BVMs celebrate diamond jubilees

DUBUQUE — Seventeen Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary will celebrate 70 years in religious life this fall. They will gather in the Mount Carmel Motherhouse Chapel on Sept. 9, 2018, for a liturgy of thanksgiving. Unless otherwise noted, they entered the BVM congregation on Sept. 8, 1948; professed first vows on March 19, 1951; and final vows on Aug. 15, 1956.

The following 11 Sisters of Charity, BVM, have ties to the Archdiocese of Dubuque:

 Sister Eileen (Rose Francis) Anglim, BVM, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Sister taught at St. Mary in Waucoma, Iowa. She also taught in Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles; Chicago; and Kansas City. She served as a librarian at Rockhurst College in Kansas City and Mundelein College and Gregory HS in Chicago. Sister was also involved in parish ministry throughout the San Francisco area.

“For me now, being a BVM means trying to live each day as best I can, for God’s love helps me and keeps me going,” says Eileen. Her favorite ministry was at St. Agnes in Phoenix where she taught second grade for nine years.

 Sister Catherine (Michael Ann) Dominick, BVM, was born in Chicago. Sister taught elementary school at Sacred Heart in Maquoketa, Iowa. She also taught in Clinton, Iowa; Chicago; and Clarksdale, Mississippi. She served as convent cook in East Moline, Illinois, and Cedar Falls, Iowa. She served in several offices as a typist, receptionist and file coordinator in Chicago.

“I was taught by a BVM for 12 years, so that’s why I wanted to be a BVM. It’s just something I’ve wanted to do since the seventh grade,” says Catherine. “I’m a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I am very proud of the fact that the Lord has chosen me to do this job.”

 Sister Norma (Adelaide) Evans, BVM, was born in Penalosa, Kansas. Sister taught ele-men-tary at St. Patrick in Dubuque, St. Mary in Waucoma and St. John the Baptist in Peosta, all in Iowa. She also taught in Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; and Wichita Kansas, where she also served as a resources person, librarian and reading tutor. She was a secretary in San Francisco.

“I enjoyed living in little places,” says Norma. “I was never more happy than when I was in Waucoma or Peosta. I still hear from former students there. One named Bobby lost his mother when she died at the birth of her 14th child. Bobby has told me, ‘You never gave me an “F” in religion.’ After all, how could anyone judge that a little boy should have an ‘F’ in religion! He may not have been a bright student, but he tells me that he put his five children through college.”

Sister Margaret M. (Martha Ann) Kasper, BVM, was born in Mills, Wyoming. She entered the BVM congregation on Feb. 2, 1948; professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1950; and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955. Sister taught elementary school at St. Peter in Clermont and West Union, Iowa. She also taught elementary school and/or was principal in Chicago, Round Lake, and Grayslake Illinois; Emmetsburg, Sioux City; Lead, South Dakota; and Denver. In Denver, she was the executive director of Francis Heights Inc., coordinator for senior citizens and pastoral associate at Presentation of Our Lady, and director of volunteers and programs for outreach to the poor and later became a volunteer.

“Margaret Kasper and I entered together,” says childhood friend Vivian C. (Lauren) Wilson, BVM. “We went to school together at St. Anthony’s. One day in class I said, ‘Maggie, I’m thinking of entering the convent. Why don’t you go with me?’ And she just turned around and didn’t say anything … the next day I was a little annoyed that she wouldn’t say anything, and so during class, she turned around and said, ‘I want to go with you.’ We entered the following February.”

 Sister Dolores M. (Jeanne Michele) Kramer, BVM, was born in Alta Vista, Iowa. Sister taught in Chicago and Grayslake, Illinois; Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Clinton, Iowa; West Hempstead New York; Kansas City, Missouri; Wichita, Kansas; and Glendale, California. She was a pastoral care associate in Waterloo, Iowa; an administrative assistant at Mundelein College and a spiritual director at Loyola University in Chicago; and directed retreats for 20 summers at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

“I picked up a second ministry in life and that was spiritual direction,” reflects Dolores. “I think that’s where I made the most difference in people’s lives when I had retreats on a one-to-one basis where I could really work with people and help them see through some of their own confusion.”

 Sister Kathryn (John Laurian) Lawlor, BVM, was born in New Liberty, Iowa. At Mount Carmel in Dubuque, Sister was secretary of the BVM congregation and director of the Roberta Kuhn Center where she continues to teach. She has also written several books on the history of the BVM congregation. She taught elementary school in Clinton and Iowa City, Iowa; and Memphis, Tennessee; and high school in Seattle; Chicago and Rock Island, Illinois; Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa, where she was a principal. She was the program developer and purchasing agent at Barry University in Miami, Florida.

“I think I always felt I was where I should be from the very beginning,” she says. “I’m so grateful for that opportunity to be a teacher. I loved teaching, and the children are such an inspiration on the things they’d say and the things they do.

“Every morning I thank God for the life that I have had and the life that I continue to have.”

Sister Susan (Michaela) Rink, BVM, was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sister taught science, biology and chemistry at Clarke University and served as the treasurer for the BVM congregation in Dubuque. In Chicago, she served as assistant dean and president at Mundelein College and worked in youth ministry and alcohol/chemical dependency at Parkside Medical Services. She also taught in Milwaukee and St. Louis.

In her free time, Susan teaches bridge classes at the Roberta Kuhn Center at Mount Carmel in Dubuque and can be found fishing along the Mississippi. “I didn’t choose to be a sister,” she says. “God chose me. God chooses all of us … and I’m very fortunate that he chose me to be a BVM.”

 Sister Martha (Briant) Ryder, BVM, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Sister taught and served as the department chair of physical science and physics at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. She also taught high school in Chicago and Clinton, Iowa.

“I’m very grateful for the life I’ve been given and the people I’ve known,” says Martha. In her spare time, she still enjoys watching the St. Louis Cardinals.

 Sister Bernadette Marie (David Ann) Schvach, BVM, was born in Chicago. In retirement, she teaches a card making class at the Roberta Kuhn Center and enjoys baking for her fellow sisters at Mount Carmel in Dubuque. She also taught elementary school in Des Moines, Iowa; Boulder, Colorado; Chicago and Berwyn, Illinois. In Hawaii, she was a teacher in Kauai and principal in Kalaheo.

“I hope that I’ve instilled qualities that the children should follow in their life to become better people,” says Bernadette. “That’s what I wanted most in them — to be good to each other but most of all that they would become good persons.”

 Sister Gertrude Ann Sullivan, BVM, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Dubuque, Sister was a professor and vice president of academic affairs and academic dean at Clarke University and taught at St. Patrick and St. Anthony. She also taught and/or was an assistant principal in Davenport, Iowa; West Hempstead, New York; and Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

In San Diego, California, she was the curriculum director for the diocese and a national consultant for Hesa, Inc. During her time with the San Diego Diocese, she also authored three books for various age levels on Junipero Serra, who founded the mission system in California.

“All life is rooted in vision,” shares Gertrude in “Rooted in Vision: The Life Journey of Junipero Serra.” “For thousands of years, God has been gradually and continuously revealing himself. In every age and stage of that revelation, he calls forth from history someone very ordinary to model for us the extraordinary way God is involved with his people.”

Sister Patricia Ann (Wilbur) Taylor, BVM, was born in Dubuque, Iowa. She was featured in several articles in the Telegraph Herald in the early 2000s for her knowledge of technology, garnering the title “Cyber Sister.” Sister was an elementary teacher in Chicago; Chattanooga, Tennessee; North Hollywood, California; and Tempe, Arizona.

“I loved teaching,” says Patricia. “I guess you could say teaching was my first real passion and the computer was pretty close to second. My greatest gifts would be first my God, my family and friends.”

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