National Catholic Sisters Week: Sister Esther Fangman
Sister Esther cares for those experiencing trauma
As we continue our celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week, we introduce you to Sister Esther Fangman. Sister Barbara Ann Mayer wrote this profile of Sister Esther that first appeared in the winter 2016 issue of Threshold.
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Sister Esther Fangman grew up on a farm in St. Benedict, Kansas, with six brothers and two sisters. She is thankful for her parents, Paul and Florence, and her family for giving her such a solid and wonderful foundation. After graduating from St. Benedict’s High School, she entered the Mount community.
Her ministries include grade school teacher, college dorm director, mental health counselor, trainer of para-professional counselors in a parish, and licensed counselor in private practice. She also served as president of the Federation of St. Scholastica for 12 years.
“I had the privilege of being involved with many Benedictine communities throughout the world. I was awed by their faithfulness to God and their ministry to others. The opportunity taught me how all cultures and communities are very much the same in their struggles to find meaning in their lives,” said Sister Esther.
Sister Esther is grateful for all her experiences. “Working as a counselor has taught me so much about life and the courage of people dealing with difficulties and losses,” she said. “They are an inspiration to me.”
Currently, as part of her counseling ministry, Sister Esther works with refugees at Keeler Women’s Center in Kansas City who are experiencing trauma. “Hearing such horrendous stories has both threatened and strengthened my relationship with God,” she said. “It helps me understand how active and compassionate God’s presence is in people’s lives as they journey through grief and suffering.”
In her recent gratitude talk to the community, she thanked the sisters for helping her to live more intentionally as a Benedictine. “Being immersed in the daily rhythm of prayer and the common life has transformed and shaped me,” she said. “Living with sisters from different generations and backgrounds has been challenging, but also a lot of fun. I am blessed.”