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Diocese celebrates religious women ‘with deep gratitude’

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SAN DIEGO — In the first post-Covid celebration at the diocese, Bishop Robert McElroy recognized seventeen religious women who have devoted their lifetime to serving the Church.

Dozens of women from many orders attended the Appreciation Jubilee Eucharistic Liturgy held at the Pastoral Center chapel on March 12. Those honored included seven women who were the 2022 jubilarians, and 10 from last year, when the diocese did not hold this celebration.

“What we are celebrating today is not religious life in this particular moment, but in the way God has called you, not in a single moment, but continually called you to serve the mission of the Gospel to ennoble this world in which you live,” the bishop said in his homily.

“In a sense, what we’re celebrating today is not the promise you made 50 years ago, or 25 years ago, or 65 years ago,” he said. “We are celebrating today your continual faithfulness, even when God has said to you, ‘We’re going in a different direction. I’ve got something new for you.’”

In a joyous lunch held afterward, the bishop told the women that the diocese saw the celebration as something truly special, which made holding it virtually last year due to the pandemic difficult.

“This is the first coming together in the life of our diocese,” the bishop said. “It’s one small sign of the how deep our gratitude is to the individuals (we’re honoring) and their communities as a whole.”

A total of 184 religious women reside in the diocese, and many of their members attended the celebration. Auxiliary Bishops John Dolan and Ramón Bejarano also were on hand.

The 2022 jubilarians: 75 years: Sister M. Czestochowa Kaczor; 50 years: Sister Teresa Gómez, HMSS, Sister Mary Jane Kenney, SMSM, and Sister Christina Mac Lean, SMSM; 50 years: Sister Anne Wente, RSCJ, Sister Mary Dietz, SSND,  and Sister Guadalupe Valdez, SSND.

The 2021 jubilarians: 60 years: Sister Madeline Fitzgerald, OSC, Sister LaVern Oberding, OSF, Sister Hilda Angelica Barrera, SJS, Sister Fay Hagen, CSJ, and Sister Rosanne McGrath, RSM; 50 years: Sister Olivete Alcantara Brandao, FDC, Sister Patricia Weldon, OSF, Sister Ancy Kollikolavil, MC; 25 years: Sister M. Carmelita Carrillo Perez, MC, and Sister M. Monica Andresen, MC.

At the lunch, many of the women hugged each other and took photos, like a family whose members had not been able to see each other for a long time.

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