Featured here are Presentation Sisters who celebrate 10, 25, 50, 60 and 75 years in religious life.
2015 Jubilee Celebrations
Coming together to reflect on the Word, to break bread and to socialize has long characterized Presentation festivities. Celebrating 75, 60 and 50 years of religious life, 10 Dubuque Presentation jubilarians led the gathering of sisters, associates and employees during their annual community gathering on July 14-15 at the Presentation motherhouse. An evening social, a Liturgy of the Eucharist, renewal of vows and a brunch with the community marked the occasion.
The theme for the jubilee was “Impelled by the Legacy of Nano Nagle,” as expressed in the 2012 congregational directional statement and reflected in the combined lives and ministries of the jubilarians. Like their foundress Nano Nagle, they have been teachers and leaders with the young and old, have worked among those made poor and disenfranchised and have been present to the sick and elderly. They have walked spiritual journeys with many and committed to hold others in prayer. For a total of 615 years the 10 celebrants have continued to be on fire with the mission of Jesus in the spirit of Nano.
Sister William Allen
Sisters Mary William Allen and Anne Marie Kollasch began religious life in 1940 and professed final vows in 1946. Sister Mary Linus Coyle entered in 1940 and professed final vows in 1947. All three sisters have served in Catholic schools and parishes throughout the Midwest and one in Central America and Eastern Europe, following in Nano’s footsteps to bring her light to children and families.
Sister Mary William Allen, a native of Clare, Iowa, served as a teacher in Catholic schools in Algona, Charles City, Dubuque, Elkader, Epworth, Humboldt, Sheldon, Storm Lake and Whittemore, all in Iowa; Oak Lawn, Illinois; and Winner, South Dakota, also serving as principal in Monona, Iowa. She served as motherhouse coordinator from 1955-1961. Sister began community prayer and service at the motherhouse in 1987.
“As I celebrate these years of religious life, I am reminded of God’s goodness to me and the opportunity of 75 years of service to community and God’s people,” states Sister William. Summarizing it in a favorite saying, she shares: “Happy Moments: Praise God. Difficult Moments: Seek God. Quiet Moments: Worship God. Painful Moments: Trust God. Every Moment: Thank God.”
Sister Mary Linus Coyle
Sister Mary Linus Coyle, originally from Cross Plains, Wisconsin, served as a teacher, principal and computer lab coordinator in Catholic schools in Chicago, Illinois; Keyesville, Lancaster and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Yazoo City, Mississippi; Moravia, Costa Rica; Charles City, Dubuque, Epworth and Mason City, Iowa; and St. Paul, Minnesota. She also served in many summer catechetical programs throughout her teaching career. Sister Linus retired to community prayer and service in 2001.
“I thank God for all the blessings of family, friends and my sisters in community whose lives have continually portrayed Christ’s love and presence in our world,” says Sister Linus. “I entrust all to the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Gratitude, praise and humility echo and resound in my heart as memories flip the pages of a life lived in dedication to God for over 75 years.”
Sister Anne Marie Kollasch
Sister Anne Marie Kollasch, a native of Whittemore, Iowa, served as a teacher in Catholic elementary and junior high schools in Charles City, Dubuque, Mason City and Waukon, Iowa. For 15 of her 46 years as a teacher she was a certified reading specialist in a federally-funded reading program in Algona, Iowa. For two years she served in parish ministry in Algona, leading scripture-sharing and visiting the sick and shut-ins in the hospital, care centers and private homes. She began community prayer and service at the motherhouse in 1993.
“In celebrating jubilee I give thanks for the hundredfold which Christ promised and has lavished upon me through the years spent in religious life,” states Sister Anne Marie. “I am grateful for the support of my family, friends and religious community who have accompanied me on my pilgrimage as a devoted daughter of our Blessed Mother and our foundress, Nano Nagle.”
Sisters Mary Lou Cota, Maura McCarthy, Francine Quillin and Carmelle Westemeier entered the Presentation community in 1955 and professed final vows in 1963. All four sisters have served in Catholic schools and parishes or in food service and nursing assistance throughout Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. One has worked among Latinos and indigenous peoples in Latin America. Each has answered a call to follow the winding lanes and to carry Nano’s lantern where they otherwise might not have dared to go.
Sister Mary Lou Cota
Sister Mary Lou Cota, originally from Harpers Ferry, Iowa, has served as teacher in Catholic schools in Ryan, Lawler (where she also served as principal), Farley and Dubuque, Iowa. Since 1983 she has been teaching at St. Dorothy School in Chicago, Illinois. This fall Sister Lou became a staff member of Augustus Tolton Catholic Academy, a merger of St. Dorothy and St. Columbanus Schools.
“My heart is filled with gratitude for being part of the lives of so many people, places and cultures. God became so visible in the many faces, events, occasions and locations during these 60 years,” Sister Lou reflects. “We can learn and appreciate much when we focus on cultural and religious similarities rather than on differences.”
Sister Maura McCarthy
Sister Maura McCarthy, a native of Hanover, Iowa, north of Waukon, taught for 17 years in Catholic schools in Osage and Dubuque, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; and St. Paul, Minnesota. She served as a missionary first in Entre Ríos, Bolivia, for 10 years. Later, with an international solidarity team cooperating with the Guaraní People’s Assembly in Timboy, Bolivia, she engaged in promotion and liberation of Guaraní Indians for 23 years. In 2010-2012, she walked with Hispanics in Wahneta, Florida, attended a sabbatical program in San Antonio, Texas, and participated in an internship at the United Nations. Currently Sister Maura is associate director of La Luz Hispana, a center of hospitality and education for Hispanics in Hampton, Iowa.
“The jubilee represents a time of celebration in gratitude: a time to give thanks to God, parents and family, to friends and community and to all of creation,” reflects Sister Maura. “I experience a strong sense of the giftedness and grandeur of the life that has mysteriously chosen me. I am so grateful for my companions on this journey of life.”
Sister Mary Francine Quillin
Sister Mary Francine Quillin, originally from Waukon, Iowa, has served in education as a junior high teacher in Catholic schools in Osage, Iowa; Oregon, Illinois, where she also served as principal; as theology instructor at Loras College and Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa; in religious formation and congregational administration for the Sisters of the Presentation; as director of the Tribunal at the Archdiocese of Dubuque and as pastoral associate at the Church of the Resurrection in Dubuque. Presently she serves in volunteer pastoral ministry for the Church of the Resurrection.
In reflecting on her religious vocation Sister Francine states, “My interest in becoming a sister was fostered by the faith life of my parents and by the example of the Presentation Sisters who taught me through grade and high school. I am grateful to them and to all who have encouraged me through these years. The strength of the community and the example of dedicated lay people have increased that gratitude and called forth from me the desire to live ever more fully the charism of Nano.”
Sister Mary Carmelle Westemeier, was born in Cascade, Iowa, and is formerly of Elkader, Iowa. She began a food service career for the Presentation Sisters in 1955-1958 during her formation years and in the mid-1960s became food service director at Mount Loretto. By the early 1990s she served in food service at Marion Home in Fort Dodge, Iowa; she also served in home health care and as a nursing assistant. Sister Carmelle retired to community prayer and service at the motherhouse in 2005.
“The meaning of my vocation as a Presentation Sister has been to live a life of prayer and service,” comments Sister Carmelle. “We need to be real and make a difference – in education, food pantries, ministry to those made poor and marginalized. Now I pray for those in active ministry. At this time in my life, I am thankful for and remember the good years.”
Sisters Lynn Marie Fangman, Marjorie Healy and Jennifer Rausch entered the Presentation community in 1965 and professed final vows in 1972. All three sisters have served in Catholic schools and parishes in Iowa and have engaged in global Presentation networking. One has been a missionary in Central and South America and one has served in Ireland.
Sister Lynn Marie Fangman
Sister Lynn Marie Fangman, originally from Dubuque, Iowa, has served as an elementary teacher and principal in Catholic schools in Algona, Sheldon and Dubuque, Iowa; as an associate director for the Office of Education for the Archdiocese of Dubuque; and as treasurer and personnel director for the Sisters of the Presentation. Currently she is general treasurer for the Sisters of the Presentation and director of stewardship for the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
“Jubilee is a time to look back in great appreciation and thanksgiving for all the gifts and blessings of 50 years,” states Sister Lynn Marie. “For me, to follow the call to live in the spirit of our foundress Nano Nagle is a call to live the Gospel in a spirit of joy and hospitality – a call to do so in unity with others of like intention and calling. I can't think of a better way to have spent the past 50 years!”
Sister Marjorie (Marge) Healy
Sister Marjorie (Marge) Healy, originally from Farley, Iowa, taught in Catholic high schools in Algona and Waterloo, Iowa; served as a missionary and pastoral minister in Entre Ríos, Bolivia, and Chupol, Guatemala; served in formation ministry and as a member of the leadership team for the Sisters of the Presentation; and was special populations outreach worker for Mercy Medical Center in Mason City, Iowa. Currently she continues missionary work in Entre Ríos, Bolivia.
“Jubilee is a time to remember and cherish the people and events that enrich one’s life journey,” comments Sister Marge. “I am awed and grateful to the wise people who, amidst poverty and injustice, have taught me strength, hope and love as we have journeyed together – laughing and crying, planning and re-grouping as God’s kin-dom unfolds.”
Sister Jennifer Rausch
Sister Jennifer Rausch, was born in New Hampton, Iowa, and is formerly of Charles City, Iowa. Sister Jennifer has served as a junior high and high school teacher in Catholic schools in Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa; as a director of religious education in Algona, Iowa, and Monticello, Minnesota; as associate vocation director for the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, and for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; as director of vocation recruitment at Saint Paul Seminary School of Theology; as a member of the leadership team and as congregational leader for the Sisters of the Presentation; as pastoral associate at Immaculate Conception Parish in Charles City, Iowa; and as director of the Nano Nagle Centre in Ballygriffin, County Cork, Ireland. Currently she is coordinator of pastoral care at St. Therese Southwest in Hopkins, Minnesota.
“I am recalling with a grateful heart the blessings of the past 50 years as a Presentation Sister,” states Sister Jennifer. “These words of John O’Donohue reflect my experience: ‘Jubilee … to recall each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.’”