Sister Agnes Marie Steiner


Sister Agnes Marie Steiner


Born to Life
March 13, 1934
Charlesburg, Wisconsin

June 13, 1953

Born to Eternal Life
February 29, 2024
West Allis Memorial Hospital
West Allis, Wisconsin

Sisters’ Cemetery
Campbellsport, Wisconsin


On a very cold day, March 13, 1934, to be exact, the seventh of eight children of John J. Steiner, and the fourth of five children of Ida Steffes Steiner was born in Charlesburg, Wisconsin. The new baby was baptized Agnes Marie the very next day.

Agnes had great admiration for both her parents, but especially for her father, who had lost three children and lost his first wife while she was giving birth. After he remarried, he and Ida lost another child two months after Agnes’ birth. Their strong faith and love provided strength.

The family was closely knit and lived their faith with many devotions and activities at St. Charles Parish in Charlesburg. Work was an essential part of the Steiner family. Agnes soon became part of the workforce by gathering eggs and working in the garden. Barn and field work were part of the farm routine.

Reading the newspaper and playing cards were important activities also. Scrutinizing newspaper articles and sharing views and opinions laid the foundation for Agnes’ great interest in politics. National Public Radio was her favorite radio station later as an adult.

The relatives assisted the family whenever they needed help because of her mother’s many health problems. Thus, Agnes learned the value of community living.

In 1952, after graduating from New Holstein High School, Agnes answered the call to religious life which she had had as a very young child. It had been influenced by relatives who wrote letters to the family about their lives as religious. At her Reception in 1953, she was given the name Lydia Anne. Lydia had been the name of one of her older sisters, who had died before Agnes got to know her.

Agnes was always grateful for the extraordinary education she received at Alverno College. It provided a solid background for her 60 years in education, both in rural and urban settings, with the rich and the poor, and the young and the old.

Sister earned a Master’s Degree in remedial reading from the University of Wisconsin in Superior, Wisconsin. This was used well in helping students struggling with learning. She had a great understanding for them. She herself had had trouble speaking, writing, and spelling as the result of the loss of some intellectual ability due to whooping cough as a child.

Her first five years of ministry were in Chicago, then the rural places of Allenton, Newburg, Stone Lake (one of three Indian reservations she served in her life)

Cross Plains, Dorchester, and Seymour – all in Wisconsin. Her time in Dorchester was of special importance. It was a marvelous experience because in the Dorchester/Medford area lived the families of Sisters Therese Geiger, Barbarina Jantsch, Bernetta Heindl, Agnes Stauner, Joanne Werner, and Jean Marie Weber. These families “adopted” her, and she was often invited to their homes for celebrations and to play cards.

It was also while Agnes was in Dorchester that she had numerous opportunities. In the summer of 1979, she was a part of the “Living Aware” program. She travelled to see and live with the sisters in Kentucky and West Virginia. In the summer of 1980, she was given a Fulbright Award and was off to the Hebrew University in Israel with 30 social studies teachers from all parts of the United States.


Sister served as a principal for 19 years. For a period of five years, Sister taught home schooling in Southern California for students who had been injured or sick and could not attend school. For 22 years, Agnes taught at Irvine Adult School and at the Saddleback Adult School in California for students learning English as a second language. She met hundreds of people from all over the world which enriched her greatly and enhanced her love for immigrants.

Besides all this, Agnes also was very involved with our community as an Area Coordinator while at Seymour, Wisconsin, then in California, and again in Greenfield, Wisconsin. While she was in Southern California, she was the “contact sister” for the associates in that area.

Sister was truly a lifelong learner and teacher. She continued these aspects of her life in retirement by participating in classes at Clement Manor, where she had lived since 2015, and by teaching with Literacy Services of Wisconsin, especially with students from other countries.

When nieces asked Agnes if joining the sisterhood was a good decision, she replied, “Where else would I have had all the opportunities and blessings that I was provided as a School Sister of St. Francis? For this, I am exceedingly grateful.”

- Sister Carol Ann Jaeger


Join Us in Remembering
Sister Agnes Marie

We encourage you to share your loving memories of Sister’s life and ministry using the online form on this page. Your submission will be reviewed by the community and posted to this page promptly.


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Memories from Loved Ones, Friends & Colleagues

I remember Sister Agnes being caring, compassionate, intelligent, knowledgeable, and kind. I was just a little girl when my mother met sister in our apartment complex. My siblings and I grew up in a house with primarily Spanish speaking parents. I now understand why sister took an interest in helping us with our school studies. As I got older, she continued to help me with reading and writing. I will forever be thankful to God for placing her into my life. May she rest in eternal peace.

~ Griselda Flores