In September of 2000, the Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, S.D. and the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton, S.D. merged their individual Catholic health care systems into a single entity, Avera Health. These two religious orders serve as Avera’s sponsors and share the common values of compassion, hospitality and stewardship.
Each year, Avera St. Luke’s celebrates Avera Health Founders Week with various campus activities. This year, 18 years after the creation of Avera Health, Avera St. Luke’s Hospital and Presentation College, sponsored ministries of the Presentation Sisters, joined together to honor these founders.
On Saturday, September 8, Avera St. Luke’s, Presentation College and the Presentation Sisters hosted Hike 2 the Heights. It was a beautiful day for people to come together to show their gratitude to the Sisters for their many years of service to the hospital, the college and the Aberdeen community.
Over 60 individuals made the two mile walk from Avera St. Luke’s to Presentation Heights. We gathered around the Mary Garden for refreshments and shared stories of our rich history. Sister Janice Klein, President of the Presentation Sisters, spoke briefly about our Foundress, Nano Nagle and the celebration in 2018 of the anniversary of her birth. In symbolic fashion, a lantern representing Nano and her work with the people of Ireland was passed from Sister Janice to Bob Schuchardt, Vice President of Student Affairs at Presentation College, to Todd Forkel, CEO of Avera St. Luke’s, and then continued to pass it from person to person throughout the crowd as we all carry the light of Nano in our hearts.
It was a memorable morning for employees, their families, community members and the Presentation Sisters.