Salvatorian Sister Rita Vogelsang knows there will be challenges, but over the last six months, she clearly heard God calling her to serve among the Native American people in Sisseton, S. D. She says, “When I visited Sisseton over the summer, it reminded me of my roots — rural, simple lifestyle. Sr. Patrice’s (Colletti) strong desire to minister with the tribal community reminded me of my strong desire to minister in Kentucky with the people in Appalachia.” Sr. Rita previously served in rural Kentucky, primarily as a clinical and home care nurse among people whose strong religious spirit helped them cope with realities of unemployment and lack of insurance. She considers it a privilege to serve vulnerable people, saying, “They know what’s important in life and are close to God.”
Sr. Rita will join Salvatorian Sister Patrice Colletti in serving the Wahpeton Oyate people who live on the Lake Traverse Reservation in Sisseton. For starters, she’ll take part in a Scripture study session recently started at the parish. She also sees opportunities to serve at a health center, nursing home and child care center she visited last summer.
Sr. Rita knows the potential challenges that lie ahead: her own health issues, brutal winter weather, and “living with a sister 20 years younger than I am.” But she focuses on what excites her about the Kateri initiative: the opportunity to learn and live among Native Americans and the return to living in a rural area.
Photos: The Milwaukee area Salvatorian Community gathered on October 28, the day before Sr. Rita’s departure for Sisseton, to pray for her and her new ministry.