We honor these Presentation Sisters for their combined 445 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 Elaine Goodell
Sister Elaine Goodell was born in Reeder, ND, grew up in Alexandria, Bridgewater and graduated from Parker High School, Parker, SD.
She attended Notre Dame Junior College in Mitchell, SD, receiving an Associate Teaching Degree. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Piano and Music Education from Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI., a Master’s in Music and a Doctorate in Musical Arts from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.
For 17 years, Sister Elaine shared her love of music through teaching in schools in Huron, Mitchell and Sioux Falls, SD. She also served as Chair of the Presentation College Music Department from 1972-1980.
Always wanting to help others, Sister Elaine’s call led her to chaplaincy study and work. She began her pastoral care ministry in Austin, TX and at (Avera) St. Luke’s Hospital, Aberdeen, SD. Then, at age 60, she began a 33 year career as a staff chaplain at the Healthcare Chaplaincy, Inc., and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY, receiving numerous awards throughout the years.
Now fully retired at Presentation Convent, Sister Elaine continues to share her bubbly spirit with all she meets.
Sister SaBina Joyce
Sister SaBina (Marian Jeanette) Joyce was born in Aberdeen, SD, and grew up in North Dakota, being taught by Fargo Presentation Sisters.
She attended Notre Dame Junior College and Presentation College, receiving her teaching certificate. She received a Bachelor’s in English and Elementary Education from Northern State College (University), Aberdeen, SD, and a Master’s in English from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.
Sister SaBina shared her smile and love of learning with students for over 50 years in South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana. In addition, she spent several years at Presentation College teaching English, serving as the English Department Chair and directing the Shalom Singers.
She served as Mission Effectiveness Coordinator at Presentation College and Mother Joseph Manor, and was also supervisor of pastoral care at Mother Joseph Manor. After retiring, she continued to volunteer at Nagle Inn, Sioux Falls, and as an ESL teacher at Caminando Juntos, the Presentation Sisters’ Hispanic ministry in the Sioux Falls, SD, area.
After moving back to Presentation Convent, Sister SaBina shared her passion for music and cooking, sharing homemade caramels with family and friends. She is now active in prayer ministry.
70 Years of Joyful Service
Sister Eileen Ford
Sister Eileen (Virginé) Ford was born and raised in Dorchester, Mass., attending public school in the Boston, Mass., area. She went on to receive an Associate’s Degree from Presentation College, Aberdeen, SD. Her early ministries included sharing her gifts with others through domestic service, physical therapy assistance and as a social service designee, at many schools, hospitals and parishes throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Montana.
Sister Eileen went on to complete continuing education in preparation for the ministry of pastoral care and outreach ministry. For almost 25 years she walked with others through this ministry at (Avera) St. Luke’s Hospital and Mother Joseph Manor, both in Aberdeen, providing compassion and a listening heart to those in need.
Sister Eileen continued her service to others through the Foster Grandparent Program, where, for more than 10 years, she would share her smile and give her full attention to elementary students at C.C. Lee Elementary in Aberdeen. She commented, “I found the work uplifting and rewarding, and it filled me with a sense of joy.”
Now fully retired, Sister Eileen is engaged in prayer ministry.
Sister Josita Schwab
Sister Josita (Elizabeth Mary) Schwab was born and raised in rural Andover, SD. After attending Presentation College, Aberdeen, SD, she received additional training in clinical Pastoral Education, Dietary Administration and Theology.
Sister Josita shared her gifts with others as she worked in dietary services in Huron and Mitchell, SD, before returning to Aberdeen to supervise the Presentation College cafeteria where she became acquainted with students from all over the world, some of whom she still keeps in touch with today.
In 1978, Sister Josita was called to minister as a parish visitor in Huron, Jefferson and Elk Point, SD, where she would visit and pray with people in need at hospitals, nursing homes and the regional jail.
She joined St. Joseph’s Catholic Housing in Sioux Falls, SD, in 1996 and for 11 years, ministered as a friend and advocate to poor families, immigrants and elderly residents at Northridge Apartments and West Creek Woods.
After moving back to Aberdeen, she volunteered at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital. Now partly retired, Sister Josita serves on the Convent Pastoral Care Committee and enjoys making cards and writing to friends and family.
70th Jubilee Reflection by Sister Josita Schwab, PBVM
I spent 28 years working in food service. A strange accident happened where the step stool I was standing on folded up, landing me in a strange position, fracturing two bones in my lower back. After two years of pain, I had back surgery. After a year of recuperating, the doctor told me I could no longer work in the cafeteria/kitchen. I was devastated; this was the only work I was trained to do. Now, I am wearing a metal brace and limited in bending and lifting.
Our Congregational President, Sister Phyllis Marie, suggested I take a special course in Independence, Iowa, to learn how to do Hospital, Nursing Home and At Home visits. I went for six weeks; I was petrified to travel as I couldn’t even carry my own suitcase. The wonderful people in Independence helped me. The course was hard work and I learned a lot. Actually, it was just what I needed.
Even before I went to Iowa, I had been offered a job to work in two parishes in Huron, SD. I spent 10 wonderful years there visiting people in the Hospital, two Nursing Homes and many “shut-ins.” I received good support in my work and with being careful, I could do this kind of work.
My next assignment was in Jefferson and Elk Point, SD. I lived in the upstairs of the Jefferson School and traveled to the different parishes, the Elk Point Nursing Home and to Sioux City to visit patients in Hospitals, Nursing Homes and at home. I enjoyed these parishes for eight years.
I was then asked to move to Sioux Falls to a new apartment complex owned by the Sioux Falls Diocese as they had asked for a “Sister presence”. The residents were from different countries from all over the world with many religious beliefs; there was never a dull moment. This was the most meaningful place I had ever worked. I learned so much from the people. After 11 years, I returned to Aberdeen where I volunteered at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital for an additional eight years, until some medical issues hindered my volunteerism. I’ve continued to do some Pastoral Care at the Convent over the years.
As I have reflected on the years of my ministry, I remember the good times in the college cafeteria, still hearing from some former students. My parish work allowed me to meet so many people who were sick, or confined to their home, all who gave me such strong support. My first experience living in an apartment, being there for the tenants in various ways, especially when they were in need. I was amazed at how many lives I had touched. And, with God’s help, I could to all of the things I did. I realized that if I had not had my injury and needed to change my life, I would never have met all of these wonderful people that I laughed with, cried with and enjoyed life with. Thank you God for this wonderful life.
60 Years of Joyful Service
Sister Myra Remily
Sister Myra (Ann Frances) Remily was born in Aberdeen, SD. She was raised in Brentford, SD, where she graduated from high school. She received a Dietary Management Degree from St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, and then obtained her Bachelor’s of Theology from University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH.
After serving in parish ministry in Chamberlain, SD, and Linton, ND, Sister Myra answered the call and began catechetical missionary work. For 17 years, she lived in rural areas of Mexico and Bolivia where she trained young women and men to carry out the faith in their villages. As she walked and ministered with them, her love of the Hispanic culture deepened as she witnessed the joy in them when they realized the words to the Lord’s Prayer in their own language.
Responding the need for accompaniment with the newly arriving Hispanic population in the Aberdeen, SD area, Sister Myra continues her work for justice. Like foundress Nano Nagle, she welcomes and advocates for our new sisters and brothers, helping them to become self-sustaining in their new home.
In her spare time, Sister Myra enjoys listening to music, taking long walks and reading a great book.
60th Jubilee Reflection by Sister Myra Remily, PBVM
As I reflect on my past 60 years as a Presentation Sister I begin with the Faith of my parents and for the many blessings I have received over the years.
In my beginning years, I was quite young, inexperienced and not as self-assured as to who I was called to be. However as each year passed I encountered many ways to grow in my journey.
The most important was my prayer life and study. It was during and after the Vatican council that a new direction opened up and new ways to grow spiritually and academically. I grew towards a stronger sense of self-worth, confidence in self-reflection and trust in how God worked through me.
God called me to different ministry careers beginning with food service and then on to getting my degree in Theology and seven years in parish ministry. In the late 1980’s I was called to be a missionary to Mexico. Three separate incidents spoke to me of being a missionary. I needed to listen carefully what was being said to me. Through prayer, discernment and with my community, I was able to respond. I learned Spanish and then went to Guerrero, Mexico to be with our Sisters there. These years in Mexico, and later on in Bolivia with the PBVMs from Dubuque, Iowa, were very significant for me.
These years gifted me with a strong sense of justice for the poor and marginalized. I truly found my ability to be with these beautiful people. They gave me a great joy to be with them. Especially when I could see the joy of a Mixteca woman, for the first time understanding the Our Father in her own language. It was awesome to see!! We also trained young men and women to carry on their Faith in their villages.
After 15 years of foreign missionary service, I returned to Aberdeen and began advocacy ministry to the Hispanic population in the Aberdeen area. This advocacy work involved translating in various institutions such as medical clinics, birth place, schools and social services and wherever needed. My initial goal for these people is to help them become self-sustaining in their lives. It has worked fairly well. A number of them no longer need my services which are good.
During my years abroad, and here, I have experienced small and large miracles of how God has worked through me, guided me and trusted me as I grew trusting in God’s love for me.
Throughout these years, prayer, contemplative prayer and community with my sisters, have been and continue to be, the center of my ability to serve. We as sisters do nothing alone.
My model of service of course is Nano Nagle, our foundress. I had the privilege of visiting her home and walking the streets she walked. She instilled in me an even greater sense of communion with the less fortunate and those made poor by injustice such as low wages or no jobs at all.
These 60 years have all been a gift; during easy times and hard times, as Nano says, “Not Words but Deeds.”
Sister Sheila Schnell
Sister Sheila (Margaret Mary) Schnell was born and raised in Pierre, SD. After receiving an Associate’s Degree at Presentation College, Aberdeen, SD, she earned a Bachelor’s in Theology, Philosophy and Education, and a Master’s in Theology from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI. She also received training in spiritual direction and retreat ministry, cross-cultural theology, diversity training, and Spanish language and Latino cultural studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
For nine years Sister Sheila shared her love of learning in schools in Sioux Falls, SD, and Mound and Willmar, MN. She served as the coordinator of retreats and spiritual development for the Congregation and then pastoral associate at Sacred Heart Parish, Moline, IL, before becoming the Congregational Formation Director.
Sister Sheila lived in Mexico for a year before ministering at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Omaha, NE. Five years later, in Sioux Falls, SD, she joined other Presentation Sisters in establishing a corporate Hispanic Ministry, Caminando Juntos, serving as a diversity trainer, office administrator, and ESL coordinator and teacher.
Now retired, Sister Sheila continues to enjoy reading, reflection and contemplative prayer, always keeping God’s poor and suffering in her heart.
60th Jubilee Reflection by Sister Sheila Schnell, PBVM
I was 19 years old, in my first year at Presentation College, when I experienced an overwhelming sense of God’s love for me and call to live a deeper spiritual life. I found myself desiring to respond by committing to a vowed life with the Presentation Sisters. Since that time, my life as a Religious Sister has been blessed abundantly through the many opportunities offered by the Community to study Scripture and Theology, devote time to prayer and contemplation, and to share community life with faith filled women who share the same call, desires, and values.
There was a point in my religious life journey that I began to realize God’s “option for the poor.” If the poor dwelt so deeply in God’s heart, how could they not be in mine as well? I felt an urging to change course in ministry, and begin to learn how to walk with God’s poor and welcome the stranger in our midst. With total trust in God and the support of the Sisters, I helped initiate an outreach ministry to our Latino sisters and brothers, called Caminando Juntos (walking together). Over the last 20 years we’ve walked with many thousands of newly arrived Latinos in the Sioux Falls area. Sharing in this ministry with my Sisters has been the joy of my life. Sharing love and welcoming to God’s beloved Latinos has enriched my life beyond measure.
As I now begin my retirement years, I feel my life has come “full circle”. I am blessed to have more time for reading, reflection and contemplative prayer…keeping God’s poor and suffering always in my heart. The journey I began at age 19 has revealed the meaning of my life, which has been full, rich and deeply blessed.
35 Years of Joyful Service
Sister Pegge Boehm
Sister Pegge (Margaret Mary) Boehm was born in Milwaukee, WI, and graduated from St. John’s Cathedral, Milwaukee. She attained a Computer Data Processing Associate Degree, attended Creighton University, Omaha, NE, obtaining a Bachelor’s in Theology and a Masters of Divinity from St. John’s School of Theology, Collegeville, MN.
Having a heart for justice and those made poor, Sister Pegge spent three years serving with the Latino people in Mexico. She interned with NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby group and was director of Catholic Rural Life for the Diocese of Sioux Falls. She ministered with the National Catholic Rural Life and then served in parish and rural outreach ministry in Milbank and Timber Lake, SD.
Sister Pegge currently works at Caminando Juntos, our ministry with Latinos in the Sioux Falls, SD area. Welcoming all, she teaches English, assists with immigration cases and advocates for immigrant issues. She is a resource to parents and potential sponsors of unaccompanied minor children, helping families to reunite with their children on the border.
Sister Pegge enjoys the simple things in life, from working outside to sharing a cup of coffee with a friend.
35th Jubilee Reflection by Sister Pegge Boehm, PBVM
Why celebrate 35 years as a Presentation Sister instead of waiting until 50 years? After volunteering in Mexico as a Secular Franciscan, commissioned by the Conventual Franciscan Friars of St. Josaphat Basilica in Milwaukee, WI, and living with the Presentation Sisters in Tlachoachistlahuaca, Guerrero for nearly three years, experiencing their love for those made poor, I knew God was calling me to live the rest of my life as a Presentation Sister! When I was 35 years old, I became a Sister. Thirty-five years led me to that commitment and now thirty-five years later, I celebrate that milestone in my life. This year I also turn 70 years old. The number 7 and 70 are often used in the bible as a number referring to perfection. I can’t say I’m perfect, but this commitment as a Presentation Sister is indeed “perfecting” me, as a piece of metal is perfected under the intensity of the fire and heat. The people with whom I have ministered these past 35 years have had a role in perfecting me. My Presentation Community has played an intimate role in perfecting me so that I can one day become the best version of who God intended me to be! My family, with their unconditional love and support have accompanied me along the journey. All have loved me into being. For all, I am grateful. For all, I am thankful.