October 23, 2020

Oldenburg Franciscan sisters celebrate their jubilees

Criterion staff report

Ten members of the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis were honored for significant anniversaries of their entrance into religious life in a celebration on July 26 at the community’s motherhouse in Oldenburg.

70-year jubilarians

Sister Madonna Bishop grew up in St. Philip Neri Parish in Indianapolis. In the archdiocese, she ministered as a teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany and in Indianapolis at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School, Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School, Martin University and at the former St. Bernadette School and the former St. Mary Academy.

She also taught in Catholic schools in Ohio and the Diocese of Evansville, Ind., and served as a nurse at the motherhouse and in home health care. Sister Madonna now lives at the motherhouse and has dedicated herself to prayer and presence.

Sister Lorraine Geis grew up in St. Gabriel Parish in Connersville. In addition to teaching in Catholic schools in Ohio and Missouri, she served as a missionary to Papua New Guinea from 1961-2001, teaching in elementary and high schools.

Since returning to the motherhouse, Sister Lorraine has served as sacristan and archivist for the community’s missionary work in Papua New Guinea.

Sister Sharonlu Sheridan (formerly Sister Mary Regine), grew up in St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower) Parish in Indianapolis. In the archdiocese, she taught at St. Monica School in Indianapolis and at St. Louis School in Batesville. Sister Sharonlu also served as archdiocesan elementary school consultant from 1972-76 and archdiocesan family life parent educator from 1982-84.

She also ministered in schools and diocesan offices in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and West Virginia. Sister Sharonlu now lives in retirement at the motherhouse, dedicating herself to prayer and presence.

60-year jubilarians

Sister Julia Biehle (formerly Sister Anna), served in the archdiocese at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aurora, the former Sacred Heart School in Clinton, St. Andrew School (now St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School) in Richmond and the former St. Rita School in Indianapolis. She also ministered in Catholic schools in Missouri, Ohio and the Evansville Diocese.

Sister Julia also served as a missionary in Papua New Guinea from 1983-96. Upon returning to the U.S., she served as a pastoral minister at St. John the Baptist Parish in Osgood and the former St. Magdalene Parish in New Marion and in senior care in Ohio. She now lives in retirement at the motherhouse.

Sister Sharon Blank (formerly Sister Tamara), taught in the archdiocese at Holy Family School (now St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School) in Richmond. She also served in Catholic schools in Illinois, Ohio and the Evansville Diocese.

Sister Marilyn Doerger (formerly Sister Christine), taught in the archdiocese at St. Gabriel the Archangel School (now St. Michael-St. Gabriel Archangels School) in Indianapolis.

She also ministered in the Office of Religious Education for the Cincinnati Archdiocese and in retirement centers. In 2014, Sister Marilyn returned to the motherhouse where she volunteered in the advancement office of the Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception. She now lives in retirement at the motherhouse.

Sister Donna Eggering taught in the archdiocese in Indianapolis at St. Lawrence School and St. Mark the Evangelist School. She also served in Catholic schools in Missouri and Ohio. Beginning in 1980, she served in parish ministry in the

St. Louis Archdiocese and as a pastoral administrator in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo.

In 2018, Sister Donna returned to Oldenburg where she remains involved in ministry in the motherhouse.

Sister Susanna Helmes served in the archdiocese at Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove. She also served in Ohio and at the former St. Vincent’s Home in Vincennes, Ind., in the Diocese of Evansville.

In 1973, Sister Susanna began ministry as a missionary in Papua New Guinea, serving in schools and a diocesan office there. She returned to the motherhouse in 1998 to serve as payroll manager. She continues to be involved in ministry at the motherhouse.

Sister Damien Hinderer served in the archdiocese at the former Holy Family School in Oldenburg, the former Holy Family School in Richmond, Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove and Our Lady of Lourdes School in Indianapolis. She also taught in Catholic schools in Missouri and Ohio.

Sister Damien now lives at the motherhouse where she serves in finance date and as mailroom manager. She previously ministered at the motherhouse in health care, computer and payroll services.

Sister Olga Wittekind served as a psychology professor at Marian University in Indianapolis from 1972-2000. She also taught in Catholic schools in Missouri. Since 2000, Sister Olga has served at the motherhouse in formation ministry and as a member of the community’s leadership team from 2000-06. She continues to minister in counseling, spiritual direction and, since 2008, as director of the Oldenburg Franciscan Center at the motherhouse.
 

(For more information on the Sisters of the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis in Oldenburg, go to oldenburgfranciscans.org.)


Each year, The Criterion acknowledges members of religious communities based in the archdiocese who are celebrating jubilees of 50, 60 and 70 years.

Assuming they have members celebrating special anniversaries, the orders listed in The Criterion are the Benedictine monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in

St. Meinrad, the Benedictine sisters of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis in Oldenburg and the Sisters of Providence of Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods in St. Mary-of-the-Woods.

The Sisters of Providence and Saint Meinrad also have jubilarians this year who will be listed in future issues.

Additionally, our annual Vocations Awareness Supplement will be published in our Oct. 30 issue.

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