By Sister Maryann Bremke
Long before I knew what the letters stood for, I was immersed in a CPPS world. Three generations of my ancestors lived in the shadows of St. Charles Seminary and the Maria Stein Convent. We Bremke and Fortkamp families breathed in the air that was Precious Blood. It was an integral part of our daily lives.
The Missionaries of the Precious Blood were the shepherds of our Immaculate Conception Parish and Sisters of the Precious Blood taught all 12 grades in the school. Their constant message of the redeeming love of Jesus made its mark on those of us fortunate enough to be touched by their dedication. The giant statue of St. Gaspar in the church sanctuary perpetually pointed to the giant crucifix, and every decade of our family rosary was introduced with the words: “Praised and blessed be the Sacred Heart and the Precious Blood of Jesus in the most holy sacrament of the altar.” My world was the color of CPPS.
Along about second grade I began thinking that I wanted to be a sister, and there was only one kind of sister in my young world. My goal was set early on. I would be a sister dressed in a long black robe with a red cord! I spent many hours after school, on free days and even Saturdays helping my teacher, Sister Protasia Schneider, prepare her classroom for her students. I knew that one day I would be doing the same thing. Sister Protasia often reminded me that my dad sat in her classroom 25 years previously. I had to live up to his caliber of goodness and sister inspired me to emulate that goodness. At age 7, I was still being immersed in a CPPS world, quite oblivious as to how CPPS would etch my future.
From my now personal vantage of having lived as a Sister of the Precious Blood for 55-plus years, CPPS has taken on a depth dimension hidden from me in childhood. The heart of its meaning is still redeeming love, but it has been nuanced through living vows, community and mission. It calls me daily to be a life-giving presence in ministry to those in need. It challenges me to live Mother Brunner’s charism into modernity. CPPS is my personal signature to live as a committed member of the Congregatio Pretiosissimi Sanguinis. My world is still, and will always be, the color of CPPS.