LEAWOOD — Wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of over 300 Catholic religious and laity at the seventh annual “Blisters for Sisters” event at Leawood’s Church of the Nativity on May 4.
“Blisters for Sisters” is a Mass, luncheon, 2.2-mile walk, fundraiser and party cosponsored once a year by Serra Clubs in Missouri and Kansas. Its purpose is to recognize Sisters who have given their lives to others in Catholic education, health care and many other fields.
“I think the beauty of this is the Serra Club’s regard for these Sisters,” said Sister Loretto Marie, SCL, director of the Seton Center in Kansas City, Mo. “Also, I thought it was a wonderful experience for the laity to find out how many services the Sisters offer, especially for people in need.”
In addition to the fellowship, each Sister received a thank-you cash stipend and raffle tickets for prizes, including free passes to movies and car washes.
Catholic businessmen are a major source of donations each year.
“They know how much good the Sisters do,” said Virginia Coppinger of Kansas City, Mo.
Janice Arth of Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood has been a part of every Blisters event and says it’s grown every year.
“I love the Sisters,” said Arth, who’s also an Ursuline associate. “We just show up to help out any way we can.”
At the Mass, Kansas City, Mo., Serra Club chaplain Father Joe Cisetti held up the American St. Katharine Drexel as a model of self-giving. In 1889, she gave up a huge inheritance to enter the convent. She eventually founded an order of Sisters devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and to educating and caring for the poorest and most marginalized Americans of her time — work that continues to this day.
“I don’t think any of you parted with a fortune the size of St. Katharine Drexel’s,” Father Cisetti told the Sisters in his homily, “but all of us have one life to give, and we thank you for giving not just what you have, but who you are.”
The walk is the marquee Blisters event and cool, overcast conditions on Saturday morning provided near-ideal weather for this year’s walk.
The first finisher was Sister Paula Rose, SCL, a retired registered nurse now teaching nursing at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth.
Sister Paula ran the course.
“I love it,” she said of her first year at the event. “Not only does it get us all together, it’s a chance to get out and be active and see Sisters in other communities.”
Tanzanian Sister Judy Kapinga, OSB, a theology student at Benedictine College in Atchison, agreed.
“I like it. It’s a chance to meet people,” she said.
Lay participants were equally enthusiastic about the event — happy to get out and happy to support the Sisters in any way they could.
“It’s good exercise and a way to support the Sisters,” said Ellen Allegri of Curé of Ars Parish.
“We love the Sisters and thought it would be a fun thing to do on a Saturday morning,” said Tami Gaughan of St. Ann Parish in Prairie Village. “It was a blast.”