Born to Life
November 16, 1934
June 13, 1953
Born to Eternal Life
July 26, 2022
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
In Volo, a small town in Illinois, a baby girl was born to Alexander and Ann Marie Martini on November 16, 1934. This cherished little girl was named Mary Catherine. Family life was shared with her older brother, Bill, and later with a younger brother, Tom. All of the children began school in Volo. In a few years the family moved to Skokie, Illinois, and the children attended St. Peter’s School and were taught by the School Sisters of St. Francis.
Thus, thoughts about becoming a sister began in elementary school. After graduation from high school, Mary Catherine entered the School Sisters of St. Francis in 1952. Reception Day was June 13, 1953, and she received the name of Sister Alexiann, a combination of her mother’s and father’s names. During these years she began her studies at Alverno College.
Sister Alexiann was professed in 1955 and in late August mission life began, first at St. Liborius School in Steger, Illinois, then Our Lady of Good Counsel in Aurora, followed by Sacred Heart in Lombard. Sister Alexiann completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology at Alverno College in summers.
Her high school teaching career began in 1968. The same year, in keeping with Vatican II’s reforms of religious life, she chose to return to her baptismal name: Mary Catherine. Sister Mary Catherine Martini began her over 50-year ministry back in Aurora at Aurora Central Catholic High School, sharing community life with Sister Agnes Daniels for many of those years. For 30 years, she taught biology and other science courses, and for some 20 more years was a guidance counselor, library director and test supervisor. During those years she furthered her education earning a master’s degree in iology and later a master’s degree in counseling.
During her many summers as a science teacher, Sister Mary Catherine participated in the Voyageur Wilderness Camp Program in Ontario, Canada, with her students. They will never forget this experience as she led the groups into the wilderness. It was there she met Jesuit Father Lou Busemeyer who also brought his students to the camp program.
Over the years they became good friends. Father Lou ultimately retired at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Milwaukee. Sister Agnes Daniels was also in Milwaukee, living at Sacred Heart Convent. Often, Sister Mary Catherine came to visit her dear friends and usually all three would visit at Sacred Heart.
In 2020 Sister Mary Catherine retired from Aurora Central Catholic High School and remained there as a volunteer. This year, 2022, when faced with a sudden and terminal health change, she chose to leave Aurora and come to Sacred Heart in Milwaukee. She desired to be with her sisters as she made her final journey. Leaving Madonna - Aurora Central Catholic High School completed a 96-year chapter of School Sister high school teaching ministry to the youth of Aurora and surrounding communities.
Sister Mary Catherine arrived at Sacred Heart with a joyful and open spirit. Her care plan from her doctor in Aurora was turned over to St. Camillus Hospice and the School Sisters health care team. For Sister Mary Catherine, each day was a new day, and she was ready to meet the challenges. Sister Mary Catherine was totally resigned and peaceful as the Lord called her home on the morning of Tuesday, July 26.
Thank you, Sister Mary Catherine, for your 69 years of faithful Franciscan living!