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Great Bend Mission Bazaar

Thank you for 107 years of generosity and love.

The sun was not even up on November 11 in Great Bend, KS, but the line in front of the of Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse could stretch nearly a city block. Women with shopping bags, families with small children, travelers from as far away as Louisiana and Connecticut – all waiting to shop for the handcrafted gifts, embroidered tea towels, baked goods, jellies and more offered that day.

[caption id="attachment_5806" align="alignleft" width="400"] Shoppers from as far away as Lousiana come to enjoy the Bazaar.[/caption]

Inside, Sisters, Associates, and friends of the Congregation joined to thank God for the work that had been done and to pray for a successful day ahead.

At exactly 7 am, the Dominican Sisters of Peace Mission Bazaar opened its doors.

The first documented Dominican Sisters of Peace Mission Bazaar was held in 1910 to raise funds to renovate the Sisters’ hospital. Subsequent bazaars provided funds for a new Motherhouse and to build the Central Kansas Medical Center. Today, the Bazaar serves as the major fundraising effort for the Sisters’ missions in Nigeria, Kansas and Colorado.

The annual mission bazaar requires a Congregation of volunteers. From Sisters, friends and associates who create the items to be sold, to the volunteers who prepare mountains of cinnamon rolls and oceans of coffee for Bazaar-goers, to volunteers who set up booths and help clean up after the day is done, the annual Mission Bazaar is a labor of love…love for the Congregation, love for the community of Great Bend, and love for those that benefit from the event.

One person who has become a fixture among the volunteers is Father Ed Ruane. Father Ed, a Dominican priest of the Central Province of Friars in Denver, CO, has traveled to Great Bend for several years to help out with the Bazaar.

“He literally goes from booth to booth, activity to activity,” says Sr. Elaine Osborne of the Great Bend Motherhouse. “But he seems to enjoy baking in our big oven, which is large enough for a person to climb into. That hot-and-heavy job requires a lot of lifting, so his help is much appreciated by our tired bakers.”

Others support the bazaar with their loyalty. Sr. Elaine remembers two ladies who attended the bazaar faithfully before moving out of state. They returned a few years later, explaining that their husbands return to Kansas every year for pheasant hunting season. Now they come along to make the Great Bend Bazaar a stop on the trip.

[caption id="attachment_5860" align="alignright" width="300"] The Bazaar is a family event.[/caption]

Families are a big part of the Bazaar, too. Moms, dads, kids and extended families enjoy the food, crafts, booths and more. “I remember one little boy who proudly showed me a toy he was carrying,” Sr. Elaine exclaims with a smile. “‘I bought this with my very own money!’ he told me. So he was able to help support our missions as well.”

“We are so grateful for the efforts of the volunteers who have helped us make the Bazaar a success for more than 100 years,” Sr. Elaine says. “Their efforts have helped us support the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine in Nigeria, an indigenous Congregation which is now independent and flourishing; the poor who come to Kansas and Colorado for a better life; and the Dominican Sisters of Peace Benincasa Fund, offering emergency assistance across the country. Our volunteers and Bazaar visitors show so much love, and they help us be peace, build peace, and preach peace at home and around the world.”

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