116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sister Mary Lechtenberg will celebrate her Golden Jubilee as a member of the Sisters of Francis in Dubuque. A reception will be held June 20 at Mount St. Francis Center in Dubuque. Her affiliation was misleading in an article that ran June 6 due to an editor's error.
Five Sisters of Mercy of the Mercy West Midwest Community and will celebrate their jubilees in a liturgy on June 14 at 1 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy on the Mount Mercy University Campus. Receptions are open to the public and will honor each jubilarian from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at either the Mount Mercy campus or Sacred Heart Convent, unless otherwise noted.
Born on a farm in Boone, the oldest of nine children, Sister Mary Jo Baldus felt called to be a cowgirl, then a ballerina, and, finally, a Sister of Mercy. Throughout her 50 years as a Sister of Mercy, music and change have been constant threads. She has ministered as a liturgist, in Madison, Wis., and as a campus minister, musician and music therapist in Winona, Minn., where she currently lives.
'Through all these experiences, I have held on to the Mercy foundation that was planted in me not so long ago and I come now to this Jubilee moment with a grateful heart,” said Sister Mary Jo.
Her reception will be held at a later date.
Born in Cedar Rapids, Sister Maurita Soukup attended St. Matthew's school, Mount Mercy Academy, Regis High School, Mercy School of Nursing and Mount Mercy College. In 1965, she entered the Sisters of Mercy and professed final vows on June 6, 1973, at St. Matthew's church.
Sister Maurita earned a masters in nursing in cardiovascular clinical specialization from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and a doctor of nursing science degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. She served as a critical care nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids and at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids where she was instrumental in opening the cardiac surgery program. She has contributed to publications as author, co-editor of books, and as a researcher in critical care and evidence-based practice.
Currently Sr. Maurita is a consultant for health care organizations and serves as a health trustee for Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and New Hampton, Trinity-Health IA/NE Regional Board and Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines.
Her reception will be held at Mount Mercy University in the Busse Library Atrium.
Sister Mary Brigid O'Connell left the family farm to enter the Sisters of Mercy in Marion, right after completing high school in 1954. Classes in the Novitiate and at Mount Mercy College prepared her to become a Mercy Sister with an Iowa teachers' certificate so that she taught little children in Iowa and Montana for twenty years. Then after a year of Montessori teacher education at Seattle University she worked in Montessori day care centers with 2 1/2 to 6 year olds for ten years in Kansas City. A request for a Montessori teacher educator in Lima, Peru, inspired Sister Brigid to respond and that resulted in 26 years of enjoying working with adults and little children in Montessori preschools in various parts of Peru and a bit in Bolivia. In August of 2014, she returned to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where she now helps Spanish speaking adults with English.
Her reception will be held at Mount Mercy University in the Campus Ministry.
Sister Peg Murphy was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. She entered the Sisters of Mercy in Marion after graduation, earned her bachelor's degree at Mount Mercy College and began her career as a primary grade schoolteacher. Those years were spent at Immaculate Conception and All Saints in Cedar Rapids, St John's, Clarion, St. Benedict's in Decorah and St. Mary's in Marshalltown. Sister Peg then spent the next 22 years as an elementary school principal after earning her masters from Clarke College in Dubuque. In 1997, Sister Peg was trained as a chaplain and has been the Chaplain at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids since 1998.
Her reception will be held at Mount Mercy University in the University Center.
Sister Mary Ann Becker's ministry included teaching in Dubuque Archdiocesan Schools, mainly in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. She also served as treasurer of the Sisters of Mercy and as a parish administrative assistant in Colorado and in Fairfax. After retirement, Sister ministered as a volunteer at Catherine McAuley Center and at the Community Health Free Clinic in Cedar Rapids.
She currently resides at Sacred Heart Convent in Cedar Rapids, where her reception will be held.
Also celebrating her golden jubilee is a member of the Sisters of Francis of Dubuque who grew up in the area and worked in Cedar Rapids.
Sister Mary Lechtenberg lived in Buchanan and Bremer counties in Iowa with her parents, Lawrence and Jeanette (Pins) Lechtenberg, and four siblings. She entered Mount St. Francis after graduating from Waverly-Shell Rock High School. Sister Mary earned a bachelor's degree from Briar Cliff University. She was a teacher in Chicago and Cascade. After earning a masters in education from Boston College, she coordinated parish religious education. She also ministered in the Dioceses of Sioux City and Des Moines in adult religious formation, as the vocation minister for her congregation and as a pastoral associate at St. Ludmila parish in Cedar Rapids from 1999 to 2014. She currently serves as a vice president on the Franciscan Leadership Team.
Now a member of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, her reception will be June 20 at Mount St. Francis Center in Dubuque.