10 Religious Sisters Celebrate Jubilees

Nine of the ten women religious celebrating jubilee anniversaries this year were able to attend a special Mass with the bishop in their honor. Pictured from left to right, in back: Sister Paul Mary Wilson, lsp; Sister Rosemary Flanigan, CSJ; Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr.; Sister Loretto Marie Colwell, SCL; Sister Marie Madeleine Shonka, SCL; in front: Sister Maria Regina Van den Berg, LM; Sister Patricia Vereb, OSB; Sister Joan Ridley, OSB; Sister Valerie Stark, OSB; and Sister Chantal Peyton, lsp. Not pictured is Sister Claudette Schiratti, RSM. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

Megan Marley

485 years. That’s the number Bishop Johnston added up of the years that the 10 religious sisters celebrating jubilees had been in the religious life.

“Its such good thing to be dedicated to a life of fidelity,” he said in his homily for a special Mass in their honor on August 19.
About 70 people were in attendance for the Mass, renewal of religious commitment and following reception, held at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel and the Franciscan Prayer Center run by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist.

Sisters celebrating jubilees include Sister Rosemary Flanigan, CSJ and Sister Marie Madeleine Shonka, SCL, celebrating 70 years; Sister Loretto Marie Colwell, SCL and Sister Claudette Schiratti, RSM, celebrating their 60th year as a sister; Sister Chantal Mary of Jesus Peyton, lsp, Sister Joan Ridley, OSB and Sister Paul Mary of Jesus Wilson, lsp, religious sisters for 50 years; and Sister Valerie Marie Stark, OSB, Sister Maria Regina Van den Berg, LM and Sister Patricia Marie Vereb, OSB, in their 25th year of religious life.

In his homily, Bishop Johnston commended the sisters for their commitment and fidelity to Christ through the religious life, and said that the Gospel reading of the Bread of Life discourse was quite apt for the occasion.

“Your religious life has its source in the Eucharist,” Bishop Johnston said. “That is what has sustained you.”

He recalled his enthusiasm about all the food he could have with his meal plan when he was a college freshman, drawing an analogy to God providing the Eucharist to spiritually feed us.

“If you think about it in those terms, God has always provided for his people with a ‘meal plan’,” he said.

But the Eucharist is more than mere food, and has a nuptial character in how Christ wants to be united with his Bride the Church. In a special way too, a religious sister through her vocation takes Christ as her Spouse.

““You all in a sense have become an embodiment of the Church, representing the mystical bride of Christ,” the bishop explained.

“You women religious are the personification of the Church and what we all are called to be.”

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Thursday
November 15, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph