RACINE — Ten Racine Dominican sisters will celebrate special anniversaries in ministry this month. On June 26, the Dominican community will honor these women who together have served Racine and other communities in Wisconsin and beyond for 635 years. Jubilarians include:
Celebrating 85 years
Sister Rose Ellen Mlodzik was born in Princeton and earned a bachelor’s degrees from Dominican College in Racine and the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. She taught music, reading and served as librarian in schools around Wisconsin and Michigan for more than 60 years, including St. Rose (1935-36), St. Joseph (1942-44), St. Catherine’s High School (1964-73) and the St. John Reading Improvement Center (1975-77) in Racine. Mlodzik also volunteered in the Adult Learning Program (1982-89) and other areas of community service. At age 103, she is the oldest member of the Racine Dominicans and lives at Lakeshore Manor.
Celebrating 75 years
Sister Esther (John Bosco) Szambelan was born in Detroit and grew up in Center Line, Mich. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Montreal, Canada, a bachelor of education from Dominican College and a master of studies from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. For 50 years, Szambelan taught music in schools around Wisconsin and Michigan, including St. Rita in Racine (1959-63). In addition to teaching music, she served frequently as liturgist and organist. Until 2007, Szambelan continued to offer private music lessons. For the past 23 years, she has lived at Siena Center in Racine, providing community service and helping sisters with whatever they need.
Celebrating 70 years
Sister Juliana Dischler, a native of Plain, holds a bachelor of arts in education and a master of arts from the University of Detroit. She has served as a teacher of children and adults, minister in a priestless parish and parish pastoral minister. Her service has taken her to Michigan, Missouri, Maryland and various Wisconsin communities, including Racine’s St. Rita (1950-52) and St. Joseph (1952-53). Dischler volunteers in service to her community and lives at Siena Center.
Sister Dorothy Ann Greiber, a native of Roxbury, served in schools around Wisconsin and Illinois, including Racine’s St. Rose (1948-50), Sacred Heart (1955-58), St. Edward (1961-62), St. Louis in Caledonia (1965-69) and St. Joseph School and Parish (1969-90). Greiber holds a bachelor of education from Dominican College and a master of arts from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. In addition to teaching, she served as a social worker for St. Catherine Infirmary, Racine (1989-91), and as the administrative secretary for Racine Dominican leaders (1991-98). Greiber lives at Siena Center, volunteering in the Siena Retreat Center and playing in the sisters’ orchestra.
Sister Bernadette (Mary Henry) Weinberger was born in Mayville. For more than 50 years she served in ministries of cooking, baking, building maintenance, gardening and sewing. From 1965-87, Weinberger oversaw the maintenance and grounds of Siena Center, the community’s motherhouse in Racine. She then worked in Egypt for three years, helping children of the streets. “Garbage children” they were called because no one wanted them. Until 2014, Weinberger continued to help with childcare and service to her community. She lives at Lakeshore Manor.
Celebrating 60 years
Sister Rose Marie (Rose Gerard) Dischler, a native of Plain, holds a bachelor of education from Dominican College in Racine, a master of education from St. Louis University and a master of professional studies from Loyola University, Chicago. Dischler’s teaching ministry took her to schools and parishes around Wisconsin, Illinois and New Mexico, including Holy Name (1960-61) and St. Joseph (1969-70) in Racine. For nine years, she has lived and served at the Racine Dominican Eco-Justice Center, Caledonia.
Sister Celia (Martha) Evers, a native of Little Chute, holds a bachelor of education from Dominican College. Her ministry has taken her to various schools in Wisconsin, Michigan, South Carolina, Mississippi and East Africa. In Racine, she taught at St. Patrick (1958-60 and 1968-69) and Holy Trinity (1965-68), as well as St. Louis, Caledonia (1963-65). Evers lives at Siena Center.
Sister Paula Marie Jarosz is a native of Racine and holds a bachelor of education from Dominican College. Most of her ministry has been spent teaching in schools of various Wisconsin communities, but she also served in New Mexico and Michigan. She taught at St. Louis in Caledonia (1961-63) and St. Lucy School (1971-72). Before retiring in 2005, Jarosz was a substitute teacher for the Milwaukee Public Schools for 22 years. From 1991 until 2001, she also supervised the care for her mother in Racine during a lengthy illness. She lives in West Allis and continues to volunteer for her community.
Sister Mary (Mary Carl) Watson, a native of Detroit, is a dietician who has spent 47 years of her ministry in Detroit, first at Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital, and then in founding the St. Patrick Senior Center in 1973. The center has helped thousands of seniors over the years through its vital health and wellness programs, and is now firmly rooted in the community. Watson also ministered in Roxbury and Oconomowoc, and in Osmond, Neb. She lives in Detroit and continues to volunteer at the St. Patrick Senior Center.
Celebrating 25 years
Sister Kathy Slesar, a native of Racine, holds a bachelor of arts from Dominican College and a master of arts in pastoral studies from Seattle University in Washington. While preparing to take her vows, she served in pastoral ministry for St. Edward Parish (1987-89). Later she was a pastoral minister at St. Joseph Parish, Grafton, and St. Eugene Parish, Fox Point. She also served in the Racine Dominican vocation office (1996-2003). Since 2010, Slesar has been a vice president of the Racine Dominican community. She lives in Racine.