Sr. Jacque begins a new ministry
By Laurie Hallstrom
As a child growing up in the 1950s Sr. Jacque Schroeder recalls vacationing in South Dakota with her family. They were attending a pow wow and she was sitting on the lap of a Lakota elder. She felt so at home with him, with the people, and with the land.
As a Franciscan novice, she imagined what it would be like to serve here. She put aside such thinking, as her community, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception, served primarily in the Diocese of Peoria, Ill. There were no assignments in western South Dakota.
Then something changed in the early 1990s, Bishop John Myers of Peoria and Bishop Charles Chaput of Rapid City decided to form a Sister Diocese relationship. After much prayer, Sr. Jacque approached the leader of her community with her thoughts about serving in their Sister Diocese. Her President (Superior) said she had been thinking the same thing. “The Holy Spirit was at work,” said Sr. Jacque.
On a trip to North Dakota and Wyoming she arranged a meeting with Bishop Chaput in Rapid City. Religious order priests were withdrawing from McLaughlin and Standing Rock the next year. The ministry on the Standing Rock Reservation would be taken over by diocesan priests for the first time. The bishop welcomed having two Franciscan sisters willing to serve on the Standing Rock Reservation. In 1996 Sr. Jacque and Sr. Marion Lemon were assigned to work with Monsignor William O’Connell and then-Fr. Steve Biegler. The sisters worked on the reservation until 2004 when they returned to Peoria.
Bishop Robert Gruss invited Sister Jacque for a second tour of ministry beginning in 2016 on the Standing Rock Reservation at McLaughlin. After seven years, she said the Holy Spirit is inviting her into a new ministry based at Terra Sancta Retreat Center, Rapid City. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the community here,” she said. To maintain contact with other nuns, Sr. Jacque will attend Mass as well as evening and morning prayer as often as possible with the Benedictine Sisters living at the Good Samaritan Village across the street from the retreat center.
Her order has a service ministry called Franciscan Spirituality and Resource Services that offers spiritual direction, retreats, and days of reflection. She is part of that but serving in western South Dakota. Although not receiving a stipend, the Diocese of Rapid City is providing her with room, board and transportation so small parishes around the diocese can feel free to invite her to come to their churches. Sister has offered many retreats on Franciscan, Eucharistic and Marian Spirituality as well as many other themes. “I’m looking forward to exploring whatever topics parishes, groups or individuals would like to explore together,” she said.
Sr. Jacque can be reached at (309) 369- 4520 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no set fees for her ministry; however, donations may be sent to her community at Heading Avenue Franciscans, Spirituality and Resource Service, 2408 West Heading Ave., West Peoria, IL 61604.