Local Religious life

A work in progress

Some Sisters will stay behind to continue their ministry in Kansas

by Kara Hansen

When the Ursuline Sisters of Paola make that final trip to Mount Saint Joseph in Maple Mount, Ky., late this spring, not all of the Paola Sisters will be traveling with them. True to their committed service in the archdiocese over the years, several of the Ursuline Sisters will stay in the archdiocese to continue their ministries here.

“I know I have always felt at home here,” said Sister Helen Smith, OSU. “I served most of my teaching and administration career in the archdiocese and always felt welcome in each and every parish.”

Sister Helen said the biggest challenge for the Sisters remaining in the archdiocese would be maintaining their ability to support one another and retaining a sense of community.

“It will be more of a challenge to support each other since we will be farther apart,” she said. “In a small community like ours, it is easier to support one another spiritually and in friendship.”

Sister Helen said contact between the Sisters remaining in the archdiocese and those moving to Kentucky would be frequent — through phone, e-mail, meetings, retreats, and, of course, personal visits.

She also said the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph had developed a model for smaller “bonded” communities as a way for Sisters not living in the motherhouse to remain in community and bond together with one another.

“Sisters who live in close proximity to another get together regularly to discuss our faith and support one another,” said Sister Helen. “I imagine we might have a Kansas City bonded community or some smaller ones throughout the archdiocese.”

The Ursuline Sisters are leaving a great legacy as educators here in the archdiocese, and several are staying on in their classrooms. Sister Martina Rockers will continue to teach at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, while Sister Delores Long will remain teaching at Our Lady of the Angels School in Kansas City, Mo. Sister Pat Lynch will begin serving as a campus minister in Emporia in July.

Likewise, Sister Angela Fitzpatrick will continue her ministry at Hospice Care of Kansas, while Sister Jane Falke will remain with Catholic Charities. Sister Marcella Schrant will stay on in her capacity at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Lawrence and Sister Beth Akins will continue her work at St. Gregory in Maryville, Mo. Sister Mildred Katzer also plans to continue ministering to parishioners in Richmond.

Sisters Kathleen Condry and Helen Smith will remain at the convent in Paola until it is sold.

“We don’t know where we will be after that or when that will be,” said Sister Kathleen.

Sister Helen said it would be a time of transition for the Ursuline Sisters, but they are looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.

“It’s sad to say goodbye to so many of the people we have worked with and loved over the years, but it’s also an exciting venture to move and do new things,” said Sister Helen. “We’re happy to continue serving in the archdiocese as well.”

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Kara Hansen

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