Left, from left, Sisters Rosemary Laux, 75 years, and Rosalie Kastner, 80 years; middle, celebrating 60 years, clockwise from top left, Sisters Barbara Ann Hoying, Anna Maria Sanders, Elizabeth Westgerdes, Donna Liette, Irene Holz, Rosemary Lindemann and Nancy McMullen; right, celebrating 50 years, Sisters Terry Walter and Linda Pleiman. Michelle Bodine photos
“These are women whose dedication and faithfulness have mirrored the face and the love of Christ to everyone they’ve met. And so we ask Christ to continue to shine through them as women of hope and promise.”
With those words, Sister Joyce Lehman, president of the Congregation, toasted this year’s jubilarians as the Precious Blood community raised a glass to them at the Jubilee banquet. The gathering, held July 2 at Salem Heights, was the final event of this year’s Spirit Days and Jubilee celebrations, which began June 29 and centered on the theme of “Faithfulness Sustained by His Blood.” Precious Blood Sisters from across the United States and Guatemala gathered for the events.
This year’s jubilarians include Sister Rosemary (M. Columba) Laux, who is celebrating her diamond 75th jubilee. Seven Sisters are marking 60 years in the Precious Blood community: Irene (M. Florine) Holz, Elizabeth (M. Stephen Ann) Westgerdes, Barbara Ann (M. Emma) Hoying, Anna Maria Sanders, Rosemary (M. Christa) Lindemann, Nancy (M. Ann Patrick) McMullen and Donna (M. Dolorine) Liette. Sisters Linda Pleiman and Theresa Walter are celebrating their golden 50th jubilee. Sister Rosalie Kastner was also honored as she marks 80 years as a Precious Blood Sister.
Spirit Days culminated in a prayer service on the evening of July 1 at the Salem Heights chapel. Novice Sisters Bela Mis and Mumbi Kigutha added to the service with a prayerful dance, and jubilarians were presented with roses and gifts. Sister Maryann Bremke prepared a light-hearted slideshow featuring photos from each jubilarian’s childhood and years of ministry.
The Jubilee Mass was held July 2 at Salem Heights. The celebrant was Father Mark Hoying, CPPS, the youngest brother of Sister Barbara Ann Hoying. Father Mark noted that he was with Sister Barbara Ann when she entered the Congregation in 1957 — but that he doesn’t remember anything from that day, since he was only 1 year old at the time.
“Jubilee is a joyful time; it’s a time of memories. … It’s nice to catch up and celebrate something special, and remember we’re God’s children and celebrate that,” Father Mark said during his homily. “Congratulations to all of you. Not just the jubilarians, but all of you. May you keep doing the biggest and the smallest of things in the name of the Lord.”
The concelebrant was Father Ken Pleiman, CPPS, the brother of Sister Linda Pleiman. Sisters Terry Walter and Elizabeth Westgerdes served as lectors, and novice Sister LaKesha Church cantored the psalm. Sister Joyce Lehman led the Sisters in a renewal of their vows.
At the Jubilee banquet that followed Mass, Sister Terry spoke on behalf of the class of 1967, saying, “Thank you, Sisters, for your support, encouragement and prayer over 50 years. Linda and I appreciate how you formed us in Precious Blood Spirituality, taught us community living skills and encouraged us in mission. May God continue to bless us, the Sisters of the Precious Blood, drawing us into ever deeper intimacy in prayer, communion with one another, and collaboration in God’s reign.”
In her speech on behalf of the class of 1957, Sister Barbara Ann said, “‘Thank you’ goes to all of our Sisters, who have supported us and encouraged us in our 60 years of living and ministering in religious life as a Sister of the Precious Blood. There were times when we fell. When things didn’t go so well, or we were hurting, and you all were there to pick us up and encourage us on. And we thank you for that. We are very grateful to be your Sisters and to be ‘sistered’ by you.”
Sister Rosemary Laux wrote a speech that was read to the community by Sister Nancy Kinross. Sister Rosemary remembered each of her classmates from the class of 1942 and added that she has fond memories of her years of ministry, especially serving Archbishop Karl J. Alter and serving as head sacristan at Saint Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati. “God has blessed me so much through the years, and I am so grateful to Him,” she said. “I love you, Sisters.”
– Story by Mary Knapke