Presentation sister celebrates 75 years of religious life in 2018

The following is part of our ongoing coverage of jubilees being celebrated by priests and religious this year in the archdiocese.

By Sister Beth Kress, PBVM

Special to The Witness

DUBUQUE — Sister Marie Therese Cole­man, PBVM, Dubuque, Iowa, celebrated her 75th jubilee on April 26 at Sisters of the Presentation (Mount Loretto) remembering God’s love and faithfulness with gratitude for a life of service. Her Presentation community gathered to honor Sister Marie Therese at evening Mass and supper.

Born Rose Mary, daughter of John and Gertrude Coleman, Sister Marie Therese began life in Racola, Missouri. When ­7 years old, she moved with her family to Algona, Iowa, where she met the Presentation Sisters at St. Cecelia’s grade and high school.

A devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus accompanied Sister Marie Therese when she entered religious life in 1943, nurturing her spiritually through initial formation, college and teacher education. She professed final vows in 1949 and served for many years in Catholic elementary schools and parishes in Iowa, including St. Columbkille and Resurrection in Dubuque; St. Joseph in Mason City; St.  Patrick in Waukon; and Catholic schools in Storm Lake and Sheldon, Iowa.

After retiring to Mount Loretto, Dubuque, in 1984, Sister Marie Therese continued to carry out the mission of Nano Nagle, Presentation foundress, through private tutoring and assisting in teaching English as a second lan­guage. In community she did many behind-the-scenes jobs throughout the convent and served as sacristan several times a week. Loving and caring for nature, Sister Marie Therese cared for beloved birds, dogs and cats and discovered the beauty of the city by biking or walking many miles throughout Dubuque.

Enjoying the benefits of a more contemplative life in her senior years, Sister appreciates time for prayer and liturgy in Sacred Heart Chapel, the quiet of her own room or enjoying many places around the Mount Loretto campus. “I love to pray my rosary and to look at the sanctuary on closed circuit TV, to hear the music and singing during Mass, and to just be in God’s presence,” she said.

Sister Marie Therese is very fond of Psalm 139. “It reminds me of God’s presence and love throughout my life, even before I was born – God’s hand always on me. That is very consoling,” she declared. “I want to be remembered for my efforts to help to the best of my ability and for the small ways I have been Christ to others.”

Sister Beth works for the department of Media Relations and Communications for the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

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