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Precious Blood Sisters celebrate jubilees of religious life

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By Mary Knapke

The Sisters of the Precious Blood recently honored 15 Sisters who in 2020 and 2021 celebrated milestone anniversaries of entrance into the religious community:

75th Jubilarians, 2021
Sister Ruth Ann Meyer
Sister Eva Roehrich
Sister Laura Will

60th Jubilarians, 2021
Sister Martha Bertke
Sister Jane Francis Hoffman
Sister Nadine Kaschalk
Sister Anne Schulz

60th Jubilarians, 2020
Sister Pat Dieringer
Sister Jean René Hoying
Sister Mary Ellen Lampe
Sister Nancy Recker
Sister Benita Volk
Sister Thelma Wurzelbacher

40th Jubilarians, 2020
Sister Karen Elliott
Sister Terry Maher

All the Sisters were recognized at a Mass and banquet Oct. 3 at Salem Heights, the Congregation’s central house in Dayton. The Sisters of the Precious Blood were founded in Switzerland in 1834 and currently minister throughout the U.S. and in Chile and Guatemala.

75 years, 2021
Sister Ruth Ann Meyer

Originally from the community of New Cleveland, Ohio, Sister Ruth Ann Meyer (M. Giovanni) attended Sts. Peter and Paul High School in nearby Ottawa. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana; a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

During her years of active ministry, Sister Ruth Ann taught elementary, middle and high school-level math in Phoenix, as well as Cincinnati, Dayton and Norwood, Ohio. Beginning in 1976, she enjoyed a long career in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Following retirement in 2000, she remained active in a variety of volunteer roles, including writing a number of grants that provided funding for the Brunner Literacy Center when it was founded in 2010.

Sister Eva Roehrich
Sister Eva Roehrich (M. Lelia) grew up as a member of St. Bernard Catholic Church, which was built on her family farm in rural North Dakota; after the eighth grade, she left for Dayton to join the Sisters of the Precious Blood. During her years of active ministry, Sister Eva served wherever there was a need, including over two decades in culinary service at St. Gregory Seminary in Cincinnati; St. Thomas Seminary in Denver; Lourdes Hall, the Congregation’s former retirement center for Sisters in Dayton; and the Maria-Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dayton. She especially enjoyed creating special dinners and themed table settings for events and holidays.

Sister Eva also ministered as the school secretary in Falls Church, Virginia, and as a receptionist, switchboard operator, and aide and hostess responding to the needs of residents and visitors at Maria-Joseph and at Salem Heights, the Congregation’s central house in Dayton.

Sister Laura Will
Sister Laura Will (M. Clarus) grew up as a member of St. Peter Parish in Ft. Recovery, Ohio, and graduated from the Congregation’s former aspirancy school in Dayton. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dayton, a master’s degree in educational administration from Marygrove College in Detroit, and an education certificate from Holy Names University in Oakland, California.

During her years of active ministry, Sister Laura spent 44 years in education and educational administration, teaching elementary music classes in six different states, as well as 13 years in pastoral care. Throughout the past years of retirement, to the present day, she continues to serve as a liturgical music minister. While she served in ministry in a great variety of locations from California to Ohio, she spent 30 years ministering in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, including six years at Holy Rosary School in St. Marys and 12 years at Immaculate Conception School in Celina.

60 years, 2021
Sister Martha Bertke
Originally from Maria Stein, Ohio, Sister Martha Bertke graduated from Marion Local High School and worked at Celina Group Insurance Company for two years before moving to Dayton to begin her formation in religious life and further her education. She attended the University of Dayton where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. For 10 years she taught in Catholic schools in Dayton; Ft. Wayne, Indiana; and Ottawa, Ohio, and earned a master’s degree in education from Webster University in St. Louis.

Sister Martha then served as a director of religious education for 21 years at various parishes in Michigan and Ohio. She holds a certificate in pastoral ministry and served as pastoral associate for nine years. She was also manager of the apartments at St. Charles Center in Carthagena for 10 years. Now in her retirement, she is a volunteer chaplain at Mercer Health Hospital, serves on several committees and boards of directors, and prays daily for her family, community and many others.

Sister Jane Francis Hoffman
Born in Cincinnati, Sister M. Jane Francis Hoffman grew up as a member of Holy Cross Parish in Latonia, Kentucky, and attended Holy Cross School. After graduating from high school, she worked for six years at Fifth Third Bank in downtown Cincinnati until entering the Congregation in 1961. She attended the Dayton School of Practical Nursing from 1967-1968 to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.

She served in that role throughout her years of active ministry, working for more than a decade at the Maria-Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and in home health care in the Dayton area. For 27 years, she was a nurse at Briarwood Manor Nursing Home in Coldwater, Ohio, where she sometimes was asked to sing for the residents on special occasions. At Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Coldwater, she sang in the choir and served as a Eucharistic minister. In 2017, Sister Jane Francis received an Outstanding Caregiver Award at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati.

Sister Nadine Kaschalk
Sister M. Nadine Kaschalk grew up as a member of St. Anthony Parish and graduated from St. Anthony High School, both in Detroit. She entered the Sisters of the Precious Blood in 1960 and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan.

Throughout her years of active ministry, she served as an elementary teacher, principal and elementary consultant in Dayton, Norwood and Toledo, Ohio, and Detroit and Flint, Michigan. Her longest period of service was over a decade as teacher and principal at St. Pius X School in Toledo, beginning in 1980. In 2016, the school honored her with an annual scholarship in her name. Sister Nadine also served in leadership for the Congregation for eight years and for two years as coordinator of Sisters’ services at Salem Heights, the Congregation’s central house in Dayton.

Sister Anne Schulz
Sister Anne Schulz (M. Jean Louise) attended St. Joseph School in Bristol, Connecticut, and graduated from Precious Blood High School — the Congregation’s former school also known as Fatima Hall — in Dayton. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Dayton, as well as a master’s degree in counseling from Wright State University.

During her years of active ministry, Sister Anne served as a teacher and principal at schools in Dayton, Fairborn and Troy, and served as vocation director for the Congregation for four years. In 1997, Sister Anne became founding principal of Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School in Liberty Township, Ohio, where she remained until her retirement in 2019. In 2018, the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education — one of just 49 nonpublic schools to receive the honor nationwide.

60 years, 2020
Sister Pat Dieringer
Sister Pat Dieringer (M. Agnes Claire) grew up as a member of Holy Rosary Parish and graduated from Memorial High School, both in St. Marys, Ohio. Before entering the Congregation, she worked in the accounting department of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and for an insurance company. During her years of active ministry, she served in a variety of business-related positions at the Retreat House and Shrine of the Holy Relics in Maria Stein; Regina High School in Norwood; and Salem Heights, the Congregation’s central house in Dayton.

Sister Pat studied accounting at Wright State University and went on to serve for over 20 years at the Maria-Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, holding a number of positions and retiring as director of reimbursement and audits. In retirement, she has volunteered with the Maria Anna Brunner Fund, the Congregation’s former grant foundation, where she served as executive secretary; St. Vincent de Paul; the Suicide Prevention Board; Brunner Literacy Center; and as treasurer for Precious Blood Parish for parishioners in need.

Sister Jean René Hoying
Sister Jean René Hoying grew up as a member of the former St. Patrick Parish in St. Patrick, Ohio, and attended Precious Blood High School in Dayton, the Congregation’s former aspirancy school also known as Fatima Hall. She served as an elementary teacher for over 30 years in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and in Denver, Westminster, Littleton, and Lakewood, Colorado. She then moved from education to health care and served as a physical therapy assistant for 10 years in Colorado. In 2002, she moved to Dayton to serve as coordinator of Sisters’ services at Maria-Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where she remained for 11 years.

Now, Sister Jean René continues to live out Precious Blood Spirituality of being a life-giving, reconciling presence in our fractured world through various volunteer activities. She assists families arriving in the U.S. from Africa with refugee status; volunteers at Brigid’s Path, a facility that improves the health of newborn babies and mothers impacted by addiction; and serves food to those in need at Food for the Journey Project.

Sister Mary Ellen Lampe
Sister Mary Ellen Lampe (M. Genesius) grew up as a member of St. Mark Church in Cincinnati and attended Regina High School in Norwood. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in library science from Rosary College (now Dominican University); she also studied computer science at St. Mary’s College in Orchard Lake, Michigan.

During her years of active ministry, Sister Mary Ellen taught in Vandalia, St. Marys and Miamisburg, Ohio, before moving into the field of library science. She served as a high school librarian in Flint, Michigan, for 10 years. She spent another 10 years as library director at St. Mary’s College and SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Michigan. She also worked in congregational offices and served as librarian at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton. In retirement, Sister Mary Ellen has given of her time to Brunner Literacy Center, the Maria Stein Shrine, and to her fellow Sisters, helping wherever needed.

Sister Nancy Recker
Sister Nancy Recker (M. Rachel) grew up as a member of St. John the Baptist Parish in Glandorf, Ohio, and attended Glandorf Local Schools and Precious Blood High School, the Congregation’s former school in Dayton also known as Fatima Hall. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Dayton and enjoyed a long career as a dietitian in Ohio and Indiana.

From 1971 to 1986, Sister Nancy served as a dietitian and food service manager in Rome City, Indiana, and Canton, Coldwater, and Celina, Ohio. Beginning in 1986, she moved into management and served as director of dietary services in Maria Stein, Springfield, and Tiffin, Ohio. In 2005, she completed Clinical Pastoral Education training at St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo and went on to serve as pastoral care minister to Sisters at the Maria-Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Sister Benita Volk
Sister Benita Volk (M. Denis Anthony) grew up as a member of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Linton, North Dakota, and attended Precious Blood High School, the Congregation’s former school in Dayton, also known as Fatima Hall. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in literature from the University of Denver.

During her years of active ministry, Sister Benita taught elementary school in Dayton; Escondido, California; and Denver. After earning her master’s degree in 1973, she moved into secondary education and enjoyed a long career teaching English in Denver at Central Catholic High School, Regis Jesuit High School, Metropolitan State College (now Metropolitan State University of Denver) and Community College of Denver. She also served as a congregational councilor for eight years. In 2017, Regis Jesuit High School honored Sister Benita with a faculty award in her name.

40 years, 2020
Sister Karen Elliott
Sister Karen Elliott grew up as a member of Queen of Martyrs Parish and attended Julienne High School (now Chaminade Julienne), both in Dayton. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Wright State University in 1977 and entered the Congregation in 1980. She earned a master’s degree in theology from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, in 1993 and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Barry University in Miami, Florida, in 2004.

Sister Karen has ministered as a teacher, director of religious education, youth minister and athletic director. She has also served as a faculty presenter on Sacred Scripture in the Lay Ministry Formation Program and a homiletics assessor for the Permanent Diaconate Program in the Diocese of Toledo. She is the author of the book Women in Ministry and the Writings of Paul (Anselm Academic) and for 12 years was chairperson and professor of religious studies at Mercy College of Ohio. Currently, Sister Karen is the director of mission integration at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati.

Sister Terry Maher
As part of a military family, Sister Terry Maher attended numerous parishes and schools until her teens, when she became a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Escondido, California, and graduated from Escondido High School. She earned an associate degree from Palomar College in San Marcos, California; a bachelor’s degree in history and religion from the University of San Diego; and a Master of Theological Studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Sister Terry has ministered as director of religious education in California and Ohio, and as associate director of youth ministry for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. As a pastoral associate, she served for five years in Sandusky, Ohio; six years in Cincinnati; two years in Hemet, California; and six years in Alta Loma, California. Since 2008, she has served as a spiritual care manager in health care settings in California. She is a board-certified chaplain with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and currently serves as manager of the spiritual health department at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California.

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