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Meet the sister who keeps on giving, even at 102


Humankindwichita | Instagram | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 12/11/19

Sister Leona Riebel takes her Christian duty to care for others to an impressive level.

After 40 years in the classroom, Sister Leona Riebel decided to retire to her native Kansas, joining a community of religious women at The Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Since Sister Leona is the grand old age of 102, you could understand if she felt it was time to take things a little easy. However, wanting to help wherever she can, the religious sister has picked up her knitting needles to join the Operation Holiday campaign run by the HumanKind ministries in Wichita.

In a bid to help low-income families stay warm during the winter months, Sister Leona knits for up to eight hours a day, making woolen hats from donated yarn and passing them on to the charity — in between going to Mass, praying, chatting with friends, and doing some exercise. Beginning in January and finishing in October, Sister Leona will knit up to an impressive two hats a day; with baby hats taking one hour to complete and a man’s hat up to eight hours.

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A post shared by HumanKind Ministries (@humankindwichita)

Sister Leona is one of 12 children, and became a religious sister at the age of 16. Three of her sisters also chose religious life and incredibly her older sister lives at the same retirement home. Longevity clearly runs in the family. “I still have good eyes, good hands. My ears are not too good,” Sister Leona told KSN. This has enabled her to contribute 500 hats to the cause last year, and 400 more this year.

The tireless efforts of the centenarian demonstrate her great desire to give, at a time in her life when she could easily be taking things slowly. It’s a reminder that if we’re in good health we should never stop trying to help others, even when we reach triple digits!


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