Eleven of the Dodge City Diocese Jubilarians are commemorating other significant anniversaries:
• Sister Marie Klein, OP (Great Bend) 80 years professed
Sister Marie Klein was a grade school teacher for over 20 years, then a music teacher of grade, high, and college age students. She is an accomplished musician who often played duets with her blood sister, Sister Ruth. She was organist for local parishes and a hospital pastoral minister in Western Kansas for 22 years. Today, at 98 years young, Sister Marie still plays the organ for community Evening Praise and fills her days with prayer and volunteer community service. "Music," Sister Marie says, "is the voice of my soul."
• Sister Petrona Stockemer, OP (Great Bend) 75 years professed
A teacher in elementary and secondary schools of the Dioceses of Wichita and Dodge City, Kansas, and Lincoln, Nebraska, for almost 50 years, Sister Petrona also served as principal during twelve of those years. A certified librarian, she also served in that capacity for over 10 years. In 1975 she received an Outstanding Secondary Educator of America Award. Sister Petrona is currently retired at the Motherhouse in Great Bend, Kansas.
• Sister Teresita Huse, OP (Great Bend) 75 years professed
With a lifelong 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. 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. She says, "God’s great goodness to me as a Dominican for 75 years boggles my mind, and God willing, there will be more."
• Sister Philomena Hrencher, OP (Great Bend) 70 years professed
After Sister Philomena taught in Catholic elementary schools for 12 years, she turned to the health care ministry of the Dominican Sisters in which she was involved for more than 30 years. After obtaining her Master of Hospital Administration Degree, she first coordinated the services of the Sisters’ four hospitals and then was President and CEO of Central Kansas Medical Center in Great Bend. She also served as Councilor on the leadership team of the community of Dominican Sisters in Great Bend. Currently, although she is retired in Great Bend, she serves as sacristan and is involved in prayer ministry and community services, especially as relief receptionist at the Motherhouse. Sister Philomena says religious life has allowed her to be a part of the great heritage of the Dominican Family, and to continue her call as a Dominican Sister of Peace through prayer and study, inspiring her to preach truth through her life, words, and works.
• Sister Edith Marie Hauser, OP (Great Bend) 65 years professed
Besides being a professed religious for 65 years, Sister Edith Marie gave almost all those years to the teaching of students in Catholic elementary schools in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Beginning in 1965 she devoted her teaching and administrative skills to schools in Pueblo and Durango, Colorado. Sister Edith Marie’s admiration goes out to parents "whose priority for their children is sending them to a Catholic school where faith and morals are lived. The Catholic Church in America is built on them." When she retired to the Motherhouse in Great Bend in 2010, Sister Edith Marie transferred her organizational skills to learning the functioning of the convent library where she ministers today.
• Sister Frances Biernacki, OP (Great Bend) 65 years professed
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 Kansas Diocese and after moving to Great Bend, Director of the Sisters’ Rosary Shrine. Currently she is in prayer ministry and community service at the Motherhouse in Great Bend.
• Sister Marie Antoinette Klein, OP (Great Bend) 65 years professed
Sister Marie Antoinette, like her two sisters, Sister Marie and Sister Ruth, 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 and a hospital coffee shop, but her specialty is music, and she gave many music lessons to young students. Toni, as she is affectionately called, plays organ and piano for Mass and community prayer, and cares for the chapel and sacristy with special care and love.
• Sister Marietta Urban, OP (Wichita, KS) 65 years professed
Between her years as a teacher and/or principal in Catholic grade schools of Kansas, Sister Marietta spent four years as a missionary in Nigeria and eight years as a secondary teacher in Malawi, Africa. She also served in hospital pastoral care and as coordinator of the Motherhouse in Great Bend, Kansas. Sister Marietta, who "loves working with people," has more recently served the elders of Kansas as Director of Harvest House in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas. Currently she is loved as a Senior Companion. She resides in the Hospitality House of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Wichita.
• Sister Patricia Martinez, OP (Great Bend) 65 years professed
Sister Patricia has been closely involved in some aspect of elementary education for all her ministerial life. She taught in 14 different Catholic grade schools in Kansas and Nebraska and was principal of four of the schools. Even after official retirement from nearly 50 years of teaching she has continued to be involved in the lives of small children – she is currently completing her sixth year as a volunteer in the local Headstart program and her fifth year as a Foster Grandparent – both programs in Great Bend. She says her inspiration for a life of educating children comes from a little book called To Teach as Jesus Did. Her goal has been "to be patient like Christ so that the students will learn of Christ’s love."
• Sister Loretta Podlena, OP (Colby, KS) 60 years professed
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 has continued to influence the lives of young children as the librarian in sacred Heart school in Colby, Kansas, a position she still holds. During her breaks from school she especially enjoyed helping in summer programs for children in Kansas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
• Sister Louise Hageman, OP (Great Bend) 60 years professed
Even though Sister Louise began her ministerial life the way many other Sisters did, as a teacher of elementary students, most of her life has been in formation of young Sisters, in leadership in the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend, and as staff member in spirituality programs. She was Director of the Spirituality Program of Benet Hill Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before beginning as Director of Heartland Center for Spirituality in Great Bend, where she still ministers as a staff member and as a spiritual director. She wants everyone to know how very grateful she is for their ongoing support.