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Julissa Duggan, BVM

Julissa Duggan, BVM died Nov. 28, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in South Garryowen, Iowa, on June 9, 1919, to William Patrick and Julia Winifred (Lynch) Duggan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1937, from St. Raphael Cathedral Parish, Dubuque, Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1940, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1945.

Julissa was an elementary school educator and administrator in Cascade, Cedar Falls, Davenport and Muscatine, Iowa. She also taught in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Tucson, Ariz.; Clarksdale, Miss.; and Chicago.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Joseph and Daniel; and sisters: Mildred Hilby, Cora Sullivan, Irene Lay, Anita Brandt, Evelyn Babcock, and Viola Baumhover. She is survived by nieces and nephews and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 77 years.

Sister Julissa Duggan, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Dec. 4, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Julissa Duggan.

Julia Vivian was born on June 9, 1919, in South Garryowen, Iowa. She was the eighth child of William Patrick Duggan and Julia Winifred Lynch. She had two older brothers, five older sisters, and one younger sister. In an interview, Julia recalled growing up in a large farm family: “It was hard to wear hand-me-downs until I was sixteen. I gave my clothes to Viola, #9 . . . Even the girls had to do farm work like milking the cows.”

The Duggans had a unique approach to homeschooling. The Duggan children attended the public school until William and Julia discovered that the Ku Klux Klan objected to the religion classes taught by the Catholic teacher. Together with other concerned parents, they bought an unused, one-room school house in Jackson County, moved it to their farm, and hired a local teacher to teach the Duggan children as well as some of their cousins. Now that is a “home” school.

The Duggan family eventually moved to Dubuque and Julia attended Cathedral Grade School and St. Joseph Academy where she was introduced to the BVMs. Julia said, “I always wanted to be a BVM sister. The call came as I observed the sisters who did so much. I desired to spread God’s love as they did . . .” Julia entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1937. She received the name Julissa upon her reception on March 19, 1938, professed first vows on March 19, 1940, and lived 77 years as a BVM.

Julissa was an elementary school teacher for 23 years teaching all grades from first through eighth over the expanse of her career. She was missioned in Davenport, Muscatine, Cedar Falls and Cascade, Iowa; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Clarksdale, Miss.; and Chicago. “The places where you had to endure more and had less were the happiest missions,” Julissa commented. “There was a ‘togetherness.’ We all saw the ends for which we were working.” She also served 23 years as principal in Cascade and Muscatine. In an interview with the Muscatine Journal, Julissa said, “I’ve always told my teachers that a smile and a kind word when greeting the children is so important! We don’t know what rough experiences some little kiddos may have had before they came to school and we may help to make their lives brighter.”

Julissa retired from teaching in 1987 and resided at St. Mathias Convent in Muscatine where, over the course of three missions, she had lived for 39 years. She recalled the time when Hayes Catholic HS closed and parish elementary schools consolidated and occupied the Hayes building. “My picture hung on the wall as the founder. [In 2008,] one of the students asked, ‘Who is that lady? What does she look like now?’ So the principal called and asked if they could take a field trip to see me. About fifty came to answer that question. I had taught their grandparents. One boy said, ‘You’re old just like my grandma. Can I kiss you?’ So they all lined up for a kiss . . .”

Children were not all that Julissa kissed! She was very proud of her Irish heritage, so a trip to Ireland in 1976 would not have been complete without a stop in County Cork to kiss the Blarney Stone.

Julissa moved to Mount Carmel in 1991 and called her years at the Motherhouse “exciting and satisfying.” Each morning while workers were installing geothermal heat on the ground floor of the Motherhouse, she would make two dozen pots of coffee and prepare orange juice and cookies for them. A few years earlier, a brief conversation between Julissa and a workman ended with a request to pray for his daughter. Julissa asked his daughter’s name so she could mention her by name to the Lord. With that simple question, the man left, assured that she would keep her promise.

Julissa dealt with a number of health issues in her lifetime. In 2002, she contracted a disease that attacked her spine. She survived, about which her doctor said, “You are not supposed to be here!” She returned to Marian Hall to recuperate and begin what she referred to as her “senior years,” commenting that her illness was a “gift” and that it gave her “a chance to get to know God even better.” Her words echoed the message of St. Peter: “For a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith . . . may prove to be for praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

God indeed had more work for her to do and intended her to keep brightening the lives of others with her presence. Just gazing upon Julissa’s radiant face, her sparkling eyes and gorgeous smile, one could not help but hear:

“When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.”

Today the angels are singing the most wonderful song for the beautiful soul of our dear Julissa has joined the heavenly chorus.

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If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


Mary Faith Lautz, BVM

Mary Faith Lautz, BVM died Oct. 1, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 10–11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Dickinson, N.D. on Dec. 12, 1917, to Frank and Ann (Wenner) Lautz. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1935, from St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Milwaukee. She professed first vows on March 19, 1938, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1943.

Mary Faith was an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator in Wichita, Kan.; Chicago; Milwaukee; Phoenix; Fairbanks, Alaska; Kansas City, Mo.; and San Jose, Calif. She was administrator of the Roberta Kuhn Center at Mount Carmel, Dubuque, and served in pastoral ministry in Anchorage and Holy Cross, Alaska.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sisters Dorothy Hamilton and Jane Singer. She is survived by nieces and nephews, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 79 years.

Sister Mary Faith Lautz, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Oct. 9, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary Faith Lautz.

Mary Helen Lautz was born on Dec. 12, 1917, in Dickinson, N.D., joining her sisters Dorothy and Jane as the three children of Frank Lautz and Ann Wenner. Their father operated a grain elevator in North Dakota until his business declined. He traveled to Michigan to look for work while the girls and their mother moved to Dodgeville, Wis., to be near their mother’s family. Mary Helen’s father died in Detroit during the 1918 flu epidemic. Both her mother and Mary Helen also contracted the flu but fortunately recovered. The Lautz girls lived with their maternal grandparents in Dodgeville, while their mother trained in Milwaukee, Wis., to become a nurse. Eventually, the girls rejoined their mother.

Mary Helen attended Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee where she was introduced to the BVMs. She commented, “I loved them! They were funny; they played jokes on each other.” She was led to a religious vocation by school retreats and the chiding thought, “What does it profit to gain the world and lose one’s soul?” Sister Fleurette Blameuser, Mary Helen’s art teacher, guided her into the BVMs. “That this was the very best way to live my life sent me to the convent without looking back,” she wrote in her autobiography. Mary Helen entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1935, and received the name Faith upon her reception on March 19, 1936. She professed first vows on March 19, 1938, and lived 79 years as a BVM.

Faith taught elementary grades in Wichita, Kans., and Chicago for 14 years. Later she taught art and government at Holy Angels Academy in Milwaukee for 12 years. Often teachers never know the extent of their influence in the lives of their students. However, in 2011 Faith received a letter from a former student who wrote, “I was in [your] sixth grade [class] at St. Joseph School in Wichita, Kan., . . . I was a member of the Baptist Church. You were the very reason that I became a Catholic . . . I wish to thank you for all you taught me about the Church. My parents . . . at their deaths both had returned to the church.”

Faith served eight years as principal at St. Francis Xavier HS (now Xavier College Preparatory) in Phoenix. She wrote, “[It was a] time in our community of turmoil, of questioning, of change, of loss. Living there was for me worldly, sophisticated, free and unsettling. I wanted to be away to a simpler world, a place where I could once again possess my soul in peace.” She found that peace teaching at Monroe HS in Fairbanks, Alaska, until she was asked to accept the position of assistant principal at Regis O’Hara High School in Kansas City, Mo.

Two year later, Faith returned to Alaska to spend the next nine years working as the administrator of a retreat house, an assistant in the Religious Education Office of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, and a pastoral associate of two parishes. About her time with the Athabascan Indians and Eskimos she wrote, “The image I had of happy, colorfully-dressed, native children with loving parents in snug little homes was modified when I saw the poor condition of many homes and the litter and dirt on the streets . . . One needs great faith, hope, love to keep up one’s courage when working with good but very poor people who seem to have no roots in faith . . . How much good I did by being there, being a friend, being the presence of ‘church,’ I do not know. I did love my time there and, had not my years warned me to move on, I would have remained . . . I left with a heavy heart.”

Faith returned to the Lower Forty-eight in 1986 to teach in San Jose, Calif. The following year, she moved to Dubuque to become the administrator of the Roberta Kuhn Center where she also taught art classes. “It was a wonderfully joyous place and I loved it,” remarked Faith. In 2003, after breaking her ankle in a car accident, she moved to Mount Carmel.

Faith was a gifted artist whose work Women in Scripture was included in the Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America Exhibit at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library here in Dubuque. Her Master’s thesis “The Sacred Heart” graces the wall just outside this chapel. When Faith was at Help of Christians School in Chicago, she was constantly asked to paint spiritual bouquets and altar linens. “The Superior, [Sister Alethea Garrity], had me painting through the night to catch up. Sister Ann Regina [Dobel] used to read to me while I continued painting. One time we were still painting and reading when the rising bell rang for the day.” When asked if she feels like an artist, she replied, “No, I feel like an art teacher . . . I loved to teach and loved the contact with students.” She was frequently asked to critique the works of beginning artists. She always gave her honest opinion and, true to her teaching charism, offered suggestions for improvement, if necessary.

Faith was an independent thinker and a doer who made lasting impressions with her warm, welcoming and gracious smile. She was genuinely happy to see people and formed many lifelong friends. She dearly loved her family and eagerly awaited their visits, calls and letters and plastered her bulletin board with their photos. Besides her passion for art, Faith loved music, dance and cats and, according to a friend, she could “cook an Alaskan salmon like no one else.”

Faith certainly heeded St. Paul’s urging to the Ephesians “to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love . . .” Reflecting upon her life, Faith commented, “I look back at the joys and sorrows, successes and failures, and waste no time wondering whether I made the right choice . . . I thank God for my life as a BVM.” And we thank God for the blessing Faith has been in our lives as we celebrate her entrance into eternal life.

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If you would like to give a memorial in honor of this Sister click here.


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