Born to Life
July 9, 1926
June 13, 1945
Born to Eternal Life
July 31, 2020
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Leta Heese was the third of six children born to Charles and Wilhelmina Heese in Earling, Iowa, on July 9, 1926. She grew up on a farm west of town and was taught by the School Sisters of St. Francis at St. Joseph School in Earling, grades one through twelve. She not only learned how to do housework at home, but also how to assist with field work at harvest time.
At the age of 18, Leta felt the call to religious life. In 1944 she joined her aunts, Sisters Clarita Langenfeld and Laudina Heese, as well as many cousins, to become a School Sister of St. Francis. She was received in 1945 and was given the name Sister Alexandra. Years later, she was happy to return to her short baptismal name, Leta.
Sister Leta was an elementary teacher and principal for many years in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. She was retirement director for sisters at St. Patrick in Omaha and also served as a consultant in the Omaha Archdiocesan school office. While there, she made an outstanding presentation at vocation awareness days. She was always ready to share her life as a Franciscan. Later, Sister Leta was called to serve on Provincial Leadership Teams in the Western Province and in Milwaukee.
In 1991, after her term in Wisconsin, Sister went to Elgin, Nebraska, completing her years in ministry with pastoral outreach and substitute teaching. Sister Leta was a joyful, fun-loving person. Her dry wit always kept one alert. One example: As she visited the homebound, she informed them that she would make them happy, either when she came or when she left!
From Elgin, Sister moved to New Cassel Retirement Center in Omaha for a few years. In 2013, Sister Leta retired and moved to Sacred Heart in Milwaukee and began her ministry of prayer and presence. Sister Leta was a people person: her kindness, concern, and interest in everyone, always encouraging and helping people find their talents and then challenging them to use their talents. She was an example of true Franciscan joy.
Declining health and a stroke limited Sister Leta in the past two years, but the sparkle in her eyes still communicated everything.
Sister Leta, this year you celebrated your 75th Jubilee as a School Sister of St. Francis. In all these years, you touched the lives of many people. Now may you receive your eternal reward.
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.