Who would have ever imagined that 100 years ago that the baby girl born on August 29th 1921, to Steven and Barbara Evanchec, who named her Teresa Anne would reach the distinguished, remarkable and unbelievable age of 100.
August 2021 represents many important events in the life of Sister Bernadete Evanchec, F.D.C. August 29, 2021 marks her incredible milestone, her 100th birthday and on August 28th, the Feast of St. Augustine, our Spiritual Father, Sister Bernadette with faith, love, joy, and dedication serving the people of God also celebrates 81 years of religious profession.
On Tuesday, August 17th Sister Bernadette was able to join the Sisters at Leonora Hall Convent and the Residents of Francesca, for a Mass of Thanksgiving at 11:00 concelebrated by Father Kraker and Father McCafferty.
Father Kraker gave a very simple yet beautiful message in light of the 100 precious years of Sr. Bernadette’s life and her loving witnesses as a Daughter of Divine Charity wherever she served as organist, principal, teacher, catechist, and as eucharistic minister, as she visited the sick and the elderly bringing Jesus into their hearts and feeding their souls with conversation and the assurance that Jesus is always with them. Father Kraker concluded his remarks by stating that we are all called to serve Jesus and give witness by our lives no matter how long or short our time on earth for we are promised eternity.
Before the final blessing, Mrs. Mary Tosenberger, a resident of Francesca gave a brief reflection on having Sr. Bernadette in her life. Mary has known Sister Bernadette for 70 plus years growing up in the Croatian Parish of Christ the King in Akron, Ohio. She recalled the many parish activities that Sr. Bernadette helped to organize and to reach and involve the youth and the members of the parish especially through creative musical programs. Music was a great way to bring young and old together and very often singing in Croatian especially their favorite hymns for the celebration of the Eucharist thus touching their hearts, while at the same time deepening and strengthening their faith. Mary gave an example of raising money to assist the parish in acquiring a new organ. Mary conveyed the joy, enthusiasm that Sr. Bernadette exemplified while being so very active in the parish ministry and teaching of religion and social functions. These years have gone by all to quickly but we take this moment to recall and thank Sister Bernadette for being a part of our lives. God Bless you on your 100th birthday.
Following the Eucharist Sister Bernadette enjoyed a delicious meal and the singing of Happy Birthday in which Sister Bernadette harmonized with joy and delight as she then blew out the candles with a smile. Sister Imelda Marinovich 99 shared a special card that she made for her novice mate, reminding her of her favorite saying that everyone was familiar with: “It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.” In other words, she wanted to share her life with others, God’s unconditional LOVE with JOY, as our Foundress instructed her daughters, by “doing good, to give joy, to make happy and lead all to Heaven.”
The centennial celebration ended all to quickly at 2:15, as Sister Bernadette was scheduled to be picked up by special transport returning her to St. Edward’s Nursing Home. Sister Bernadette and the Sisters enjoyed their time together remembering the past and grateful for this opportunity to be together as a community acknowledging the life of Sister Bernadette who with her sisters has lived our motto “All for God, for the Poor and For our Congregation.”
Submitted by Sr. Martin Green, F.D.C.