Born to Life
July 25, 1936
June 13, 1956
Born to Eternal Life
August 17, 2023
West Allis Memorial Hospital
West Allis, Wisconsin
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Sister Larina Williams was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, in a family of 13 children by parents of extraordinary faith. Her dad’s father was a Baptist minister and her mother converted to Catholicism in her early twenties. Her mother had her heart set on bringing her husband and all 13 children into the Catholic Church.
Sister Larina attended public school until fifth grade. When her mother enrolled her in sixth grade at Holy Angels School in Chicago, she was inspired by the sisters and was baptized a Catholic along with her dad and five of her siblings.
She wanted to enter the School Sisters of St. Francis after eighth grade, but the community would not accept her at that time. She was advised to attend St. Angela Boarding School in Carroll, Iowa, instead. After Sister Larina graduated from high school, Sister Hortensia, principal of Holy Angels School, wasted no time helping her prepare for the postulancy in the School Sisters of St. Francis community.
During her 45 years of ministry in education, Sister Larina taught all levels of elementary education at St. Martin, St. Clare, St. Kilian, and Holy Angels schools in Chicago. In the last ten years of her tenure at Holy Angels School, she served as Assistant Principal. In 1993, Sister Larina was awarded the Golden Apple Award from the Golden Apple Foundation for her excellence in teaching.
Sister Larina said, “The most rewarding years of my ministry were at Holy Angels School. Though we had teachers from six different religious communities and a sizeable group of lay teachers, we enjoyed a genuine family atmosphere in the school where everyone felt accepted, respected and cared for by one another. The 1,000-plus children and their parents were very cooperative and showed a lot of support toward all the teachers.”
Sister Larina said, “My 67 years in religious life have been filled with many graces and blessings. Many former students of mine have done well with their lives. The sisters I lived with exude an inner joy and happiness that lights up my day.
“Community life requires a shared life that is rooted in deep spirituality. To sustain a life-long commitment, we must root ourselves deeply in our faith. Anyone considering a vocation to religious life today will find a most satisfying life if they enter for the right reasons and if they are capable of making a commitment that will sustain them through life. God is always close, inviting us to keep ourselves open to His continual help in new and surprising ways.”
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.
Memories from Loved Ones, Friends & Colleagues
Great memories of the School Sisters from St. Kilian Parish, Chicago. Sr. Larina, Sr. Celesta, Sr. Marilyn, and the enforcer Sr. Jannie VA. Sr. Larina was an outstanding teacher. Good friend. She will be missed. May she rest in peace!
~ Larry L. Thrash