Born to Life
October 28, 1930
June 13, 1951
Born to Eternal Life
June 6, 2021
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
On October 28, 1930, the sixth child was born to John and Eva Greiner in Keota, Iowa and they named her Terese. Throughout her life she would always make sure you would know that her patron was the “Little Flower”.
In the coming years the family increased to nine: five boys and four girls. Terese attended the one room country school for three years and then transferred to St. Peter and Paul School in Clear Creek, Iowa, staffed by the School Sisters of St. Francis. After graduating from grade school her family moved to Grundy Center, Iowa where Terese attended High School. After graduation, she worked for two years before she followed her sisters, Sister Carolita and Sister Laurelle, into religious life.
Reception into the School Sisters of St. Francis for Terese was in 1951 and she received the name of Sister Ambrosia. During her novitiate years, she began her studies at Alverno College to prepare for teaching. Her classmates say she was a model novice, kept the rules, had the right answers, and took care of the priest department.
Mission life and a long teaching career began at St. Philomena Grade School in Chicago for four years. After that she went on to teach Math at Ryan High School in Omaha, St. Joseph High School in Kenosha, and then spent forty years teaching Math at Pius High School in Milwaukee. She loved teaching, watching her students expand their minds and horizons. Her favorite subject to teach was Geometry and her favorite students were the sophomores. They were so eager to master the difficult geometry theorems.
Because of her expertise as a Math teacher Sister Terese was invited to be the cooperating teacher for student teachers majoring in Math from Alverno College, Mount Mary College, Cardinal Stritch University, the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and Marquette University. It was a challenge which afforded her great satisfaction, knowing a student teacher would help encourage and develop more young minds. Sister Terese recognized the outstanding skills of one of the Alverno student teachers and recommended her for hire at Pius. Now, 35 years later Cathy is still on the faculty teaching Math. Cathy credits Sister Terese for her career’s success.
It was in 2001 that Sister Terese felt the need to leave the formal classrooms of Pius High School where she had spent so many years and move to St. Joseph Convent. Here she worked in two Milwaukee Public Charter Schools that were renting space in St. Joseph Center: the Milwaukee Leadership Training Center and Wings Academy. Wings Academy remained her school even after she no longer taught there due to health reasons. She kept in touch with the teachers and students and was always welcome in their classrooms. Sister Terese spent her years at St. Joseph Convent volunteering wherever help was needed. She treasured living with the group of Sisters and praying daily in common with them. She was an avid reader and when there was a need for a librarian, Sister Terese volunteered for the job. Sister Terese’s efforts resulted in a library in which the Sisters were involved.
As Sister Terese’s health declined it became evident that a move to Sacred Heart Convent where her needs could be met was in order. As expected, the transition to a life of prayer and presence was smooth. The most important gift of these years was the quiet time she now had to spend in prayer and reflection, remembering especially her students, her family and friends, and her Sisters. She read the daily paper and kept up with the news of the day so she could also remember the needs of the world in her daily prayers.
A student-friend, while attending summer school, wrote this about Sister Terese.
Quote: “A person who is as stuffy as a spring breeze and who stands on a pedestal the height of a mushroom. A person who loves children and admires trees and attracts flies and laughs at squirrels (Despite her obvious lack of rapport with dogs!) A person whom you call Sister. A woman of God! A religious in the truest sense of the word.”
Sister Terese, in this your 70th Jubilee Year as a School Sister of St. Francis, we rejoice with you for you have been the face of the Gospel to countless people. We know that you have been a woman of God. We witnessed you being a religious in the truest sense of the word. Go now in peace to the place prepared for you in Heaven!
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
I was one of the sophomores from Pius that had the privilege of being in Sr. Terese’s Geometry class. Because we had so much fun in her class she called our class “Social Geometry.” Sr. Terese fostered my love for math, so much so that I became an educator with a minor in Math. One of my proudest moments in my career was when I took a group of my eighth grade math students to Pius for a math competition and introduced them to Sr. Terese. I told her she was the reason my students were there.
~ Ann Buckley