Dominican Sister of Peace Annette Winter, OP Honored for Service

Sister Annette Winter, OP, (center) accepts the Volunteer of the Year award, shown here with (left to right) Arlen Schroeder, President of the RSVP Advisory Council, Rebecca Ford and Lori Titsworth and Rebecca Ford, Catholic Charities.

Great Bend, KS – “I never considered anything that I do ‘volunteer work.’ I see that something needs to be done, and I do it. It’s just the way that I am.”

That’s how Sr. Annette Winter, OP, a Dominican Sister of Peace in Great Bend, KS, responded to being named “Volunteer of the Year” by RSVP/VIA of Central Kansas. And it really is exactly how she lives her life – every day.

“Sr. Annette is NOT the volunteer that you see on the stage taking a bow at an event,” said Rebecca Ford, Communications and Development Director at Catholic Charities. Ford and Lori Titsworth, the agency’s Adoption Social Worker, nominated Sr. Annette for the award.

“She’s the person staying late to clean up after the event is over, the person who looks for what needs to be done and does it with a smile. Sister is that steady, reliable person who we can depend on in every situation, at a moment’s notice.”

Working quietly and without fanfare, Sr. Annette has helped Catholic Charities complete several significant projects. Her digitizing of the agency’s adoption records helped preserve family histories going back decades, and her work tabulating surveys about social problems helped to facilitate solutions that will improve lives across the state. She also works with clients who visit Catholic Charities, helping them complete paperwork and offering advice from her deep knowledge of local resources for those in need.

Sister Annette Winter, OP, shows one of the alpacas on shearing day at Heartland Farm, an ecological mission of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

“She is kind, comforting and non-judgmental,” Ford continued. “Her gentle, loving presence personifies our mission to treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

Catholic Charities is not the only organization blessed by Sr. Annette’s efforts. She is very active at Heartland Farm, an ecological ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace located in Pawnee Rock. She halter-trained the alpacas on the farm, and is still involved in most events that include the animals. She also teaches knitting and crochet classes as part of the Farm’s textile and crafting classes.

“We call Sr. Annette an “alpaca whisperer,” says Sr. Jane Belanger, a Dominican Sister of Peace and the Director of the Heartland Farm Community. “She has great patience, and the right touch to encourage cooperation and learning – a touch that works for both animals and for teaching beginners to knit or crochet at FiberSpace.”

Sister Annette Winter, OP, instructs a crafter at a Heartland Farm FiberSpace knitting class.

Even in her home at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Great Bend, Sr. Annette is never idle. She cares for the gardens at the Motherhouse, helps prepare crafts for the annual bazaar, and generally, as she says, “Tends to what needs to be done.”

Sister Annette Winter, OP, has been a Dominican Sister for nearly 58 years. She ministers in the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Great Bend, KS. She was honored as the “Volunteer of the Year” by RSVP/VIA of Central Kansas at the annual RSVP Volunteer Recognition Banquet on August 1, 2017.