The Missionary Sisters of St. Columban “St. Columban’s on the Lake- Silver Creek”, celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Profession of Sr. Evelyn Frieder.
We give you thanks, Almighty God, for your fidelity, throughout the past sixty years, in the missionary life of our Sister Evelyn. We ask your blessing on her as she renews her religious committment.
Grant her the grace, Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady and the prayers and support of our community and Congregation, to live these Vows fully and faithfully, all the days of her life. Amen
Below is the reflection given by Sr. Margaret Devine during Sr. Evelyn Frieder’s 60th Anniversary celebration
May 4th , 2016 SILVER CREEK, NY
This post- Easter season is a beautiful time to celebrate an anniversary. We are delighted to join Evelyn today as she thanks God for the gift of so many years in her dedicated Columban life
These days the liturgy is very rich and there are references to Vocation stories. For example, St Paul was invited by the Macedonians to preach the Gospel in their country
Born in New York City, Greenwich Village to be precise. Evelyn lived there with her parents and two brothers, and she became a Nurse. Very deliberately she worked in New York for four years, and got varied experiences in the field of nursing all with the intention of devoting her life to God as a Sister.
Wisely she chose different aspects of the profession so that later she could bring a more extensive work experience to her life as a religious missionary.
During these years Evelyn was seriously considering a vocation to the convent. A friend told her about Father Campbell who was a confessor and spiritual director to young women who were interested in vocations. One recommendation that Fr. Campbell made was: Be sure and visit the Sister’s convent before you make a decision to enter with them. The Columban Sisters were on her list, and Evelyn felt an attraction to the Sisters and to the fact that we were founded to go to China.
Shortly after this, entrance day arrived and although she had no companions, Evelyn arrived in Hyde Park. During her postulancy and novitiate formation she studied the Bible, Church History, the Vows and all the subjects that would affect her religious life.
Profession Day came and sometime afterwards, her assignment to Korea was welcomed. Finally, she had realized the Missions were in sight. The journey to Korea was an adventure in itself, and she would be glad to tell you about it!
The reality was post-war Korea, and the total focus was on re building the country. Different challenges presented themselves daily. The whole area of culture, customs and language were present, ane Evelyn eagerly embraced all of this as she endeavored to spread the Good news.
The Columban Fathers were there, and like Bishop Henry who invited the Sisters to Korea, they were ever helpful with support and encouragement along the journey.
The Korean people value the presence of the missionaries and they constantly showed their gratitude and goodness in wonderfully creative ways. We who are privileged to be missionaries are blessed in this way continually, dear friend. We receive much more that we could ever give. Our Sisters tell stories of this appreciative attitude which is so endearing. One Sister who had ministered in the Philippines told someone who had asked her how long it had been since she had seen her mother. It was a caring question motivated by sincere concern for the parents who had parted with her loving daughter for the sake of the Gospel.
In Sisters Evelyn’s experience that kind of caring and interest rang true also.
As missionaries we love our ministries and feel sad when we are asked to transfer from one place to another. The day came for Sister’s move from Korea back to the US for an assignment, and once more the cycle of sharing the Gospel message was repeated here in Silver Creek. Similarly, later, another call to “leave all and follow Jesus” brought Evelyn to Boston. We know that as St. Paul says, “To those who love God all things work together unto good.”. God is always faithful and out Sisters too help in countless ways to make the new way easier. In Boston, Evelyn discovered with great joy her ministry for children.
We are blessed in countless ways along the way with wonderful ‘companions on the journey’. Each one gives a lot of thought to embracing the religious missionary life, and a lot happens in the interior life of each person.
There is a hymn we are going to sing, “The Summons”- ‘Will you come and follow me if I but call your name’…For me this song spells out dramatically the story of vocation.
There are so many wonderful Scripture passages that speak meaningfully to us and one of sr. Evelyn’s favorite ones is “To those who leave all to follow Me receive a hundred-fold in this life and Life everlasting in the world to come”.