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A Dominican Life – 100 Years in the Making

 

Upon first glance, Sr. Lois Liekweg might seem a quiet, unassuming woman. But as soon as you get her talking, she radiates with vibrance and a keen intellect. She values intelligence- both the importance of an educated mind, and the blessing of having helped so many students build knowledge and confidence within themselves during her years as a teacher. Her sharp memory and knack for storytelling make her an engaging conversationalist. You would never guess that she is the oldest member of her congregation – a statistic she is extremely proud of. In fact, on Tuesday, December 6, 2016, Sr. Lois turned 100 years old!

In her century of life, and 83 years in Religious Life, this St. Louis, MO native has witnessed incredible developments and growth in our world: from enhancements in the classroom, where she spent the majority of her 60 years of active ministry, to advances in American life and society, to an array of global events and concerns ranging from wars to scientific discoveries. Much of what has been constant throughout her life has been change.

Sr. Lois Liekweg before the Mass on her 100th birthday.

When asked about the most substantial changes she has seen take place in the world, Sr. Lois shared,In my lifetime, I have witnessed the development of technology which has provided some of the greatest ‘toys’ ever brought forth. The contribution of tech ‘gadgets’ to society is on par with what the automobile has done over the years. Also, today it seems there is no peace in the world. Having lived through 2 World Wars I can say the atmosphere in our world right now feels different. I think of groups like Boko Haram and ISIS and I ask God to change their minds and scatter them so they can’t become a powerful body. Every day I pray that. I also don’t remember as much physical hunger in the world as there is today… I think about it a lot- what it must be like to be hungry, or to have children cry because they’re hungry.”

Although she has been “retired” for 21 years, Sr. Lois still finds many ways to stay active and engaged both physically and spiritually. She can regularly be found leading prayer services at Dominican Convent in Sparkill and offering reflections at Masses, which she regards as important exercises of her Dominican vocation. She volunteers for her community’s Days for Girls Project, which makes feminine hygiene kits that are sent to women and girls in third world countries who lack access to such supplies. “This is truly an opportunity where I can help make a difference,” Sr. Lois reflects.I am grateful to be able to contribute to this noble effort which produces a much needed product for these young women.”  Sister Lois also finds great joy in hand making cards and decorations to spread cheer among the resident Sisters in Dominican Convent’s Infirmary, Siena Hall.

Sr. Lois working dilligently on the Days for Girls project.

Sister Lois enjoyed a beautiful celebration on her 100th birthday, which was attended by many members of her family and the Sisters, Associates and friends of the Sparkill Congregation. The day began with a special Mass at which Sr. Lois offered the reflections on the Feast of St. Nicholas. In her remarks she discussed St. Nicholas as the Saint known for his generous and frequent gift giving, and she went on to share about the different types of gifts we receive from God in our lives. She arrived at the rare and unusual gift that she has now received: 100 years of clear-minded knowing and loving God. Following Mass, the group enjoyed a luncheon and entertainment from students of Albertus Magnus High School’s Veritas Chorus. (Sr. Lois worked as the high school’s Business Manager for 5 years in the 1980s.)

The Veritas Chorus from Albertus Magnus HS sinigng to the Sparkill community.

Sr. Lois at her birthday celebration, accompanied by her great nephew.

When asked what thoughts she had to share on her 100th birthday, Sr. Lois simply said, “It was beyond anything I could have expected! Every part of the celebration, and having so many of my family members here, brought me so much energy. I have been so blessed by God to reach this stage with a clear mind. I am very grateful for what I have and what I’ve received from God during my life. Now I wonder what lies ahead!”

Sr. Lois with her family members gathered to celebrate her 100th birthday.

 

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