Dubuque Sisters Celebrate Jubilee: Called by Spirit, Inspired by Nano Nagle

Jubilairians pictured above, left to right: Sisters Donna Determan, Emilie Bormann, Hermann Platt, Sheila Ann Dougherty, Raeleen Sweeny and Jeanine Kuhn.

60-Year Jubilarians
“We proclaim a year of jubilee!” Mass and the celebration of 60 years of religious life for six Presentation Sisters began on July 13, as Sister Mary Louise Scieszinski, on behalf of Sister Julianne Brockamp and all Presentation Sisters and associates, called all to worship announcing:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon you. You bring love, joy and hospitality to the winding lanes where you bind up the broken hearted, counsel the doubtful, instruct the needy, advocate for the trafficked, welcome the refugee, liberate captives and release prisoners from bondage. Because of what you have done for the poor ones in your midst’ for 60 years, we proclaim a year of jubilee!”

The symbol of Nano Nagle’s lantern and the theme of “Joy, Love and Gratitude” set the tone for jubilee day as sisters and associates honored Sisters Mary Emilie Bormann, Donna Determan, Sheila Ann Dougherty, Jeanine Kuhn, Hermann Platt and Raeleen Sweeney.

The jubilarians entered the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1956 and 1957 and professed first vows in 1959 and final vows in 1964. Each has served as teachers and individually they have given generously in other ministries or service such as chaplaincy to prisoners; advocacy for the unborn; volunteering for those made hungry, homeless and veterans of war; spiritual companioning; promoting the dignity of immigrants; and mentoring future and new teachers.

Sister Emilie Bormann, daughter of the late Charles and Anna (Hartmann) Bormann of Whittemore, Iowa, is currently in community prayer and service at Mount Loretto, the Presentation motherhouse.

Formerly Sister Emilie served as an elementary teacher and principal in Catholic schools in Monona and Algona, Iowa; and in Oak Lawn, Illinois; in parish ministry in Monticello, Minnesota; and as a chaplain in a federal correctional facility in Marianna, Florida; and the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

Helping to beautify the Mount Loretto grounds, Sister Emilie assists in keeping the property weed free and tends the roses that are shared throughout the house. “It’s a blessing in these retirement years to have the time to care for God’s creation on our spacious Mount Loretto grounds,” she comments. “I get energized by reverencing and celebrating all creation as gift.”

Sister Emilie also accompanies senior sisters to appointments and assists in the Mission Room packing and sending clothing to those in need. “I enjoy crocheting afghans for gifts, for fundraisers and for donations and purchases in our gift shop,” she comments.

“As I celebrate jubilee I reflect on the past 60 years and am most grateful for my call to our Presentation community. My heart is filled with joy for the opportunities I have to serve God, God’s people and all of creation.”

Sister Donna Determan, daughter of the late Raymond and Bonita (Shire) Determan of Mason City, Iowa, is currently in community prayer and service at Mount Loretto. She also gives support to the Dubuque County Right to Life and spends time visiting the sick and elderly.

Formerly Sister Donna served as an elementary teacher in Catholic schools in Dubuque, Whittemore, Storm Lake and Mason City, Iowa, and in Chicago, Illinois.

“The inspiration and zeal of Nano, our Presentation foundress, and the example of Presentation Sisters in education and service to others and praying daily in community energizes me,” states Sister Donna. “This jubilee celebration is a special way of thanking God for His grace and blessings the past 60 years. I’m also grateful to my family and friends for their loving support.”

Sister Sheila Ann Dougherty is the daughter of the late Everett and Mayme (Hall) Dougherty of Mason City, Iowa. Currently Sister Sheila Ann is in community prayer and service at Mount Loretto.

In retirement, Sister is also involved in ministry to the veterans at James A. Lovell Federal Veterans’ Hospital in North Chicago, Illinois. In the Dubuque area, Sister volunteers regularly at the Dubuque Food Pantry and Dubuque Rescue Mission. She is an active member of the Coalition Against Human Trafficking in the tri-state area. Sister Sheila Ann continues to use her musical talent by accompanying regularly for liturgical celebrations.

“As a woman religious today, I am most passionate about direct ministry to the homeless and those in poverty, as well as facilitating education and advocacy on behalf of victims of human trafficking.”

Formerly Sister Sheila Ann served as an instrumental and classroom music teacher in Catholic elementary schools in Monona, Osage, Algona and Dubuque (elementary and high school) in Iowa; in congregational leadership as councilor; in pastoral ministry in Oak Lawn, Illinois; and as director of parish liturgy and music in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“As I celebrate 60 years as a Presentation Sister, I am grateful to God for the many opportunities I’ve had over the years through ministry to God’s people in parishes, schools and volunteer ministries. I thank God for the gift of music, which has been such a part of me since my childhood years. I live with joy and gratitude for all that has been and all that is yet to be.”

Sister Jeanine Kuhn, is the daughter of the late Sylvester and Elizabeth (Sullivan) Kuhn of Osage, Iowa. Currently Sister Jeanine offers spiritual direction in the Dubuque and Waterloo area. This fall she became a member of the formation community in Dubuque.

Formerly Sister Jeanine served as an elementary teacher and principal in Catholic schools in Dubuque and Farley, Iowa, and in St. Paul, Minnesota; in congregational leadership as president and councilor; in congregational formation and vocation ministries; as a pastoral minister in Charles City, Iowa; and as administrator, spiritual director and retreat director at American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls, Iowa. For six years she worked at St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, and guided students on their spiritual journey. She also volunteered at the Cedar Valley Hospice Home in Waterloo, Iowa.

“With a grateful heart I celebrate these 60 years living in community with the Sisters of the Presentation. I am so grateful to all who supported me along the way with their love, joy and friendship. God gifted me with a call to follow in faith and has given me many blessings to serve in a variety of ministries,” reflects Sister Jeanine. “The mission call from our foundress Nano Nagle described by Raphael Consedine, PBVM, in her book ‘One Pace Beyond,’ is still my call: ‘Go out! For need calls loudly in the winding lanes, and you must see Christ there.’”

Sister Hermann Platt, daughter of the late Joseph and Elizabeth (Marking) Platt of Algona, Iowa, is archivist for the Presentation community.

Formerly Sister Hermann served as an elementary teacher and principal in Catholic schools in Osage, Storm Lake, Ryan, Dubuque, Whittemore and Algona, all in Iowa, and Oak Lawn, Illinois; as educational associate for the Dubuque Archdiocesan Office of Education and Presentation community education consultant; and as editor of the former Mount Loretto Bulletin.

“Jubilee is a time of rededication of my life to God and to the work of the community,” states Sister Hermann. “I see it as a celebration of what God has brought about in my life and a time to look ahead to the years to come and discern what God has planned for my future.”

“My passion at this time is to keep before us the history of the Dubuque Presentation Sisters. We stand on the shoulders of so many brave women who have built the community and have left us Nano Nagle’s legacy. The more we know about them the better we can carry on her work in the world today. Part of the work also is to help people connect to their family roots, providing stability in their lives and informing them of the mission carried out by their ancestors.”

Sister Raeleen Sweeney is the daughter of the late Ralph and Ileen (Birdsell) Sweeney of Waukon, Iowa. Currently she is consultant to the CEO of the Golden Apple Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, while continuing to mentor Golden Apple scholars.

Formerly Sister Raeleen served as an elementary teacher in Catholic schools in Dubuque, Elkader, Farley and Mason City, Iowa, and Oak Lawn, Illinois; and as director of Golden Apple Scholars Core Professional Development for the Golden Apple Foundation.

“I continue to reverence relationships with Golden Apple teaching scholars as they meet their daily challenges and successes in life,” remarks Sister Raeleen. “I am energized by daily contemplation for myself and others.”

Reflecting on this jubilee time, Sister Raeleen states, “This jubilee celebration reminds me of the ever-constant loving support I receive from my Presentation community, my family and friends and my colleagues at Golden Apple without whom I would not be the individual I am today. My life has been and continues to be shaped by blessings in abundance; I am deeply grateful for all the joy, love and the light of Nano Nagle’s lantern. I am excited about all the possibilities in life today. I am blessed by the past and graced by the present to live with hope for the future.”

Sisters Marjorie Loughren and Anne McCormick celebrate their 50th jubilee.

Sisters Marjorie Loughren and Anne McCormick celebrate their 50th jubilee.

50-Year Jubilarians
“Blessed by God’s Gift, Strengthened by Grace, Received with Gratitude” summarizes the sentiments of golden jubilarians Sisters Marjorie Loughren and Mary Anne McCormick when they celebrated 50 years of religious life sharing a Mass and dinner with Presentation Sisters, family and friends on September 24, 2016.

Entering the Sisters of the Presentation on September 8, 1966, Sister Anne professed final vows in 1974 and Sister Marjorie in 1975. The life and spirit of Venerable Nano Nagle has inspired the personal faith journeys of Sisters Anne and Marjorie as exemplified in their reading from John 15: 9-17, “Remain in my love. … This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” Nano saw all goodness within that one great commandment.

Sister Marjorie Loughren, daughter of the late Bernard and Loretta (McDowell) Loughren of Monti, Iowa, graduated from St. Patrick High School in Ryan, Iowa, and Clarke University (formerly Clarke College), Dubuque, Iowa.

Currently Sister Marjorie is a substitute teacher in Catholic schools in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. She also volunteers in visiting elderly persons, tutoring, child care and various parish activities.

Formerly Sister Marjorie served as an elementary teacher in Catholic schools at Farley-Bankston, Key West, Osage and Epworth, all in Iowa; Oak Lawn, Illinois; and St. Paul, Minnesota.

“I am energized knowing that I have been blessed by God’s gifts of life, faith, love, family and community. Each day as I teach children I see the love and many faces of Jesus alive before my eyes.”

Committed deeply to the ministry of teaching, Sister Marjorie comments, “I am passionate about education because it is the root and means for all the good that is possible in our world. I believe that God’s grace is always available to bring about peace in every situation if only we remain determined and faithful.”

The gift of jubilee carries with it the grace of gratitude as reflected in Sister Marjorie’s remarks, “As I celebrate 50 years of religious commitment, I live in gratitude for my parents, family, friends and the Presentation Sisters founded on Nano Nagle’s deep faith. I celebrate in gratitude for all those who have made a difference in my life and those whose lives I was fortunate enough to touch in some small way. Because of all these people, I am constantly being changed and becoming my true self.”

Sister Anne McCormick, daughter of the late Leslie and Bernice (Ryan) McCormick of Waukon, Iowa, graduated from St. Patrick School in Waukon, Iowa, and Clarke University (formerly Clarke College) in Dubuque, Iowa. Currently she serves in various ministry roles at Mount Loretto such as companion, driver, transportation scheduler and various liturgical roles at celebration of the Eucharist.

Formerly Sister Anne served as an elementary teacher in Catholic schools in Charles City, Cedar Falls, Farley-Bankston and Sheldon, all in Iowa; Timber Lake, South Dakota; and Globe, Arizona.

“I returned to our motherhouse after 37 years of teaching. It was hard to leave the education scene. I missed my students and their families,” shares Sister Anne. “I have been blessed with many learning opportunities, time for prayer and service especially to our senior sisters. I have also had the opportunity for service by volunteering in different ways in Dubuque. In addition, I am currently a member of a group working on ways to increase awareness of human trafficking.”

Reflecting on her vocation, she adds, “My life as a Presentation Sister has consistently been energized by the sisters with whom I have lived. Their faithfulness to prayer, service to the poor and willingness to reach out to others through our Presentation charism of hospitality has been an example and source of strength to me. The support and encouragement I have received from my Presentation family have been signs of God’s presence in my life.”

Jubilee is a special time of gratitude. Thus, Sister Anne states, “Celebrating my 50th jubilee allows me the opportunity to thank God, my Presentation community, my family and friends for their love and support as I continue to live as a Sister of the Presentation following the direction given to us by our foundress, Venerable Nano Nagle.”