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Sister Joel Kolmer: From the beginning to the end
Transcript of Sister Joel Kolmer: From the beginning to the end
inspired by her teachers who
were already sisters, and fueled by her
cousin Shirley Kolmer, also martyred
in Liberia, and cousin Elizabeth's leaving for the Ruma convent. She "could hardly wait for her eighth grade graduation so that she, too, could go to Ruma."
"Everything going on that year was convent, convent, convent." -Herb Weltig Born on March 1st, 1934, Orlou Rose Kolmer, later to be known as Joel, was born in Waterloo, IL. She was burdened by the misfortune of having lost her father when she was only 7 months old. Her mother remarried when she was three years old, to a man named Herb Welting, whom she called "Pop", and he was the only father that she ever remembered. "My life at home was a very happy experience. I had a very good Christian upbringing and was well instructed in my religion." -Sister Joel Kolmer
In our opinion, Joel's journey to becoming a nun started when she was young in her own home. Her parents showed a lot of faith in God, and she followed the examples they set. Sr. Joel Kolmer Joel arrived in Africa on September 1st, 1982. She noted that upon her arrival, she was immediately impressed by the friendliness of the Liberian people. Joel stayed for about six weeks in Gardnersville.
On November 19, 1982, Joel arrived in Liberia, and she spent her first few months there engulfed in teaching religion to seventh, eighth and ninth grade students at St. Patrick's school, visiting the poor and shut-ins, organizing prayer groups, and once even acting as a surgical assistant!
After two and a half years in Grand Cess, Joel was asked to travel to Gardnersville and direct the establishment of an aspiranture and eventually a novitiate for young Liberian women who were interested in becoming Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Of course, Joel accepted this role and participated with her whole heart, trusting that this was what God needed her to do. July 17, 1991, the sisters returned
to Liberia after having left to return
to the United States because of the
danger of the situation in Liberia's
civil war. During this time, Joel kept
entries in the annal, and in two of her last letters ever written to home she stated, "If God wants Adorers here, He will take care of that, and we will see future Adorers of the Blood of Christ
in Liberia..For now we wait on the Lord."
On October 20th, Joel and Barbara Ann Muttra, also an ASC, were killed while taking a man named Peter to see his family in Barnersville. By Maddie Phelps
and Alaina Metz While at the convent, Sister Joel had a few different jobs that included working as a house mother for thirteen-year-old boys and teaching seventh grade at SPPS. Then, in 1982, after speaking with her cousin Shirley Kolmer, who was the Provincial Superior of the Ruma Province, she decided to go to West Africa and do mission work "I have been blessed with many beautiful sisters with whom I've lived my religious life, and the difficulties are few." -Joel Kolmer "Teaching religion has been a
great joy for me, and sharing
the faith with the people in the
parish is always a new experience
full of much hope." -Joel Kolmer After graduation from Saints Peter and Paul Grade School, Joel was able to go to the Ruma convent as an aspirant.
She was dismissed from the convent after experiencing a battle with a sciatic nerve problem in the middle of her junior year, and she returned home to Waterloo, Illinois to resume high school at the local catholic high school. She graduated in 1953, and after graduation she took on the job of being a secretary for Superior Express and a file clerk at the Aetna Insurance Company.
After attending a weekend retreat at the convent, Joel again realized the call that she felt to serve God by pursuing the religious life. By the end of August, 1955, she was a postulant at the Ruma Convent, and by the following July she would become a novice and take the name "Mary Joel". "I chose to become a sister Adorer of the Blood of Christ because I felt this was a way of life in which I could give of myself to the fullest." The beginning of a beautiful life.. "Watering the idea" From a young age, Joel was very artistic. After returning to the convent, she worked on receiving her bachelor's degree in elementary art education at the University of Missouri. (1967-1969) "Joel could produce cartoon characters almost perfectly, even when she was young." -Herb Weltig Ruma Convent