BAYNESVILLE – As a young girl in Illinois, Sister of the Good Shepherd Carmen Flores knew her vocation was in religious life, but could not decide on an order.
While discerning her vocation after high school, a priest gave her a book filled with options. She paged through it while at her workplace, where a coworker approached her.
The woman flipped to the Sisters of Good Shepherd and told Sister Carmen that this was the one she wanted. The sisters had cared for the woman when she was a young girl.
“God calls you, whether it’s religious life, married life,” Sister Carmen said. “It is what he wants us to do.”
She was among more than 60 religious men and women who celebrated milestones on the World Day for Consecrated Life March 3 with Mass and a luncheon at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Baynesville.
“It is women and men in consecrated life who form a firm foundation for this local church,” Archbishop William E. Lori said in his homily to religious women and men during the Mass celebrated on the World Day for Consecrated Life. “A local church cannot and does not thrive without people like yourselves.”
“I want to thank you for being prodigal in your love for this local church, in your love for its young people, its poor, its needy, its vulnerable and its marginalized,” Archbishop Lori said. “I want to thank you for the missions of mercy that you continue to sustain all around us.”
“You,” Archbishop Lori said, speaking to the jubilarians celebrating milestones, “have set your sights not on earthly power, or money, or pleasure, but rather on the Kingdom of God.”
Sister Carmen joyfully spoke of her time spent caring for adolescent girls as she recalled her 50 years in consecrated life.
While the Sisters of the Good Shepherd have closed their Baltimore facility, which served adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral issues for 153 years, due to financial struggles, Sister Carmen remains with a handful of others to see the transition through.
In addition to religious women and priests, the celebration included religious brothers, such as Brother John Chung Nguyen. He answered his vocational call in his native land of Vietnam, where the Brothers of the Christian Schools, who were his schoolteachers, inspired him to join.
Other than a short break, since 1985 he has taught at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, where he introduced personal computers to the students.
School Sister of Notre Dame Barbara Brumleve, celebrating 60 years, was likewise influenced by her earliest teachers.
“I just love the sisters, really,” said Sister Barbara, who works at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson incorporating the sisters’ spirit and charisms into daily school life. “It’s a wonderful life in the Church.”
“We work, we work, we pray and we work,” said Oblate Sister of Providence Mary Gabriel Walker.
Fellow Oblate Sister Hélène Thérèse Stanislaus said that religious women in their order work in a “potpourri” of ministries.
Sister Hélène Thérèse was taught by religious women, and found that certain orders were not ready for women of different races.
She was recommended to the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first successful order established by women of African descent. Sister Hélène Thérèse was impressed with their hardworking nature, and fell in love.
“God,” Sister Hélène Thérèse said, “works in strange ways.”
The following jubilarians were recognized in the archdiocesan program for the World Day of Consecrated Life:
Sister Anne Marie Solomon, RGS
Brother Malcolm O’Sullivan, FSC
Sister Mary Elko, DC
Sister Teresa Mary Dolan, MHSH
Sister Marietta Russell, MHSH
Sister Charia Ripple, SSND
Sister M. Holy Family Kerl, RGS
Sister Mary Carroll Elby, DC
Sister Agnes McBryan, SNDdeN
Sister Mary Renz, SNDdeN
Sister Rose Lafferty, SNDdeN
Sister Corrine Manzi, SNDdeN
Sister Mary McFadden, SSNDdeN
Father John C. Haughey, SJ
Father Joseph N. Tylenda, SJ
Father G. Donald Pantle, SJ
Father John W. Lange, SJ
Father Joseph P. Lacey, SJ
Sister Mary Ita Hayes, MHSH
Sister Denise LaBonte, MHSH
Sister Marita Rodriquez Segarra, MHSH
Sister Mary Laetita Hughes, RGS
Sister Regina Loftus, lsp
Sister Mary Patrick Brown, DC
Sister Patricia Bossle, DC
Sister Joan Urban, SNDdeN
Sister Patricia Hoeflich, SNDdeN
Sister Mary Louise Brown, DC
Sister Sandra Goldsborough, DC
Sister Nancy Stiles, DC
Sister Mary Donohue, SNDdeN
Sister Louanne Schubba, SNDdeN
Sister Robin Stratton, OCD
Brother Jeremial O’Leary, CFX
Father Kenneth E. Meehan, SJ
Father Francis M. O’Connor, SJ
Father Richard Poetzel, CSsR
Bro. Thomas Trager, SM
Sister Cecelia Sarorious, lsp
Sister Bridget Connor, GNSH
Sister Mary Carmen Flores, RGS
Sister Wanda Zdziarska, SSMI
Sister Eileen Donoghue, DC
Sister Anna Biela, SSMI
Father Robert E. Hamm, SJ
Father Eugene Sheridan, CM
Sister Pamela Jablon, SSND
Sister Veronica Ferrao, RGS
Father Bruce A. Steggert, SJ
Father Stephen F. Spahn, SJ
Brother Jesse O’Neill, SM
Email Emily Rosenthal at erosenthal@CatholicReview.org