, as that is defined. The meaning is that we do not proselytize. We work among and with both Christians and Muslims and we have representatives of both faiths on our staff.

Saying we are not faith-based does not mean we ignore religion. It is very important in the life of the people, but as an organization, we try to witness to others that as people of different denominations, different faiths and different ethnic groups, we can work together in harmony. It is a challenge, but I am proud to say that I feel we do that quite successfully. Key to it all, of course, is respect.

SKC: Can you share a bit of what you do with the Foundation?

Sister Rita: Our work is mainly in rural interior communities, though we do have a central clinic.

Health care is a very big issue. In our clinic as well as in outreach programs, we deal with immunization against childhood diseases, child and maternal health, diseases such as malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, sickle cell disease, HIV, meningitis and other common diseases such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Of course, each of these has many different components to treatment, but we are fortunate to have a well-supplied laboratory that assists with diagnosis.

An important part of our health program is our potable water program, i.e., the digging of wells in rural communities. These wells are donated by individuals, families or groups mainly in the United States; the Diocese of Dodge City has not been left out, as there are names of members of the Dodge City Diocese on wells throughout our rural area.  In all, I am proud to say that the people of the United States have sponsored well over 200 wells in various communities.

As our name suggests, our main focus is on the child, but we have found out that one cannot focus on the child without bringing in the other members of the family.

With that in mind, we place stress on education, assisting the rural communities in strengthening their schools. We engage in agricultural programs with farmers, both men and women. We also have special programs for women as the primary care-givers for the children.

Some years back I learned about the incidence of rickets, often a crippling disease among children in the rural areas.

Thanks to the generosity of the Catholic Church in Germany, we were able to get assistance for these children, distributing calcium and for those whose deformity was too severe, surgery.

To date we have had more than 400 surgeries carried out. This is linked to another program for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, post-polio paralysis, etc.

SKC: What are some of the great joys you have encountered?

Sister Rita: The greatest joy for me is to see lives changed. Immediately what comes to mind is the story of a young woman named Lami Tanko. When we met her, she was severely affected with rickets, with what we called bow-legs.

The pain was so severe she could not walk the several miles she needed to go to attend school. She was among the first set of children to have surgery, and that was her first exposure to the English language.

But Lami had a spark inside her, and she pleaded with her parents to go to live in the town where she could attend a better school. Her dream was to become a health worker so she could help others as she had been helped.

Within 10 years she completed, in English, the 12 years of primary and secondary school, graduating with high marks. She is now enrolled in a school of health technology. There are many stories that touch the heart, and I am privileged to be here in the heart of it all.

But I am also privileged to be involved in the Archdiocese of Kaduna where I am a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Executive Council. Over the last few years we have been able to produce the revised five-year Pastoral Plan, syllabi in English and Hausa (common local language) for the teaching of religion, special syllabus in Hausa and English for the RCIA program, and other policy documents.

We are involved in other events such as hosting the Archdiocesan General Assembly. And for me, in the small village where I live, there is no resident priest, so daily I am blessed to be able to have a Communion Service with the people here.

SKC: What are some of the challenges?

Sister Rita: Yes, there are challenges. In Nigeria, just one-third again as large as Texas, we are now reported to have 180 million people.

Resources, as in many countries, are not evenly distributed to the people, and thus there is wide-spread poverty and un- or under-employment. This contributes to insecurity and a need that constantly comes knocking for assistance.

But thanks be to God, each day brings its own blessings because in general, I find the people of Nigeria to be highly intelligent, gracious and accepting and open to the workings of God in their lives. It is a blessing for me.

SKC: What could we in southwest Kansas learn from your experiences in Nigeria?

Sister Rita: I believe the same is true of southwest Kansas because I also served in the diocese, albeit for only one year. I know the people there to be generous, gracious, and aware of God’s gifts in their lives. I know that we are united in faith, and I pray that we continue to grow in grace and peace. In spite of difficulties, pain and need, one of the common expressions here is “We Thank God” and for me, it is one of the profound learnings that has affected my life and I hope yours also.

Past Issues

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

 

Dec. 17, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Celebrate Christmas 'unplugged'; Msgr. Matthew Smith; Klan; Catholic Charities Annual Appeal; Fr. Larry Rosebaugh; A Guadalupe Encounter; Laci and Joe Salazar; A Christmas Wish; Adoption; Confession; Advent; EWTN; Christmas Blues; Tilma; Pittsburgh; PSR

 

Dec. 3, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2017 NCYC; Wheel of Balance; Marita Rother; Stanley Rother; slavery; trafficking; Windthorst water damage; martyred priests; confession; reconciliation; How to go to confession; recipe for codfish cakes; Catholic schools; appeal

 

Nov. 19, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Saints; Father Kola; Black Elk; Giving Tuesday; velvet Elvis; a Slice of Time; Dani Sandoval; Mexican Village; Father Tim Hickey; New faces at chancery; priests share thoughts on confession; Wheel of Balance

 

Nov. 5, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Matrimony Anniversary Mass, 2017; Riebel; Faith and Light; Scripture Day; Sex in the Bible; Quilt, Mexican Village Story; Finance; Fatima pilgrimage; Fowler church window renovation; Medicare; Crazy Glue


Oct. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Father Francis Jordan; Sister Renee Kirmer; Father Rother beatified; religious liberty; RCIA Kansas; V Encuentro; Bishop Weisenburger; Daughters of Isabella; Bishop Gerber Science Center


Oct. 1, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: De Colores; Rebein; Dreamer; Pies; Kellner; Code Quilts; Sister Crucita; Feezor; Formed.org; Sin and pain

 

 Sept. 17, 2017

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Sister Lucy Fidelis; Underground Railroad; Sister Irene Hartman; DACA; new priests; teachers; Volunteer of the Year; Golf Classic; St. Francis Xavier; St. Nicholas Parish Center, Kinsley; seminarians; Knights Lite; Stewardship Day 2017

Sept. 3, 2017

Aug. 13, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Coronado Cross; Masada; Moody Gardens; Elders; Rother; undocumented children; cages; year of mercy; Kumi; Hollywood makeup artist; New Mexico; refugee women.

July 16, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Summer camp; tithing and almsgiving; Bill Baalmann; Nathan Schaller; Jubilarian Sisters; Sister Hortencia Rodriguez; Sister Petrona Stockemer; Sister Denise Sevart; Convocation of Catholic Leaders; Mother talks about her son entering seminary; Arcoiris; Youth group travels to Colorado Springs; Major Phillip Roth

June 11, 2017 (Updated)

Ordination; Mark Brantley; Jacob Schneider; Father's Day; Thanks, Dad!; Appeal; Sister Mary Martin Weaver; Bishop Maralit; Budget; Trafficked women; Deacon Michael Brungardt; Dead Sea Scrolls; softball; Father Urban retirement; Sister Kravec retirement; Father Mazouch retirement; Authentic Joy; Pris Climate Accord; Jack Schramm; Pieta.

May 28, 2017 (Updated)

 

Grateful Hearts; MSFS Provincial; Reddy; Reif; Opossum; Dead Sea Scrolls; Our Lady of Fatima; Jorge Herrera, Jr.; Cursillo; Kough; First Communion; Confirmation

May 14, 2017

Esteban Hernandez; citizen; Lilly Ann Rein, Amberly Jimenez, Mother's Day; peacock; Quattrocchi; President Kennedy; Teen Moms; Junior High Youth Rally; Encounter With God's Call; granny/nanny; seniors' contributions; tornado anniversary; harvest; healthcare; Mr. Brown; Store-bought teeth; Louis and Zelie Martin; Father John Sullivan; Irish priest whose prayers could heal; Mexican beauty queen; Esmaralda Gonzalez; religious life

April 30, 2017

   KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; bully; TEC; Father Marvin Reif; Bet'sie; What makes a hero?; St. Mary of the Plains; tornado

Easter, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Honorable courtship; footsteps of migrants; CHRISM Mass 2017; honoring priests; Encuentro Cross blessed; Daughters of Isabella State Convention; Fatima pilgrim statue; Mary Sharon Moore interview; Senate advances pro-life measures; love must be at the core of family life; Father John Forkuoh's car story; Confirmations; Sisters of Concordia; CNN hero Father Khalil Jaar

March 26, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: From the heart; kidney; Rother; Friar Carmelo; Schnauzer; Lauren Seachris; Lauren's Treat; fire; Guatemala; immigration; Lenten Regulations 1888; Hot Cross Buns; budget; Trump; Forkuoh; Seiwert; South Sudan; hot ashes

March 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Refugees; immigrants; Gilbert Herrman; When you give alms'; Lent; Call to Continuing Conversion, Rite of Election; Charell and Jeremy Owings; adoption; Our Growing Church; Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia; water; creation; Sudan; Darlow Lampe

Feb 26, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Night to shine; Immigration; immigrants; Knights of Columbus; Pete Gomez; this foreign mission; Creole; Robin Doll; Eagle Scout; Quest

Feb 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; March for Life; Pro-life; Executive Order; Secular Franciscan Order; teachers; Down Syndrome; Eagle Scout; Bronze Pelican

Jan. 29, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Thank you, religious; SEEK 2017; homeless man to priest; Fourth Sunday; Secret Service to Sacred Heart; Dr. Gerard Brungardt; Martin Luther King; 110 year old nun; Toddler miracle; Letter from undocumented immigrant; health care; immigration

Jan. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Mary helps us share; Tighe donates home to Birthright; Pro-life billboard; Theobald Hattrup; Helen and Steve Eck; Pearl Harbor; Reigning Grace

Dec. 18, 2017

KEYWORDS: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 2016; Pope Francis Christmas schedule; 2016 high school youth rally; Aerospace engineer; Father Stanley Rother; Radio station; Dying girl's letter; Scout nominations; 12 days of Christmas

Dec. 4, 2016

KEYWORDS: Vocations Day; Pope Advent advice; Ex-prostitute; Spearville mission; Pilgrims v. Zombies; Face of God; Mission bazaar; Ness City fall festival; Rural health care; Archbishop Gomez; Bishops congratulate Trump

Nov. 20, 2016

Nov. 6, 2016

Oct. 23, 2016

Oct. 9, 2016


Sept. 25, 2016


Sept. 11, 2016

 
Aug. 7, 2016

July 10, 2016

June 12, 2016

May 29, 2016

May 8, 2016


 April 24, 2016

 April 10, 2016

 March 27, 2016

March 13, 2016

Feb. 28, 2016

 

Feb. 14, 2016


Jan. 31 , 2016

Jan. 17, 2016

Dec. 20, 2015

Dec. 6, 2015

Nov. 15, 2015

Nov. 1, 2015

Oct. 18, 2015

Oct. 4, 2015

Sept. 20, 2015

Sept. 6, 2015

August 9, 2015

July 12, 2015

Jun 14, 2015

May 17, 2015

May 3, 2015

April 19, 2015

Easter, 2015

 

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