Community

Iowa natives celebrate Sisters of Mercy milestones

Sister Theresa Ann Spitz
Sister Theresa Ann Spitz
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Two Sisters of Mercy who entered the Sisters of Mercy Community in Cedar Rapids decades ago will be celebrating their commitments — one in Cedar Rapids — this year.

Sister Therese Ann Spitz, of Cedar Rapids, will be celebrating 70 years with Sisters of Mercy later this month, while Sister Rita Waters, who has been ministering in Washington, D.C. for 28 years, will be celebrating a 50-year commitment.

Spitz, who entered the Sisters of Mercy 70 years ago, was described as incredibly humble and dedicated by Theresa Baldus-Kokontis, administrator with Sacred Heart Life Center in Cedar Rapids.

“She feels very honored to celebrate this, but once again she looks at it as simply as a vowed member of the Sisters of Mercy. She feels fortunate and she continues to do God’s work here,” Baldus-Kokontis said. “She’s not one to like a lot of hoopla or embellishment on her own life.”

On June 10, Spitz, an Orchard, Iowa, native, will celebrate a 70-year Jubilee with a 1 p.m. Liturgy at the Chapel of Mercy, 1125 Prairie Dr. NE, in Cedar Rapids. A reception will be held from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Dining room. The public is invited to the celebrations.

After graduating from Osage High School in 1948, Spitz received the name Sister Thomas Marie. She returned to her baptismal name in the 60s, Maureen Falcon, communications manager with Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community in Omaha, said in an email.

After receiving her teaching degree from Mount Mercy College in 1951, Spitz spent time with ministries in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Marion, Oelwein and Montana. Her longest and last ministry as a teacher and pastoral minister was with St. Joseph’s in DeWitt for 32 years.

She now is a volunteer for the sick at Sacred Heart Life in Cedar Rapids.

“She still has passion and care for people,” Baldus-Kokontis said.

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Waters was born in Atlantic, Iowa, and attended the community’s Lincoln Elementary and Atlantic High School.

After graduating from Mount Mercy University, Waters received her master’s degree from Loyola University in Chicago.

Her first ministries were as a teacher at St. Joseph’s in Marion, All Saints in Cedar Rapids and Our Lady of Grace in Minneapolis, Minn. She also spent time with Mercy Spiritual Center and as a pastoral minister at Immaculate Conception.

In 1990, Waters joined the National Office for Disabilities. She also spent time with the Catholic University, National Association for Treasurers, Collaborative Leadership Program and Mercy Conference for Higher Education.

While Baldus-Kokontis said she doesn’t know Waters as well, she said the Iowa native remains committed to her Midwest family.

“She’s quite active in worldly events and the community as a whole,” she said. “She’s a very vibrant person who cares deeply about her community here.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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