Sister Agnesetta Steffensmeier

Sister Agnesetta SteffensmeierSister Agnesetta enjoyed sharing stories from her 70 years of life with the School Sisters of St. Francis.  She was born in St. Paul, Iowa, on September 30, 1932. She was the second oldest of four children. Her baptismal name was Teckla, which means “Glory of God,” in honor of her aunt.

At 20 years of age, she entered the School Sisters of St. Francis, and she was received in 1953. She said that hanging around with her aunt, Sister Helena, is what most influenced her coming to the convent.  She remembers Sister Helena in her room with her rosary during a time of drought on the farm singing, “Lord, send us rain,” and it rained that night. Her other aunt was Sister Aurelia, and both Helena and Aurelia were sisters of her father, Frank. 

Sister Agnesetta was sent on her first mission to St. Philomena Parish in Chicago, as a homemaker.  Sister recalled how her mother used to say, “She was always stirring in the kettles.” Her second mission was to Alvernia High School, where she served in the kitchen with Sister Ellenice and Sister Margaret Mary.  Her next, and final, mission was St. Joseph Convent, Campbellsport, where she ministered for 40 years, beginning as a nurses’ aide on Wing One and Wing Two of the evening and night shifts. These floors were home to the sisters with dementia.

She liked St. Joseph Convent best of all because it was in the country and she had a variety of work to do.  She worked in the convent garden, which at that time stretched the entire length of the space from the convent to Helena Street. She remembers that one particular fall, there was an early frost, and the tomatoes and grapes froze. The scene was one of desperation to pick the apples before they froze.

Sister Agnesetta enjoyed doing a variety of jobs. One Advent found her making new “rocks” for the Christmas crib.  She said she was happy she remembered how to boil the starch to form those rocks.  She would also be seen moving furniture on a cart from one floor to the next.

Sister also enjoyed crocheting.  She made prayer shawls and baby blankets until her hands could no longer crochet.  With the closing of St. Joseph Convent in Campbellsport, she moved to Sacred Heart in Milwaukee. Sister Agnesetta remains a vital member of Sacred Heart, providing prayer and presence as she continues to age with grace. Congratulations, Sister Agnesetta, on your 70th jubilee!

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