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Roxanne Schares

Sister Roxanne Schares

GILBERTVILLE — A Gilbertville native will become the head of an international group of Roman Catholic nuns in January.

Sister Roxanne Schares was elected to head the School Sisters of Notre Dame, a congregation of more than 2,500 religious women in 30 countries. The congregation, founded Oct. 24, 1833, by Blessed M. Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger in Bavaria, is in its 185th year as a congregation.

Schares, a graduate of Don Bosco High School, is just the 13th nun to head the order, including the founder.

Schares currently lives in Nairobi, Kenya, and serves as the temporary professed director for the Province of Africa, which includes The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. She will be formally installed on Jan. 18 in Rome and will work there with a team of five elected council members.

Previously, Sister Schares was novice director for seven years; worked with the Jesuit Refugee Services in Africa for 10 years; and served as the International Shalom coordinator from 2007 to 2015 in Rome, Italy. Sister Roxanne entered the congregation in Mankato, Minn., and was professed in 1972. She was assigned to Kenya in 1982 and is now a member of the Province of Africa.

She was elected at a “general chapter” meeting this past fall of elected and ex-officio representatives from the 30 countries in which SSND nuns work.

SSND nuns taught in Gilbertville parochial schools from 1892-1989 and served at St. Joseph School in Raymond, and Blessed Sacrament School and Columbus High School, both in Waterloo.

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