By Celine Klosterman
As part of National Women’s History Month, National Catholic Sisters Week is launching March 8-14. St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., received a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to kick off the week, designed to spotlight the works and lives of Catholic Sisters. In that spirit, The Catholic Messenger here shares highlights from a day in the life of a Sister from a congregation based in the Diocese of Davenport: the Sisters of Humility. Next week, the Messenger will feature the Clinton Franciscans.
For Sister Mary Ann Vogel, a member of Davenport-based Congregation of the Humility of Mary, most days start at 5 a.m. “The first three hours of the day are my time with God,” she says. That includes up to an hour in meditation, plus morning Mass at St. Anthony Church in Davenport.
She learned the value of setting aside time each day for prayer during her formation with the congregation, which she entered in 1958, before the Second Vatican Council inspired reforms in her community. During her earliest years with the order, Sisters followed a strict daily regimen filled with liturgies and several sessions of communal prayer.
Today, the Sisters find time for prayer often on their own and spend more of their days ministering to the broader community. Sr. Vogel works as finance director, volunteer coordinator and development committee chair at Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. (HMHI), a Davenport-based organization that helps single-parent families experiencing homelessness. With a master’s degree in business administration, she also works as finance director for Humility of Mary Shelter in Davenport. As a cabinet member with the Sisters of Humility, she meets regularly with other congregation leaders to plan for their order’s future.
One Thursday morning in February, she typed thank-you letters and donation receipts for HMHI supporters before heading to Cinderella’s Cellar, a Davenport resale shop, to pick up dishes and toiletries to give to HMHI clients. “People come to us with nothing,” she said. For lack of laundry detergent, one woman was using shavings of bar soap to wash clothes.
Seeing clients take on opportunities to improve their lives is rewarding, Sr. Vogel said. “My heart is really with the children.”
But it’s challenging to stay on top of the requirements for various federal grants HMHI receives, she added. The organization is grateful for the funding, though, as well as for prayers and donations from churches and the Sisters of Humility, who she said are the ministry’s “greatest supporters.”
“We’re making daily leaps of faith.”
By Celine Klosterman