I was born on 2/21/41 in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in a German-Bohemian family where both parents converted to faith in the Roman Catholic Church. My childhood faith was influenced by the Madams of the Sacred Heart in elementary and high school. I fell in love with my husband to be, Keith Werner, in 1957, while I was a senior at Duchesne High School. I trained to become a Resgistered Nurse (RN) at Saint Catherine's School of Nursing and pursued a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Administration (BSN) from Creighton University. I graduated in 1963 and became the school nurse at Duchesne College.
In July 1960, Keith entered the U. S. Naval Academy (USNA) and we continued long distance dating until he graduated and was commissioned as a U. S. Navy officer (Ensign) in June 1964. We married on 6/27/1964 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Omaha, Nebraska, the parish in which I lived when we got engaged.
Keith served in submarines of all types, often as Catholic Lay Leader and finally as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. He qualified in all officer positions including command.
Attendance at services of the Roman Catholic or "universal" church, with allegiance on faith matters to the successor of Simon Bar Jonah, whom Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, renamed "The Rock" or Cephas / Kephas, which was translated to Petros or Peter, in Rome as well as the Magisterium of the successors of the apostles loyal to him, was most fulfilling in all areas and vernacular languages to which we were exposed.
Keith's duty stations took us to both coasts of the U. S. with overseas deployments to or in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea.
I used my RN and BSN training to supplement our income in a variety of jobs including special duty nursing, Red Cross nursing, hospice nursing, psychiatric nursing and nursing education.
From 1975 thru 1977, we took the whole family overseas while Keith was assigned to a submarine repair ship, USS HOLLAND (AS-32), totally waterborne in the Holy Loch of Scotland.
Though a devout "Sunday" Roman Catholic, I tended to pay more attention to the material needs of our family and myself than to our spiritual needs. We tried our best to educate the three children in matters of faith and saw to it that they all received the requisite "first" sacraments when they were ready. Their experiences with the sacrament of Confirmation should be detailed in another story for each one.
Upon return from overseas, we needed a renewal of our Roman Catholic faith and found that in the Adult Education programs of our parish, Ascension, in Virginia Beach, VA. We became Eucharistic Ministers. Keith became a Lector. We actively participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) as facilitators, trainers and sponsors. Then Keith was forced to retire from military service in 1984 after 24 years of military life.
The Good Lord blessed Keith with rewarding work in the defense industry at the plant which is responsible for producing the AEGIS Combat System in Moorestown, New Jersey.
I became a Director of Nursing at the Skilled Nursing Facility associated with the Cadbury retirement community in Cherry Hill, NJ. This launched a quick rise through the Nursing Home career path until I became a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (LNHA). I served as opening Assistant LNHA at Absecon Manor, Absecon, NJ, LNHA at Cumberland Convalescent Center, Vineland, NJ, and LNHA at Cinnaminson Manor, Cinnaminson, NJ. In between jobs as LNHA, I managed the Dual Diagnosis Center (DDC) at the New Jersey Psyciatric Hospital, Ancora, NJ. Each use of my LNHA background required me to take an institution through state certification examinations. I became known as a "fire fighter" in bringing struggling instituations safely and efficiently through their state and national certification examinations.
The family had a few pains with adjustment to new life in NJ but most found new friends. We became involved with the faith community in Saint Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton, NJ.
The Adult Education Program took us through RENEW in several stages in the late 1980's. We got to meet people who drew us into various faith and prayer movements.
We made Cursillo weekends in the Spring (Keith) and Fall (Kathleen) of 1988.
We became involved with the Charismatic Renewal as its prayer community for our area was located in our parish. We made a Life in the Spirit Seminar at Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton, NJ in the summer of 1988 and have supported several similar seminars since then. We knew that God was calling us to break down the barriers to ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC CHURCH. This meant speaking out for UNITY in our Roman Catholic Communities.
In retrospect, we always had a special place in our hearts for Mary. We grew up with May crownings and rosary before or after daily Mass. My parish until 1963 was "Our Lady of Lourdes." I had been active with the Sodality and taken many trips to Marian Shrines in the Midwest.
My friends and I prayed the rosary every night usually around a statue of Our Lady. I learned a great deal about Our Lady and her messages for the world.
During Lent of 1988, Keith and I, with our two natural children, Kent and Katherine, visited Mexico as part of a real estate marketing effort. We had a few days in Mexico City where we found our way to Tepeyac Hill and the "Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe." Being there on Palm Sunday was an awesome experience. We think we understood not only the Cardinal's reading of the Passion but also his sermon, both in Mexican, which we do not speak. Little did we know then that Our Lady was calling us to lead pilgrimages and that we would return to Mexico several times to visit shrines or holy places dedicated to her Son as well as those dedicated to her in response to strong local devotion to her visits over the centuries.
As co-director of the PFMC, editor of "The PILGRIM," president of the corporation and travel advisor for both the PFMC and WERNER FAMILY, I do the planning, selection of books and articles, phone and FAX operations, etc. Besides being mother and wife, I have two full-time jobs keeping house and Marian Center. I no longer work as an RN or LNHA for pay but certainly use all of my nursing and management skills while on pilgrimage or with any groups of people.
The PFMC job, which has the longest hours, was just a few steps away from our bed from 1989 until 1998 when we purchased what was to be our retirement home at 61 Cooper Road, Voorhees, NJ. We started to live there while we completed the plans for erection of the building planned for behind the house at 129 Deerfield Avenue, Marlton, NJ, behind this new house. Our commute was to change when, in early 2000, the new building addition behind the Epiphany House at 61 Cooper Road, Voorhees, NJ, was ready for the offices of the PFMC.
We planned the move to coincide with the transport of materials for the 2000 RETREAT CONFERENCE and consecrated the Epiphany House complex on 25 March 2000.
I suffered an injury to my sciatic nerve (piriformis syndrome) just before the 2000 RETREAT CONFERENCE and we had to alter our plans for living at 61 Cooper Road. We searched for and found a bungalow with all living accommodations on one floor. I would not have to negotiate stairs.
Now Keith and I travel about 6 miles to work via Holy Mass and Holy Eucharist every morning. We are always pleased when volunteers show up to assist with the work load.
If you would like to volunteer at the PFMC, even to just answer the phone and handle walk-in visitors, please call (856) 768-9228.