This year, the Dominican Sisters of Peace (formerly the Great Bend Dominicans) celebrate a year of Jubilee, commemorating significant profession anniversaries of 63 Golden and Diamond Jubilarians, including 14 Sisters who made their original professions of vows in Great Bend.
Three of these Sisters are commemorating milestone "Golden Jubilees:"
•Sister Francine Schwarzenberger, OP 50 years professed
Sr. Francine was born in Collyer to Michael and Ida Heier Schwarzenberger. She has four brothers and three sisters: Donald, John, Richard, Martin, Mary Beth Segawa, and Serena Billmeyer. Her parents are still living and reside in Denver.
After earning a BS in Elementary Education, Sr. Francine taught in Catholic schools of the Dodge City Diocese for 10 years, but her call to pastoral ministry and liturgical music began early in her ministerial life. She earned an MM in liturgical music from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and also holds an MA in specialized ministry from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo. She held various positions in the Dodge City Diocese in this ministerial area: Diocesan Liturgical Coordinator, Associate Director of the RENEW Program, and Diocesan Coordinator of Pastoral Services.
Many of her positions brought her to minister in her native Kansas: She served on a pastoral ministry team in Offerle, Saints Peter and Paul (Kinsley) and Saint Mary’s (Hodgeman County), and later in Pratt. She was a member of the leadership and formation teams of the Dominican Sisters in Great Bend. She also was a staff member of Heartland Center for Spirituality in Great Bend for six years. During a sabbatical year, she worked with Habitat for Humanity International and was twice a co-supervisor of Women’s Build houses in Americus, Georgia, in 1993 at a time when women were just beginning to do "women only" builds in the organization. She spearheaded the establishment of the Barton County Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
Sr. Francine lives in Denver, where she has been a core member of the Dominican Sisters House of Discernment, Coordinator of InHome Care Services, and House Manager of Father Woody’s Haven of Hope. Currently she is one of the Mission Group Coordinators for the Dominican Sisters of Peace, overseeing the pastoral needs of Sisters ministering in her geographic region of the United States.
The poor, the marginalized, care for planet Earth, nuclear disarmament and the prevention of nuclear war, foreign missions, homelessness, peace, closing the School of the Americas – the list of causes dear to Sr. Francine’s heart are many.
"Being a Dominican," says Sr. Francine, "is a grace beyond comprehension – a challenge, a gift, a life giving motivation to be part of an Order that for 800 years has blessed the world community with its mission. ... Who wouldn’t want to say ‘Yes!’ to such a call! I love everything Dominican and being a part of it!"
•Sister Rose Mary Stein, OP 50 years professed
Dominican Sister of Peace Rose Mary Stein, the daughter of Raymund and Clara Stegman Stein, was born in Spearville on April 6, 1936, and baptized at Saint John the Baptist Church there. She has two brothers, Don and Melvin, who live in Dodge City and Spearville, respectively. She attended Saint John Catholic grade school and the public high school in Spearville, and later Marymount College in Salina. After entering the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend, she completed a BS degree in elementary Education at Newman University in Wichita (then Sacred Heart College) and an advanced degree in Adult Christian Community Development at Regis College in Denver, Colo.
Early ministry experiences for Sr. Rose Mary began in 1962 in the classrooms of elementary students in the Dioceses of Wichita, Dodge City, and Denver. By 1968 she was teaching in high school at the Christian Leadership School in Great Bend (Immaculate Conception High School), then at Luckey High School in Salina. Following her time as a teacher, she was part of a team ministry in three rural parishes of western Kansas where she served as coordinator of family religious education; she continued in that role at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Goodland, and then in the two parishes of Dighton and Scott City. From there, Sr. Rose Mary became an itinerant minister living from a suitcase and traveling among rural parishes in western Kansas.
Sr. Rose Mary also served as councilor on the Leadership Team of the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend for eight years. Beginning in 1994 she began working in parish ministry. She traveled to 56 parishes of the Dodge City Diocese to work with parents and the elderly. By 1998, she was ministering in Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish, now Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral Parish, as director of adult religious education/formation, a position she still holds.
Some parish activities she oversees include the Search Program, retreats at Camp Saint Malo in Colorado, the Love and Logic Parenting Program, small faith communities, "Little Tin Box" retreats, and a successful clown ministry as "Rainbow." Recently she organized an art fair in the cathedral parish hall to increase unity and to help parishioners to know one another.
Having June and July off from parish ministry gave Sr. Rose Mary a chance almost every summer to organize a small group of volunteers to help the needy or elderly somewhere. She taught Native American children in Canton, Okla. She taught Powder Puff Mechanics and Defensive Driving to the Sisters in Great Bend. She spearheaded Family Day in Great Bend for Sisters’ families. She traveled with groups to Europe and to the Holy Lands. She was a volunteer missionary in Zambia, Africa, for six months in 2006. She worked in soup kitchens and community gardens, and at Heartland Farm near Great Bend.
She participated on a Habitat for Humanity housebuild with former President Jimmy and First Lady Rosalyn Carter in Americus, Ga. She and her volunteers painted houses for the elderly in Colorado. She worked in New Orleans for a week after Katrina and in Greensburg after its tornado, and helped with a census of rural Hispanic families in Hereford, Texas. And this is only a partial list of her endeavors.
Even after 2009, when her Great Bend congregation merged with six others to become the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Sr. Rose Mary and others worked at two of the new community’s ecology centers – Shepherds’ Corner near Columbus, Ohio, and Crown Point in Akron. "Wherever I went in those eventful summers," she says, "I had fun. It was invigorating to be able to share my talents and myself with the less fortunate, to bring smiles where they were in short measure, to play hard and long, to become acquainted with new peoples and new cultures, to tutor and share what I had learned, to make homes where there were only shacks, to brighten sorry looking buildings, to be involved in growing things to add to the beauty of the Earth, and to drop the seeds of the Gospel at all my destinations. God has blessed me with good health and deep stamina and for this I am grateful."
• Sister Joan Ice, OP, 50 years professed. Her biography appears in part one of this series.