Celebrating 60 Years in 2014
What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
We were constantly at the school and parish of St. Joseph as youngsters, helping when and where we could. But more than that, my parents were a real example to me. When I’d go to Pewaukee with my dad, Sister Imeldine would share many things with me as she laid sick in bed while my dad visited with Sister Maxima. Her big blue eyes were so innocent and pure, I felt I was seeing her soul. She died when I was a novice. She had a deep influence on me in those years. I can still feel her presence.
What has kept you in the community all these years?
As I laid prostrate before the altar at my vows, I said to God: “not until death but for all eternity,” and I meant it. I’ve always treasured that decision and intend to keep it.
What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
My years in helping to build San Martin Parish in Albuquerque was especially a cherished time, because I truly experienced what Church as the People of God means. Each 30-pound adobe represented a person contributing to the whole community as a viable, living reflection of God’s magnificent creation, and together an edifice of beauty and joy. These are memories woven into our hearts – a living church in action.
What is one thing people today should know about the Racine Dominicans?
It is important for people to know that none of us can do God’s work alone. Where one of us is, Racine Dominicans are with a multitude of gifts permeating action and impelling us to reach out and respond in whatever way the Spirit leads us ... always listening to the call within to move beyond the present moment into the call to respond locally and in our global world.
What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
I enjoy building and working in the raised gardens and bird sanctuary I’ve been creating in the backyard ... watching people’s joy at watching plants and vegetables grow from a tiny seed or plant into flowers and fruit of the earth. Also, I enjoy just sitting and enjoying God’s beautiful creation all around us, especially the many birds as they come to drink at the bird baths or feed on the seeds provided for them.
Creating Positive Change
S. Maggie Rose Bohn has been a Racine Dominican since 1954. As a child she sang in her church’s choir and was always involved in other Church work and influenced by the faith of her parents. This and the examples of her Dominican teachers at St. Joseph’s in Racine are what first made her want to become a sister. Throughout her years as a Racine Dominican S. Maggie has been a trailblazer, endeavoring to create positive change through her former and current ministries in Wisconsin, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Many of S. Maggie’s ministries have been in schools and parishes. She taught primary grades for a number of years while many Catholic schools in Milwaukee were becoming neighborhood schools. In the 1970s she moved to the southwest where she worked with pastors and families in New Mexico and Arizona. “I really loved parish life,” said S. Maggie. “I loved the families, visiting people in their homes, listening to them and sharing with them in prayer.” One of the things she did as a part of her parish ministry was helping a priest build San Martin Parish in Albuquerque out of 47,000 adobes (sun-dried bricks) from the earth. There she spent ten years as a pastoral associate, helping the Spanish-speaking people build the community. One of the most meaningful parts of her parish ministry was conducting funerals. “In New Mexico, they are all-day affairs. When the people are vulnerable, they really begin to open up their hearts.” S. Maggie would listen to their stories and was glad to facilitate the services for the families.
At Our Lady of Fatima in Chinle, Arizona, S. Maggie worked with the children and offered spiritual programs and religious experiences to the people on the Navaho reservation. S. Maggie loved taking part in their traditions and being welcomed into their culture. One meaningful experience she had was in 2004 for her 50 year Jubilee. To celebrate with S. Maggie, the Navaho women dressed in their traditional robes, making the special anniversary even more memorable.
Even though S. Maggie misses these aspects of her parish ministry, she believes she is doing what God wants in her current ministry in Gallup, NM. At St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School she is the Development Coordinator/Family Liaison. This ministry involves strategic planning, and she makes sure the programs look toward the future to help children from different cultures to become global leaders. In this ministry, as in her other works, S. Maggie enjoys working with the children and taking part in the people’s traditions and cultures. She always feels accepted by the different groups of people with whom she works, and this has made a profound impact on her. Interacting with families in their cultural settings means a great deal to her. S. Maggie recalled how much she loved learning about these different cultures from the people themselves instead of in a classroom. “I have been very blessed.”