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Dominican Sisters host Jubilee Celebration
Front row: Sister Cecilia Ann Stremel, left, and Sister Mary Lou Desena. Back row: Sister Kathy Goetz, Sister Theresa Fox and Sister Judith Lindell.

The jubilee celebration on June 12, 2022, at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Great Bend included five jubilarians who were celebrating 60-65 years of profession. The joyful celebration began with the celebration of Mass at which the Sisters renewed their vows. Father Bob Schremmer, who presided at the Liturgy for the feast of the Holy Trinity, in his homily spoke of the creativity of God in creating each of the jubilarians and guiding them in the various ministries in which each was involved. He thanked the jubilarians for the holy preaching of their lives. 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.

65 years professed

Sister Mary Lou Desena

Sister Mary Lou, born in Waterbury, Conn., spent 15 years as a cloistered Dominican Sister in North Guilford, Conn. While professed there, she went to East Africa to give five years to the establishment of Corpus Christi Monastery for native Kenyan women. After returning to the states, she still felt the persistent desire to serve in health care, especially in hospitals – a ministry not available to cloistered Dominican Sisters. She searched in several active Sisters’ congregations in the United States and ultimately transferred to the Dominican Sisters in Great Bend. There she fulfilled her heart’s desire by serving 45 years in hospital nursing and in other forms of health care. She currently resides in the Great Bend motherhouse.

Sister Judith Lindell

Born in Burbank, Calif., Sister Judith lived there long enough to go to kindergarten. Then the family moved to Richardson, N.D., for her first and second grades; then to a farm in Rice County. She went to one-room and two-room schools for third through sixth grades. Sister Judith’s family still had one more move – to Wichita, where at the School of the Magdalen she met Dominican Sisters who taught the seventh and eighth grades.

Sister Judith started her teaching career in 1958 in the grade schools of Sharon, Garden City, and Great Bend. Her high school teaching years were in Manhattan and in Great Bend at the Convent’s Immaculate Conception High School.

In 1975 Sister Judith began her ministry in the Great Bend Dominicans’ finance office, a ministry she has held for 47 years of service and is still going strong.

60 years professed 

Sister Theresa Fox

Sister Theresa Fox entered the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, Kent., in September 1960 with profession in 1962. Her ministry has been in three areas: teaching, parish work, and community service. She taught elementary and high school in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Nebraska. After leaving teaching, she served as DRE and Liturgist in three different parishes in Louisville, Kentucky, and as Pastoral Administrator for nine years in Pigeon, Mich. Her community service ministry includes Assistant Treasurer, Motherhouse Coordinator, and Regional Coordinator (Kentucky and Tennessee) for the St. Catharine Dominicans and as Mission Group Coordinator (Louisiana and Florida) for the Dominican Sisters of Peace. She is presently ministering as Assistant to the Mission Group Coordinator in Great Bend and bookkeeper at Heartland Farm.

Sister Kathy Goetz

When she entered the convent from St. Joseph Parish in Hays in 1959, Sister Kathy Goetz could not have imagined the blessings religious life had in store for her. In her early years, Sister Kathy taught at various schools in Kansas, including School of the Magdalen in Wichita, St. Joseph in Scott City, and St. Dominic in Garden City. She was appointed motherhouse coordinator and later was named novice director. Earning a certificate in theological studies from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, Calif., in 1980, Sister Kathy began a ministry in accompanying individuals on their spiritual journeys, which she has continued in various roles since. She served in Canton, Okla., ministering to the pastoral needs of Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans, then ministered for seven years as pastoral care director at Mount Joseph Senior Care Center in Concordia.  She went on to serve in spiritual direction at the House of Contemplation in Liebenthal, in pastoral ministry at St. John Evangelist Parish in Hoisington, and as director of Associates for her congregation. Sister Kathy moved to St. Catharine, Kent., where she served as pastoral care director to the elderly and infirm Sisters at Sansbury Care Center. She returned to Kansas ministering as hospitality coordinator at Heartland Center for Spirituality, and currently she is doing spiritual direction and community service at the convent on Millwood Street in Wichita.

Sister Cecilia Ann Stremel

Sister Cecilia Ann Stremel, the daughter of Sim and Sophie (Herman) Stremel, grew up on a farm near Loretto, and attended St. Mary’s Church and Grade School in Loretto before her entrance into the convent. Sister Cecilia Ann was surrounded by strong examples of faith and commitment, including numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins who had entered religious life or the priesthood. As she celebrates 60 years as a Dominican Sister, she proclaims that her great aunt, Mother Mary Clare, had the greatest influence on her. “She was such a gentle, kind, holy person,” she explained. “I truly believe that her prayer, example, and love were the reason I became a religious.” Sister Cecilia Ann was a teacher from the time she graduated from Newman University, Wichita, in 1965 until 1987, ministering at schools throughout Kansas. Her assignments included St. Rose in Great Bend (1965-66, 1980-87), St. Mary in Garden City (1965, 1969-80), Sacred Heart in Cunningham (1966-67), and St. Boniface in Sharon (1967-69).  Following a sabbatical year in 1988, Sister Cecilia Ann embarked on a new ministerial direction in health care, which proved to be a great blessing.  She was privileged, she says, to be part of healing in the lives of persons of all ages, nationalities, and afflictions at the Heartland Center for Wholistic Health in Great Bend. Sister Cecilia Ann has now retired to the motherhouse in Great Bend.