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Sisters of Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament celebrate more than 390 combined years of service

July 20, 2010 at 2:20 a.m.
Updated July 23, 2010 at 2:23 a.m.

Standing and celebrating 50 years, from left, are  Sister Maria Goretti Warzecha, Sister Frances Cabrini Javier, Sister Emiliana Grafe, Sister Faustina Orsak and Sister Bernarda Bludau. Seated, from left, are  Sister Genevieve Zavrel, celebrating 75 years, and Sister Agatha Shimek, celebrating 70 years.

Seven sisters of the congregation of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament celebrated 395 years of combined religious service on July 11.

Those celebrating were: Sister M. Genevieve Zavrel, 75 years; Sister M. Agatha Shimek, 70 years; and Sister M. Faustina Orsak, Sister M. Frances Cabrini Janvier, Sister Maria Goretti Warzecha, Sister M. Bernarda Bludau and Sister M. Emiliana Grafe, 50 years each.

Together they have contributed 395 years of service to the church in ministries of education, administration and pastoral services.

Sister M. Genevieve Zavrel, daughter of the late Vladimir and Maria Sklenar Zavrel, was born in Cameron. She attended elementary at St. Mary's School in Marak, and graduated from St. Ludmila Academy in Shiner. She entered St. Ludmila Convent and became a novice on Sept. 5, 1934. She graduated from St. Ludmila Academy in Shiner. She made her first profession of vows Sept. 7, 1935 and pronounced her final vows Oct. 1, 1938. She attended Incarnate Word College in San Antonio earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in Spanish. She holds a permanent elementary Texas teacher certificate and a provisional all-level librarian certificate.

Zavrel taught at St. Ludmila Academy in Shiner, St. John School in San Marcos, Holy Trinity School in Duquesne, Penn., St. Agnes School in San Antonio, St. Michael School in Weimar, Holy Trinity School and the public school in Falls City, St. Mary School in Nada, Holy Cross School in East Bernard, Nazareth Academy in Victoria, Sacred Heart School in La Grange, and St. Joseph School in Yoakum. She also served four years as librarian at St. Ludmila Academy in Shiner.

When Zavrel retired from education, she was assigned to Incarnate Word Convent where she spends time making aprons and dressing dolls. She presently lives in the Incarnate Word Convent Healthcare Center and is engaged in the apostolate of prayer.

Sister M. Agatha Shimek, daughter of the late Louis and Frances Kutac Shimek, was born in St. John, near Schulenburg. Shimek attended St. John School and St. Rose School in Schulenburg, and graduated from St. Ludmila Academy. She entered St. Ludmila Convent on Sept. 18, 1938 and became a novice June 4, 1939. She made her first profession of vows on June 10, 1940, and pronounced her final vows July 28, 1943.

Shimek earned a bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in Spanish from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and a master's degree in education with a major in administration from Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio. Shimek was awarded Texas teacher certificates on the elementary and high school levels, as well as for principalship, counselor and librarian.

Shimek served at St. John School in San Marcos, St. Paul in Sedan, St. Mary School in Nada, Guadalupe School in Victoria, St. Jerome School in Plum, Radhost public school, Holy Cross School in East Bernard, St. Ludmila Academy and St. Paul High School in Shiner, Blessed Sacrament Academy in San Antonio, Falls City public school, Nazareth Academy and St. Joseph High School in Victoria and Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville. She also served as principal, librarian, counselor and senior class sponsor.

Among her many hobbies, Shimek enjoys gardening, growing plants, cooking, crocheting afghans, shawls, caps and baby sets and reading. Shimek lives at the Incarnate Word Convent where she is involved in the apostolate of prayer.

Sister M. Faustina Orsak, daughter of the late John and Albina Gajewski Orsak, was born in Sealy. She attended elementary school at Frydek Catholic School and at Immaculate Conception School in Sealy. After Orsak graduated from Nazareth Academy, she became a novice on Aug. 5, 1959. She made her first vows on Aug. 6, 1960 and pronounced her final vows on Aug. 6, 1965. Orsak earned a bachelor of arts degree in history with a minor in English from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio. She was awarded a Texas teacher certificate with a specialization in the elementary level.

Orsak taught at St. Leo School in San Antonio, Sacred Heart School in Floresville, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Selma, Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville, and Our Lady of Victory School and Nazareth Academy in Victoria. In the early years of Orsak's ministry she taught the first grade. She has been the kindergarten teacher at Nazareth Academy for the past 30 years. For the past two years she has volunteered at the school on a part-time basis, and keeps in touch with her many friends.

Sister M. Frances CabriniJanvier, daughter of the late Noel and Anna Marie Mueller Janvier, was born in Elsa. She attended school at Edouch-Elsa Elementary, Central Elementary, Edouch-Elsa High School and graduated from Nazareth Academy. She entered Nazareth Convent and became a novice on Aug. 5, 1959. She made her first vows on Aug. 6, 1960 and pronounced her final vows on Aug. 6, 1965. Janvier earned a bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in Spanish from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and a master of arts degree with a major in religion from St. Louis University in Missouri. Her Texas teacher certificate was for seventh through 12th grades.

Janvier taught at Sacred Heart School in Crosby, Holy Cross School in Dallas, St. Ludmila Academy and St. Paul High School in Shiner, St. Joseph High School and Nazareth Academy in Victoria, Blessed Sacrament Academy in San Antonio and Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville. She taught in the secondary school in Nakuru, Kenya from 1982 to 1989. In 2004 she returned to Africa and was the directress of postulants and assisted with the novices at a convent in Nairobi for two years. The past four years, Janvier has served as the Spanish teacher in the elementary grades at Nazareth Academy.

She lives at Incarnate Word Convent where she assists in various duties, does research and keeps in touch with others on the computer. She also assists in doing translations in Spanish and French.

Sister Maria Goretti Warzecha, daughter of the late Isidore and Clara Brysch Warzecha, was born in Falls City. Her early education was at Three Oaks public school and she graduated from Poth High School. She entered Nazareth Convent and became a novice on Aug. 5, 1959. She made her first profession of vows on Aug. 6, 1960 and pronounced her final vows on Aug. 6, 1965. She received a bachelor of arts degree in history and a minor in English from Sacred Heart Dominican College in Houston. She later earned a Master's Degree in Religious Education from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. She held Texas teacher certificates on the elementary and high school levels.

During her 50 years of religious profession, Warzecha ministered at St. Mary School in Nada, Holy Cross School in Bay City, St. Leo School and Blessed Sacrament School in San Antonio, St. Ludmila Academy in Shiner, St. Michael School in Cuero, Sacred Heart School in Floresville, and Nazareth Academy in Victoria. From 1977 to 1979, Warzecha lived at Incarnate Word Convent where she served as formation directress for aspirants and junior sisters. Warzecha presently teaches the first communion class and does tutoring at Nazareth Academy.

Sister M. Bernarda Bludau, daughter of the late Andres and Anna Friesenhahn, was born in Hallettsville. She attended Sacred Heart School. Bludau entered Nazareth Convent and became a novice on Aug. 5, 1959. She made her first profession of vows on Aug. 6, 1960 and pronounced her final vows on Aug. 6, 1965. Bludau earned a bachelor of arts degree in history with a minor in English from Sacred Heart Dominican College in Houston and a masters in education with a major in administration and a minor in supervision from The University of Houston at Victoria. Her Texas teacher certificates are for high school and librarian.

Bludau ministered as a teacher and/or principal at Assumption School in Ganado, Holy Cross School and St. Patrick School in Dallas, Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville, Our Lady of Victory School, St. Joseph High School and Nazareth Academy in Victoria, Blessed Sacrament Academy in San Antonio and St. Michael School in Weimar. From 1973 to 1976, she was also vocation directress, while teaching at Nazareth Academy. Bludau is serving as the assistant principal at Nazareth Academy.

Sister M. Emiliana Grafe, daughter of Lena Grahmann Grafe and the late Victor Grafe, was born in Hallettsville. She attended grade school at Sacred Heart School. Sister entered the Nazareth Convent and became a novice on Aug. 5, 1959. She made her first profession of vows on Aug. 6, 1960 and pronounced her final vows on Aug. 6, 1965. Grafe earned a bachelor of arts degree in English and a minor in Spanish at Sacred Heart Dominican College in Houston. Grafe completed numerous post-graduate hours in administration, theology and continuing education in other areas. She was also awarded Texas teacher certificates in general elementary, elementary English and elementary mathematics.

Grafe ministered as a teacher/principal at Sacred Heart School in La Grange, St. Michael School in Weimar, St. Leo School in San Antonio and Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville. She served as San Antonio archdiocesan school consultant from 1972 to 1978 and was a member of the Congregational General Council from 1976 to 1982 and from 1988 to 2000. Grafe was appointed director of the Associates of the Incarnate Word when the group was organized in 1989 and continues in that capacity. She also teaches religion part-time at Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville.

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