Two BVMs celebrate jubilees


For The Catholic Messenger

DUBUQUE — Two Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) will celebrate their diamond jubilees at a liturgy and dinner Sept. 9 at Mount Carmel in Dubuque.

Sister Kathryn (John Laurian) Lawlor and Sister Martha (Briant) Ryder entered the Sisters of Charity on Sept. 8, 1948. They professed first vows on March 19, 1951, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1956.

Sr. Lawlor

Sr. Lawlor was born in New Liberty. In the Diocese of Davenport, she taught elementary school at St. Mary in Clinton and St. Patrick in Iowa City. Also in Iowa City, she was the principal of Regina High School. She taught in Memphis, Seattle, Chicago and Rock Island, Ill.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was the program developer and purchasing agent at Barry University in Miami.


At Mount Carmel, Sr. Lawlor was secretary of the BVM congregation and director of the Roberta Kuhn Center where she continues to teach. She has also written several books on the history of the BVM congregation.

“I think I always felt I was where I should be from the very beginning,” she says. “I’m so grateful for that opportunity to be a teacher. I loved teaching and the children are such an inspiration on the things they’d say and the things they do. Every morning I thank God for the life that I have had and the life that I continue to have.”

Sr. Ryder

Sr. Ryder was born in St. Louis. In the Diocese of Davenport, she taught math and physics at Mater Dei High School in Clinton. She taught and served as the department chair of physical science and physics at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. Sister also taught in Chicago.

“I’m very grateful for the life I’ve been given and the people I’ve known,” says Sr. Ryder. In her spare time, she enjoys watching the St. Louis Cardinals.

To send a congratulatory message to a sister on her jubilee or to donate to the BVM congregation on behalf of these sisters, please go to

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