His Excellency Most Very Reverend Bishop David L. Ricken, DD, JCL most graciously committed to the foundation of the Missionaries of the Word in May of 2014, allowing the Diocese of Green Bay to be the seat of the community. From 2008, he prayerfully discerned God's will, testing and encouraging the community as a true shepherd and guardian of souls. His Excellency has been a tremendous gift to the Missionaries of the Word, who are deeply grateful for his faith, wisdom, love for our Blessed Mother, and missionary zeal. God has led us under his wisdom in this endeavor of establishing an order for the work of discipleship. We are deeply grateful to be under his leadership. Click here for a full biography.
"The Journey is the Gift" -Bl. Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Mary Catherine entered the Missionaries of Charity in June of 1988. She spent almost ten years with this beautiful community before being sent home just before her final vows due to health reasons. She is deeply grateful for the formation she received with the Missionaries of Charity and the blessed time with her first religious family. Upon returning back home to Wisconsin in February of 1998, she completed further studies and accepted a job as a K-3 teacher in the fall of 1998 and later accepted a role of greater service as principal of a private Catholic grade-school in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Upon returning home in 1998 until 2008 the stirrings of her heart to do something more for the Lord, continued to be present in her discernment process. It was only through much time and prayer that His desire for a new community became clearer to her.
In 2008, after much prayer Mother Mary Catherine met with His Excellency Bishop David Ricken and brought up the initial desire to form, be it God’s will, a religious order of women who would answer the call to love Christ and to follow Him unreservedly in the ministry of discipleship. This desire- this "drawing pull" was steadily present. Bishop Ricken encouraged her to continue forward to seek God’s will in this desire.
In the same year (2008), following the counsel of her spiritual director, Mother Catherine met with Fr. Luke Strand (with CYE) who was instrumental in leading Mother into the mission of Catholic Youth Expeditions through meeting Fr. Quinn Mann, the Founder of Catholic Youth Expeditions. She felt her desire confirmed in serving the youth in the ministry of discipleship with Catholic Youth Expeditions and was further encouraged by Archbishop Dolan to join this ministry. She left her work in Milwaukee to serve the ministry of Catholic Youth Expeditions in June of 2009. Joy and peace continued and were strong confirmations as she worked under Fr. Quinn Mann in the ministry of discipleship through CYE.
Beginnings of the Institute
On September 8th 2012, with the blessing of the Most Reverend Bishop David Ricken, aspirants were accepted to discern with Mother Mary Catherine the foundation of a new community. Sr. Maria Lucia and Sr. Marie Bernadette entered at this time. Over the next two years, with much prayer and discernment, the form of the new community began to be forged and take shape.
On May 1st 2014, the Missionaries of the Word were founded as a Public Association of the Faithful destined to become a religious institute by the Most Reverend Bishop David Ricken at St. Pius X Parish in Appleton, Wisconsin. At this time Mother Mary Catherine had the joy of professing final vows. Sr. M. Bernadette and Sr. M. Lucia entered novitiate.
Upon completing novitiate, on the feast of the Annunciation (April 4th, 2016), Sr. M. Bernadette and Sr. M. Lucia professed first vows at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay, WI.
Father Quinn Mann, Founder and Director of Catholic Youth Expeditions, studying to become a priest for the Diocese of Green Bay in 2002, received a mission while in prayer: “To encounter Jesus Christ and to foster Catholic Christian community through expedition retreats of prayer, proclamation of the Gospel and outdoor adventure.” Understanding the need for a new method, ardor and expression of faith for the New Evangelization, Catholic Youth Expeditions was born and began that summer. Since that time, Catholic Youth Expeditions has reached out to thousands of young adults and high school students. With faith Father Quinn welcomed Mother Mary Catherine to help serve in the apostolate in 2008. As the Missionaries of the Word began to take form, the community found constant encouragement, and strength in the support, sacrifices and prayers of Father Quinn. The community is blessed to still work closely with Father and Catholic Youth Expeditions. We are grateful to God for his deep faith, generosity, love of the Eucharist, and zeal to bring Christ to the Youth.
Father Thomas Farrell is Pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Appleton, WI. From 2009, he worked closely with Mother Mary Catherine and Father Quinn Mann as the community began to unfold by God's grace. When Mother first received permission to accept aspirants in 2012, he was appointed chaplain of the community. With love, joy, and simplicity he witnesses to us the call to "make disciples of all nations." We are grateful for Fr. Tom's constant availability and sacrifice to serve the spiritual needs of the sisters.