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Dominican Sisters Jubilee Celebration observed
The Dominican Sisters of Peace in Great Bend recently recognized seven jubilarians. Front row, from left: Sisters Teresita Huse, Frances Biernacki and Marie Antoinette Klein; back row: Sisters Loretta Podlena, Rose Mary Stein, Francine Schwarzenberger and Joan Ice.

The jubilee celebration on May 23 at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Great Bend included seven jubilarians who were celebrating 60-85 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 Pentecost, in his homily spoke of the miracle of ear and tongue whereby the disciples preached and the listeners heard each in their own language. He compared that to the seven jubilarians who have listened and preached, each in her own marvelous way. 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.

85 years professed

Sister Teresita Huse

With a life-long love of learning in the Dominican tradition, Sister Teresita 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. She has always had a great love for the Nigerian missions and has given countless hours in projects which benefit them. Sister Teresita is currently retired at the motherhouse in Great Bend.

75 years professed

Sister Frances Biernacki

Until 1965 Sister Frances devoted her ministry to children in Catholic elementary schools in Kansas and Colorado. But her heart was that of a missionary and beginning in 1973 she served several tours of duty in Nigeria, Niger, and Kenya, Africa. There she served for 21 years in retreat ministry, formation of young Nigerian Dominican religious, and lay leadership formation. Between missionary tours she served as director of Catholic Social Service for the Dodge City diocese. Currently Sister Frances is retired at the motherhouse in Great Bend.

Sister Marie Antoinette Klein

Sister Marie Antoinette is a lifetime musician. She has served as a hospital microfilmer, as well as in several domestic ministries in the convent’s kitchen and guest house, but her specialty is music, and she gave many music lessons to young students. Until recently Toni, as she is affectionately called, played the organ for Mass and community prayer. Now she is retired at the motherhouse.

70 years professed

Sister Loretta Podlena

Sister Loretta has given all her ministerial life to the education of elementary students in Catholic schools in Kansas and Oklahoma. Even after her retirement from the classroom she continued to influence the lives of young children as a librarian. During her breaks from school she especially enjoyed helping in summer programs for children in Kansas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Kentucky. At the present she keeps busy with community service at the motherhouse in Great Bend.

60 years professed

Sister Joan Ice

Sister Joan ministered as a medical technologist from 1965 to 1998. She received a Specialty in Blood Banking while in Garden City. She led singing and belonged in choir groups in the parishes where she lived. She later ministered at the retreat center of the St. Joseph Sisters in Concordia. There she gave therapeutic touch treatments and worked in gardening and picking fruit for their motherhouse and the retreat center. While there she learned to quilt and has made many quilts for the Great Bend bazaar. She spent a few years helping out at Heartland Farm before retiring to the motherhouse where she continues to garden, quilt, and lead singing.

Sister Francine Schwarzenberger

“Years of unimaginable blessings,” Sister Francine says of her call to Dominican life. Her first years in ministry were in elementary education in Kansas. Parish and diocesan ministry, vocation and leadership positions within her Dominican congregation, and presently her work at the Heartland Center for Spirituality in Great Bend have provided her with opportunities for building many meaningful and lasting relationships.  Sister Francine’s passion for social justice and foreign missions has also influenced her ministry with the homeless in New Orleans and Denver, as well as Habitat for Humanity, having started the Habitat affiliate in Barton County. “Being a Dominican Sister of Peace challenges me each day to look at life from a global perspective. I am grateful to God for gifts beyond measure.”

Sister Rose Mary Stein

Sister Rose Mary began her religious life as an elementary and secondary school teacher. Following her classroom teaching and coordinating CCD religion (known today as PSR), she offered her services as a pastoral minister in the Dodge City and Salina dioceses. As life changed and people lived longer, she saw the need to establish small faith communities to help people grow in their faith by sharing with one another. When her age dictated fewer hours of work, she felt the call from God to spread the Gospel through Saturday morning retreat experiences especially in the parishes of rural western Kansas. Her real passion is to empower lay people to believe in their gifts and use those gifts to empower others. She says, “We are all disciples of Christ and our gifts are needed for that someone who is waiting for a caring, loving person to reach out to him or her.”