Reflecting on 60 years of sisterhood

| Debbie Musser | July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
Sister Angela Schreiber, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Sister Angela Schreiber, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet celebrating her 60th jubilee, works in a classroom June 26 teaching English to immigrants at Learning In Style in south Minneapolis. DAVE HRBACEK | THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

On March 19, Sister Angela Schreiber celebrated her 60th jubilee, commemorating six decades of service as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

She is not alone in her devotion to service. Dozens of religious sisters, brothers and religious order priests are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Her milestone, which she celebrated on the feast day of St. Joseph, holds special meaning.

“Well, it means I’m much older than I was — I certainly don’t think of myself as age 82,” she said with a smile. “It’s also a good opportunity to reflect on my experiences and what I’ve done with my life as both a sister and a teacher.”

Sister Angela has had a rich ministry in education, from teaching first and second graders in archdiocesan parish schools to instructing young women studying to be future teachers at the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) in St. Paul, where she went on to become chair of the education department.

“Throughout my sisterhood community and in my ministries, I was asked, ‘Would you be willing to take this on?’ I always said yes, and I’m so thankful I did,” Sister Angela said.

“I would highly recommend education as a career,” she said. “I looked at each student as a child of God, and tried to do whatever was needed to help them succeed. There’s a passion that comes alive when a student catches on and you had a part in it.”

Her interest in education dates back to her childhood as one of seven siblings raised in a strong Catholic family. Born in Ghent in southwest Minnesota, her family lived on two different farms before settling in nearby Minneota, where her teachers were Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

“When I was in the second grade, I pretty much decided I wanted to be a sister and a teacher,” Sister Angela said. “I was so in awe of learning, and just fell in love with what happens to a child in a school setting with encouraging and kind teachers.”

Still, she struggled with whether to become a sister after she graduated from high school and headed to the College of St. Catherine to study education.

“It was a hard time,” she said. “But then I had a revelation while walking across a highway bridge, looking down at those cars and wondering if they all knew where they were going. I too wondered where I was going. That was the sign I needed from God and the moment I chose to enter the convent.”

Sister Angela’s journey with her religious order began in 1958 with six months as a postulant, studying what the vows meant, what religious life looked like and the history of the community, in anticipation of her reception March 19, 1959.

“We walked up to the altar railing dressed as brides and told the bishop we wanted to enter the sisterhood,” she said. “Then we went back to our rooms and changed into our habits, which we had made ourselves.”

Two years as a novice followed, with more studies, including college classes, before she professed her first vows in 1961, then final vows in 1966. “Those were great times,” Sister Angela said. “I got to know my fellow sisters very well, and we became good friends.”

Sister Angela went on to get a master’s degree in education from Ohio State University in 1969, and a master’s in theology from the College of St. Catherine in 1997.

Today, Sister Angela leads a full life as a member of the pastoral care team at Carondelet Village. She also works with adult immigrants to enhance their reading and conversing skills. She enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, weaving and quilting. “I wish I had 48 hours in a day and more than two hands,” she said.

She especially enjoys working with the residents of Carondelet Village and their families as they prepare for death and what comes after.

“I think back to those days when I couldn’t decide if I should enter the sisterhood and wonder, why was that so hard? I’m so glad I said yes.”

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Category: Featured, Jubilees