DAVE MYERS, Southwest Kansas Catholic
When the strife of daily life increases, it can seem like hope becomes exponentially harder to come by.
Fears of becoming sick; mourning friends or family; losing jobs; suffering the depression of isolation. It’s easy for hope to take a back seat to these tough events and emotions.
Enter Sister Rose Mary Stein, OP.
Since 2018, Sister Rose Mary has been presenting morning retreats across the diocese, one of the most recent of which focused on that illusive feeling of hope, and how it’s never far from our grasp, despite our circumstances.
She and Marty Niedhart presented the March 13 retreat at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“We need to always keep hope alive, and know that even in our suffering and loss there is always Resurrection,” Sister Rose Mary said. “We shouldn’t lose that longing and that desire that God will see you through all this,” she added. “It’s that virtue of hope that gives us the strength we need. We have faith and love, but sometimes we lose sight of hope, that ability to hold on to that trust, no matter what we’re going through.”
When she retired from ministry at the cathedral in 2018, Sister Rose Mary took on the new retreat ministry, for the Dominican Sisters of Peace under the auspices of the Heartland Center for Spirituality in
Great Bend. For each retreat she brings along another guest speaker, a lay person, in hopes that participants will be empowered to share the gifts of their own faith stories.
“I want to empower our lay people to use their gifts,” Sister Rose Mary said. “Maybe others can recognize that their gifts need to be proclaimed for the love of Christ and the world. There will be fewer sisters and priests, and our lay people have got to step forward and carry the message.”
At the March 13 retreat, Marty Niedhart spoke about suffering and loss, and how we must hold on to the gift and the hope of the resurrection, a topic which understandably hit home for the participants of the three-hour retreat during this tumultuous time.
Readying the Soil for Spiritual Growth
A week later, on March 20, Sister Rose Mary and cathedral parishioner Linda Klaus spoke to a largely non-Catholic crowd at the United Methodist Church in Dodge City, the theme for which was, “Readying the Soil for Spiritual Growth.”
Sister Rose Mary created the apt topic prior to speaking in Ashland a few years ago. The more urban participants in Dodge City took well to the soil analogies.
“I spoke on spiritual growth, what spirituality means, and how we grow spiritually,” Sister Rose Mary said. “I offered some ways to help them grow spiritually, such as by keeping in touch with positive people, by praying, by trying to live a wholesome, positive life by keeping themselves around people who are wanng to grow spiritually, too. It’s who you associate with. It’s what you listen to; what you read.”
It’s easy to parrot others — voices in the media. But without study and personal interpretation,
they can ring hollow when in discussion with those who might disagree.
“The symbol I used — and all the people brought — was a coffee or tea cup,” she said. “We are like a coffee or tea cup. God lives within us and we are refreshed by God just as cup of coffee or tea refreshes us. We need to think of that as a way of fulfilling our lives — by sharing and giving of ourselves to others as we continue to fill our cup.”
The second speaker, Linda Klaus, treated those gathered to her unique gift. “Along with her presentation, she sings as her way of offering her liveliness with the group,” Sister Rose Mary explained. “She might be talking about something when it promotes a song. It’s her charism. She is full of energy and life in her singing ability. She shared her story based around her spiritual life. It is her faith story.”
Fees for the retreat go to support Sister Rose Mary’s travel and the ministry through the
Dominican Sisters of Peace.
Sister Rose Mary invites churches across the western part of the Diocese of Dodge City to contact her about presenting the Saturday morning retreats in their parish. While they typically run from 9 a.m.-Noon — beginning with coffee, juice and doughnuts — times can vary depending on the schedule of the parish.