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“Immigrant Families Under Fire—A Call to Compassion in the Heartland”
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Meet Our Newest Associates


Carol Gronewold—February 2017

Carol Gronewold, born in Chicago, is an active parishioner at Immaculate Conception in Carthage, Ill., where she has served as lector, rosary coordinator, and on the pastoral council. She has also volunteered at Carthage Memorial Hospital, Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum, Foods for Thought, and the VA Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.

An elementary and middle school teacher, a community college administrator and an assistance specialist for seniors, Carol began her college education in 1958, completing her freshman and sophomore years at Clarke University in Dubuque. She continued her education while raising a family of five, graduating from Quincy University in 1974 and Western Illinois University in 1987.

With travel to Spain, Italy and the Holy Land checked off her bucket list, Carol will join the April BVM outreach Ecuador Immersion Trip. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren play college basketball, coach, and play volleyball as Carol enthusiastically follows their sports.

Understanding the BVM/associate relationship, Carol anticipates making new friends on her journey of service and social justice projects, retreats and cluster connections. Her BVM companion, Karen Conover, encourages her relationship with associates and sisters as “a great way to grow in familiarity with BVM ministry, thought and culture.”

Carol will celebrate her associate commitment ceremony on Saturday, March 25, 2017, in the Mount Carmel Motherhouse Chapel.

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Suzanne M. Wright—August 2016

 Suzie Mae Wright was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, and grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. A member of the American Baptist Community, she is executive director for Set Free Dubuque which educates the Dubuque community on modern day slavery. She is also employed as a switchboard operator by Grand Harbor Resort Hotel, Dubuque.

Companion Frances Ann Schaeffer, BVM (Louis), remarks about Suzie’s living of the core value of freedom: “Suzanne, at considerable personal sacrifice, discerned her need to take a job with fewer time constraints to allow her the necessary time to fulfill commitments she made to a part time ministry as executive director of Set Free, a position which allows her to address issues of human trafficking awareness.”

Leisure time with family and friends finds Suzie playing cards and board games. In a solitary setting, she enjoys reading mysteries, science and historical fiction. Her love of film led her to independent film making. She has honed her skills as author, editor and publisher.

Suzie will celebrate her associate commitment ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in the Mount Carmel Motherhouse chapel with family, friends, sisters and associates.

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Cory Weinschenk—July 2016

Cory Weinschenk may be a new associate, but he is not new to the BVMs. He is the helpdesk specialist at Mount Carmel, working in the IT Department. Cory was drawn to formalize his relationship as an associate through his participation in the Ecuador Immersion experience in 2015. “Seeing that mission firsthand made me believe that I was truly helping by working here,” he shared. “BVMs and associates are meant to walk together.”

Cory serves as a leader in the eastern Iowa Boy Scout community and is a member of his parish choir in Bellevue, Iowa. He is a volunteer on the “Working Unitedly” employee committee at Mount Carmel and has participated in the past two associate summer retreats.

His companion, Julie O’Neill, BVM, said that Cory “frequently mentioned how often he learns about BVM ministry, justice issues, and dynamic examples of how freedom was experienced in the lives of our sisters. His repairing of a resident’s computer sometimes becomes a learning experience in BVM history past and present!”

Cory’s commitment ceremony will take place at Mount Carmel in Dubuque the fall of 2016.

 

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Elaine Reavis—July 2016

Elaine Reavis chose to become a BVM associate because she “recognized their way of life as being right for me. Their love of Jesus mirrors mine in a lot of ways.” Elaine has been living the core values as a member of her parish’s bereavement ministry. She also is a Eucharistic minister and participates in a centering prayer Bible study.

A widow with three grown children and two granddaughters, Elaine lives in La Cañada, Calif., where she retired after working 41 years as a registered nurse. She attends the Montrose, Calif., cluster of associates, candidates and BVMs each month and was able to attend the 2016 associate summer retreat at Mount Carmel.

Elaine’s companion, associate Cheryl Hannah, says that “Elaine is a God-filled, loving person” who brings “her love of God, her desire to help people, her interest in fully participating in associate activities, and her love of the sisters and associates” to share in our Circle of Friends.

 

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Kathleen Gibson—June 2016

Kathleen Gibson is a native of St. Paul, Minn., where she graduated from Our Lady of Peace HS in the charter class of 1955. Kay and husband Fred, who died in 2012, have two children, Ann and John, and five grandchildren.

Retiring after 40 years in education, Kay taught elementary grades in both Catholic and public schools. Her leisure time includes attendance at her grandchildren activities, local library book discussions, and making greeting cards. She delights in enriching conversation.

While accompanying Kathleen in discernment, companion Patricia Thalhuber, BVM (Herbert Mary) was touched by her witness to a life opening to new possibilities and her enduring appreciation of BVM values. “Holding a love for our mission core in her heart, she will discern ways in which Spirit will speak to her as she continues this association with us.”

Kay is planning her associate commitment with associates, friends and family for Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

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Teresa Piña—April 2016

We welcome Teresa Piña to our family of BVM associates! Teri is a native of Los Angeles, currently living in North Hollywood. She is a registered nurse at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in LA, the mother of three adult daughters, and has one grandson. She stays close to her 86-year-old mother, helping with errands and visiting often. Her busy schedule still allows her to enjoy her hobbies of baking and cooking!

Teri’s first contact with the BVMs was at Loretto HS in LA, getting to know the sisters there better because she was a student council member who attended leadership and religious retreats under their guidance. Elizabeth Avalos, BVM says, “I have known Teri since she was a freshman in high school. She has always been service-oriented, generous, gracious and sincere.”

Elizabeth was one of Teri’s companions on the associate journey; the other was Marguerite Murphy, BVM. Marguerite got to know Teri through the Montrose cluster, meetings and service projects. “Teresa brings enthusiasm for sharing the BVM mission at the local level,” says Marguerite. “She participates in the local associate and outreach programs for providing service to the homeless and clothes for children.”

“Participating with the BVMs always gives me a sense of peace and feeling the presence of God,” Teri shares. In addition to the southern California service projects (including Adopt-a-Family and serving the Wednesday before Thanksgiving meal to the homeless), she has participated in the BVM Ecuador immersion experience, finding the trip “spiritual, educational and life enriching.”

Teri will be celebrating her commitment at a ceremony during the summer of 2016.

 

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