Sister Sharon’s Hopscotch Tour II arrives in New Mexico

Sister Sharon Sullivan, congregational leader of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, left Maple Mount on Jan. 26 to visit sisters who minister far to the west and north of Kentucky. Her goal was to make it all the way to New Mexico, where Sisters Clara Reid, Sheila Smith, and Sara Marie Gomez minister. The heavy snowfall caused Sister Sharon’s trip to end in Kansas, but she vowed to make good on her plan to visit the “Land of Enchantment” in the spring.

On May 1, she began her second “Hopscotch Tour.” Below are her journal entries from her trip, which included stops in Belleville and Millstadt, Ill., to visit Sisters Dorothy Helbling and Marilyn Mueth, another venture through Kansas where she spent time with Sisters Jane Falke, Angela Fitzpatrick, Martina Rockers, Kathleen Condry, and Helen Smith, and finally her arrival in New Mexico. On May 6, she joined Sister Mary Matthias Ward, local community life coordinator at the Motherhouse, who also ministered in New Mexico from 2003-2009, for a celebration of Sister Clara Reid’s 50 years as a teacher and her retirement from St. Charles Borromeo School in Albuquerque. Sister Clara has taught at St. Charles since 1989, and also taught there from 1971-1980. She is retiring as a full-time teacher at the end of this school year, but will remain in Albuquerque for at least a year as a substitute teacher. Photos of the celebration are included below.

This cake was on display in the school gym, where the celebration occurred.

Sister Sharon’s Journal Entries:

Sunday, May 1, Octave of Easter. Follow two hefty Canada Geese to Belleville, Ill., And Sister Dorothy on Friendship Drive off Freedom Drive. First Communion for two proud girls; Three full rows of family each. Celebrating with joy each part of the Mass.

This vase of flowers that Sister Clara is standing by included the word “Faith,” because Sister Clara spoke about faith so much to her students. Among the flowers included was goldenrod, the state flower of her native Kentucky.

Still rainy but on now to Millstadt; Sister Marilyn and her mom welcome me, and We decide to walk on to Sister Marilyn’s school.

“Cow Patty Bingo” and its fans await. But, no, too much rain – we don’t want the cows to get wet. So we relax inside instead.

See Sister Marilyn’s classroom And meet her students – both current and former. Then back to the house for talk and sharing.

Brunch and greeting colleagues at Our Lady of the Snows, Tour of Belleville Ursuline haunts, and Visit and sharing at Sister Dorothy’s abode.

One of Sister Clara’s former third-grade students, who is in an upper grade at the school now, made this replica of St. Charles for guests to put their cards in.

Half way across Missouri this night, With morning target of Kansas City, Kan., Where I learn to say KCK.

Meet the staff at Catholic Charities; Refugee programs, Keeler Women’s Center, and Food Pantry. Sister Jane holds them all together.

After lunch with Fritz’s model trains, I join Sister Angela and visit one of her KCK clients. We learn all about apple strudel and Croatian bread.

Supper and prayer with Sisters Angela and Martina; Then overnight hospitality on Monday night At Paola motherhouse.

Sister Clara has scrapbooks of every class she taught since she began teaching in 1961 at Blessed Mother School in Owensboro, Ky. She brought several scrapbooks of her time in New Mexico for well-wishers to look at during the celebration.

Sisters Kathleen and Helen send me off; Across Kansas and Colorado to Aztec, New Mexico.

Mountains, pronghorn sheep, snow, and evergreens. Stop at New Mexico’s state line to say “Hello!” from all “former” New Mexico Ursulines.

Wednesday night “CCD” with Sister Sara; Meet all the students and teachers, Then enjoy a meal (blue corn tortillas) and sharing.

Armed with a breakfast of Sister Sara’s sopapillas We’re off to Flora Vista and Holy Trinity, Then Sacred Heart in Farmington

Sister Clara greeted many well-wishers in a receiving line for more than an hour.

We visit the school and the church; And pay homage to the sacred Ursuline spots. What a legacy I’ve seen from KY to NM.

Sister Sara sends me down through Bisti Wilderness; And Shiprock bids me “hello.” Sister Clara welcomes me to Albuquerque.

Thursday night student art show at St. Charles; What a display of student talents
 and what a crowd who enjoyed them.

Some of Sister Clara’s former third-grade students attended, including Ravyn Garcia.

Supper in Old Town with Sisters Clara and Mary Matthias. We go to the “Faith Bowl” Friday morning, While Sister Clara cheers her team.

Spend the mid-day with Sister Sheila. Then we share mass at Kateri Tekakwitha’s chapel. Lunch; tour Sister Sheila’s tutoring site and home base.

Ready for Sister Clara’s St. Charles “retirement soiree.” Same school, but like a new space with Flowers, cakes, and student-made decorations.

Back in her apartment in Albuquerque, Sister Clara opened the many presents she received.

For one-and-one-half hours, the line kept coming, And Sister Clara kept greeting – Current students, parents, past students, sometimes the same.

Hard for us to tell them all apart but Sister Clara; Greeted each one with love and grace. Then speeches, thanks, a meal, and prayer.

Sister Clara celebrated and was celebrated; One more chance to see Saint Angela’s mission; Proclaim the good news from KY to NM and back.