Left, Sisters Valeria Abele and Margery Schroeder of the class of 1949 sing during the jubilee Mass; Pat Morrison photo. Middle, golden jubilarian Sister Mary Lou Schmersal receives her anniversary corsage from general council member Sister Madonna Raterman. In the background, Sister Cecilia Taphorn (in turquoise) checks out her corsage with council member Sister Edna Hess (back left). Michelle Bodine photo. Right, smiles were in abundance at the jubilee Mass. Here 75th jubilarian Sister Delphine Kolker (left) exchanges the sign of peace with her classmate from 1934 Sister Peg Williams. Pat Morrison photo.
DAYTON — 16 Sisters of the Precious Blood are marking milestone anniversaries of religious life this year, and their sisters, family and friends were on hand to help with the celebration June 27-28.
Celebrating 75 years of entrance into the congregation are Sisters Melitta Barga, Dorothy Dennis, Delphine Kolker, Louise Margaret (Peg) Williams and Madonna Winkeljohn.
Four sisters are celebrating 60 years: Sisters Valeria Abele, Catherine Brickner, Agnes Christine Mullen and Margery Schroeder.
And 2009’s golden jubilarians, celebrating 50 years, are seven: Sisters Jeanette Buehler, Jeannine Kloeker, Nancy Raley, Theresa Rizzo, Mary Lou Schmersal, Cecilia Taphorn and Mary E. Wendeln.
Together, these 16 sisters represent 965 years of religious life and service to God’s people.
Sisters who are residents at Salem Heights or live nearby had a local celebration May 17 that included Mass and a reception with family and friends. Other sister-jubilarians had celebrations at their places of ministry, in parishes and with local communities where they serve.
The June jubilee, traditionally hosted close to the congregation’s patronal Feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus on July 1, is designed to be the Precious Blood Sisters’ “family” celebration, feting their jubilarians.
The two-day event began with a prayer service and PowerPoint tribute to all the jubilarians on Saturday evening, June 27. Images of the jubilarians – including baby photos and images from “the good old days” were blended with humorous and heartwarming narrative about each sister and her 50, 60 or 75 years in ministry. At the end of the service, each jubilarian was presented with a rose and a gift from the community. The celebration continued with a social in the Salem Heights dining room.
Sunday, June 28, was the formal jubilee celebration. The presence of Precious Blood Sisters from across the country as well as from Chile and Guatemala meant a “full house” in the chapel for the Eucharistic celebration. Precious Blood Father Thomas Brenberger, cousin of golden jubilarian Sister Jeanette Buehler and pastor of St. Teresa Parish in Rockford, Ohio, was the presider for the Eucharist. Sisters took part in all the liturgical roles of the Mass.
Following the liturgy, a special dinner in the Salem Heights dining room honored the 2009 jubilarians and gave CPPS sisters gathered for the occasion the opportunity to offer their good wishes, celebrate memories and socialize with one another.
Story by Pat Morrison