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Jan Hostert tears up after receiving the Omaha Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Mullen Award. She is with her husband, Paul, and a granddaughter, Jamie Hoyle, all of Sacred Heart Parish at Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Butte.

Butte woman’s service recognized with OACCW’s Mullen Award

More than 170 women gathered Sept. 17 at St. Peter Parish in Stanton to celebrate Jesus’ love, be prayerfully inspired in their friendships and continue their  good works through the Omaha Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (OACCW).
 
Archbishop George J. Lucas and nine priests from the area helped mark the group’s 94th annual convention by concelebrating Mass. And Jan Hostert of Sacred Heart Parish in Butte was surprised with the Mullen Award for her service to family, church and community.
 
“When I joined I knew God was in charge,” Hostert said after receiving the honor. “I feel very joyful.”
 
 Father Gerald Connealy, pastor of St. Peter Parish and a chaplain at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk, introduced the convention theme, “Surrender to God: The Way to True Freedom, the Way to Live Close to Jesus by Accepting God’s Will for Your Life.”
 
The group’s spiritual adviser, Father Andrew Sohm, pastor of St. Peter Parish in Newcastle, St. Joseph Parish in Ponca and St. Patrick Parish in Jackson, told the group, “We all desire peace, more joy. Friends, there is no greater joy than when we surrender our lives to God.”
 
Hostert said she grew up an only child of unchurched parents and converted to the Catholic Church at age 17, acting largely on her own initiative. 
 
“As I was walking up the sidewalk to the rectory I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’” she said, recalling her first steps toward Catholicism. “But my legs just kept walking.
 
“I wasn’t going to join, but the priest, (the late) Father Edward Gill, and the housekeeper were so welcoming and so friendly. I said, ‘I don’t know how to do this church thing,’ and Father Gill said, ‘My housekeeper will show you.’”
 
Married 51 years, Hostert said she and her husband do everything together.
 
“We’re still on the farm,” she said. “I think of the quietness … God is there.”
 
The Hosterts had three daughters, one of whom was disabled and died at age 48.
 
“We were not putting her into an institution,” Hostert said. “She was special. It was a wonderful experience.”
 
As a parent of a child with a disability, Hostert served on the Region IV Behavioral Health System’s advisory board for years and advocated for people with disabilities across Nebraska. The Hosterts also organized a Christmas gift program in O’Neill, providing gifts to people who received Region IV services. 
 
For many who had no family, those were the only gifts they received, Hostert said. 
 
Hostert said she loves the Eucharist, and serving her parish, the OACCW and other organizations.
 
“Sometimes people who are Catholic don’t realize what they have – the closeness to Jesus,” she said. “I love the parishioners, reconciliation, CCD, the sharing, the friendship of the Catholics.”

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