Acrostic by Sister Christine Kouba, OSB
A- Stands for Accomplished.
Sister Sharon Marie received her BA degree in Education from St. Mary of the Woods College in Indiana and taught for 12 years in parochial schools, namely, Holy Mount in Cicero, St. James in Glen Ellyn and St. Joan of Arc in Lisle. Being interested in Liturgy, she started pursuing her studies in Liturgy and earned a Master’s degree in Theology and Liturgy from the University of Notre Dame. After that she became a full time Liturgist at St. Pius X Parish in Lombard, later at St. Joseph Parish in Bradley and then St. James Parish in Glen Ellyn. With her interest enhanced in Liturgy she went on to study more intensely and earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Liturgy at CTU, the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. This educational background gave her the readiness to accomplish many things.
R- Stands for Responsible.
In her Diocesan role, Sister Sharon Marie is responsible for planning all Diocesan ceremonies, implementing all liturgical changes from the Vatican and the Bishops, training lay ministers through workshops, Liturgical and Catechumenate Certification Programs and one on one training, along with working with parishes in their Catechumenate programs, consulting with parishes on renovation and building projects; and being available for the many questions concerning the Liturgical and Catechumenate life in parishes.
N- Stands for Non-Wisconsinite PACKER FAN.
Being born and raised in Chicago, it is hard to believe that Sharon Marie is a Green Bay Packer Fan. But she is. In her room you will find more memorabilia of the Packers than you will in Sister Benita’s and Sister Helen’s rooms put together. What is it about The Packers that has raised your interest above the Chicago Bears? Was it their famous quarterbacks like Curly Lambeau their founder, or Burt Starr or Bret Favre?
Personal Note: Sister Sharon Marie, with all that you have done, are doing and will do may God be praised. Our monastic community is depending on you to keep us moving forward as we sing the praises of our Liturgy of the Hours.
Homily given by Father Becket Franks at the Jubilee Mass
The Benedictine Sisters of the Sacred Heart have been doing something Catholic.
According to the scriptures, it all begins with a clothing. God clothes us with the garments of salvation and the robes of justice. As a bride and the bridegroom prepare for the wedding, so we cloth ourselves with brilliant virtue.
Even St. Paul tells us that the Christian life is a matter of getting dressed. Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Then wrap up all of these with love. And as we do this, that is, get dressed every day in virtue, we are to give thanks. This is our life hidden in Christ.
The Benedictine Sisters have been doing something Catholic and look at the collection of virtue. Sister Mildred (top left), in the words of Sister Jo Ann, “Autumn has crept into your life,” but “you are so present to us even with limited eyesight.” You face life with humor and joy. You are always interested in the other person. This must be the principal in you. Sister Josephine (bottom left), in the words of Sister Helen, your life is one “continuous giving to the Lord.” Whether “preparing food for the mission of the sisters,” or, “fixing the song and office books for the infirmed,” you are the best at preparation. Sister Virginia (right), in the words of Sister Barbara Ann, “You are Martha and Mary” all wrapped up in one. Sister Carolyn (who celebrates sixty years, but celebrates quietly) says that you “Virginia Dear” are a “beatitude” person, always ready with your towel to wash the sisters’ feet. But we need to watch out. According to your niece, Sister Rose, you play a wicked game of Dominoes. It’s probably due to that glass of beer next to you.
Yes, you sisters are doing something Catholic never asking “what’s in it for me?” We know what you receive: a hundred times more friends, more family…a hundred times more joy, and of course, eternal life.
The theme for this jubilee chosen by the jubilarians is “O Lord, You are the Center of my life.” Because God is their center, we behold a great collection of holy talent and virtue. With us all gathered around the table of the Lord, may God bless abundantly Sisters Mildred, Josephine, Virginia and Carolyn for doing something Catholic.
Homily given by Father Becket Franks at the Jubilee Mass
Jesus tells us that it is so difficult for rich people to get into the kingdom of heaven: those who are rich in money, in strength, in size and those who are rich in ego. And since the people in Jesus' time believe that these kinds of people make it into the kingdom, Peter asks a very important question: "What's in it for us Lord because we've left everything for you?"
Sister Mary Agnes and Sister Mary, ever ask that question- "What are we going to get out of this?" Whether we are single, married or vowed as monastic women and men, we all ask that question. When I ask myself this question my answer is always - I found myself and I continue to allow God to show me more of myself.
Sister Mary Agnes and Sister Mary, both of you come from large farming families. Sister Mary Agnes, you are number eight out of twelve children. Sister Mary, you are number six out of fifteen children. Both of you have had to ask that question growing up, "What am I going to get out of this?" I think you both answered the question very well and continue to live out that answer because of the scriptures. Both of you do two things very well: You set God as a seal upon your arm, and, you participate in the project of Divine Love.
Sister Mary Agnes, last night the sisters called you "our sister and our hero." You possess an impressive resume of about fifty-six years of ministry in the Church. Whether it be a dorm mother for the orphans, a cook, a teacher or a catechist for the children, you learned how to care for the People of God. And when you returned to the monastery a few years ago your energy continued in ministry to guests as guest directress and to the residents as you push their wheelchairs to their appointments as a "holy roller." I think you know how God saves you.
Sister Mary, last night the sisters told you that they love you because you are really you. You joined the monastery when I was only eight years old. However, you filled these fifty-two years with boundless energy. Whether it be a teacher of home economics, religion, or the magistra of your sisters as prioress, you learned how to care for the People of God. In fact, last night we heard a profound story of your care for one of the sisters. You've been concerned about Sister Barbara's safety, especially in the wheelchair.
So, one day you said to her, "O child of God, I'm going to sew up the other slacks leg so that you don't catch it on the tire of the wheelchair." You made Sister Barbara happy that you were so concerned about her. That is until she tried the slacks on and found out that you shortened the wrong leg. What is so good about you Sister Mary is your sense of humor. I think you know how God saves you.
So, on this jubilee day, Jesus sets us as a seal upon his arm, and, participates with us in the project of Divine Love. If we remain faithful abundance falls into our laps. And when it comes our turn to pick up the mirror, God will show us our true divine selves.