Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the July 1, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register
Volume 8 - No. 45
50 Years Ago: June 17, 1960

Father Skylstad Says First Mass in Brewster Parish

Father William S. Skylstad, newest priest for the Diocese of Spokane, celebrated his First Solemn Mass at Sacred Heart Parish here on Monday, May 30. The Mass was sung in the gymnasium of the Brewster public school in order to accommodate the 300 relatives and friends who attended.

The Very Rev. Robert C. O’Neil, pastor of Omak, was deacon of the Mass and Father Frank Bach, assistant at Immaculate Heart Retreat House and administrator of the Wellpinit Indian Mission, was subdeacon. Father George Morbeck, pastor at Brewster, was the archpriest.

LeRoy Weeks, a Brewster seminarian at St. Thomas Seminary, Kenmore, Wash., was master of ceremonies. Ronald Skylstad, a brother of the newly ordained, was censer bearer; Steve Skylstad and John Healem (a cousin) were acolytes.

Mrs. Steve Skylstad, the priest’s mother, was the organist for the parish choir, which sang the responses. Men of the parish Holy Names Society, acted as ushers.

Father Raymond A. Klemmer, pastor of St. Boniface’s Parish, Uniontown, preached the sermon.

Father Skylstad gave first blessings immediately after Mass and this was followed by a reception and supper at Brewster Grange Hall. Women of St. Anne Guild of Pateros and Sacred Heart Altar Society, Brewster and Monse, were in charge of these under the direction of Chrissie Schulke and Rosella Dundas.

At the reception, Father Skylstad presented his mother with an emblematic pin designating her as the mother of a priest. The pin was provided by the seminarian mothers’ club and was given to Father Skylstad by the president, Mrs. Arne Pearson of Spokane.


From the Inland Register
Volume 42 – No. 24
25 Years Ago: June 20, 1985

(Editor’s note: As the Guatemala Mission celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, the Inland Register gives a voice to the unsung heroes of the mission field – the Sisters who serve and sacrifice for the Quiché Indians in that Central American country. At our request, the Sisters tell their own stories, relating their personal history and describing their ministry in the Guatemala Mission.)

by Sister Janet Druffell SSND
Missionary Sister to Guatemala

I was born on Sept. 15, 1934 in a farmhouse near Colton, Wash. My parents were George and Hilda (Greif) Druffel. I have two brothers, Don and Jim Druffel, who continue to operate the family farm. I have two sisters, Sister Alice Druffel of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, presently of Coon Rapids, Minn., and Providence Sister Pauline Druffel of Spokane.

My memories of the German Catholic communities of Colton and Uniontown are very happy ones. I continue to receive much support from these people. It is always a pleasure to visit there.

I graduated from Guardian Angel Grade School in 1948 and from Notre Dame Academy in 1952. I entered the postulancy of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato, Minn., on Aug. 28, 1952. At that time, I realized how deeply my roots were planted in Colton. I was homesick for three months.

I took first vows in July 1954 and studied one year at St. Catherine College in St. Paul, Minn. After that, I finished my college degree at Fort Wright College of the Holy Names, Spokane.

I then taught one year in a primary grade school in New Haven, Iowa. Then for six years I taught second grade at Holy Family School in Clarkston, Wash.

In the fall of 1961, our community asked for volunteers to work in Latin America. I had a great interest in Latin America which blossomed in childhood from reading my mother’s mission magazines.

When the Spokane Diocese founded its mission in Guatemala, I volunteered, hoping against hope that I would be selected. When I was invited to be a part of the mission in Nahualá in the fall of 1961, I was ecstatic to be in Latin America and in the Spokane Diocese’s Mission at the same time.

On August 23, Sisters Avila Lipetzky, Renelle Kohler and I were welcomed at the Guatemala Airport by Father Cornelius Verdoorn, one of the diocese’s first missionaries. Our specific work was to open a grade school for the children of the Mission. After studying Spanish in Guatemala City for three months, we moved permanently to Nahualá. In January of 1963 we opened the school, Colegio Santa Catarina.

The truth is that when I came to Nahualá, my idea of the Mission was to teach the people to become basically like the Catholics in the U.S. I came with the idea to “help the poor” and to “convert the pagans.” My ideas soon began to change, thanks to the support of many people here. I now see my role as that of accompanying the people in a search, to share life and love, knowledge and ideas, strengths and weaknesses. I feel very enriched by the many people ad experiences that have been part of my life during my many years in Guatemala.

My concrete role has changed over the years. It is still changing today, as far as the actual “work” that I do.

In 1965, I began full-time work in the radio station, the Voice of Nahualá, that Father John Rompa founded as a medium to broadcast basic Christian education classes to natives here. Since 1966, I have been director of the Voice of Nahualá. Today, as director of the Association for Development and Popular Education (ADEP), The Voice of Nahualá, I spend most of my time in general coordination of all the activities of the institution, and in the orientation, animation, and unification of personnel.

One of the main objectives of the radio is to promote unity in whatever group or area it influences, and this unity must begin with the institution itself.

Another important thrust of the radio, and of my own work, is to enable people to become more ... more Christian, more humanly developed, more capable, more educated, and so forth.

A third thrust is to seek more and more participation of an ever wider group of people in the activities of the institution.

On a national level, I work for these same objectives in the Guatemalan Federation of Radio Schools, and in the Committee for the Development of the Western Highlands (in agriculture and handicrafts). All of the personnel of the institution work on committees of the federation. On the Latin American level, our institution works with the Latin American Association of Educational Radios.

During 1984, I have also had the opportunity to coordinate the personnel of our Mission grade school, again, because of the temporary absence (a year and a half) of a specific person for that role. But, last January, Sister Therese Ann Zanmiller arrived to work full time as coordinator of the school.

I would like to take this opportunity to than all the people of the Spokane Diocese for their very generous support of our mutual work here in the Diocesan Mission. We need you. Without you there would be no Spokane Mission in Guatemala.

(Father Caswell is the diocese’s Ecumenical Relations Officer and archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)

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