Transfer of Congregational Leadership

New team: Sisters Joetta Venneman, Mary Lou Specha, Carmen Hernandez, Rita Menart


Team leaving office: Sisters Carmen Hernandez, Joy Peterson, Marilyn Breen, Rita Menart


This weekend was filled with much gratitude and celebration. On Friday, April 14, the Dubuque Presentation community blessed and expressed their deep gratitude to the outgoing leadership team, Sisters Carmen Hernandez, Rita Menart, Joy Peterson and Marilyn Breen for their generous service over the last five years. Sisters, associates and employees offered their sentiments on what a true honor it has been to live and work among such courageous women who are committed to continuing Nano’s work of hospitality and love. “You shepherded us through a once-in-a hundred-year pandemic. You modeled attentive listening and bold dreaming. You helped us to celebrate our shared joys and to carry our shared grief. You invited us to share our hopes and dreams, you provided listening and support of those dreams. You have given us the power of your grace, strength, love and leadership in a world that does always cultivate those things. You are examples of what it means to lead with compassion, integrity, vision and a servant’s heart.” We are grateful for their dedication to the ministry of leadership and may God light their way on their next adventure.

On Saturday, April 15, the Sacred Heart Chapel was filled with excitement. The song “Ready for Change” echoed as sisters, associates, employees, friends and family gathered to welcome the incoming leadership team, Sisters Carmen Hernandez, Rita Menart, Mary Lou Specha and Joetta Venneman.

Sister Marilou Irons gave the opening remarks, “Today we make way for a new leadership team who again commit to follow in the footsteps of Nano Nagle and Mother Vincent Hennessy and all those who have taken the journey before us. We are at a threshold opening to new possibilities. We are thankful for all that has brought us to this place. We take these next steps in faith, knowing that God’s promise to be with us always continues to give us hope and the courage to dare this journey into an unknown future. This is a holy journey that we are taking, and we are taking it together. We are ready to change.”

We are grateful for Sisters Carmen, Rita, Mary Lou and Joetta’s willingness and readiness to offer their gifts as our leaders for the next five years.