April 14, 2010 // Local

Bishop Rhoades blesses retreat center addition

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades blesses the new offices at the Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center. Sister Loretta Peters, FS, assists.

By Denise Fedorow

DONALDSON — A vision that had been in the works for approximately four years became reality as the Lindenwood Retreat Center extension was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Thursday, April 8, in Donaldson.

Sister Nora Hahn, provincial of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, welcomed the bishop on his first visit to Donaldson.
Director of Lindenwood Loretta Peters quoted an Apollo mission saying, “I believe this will be our finest hour.”

She said that staff foresaw back in 2006 the facility would need more space in order to continue to serve the needs of those who used the facility.

“Here we are today posed on the threshold,” Peters said. “In this beautiful, natural environment.” She thanked all those who made the project possible, the architect who couldn’t be present but sent along some thoughts to share, the builders, project manager and gave special thanks to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and the PHJC family.

“We’ll endeavor to be humble servants to all who enter these doors,” she said.

Bishop Rhoades’ visit
Bishop Rhoades spent most of the day in Donaldson — first celebrating Mass with the sisters at the Catherine Kasper Home, touring Ancilla College, meeting the president of the college and learning about its programs and culminating with the blessing of the Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center’s extension.

During the homily, Bishop Rhoades said it was “a wonderful day” and he commented on the natural beauty of the setting with the conference room overlooking the lake and prayer gardens. The Gospel from John 13:1-5 recalled Jesus’ washing the Apostles’ feet. A painting depicting the scene was blessed by the bishop and will be hung in the lobby of the retreat center.

Bishop Rhoades said it was a “beautiful image for a retreat center.” He also said the Gospel that recalled Jesus’ “great service of love, great act of His redemptive love” had a co-relation to the retreat center.

“What do we do at Lindenwood? We come to encounter Christ, to experience anew repentance and are continually converted to Christ,” he said. “May all who come here to this peaceful location be strengthened to be witnesses to Christ.”

The bishop went throughout the facility blessing first the painting, then all the rooms both public and for staff use.
He prayed: “Created in the spirit of Blessed Catherine Kasper and based on the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ values of community, openness to the Spirit, simplicity, and dignity and respect for all, may it be a place of ministry, Lord God, where your love is witnessed in the life of each person who comes here. May it be a place of ministry, Lord, where those who come may leave strengthened as living signs of your love and messengers of the Gospel. Just as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, may all who come to Lindenwood be refreshed and renewed in their journey of life.”

A reception was held after the dedication.

Bishop Rhoades shared his thoughts on the day: “It’s been such an enjoyable day. I’ve learned all the different ministries of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ — it’s very impressive, they do a lot of good work. It was a great way to start the day by celebrating Mass at the Catherine Kasper Home with the sisters, residents and lay people and to be here now, blessing this extension that provides such a great service — it’s been a great day!”

Did you know?
The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ is an international congregation of apostolic women religious within the Roman Catholic Church. They minister with the poor, the sick and children in the United States, Mexico, Germany, England, the Netherlands, India, Brazil, Kenya and Nigeria. With prayer and community living as their foundation, they minister in rural, urban and inner city settings in the Midwest. Focused on partnering in the work of the Spirit, they invite others to join them in various facets of education, pastoral and social work, neighborhood-based health ministries, spiritual guidance and care for their environment.

American PHJC history
In 1868, Mary Catherine Kasper, foundress of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, at the request of Bishop John Henry Luers, sent eight sisters to the Fort Wayne Diocese from their foundation in Dernbach, Germany. They were to staff a school and care for the sick in Hessen Cassel, Indiana. In October 1868, Bishop Feehan of Chicago asked for the sisters’ help. Some moved to Chicago and soon to southern Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other areas in Indiana, establishing schools, homes for the aged, orphanages and hospitals as well as caring for the sick in their homes. By 1913 there were 41 missions in the U.S. caring for mostly German immigrants.

The motherhouse, home to the American Sisters, was located in Fort Wayne from 1868 to 1922 when it was moved to Donaldson, 90 miles east of Chicago and 55 miles southwest of South Bend.

Ministries on campus
Ancilla Beef and Grain Farm, Ancilla College, Catherine Kasper Life Center, Earthworks — an environmental educational center, Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center and Moon Tree Community

Off campus ministries
Ancilla Systems, Bethany Retreat House, HealthVisions Midwest, Linden House, Nazareth Home, Sojourner Truth House and the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation.

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