God Bless our Sister Jubilarians from the Diocese
June 15, 2023

70 years: Sister Mary Joan Gibson
Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Mary Joan Gibson will celebrate her 70th jubilee in 2023. Her religious name was Sister Francis Jerome. |

Sister Mary Joan’s home parish is St. Patrick, Dixon, in the Rockford Diocese. She attended St. Mary 

Grade School and Dixon High School, graduating in 1951, and is the daughter of the late George O. and M. Vivian (Drew) Gibson. 
 
Sister Mary Joan’s ministry has been dedicated to teaching, administration and serving as provincial councilor for the Northeast Province of the Sinsinawa Dominican congregation. 
 
In the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Sister Mary Joan served as principal at Lock Haven Catholic School, 1988-2007.  
 
In the Diocese of Madison, she served as assistant prioress at St. Dominic Villa, Hazel Green, 2008-2011, and later helped plan a program at the motherhouse, Sinsinawa, where she and other sisters taught English to Catholic sisters from Vietnam. 
 
She has also ministered in Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma and New York. 
 
Today, Sister Mary Joan is living in community with her Dominican Sisters. 
 
60 years: Sister Ruth Gengler
School Sister of St. Francis Ruth Gengler was born in the Rockford Diocese in Aurora.
 
She has a bachelor’s degree from Alverno College (1976).  
 
In the Diocese of Rockford, Sister Ruth was homemaker for her community’s Mount St. Francis Province, in Rockford (1969-1971), and ministered at St. Francis School for Exceptional Children in Freeport as house parent (1971-1973) and child care supervisor (1973-1975 and 1977-1981).
 
Sister Ruth also taught at Sacred Heart School in Aurora (1981-1989) and St. John the Baptist School in McHenry (1989-2014).
 
Since 2021, Sister has ministered as a retired volunteer in Milwaukee.

25 years: Sister Maria Nkiruka Okafor
Sister Nkiru is celebrating 25 years of profession with the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ (IHM).

Her education includes: PhD in Practical Theology/Pastoral Care and Counseling; MBA with specialization in Health Care Administration; MA in Marriage and Family Therapy (Pastoral Care); MA in Pastoral Communication with specialization in Youth Ministry; BTh - Bachelors in Theology.
 
“I have been in pastoral work serving mostly in administration and as a licensed therapist,” she says. “I also teach as adjunct faculty at Luther Seminary and Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.”
 
She has most recently been Executive Director and Board President of the Madonna Renewal Center, Freeport.
 
Soon she will be returning Nigeria to resume as CEO of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Specialist Hospital, Nkpor, Anambra State, Nigeria. 
 
25 years: Sister Maria Nnedimma Umeokwoibe
Sister Nnedimma celebrates 25 years of profession with the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ (IHM).
 
Her education includes: a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Regular Education from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wis.; a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale; and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest.
 
From 1999-2000, she was a student at IHM Scholasticate Enugu, Nigeria. From 2000-2003, she was a pastoral worker at Holy Redeemer Cathedral Parish, Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, Canada. From 2003-2006, she was a pastoral worker at St. Joseph Aztec and Holy Trinity Flora Vista parishes, New Mexico, Diocese of Gallup, NM.
 
From 2006-2010 Sister Nnedimma was a student at Silver Lake College. From 2010-2012 she served as a teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School in Glendale, Arizona. From 2012-2017 she was a teacher at St. Bruno Catholic School Pinckneyville, Diocese of Belleville. 
 
Sister Nnedimma then came to the Diocese of Rockford and worked from 2017-2019 as a teacher at Aquin Central Catholic High School in Freeport, and from 2019-2023 as a teacher at Boylan Cemtral Catholic High School, Rockford.
 
Beginning this fall, Sister Nnedimma will begin studies for a doctorate degree in Mathematics Education.

 

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