To mark the World Day for Consecrated Life, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville celebrated a Feb. 3 Mass at the St. Ursula Chapel of the Archdiocese of Washington’s Pastoral Center in Hyattsville, Maryland, honoring local women and men in consecrated life marking milestone anniversaries this year. In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life.

The archdiocese’s Office of Consecrated Life compiled the following biographies of local women and men in consecrated life celebrating jubilees this year. According to that office, the Archdiocese of Washington includes 457 women religious and 502 men religious serving in a variety of ministries.

70th Anniversary

Father Walter O’Donnell, S.T., [Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity] is celebrating his diamond jubilee of 70 years in religious life. Father O’Donnell was born in Rockville Centre, New York. After graduating from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, he continued his studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Holy Trinity, Alabama, and Holy Trinity Mission Seminary in Silver Spring, Maryland.

After serving as a spiritual guide in Stirling, New Jersey, and doing vocation work in Silver Spring, Maryland, Father O’Donnell served as a pastor in various locations throughout the southeastern United States, including Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia. 

Father O’Donnell has been semi-retired since 2004, residing first in Tallahassee, Florida, and currently in Adelphi, Maryland.

Sister Alicia Sours, V.H.M., [Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary, Georgetown] is celebrating her diamond jubilee of 70 years in religious life. Sister Alicia was born in New York City. She attended Barry College in Miami, Florida, Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Fontbonne College and St. Louis University in St. Louis. Over the years, Sister Alicia taught every grade from pre-school through 12th grade. She now lives at the Georgetown Visitation Monastery in Washington, D.C.

60th Anniversary

Father Rudy V. Breunig, S.T., [Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity] is celebrating his diamond jubilee of 60 years in religious life. Father Breunig was born in Roxbury, Wisconsin. After graduating from St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, he obtained master’s degrees in education from The Catholic University of America and from Loyola University Chicago. 

In addition to serving in ministry development in Juneau, Alaska, Father Breunig served as a pastor in Puerto Jiménez, Costa Rica, and Bainbridge, Georgia. He currently lives in Adelphi, Maryland.

Sister Mare Carol Loughney, I.H.M., [Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary] has served in various ministry positions throughout the United States. She presently serves as the donor relations assistant for SOAR! (Support Our Aging Religious). Sister Mare Carol serves the mission of SOAR! to raise and provide funds for congregations to meet immediate needs of their retired and infirm members as well as educate the public about the serious retirement needs confronting elderly religious. She helps in the mission of SOAR! to develop a national network of concerned individuals who wish to respond to this need.

Sister Dale McDonald, P.B.V.M., [Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary] is celebrating her diamond jubilee of 60 years in religious life. Sister Dale was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has two brothers and one sister. After graduating from St. Michael Academy, she obtained a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, a master’s degree from Pace University, and her doctorate from Boston College. In addition to serving as a teacher and principal in several schools in the Archdiocese of New York, Sister Dale served as president and vice president of her congregation and as director of the Catholic School Leadership Program of the Boston College School of Education. She is a recipient of the W.H. Sadlier Distinguished Leadership in Catholic Education Award. Since 1995, Sister Dale has served as director of public policy for the National Catholic Educational Association, and she lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Sister Ann Shaw, C.S.C., [Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross] is celebrating her diamond jubilee of 60 years in religious life. Sister Ann was born in Washington, D.C., and has two brothers and one sister. After graduating from the Academy of the Holy Cross, she obtained her certification in Clinical Pastoral Education, a bachelor’s degree in history from Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross, and a master’s degree in religious studies from St. Louis University. For 14 years, Sister Ann served as a prison chaplain at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. Her other ministries have included hospital chaplaincy in Ohio, case management with the homeless in local Catholic Charities shelters, serving on the leadership team of her congregation in the east, and teaching at elementary schools in Maryland, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Sister Ann currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and volunteers at the Shepherd’s Table soup kitchen and outreach program to the homeless and with the Maryland Refugee English Program.

Sister Kathleen Weber, C.S.C., [Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross] is celebrating her diamond jubilee of 60 years in religious life. Sister Kathleen was born in Buffalo, New York, and has one sister. After graduating from Notre Dame High School, she obtained her bachelor’s degree from Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross and her master’s degree from Seton Hall University. Over the years, Sister Kathleen served as a teacher in New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., including at Holy Cross School in Garrett Park, Maryland, and St. Bernard’s School in Riverdale, Maryland; St. Mary’s School in Alexandria, Virginia; and at St. Martin’s School and St. Cecilia’s Academy in the nation’s capital. She serves as coordinator of the Caregiver Resource Center of Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the Catholic Business Network of Montgomery County honored her as 2018 Community Leader of the Year. She has also been recognized by Holy Cross Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Association of the National Capital Area, and the Grass Roots Organization for the Well-being of Seniors. She currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

50th Anniversary

Father Gary M. Banks, S.T., [Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity] is celebrating his golden jubilee of 50 years in religious life. Father Banks was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has two sisters and one brother. He has studied at the Washington Theological Union, The Catholic University of America, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Pontifical Biblical Institute. Father Banks served as a missionary in Puerto Rico and Mexico, and he worked with immigrants in Alabama and the inner city of Los Angeles. He now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Sister Theresa Frere, I.H.M., [Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary] is celebrating her golden jubilee of 50 years in religious life. Sister Theresa was born in La Plata, Maryland, and has two brothers and one sister. After graduating from Archbishop Neale School in La Plata, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in English from Marywood College (now University) in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She also received training in clinical pastoral education. Over a period of 25 years, Sister Theresa served as an English teacher at four schools in Pennsylvania and a school in New Jersey. She also served as staff chaplain at Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and she maintains her certification from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, initially received in 1998. In 2007, Sister Theresa became coordinator of ministry to the sick and homebound for St. Peter Parish in Waldorf, Maryland, and since 2014, she has also served in that role for St. Mary Parish in Bryantown, Maryland. She lives in Newburg, Maryland.

25th Anniversary

Father Paul Dressler, O.F.M. Cap., [Order of Friars Minor Capuchin] is celebrating his silver jubilee of 25 years in religious life. Father Dressler was born in Washington, D.C., and has three sisters and one brother. After graduating from Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, Maryland, he obtained his bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburgh, Maryland, his master’s degree in divinity from the Washington Theological Union, and a master’s degree from the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome. Father Dressler served as parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Church in Philadelphia and served in young adult ministry in that city. Since 2010, he has served as guardian and director of formation at Capuchin College in Washington, D.C., where he currently resides, and since 2017, he has served as chaplain at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.  

Sister Anitta Mathew Puthenpurackal, P.O.S.C., [Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts] is celebrating her silver jubilee of 25 years in religious life. Sister Anitta was born in Peratta, Kerala, India and has three brothers and two sisters. After graduating from high school, she received training to become a registered nurse. Sister Anitta serves as a nurse in the emergency room of Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C., and as a catechist at St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Hyattsville, Maryland, and at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish in Riverdale Park, Maryland, and she lives in Riverdale Park. 

Sister Leena Joseph, P.O.S.C., [Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts] was born in India. Sister Leena met the Little Workers in India where they have a foundation. She presently serves the elderly in her community at their home in Riverdale. 

Glory Darbellay [consecrated women of Regnum Christi], originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, is celebrating her silver anniversary as a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi, a newly established Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Rite. She has a bachelor’s degree in pastoral studies and a master’s degree in religious sciences. Her ministries have included youth ministry, adult pastoral ministry, national director for Regnum Christi Mission Corps, and council member for the women of Regnum Christi in North America. Currently, she is director of campus ministry at Divine Mercy University and supports the Regnum Christi women’s section as a speaker and spiritual director. Darbellay also serves as a member of the staff at Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center in the Archdiocese of Washington.  

Mary Smith [consecrated women of Regnum Christi] is from Southern California and is celebrating her silver anniversary as a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi, a newly established Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Rite. Smith has served as a missionary with Regnum Christi in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Italy and in the United States. She serves in various apostolates including women’s ministry and on staff at Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center in the Archdiocese of Washington.