In this Random Nun Clip, we talk about the spiritual legacy of Blessed Catherine Kaspar, foundress of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Hear the full Ask Sister podcast at AS205. Hosted by Sister Maxine with guest Sisters Connie Bach and Michele Dvorak.
Sister Michele Dvorak, EdD, is First Councilor of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, in Donaldson, Indiana. She has ministered in education since 1976. She was a teacher and principal in Indiana and Illinois and a professor at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana, where she also served as Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.
Sister Connie Bach is Director of Vocations and Director of volunteer programs for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. She was in elementary education for 20 years as a teacher and principal. She also served as a music therapist for 10 years. Sister Connie has BA degrees in elementary education and music therapy, and a master’s degree in supervision and administration.
SISTER MAXINE: I’m Sister Maxine and my guests on today’s show are Sister Connie Bach and Sister Michele Dvorak of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ based in Donaldson, Indiana.
SISTER CONNIE BACH: So, my current ministries—I actually wear two hats—one is Vocation Director and the other is the Director of our Volunteer Program, which is short- and long-term. Most recently, we had a group of students from Wisconsin who came to spend a week with us in service in our volunteer program. So, they joined us and they worked right alongside our sisters in our ministries in service to the poor. We served our elderly sisters and lay men and women who have efficiency apartments that we provided at our Motherhouse. We served a place in Northwest Indiana called Nazareth Home, which is for infants and children who have been taken from their parents, usually due to neglect or abuse, and so we spent a day with them. And then we served at one of our ministries called Moon Tree Studios, which is based on ecology, spirituality, and the arts. We helped Sister Mary in a number of tasks there.
And so [our ministries] come from our theme, which is the Annunciation. Catherine Kasper [foundress of the Poor Handmaids] had a strong devotion to Mary and the Annunciation scene, especially where Mary says, “Behold your handmaid, be it done unto me according to your will.” Catherine had lived that same spirit her entire life. She always sought the will of God in her life. So, in our ministries we try to do the same. We try to look at the needs of the times that are right in front of us and respond to those as best we can. In our volunteer program, we bring young people with us to do the same—to discern what are the needs in front of us and how do we respond.
SISTER MAXINE: What do you hope for the young people as they experience, maybe for the first time, situations of great need. What do you hope for them in that experience, in the spirit of Catherine?
SISTER CONNIE BACH: We really try to help young people discern a life of service, whether it’s as single, married or religious as brothers, priests, sisters, deacons, lay ministers, whatever it might be. We try to help them have an attentiveness to the people around them and experience gratitude for the blessings in their own lives, so that they can respond to the needs of the times with the same love and courage that Catherine responded to the needs of her time.
SISTER MAXINE: So, if there’s a young person who is listening to this podcast and they might be interested in becoming a volunteer, who would they contact?
SISTER CONNIE BACH: They just have to contact me, Sister Connie at email@example.com. We'll make sure that they have an opportunity to really focus on how God is working in their lives and how they can spread that joy and the good news of the Gospel to others.
Hear the full episode of this podcast at AS205.
To hear full episodes of A Nuns Life podcasts, visit the podcast page at anunslife.org/podcast.