Presentation sisters celebrating 60 years of religious life

DUBUQUE — Proclaiming a “year of jubilee” and cele­brating a 60-year response to be “salt of the earth,” the Dubuque Presentation Sisters and Associates honored six jubilarians on July 13.

The theme of “Joy, Love and Gratitude” set the tone for the day at Mount Loretto, Sisters of the Presentation, with Mass followed by brunch. Sisters Mary Emilie Bormann, Donna Determan, Sheila Ann Dougherty, Jeanine Kuhn, Hermann Platt and Rae­leen Sweeney celebrated 60 years of religious life during their annual community days. The jubilarians entered the Dubuque Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1956 and 1957 and professed first vows in 1959 and final vows in 1964.

Sister Mary Emilie Bormann, daughter of the late Charles and Anna Hartmann Bormann of Whittemore, Iowa, is currentl­y in community prayer and service, Mount Loretto Presentation motherhouse, Dubuque, Iowa. Formerly Sister Emilie served as an elementary teacher and principal in Catholic schools at Monona and Algona in Iowa; and in Oak Lawn, Illinois; in parish ministry in Monticello, Minnesota; and as a chaplain in a federal correctional facility in Marianna, Florida; and the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

“As I celebrate jubilee I reflect on the past 60 years and am most grateful for my call to our Presentation community. My heart is filled with joy for the opportunities I have to serve God, God’s people and all of creation. It’s a blessing in these retirement years to have the time to care for God’s creation on our spacious Mount Loretto grounds,” she comments. “I get energized by reverencing and celebrating all creation as gift.” Sister Mary Donna Determan, daugh­ter of the late Raymond and Bonita Shire Determan of Mason City, Iowa, is currently in community prayer and ser­vice at Mount Loretto.

She also gives support to the Dubuque County Right to Life and spends time visiting the sick and elderly. Formerly Sister Mary Donna served as an elementary teacher in Catholic schools at Dubuque, Whittemore, Storm Lake and Mason City in Iowa, and in Chicago. “The inspiration and zeal of Nano Nagle, our Presentation foundress, and the example of Presentation sisters in education and service to others and praying daily in community energize me,” states Sister Donna. “This jubilee celebration is a special way of thanking God for his grace and blessings the past 60 years,” comments Sister Donna. “I’m also grateful to my family and friends for their loving support.”

Sister Mary Sheila Ann Dougherty is the daughter of the late Everett and Mayme Hall Dougherty of Mason City, Iowa. Currently Sister Sheila Ann is in community prayer and service at Mount Loretto. During her years in retirement, Sister has been involved in ministry to the veterans at James A. Lovell Federal Veterans’ Hospital in North Chicago, Illinois. In the Dubuque area, Sister volunteers regularly at the Dubuque Food Pantry and Dubuque Rescue Mission. She is also an active member of the Coalition Against Human Trafficking in the Tri-State Area. Sister Sheila Ann continues to use her musical ability by accompanying regularly for liturgical celebrations.

Formerly Sister Sheila Ann served as an instrumental and classroom music teacher in Catholic elementary schools at Monona, Osage, Algona and Dubuque (elementary and high school) in Iowa; in congregational leadership; and in pastoral ministry in Oak Lawn, Illinois; and as director of parish liturgy and music in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “As I celebrate 60 years as a Presentation sister, I am grateful to God for the many opportunities I’ve had over the years of ministry to God’s people in parishes, schools and volunteer ministries. I thank God for the gift of music, which has been such a part of me since my childhood years. I live with joy and gratitude for all that has been and all that is yet to be.”

Sister Mary Jeanine Kuhn, is the daughter of the late Sylvester and Elizabeth (Sullivan) Kuhn of Osage, Iowa. Currently Sister Jeanine offers spiritual direction in the Waterloo area and volunteers at Cedar Valley Hospice Home. This fall she will become a member of the formation community in Dubuque. Formerly Sister Jeanine served as an elementary teacher and principal in Catholic schools at Dubuque and Farley in Iowa; in St. Paul, Minnesota; in congregational leadership as president and councilor; in congregational formation and vocation ministries; and as administrator, spiritual and retreat director at American Martyrs Retreat House, Cedar Falls, Iowa. For six years she worked at St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, and guided students on their spiritual journey.

“With a grateful heart I celebrate these 60 years living in community with the Sisters of the Presentation. God gifted me with a call to follow in faith and has given me many blessings while serving in a variety of ministries,” reflects Sister Jeanine. “The mission call from our foundress Nano Nagle described by Raphael Consedine, PBVM, in her book “One Pace Beyond,” is still my call: ‘Go out! For need calls loudly in the winding lanes, and you must see Christ there.’”

Sister Mary Hermann Platt, daughter of the late Joseph Platt and Elizabeth Marking Platt of Algona, Iowa, is archivist for the Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, Iowa. Formerly she served as an elementary teacher and principal in Catholic schools at Osage, Storm Lake, Ryan, Dubuque, Whittemore and Algona in Iowa, and Oak Lawn in Illinois; as educational associate for the Dubuque Archdiocesan Office of Education and Presentation community consultant; and as editor of the former Mount Loretto Bulletin.

“Jubilee is a time of rededication of my life to God and to the work of the community,” states Sister Mary Hermann. “I see it as a celebration of what God has brought about in my life and a time to look ahead to the years to come and discern what God has planned for my future. My passion at this time is to keep before us the history of the Dubuque Presentation Sisters. We stand on the shoulders of so many brave women who have built the community and have left us Nano Nagle’s legacy,”

Sister Mary Raeleen Sweeney is daughter of the late Ralph Sweeney and Ileen Birdsell Sweeney of Waukon, Iowa. Currently she is consultant to the CEO of the Golden Apple Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, while continuing to mentor Golden Apple Scholars. Formerly Sister Raeleen served as an elementary teacher in Catholic schools at Dubuque, Elkader, Farley and Mason City in Iowa; at Oak Lawn, Illinois; and as director of Golden Apple Scholars Core Professional Development, Golden Apple Foundation. Reflecting on this jubilee time she says, “This jubilee celebration reminds me of the ever-constant loving support I receive from my Sisters of the Presentation, my family, friends and my colleagues at Golden Apple without whom I would not be the individual I am today. My life has been and continues to be shaped by blessings in abundance; I am deeply grateful for all the joy, love and the light of Nano Nagle’s lantern. I am passionate with all the possibilities in life today from the past and graced by the present to live with hope for the future.”