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Sister Margaret Eisele
Born: October 28, 1926
Died: June 16, 2013
Life began for Sister Margaret on October 28, 1926, in Fennimore, Wisconsin. She was the fourth of eight children born to Gertrude and Vern Eisele. Her father was well known in town, as he was the owner of the Eisele grocery store. Three weeks after her birth, she was baptized Mathilda Margaret at St. Mary’s Church. When she reached school age, she attended St. Mary’s School with her siblings.
It was here that she first encountered the School Sisters of St. Francis who staffed the parish school. One of the sisters she met during her school years was Sister Matthea Simon, who invited her to join the choir. Already as a youngster, Sister Margaret was expressing her love of music and singing. As many of us know, she had a beautiful singing voice and loved to sing and dance. She was not shy about singing solo in front of a group, like she did at her 50th Jubilee.
With the support of the sisters at St. Mary’s, she joined the School Sisters of St. Francis and was in the 1945 reception class, receiving the name Sister Irmine. With an education degree from Alverno College, she went on to be an outstandingly talented teacher for more than 35 years at St. Philomena in Chicago, St. Lawrence in Milwaukee, St. Mary’s in Buffalo Grove, and St. Anne’s in Barrington. Over those years, Sister Margaret prepared so many second graders for their First Eucharist, making it a special and memorable occasion for them. Putting on plays was something else she liked doing with her children. One of her best productions was the Passion Play performed by her second graders. She earned a master’s degree and was a principal for seven years, but she was happiest when her time as an administrator ended and she could return to her true love—teaching.
Her teaching career came to a close in 1988, but this did not slow her down. She remained active by coordinating the Ministers of Clare at St. Anne’s and organizing activities for the senior members of the parish. Her creativity manifested itself when she gathered the seniors together each month for a meeting and dinner. Each gathering had a theme, like “Hawaiian,” for which she and her helpers decorated accordingly. It was always an enjoyable time for all. And each year at Annie’s Attic, the garage sale, you would find Sister Margaret in the counting room seeing that all the proceeds were accounted for. This was her ministry until she retired in 2010 at the age of 84, 11 years after her heart bypass surgery.
For the last two years, Sister Margaret has been a member of Our Lady of the Angels community where she was loved and cared for by the sisters and staff. During this time, she appreciated the many visits and support of her sister, Elaine, her brother-in-law Dick, and her nieces Debra, Carmen, and Melissa. Even though she may have forgotten some things, some of us know she never forgot to care for her cat, “Snowball.” It brought her comfort and calm and was something to care about. She was a gentle and loving person who endeared herself to everyone who met her. She will be greatly missed at Our Lady of the Angels.
And so we are here today, celebrating the life of Sister Margaret. Sixty eight years ago she answered the call and during this time, loved the God who called her, was faithful to her vocation, dedicated to her ministry, served others, and was courageous and determined when health became an issue for her. Thank you, Sister Margaret, for sharing your life, love, gifts and talents with us—your family, friends, and School Sisters. May you rest in peace.
Sister Mary Jo Forst (Veronique)
Born: July 13, 1921
Died: June 23, 2013
Sister Mary Jo’s life began on the south side of Chicago on July 13, 1921. There she lived with her parents, Mary and Joseph, one brother and one sister, until she was 16 years old.
For the first eight years of her education, she attended St. Martin School in Chicago. She wanted to enter the convent after eighth grade, but her mother told her she should go to the public school for her first year of high school. She did so, and then attended one year of commercial at St. Martin.
Mary entered the School Sisters of St. Francis in 1937 at the age of 16 and became a novice in 1939, receiving the name of Sister Veronique. Sister attended Alverno College and received her Bachelor of Science in Education degree in 1944.
Her first mission was as a teacher in Fremont, Nebraska. From there she was assigned to other schools in Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Illinois. She spent nearly 30 years in the field of Catholic education as a teacher.
In 1970, with the hopes of helping her mother who had cancer, Sister entered the Chicago School of Nursing and prepared to become a licensed practical nurse.
Sister worked in the Little Company of Mary Hospital on the surgical floor for 12 years before moving to Wausaukee, Wisconsin, to care for her mother and two other homebound patients. During the time that she did this individual nursing, she also did substitute teaching and pastoral ministry.
After her mother’s death, Sister came to Campbellsport and served as a charge nurse for six years. After completing those years of nursing service, Sister offered to help our sisters here in many areas, especially as an escort to the hospital and to doctor’s appointments.
When her health no longer allowed her to do that ministry, Sister would spend many hours reading newspapers and magazines and keeping up on world and local events.
Lately Sister was very concerned about being ready to move. She would often be looking for her suitcase. Sister Mary Jo, God has called you to Himself and you didn’t need to pack a suitcase. You have entered eternity with all of the good works of your religious life. Now you can keep us in your heart and in your prayers.
Sister Nicole Goetz
Born: February 2, 1915
Died: March 30, 2013
For Sister Nicole, the Franciscan values of respect, collaboration, and quality service were the cornerstones of her life. She was never one to boast about herself, nor did she want anyone else to do it for her. In 2004, Sister Nicole wrote her own modest autobiography. It reads:
My parents, Mary Berhardt Goetz and Nicholas Goetz, were born in Germany, Mother in 1890 and Father in 1884. As young adults, each migrated to the United States. Eventually they met, married and settled in Roseland, a South Side area of Chicago, which was rapidly becoming home to immigrants from Europe.
I thank God for parents of deep faith, care, kindness, and good example. My father was employed at the Pullman Train Company as an excellent wood worker. My mother was known as a competent cook, baker, and seamstress. Both were very interested in our religious practice and in our education. I have fond memories of “homework time” in the evenings when my father listened to each child’s catechism recitation. Meanwhile, my mother, resting in her armchair, learned English by hearing the children read. Evening prayer in the living room closed our days.
Mary was my older sister and Therese was my youngest sister. I was the second child. Edward, Michael, Bernard and George were my brothers. All my siblings are deceased.
The School Sisters of St. Francis were my grammar school teachers at St. Nicholas School. As a junior in high school at St. Louis Academy, I felt the call to religious life. I entered St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee on September 1, 1930. After two years of postulancy and graduation from high school, I was received into the novitiate on June 14, 1932.
Years of teaching in elementary schools, high school, and college followed. Summers and weekends were time for advanced study. In 1954-1957, I was sent to Rome with Sister Mary Irene to study theology at Regina Mundi. On return, we both worked in the Formation program at St. Joseph Convent.
From 1970-1975, I worked at McCormick Theological Union as Book Review Editor for the Index to Religious Periodical Literature. When the office was moved to the South Side of Chicago, I worked in our community’s Chicago office as Theological Resource Person.
In 1989, I moved to Milwaukee and worked in the Provincial Office from 1989–2002, when I retired at the age of 87.
On May 12, 2004, Sister Barbara Kraemer, our Provincial, offered me a chance to retire to Clement Manor if I wished. What a gift! I am grateful to our administration and residents!
March 30, 2013 addendum:
For health reasons, Sister Nicole moved to Sacred Heart Convent where she treasured her final ministry of prayer and presence. And now, Sister Nicole, we are the ones who are grateful to you for your 81 years of living the Franciscan values of respect, collaboration, and quality service as a School Sister of St. Francis. Peace and All Good!
Sister Lorraine Hamik, SSSF
Born: February 26, 1926
Died: June 12, 2013
Sister Lorraine Hamik was born on February 28, 1926, on a farm about ten miles outside of Stuart, Nebraska. She was the fifth of nine children – four girls and five boys. Her parents, John and Louise, had their little girl baptized Irene Anna. The Hamik children and the children of a neighboring family walked together to a one-room school. In the winter, the teacher boarded at the Hamik home and Mr. Hamik would drive them all to school in a horse-drawn sleigh.
For one year Irene went to St. Boniface Catholic School to prepare for her First Communion. It was there that she got to know the School Sisters of St. Francis and they inspired her to join the community, which she did after eighth grade. Her sister, Therese, had entered the community earlier and was a novice. In those days it was not permitted for aspirants to talk to novices and so the two sisters concocted a method to share notes and letters. They would walk behind one another and drop notes so the other one could pick them up.
Irene was received on June 13, 1943, and received the name Sister Lorraine. Since she had no desire to be a teacher, she was delighted when she was asked to become a nurse. She studied nursing at Alverno College and as part of her education spent some time working at St. Joseph Hospital in Beaver Dam. In 1948 she received her degree in nursing from Alverno and was assigned to Sacred Heart Sanitarium where she stayed for almost 20 years, eventually becoming head nurse and supervisor of her floor.
When Villa Clement Nursing Home opened in 1965, Sister Lorraine was sent there as Director of Nursing and Facility Director of Services. She stayed there for more than 35 years. Although she appeared to be carefree and easy going, Sister Lorraine had high expectations of the nursing staff and worked to instill in each one that they were there to provide loving service to all the residents.
Later, when Villa Clement became Allis Care Center, Sister Lorraine stayed there and worked part time. One of her favorite times of the year was Christmas. She took great pride in decorating the hallways, making sure that each hallway was different than it had been the year before. It was then that she became known as “Sister Santa Claus.” Lorraine had a great love of plants and felt responsible for keeping the many plants throughout the building alive.
In 2008, Sister Lorraine realized that her health was beginning to fail and that she needed to leave her beloved Allis Care Center. This was a very hard decision for her. She had spent all of her years in ministry at two places – Sacred Heart Sanitarium and Villa Clement, later Allis Care Center.
And so Lorraine returned to the place where she had started her ministry - Sacred Heart. She spent her days praying, reading, playing games, and watching her favorite television programs. She moved to Our Lady of the Angels in early 2011.
Sister Lorraine remembered her life as always being happy – loving her family and friends in Nebraska and Milwaukee. When she wasn’t working, Sister Lorraine enjoyed doing different kinds of crafts, crocheting, embroidery, and most of all fishing. On August 4, 1987, she caught a 12 pound king salmon! What a thrill!
Sister Lorraine was a very gracious and grateful person. She could never say “thank you” enough for the education and opportunities she had received in her life and the wonderful care she received in retirement. She was an inspiration for all of us. And so we thank God for the life of Sister Lorraine and the many blessings God has given her.
Sister Noel Heisler
Born: July 15, 1914
Died: March 25, 2013
“I place before you death and life. Choose life.” This Scripture quote sums up Sister Noel who chose life and lived it with much gusto!
Sister Noel Heisler was born July 15, 1914, in Hartford, Wisconsin, and was baptized Helen. She was the ninth and last child of George and Helen Heisler. Three children died as infants and one at age eight; this was hard on her mother. Despite these deaths young, Helen knew the love of a close-knit family with those who remained.
Helen entered a public school kindergarten at age four. From second grade on, she walked to the Catholic school taught by the School Sisters. By third grade, she knew she wanted to be a sister. She was sure of it when she attended the reception of Sister Alice Marie Schwartz, who was from her hometown of Hartford. She hounded her parents for their permission to go to the convent as she neared eighth-grade graduation. Her mother thought she was too young at age 14, but her father gave consent. A farewell party was held for her at a Bing cherry orchard near Peshtigo. She remembered how sour the cherries tasted to her!
Sister Noel entered St. Joseph Convent on August 22, 1928. Adjusting was not easy; it took a long time to overcome homesickness. Yet she was determined to hold on and absorb everything about religious life. From the day of her reception in 1931, she couldn’t wait to be sent out to teach. It was in August that Mother Stanislaus needed a teacher. Of the three 17-year-old novices brought to her, Sister Noel demonstrated the most eagerness, and so she was the chosen one. In this way, she began her teaching career at St. Catherine’s in Milwaukee and loved those four years. She completed her novitiate after that, in 1935-36, and then was asked to “stay home” and complete her studies. She was one of the charter class to graduate from Alverno College in 1940.
She was then assigned to Racine for one year, and after that to Glenview, Illinois, where she taught for 18 years. In 1948 she was selected to go to St. Mary’s Academy at Notre Dame, Indiana, where she graduated with a master’s in religion and scripture. She continued to teach in Illinois in more of our schools: in Sublette, Stockton, McHenry and Winfield. She spent summers catechizing. Sister Noel loved every minute of her teaching ministry. But her life was yet to expand.
The turning point for Sister Noel came after attending an Institute on Women in 1966. She began a ministry of visiting the sick and became involved with minority groups and the poor. She listened to the experiences of our sisters in Mexico. That sparked in her a desire to do mission work in Latin America. In preparation, she took a Spanish language course and attended cultural workshops in Madison.
Three years later she had an opportunity to go to Juarez, Mexico, through the Latin American Mission Program (LAMP). For almost a year she and a School Sister companion went from village to village by mule, staying for two weeks in each place. For her it was a wonderful experience to serve these “beautiful people;” even the donkeys were “beautiful creatures.” After meeting with the Bishop of Tamaulipas, she worked at the poor mission of San Jose del Verde in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Life was hard, but her love for the people made it easy.
A different opportunity was presented to her when Sister Noel was asked by Sister Deodigna if she would teach English at St. Clare College in Costa Rica. She took up the challenge in 1971, and stayed to teach for three years while also working to improve her Spanish with another course. Upon returning to the States after three years, Sister became a bi-lingual teacher, librarian and special tutor at the culturally mixed school of St. Therese in Aurora, Illinois. Her last years of teaching were with the LaFarge Lifelong Learning program in Milwaukee, instructing adults and teaching crafts.
By 1985, macular degeneration had set in. It was time for retirement, and St. Joseph Convent, Campbellsport, was to be her home. Even there she had a zest for life, and showed it by her interest in the activities and events of the convent, the local community, and world affairs. However, her eyesight continued to deteriorate and physical problems caused much concern. Every time she’d feel really bad, she would say “Why doesn’t God just take me?” Her interest in life returned when she was feeling better. And so it went until the day that was just the right time for God to come and take her.
Today we celebrate your life, Sister Noel. We thank you for your presence and love in this community and among all those you have loved and served. You have spread LIFE wherever you went. What you have now is the best of new LIFE. May you enjoy it in the presence of God, who is LIFE itself!
Sister Amalia Krajcik
Born: October 17, 1916
Died: January 9, 2013
Sister Amelia was born to Vera and John Krajcik on October 17, 1916, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the second of six children—three girls and three boys. Amelia attended St. Cyril and Methodius School in Chicago where she met the School Sisters of St. Francis. Early on, Amelia decided she wanted to become a sister just like the ones who taught her.
In 1930, Amelia entered St. Joseph Convent after graduating eighth grade. Her sibling, Sister Crucita, came home and took her to St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee. After completing high school and postulancy, Amelia was one of 70 women receiving the white veil of a novice on June 28, 1933. She was given the name Sister Assunta, which she kept until the 1960s when she resumed using her baptismal name.
Sister Amelia’s family was very important to her. She found the deaths of her two younger brothers—Johnny, during World War II, and Eddie, in a car accident shortly after returning home from military service—traumatic. Sister also remembered the deaths of her mother in 1962 and her father in 1966 as sad times of loss.
Sister Amelia was a teacher most of her life, serving in a number of parish schools. She also served as principal at St. Bernadine School in Forest Park, Illinois.
After school was out in 1970, Sister planned to study for her comprehensive exam in elementary school administration. That summer she had the opportunity to stay at her brother and sister-in-law’s home in South Carolina while completing her studies. Afterward she chose to look for a new teaching position in South Carolina.
For the next 28 years, Sister Amelia lived in South Carolina. She taught in a Federal School at the Marine Corps base in Beaufort for nine years. She was principal at St. Peter School from 1979 to 1988. One of her special memories during those years was Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United States. The Pope stopped in Columbia, South Carolina, and celebrated Mass at St. Peter Parish. Sister treasured the memory of shaking hands with the Pontiff.
Along with the joyful times came sorrow when Sister Amelia lost her two sisters in 1988. Sister Crucita died on January 4 and Mary, the youngest, died on February 20. Sister found losing her two sisters so close together a difficult challenge.
For ten years Sister Amelia was Pastoral Associate and Director of Religious Education at Corpus Christi Parish in Lexington, South Carolina. In 1998 she moved to St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee, where she focused on prayer for others and serving the sisters with whom she lived.
We are proud of Sister Amelia for her strong commitment to the education of children through Catholic education and administration. Her care for others through pastoral ministry, along with service to her fellow sisters, reflects a lifetime of dedication to the people of God. We now rejoice with her as she delights in the rewards of heaven as God’s good and faithful servant.
Sister Martha Lanser
Born: March 30, 1935
Died: February 15, 2013
Sister Martha was born in Port Washington, Wisconsin, on March 30, 1935, to Frank and Lillian Lanser. She was the youngest of 12 children. She is preceded in death by four brothers—Edmund, Norbert, Ambrose and Jerome—and five sisters—Margie, Barbara Armella, Angie and Rita. Her sisters Alice and Gerry are with us today.
Sister Martha entered the School Sisters of St. Francis after eighth grade. She received her high school diploma at St. Joseph Convent. She attended Alverno College and earned her bachelor’s degree in Education and her master’s degree in Administration from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa.
Over the years Sister Martha taught more than a thousand students. Her favorite subjects were Religion and English. Her warm and caring personality motivated all students of all ages to do their best and work to succeed.
Those who knew Sister Martha knew her as a generous person who was willing to do anything for anyone. After 50 years of teaching, Sister Martha worked at Sacred Heart with our elder sisters. Nothing was too much for her when assisting the sisters in need.
Sister Martha’s job description at Sacred Heart was written in black and white, but, there was never any doubt that she made it come “alive within her heart” when ministering to our sisters. She always took whatever time was needed to talk with the sisters as she lingered in their rooms and helped them read their mail. Her smile, her time, and listening heart were always there. Everything was done in a kind and loving way.
How attentive she was to her duties of the sacristy. No altar cloth was too much to iron. No vestment was too much if it needed care. Every plant or flower arrangement was kept alive by her loving care and her little watering can. She was attentive to all the details of the liturgy and the many preparations for the administration of the sacraments. She loved the preparations for Holy Week services.
After leaving her Sacred Heart ministry, Sister Martha volunteered in our Mission Advancement Office, previously know as the Development Office. Her winning smile and willingness to do any job won over the Mission Advancement staff. She became known all around the Motherhouse as “Our Martha” because she gave her all to every task given her, and everyone wanted a small piece of her.
Everyone who knew Sister Martha loved her because of her friendliness and genuine love for others.
Sister Martha was always grateful. Often she, along with her best friend, Sister Joyce, would deliver some good homemade apricot cookies or the best-ever apple cake to the staff and to the School Sisters who lived in her neighborhood. Many evenings and afternoons, she and Sister Joyce would deliver food and clothing to the poor in the parish community and beyond. And always the same phrase, “We are happy to do it as long as we can.”
If you did something special for her, you could be sure it would not be long before she would send a note of gratitude and sometimes it came with some of her fresh bakery.
Martha, as we find that name in the Gospel, was about many things, but most of all she was about the things that really count – the matters of the heart - whether it had to do with our community, the neighborhood or the parish community. Some of her best phrases were – “As long as I can, I will,” and “We just have to make the best of it.” Those who lived and worked with her, remember her special phrase for any concern, “Let me pray to my sister, Armella, she never lets me down!”
When Sister Martha entered the community in 1949, her pastor wrote in his letter of recommendation:
“I am happy to recommend Martha to the Sisterhood. She is a good girl, with a pleasant disposition, a fine personality with a sincere and up-right character. She will be a credit to your congregation.”
We can now look upon that recommendation as truly prophetic. She was all of that and more!
Sister Martha, you will always be remembered and deeply missed. You will especially be missed by your most dear, precious and loyal friend, Sister Joyce.
Today, we remember and celebrate your life, a true Franciscan Sister. We ask that God reward you for a life well lived.
God bless you as you enter into the heavenly kingdom where you will be reunited with your family, your friends and all of our faithful School Sisters.
Sister Martha, we love you, we will miss you, but go now and rest in God’s heavenly love and peace. Amen!
Sister Veronica Margareth Lenz
Born: September 3, 1916
Died: April 18, 2013
Veronica Margareth was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to John and Edna Ann Lenz on September 3, 1916. She had an older sister, Dolores, and a younger sister, Julie, as well as a brother, John. She began her early education at St. Mary’s Visitation school in Elm Grove and St. Sebastian Parish school in Milwaukee. After another move to the school at Little Flower, now St. Theresa Parish, Veronica met the School Sisters of St. Francis. That is when Veronica said, “That’s the kind of sister I want to be.” Veronica didn’t want to go to the public high school, so at the age of 15, she went to St. Joseph Convent High School. In 1934, Veronica was received into the School Sisters of St. Francis and given the name Sister Mary Placide.
In 1935, Sister was sent out on mission to teach at St. William’s School in Chicago and taught there for ten years. She then moved to New York and taught at St. Mary Assumption and St. Monica schools for 13 more years. Summers were always busy taking classes at Alverno College to earn a bachelor of science degree, which occurred after 13 years in 1948. Sister Mary Placide didn’t stop there. In 1954, she earned a master’s degree in education from Fordham University. From 1959 to 1960, Sister taught at Alverno Elementary School and then taught for three years in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
When the sisters could go back to their Baptismal names, Sister Placide was glad to go back to Sister Veronica Margareth. In 1963, she began 23 years of teaching at St. Catherine Laboure school in Glenview, Illinois – first as a principal and then as a teacher. From 1986 until 2011, Sister spent 25 more years in Glenview, Illinois, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help as a teacher and tutor. Sister Veronica taught all the grades as needed. She would say, “Put me where you want!” but she liked the middle and upper grades best. Sister Veronica was known to be an exceptional teacher and administrator who helped many young sisters in the beginning years of their teaching ministry.
Sister Veronica described all her convent years as happy ones and found it easy to get along with everyone. Her hobbies were reading, puzzles, and sports. She described herself as an “ordinary person,” who was always on the go. Although always professional in her ministry, one only has to look at her photo albums to see that she was also a very playful person who loved a good time and especially a good party. Sister Veronica was thankful for all the people God sent into her life. After a fall down the stairs, Sister Veronica left Glenview and came to Sacred Heart Center in Milwaukee. A year later she moved to Our Lady of the Angels to continue her ministry of being a happy presence among the sisters and staff!
Sister Veronica, may you continue to delight in the presence of God. We will miss your gracious and happy presence at Our Lady of the Angels!
Sister Leora Leon
Born: May 31, 1918
Died: April 11, 2013
For most of us, there is an event—a word, a picture, or something that brings tears to our eyes…especially tears of joy or happiness. For Sister Leora, it was the sight of the American flag waving in the wind. She attributed this emotional response to the fact that her birthday was on May 31 and was always celebrated on Memorial Day weekend, where flags and parades were a part of the celebration.
Sister Leora—who was the oldest in the Leon family, having two sisters and two brothers—was born in Aurora, Illinois, on May 31, 1918. Her mother came from Luxembourg and was a creative cook and baker. Her father owned and operated a bowling alley. He worked very hard during the Depression years and suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 64.
The family had a very simple life. No matter how little they had, they always knew they would be well taken care of. Sister Leora had a very loving relationship with her dear mother. Even though her father seemed cold and strict, he loved her and her siblings, and she always knew he was a softie underneath. Her mother taught her how to cook and care for her brothers and sisters. Family life was always very important to her, and many of her stories centered on her family.
At a very early age, the realization that God was calling her to enter religious life was very strong. However, her parents thought she was too young to make such a decision, even though her dad’s sister, Sister Leonella, was a School Sister of St. Francis. After many conversations and a lot of pleading, her parents agreed that Sister Leora could enter the School Sisters of St. Francis when she was 18. It became very obvious to them that God and being a sister meant a lot to her. They realized that serving God and the people of God was her calling.
On June 13, 1938, Sister Leora was received into the community and was immediately sent to work at St. Mary’s Hill. This was a difficult assignment since she did not have the needed training. Later, though, she received her nursing training at Sacred Heart Sanitarium and at St. Joseph Hospital, and became a registered nurse. She worked in our own School Sister medical institutions—St. Mary’s Hill, Sacred Heart Sanitarium (later Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Hospital), St. Joseph Convent in Campbellsport, and the Motherhouse infirmary. She also worked at Doctors Hospital and Family Hospital in Milwaukee.
It was no secret that patients loved her for her tenderness, understanding, gentle care and sense of humor. Very early in her nursing career, a doctor was caring for a difficult patient and had tried everything he could think of to get the patient to respond to him. Finally he asked, “Is there anyone you will talk to?” The patient smiled at him and very calmly said, “Yes, I want Sister Dimples!” Sister Leora’s smile with her dimples proved to be the best remedy around, even to the very end of her life.
After 51 years, she retired from nursing and began working as a pastoral minister, visiting the sick and bringing Communion to the homebound at St. Matthew’s Parish here in Milwaukee. Sister Leora had fond memories of working there, and especially with her pastor, Father Jim Dammeir. Helping others, especially the sick and homebound, was always important to her.
Later, when Sister Leora needed care herself, she came to Sacred Heart Convent to share her ministry of prayer and presence. Here she enjoyed her time of retirement, and often said “Everything is taken care of, from my fingernails to my toes—even my wig! There isn’t anything the staff wouldn’t do to help us.”
Presently at Sacred Heart Convent, the sister staff is preparing for the Jubilee celebration. This year, Sister Leora would celebrate 75 years as a School Sister of St. Francis. In anticipation of the event, current photos needed to be taken. On a Friday, Sister Leora’s dimples were again captured on film. The following Tuesday, she asked to see the picture. After several minutes of studying her photo, she looked up and said “Now bring a camera that doesn’t make me look so fat!”
We remember Sister Leora as someone who had a positive outlook on life and found humor in many little things. Many times her words of advice were, “Try to accept things as they are and go on with life.”
And now, Sister Leora, we thank you for sharing your life with us, and we will remember to smile and accept everything God sends us as we go on with our lives.
Sister Nan Pfefferle (Roman)
Born: June 14, 1942
Died: January 3, 2013
I was born in 1942, the second of four children of Anne and Richard Pfefferle. I took my elementary education with the Benedictine Sisters at Queen of All Saints Parish in Chicago. Life was good for kids in my neighborhood and especially in my family. My dad was a true husband. My mother stayed home to raise her children, but made sure we had fun exploring our world. We had an athlete (my sister Barb always got picked first to play on the boys’ team), a student (me), an event organizer (Kathie), and a clown (brother Bill).
As I was preparing for high school, my family took up an offer to move to Appleton, Wisconsin, my father’s home, where he planned to join his three brothers in the family business. That changed everything. Life was different in Appleton. Instead of going to an all-girls academy, I went to a co-ed public high school with more kids in my class than in the whole school I’d expected to attend.
After high school I spent a year at Marquette University enamored of The Idea of a University a book by John Henry Newman. It was the best year of my life. John F. Kennedy was elected the first Catholic President of the United States. I studied the new theology with Bernard Cooke, and I lived next door to Mary Louise Signa, a very smart Alvernia grad, who planned to join the School Sisters of St. Francis. That year, I was able to attend Mass daily. Sometime during that year, I decided to finish college, paying my own way. My financial plan included going back home and working until I had enough money to finish school.
During that year two things happened. I visited Mary Lou at St. Joseph Convent and I received “the call” myself. That changed everything. In 1962, I entered the postulancy of the School Sisters of St. Francis. Instead of going back to the university, I went to Alverno College where I received an excellent education and joined a group of women determined to work together to proclaim the salvation of the world.
I have been a teacher all of my life. After teaching in the grades for a year, I graduated and went to Pius XI High School for 12 years. It was a great place for a young teacher to learn her craft. My colleagues were competent, dedicated and good humored. We loved our kids enough to require them to perform, but also had fun. I taught seventeen courses and had significant contact with 3,000 students.
During those years I became acquainted with the CW (Catholic Worker) House, Casa Maria, and that changed everything. Instead of staying at Pius and perhaps working my way up to teaching college level, I took the route of teaching those who had not succeeded in school. In fact, they were now under supervision of the Department of Correction. I was a contract teacher for WCS, Wisconsin Correctional Service, for 20 years, helping people prepare to re-enter the community more successfully.
When money from the state dried up, I moved on, still hoping to help more people out of poverty. I moved to Kentucky and soon was living with Sister Leanne Herda and working at Save the Children for former School Sister Marian Collette. I worked as the Vista Director (Volunteers in Service to America) for six years when funding ran out. That brought me back to Milwaukee and the Tau Volunteers. I have loved doing this work.
Now, I am enriched by the presence of both family and friends from several communities. I am especially blessed in being a long-standing member in three prayer circles: a group that gathers at the sites of homicides in Milwaukee’s inner city, a meditation group that tries to touch into the Spirit of the Mothers, and the circle that gathers around the dinner table at Casa Maria.
Since January of 2011, I have had a series of health issues to deal with, but God has been great in helping me prepare for these challenges. I have had a good life.
Addendum: I wanted so badly to celebrate my golden jubilee as a School Sister of St. Francis. However, my body could no longer keep up with my spirit. I will miss you all greatly, but know that I loved you all.
Sister Agnes Rose Pint
Born: October 28, 1916
Died: May 19, 2013
Everyone has a favorite time of year. In 1916 in Union Hill, Minnesota, not far from New Prague, Matthias and Barbara Lenz Pint knew that the fall season would be extra special. On October 28th God blessed them with a little girl, the second youngest of the four girls and four boys. The baby was baptized Agnes Rose in St. John’s Church, which was built on the land donated by her mother’s relatives, the first Lenz settlers in that area.
Union Hill was a small rural farming community where nearly all were somehow related to one another and all were closely united with the small Catholic Church community. The church bells called everyone to services on Sundays and Holy Days. If the bells rang at other times, it meant that someone had died and details of the funeral were available on the party-line telephone.
Sister Agnes Rose enjoyed relating stories about the 1920s and the 1930s, when life in the country was fun. Being on the youngest end of the family and having older brothers and sisters, she was spared hard work. Kerosene lamps provided the light – there was no electricity. Horses were still used on the farm and the horse-drawn sled with straw and blankets was their means of transportation to Sunday Mass in the winter. Milking was done by hand, and the cream separated from it was sold to provide money for groceries. Fido, the dog, would catch the chickens needed for butchering. Neighbors congregated to cut wood, butcher, make sausage, thrash oats, stack hay, visit and play cards, organize and enjoy church services and picnics. People didn’t need an invitation to come and visit. Anyone could stop anytime! With a bin full of potatoes, sauerkraut, pickles, canned goods, chickens, homemade beer, cider and wine, there was always plenty to eat and have a good time.
In 1924, Sister Agnes Rose’s sister, Gertrude, entered the School Sisters of St. Francis and became Sister Clement. Ten years, later Sister Agnes Rose and her sister, Loretta Ann, joined Sister Clement at St. Joseph Convent and in 1935, both were received into the community.
Sister Agnes Rose wanted to be a homemaker and cook for the sisters. Her greatest joy was making good meals as well as little surprises and parties for the sisters who taught all day. She wanted meal time to be a pleasant time, and her kitchen was always a welcoming place. At night, when the sisters were preparing lessons, she enjoyed reading, crocheting, needle work and checking out new recipes. This she did in Nebraska, Iowa, Chicago and Wisconsin.
Even though Sister Agnes Rose enjoyed 33 years of mission life, she found just as much happiness in the Motherhouse kitchen. It gave her more time to pray and visit with the sisters. She liked meeting and visiting with people she hadn’t seen for awhile.
As her health, and particularly her eyesight, was failing, she decided to move to Sacred Heart Convent where Sister Lauretta Ann was already living. Often she remarked, “I have come to a place of smiles, kindness and prayer.” She thought it was a privilege to spend time at the bedside of a dying sister and called it “sacred time.”
We will always remember Sister Agnes Rose as a grateful person, who made certain that everyone knew how grateful she was for her family, the community, and everyone who touched her life in any way.
Sister Agnes Rose, we are most grateful to you for being the gift you are to all of us!
Peace and all good!
Sister Catherine Ruskamp
Born: July 6, 1919
Died: June 29, 2013
Adapted from Sister Catherine’s autobiography by Sister Barbara Jean Potthast
Catherine was born on July, 6, 1919, one of 13 children of Joseph and Anna Gross-Rhode who lived on a farm between Dodge and Howells, Nebraska. The family faithfully attended Sacred Heart Church and School in nearby Olean where the School Sisters taught. Their mother had wanted to be a nun, but was told by one of the sisters that it would be better if she married and then added, “I have a feeling that you will have daughters who will one day become sisters.”
That seemed prophetic, so Anna married, and after having four boys, she prayed for a girl - and Catherine was the first. Her Mom dedicated her and those that followed to the Blessed Mother and prayed that they’d be given a religious vocation if that was God’s will. The girls did not know that until much later.
When Catherine was six months old, her one-year-old brother, Joseph, had serious blood poisoning in his leg; the doctor wanted to amputate. Again, Mom prayed and offered him to God as a missionary if he’d be cured. Little Joseph recovered and became a Capuchin missionary in Nicaragua for 51 years. Both parents had a deep life of faith and trust in God, and the children were caught up in it.
When Catherine was nine years old she took charge of her youngest brother who was mentally challenged, but very affectionate and dearly loved. When unattended he’d wander off to play or sleep in unlikely places: the sow’s pen, the tall cornfields, the back of the pick-up truck, the machine shed. The whole family would conduct a “search party. It was a sad day when, at the age of 22, he was the first of the family to die.
At the end of their school year in 1933, Catherine and Joseph approached their mother together and told her they wanted to enter religious life. They asked that “Ma tell Pa.” Though Mom remembered her earlier prayer, it was a big sacrifice for both parents to make, especially when, in the space of four years, five children left home after eighth grade to prepare for religious life. So it was that Catherine left home on August 26, 1933 to be an aspirant.
Catherine hoped to be a missionary someday like her brother, Father Florian – but not yet. After reception in 1936, by then known as Sister Alvina, she told Mother Corona she wanted to be a teacher. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at Alverno College, and later went on to receive a Master’s in Education at Fordham University in New York. Her first teaching assignment was in the rural town of Pesotum, Illinois, from which she says she “held vivid memories for a long time.” Next she was sent east to Staten Island, New York, then back to the Midwest to St. Alphonsus in Greendale, and finally west to Ralston, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; and Earling, Iowa. Sometimes she was principal, too. As the times and needs changed, she asked to try other ministries. So she went to Detroit to do parish social work for a year. Afterwards she taught and coordinated religious ed programs for seven years at the mainly Hispanic school of St. Therese in Aurora, Illinois. That was followed by a return to Colorado Springs and Omaha.
Catherine’s desire to work in Latin America was fulfilled in the ’70s when she was invited to participate in the Latin American Mission Program (LAMP). For five summers, she and a sister companion accompanied students from Boylan High School in Rockford, Illinois to Mexico. There they catechized children for the sacraments in the poor villages. From 1989 to 1991, Catherine stayed in Guatemala doing missionary work. Upon returning to the States, she taught Spanish language classes in the LaFarge Lifelong Learning program.
In 1997 she was invited to come to Campbellsport to teach Spanish classes. She did not only that, but organized Bible classes and a weekly sing-a-long. She would also feed the disabled sisters, care for plants and flowers, and helped with other outdoor work. It relaxed her to work with nature and to sing. She wrote in her autobiography:
“I believe that the contemplation of God’s gifts in nature draws a person closer to God. I firmly believe that the more love and joy one gives to others, the more love and joy we receive from others.”
Catherine, you have given that love and joy to us in this place and to all the many people of the two cultures whom you have served in your rich life of ministry. May God now bless you with eternal peace, love, and joy in your final resting place, and keep sharing with us who remain as we cherish our memories of you.
Sister Florence Russ
Born: July 12, 1914
January 21, 2013
Sometimes hearing someone’s name immediately triggers a thought or an image. When the name of Sister Florence Russ is mentioned, you can visualize Joseph’s coat of many colors, as her life’s story is varied and colorful.
To begin: Sister Florence was one of a family of eight girls and one boy. She entered the world on July 12, 1914, in Aurora, Illinois, and was the fourth child of George and Mary Bank Russ. Her parents migrated from Romania and were members of the Greek Orthodox Rite. Florence was baptized and confirmed, according to the Greek Orthodox Rite, on July 13 – the day after her birth.
Florence related that her childhood with her siblings was very happy. Her father was a plumber and was always home in the evening for family time. He loved and treasured his family and in many ways, spoiled the children – especially showering them and all the neighborhood playmates with candy. Her mother, too, was kind but was known to be the disciplinarian. However, when it came to going to church, saying their prayers, behaving and studying in school, her dad could be very strict.
All of the children went to St. Nicholas School in Aurora where the School Sisters of St. Francis taught. Sister Florence loved school, excelled in her classes, and admired all the sisters. It was her eighth grade teacher, Sister Theophilia Gieb, who was her inspiration and guided her to enter the School Sisters of St. Francis.
Sister Florence was received into the community in 1932, and was known as Sister Leon. Immediately after reception she was sent on mission to teach.
Sister Florence professed her first vows in 1936. Prior to profession, she was admitted into the Roman Catholic Church. As was the custom then, she earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree by going to school in the evenings and on Saturdays and attending summer school. For the first six years she was an elementary teacher, and then an elementary principal for 41 years in Wisconsin and Illinois. Her love for children made teaching a pure joy. Sister Florence treasured her education so much that as principal she wanted to give the sisters and lay teachers all the opportunities to further their own education and become the best teachers possible. She worked closely with Alverno College, mentoring many of the young sisters and practicing what she had learned from her parents – “The best way to teach is with kindness.” Sister Florence had the special ability of teaching everyone to believe in themselves and their gifts and to live by her motto – “I CAN! Never I CAN’T!”
In 1950, Sister Florence opened St. Alphonsus School in Greendale, even though the building was not completely finished. Her “I CAN” motto translated into working late at night cleaning old donated furniture, preparing the seventh and eighth grade classes she taught, along with her job as principal and living in an old farm house three blocks from school.
In 1967, along with Sister Pauline and Sister Genevieve, she started the La Farge Program for the senior sisters in our community. Life was always about education for her!
Sometimes the unexpected happens. In 1979, at the age of 66, Sister Florence had serious brain surgery. She recovered remarkably well but had to leave her beloved teaching/principalship. However, she still said, “I CAN!” and moved into parish ministry for nine years. Finally, Sister Florence thought about retirement and returned to the Motherhouse, where she volunteered in the Development Office, then as receptionist and then as cashier in the dining room.
As time moved on, Sister Florence realized that she needed to totally retire and move to Sacred Heart Convent where her new ministry would be one of prayer and presence. She often spoke of how wonderful her life was in a community where we care for one another.
Sister Florence has left us. But picture this scene: Sister Florence is standing in front of God saying, “Hurry up. Where do I go? What should I do?” God answers her, “Come, my beloved daughter. Sit at my right hand!”
Sister Thelma Ann Schwank
Born: September 15, 1927
Died: May 10, 2013
Thelma Mae was born on September 15, 1927, to Kathryn and Harry Schwank in Grand Island, Nebraska. She and her two younger brothers, Don and Jerry, were raised in the small town of Oshkosh, Nebraska. Her brother Don served in the Air Force and was killed in Korea in 1952. Her brother Jerry is living in California, but was unable to be here today.
Thelma Mae attended public school in Oshkosh, since there were no Catholic schools in the vicinity. Although she did not experience religious training in school, she always felt a desire to explore religious life. Two of her aunts were School Sisters of St. Francis, Sisters Secunda and Guido, and they were a great example to her. So at the age of 16 she came to Milwaukee to join our community.
Thelma Mae was received in 1944 and given the name Sister Kateria. She spent three years as a homemaker at Alvernia High School in Chicago and then was asked to take charge of the cafeteria at Holy Angels School in Chicago.
Sister then spent one year at Ryan High School in Omaha before being called to Milwaukee in 1962 to take charge of the St. Mary’s Hill kitchen.
In 1969, Sister requested to attend nursing school, and from 1970 to 1973 she worked in the respiratory department of St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee.
From 1973 to 1976 she and Sister Secunda went to Ukiah, California, where she worked in the Ukiah Hospital as an LPN. It was a greatly appreciated chance for her to be near her family.
After those three years, being lonesome for community living, Sister moved back to Wisconsin. She was hired back at St. Luke’s but was urged by the sister nurses here to work at Campbellsport. Indeed, she did come to Campbellsport, and here she stayed, working as a charge nurse, night supervisor, and aide until retiring to do volunteer service. She also worked with hospice and was helpful in various other ways within the convent. Sister dedicated 35 years of her life to be of service here at St. Joseph Convent.
Friends and relatives remember Sister as someone who had a positive attitude, a good sense of humor, and the ability to put smiles on faces and touch hearts. One of the hospice nurses said that in her visit notes she said “sweet things” about the sisters who were assigned to her.
Many remember her as being smiling, generous, kind, and caring. May Jesus, who is never outdone in generosity, now gift her with His smile forever.
Sister Leota Wiederholt
Born: February 19, 1919
Died: January 11, 2013
If you ever saw a flower plant drooping, you could be certain that you also heard someone say, “Show the plant to Sister Leota. She’ll revive it!” We’ll always remember, Sister Leota, for reviving anything and anyone who was drooping. “Bloom where you are planted” best describes her philosophy.
On a large farm in Kieler, Wisconsin, on February 19, 1919, Peter and Anna Wiederholt were blessed with a baby daughter, Leota. She was one of seven children – three boys and four girls. Everyone had to learn how to do all the farm chores, even Sister Leota. Being the youngest girl didn’t merit her any privileges. She had to work as hard as the rest of the family. However, there was always time for ball games, tag, and riding on a board with wheels, which was Leota’s favorite.
When speaking of her family, Sister Leota’s eyes danced as she recalled the many happy times spent together. She often relived the fun and realized how her mom and dad had nurtured each one. They were taught to love God and each other. All the children attended Immaculate Conception School.
One of the younger boys was handicapped. Sister Leota shared a special love and bond with him and made sure he was included in all the fun. At the age of 17, Sister Leota traveled to Milwaukee to St. Joseph Convent, wanting to join the School Sisters of St. Francis and become a nurse. She was received into the community on June 13, 1937, and was known as Sister Milburga. During her postulancy and novitiate, she was assigned to work in the kitchen. It didn’t take long for her to realize that the community was preparing her for something other than being a nurse. She would be the homemaker on the mission- the ever-blooming flower brightening everyone’s day.
Her early mission life was spent in Milwaukee and Highland, Wisconsin, and in rural Nebraska. In 1948, Sister Leota was sent to Yazoo City, Mississippi, to keep house and cook for 14 sisters. She spent 50 years there and loved to recount her mission experiences. Her first 22 years were spent with the 14 sisters who staffed the two schools. The schools closed and left only three sisters. Quickly Head Start was begun and utilized the two school buildings. The program grew rapidly and enrollment increased to over 400. This necessitated the opening of four more sites. Sister Leota became the food server manager and had the responsibility of having the right amount of food at all the sites each week.
As the food service manager, Sister Leota felt she was on a vacation. When cooking and keeping house for 14 sisters, she felt a greater pressure as her day began before anyone was awake. She had to prepare breakfast, go to morning Mass and serve dinner while cleaning the house and doing laundry. As manager, her days began at 7:00 am, but she had the afternoon free to do sacristy work and roam around their 15-acre campus where she planted a vegetable garden and flowers and shrubs of every kind and color. Something was blooming all year round. She created the most scenic area in Yazoo City. In fact, the city presented her with the “Yard of the Month” award. Someone who visited there wrote, “I was deeply moved by the beauty of St. Francis Mission. There was a sense of being in a sacred place. The beautiful garden was some of Sister Leota's ministry. She planted the trees that surrounded the convent and other buildings. I was struck by all the birds and their song. Listening to their symphony was a treat.”
In 1998, after 50 years, Sister Leota retired. The parish celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving, held a reception and declared a Saturday in May as Sister Leota Day. In her farewell statement Sister Leota wrote, “Fifty years in Yazoo City didn’t seem that long. I was always busy. When you do work that you love, it becomes a part of you. It is hard to leave. This is the place I actually call home.”
Sister Leota came to Marian Hall and joined her sister, Sister Ann Petrine, in retirement. Later, she moved to St. Joseph Convent and when her health dictated a move to Sacred Heart, she graciously followed her lifelong philosophy and bloomed where she was planted! Thank you, Sister Leota. You have taught us to appreciate all of God’s beauty that surrounds us. You will always be with us, especially when the birds sing and the geraniums bloom.
Sister Marilyn Therese Wolfram
Born: March 4, 1929
Died: January 3, 2013
by Sister Agnes Marie Henkel
Sister Marilyn Therese Wolfram came into this world on March 4, 1929. She was the third child of Loretta (McDermott) Wolfram and William Wolfram. They were a farming family in Warren, Illinois. Marilyn, her brother, Bill, and sister, Arlene, grew up during the Depression years. She loved her family, her many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.
One of Marilyn’s fondest childhood memories was when her mother brought a box of goslings into the house to keep her company while she was ill. She also enjoyed riding her pony to bring in the cows from the pasture for milking. She loved Mother Nature throughout her life.
Marilyn attended public elementary and secondary schools. In addition, she took organ lessons from Sister Georgia Markus, a School Sister of St. Francis, in Stockton, Illinois. Prior to joining the School Sisters she served as the organist in her home parish, St. Ann. She also worked in an area bank. While Marilyn practiced and played the organ, she felt called to become a sister.
Marilyn entered the community in 1953 and was one of 80 novices who were received in 1954. She received the name Sister Mary Dennis. She professed her final vows in 1962. Sister attended Alverno College where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a minor in Liturgical Music.
She ministered as a teacher/organist in four Illinois parishes for 29 years. Marilyn earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Southern Illinois University. She also earned a Master’s Diocesan Certificate in Religious Education from Loyola University. While serving as a Director of Religious Education, Sister Marilyn relished the 21 years she spent working with adults through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in two Chicago parishes. After 50 years of ministry in the Catholic Church, Sister retired.
Sister Marilyn was a compassionate, caring woman, a peacemaker. She was always gracious, gentle, quiet and easily engaged in joy and laughter.
Sister Marilyn welcomed the Vatican II changes in the 1960s and felt it was a great time of spiritual growth for her. She returned to using her baptismal name, Marilyn Therese.
Sister Marilyn had a heart for the poor. She was open to ministering to the gay community and those in need. She had an awesome sense of integrity. She lived what she believed.
Sister Marilyn returned to her Maker on Thursday, January 3, 2013. She lived and died with joy, peace and great hope. She truly is one of God’s beloved.
Sister Eunice Wundrow (Jordan)
Born: July 26, 1924
Died: June 1, 2013
Eunice came into the world in her grandparents’ farm home on Sunday, July 26, 1924 in Greenville, Wisconsin, and was baptized the next day at St. Joseph Church in Appleton. She was the first-born in the family of Walter and Irene (Behling) Wundrow, and was joined by a sister 18 months later, then by four brothers in the next 16 years. As the oldest, she and her sister had responsibilities early on of babysitting the boys and helping with household chores.
The family moved to Middleton, Wisconsin, when she was four years old, and she attended the public school there. Except for physical ed and sports programs, she enjoyed it. There were about 20 children in every class, and most students were Lutheran, with only three or four Catholics. She and a friend would exchange thoughts their pastors had preached about. It was an early experience of ecumenism! In sixth grade she came down with rheumatic fever. To pass the time in the long recuperation, she read many books. As a “Depression kid,” she never felt deprived; her parents knew how to stretch their meager income.
In high school, one assignment was to write a paper on career choices. Hers was on the nursing profession, but concluded she didn’t have the gifts for it. Her mother asked if she might want to be a sister. “No” was her immediate response. Yet when a classmate invited her along for a bus ride to visit St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee, she accepted. In June they returned to witness a Reception ceremony at which she felt very impressed. They stayed overnight at Sacred Heart Sanitarium. Eunice had no inkling that later she would spend many years working there!
When their small parish in Middleton was given a resident priest, Eunice began to attend daily Mass. This practice sparked her desire to serve God as a sister. When she talked to her parents about it, they asked that she spend the year after graduation testing her decision. She found a job as a teacher and library aide at the public grade school, which had just received government funding from the National Recovery Act. At the end of that “waiting year,” Eunice learned that Sisters Cuthbert and Agatha Adler were planning to accompany their cousin, Loretta, who lived in nearby Ashton, to enter St. Joseph Convent. She asked to go with them. Her decision was firm: she would join the School Sisters of St. Francis.
As a candidate, Eunice had her ups and downs. But by June of 1943 she was at peace and was received as Sister Jordan. One day in the second year of novitiate, there was an announcement that the community was building a hospital in Beaver Dam, and there would be a need for nurses. A slip of paper was passed for volunteers. Apparently, she forgot the conclusion of her high school career paper! Something deep within told her to sign up. The next morning she was notified that she was one of those chosen to go. That night she dreamed that she was the only nurse on a large ward of very sick patients and every one of them died! She was shaken by the implications and reported the dream to Sr. Archelaus, the novice mistress. Sister smiled, her jaw dropped, and she could see that she was amused. She says of that moment, “I was advised to give nursing a good try.”
The three-year program in nursing was based at Sacred Heart Sanitarium. Sister began classes there in September of 1945 feeling very happy as she went about her work. Her first assignment after graduation and passing her State Boards was right there at Sacred Heart San and after that, next door at Villa Clement. Recalling her dream, she wrote, “Fortunately everyone survived my ministrations!”
Sister Eunice had other abilities besides nursing. She was elected to community administration and served a six-year term as the Generalate’s Fourth Councilor from 1966-1972. Soon after that, she suffered illness for the next four years. After recuperating, she went back to nursing, this time at St. Mary’s Hospital, Milwaukee.
In 1980 she had the opportunity to move to San Diego, California, where she took more studies in nursing education, holistic approaches to nursing, and school nursing. She put her skills to use in various ministries. The last job was in a parochial school as the school nurse and secretary. She said she learned a great deal there working with the children and with a wonderful, dedicated staff.
In 2002, while yet in California, she was rushed by ambulance to the hospital for serious health failures. Her classmate, Sister Leanne Herda, came from Kentucky to stay with her. After nine weeks she had improved enough for a plane ride back to Milwaukee, and was then transferred to St. Joseph Convent, Campbellsport, to recuperate. It was here she remained and where God gave her strength of spirit to hold on for the rest of her years.
Now was the time she had to let go and let God take her into His care and into His eternal home. Sister Eunice, we hope and pray that you are resting in peace in the embrace of your Healing God whom you have loved and served these many years.