Six to celebrate 50 years of Franciscan service
Six members of the Sisters of Saint Francis, in Rochester, will celebrate their Golden Jubilee Anniversaries for 50 years of service on Aug. 11.
• Sister Bernadette M. Novack, formerly Sister Mary Richard, daughter of Maurice and Alice Novack, who entered the Rochester Franciscan Congregation from Most Holy Trinity Parish, Saint Louis Park, and professed vows in 1963. She spent her career at Saint Marys Hospital, working in the Dietetics Department. She has volunteered for over 30 years at the Saint Marys Hospital Sisters' Crossing Gift Shop and is a longtime member of the Rochester Symphony Choral and Saint Marys Hospital Auxiliary.
• Sister Claudia Ann Laliberte, formerly Sister Anita, daughter of Theodore and Blanche Laliberte, professed vows with the Rochester Franciscan Congregation in 1963. She spent her early career teaching in Norfolk, Neb.; and Austin, Rochester and Winona. She spent 25 years teaching in Oklahoma City and was named Oklahoma City Teacher of the Year by the D.A.R. and received the Liberty Bell Award from the Oklahoma Lawyers Association. She volunteers at St. Francis School, Rochester, and at Saint Marys Hospital, where she received recognition for volunteer hours spent with the Saint Marys Hospital Auxiliary.
• Sister Ellen Whelan, daughter of Nell and Joseph Whelan, entered the Rochester Franciscan Congregation from Nativity Parish in St. Paul and professed vows in 1963. She spent much of her career in adult education in Rochester and is the author of two books, "The Sisters' Story: Saint Marys Hospital – Mayo Clinic: 1889-1939" and "The Sisters' Story: Part Two; Saint Marys Hospital – Mayo Clinic: 1939 to 1980."
• Sister Katarina Schuth, daughter of Marie and Matthew Schuth, entered the Rochester Franciscan Congregation from Church of Saint Felix, Wabasha, and professed vows in 1963. She taught at the St. James Catholic School, St. James, Minn.; College of Saint Teresa, Winona; Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass.; and she now holds the Endowed Chair for the Social Scientific Study of Religion at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, St. Paul. She was named St. Thomas' 2008 Professor of the Year. She holds several advanced academic degrees and is a widely consulted authority on the education of priests. She speaks frequently in the U.S. and internationally at workshops and conferences on topics such as the impact of the priest shortage; the future of Catholic ministry; and trends related to seminaries. She is currently writing a book on changes in seminaries during the past 30 years.
• Sister Patricia A. Keefe, formerly Sister Brigid, daughter of Lloyd and Vernice Keefe, entered the Rochester Franciscan Congregation from St. Nicholas Church, in Freeburg, and professed vows in 1963. She taught theology at the College of Saint Teresa before going to law school at the University of Minnesota. Later, she worked in advocacy for justice and peace in Minneapolis, Mankato, and Winona, as well as Oklahoma City. She worked overseas in the Legal Office of Amnesty International in London in 1985 and 1986. From 1994 to 2000, she served in Leadership for the Congregation, then from 2000 to 2008, she worked for the Nonviolent Peaceforce in Minneapolis. Before her retirement in 2013, Sister Patricia worked at the ARC Ecumenical Retreat Center near Cambridge, MN.
• Sister Therese Jilk, formerly Sister Cyril, daughter of Anastasia and August Jilk, entered the Rochester Franciscan Congregation from St. Paul's Parish in Minnesota City and professed vows in 1963. She spent her career teaching in Rochester, Adams, Easton, and Austin. She also served as a pastoral associate in Sleepy Eye, St. Charles and at Pax Christi Church in Rochester. She now works as assistant to the congregational treasurer at Assisi Heights and designs greeting cards.