There is no denying the serious grounds for concern over the scandals and confusion rampant in the Church and the world today. Nonetheless, our Lord promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church whose true face is revealed not in those whose misdeeds make the nightly news but in the lives of her saints.
For our opening luncheon of this year’s speaker series, we welcomed Mother Mary Catherine (née Peggy Duemling), who spent time in the company of perhaps the greatest saint of our generation: St. Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Mary Catherine is the foundress of the recently formed Missionaries of the Word community of religious sisters in the diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Her vocation is the culmination of decades of prayer and discernment of the will of God that took her for ten years into Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity community. During that time, September’s speaker served as Mother Teresa’s private driver during the latter’s visits to the United States and had an opportunity to experience firsthand the sanctity, wisdom and humor of this “saint of the gutters”.
A condition of chronic asthma ultimately made it impossible for Mother Mary Catherine to make her final profession of vows with the Missionaries of Charity.
So, with sorrow but with a ready obedience to the will of God, she returned to Wisconsin where she completed her studies, received a Master’s degree in education and served for a time as the principal of an independent Catholic school.
All the while, she was discerning the foundation of a new order under obedience to the local bishop. In May of 2014, Bishop David Ricken officially approved the foundation of the Missionaries of the Word, accepted Mother Mary Catherine’s final vows and the entrance into the novitiate of two additional sisters.
The work of the new community, founded in the spirit of the new evangelization of today’s culture, has a special ministry to the youth and young adults of the diocese of Green Bay.