Benedictine sisters celebrate 75-year anniversaries

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Some people make it five years in the same job. Others celebrate when they’ve stuck it out for ten.

For Sisters Lillian Harrington and Rosaria Schaefer, those anniversaries were just waypoints.

In a jubilee Mass and reception packed with friends, admirers, and awe struck observers yesterday, the two Benedictine sisters celebrated something most of us can’t even begin to comprehend: their 75th anniversaries as vowed women religious.

In her reflection on Harrington and Schaefer’s accomplishment during a jubilee Mass celebrated at Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kan., Prioress Anne Shepard called attention to the gifts and talents each has brought to their various ministries.

Both Rosaria and Lillian taught English, Shepard told the hundred or so assembled to acknowledge their life of dedication. Through the years, Roasaria also played the organ for her students and dedicated hours to delicate handiwork. Lillian enjoyed teaching speech and drama classes, and enjoyed passing on a love for acting to generations of young people.

“Sisters Rosaria and Lillian are models of what it means to be attentive to the liturgy of the hours, the Eucharist, community meetings and events. They are both examples of how to age gracefully, never losing their lady-like qualities,” said Shepard. “Their hope and their faith are almost as tangible as their deep love for all here present and for many that could not be here.”

Sisters Lillian and Rosaria, thank you. We’ll never be able express our gratitude for your decades of witness to the Christian life. Here’s to 75 more years

As Sister Anne put it: “Thank you for your daily "yes" to what God gives you, us. Your response in the affirmative causes us joy. Your lives, passionately lived, indeed, mirror the wisdom of God.”

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