Left, 25-year jubilarians Sisters Rita Manriquez and Deb Huss; second from left, clockwise from top, 50-year jubilarians Sisters Judy Kroeger, Marifé Hellman and Mary Yarger; third from left, 75-year jubilarians Sisters Kathleen Kelly, Dorothy Koenig and Berenice Janszen; Sister Mary Lou Schmersal photo. Right, 85-year jubilarians Sisters Bernice Krieg and Eleanor McNally; Michelle Bodine photo.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been. You have no idea how happy I am.”
Sister Deb Huss’ remarks were “short and sweet” as she spoke at this year’s Jubilee luncheon, but her sense of joy was both palpable and contagious as eight Precious Blood Sisters marked milestone anniversaries in the Congregation.
Other Sisters also shared their feelings of joy, love and gratitude. Speaking on behalf of her class, Sister Marifé Hellman said, “It’s been 50 years of being present with the women we love, and we all love you.” Sister Berenice Janszen spoke on behalf of the class of 1943, sharing her memories of her early years as a Precious Blood Sister (see sidebar). Sister Eleanor McNally said, “I just want to thank God for the love that he has shown me through the years. … And I would like to thank all the Sisters who have loved me through the years, because that is the thing that has kept me going, that love.”
The Jubilee celebration began with a prayer service on the evening of June 30 at the Salem Heights chapel. The Jubilee Mass was held July 1 — the traditional Feast of the Most Precious Blood — at Salem Heights. The celebrant was Rev. Thomas Hemm, CPPS; concelebrants were Rev. Donald Thieman, CPPS, and Rev. Jack Kroeger.
Three Sisters celebrated their 75th jubilee: Berenice (M. Edward) Janszen, Kathleen Kelly and Dorothy (M. Angelista) Koenig. Three Sisters marked 50 years in the Precious Blood community: Marifé Hellman, Judy Kroeger and Mary Yarger. Sisters Deb Huss and Rita Manriquez-Silva celebrated their 25th jubilee. Sisters Bernice (M. Erwin) Krieg and Eleanor (M. Thomas) McNally were also honored as they celebrated 85 years as Precious Blood Sisters.
“Our participation in the eucharistic ministries is full when we daily give our own body and pour out our own life’s blood, our energy, our time, our love for others,” Father Tom said during his homily. “This is what we honor in a special way today: the celebration of especially 25, 50 and 75 years of self-giving love of our jubilarians. As each of us in turn renews our love of Jesus and our resolve to be his faithful disciples, to give generously of our bodies, pour out our blood, today we’re reminded that the Precious Blood calls each of us to a continuing conversion and transformation by daily contemplation of God’s word and celebration of the Eucharist — just as our life in community invites us to a continuing conversion, challenging us to respond more fully to the mystery of redemption.”
Following Mass, a banquet was held in the Salem Heights dining room. Sister Joyce Lehman, President of the Congregation, toasted the jubilarians, saying “We thank God for the gift that they have been to us for all those many years. We wish them a good life, a long life here and now and in the hereafter — a life filled with peace, joy and the knowledge of our love for them.
– Story by Mary Knapke