Eight Sisters of Mercy celebrating jubilees

Mount Mercy University is celebrating the jubilees of eight Sisters of Mercy, representing a combined total of 505 years of service. On Sunday, June 9, each sister will attend a Eucharistic Liturgy at the Chapel of Mercy at Mount Mercy University. Additionally, each will be honored by family and friends at individual receptions from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at various locations on Mount Mercy University's campus. The receptions are open to all friends and community members to celebrate the sisters.

The jubilarians have had significant impact on local communities, contributing to education, social justice, administration, pastoral care, and religious community leadership in the spirit of the founders of the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Catherine McAuley.

Sisters celebrating jubilees include:
Sister Mary Lenore Gardner: 75 years
Sister Mary Corkery: 70 years
Sister Dorothy Elizabeth Montgomery: 70 years
Sister Susan Dunnwald: 60 years
Sister Mary Lou Podzimek: 60 years
Sister Mary Julia Kepros: 60 years
Sister Judith Meyers: 60 years
Sister Margaret Weigel: 50 years

Sister Mary Lenore Gardner, RSM
Sister Mary Lenore Gardner was born in Elma, Iowa, and attended Immaculate Conception School and Mount Mercy Junior College before entering the Sisters of Mercy. She attended DePaul University School of Music in Chicago where she received a bachelor's degree in music. She spent over 40 years as a music teacher in Iowa schools at: St. Joseph's, DeWitt; Sacred Heart and St. John's, Waterloo; and St. Wenceslaus and Immaculate Conception, Cedar Rapids. She was also a pastoral minister at Immaculate Conception Parish in Cedar Rapids and St. Joseph's Parish in Earlville, Iowa. Sister Mary Lenore also spent six summers working and teaching the poor in Mississippi.

After 75 years, Sister Mary Lenore continues to minister as a volunteer seamstress at Mercy Medical Center and as a musician at Sacred Heart Life Center in Cedar Rapids. Her reception will be held in the Campus Ministry area at Mount Mercy University from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 9.

Sister Mary Corkery, RSM
Celebrating 70 years as a Sister of Mercy, Sister Mary Corkery was born in Sumner, Iowa, and received a bachelor's degree in education at St. John's University in Cleveland, Ohio. She spent 45 years teaching ministry in Iowa schools at St. John and Sacred Heart Schools in Waterloo; St. Patrick, Fairfax; All Saints and St. Matthew in Cedar Rapids; St. Patrick, Anamosa; St. Nicholas, Evansdale; Sacred Heart, Oelwein and St. Benedict, Decorah. She also served as principal in Oelwein, Iowa, head teacher in Evansdale, Iowa, and principal and teacher at St. Matthew in Kalispell, Mont. Since retiring to Cedar Rapids in 1990, Sister Mary has served as a Eucharistic minister at Mercy Medical Center and as a receptionist and volunteer at Sacred Heart Life Center in Cedar Rapids.

Sister Mary will celebrate her jubilee on Sunday, June 9, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Sacred Heart Life Center Activity Room.

Sister Dorothy Elizabeth Montgomery, RSM
Sister Dorothy Elizabeth Montgomery is celebrating 70 years in religious life. Born in Baltimore, Md., Sister Dorothy grew up on the east coast. She entered religious life in Ilchester, Md. In 1976, she transferred from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur of Baltimore to the Sisters of Mercy's former Cedar Rapids Regional Community. Sister Dorothy holds a bachelor's degree in education from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., and a master's from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa. She spent 15 years teaching ministry in Iowa, including time spent as a principal and assistant director of religious education. In 2001, she returned to Cedar Rapids. She assumed several volunteer positions with Big Brothers/Big Sisters as a neighborhood volunteer, Mercy Medical Center as a Eucharistic minister, and convent duties at Sacred Heart Life Center.

Sister Dorothy will celebrate her jubilee with a reception from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, June 9, at the Sacred Heart Life Center Library.

Sister Susan Dunnwald, RSM
Sister Susan Dunnwald is celebrating 60 years as a Sister of Mercy. A native of Waterloo, Iowa, she graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1952 and entered the Sisters of Mercy that fall. She earned her bachelor's degree from Mount Mercy College before pursuing a master's degree in education administration from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. She was elected as vice president of the Sisters of Mercy before serving her religious community as president from 1979 to 1987. Sister Susan pursued further studies in pastoral ministry at St. Mary's of Winona and was appointed as the first pastoral administrator in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. In 2000, Sister Susan accepted an appointment as pastoral administrator/parish life coordinator at St. Patrick Parish in Anamosa, Iowa. The Papal Honor of Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice was conferred on her by Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB, in 2004. Sister Susan retired last year to Sacred Heart Convent in Cedar Rapids.

Sister Susan's jubilee reception will be held Sunday, June 9, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the lower level atrium in Busse Library at Mount Mercy University.

Sister Mary Lou Podzimek, RSM
A native of Cedar Rapids, Sister Mary Lou Podzimek is also celebrating 60 years as a Sister of Mercy. Sister Mary Lou attended St. Matthew School and Mount Mercy Academy. She received her bachelor's degree from Mount Mercy College; a master's degree in counseling from Loras College in Dubuque; and her certificate of theological studies from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif. Sister Mary Lou began her ministry as a Sister of Mercy teaching in the Iowa schools.

From 1973 to 1979, Sister Mary Lou was formation director for the Sisters of Mercy and was concurrently alumni director at Mount Mercy College from 1976 to 1979. She assumed the role of vice president of her religious community from 1979 to 1987. She is currently a chaplain at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy. Additionally, Sister Mary Lou is a member of the Board of Trustees for Mount Mercy University and the Catherine McAuley Center in Cedar Rapids.

A reception in Sister Mary Lou's honor will be held on Sunday, June 9, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Mount Mercy's University Center Commons.

Sister Mary Julia Kepros, RSM
Sister Mary Julia Kepros is celebrating 60 years as a Sister of Mercy. A native of Marion, she graduated from Marion High School and received her bachelor's degree from Mount Mercy College. She also earned master's degrees in reading from Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee, Wis., and religious education from St. Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind. Sister Mary Julia's ministry as an elementary teacher was spent in schools in Iowa, Minnesota and Montana. From 1977 to 1999, Sister Mary Julia held the position of director of religious education and/or parish minister at Iowa parishes. In 2000, Sister Mary Julia returned to Cedar Rapids to assist in the care of her mother and has since cared for others in their homes. She has also been passionate to serve the impoverished in Nigeria and assists with convent duties at Sacred Heart Life Center.

Sister Mary Julia will be honored with a reception on Sunday, June 9, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Mount Mercy University's Curriculum Lab.

Sister Judith Meyers, RSM
Sister Judith Meyers is celebrating her 60th jubilee. She is a native of Cedar Rapids and received her bachelor's degree in biology from Mount Mercy College and her master's degree in hospital administration from St. Louis University in Missouri. She has served in various administrative roles at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids for 16 years. She served as the first vice president of mission effectiveness at Holy Cross Hospital for 10 years in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In 1997, she returned to Iowa to serve as director of religious education and RCIA coordinator for nine Catholic parishes in and around Carroll, Iowa. In 2000, Sister Judith returned to Cedar Rapids to accept the newly developed position of director of mission integration for her religious community's three sponsored works: Mercy Medical Center, Mount Mercy College and the Catherine McAuley Center.

A reception for Sister Judith will be held in the dining room at Sacred Heart Life Center on Sunday, June 9, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Sister Margaret Weigel, RSM
Celebrating 50 years as a Sister of Mercy is Sister Margaret Weigel. Born in Boone, Iowa, Sister Margaret graduated from high school in Story City and entered the Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Mount Mercy College, and master's degrees in science education and educational administration from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Throughout her tenure in education, Sister Margaret served as principal for several schools, including St. Matthew's in Cedar Rapids and St. Joseph's in Marion. In 2003, she joined the Cedar Rapids Regional Community Leadership Team after being elected by her community. In 2008, Sister Margaret assumed a support staff role in information systems. Today, she handles the information technology needs for local West Midwest community members. Sister Margaret also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Mount Mercy University and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, and is currently serving as local co-leader of Mercy Associates.

A reception for Sister Margaret will be held Sunday, June 9, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Mount Mercy University, Flaherty Community Room on the second floor of Basile Hall.

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