Sister Teresita Huse of the Great Bend Dominican Sisters of Peace Mother House celebrated her 95th birthday with just a few friends Tuesday morning.
Well, maybe more than a few.
Farmers Bank and Trust threw a party for Huse in the lobby of its main location. She was joined by fellow sisters, bank employees and even a few customers.
“I’m flabbergasted,” she said. “I’ve never had this many pictures taken of me.”
“It is so important we recognized our good friend Sister Teresita,” said Farmers President and Chief Executive Officer W.R. Robbins. “She has served a life not for herself, but for others.”
Robbins said the bank and the sisters have a history dating back to the 1920s when Farmers loaned the money for their first hospital. That close relationship has continued and strengthened over the years.
As for Huse, Robbins said she work tirelessly to raise funds for worthwhile causes, many of which have been associated with Farmers. “We are proud to be a party of your life.”
St. Rose Ambulatory and Surgery Center Executive Director of Business Development and Strategy Mark Mingenback said his connection with Huse started when he ran Brentwood Limited, a clothing store in downtown Great Bend. She would come in and ask for donations, and he would contribute a necktie for some auction or drawing.
“Through my work with Central Kansas Medical Center and now St. Rose, we’ve become close friends,” Mingenback said. “She has taught me a lot about the Dominican Sisters.”
The sisters are good about finding a need in the community and helping, he said. One of the things he’s learned is how closely the history of the sisters is tied to many of the social services that continue to help the needy.
“They’re subtile,” he said, working behind the scenes.
“We’ve been in connection for all these years,” Huse said of the convent’s association with community activities and the bank. “God blesses you.”
Huse turned 95 Tuesday. She has been a sister for 77 years.
With a lifelong love of learning in the Dominican tradition, she has inspired and educated persons of every age, including an adult English class in Kyoto, Japan, during her sabbatical year. She has held various leadership positions in her religious community, and served as their first development director.
Her passion these days is working to meet the needs of the Nigerian missions. Every year she devotes countless hours giving mission appeals in parishes, coordinating the annual mission bazaar raffle, and challenging groups and individuals to sponsor water wells and build education centers.
“God’s great goodness to me as a Dominican for 77 years boggles my mind, and God willing, there will be more. It’s been a good life for me,” she said. “I’ll keep praying for you and you keep praying for me.”