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Mass of Thanksgiving Celebrated for Four Jubilarians

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On Saturday, September 25, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Raleigh in recognition of the Jubilee Anniversaries of four women Religious serving in the Diocese of Raleigh.

Sister Grace Campbell, IHM; Sister Mary Jean Koejwo, SND; Sister Helene Therese Mc Groarty, IHM; and Sister Mary Margaret Filan, IHM, totaled 190 years of service as consecrated Religious serving the people of God. (See January 2010 NC Catholics story).

Sister Grace, celebrating her 50th anniversary, is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton, PA. She finds her community and those whom she serves to be “life giving.”

Sister Mary Jean, of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio, is also celebrating 50 years of service. She considers the people she has come in contact with in her ministries and communities to be a great gift, and is buoyed in her faith and prayer by four other Sisters of Notre Dame in the Raleigh area.

Sister Helene Therese has been a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Philadelphia for 50 years. Over 30 years of her ministry have been spent in Latin America as a teacher.

And Sister Mary Margaret, also of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Philadelphia, is marking 40 years of religious life. She spent more than 20 of those years serving in the missions in Chile and Peru.

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge praised “the powerful example and generous service in our midst” of all the women Religious in the Diocese.

Addressing the Jubilarians, the Bishop continued, “With your gifts and strengths, limitations and weaknesses, God, in His mysterious plan and infinite mercy and love, chose you. With the help of your dear parents and family and the Sisters who influenced your lives, you heard that call, and you responded with profound trust in God’s amazing grace.

“If all those you have served throughout the years could express their thanks to you,” the Bishop said, “there would be countless stories of the things you have done, accomplished and brought to fruition. But I have no doubt that they would all be summarized in thanking you for the way you have loved those you have been sent to serve, in imitation of Jesus Christ.”

At the end of Mass, Sister Mary Jean offered a reflection on Religious Life today. “As women religious, we are called to be women of prayer, women in community, and women on mission!” she said. “And that is the call we invite other women to consider as they discern whether to follow the path of Consecrated Life.”

A reception for the Sisters and their well wishers followed the Mass.

Above: Sister Mary Jean Koejwo, SND; Sister Grace Campbell, IHM; Bishop Michael F. Burbidge; Sister Mary Margaret Filan, IHM; and Sister Helene Therese McGroarty, IHM following Mass of Thanksgiving. 

Below: Friends and family gathered for Mass of Thanksgiving for Jubilarians at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Raleigh.