‘Blisters for Sisters’ honors all walks of religious life

Sister of Charity of Leavenworth Paula Rose starts off the annual Blisters for Sisters walkathon May 5 at St. Thomas More Parish. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Megan Marley

Sometimes it’s nice to have a change of pace in the routine of religious life.

The 12th annual ‘Blisters for Sisters’ walkathon, held May 5 at St. Thomas More parish, drew several dozen laypersons, plus 164 sisters from 19 religious communities on both sides of the state line—more than any previous year.

The 19 Communities represented this year at Blisters for Sisters included: Apostles of the Interior Life, Sisters in Jesus the Lord, School Sisters of Christ the King, Congregation of Mary – Queen, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Sisters of Labor Mariae, Mercedarian Missionaries of Berriz, Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker, Benedictine Sisters of Queen of Angels Monastery, Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist, Sisters of St. Francis of Savannah, Ursuline Sisters, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Society of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity and Little Sisters of the Poor.

“The fact that so many sisters were able to come today—such a beautiful day!—to meet all the others sisters is great,” said Sister Martina Rockers, OSU, of Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, Ks. At 76 years of being an Ursuline sister, she held the day’s record number of years of professed religious life.

‘Blisters for Sisters’ is an annual fundraising event to support and recognize the valued work of Catholic sisters and nuns across the Kansas City area. Open to religious and lay persons alike, the day included a 1- and 2- mile walk route in the area of St. Thomas More parish and Avila University, a clothes drive, Mass, lunch and social time. After food expenses, all funds raised from donations, ticket sales to lay persons (sisters attend for free) and the clothes drive are given to the individual sisters, and as grants for sisters’ orders.

Each sister who came received $50, and a ticket for a sisters-only door prize raffle of donated items that ranged from carwash certificates and gift baskets to Royals baseball tickets and dinner with the Bishop.

“To see the joy on those sisters at lunchtime, when their ticket is drawn for a prize—it could be as simple as car washes, but my gosh it looks like they just won the Powerball,” said Tom Coppinger, Serran and co-organizer of the event. “Whatever they win, they’re so appreciative of.”

He said the idea of the walk originated from a discussion on how the Serra Club could better support women religious in addition to seminarians and priests. The first walkathon was held in 2006 at St. Peter’s parish in Brookside—about 35 sisters and 100 laypersons attended. The location of the event has changed a couple times since then, but the past few years it has been held at St. Thomas More parish in Kansas City, Mo.

“I’ve taught at different dioceses, and I’ve been struck here with the appreciation that the Serra Club has,” said first-time attendee Sister Miriam, OP, theology teacher at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Lee’s Summit, Mo. “It’s really beautiful, just their appreciation for consecrated sisters.”

After the eponymous walk in the sunny 80-degree weather, the highlight of the day was being able to socialize during lunch.
“I love seeing the sisters from the other orders that I know, that I’ve worked with over the decades of being in this area, meeting our old friends and family, relatives,” said Sister Barbara McCracken, OSB, of Mt. St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Ks.

There also was a little plastic trophy for the first to cross the finish line. Most people leisurely walk the route, but after running 6.5 miles earlier that morning it was a cakewalk for Sister Paula Rose, SCL, a retired R.N. who has won the trophy in years past.

Sister of Charity of Leavenworth Paula Rose celebrates as she crosses the finish line.
(Megan Marley/Key photo)

But there was a surprise upset when she was offered the trophy.

“I wanna say that I’m honored and pleased to finish these two miles in 19 minutes and 30 seconds,” she said. “However, I am going to concede this race to a lovely young woman who stayed right up with me the whole time, and she’s the next future vocation for the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, and her name is Patricia!”

Young Patricia Nuokus, a student at Christ the King School in Kansas City, Ks., came forward.

“She was 10 seconds ahead of me—the next future Sister of Charity!”

We’ll see what steps the future holds.

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Saturday
September 22, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph