The Oblate Superior General has confirmed a request of Fr. Louis Studer, OMI, U.S. Provincial, to name Mrs. Wilma Baumgartner and Sister Brenda Rose Szegedy, OSF, as Honorary Oblates.
Raised in Detroit, MI, Sister Brenda Rose, is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, Ohio. Her first ministry was that of teacher, but she was soon attracted to retreat ministry. She ministered in retreat houses in Buffalo, NY and the Cenacle in Lanana, FL. before teaming with the Oblates at Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, MN, beginning in 2008.
Fr. Richard Sudlik, OMI, Director of Christ the King said of Sr. Brenda Rose, “She was a vital part of the preaching team for 14 years. She not only was a source of wisdom for the retreat center, but also brought a feminine dimension to ministry. In September of 2022 she returned to her community in Sylvania.”
Fr. Louis Studer, OMI, will confer the Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate status on Sr. Brenda Rose at Christ the King Retreat House on April 10, 2023.
Mrs. Wilma Baumgartner has supported the Missionary Oblates for over 20 years and was a close friend of the late, Francis Cardinal George, she has said that she loved the fact that the Oblates accepted the young Francis George into formation when the diocesan priests would not. (Editor’s note: Cardinal George had a life-long limp resulting from a bout with childhood polio.)
Jamie Green, Gift Advisor, Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate USA, reflected on her friendship with Wilma Baumgartner: “Wilma started supporting the Missionary Oblates in 1999. Fr. Louis Studer and I have visited with Wilma and her daughter, Betty, in Chicago on many occasions. During these visits, I have seen firsthand how Wilma loves and appreciates the work of Fr. Lou and the Missionary Oblates all over the world. Her motto is to smile every day and spread joy and happiness!
In 2016, Wilma and Betty came to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL for an event we called “Wilma-palooza”. She had supported our Shrine Renovation capital campaign and came to see how work was progressing. While here, Fr. Clarence Zachman gave her a personal tour of the Shrine. With both of them being in their 90s, they really bonded! We had a special Mass for her at the Christ the King Chapel with Fr. Jim Chambers officiating. Afterward, we presented her with a St. Eugene De Mazenod Award for her amazing generosity over the years. Many Oblates were in attendance including Oblate Fathers David Uribe, Elmar Mauer, Allen Maes, Jim Chambers, and Clarence Zachman. Wilma had a lovely visit with Fr. Elmar and enjoyed a lively conversation in German with him!
Wilma is very concerned about the future of the Church and has always been devoted to helping the Oblate priests, brothers and seminarians in whatever way she can. This has included their works in the missions, helping to educate young seminarians, and ng caring for our elder and infirm Oblates. If someone is in need, Wilma wants to help. She has never said “no” to a request that the Oblates have made to her. “
Fr. Studer will confer the Honorary Oblate status on Wilma Baumgartner in Chicago on April 25, 2023.