Consecrated Life

Congratulations – FSPA 2023 Jubilarians

This article was posted on: August 10, 2023

Class of 1948—75 years

Sister Penchi

Sister Loretta Penchi—Throughout her religious life, Sister Loretta Penchi’s ministry has been one of music. She was a music teacher to students in Wisconsin, Iowa and Washington for 26 years before serving in La Crosse as the copy center manager at Viterbo University. In her retirement, Sister Loretta served Viterbo as a mail clerk, continuing her ministry of music as a part-time organist. Today, she ministers in witness and prayer.

Sister Winnike

Sister Lucille Winnike—From West Point, Iowa, Sister Lucille Winnike ministered as a teacher and principal in elementary and high schools in Wisconsin, Iowa and Montana. She served FSPA as Central Province Provincial from 1972 to 1978 and was elected FSPA president, a position she held for one term. Sister Lucille then began a ministry of retreat and spiritual direction, serving Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center. She continues her ministry, part time, today.

Class of 1953—70 years

Sister Griesmer

Sister Florence Griesmer—For 27 years, Sister Florence Griesmer of Edgar ministered as an elementary and intermediate teacher in Washington, Iowa and Wisconsin. In Colorado she served assisted living and memory care patients and, as a certified nursing assistant, cared for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Upon retirement, Sister Florence continued to serve older adults as a volunteer before moving to La Crosse, ministering in prayer and witness. She resides at St. Rose Convent today.

Sister Nehl

Sister Bernadette Nehl—From Durand, Sister Bernadette Nehl taught middle and junior high school students in Wisconsin, Iowa and Kentucky. She then managed a food pantry and thrift store in Missouri, ministered as North American GATE coordinator and volunteered for Helpline and St. Vincent DePaul in Washington. She then served FSPA as St. Francis Chapel chaplain and volunteer administration secretary at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, where she resides today.

Sister Tigges

Sister Mildred Tigges—Sister Mildred Tigges, from Maple River, Iowa, served as a high school teacher and principal in Iowa, Wisconsin, Utah and Guam, as education department chair at Viterbo College in La Crosse, and part-time college and learning center instructor in Zimbabwe. In 2001 she began a ministry of volunteerism in La Crosse as a Viterbo history tutor, elementary school aide and St. Rose Convent chapel tour director until her retirement in 2018.

Sister Simeon Werner

In Memoriam—Sister Mary Simeon Werner—Sister Mary Simeon Werner grew up in Spokane, Wash., and ministered as a teacher in Wisconsin and Washington. She served FSPA as novice director for four years in La Crosse. In Oregon, Sister Mary Simeon was a teacher and principal as well as prison chaplain and parish visitor. She retired in Spokane, volunteered for Catholic Charities and moved to St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, where she served in prayer and hospitality.

Sister Wilichowski

Sister Laverne Wilichowski—Education is the lifelong ministry of Sister Laverne Wilichowski. Born in Marathon, she was a teacher and principal in elementary, middle and high schools in Wisconsin and Washington. Upon her retirement in 2013, Sister Laverne volunteered as a school librarian and in parish ministry in Prescott. In 2017, she began a ministry of prayer and hospitality at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, where she lives and serves today.

Class of 1963—60 years

Sister Deppe

Sister Helen Deppe—Sister Helen Deppe of Bellevue, Iowa, grew up in the presence of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. She began her ministry as a homemaker and librarian in Wisconsin and Iowa. In the Diocese of Tulsa Oklahoma, she began a ministry of social work. Sister Helen was then called by FSPA to serve as living community coordinator at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, a ministry she continues today.

Sister Hophan

Sister Ronalda Hophan—In her first 10 years of ministry, Sister Ronalda Hophan was an elementary, middle and high school teacher as well as principal in Iowa and Wisconsin. She then moved to Arbor Vitae to serve FSPA as regional treasurer and maintenance coordinator. At St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Sister Ronalda ministered as associate heritage curator, executive congregational secretary and sacristan. Today she lives and serves at St. Rose in prayer and hospitality.

Sister Kappell

Sister Karen Kappell—Sister Karen Kappell of Kaukauna entered religious life as a Franciscan Sister of Charity. She began a ministry of art as a high school and college teacher in Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin and transferred to FSPA in 1985. While continuing her art ministry, she has served FSPA as affiliation director and, from 2014 to 2022, as mission councilor. She is now a part-time artist at Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center in Arbor Vitae.

Sister Shepler

Sister Patricia Shepler—Born in Eau Claire, Sister Patricia Shepler began her ministry as an elementary school teacher throughout Wisconsin. With a master’s degree in business administration, she served Viterbo University in La Crosse, as assistant business manager and then business controller, a role she also served in Iowa before retiring in 2008. Sister Patricia has served the ministry of prayer and hospitality at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse since 2012. 

Class of 1973—50 years

Sister Heil

Sister Carolyn Heil—Sister Carolyn Heil began her ministry as a middle school teacher and pastoral assistant/DRE in Wisconsin. She then served in California as a school secretary and distribution manager for a spirituality publication. In Ontario, Canada, Sister Carolyn ministered at an ecology retreat center and as an elementary school teacher. She went on to help found Camp Winston, a summer camp in Ontario for children with complex neurobiological disabilities, where she facilitates a nature program.

Sister Lueck

Sister Karen Lueck—From New Vienna, Iowa, Sister Karen Lueck served as an elementary school teacher and pastoral associate/counselor in Iowa, a principal in Oklahoma and a psychotherapist in Illinois. She then ministered as FSPA mission councilor in La Crosse and as a spiritual director in Iowa. Returning to La Crosse, she served FSPA as novice director and then president, a role she fulfilled from 2010 to 2014. Sister Karen ministers there today as an author and volunteer.  

Sister Stuttgen

Sister Kathy Stuttgen—Sister Kathy Stuttgen has ministered in both health and pastoral care. She served as a surgical technician and nurse assistant in Wisconsin and a pastoral caregiver in Iowa. She was the pastoral care program director to retired FSPA at Villa St. Joseph and served as a minister to older adults at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in La Crosse. In her retirement, Sister Kathy volunteers at the parish as well as St. Clare Health Mission.  

Sister Tydrich

Sister Julie Tydrich—With a master of healthcare administration degree, Sister Julie Tydrich served FSPA as treasurer for 21 years and the National Religious Retirement Organization as finance/administration consultant for 10 years. She was hired as Wisconsin Religious Collaborative executive director in 2020 and became the part-time Villa St. Joseph administrator in 2021. Sister Julie is currently serving her second four-year term as FSPA mission councilor and continues her part-time ministries at the Villa and with WRC.

Class of 1963—25 years

Sister Ernster

Sister Sue Ernster—Sister Sue Ernster served as a campus minister at Viterbo University in La Crosse, director of sacramental preparation at St. Therese of Deephaven in Minnesota, director of campus ministry at Holy Family Catholic High School in Waconia, Minn., and business administrator at St. Richard Parish in Rochester, Minn. She achieved collaborative leadership certification and has served FSPA in several capacities, as assistant treasurer, treasurer, vice president and, since 2022, president.

Sister Heil

Sister Roselyn Heil—Sister Roselyn Heil has served many ministries in Wisconsin, including teaching, supportive therapy and liturgy. In spiritual direction, she served Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and St. Anthony of Padua Secular Franciscans. Sister Roselyn served Bell Tower Residence Assisted Living in pastoral care and St. Mary Parish on the Bad River Ojibwe Reservation in Odanah as pastoral associate, where she serves today.

Sister Mershon

Sister Linda Mershon—After volunteering for FSPA’s Global Awareness Through Experience program, Sister Linda Mershon was called to religious life. She ministered at 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago, Ill., as a chaplain at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, Minn., and in spiritual care at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse. Sister Linda has served FSPA as mission councilor, president and director of Villa St. Joseph, and continues her ministry of spiritual direction today.

Published in the July/August 2023 issue of Catholic Life Magazine

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