MISHAWAKA — The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration honored four sisters celebrating jubilees of 80, 75, 60 and 40 years of religious life at a Mass Saturday, Oct. 26, said by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at St. Francis Convent.
The congregation of Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration was founded in 1863 in Olpe, Germany, by Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, who was beatified Nov. 10, 2013. The first sisters came to Lafayette at the invitation of Bishop Joseph Dwenger, bishop of what was called the Diocese of Fort Wayne at the time.
Although two jubilarians, Sister M. Clarice Sobczyk and Sister M. Christine Jamros, could not be present at the jubilee Mass, Bishop Rhoades honored their lives of selfless generosity along with those of Sister M. René Duplessis and Sister M. Ruth Luthman.
“In her instructions to the first Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, your holy foundress, Mother Maria Theresia, wrote: ‘The grace of our holy vocation is the greatest grace that could come to us after Baptism, and we ought to be most grateful for it,’” he quoted. “Today, with gratitude for this great grace received by our sister jubilarians, we celebrate with joy this Jubilee Mass. Though Sister Clarice and Sister Christine, because of infirmity, cannot be present with us physically to celebrate their 80th and 75th anniversaries, they are in communion with us spiritually as we pray for them at this Mass and as we give thanks for their lives and vocations as Sisters of St. Francis.”
He enjoined the congregation in a prayer of joyful thanksgiving with the jubilarians present, thanking God for their holy vocations, their “Yes” to the Lord years ago and their witness to the love at the heart of their vocation, “the love poured into your hearts through the Holy Spirit.”
That outpouring of the Holy Spirit invoked in them a “beautiful response of love for God and all whom you have served in your mission as Sisters of St. Francis.”
Sister Clarice was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration on Aug. 12, 1939. She taught for 11 years in various schools staffed by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, including St. John the Baptist School in South Bend and St. Therese and St. Andrew schools in Fort Wayne. For 23 years Sister Clarice was principal of Our Lady of Grace School in Highland. She has been residing at Our Lady of Angels Convent since 2003.
Sister Christine was born in Cudahy, Wisconsin, and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration on Aug. 12, 1944. Sister Christine taught for 10 years in various schools staffed by her order, including St. Therese School in Fort Wayne. For 24 years she served as principal in schools, including St. Mary School in Huntington. She has been residing at Our Lady of Angels Convent since 2003.
Sister René is observing her 60th anniversary. She was born in Buras, Louisiana, and entered the novitiate on Aug. 12, 1959. Sister René has served in hospitals throughout the Franciscan Health system in the departments of Environmental Services, Patient Relations and Spiritual Care. She has been residing at Our Lady of Angels Convent since 2015.
Sister Ruth is observing her 40th anniversary. She was born in Coldwater, Ohio, and entered the novitiate on Aug. 10, 1979. Sister Ruth has served in the order’s health care apostolate in nursing, as corporate secretary and in mission. Presently she is serving as vice president for mission at Franciscan Health in south suburban Chicago.
The Gospel of the day, Luke 13:1-9, contained the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. Bishop Rhoades told worshippers the vocation of every person, as disciples of Jesus, involves dying with Jesus in order to produce fruit.
“All walks of Christian life take the shape of the cross, and when fruitfully and lovingly lived out, like St. Francis and Mother Maria Theresia did, lead to the glory of the resurrection. Jesus says: ‘The Father will honor whoever serves me.’
“Sister René and Sister Ruth, thank you for your loving service of Jesus,” he concluded. “May the Father bless you and bless Sister Clarice and Sister Christine for loving and serving His Son as Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration.”
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