Story and photos by Dave Eck
It was a day of ceremony and tradition as the new Sisters of the Precious Blood community council was installed at a special Mass Aug. 2 at Salem Heights in Dayton.
Friends, family and other Precious Blood Sisters looked on as Sister Joyce Lehman, president, accepted a crucifix dating to the early 19th century as a symbol of the self-giving to which she is called in leadership. The crucifix was displayed in Loewenberg Castle in Switzerland when Maria Anna Brunner, foundress of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, lived there. As is tradition during the installation ceremony, former president Sister Florence Seifert presented the crucifix.
During the ritual of installation, Sister Joyce and councilors Sisters Ceil Taphorn, Patricia Kremer, Nancy Kinross and Linda Pleiman recited their commitment to serve the community in leadership. All Precious Blood Sisters then read aloud the community’s mission statement.
Missionary of the Precious Blood Father Ken Pleiman, Sister Linda’s brother, celebrated the Mass.
“This is a beautiful day for the Sisters of the Precious Blood as you install new leadership for four more years,” Fr. Ken said. “This is about being called.”
In his homily, Fr. Ken spoke of the prophet Isaiah who responded to God’s call, much as the Sisters do today.
“We are a community of believers sent out into the world,” Fr. Ken said.
Regardless of where they are, Precious Blood Sisters minister to those in their midst. God calls us to serve in the here and now, Father Ken added.
Former presidents Sisters Maryann Bremke, Charmaine Grilliot, Joyce Langhals and Florence served as ministers at the Mass. More than 130 people, including Precious Blood Sisters from across the United States and Chile attended the liturgy.
A reception for the new council was held after the Mass.
The new leadership team was elected during the community’s 2015 General Assembly last month. Sister Joyce was re-elected president while Sisters Nancy, Ceil and Linda were re-elected to council. Sister Ceil was elected vice-president. Sister Patricia was elected to her first term on the council.
Sister Patricia, a Cincinnati native, has been principal of St. Christopher School in Vandalia, Ohio, since 1993 and has ministered in education for more than 30 years.
A native of Ottoville, Ohio, Sister Joyce previously ministered at the Diocese of Toledo as director of pastoral planning and secretariat leader for pastoral leadership.
Sister Nancy, a Cincinnati native, has been a teacher and administrator, Executive Director of UNDA-USA, and has worked with non-profit programs providing services to under-served residents of the greater Cincinnati area. Sister Linda, who also serves as the congregation’s treasurer, is a former teacher and administrator. She was born in Sidney, Ohio. Sister Ceil, who grew up in Cincinnati, has been active in pastoral ministry, education, administration, and inter-faith and justice and peace endeavors.
The team will serve until August 2019.
During the General Assembly meeting held at the University of Dayton’s Virginia Kettering Hall Conference Center, Precious Blood Sisters also set directions to guide them in the next four years. These include initiatives related to promoting their charism of spirituality of the Precious Blood of Jesus, solidarity with the marginalized and fostering reconciliation, and acting responsibly related to our planet’s resources.