Pictured above: Anna, Mary Therese, Lisa and Silvia
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians? Dubuque Presentation Sister Mary Therese Krueger was asked this same question during one of her courses at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois, where she is working on her master’s degree in pastoral studies. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to engage in the Scriptures in a way she had never thought possible. With the blessing of the Presentation community, she was able to make this opportunity a reality through the travel seminar, “Encountering the Bible Lands.”
Below is a brief reflection by Sister Mary Therese of her time in the Holy Land:
I am currently enrolled at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago studying for a Masters in Pastoral Studies. As part of my studies, I was able to take part in the incredible experience of studying the scriptures through the travel seminar “Encountering the Bible Lands.” I felt extremely blessed to not only explore the context of the scriptures, but also to explore the breadth of the Presentation charism in the Middle East.
I was able to spend almost a week with Union Presentation Sisters Silvia Francis, Lisa Pires, and Anna Manyonga. My time with Presentation Sisters was outstanding as the hospitality of their community was obvious in every aspect of my visit. Their ministries and presence are various and abundant in the Middle East as they serve the needs of the Holy Land through peacemaking, nonviolence, and education. Sisters Silva, Lisa, and Anna increased my understanding and opened my eyes to the effect of the ongoing conflict in the lives of the people of the Middle East through the lense of the stories and experiences of people living there.
I was reminded of our Dubuque Chapter call of nonviolence and radical hospitality through their presence and mission in the Holy Land. Their lived reality is inspirational to me as I continue to discern my life as a Presentation Sister in temporary vows. It has caused me to reflect on my own and our Dubuque community’s mission and presence in the places we currently minister. I could tangibly feel Nano Nagle’s presence in the Holy Land and the wonderful gift of the hospitality of Presentation Sisters to the world.
As I continued my time in Israel, I joined my classmates as we explored Biblical Sites throughout Israel, Turkey, and Greece. I was extremely grateful for this opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the founders of our faith from Abraham, to Jesus, to the early Christians, to the Presentation Sisters.
This experience I have had has helped to shape who I am and God’s call for me to live my life as a Presentation Sister. My time with the Presentation Sisters in the Holy Land has reinvigorated my call to follow in Nano Nagle’s footsteps and go one pace beyond to work for peace in our hearts, minds, and our home. I am incredibly grateful to have had this experience and know that it will forever impact my reflections on the scriptures and my life as a Presentation Sister.