Love their lantern flame: Presentation sisters celebrate 50th jubilees

By Sister Beth Kress, PBVM

Special to The Witness

DUBUQUE — Presentation Sisters Beth Driscoll and Marilou Irons celebrated their 50th anniversary of religious life on Oct. 13 at Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque. Joining them at Mass in Sacred Heart Chapel followed by dinner were family members, Presentation sisters and associates, and other invited guests.

Inspired by Nano Nagle, foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation, the theme of the jubilee day was “Love shall be your lantern flame.” Proclaiming the day one of jubilee, Sister Ann Jackson greeted the assembly. Father Douglas Wathier served as presider and homilist.

Sister Mary Beth Driscoll, daughter of the late Jerry and Alverna Driscoll-Marreel of Osage, Iowa, entered the Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, in 1968 and professed perpetual vows in 1976.

“On this 50th jubilee, I give thanks to my parents, brothers and sister and their families, whose goodness, generosity and concern for others provides daily encouragement,” comments Sister Beth. “I am deeply grateful to God for calling me to live my vocation as a member of the Sisters of the Presentation, for the gift of community life and for the privilege of serving in a variety of ministries over these 50 years. The presence of former students, colleagues, parishioners and faith-sharing friends has blessed my life in ways I could not have imagined.”

Currently, Sister Beth is living in ­Omaha, Nebraska, “walking the lanes” in the spirit of Nano Nagle, meeting people and searching out the needs and possibilities for ministry in the city.

From 2008 to 2018, Sister Beth has served in congregational leadership and as liturgy-music coordinator for Mount Loretto. Her former ministries include serving as a team member of Lantern Light, Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana, a collaborative ministry among the Presentation Sisters in North America; formation coordinator for the congregation; music teacher in various parishes and Catholic schools in Dubuque and Mason City, Iowa; Timber Lake, South Dakota; and Oak Lawn, Illinois.

“In these challenging times for the church and the world, it is more urgent than ever to offer hope and love to our broken world, as stated in the Mission Documents of the Sisters of the Presentation,” reflects Sister Beth. “May this celebration of jubilee be an occasion for us, individually and collectively, to renew our commitment to act with justice, to love tenderly, to serve one another and to walk humbly with our God.”

Sister Marilou Irons, daughter of the late Bob and Catherin (Baxter) Irons of Waukon, Iowa, entered the Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, in 1968 and professed perpetual vows in 1976.

“The theme of our jubilee celebration expresses how, as a Presentation sister during the past 50 years, I have grown in sharing hope and my love with all those I have encountered whether they be former students, a co-worker, family, friend or current resident,” states Sister Marilou. “I hope I continue to share a smile and a word of encourage with all I meet in the years ahead.”

Currently of Dubuque, Iowa, Sister Marilou is resident manager at Applewood I and II Apartments in Dubuque. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of Presentation Lantern Center, Dubuque, and is a member of the Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Her former ministries have included serving as principal and teacher in Catholic elementary schools and parishes in the Archdiocese of Dubuque at Oelwein, Cedar Falls, Manchester, Dubuque, Osage, Mason City and Farley-Bankston. She also served on the Board of Directors of Helping Services of Northeast Iowa and as secretary for several area principals’ groups. While in Oelwein, Sister Marilou was faith formation director and confirmation coordinator. For many years, she was an active member of local chapters of Catholic Daughters of America in Manchester, Oelwein and Cedar Falls.

“I enjoyed meeting people who were so dedicated to Catholic education,” comments Sister Marilou on her role in education. “When I remember teachers and catechist with whom I have worked, I am still impressed with how they balanced family life and all the hours they gave to being prepared to teach the young to be community builders, problem solvers, complex thinkers and persons kind in word and deed. These folks spur me on to do my best in whatever was the new program or local need.”

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