Featured here are Presentation Sisters who celebrate 10, 25, 50, 60 and 75 years in religious life.
2013 Jubilee Celebrations
Sisters Janet Stelken, Joy Peterson and Julia Wingert celebrated 50 years in religious life this summer. The Golden Jubilarians gathered in the Sacred Heart Chapel in Dubuque on July 18, 2013, for a liturgy of thanksgiving.
Sister Janet Stelken
Sister Janet (formerly Juanita) Stelken currently is pastoral care coordinator for St. Therese Southwest, a faith-based assisted senior living community in Hopkins, Minnesota. Previously she served in congregational leadership for her Presentation community; she was a junior high and secondary teacher at Catholic schools in Iowa, including Sheldon, Bode, Dubuque and Algona. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Science and Education from Clarke College (University), Dubuque, Iowa, and a Master of Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of Chicago, Illinois.
“Looking back over the past 50 years as a Presentation sister, I hold many memories of places, possibilities and people. I have been blessed to share life with Presentation sisters, associates and friends, staff, students, parents and residents where I have taught and ministered. I am filled with deep gratitude to God who first called and who continues to journey with me through each new day,” remarks Sister Janet.
Sister Joy Peterson
Sister Joy Peterson currently ministers as promoter of peace and justice with the Sinsinawa Dominicans in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. Previously she served in congregational leadership and also in vocation and formation ministry for her Presentation community. Sister Joy was an elementary and secondary teacher at Catholic schools in Iowa, including Elkader, Whittemore and Dubuque. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Clarke College (University), Dubuque, Iowa; a Master of Pastoral Studies from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois; and a Certificate of Theological Studies from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California.
“I was drawn to religious life 50 years ago through the companionship of women who taught me about loving and serving God,” reflects Sister Joy. “I am grateful beyond words to be still learning the ways of caring for God’s beloved ones through the sister-hood of all the companions I have known along the way.”
Sister Julia Wingert
Sister Julia (formerly St. Clare) Wingert currently serves in spiritual direction and directed retreat ministries in Dubuque and as finance assistant for her Presentation community. Previously she was an elementary and secondary teacher in Catholic schools in Iowa, including in Key West, Storm Lake, Farley, Dubuque, Fort Dodge and Mason City; secretary and assistant treasurer for the Presentation community; and spiritual minister in Dubuque. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Clarke College (University), Dubuque, Iowa; a Master of Arts in Business Education from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota; and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.
“Jubilee is a time of thanksgiving. I give thanks to God, the generous Giver of all gifts, for my life and for my calling,” comments Sister Julia. “This jubilee moment is an occasion to express gratitude to all who have in any way befriended, supported, inspired and helped to form me along the way. My jubilee prayer is a festive and heartfelt song of thanksgiving.”
Sisters Mary Karen Jasper, Barbara Rastatter and Josita Zieser are observing 60 years as Presentation Sisters on October 13, 2013. They entered in 1953 and professed final vows in 1961.
Sister Mary Karen Jasper, currently of Dubuque, is in community service and prayer at Mount Loretto. Sister Karen holds the Bachelor of Arts degree from Clarke College (now Clarke University), Dubuque, and the Master of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. Previously she was an elementary teacher and principal at Catholic schools in Osage, Dougherty, Charles City, Ryan, Epworth, Sheldon, Algona and Waukon, all in Iowa. She also served in Mount Loretto Nagle Center, Dubuque, ministering in personal and pastoral care for senior sisters.
Reflecting on this jubilee, Sister Karen states, “Our foundress Nano Nagle’s prayerfulness and readiness to serve wherever she was inspired me. I am grateful for the example of my sister, Sister Mary Philip Jasper, and the Presentation sisters who taught me for 12 years. I have enjoyed wherever I have been in mission. I felt successful and ready to serve wherever I was called.”
Sister Mary Barbara (formerly Arthur) Rastatter, currently from Chicago, Ill., ministers as Director of Senior Ministry at St. James Parish, Chicago. Sister Barbara holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, and a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls. Previously she served as an elementary and secondary music teacher at Catholic schools in Iowa, including Algona, Farley, Cedar Falls, Epworth and Peosta, and in Timber Lake, S.D.; she served in pastoral ministry at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Waterloo, Ia., and St. Anthony Parish, Dubuque, Ia. Sister was music consultant for her congregations from 1975-1981, and was in congregational leadership from 1989 to 1998.
“On September 8, 1953, I never would have dreamed that 60 years later I would be celebrating this jubilee!” exclaims Sister Barbara. “I am grateful for the countless blessings through the years, but most of all, I give thanks for the privilege of making the journey with so many Presentation companions! My hope is that together we will strive to keep Nano's dream alive and that we will always be willing to walk ‘one pace beyond.’ ”
Sister Mary Josita Zieser, currently of Dubuque, is in community prayer and service at Mount Loretto. Sister Josita holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in art from Clarke College (now Clarke University), Dubuque, and a Master of Arts from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. Previously she was an elementary and secondary teacher in Catholic schools in Iowa including in Mason City, Key West, Algona, Bode, Dubuque and Storm Lake, and in Shoreview, Minn. She was also parish secretary and administrative assistant at St. Mary Parish, Storm Lake.
“I thank God for calling me to religious life. I am grateful to my family, Presentation Sisters and all the people I have served who supported me for 60 years,” comments Sister Josita. “I pray that our charism of hospitality will continue to be important in all our works, especially to those made poor and to women and children and that Nano’s dream may continue in all parts of the world.”
Sisters Mary Matthew Cunningham and Damian O’Brien are observing 75 years as Presentation Sisters on October 13, 2013. They entered in 1938 and professed final vows in 1944.
Sister Mary Matthew Cunningham, currently of Dubuque, is in community prayer and service at Mount Loretto. Sister Matthew holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Loras College, Dubuque. Previously she served as a music teacher in Catholic schools and parishes in Ryan, Fairbank, Algona, Farley, Charles City, Storm Lake, Mason City and Whittemore, all in Iowa, and in Winner, S.D.
Reflecting on her jubilee, Sister Matthew states, “This jubilee means everything to me: a good life that brings me closer to God and more able to do God’s will. I pray for vocations to spread and teach Gospel values and the mission of Nano Nagle.”
Sister Mary Damian O’Brien, currently from Dubuque, is in community prayer and service at Mount Loretto. Sister Damian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Loras College, Dubuque, and a Master of Music degree from the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Ill. Previously she served as a music teacher in Catholic schools and parishes in Dubuque, Dougherty, Lawler, Osage and Mason City, Iowa. She was in congregational leadership and formation from 1967 to 1977; served as choir director at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey; was director at Villa Raphael home for retired priests in Dubuque; served on the deacon formation team for the Archdiocese of Dubuque; served as local director at Mount Loretto, Dubuque; served in pastoral and music ministry in parishes in Charles City, Castle Grove and Monticello, Iowa, and South St. Paul, Minn.; and accompanied parish music in Monti, Ryan, Anamosa, Coggon, Prairieburg and Placid, Iowa.
“Seventy-five years seems like a long time!” remarks Sister Damian. “When I look back on those years I am grateful for the people in my life that supported and prayed for me: my family, relatives, friends and community – I have been blessed. I thank God for this jubilee and pray that like Nano, we Presentation sisters and associates continue to keep in mind the needs of those made poor.”