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Dominican Sisters celebrate jubilee
Front row: Sisters Stella Weber, Martina Stegman, Ann Metzen, Ancilla Schawe, Alvina Miller. Back row: Sisters Charlene Eisenbart, Esther Fiegel, Jolene, Geier, Marie Hageman, Imelda Schmidt. Not pictured: Sisters Adeline Wedeking, Betty Werner.

The recent jubilee celebration at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Great Bend included 12 jubilarians who were celebrating 60 to 85 years of profession. Because of the COVID-19 situation, two Sisters who live out of state were not able to be present.

The joyful celebration began with the celebration of Mass at which the Sisters renewed their vows. Father Don Bedore, who presided at the Liturgy, in his homily about the parable of the talents spoke of the fact that God has given us talents which are to be used for others and that these Sisters have done just that for all these many years. A festive banquet followed in the dining room with leisurely time to visit and once again congratulate all the jubilarians for their faithful service for so many years.

85 years professed

Sister Alvina Miller, OP

Teacher, librarian, and pastoral minister for almost all of her 76 years of ministry, Sister Alvina has touched the lives of many adults and students, book lovers, and those who love centering prayer. Sister Alvina is part of a very active study group at the motherhouse in Great Bend.

75 years professed

Sister Ancilla Schawe

As a floor nurse, head nurse, nursing supervisor and assistant administrator, Sister Ancilla gave many years of service to the hospitals of the Dominican Sisters. When she no longer did active nursing, she still continued her health-care ministry as a pastoral minister and then as a volunteer at the Central Kansas Medical Center in Great Bend. Sister now resides in the motherhouse infirmary.

70 years professed

Sister Martina Stegman

Sister Martina was an elementary school teacher for 20 years in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. In her next 30-some years she ministered chiefly in religious education in parishes, regions, and in Kansas dioceses of Dodge City, Salina, and Wichita, setting up religious education programs and training catechists. For two years Sister Martina worked in the formation for the native Dominican community in Nigeria, West Africa. In the past 18 years Sister did retreat work in Kansas and Michigan. Recently Sister Martina retired to the Great Bend motherhouse and serves as sacristan and does environment duties in the convent chapel.


Sister Stella Weber

Sister Stella began her ministerial life as a parochial school teacher, but after 1963 she devoted more than 45 years to health ministry in medical records in Kansas and Arizona, and now devotes many volunteer hours at the Heartland Cancer Center in Great Bend and as an assistant in the convent library. She also helps in sacristy duties for the Dominican Chapel of the Plains at the motherhouse.

65 years professed

Sister Charlene Eisenbart

After Sister Charlene was 16 years in elementary teaching, she gave the most energy to her chaplaincy work in Kansas and Colorado. She also was a drug and alcohol counselor. Sister Charlene now resides in the convent infirmary.

Sister Esther Fiegel

Sister Esther was another of the community’s excellent teachers in elementary school. Later she served as councilor on the community’s leadership team and in the formation of young Sisters, and was part of pastoral ministry teams in parishes and at  Via Christi Village in Oklahoma. Today she is a spiritual director and team member of Heartland Center for Spirituality.

Sister Jolene Geier

Following a 17-year ministry in teaching, Sister Jolene pursued serious study to prepare her for preaching and advocating for various justice causes. Currently she is a team member of Heartland Center for Spirituality.

Sister Marie Hageman

Sister Marie first served the community with sewing, baking, and aiding in the infirmary. Soon, however, she became a missionary in Nigeria, followed later by service in Thailand. She worked for Ozanam Home for Boys and L’Arche, as well as nursing for hospitals in Colorado and Kansas, and in home health and hospice. Currently she works as an aide in the convent infirmary.

Sister Imelda Schmidt

Distinctive ministries for Sister Imelda were her missionary work in Nigeria, her presence on the Las Casas Team for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, and her work at Heartland Farm near Great Bend. Very competent in body work, she has been a practicing massage therapist for more than 30 years.

Sister Adeline Wedeking

Sister Adeline, after first teaching for almost 20 years, has since done secretarial work for parishes and accounts payable work for Archdiocesan Housing, and then at several health institutions in the Denver area. She is avid and very faithful to her exercise and swimming, is a dependable organist for a parish in Denver, and gives many piano lessons around the area.

60 years professed

Sister Ann Metzen

After 33 years of teaching in schools located in Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas, Sister Ann served in community positions as Motherhouse Coordinator and supervisor of receptionists. Today she volunteers at Catholic Charities and serves her community as needed.

Sister Betty Werner

Sister Betty’s ministerial life began as an elementary school teacher in Great Bend.  Following her six and a half years there, she served as teacher and principal in Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma schools.  During these 29 years Sister Betty experienced Church as ministry extending far beyond her life at school.  She was Eucharistic minister to the homebound, hospital visitor, counselor on wilderness hiking trips for disadvantaged students, assisted the elderly in their homes, and served as a volunteer probation counselor in the Denver area.  

Sister Betty served the Great Bend Dominicans for eight years as prioress and two terms as Counselor on the congregation’s Leadership Team.  Following her time in leadership, she served the Diocese of Pueblo for 16 years as Superintendent of Schools and Director of Lay Formation and Pastoral Life. Currently she serves the Dominican Sisters of Peace as Mission Group Coordinator for Sisters in the community in Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, and Montana. Sister Betty regards the opportunities she has had for education, spiritual growth,  ministry and leadership as special gifts that have enriched her life in ways she would never have dreamed possible. Her concluding remarks include: “Religious life is the best kept secret in the world! Every person I have lived and worked with has profoundly influenced my life.”