Era ends at St. Regis as BVM sisters move back ‘home’

Sister Therese Pfeifer, left, speaks with long-time friends Helen Boyle and Theresa Michaelis at a Sept. 17 reception. Sister Therese and Sister Marie Neff are returning to Mt. Carmel, motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa, after serving nearly 60 years in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. (Kevin Kelly/Key photo)

By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — Sister Therese Pfeiffer has been a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary for 66 years. Sister Marie Neff has been one for 65 years.

Nearly their entire careers have been spent in service to Catholic schools in the Diocese of Kansas City.

And they are finally going home Oct. 15 to their Mount Carmel Motherhouse in Dubuque, Iowa.

So how will the spend their retirement?

“Like (Sister) Marie says we’re not retired. We’re recycled,” Sister Therese said.

OK, so what will you be doing in your recyclement?

“We’ll be helping with the older sisters,” she said.

Sister Therese is 84 years old. Sister Marie is 82.

The two sisters “ended” — but not exactly — their teaching careers at St. John Francis Regis School in Kansas City, where they have lived together in the convent for 27 years.

But they have continued to be a daily presence in the school every day since their first “recyclements” — Sister Marie as a substitute teacher, Sister Therese as a kindergarten assistant, and both as friends and mentors to children and staff alike.

Be proud, St. Regis parents.

“These kids are just the best,” Sister Marie said. “They are so polite and well-behaved. They do what you ask them to do.”

They have loved their time at St. Regis, but they have loved their time at other schools where they had taught or led as principal for nearly 60 years.

“We have loved every parish we’ve been,” Sister Marie said.

In their honor, St. Regis held a reception for the two sisters after each of the weekend Masses on Sept. 17 and 18. There, they caught up with old friends, including swarms of former students and teacher colleagues from such assignments as St. Catherine of Siena Parish and Christ the King Parish.

“For 12 years, they (BVM leadership) have been trying to get us to come up to Mount Carmel, but we were needed here,” Sister Therese said.

They are still needed, she said, but “we think it’s time to go,” she said. “It is really like going home.”


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October 25, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph