It is a delight to be in the presence of a grace-filled, lady-like woman who has been a School Sister of St. Francis for 80 years.
There were three main influences in her early life that fostered her vocation to the community that she entered when she was 13 years old. The first was being born at home on a farm in the small town of Pine Bluff, Wisconsin. The people in this special town were a loving community who knew one another and cared for their neighbors. She and her loved ones were embraced by this town! (Eileen Marie proudly owns a book about her hometown called Pine Bluff: A Crossroads in Wisconsin.)
Another important influence was her loving home in which her mother and father taught her and her siblings “always think of others.” This is a lesson that Sister Eileen Marie learned well and practiced all of her life. An aunt, Sister Laurentine, also took care of her as a child. Eileen Marie loved her and related what a good person she was. This “good person” was a School Sister of St. Francis and a positive influence on Eileen. They stayed close through the years, yet lived far apart in their mission assignments. It’s interesting that Eileen was given the name Sister Laurentia; Eileen’s father and her grandfather were both named Lawrence.
After 80 years of convent living and her many ministries, Eileen Marie has a multitude of stories she can share, and some she keeps in her loving, forgiving heart. One story pertains to the bank failures in 1929 and the Depression years. Eileen Marie’s parents lost their savings and were left with only four cents, but they survived with food and basic things on their farm. EileenMarie learned at an early age to make-do with what she had and live simply as a budding Franciscan. Eileen Marie especially loved her 13 years of pastoral ministry and being a driver at Clement Manor!
It is noteworthy and many of us remember that Sister Eileen Marie served as our Generalate secretary and administrative assistance to three of our presidents, Sisters Lauretta Mather, Frances Cunningham, and Frances (Kate) Brenner, as well for the Development office and other areas.
Sister Eileen Marie’s service record is filled with her service playing the organ. Mother Stanislaus asked her to serve in music ministry because she had 16 piano lessons before entering the community!
Sister Eileen Marie relishes her life at Maria Linden and especially enjoys relating with the other residents. She continues to serve our community as a marvelous lector! She loves to read and has enjoyed embroidery. There is a beautifully done, framed embroidery of flowers hung above her bed. What a lovely symbol of herself and her life!
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