Mary Terese Rink, BVM (Lumina)

Mary Terese Rink, BVM (Lumina) died Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a Sharing of Memories at 10:15 a.m. Funeral liturgy will immediately follow. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 20, 1929, to Raymond and Mary Hughes Rink. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1951, from St. Matthew Parish, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1954, and final vows on July 16, 1959.

Sister Terese was on the faculty at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, and taught postulants and novices at Mount Carmel. She taught secondary school in Memphis, Tenn.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Chicago. At the University of Illinois Medical Center, she served in clerical work, as coordinator for the Disabled Children’s Program, and as case manager.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Joseph. She is survived by sisters: Margery Petrzelka (Cedar Rapids); Helen (Bob) Mangrum (Broken Arrow, Okla.); and Katie (John) Cahalan (Austin, Texas); sister-in-law Barbara Rink (Arvada, Colo.); nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 65 years.

Sister Mary Terese Rink, BVM (Lumina)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Aug. 18, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our sister, Mary Terese Rink.

Terese was born on Feb. 20, 1929, in Des Moines. She was the eldest child of Raymond and Mary Hughes Rink, who met while attending the University of Iowa. Sisters Margery, Helen and Katie and a brother Joseph completed the family. Terese’s mother had a wonderful sense of humor and skillfully managed their home. Her father was a pharmacist who owned his own store and was always ready to help someone in need. Terese graduated from Mount Mercy Academy and Junior College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism with a minor in social science at the University of Iowa.

Even though Terese did not attend BVM schools, her siblings did and through them, she became acquainted with the BVMs. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1951, joining her cousin, Sister Mary Joel Kramer, who had entered in 1939. Terese received the name Sister Mary Lumina upon her reception on March 19, 1952, professed her first vows on March 19, 1954, and lived 65 years as a BVM.

Terese taught English and composition at St. Augustine HS in Memphis, Tenn.; English and journalism at St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, Iowa; and English at Immaculata high school in Chicago. As a member of the faculty at Clarke University, she taught rhetoric and composition, literature and history to postulants and novices at Mount Carmel. After TOPA (Totally Open Placement Application) went into effect, Terese chose to teach in the Chicago public school system. She became well acquainted with the “unhealthier neighborhoods” in the town as she commuted to work on public transit. Still, Terese wrote, “TOPA . . . was one of the major influences in my life . . . Even if the neighborhoods lacked much, the people I met made up for this.”

For 24 years, Terese worked for the Division of Specialized Care for Children at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago. She began with clerical responsibilities and eventually became a case manager for children with severe physical problems. “Here I truly met the People of God,” she wrote. “These were the poor, the marginalized, the overlooked and underestimated, Moslems, Jews, all Christian denominations, Hindus, atheists, and agnostics.” Terese served as the program coordinator from 1982 to 1990. Afterwards, she returned to case management, retiring 12 years later.

Quiet, gentle, sensitive and gracious—all describe Terese. Her subtle sense of humor was a delight and, at times, she could even be a bit of a tease. She was intelligent, curious and an avid reader. She enjoyed writing letters, having conversations with her BVM sisters, and especially walking. She combined her love of family and history to create an ancestral history book, a wonderful gift to her family for whom she was immensely grateful.

Terese was a behind-the-scenes person. She had strong opinions regarding politics and the community, but thought and spoke with a depth and a precision that did not draw attention to herself. Still, her hard work was noticed—being “lumina,” (a light) for young sisters on their first teaching assignments, sharing her journalistic talent in BVM publications, tutoring poor children at Wright Hall, sorting and folding clothing at the Dubuque Rescue Mission.

In the Gospel (John 14:1-6) chosen by Terese, Jesus says, “There are many rooms in my Father’s house . . . I am going now to prepare a place for you . . . [and] I shall return to take you with me.”

Terese lived in Chicago for 44 years, the last 26 years at Wright Hall until it closed in 2011. In a Salt article about the closing, she commented, “New surroundings do not automatically fit us. Often, it takes time and shifting: a little push here, a tug there. But eventually our bodies and spirits relax. We are home.” Last Sunday, Terese’s familiar surroundings no longer “fit.” Then Jesus came, her body relaxed and her spirit followed him home. Rest in peace, our dear loved one, sister and friend.

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