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Obituaries

Isabelle Hennessy, BVM (Vaune)

Isabelle Hennessy, BVM died March 9, 2015, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 4:30–6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 14, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on Feb. 6, 1923, to Robert and Mary Ellen (Mencil) Hennessy. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1949, from Holy Rosary Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1952, and final vows on July 16, 1957.

Isabelle taught secondary school in Mason City, Burlington and Sioux City, Iowa; St. Louis; and Glendale, Santa Barbara and Burbank, Calif. She ministered as counselor in the Chicago public school system and at Lakeview HS, Chicago, where she also served as volunteer counselor.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother Robert; and sisters: Mary Virginia Swanson, Catherine Goulding, and Anna Hennessy. She is survived by a brother, John, Elmwood Park, Ill.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 65 years.

Sister Isabelle Hennessy, BVM (Vaune)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, May 14, 2015

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Isabelle Hennessy. We greet members of Isabelle’s family, her brother John, and her nephews and niece.

Isabelle Hennessey was born on Feb. 6, 1923, in Chicago to Robert Hennessy and Mary Ellen Mencil. She was the youngest of six children and joined siblings Mary Virginia (Marie), Catherine, Robert, Anna and John. She graduated from Mundelein College, Chicago, in June 1945 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology with minors in psychology and English education and immediately applied for admission to the congregation.

Isabelle first entered on Sept. 8, 1945, but withdrew as a postulant the following January due to her father’s declining health. After his death, she reentered on Sept. 8, 1949, received the name Vaune upon her reception on March 19, 1950, and professed first vows on March 19, 1952.

Isabelle ministered in secondary education for 34 years. As a dedicated, enterprising and creative English teacher, she was missioned in California at Glendale Holy Family; Santa Barbara Catholic; and Burbank Bellarmine-Jefferson; in Missouri at St. Louis Xavier; and in Iowa at Mason City Holy Family; Burlington Notre Dame Central; and Sioux City Heelan. Isabelle completed a master’s degree in counseling and had hoped to be a counselor at Heelan. However, Heelan was in need of a teacher with a master’s degree in English. So Isabelle attended college fulltime to earn her second master’s degree. Unfortunately, when she returned to Heelan, a new administrator—unaware of the verbal agreement between Isabelle and the former principal—had hired a lay English teacher. Out of a job, Isabelle moved to Chicago where she worked as a counselor in the Chicago public schools. She was a volunteer counselor at the Howard Area Community Center.

Isabelle lived at Wright Hall from 1992 until moving to Mount Carmel in 2010. Her relatively good health might be credited to walking the stairwells and floors of Wright Hall. After a fall last year, she worked very hard to regain her mobility and was deeply grateful to all who visited while she was confined to her room. Eventually, she resumed walking the corridors and was seen doing so just hours before her death.

Isabelle was a very private person, but was known to be conscientious, compassionate, generous and loyal. She was very sensitive and charitable towards those suffering misfortune. She felt a true love for her BVM sisters while shouldering heavy family needs which included years of caring for her sick brother Robert until his death in 1989. She also liked animals and enjoyed reading about them.

Jesus said, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” While her father’s illness delayed her entrance, Isabelle remained firmly committed to God’s call. On March 19, she celebrated the 65th anniversary of her reception with the members of her set. In gratitude we remember the fruits of Isabelle’s labor, and with joy we celebrate her entrance into eternal life.

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Gertruda Struble, BVM

Gertruda Struble, BVM died March 9, 2015, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will  be from 4:30–6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed     by a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 14, in the   Marian Hall Chapel. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Murdock, Kan., on March 5, 1914, to Leo Joseph and Ruth Gertrude (Hyde)   Struble. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1943, from St. Louis Parish, Waterloo,  Kan. She professed first vows on March 19, 1946, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1951.

Gertruda was an elementary school teacher in Omaha and Lincoln, Neb.; Butte, Mont.; Chicago; and Wichita, Kan.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers: Patrick, George, and Rev. Louis Struble; and sisters Leonetta Struble, BVM, and Ethel Struble. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 71 years.

Sister Gertruda Struble, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall Chapel, May 14, 2015

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of the life of our Sister Gertruda Struble.

Ruth Gertrude was born in Murdock, Kans., on March 5, 1914, to Leo Joseph Struble and Ruth Gertrude Hyde, joining older sisters Dorothy and Ethel. Three brothers were to follow: Patrick; George, who was killed in the Pacific theater during World War II; and Louis, who was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Wichita. Ruth’s parents were farmers and she helped with the all the work that went into rural living in the 1920s and 1930s. Ruth attended her parish grade school and then graduated from Mt. Carmel Academy in Wichita.

A call to religious life was strong among the women in the Hyde-Struble family. When Ruth entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1943, she was following in the footsteps of her sister Dorothy, who professed as Sister Leonetta, and her aunts, Sister Mary Genesia Hyde and the former Sister Mary Johanna Hyde. Four of her cousins also entered the community: Sisters Agnes, Lucy and Mable Parker and the former BVM Joan Parker. Ruth received the name Gertruda upon her reception on March 19, 1944, and professed first vows on March 19, 1946.

Gertruda spent 44 of her 71 years in religious life as a first grade teacher. She was missioned at St. Bridget in Omaha, Neb.; St. Ann and St. John in Butte, Mont.; St. Gertrude and Holy Family in Chicago; St. Mary and St. John in Lincoln, Neb.; and 25 years at St. Joseph in Wichita, Kans. Gertruda had a great love of reading and shared that passion with her students. A sister who was missioned with Gertruda at Holy Family in the 1960s commented, “She was a marvelous, no nonsense, yet gentle first grade teacher who gave the inner-city children a firm foundation in learning. In the convent, Gertruda kept the house accounts. She was meticulous in the handling of money, so much so that she spent time looking for a few cents. She was as conscientious about that money as she was to see that the children got a good education.”

Gertruda was a quiet, kind, caring person who deeply loved her family and her home state of Kansas. Gertruda would spend summers with her sister Ethel in Hutchinson, Kan., tending to the vegetable garden they had planted. It would befit Gertruda’s character to assume she and Ethel shared the bounty from their garden. Gertruda cared for her mother for two years before her mother’s death at age 97. She also cared for Sister Dorene Good, BVM until Dorene moved to the Adorers of the Blood of Christ Home in Wichita. Gertruda moved to Mount Carmel in 2006. Before the death of Sister Francile Luking, Gertruda and Francile were often seen holding hands. Just two days after the first anniversary of Francile’s death, the two friends were reunited.

St. Paul wrote, “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest.” Gertruda spent 101 years in faithful service to her family, friends, students, congregation and God. How bountiful her harvest!

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Carolita McMahon, BVM

Carolita McMahon, BVM died March 10, 2015, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Friday, March 13, 2015, 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 Chicago on July 20, 1916, to Thomas and Caroline Nebel McMahon. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1935, from St. Andrew Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1938, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1943.

Carolita taught music and was an elementary and secondary school educator in Washington and Burlington, Iowa; Kansas City, Mo.; Chicago and Cicero, Ill.; and Burbank and Santa Barbara, Calif.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Helen and Genevieve; and brothers: James, Daniel, Thomas (who died in childhood), Joseph, and Thomas (Carolita's twin). She is survived by nieces and nephews and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 79 years.

Sister Carolita McMahon, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, March 13, 2015

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Carolita McMahon.

Mary McMahon and twin brother Thomas were born on July 20, 1916, in Chicago. They were the youngest of the eight children born to Thomas McMahon and Caroline Nebel. Her call to the teaching profession came early when even as a child she played the role of a teacher when interacting with other children.  Mary was an avid reader who convinced the librarian to allow her to check out 15 books at a time, often reading two or three books in one day.

Mary first attended public school and then a Catholic school run by the Sisters of Providence, but the Providence high school was too far from her home.  She was awarded a scholarship to the Immaculata where, in her words, “I fell in love with the BVMs.”  Sister Leonette O’Connor, her piano teacher, and Sister Harrita Fox, her history teacher, greatly influenced her decision to join the Sisters of Charity. With the help of her sister Genevieve, who cashed a war bond to purchase the right clothes for her, Mary entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1935.  Eight years later Mary’s niece and Genevieve’s daughter, Geneve Moran, also entered the congregation.  Mary received the name Carolita upon her reception on March 19, 1936, professed first vows on March 19, 1938, and lived 79 years as a BVM.

Carolita spent 50 years primarily teaching music at schools in Kansas City, Mo.; Burbank and Santa Barbara, Calif.; Washington and Burlington, Iowa; and Chicago and Cicero, Ill.  Her first mission was at St. Vincent in Kansas City.  “At first I thought it was St. Vincent in Chicago and I was thrilled,” Carolita recalled in an interview. “I pictured Kansas City as a desert with one cactus, but found out what a beautiful place it was.” 

Her favorite mission was Our Lady of Angels in Chicago, but she counted herself fortunate to have left the year before the terrible fire.  At Bellarmine-Jefferson High School in Burbank, Carolita directed an 85-piece band along with a mixed choir, a girls’ choir and a prize-winning boys’ choir. At Mary Queen of Heaven in Cicero, Carolita accompanied the children on a portable keyboard as her students responded beautifully under her direction. Reflecting upon her years as a teacher, Carolita commented, “I consider myself an experienced person. Because I was a music teacher, I had experiences in many classrooms and with many different ages of students.

Carolita lived at Wright Hall from 1988 until 2003.  It was during this time that her niece Geneve lived with and cared for her mother, Genevieve, who was Carolita’s sister.  Every day while Geneve was teaching, Carolita would provide companionship for her sister Genevieve.  During the renovation of Wright Hall, the sisters were asked to make several moves, but none more than Carolita, who was always most gracious when asked to move “one more time.”

Carolita was a kind, caring and prayerful woman.  She had a beautiful singing voice, absolutely loved to sing and always remembered the lyrics.  A person passing by her room might be treated to a lovely song lilting into the hallway.  She was a faithful member of Schola for many years, even in her later years when she had to be wheeled to the chapel.  She was also a talented artist; a number of her works are on display in the hallways here at Mount Carmel.

In the gospel, we will hear Jesus say, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me has eternal life.”  When applying for admission, Carolita wrote that she wished to become a religious sister because “I think it is the life for which I am best fitted.  None other has ever appealed to me.”  Recently, however, Carolita began longing for her new life with God and her siblings, especially her twin Thomas.  When asked if she thought God was calling her home, with her eyes wide open and a smile on her face, she replied, “Soon. Soon.”  Today, we celebrate Carolita’s long life of dedicated and loving service and rejoice as she enters into eternal life.

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Virginia Hughes, BVM (Flocella)

Virginia Hughes, BVM died Feb. 2, 2015, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Natural burial Rite of Committal will be Feb. 3, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. in the Marian Hall Chapel. A prayer service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Feb. 13, 2015, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a Memorial Mass at 11 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Burlington, Iowa, on Oct. 19, 1919, to Charles and Helen Ireland Coleman Hughes. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1937, from St. Paul Parish, Burlington. She professed first vows on March 19, 1940, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1945.

Virginia was an elementary school educator in Burbank, Calif.; Chicago; and Washington, Iowa. She served in religious education ministry in the diocese of Davenport, Iowa; and the Archdioceses of Chicago and Washington, D.C. She volunteered at Loyola University Chicago at the Center for Religious Education.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers: Calvin, James and Gerald; and sister Mary Kathleen Pajer. 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 Virginia (Flocella) Hughes, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Feb. 13, 2015

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Virginia Hughes.

Virginia Hughes was born on Oct. 19, 1919, in Burlington, Iowa, just as many soldiers were returning home from World War I.  This eldest child of Charles Hughes and Helen Ireland Coleman was born a “blue baby” and had to be resuscitated. Over the next 15 years, siblings Calvin, James, Charles and Kathleen followed.

In her autobiography, Virginia wrote, “We were campers minus the four wheel campers of today. Often our Sunday steak was grilled over an open trench in one of the family’s favorite picnic spots. The Mississippi River from . . . Lookout Point wore many faces—joy, sorrow, everyday living. Mother and I spent leisurely moments of reflection on warm summer afternoons in the company of the younger members of the family.” During the Depression, Virginia’s mother made clothes out of drapery samples from the furniture store where her father worked and relied on a shoe repair kit from the dime store instead of buying new shoes. They always had enough to eat and her mother never turned away anyone who came begging for food.

Virginia attended St. Paul School and was mentored by Sister Mary Alcantara Vogt. She received her acceptance letter the same day that Sister Mary Alcantara died. Virginia deeply appreciated that her mother supported her calling and commented that “The mother who loved life and children never selfishly clung to them.” Virginia entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1937, when her baby sister was only two years old. “It was the hardest separation . . . I never had the opportunity to really get to know her . . .” Virginia received the name Flocella upon reception on March 19, 1938, professed her first vows on March 19, 1940, and lived 77 years as a BVM.

Virginia’s first mission was to Bellarmine-Jefferson in Burbank, Calif., where many of the parents worked at the nearby Warner Brothers Studio. She recalled that the very militaristic atmosphere at the school was the pastor’s attempt to show critics that Catholics were indeed patriotic. Virginia spent 30 years as an elementary teacher with additional missions in Chicago and Washington, Iowa, where she also taught 10th grade religious education. In the mid-1960s, she taught a course in St. John’s Gospel to BVM novices at both Guadalupe and Mount Carmel.

Inspired by Jesuit Johannes Hofinger’s The Art of Teaching Christian Doctrine, Virginia devoted herself to religious education for 25 years. She served five years on the congregational Religious Education Commission. In the Diocese of Davenport, she directed the formation of catechists for 15 parishes. Since Virginia did not have a car, she was transported from parish to parish by the pastors and parishioners and lived with and shared in the lives of farm families. In the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., she worked as both a consultant and a field representative for the Religious Education Office, and also as a catechesis consultant for Immaculate Conception Parish in Mechanicsville, Md. With many years of traveling from town to town, parish to parish, Virginia dubbed herself the “Circuit Riding Catechist.”

Virginia moved to Wright Hall in 1990 and for the next five years she volunteered and consulted at the Religious Education Media Center at Loyola University’s Institute for Pastoral Studies. Afterward, she served on a several committees at Wright Hall until moving to Mount Carmel in 2007.

Virginia was a dedicated reader and intellectually curious about a wide variety of topics. Her commitment to the BVM community was deep and enriching to all. She was especially engaged in the BVM Heritage Society and made numerous contributions to the discussions and activities of that group.

Virginia was an authentic person who greatly enjoyed people. She lived a rich spirituality with God at the center and all God's people in her circle. Her genuine interest in the lives of others was evident through her deep concern and compassion. She was a great correspondent and seemed to know exactly when to send a note of encouragement and love.

In the gospel of John, it is written, “John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” As a cherished family member, a BVM, a teacher, a catechist and a friend, Virginia testified to God’s great love for us. Her testimony is now complete. May she rest peacefully in the palm of God’s hand.

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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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Stella Marie Swakoski, BVM (Lidwina)

Stella Marie Swakoski, BVM (Lidwina) died Oct. 4, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, 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 Butte, Mont., on Oct. 10, 1919, to John T. and Anna Marie (Heaney) Swakoski. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1938, from St. Joseph Parish, Butte. She professed first vows on March 19, 1941, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1946.

Stella Marie was an elementary school educator and administrator in Dubuque; Des Moines and Council Bluffs, Iowa; San Jose, Calif.; and Butte and Missoula, Mont. She was on the faculty of Clarke University, Dubuque. She ministered as secondary school counselor in Anaheim, Calif.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters: Mary Gonzales, Bernice Pappas, Ann Marie Caddell, Caroline Schere and Dorothy Harmon; and brothers Ted and Frank. She is survived by nieces and nephews, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 76 years.

Sister Stella Marie Swakoski, BVM (Lidwina)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Oct. 10, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Stella Marie Swakoski.

St. Paul wrote, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another . . . And over all these put on love.” This passage, which Stella chose for her wake service, beautifully reflects the manner in which she lived her life as a teacher, a principal, a counselor, an aunt and a BVM sister.

Stella Marie Swakoski was born on Oct. 10, 1919, the sixth of eight children born to Anna Marie Heaney and John T. Swakoski in Butte, Mont. She was baptized at St. Joseph Church and attended St. Joseph ES where she was taught by the BVMs. Stella loved and cherished her ethnic heritage. From her Irish mother she inherited a love of learning, an appreciation of music, and a sense of humor and wit; from her Polish father, a great sense of responsibility, a strong work ethic, and an appreciation for the wonderful gift of her Catholic faith.

Stella entered Mount Carmel on Sept. 8, 1938, received the name Lidwina upon her reception on March 19, 1939, and professed first vows on March 19, 1941. She lived 76 years as a BVM. Her first missions were St. John ES in Des Moines, Iowa, and St. Leo ES in San José, Calif. In 1943, she was sent to her home parish, St. Joseph in Butte, where she says she was admonished by Sister Mary Adorinus, her provincial, to set an example so more girls from Butte would enter the BVMs. Five girls from St. Joseph did enter during the three years she was there. Following her years in Butte, Stella first returned to Des Moines and then served as principal at St. Francis Xavier ES in Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 1952, she returned to Montana to serve at St. Ann ES in Butte and as superior at St. Anthony ES in Missoula. Following this she was assigned to her favorite mission as principal at St. Anthony ES in Dubuque. While at St. Anthony, she convinced the pastor to build a convent for the sisters who previously resided at Clarke University. Stella also taught in the Education Department at Clarke.

In 1968, Stella received a fellowship in guidance and counseling at Indiana University in Terre Haute and was subsequently recruited as a guidance counselor by the Anaheim Union High School District in southern California, where she served for over 30 years. During that time, she was named “Counselor of the Year for Orange County.” In her position on the Governor’s Board in Sacramento, she was one of three who designed a “Guidance Handbook for High School Counselors for the State of California.” Stella served on many committees, especially on student drug abuse, victims of child abuse, and the social injustices of our time. In 1994, she transitioned to part-time counseling during the day and teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) three nights a week.

During her years of working in the public school, Stella maintained close contact with her many BVM friends. She was always proud of belonging to her cluster and was actively involved in congregational issues. Stella moved to Mount Carmel in 2005 and participated in many activities and classes. Her diminished eyesight caused her to resign from being a Mode 3 Senator in 2010.

When her five sisters and two brothers died, Stella became the matriarch of a large and supportive family of nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She visited them until her health would no longer permit her to travel. However, they kept in close contact with her by visiting, phoning and writing.

Today would have been Stella’s 95th birthday. A few years ago, when asked the secret to living a long life, Stella replied, “Be grateful for each day God gives. It is a gift to have lived . . . and to be able to say, ‘I’ve done my best with God’s help.’” Stella wanted to be remembered for her energy, her enthusiasm, her love of life, and especially her love for the BVM community. She formed wonderful relationships with her BVM sisters and was a confidant to many as they sought her advice and assistance. Because of this, Stella had beautiful stories to share at the wakes of her beloved sisters who have gone home to God. For these stories, she will always be remembered. It is only fitting to conclude this welcome with the same words Stella used to conclude her stories: “God bless her beautiful soul!”

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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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Sister Genevieve Kordick, BVM (Basilian)

Sister Genevieve Kordick, BVM (Basilian), died Sept. 9, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 15, 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 Greenfield, Iowa, on Jan. 29, 1921, to Joseph and Kathleen (Anstey) Kordick. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1938, from Visitation Parish in Des Moines Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1941, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1946.

Sister Genevieve was a preschool and elementary school teacher in Chicago and Rock Island, Ill.; Clinton, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls and Des Moines, Iowa.  She was a director for the Highland Park Senior Center and activities director for elderly, Willis Adult Care, Des Moines.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Paul, Aloysius, George and Lloyd; and sisters Monica Lisck and Kathleen Harms. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 76 years.

Sister Genevieve Kordick, BVM (Basilian)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Sept. 15, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Genevieve Kordick.

Genevieve Kordick was born on Jan. 29, 1921, in Greenfield, Iowa, the youngest of seven children born to Joseph Kordick and Kathleen Anstey. She joined siblings Monica, Paul, Aloysius, George, Lloyd and Kathleen. Her father emigrated from Austria with his family when he was three years old. Her parents met and fell in love one day when her mother walked into her father’s music store. One interesting note: her mother’s Uncle Frank helped Gen’s father start his music business and unknowingly played the role of Cupid.

After attending a Sisters of Mercy grade school, Gen entered St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, Iowa, where she met the BVMs. She commented, “My mother went to school at Immaculate Conception Academy in Davenport . . . She prayed me into the BVMs, her favorite sisters. Blandina Spaulding, BVM, taught her music and Blanche Fosselman, BVM, art.” Gen entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1938, and received the name Basilian upon her reception on March 19, 1939. She professed first vows on March 19, 1941, and lived 76 years as a BVM.

Gen spent 34 years teaching kindergarten through fourth grade, with her first mission teaching second grade at St. Tarcissus in Chicago. She recalled, “I was totally unprepared . . . I must have been pitiful. One of the little boys told the music teacher ‘that new Sister doesn’t know anything.’” But Gen persevered to teach in Illinois at St. Thomas of Canterbury, Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament in Chicago, and Sacred Heart and St. Joseph in Rock Island. In Iowa, she taught at Our Lady of the Angels in Clinton, St. Patrick in Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls, and Visitation and St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines. Her favorite mission was Our Lady of Angels. “I loved the little three- and four-year-olds, the ‘minims.’  On Saturday night I would curl their hair and pick out a special dress for Sunday. Once in a while I would ‘borrow’ one of the better-off girl’s dresses for a poorer child.” One sister recalled that Gen would spend the evening recreation time inspecting the daily milk money in search of valuable coins and made money selling them to a coin dealer.

One of Gen’s former students, Peter Teahen, became a licensed funeral director and mental health professional before founding the International Mass Fatalities Center. He dedicated his book Mass Fatalities: Managing the Community Response in part to “My first grade teacher, Sister Mary Basilian, a spunky woman committed to a lifetime of teaching, who introduced me to the power of the spoken word. I am often reminded of the tongue twisters she used to help me overcome my severe speech impediment in first grade. I thank her . . . as I stand in front of a television camera or a filled auditorium, lecturing about disasters and the care of victims and their families, and workers and their families.”

For Gen, years in elementary classrooms evolved into work with the elderly in Des Moines. She provided home care before serving as the director of Highland Park Senior Center and the activities director at the Willis Adult Care Center. She brought advocacy, companionship, laughter and Jesus, releasing her senior friends from bonds of loneliness, poverty and sadness. She greatly enjoyed her 21 years ministering to the elderly because, in her words, “They have so much to share from their experiences.” After retiring in 1997, she volunteered at Mercy Medical Center until she moved to Mount Carmel in 2003.

Along the way, Gen found time to express her own creativity, winning blue ribbons for her pottery and offering pottery classes at the senior centers. Her creativity here at Mount Carmel manifested itself in flourishing flowers and plants outside in “Nan’s Garden” and on her window sills. Her other favorite past times were fishing and making rosaries, including one rosary made from heart-shaped seeds called Job’s Tears, that she grew and dried herself; this rosary was one of Gen’s most cherished possessions. She also treasured a crucifix given to her by her eighth grade teacher and a Sacred Heart medal that she bought with 65 cents given to her by her mother. She never took the medal off, not even when it got caught in a paper shredder!

St. Paul wrote, “May your love increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value . . .” Gen was steadfast and loyal in her relationships because she valued people. She loved her family and was grateful to her community for all their care. She was a dedicated, selfless person with an enormous concern for those who struggled, and she responded with a generous spirit and a great love. Gen, may you rest peacefully in the loving arms of Jesus.

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Maura Purcell, BVM

Maura Purcell, BVM died Oct. 1, 2014, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. The Natural Burial Rite of Committal will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A Memorial Mass will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Omaha, Neb., on March 25, 1926, to Thomas and Cecelia (Ryan) Purcell. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1944, from St. Bridget Parish, Omaha. She professed first vows on March 19, 1947, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1952.

Maura was an educator and music teacher in Chicago; Butte and Missoula, Mont.; San Francisco; Des Moines, Iowa; and Boulder, Colo. She served in pastoral ministry in Boulder, Denver and Arvada, Colo., and Kalamazoo, Mich.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Thomas, and sisters Patricia P. Devine and Peggy Purcell, BVM (Moira). She is survived by nieces and nephews, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 70 years.

Sister Maura Purcell, BVM
Memorial Mass Welcome
Marian Hall, Oct. 24, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Maura Purcell.

Maureen Frances Purcell was born on March 24, 1926, in Omaha, Neb., as the third of four children born to Thomas Purcell and Cecilia Ryan. Her parents were Irish immigrants who met in the United States and instilled in their daughter a great love of their Irish heritage. Maureen’s mother was extremely charitable. She had a deep concern for the priests and sisters and often provided sausage for them to enjoy with their breakfast. Maureen received her love of learning from her father who had a limited education, but would read his children’s history books to learn more. Maureen’s older sister Patricia and brother Thomas both died in 2003. Her younger sister, Sister Peggy Purcell, BVM (Moira), entered the congregation in 1947 and died in 2002.

Maureen attended St. Bridget ES and St. Mary HS. She worked as a clerk at the Union Pacific Railroad headquarters prior to entering the community. On her application for admission, Maureen wrote, “By helping to save souls through prayer and good works I want to honor and glorify God and try to show my appreciations to Him for His gifts to me.” Maureen entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1944, and received the name Maura upon her reception on March 19, 1945. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1947, and lived 70 years as a BVM.

Maura taught music for 26 years with missions in Chicago; Butte and Missoula, Mont.; San Francisco; Des Moines, Iowa; and Boulder, Colo. During an interview she said, “My memories are about the music . . . In the BVM community years ago the funds from music lessons sent the sisters to summer school to finish their degrees. I taught keyboarding and singing as well as classroom music.” Music truly was Maura’s passion as was made evident by her large collection of CDs.

In 1973, Maura carried her musical gifts into parish ministry at Sacred Heart of Mary and St. Thomas Aquinas Parishes in Boulder. She later served as liturgist and pastoral musician at St. Joseph Parish in Kalamazoo, Mich., and as pastoral assistant at Christ the King Parish in Denver. In 1986, Maura entered the clinical pastoral education program at Boulder Community Hospital. She later served 10 years as the music director at Shrine of St. Anne in Arvada, Colo. As a liturgical musician, she became known for her ability to inspire the entire congregation to sing. Maura moved to Mount Carmel in 2000 to be closer to her sister Peggy, whose health was declining.

Maura was an energetic and feisty woman who once commented, “My salvation is a my sense of humor . . . I can be mad but I will not be depressed!” She loved the outdoors, especially beautiful summer days. “When I was in Colorado” she recalled, “I would drive up to a mountain trail and just hike all alone . . . my solitary confinement.” Yet Maura cherished the people in her life. A sign posted on her door read “Wake me if I’m sleeping. I love company.” And when she celebrated her 70th jubilee a few weeks ago she made a point to individually thank the staff for the compassionate care.

Maura was also an intelligent woman with strong beliefs and an inquisitive mind who greatly enjoyed a lively conversation no matter the topic. She was an avid reader devoted to exploring new and challenging ideas and staying current on events in the community, the church and the world. Using the words of St. Paul, Maura was on a quest “to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of God. Over the past few years, the new cosmology became her central focus. Her choice of natural burial beautifully expresses her belief in the sacredness and interconnectedness of all living beings.

We celebrate Maura’s earthly life and her entrance into eternal life. Her questions are answered; her journey complete. May she rest in peace.

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Sister Rose McNamee, BVM (Rose Angela)

Sister Rose McNamee, BVM (Rose Angela), 87, died June 1, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, June 5, 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 Dec. 14, 1926, to Charles J. and Loretta Hazel Emond McNamee. She entered the BVM congregation from Our Lady of Victory Parish, Chicago, on Sept. 8, 1947. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955.

Sister Rose was an elementary and secondary school teacher and principal in Antioch, Maywood and Chicago, Ill.; Hempstead and Bellerose, N.Y.; West Union and Sioux City, Iowa; and Wichita, Kan. She also did clerical work at Mundelein College in Chicago. 

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother William. She is survived by a brother Rev. Msgr. Charles McNamee, Rockford, Ill.; a sister Loretta McNamee, Crystal Lake, Ill.; and  the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Sister Rose McNamee, BVM (Rose Angela)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, June 5, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Rose McNamee.

Rose McNamee entered this world on Dec. 14, 1926, the third of four children born to Charles J. McNamee and Loretta Hazel Emond of Chicago. Her father was of Irish descent and worked as an insurance broker. He died before Rose entered the community. Her mother was of French Canadian descent and had attended Presentation School in Chicago. Rose talked about her siblings during a 2008 interview. “I have a wonderful sister, Loretta . . . and a great brother, Monsignor Charles W. McNamee . . . who is retired from the Rockford Diocese. He joined that diocese because he wanted to work in smaller towns. The irony is that he ended up working for the marriage tribunal; he is a very intelligent man . . . My mother asked him what he wanted to name me. He said, ‘Rose’ and so I am!” Rose’s younger brother William died from pneumonia at the age of two months.

Rose attended The Immaculata High School where she was introduced to the BVMs. After graduation, she worked for one year and then attended Mundelein College for one year. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1947, and received the name Rose Angela upon her reception on March 19, 1948. Stating her reason for entering religious life, she wrote, “That I might be used as an instrument in the hands of God for the salvation of souls.” She professed her first vows on March 19, 1950, and lived 66 years as a BVM.

Rose spent 38 years teaching in elementary schools in Antioch, Maywood and Chicago, Ill.; Hempstead and Bellerose, N.Y.; West Union and Sioux City, Iowa; and Wichita, Kan. She also taught English at The Immaculata for five years and was principal at Epiphany School in Sioux City for four years. Rose commented, “I loved to teach English, both literature and grammar.” And she was an excellent teacher with high expectations for her students and she always handled her own discipline. In addition to teaching, she served as treasurer at The Immaculata, did clerical work at Mundelein College, and during the summer of 1976 conducted a canvassing census of St. Beatrice Parish in Schiller Park, Ill., along with Sisters Etienne McDonald and Lucile Heimerl. She resided in Chicago after retiring in 2001 and moved to Mount Carmel in 2006.

Perhaps Rose’s life may best be summarized by the words of Mary Frances Clarke. “Go on steady and quiet.” Rose was a lovely, gentle, private woman who quietly enjoyed pursuing her interests. She was an avid reader and she had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother. She was observant and acted with kindness and concern when she saw someone in need of assistance. And Rose exuded gratitude. A comment made by an aide has been frequently repeated by other staff and sisters. “One thing I’ll always remember about Rose is that she always said, ‘Thank you.’”

Rose was deeply devoted to her brother and sister and enjoyed visiting and traveling with them. Even on her last day, love and concern for her brother was on her mind. After one of the nurses contacted Rose’s brother, she whispered into Rose’s ear that her brother was fine and was aware of her condition. Comforted by those words, Rose took a breath and peacefully passed on.

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior.” In this knowledge Rose lived her life. We joyfully celebrate her earthy life and her entrance into eternal life.

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Sister Eileen Galvin, BVM (Matilda)

Sister Eileen Galvin, BVM (Matilda), died July 24, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Monday, July 28, 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 July 13, 1921, to Thomas and Brigid Cahill Galvin. She entered the BVM congregation from St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 8, 1937. She professed first vows on March 19, 1940, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1945.

Sister Eileen was an elementary school teacher and administrator in Cascade, Iowa; Chicago; San Francisco; Kauai, Hawaii; Memphis, Tenn.; and Kansas City, Mo. She was also a nurse at Marian Hall, Dubuque, Iowa; Evanston and Chicago, Ill.; Bakersfield, Port Hueneme and Oxnard, Calif.; Weirton, W.Va.; and Kansas City, Mo.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers: John Joseph, Thomas Martin and Rev. James M. Galvin, CM; and sisters Margaret Mary, Agnes Therese and Ann Galvin, BVM (Syra). She is survived by sisters Mary Catherine (James) O’Connor, Overland Park, Kan.; and Frances Galvin, Kansas City, Mo.; nieces; nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 76 years.

Sister Eileen (Matilda) Galvin, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, July 28, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Eileen Galvin.

Eileen Galvin was born on July 13, 1921, in Kansas City, Mo., the third of nine children born to Thomas Galvin and Brigid Cahill. Her parents were both born in Ireland and her father worked as a blacksmith. She had two older siblings: a brother John and a sister Ann who also entered the BVMs. Sister Ann (Syra) died in June 2011. Eileen had six younger siblings: Thomas, James, Margaret, Agnes, Mary and Frances. Her brother James was a priest in the Congregation of the Mission.

Eileen’s elementary school had only seven grades instead of the traditional eight and she was also promoted two grades one year. So, after graduating from St. Vincent High School at the tender age of sixteen, Eileen entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1937. In her letter requesting entrance she wrote, “Ever since I can remember, I have had the desire to enter and felt it is the life God intends for me to lead.” She received the name Matilda upon her reception on March 19, 1938, professed her first vows on March 19, 1940, and lived 76 years as a BVM.

Eileen spent the first 25 years of vowed religious life as an elementary teacher. She was missioned in Chicago at St. Gertrude, St. Dominic, Holy Family, Holy Cross and St. Dorothy, where she served as superior and principal. She was also missioned at St. Brigid in San Francisco; St. Vincent and St. Francis Xavier in Kansas City, Mo.; St. Thomas in Memphis, Tenn.; St. Martin in Cascade, Iowa, and was one of the first BVMs to serve in Hawaii. It has been said that she was very conscientious, a fine teacher with an excellent knowledge of mathematics.

Eileen was a very traditional Catholic who loved to pray the Our Father, the rosary and the Divine Office. She was a strong advocate for Right to Life, especially the protection of the unborn. The Second Vatican Council resulted in many changes in the church and religious life that were difficult for her. However, when the congregation adopted TOPA (Totally Open Personnel Application), it provided her with the opportunity to pursue a nursing ministry.

After working one year at Marian Hall, Eileen entered the nursing program at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill., and earned a degree as a registered nurse. Her heart was truly in nursing. For the next 21 years, she provided good, loving care as a nurse in Chicago; Bakersfield, Hueneme and Oxnard, Calif.; Weirton, W.Va.; and Kansas City, Mo. She lived in Oxnard after retiring in 1992 until moving to Mount Carmel in 2004.

Even though in later years she lived a quiet, almost reclusive life, Eileen still cared deeply for and was greatly concerned about her BVM sisters. She was extremely grateful for even the tiniest kindness and she accepted her diminishing eyesight and eventual blindness with amazing grace. Eileen had a great devotion to Mary and considered herself to be a “handmaid of the Lord.” Included in her funeral plan was a note that read, “The only ‘empowerment’ a true BVM Handmaid seeks is to do God’s holy will more fully, swiftly and lovingly each moment.”

Eileen did not seek nor did she desire accolades. One of her favorite prayers was “O, Lord Jesus, let not my tongue . . . speak well of myself or ill of others so that no uncharitable word will be recorded of me on the Day of the Last Judgment.” This and other similar gleanings that Eileen collected over the years reveal a call to a life of guarded speech and silent prayer. The scriptural passages from the first letter of Peter that Eileen selected for her wake and funeral also reflect this call. “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep the tongue from evil and the lips from speaking deceit, must turn from evil and do good, seek peace and follow after it.”

The day before Eileen died, Sister Catherine Jean Hayen sat in Eileen’s room holding her hand while they listened to the Mass. Eileen remained silent until it was time to pray the Our Father and then she received communion one last time. Eileen did not comment in her final directives about how she would like to be remembered. She only made one simple request: “Pray for me.” So now, as we gather here, we honor her request. We pray for Eileen and we celebrate her entrance into eternal life.

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Sister Mary Lou Larkin, BVM (Mark)

Sister Mary Lou Larkin, BVM (Mark), died Aug. 29, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 10–11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 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 Sept. 18, 1929, to Mark Aloysius and Henrietta Ketchmark Larkin. She entered the BVM congregation from St. Agnes Parish, Phoenix, on Sept. 8, 1947. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955.

Sister Mary Lou was an elementary school teacher and superior/principal in Oak Park and Chicago, Ill.; and Montrose, Santa Ana and Los Angeles, Calif. She served in parish ministry and as director of religious education in Shiller Park, Mt. Prospect and Chicago, Ill. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother James Larkin and sister Colleen Ford. She is survived by a brother, Mark (Shirley) Larkin, Scottsdale, Ariz.; nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 67 years.

Sister Mary Lou Larkin, BVM (Mark)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Sept. 4, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary Lou Larkin.

Mary Louise Larkin entered this world on Sept. 18, 1929, in Omaha, Neb., the third of four children born to Mark Aloysius Larkin and Henrietta Ketchmark. She joined siblings James and Colleen and was followed by her brother Mark. Mary Lou’s father was a mortician who worked for the Larkin Funeral Home owned by her uncle. Her father felt it was important to really know people and call them by name. He greatly influenced her to do likewise. Mary Lou attended St. Cecilia Cathedral High School in Omaha until her father’s health prompted the family move to Phoenix. She graduated from St. Mary HS in Phoenix and worked for two months as a stenographer for the state auditor.

Mary Lou entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1947, and received the name Mark upon her reception on March 19, 1948. She wrote, “I believe I came to understand my religious vocation through the deep faith modeled by my parents . . . The church was the first priority in the lives of my parents.” She professed her first vows on March 19, 1950, and lived almost 67 years as a BVM.

Mary Lou taught in elementary schools for 28 years and was missioned in Chicago and Oak Park, Ill.; and Montrose and Santa Ana, Calif. She served as principal at St. Bernard School in Los Angeles, Calif. from 1962 to 1968 just as the Second Vatican Council and the forthcoming changes were taking place. She recalled, “We had a very conservative pastor not looking forward to the changes that were inevitably going to take place . . . At this time I was studying scripture during the summer months at the University of San Francisco with ‘top-notch’ scholars from all over the world. I also learned to play the guitar . . . and led the children in ‘spirited’ Christian songs. The pastor didn’t like the idea that I was taking Scripture courses and, worse yet, playing the guitar. Fortunately I was too young and ignorant to let it bother me.”

Mary Lou’s mission to St. Dorothy School in a black neighborhood of Chicago was an exciting time in her life. She recalled, “It was a very complex situation after the riots of 1968 . . . I was told there was a need for me . . . to teach at St. Dorothy . . . Black leaders met at St. Dorothy which seemed to be the center of the action . . . We listened to Jesse Jackson speak about the injustices that the black community was experiencing. During some of the meetings I would almost have to pinch myself and realize what a marvelous experience I had been given. I had a hunger to understand as much as I could . . . I treasured the time I was there.” In 2009, Mary Lou received an invitation to St. Dorothy’s all-class reunion with the message: “Your presence at St. Dorothy School has had a special meaning to each child. Your strong faith and firm guidance helped mold the St. Dorothy students into the professionals, parents and leaders they are today.”

In 1985, Mary Lou began a 14-year mission in parish ministry, serving St. Constance Parish in Chicago; St. Beatrice Parish in Shiller Park, Ill.; and St. Thomas Beckett Parish in Mt. Prospect, Ill. The pastor of St. Thomas Beckett wrote, “Through the years she has manifested a rich diversity of gifts that has made her a pillar of faith among us and a clear example of the joy of living the ‘religious’ life. She has been so very visible here, and has invested herself not only in the children placed in her care but also in ourselves, our needs, our hopes, dreams and our vision. She brought with her a special gift for organizing . . . I have it on good authority that when the lord God created the universe, Sister Mary Lou was right there to make sure that there was a place for everything and that everything was in its place. And that it was labeled!”

Mary Lou retired in 1999, living in a flat in Chicago with two other BVMs, but she did not stop ministering. It was during this time she re-entered the life of a former student from Holy Redeemer School in Montrose who was incarcerated for murder. She wrote letters, sent spiritual materials, and even visited him. Appalled by the lack of consideration for human rights and the unavailability of a prison chaplain, Mary Lou contacted a newly installed bishop, also a former student, to request his help. Although the bishop was from a neighboring diocese, he used his influence to initiate the process of obtaining a part-time chaplain for the prison.

In 2000, Mary Lou moved to a senior high-rise in Oak Park, Ill., where she presided at communion services and took communion to those who could not attend. In addition, she organized ecumenical prayer services, including one on the first anniversary of 9/11 which enabled the residents to share their grief. She lovingly viewed her fellow residents as her “flock.” Mary Lou also actively spoke out about issues of the day that greatly concerned her. She wrote letters to publications questioning the morality of the Iraq war and stating her concerns regarding the apostolic visitation of communities of women religious.

Even though she kept very busy during her “retirement” years, Mary Lou was able to enjoy some down time. In 1980 she went on a nine-country tour of Europe. She was an avid downhill skier until a skiing accident brought her to Mount Carmel. She also enjoyed reading and discussing books, especially spiritual writings. Mary Lou was an extremely outgoing and friendly person who loved life. She treasured her time with family, friends, former students and her BVM sisters and was an excellent letter writer. Her last day was a joyful one filled with friends and great laughter. As one friend simply stated, “She was a good lady.”

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “On that day it will be said: ‘Behold our God . . . for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!’” The joy of Mary Lou’s last day pales in comparison to the great joy she now knows as she “beholds our God.”

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Catherine (Katie) McHugh, BVM (St. Thoma)

Catherine (Katie) McHugh, BVM (St. Thoma), died Sept. 25, 2014, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, 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 Chicago on Sept. 12, 1925, to Thomas and Anne (O’Dolan) McHugh. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1943, from St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1946, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1951.

Catherine taught elementary school and was principal in Chicago and Maywood, Ill.; and Davenport, Dubuque and Iowa City, Iowa. In Chicago, she was director for Catholic Charities, Howard Area Community Center; staff member at 8th Day Center for Justice; regional representative for the BVM congregation; director of the Illinois Citizens for Better Care; director of the Intercommunity Retirement Network; and president of and volunteer for the Intercommunity Housing Corp., which built a senior housing complex on Roosevelt Road, now named the Catherine E. McHugh Senior Apartments. She was also co-director of the BVM Personnel Office.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister Margaret Schneider and brother Msgr. Thomas McHugh (diocese of Winona, Minn.). She is survived by nieces and nephews, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 71 years.

Catherine McHugh, BVM (St. Thoma)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Oct. 2, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Catherine McHugh. A special welcome to those viewing electronically, and to Katie’s friends and family who are here today. That so many of you have come is testimony to Katie’s uncommon ability to make and keep friends for life. As I look at your faces, I can almost outline Katie’s ministerial and social life. However, I and you will be better off if I stick to my script:

Catherine (Katie) Elizabeth McHugh entered this world on Sept. 12, 1925, in Chicago, as the youngest of three children born to Thomas McHugh and Anne O’Dolan, both of whom emigrated from Ireland. Her father worked as a street car conductor while her mother was a live-in domestic until they married. Katie’s father died of heart failure on Christmas day in 1957. In 1951, her mother suffered a severe stroke that altered her personality. Katie’s sister Margaret (Marge) and her husband Matt cared for Anne McHugh until her death from leukemia in 1968. When Marge’s health steadily declined after the death of her husband, the BVMs who lived with Katie on Sherwin (Rita Benz and Mary DeCock) graciously opened their home to Marge until retirement housing became available. She died in 1996. Katie’s brother Thomas (Mac) was a priest in the Diocese of Winona, Minn., and had served as an Air Force chaplain. He died in 1993.

Katie attended St. Vincent ES and St. Mary HS. In an interview, she said, “When I was a child, my friends and I liked the sisters who taught us so much that we would stay after school and sit around and goof off in the classrooms . . . That’s how much we loved these sisters. There was something about them that immediately pulled me towards them. I just knew instinctively that that’s exactly what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.” Katie entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1943, and received the name St. Thoma at her reception on March 19, 1944. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1946, and lived 71 years as a BVM.

Katie taught kindergarten, first, second and eighth grades as well as music for 23 years, with missions in Chicago and Maywood, Ill.; and Davenport, Iowa City, and Dubuque in Iowa. She also served as principal at St. Patrick in Dubuque and Iowa City. In addition, she worked as the Co-commissioner of BVM Personnel, overseeing the process of sisters applying to the schools of their choice.

Katie spent 37 years in the Chicago area ministering in the field of social justice. She worked for Catholic Charities as the director of the Howard Street Area Community Center, and in community relations for the Misericordia Home. She was a staff member at the 8th Day Center for Peace and Justice, and was a founding member of Illinois Citizens for Better Care, which pushed to pass the 1979 Illinois Nursing Home Reform Act. As a BVM regional representative, Katie was a member of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and participated in LCWR Region 8, which organized the Intercommunity Retirement Network to address health care issues of elderly religious. She served as the executive director for that Network and as president of the Intercommunity Housing Corporation it formed. Through her work as project coordinator, Roosevelt Place in Chicago was established as affordable housing for seniors, including married and single, women and men, religious and laity, as well as various races and ethnic groups. On Nov. 13, 2008, Roosevelt Place was renamed the McHugh Senior Center.

Katie was optimistic, exuberant, buoyant and tenacious. She was a person with an innate sense of justice who championed many an underdog. For Katie, advocacy was a way of life and even passion is too mild a word for her commitment to housing for senior religious in Chicago. It surely was a crusade. But Katie wasn’t always serious. Her sense of humor was never far away thanks to her twinkling eyes, big smile and, oh my, her Irish roots.  

Upon hearing of Katie’s death, an image of a giant redwood falling filled my head. Often a large redwood is ringed by a circle of younger, “daughter” redwoods. Recent research has shown that there exists an elaborate relationship between the root systems of the mother tree and her “offspring” wherein nutrients from the “parent” tree pass to the younger trees, enhancing their growth and well-being. These processes are thought to accelerate when the mother redwood begins to die.

Katie didn’t wait that long to nurture others. As convent superior, school principal, social worker, justice seeker, senior citizen advocate, BVM regional representative, beloved aunt and friend, she invited others into her circle of relationships without thinking twice. She mentored the young, schooled the idealistic, comforted those who were sad, encouraged those on an uphill climb. How many of us, after spending time with Katie, left with lighter hearts and renewed energy?

A mighty redwood has fallen but we, her family and friends, know that this is only the beginning for Katie. It’s highly likely that she’s already started organizing the communion of saints—we imagine God must be pleased with God’s work!

I want to end with an 80th birthday tribute to Katie written by a friend, “This is a marvelous breadth of ministry into which you creatively put yourself. But it is not just this list of work you have done, it is the SOUL, truly a ‘sanctified’ soul, you bring to whatever you do that we honor . . . We don’t just think it is God’s will that you became a BVM. We KNOW it is God’s will and feel so blessed to call you ‘Our Sister.’”

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Sister Frances Loretta Berger, BVM

Sister Frances Loretta Berger, BVM, 95, died June 20, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, June 26, 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 July 10, 1918, to Freeman and Clio Downs Berger. She entered the BVM congregation from St. Ignatius Parish, Chicago, on Sept. 8, 1937. She professed first vows on March 19, 1940, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1945.

Sister Frances Loretta was an elementary school teacher in Milwaukee; New Hampton and Mason City, Iowa; Chicago; Los Angeles; and Kansas City, Mo. She served as librarian at Mundelein College and Loyola University, Chicago.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Virginia Walker and Loretta Werle, and brother Donald Berger. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 76 years.

Sister Frances Loretta Berger, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, June 26, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Frances Loretta Berger.

Mary Frances Berger was born on July, 10, 1918, in LaCrosse, Wis., the first of four children born to Freeman Ralph Berger and Clio Emma Downs. Her father was in the hotel business so the family moved frequently. Mary Frances attended seven different elementary schools, but graduated from Immaculata High School. In her autobiography, Mary Frances recalled, “My freshman teacher was Sister Adelita Healey and she was very good to me, understanding my needs. There would be drives to raise money that I feared and she understood and helped me out so that I had something to offer.”

By the end of her senior year, Mary Frances felt that she was called to religious life, but since it was late in the year she decided to attend Mundelein College. “At the end of my freshman year at Mundelein, I finally told my mother that I was interested in entering the Community. She was very proud and also shocked—she didn’t see me as a holy person . . .”

Mary Frances entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1937, and received the name Frances Loretta upon her reception on March 19, 1938. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1940, and lived 76 years as a BVM. Frances Loretta was an elementary school teacher for 32 years, teaching all grades from kindergarten through eighth grade. She was missioned in Milwaukee; New Hampton and Mason City, Iowa; Chicago; Los Angeles; and Kansas City, Mo.

Frances Loretta had many diverse teaching experiences. After the Second World War, she taught Hungarian refugees at Gesu Elementary School in Milwaukee. She commented, “They were eager to learn. In one year they went from not even knowing the language to becoming honor students. It was challenging to try to meet their needs and interest.” Frances Loretta taught Hispanic students at Assumption in Los Angeles. “They tested us, wanted to see if we liked them, and when we did we were able to work with them and found them great.” Next, Frances Loretta was sent to Annunciation in Kansas City where she taught black students from middle class families. “Those children were also very eager to learn and their parents were eager to have them learn . . . After two years we moved on to St. Aloysius School; those children were from the projects. Most were black also but we went from children eager to learn to those who came to school only when they had pretty clothes, so attendance was irregular and their education suffered.”

The summer before the civil rights march to Selma, Ala., Frances Loretta worked as a census taker in the projects. “Rarely did we find a father in any apartment. It was difficult to go into the buildings . . . just going up the stairwells you smelled the poverty . . . All of this was eye opening for us.” Frances Loretta was next missioned in Mason City where she joined a diocesan project to develop a religious education program for the mentally challenged, both children and adults.

When the Mason City parishes and schools merged, the Presentation Sisters were asked to staff the schools and Frances Loretta was invited to be a librarian at Mundelein College in Chicago. She worked as a librarian at Mundelein and then Loyola University Chicago for 30 years. She became involved with Children’s Reading Round Table, a group of educators, librarians, authors and artists interested in children’s literature and literacy. During her 20-year involvement with the group, she served as president, organized conferences, and gave a workshop.

Frances Loretta moved to Mount Carmel in 2003. Shortly after her arrival, the Motherhouse Library and all the sisters at Mount Carmel began benefiting from her expertise. “I knew that the library needed some help,” she commented, “and I needed to be working with other people. The library turned out well and the satisfaction of the Sisters . . . has been very rewarding for me.”

To quote a friend, Frances Loretta was “a quiet soul, a hard worker and a great lady.” She loved her family and always remembered them on special occasions and cherished spending the holidays with them. She greatly enjoyed walking and good food and she loved sports, especially Notre Dame football. But her passion was reading. When asked how she would like to be remembered, Frances Loretta commented, “As a book person and one who wanted to help others enjoy books . . . And as a candy maker.” Who could forget her fudge?

Frances Loretta relished quality liturgy and prayer and faithfully prayed an inclusive language version of the Liturgy of the Hours. About her prayer life, she shared, “I think of service and kindness to others. I try to make my work a prayer.” Most people experience challenges at some point in their lives; and Frances Loretta was no exception. Yet her hope and strength are clearly reflected in her selection for the first reading from Romans. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared to the glory to be revealed to us.” Let us rejoice with Frances Loretta as she enters eternal life to live in the glorious presence of God.

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Sister Patricia Galhouse, BVM (Casia)

Sister Patricia Galhouse, BVM (Casia), 88, died June 30, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa.  Visitation of the cremated remains will be from 10–11 a.m. on Thursday, July 3, 2014, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a funeral liturgy at 11 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born Feb. 12, 1926, to Charles and Anna Marie Luke Galhouse. She entered the BVM congregation from St. Rita Parish, Chicago, on Sept. 8, 1944. She professed first vows on March 19, 1947, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1952.

Sister Patricia was an elementary school teacher and prinicipal in Davenport, Clinton, Cedar Falls, Iowa City, Tama and Dubuque, Iowa; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Mountlake Terrace, Wash.; Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; and Los Angeles. She served as librarian in West Hempstead, N.Y.

She was preceded in death by her parents, a sister Rita Gladys Galhouse and a brother Clifford Charles Galhouse. She is survived by nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 69 years.

Sister Patricia Galhouse, BVM (Casia)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, July 3, 2014

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Patricia Galhouse.

“Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?” Last Monday while the 11:15 Mass was beginning, Pat was in bed, her eyes closed. As the lyrics from “The Summons” drifted into her room from a television across the hall, Pat opened her eyes wide. Soon after the song ended, God summoned her home. “Will you let my love be shown; will you let my name be known; will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?” Throughout her life, Pat’s resounding reply was “Yes!”

Patricia Germaine Galhouse was born on Feb. 12, 1926, in Chicago, Ill., the youngest child of Charles and Anna Marie Luke Galhouse. She joined a sister Rita and a brother Clifford. Pat graduated from St. Mary High School and worked for two months as a clerk and typist.

On her application for admission, Pat wrote, “I want to become a Sister so that I can teach others to know, love, and serve God and to help make this a better world to live in.” Pat entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1944, and received the name Casia upon her reception on March 19, 1945. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1947, and lived 69 years as a BVM.

Pat was an elementary educator for 37 years, teaching in Davenport, Clinton, Cedar Falls, Iowa City and Dubuque, Iowa; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; and Los Angeles. Always willing to take on a new challenge, Patricia, along with Sister Donard Collins, BVM and Sister Kathryn Marie (Mary of the Divine Heart) Reynolds opened the St. Pius X mission in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., where the school consisted of several small structures. Pat also served as principal at St. Vincent in Kansas City, St. Mary/St. Patrick in Tama, Iowa; and St. Patrick in Dubuque. She was librarian at St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hempstead, N.Y. She moved to back to Dubuque in 1988 and volunteered as a Marian Hall driver until moving to Mount Carmel in 1992.

Pat was a private person who didn’t care for much fuss. She also was a hard worker who was well-organized, highly motivated, and open-minded. She was very amicable and willingly moved from mission to mission, and even room to room here at Mount Carmel, to accommodate another’s need or desire.

Pat had an endearing quality and a giving heart that was quick to respond to every request. As a volunteer, she took special care of a sister’s personal belongings after death. As a true friend, she was loyal, caring and faithful through thick and thin, illness and health. She always remembered people on holidays and special occasions, especially birthdays. And as an aunt, she was thrilled to have reconnected with her family—her nephews and their wives.

Pat was enthusiastic and energetic. She loved to dance and was, in fact, trained in dance before entering the community. She relished food, especially fruit and nut granola bars. Pat enjoyed traveling, which included trips down the west coast and to Alaska. She appreciated being in Schola as long as she had the breath to do so. Pat had a delightful sense of humor and a knack for giving a one-word response well worth a chuckle. And as many of you know, she loved to gamble and treasured her overnight trips to a Tama casino.

However, above all her earthly “loves,” she loved God and taught others about the importance of prayer. Prayer came first—before any enjoyment, before every act of kindness. In Micah, the people ask, “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow before God most high?” With her life centered by prayer, Pat knew what was expected of her: “Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with . . . God.” We rejoice for Pat as she enters eternal life and lays before God her gift of a life filled with service and love.

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Sister Mary Clare Sweeney, BVM (Clarita)

Sister Mary Clare Sweeney, BVM (Clarita), 84, died July 8, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Friday, July 11, 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 Olivet cemetery, Key West, Iowa.

She was born May 16, 1930, to James and Mae Kingsley Sweeney. She entered the BVM congregation from Assumption Parish, rural Bernard, Iowa, on Sept. 8, 1947. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955.

Sister Mary Clare was an elementary school educator in Rock Island, Berwyn and Chicago, Ill.; and Iowa City, Tama and Clinton, Iowa. She served on the faculty of Mundelein College, Chicago; Arizona State University, Tempe, and Arizona State University East, Mesa; and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.  

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Robert. She is survived by brothers: John F. Sweeney (Diane), Bonita Springs, Fla.; Dr. James A. Sweeney (Lois), Bloomington, Minn.; Dr. William H. Sweeney (Jackie), Mt. Horeb, Wis.; a sister Anne. M. Sweeney, Bernard, Iowa; nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Sister Mary Clare Sweeney, BVM (Clarita)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, July 11, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary Clare Sweeney.

Mary Clare Sweeney was born on May 16, 1930, as the third child of James Sweeney and Mae A. Kingsley from Bernard, Iowa. She joined her brother John Francis and was followed by siblings James Arthur, William Henry and Anne. Her oldest sibling, Robert, died in 1927. She attended public elementary school but graduated from St. Joseph Academy in Dubuque, Iowa.

Mary Clare entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1947, following in the footsteps of her great-grand aunt, Sister Martha Quinn, and cousins, Sisters Faustina Laughlin and St. Martha Lynch. She was also a cousin of Sisters LaVerne and Mary Lois Dolphin and Lou Anglin. Mary Clare received the name Clarita upon her reception on March 19, 1948. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and lived 66 years as a BVM.

Mary Clare was an elementary teacher for 17 years. She was missioned in Illinois at Sacred Heart, Rock Island; St. Thomas of Canterbury and Blessed Sacrament, Chicago; and St. Odilo, Berwyn; and in Iowa at St. Patrick, Iowa City; St. Patrick, Tama; and Our Lady of the Angels, Clinton. She earned a master’s degree in English from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University. She taught English for one year at both Mundelein College in Chicago and the University of Minnesota. During her 32 years at Arizona State University, Mary Clare was an English instructor, director of the writing center, a teacher at the College of Technology and a faculty computer consultant. In 1993, she received the Faculty Appreciation Award for outstanding leadership and dedication to the university community.

Mary Clare was very involved in the BVM and associate community, especially in the Phoenix area, and she appreciated every opportunity to engage in BVM Senate activities. She served on the Salt magazine editorial board, wrote numerous articles for the magazine and was always on the lookout for the next story. In 2003 she received a third place honor from the Catholic Press Association in the religious order magazine category for her Salt essay “Living Close to God’s Greatness.” She also volunteered as a traveling computer consultant for her BVM sisters. In honor of Mary Frances Clarke’s 200th birthday, she created a webpage which provided a virtual tour of the life and times of Mary Frances Clarke from Dublin to Philadelphia to Dubuque. In addition, Mary Clare was active in the diocese of Phoenix. She served on the board for the Catholic Sun, the diocesan newspaper, and participated in the events and activities of the Council of Religious.

After retiring from a long career at ASU, Mary Clare became a vibrant part of “The Farm at South Mountain” just outside of Phoenix. The Farm featured speakers, classes for adults in self-awareness, healing movement and spirituality, as well as an outstanding restaurant using locally grown produce. Mary Clare initiated the Writing Project which included workshops on writing, photography, art and other topics.

Mary Clare was proud of her Irish heritage and had a tremendous love for and commitment to the Sweeney family. During the past few years she spent much of her time helping her sister Anne. She had an exceptional knowledge of agriculture and a good business sense for operating a farm. She was an accomplished photographer and enjoyed capturing her travels which included trips to Ireland, Greece and the Holy Land.

Mary Clare seized every opportunity to take a course on the Bible. Her spirituality was imbued with the spirit of Jean Vanier who founded the L’Arche Community for people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them.

Mary Clare lived a marvelously full life. She was deeply loved by family and friends who were profoundly saddened as her health deteriorated. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” We are comforted by our confidence that Mary Clare has found her rest as we celebrate her earthly life and her entrance into eternal life.

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Sister Mary Joel Kramer, BVM

Sister Mary Joel Kramer, BVM, 92, died July 13, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Monday, July 21, 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 July 17, 1921, to Joseph Bernard and Margaret Kenney Kramer. She entered the BVM congregation from Holy Name Parish, Marcus, Iowa, on Sept. 8, 1939. She professed first vows on March 19, 1942, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1947.

Sister Mary Joel was an elementary school educator in Fort Dodge, Manly, Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa; Rapid City, S.D.; Chicago; and Kauai, Hawaii. She ministered as an LPN and in hospice/home health care in Sioux City. She worked in food service at Mount Carmel in Dubuque.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters: Fern Addy, Nan Strasser, Patricia Slebodnik and Ruth Fenton Weis; and adopted brother Robert Kenney. She is survived by a sister Marge (Maggie) Kistel, Safety Harbor, Fla.; nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 74 years.

Sister Mary Joel Kramer,
BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, July 21, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary Joel Kramer.

In his letter, James writes, “What good is it if someone says she has faith but does not have works? . . . Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Joel’s faith was very much alive. She was a prayerful woman who spent her life giving to others as a teacher, nurse, mentor, volunteer and friend.

Mary Josephine entered this world on July 17, 1921, the daughter of Joseph Bernard Kramer and Margaret Kenney of Le Mars, Iowa. According to her autobiography, she was born on a Sunday morning and her father, “after some hours of tiresome waiting, took off for Mass and missed the great event.” Mary joined siblings Fern and Nan and was followed by Maggie, Patricia, Ruth, and an adopted brother Robert Kenney.

Mary grew up on a farm. “Since the older ones were all girls,” she recalled, “we did many jobs boys ordinarily would do . . . I had a wonderful home life of recognizing and sharing problems as well as coats and clothes and chores. Mom was jolly, outgoing and young at heart with a great trust in her six daughters. Dad was quiet, artistic, patient, loving and a horrible farmer. His great pride was his perfect corn rows for which he was frequently complimented . . . We were raised thinking we were Irish because our closest grandparents were Will and Anna Hughes Kenney and their clan. All holidays and Sundays were spent with them . . .”

Besides the BVMs who taught her at Holy Name in Marcus, Iowa, Mary’s greatest inspirations were her grandfather Kenny’s two sisters who were BVMs: Sisters Mary Emmelian and Mary Eleanor Kenney. Mary entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1939, and received the name Joel upon her reception on March 19, 1940. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1942, and would have celebrated her diamond jubilee in September. Joel’s cousin Sister Mary Terese Rink, BVM, entered in 1951. “I had no thoughts of leaving ever,” commented Joel. “My biggest fear was that I’d be sent home for being too ‘worldly.’”

Joel was an elementary school teacher for 43 years. She was missioned at Fort Dodge, Manly, Council Bluffs and Sioux City, Iowa, where she taught for 22 years. She was also sent to Rapid City, S.D.; Kauai, Hawaii; and Chicago.

Her mission to Hawaii fulfilled her dream of being a missionary. “It was so very different,” she commented. “All the students came to school barefoot.” True to her adventurous spirit, Joel and Sister Mary Gemma Gini would take students hiking. What a sight it must have been: two nuns in full habit taking off their shoes to cross a stream with dozens of children in tow! They were told that they were the first white women to climb Sleeping Giant Mountain. Joel loved the children and they loved her. As a teacher, she was known for her fairness and inclusivity. She had a way of making every student feel extra special. Former students never lost touch with her and even paid travel expenses for her return visit to Hawaii.

Eventually Joel earned an LPN degree. “After all,” she explained in an interview, “I had been around nursing all of my life. My mother worked with a local doctor on home deliveries and three of my sisters were RNs.” She worked part-time at Mercy Hospital and Marian Medical Center in Sioux City while she continued to teach. After retiring from teaching, she spent the next 15 years volunteering with Amicare, Hospice of Siouxland and Mercy Hospital. She often sat through the night with hospice patients so that their spouses could get a good night’s rest.

In addition to teaching and nursing, Joel loved to travel. She visited Canada and most of the United States. A six-week trip to Italy with Sister Mary Gemma was one of her favorites. She was led by her adventurous spirit to visit the Great Wall of China and she spent a summer living in a mud house with no running water in a remote valley in India. The opportunity to see the Taj Mahal was a childhood a dream come true.

Joel enjoyed sharing her culinary skills with her housemates and even worked in food service at Marian Hall for three years. She was a very creative cook; if she refused to share her recipe, it was because she had made it up as she went along. However, the recipe for her special cake became rather popular in BVM circles. She also displayed her artistic side through sewing and leatherwork and making rosaries from shells.

Warm, generous, thoughtful, big-hearted and fun-loving aptly described Joel. She was a good listener whose words of wisdom alleviated anxiety and offered encouragement. Her gift of hospitality made everyone feel at ease and appreciated. She was a great communicator who kept a stack of envelopes already addressed to family, friends and former students and then she simply wrote a couple of letters every evening. She was always ready to enjoy time with friends, especially for a game of Skip-Bo. It has been said that everyone who knew Joel knows Skip-Bo.

Joel had a wonderful sense of humor that even comes through in her final message to all of us: “I enjoyed my life. I love you all, but don’t wish me back!” Because of our love and gratitude for you, Joel, our only wish for you is eternal happiness in God’s presence.

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Sister Lorraine Marie Baller, BVM (Charlita)

Sister Lorraine Marie Baller, BVM (Charlita), died Aug. 2, 2014, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7, 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 Aug. 21, 1922, to John and Cecilia Schneider Baller. She entered the BVM congregation from St. Gregory Parish, Chicago, on Sept. 8, 1941. She professed first vows on March 19, 1944, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1949.

Sister Lorraine Marie was an elementary and secondary school teacher and principal in Los Angeles, Burbank and North Hollywood, Calif.; Chicago and Grayslake, Ill.; and Kansas City, Mo. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother Charles; and a sister, BVM Jeanette Baller, BVM (formerly Eunice, SCC). She is survived by a sister, Sister Charlene Baller, SLW, Chicago; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 72 years.

Sister Lorraine Marie Baller, BVM (Charlita)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Aug. 7, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Lorraine Baller.

Lorraine Marie Baller was born on Aug. 21, 1922, in Chicago, the first child of John A. Baller and Cecelia Schneider. Within a few years, she was joined by sisters Charlene and Jeanette. Lorraine was very close to her father, who emigrated from Germany and was a teacher.  Her mother, who was born in Chicago, died shortly after Jeanette was born. John later married Elizabeth Yunker, a widow with one son. She was a wonderful woman who became a second mother to the Baller girls. Lorraine’s step-brother Charles died in 1941. Her sisters attended the boarding school run by the Sisters of Christian Charity and entered their community. Charlene eventually transferred to the Sisters of the Living Word. Jeanette transferred to the BVMs; she died in 1996. Lorraine’s path was different from that of her sisters—she attended Immaculata HS and upon graduation applied for admission to the BVM novitiate.

Lorraine entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1941, and received the name Charlita upon her reception on March 19, 1942. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1944, and lived 72 years as a BVM. Lorraine was an elementary teacher for 32 years. She was missioned in California at St. Bernard in Los Angeles, St. Robert Bellarmine in Burbank and St. Charles in North Hollywood; St. Catherine in Kansas City, Mo; and Our Lady of the Angels in Chicago, where she taught for 17 years. She also served six years as principal at St. Gilbert in Grayslake, Ill., and taught math for nine years at Cathedral High School in Chicago. As a teacher, she related well with her students, who also knew she meant business. OLA and St. Gilbert were two of her favorite missions because of the many lasting friendships she formed there.

In 1991 Lorraine retired from the classroom and began volunteering in parish ministry at Holy Name Cathedral. She was active on the liturgy committee, wrote intercessions and commentaries and served as a Eucharistic minister. She enjoyed sharing her talents and mingling with the parishioners. She became well-known and appreciated among the people and once again formed wonderful friendships. Her 15 years in parish ministry was a highlight in her life.

A few random bits and pieces reveal Lorraine’s individuality. As a child, this city girl immensely enjoyed trips to the family cabin. After returning to street clothes, she was recognized as a “classy lady,” a nice dresser with a good sense of style and lovely hair. Her living and working areas were just as neat and organized as her appearance. She enjoyed the tradition of St. Joseph’s Table and often returned to OLA to participate in the festivities. She followed a number of TV shows and could chat endlessly about her favorites. She had a good sense of humor, a hearty laugh and she loved to crack jokes. Lorraine was fun-loving, outgoing and, simultaneously, somewhat private. She preferred to keep the conversation light and other-focused, often beginning with “What kind of trouble are you in now?” and ending with “Now behave.”

To quote a member of her set, Lorraine was “a good, prayerful woman, always pleasant and smiling.” Her cheery disposition was one of the reasons she was considered a good person with whom to live. Lorraine was accommodating, thoughtful and generous. She loved to drive and graciously transported her BVM sisters to their destinations. She was quick to share the candy she received as gifts. For many years she contributed to a circular Christmas letter that was sent to all in her set—members and formers—and she looked forward to receiving the compilation. She never stopped enjoying company and was always glad to see a friend. Even after names became elusive, her face would still light up when someone she had known approached her.

Lorraine selected today’s Gospel passage from Luke. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me . . . to proclaim liberty to captives . . . a year acceptable to the Lord.” The passage with its allusion to a jubilee year, a time of release for persons held in bondage, seems apt. After months of declining health Lorraine is now free. We rejoice with her as we celebrate her entrance into eternal life.

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Sister (St.) Edith Dunn, BVM

Sister (St.) Edith Dunn, BVM, 90, died June 12, 2014, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 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 Jan. 1, 1924, to Harold and Edith Mathis Dunn. She entered the BVM congregation from St. Malachy Parish, Rantoul, Ill., on Sept. 8, 1946. She professed first vows on March 19, 1949, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1954.

Sister Edith was an elementary and secondary school teacher in Dubuque and Waterloo, Iowa; and Chicago. She ministered as hospital secretary for over 22 years in Chicago. 

She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by sisters Virginia (Bill) Brockhaus and Dorine McCarthy, Janesville, Wis.; nieces; nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 67 years.

Sister (St.) Edith Dunn,
BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, June 17, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Edith Dunn.

On New Year’s Day in 1924, Lucille Mary Dunn arrived in New Hampton, Iowa, as the first child of Harold and Edith Mathis Dunn. She was later joined by sisters Virginia and Dorine. Her father was a lumber manager who taught Lucille everything from roller skating to driving. Her mother was “a fashion plate” with a keen and precise sense of style that she passed on to her daughter.

When Edith celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1996, she told an abbreviated story of her life. The remainder of this welcome contains excerpts from that story.

“In seventh grade at Holy Family School in Mason City, Iowa, I met the BVMs and Sister Mary Adorita Hart, who was to become a lifelong influence in my life. We moved to Rantoul, Ill., when I was in high school, and six months after graduation, the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor and changed our lives. I quit business school and went to work in a civil service position at Chanute Field, an Army Air Base . . . After two years I thought I had done enough for the war effort and decided to go to college. I chose Clarke because Sister Mary Adorita was now there.”

“I really can’t explain how or why I felt ‘called’ to the religious life. Sister Mary Adorita was a great influence, but I’m sure the Lord had something to do with it.” Lucille Mary entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1946, and received the name St. Edith upon her reception on March 19, 1947. Continuing with Edith’s story, she wrote, “During a social hour our first night at Mount Carmel, I made the mistake of playing “Sentimental Journey” on the piano . . . and I seemed destined henceforth to teach music!”

“We were professed in 1949 and it seemed everyone was flying off to New York or California, but I just ‘rode my trunk’ downhill to St. Raphael Cathedral School . . . Sister Mary Concepta Scott . . . called me aside . . . one day and said I’d probably be more convincing as an ‘experienced’ teacher if I took the price tag off which was hanging down from my shawl.”

Edith taught music for eight years at St. Raphael and St. Joseph Academy in Dubuque, and at Our Lady of Victory Academy in Waterloo, Iowa, before she requested to teach business. She taught business classes in Chicago at St. Pius HS and The Immaculata HS, and at Wahlert HS in Dubuque, where she chaired the business department for nine years.

“In 1970 . . . I was interviewed for an executive secretary position by an eminent Jewish psychiatrist . . . who was professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago . . .  I liked his lifelong ministry of helping the oppressed, especially the poor and mentally oppressed. We worked together for 22 years; I found my ‘niche’ at last!” Edith continued to live at Wright Hall after her retirement in 1994 until she moved to Mount Carmel in 2011.

Edith was a pleasant, courteous, clever and intelligent woman. She had a great love of travel, a love that developed quite unexpectedly, as she explained. “One summer I had my first travel experience chaperoning students to the capital cities of Europe . . . I came back home so enraptured over the experience that my dad set up a trust fund for travel and as a result, I’ve been to all seven continents—even Antarctica.” Her adventures included extensive travel of the Hawaiian Islands, an excursion in a Borneo jungle, a Bible history tour through Jordan, Syria and Yemen, and trips to Tibet, Mongolia and even Timbuktu! She greatly enjoyed sharing her adventures with her BVM sisters through travel books, lectures and slide shows.

Edith lived 67 years as a BVM and was deeply grateful for her vocation and the BVM community that supported her. She concluded her life story by reflecting upon her religious calling. “When I was trying to decide whether I wanted to become a nun, I was praying one day in the Clarke College chapel . . . and I found a holy card in the pew in front of me of the Good Shepherd with the little lamb in his arms. It was my SIGN! And as sentimental as it sounds, that has been a symbol of God’s love and protection of me all these years. I have been the ‘wayward’ lamb straying off in all directions, but the Good Shepherd never tired of chasing me down and returning me to the fold.”

In our responsorial psalm, we will sing “Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.” We celebrate the earthy life of Edith and rejoice with her as the Good Shepherd welcomes her into the heavenly fold.

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