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15 Sisters Celebrate Anniversaries of Vowed Religious Life

June 25, 2012

Fifteen Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi will celebrate their anniversaries of religious profession at Jubilarian Mass on Sunday, July 29, in St. Francis Chapel on the Motherhouse grounds.

The senior jubilarians, Sisters Bernice Link and Mary Peter Schwind, who are both Milwaukee natives, will commemorate 75 years of vowed religious life. Sister Bernice spent more than 50 years in ministry as a teacher, librarian and tutor, mostly in southeast Wisconsin. Similarly, Sr. Mary Peter was a teacher and administrator in elementary and higher education for 52 years, but in various areas around the country in addition to Wisconsin.

The 70-year jubilarians are Sisters Charitine Jones, Sira Li, Patricia Weninger and Clarinda Zech. With the exception of Sister Sira, who was born and raised in China, the sisters are Wisconsin natives. Sisters Patricia and Clarinda spent their many years of ministry in education, while Sisters Charitine and Sira served in a variety of areas including child care, housekeeping, office work and the making of altar breads.

Celebrating 60 years are Sisters Catherine Badam, Frances Miller, Ramona Negrette, Cordé Rea and Genevieve Van Driel. Sisters Catherine and Frances were teachers, mostly in their home state of Wisconsin, but Sr. Francis also spent nearly 20 years teaching at St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo, Japan. The other three 60-year jubilarians served in various ministries such as food service, pastoral care, hospice, Hispanic ministry, accounting and administrative work.

Of the four 50-year jubilarians, all are in active ministry, except Sr. Francella Chelewski, who retired from nursing care in 1997, but is active as a volunteer at the Motherhouse complex.

Sr. Mary Louise Schramer, who spent her earlier career years as a registered nurse and an administrator of health care facilities, also became active in Habitat for Humanity and building projects in Mexico and Guatemala. She is currently the director of Clare Hall residence for sisters and the co-chair of the Land Use Committee for the environmental enhancement of the Motherhouse grounds.

After Sr. Mary Jeanne Michels completed a degree in religious studies in 1972, she spent her career in religious education, adult learning and pastoral ministry in various parishes. In 2000, she became pastoral minister at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care in Milwaukee, where she continues to work with staff mission and identity.

The fourth 50-year jubilarian, Sr. Rosalia Vadalá, is based in Edinburg, Texas, where she is the director and administrator of Proyecto Santo Niño de Atocha in the Rio Grande border region. She has spent most of her years of service in Hispanic ministry and in missionary work as it relates to spirituality, immigration and human rights. In addition to her work in Texas, she was engaged in these ministries in New York, Florida and Nicaragua, Central America.

Following the celebration on July 29, more jubilee information and photos will be available on the congregation website, www.lakeosfs.org. The congregation has approximately 235 professed members in the United States and Taiwan.

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