“If you can’t ﬂ y then run. If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
… and moving we have done. It has been a central theme for us recently. As we take these next steps, we are excited to listen to where the Spirit is calling us. We are led by our mission in all that we do and this is no different. Over the last year and a half, our sisters have all moved out of the convent in Aberdeen. As they transitioned from the convent, many moved into Presentation Place in Aberdeen or Presentation Center in Sioux Falls. The ministries and employees are also now moving into spaces that better fit their needs too, as we continue to focus on serving the mission.
Caminando Juntos, our sponsored Hispanic ministry in Sioux Falls, expanded into a larger office space on the edge of downtown Sioux Falls. They continue to see an influx of clients as they walk with the newly arrived Latino immigrants in the community. Many clients have said this new space feels “like home” as they are welcomed into the ministry.
In addition to the physical move, they have increased their team to better serve the growing needs. In the last two years, they have hired more staff to help assist in the intake of the high volume they are experiencing each day, including someone to help with the large amount of immigration cases they receive. The ministry can experience up to 50 calls a day for assistance.
New life and movement will continue to find its way into Caminando Juntos as it grows for the future needs. April Ross, current director, will be moving to full time education director for the ministry. Education is a passion of hers and the ability to fully focus on this area will be a benefit to those they serve. With April’s move to education director, we are excited to welcome Matthew Tschetter, our new executive director, who joined the ministry on June 6.
In Sioux Falls, the integral ecology and mission development teams found new space to meet their growth and expansion. This group was grateful to have a short move up the stairs, landing on the main level of the same building they have been in for the last nine years. Some beautiful art pieces from the convent fill the space, making it feel like a wonderful extension of Nano’s legacy and centered in mission.
This May, the remaining teams at the convent (in Aberdeen), moved across town and found new space above the Avera Performance Center. Although the physical archives will remain at Presentation Heights for now, the following departments have moved: finance, mission development (which includes the archivist and cojourner coordinator), and the assistant to the president.
Along with this move, there has been discernment on what to do with all of the beautiful statues and artifacts in the convent. Our archivist has been working diligently to rehome precious statues, religious items, art and so much more. Many of the beautiful statues are finding their way to South Dakota parishes and we are grateful they will be treasured and enjoyed in years to come. With this transition, we have discovered new treasures and found ourselves pausing and reliving beautiful memories in this process. We remember our sisters who have gone before us, and are guided by their love and foresight as we continue stepping forward in this process.
One of our most asked questions remains, what will happen to the convent and the land? In Aberdeen, Presentation Convent sits on the Presentation Heights 125-acre campus, which includes Presentation College. We continue to strive for places of collaboration to enhance both missions. Presentation College will remain on the campus.
The discernment began over two years ago for how Presentation Heights can best serve our mission into the future. We have a desire to enhance our property with more of its natural beauty and imagine how this could be enjoyed by the Aberdeen community and region. We are using Laudato Si’, an encyclical written by Pope Francis, which calls us to care of creation and for our brothers and sisters in need. This letter guides our discernment process. We have also formed our most recent Chapter call around this important work and look forward to our Presentation people walking with us on this journey.
Although we don’t know our exact path, we do know that the land will continue to evolve and grow in the year(s) ahead. “Together, we continue to look ahead with our partners, as we have always done, in regards to our future and to addressing needs both locally and globally,” shares Sister Janice Klein.