Compiled by Sister Mary Lou Schmersal
Sisters of the Precious Blood gathered for the Assembly at the Bergamo Retreat and Conference Center in Dayton, Ohio, during the week of June 27 – July 1, 2011 to set goals for the next four years and elect a new leadership team. Newly elected Sisters include: Joyce Lehman, president; Nancy Kinross, vice president and councilor; Linda Pleiman, Cecilia Taphorn and Mary Yarger, councilors. The new team succeeds Sisters Florence Seifert, president; Jeanette Buehler, vice president and councilor; Marita Beumer, Edna Hess and Madonna Ratermann, councilors.
Here, in alphabetical order and in their own words, are a few comments from our newly elected sisters as they move into leadership roles within our Congregation.
Nancy Kinross, vice president and councilor, considers “…it a joy to be part of and to serve my Precious Blood Family. I look forward, as a part of the new leadership team, to addressing with our Sisters the tasks we set before us in our recent Assembly. With God’s guidance and grace we together will be listeners to the needs of our time and respond through the lens of our Precious Blood Spirituality.” Nancy has been teacher and administrator, Executive Director of Unda-USA, (a national organization for Catholic Communicators), and has worked with the non-profit programs (Franciscan Haircuts from the Heart and of Elder High School’s Tech-Reach) providing services to under-served residents of the greater Cincinnati area. This rich and diversified background prepared her for the challenges of her next four years of ministry.
Joyce Lehman, president, considers this challenge of congregational leadership an opportunity “…in the midst of the clamor of a fast-paced world, to keep our ears and our hearts alert to our faithful God’s “still, small voice” that guides us in this Divine venture we call life. “All of us” … are on this exciting enterprise to live out our mission of proclaiming the redeeming love of Jesus by being life-giving and reconciling wherever we are; and the many others we serve, who serve with us and who in turn serve us.”I am excited by the prospect of “getting to work with wonderful people.”
Joyce’s varied interests and talents include an eclectic mix of travel, baking bread and scrumptious pies, spiritual direction, fixing things that don’t work, concerts and outdoor festivals. Professionally, most recently, she was Director of Pastoral Planning for the Diocese of Toledo and the Secretariat Leader for Pastoral Leadership. In 2010 she became Director of Initial Formation for the Congregation. At this juncture in life Joyce is looking forward to “serving the Sisters. My previous experience in leadership helped me get to know my Sisters and I look forward at this time to serving them again.”
Linda Pleiman, councilor, transitioning from various educational endeavors both as teacher and as administrator, says she was really “looking forward to not getting up at 5:45 in the morning”. But realistically that may not happen any time soon in the busy life of one on the leadership team. Over the years, the God of Surprises has been a reality in Linda’s life and even now she admits, “I am somewhat at a loss as to what this new position entails. I do get excited about getting to know our Congregation in an entirely new way. I am also excited about working with other Sisters to fulfill the directives of the Assembly. It will be interesting to see how or if the skills and talents that have been honed in the classroom over many years will transfer to this new position – only time will tell.” Never fear, Linda; your practical nature and love of learning will stand the test.
Cecilia Taphorn, councilor, names it “an honor to serve the community, and I am looking forward to working with the new team. A personal challenge for me will be taking part in a lot of meetings. I’ve often found myself saying “in Heaven there won’t be any meetings.” I believe a Congregational challenge will be responding to the issue of new membership.” Ceil’s life-time experiences in pastoral ministry, education, administration and inter-faith endeavors will translate in many practical ways as we together move into the future while her love of music and people will be a balance to all those meetings.
Mary Yarger, councilor, says this next chapter in her life “… definitely is an adventure … but who says life is easy!” Mary grew up in Phoenix and has worked all her ministerial life in the western part of the U.S., much of the time with the Native American peoples. She is a member of the Luiseno tribe located in the Pala, California area and is deeply grounded in her Native American heritage. Mary’s new adventure will include interfacing more closely with Sisters around the country using her teaching and administrative skills along with her personal convictions about life and living to good advantage. We know she will also make time to keep an eye on those lemon trees so lovingly tended in Lake Elsinore, California.