Journeys Ended, Journeys Begun

L-R: Helen Schiltz, Sister Kathleen Storms, SSND, and Phyllis Ammeter. Sr. Kathleen is leaving Our Lady of the Prairie near Wheatland to head to Rome to serve her international religious community.

My Journey with Our lady of the Prairie REtreat began in August 2011 when I drove down the long and inviting lane on my way to an interview for the director position. I remember immediately feeling at home. Returning to my rural roots took on new meaning in this place rich with feelings of belonging. The silence is so rich; the beauty so inviting.

During my six years at The Prairie I have met many other travelers. The sisters of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary have been my faithful companions. I have lived and ministered with Sister Kathleen Henneberry and Sister Marcia Eckerman. They embody the spirit of the congregation. Sisters Mary Rehmann, Johanna Rickl and Mary Ann Vogel as presidents of the congregation blessed me with the freedom to grow The Prairie. Sister Rae Elwood has been mentor and friend besides registering so many fellow travelers. Prairie staff members, as cleaners and groundskeepers, have accompanied me caring for and enhancing this special place. Advisory Committee members and volunteers have enriched the journey by their creativity, fidelity to the mission and support. This place has become home for all of them too. I thank you!

Then there are the literally thousands of retreatants who have journeyed with us for a few hours, a day, a week or a month. They enjoyed the pause in their life’s journey through silent reflection, long restoring walks, conversation, faith sharing, singing, healing, transformation and monthly Masses in our small chapel. I have enjoyed providing meals gathered from our gardens and local farmers. And oh the stories, the laughter, the memories will go with me. No matter how long or short the sojourn, The Prairie has become a remembered place in the hearts of all who have experienced life at The Prairie. Keep returning and share the love of The Prairie!

Today, over six years since that first journey, I now will be taking my final ride down that lane to begin a new journey. Among my belongings will be a deeper awareness of God’s love and presence in each of our lives. I take a heart grateful for the opportunities to build friendships, to shape programs, to enhance the property and care for its beauty.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame, my religious community, have now called me on a vastly different journey. I will be traveling to Rome to take up leadership there with five other sisters for our international community of about 2,500 sisters for the next six years. I don’t know all the twists and curves of the road ahead, but I do know I take many stories and memories of The Prairie with me. The blessings of this jewel in the countryside of rural Iowa will be shared with my sisters around the globe. Know you will not be forgotten. We are all one. God bless you for having loved me into life through our ministry together.

Here is my new address:

Kathleen Storms, SSND

School Sisters of Notre Dame via della Stazione Aurelia, 95 00165 Roma, ITALIA

Email for now: [email protected]

More blog posts by Sr. Kathleen:

A Witness to Kindness

Storms on the Prairie

An article in the Catholic Messenger about Sister Storms' departure:

Heading to Rome: New Leadership Post for Sr. Storms