Kirksville Sister to take leadership assignment in Rome

Sister Ruth Ann Klauser moves from principal's office to liaison with Vatican


By Jay Nies 

Sister Ruth Ann Klauser SSND’s circle of friends is about to get a whole lot bigger.
After nearly 40 years as a Catholic school teacher and principal, she’ll move to Rome in August to serve as general secretary of her religious congregation, the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
“I will be the liaison between the SSNDs and the Vatican,” said Sr. Ruth Ann, who recently completed five years as principal of Mary Immaculate School in Kirksville. “I’ll be an archivist for the congregation and do whatever they want me to do.” 
“They,” in this case, are members of the SSND General Council, the elected representatives of an international religious congregation of more than 3,000 sisters serving in 34 countries. 
She will maintain the congregation’s archives, keep track of its official records and conduct research. 
Whenever the General Council meets, she’ll take notes and send reports to sisters all over the world. 
She’ll handle and submit canonical documents between the SSNDs and the Church’s Congregation for the Institute of the Consecrated Life and Society of Apostolic Life.
She will prepare and distribute statistical reports, personnel directories and handbooks and will help sisters visiting from other countries obtain visas. 
Whenever a sister dies, she’ll send out a death notice and see to it that a proper record is kept of her life and ministry. 
“The last line of my job description says, ‘and any other tasks as requested,’” she noted. “I guess they didn’t want to overwhelm me by telling me everything up front.” 
                                                                                            “We have our ways”
Sr. Ruth Ann’s appointment is for five years and can be renewed for up to another three. It will be challenging, but she believes it’s what God is calling her to do. 
“I’m going to turn this over to Him and take it one task at a time,” she said. “And with His help, I know it will work out well.” 
She’s excited about taking on new challenges, learning a different language, meeting people from all over the world and visiting places she thought she’d never see.
 She’s looking forward to celebrating her golden jubilee in the Eternal City in two years. 
She still doesn’t know exactly how she got appointed to the job. 
“I got an e-mail from the general counselors in Rome, asking me to consider and pray about this position,” she said. “They invited me to come visit and do some praying with them there. I asked them how they found me, and they just said, ‘We have our ways!’”
She knows it will take time to get up to speed, just as it did for her to grow as an educator and principal.
One of her favorite sayings is from the SSND foundress, Mother Theresa Gerhardinger: “All the works of God proceed slowly and in pain, but the roots are the sturdier and their flowers all the lovelier.”
“I see that in my life,” she said. “You have to go through a lot of things slowly and sometimes in pain, but it really does make a difference.”
                                                                                        “What God wants”
Sr. Ruth Ann plans to keep Kirksville as her home base, spending a month there for each of her years in Rome.
That will keep her close to her family in Quincy, Ill., along with the friends she’s made during her time at Mary Immaculate School, St. Brendan School in Mexico and Holy Family School in Hannibal.
She said she’s always been lucky to work with pastors who were cooperative, helpful and committed to Catholic education. She hopes to encounter such willing collaborators in her new assignment. 
She hopes to return someday to the Jefferson City diocese, which feels like home to her.
 “I really appreciate the deep love and spiritual life the people here have shown me,” she said. “There’s a real genuineness, and I’m definitely going to take that love they’ve shared with me to Rome.”
She said she’ll especially miss working with children. 
“One of the little girls in school sent me a letter the other day,” she noted. “It said, ‘I really do not want you to go. But I know God wants you to be there, so I’m going to let you do what God wants.’”
                                                                                  Getting one person to heaven
She asks for prayers for good health and to be able to meet the needs of the people she comes into contact with. 
“I was told one time that I have one job to do in my life: to get one person to heaven,” she said. “The problem is, you don’t know who that one person is. So it’s important to do whatever I can to help get each person I meet to heaven. That’s how I try to live my life.” 
She said God’s continuous and occasionally unexpected blessings are what made her want to be a sister in the first place and helped her stay faithful to her calling for all these years.
 “Right when you least expect it, God surprises you with a miracle,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the surprises and miracles He has in store for me in Rome.”


Diocesan clergy assignments

Bishop John R. Gaydos makes the following appointments 

Two men from far away become transitional deacons for J.C. Diocese

Hope to be ordained to the priesthood next year 


By Jay Nies

Bishop John R. Gaydos recalled a reporter interviewing Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata when her Missionaries of Charity opened a convent in St. Louis in the 1970s.

“What are you coming to the ‘First World’ for?” the reporter asked. “Aren’t you supposed to be working with the poorest of the poor?”

“There’s a different kind of poverty sometimes,” Mother Teresa replied. “It can be worse than material poverty. It is a spiritual poverty.”

“So many people,” Bishop Gaydos observed, “are hungry for the meaning of self-sacrifice and love.” 

He linked Mother Teresa’s sacrifice to the missionary calling of two men — Rev. Mr. César Anicama from Peru and Rev. Mr. Simeon Etonu from Nigeria — whom he recently ordained as transitional deacons for the Jefferson City diocese. 

He said Mother Teresa was “a truly selfless person. She did beautiful things for God.”

Rev. Mr. Anicama’s diaconal ordination was celebrated in English and his native Spanish on May 17 in St. Clement Church in St. Clement, where he had spent some time and befriended several families shortly after arriving in the United States. 

Rev. Mr. Etonu’s ordination was celebrated on May 31 in Immaculate Conception Church in Jefferson City, where he resided before continuing his seminary formation in Missouri. 

Both deacons hope to be ordained priests of the Jefferson City diocese next spring.


                                                                            “Something beautiful” 

Rev. Mr. Anicama and Rev. Mr. Etonu both began their priestly formation in their home countries before deciding to serve as missionary priests in the United States. 

Rev. Mr. Anicama came to Missouri after hearing about missionaries from the Jefferson City diocese and in thanksgiving for help given to his home diocese of Ica, Peru, after a deadly earthquake and tsunami in 2007. 

Rev. Mr. Etonu was studying in Germany when he realized the need for priests is greater in Europe and the United States than in his home diocese of Idah, Nigeria. 

At both of their diaconal ordinations, Bishop Gaydos spoke of self-sacrificing service and love in imitation of Jesus.

That, the bishop said, is at the heart of being a deacon — an office both men will continue to hold forever, even after they are ordained priests.

“Jesus is begging us to take the focus off of ourselves, to try at least sometimes to achieve the greatness of putting others first,” Bishop Gaydos stated in his homily at Rev. Mr. Anicama’s Ordination Mass in St. Clement . “If we succeed, then we shall discover that in our own small way, we have done some beautiful things for God.”

 “There’s always cost involved in loving service,” the bishop noted in his homily at Rev. Mr. Etonu’s Ordination Mass in Jefferson City. “Jesus spoke simply in terms of service and its costs.

“It’s to be the hallmark of Christ’s disciples,” he continued, “that we will love without hope of profit or reward, that we will respect the intrinsic dignity and worth of others, no matter their position or power or wealth, to realize that God loves all unconditionally.”

Jesus was emphatic that true discipleship means sacrifice and service, even unto suffering and death, but He also promised “that this road leads to the glory of the resurrection.” 

Bishop Gaydos said Jesus showed His followers where true greatness can be found “not in striving to be the first but in being ready to be the last, not by being master but by being the servant, not by following selfish instincts but by being truly unselfish, putting ourselves at the service of the little people, the poor, the marginalized, the forgotten ones. 

“That’s the way we imitate the Lord, Who didn’t come to be served but to serve,” the bishop stated.


                                                                              Ministers of the Gospel

The bishop emphasized at both Masses that deacons are “consecrated by the laying on of hands that comes down to us from the apostles and as a result, they are bound more closely to the service of the altar, and it is in that way that they, through their performance of works of charity in the name of the bishop or the pastor, show the intimate connection between the sacramental life and our life in the world.”

He noted that the deacons will help their bishop and his priests “in the ministry of the word, the ministry of the altar, and of charity. They are to show themselves to be servants to all.”

They will proclaim the Gospel, prepare the altar for the sacrifice, and help distribute the Body and Blood of Christ to the faithful. They will teach and encourage believers and non-believers in Church doctrine and will preside at public prayer. 

“With the help of God, they are to go about all these duties in such a way that all will see them as disciples of the One who came not to be served, but to serve,” the bishop said. 

He urged both men to lead by their example, becoming blameless in the sight of God, serving joyfully as if they were serving Jesus Himself. 

“From now on, you are not only hearers of the Gospel, you are also His ministers,” the bishop said. 


                                                                                    What now?

Rev. Mr. Etonu has been assigned to assist the pastor of Holy Family parish in Hannibal this summer. 

Rev. Mr. Anicama has been assigned to assist the pastoral administrator of St. Mary parish in Milan and St. Mary parish in Unionville. 

Both plan to begin their last year of formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis this fall. 


Fortnight for Freedom 2014

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Most Rev. John R. Gaydos, Bishop of Jefferson City