Sunday, January 23, 2022

Julibarians Celebrate Years of Service

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Suzanne Hammons
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Sr. Maria Angelina Medina

Sister Maria Angelina Medina, who is celebrating 40 years as a religious, is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, whose foundress, St. Marianne Cope of Molokai, was named the first American Franciscan saint this past October. She met members of her community while attending Search retreats after graduating from high school in Louisiana, and spending some time working for Civil Service. Sister has been ministering on the Zuni reservation for the past nine years, teaching religion courses at St. Anthony Mission.

Sr. Elizabeth Racko

A religious for 50 years, Sister Elizabeth Racko was born in Niskayuna, New York, and entered the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul after completing two years of college. Her greatest desire was to become a missionary. For 21 years, she taught in schools serving minority groups in the southeastern United States. She then did pastoral work in Georgia before going to Guatemala to work among the refugees there. Sister then came to our Diocese where she currently works among the incarcerated at the Gallup jail and two prisons in Grants.

Sr. Barbara de Boo

Sister Barbara de Boo became a Sister of St. Agnes shortly after graduating from high school in Elmhurst, Illinois, and currently ministers as a guidance counselor at St. Michaels Elementary School, St. Michaels, Arizona. In her 50 years of religious life, Sister has been an elementary teacher in Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Arizona and served as a member of a pastoral team in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where she was privileged to minister to the elderly, the homebound and the bereaved members of the parish.

Sr. Pat Bietsch

Fifty years ago today, Sister Pat Bietsch entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg, Indiana, becoming a teacher of elementary and high school students, and later becoming trained as a special education teacher. After 25 years of teaching, Sister Pat came to the Diocese of Gallup and began ministry in Tohatchi. In 2000 she volunteered to live among the Northern Cheyenne and Crow People at the community’s discernment house in Busby, Montana, where she learned to live in a more simple and green way. She has now returned to Tohatchi to minister there and in Coyote Canyon.

Sr. Marlene Kochert

Sister Marlene Kochert is a native of Lanesville, Indiana, and the third child in a family of eight. She has been a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg, Indiana, for 50 years. She and Sister Pat Bietsch are classmates. After teaching elementary school for 14 years, Sister Marlene served as a Director of Religious Education and at a house of prayer. She then came to our Diocese, spending four years at Christ the King Parish, Shiprock, before moving to St. Mary’s, Tohatchi, where she is involved in parish ministry.

Sr. Mary Frate

Sister Mary Frate, a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul for 50 years, is a pastoral assistant at St. Jude’s Parish, Tuba City, where she works part time in the food bank and does outreach and mission development for the food bank. After teaching at various levels in elementary school for a dozen years, Sister began studies in social work, and has spent 35 years doing social work and social work administration. In addition she also does spiritual direction and retreats.

Br. Maynard Shurley

Brother Maynard Shurley, a Franciscan of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, originally from Red Lake, Arizona, is celebrating 25 years as a religious. He made his first profession at St. Michaels in August, 1988, and his final profession in January, 1992, at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Ft. Defiance. His maternal clan is Where Two Waters Flow Together; his paternal clan is The Black Streak Running into the Red Streak Water. Besides serving as Guardian at St. Francis, Brother is a case manager for the Navajo Aids Network and the coordinator for The Padre’s Hour radio program.


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