BVM sisters celebrate diamond jubilees

DUBUQUE — The following diamond jubilarians will cele­brate 70 years in religious life with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They will gather in the Mount Carmel Mother­house Chapel in Dubuque on Sept. 8, 2019, for a liturgy of thanksgiving. They entered the BVM congregation on Sept. 8, 1949. They professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on July 16, 1957. Unless otherwise noted, the sisters are retired and living at Mount Carmel.

Sister Ramona Barwick, BVM (Simone)

Sister Ramona (Simone) Barwick, BVM, was born in Milwaukee. She ministered at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, as food service coordinator, bookstore director and post office manager. She was an elementary teacher at St. Thomas of Canterbury in Chicago; St. Anthony in Davenport and St. Patrick in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Ramona recently retired as postmistress of the Barwick-Eppel Mail Center at Clarke, which was named in part in honor of her more than 50 years at the campus mail center.


Sister Donard Collins, BVM

Sister Donard Collins, BVM, was born in Marcus, Iowa. She was an elementary teacher at St. Eugene, St. Tarcissus, Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament in Chicago; St. Augustine in Memphis, Tennessee; Immaculate Conception in Clarksdale, Mississippi; Christ the King and St. John in Seattle and St. Pius X in Mountlake Terrace, Washington; and Epiphany in Sioux City, Iowa. She ministered as a nurse at the Marian Health Center in Sioux City and at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. She served the congregation as a member of the motherhouse administrative team and as a regional representative. She currently volunteers as a member of the BVM Sisters Development Network.

“When I was charged to St. Augustine in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1953, my eyes were opened to a new world of poverty and segregation,” shares Donard about teaching in the south. “It affected my sense of justice for the rest of my life.”

Sister Joyce M. Cox, BVM (Petrine)

Sister Joyce Cox, BVM (Petrine), was born in Butte, Montana. She was an elementary teacher at St. Patrick in Dubuque and St. Francis in Council Bluffs, Iowa; All Hollows in Sacramento, California; St. Bridget in Chicago; Most Holy Redeemer and St. Thomas Moore in San Francisco, where she also was principal. She served as principal and vice president of student relationships at Bellarmine Preparatory in Tacoma, Washington. She was dean of students at Mundelein College and pastoral associate at St. Symphorosa in Chicago. For the Archdiocese of Seattle, she ministered as vice-chancellor, vicar for religious, director of interfaith relations, delegate to Catholic schools, director of spirituality, director for ecumenism and assistant to the archbishop. She currently volunteers as a member of the BVM Sisters Development Network.

“I believe this has been a miracle for me since I was Mormon in a Mormon family in Butte,” says Joyce about what it means to be a BVM. “My father and I were driving through the snow on a winter morning when I was in fourth grade when I saw six black figures, women, walking through the snow. I said to myself, ‘One day I will be one of them.’” Joyce says, “I simply cannot explain this, a true mystery for me … my life unfolded and I became a BVM 70 years ago.”

Sister Mary A. Healey, BVM

Sister Mary A. Healey, BVM, was born in Chicago. She was an elementary teacher in Illinois at St. Gilbert in Grayslake, St. Dorothy and St. Sylvester in Chicago, and Sacred Heart and Jordan Catholic in Rock Island; in Iowa at Sacred Heart in Manly, Corpus Christi in Fort Dodge, St. Mary in Emmetsburg and St. Anthony in Dubuque; and in New York at Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead. She was the director of personnel and payroll services at Clarke University in Dubuque, business manager for The Chicago Catholic newspaper, and treasurer of Wright Hall, a BVM retirement home in Chicago.

To Mary, being a BVM sister “means that I am not trying to change the world alone. I do what I can, and I am working with others, some of whom do things I can’t.  When we cooperate, we can make a difference.”

Sister Mary Anne Lynch (Anne Michail)

Sister Mary Anne Lynch, BVM (Anne Michail), was born on July 9, 1931. She was an elementary teacher in Chicago at Our Lady Help of Christians and in California at St. Brendan in Los Angeles and St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood. She was a secondary teacher at Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California; Holy Angels Academy in Milwaukee; and Xavier in St. Louis. She worked as a quality control specialist for Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Health Education & Welfare (AFDC/HEW) and as a hearing analyst for the Office of Hearing & Appeals, both in Chicago. She served as chaplain at the University of Chicago Medical Center and at the Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, Illinois.

Sister Dolores Marie McHugh, BVM

Sister Dolores Marie McHugh, BVM, was born in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. She served as congregational president from 1992 to 2000 and first vice president from 1984 to 1992. She also served the congregation as a pastoral care coordinator at Mount Carmel, Dubuque, Iowa. She was the superintendent of schools and educational coordinator and consultant for the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa. She was an elementary teacher at Presentation in Chicago; Incarnation and Holy Family in Glendale, California; and St. Catherine in Kansas City, Missouri, where she also was principal.

“I have always felt the love and support of others during difficult times and in joyful celebrations,” shares Dolores. As a BVM, she feels “gratitude and love for my family, friends, co-workers and the BVM community — for all who have supported and encouraged me on this beautiful journey.”

Sister Mary Jeanne Stopper, BVM (John Edward)

Sister Mary Jeanne Stopper, BVM (John Edward), was born in Los Angeles. She was an elementary teacher at Presentation in Chicago; St. Robert Bellarmine in Burbank, California; St. Agnes and St. Francis Xavier, Phoenix; and St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood, California, where she also was principal. She ministered as a high school English teacher, office staff and volunteer at Holy Family, Glendale, California.

“I treasure being a BVM,” shares Mary Jeanne. “I have been privileged to live with sisters who all have the same values and goals. I especially have enjoyed helping students learn and grow. I can’t believe 70 years have passed so fast!”

To send a congratulatory message to a sister on her jubilee or to donate to the BVM congregation on behalf of these sisters, visit bvmsisters.org.