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Dubuque Franciscans honor diamond, double diamond jubilarians

DUBUQUE — The Dubuque Franciscan Sisters recently honored their diamond and double diamond jubilarians at cele­bration at Mount St. Francis Center in Dubuque.

Sister Amelia Thole celebrated her double diamond jubilee (70 years) and Sisters Elizabeth Cummins, Camilla Hemann, Maxine Lavell, Janet Osterhoff, Colane Recker, Marlene Schueller, Marjorie Staudt and Anthony Wagner celebrated their diamond jubilees (60 years) at a eucharistic liturgy on Sunday, June 23.

Double Diamond Jubilarian

Sister Amelia Thole

Sister Amelia (Ida) Thole was born on a farm near Petersburg, Iowa; the family later moved to Manchester, Iowa.  She attended SS. Peter and Paul School in Petersburg, Xavier (now St. Mary’s) in Manchester. As an elementary teacher, her places of minis­try were New Hampton, ­Keota and Buena Vista in Iowa. In 1965, she and two other Franciscans left for Chillan, Chile, where they taught in the Jesuit sponsored school and a rural Maryknoll sponsored school for 13 years. At the request of the bishop of Arica, Chile, in the Atacama Desert, she and her companions ministered to the people in three large parish communities. Returning to Iowa in 1990, she ministered among the Latino population in Visitation/Guadalupe Parish in Des Moines until 2001. Sister now resides at Clare House at Mount St. Francis Center.


Diamond Jubilarians

Sister Elizabeth Cummins

Sister Elizabeth (Bernarda) Cummins is a Chicago-area native. She grew up in Tinley Park, Illinois, and attended St. Christopher School in Midlothian where she met the Franciscan Sisters of Dubuque. Her family moved to Elmhurst, Illinois, where she graduated from Immaculate Conception High School. Following a year of discernment with her family after her father’s sudden death, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis.  She began her ministry teaching in elementary and secondary schools in Iowa and also served as a spiritual director and retreat director in Sioux City, Iowa. Later, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and was director of adult formation and initiation at Our Lady of the Valley Parish and then developed and served as coordinator of Bereavement Services for Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Phoenix. Since 2004, she has been engaged in private practice in spiritual direction in the Phoenix area.


Sister Camilla Hemann

Sister Camilla Hemann was born on a farm in Stacyville, Iowa. Upon graduating from Visitation High School, she became a registered nurse and worked for a short time before entering the congregation. In past years, she functioned in a nursing role at St. Francis Home, Xavier Hospital, Holy Family Hall and Mercy Hospital in Dubuque; St. Mary’s Hospital, Neuman Hospital and Area Vocational Tech School in Emporia, Kansas; and Hospice Ministries in Jackson, Mississippi. Her vocation in most of the places she served was also to provide music ministry at church, working not only with the English congregation, but also with the Vietnamese and Hispanic populations as well. She also served for eight years as vice president for the Sisters of St. Francis. In 2015, she returned to Mount St. Francis Center where she continues to serve on the Liturgy Team.


Sister Maxine Lavell

Sister Maxine (Kyrstin) Lavell was born in Waukon, Iowa, and raised in Ossian, Iowa, where she attended St. Francis de Sales Grade and High School. She worked as an operator in the telephone office for two years prior to her graduation. As an elementary teacher, her places of ministry were Sacred Heart and St. Mary Schools in Dubuque; St. John Brebeuf, Niles and Mater Christi, North Riverside, Illinois; and St. Paul School in Eugene, Oregon. After earning a master’s degree in parish ministry, she served as director of religious education and director of faith development at St. Cyril Parish in Wilsonville, Oregon. In 2004, she was hired to work for the Diocese of Reno, Nevada, in archives and diocesan conference work. She moved to Mount St. Francis Center in 2015 and continues to work as an archivist for the community.


Sister Janet Osterhoff

Sister Janet (Helena) Osterhoff was born in Dubuque. She attended St. Mary’s and Immaculate Conception Academy. After completing novitiate, she studied at Briar Cliff College, Sioux City, Iowa. She taught elementary grades at Holy Trinity, St. Mary and Holy Ghost Schools in Dubuque; St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville; and at St. Anne’s in Hazelcrest, Illinois. She enjoys crafts and is known for her handcrafted stationery. She resides at Clare House in Dubuque.



Sister Colane Recker

Sister Colane (Martinella) Recker grew up on a farm near Alton, Iowa, where she attended St. Mary’s Academy. She is the daughter of Ed and Gertrude (Hansen) Recker. She taught primary grades in Iowa at Holy Trinity, Dubuque; St. Mary’s, Manchester; St. John’s, Arcadia; St. John’s, Bancroft; St. Catherine’s/St. Mary’s, Remsen; and St. Mary’s, Danbury.  After receiving a master’s degree in library science from the University of Northern Iowa, she served as library media specialist at Gehlen High School in Le Mars, Iowa, and has been in a similar position at Heelan High School in Sioux City since 2001. She is district representative for Library World, a library automation program. In addition to her media/computer skills, she is an accomplished photographer and the published author of “All the Days of Lent,” a sourcebook for Lenten spiritual practice.


Sister Marlene Schueller

Sister Marlene (Andreas) Schueller, a native of Dubuque, was raised in Waterloo, Iowa, where she attended St. Mary School for all 12 grades. Before entering the Sisters of St. Francis, she worked in the office of St. Francis Hospital, Waterloo. She taught in Dubuque (Holy Ghost and Holy Trinity) and at St. Edward’s, Waterloo. Her later ministries included clerical services at Mount St. Francis, Catholic Charities in Chicago, and as funeral home support staff and Stonehill Franciscan Services in Dubuque.  She was on staff at Alverno Apartments, where she served as administrative assistant and later as property manager. She retired in 2012. For 20 years, she served on various committees for the Boy Scouts of America. She was the first woman in the U.S. to receive the St. George Award, the highest award given to lay Scouters by the church.


Sister Marjorie Staudt

Sister Marjorie (Clemeta) Staudt, a native of Marble Rock, Iowa, grew up on a farm near there with three younger brothers.  She attended St. Mary School at Roseville, Iowa, where she began piano lessons in fifth grade and learned to play the organ in church. Following graduation, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis. She taught elementary music at Holy Trinity, St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s, Dubuque; Sacred Heart, Templeton; St. John’s, Arcadia, Iowa; St. Joseph’s, Granville, Iowa; St. Anthony’s, Hospers, Iowa; and St. Mary’s, Alton, Iowa. She served for 10 years as director of sister support services at Mount St. Francis, while providing music ministry at St. Mary’s. For the next 10 years, she was musician and parish minister in Pocahontas, Iowa. Sister served on the congregational leadership team from 2008-2014. After living for a year at Briar Cliff University and volunteering in Sioux City, she returned to Mount St. Francis Center and serves on the liturgy committee.


Sister Anthony Wagner

Sister Anthony Wagner, a native of Dubuque, attended St. Mary School and Immaculate Conception Academy. Her older sister, Sister Mary Ann, was already a member of the community when Sister Toni entered.  Sister Toni served as a homemaker for the sisters in Webster City and Waterloo (St. Mary’s), Iowa, and Niles, Illinois. In Dubuque, she served in a variety of roles at Holy Family Hall, St. Francis Home, Alverno Apartments and Immaculate Conception Convent. For the past 27 years, she has been caring for children at St. Therese Chinese Mission in Chicago; Casa de Esperanza de Los Ninos in Houston, Texas; and Mercy’s Girls Home in Chicago. From 1993 to 2017, she provided a stable family setting for six siblings at SOS Children’s Village in Lockport, Illinois. In 2017, Sister retired to Mount St. Francis Center and now resides at Clare House.