Left, Sisters Patty Kremer, Linda Pleiman, Nancy Kinross, Ann Clark, Joyce Lehman and LaKesha Church; Michelle Bodine photo. Middle, Sisters Joyce Lehman and LaKesha Church; Sister Mary Lou Schmersal photo. Right, Sisters Joyce Lehman, LaKesha Church, Ann Clark and Father Ken Pleiman; Michelle Bodine photo.
DAYTON, Ohio — “Joy” was the theme of the day as Sister LaKesha Church pronounced first vows as a Sister of the Precious Blood on Aug. 25 in the chapel at Salem Heights, the congregational residence.
During his homily, Father Ken Pleiman, CPPS, identified three words from the day’s readings that caught his attention: “Jesus,” “others” and “you.”
“The first letter of each of those words spells ‘joy.’ You are Sisters of joy. You want people to come into contact with you, to know you, to see you, to hear you, to laugh with you. You desire to feel the joy of being a Sister of the Precious Blood and everything that entails,” Father Ken said. “It is a joy that has come to know the heart of Jesus. A joy that knows how to love. A joy that knows how to be a peacemaker. A joy that knows how to be a person of compassion. A joy that knows how to forgive. The word “joy” itself spells out for your life and community and ministry who you are.”
Sister LaKesha is from Lorain, Ohio. She holds a degree in health care management and served with the Peace Corps in Botswana as a community liaison in the office of the district AIDS coordinator.
“Thank you to all who have been a part of God’s plan for me,” Sister LaKesha wrote in a message printed in the ceremony program. “Thank you for walking the journey with me and for being one of the many conductors (helpers) along the way. I thank God for all of you and pray that you will continue to walk the journey with me because it isn’t over yet!”
At the end of the day, as she was leaving Salem Heights, Sister LaKesha’s joy was still evident.
“Best day ever!” she exclaimed.
The Sisters of the Precious Blood were founded in Switzerland in 1834 and first came to the United States in 1844. Their motherhouse has been located at Salem Heights on Salem Avenue in Dayton since 1923. Precious Blood Sisters are active in the United States, Chile and Guatemala in a variety of ministries, including education, spiritual formation, pastoral ministry, health care, and peace, justice and care of creation.