Twelve Dominican Sisters of Springfield are observing profession anniversaries of 75, 60, or 50 years in 2017. We are blessed to call them our sisters and pleased to share with you these synopses of their lives of faithfulness and service. As with much of life, it is when we read between the lines that we can discern the presence of God’s spirit moving within and among us. As you peruse our sisters’ stories; watch for the name of one who is your friend, or who supported your family through difficult times, or taught one or more of your children, then offer a prayer of gratitude for her life. You can be sure that she remembers you in prayer as well!

Sister M. Martina Finn, OP

Profession: 8/4/1942

Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer, Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield

Birthplace and baptismal parish: St. John the Baptist, Arcola

Previous ministries: Primary teacher, St. Malachy School, Rantoul, Ill., Holy Angels School, Aurora, Ill.; St. Bernadette School, Evergreen Park, Ill.; LaSalle Catholic School, LaSalle, Ill.; St. Peter School, Aurora, Ill.; St Anne School, St. Anne, Ill.; St. Ambrose School, Joliet, Ill.; St. Edward School, Chicago, St. Lawrence O’Tool School, Matteson, Ill.; Holy Rosary School, Denver; St. Maurice School, Morrisonville; Holy Rosary School, Duluth, Minn.; Our Lady of Grace School, Chicago; Day care center coordinator, St. Mary-Rogers Memorial Hospital, Rogers, Ark.

Musings: I grew up with prayerful parents. Dad said the Rosary while ploughing behind the horses in the field; mom would take 30 minutes of prayer after the noon meal every day. Their example was a big part of what drew me to religious life. Dad always told us “If you make a promise, you keep it.” That simple, solid advice has stayed with me my whole life. It kept me grounded during the days when religious life didn’t always feel like a rose garden.

 

Sister M. Jerome Quinn, OP

Profession: 1/4/1957

Current ministry: Volunteer, Holy Family, Decatur School, Ill., since 2014

Birthplace and baptismal parish:  St. Patrick Church, Newport, County Mayo

Previous ministries: Elementary education—St Mary School, East Moline, Ill.; Cathedral School, Springfield, Ill.; Sacred Heart School, Brawley, Calif.; Holy Angels School, Aurora, Ill.; Sacred Heart School, San Diego; Sacred Heart School, Redlands, Calif.; St. Malachy School, Rantoul, Ill.; St. Edward School, Chicago; St. James School, Sauk Village, Ill.; St. Bernadette School, Evergreen Park, Ill.; Our Lady of Grace School, Chicago.

Musings: I was trying to make a decision about whether to enter a community in Ireland or go to the United States. This was 1955, and my pastor wisely said to me “The United States needs you more than Ireland.” The faith-life in Ireland was very strong at the time and there was great need for teaching sisters during the post-war baby boom in the U.S. That made my decision.

Sister Bernice Juip, OP (Sister M. Anthony)

Profession: 1/4/1957

Current ministry: Administrative assistant to the prioress general, Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Ill., since 2001.

Birthplace and baptismal parish: Warren, Mich., St. Clement, Center Line, Mich.

Previous ministries: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini School, Springfield, Ill.; St. Thomas More School, Elgin, Ill.; Holy Cross School, Mendota, Ill.; St. Christina School, Chicago; Christ the King School, Springfield, Ill.; St. Anthony School, San Bernardino, Calif.; St. Dominic School, Quincy, Ill.; Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Springfield, Ill.; Siena Hall Coordinator, Springfield, Ill.; St. Peter, Aurora, Ill.

Musings: The joy-filled witness of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield who taught me at St. Augustine High School in Richmond, Mich., attracted me to religious life! Through the faith life of my family and the sisters who taught me, I heard God calling me to consider being a religious sister. Living as a religious sister is life-giving in the midst of the complexities of challenging times. Throughout my 60 years there have been and continue to be wonderful opportunities for deepening my prayer, sharing on-going study, building healthy relationships, and participating in various meaningful ministries. Living and sharing in my religious community of Springfield Dominican Sisters, being an active part of my family, having supportive friends, and keeping in touch with former students are God’s loving blessings for me. I am encouraged! I am blessed!

Sister M. Angelene Biderbost, OP

Profession: 1/4/1957

Current ministry: Tutor at St. Patrick School; receptionist, Sacred Heart Convent, and teacher, Parish School of Religion, St. Agnes Parish; all in Springfield, since 2015.

Birthplace and baptismal parish:  Ss. Peter & Paul, Springfield, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: St. Edward School, Chicago; St. Christina School, Chicago; St. Thomas More School, Elgin, Ill.; St. Vincent DePaul School, Peoria, Ill.; Holy Cross School, Mendota, Ill.; Holy Rosary School, Duluth, Minn.; Our Lady of Lourdes School, Decatur, Ill.; Sacred Heart/St. Joseph School, Granite City; Holy Family School, Granite City; Little Flower School, Springfield, St. Agnes School, Springfield.

Musings: I believe I was brought to religious life through my parents’ example in the practice of their faith, and the Dominican Sisters who taught me at St. Agnes and Sacred Heart Academy in Springfield. I came searching for a higher purpose in life than what I saw in the society in which I lived, with the desire to serve God and His people by leading others to the joy and truth I saw in our Catholic faith. The best encouragement I received was the assignments I was given with the confidence that I could accomplish them. This motivated me to always do my best. This motivation began when I was a child, as my parents always encouraged me to do my best and expressed pride in my accomplishments.

Sister M. Linda Tonellato, OP

Profession: 1/4/1957

Current ministry: Heritage Room curator, Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Ill., since 2010.

Birthplace and baptismal parish: Cathedral Parish, Springfield, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: St. Bernadette School, Evergreen Park, Ill.; Marian Catholic High School, Chicago Heights, Ill.; Bergan High School, Peoria, Ill.; Springfield Diocesan office of Education; Sacred Heart Academy, Springfield, Ill.; Our Saviour Parish, Jacksonville, Ill.; Arcola Religious Education Center, Arcola, Ill.; St. Mary Parish, Sainte Marie, Ill.

Musings: Reading books about Dominican saints and having Dominican teachers were what brought me in to the order. I loved my teachers and I was drawn to St. Catherine of Siena. I wanted to belong entirely to Jesus. That may sound a little odd to our modern ears, but it was the case and still is. My relationship with Jesus is paramount in my life.

 

Sister Jean Patrick Ehrhardt, OP

Profession: 6/19/1967

Current ministry: Transportation coordinator for the Dominican Sisters at Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Ill., since 2005

Birthplace and baptismal parish: St. Rose of Lima, Rushville, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: St Joseph School, Bradley, Ill.; Ss. Peter and Paul School, Cary, Ill.; Christ the King School, Springfield, Ill.; St. Mary School, East Moline, Ill.; Sacred Heart School, San Diego, Calif.; Holy Rosary School, Duluth, Minn.; Cathedral School, Springfield, Ill.; Holy Family Parish, Granite City, Ill.

Musings: Who inspired my vocation? All the teachers I had at St. Mary’s in Mt. Sterling, Ill., and special priests who have mentored me and my family. I joined the community at age 29 because I felt God calling me to more than the family hardware store. I stayed because it is a wonderful life. All the children I have taught and the people who have touched my life have been a gift from God. My best advice is “Let go. Let God.” Not always easy to follow, but when I do, God is there.

Sister Mary Corde Lenn, OP

Profession: 6/19/1967

Current ministry: Wellness co-coordinator, Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Ill., since 2010.

Birthplace and baptismal parish: St. Patrick Church, Springfield, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: Sacred Heart School, Granite City, Ill.; Our Saviour School, Jacksonville, Ill.; St. Mary-Rogers Memorial Hospital, Rogers, Ark.; St. Dominic Hospital, Jackson, Miss.; St. Catherine’s Village, Madison, Miss.; St. Agnes Parish, Springfield, Ill.

Musings: I graduated from Sacred Heart Academy and I had a feeling that maybe I was called to a religious vocation. Not willingly wanting to admit it, I began working at Prudential Insurance Company, but the compulsive hunger never left me. I decided to return to school—I would go to Springfield Junior College—and began a secretarial position at St. John’s Hospital.  A Franciscan sister was my boss, and she took me for a visit to the convent. The “call” continued so I finally decided it was time to go in and get this wild idea over, so I could get on with my life.  Some 50 years later, I thank God for the persistence of that strong inner prompting to religious life.  It has led to a life of happiness, peace, and satisfaction.

Sister Ann Clennon, OP (Sister Mary Patricia)

Profession: 6/19/1967

Current ministry: Event planner, assistant to leadership team, Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Ill., since 2015.

Birthplace and baptismal parish: Urbana, Ill.; St. Thomas Church, Philo, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: Little Flower School, Springfield, Ill.; Sacred Heart School, Pana, Ill.; Sacred Heart School, Brawley, Calif.; St. Bernadette School, Evergreen Park, Ill.; Christ the King School, Springfield, Ill.; St. James School, Sauk Village, Ill.; St. Peter School, Aurora, Ill.; Dominican Literacy Center, Aurora, Ill.

Musings: My aunts, Dominican Sisters M. Agatha and Mary Lois, and the sisters I had at St. Thomas in Philo and at Sacred Heart Academy were a big influence on me. I came [to religious life] because I was very aware that I was receiving a “call.” I have stayed because I believe I am still being called!

Sister Martha Marie Kirbach, OP (Sister Mary Marlene)

Profession: 6/19/1967

Current ministry: Teacher’s aide, St. Agnes School and pastoral care, St. Joseph Parish, Springfield, since 2015.

Birthplace and baptismal parish: St. John, Carrollton, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: Cathedral School, Springfield, Ill.; St. Maurice, Morrisonville, Ill.; Holy Angels School, Aurora, Ill.; St. Norbert School, Hardin, Ill.; Sacred Heart School, Redlands, Calif.; St. Thomas More School, Elgin, Ill.; St. Dominic Hospital, Jackson, Miss.; St. Thomas School, Philo, Ill.; Holy Ghost School, Hammond, La.; Little Flower School, Springfield, Ill.; Dominican Literacy Center, Chicago, then Melrose Park, Ill.

Musings: The lived faith and active participation I witnessed and shared in with my parents and grandparents, and the Dominican Sisters of Springfield who taught me were my greatest influences. The urging call of Christ to “come, and follow me” as a Dominican Sister unfolded for me as “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” for my life. “Live in my love” and “All shall be well.” I am still following the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

Sister Kathleen Gallagher, OP (Sister Joseph Anne)

Profession: 6/19/1967

Current ministry: General council, Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Ill., since 2014.

Birthplace and baptismal parish: St. Bride Parish, Chicago, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: St. Thomas More School, Elgin, Ill.; St. Joseph School, Bradley, Ill.; Ss. Peter and Paul School, Cary, Ill.; Our Lady of Lourdes School, Decatur, Ill.; St. Peter School, Aurora, Ill.; Holy Cross School, Mendota, Ill.; Holy Angels School, Aurora, Ill.; St Therese School, Aurora, Ill.

Musings: Religious life seemed to offer a God-centered way of life for me. The Holy Spirit has always been my guide.

Sister Mary Joan Sorge, OP

Profession: 6/19/1967

Current ministry: Principal, St. Agnes School, since 2004.

Birthplace and baptismal parish: Our Saviour Parish, Jacksonville, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: St. John School, Carrollton, Ill.; St. Francis School, Jerseyville, Ill.; Holy Cross School, Mendota, Ill.; St. John Bosco School, Chicago; Holy Family School, Decatur, Ill.; Little Flower School, Springfield, Ill.; Marian Catholic High School, Chicago Heights, Ill.;

Musings: My two great aunts, Sister Joan and Sister Annunciata were Dominican Sisters and I used to sit at their feet and loved hearing about their Dominican life when they came home to visit each summer. I also spent extra time with each of my Dominican sister-teachers as I loved being with them and helping after school. I was moved by their happy and joyful spirit.

I came to religious life because in my prayer, in the quiet of my heart, I felt God was drawing me to give my life to him and his people. So many of the religious and priests in my life encouraged and supported my vocation. That made a big difference, too. God has given me many “companions on the journey” throughout these years. Each person I have encountered has made a difference in my life through their love, their understanding, their faith and support.

Sister M. Katrina Lamkin, OP

Profession: 6/19/1967

Present ministry: Assistant principal, Rosary High School, Aurora, since 2014

Birthplace and baptismal parish: Woodstock, Ill.; St. Charles Borromeo, Hampshire, Ill.

Previous ministry locations: Christ the King School, Springfield, Ill.; Holy Rosary School, Duluth, Minn.; St. Maurice School, Morrisonville, Ill.; St. Thomas More School, Elgin, Ill.; Little Flower School, Springfield, Ill.; Ss. Peter and Paul, Cary, Ill.