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14 Sisters Will Celebrate Anniversaries of Profession

Posted on: August 20th, 2021 by Jean Merry

Photos of the jubilarians can be found on the “How We Serve” tab — Jubilarians.

Due to COVID restrictions, the jubilee events are not open to the public.

On Sunday, October 3, 14 Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi will celebrate their anniversaries of religious profession at a Jubilarian Mass at St. Francis Convent in St. Francis, Wis. Of those sisters, four are Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore who merged with the Wisconsin-based congregation in 2001; eight hold degrees from Cardinal Stritch University, which is a ministry of the congregation; and two are transfers from other congregations.

The senior jubilarian, Sister Margaret Gardner (pictured here), is marking 80 years, having entered religious life in Baltimore in 1941. Her years of ministry were spent in education in New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland for nearly five decades. In addition to her teaching duties at Sacred Heart Parish in Danville, Virginia, she was also a pastoral minister. Upon retiring in 1999, she was a volunteer at Resurrection House in Washington, D.C., until 2003 when she became a volunteer at Clare Court in Baltimore. In 2017, she retired to the convent grounds in St. Francis.

Sister Beth Anne Herrmann, one of the two 75-year jubilarians, also entered religious life as a Baltimore Franciscan, and spent a number of years as a teacher in Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania. Additionally, she was the formation and vocation director for her congregation, and, prior to the merger, was a member of the New York Diocesan Mission Team. Then in 2002, she joined the pastoral care staff at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla. After retiring in 2013, she was a volunteer at Clare Court Convent in Baltimore until her move to St. Francis Convent in 2019.

The other 75-year celebrant, Sisters Yvonne Haase, earned her degree from Cardinal Stritch University and served in education, largely in Wisconsin, from 1946 until 1993. She continued to minister as a substitute teacher and to do volunteer work until her retirement in 2019.

Of the three 70-year jubilarians, one, Sr. Kenan Rebholz, graduated from Stritch with a bachelor’s degree in education, and was an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin and Kentucky from 1950 to 1977. After earning a master’s in education specializing in guidance and counseling, she served in a variety of related capacities, including counselor, development specialist, and residential and group home coordinator and program director, at institutions in Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She retired in 2019 after 19 years as co-director of San Damiano House of Prayer in Lowell, Mass.

The other two 70-year jubilarians are from Baltimore, and spent the bulk of their ministry years in education.

After serving as a teacher in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania between 1955 and 1971, Sister Cecilia Reilly became a local superior for her congregation in 1971, and major superior from 1977 to 1986. She then did social work at Iosagen Home for Abused Children in Baltimore until 1993. At that time, she joined the staff at Aisling Retreat Center in Manchester, Maryland, where she continues to minister in spiritual direction, retreats and consultation.

From 1954 to 1971, Sister Mary Louise Herrmann was a teacher in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. For the next two years she was a parish worker in New York before joining the staff of the Franciscan Center in Baltimore. She was named director of the Center in 1981. Beginning in 1989, she worked in the finance office for the Sisters of Notre Dame da Namur and also in the finance office for St. Elizabeth Convent starting in 2001, both in Baltimore. Between 1978 and 2001, she also served as the congregation treasurer for the Baltimore Franciscans. She retired to St. Francis Convent in 2019.

Five of the six 60-year celebrants are Stritch graduates. Sisters Angelyn Dries and Margaret Klotz, who earned bachelor’s degrees at Stritch, spent their ministry years in education, including serving on the university’s faculty.

Sister Angelyn, who retired in 2014 as a professor of theological studies at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, was a Stritch religious studies teacher for 14 years between 1981 and 2003. Additionally, having earned a master’s in religious education and a doctoral degree in theology, she continues to be a missiology researcher and writer, and was recently presented with the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Missiology.

Sister Margaret taught in elementary and high schools from 1961 until 1991. After earning two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree in theology, she became the director of the Franciscan Center at Stritch in 1997, and remained in that position until her retirement in 2015.

Three additional 60-year jubilarians are Stritch graduates. Sr. Ruth Mary Costello earned a bachelor’s in sociology in 1970, and Sr. Helen Anne Kenney earned a bachelor’s degree in history and education in 1969. Sr. Kathleen Jansen received both of her degrees at Stitch – a bachelor’s in history and elementary education in 1969 and a master’s in special education for the mentally handicapped in 1975. All three spent the majority of their ministry years as teachers in Wisconsin schools.

After earning a master’s in pastoral ministry, Sr. Ruth Mary became a chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee and then at the Mayo Clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn. Since 2010, she has been a coordinator for the sisters living on the convent grounds. Sr. Helen Anne retired from her career in education in 2010, and Sr. Kathleen retired in 2011, after spending an additional seven years with Catholic Charities of Milwaukee as a supportive living coordinator for persons with disabilities.

The sixth sister marking 60 years is Sr. Jean Mariani, who transferred to the congregation from the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business and health care administration and also in theology, Sr. Jean was a pastoral minister, a director of pastoral care, a pastoral associate and a director of human concerns in parishes in Tucson, Arizona, from 1999 until her retirement to St. Francis in 2020.

Of the two 50-year celebrants, one, Sr. Eleanor Smith, received a bachelor’s in education and master’s in special religious education at Stritch. During her early ministry years, she was an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin. However, she spent the majority of her career at institutions for persons with disabilities, including St. Coletta School in Hanover, Mass; St. Coletta of Wisconsin, Jefferson; and Lt. J.P. Kennedy Jr. School, Palos Park, Ill. She retired in 2010.

Sister Diana De Bruin, who is also celebrating 50 years of vowed religious life, transferred to the congregation from the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, Wis. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in religious education. She was an elementary school teacher from 1973 until 1981, when she became a pastoral associate in Ohio for five years and then in Wisconsin until 1994, when she became the director of adult formation at St. Rita Parish, West Allis. After earning a degree in urban studies in 2001, she was a housing specialist and home buying counselor, first at Milwaukee Allied Churches Teaching Self-Empowerment and then at the Milwaukee Dominican Center for Women. In 2007, she was elected to the administrative team of the congregation, serving as associate director beginning in 2007, and then director from 2015 to the present.

Following the celebration on October 3, more jubilee information and photos will be available on the congregation website, www.lakeosfs.org.