Stories

All Souls: Remembering Renee

By Cheryl Wittenauer

Only six weeks ago, our dear Sister and friend, Renee Kirmer, ASC died suddenly.

While we grow accustomed to death as we get older, Sister Renee’s passing was particularly difficult and shocking as she was active at 81 with so much life and so much still to give. We expected her to keep going. Eighty-one is the new 61, right?

Our colleague, Miranda Caulkins, interviewed Sister Renee this past summer in Wichita. We recall that interview in Renee’s memory today, when Christians mark All Souls Day, and people throughout Mexico commemorate the Day of the Dead,

Our One Human Community

By Sister Janet McCann, ASC

“We’re not related at all.”

That was the message from my brother, Tim McCann, after he and Damien McCann received the results of the DNA test they took.

You might recall that Damien and his family have attended my family’s gatherings for quite a few years after he and Tim found out they share the same last name, work across the street from each other in downtown St. Louis, and that our relatives hail from the same county in Ireland.

“We’re not related at all” was not what we expected to hear,

A “Beautiful Order” Happens When We Respect Creation

Sister Janet McCann, ASC delivered this reflection on Sunday, July 9, at the dedication of the Lancaster Against Pipelines ‘chapel’ on Adorers of the Blood of Christ land in Columbia, Pennsylvania, under which a gas pipeline will be built.
Sister Janet McCann, ASC

In the name of the United States Region of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, I thank you for gracing our farmland with your presence here today.

The sisters and I at DeMattias Residence were talking about this reflection at dinner yesterday.

The Spirit Stirs Within

By Sister Annette Embrich, ASC

On Saturday, Sister Annette Embrich celebrated 50 years as a vowed member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. The occasion prompted her to reflect on how it all began, with a nudge from the Holy Spirit, she writes. Since Christians on Sunday celebrated Pentecost, the 50th day after Easter, when the Holy Spirit is said to have descended upon and inspired Jesus’ followers, her writings come at a good time.

Sister Annette spent much of her ministry in education, including with Spanish-speaking adults and children.

Q & A with Sister Frances

Have you ever noticed that Sisters tend not to retire? They avoid the “R” word, opting instead to branch out into another ministry.

Sister Frances Pytlik, one of this year’s Jubilarians, is a case in point. A 46-year veteran of the classroom, she has just completed her 32nd year of full-time teaching at St. Mary’s School in David City, Neb.

In the Fall, she will transition to two part-time jobs: reading teacher at St. Mary’s and visitor with residents of St. Joseph’s Villa and Court, both in David City.

We recently sat down with Sister Frances to learn more about her.

The End of Another Life Journey

Sister Ann Fearday has been walking the Camino since Easter Sunday, and finally arrived with “tears in my eyes” at Santiago de Compostela on Day 32 of her pilgrimage.

Her happy words:

By Sister Ann “Anitawa” Fearday, ASC

Today, we walked triumphantly into Santiago with our backpacks. I had tears in my eyes when I saw the spires of the Cathedral. We stood in line at the pilgrim office to receive our “compostela,” the document verifying we had walked the Camino.

I am very proud of this document and will be very happy to show it to you next time I see you.

Back to Liberia

By Cheryl Wittenauer

Five missionaries in their Liberia home

We go in twos to try to understand the impact of the five.

Two Adorers, two ASC Associates and two Newman University students are traveling to Liberia on a pilgrimage that marks the 25th anniversary of the death of our five missionary sisters in October 1992.

Two were ambushed on a road they traveled on Oct. 20 that year. Three others were shot to death three days later in front of their convent.

For long-suffering Liberians,

The Pilgrimage Begins

Fearday (1)By Sister Anita (Anitawa) Fearday, ASC

Twenty kilometers a day. 70 years old. Traveling the Way of St. James in Spain. Next week I begin my pilgrimage.

The Way of St. James was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages, together with those to Rome and Jerusalem.

Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain, where he was buried in what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.

My Brother, the Cardinal

To the world, he’s Blase Cardinal Cupich, the ninth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, appointed two years ago by Pope Francis.

But to Kathy Schulte and her seven other siblings, he’s just Blase, the “ornery” brother who teased his five sisters, shared a room with three brothers and delivered newspapers after school.

Kathy, administrative assistant and IT contact at the Wichita Center, traveled to Rome last month with 62 other relatives and friends to mark her brother’s elevation to cardinal.

cupich“People ask us all the time, ‘how does it feel to have a cardinal in the family?’” she said.

Remembering a ‘Soul-Mate Aunt’

Shirley Kolmer 261
Sister Shirley Kolmer, ASC

Diane Shirley Kolmer so loved and admired her “soul-mate aunt,” Sister Shirley Kolmer, that she adopted the legal middle name, “Shirley,” when her aunt and four other missionary sisters were killed in Liberia in October 1992.

Now 62, the retired Des Moines, Iowa, lobbyist had grown up admiring and emulating Sister Shirley, whom she described as a “born leader,” a “force of nature” who was “ridiculously smart” and “so damn funny.”

“She was my soul-mate aunt,” she said. “She was who I wanted to be when I grew up.