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1,010 years of faithful service to God and the church — Diocese celebrates jubilees of religious women and men



18 religious in the diocese celebrate jubilees


Bishop Malooly was the main celebrant of a May 5  Mass at the Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington to honor men and women religious during their jubilee year. The 18 religious have given a total of 1,010 years of service to the church.


70 Years

  • Rev. Robert D. Ashenbrenner, OSFS

Father Robert D. Ashenbrenner, OSFS, was born in Philadelphia in 1926 and graduated from Northeast Catholic High School for Boys in 1944. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1954. Father Ashenbrenner also did graduate studies in religious education and mathematics at Catholic University and Villanova University.

His teaching assignments include Northeast Catholic and Salesianum School. While at North Catholic, he taught math and served as the congregation’s religious superior. At Salesianum, he taught religion and math and was the school’s athletic director for 11 years. Father Ashenbrenner retired to the Oblate Community at Annecy Hall in Childs, Md., in 2009.

  • Sister Ann Miller, OSB

Sister Ann Miller, OSB, taught at various Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Wilmington, and at St. Mark’s High School. She also ministered at the Benedictine School and Habilitation Center in Ridgely, Md. Sister Ann currently resides at St. Gertrude Monastery in Ridgely, where she coordinates the guest facility.

2015 religious jubilarians, from top, left: Rev. Robert D. Ashenbrenner, OSFS; Sister Ann Miller, OSB; Rev. Peter J. Harvey, OSFS; Rev. Gerard J. Schubert, OSFS; Rev. John W. Brennan, OSFS; Sr. Catherine Charles Hendren, SND; Sr. Marie Becker, OSB; Sr. Mary Elizabeth Cassidy, OSB; Sr. Mary Agnes Dugan, OSB; Sr. Mary Ann Schroeder, SSND; Rev. John J. Hurley, OSFS; Rev. John F. Kenney; Sr. Margaret Mary Graney, OSB; Sr. Kathleen Moffatt, OSF; Sr. Bernadette O’Connor, OSF; Sr. Jo Ann McPolin, OSF; Sr. Mary Joseph Reinke, LSJM; Sr. Marilyn Bouchard, LSJM





65 Years

  • Rev. Peter J. Harvey, OSFS

Father Peter J. Harvey, OSFS, was born in Philadelphia in 1931 and graduated from Northeast Catholic High School for Boys in 1949. He entered the Oblate novitiate and made his first profession of vows in 1950. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1960. Following ordination, Father Harvey taught at Oblate high schools and was later assigned to the Oblate Missions in South Africa, where he served as pastor of several parishes. Upon returning to the United States, he ministered as a hospital chaplain. Father Harvey retired to Annecy Hall in Childs, Md., in 2006.

  • Rev. Gerard J. Schubert, OSFS

Father Gerard J. Schubert, was born in Philadelphia in 1929, graduating from Northeast Catholic High School for Boys. He earned an M.F.A. in speech and drama from Catholic University, and received his Ph.D. in theater from the University of Denver.

Father Schubert founded the Performing and Fine Arts Department at De Sales University and was head of the University’s Division of Humanities from 1972-83. He was part of the team that developed the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, helped establish dance as a major at De Sales, and founded the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival in 1992.

Father Schubert retired to Annecy Hall in 2013.


60 Years

  • Rev. John W. Brennan, OSFS

Father John W. Brennan, OSFS, was born in Scranton, Pa., in 1936. He graduated from Northeast Catholic High School for Boys in 1954 and entered the Oblate novitiate. He made his first profession of vows in 1955. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America, and did graduate work at De Sales Hall School of Theology in Hyattsville, Md. He was ordained in 1965.

Father Brennan taught at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia and at Salesianum School. In 1993, he served as religious superior at the De Sales Center in Childs, Md. After completion of his term as superior, he served as parochial vicar at Our Mother of Consolation Parish in Philadelphia until his retirement in 2003. He resides at Annecy Hall.

  • Sr. Catherine Charles Hendren, SND

A Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, Sister Hendren is pastoral associate at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Glasgow. She was born and educated in Brooklyn, N.Y. Sister entered the congregation in 1955 and taught in grammar schools in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore from 1958-1976. Upon coming to the Diocese of Wilmington, she served in the CYO office as program coordinator from 1976-1978. In 1978, Sister joined the faculty at St. Mark’s High School as a theology teacher. She joined Catholic Cemeteries in 1991 and became the director of religious education at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, a position she held until 2012.

  • Sr. Marie Becker, OSB

Sister Marie Becker, a native of Claymont, entered the Benedictine community in 1953 after graduating from St. Elizabeth High School. An educator for most of her life, Sister was the founding principal of St. Catherine of Siena School. For more than 50 years she taught at St. Elizabeth Elementary and High schools. Sister Becker has a Masters from Manhattanville College and a M.S. in language arts from the University of Delaware. Sister spends time in Dover and at St. Gertrude Monastery, helping as needed.

  • Sr. Mary Elizabeth Cassidy, OSB

Sister Cassidy attended St. Paul’s School and St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington. She attended Benedictine College at St. Scholastica in Kansas.

Formerly known as Sister Regina Marie, her first mission was teaching 99 second graders at Our Lady of Fatima School, in addition to 30 to 45 public school children on Sunday mornings.  After Fatima, she taught at St. Elizabeth’s and Sacred Heart.  She taught and was principal at St. Mary’s, Newark, N.J., Sacred Heart and St. Catherine of Siena.

After Vatican II, her ministry was in religious education for the Diocese of Wilmington, serving the people in Eastern Shore parishes.

She served her community as formation director, sub prioress, council member and retreat director. In addition, she was part of Brother Ronald Giannone’s committee to develop Sacred Heart Villages.

Sister is now retired to the monastery in Ridgely and assists at the Caroline Nursing Home in pastoral care.

  • Sr. Mary Agnes Dugan, OSB

Sister Mary Agnes Dugan, OSB, is a graduate of St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington. She taught in various Catholic elementary schools in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach. Sister Mary Agnes resides in Ridgely, Md., where she has ministered at the Benedictine School since 1975.

  • Sr. Mary Ann Schroeder, SSND

Sister Mary Ann Schroeder was born in Philadelphia. In 1953, she entered the Congregation of the School of Sisters of Notre Dame. She took vows in 1955 and taught elementary and high school in Maryland. In 1975, she came to Delaware to teach history at St. Mark’s High School. She retired from teaching in 2012 and became a library assistant at St. Mark’s High School, where she still works.


55 Years

  • Rev. John J. Hurley, OSFS

Father John Hurley, OSFS, was born in Wilmington in 1940. He attended Christ Our King School in Wilmington, and after graduating from Salesianum School in 1958, he attended La Salle College in Philadelphia. In 1959, he entered the Oblate novitiate and made his first profession of vows in 1960. He was ordained in 1968 and taught at various Oblate high schools, including Salesianum. Father Hurley also served as a missionary in South Africa. In 1986, he became the associate mission procurator for the American provinces of the Oblates, in addition to serving as the peace and justice adviser for the order. In 1993, he became mission procurator. Father Hurley introduced the Model U.N. program to many schools on the east coast, and coached championship teams at Salesianum and Padua Academy in Wilmington. He is a former director of DELMUN (Delaware Model United Nations). He retired to Annecy Hall in 2013.


50 Years

  • Rev. John F. Kenney

Father John J. Kenney was born in Harrisburg, Pa., in 1930, and graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School there in 1948. He earned a B.S. from Villanova University in 1953, and served in the U.S. Navy from 1953-57. He entered the Oblates in 1963, and made his first profession of vows in 1965. He was ordained in 1969. Following ordination, Father Kenny taught at Northeast Catholic High School and was associate director of the Renewal, Rest and Recreation Retreat Center in Alexandria, Va. He retired to Annecy Hall in 2009.

  • Sr. Margaret Mary Graney, OSB

Benedictine Sister Margaret Mary Graney is a native of Wilmington. She attended St. Elizabeth Elementary and High schools, Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and Loyola University in Baltimore. Sister Margaret Mary taught at the Benedictine School in Ridgely, Md., St. Elizabeth Elementary School, St. Catherine of Siena School and St. Peter the Apostle School. She was a drug and alcohol counselor at SODAT of Delaware.

Sister works at Sojourner’s Place in Wilmington. She also has been a member of Faith and Light since it began in Delaware in 1987, a community of prayer including people with developmental disabilities and their family and friends.

  • Sr. Kathleen Moffatt, OSF

Sister Kathleen Moffatt, OSF, is a native of Philadelphia, graduate of St. Hubert’s High School and member of the first graduating class of Our Lady of Angels College, now Neumann University. She has been a teacher and has served her congregation as vocation director, general council member, and ongoing formation director.

She continued as executive director of the Franciscan Federation USA in Washington, D.C.; lecturer at the International Franciscan Study Centre, Canterbury, England; forum coordinator for the Franciscan Institute, and resource developer on the Third Order Regular Rule and Spirituality for the International Franciscan Conference (IFC/TOR), Rome, Italy.

She is now the director of charism services for her congregation.

  • Sr. Bernadette O’Connor, OSF

Sister Ruth Bernadette O’Connor, OSF, a native of Philadelphia, has ministered in education in the Diocese of Wilmington. After profession, she taught elementary education at St. Ann, Corpus Christi, St. Mary, St. Anthony and was development director at Christ Our King Parish. Sister also ministered in Baltimore, Md., as a teacher and elementary principal. For five years, she was a foster parent in Philadelphia for infants with AIDS. She also served as administrator of Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston for 12 years. Currently, Sister is on the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis Philadelphia in Aston.

  • Sr. Jo Ann McPolin, OSF

Sister Jo Ann McPolin, OSF, a native of Philadelphia, has ministered in the Diocese of Wilmington for 43 years in education.

As a professed Sister of St. Francis for 50 years, she was known as Sister Joseph Martin. Her missions included Holy Angels, Newark; St. Peter, New Castle; Immaculate Conception, Elkton, Md.; Corpus Christi and St. John the Beloved, Wilmington, where sister has served for the last 25 years.

Sister Jo Ann also taught in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

  • Sr. Mary Joseph Reinke, LSJM

Sister Mary Joseph Reinke made her first vows as a Misionera de Jesus Verbo y Victima in 1965 and worked in remote, priestless parishes in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia for 24 years. In 1989 she joined the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary.

Sister Mary Joseph is happy helping with whatever the community needs. She is grateful for the blessing of having worked closely with two very charismatic, fervent founders, Bishop Federico Kaiser, MSC, and Sister Mary Elizabeth Gintling, as well as other sisters and volunteers.


25 Years

  • Sr. Marilyn Bouchard, LSJM

A native of Green Bay, Wis., Sister Marilyn visited the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary in 1990, and that fall entered the community. Sister Marilyn has served their ministry, Joseph House and its outreach to the poor in various capacities in Baltimore and in Salisbury, Md. She is also involved at the Village of Hope (transitional living) in Salisbury. She also serves as vice president and vocations director for the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary.