A Jubilee Celebration

On January 11, 2019, Fr. Rogel “Ogie” Rosalinas celebrated 25 years of ordination to the sacred Priesthood. Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey and Bishop Emeritus Edmund Carmody and many people from the Corpus Christi diocese celebrated this joyous occasion. The South Texas Catholic included a short article about this wonderful event (see link below). We are very grateful for the faithfulness and dedication of Fr. Ogie to the priesthood and service to the People of God.

South Texas Catholic Article

Sharing the Gift of Music

 Excitement was in the air as music aficionados arrived at Visitation Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri on January 28, 2019 for the Sixth Annual Joy of Music concert, offered by Our Lady’s Montessori School (OLMS). Guests took their seats to experience a night of beautiful music performed by a variety of skilled musicians.

The Joy of Music, which has developed through the leadership of Sr. Mary of Holy Hope, SOLT, began as an inspired idea that would provide a venue for members of the school community to share their musical talent with the local community.

Years ago, Sr. Holy Hope met a young musician, David Snow, quite providentially, while playing in the orchestra at the Cathedral in Kansas City, Missouri. David was a former student at Our Lady’s Montessori School, and is now a religious brother enrolled in seminary studies for SOLT. Additionally, Kayleigh Aytes, a good friend of the school, met Sister and the trio joined together to launch the first Joy of Music concert in 2014. Since then, additional performers have joined the group and come from as far as Lawrence and Atchison, Kansas. What began as a small idea based on true appreciation for music and the desire to share it with the community, has quickly developed into the professional program offered today. Skilled musicians prepare and perform a variety of instrumental and choral pieces, a few of which include sacred and classical chamber music, including selections for organ, harp, and small ensemble.

Music offers a reflection of the truth, goodness and beauty of our heavenly Father. While Montessori incorporates music in the classroom, Sr. Holy Hope also offers an extra class for the preschool children in the afternoon. Perhaps someday one of our current students will be a performer such as Br. David!

We are grateful for each of the performers, who recognize music as an incredible gift to be shared with others. Click on the link below to enjoy the performance from our dedicated and generous friends.

For more information see olmskc.org.

25 Years of the Sacred Priesthood

 Fr. Paul Dao Ming (Dao Ming means Dominic) Dou was born October 14, 1954, one of 3 children, in Beijing, China. His family have been practicing Catholics for over 300 years and experienced persecution for the faith.

From 1974-1977, Fr. Dou studied Chinese Literature at the University of Beijing and received a BA in that subject.

He felt a call to become a priest early in his life and entered the seminary in 1980 as a member of the persecuted “underground” Church. From 1980 until 1986, Fr. Dou lived in the bishop’s residence as a seminarian while he studied Philosophy and Theology at Beijing Seminary.

On June 14, 1986, Fr. Dou was ordained a deacon together with the late Fr. Paul Hu, SOLT, for the Diocese of Yi Xian, China. He served for eight years as a deacon in that diocese. On January 21, 1994, Fr. Dou was ordained a priest by the Most Reverend Cosmos Shi, Bishop of the Yi Xian Diocese. Because of the persecutions going on against the Church at that time, Fr. Dou emigrated to the United States in March of 1994.

From 1994-1995, he studied at Holy Apostles where he met Fr. Tony and Fr. Jim Blount and a number of other SOLT brothers. During the years 1995-1999, Fr. Dou discerned a vocation with the Congregation of St. John the Baptist in Astoria, NY. When he decided that was not where he was called, he accepted an invitation to serve in the Archdiocese of New York, where he spent five years in the Church of the Transfiguration and at St. Joseph Parish. From December 2005 to May 2006, Fr. Paul spent some time at the Trappist Monasteries of Holy Mother of God in Taiwan, and Our  Lady of Joy Abbey in Hong Kong, renewing his spiritual energy.

Fr. Dou returned to the United States in 2007 and, on the recommendation of Fr. Paul Hu, SOLT, entered the SOLT novitiate in Bosque, New Mexico.  At the end of the novitiate, Fr. Dou was sent to serve in various SOLT missions, including Belcourt, Bosque, Capulin, Corpus Christi, and Kansas City. On November 1, 2015, Fr. Dou professed perpetual promises in SOLT. He is currently serving in the Corpus Christi Diocese and residing at OLCC.

We are very grateful to God and our Blessed Mother for the priestly vocation and service of Fr. Paul Dao Ming Dou, SOLT, and we wish him many more years of grace-filled service.

Founding Lay Member Enters Eternal Life

 Nicolina Teresa Capuano Sullivan of Kansas City died November 21, 2018 at her home. She was 93.

Mrs. Sullivan lived the words of St. Paul, “I have become all things to all people that I might by all means save some” (I Corinthians 9:22b). She was not only an advocate for her community’s underserved, she was also a champion of social justice as demonstrated through her many life roles. As wife, mother, missionary, author, nurse for the Kansas City urban population, and above all, servant to God, she sought to meet His callings with humility, dedication and love. This devotion to others was expressed most vividly in her relationships with her husband, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and her family in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).

Affectionately known as “Nikki,” Nicolina Sullivan was born Nov. 15, 1925, in Springfield, Mass. to WWI veteran Carmine Capuano and his wife Annina. She graduated from nursing college in 1947 and married decorated WWII veteran Dr. George E. Sullivan in 1948.

In 1962, George and Nikki left their suburban lives and George’s optometric practice in Massachusetts to pursue their calling to serve as one of the first lay missionary families in SOLT in New Mexico. After a few years, Nikki and George moved to Kansas City, Missouri with the SOLT community to work in areas of deepest apostolic need. To this end Nikki and George assisted the African American community in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. SOLT founder Father James Flanagan and then Diocesan Bishop Helmsing had a goal to fully unite the races in the Kansas City community. Answering this call, Nikki and George fully integrated their professional lives as nurse and optometrist and their family into the local African American community to perform apostolic works.

As a lay member of SOLT, Nikki worked with ecclesial teams to serve in areas of deepest apostolic need, a practice that began in SOLT’s foundational years and extended until her death. In the SOLT community she was known not only as a faithful servant of God, but for her gift of hospitality and intercessory prayer. Inspired by the life of Jesus’ mother Mary, in widowhood, Nikki consecrated her life to Jesus and organized other widows to serve Christ through a life of charitable works.

She was an avid chef, quilter, and author. She shared these gifts through her dinners, classes, books, and storytelling.

She is survived by her children, Daniel (Theresa) Sullivan of Kansas City, David (Cheryl) Sullivan of Lee’s Summit, Anne (Steve) Winn of Kearney, George (Ilona) Sullivan of Kansas City, Mary Sullivan of Seattle, WA, Rosalie Buergler Kansas City, and Edward Sullivan of Atlanta, GA; 21 grandchildren; and 40 great-grandchildren.

Visitation for Nicolina Sullivan will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with the rosary at 7:00 p.m., Monday, November 26, 2018 at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 2552 Gillham, Kansas City, MO, 64108. The Mass of the Resurrection will be conducted by Fr. Peter Marsalek at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, with the burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 7601 Blue Ridge Blvd., Raytown, MO, 64138 In lieu of flowers and gifts, a donation may be made to the Lay Association of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Laity, 1200 Lantana Street, Corpus Christi, TX 78407.

Homily at Nikki Sullivan’s funeral.

Eulogies at Nikki Sullivan’s funeral

Lessons from the Road

 After two weeks of long meetings and joyful celebrations, most attendees of the General Chapter and Regional Assembly returned immediately to their respective homes and missions. However, for the visiting Filipina sisters and the sisters from Phoenix (plus a couple extra drivers from our Texas-based sisters), the journey was not yet complete. A week on the road allowed us to share with our sisters from the other side of the world some of the most beautiful sites of the Southwest, as well as our historically significant houses in New Mexico. Our trip left us with memories to cherish for a lifetime, many graces, new friendships, innumerable photos, and some lessons learned (or learned anew).

 1) There’s no place like home.

The spiritual highlight of our trip was visiting Holman, N.M., the birthplace of SOLT and the earthly resting place of our founders, Fr. James Flanagan and Fr. John McHugh. “It feels like home,” one Filipina sister shared. “I have only taught about these places to our novices. Now I have actually seen it,” said another. Although not an impressive tourist attraction, this was the most meaningful site we visited. We were also able to make a short visit to Bosque, N.M., a former formation site and the place where Fr. Flanagan passed away. Particularly meaningful was our time with one of our founding sisters, Sr. Mary of the Redemption, who shared some of her experiences and wisdom with us.

 2) Our God is a God of beauty.

The vastness and magnificence of the Grand Canyon and the beautiful red rocks of Sedona gave us a renewed sense of awe before creation. “Sing to the Lord, all the earth!” (Ps 96: 1)

3) Our God is a God of generosity. 

Now, it is not an unusual occurrence for sisters to experience God’s generosity through monetary donations received from His people, but on this trip we experienced it like never before. Strangers and friends alike, almost every single place we went, felt moved to share their material blessings with us. I think God likes to show off once in a while, and He certainly made sure we were welcomed and taken care of everywhere we went, through donations and hospitality alike. May God reward all who gave to us!

3) Learning about other countries and cultures is fun.

One sister, amazed at the vast expanses of uninhabited land, kept asking, “Where are all the people?” The USA is much less densely populated than the Philippines, and there’s nothing a like a road trip to demonstrate that!

Another unexpected cultural moment: One morning, an everyday occurrence in the US literally stopped our visiting sisters in their tracks: a front loader garbage truck using automated forks emptying a dumpster!

 5) Those Filipina sisters sure can sing.

In several places, the sisters sang several songs to share their gratitude for the hospitality and friendship given to them. It was beautiful and heartfelt. A chorus of Filipina sisters singing the Tagalog “Stella Maris” can bring tears to one’s eyes.

This trip renewed us in relationship and fostered new friendships. Names now have faces, and we have bonded as friends and sisters in the same family. May Our Lady continue to guide us on our earthly journey towards heaven!

Tanglawan kami aming ina

Sa kalangitan naming pita

Nawa’y maging hantungang

Pinakamimithing kaharian

(From the lyrics of “Stella Maris” by Bukas Palad. Translation: “Be our beacon, our mother, in our journey towards our deepest desire, which is heaven.”)

Submitted by Sr. Mary Joy of our Father, SOLT

 

Sr. Maria Lucina Enters Eternal Rest

 SISTER MARIA LUCINA ~ MELINDA SHELLENBARGER

Sister Maria Lucina of the Lamb of God, SOLT, (Melinda Shellenbarger) died Saturday, June 23, 2018, after a courageous battle with cancer, at St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll.

Mass of the Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Willey. The Celebrant will be Fr. Peter Marsalek, SOLT. Con-Celebrants will be Fr. Kevin Richter and Fr. Mark Wendling, SOLT. Music will be by Sister Mary of Holy Hope and the SOLT Sisters. Lectors will be Joe Shellenbarger and Sister Maria Stella Maris. Gift Bearers will be: Sister Maria Mater Dei, Mia Balderas, Grace Elbers, Emma Elbers, and Hannah Elbers. Eucharistic Minister will be Sister Marie Hesed. Casket Bearers will be: Joe Shellenbarger, Jerry Shellenbarger, John Shellenbarger, Dan Elbers, Scott Sibbel and Vern Greving. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Willey.

Friends may call at St. Mary’s Church in Willey after 4 p.m. on Monday where there will be a rosary at 5 p.m. and a Christian Wake Service at 7 p.m. Additional visitation will be from 9:30-10:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning in the St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Willey.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Sharp Funeral Home in Carroll and online condolences may be left at www.sharpfuneral.com.

Born on January 17, 1957 at Slayton, Oregon, Melinda was the daughter of Robert and Arlene (Oenning) Welter. She is the eldest of six children and grew up in Torrence, California and Beaverton, Oregon. Melinda married Lonnie Shellenbarger at St. John the Baptist Church in Portland, OR in 1982. They welcomed their beloved daughter Lindsay, in 1984. The family resided in Oregon City where Melinda owned and operated Shell Graphics, where she did architectural renderings and Heaven’s Treasures Catholic Gift Store. After meeting Fr. Pinto, SOLT in 1992, she became a member of the Disciples of Jesus and Mary. She grew in her Catholic faith and felt God calling her to dedicate the rest of her life to His service. In 2006, Sr. Maria Lucina entered formation with the Sisters of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity(SOLT). She professed her first vows on July 16, 2012 and final vows on July 11, 2017. Sr. Maria Lucina was a gifted artist and shared her many gifts with everyone she encountered. She served for many years at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Retreat Center, in Corpus Christi, Texas, at Divine Mercy Parish in Belize City, Belize and at Domus Trinitatis in Willey, Iowa.

Sister Maria Lucina is survived by her daughter, Lindsay (Rory) Fitzgerald of Orlando, FL; her mother, Arlene Welter of Beaverton, OR; her siblings: Joseph (Junita) Welter of Aloha, OR, Jeffrey Welter of Vancouver, VA, Lisa (Randy) Cornwell of Beaverton, OR, John Welter of Hillsborough, OR, and Jerry Welter of Aloha, OR; as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and the members of her SOLT family.

Her father, Robert Welter and her husband Lonnie Shellenbarger preceded her in death.

 

 

First Impressions in Belize

Recently, Fr. Mark Wendling and Sr. Mary Elizabeth Albers led a group of young people to serve in Belize for almost two weeks. Below is a short write-up from one of the missionaries, Jack Kessler.

High: Attending Mass Sunday night I was struck by the deep sense of community present in the parish. The people were clearly excited by the return of Father Mark and the sense of anticipation was infectious. Celebrating the liturgy in Spanish was invigorating both because it reminded me of the universality of our faith and because it challenged me to be present without falling back on familiar routine.  I am excited to celebrate the source and summit our faith with the community of Benque again.

God moment: Today I was blessed to celebrate adoration with the rest of the group up here at Chapel Hill.  Watching the Blessed Sacrament I was reminded of a, possibly apocryphal, quote from the Cure of Ars Where he described Adoration as “I watch Him and He watches me”  That is what we did. We watched God and felt His presence with us. It was very relaxing and helped remind me of the goal of this mission i.e. to serve Him.

New experience: I had traveled to Mexico before so the actual process of traveling to Belize was not particularly new. However, once we reached Benque proper I was astonished to discover that Father Mark is for all intents and purposes a major celebrity to the people there. Driving through the town it felt like he stopped to chat with every person there.  The friendliness and courtesy displayed by the Belizeans was disarming in its simplicity. It felt almost like we were all returning to visit old friends, transforming a “foreign” place into a familiar shelter.

Other thoughts: Visiting Belize, I have been fascinated by the many different people I have met and the work that SOLT is doing here. This is mainly because it is such important work with a clear and visible impact but also because I have a personal connection to SOLT’s mission in Belize. My aunt spent several years as a missionary here and growing up I would always hear her talk about how much being here had meant to her. Coming here meant I could in part see what had excited her so much about this country and its people. What I could not foresee is that this would lead to me being constantly introduced to people as her nephew. In that sense I am very much in her shadow. I just hope I do not embarrass her too much.

Consecration, Communion, Service

 On August 11th of last year, our own dear Fr. Bob Cronin of SOLT passed into eternity on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, where he had loved and served for more than 25 years. In the two weeks leading up to his death, we community members, as well as many parishioners, held vigil in his room, serving his needs under the gaze of our Eucharistic Lord, 24/7. When Christ came for him, there was a priest, a sister, and a lay person with him. From my time and meditations there at his bedside, I would like to draw out three particular points of the joys of Consecrated Life that I feel this experience showcased.

First, consecration. It is an inexhaustible source of joy and grace for me to be a bride of Christ and a Church in miniature. Consecration is the reality that makes people ask us, “What are you?” To be able to stand for Christ and the Church in a public, marked, concrete, and special way was definitely something that attracted me to this life. And not only do I stand for Him, but the King of Heaven has reached down and chosen and marked me for Himself. This symbolism of consecration means that I represent and stand for another. This mystery was so clearly revealed as we Sisters stood by the bedside of Fr. Bob, as signs of our own dear mother Mary, who persevered by the Cross of her dying Son, or as signs of the Church who stays faithful to all her sons and daughters to the last minute of their lives. This standing for another is expressed to me in many other ways, also, like the kindergarten students who persist in calling to me, “Hey, Mary!” or the questions and conversations that begin when people see our habit.

Secondly, communio or communion. This word is dear to our Community, as our charism states that we are “Disciples of Jesus through Mary, living in Marian-Trinitarian Communion, serving on Ecclesial Family Teams, in areas of deepest Apostolic need.” It is a joy to live out every day, in reality and in hope, full communion of Heaven and Earth, communion of all members of the Church, and communion of all of creation in the love of the Trinity. How beautifully this was felt in serving Fr. Bob! One of the other priests would say Mass every day in his room, and when Mass was not being offered our Lord in the Eucharist remained exposed in adoration for Fr. Bob and whoever was taking care of him that shift. Heaven and earth, priests, sisters, and laity all working together as it ought to be. I was able to sit in silence with others for many hours and watch Fr. Bob breathe, pondering life, and death, and beauty, keeping the rhythm of the day with the Liturgy of the Hours. All of us were touched by this communion and community united in a single purpose, a picture of what Jesus prayed for when He said, “Father, that they may be one…”.

Third, service. Service to always and to all. It is a great gift to realize that my life does not belong to me, but to all people in service. At Saint Ann’s, I am the religion teacher in our Catholic school, and we Sisters are also involved in lots of things, such as bringing Holy Communion to our many homebound parishioners, teaching sacramental prep, serving our nursing home, and running a thrift store. It is in service that I am able to complete the example that Christ gave as our Divine Bridegroom in laying down His life, and it is where I am able to be an outlet to the many gifts, insights, and services given to me. My favorite saint is Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati who expressed this so well. “Jesus comes to me every morning in Communion, and I return the visit by going to serve the poor.” As I sat by Fr. Bob’s bed, I often thought of the fact that it is not the number or quantity of people visited that makes a difference, but rather to make each and every encounter with anyone count, to re-gift to them their dignity and the love Jesus has for them, to let each one know that they are priceless.

I thank God that He has chosen me to be a Sister! Pray for your Sisters, and for the people God has given us to serve, that we may be found faithful! And may we always find the source of our joy in the consecration, communion, and service God has gifted us with.

Written by Sr. Mary Rachel Craig, SOLT

New Endeavors in Education

Christy Snoke first fell in love with Belize when she visited our SOLT mission in Benque Viejo del Carmen as a chaperone with St. Michael’s Parish Youth Group from Findlay, Ohio, 8 years ago. She always knew that one day she would return to Belize to do something important. Now she lives in Belize City working with SOLT at Divine Mercy Parish in starting Mother of Mercy Montessori. Below is an interview with Christy about her experience in helping start Mother of Mercy Montessori.

How many children attend Mother of Mercy?

Currently we have 12 children enrolled in our program.

When did the program open?

Mother of Mercy is licensed as a daycare. I tell everyone, I run a Montessori daycare or school in the same fashion- Montessori style.  Our opening Mass and day was September 12, 2017.

Why did you start the program?

There were several reasons we started the program.  There is a greater history in the Divine Mercy parish than I know of, but there has been a plan for an early childhood center at Divine Mercy for many years now.  The property and building have been there, prayer warriors praying as God lined up the time and individuals necessary to make it a reality.

There has been a desire to have an authentically Catholic early childhood development program that can build a “Civilization of Love” within the Belizean culture.

In a providential meeting with a SOLT sister in Benque Viejo del Carmen in June 2010, right before I started my Montessori journey, we discussed her vision for Montessori and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in Belize.  From that moment forward, I knew that one day God would align people to start a program.

How did you start the center?

In November of 2016, parishioners of Divine Mercy and I gathered to discuss Montessori and how it could enhance and build upon the beautiful Belizean culture.  Several talented Belizeans pulled together their gifts and skills to gather the necessary tools to begin the program.  Within in a short few months, we had applications submitted for the program, materials purchased, caregivers lined up, generous sponsors and some interested families.  By the beginning of March 2017, we were on our way!

Do any volunteers assist with the program?

We have volunteers assisting with the program.  Sr. Stella Maris is one of our lovely caregivers. Ms. Therese is a retired preschool teacher who contributes beautifully to the cultural element of the program.  We now have Janine Chicas, a dear parent, as the lead caregiver.  Martita, another parent, has assisted with cleaning, making aprons, etc.  All of the families are required to volunteer each year.  We also had St. John’s Junior College education department come for a day to volunteer their time building a sandbox, playing with the children and other tasks around our center.  We’ve had Guiselle and Nina, high school students volunteer on their holiday break.  Indira Chavarria assisted in purchasing snack and drinking water on a weekly basis

We have many volunteers assisting with the program, including SOLT members and the laity. Our volunteers are retired teachers, parents, and friends from all walks of life who clean, make aprons, provide food, and create cultural elements for our classroom. All of the families are required to volunteer each year.  We also had St. John’s Junior College education department come for a day to volunteer their time building a sandbox, playing with the children and other tasks around our center.

Have you seen any difference in the community or in the children already?

On a relational level, we have built some great relationships with our families.  I’m so happy to be able to walk alongside them as they raise up the next generation of adults.  We’ve been able to provide meals for a few children who otherwise may not be able to eat regularly.  Children come eagerly to our community and leave joyfully.  Their parents say they wished they had had this program sooner for their children.  Their children are more willing to be independent and help at home and with the family.

More and more people are interested in our program.  We value relationship, authenticity, provide opportunities for children to engage in a whole person developmental program.  People want to know why we are so different from other programs and are excited to invest in a system that can bring real change in their community.

Why is the program Montessori?

Montessori creates an environment that focuses on the individual needs of the child within the greater context of society.  We focus on individuals, but the whole of those individuals and the whole of the community.  We look upon the child as a gift, regarded with the upmost dignity.  We allow them to explore in a safe microcosm of the larger society, to use their curiosity to learn about the world they live in. We value independence, spontaneous learning, the development of freedom and discipline, respect, culture, etc.

The children learn to manipulate concepts concretely in order to move to thinking more abstractly.  They use their hands to train their minds.  They become good at doing things, develop a deep desire and love for learning, find intrinsic value in their personal efforts that aren’t based off of external rewards and punishments.  Children become contributing members of society through purpose-filled work.

What are the children like?

The children a fun, quirky, have very different personalities from one another, loving, joyful, compassionate, enjoy purposeful work, lovers of beauty, etc. Trust had to be established before there could be mutual respect/respect for the caregivers. They are tender and compassionate.  They are relational. They love to say hi to Jesus, their Good Shepherd.

Order and routine, and the ability to repeat and master activities are important for children to learn and grow.  These children find great joy in being able to repeat and master the work they encounter everyday at Montessori. They are like any other children.  We all have universal human tendencies, regardless if we are from Asia or North America.  

Are you looking for volunteers at Mother of Mercy Montessori?

I think that could be great if volunteers came to be assistants. Ideally, it is better to have someone stick around for longer in order to create stability (like volunteers in Benque who decide to stay for an additional year or two). However, we would need to discuss with Fr. Scott and the board and then determine housing, food, etc. so the volunteer(s) can have a place to live close to the church so they can be a part of the community. Belize City is entirely different than Benque. It’s beautiful but our volunteer program is not yet as developed for volunteering long term.