Sisters of St. Francis to celebrate jubilees in Clinton


The Sisters of St. Francis will celebrate jubilees July 21 at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton. Bishop Thomas Zinkula will preside at Mass.

70 years

Sister Mary Paul Hummer

Sr. Hummer was born in Marengo but grew up in Iowa City. She attended Mount St. Clare College in Clinton.

Sr. Hummer

After college, she taught in rural schools near Fort Atkinson and Sabula, Iowa, and was influenced by a fellow teacher, Sister Regis Cleary, to become a religious sister. “She had her eye on me,” she recalled, adding that another Clinton Franciscan, Sister Mercedes Stritch, was “really good to me, too.”

Over her 70 years of religious life, teaching meant the most to Sr. Hummer. She taught English, French, Latin, history, and literature as well as elementary classes. In the Diocese of Davenport she served at schools in Clinton and Victor, sometimes serving as librarian in addition to teaching. She served in other Iowa communities as well as at schools in Kentucky, California, Grand Bahama, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Sr. Hummer retired to Mount St. Clare in 1982 and moved to The Canticle with her sisters in 1997. In retirement she volunteered at Prince of Peace Parish and at the Victory Center, both in Clinton. She moved to The Alverno in 2017 where she currently resides.

Sister Rosalie Noder

Sr. Noder

Sr. Noder grew up in McNabb, Ill., and met the Sisters of St. Francis while attending Mount St. Clare Academy in Clinton. Early in her ministry she taught at primary and intermediate grade schools in Iowa, California and Illinois. In 1969 she organized and began a 14-year ministry at St. Francis de Paula parish in Chicago which provided a food pantry, clothing center, senior citizens club and the first Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes. When taking a census of the parish, Sr. Noder noticed that a great number of children attending public schools were not receiving religious education and coordinated a program that later expanded to six Chicago parishes. She worked in three additional parishes through the 1980s before she became involved in AIDS ministry.

In 1991 she was named the executive director of AIDS Ministry of Illinois, in Joliet, Ill., but preferred her other roles there such as outreach services coordinator, and educator and case manager. She remained in AIDS ministry until December of 2002. In 2002 she began volunteering at Catholic Charities of Joliet in the Foster Grandparents program, returning in 2006 to Clinton to live at The Canticle where she was the librarian, and a reading instructor to a L’Arche Clinton core member. Looking back over the decades, Sr. Noder said working with people with AIDS was the most rewarding of all her ministries. “I really felt I was doing God’s work when I was in close contact with people who were marginalized.”

60 years

Sister Kathleen Cleary

Sr. Cleary is a Columbus, Ohio, native who joined the congregation after graduating from Mount St. Clare Academy in Clinton. She began the academy in her junior year, at the invitation of three great-aunts who were Clinton Franciscans: Sisters Winefride, Regis and Brendan Cleary.

Sr. Cleary

“I loved all the sisters’ hospitality and kindness. I wanted to be a part of that,” she said. After high school she attended Mount St. Clare College, continued her education at Creighton University during several summers, and completed her undergraduate studies at Marycrest College, Davenport, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education. Later she completed a Master of Science degree in counseling and psychology from California Baptist University, Riverside, Calif.

Sr. Cleary began her ministry as a first- and second-grade teacher at St. Mary School in Carrollton, Mo., where she served from 1961 to 1969. She was the director of Mount St. Clare Preschool for eight years in the 1970s, and has since lived and ministered in California. Except for four years at St. Catherine of Alexandria School in Riverside, she has been serving at St. Margaret Mary School in Chino, Calif., where she currently serves as librarian. Besides her role as librarian, Sr. Cleary held the positions of counselor and assistant principal for many of her years. “Coming to California to St. Margaret Mary School,” she said, was the highlight of her 60 years. “I love the people of the parish, the school families, and, most of all, the kids. Teaching the kids has been the joy of my life! I look forward to another year at St. Margaret Mary School. Every moment I get to work with the kids is precious to me.”

Sister Judith McKenna

Sr. McKenna grew up in Chicago and met the Sisters of St. Francis as a student at St. Francis de Paula School, a parochial school.

Sr. McKenna

Sr. McKenna received a Bachelor of Music Education degree at Viterbo College in LaCrosse, Wis., a Master of Music Education degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and a Master of Arts in pastoral studies degree at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. She served as a music teacher at Mount St. Clare Academy, Mount St. Clare College, and Mater Dei High School in Clinton; and at schools in Illinois and Nebraska. She was Campus Ministry Director and Coordinator of Seminary Formation at St. Ambrose College/Uni­versity in Davenport between 1985 and 1992. From 1994 to 2015 she served as Director of Worship at St. Nicholas Parish in O’Fallon, Ill., where she organized four choirs. Sr. McKenna is grateful for her experiences such as preparing Jesus Christ Superstar at Mount St. Clare Academy, and positions at St. Ambrose College and Aquinas Institute. Sister Judy moved to The Canticle last year and is a part of the liturgy committee there.

Sister Dorothy Stolmeier

Sr. Stolmeier grew up in Fort Madison, working at Schaeffer Pen Company for a number of years before entering the Sisters of St. Francis. “Mother Regis Cleary was president at that time. She was very good at communicating and coming to (Fort Madison to) visit. Then I came here to Clinton. I had always wanted to be a sister.”

Sr. Stolmeier

Sr. Stolmeier earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Viterbo College and taught at St. Gerald School in Oak Lawn, Ill., from 1961 to 1969; and at Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Fonda, Iowa, from 1969 to 1982. She served as librarian at St. Catherine Alexandria School in Riverside, Calif., for three years, then returned to St. Gerald School as a tutor, a remedial teacher and an office assistant. Sr. Stolmeier retired to The Canticle in 2008. “I’m so blessed living here at The Canticle,” Sr. Stolmeier said. “I can be as busy as I want or I can have quiet time.” During her quiet time she prays for the issues of peace and nonviolence, immigration reform, victims of trafficking and impoverished people, she said.

Sister Shawn Kelley

Sr. Kelley grew up in Burlington. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Iowa State Teachers College, Cedar Falls, Iowa, and taught public school for seven years in Washington. She later earned a Master of Arts degree in guidance and counseling from San Diego State College, San Diego, Calif.

Sr. Kelley

A convert to Catholicism, Sr. Kelley had just begun taking instruction when she struck up a friendship with a woman in graduate school at the University of Iowa who was discerning with the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton. One year and several discussions later, the two friends were entering the congregation in Clinton. “It was just something that was there,” she mused. “As it turned out, I took final vows and my friend did not.”

Sr. Kelley spent most of her active ministry teaching in parochial schools staffed by the Sisters of St. Francis. She taught in Clinton, Nebraska, Missouri, California and Florida. During her years as a teacher, she served as physical education instructor, guidance counselor, English instructor, and upper grade home room teacher. She served as a council member for the Sisters of St. Francis from 1972 to 1976.
Sr. Kelley retired to Mount St. Clare Convent in 1996 and then to The Canticle in 1997. She assisted the administrator of The Canticle and also volunteered at the Discovery Center in Clinton. She continues to enjoy writing and sharing her love of reading in The Canticle book club and literature class.

Sister Paschal Hocum

Sr. Hocum was born in Minneapolis, Minn., but grew up in California. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and English from the College of Holy Names, Oakland, and began working as a mathematician in the space program at Aerojet Corporation. “I was there with 50 men and me. We wrote out trajectories for rockets to get to the moon and to Mars.”

Sr. Hocum

When the department turned away from the space program, she left Aerojet and joined the Sisters of St. Francis. “I taught at Mount St. Clare Academy my very first year — math. Later I taught at Mount St. Clare College, too. I liked teaching. I got along really well with the kids,” she said. She continued her education with a Master of Arts degree in teaching mathematics from the University of Detroit, Mich.; a Master of Theological Studies degree from Franciscan School of Theology, Berkeley, Calif.; and a spiritual direction certificate from Mercy Center, Burl­ingame, Calif.; as well as completing further studies at various colleges and universities.

She taught at Mount St. Clare Academy and Mount St. Clare College in Clinton and for one year at Franciscan Minor Seminary, Santa Barbara, Calif.. She was Pastoral Associate at St. Paul’s, Macomb, Ill., and part-time mathematics faculty member at Western Illinois University. She served for almost 20 years at the Franciscan School of Theology, Berkeley, in administrative roles, including assistant to the president and dean, registrar, and director of spiritual formation. She retired to The Canticle in 2004 and was vice president of the congregation from 2004 to 2008.

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