Five Sisters Honored at Annual Religious Jubilee Mass


Sister Marguerite Bartz
July 31, 1945 – November 1, 2009
Motto: “Forever I Will Sing The Goodness of The Lord”

Sister Marguerite’s life began in Plymouth, Wisconsin on July 31, 1945. With her parents, Carl and Barbara, she, her six brothers and sister spent their early years in Wisconsin. Her family moved south to Louisiana and eventually to Beaumont, Texas. It was in Beaumont that Sister Marguerite met the SBS.

The spirit of the sisters, their dedication to the poor and their witness of poverty made a deep impression on her. She entered the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament on September 8, 1966.

Sister Marguerite began her ministerial life as a catechist in St. Paul Parish in Dorchester, Massachusetts. After completing her studies at Xavier University in New Orleans, Marguerite spent time in Louisiana, then on to the Southwest among the Pueblo peoples of Pena Blanca, Cochiti, San Felipe and Santo Domingo, Laguna, and the villages of the Laguna Pueblo. Sr. Marguerite also worked with Search and Cursillo in the diocese of Gallup.

In 1982 Sister Marguerite became a teacher of theology at St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She taught there for seventeen years. Then she spent a year of sabbatical at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois.

In September 1999 Sister Marguerite moved to St. Berard Parish in Navajo, New Mexico. During her ten years in Navajo, New Mexico. Sr. Marguerite was involved in many activities – liturgy coordinator and musician, religious education; RCIA; Disciples in Mission; the development of lay ministers through the Builders of the New Earth Program, as well as being a member of the Sisters Council.

Though we all mourn the loss of Sr. Marguerite, we also know that she is very much with us. We thank God for the gift and blessing of Sr. Marguerite who gave so passionately and generously to all who came into her life.

Sr. Theresa Chato
Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, 50 Years

Sr. Theresa grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She is presently the DRE at Our Lady of Fatima parish in Chinle, AZ.. She has been there for five years

She was DRE at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Fort Defiance, AZ for ten years from 1990 to 2000. Her first mission was at St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, NM where she was a math teacher and dorm moderator for eleven years.

After a request for a brief bio, she wrote:

“I am Navajo born into the Tábąąhá clan (edge of the water), my mother’s clan and I was born for the Tsi’naajinii clan (black streak wood people), my father’s clan. My maternal grandfather’s clan is the Tódich’íi’nii clan (bitter water) and my paternal grandfather’s clan is the Haltsooí clan (meadow people). I am the oldest of six – four sisters and one brother. One sister lives in Kayenta, AZ with her family, my brother and two other sisters live in Santa Fe, NM with their families and another sister lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. Both of my parents are deceased and buried at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM.

“I credit the seeds of my vocation to the Franciscan friars who were very influential in my parents’ lives and to the IHM sisters who taught me at Holy Ghost School in Albuquerque. These seeds were nurtured by the faith of my parents and family. My two years as a high school volunteer in the summer program at Laguna and Acoma Pueblos with the SBS proved providential in my entering the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

“I’ve been blessed with many mission experiences in my 53 years ~ teacher and dorm moderator at St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, NM; teacher in Pala, CA; SBS vocation director; DRE at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament parish in Fort Defiance, AZ; member of SBS congregational leadership team; motherhouse administrator; DRE at Our Lady of Fatima parish in Chinle, AZ. Wherever I was missioned, the people deeply enriched my life.”

Sr. Zoe Brenner
Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, 50 years

Sr. Brenner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and lived in Reading Ohio until she entered the convent in 1966.

At the present time she ministers in Parish Ministry and coordinates Religious Education for St. Berard (Navajo, NM, St. Francis of Assisi (Sawmill, AZ) and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (Fort Defiance, AZ). She has been working in the parishes for the last 8 years.

Sister spent approximately 33 years in the education Apostolate for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Finishing her degree in education in December 1970 she started teaching in January of 1971 in Gary Indiana, then onto Chicago and Washington, DC. She then became a principal and ministered in Macon, Georgia, Houston Texas and Harlem New York. The next move was to Philadelphia, being the Vocation Director for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. In 2001 she came to the Diocese of Gallup and ministered at St. Michael Indian School in the high school in various capacities. In 2010 sister began to be a parish minister and coordinate religious education.

Sister Zoe writes:

“I have been blessed to have loving and supportive parents. My parents George and Vera Brenner (deceased) and brother supported me in my choice of becoming a Sister of the Blessed Sacrament. My parents came to visit me in each of my assignments.

“I have been a blessed to be in the Black and Native American ministries during my years as a Sister of the Blessed Sacrament. I have been given opportunities to learn and understand the people and this has broadened my world view and deepened my spiritual life.

“The motto inscribe in my ring given at final vows is ‘Love Life, Live Life, Give Life’. I have come to know that this is a circle if you love, live and give you grow, to keep loving, living and giving life. As a Sister of the Blessed Sacrament my life comes from the Eucharist People and all creation.”

Sister Catherine France
Daughters of Charity, 60 years

Sister Catherine grew up in Baltimore Maryland. She presently ministers in Parish Outreach at St. Jude Catholic Church in Tuba City, AZ. She has been there for four years.

In the past Sister has ministered in Maryland, Virginia, New York, Georgia and South Carolina

A few reflections from Sister Catherine Francis:

“In my Mom’s last years, she said, ‘You always wanted to be a Sister.’ What a surprise! I hadn’t realized how long the ‘Sister’ theme had been part of me. I remembered the ‘I’m going to be a movie star’ theme and the ‘I’m getting married and having 12 little boys!’ theme. I even had the father of my children picked out! But Mom was right, as usual; these phases and many others temporarily tickled my imagination but had no roots. ‘Sister’, on the other hand, was no phase!

“The Daughters of Charity were part of my life all through my school years. They were not just my teachers, but Sisters who took us to visit shut-ins and people in Nursing Homes. The Sisters could only go out in ‘two’s’. Sometimes there was no other Sister available and I substituted. I also did a good bit of helping after school – so much so that my Dad said that he always knew where I was.

“My best girlfriend, Dorothy and I were Children of May and in 8th grade attended a Marian Celebration in Emmitsburg, MD. It was then that the two of us decided to become Daughters of Charity – yes, right there and then we decided to stay and not even go home. That lasted until Sister Elizabeth said that everyone had to get on the bus.

“Our high school years were years of suffering for Dorothy who had cancer of the brain. She died when we were 16. I had visited and prayed for her constantly throughout her illness and couldn’t understand why such a good person had to suffer so much. To be honest I said a few very strong things to God about the matter and was surprised to find that the call to become a Sister still persisted.

“The September after graduation, I entered Postulancy and on April 15, 1959, I became a Daughter of Charity. Life as a Daughter of Charity brought new experiences, ministries and places in which to minister. I have been privileged to serve others as Teacher, Director of Religious Education, Vocation Minister, Parish Administrator, High School Guidance Counselor, Campus Minister for Mercer University and later Elizabeth Seton High School, Spirituality Ministry for Hospital Staff, Vincentian Family Collaborator, Drug and Alcohol Counselor. My ministry locations were: Utica, NY, Bladensburg, MD, Washington, DC, Portsmouth, VA, Georgetown, and Macon, Georgia and Tuba City, AZ.

“Currently, I am privileged to live close to the Navajo people and learn from them.”

Sister Rose Marie Cecchini
Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, 65 years

Sister Cecchini was born in Stockton, California, where she lived until entering the Maryknoll Sisters Community in 1954.

At the present time she serves as Coordinator of the Office of Life, Peace, Justice and Creation Stewardship, under the auspices of Catholic Charities of Gallup Diocese, located in Gallup.

She have served in this ministry since 2001. Prior to that, she served 4 1/2 years on the behavioral health staff of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Residential Treatment Facility for Girls in Gallup, operated by the Franciscan Sisters.

Before coming to the Gallup Diocese in 1996, she served in Asia for 33 years in pastoral and educational ministries in Japan for 25 years, and in the Philippines for three years. During five years in Nepal, she lived in a remote mountain village, did pastoral and educational work at Notre Dame School, built by the villagers, assisted in community development, and the school’s sustainable agriculture program that addressed root causes of poverty and serious health challenges in the region.

When asked what she would like others to know, she wrote:

“Just as I have been deeply enriched by sharing life and faith with the diverse peoples, cultures and religions of Asia, I continue to learn, appreciate and be enriched by the peoples of diverse cultures, races and religions of Gallup and the Southwest. This comes through friendships, solidarity and collaboration with people in the Catholic faith community, as well as in ecumenical, interfaith and environmental groups and organizations that advocate and act to eliminate causes of poverty, discrimination, injustice, homelessness, environmental destruction and Climate Change impacting the entire community of life. In my ministries, I seek to implement the principles of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato SiOn Care of Our Common Home.”


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