This year marks jubilees for 12 vowed religious of the Diocese of Youngstown. They were honored at a Lenten Mass celebrated by Bishop David J. Bonnar at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Canton on March 25.
Among the 2023 jubilarians is Sister Margaret Mary Siegfried, from the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, who has served 80 years.
Sister Joyce Candidi, an Oblate Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the director of the diocesan Office for Vowed Religious, said that the celebration of jubilees is an especially heartwarming aspect of her work. “Of all the projects that I work on from my office, this is my favorite event,” she said.
“I never cease rejoicing in the beautiful example of joy and continuous dedication these religious women and men have given to the Church for so many years—even decades,” she continued. “For a religious sister, brother and religious priest, life with and for Jesus is always new, refreshing and joyful.”
Often, she said, jubilees signal “a time to stop, reflect and offer thanks to God.” In many cases, those celebrating take a sabbatical—“They take some time off for study, prayer and rest,” she said, adding that milestones often signal “renewal of our commitment as religious to the Lord.”
Addressing the cases of vowed religious with considerable longevity in their orders, she said that, as ascetics, their lifestyles of “hard work, commitment and self-control are conducive to human flourishing.”
Sister Joyce noted that perhaps 20 years ago, jubilees were typically celebrated only at the convents, but all that has changed, with events now held in the parishes. “This draws people’s attention to callings in religious life. We take this show on the road to witness the joy of religious life with the laity,” she said.
On March 25, a social hour, catered dinner and presentation on Rhoda Wise—a Canton area native whose Cause of Beatification and sainthood has been opened—preceded the Mass for the jubilarians. Father John Sheridan, the then-rector of the basilica, welcomed the group and hosted the event.
In Bishop Bonnar’s homily, he emphasized the link between the jubilees and Lent. He also traced a theme of the “mystery of life,” saying, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.”
The jubilarians, Bishop Bonnar said, “have walked the road of charity by being and bringing Christ to the world, even to the point of suffering and death in the hope of resurrection. This experience that follows in the footsteps of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection is often referred to as the Paschal Mystery.”
He continued, “God breathes His spirit into men and women who go forth in His name following a particular charism of a founder or foundress to inspire and breathe life into the Church. Today, in this greatest of prayers which means thanksgiving, we thank God for these holy religious who, in word and deed, have brought life to the Church, echoing the mission of Jesus who says in John’s Gospel, ‘I come that you might have life and have it abundantly.’”
Addressing the vowed religious, Bishop Bonnar observed, “Through your life and ministry, you show us that the cross is more than just wood and a means of our salvation. The cross is also a twofold path of how we are to live our lives.”
The bishop explained that the vertical beam of the cross “reveals that we need to always be in a relationship with God,” while the horizontal beams “signals the need to be in a relationship with others.”
“My dear jubilarians, today our local Church of Youngstown celebrates your consecrated life. We thank Almighty God for your vocation, ministry, witness and fidelity that embraces the Paschal Mystery through the acceptance of the cross and, in hope, points us to the resurrection,” he said.
In conclusion, Bishop Bonnar stated, “May we in all our respective vocations—whether in Lent or out of Lent—embrace every day the Paschal Mystery of our faith, by following Jesus to His suffering, death and resurrection.”
2023 Religious Jubilarians
Sister Jiji Pallippattu, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Saint Marc, 25 Years
Sister Mary Stanco, Sisters of the Humility of Mary, 25 Years
Sister Kristin Matthes, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 40 Years
Sister Mary Barbara Klodt, Sisters of Notre Dame, 60 Years
Sister Mary Kathleen Tobin, Sisters of Notre Dame, 65 Years
Sister Barbara Noble, Sisters of the Humility of Mary, 65 Years
Sister Mary Karlene Seech, Sisters of Notre Dame, 65 Years
Sister Mary Ann DuPlain, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Saint Marc, 65 Years
Sister Mary John Albert Thiry, Sisters of Notre Dame, 70 Years
Sister Barbara Herrmann, Sisters of the Humility of Mary, 70 Years
Sister Marjorie King, Sisters of the Humility of Mary, 70 Years
Sister Margaret Mary Siegfried, Sisters of the Humility of Mary, 80 Years