Jubilarians 2024

Holy Union Jubilarians for 2024


This year we’re delighted to celebrate two Jubilarians, both have reached their 70th year as a Holy Union Sister, Sr. Mary Catherine Duerr and Sr. Gertrude Pare.

Sr. Mary Catherine Duerr and Sr. Gertrude Pare

If you received our January issue of Response, you may remember we asked them the following question:  “How has living the Holy Union charism evolved since your early years as a Sister, and what is it calling you to today and tomorrow?”

Here is what they shared with us.



Sr. Mary Catherine Duerr

In my early years as a Sister, I don’t recall hearing the word “charism”. On our original Holy Union cross were the virtues silence, simplicity, charity, and obedience which became a very significant part of my life. Also, on our cross was the “Eye of God”, symbolizing that God was always watching over me, and I was in His loving care. That is what guided my vocation, and what I would have been living as “charism”.

Sometime after Vatican II, the word Charism emerged. In the first article of our Constitutions we are “called to be at the heart of the world revealing God’s love”. I pray that it has become a very significant part of who I am at this stage of my religious life.

After spending so many years at St. Leo’s in Baltimore, I came to know the people and actually became part of this Parish Family. I felt affirmed. That affirmation continues to this day as we keep in touch through prayer and phone.

I pray that here in the Prosper Community where I now live, I strive to carry out a ministry of presence among the elder residents as a Holy Union Sister, “revealing God’s love”.

As I think about tomorrow, I see myself having a prayer ministry. Since my abilities to move about and do physical things begin to diminish, suffering becomes a part of my joint experience living in an Assisted Living facility. Together we can be here to support one another, to be in communion with each other.

Growing older is a blessing and it is a gift to be put in a position to be able help each other endure the limitations as time progresses. I pray that God will allow me the health to be able to continue being present in my efforts to be true to our charism of union and revealing God’s love here in the present.

Sr. Gertrude Pare

When I entered Holy Union, I didn’t know what charism meant. But in the early days our lives centered around following the rules, so to speak. Which suited me well, as I was always a rules follower. Which, in hind sight, seems a bit like living a charism. I was trying my best to live as a good Religious.

With Vatican II there was a great deal of new language and ideas, and I began to see this new term “charism” as meaning the essence of who you are, which for me, was someone who wanted to follow everything I was taught. And that remains true to this day.

Union, our official charism, to me has meant working together, and being mission-minded. It includes being alert to things happening in the world including things like the climate, or even politics. Today, our work in these areas is mostly focused on prayer. But for many years our focus was on our mission, which for me was teaching. I tried to be very aware of the kids and where they were coming from, and becoming more aware of their problems or challenges made me a better teacher. As time went on, I became a principal which required me to be a bit more extraverted, in order to deal with the parents. These qualities even helped me to deepen and grow my relationship with my own family, understanding them better, and accepting them as they were. None of us is perfect.

I am now at this stage of my life where I cannot do all the things I would like to do. However, I still can share my charism by my presence among the people I meet daily. I can take the time to listen to people who need to share their stories, visit people who do not have company, console people who need consoling and share my joy by being who I am. And so, my journey continues.

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