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Diocesan missionary vocations meet in Hong Kong

Two missionary vocations from the Diocese of Sioux City met recently – halfway around the world.
Sister M. Andre Lafferty of Carroll and Sister M. Regina Markert from Manson connected at Immaculate Heart of Mary School’s kindergarten in Shatin, New Territories of Hong Kong.

The two sisters are members of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows, headquartered in Beaverton, Ore.

Sister Andre received this foreign missionary assignment in 1992. Prior to that, she served as major superior of her religious group for 12 years. Sister Regina visited the school as a General Councilor of the community.

Although they joined the same missionary community—Sister Andre in 1963 and Sister Regina in 1983 – they were not acquainted with each other while growing up in Iowa.

Sister Andre, a 1961 graduate of Kuemper High School, became acquainted with the order her freshman year at Briar Cliff College when she met Mother Leona Pottebaum, an Alton native, of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters, who had spent much of her life as a missionary in the Orient.

Sister Regina, whose home parish was St. Thomas, was first attracted to the community through a special Vocation Issue in The Catholic Globe which featured a photo of Sister Andre and an article about a formation group of newcomers whom she directed at that time.

“It was unknown to me that my brother, Msgr. J.K. Lafferty, had used the photo I had sent to him in a letter in the newspaper,” Sister Andre admitted.

In their recent Hong Kong chats, the sisters discovered some commonalities. They both had studied for one year at Briar Cliff before making their vocation decision. They both credited God’s grace and then the support of others; such as, faith formation at home, Catholic schools and parishes in the Diocese of Sioux City and parishioners who offered continuous prayers and sacrifices for religious vocations in the Catholic Church.

Last year, the two sisters celebrated milestone jubilees in religious life – Sister Andre for 50 years and Sister Regina for 25 years.

Presently, Sister Regina is on the Retreat Team at St. Clare’s Retreat Center near Santa Cruz, Calif. Sister Andre, while retired from full-time teaching at the community’s three schools in Hong Kong, serves at the Sisters’ Provincial House and part-time in the education apostolates.

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