Born to Life
July 17, 1934
June 13, 1951
Born to Eternal Life
July 8, 2021
Our Lady of the Angels
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Sister Eleanor was born to Leo M. Blake and Evelyn K. Blake (May) on July 17, 1934 in McHenry, Illinois. She was baptized Eleanor Marie at St. Mary of the Assumption Church. Eleanor was the third oldest of nine children; she had 3 brothers and 5 sisters of whom 1 brother and 2 sisters are deceased. In addition to being taught in elementary school by the School Sisters of St. Francis, Eleanor had lots of contact with the sisters since the family lived across the street from the church.
After 8th grade Eleanor decided that she didn’t want to go to high school. Her mother asked her older sister Elaine, to try to convince her to go, but Eleanor refused and told her she was going to the convent. She hadn’t told their mother yet. Her decision may have been influenced by her three aunts, Sisters Jeremia, Ildefons and Arcadia who would stay at the parish convent when they came for home visits. Eleanor entered our community in 1949. At her reception in 1951, she received the name Sister Charles Marie. Later she returned to her baptismal name – Eleanor.
During her novitiate Sister Eleanor worked in the Motherhouse kitchen. After her Profession she was sent on mission and served as a homemaker in various convents in Illinois. Her last ministry was at St. Isidore Parish in Bloomingdale. She loved planning big meals for the many priests who would attend the Confirmation ceremonies. They loved her tasty dishes and she enjoyed their compliments. She was well-known as a great cook and homemaker not only in the parish, but in the DuPage corner of the Joliet diocese. Anyone entering the apartment building where Sister Eleanor lived could smell her wonderful cookies and breads. If a neighbor helped her with anything, they were always thanked with a bag of cookies or bread. Sister Eleanor also shared her gifts of food and bakery with the Sisters at celebrations in the Rockford province. And she was renowned for her extra-large plate of cookies that was auctioned each year at the Fall Festival in Milwaukee.
Sister Eleanor stayed in close contact with her family. To them she was known as Sister Re-Re. She got this nickname because her older sister Mitzi who was only a toddler when Eleanor was born couldn’t say Eleanor and shortened Marie to Re-Re
Sister Eleanor liked to read. She subscribed to many magazines and collected cookbooks. But her favorite pastime was playing BINGO and she attended St. Matthew’s parish bingo every week. At times she would bring her bakery and people were eager to buy it from her.
In 2020 when her health was declining, she retired and moved to Milwaukee, first to Maryhill Convent and shortly thereafter to Our Lady of the Angels in Greenfield where she continued playing bingo.
Sister Eleanor was a happy “people person” and enjoyed an evening out with friends or family. Her laugh was contagious. She listened well and made others feel like she was really focused on them. She had a beautiful “Presence” with others. And now she in enjoying being in the presence of God to whom she dedicated her life.
Join Us in Remembering
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.