National Catholic Sisters Week focuses on thank you, invitation

During last year’s observance of National Catholic Sisters Week, four Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth shared their ministries as advocates and workers for social justice. Pictured from left to right are Sisters Therese Bangert, Sheila Karpan, Vickie Perkins and Cele Breen.

LEAVENWORTH — During this year’s National Catholic Sisters Week, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth will be offering special prayers for persons they have served and with whom they have served, and inviting people of all faiths, ethnicities and ages to embrace a spirit of charity and service.

“We are observing National Catholic Sisters Week this year in the context of marking the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism — the characteristic gifts and spirit of St. Vincent de Paul to whom our religious community traces its roots,” said Sister Constance Phelps, community director of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCLs). “Vincent is known as the saint of charity whose legacy is that he challenges us to respect and serve persons who are poor.”

“On our website and in social media, we’ll also be highlighting the good works of the Sisters — individually and collectively,” added Therese Horvat, director of communications. “They are living examples of embracing St. Vincent’s call to charity through their dedicated service.”  

This year, SCLs in the Leavenworth and Kansas City area will observe an expanded National Catholic Sisters Week (the actual week runs from March 8-14) with many scheduled activities that include the various people they serve.

On March 6, they launched the week with a premiere of a new SCL video, refreshments and games at the SCL motherhouse in Leavenworth, with Sisters and students from the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Then on March 10, a group of Creighton students and SCLs will head to Cristo Rey Kansas City High School, in Kansas City, Missouri, for a “Serving with the Sisters” event and meal. That night, there will also be a celebration at the SCL motherhouse and Ross Hall skilled nursing facility in Leavenworth.

Finally, on March 15, there will be a “Serving with the Sisters” event at Seton Center in Kansas City, Missouri, where a group of students from Marquette University in Milwaukee will volunteer with the Sisters in different assignments and visit over lunch.  

“Intermingling the college students and Sisters in service opportunities and social events is a great way to build relationships and share values,” said Sister Constance. “We learn from one another and draw out each other’s gifts.”  

The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth trace their roots to St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac who in 17th-century France founded the first community of vowed women religious that ministered outside the walls of cloistered convents. Mother Xavier Ross founded the SCL community in 1858 in Leavenworth where the motherhouse of the community remains located.

The SCL heritage and Vincentian spirit place special emphasis on service to persons who are poor and to working for justice. Sisters serve in the continental United States, Peru, and Sicily. SCLs work in parish and diocesan administration, health care, medicine and nursing, education, social services, spiritual development and other settings.

The religious community sponsors ministries including Cristo Rey High School; Marillac Center, Leavenworth; St. Vincent de Paul Center, Piura, Peru; and the University of Saint Mary with campuses in Leavenworth and Overland Park. For more information, visit the website at: www.scls.org.

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