MISHAWAKA — The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka honored six of their sisters Oct. 6 at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at St. Francis Convent in Mishawaka. Six sisters achieved jubilees of 75, 60 and 50 years of religious life.
Naming each of the jubilarians and their years of espousal in fidelity, love and mercy to the Lord, Bishop Rhoades noted how, “with the grace of His love, they said ‘yes’ and professed their love to Him through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They left all things to follow their spouse, to center their lives on Him and on His Gospel, on the will of God. They embraced the happiness of poverty, the freedom of obedience, and the radicality of chastity.”
“Today we rejoice in their vocation and we give thanks to God for our sister jubilarians,” he said. “We rejoice that Jesus has espoused them to Himself forever. We pray for them at this Mass, asking the Lord to continue to bless them with His love, joy and peace. They continue on the path of love that they embraced 75, 60 and 50 years ago.”
Expounding on the words St. Paul shared with the Philippians about his vocation, when he wrote that he considered “everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus (his) Lord,” the bishop noted: “St. Paul came to know the power of His resurrection. Then he humbly admitted that he had not yet attained perfect maturity, but was pursuing this perfection in hope of possessing it since he had indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus. … We still are on a journey to that perfect maturity in Christ that St. Paul refers to. Like St. Paul, our sister jubilarians and all of us are on that journey to perfection, “straining forward to what lies ahead.”
“Our sister jubilarians made their vows many years ago, but they know that they are not perfect religious. They continue their journey to perfect maturity in Christ. With faith, they continue to pursue holiness. They continue to grow in their love for Jesus, their spouse. They continue to re-commit themselves to their beautiful vocation as disciples of Jesus, as women consecrated to Him.”
That journey of holiness, he said, “necessarily includes the embrace of His cross. As St. Francis and Blessed Mother Maria Theresia knew so well, there is no path to holiness that does not pass by the Way of the Cross.”
Mentioning the sister’s vocation as Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, he said that the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is an essential part of the community’s charism.
“When you gaze every day on the Sacred Host, you see the Heart of Jesus overflowing with tenderness and mercy for you and all people. This is what enables you to be apostles of love in your apostolates. This was the wisdom of Blessed Mother Maria Theresia in founding this congregation. The Eucharist is the sacrament of love which fills our souls with graces,” and where Jesus remains with us until the end of time, he said.
Sister jubilarians, thank you for your witness and fidelity to Christ,” he concluded. “Thank you for your love and service of His Body the Church! May the Lord continue to bless you with His love and His grace! And may Mary, the beautiful handmaid of the Lord, intercede for you always with her maternal love.”
The sisters who were honored at the jubilee Mass are:
Sister M. Michael Ann Durrer was born in Walkerton, Ontario, Canada and entered the Sisters of St. Francis on August 12, 1943. She was a science teacher who taught in several schools staffed by the sisters including Marian High School in Mishawaka, St. Mary School in Huntington, St. Andrew School, Bishop Luers High School and the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne. Sister M. Michael Ann resides at Our Lady of Angels Convent, Mishawaka.
Sister M. Helen Minich entered the Sisters of St. Francis from St. Joseph Parish, LaPorte, on Aug. 12, 1958. Sister has ministered in several schools staffed by the sisters as a teacher and principal in Indiana and Illinois including St. John the Baptist School, South Bend. Sister M. Helen served as superior of St. Francis Convent in Mishawaka for 16 years. Sister M. Helen oversees the Main Dining Room at St. Francis Convent, Mishawaka.
Sister M. Dorothy Speckhals was born in Berger, Missouri, and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Francis on August 12, 1958. Sister served as a teacher in various schools including St. Mary School, Huntington, and Queen of Peace School, Mishawaka. Sister Dorothy also served for many years in the formation program of the province. She resides at St. Francis Convent where she teaches classes in the novitiate.
Sister M. Duane Ankenbruck entered the Sisters of St. Francis from St. Vincent Parish in Fort Wayne and received the habit on Aug. 12, 1958. Sister served as a lab technician in various hospitals staffed by the sisters. From 1982-95 she served in Honduras, Central America. Presently, sister is assigned to St. Francis Convent, Mishawaka, where she works in various areas.
Sister M. Suzanne Clark was born in Wolcott and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Francis on Aug. 11, 1968. She ministered as a teacher and principal in various schools staffed by the sisters. Since 2000, Sister Suzanne has served at the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne.
Sister M. Felicity Dorsett was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Francis on Aug. 11, 1968. She has taught in several school staffed by the sisters including St. Therese School, Fort Wayne. Since 1995, Sister Felicity has been teaching in the theology department at the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne.
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