Friday, I was passing through the area of Huntington, Indiana and decided to stop in for a visit. The Victory Noll Sisters have a long history of sending sisters to serve in Wyoming. Their primary charisms are evangelization and catechesis.
They have a beautiful facility and grounds. I found it interesting that they were initially established in Santa Fe, New Mexico by another bishop with Indiana roots, Archbishop Daeger, from Jennings County.
For quite some time, I’ve wanted to visit this community of sisters, not only because of their long service to the Diocese of Cheyenne, but also because one of our priests, Father Thomas Fahey, retired there twenty two years ago. I’ve spoken with Fr. Fahey by phone, but wanted to meet him. So, while I was driving through the area yesterday, it was providential that I arrived in time for lunch.
I was a bit embarrassed that my timing co-incided with the annual visit of the local bishop, Bishop Kevin Rhoades. The bishop and sisters had just celebrated Mass and sat down for a nice lunch, when I strolled in casually dressed in my jeans and Carhart T-shirt! I was warmly welcomed none-the-less.
The visit provided time to see Sr. Betty Lorenz, OLVM. Sr. Betty was the last sister serving in the Diocese of Cheyenne when I arrived, and she has since retired and returned to the Mother house. Another pleasant surprise was to meet one of the community who is from Wyoming, Sr. Ginger Downey, OLVM.
After a nice visit with the sisters during lunch, Sr. Ginger gave me a tour of the facility and then I sat down for a brief visit with Fr. Fahey before getting back on the road.
We are very grateful for the service of the Sisters of Our Lady of Victory, and all the women religious. Of course, we will always be equally grateful for the work of our priests, and wish them well in their retirement. How I hope and pray that today’s young people will discover the joy of giving their lives in service to the Church as religious and priests!