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students. Today she continues to work one-on-one with students in need of a little academic boost, and has added a new ministry as well: visiting homebound parishioners and bringing Eucharist to the sick. “I am enriched by young and old,” says Sister Agnes Ann, whom friends describe as having a heart the size of Mount Rushmore. “I still have a lot of energy. I still think I have something to give here at Marian Catholic and to the people I visit in the parishes.” Sister Agnes Ann entered the Dominican Sisters of Springfield in 1957. Over the years she taught in elementary schools, high schools, and religious education programs, where students and colleagues alike were inspired in the classroom and out by her commitment to Gospel values. She has been a quiet, faithful presence for more than 40 years at Marian Catholic, where she continues to help students achieve their fullest potential through the “think tank room,” where she monitors students’ grades and reminds them that somebody cares about them. Sister Agnes Ann brings that same caring spirit, that same thoughtful attentiveness to the senior citizens she visits in their homes. She brings them the Eucharist, prays with them, and listens to their stories. “I am somebody to listen, somebody to care,” she says. Of course, Sister Agnes Ann doesn’t limit her compassion and care only to her direct ministries. Ask anyone who knows her and you’re likely to hear a laundry list of star qualities that make Sister Agnes Ann a role model. “She has been a wonderful spiritual advisor, friend and listener,” says Julie. “She is a true Dominican…a wonderful example of what a religious Sister is.”[/one_third]
For Sister Diana Doyle, OP, 85, community is at the heart of ministry and vocation. It was that sense of community – and the stability and blessings that flow from it – that inspired her to enter the Dominican Sisters of Springfield in 1949. Since that time, she has watched the spirit of community make God’s love present to others again and again through service and mission. “Look at this house full of sisters,” she says of the motherhouse. “We tell the story by our lives of service and mission.” Sister Diana has taught both elementary and high school over almost seven decades of ministry. She is especially known for her love of mathematics and her willingness to challenge and encourage her students at Sacred Heart Academy, Sacred Heart-Griffin and Marian Catholic. A former athletic director, she is also known for her love of sports and her loyalty to the Sacred Heart teams. “We students came to know Sister Diana as fun-loving, athletic-loving – especially the Blazers, SHA-loving, math-loving, God-loving and interested in her students,” says J. Haas, a former student. “Above all we knew that she loved us and would do anything for us.” Sister Diana gained new insights into her students and their struggles after a serious illness required her to do intense physical therapy in order to learn to walk again. After she recovered, she returned to Sacred Heart-Griffin to teach and serve as alumni director, where she remained until she retired in 2007. “All the things I’ve done have been gifts through community. Hopefully I’ve learned some of the things I have needed to learn along the way to be a better person,” she says, adding that if she had to sum up her motto in one line it would be this: “Be joyful in hope, be faithful in prayer.”
At 100 years old, Sister Pauletta Overbeck, OP, offers an expansive perspective on mission, life and community. She joined the Dominican Sisters in 1932 and was teaching by 1934. She remembers the days when the Sisters had to rely on the kindness of those who were willing to share their S&H Green Stamps just so the Sisters could buy shoes. To this day, she is so grateful to friends – then and now – who help support our Sisters and their ministries. “During the Depression, many of our missions were small-town missions, and people couldn’t pay for classes so they would pay with potatoes, bread, vegetables, or apples,” she says, recalling how the Sisters and the community helped each other through difficult times. Sister Pauletta, who has degrees in psychology and counseling, taught elementary school, served as principal of several schools, and was a director of religious education over the course of six decades in Illinois, Minnesota and California. After her retirement in 1990, she continued to serve in parish ministry and began her second career as secretary of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems (ILCAAP). Even today, she ministers by receiving visitors in need of encouragement and by praying for all those who have touched her life. “I’m grateful for the lives of the people that have touched me. I received hundreds of cards for my 100th birthday. I handled each one of those cards, and I’ve handled them twice since then, going to each one and praying for the intentions of every person who sent a card,” she says. “Sister loves all of her ‘kids.’ She basically loves everyone,” says Brenda Johnson, a long-time friend and supporter of our mission. “Everyone walks away with that same feeling, like they mean the world to her. …We have our own Mother Teresa right here in Springfield.”