Born to Life
October 27, 1917
St. Paul, Iowa
June 13, 1943
Born to Eternal Life
April 19, 2020
Our Lady of the Angels
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Marietta Cecelia Holtkamp was born on October 27, 1917, to Emma and Frank Holtkamp. She was the second oldest of four brothers and two sisters who grew up on a farm in St. Paul, Iowa.
She was taught by the School Sisters of S. Francis at St. James School in St. Paul. The children had to get up early, as they walked four and a half miles to Mass and school every day. In the winter, they sometimes got a ride in a horse-drawn buggy. Their report cards always indicated perfect attendance at school.
Since Marietta was the oldest girl, her mother taught her many things. She enjoyed it when her mother taught her how to bake different things, such as pies and cakes. There were no high schools for students to attend in the area. After graduating from eighth grade, Marietta worked for other families doing housework, baking, and taking care of children.
At the age of 24, Marietta followed her sister, Sister Annina, into the School Sisters of St. Francis community. She was received into the community on June 13, 1943, and given the name of Sister Annelda. Her first ministry was in the Motherhouse laundry facilities. Working the large machines became very difficult, so Sister Engratia, her kind supervisor, gave her the job of ironing. She ironed many priest shirts and was very amused as she had never had a husband for whom to do this!
Sister remembered taking a home economics class later with Sister Turibia as a teacher. Because of the years she had spent learning from and helping her mother, Sister Annelda felt she knew everything that would be taught in the class before it began.
Sister Annelda worked as a homemaker in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Nebraska. For 33 years, from 1959 to 1992, she worked at St. Joseph High School Convent in Kenosha. Sister enjoyed making meals for the sisters and became a very close friend of Sister Virginia Handrup, who often gave her clothes that she needed. In a letter written the day before she died, Sister Virginia wrote how blessed she was to be Sister Annelda's friend because of Annelda’s “faith, positive attitude, and good cheer.”
Sister Annelda's last mission was at St. Mary's Convent in Chilton, Wisconsin. For 13 years, Sister continued sharing her homemaking skills. She also did beautiful embroidery, wrote letters to friends and relatives, and even had a special ten-day trip to Canada. In Chilton, Sister received two ribbon awards at the County Fair because, as she said, “I could make almost anything.” Sister Annelda also remembers playing a game called “Hand and Foot” every Sunday with a 90-year old friend.
In 2005, Sister Annelda went to live at Campbellsport to minister by her prayer and presence. Even there, she helped with many small tasks when volunteers were needed. She moved to Our Lady of the Angels in March 2011. She brought great joy to others by her beautiful laugh when she shared stories of her life. We thank God for all the blessings given to us in the life of Sister Annelda.