We honor these Presentation Sisters for their combined 885 years of service to those in need. Daily, they continue living out their vocational call, working for justice, alleviating oppression and speaking out for those without a voice. We thank them for their dedication to making our world a better place for all to live.
75 Years of Joyful Service
Sister Mary Pius Gutoski
Sister Mary Pius Gutoski was born and raised in Chicago, Ill. She received a bachelor’s in education from Northern State Teacher’s College (University), Aberdeen, S.D., and a master’s in education from the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana, Ill.
For 20 years, Sister Mary Pius taught in Presentation Schools throughout the region. She shared her love of learning by serving as a primary school teacher in Milbank, Dell Rapids, Sioux Falls, Madison, Mitchell and Aberdeen, S.D., and Anoka, Minn. She continued to encourage and inspire students in inner city public schools in Flint, Mich., for an additional 22 years.
After 42 years in education ministry, she returned to school and received training and certification in therapeutic massage in Lapur, Mich. She served as a therapeutic masseuse in Flint, Mich., for 12 years, where she shared,“I asked the Lord to work through me. When I work, I pray,” she said. “A massage helps people heal physically, mentally. If you feel better physically, you feel better mentally and spiritually.”
Now retired, Sister Mary Pius is active in prayer ministry in Linden, Mich., and enjoys spending time and visiting with friends.
70 Years of Joyful Service
Sister Suzanne Cotter
Sister Suzanne Cotter was born and raised in Dell Rapids, S.D. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in English from the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minn., and a master’s in English from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.
Sister Suzanne shared her enthusiasm, smile and zest for life with students in South Dakota Catholic schools for over 45 years. Mostly teaching in junior and senior high classrooms, she spent her last 40 years of teaching at O’Gorman High School, Sioux Falls, S.D.
She helped establish Marian House in Sioux Falls, which was a vocation, formation and hospitality house that hosted many different retreats, book clubs and small mission groups. She also ministered in mission effectiveness for (Avera) Presentation Health System and as a pastoral and education associate in Sioux Falls for 10 years, as well as serving on a number of boards and committees.
Sister Suzanne currently resides in Sioux Falls and is active in prayer ministry. She remains a faithful supporter of all O’Gorman activities, and as an avid sports fan, she continues to proudly support the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish!
Sister Mary Jane Gaspar
Sister Mary Jane (Cecilia) Gaspar was born in Orient, S.D., and graduated from Fairview High School, Polo, S.D. She received an associate teaching degree from Presentation Junior College, Aberdeen, S.D., before earning a bachelor’s in education from Northern State College (University), Aberdeen, S.D.; a master’s in education from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.; and a master’s in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University, Omaha, Neb.
Sister Mary Jane’s dedication to education spanned almost 40 years as she taught and served as a principal in elementary schools throughout South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska. She ministered as the Presentation Sisters formation director and was elected to serve on the leadership council for the congregation. She walked with others through her work in pastoral ministry and then as the director of religious education at Holy Spirit and Christ the King parishes, both in Sioux Falls. She continued sharing her gifts with others as the hostess at the Presentation Sisters’ Marian House in Sioux Falls, as well as serving on several boards and committees.
Prior to full retirement in prayer ministry at Presentation Convent, Sister Mary Jane enjoyed walking, reading and puzzles.
Sister Vianney Mannie
Sister Vianney (Aileen Loretta) Mannie was born in Edgeley, N.D., and grew up in Turton and Watertown, S.D. She received her associate’s in teaching from Presentation Junior College, Aberdeen, S.D., and earned a bachelor’s in education from Northern State College (University), Aberdeen, S.D.
For over 40 years, she taught in elementary schools and served in administrative positions across eastern South Dakota, in Anoka, Minn., and Miles City, Mont. Her joy of serving continued as the director of religious education at St. Mary Parish, Sioux Falls, S.D., and then director of the learning resource center and assessment coordinator at National American University in Sioux Falls for 20 years.
For Sister Vianney, the focus of religious life has been to develop a deep spirituality and to be of service to the Community and others. She shares, “God has truly blessed me with love and affirmation from my family, relatives, Sisters, priests, friends and former students. After all these years of ministry and prayer, I thank God for the call, the joy, the fulfillment and the grace of perseverance.”
Currently, Sister Vianney lives in Sioux Falls and serves in prayer and part-time ministry.
Sister Michelle Meyers
Sister Michelle (Clara) Meyers was born in Chamberlain, S.D., and raised in Montrose, S.D. She earned a bachelor’s in education from Northern State University, Aberdeen, S.D.; a master’s in chemistry, from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.; and a master’s in theological studies from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Sister Michelle served over 60 years in education ministry in cities throughout South Dakota and Minnesota. She was the director of religious education in several Minnesota parishes and inspired and encouraged others as a retreat director and speaker. With Sister Kay O’Neil, she cofounded the New Ulm Diocesan Task Force on Women in Ministry.
She served on the congregational leadership council and published numerous articles on women’s and other justice issues. Sister Michelle also received the Diocesan Distinguished Service Award from the Diocese of New Ulm, Minn., and the Outstanding Faculty Award at St. Mary’s University, Minneapolis, Minn.
She continues to enhance the lives of others through spiritual direction. As a member of the Presentation Sisters Social Justice Team, she is an advocate for women through prayers and actions in social justice and peacemaking ministries.
Sister Helen Jean Washtoak
Sister Helen Jean (Mary Carmen) Washtoak was born and raised in Henry, S.D. After high school, she studied and received an associate teaching degree from Notre Dame Junior College, Mitchell, S.D. She earned a bachelor’s in elementary education from Northern State College (University), Aberdeen, S.D., and, later, a master’s of theology at St. Mary’s College, Winona, Minn.
For over 35 years Sister Helen Jean inspired thousands of students as an elementary educator, principal and coordinator of religious education in Catholic schools and parishes throughout South Dakota and Minnesota. She recalls one year walking into her first grade classroom, “There were 50 nodding heads all looking at me. Soon another joined, making it 51!”
Switching her focus, she received her certification in pastoral care. For the next 15 years, she shared her joy and compassion with others at Avera McKennan, Avera St. Luke’s and Aberdeen Living Center.
Prior to retiring in 2011, Sister Helen Jean could be found volunteering at the information desk at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital and assisting various departments at Presentation Convent. Now retired, she is active in prayer ministry, enjoys reading, playing cards and dominoes.
60 Years of Joyful Service
Sister Donna Brown
Sister Donna (Mary Blaine) Brown was born and grew up in Sioux Falls, S.D., spending her early years in show business, dancing on stage at the age of three. Prior to entering Presentation Convent, she worked in the Sioux Falls area, gaining life experiences.
Sister Donna received an associate’s in general studies from Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D.; a bachelor’s in recreation and leisure from Central Missouri University, Warrensburg, Mo.; and a master’s in pastoral studies from Loyola University, Chicago, Ill.. She also received training in theo-therapeutic massage at Sister Rosalind’s Professional School of Massage, St. Paul, Minn.
Always willing to help and celebrate each person’s individual gifts, she ministered at the Presentation Sisters’ Children’s Home, served as a workshop and retreat presenter, was the administrator and mission coordinator at (Avera) Mother Joseph Manor and went on to serve as development director at Presentation College. Her path then led her to theo-therapeutic massage and pastoral counseling.
Currently retired in Sioux Falls, Sister Donna’s love of life is evident and she continues to share her compassionate heart, joyful smile and loving spirit through music, singing and dancing.
Sister Elaine Garry
Sister Elaine (Kathleen) Garry was born and raised in Salem, S.D. She received an associate’s in education from Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D., and a bachelor’s in elementary education from Northern State College (University), Aberdeen, S.D. She went on to receive a master’s in theology from St. Mary’s College, Winona, Minn.; a master’s in elementary administration from Northern State College and a master’s in religious education from Loyola University, Chicago, Ill.. She also completed preparation for becoming a spiritual director and certification in human development.
From beginning her educational opportunities at Presentation College to teaching in elementary schools throughout the region and then completing/ending her teaching ministry at Presentation College, Sister Elaine’s love of education spanned almost five decades. Throughout this time, she inspired and motivated thousands of students, and is still in touch with some today.
With compassion and grace, her ministry led her to listen and walk with others through her gift of spiritual direction and she is currently the pastoral associate at St. Thomas More Catholic Parish in Brookings, S.D.
In her spare time, Sister Elaine takes piano lessons, and enjoys writing letters and sending birthday cards.
Sister Mary Lou Geraets
Sister Mary Lou (Cajetan) Geraets grew up in rural Dell Rapids, S.D. She attended Northern State College (University), Aberdeen, S.D, receiving a bachelor’s in education. She shared her love of learning with elementary students in schools throughout South Dakota and Minnesota for almost 25 years.
After serving in the Student Services Center at Presentation College, Sister Mary Lou journeyed with others as she began her spiritual care ministry in long-term care facilities in South Dakota and North Dakota, sharing life with each unique person. After returning to Aberdeen, she also worked with the Foster Grandparent Program at CC Lee Elementary School.
Sister Mary Lou, a member of Green Aberdeen, continues to educate others on effective efforts of recycling and care of the earth. Growing in our relationship with Creator and Earth, our common home, she shares and works to help spread the word on how we can all do a little bit to make our world a better place for all.
Along with reading and playing piano, Sister Mary Lou is a cantor and song leader for liturgies, a companion with senior sisters and tender of recycling at Presentation Convent.
Sister Darlene Gutenkauf
Sister Darlene (Camille) Gutenkauf was born in Faulkton, S.D. Raised in this rural area, she attended summer catechism taught by Sisters and witnessed the love and grace they had for all.
After graduating from Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D., Sister Darlene received a bachelor’s in education from South Dakota State University, Brookings and a master’s in pastoral studies from Loyola University, Chicago, Ill. She completed post-graduate courses in theology and trained to become a spiritual director.
For 18 years she shared her love of learning in schools throughout South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. She was the vocation director and later spent many years in pastoral ministry. She worked collaboratively with pastoral teams in rural parishes in South Dakota and Minnesota. She helped develop, implement and facilitate intergenerational faith formation programs to foster parish leadership, preparing people for ministry in their parish. She later became the director of the Cojourner program for lay associates.
Retired in Aberdeen, she is a member of a local Parkinson’s support group, Convent Liturgy Committee, cantor at Mass and she strives to be a joyful witness, faithful in prayer and service.
Sister Joyce Meyer
Sister Joyce (Marie Celine) Meyer was born in Morris, Minn. Raised in Willmar, Minn., she went on to receive a bachelor’s in English, philosophy and education from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisc., and a master’s in spiritual theology from Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Calif.. She also earned an advanced clinical pastoral education certificate.
She began her ministry as an educator in schools throughout South Dakota and Minnesota. She then served as the congregational formation director and novice director. She went on to work as a spiritual director in California before serving as lecturer, dean of students and spiritual director in Zambia, Africa.
Sister Joyce was elected to congregational leadership, serving four years as a councilor, followed by eight years as the congregational president.
Currently she serves on the International Ministry Board of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, the Conrad N Hilton Foundation board and is the international liaison/writer for Global Sisters Report. She feels very blessed in her ministry work, connecting with and enhancing the lives of women religious in 57 countries around our world.
A voracious reader of any subject, Sister Joyce also enjoys cooking, baking and yoga.
Sister Kay O’Neil
Sister Kay (Mary Teresa) O’Neil was born and raised in Clark, S.D. She received an associate’s in secretarial science, Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D., and bachelor’s in business administration, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisc. She received a master’s in library science, Dominican University, River Forest, Ill.; a master’s in counseling psychology, Catholic University, Washington, D.C.; and a master’s of theological studies, Boston College of Theology and Ministry, Boston, Mass.
Throughout her vowed religious life, Sister Kay served as an educator, speaker, counselor, campus minister, retreat director and witness of the Gospel. She published numerous articles on women’s and other justice issues, including communication, self-esteem, peacemaking, women studies and spirituality.
She received the Diocesan Distinguished Service Award (Diocese of New Ulm, Minn.), Outstanding Faculty Award (St. Mary’s University, Minneapolis, Minn.), was a Bush Leadership Finalist and a founding member, and current chair, of the Presentation Sisters Social Justice Team.
Sister Kay continues to enlighten and enhance the lives of others through her work as a counselor and spiritual director. She remains dedicated to peace and nonviolent solutions, working with area Pax Christi groups to educate and inspire others on social justice issues.
Sister Pat Prunty
Sister Pat Prunty grew up in Andover, S.D. She attended and graduated from Northern State University with bachelor’s in elementary and secondary education, and taught for 15 years in Sioux Falls, Humboldt and Dell Rapids, S.D., as well as Miles City, Mont., before earning a master’s in religious studies from Seattle University, Seattle, Wash.
Serving in the ministries of chaplaincy, education and parish ministry, Sister Pat has experienced the rich and diverse cultures in our world. For 12 years, she ministered with those on our Lakota Reservations. She went on to complete a hospital chaplaincy internship at the Mayo Clinic and then spent 23 years in chaplaincy at Avera St Luke’s. She has been an observer at the United Nations, shared her compassion with others by ministering in El Salvador and worked with the Red Cross in Texas after Hurricane Rita.
Retired at Presentation Convent, Sister Pat continues to serve on various committees and boards, works with the Presentation Sister’s Justice Commission and advocates for justice. She also enjoys cooking, reading a good book and listening to National Public Radio.
40 Years of Joyful Service
Sister Mary Thomas
Sister Mary Thomas was born and raised in Bowdle, S.D. She received her associate’s in social work from Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D., as well as a bachelor’s in theology and sociology and master’s in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University, Omaha, Neb. She did additional studies at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minn., receiving a master’s in organizational leadership.
During her 40 years of service to those in need, Sister Mary ministered at St. Joseph Church, Mobridge, S.D.; Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D.; as a campus minister at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and served as the Presentation Sisters vocation director.
Sister Mary has also been an active member of various committees and directed many successful retreats and outreach projects. She was instrumental in beginning the Presentation Sisters Leadership Camp for Junior High Girls.
Since 2006, Sister Mary has been the senior vice president of mission services at Avera McKennan Hospital, Sioux Falls, S.D. She served as a council member on the congregational leadership team and was recently elected to serve as vice president.
In her spare time, Sister Mary enjoys being outdoors, doing puzzles, reading and spending time with family and friends.