Donate Now

Event Calendar

Next
S M T W T F S
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
Sat, Apr 1
LCWR National Assembly
2
Sun, Apr 2
LCWR National Assembly
3
Mon, Apr 3
LCWR National Assembly
4
Tue, Apr 4
LCWR National Assembly
5
Wed, Apr 5
LCWR National Assembly
6
Thu, Apr 6
LCWR National Assembly
7
Fri, Apr 7
LCWR National Assembly
8
Sat, Apr 8
LCWR National Assembly
9
Sun, Apr 9
LCWR National Assembly
10
Mon, Apr 10
LCWR National Assembly
11
Tue, Apr 11
LCWR National Assembly
12
Wed, Apr 12
LCWR National Assembly
13
Thu, Apr 13
LCWR National Assembly
14
Fri, Apr 14
LCWR National Assembly
15
Sat, Apr 15
LCWR National Assembly
16
Sun, Apr 16
LCWR National Assembly
17
Mon, Apr 17
LCWR National Assembly
18
Tue, Apr 18
LCWR National Assembly
19
Wed, Apr 19
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
20
Thu, Apr 20
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
21
Fri, Apr 21
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
22
Sat, Apr 22
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
23
Sun, Apr 23
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
24
Mon, Apr 24
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
25
Tue, Apr 25
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
26
Wed, Apr 26
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
27
Thu, Apr 27
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
28
Fri, Apr 28
LCWR National Assembly
Ecuador Immersion Experience
29
Sat, Apr 29
LCWR National Assembly
CARMA Day of Reflection
30
Sun, Apr 30
St. Mary HS Alumnae Luncheon
LCWR National Assembly
1 2 3 4 5 6
Mary Francis Clarke Photograph
Members Login
leaves

Obituaries

Mary Kelliher, BVM (Maurita)

Mary Kelliher, BVM (Maurita) died Friday, April 14, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Natural Burial Rite of Committal was Saturday, April 15, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Sharing of Memories and Memorial Mass will be held on Thursday, April 20 at 10:45 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Casper, Wyo. on July 22, 1927, to Maurice and Mary E. Mahoney Kelliher. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1948, from St. Anthony Parish, Casper. She professed first vows on March 19, 1951, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1956.

Sister Mary taught elementary and secondary school in Des Moines and Council Bluffs, Iowa; Lincoln, Neb.; Butte, Mont.; Chicago; and Petaluma, Calif. She was religious education coordinator in Denver, Colo., and Gillette, Wyo. She served in parish ministry in Green River, Wyo., and in Hispanic ministry in Casper, Wyo.; Kankakee, Ill.; and Solola, Guatemala.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Rosaleen Webster. She is survived by sisters Rita Rochelle and Patricia Tripeny, both of Casper, Wyo.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 68 years.

Sister Mary Kelliher, BVM (Maurita)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, April 20, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary Kelliher.

Mary Theresa Kelliher entered this world on July 22, 1927, in Casper, Wyo., as the third child of Maurice and Mary E. Mahoney Kelliher. She joined her sisters Rita and Rosaleen and was followed by her sister Patricia. Mary’s mother emigrated from County Cork, Ireland, and became a registered nurse in Chicago. Mary described her as “down to earth” and “stoically unsentimental.” “She had a good heart, but she didn’t like to show it,” said Mary. Her father emigrated from County Kerry, Ireland, and was the fire chief. “My dad, well his head was in the clouds,” commented Mary. “My dad loved socializing . . . I enjoy the traits of both my parents.”

Mary’s family moved to Wyoming, where she attended St. Anthony ES, which was staffed by BVMs. “Since the fifth grade I was very ‘holy,’” she commented. “I was a devil at home and an angel at school. I always wanted to be like the sisters. My father thought they were wonderful women. [He] had a very profound respect for them and I believe that they really did influence me.” Mary attended a public high school and worked as a nurse aide during World War II. After high school, she studied Latin at Clarke University for three years until the call to religious life compelled her to enter the congregation on Sept. 8, 1948. She received the name Maurita upon her reception on March 19, 1949, professed her first vows on March 19, 1951, and lived 68 years as a BVM.

Mary taught at St. Mary in Lincoln, Neb.; St. Joseph and St. John in Butte, Mont.; St. Cornelius in Chicago; St. Vincent in Petaluma, Calif.; St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, Iowa; and St. Francis Xavier in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She entered parish ministry, teaching religious education at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Denver, Colo., and was the coordinator of religious education at St. Matthew Parish in Gillette, Wyo. She also worked in parish ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish in Green River, Wyo.

Mary’s appreciation for Spanish and Mexican culture coupled with an increasing Hispanic population, compelled her to learn Spanish. In 1993, she began a Hispanic ministry volunteering in Casper, Wyo., and later in Kankakee, Ill. Through a BVM Ministry Grant, she traveled to San Andrés Semetebaj, Guatemala, where she taught the Hermanas Misioneras de la Eucharistia (Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist). The purpose of this religious community, comprised of indigenous women, was to bring the Word of God and the Eucharist to small villages in remote areas.

In her memoir, Mary recounts the trepidation she experienced as she arrived in Guatemala. “Fear, the right kind of fear, can easily turn to trust. My trust is in God; Her presence cushions my being. I felt Her with me, “your hand will guide me.” Yet fear swept over me as it does with every new beginning. My beginnings were merely in location, because my vocation has remained dually as Christ’s friend and as teacher.” Years later Mary would recall: “[I was] fueled with hope to impact the future missions of these indigenous women religious as they would pass on Christ’s love.”

After returning to the United States, she taught ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at Kankakee Community College and volunteered in Hispanic ministry at St. Theresa Parish in Kankakee. While at St. Theresa, Mary worked in a food and clothing center and helped to establish “The Mothers’ Cooperativa” where Hispanic mothers took turns providing childcare so other mothers could take English classes.

Members of Mary’s BVM community in Kankakee remember her “as one of the most generous, hospitable and caring persons they had ever lived with,” commenting that “there was never enough that Mary could do for you, serve you, or inconvenience herself on your behalf. Sometimes even to the point of annoyance! She would offer you 17 choices of drinks and snacks and with each ‘no response,’ she would elicit a whole new list of offers.” They also noted her amazing interest in and ability to retain trivia; she would come out with the funniest data. One time she read that if you soak raisins in gin and refrigerate them, eating seven a day would ease arthritis. One day when the refrigerator was crowded and others objected to a big quart jar with only three raisins in it, Mary took the jar and said, “Oh, okay, I’ll overdose.”

While Mary may have experienced internal fears when confronting new situations, those who watched her observed what appeared to be total fearlessness. Her limited Spanish was never an excuse for not getting involved with the most complicated situations in which Hispanics found themselves. If she didn’t know how to proceed, she would go to the ends of the earth to find out the best solution. It didn’t matter what time the phone rang, she was ready to offer her Spanish and compassion to those who sought her assistance. She was always cheerful and positive in her ministry and presence.

When Mary retired in 2008, she chose to live in Chicago because it was easier for her and her family in Wyoming to visit each other. After the sale of Wright Hall, she moved to Mount Carmel, commenting, “Home is the place where they take you in because they know and love you and you know and love them.”

Mary, St. Paul’s message to the Ephesians reminds us that Christ was alive in your heart through faith; planted in love and you built on that love. You knew and loved your family, your sisters, all those God placed in your life, and all in God’s creation. Now with all the saints you are filled with the utter fullness of God. Indeed, you have been called home to a place where they take you because they know and love you. In this Easter season, we celebrate you in your own poetic words.”

The circle of love a horizon unfurled
A sky rimmed with trunks and branches of black
stretching into filigreed twigs against blue.
And ahead in the west appeared a patch of different hue:
A stately yellow willow came into view.
Now, O my soul, isn’t that a graceful transition . . .
Maundy Thursday to Good Friday and thence to Easter.
Mary, your daughter rejoices. Your Son, my brother, is alive!

(From Walk Around the Block, Maundy Thursday, 2008)

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Therese Fox, BVM (Rita Maurice)

Therese Fox, BVM (Rita Maurice) died Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a sharing of memories at 10:30 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 11 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on June 17, 1930, to Maurice and Margaret Daly Fox. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1952, from St. Dorothy Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1955, and final vows on July 16, 1960.

Sister Therese taught elementary school in Grayslake and Chicago, Ill.; Hempstead, N.Y.; Waterloo and Dubuque, Iowa; and Kansas City, Mo. Also in Chicago, she served as elementary school principal and counselor.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers: Thomas Daly, Maurice S., William P., and John Robert. She is survived by sisters-in-law Audrey Fox, Oak Lawn, Ill.; Lorraine Fox, Long Beach, Ind.; and Therese Garvey Fox, Broadview Heights, Ohio; nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 64 years.

Sister Therese Fox, BVM (Rita Maurice)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, April 18, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Therese Fox.

Margaret Therese Fox entered this world on June 17, 1930, as the only daughter of Maurice and Margaret Daly Fox of Chicago. She joined brothers Thomas, Maurice and William and was followed by John. Her Irish parents had a strong Catholic faith and made the family their top priority. Her father had a family heating and air conditioning business. After he died from a heart attack at age 55, her mother continued the family business and was the first woman to sign a union contract. Therese was very devoted to her family, all of whom preceded her in death. We can only image the great joy at their heavenly reunion.

Therese commented that one of the greatest challenges in her life was her health. Diagnosed with scoliosis at age 13, Therese underwent surgery and was in a body cast for some time afterwards. She missed a year of school and had to relearn how to walk. Spinal issues continued off and on throughout her life, but she never viewed them as a handicap. While in her mid-30s, she suffered a stroke that left numbness on her right side. Much later, Sister Jean Ward, BVM, whom Therese described as a “most influential” person in her life, remarked, “although Therese has suffered from back trouble for many years, this has never interfered with her activities—she has learned to live with inconvenience in a beautiful manner.”

After graduating from Holy Cross ES and Loretta Academy, Therese planned to attend Clarke University. Grief over her father’s death, combined with homesickness, cast a shadow over what should have been an exciting time. Yet Therese persevered and graduated from Clarke with a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition and a minor in science. Her interest in food was not purely professional. Therese was a very fine cook, loved to entertain, and would host gatherings where everyone had a wonderful time enjoying a delectable meal.

During an interview, Therese commented, “As a girl there were two things I never wanted to be: a teacher and a nun.” Obviously, her view changed over time. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1953, received the name Rita Maurice upon her reception on March 19, 1953, professed her first vows on March 19, 1955, and lived 64 years as a BVM.

After four months at St. Mary High School in Chicago, Therese spent the next 19 years teaching junior high. She was missioned at St. Gilbert in Grayslake, Ill.; Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, N.Y.; St. Charles in Chicago; Our Lady of Victory in Waterloo, Iowa; St. Patrick in Dubuque, Iowa; and St. Catherine in Kansas City, Mo. She also served as principal at Our Lady of Lourdes in Chicago, where faculty described her leadership style, observing that “she made clear what her expectations of people were, and although they were very high expectations, they were never unattainable.” They emphasized that Therese had “very special qualities for bringing out the best in people, touching people in such a way as they were changed for having known her,” and always encouraging them to live life to the fullest.

Therese worked briefly as an educational researcher for The Immaculata HS, followed by an extended period of renewal at the St. Clare House of Prayer. Afterward, she ministered as an elementary school counselor at Our Lady of Angels, St. Ita and St. Constance, and later as a counselor for the Project REACH Program at St. Mary of the Lake ES, all in Chicago. Reflecting on her gifts as a counselor, a colleague stated: “Therese always acted with integrity, backed with good common sense and deep religious values. She created an atmosphere of love and trust among students, faculty, and staff.”

Therese remained in Chicago for five years after retiring until her move to the BVM Circle Apartments in 2001 and the Motherhouse in 2010. In recent years, she enjoyed card-making classes at the Roberta Kuhn Center. During last year’s end-of-year celebration, the class traveled to Otto’s Place in Galena, Ill., but only after verifying it was wheelchair accessible so that Therese could join them. Together they enjoyed a long afternoon of conversation and food. When mobility issues made attendance too difficult, she donated her personal card-making materials for the rest of the class to enjoy.

St. Paul wrote, “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Therese was a loving person deeply committed to her work and her Lord. Despite her health issues, she remained cheerful and willingly accepted challenging assignments. She made time for reflection and prayer a priority and continued to grow deeper in her love of God and community as she carried each burden. With deep gratitude and love, we rejoice for and with Therese. She is now truly free and where she has longed to be—in the loving arms of her God.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Therese J. Jacobs, BVM (Therese Carmelle)

Therese J. Jacobs, BVM (Therese Carmelle) died Thursday, April 6, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on May 9, 1929, to Harry Franklin and Mary Josephine Mullahey Jacobs. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1947, from St. Mary Parish, Clinton, Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955.

Sister Therese taught music in elementary and secondary schools in Cascade and Davenport, Iowa; Kauai, Hawaii; Chicago and Mundelein, Ill; and St. Paul, Minn. She served as BVM regional in Davenport, and as formation director in Dubuque. She ministered on the college faculty and formation staff in Los Gatos, Calif. She served in pastoral ministry in Des Moines, Iowa; Jackson, Miss.; and Kumasi, Ghana.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers: Richard, Edwin, Bernard, Donald, Earl and John Paul; and sisters Mary Ellen Clark and Bernice Ann Iliff. She is survived by a brother, Francis J. Jacobs, St. Paul, Minn.; a brother-in-law, Stewart Iliff, Warrenton, Mo.; a sister-in-law, Marion Jacobs, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 69 years.

Sister Therese J. Jacobs, BVM (Therese Carmelle)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Wednesday April 12, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Therese J Jacobs.

Therese Josephine Jacobs entered this world on May 9, 1929, in Des Moines, Iowa, as the daughter of Harry and Mary (Mullahey) Jacobs. Her father’s first wife died, leaving three sons. He later married Therese’s mother and together had four more boys and three girls. After Therese was born, the family moved to Clinton, Iowa. Although they lived in several residences, the family always belonged to St. Mary Parish, where Therese also attended school. Therese had a very active childhood filled with parish and school activities, piano lessons, Girls Scouts, hospital volunteering, and even gardening.

The main family recreation, however, was playing cards. Therese believed that she picked up her card sense by watching her parents play cards with another couple. The family also enjoyed following the vicissitudes of the Chicago Cubs. In her autobiography, she wrote, “We had very little material wealth, but were blessed with the presence and goodness [of our parents] . . . I was given the foundation of love and identity which have enabled me to establish healthy relationships and good friends.”

Therese entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1947, received the name Therese Carmelle upon her reception on March 19, 1948, professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and lived 70 years as a BVM. On her profession day, Sister Clarice Hannaher, BVM gave Therese a medal of Thérèse of Lisieux with the following quote: “I want to love Jesus and to win Jesus’ love.” These words have motivated Therese to live a life full of gratitude and joy for all of God’s blessings.

Commenting about her 18 years of teaching music, Therese said, “I loved teaching elementary school music . . . Students loved a break from daily subjects so music was fun.” Therese was missioned in Iowa at St. Martin in Cascade and St. Paul in Davenport; in Hawaii at St. Catherine in Kauai; in Illinois at St. Gertrude in Chicago and Carmel Catholic HS in Mundelein; and in Minnesota at Our Lady of Peace in St. Paul. About her mission to Hawaii, Therese wrote, “[The] cultural diversity was a great richness in my life and gave me a breadth of understanding and experience that I have always treasured.”

Therese also served as a teacher and member of the formation team at Guadalupe College in Los Gatos, Calif., and as formation director at the Motherhouse. “It was a special gift to accompany women in their novitiate process of faith and deepened acceptance of themselves and God’s call and presence in their lives,” she commented. As a regional, Therese found herself involved with the sisters’ lives in very significant ways. “I was able to be a companion, elicit confidence and trust, and to be faithful to these women during stressful times as well as times of celebration.” Her experiences as formation director and regional coupled with encouragement from several friends helped Therese discern her next ministry.

In 1980, Therese earned a master’s degree in spiritual direction. “The studies were exciting . . . and energizing,” she wrote. “The real challenge came in owning my own strengths, personality and goodness and to believe in God’s fidelity and steadfastness even when I did not feel very faithful . . .” She subsequently served as a pastoral minister at Holy Trinity in Des Moines, and St. Richard in Jackson, Miss. While at Holy Trinity, she became a member of the Iowa Inter-Church Forum and served on the 1986 Iowa Pastor’s Conference planning committee. A friend from Holy Trinity wrote, “Let me acknowledge the important influence of [a] cherished BVM friend and mentor, Sister Therese Jacobs. We were on the RCIA team [together] . . . During this time I experienced a deep life-changing re-conversion . . . More than 30 years have passed and I value her support and friendship.”

During the summer of 1989, Therese traveled to the Centre of Spiritual Renewal in Kumasi, Ghana, where the faith of the people touched her deeply. “They are believers,” she wrote, “without God nothing would exist. I found their prayers full of praise, gratitude, dependence, trust, and joy—most of all, an attitude of praise and confidence.” She returned to Ghana in 2001 and spent the next nine years ministering there. A year after Therese left Ghana, a sign of her impact remained as the Easter liturgy was filled with a song she had taught the people.

For more than two decades, Therese enthusiastically encouraged the practice of centering prayer by training leaders and leading groups in Mississippi, Ghana and at Mount Carmel since her return to Dubuque. She led directed retreats and served as spiritual director to a countless number of individuals. “[My] ministries have allowed me into sacred places with others,” she commented. “My years were rich in seeing God’s action . . . and [the] power of healing and reconciliation in [people’s] lives. . . I know wherever I minister I will find God.”

In the area of social justice, Therese’s dedication and fearless initiative is evident in her numerous letters to newspapers and politicians in which she advocated for the disenfranchised and promoted the common good. She also was involved with Habitat for Humanity and visited women in correctional facilities. Therese was deeply honored to give the invocation before President Obama’s speech during his visit to Dubuque in 2012. “As I prepared the prayer I was very conscious of the desire to praise God for the gifts of life, freedom and faith.”

As a good listener with insight and keen sensitivity, Therese had the ability to relate easily and tenderly with others. Her gentle, kind spirit exuded warmth and wholeness. Someone recently commented, “She was a friend to everybody.”

In the Gospel, we hear Jesus say, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” Our deceased Sister Margaret O’Shea once complimented Therese, saying that she helped her realize that it is possible to carry out the Gospel and love everyone.

Therese has asked to be remembered as “a deeply spiritual woman, extremely grateful for a consistent sense of God’s personal care for her, for the riches of family, community and friends and for the wonder and beauty of creation.”

Truly, she was a gift to us all.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Elaine Wojcik, BVM (St. Lillian)

Elaine Wojcik, BVM (St. Lillian) died Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9:30–10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, followed by sharing of memories and funeral liturgy at 10:30 a.m. in the Marian Hall Chapel. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on Feb. 14, 1928, to Stanley and Lillian Luczak Wojcik. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1950, from St. Mark Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1953, and final vows on July 16, 1958.

Sister Elaine was an elementary and middle school teacher in Mason City, Iowa; Chicago, River Forest, and North Riverside, Ill.; and Kansas City, Mo., where she also served as principal. She was a substitute teacher and nursing home/hospice volunteer in Melrose Park, Ill.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sisters: Dolores Frano, Adeline Salvinolo, and Patricia Lo Presto. She is survived by nieces, nephews, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Sister Elaine Wojcik, BVM (St. Lillian)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, March 22, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Elaine Wojcik.

Elaine Wojcik entered this world on St. Valentine’s Day in 1928 as the second of four daughters born to Stanley and Lillian (Luczak) Wojcik of Chicago. She joined her sister Dolores and was followed by Adeline and Patricia. Elaine described her father, who worked as a die caster, as a “sweet, gentle, loving man” and her mother as a strong, independent woman.

Elaine attended Our Lady of the Angels ES and Cathedral HS and worked four years after graduation as a statistician at Montgomery Ward. Growing up during the Depression created a certain asceticism within Elaine. She learned not to waste, disliked what she viewed as extravagance, and appreciated what she had. Her two prized possessions were a ring she received from her mother as a birthday gift and a cross from her sister Patsy.

On her application for admission, Elaine wrote, “The idea of entering the convent . . . has been with me for three years and the only way I can see whether or not this is my vocation is by giving the life a fair trial.” She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1950. According to a member of her set, when the other postulants saw her blond hair and beautiful tan, some commented, “She’ll never make it.” Yet “make it” she did. Upon her reception on March 19, 1951, Elaine received the name St. Lillian in honor of her mother. She professed first vows on March 19, 1953, and gave her vocation a “fair trial,” living 66 years as a BVM. During these years, the bonds formed in the novitiate among her set members remained strong, and nurtured by their frequent gatherings, deepened.

Elaine focused on intermediate language arts during her 38 years in education. She taught at Annunciation and Our Lady of Angels in Chicago, St. Vincent Ferrer in River Forest, and Mater Christi in North Riverside, all in Illinois; Holy Family in Mason City, Iowa; and St. Aloysius, St. Therese, and Holy Trinity in Kansas City, Mo. She also served as principal at St. Francis Xavier in Kansas City.

Her favorite mission was St. Therese, which, in her words, was “an excellent school.” She recalled that when the primary teachers were to implement a so-called “British Primary Program,” she teased that she could start a Polish Intermediate. Yes, she was very proud of her Polish heritage.

Elaine began every class with a short prayer. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of Christ Jesus.” She was an excellent teacher who creatively encouraged her students to do their best. Her friendly spirit and lightheartedness endeared her to her students and kept them engaged. A former student from St. Vincent Ferrer wrote, “Sister, you were always most kind to me . . . Academia was not as important to me as feelings and respect . . . There were moments when the serenity of your class was a tremendous blessing to me. You seemed to inherently understand things that I was yet unable and unwilling to articulate . . . You engendered an already burgeoning love of books and literature, which I have passed down to [my children] . . . Know that you are prayed for and remembered with a grateful and loving heart.”

Elaine was very devoted to her family. For years, the family played poker together every Friday night. A special relationship with her father deepened as they watched countless hours of football together. After his death, she moved into an apartment above her mother’s home in Melrose Park, Ill., and for many years, cared for her mother who was legally blind. After retirement from full-time teaching, she continued to work as a substitute teacher. She also volunteered in nursing homes and for hospice. After moving to Dubuque in 1995, she frequently spent her days visiting the sisters at Mount Carmel.

Elaine was a caring and compassionate woman with an outgoing, fun-loving spirit. She was true to her word and followed through on everything she promised or planned. While she enjoyed reading, basking in the sun, and playing computer games—especially Wii bowling—her favorite activity was watching football, basketball and baseball. As a native Chicagoan, she loved the Bears, the Bulls, and of course, the Cubs. She was elated to see them win the 2016 World Series.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks of the many dwellings in his Father’s house and of going to prepare a place for us. “I will come back again and take you to myself,” he promises. Reflecting upon her golden jubilee in 2000, Elaine wrote, “My retirement [is] filled with . . . enjoying these wonderful years I’ve been given to live and be.” Recently, however, life was becoming more difficult as her physical health declined. Then suddenly last week, Jesus came with wonderful news—her room was ready! As we fondly remember our dear sister, set member, and friend, we celebrate and rejoice with Elaine who now dwells in her heavenly home with the Lord.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Therese Mary Waughon, BVM (John Francine)

Therese Mary Waughon, BVM (John Francine), died Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. The Natural Burial Rite of Committal is at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 16, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A sharing of memories and memorial Mass will be held at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on March 7, 1931 , to John and Frances Smith Waughon. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1948, from Mary Queen of Heaven Parish, Cicero, Ill. She professed first vows on March 19, 1951, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1956.

Sister Therese Mary taught elementary school in Maywood, Round Lake, Chicago and Cicero, Ill.; Fort Dodge and Jesup, Iowa; and Bellerose, N.Y. She also volunteered at a hospital in Chicago.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Francis. She is survived by a cousin and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 68 years.

Sister Therese Mary Waughon, BVM (John Francine)
Memorial Mass Welcome
Marian Hall, March 21, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Therese Mary Waughon.

Therese was born on March 7, 1931, in Chicago, the first child of John and Frances (Smith) Waughon of Cicero, Ill. She was later joined by her brother Francis, who was born with cerebral palsy. He lived at home all his life and worked as a shipping clerk.

Therese was only three years old when her mother died. Martha, the family housekeeper, helped raise the two children and eventually became their very caring and loving stepmother whom they called Mom. Martha assisted Francis in learning many skills, including how to drive, and helped him to find employment.

In the early 1940s, the family had a Victory Garden in which they grew a large variety of vegetables including beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes and carrots. Therese assisted Martha with both the tending of the garden and the canning of its bounty. Some of Therese’s most treasured memories were of Christmas, putting up a real tree and setting out the manager. She also recalled that one year, instead of placing the tinsel on the tree one strand at a time as Martha had instructed, she threw all of it on at once.

Therese attended Mary Queen of Heaven school in Cicero, where the superior S.M. Callistus Schulte planted the seed by suggesting that Therese should become a BVM. Her call to religious life was solidified at St. Mary HS in Chicago. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1948, and received the name John Francine upon her reception on March 19, 1949. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1951, and lived 68 years as a BVM.

Therese taught in elementary schools for 43 years. Her gentle spirit was endearing to her students who loved her. She was missioned in Illinois at St. Eulalia in Maywood, St. Joseph in Round Lake, Mary Queen of Heaven in Cicero, and St. Ferdinand, St. Dorothy and St. Gertrude, all in Chicago. She departed from St. Gertrude, where she had served for 21 years, with a letter to the parish, writing, “I have been with you in times of joy, sadness and rebirth. You have been a source of growth, and your children have been an inspiration.” She also taught in Iowa at Corpus Christi in Fort Dodge and St. Athanasius in Jesup, and in New York at St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose.

Therese lived at Wright Hall for 36 years during her time at St. Gertrude and into retirement. Sister Catherine Dominick, a member of Therese’s set, would often accompany her to Cicero to visit her parents and brother. In 1981, Catherine Dominick moved into an apartment above Therese’s family. Soon after, Therese’s father died and then in 1984, her brother Francis died. Catherine would often visit Martha and bring her Communion and special treats. Therese was deeply grateful for these special kindnesses shown to Martha.

Therese retired from teaching in 1994 and began volunteering at Columbus Hospital and the Blind Society in Chicago. She supplied food, clothing and other assistance at Mary Queen of Heaven in Cicero. In addition, she faithfully and effectively covered the Wright Hall reception desk, substituting for retired sisters who found volunteering in the evening to be difficult. She was always generous with her time and willing to perform any task.

From her youth, she was a voracious reader, eventually developing a special love for children’s literature. Visiting her room at Wright Hall, one could find piles of books stacked everywhere, even on the floor. After moving to Mount Carmel, one of her favorite pastimes was listening to audio books. Sister Catherine Jean Hayen, who frequently visited Therese after her fall in 2015, remarked that Therese delighted in spending time listening to the audio books, so much so that she almost listened to the entire library.

Therese was a quiet, kind woman with a warm, welcoming smile, a gentle sense of humor, and a beautiful singing voice. Although the last several years were difficult ones for Therese, her beautiful voice could still be heard when she joined in sing-a-longs. Last Wednesday, her struggles ended when God called her home. Now she sings heavenly tunes of peace and deep joy. Reunited with her family and “knowing the love of Christ,” she is “filled with the utter fullness of God.” How beautiful the smile that now graces her face!

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard)

Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard) died Tuesday, March 1, 2017, at Northwestern Hospital, Chicago. A memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Zachary Church, Des Plaines, Ill.

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug. 26, 1932, to John William and Lucille Lubbers Haas. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1953, from St. Paul of the Cross Parish, Park Ridge, Ill. She professed first vows on March 19, 1956, and final vows on July 16, 1961.

Sister Margaret was an elementary and secondary schoolteacher in Council Bluffs and Des Moines, Iowa; San Francisco; Lincoln, Neb.; and Chicago and Mundelein, Ill. Also in Chicago, she ministered as curriculum consultant for the Archdiocese of Chicago; was director of connections for a college adult education center, served in donor relations for a boys/girls home, and worked in parish ministry.

She was preceded in death by her parents: Lucille, Marian and John; and brother Robert. She is survived by a twin sister, Marilyn Haas, Chicago; and sisters: Monica Michelau, Des Plaines; Mary Kathryn Amaya, Genoa, Ill.; Carolyn Thompson, Park Ridge; Mary Beth Fitt, Genoa City, Wis.; and Patricia Bougher, Whitmore Lake, Mich. She is also survived by brothers: John Haas, Park Ridge; Thomas Haas, Des Plaines; and Robert Haas, Libertyville, Ill.; many nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 63 years.

Sister Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard)
Liturgy Reflections, March 18, 2017
St. Zachary Church, Des Plaines, Ill.

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Margaret Haas. Together with Margaret’s family: her sisters Monica, Mary Kathryn, Carolyn, Mary Beth and Patricia, and her brothers John, Thomas, Robert and their families, I welcome you, my sister BVMs and associates, Margaret’s friends and former co-workers from Chicago Catholic schools, Malcolm X College, Mercy Home, adult literacy programs in Chicago parishes, as well as the many friends who have blessed Margaret’s life here in Chicago these many years.

We come together this morning to celebrate Margaret’s life and the gift she was to her family, to the BVM community, and to the many she served through over 50 years of ministry.

Margaret Lucille Haas and her twin sister Marilyn were born on August 26, 1932, to John William and Lucille Haas in Cleveland, Ohio. A third child, Robert, was born two years later and died at age three. A year later, when Margaret and Marilyn were six, their mother died of cancer, leaving John alone with two young children.

Three years later, in 1941, John Haas moved to Chicago and married Marian, who became a second mother to Margaret and Marilyn. Their small family of four grew to 12 as they welcomed eight brothers and sisters. With them, today, we remember and celebrate Margaret’s life among us.

In her own words, Margaret tells us, “I graduated from St. Gertrude School in 1946 and Immaculata High School in 1950. After attending Mundelein College for three years, on Sept. 8, 1953, I entered the BVM congregation.”

From the first day following her profession of vows in 1956 until 1972, Margaret’s classroom teaching career spanned all grades from second through high school, in Iowa, California, Nebraska and Chicago. From 1972–85 Margaret served as a curriculum consultant in mathematics for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. In later years, Margaret served at Malcolm X College and worked in adult literacy programs in Chicago’s Lawndale and Little Village communities, and finally served for 12 years as a donor relations specialist for Mercy Home. In retirement, Margaret served in volunteer ministry at St. Gertrude Parish in Chicago.

For us who gather today, Margaret’s leave-taking was abrupt. In the midst of planning and arranging for her and Marilyn’s move to Mount Carmel, Margaret felt the beginnings of a mild stroke or TIA and while apparently asleep in the taxi taking her to Northwestern Hospital, quietly went home to her God. As Margaret long wished, in a few short weeks, we will welcome Marilyn to her new home at Mount Carmel.

When asked how she wanted “to be remembered” Margaret wrote, “Say that I was someone who cared deeply about her family, who lived her adult life as a Catholic sister committed to her BVM congregation and its ministry, who ends her life peaceably waiting to return to God, the one who brought her into existence.”

Margaret’s twin Marilyn, when asked what her clearest memory of Margaret is, said that “there was no pretense about Margaret. She was always herself. You always knew what she was thinking.”

Margaret’s only final wish was to “donate my body to science, to be an organ donor as circumstances permit.” To that end, she consigned her body after death to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois. When available, Margaret’s ashes will be sent to Mount Carmel.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Margaret Mollan, BVM (Laurice)

Margaret Mollan, BVM (Laurice) died Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on March 22, 1922, to Herbert E. and Laura McMullen Mollan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1939, from Presentation Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1942, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1947.

Sister Margaret was an elementary and secondary school teacher in Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago and Mundelein, Ill.; San Jose, San Francisco and Glendale, Calif.; Kauai, Hawaii; Lincoln, Neb.; and Butte, Mont. She served in pastoral ministry in California in La Canada and Glendale, and as school volunteer in Pasadena.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers: Herbert, Ralph and Paul. She is survived by a nephew, grandnephew, grandnieces, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 77 years.

Sister Margaret Mollan, BVM (Laurice)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, March 2, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Margaret Mollan.

Margaret Mary Mollan was born on March 22, 1922, the only daughter of Herbert and Laura (McMullen) Mollan of Chicago, Ill. Margaret had two older brothers, Herbert and Ralph, and a younger brother, Paul. Two of her brothers were ordained priests—Ralph in the Archdiocese of Chicago and Paul in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, since he was too old to enter Mundelein Seminary after being discharged from the Navy. “Our family was close,” she commented. “My parents were such good people.”

Margaret attended Presentation Elementary School. She was a great lover of books from the time she learned to read. Her Christmas list would include the works of Louisa Mae Alcott, the Nancy Drew mysteries, and so many religious biographies that she fantasized about following in the footsteps of Father Damien on Molokai. Margaret sought female companionship among the members of a family of five girls who lived down the block. Two of these girls became BVMs—Sister Mary Norette Fitzgibbon and Joanne Fitzgibbon, who later withdrew.

While a student at St. Mary HS, Margaret wrote, “I have long desired to serve God in a more special way.” Eventually, she came to see that the BVM community and teaching were a better fit than missionary work. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1939, received the name Laurice upon her reception on March 19, 1940, and professed her first vows on March 19, 1942. Reflecting back on her 77 years as a BVM, she shared, “It was all I ever wanted it to be.”

Margaret was an elementary school teacher for 30 years. She was missioned at St. Aloysius, St. Gertrude and St. Cornelius in Chicago; St. Ambrose in Des Moines, Iowa; St. Leo in San Jose, St. Brigid in San Francisco, and Incarnation in Glendale, all in California; St. Catherine in Kauai, Hawaii; Sacred Heart in Lincoln, Neb.; and Immaculate Conception in Butte, Mont. She also taught English and history for 14 years at Carmel Catholic HS in Mundelein, Ill. She was always interested in her students as individuals and quickly learned their names. Her gentle manner and voice was endearing to her students whatever their age. It is not surprising that her favorite teaching mission was Hawaii. “I loved it there,” she commented, “except for the lizards.”

In addition to teaching, Margaret was a parish minister at St. Bede Parish in La Canada, Calif., and at Incarnation Parish in Glendale, where she filled the roles of liturgical consultant, director of religious education, and adult ministry trainer. The closing of Incarnation left a big hole in her life. She moved to Pasadena, Calif., where she filled that hole by volunteering to teach computer classes to junior high students at St. Philip. She also served the parish as a prayer group leader and Eucharistic minister. One benefit of living at St. Philip was the special seating the sisters enjoyed as the Rose Parade passed right by the convent.

Margaret continued to expand her volunteering efforts during her time in Pasadena. She volunteered almost every day at the Pasadena Senior Center, where she staffed the reception desk and served meals. To become a more effective volunteer, she completed a Senior Advocacy Training Program and afterwards served as a member of the Senior Advocacy Council. Her volunteer work with the Pasadena Police Department was by far the most interesting. Through the Victim Counseling Program, she walked with senior citizens who were crime victims, offering them support, counseling, and even home security checks. Sometimes she had to ride with police officers in the squad car. On one occasion, there was a car theft where the perpetrators were “armed and dangerous.” She witnessed the capture, arrest and booking of the suspects. In 2003, the county of Los Angeles recognized Margaret as an outstanding volunteer. She simply commented, “I spend most days trying to serve God the best way I know how and to help God’s children.”

Margaret’s desire to serve continued after moving to Mount Carmel. For many years, she served in hospitality, as a sister-companion, and visiting the dying in the ministry of presence. Certain social justice issues earned her complete dedication. She opposed the death penalty and faithfully tolled the bell on the day of a prisoner’s execution. While serving on the Hunger Fund Committee, she embraced the Heifer Project and, with great animation and persuasiveness, gave a presentation of its positive outcomes. She even gave gifts to people in the form of donations to the project in their honor. Eventually, when health issues limited her involvement, she gracefully embraced a ministry of prayer.

Margaret was always realistic about her capabilities and limitations and chose to be proactive in determining her life course. The year before the St. Philip convent was scheduled to close, she decided to move to Mount Carmel. Realizing a need for increased care, she initiated her move from independent to assisted living two years ago, as well as her move to skilled care last fall.

Family was very important to Margaret. Through the generosity of her priest brothers, she was able to travel to Greece, Istanbul, the Holy Land and Rome, a dream for a social studies teacher. Moving back to Mount Carmel brought her closer to her oldest brother Herbert, her nephew Terry, and his family. Whether they came to Mount Carmel or she traveled to Rockford, Ill., she enjoyed the opportunity to visit.

In the first reading, St. Paul advises, “Your kindness should be known to all.” Think of Margaret and one word immediately comes to mind—kind. The little kindnesses that she did for others made life more pleasant. Being gracious, welcoming and affirming was as much a part of her nature as wearing a smile. She lived simply and was simply a delight. With deep appreciation, she summed up her years at Mount Carmel by saying, “I have been very happy here.” With gratitude for the blessing of her kindness, we celebrate Margaret’s risen life, confident that she knows eternal happiness there.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Janita Curoe, BVM

Janita Curoe, BVM died Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. The Natural Burial Rite of Committal was held Feb. 11, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A memorial service will be held Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, with shared stories followed by liturgy. Burial was in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Bernard, Iowa, on March 28, 1929, to William Edward and Marie Powers Curoe. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1946, from Sacred Heart Parish, Fillmore, Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1949, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1954.

Sister Janita taught elementary school and was principal in Davenport, Iowa; Chicago; Memphis and Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Clarksdale and Jackson, Miss. She served as county literacy coordinator and volunteer tutor in Canton, Miss.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Mary Curoe, BVM (St. Richard) and Catherine Pfab; and brothers: Robert, Richard and John. She is survived by a sister-in-law, Janice Curoe, Dubuque; a brother-in-law, Irvin Pfab, Iowa City, Iowa; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 70 years.

Sister Janita Curoe, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Feb. 13, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Janita Curoe. Special welcome to Janine’s family present with us today, her friends, set members, and all joining us through electronic media.

Jane Therese Curoe was born on March 28, 1929, to William Edward and Marie Powers who farmed near Bernard, Iowa. She was the third of six children—three girls: Mary, Jane and Catherine, and three boys: Robert, Richard and John—all born at home. “I thought my parents were perfect,” commented Jane. “They gave me a wonderful start . . . They were very good people.”

During Jane’s senior year at Our Lady of the Angels Academy in Clinton, Iowa, a nagging thought began running through her head, especially during the quiet of prayer. To avoid it, she pretended to fall ill before every Holy Hour. Eventually, her senior teacher caught on and Jane confessed her attempt to dodge a call to religious life. Following her teacher’s suggestion, she decided to become a BVM because a Dubuque motherhouse would make family visits easier. She told no one about her plans except her mother, who was doubtful because Jane loved clothes too much. Jane stood firm against her mother’s doubt; nevertheless, she secretly spent the summer praying for a sign not to enter. None came.

So on Sept. 8, 1946, Jane entered the congregation, joining her older sister Mary, who entered in 1939 and died in 2010. The two sisters followed in the footsteps of their aunt, Sister Mary Norbertus Powers, and their grandaunt, Sister Mary Maxima Curoe. Jane received the name Janita upon her reception on March 19, 1947, professed her first vows on March 19, 1949, and lived 70 years as a BVM. Throughout her life, Janita sought God’s guidance by asking for a sign. “Some days God works in mysterious ways,” said Janita, “and other days He knocks you over the head.” However, the best thing that ever happened to her was the absence of a sign that brought her to Mount Carmel.

Janita’s first mission was at St. Paul ES in Davenport, Iowa, where she remained long enough to see her first graders graduate from eighth grade, calling it “a wonderful experience.” She also taught primary grades at St. Eugene in Chicago; Fr. Bertrand Elementary in Memphis, Tenn.; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Chattanooga, Tenn. Janita was an excellent teacher. She had a way of effectively handling even the youngest disruptive child. She listened to children and talked to them lovingly. She cared about them and they knew it. It was her great love that made her such an inspiring teacher.

Janita also served as principal at Sacred Heart and St. Paul in Davenport; Immaculate Conception in Clarksdale, Miss.; and Christ the King Elementary in Jackson, Miss. Immaculate Conception was an extremely poor school. In the absence of support staff, Janita filled many additional roles such as secretary and janitor. Despite these extra responsibilities, she was able to establish a government-funded hot lunch program for the children at the school.

Pope St. John Paul II called illiteracy “a hidden evil which deprives a great number of poor people of many possibilities for progress.” Janita wholeheartedly agreed. For eight years, she served as the coordinator for Madison County Literacy Program in Mississippi. She helped inmates at the state penitentiary and the county jail earn their GEDs and tutored children at the Madison County Library and at two Catholic schools. She was passionate about education and never tired of teaching children to read. Even after retiring, she remained in Mississippi to volunteer in a public school. She was invaluable and achieved marvelous results bringing the children up to grade level. Education truly was her gift to others.

Her 32 years serving the African American community in the South did come with a personal price. She wrote, “Leaving my family . . . seeing them only once or twice a year, was a loss I had not considered. [I was] not around to see my nieces and nephews grow up . . . . I barely know some of them and they barely know me.” Yet, she said, “Those were good years living and working in a warm and welcoming community.” Finally, after moving to Mount Carmel, Janita was pleased to reacquaint herself with her extended family.

During the summer of 2000, Janita spent a week building a home in Honduras with Habitat for Humanity International. She continued to be engaged in outreach activities here at Mount Carmel. She shared her personal story as a participant in the “Sisters Oral History Project” and served as a panelist for the Mission Integration and Orientation Program for Mount Carmel employees. She also volunteered at the Mount Carmel reception desks.

Janita had the sweetest nature, like a genteel southern woman, and a beautiful smile that radiated peace. With a heart of service and love, she joyfully accepted every mission. As an introvert, she enjoyed living alone with plenty of quiet time for praying and reading. Yet, she was a great person with whom to live—kind, considerate, generous and patient. One of her greatest joys was being a member of a community and making wonderful BVM friends.

Janita deeply embraced the vow of poverty. Yes, she loved nice clothes, but never bought anything new. She either sewed her own outfits or shopped at thrift stores. She also felt a responsibility to stay employed, not only to support herself, but to send more to Mount Carmel to support the novices and the infirmed. She even turned down opportunities to travel because the trips would not directly enhance her education or her work. This was the one decision that Janita regretted—but only a little bit. “My whole life was a blessing,” she remarked. “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

Janita chose the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:34-40) for today’s Gospel. Through her ministries, she fed those who hungered and thirsted for the rich fare of an education. She cared for the downtrodden and the imprisoned by giving them hope for a better life. She welcomed all and turned her back on no one. Friday, Jesus came to her and said, “Come, Janita, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kin-dom prepared for you.” We rejoice with you, our friend and sister, as you celebrate new life in kin-dom of God forever.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Kathleen Doherty, BVM (Patrick Louis)

Kathleen Doherty, BVM died Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Waterloo, Iowa, on Aug. 24, 1922, to Patrick B. and Mary Salz Doherty. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1945, from St. Joseph Parish, Waterloo. She professed first vows on March 19, 1948, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1953.

Sister Kathleen was an elementary and secondary school teacher in Sioux City, Iowa; Hempstead, N.Y.; and Chicago, where she also served as parish secretary and adult education teacher; and as alumnae association coordinator/treasurer.

She is preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by cousins and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 71 years.

Sister Kathleen Doherty, BVM (Patrick Louis)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall Chapel, Feb. 14, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of the life of our Sister, Kathleen Doherty. We welcome her friends, former students and, especially, members of the St. Mary HS Alumnae Association. We also welcome all BVMs and associates viewing this service on closed circuit TV or through video streaming.

Kathleen Rita Doherty entered this world on Aug. 24, 1922, as the only child of Patrick Brown and Mary Salz Doherty of Waterloo, Iowa. Her father emigrated from Ireland and worked as a janitor. Her mother was of German and Polish descent.

Kathleen graduated from Our Lady of Victory Academy in Waterloo and attended Clarke University for two years. She worked as a senior clerk for Metropolitan Life Insurance for four years before joining the community.

She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1945, following in the footsteps of her grandaunt Sister Mary Laurina Burchinsky, BVM, her aunt Sister Mary Rembert Salz, BVM, and a cousin, Sister Mary Letice Striegel, BVM. Kathleen received the name Patrick Louis upon her reception on March 19, 1946, professed first vows on March 19, 1948, and lived 71 years as a BVM.

Kathleen taught in both elementary and secondary schools for 28 years with missions at St. Jerome, St. Mary HS, and Holy Family in Chicago; Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, N.Y.; and Cathedral in Sioux City, Iowa. As an educator, Kathleen first taught business courses and later taught English.

After St. Mary HS transitioned into the St. Mary Center for Learning, Kathleen gracefully transformed her traditional English course into one of the first high school film study programs in the country. Her program attracted the interest of film industry celebrities such as actor/director Leonard Nimoy and director/producer Frank Capra. Students and faculty alike respected and loved Kathleen for her experience, wisdom and kindness.

For 17 years, Kathleen worked with economically and educationally disadvantaged adults. Her ministry began in the role of parish secretary and adult education instructor at the Holy Family Community Center in Chicago. The Jesuits who ran the center and the parishioners loved her, and the feeling was mutual. “I have received much more than I have given,” wrote Kathleen. “[My] years at Holy Family have deepened my faith and sharpened my awareness of the strength and wisdom that comes to suffering people.”

When the Westside Employment Education Center (WEEC) opened at the Holy Family site, Kathleen was the business department—teaching typing, business English, phone etiquette, and other related courses. She later served on the organization’s board of directors. “Unemployment is still the number one problem for minorities in Chicago, especially women,” she wrote. “The women coming to class now are slightly older, their children are in school, and they can begin to arrange their lives and look for relief from the stranglehold of welfare.” Kathleen worked diligently to build the women’s self-esteem and encouraged them to reach their greatest potential.

For two years after retiring to Wright Hall in Chicago, Kathleen chauffeured other residents, played piano for worship services, and enjoyed painting classes with Sister Eustella Fau, BVM. Several of Kathleen’s paintings now hang here at Mount Carmel. While at Wright Hall, there came the invitation to serve as the coordinator and treasurer of the newly revived St. Mary Alumnae Association. Kathleen really was the perfect choice for this task. In her own words, “the enormous responsibility [of this position was] eased by the generosity of alumnae, my own memories of my faculty time, and the appreciation alums have for the mentoring, education and friendships formed during their years at St. Mary.”

Often working late into the night from her basement office at Wright Hall, she made condolence calls after the death of a graduate or a graduate’s family member, published newsletters, and organized numerous luncheon reunions, memorial liturgies, and fundraisers. The St. Mary Alumnae Association raised over a million dollars for the Sisters of Charity, BVM during her 18 years of devoted leadership.

Every morning, Kathleen awoke, put on her delightful smile and, along with it, the compassion, kindness, gentleness and love of which St. Paul writes to the Colossians. She gave her all to whatever task was at hand. When she wrote the Region 10 newsletter, she called everyone in the region and expected to receive information. Her magnetic personality drew people into responding positively whether they wanted to or not. Yet, she knew she could not do it alone and was truly grateful for everyone with whom she worked. Her love of words made her a great communicator, but she also was an excellent photographer, pianist and artist. In addition, she loved to sing, especially those Irish songs at her great St. Patrick’s Day parties.

After her mother died in 1991, Kathleen discovered a collection of prayers, fragile and worn thin over time. The frailest one was “A Favorite Prayer of Mother Mary Francis [sic] Clarke.” As part of her 200th birthday gift to Mary Frances Clarke, she wrote, “What a surprise! My own mother had chosen a favorite prayer of my spiritual mother to be her favorite! I want [Mary Frances Clarke] to know that I have adopted her ‘favorite prayer’ as my own mother did.”

With words from that prayer, we now bid farewell to our sister and friend. “Jesus Christ crucified, Son of the most holy Virgin Mary, open your Sacred Heart, that seat of love and mercy, and receive [Kathleen] into it; make [her] wholly yours.” Amen.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Rosemary Shaughnessy, BVM (Gerald)

Rosemary Shaughnessy, BVM (Gerald) died Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on Oct. 24, 1929, to Edward Francis and Joan Marie Schmitz Shaughnessy. She entered the BVM congregation Feb. 2, 1950, from St. Jerome Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1952, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1957.

Rosemary taught elementary school and was principal in Chicago, Cicero and Berwyn, Ill. Also in Chicago, she worked in the business office and was associate/assistant director of financial aid at Mundelein College; and taught math at Madonna HS. She served the BVM congregation as administrative assistant to the secretary of the congregation and as volunteer in retirement. Sister was also a RUSH study participant.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Edward Shaughnessy. She is survived by brothers: David C. (Eileen) Shaughnessy (Schaumburg, Ill.); Terrence J. Shaughnessy (Arlington Heights, Ill.); and Rev. Thomas P. Shaughnessy, SSC (St. Columbans, Neb.); nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Sister Rosemary Shaughnessy, BVM (Gerald)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Jan. 31, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Rosemary Shaughnessy.

Rosemary Shaughnessy entered this world on Oct. 24, 1929, as the second of five children, and the only daughter, born to Edward Francis and Joan Marie Schmitz Shaughnessy of Chicago, Ill. She joined a brother Edward while brothers David, Terrence and Thomas followed. As was often the case during the Depression, her father lost his job, but fortunately found a new one with Railway Express. Meanwhile, her mother cared for the children at home, obtaining part-time employment at a bank when they were older.

Rosemary graduated from The Immaculata High School in Chicago and worked for two years as an IBM operator in the office of the Northern Trust Company. After several years of consideration, she entered the congregation on Feb. 2, 1950, and received the name Gerald upon her reception on Aug. 15, 1950. She professed her first vows on Aug. 15, 1952 and died just five days before marking 67 years as a BVM.

Rosemary was a very gifted teacher, especially in the area of mathematics. For 17 years, she taught junior high students at St. Agatha, St. Eugene, and St. Tarcissus in Chicago and at Mary Queen of Heaven in Cicero, Ill. She served as superior and principal at St. Odilo in Berwyn, Ill., and taught math at Madonna HS in Chicago. She also worked 19 years in the financial aid offices at Mundelein College and Loyola University.

A former colleague wrote, “I came to Mundelein to manage the financial aid office in 1984, and then took on the Weekend College as well. Rosemary was a wonderful colleague and a model for how to serve students. I had not managed an entire operation before and she was a huge help on many fronts . . . [She] inspired me to persist in this field and focus much of my efforts on supporting working adults, particularly women. For that, I thank [her].

For five years, Rosemary served the BVM community as the administrative assistant to the secretary of the congregation. Before coming to the secretary’s office, she closed St. Tarcissus convent. The pastor offered the furniture to the congregation, so she arranged to have much of it shipped to Dubuque to furnish the Circle apartments that were under construction. She later lived in the apartments with Sister Jean Monica Lanahan. Together they enjoyed hosting many dinner parties. A delightful evening with a beautifully set table and a scrumptious meal awaited their guests. For larger affairs, the party moved to 940 D with Rosemary’s brother, Father Tom, often providing the meat.

Family was very important to Rosemary. After her mother moved to a care facility, she assumed the role of family representative and managing her mother’s finances while continuing to work at Mundelein. This service was but one of the many ways in which she supported her brothers and shared her fondness for them. Vacationing with them brought her to the Philippines, Rome, and the Outer Banks of South Carolina. She also traveled to the Holy Land and Ireland and made annual trips to the BVM property, the Spiders, to enjoy swimming and boating. Her love of travel perfectly matched her sense of curiosity. Upon returning from visiting her brother in Maryland, she enthusiastically imparted information about the state’s history like a docent.

Rosemary was known for her candor as well as her calming, easy disposition that allowed her to take things in stride. Her wry sense of humor put all in perspective, but one had to be sharp to catch it. She could be quite strict but she also could be lots of fun. During her novitiate days, she shared many funny stories about working with Sister Mary Celsa Riordin, BVM in the Motherhouse chapel. After a blizzard closed St. Odilo School, Rosemary, along other sisters, went for a walk in the snow. “We stopped at teachers’ homes,” recalled a sister. “[We] said we were out collecting milk money [and] we all had a good laugh.” Rosemary was a person for whom service meant a great deal; she quietly cared for many in need such as reading for those who could not see the print. One friend commented, “[She] was a lovely person and a joy to live with and to know.”

In an open letter to her set on their golden jubilee, Rosemary wrote, “What has happened to me over the years? I have learned much, and hope that it has translated into greater wisdom. I have prayed much and hope that I have deepened and strengthened my spirituality. I have lived with BVMs over the years and they all have taught me by their very lives and deaths. I have worked and played and traveled. I have been to other countries and observed other cultures—such enriching and sobering adventures.”

With the words of St. Paul, we bid farewell to our sister Rosemary as she sets off on her greatest adventure ever: “[We] give thanks to [our] God always, remembering you in [our] prayers.” Rosemary, may you find great joy abiding in the loving arms of Jesus.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Louise Szkodzinski, BVM (Christiane)

Louise Szkodzinski, BVM (Christiane) died Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 10–11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Cicero, Ill., on Aug. 11, 1921, to Joseph and Mary Biestek Szkodzinski. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1947, from St. Pius Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955.

Louise taught music for many years on the college level in Dubuque and Chicago. She gave piano lessons in Phoenix, where she also served as music director and teacher. In later years she gave piano lessons in Chicago.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters, Frances Narko and Cecilia Pugh. She is survived by a brother Jerome, Lockeford, Calif.; a sister Christine (Allan) Pitford, Paulden, Ariz.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 69 years.

Jeff Wagner, former student and friend of Sister Louise, shares a tribute on his YouTube channel "in memory of my great teacher and friend. She was, and is, a source of inspiration to me." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD3N6lb8cDU

Sister Louise Szkodzinski, BVM (Christiane)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Jan. 25, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Louise Szkodzinski.

Ludovica (Louise) Szkodzinski was born on Aug. 8, 1921, in Cicero, Ill., to Joseph and Mary Biestek Szkodzinski. She joined older sisters Frances and Cecilia; a brother, Jerome, and a sister, Christine, later joined them. Her father emigrated from Poland in 1916 and married her mother two years later. Together they operated a bakery from 1922 until 1950 when they moved to California.

Polish was Louise’s first language. She learned to speak English while attending first grade at a public school. She discovered her musical talent in the second grade while taking piano lessons. In the sixth grade, Louise transferred to St. Pius Catholic School where she continued to study the piano and played for Masses and novenas. She attended St. Mary HS on a four-year piano scholarship and studied under Sister Virginia Gaume (Matilde).

While majoring in music at Mundelein College in Chicago, Louise studied under BVM Sisters Rafael Bird and Anna Ruth Bethke. After graduating, she taught music from kindergarten through eighth grade at Our Lady Help of Christians in Chicago, while maintaining a private piano studio and working in the family bakery. She won a scholarship with Rudolph Ganz, a Swiss pianist, conductor and composer, and graduated with a master’s degree in music from the Chicago Musical College. She taught music for three years in Chicago at Annunciation and Our Lady Help of Christians elementary schools before answering the call to consecrated life.

Louise entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1947. She received the name Christiane upon her reception on March 19, 1948. As a postulant and a novice, she taught piano, music appreciation, and music theory to members of her religious set. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1950, and lived 69 years as a BVM.

Louise taught music at St. Mary HS, Mundelein College, and Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. She served as chairperson of the music department at Mundelein from 1958 to 1970 and was deeply involved in the Mundelein-Loyola Charismatic Prayer Group. Her degree of preparation and enthusiasm for her courses and dedication and concern for her students was total and unwavering. An innate teacher, she combined her teaching and performing abilities to give lecture-recitals in high schools throughout the Midwest. At the international level, she lectured at the Kraków Conservatory of Music in Poland.

Louise did her doctoral study at the University of Indiana under Hungarian Gyorgy Sebok, an internationally renowned pianist.She loved to combine study with travel. In addition to her time in Poland, she spent five weeks studying at the University of Vienna and enjoying the city where many of the great composers lived and thrived musically. She also participated in a prayer and study tour of Egypt, Israel and Rome.

Louise was the director of music at St. Ignatius Parish in Chicago. She also ministered as choir director at St. Benedict Parish in Montebello, Calif., while caring for her mother. After a traumatic earthquake disrupted her life there, she moved to Arizona where she served as a liturgical minister at St. Catherine of Sienna Parish, a Latino parish in Phoenix.

Louise was an amazing musician, a true artist. While she loved teaching, she loved performing even more. During her lifetime, she gave over 175 public performances in 10 states and Poland, and made appearances on both WGN in Chicago and ABC television. In an interview, Louise commented, “It just happened gradually . . . Because I taught at the college level for 39 years, I felt that I had to continue learning new piano repertoire. I teach much better those masterpieces that I myself have performed.”

Even after moving to Wright Hall in Chicago in 1996, she continued to teach piano. “My retirement years [here] have been some of the happiest of my whole life,” wrote Louise. “Piano teaching has always been a favorite activity. Now that we have a music room [at Wright Hall], I teach Suzuki piano to children and adults. I also coach two pianists who are already accomplished musicians in their own right, [which] encourages me to continue studying music technique and repertoire in light of their needs. I can honestly say that I am still learning how to teach and I continue to be stimulated.”

Louise had a strong work ethic and showed a consistent concern for high standards whether teaching or performing. She did everything with gusto. While some often missed her subtle sense of humor and clever wit, her contagious laugh never went unnoticed. She was passionate about learning and her passion inspired many students. She gave hope to others like herself who embraced the changes that swept through both the church and the congregation in the 1960s, while offering understanding to those who feared change.

As Louise looked back on her life, she reflected, “I am truly filled with gratitude for the many opportunities God has given me. The BVMs have been most generous in encouraging me to develop my musical talents.” Unfortunately, declining health in her later years stole her ability to do what she loved most. In the Gospel selected by Louise, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” No stretch of the imagination is needed to envision Louise seated at a grand piano in her heavenly music studio. Play on, Louise!

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Gracita Daly, BVM

Gracita Daly, BVM died Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Burlington, Iowa, on Sept. 18, 1924, to Patrick Frank and Grace Helen (Agnew) Daly. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1941, from St. John the Baptist Parish, Burlington, Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1944, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1949.

Gracita taught elementary school and was principal in Davenport, Iowa; Lincoln, Neb.; West Hempstead, N.Y.; and Chicago and Berwyn, Ill., where she also served as parish minister. She volunteered for United Senior Action in Indianapolis, Ind.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Mary C. Daly and Helen C. Luttenegger; and brothers Hugh and Mark. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 75 years.

Sister Gracita Daly, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Jan. 20, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Gracita Daly. We especially welcome her family and friends, her set members, Helen Emerson, and all who view this service on closed circuit TV or through videostreaming.

Eleanor Daly entered this world on Sept. 18, 1924, as the youngest of five children born to Patrick and Grace (Agnew) Daly of Burlington, Iowa. She joined siblings Mary, Hugh, Mark and Helen. Eleanor’s father left school to go to work after the fourth grade due to his father’s death. Her mother graduated from Lourdes Academy, which later became St. Paul HS and then Notre Dame HS. With the help of Eleanor’s mother, her father earned a certificate from Iowa State College through correspondence courses and became a gas engineer.

Eleanor attended St. John ES and graduated from St. Paul HS. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1941, and received the name Gracita upon her reception on March 19, 1942. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1944, and lived 75 years as a BVM.

In her life story, Gracita fondly recalled memories of her early years as a BVM: spending summers at the Immaculate Conception Academy in Davenport, Iowa, and commuting to St. Ambrose College to earn a bachelor of arts degree. “Summer school was very good for us. We laughed a lot, shared our early teaching experiences and made lasting friendships . . . To this day,” she wrote, “when I meet a BVM from those days at St. Ambrose, we pick up where we left off and again have very meaningful sharing.”

Gracita spent 36 years in education, teaching elementary and junior high grades at St. Odilo in Berwyn, Ill.; Blessed Sacrament and Holy Family in Chicago; Immaculate Conception and St. Anthony in Davenport; St. Francis Xavier in Kansas City, Mo.; and St. John in Lincoln, Neb. She also served as principal at St. John in Lincoln, St. Anthony in Davenport, and St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hempstead, N.Y., which was one of her favorite missions.

“The church and school were built on property in the heart of the downtown,” she wrote. “[M]any [students] lived above the stores or along the railroad tracks. At least one-third of the students were transfers . . . and many were very poor. Their parents thought that if they had a grade school education that was quite enough. Times were changing, so I tried to make them see the importance of at least finishing high school.”

Long after retiring, Gracita received a letter from a woman whom she hired as a teacher. She wrote, “Each year I try to thank a person who has made a difference in my life. You certainly were one of those people. You hired me to teach . . . [and] you let me make mistakes without criticism. From you, I learned administrative skills and by watching you, I learned about allowing people to grow into a job. I was such a scared kid then but you just accepted me and encouraged me. Thank you for your understanding and patience.”

From 1974–79, as a patient representative for Marian Hall residents, Gracita planned numerous activities. She initiated the audiotaping of the BVM Constitutions and related materials, companioned sisters to the hospital, provided ministry of presence for the dying, and kept in touch with their families. One hundred ten sisters died during her five-year ministry. “One would think that constant association with the sick and elderly . . . would be very demanding,” wrote Gracita. “Yet, love does these things . . . I left a big part of my heart there when I left.”

In 1986, Gracita returned to St. Odilo in Berwyn to serve as pastoral associate in charge of coordinating adult faith formation. During this time, she reconnected with a former student when that woman’s mother died. Without siblings or even cousins, she would have been alone at the funeral home. Gracita decided to forego a planned retreat weekend to be present with her. “Sister Gracita Daly was a good teacher,” wrote the former student, “and an even [better] friend.”

In 1991, Gracita moved to Indianapolis at the invitation of Sister Pat Griffin, BVM who was ministering there, and had the expectation of resting after her golden jubilee celebrations. Instead, she accepted a position with United Senior Action. Traveling an eight-county region of Indiana, Gracita located seniors who, despite receiving Social Security, were still living below poverty level, and signed them up to receive Supplemental Security Income. Funded by an 18-month grant, Gracita, along with eight other people, enrolled over 4,000 seniors. After the grant ended, Gracita continued working with United Senior Action as a volunteer to influence legislation and program funding to aid seniors.

Her ministry to seniors continued in an unofficial capacity when she moved to Wright Hall and later to Mount Carmel. “Availability to other’s needs is so necessary,” she wrote. “Ministering . . . to one another may not look like a special mission, because it takes only a pleasant smile and much gratitude.” She truly loved people, and it was her welcoming smile and playful nature that opened the door to many beautiful relationships. She never took anyone for granted; an expression of gratitude awaited every service or kindness she received.

Gracita was a woman full of life. A love of nature and travel called her to the National Parks in the western United States and to Alaska. She also toured Europe extensively. Still, she enjoyed simple things like going for a ride, playing computer games and cards, and chocolate—especially chocolate.

Gracita also loved being with her extensive family, many of whom are no strangers to Mount Carmel because the annual family reunion was relocated here so that Gracita’s birthday celebration could be a part of it.

“Gracita was a prayerful woman who daily renewed her vows as part of her morning offering. She once said, “The theme song of my relationship with God has always been, ‘I know you love me everlastingly and unconditionally. I place my trust in you.’” In the Gospel, we hear “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” Gracita was “clean of heart.” She loved God with her whole being and everything she did was an expression of that love. So with confidence and great gratitude, we bid our sister Gracita farewell as she enters into eternal life and sees the face of God.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Vincentia Kaeferstein, BVM

Vincentia Kaeferstein, BVM died Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Welton, Iowa, on Feb. 13, 1914, to William Gustave and Bernadine Josephine (Brass) Kaeferstein. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1931, from St. Ireneaus Parish, Clinton, Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1934, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1939.

Vincentia taught at Clarke University from 1963–1984. Prior to then, she was an elementary and secondary school teacher and also served as principal in Maywood and Chicago, Ill.; Casper, Wyo.; and Dubuque, Council Bluffs, and Des Moines, Iowa. After retirement, she volunteered at Mount Carmel and Clarke University in Dubuque, where she was part of the mentor program.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters: Ursula Hahn, Margaret Staats, and Jeanne Bloom; and brothers William, Hugh and Carl. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 85 years.

Sister Vincentia Kaeferstein, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall Chapel, Jan. 18, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of Sister Vincentia Kaeferstein.

Vincentia died on “Friday the 13th,” exactly one month short of her 103rd birthday. Coincidentally, she was born in Welton, Iowa, as Lillian Mary Kaeferstein on Friday the 13th in February 1914. She arrived on a bitterly cold day during a blinding snowstorm. She was the second daughter and fourth child of seven children born to William Gustave and Bernadine Brass Kaeferstein. One brother, Hugh, died of pneumonia as a young child and another brother, Carl, died while fighting in the South Pacific during World War II.

In her autobiography, she wrote, “We were a very poor family, living through the Great Depression, and struggling to keep body and soul together. My parents sacrificed a great deal to give us a good Catholic education, and by their example, taught us to value the things that really count.”

Lillian began her education in a country school near DeWitt, Iowa, until the family moved to a farm in Lyons, Iowa, now known as Clinton. She then attended St. Irenaeus grade school and later Our Lady of the Angels Academy.

When Lillian was in third grade, she received a rather prophetic message. “Sister Mary Vincentia Byrne was principal at St. Irenaeus at the time,” she later wrote. “She said to me one day, ‘When you are old enough to become a sister, I will be old enough to die, and you can be Sister Mary Vincentia the Second.’ Sister died in November 1930, when I was a senior in high school. I entered the BVMs the following September [8], 1931, and on Reception Day [March 19, 1932] received the name Sister Mary Vincentia . . . I was privileged to possess Sister’s Bible until the fire at Clarke University destroyed all my personal belongings—a real stripping of all attachments to things I cherished.” She professed her first vows on March 19, 1934, and lived 85 years as a BVM. Her niece, Sister Dolores Hahn, entered in 1944 and died in 2008.

Vincentia spent 22 years teaching elementary students at St. Eulalia in Maywood, Ill.; St. Ferdinand in Chicago, Ill.; St. Anthony in Casper, Wyo.; and St. Anthony in Dubuque, Iowa. She taught high school courses at St. Francis Xavier in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, Iowa. She also served as superior and principal at St. Anthony in Dubuque and St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines. She began teaching biology at Clarke University, Dubuque, in 1963 and remained there for 21 years.

Vincentia had a tremendous impact on those she taught. For her 100th birthday, former students—driven by love, respect and admiration—showered her with cards. Their greetings called her a motivating teacher, an inspiration and a gift, noting her gentleness and kindness. One wrote, “Because of you I always loved school.” Another praised her as “a disciplinarian, teacher extraordinaire, and a model of fairness seldom seen today.” A third beautifully noted, “You provided us with an outstanding education and planted the seeds of faith that have taken root in so many of our lives.”

Vincentia retired from teaching in 1984 and eventually moved to Mount Carmel in 1995, where she stayed active volunteering at Clarke University and at Marian Hall. She visited the sisters, served as a reader and letter writer, participated in a mentoring program at Clarke, and taught bridge at Mount Carmel’s Roberta Kuhn Center, an appropriate activity for an incisive bridge player. She was quoted in a Salt article as saying, “Retirement need not be and should not be a time of inactivity, but a source of creativity, a time to show compassion and love for those who need our help and in doing so, show our love of God in the persons we meet each day. May the Christ-in-us meet the Christ-in-others.” Clearly, she profoundly believed that the message of Jesus in today’s Gospel applied to all people: “I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”

Vincentia was a beautiful person inside and out, a soft-spoken, steady woman who touched so many lives. Her wonderful humor and delightful laugh brought joy to the people who knew her. The numerous letters to “Aunt Lil” testify to the deep and constant love of her nieces and nephews.

“I would like to be remembered,” she wrote, “as a faith-filled BVM capable of bringing others closer to God by my acts of kindness, thoughtfulness and prayerfulness.” Mission accomplished, Vinnie! Yours was a life well lived. We rejoice for you and with you as enter into eternal life.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Frances Ann Schaeffer, BVM (Louis)

Frances Ann Schaeffer, BVM (Louis), 84, died Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, at the Mount Carmel Motherhouse in Dubuque, Iowa.

A private Rite of Committal and Natural Burial will be held Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. There will be no visitation. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery. A sharing of memories will be held at 10:45 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, followed by a funeral liturgy.

She was born in Davenport on Sept. 25, 1932, to Louis Charles and Frieda (Karstens) Schaeffer. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1956, from St. Paul Parish, Davenport, Iowa. She professed first vows on Feb. 3, 1959, and final vows on July 16, 1964.

Frances Ann worked in the sewing room at the Mount Carmel Motherhouse. She taught elementary school in Davenport and Iowa City, Iowa; and Chattanooga, Tenn., where she was also Montessori Kindergarten teacher and director. She was student and teacher-aide, and teacher intern in Kansas City, Mo. She volunteered for the Edmundite Missions in Alabama.

She is preceded in death by her parents; brothers Louis Albert and Robert Anthony; and sisters Catherine Mary Schmidt and Margaret Alice Schaeffer. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 60 years.

Sister Frances Ann Schaeffer, BVM (Louis)
Memorial Mass Welcome
Marian Hall, Jan. 4, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Frances Ann Schaeffer.

Frances Ann Schaeffer was born on Sept. 25, 1932, the youngest child of Louis Charles and Frieda Karstens Schaeffer of Davenport, Iowa. She had two brothers, Louis Albert and Robert Anthony, and two sisters, Catherine Mary and Margaret Alice. Unfortunately, Robert Anthony and Margaret Alice died before Frances Ann was born.

Her mother, who was born in Schleswig, Germany, converted to Catholicism, attended daily Mass and shared her faith and love of God with her children. About her father, a Davenport native, Frances Ann wrote, “My father’s formal schooling was limited to grade school at Sacred Heart, Davenport, Iowa, where the BVMs prepared him well for his life. Not only was he a man of deep faith and convictions but he had much practical knowhow as well.”

Frances Ann attended St. Paul the Apostle grade school and was inspired into service by her third grade teacher S.M. Brigetta McNamara. Along with her classmate, Sister Mary M. O’Connor (Bertille), she prepared breakfast for Catholic children from a nearby orphanage who attended Mass at St. Paul. Because of the Communion fast required at that time, without that breakfast the children would have gone hungry until the noon meal. Her concern for other people, especially the poor, only deepened through the years. After recuperating from a double knee replacement in 2004, she moved to Selma, Ala., to volunteer with the Edmundite Missions that served people living in poverty in rural areas.

While a student at Immaculate Conception Academy, Frances Ann was lovingly encouraged by S.M. Helen Therese Kiley to considered religious life with the BVMs. However, following her mother’s advice to wait, Frances Ann worked six years at Mercy Hospital and the West Davenport Clinic which, in her words, “gave me the needed maturity to make the decision.” She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1956, and received the name Louis upon her reception on March 19, 1957. She professed her first vows on Feb. 3, 1959, and lived 60 years as a BVM.

As a novice, Frances Ann was assigned to the sewing room, where she proved to be a talented seamstress. She was sent to the Scholasticate in Chicago to study after her profession, only to be called back to the Motherhouse a few months later to help sew habits for an exceptionally large set about to make vows. “Living and working at Mount Carmel for the next three years brought many spiritual insights and blessings,” commented Frances Ann. For the rest of her life, she generously shared this marvelous gift by repairing clothing and responding to special sewing requests.

Frances Ann began her ministry in education in 1964, teaching first grade at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Chattanooga, Tenn. Missions at St. Patrick and St. Mary in Iowa City, Iowa; and St. Paul in Davenport followed. After completing a teaching internship at Bishop Helmsing Early Childhood Center in Kansas City, Mo., she taught Montessori kindergarten in Chattanooga, Tenn., for seven years and then served as its director for an additional 13 years. With her gentleness and patience, she was absolutely wonderful with the little ones.

Frances Ann remained active after moving to Mount Carmel, joining committees and participating in numerous activities. As a distributor of the “Mall in the Hall,” she made sure clothes were washed and repaired before making them available. She also volunteered at the BVM Center receptionist desk. As a dedicated member of the Schola, she sang for the crib blessing and Christmas Eve Mass just two days before her death.

Frances Ann touched the hearts of many because of her true goodness. “The kindest woman I ever met,” declared one set member. She preferred to do her acts of kindness quietly behind the scenes. A friend commented, “Nobody except God knows everything she did.” Probably every woman here has received a Frances Ann greeting: “Hello, pretty lady!” Her address was so natural and genuine that each recipient felt like the only beautiful one. Everyone was the object of her affection—a true characteristic of a loving person who lived a centered and deeply spiritual life.

Almost four years ago, Frances Ann faced cancer with incredible courage, determination, grit and trust in both her doctor and God. After a grueling course of chemotherapy, she wrote, “My deepest gratitude to each and every one of you who have prayed for me . . . Please know that every prayer, card, visit, phone call, and message is very much treasured . . . Every moment of life means so much more than I could ever have imagined. Every breath becomes a prayer of gratitude.”

In the first reading from Isaiah we hear: “Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! . . . Let us rejoice and be glad that God has saved us!” Frances Ann did rejoice and emerged from the ordeal even more cheerful, thoughtful and generous. She was not only healed, but she healed others with her graciousness and love.

When her set celebrated 60 years in September, Frances Ann surprised each member with a beautiful card containing a promise: On the set member’s birthday, Frances Ann would remember her at Mass and make a holy hour of Adoration for her intentions. Surely death will not stop Frances Ann from keeping that promise.

Upon learning of her death, as a sign of deep respect and pure love, her set members and the residents on her floor immediately gathered outside her room and sang “Jesus Light of All the World.” Frances Ann was a light, her heart a holy place, her life grace-filled.

Frances Ann, thank you being a blessing to all of us. You are and will continue to be greatly missed. Rest in peace, pretty lady.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Claire Marie McLevy, BVM (Clarene)

Claire Marie McLevy, BVM (Clarene), 92, died Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Kansas City, Mo., on Aug. 4, 1924, to Clare and Claire (Walker) McLevy. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1942, from St. Aloysius Parish, Kansas City. She professed first vows on March 19, 1945, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1950.

Claire Marie was an elementary school teacher in Chicago; St. Louis, Mo., Kansas City, Mo.; and Montrose, Calif. She was also a staff worker at Wright Hall, a BVM residence in Chicago.

She is preceded in death by her parents and brother John McLevy. She is survived by a cousin and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 74 years.

Sister Claire Marie, BVM (Clarene)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Dec. 23, 2016

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Claire Marie McLevy.

Virginia McLevy was born on Aug. 4, 1924, the first of two children born to Clare and Claire (Walker) McLevy from Kansas City, Mo. Her brother John completed the family. Her father was a very quiet man who was a clerk at the McKesson Drug Company. Her mother also worked at McKesson until the two met and were married.

Virginia attended St. Aloysius school, as did Sister Ann Regina Dobel, BVM, who, being several years older, had actually pushed Virginia in her baby carriage. Virginia loved high school, especially participating in basketball, school plays, glee club, and playing trumpet in the school band. In an interview, she said, “Being a Sister was far from my thoughts. I expected to go to Hollywood.” After graduation, Virginia worked one year for Hallmark and an insurance company while discerning her vocation.

Virginia entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1942, and received the name Clarene upon her reception on March 19, 1943. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1945, and lived 74 years as a BVM.

Claire Marie taught kindergarten through fourth grade for 41 years. She was missioned at Our Lady of the Angels in Chicago; St Frances Xavier in St. Louis, and Holy Redeemer in Montrose, Calif. In addition, she ministered for 31 years in Kansas City, Mo., teaching at Christ the King, St. Vincent, St. Therese, St. Frances Xavier, and St. Catherine.

Her first mission at Our Lady of the Angels was her favorite. “There were many young Sisters there at the time,” she commented. “Sisters Eileen Duggan, Geraldine Moorman, [and] Aimee O’Neill. She was a scream. Sister Mary St. William Welsh was the wonderful superior. One day she said to me, ‘Clarabelle, you are going to DePaul for summer school.’ The name Clarabelle stuck for many years. While at OLA I had 68 pupils in the third grade even though I knew nothing about teaching third grade. A retired sister taught me phonics and a sister who was recuperating helped me. In time I felt comfortable teaching . . . I was a happy teacher.”

Unfortunately, she suffered the devastating loss of her mother during her first year at OLA. Her father also died at a rather young age. With both parents deceased, Claire Marie alone carried a great concern for her brother, who struggled with health issues his entire adult life and lived in a Kansas City care facility until his death in 1998. The loss of her immediate family left a deep loneliness in her heart.

After retiring from teaching, Claire Marie volunteered at the Willis Adult Care in Des Moines, Iowa, and was absolutely wonderful in her interactions with the clients. Later she moved to Wright Hall in Chicago, where she lived for 24 years. While there, she took advantage of art classes being offered by Sister Mary Eustella Fau. A couple of her paintings are here at Mount Carmel.

Claire Marie was a free spirit. Although very private regarding personal matters, her persona was delightful. Her sparkling blue eyes matched a lively personality that craved to be with people. She enjoyed parties and going out to eat. One of her favored events at Mount Carmel was the monthly social in the Caritas dining room. She loved conversation, laughter, dancing and singing and knew all the words to the hits of the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Of course, there was no place better than Kansas City for this native. If her sports’ teams were playing, she was sure to be rooting them on. While enjoying her favorite activities, one was sure to hear her say with a dramatic flair, “Isn’t this wonderful!”

Claire Marie weathered her share of difficult times, but was a happy person overall. Although a bit of a procrastinator, if there was something she really wanted, she could make it happen. When seeking quieter moments, she delighted in viewing nature’s beauty via a ride around a lake or a trip to the botanical gardens. She lived a full, active life, even to her last day when she had planned to visit the Cathedral in Dubuque.

Claire Marie always spoke highly about the Mount Carmel staff. “The nurses and aides here have been very good to me,” she said. “I am grateful.” She loved her BVM sisters but was greatly saddened by the recent deaths on her floor. Today’s first reading from Isaiah reminds us that “the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.” We continue this celebration of life confident that Claire Marie is attending the best party of her life, “a feast of rich food and choice wines” in heaven. Enjoy, Claire Marie!

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Anna Priester, BVM (Joseph Ann)

Anna Priester, BVM, 74, died Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Lancaster, Calif. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Burial is in San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Calif.

She was born in Los Angeles on Aug. 22, 1942, to Paul and Mary Ann (Blicha) Priester. She entered the BVM congregation July 31, 1960, from St. James the Less Parish, La Crescenta, Calif. She professed first vows on Feb. 2, 1963, and final vows on Feb. 2, 1968.

Anna was an elementary and secondary school teacher in Des Moines, Iowa; and Phoenix, where she also served in parish ministry, as child care aide, and as program trainer for handicapped children. Anna was on the teaching staff at Working Boys’ Center in Quito, Ecuador. She served in parish ministry in Guatemala for many years. She was a volunteer in Lancaster, Calif.

She is preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by a brother Joseph Michael Priester, Colorado Springs, Colo.; a sister, Mary Jo Koman-Kehoe, Lancaster, Calif.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 56 years.

Sister Anna Priester, BVM (Joseph Ann)
Funeral Welcome
St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church
Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Dec. 21, 2016

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of the life of our Sister Anna Priester.

Anna was born on Aug. 22, 1942, in Los Angeles to Paul Henry Priester and Mary Ann (Blicha) Priester. She was the middle child, between Joseph and Mary Jo, who are here with us today. Her parents moved to California to be near relatives and to “get work.” Anna was baptized at St. Cecilia Parish and went to school there until the family moved to La Crescenta, Calif., in 1950. She attended a La Crescenta school and Holy Redeemer ES before moving on to Holy Family HS in Glendale, Calif.

It is fitting that we are at St. Mary today, for as a youngster, Anna joined her family in attending divine liturgy on Sundays and singing in the choir. What was of value for her, here at St. Mary, was the family atmosphere and the Eastern spirituality. It was from this tradition that Anna entered the BVM congregation on July 31, 1960. Six months later, she received the name Sister Mary Joseph Ann at her reception. Anna professed first vows Feb. 2, 1963. She lived 56 years as a BVM.

After the novitiate, Anna completed her bachelor of arts degree at Mundelein College, Chicago. In 1965, she began her first mission assignment at St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, Iowa, teaching high school for five years. She then chose to teach and work at el Centro de Muchachos, in Quito, Ecuador.

Returning to the United States, she relocated to Phoenix, where she held various positions: teacher, parish minister, child care aide, and program trainer for multi-handicapped children. This variety of experience shaped Anna’s skills for what was next. In 1986 she joined BVM Mary Waddell (Valerie) in Santo Tomás, Guatemala, a mission supported by the Diocese of Helena, Mont. She completed 27 years of service there until she retired in 2014 to Lancaster, Calif.

For Anna, her commitment to share Jesus’ gospel values and to live out the BVM core values of charity, justice, education and freedom in service to God’s people, were always in focus. Her personal traits set a clear path for how this was to be accomplished.

She was always clear that love was the root of living. God’s love for Anna and her ability to share love with all, focused her on relationships: with family members, BVMs, and the people of God with whom she worked. All were important to her. All were equal in her eye.

Next, keep life simple. In her words: “My wholeness comes from simplicity and my life is complete when it is simple.” Anna was passionate about liberating the poor and supporting the oppressed. With her values clearly defined, she was articulate and deliberate about her message. Even in the Scholasticate—the BVM college experience—when the focus was on classwork and getting a degree, Anna initiated visits to the Chicago’s projects, such as Cabrini Green, to take art projects and teach Chicago’s poorest children about beauty. For Anna, believing and doing have always been synonyms.

The Priester and Koman families, her BVM community, and the people of God whom she serviced were her essential connections. She shared an open, genuine love with all.

Anna was close to her family. She regularly returned home for visits with her mother and siblings. She was engaging with the nieces and nephews, teaching them to swim, to take excursions, such as to Olvera St., and to create artistic projects. In fact, one Christmas, she and the children created a paper mâché nativity set, adorning the figures they created with real clothes. That crèche is still treasured today.

In the past two years, Anna, along with Mary Waddell, has had the privilege of living in Lancaster with Mary Jo, allowing her to reconnect with the family frequently. She also has had the privilege of sharing with Joe, Mary Jo, and other family members through travel that Joe has arranged. They retraced their grandmother’s trip to the U.S. from the Slovak Republic, went to the Holy Land. and this year traveled to Quebec.

Anna welcomed her time to share with her BVM sisters while being away in Guatemala. She was able to frequently return in the summers to participate in community gatherings and she welcomed the BVM visitor to Santo Tomás. She loved having BVMs participate in the Guatemala mission.

Anna was a strong headwind. She signed a contract to be a catechist in Santo Tomás, and she did teach and train teachers, but before long her work deepened into eradicating the oppression by assisting the widows to independence. Anna also set up scholarships to increase the number of students who could attend school. By 1988, two years after beginning, 46 students were on scholarship. In addition, there was a program to assist the widows to secure housing and develop a means to support their families.

In this same time frame, three homes for widows were built and four more were planned. Securing land for houses was difficult. She and Mary would encourage the women to weave table runners, stoles, bookmarks and purses. They brought boxes to the states to sell and assist the women not only to support their family, but to provide for health care. In some cases, if the weavings were sold to support the clinic, the women had free health care at the clinic for a year.

The goal to liberate the poor through love, education and service was haltingly slow, fraught with unexpected occurrences, violence in the vicinity, and local cultural practices that didn’t always profit the individual. Anna had the ability to see through to the essence of need and teach to it. She would patiently wait until a widow understood what to do and when she finally would appear ready, Anna would be there with support and ideas. What mattered to Anna was clarity of purpose and action: believe in the hope of a better future, one individual at a time.

Anna’s legacy will not be posted on billboards. It lives in the hearts of those who shared in her missions—and in the people of Guatemala, who have learned some independent skills and who can show others that there is hope.

Anna lives on in our hearts, a loving sister, BVM, aunt and friend. But to our God, she says, “You have called me.”

 Tú, pescador de otros lagos, amigo bueno, que así me llamas.

—Cesáreo Gabaráin

 

 

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



John Thomas Hackett, BVM

John Thomas Hackett, BVM, 94, died Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on Jan. 22, 1922, to John Thomas and Mary Marguerite Flynn Hackett. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1940, from St. John Parish, Sioux City. She professed first vows on March 19, 1943, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1948.

John Thomas was an elementary and secondary school teacher in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at St. Patrick ES and LaSalle HS, where she also served as assistant principal; and in Chicago; Butte, Mont.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Seattle. She later volunteered in Cedar Rapids.

She is preceded in death by her parents; brothers Charles, John Thomas, Gerald and Robert Lawrence; and a sister Mary Frances Marriott. She is survived by a sister, Helen Elaine Costello, Manchester, Mo.; a sister-in-law Marilyn Hackett, Sioux City, Iowa; nieces; nephews;and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 76 years.

Sister John Thomas Hackett, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Dec. 16, 2016

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister John Thomas Hackett.

Anna Bernice Hackett was born on Jan. 22, 1922, in Sioux City, Iowa. She was the fifth of seven children, four boys and three girls, born to John Thomas and Mary Marguerite (Flynn) Hackett. Her father worked as a railroad conductor while her mother cared for the children. Anna attended St. Joseph Grade School, graduated from Cathedral High School, and completed one year at Briar Cliff College, all in Sioux City, before answering the call to the consecrated life.

Anna entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1940, and received the name John Thomas upon her reception on March 19, 1941. She professed first vows on March 19, 1943, and lived 76 years as a BVM.

John Thomas taught in elementary schools for 21 years, including Holy Family and St. Thomas of Canterbury in Chicago; Immaculate Conception in Butte, Mont.; and St. Patrick in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was missioned as a secondary teacher at Our Lady of Peace in St. Paul, Minn.; Cathedral in Chicago; Blanchet in Seattle; and LaSalle in Cedar Rapids. History was her preference but as a versatile teacher, John Thomas always rose to the occasion no matter the subject she was assigned to teach. The students loved her and many stayed in contact with her after graduation.

Besides serving as the assistant principal during her 15 years at LaSalle, John Thomas taught economics and government, moderated the student council and cooked for herself and the sisters with whom she lived. Being highly organized, she completed food preparation before going to school and was able to put a hot meal on the table within a half hour of returning home. Leftovers never went to waste but were creatively transformed into new and delicious dishes.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette featured John Thomas in its “Neighborhood Cook” section which included her recipes for favorite dishes like ginger cookies, candied violets, Irish soda bread, Irish brown bread, “special” (made with bacon grease) baked potatoes, and tasty chicken breasts. “I like to put together a party dinner,” she said. “Cooking for 30 people is no big deal when you have a stove with ten burners.” At the time of the interview, she had 100 crepes tucked away in the freezer.

John Thomas was a lifelong learner, an avid reader with an appetite for history and current events. As a contributing writer for the 1984 Salt publication Charting BVM History, she covered the years 1968–72, a period filled with tremendous tensions and great opportunities. While serving as a BVM senator, her perceptive questions and comments enhanced the dialogue at Senate sessions. After retiring from teaching, she volunteered as a docent at the Cedar Rapids National Czech & Slovak Museum and even helped with the initial clean-up after the devastating 2008 flood.

Her love of history naturally flowed into an interest in genealogy. Both of her parents were of Irish decent. Some of her mother’s ancestors were the first settlers to arrive in central Iowa where they established the Murphy Settlement, while others, disenchanted with New York City, continued on to Australia. John Thomas was very proud of her Irish heritage and was blessed with several opportunities to visit Ireland. She also traveled to Australia to personally connect with relatives.

John Thomas was a realist, even tempered, willing to “go with the flow” and graced with a good sense of humor to help weather the rough spots. She never learned to drive, but that did not stop or even slow her down. After learning of plans to turn an old hotel in Cedar Rapids into a shelter for homeless women and their children, she quickly jumped on board helping to convert the rooms into apartments. She gave away household items such as pots and pans to people who lost everything in the flood. Two of her favorite pastimes were working in her flower garden in Cedar Rapids and being involved with the craft group, “Cut-Ups,” after moving to Mount Carmel.

In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul writes, “If you give to charity, do so generously; if you are a leader, exercise your authority with care; if you help others, do so cheerfully. Your love must be sincere.” How beautifully this describes John Thomas! Clothed in generosity and sensitivity, she was a dear, loving and ever so gracious woman. We—her BVM sisters, friends, and beloved family—were as precious to her as she was to us. Everyone who knew John Thomas loved her.

An unattributed quote discovered in her Bible conveys an appropriate reminder for all of us. “With their last breath, those we have greatly loved do not say goodbye, for love is timeless. Instead, they leave us with a solemn promise: when they are finally at rest in God, they will continue to be present to us whenever they are called upon.” Along with Mary Frances Clarke and all our beloved deceased, we know you, John Thomas, are present among us and we thank you.

Click here to read wake stories.

 

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Therese Miller, BVM (Therese Emile)

Therese Miller, BVM, 87, died Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Natural burial Rite of Committal was on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016,in the Marian Hall Chapel. A memorial service and Mass will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Iowa City, Iowa, on May 15, 1929, to Paul Anson and Theresa Graef Miller. She entered the BVM congregation Feb. 2, 1950, from St. Mary Parish, Iowa City. She professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1952, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1957.

Therese served as BVM congregational employee, ministering as nurse aide and laundry worker at Mount Carmel in Dubuque, and worked as convent cook in Davenport, both in Iowa. She was an elementary school teacher in Chicago.

She is preceded in death by her parents; brothers Clifford, Peter, Louis, Carl and Joseph; and sisters Alta Miller Reber, Agnes Rocca, Maglene Parizek and Theresa Eckrich. She is survived by nieces, nephewsand the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Sister Therese Miller, BVM (Therese Emile)
Memorial Mass Welcome
Marian Hall, Nov. 30, 2016

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Therese Miller.

Kathryn Miller was born on May 15, 1929, in Iowa City, Iowa, the only child of Paul Anton and Theresa Graef Miller of Iowa City, Iowa. Both of her parents were widowed with children when they married. Kathryn had nine older half-siblings. Her family lost everything during the Depression, but managed to live on produce grown on the family farm where she learned to garden. Kathryn attended St. Mary HS and was a member of the Sodality.

“In my wildest dreams, I never thought of being a sister.” Those were the first words uttered by Therese in a 2008 interview. She continued, “I had my life all planned out. Work on our farm and raise horses. But maybe—maybe. So I mentioned it to Sister Mary Dolors Shaffner, BVM . . . My mother surprised me by saying she had wanted me to become a nun . . . When they said a February entrance date was possible, I said, ‘I think that is what God wants.’” Kathryn entered the congregation on Feb. 2, 1950, and received the name Therese Emile upon her reception on Aug. 15, 1950. She professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1952 and lived 66 years as a BVM.

Therese’s first mission was at Immaculate Conception in Davenport, Iowa, about which she commented, “I was put in charge of the kitchen, totally inexperienced . . . I was able to take a course in quantity cooking . . . I did love to bake.” She taught second and third grades in Chicago at Blessed Sacrament, Holy Cross, St. Agatha and St. Thomas of Canterbury. She credited S.M. Paulus Gensert, BVM, who taught first grade at Blessed Sacrament, with working “miracles” and helping her become a better teacher. Therese served 11 years as a teacher, but her true calling was yet to be revealed.

In an aptly chosen passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus says to his apostles, “If I, therefore, the teacher and master, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.” Therese left the classroom to care for her mother who had had a series of strokes, subsequently dedicating the rest of her life answering the call of Jesus by “washing the feet” of others. After her mother’s death, she worked as a nurse aide and laundress at Marian Hall for 31 years. The sisters used to give their stained garments to her instead of to an aide because she could make them look like new.

Someone who ministered with Therese wrote, “I like to think of her as the servant of the servants. Day in and day out she saw to it that the clothing of our sisters was washed with care, dried, folded to perfection, and if necessary ironed! And if she saw the need for a button or a bit of repair, she either did it herself or brought it to the sewing room. I loved her and was so very grateful for her quiet gentle service.”

A former pastoral care minister recalled the words that our deceased Sister Francis Shea, BVM, at the time a Marian Hall resident, spoke about Therese. She called her “the most holy person she met in her lifetime” and that she went about her daily work “in a quiet, contemplative way in which she attended to each sister’s needs in a very compassionate, gentle manner with a pleasant smile and presence.”

While the words “Therese” and “saint” have been uttered together in recent days, years ago Therese simply commented, “I loved working there. I could do for the sisters all the things I had learned to do for my mother.”

Therese was a spiritual person, one whose sensitive, thoughtful and loving care was generously spent in service of others. She resisted any self-pity and never let her Parkinson’s disease stop her from living her life to the fullest. She enjoyed recordings of Western novels written by Louis L’Amour, going out for a meal, and participating in Mount Carmel activities. She absolutely loved spending time at Two Spiders, especially time spent fishing. She was a great gardener, well known for her tomatoes, grown from plants started from seed in her room. Through the years, she shared the fruit of her vines with those at the Motherhouse and others around town. Her generosity was gift to all in more ways than one.

Therese was a calming presence who left others feeling better, often without even saying a word. She was loved and admired by all who knew her as a simple, humble woman, a true model of Mary Frances Clarke. Thank you, Therese, for all the years of loving care of your sisters. Now we bid you farewell. Rest in peace.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



Veronica Grennan, BVM (Ita)

Veronica Grennan, BVM (Ita), 103, died Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Sterling, Ill., on Sept. 17, 1913, to John and Mary Loran Grennan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1931, from St. Mary Parish, Sterling. She professed first vows on March 19, 1934, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1939.

Veronica was an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator in Cascade, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City, Iowa; Chicago, Berwyn and Cicero, Ill.; Clarksdale, Miss.; Portland, Ore., and Seattle. In Rock Island, Ill., she was a secondary school counselor and teacher and served in pastoral ministry.

She is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Francis and Edward, and sisters: Mary Manetta Grennan, BVM, Marie Brophy, and Evelyn Barry. She is survived by a sister, Mary Alice Butler, Jacksonville, Fla.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 85 years.

Sister Veronica Grennan, BVM (Ita)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Nov. 28, 2016

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of the life of our Sister Veronica Grennan.

Veronica Grennan was born on Sept. 17, 1913, in Sterling, Ill. She was the fifth of seven children born to John and Mary Loran Grennan. Veronica described her family as “an Irish Catholic family where the faith was strong, where Christian values were lived and where the children and parents were loved and respected.”

As a senior at Our Lady of the Angels High School in Clinton, Iowa, Veronica decided to enter the Sisters of Charity, BVM after graduation because she was drawn by the “prayer and the beautiful example of BVM sisters.” She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1931, joining her sister S.M. Manetta Grennan, and her aunt S.M. Laurencita Grennan. Veronica received the name Ita upon reception on March 19, 1932; professed first vows on March 19, 1934; and lived an amazing 85 years as a BVM.

Veronica served 47 years in education. She taught junior high at St. Patrick in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and in Illinois at St. Thomas of Canterbury, Chicago; St. Odilo in Berwyn and Mary Queen of Heaven in Cicero. She taught in high schools in Iowa at St. Martin in Cascade, Regina in Iowa City, and St. Patrick in Cedar Rapids; in Portland, Ore., at Portland Central; in Seattle at Blanchet, and in Rock Island, Ill., at Alleman. “I was a firm teacher in the classroom,” she commented, “but friendly with the students outside of the classroom. I loved them.” She was a successful teacher who was twice asked to present at BVM teacher workshops and once at a diocesan workshop.

Veronica’s most challenging mission was at Immaculate Conception ES/HS, an all-black school in Clarksdale, Miss., where she served as principal for six years. The sisters struggled financially and had to raise money creatively to help provide the children with a good education. But that was not the only obstacle. Veronica wrote, “This was the most difficult and shocking assignment not only from the standpoint of a different geographical area or a different race, but from the standpoint of a difficult pastor . . . [I] leaned heavily on prayer and trust in God to pull me through what seemed an impossible mission.” Her reliance, trust and gratitude is beautifully expressed in Psalm 138: “Lord, on the day that I cried out for help, you answered me.” Veronica refers to that mission as a turning point in her religious life. She wrote, “This ministry made me realize my success depended on God, not on me,” her words echoing the prophet Isaiah, “My strength and my courage is the Lord.”

After 10 years in the Northwest, Veronica returned to her home state and for eight years served as both teacher and counselor at Alleman HS in Rock Island. As her golden jubilee approached, another Alleman counselor said to her, “Sister, you are an excellent counselor, but don’t stay at it too long. Get out while you are on top. Find something that you would like to do and do it.”

Veronica took these words to heart. After praying to the Holy Spirit and spending two summers working at Marian Hall with “our beautiful, suffering BVMs,” she was led to a pastoral care ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Rock Island where she served for 19 years. Reflecting upon this mission, she wrote, “Although I spent many happy years in the educational field, I feel especially blessed by the Lord who has given me the privilege to visit and pray with suffering people in hospitals, rest homes, and private homes, and who has given me the special privilege of carrying Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to them.”

Veronica was kind, compassionate and a lifelong learner. She loved her large family just a wee bit more than she loved Notre Dame football! She remained engaged with people, events and issues of the time beyond her 100th birthday even though profound hearing loss made interactions challenging. During the Apostolic Visitation, she expressed her abundant happiness as a religious sister. She viewed the changes in religious life initiated by Vatican II as a significant improvement in lifestyle and greatly appreciated experiencing other forms of prayer, especially centering prayer which profoundly deepened her relationship with God.

Upon reviewing her autobiography, Veronica wrote, “I [have come] to the conclusion that my religious ministry has been challenging, stimulating, and rewarding . . . May Jesus continue to bless and love me until the day when He puts His loving arms around me and says, ‘Come home, Veronica, and receive the rewards I have prepared for you from all eternity.’” Veronica, Jesus has called. Enjoy your eternal rest in his loving arms.

Click here to read wake stories.

If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Print



To view a list of all obituaries/reflections, Click Here