by Darlene Oliver, Editor, Spiritus Regis Christi Newsletter
The Christ the King community celebrated a mass for retirement from Catholic Education for Sister Bernice Gall, SSSF (School Sisters of St. Francis from Milwaukee, WI) on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at the 9:00 a.m. mass. Sister Bernice was presented with a PEACE statue by Isabel Bloom and she was honored at coffee and doughnuts after mass.
Sister Bernice (Benigna) Gall celebrated her golden jubilee as a School Sister of St. Francis in June 2006. She was born in Howells, NE, to Joseph and Mary Gall. She has five brothers, Edward, Dennis, Andy, Lee and Joe Gall, and three sisters, Alice Mastera, Benilda Spenner, and Marie Koley. Edward died in May 2012.
Sister Bernice was escorted to the convent by her aunt, Sister Marie Therese Kluthe. Sister Marie celebrated her 70th anniversary as a School Sister of St. Francis in 2010. Sister Bernice’s uncle, Fr. Rudolph Kluthe, inspired her decision to enter the religious life. Sister Bernice attended Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Music. She later attended St. Francis College in Fort Wayne, IN, where she received her Masters Degree in Education.
Sister Bernice lived her religious ministry in various dioceses and served as a teacher and organist in many parishes in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. She came to Christ the King School in 1984, spending the past 28 years serving our school community. During 2012-2013, Sister Bernice did ELL (English Language Learner) teaching at CKS. With new requirements by the State, Sister Bernice decided it was time to take leave of all the computer work, stress, and responsibility of her long and successful career in teaching.
Sister Bernice has been a member of St. Ambrose Parish and has served there as Lector, Eucharistic Minister, and religious educator for grade school students. She has been the Eucharistic Minister to shut-ins at the Elsie Mason Manor facility for at least 15 years, ministering to those residents who are unable to go out and attend Mass. Sister Bernice is also a registered massage therapist and does this part-time. She says that massage therapy is very relaxing and rewarding to all of the wonderful people she meets.
Attending weekly mass at Christ the King with the students has been a cherished memory for her. Her friendship bonds and wonderful support from parish, religious community, and CKS staff will be missed. Her retirement years will include the freedom and time to visit friends, the elderly, and family that she wishes to help and visit.
When asked if she ever regretted becoming a sister, her quick response was an emphatic “no.” Her sidebar comment was that whatever one chooses to do in life will have ups and downs. By far, the best thing has been the support she has received from others in the religious community.
Her typical day consists of at least one-half hour of prayer each morning. She looks forward to increasing her prayer time and attending daily mass more often when her schedule lightens.
Sister Bernice loves to sing, walk and read and deeply enjoys those precious moments with all of her family members and community. “It has been 28 years of great joy at Christ the King School. This was due to dedicated teachers, students, and parents,” says Sister. “I will always hold Christ the King Parish and School in my heart and prayers." It is safe to say that those she impacted by her presence in their lives will also deeply miss her presence here at Christ the King. May she continue to enjoy good health, love, peace, and joy in retirement. In song, Sister Bernice joyfully proclaimed the Blessing of St. Francis at her retirement mass: "May God bless you and keep you; may the Holy One grant you mercy; may the face of love shine on you and give you peace."