On May 1, 2014, Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay established a new community of women religious in his diocese called the Missionaries of the Word. Their primary mission is to bring the Gospel to youth and young adults in the spirit of the New Evangelization.
Peggy Duemling, now known as Mother Catherine, received her habit and pronounced final vows, and two other women, Sister Maria Lucia Stella Maris, 23, and Sister Marie Bernadette of the Sacred Heart, 22, became novices. They are living together at St. Joseph Formation Center at Kangaroo Lake in Door County, Wisconsin.
This Public Association of the Faithful has its roots in the Missionaries of Charity where Mother Catherine was a sister for 10 years. She left because of her asthma but felt that God was still calling her to religious life. “I always felt there was something in my heart,” she said. “I needed more.”
Her spiritual director and the archbishop in Milwaukee urged her to go to Green Bay to work with Fr. Quinn Mann and his ministry for youth. And Bishop Ricken put her through various tests along the way. “For example, he said, ‘If three women come before Sept. 8, we’ll move ahead,’” she said. “That happened and they have been with me since 2012.”
She took the name Catherine after St. Catherine of Siena and St. Catherine Laboure. “We work with the youth because we lose them between the ages of 14 and 30. We build relationships with them to bring them to the Lord.” They will serve, however, where they are most needed. “We belong to the church,” Mother Catherine said. “We truly want to support the parishes. We will serve where we are needed or where we are invited.”
Bishop Ricken says that there are a couple of generations of Catholics who haven’t been really engaged in their faith. “Part of that is all the pressure from the culture, but part of it as well is that we haven’t done a very good job of really making disciples, you know real followers of Jesus, of our Catholic people,” the bishop said. “We can see that so many people that fall away from the church eventually wind up falling away from God. Some of them go to other churches, but often times they just quit and they get farther and farther away from God. So a person’s soul can wind up in trouble with all kinds of problems if they’ve excluded God or neglected God.”
May these missionaries of the New Evangelization bring the light of Christ to those they serve. For contact information, please see the press release.