Sr. Florentia reflects on 105 years of life

Sr. Florentia Riebel has been an Adorer of the Blood of Christ for 88 years. She is sitting next to a statue of the foundress of the order, St. Maria De Mattias, outside the motherhouse’s chapel in Wichita. (Advance photo)


Sr. Florentia Riebel is easily fatigued and her memories are dim, but that’s understandable at age 105.

An Adorer of the Blood of Christ for 88 years, she worked full-time in health care for 55 years and part-time as a home health care nurse and nurse volunteer for 15 years.

“I took care of a lot of patients with different ailments,” she said on Sept. 20 in an interview in front of the chapel at the motherhouse located south of Newman University in Wichita.

Born in 1916

Sr. Florentia, who was born on Oct. 21, 1916, began her novitiate in 1933. She made her first vows the next year and final vows in 1939 – during the Great Depression. Sister worked with polio patients early in her career and was a part of the modernization of medical care in the United States.

She said she joined the Adorers with many of her contemporaries. “I wanted to join the sisterhood for different things…particularly in doing nursing. I did a lot of nursing at that time. All these people who came to me with their problems, I would help them.”

For women considering becoming a nun, Sr. Florentia said: “There are many opportunities to do different things. Learn more about the sisters. You would really enjoy being with them.”

What’s one more year?

Adding one more candle to her birthday cake isn’t significant to Sr. Florentia. “It really doesn’t make any difference, a hundred and five or a hundred and six. The next year is the same.”

Sr. Florentia was born in Schoenchen, Kansas. She was the oldest of 12 children, five girls, and seven boys. She has one surviving brother. Three of her sisters were also Adorers: Sr. Leona, Sr. Barbara, and Sr. Winfred (Winnie).

Sister Florentia moved to the motherhouse in Wichita in 2009.