Dubuque Presentation Sisters Celebrate Transfer of Congregational Leadership

Pictured above: Sisters Marilyn Breen, Joy Peterson, Rita Menart and Carmen Hernandez

June 2, Dubuque Presentation Sisters, associates, employees, family and friends gathered to celebrate the transfer of congregational leadership.

Led by a lantern carried by Sister Julianne Brockamp, the outgoing and incoming leadership teams processed into the Sacred Heart Chapel as all sang “Nano Aflame.” Welcoming those gathered for the celebration, Sister Joan Brincks declared, “We gather today as sisters, associates, employees, family and friends – grateful for the willingness of Sisters Carmen Hernandez, Rita Menart, Joy Peterson and Marilyn Breen to accept the ministry of leadership in this congregation. May God strengthen us in community and deepen our commitment to the mission of Jesus and to the vision of our foundress, Nano Nagle.”

Standing before those gathered, Sisters Carmen, Rita, Joy and Marilyn expressed their readiness to offer their gifts as they accepted the ministry of elected leadership. Together they proclaimed, “In a spirit of openness and gratitude, we commit to steward the mission of Jesus and of Nano Nagle. We desire to foster Presentation spirit and charism throughout the world. Together, may we extend hospitality to Earth and all people.”

The newly-installed congregational leadership team lead by Sister Carmen Hernandez followed by Sisters Rita Menart, Joy Peterson and Marilyn Breen exit the Sacred Heart Chapel after the installation ceremony.

As part of the commissioning ceremony, each member of the outgoing leadership team gifted the new leaders with a glass globe and a blessing for the gifts each have to offer in leading the Presentation community into the next five years.

As Sister Julianne Brockamp gifted Sister Carmen, she stated, “May your dreams stir your inner ‘Nano passion.’ May your dreams bring light and hope to our suffering sisters and brothers along the road. May your dreams fire love in the hearts of all with whom you walk – lighting the earth with the gospel of love. And may your chosen words, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’ guide you on your daily path.”

Sister Beth Driscoll blessed Sister Joy with these words, “Your listening heart hears voices that cry: ‘We are waiting …’Waiting to be recognized … to be called by name … to be loved and treated with dignity. May you dream what is possible for all who wait. May you call forth from us the commitment that will transform these dreams into realities – lighting the earth with the gospel of love.”

Sister Ann Jackson presented Sister Rita with her globe, “May God grant you the wisdom of discernment, the peace of truth and the joy of learning in communion with all of life. May your gifts of inquiry and curiosity challenge us to wrestle with the difficult questions and to live into a world our hearts dream is possible. May your missionary heart – ablaze and impassioned by your love of God – lead us in the dance – lighting the earth with the gospel of love.”

Sister Leanne Welch offered her well wishes to Sister Marilyn, “As you move forward, may leadership excite your soul and kindle in your mind creativity to journey beyond known limits. May all that is to come be worthy of the energy of your heart and the light of your thought. May you go, always with Jesus, lighting the earth with the gospel of love.”

In closing, a reflection by Sister Raphael Consedine was read, echoing the sentiment, “Let love alone be the measure, for we have further yet to journey.” An unanimous response by all followed, “For we have further yet to journey.” With lantern in hand, Sister Carmen led the new leadership team to the gathering space where congratulations were received from all.

Sister Carmen highlights these thought-provoking words from Father Richard Rohr, OFM, as part of the team’s vision for leadership: “There is no greater training for true leadership than living in the naked now. There, we can set aside our own mental constructs, receive input and ideas from all directions, and lead even more creatively and imaginatively – with the clearer vision of one who lives beyond himself or herself.”

It is with heartfelt gratitude that we support and pray for all leaders, especially Sisters Carmen, Rita, Joy and Marilyn as they accept the responsibility of fostering new ideas and new ways of responding to the future of the common good.

Sister Carmen Hernandez
Sister Carmen initiated and served as executive director of La Luz Hispana in Hampton, Iowa, after having served as Hispanic outreach coordinator of Mercy Medical Center North Iowa in Mason City. She served as a team member of Caminando Juntos with the Aberdeen Presentation Sisters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As vocation director for the Dubuque Presentation congregation she visited Bolivia several times and studied Spanish in Cochabamba. Sister Carmen was an elementary school counselor for the Archdiocese of Dubuque while serving as vocation director for the congregation and as chaplain for the Dubuque Police Department. Prior to that, Sister Carmen was an elementary teacher in Osage, Key West and Dubuque, Iowa.

Sister Rita Menart
Sister Rita served as a mental health counselor with Catholic Charities for six years (four years full-time and two years part-time). She was the part-time director of Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of Dubuque for two years and continues as the coordinator of Spanish Speakers’ Retreats. From 2009 to 2011, Sister Rita was a missionary in Bolivia. Previously, she worked as an in-home family counselor for Mid-Iowa Family Therapy Clinic in Ames, Iowa. Missionary experience of 10 years took Sister Rita to Chupol, Guatemala, from 1990 to 2000. Other positions include high school science teacher in Storm Lake, Iowa, for seven years and junior high teacher at St. Columbkille in Dubuque, Iowa, for one year. Sister Rita has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s in clinical psychology.

Sister Joy Peterson
For the past year, Sister Joy has served as the promoter of justice for the Sisters of the Presentation. Prior to that she was the promoter of peace and justice for the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, for eight years. Sister Joy has been formation director, vocation director and congregational leader for the Presentation congregation. She holds a master’s degree in teaching elementary social studies from Clarke College, as well as a pastoral ministry degree from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to her ministries within the community, she taught middle school and high school. From 1989-1997, she was a pastoral minister at St. Mary Church in Spirit Lake, Iowa. She also spent a year working in the NGO office of the International Presentation Association at the United Nations.

Sister Marilyn Breen
Sister Marilyn resides in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago and has completed an internship in spiritual direction at the Claret Center. She enjoys walking with others as they discover God in the ordinary experiences of life. She has served as parish director of faith formation for 27 years, most recently at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Dubuque, Iowa. Sister Marilyn was a member of the congregational leadership team from 1989-1998, assisting with the renovation of the motherhouse during that time. She participated in Ruah, a Ireland pilgrimage to explore the land and heritage of Nano Nagle and Edmund Rice. Her educational experience includes a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Clarke College and a master’s degree in theology from Notre Dame University, as well as many continuing education opportunities.