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Obituaries

Patricia Ann Perko, BVM (Vincent de Paul)

Patricia Ann Perko, BVM (Vincent de Paul) died Wednesday, July 12, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation of the cremated remains will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, July 25, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a Sharing of Memories at 10:15 a.m. Funeral liturgy will immediately follow. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Butte, Mont., on Sept. 11, 1934, to Michael F. and Rose Evelyn Cunningham Perko. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1954, from St. Joseph Parish, Butte. She professed first vows on March 19, 1957, and final vows on July 16, 1962.

Sister Pat taught elementary school in Missoula, Mont.; Omaha, Neb.; Seattle; and San Francisco. She was learning center teacher in Seattle and N. Hollywood, Calif., where she was also learning center director. She served as school secretary and learning center coordinator in Butte, where she also ministered as nurse aide and in home health care. She was coordinator of religious education in San Francisco.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Mary Dresden. She is survived by her brother Michael (Elaine) Perko, Tucson, Ariz.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 62 years.

Sister Patricia Ann Perko, BVM (Vincent de Paul)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, July 25, 2017

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

Patricia Ann was born in Butte, Mont., on Sept. 11, 1934. She was the first child of Michael and Rose Evelyn Cunningham Perko. A brother Michael and a sister Mary completed the family. Pat loved her hometown and never forgot her roots. She knew everything about Butte and maintained relationships formed there for the rest of her life. Both of her parents were born there as well. Her father, a railway clerk, was a member of the first graduating class at St. Joseph Grade School. Sister M. Gervase Tuffy, BVM signed his school diploma.

Pat also attended St. Joseph Grade School, graduated from Girls Central High School, and completed one year at Saint Mary College in Xavier, Kan., before answering the call to religious life. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1954, and received the name Vincent de Paul upon her reception on March 19, 1955. She professed first vows on March 19, 1957, and lived 62 years as a BVM.

After profession, Pat was sent to study at the Scholasticate in Chicago. Her ministry in elementary education led to missions at St. Anthony and St. Joseph in Missoula, Mont.; St. Bridget in Omaha, Neb.; St. John in Seattle; and All Souls in San Francisco. She also worked in learning centers at St. John and at St. Charles in North Hollywood, Calif., where she later served as the director. She was the coordinator of the learning center at Central Junior High and a secretary at South Central School, both in Butte. She also ministered as the religious education coordinator at St. Francis Parish in San Francisco and as a leader for the RCIA and RENEW programs in her parish in Butte.

Pat was intelligent, hardworking and conscientious. Her levelheadedness, patience and flexibility put her at ease in any situation while her nonjudgmental acceptance and support of others helped her relate to people of all ages. She benefited from these qualities when she ministered as a nurse aide and home care provider in Butte for 12 years. Caregiving truly was her greatest ministry. Here at Mount Carmel, sewing was another talent that Pat graciously shared by mending clothes for other residents.

Pat was observant and pensive, quiet and unassuming, preferring to gather information before making a decision or even commenting. Yet, at an unexpected moment, she delighted others with a delicious sense of humor. She enjoyed organizing events, from vacations and family visits to Montana cluster meetings to a combined celebration for her golden jubilee and 70th birthday. After moving to Mount Carmel, she welcomed any new arrivals from Montana and members of her set and arranged gatherings for both groups.

In Pat, there was an intimate depth of knowing God. Many years ago, she embraced creation spirituality and discovered her true self. Those who ventured into relationship with her found a deeply spiritual woman and a font of wisdom.

Her golden jubilee booklet included quotes from Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen: “All of creation is a symphony of joy and jubilation . . . God has arranged all things in the world in consideration of everything else . . . Everything in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, is penetrated with connectedness, is penetrated in relatedness.” Hildegard draws us into the joy and jubilation that all creatures celebrate together, echoing the command in Psalm 148 for all creation to “Praise God.”

Pat “loved [Wisdom] more than health or beauty, and chose to have her rather than light” (Wisdom 7:10) and along the journey found peace. When asked if she was afraid of dying, she simply replied, “No, I am entering into the cosmos.” Pat was a gentle soul, a true treasure, and a great blessing to us all.

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


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Harriet Holles, BVM (Agneda)

Harriet Holles, BVM (Agneda) died Saturday, June 17, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Wake will be from 9–11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 21, 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 Ladysmith, Wis., on March 23, 1933, to Harry and Agnes Fandel Holles. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1953, from St. Walter Parish, Roselle, Ill. She professed first vows on March 19, 1956, and final vows on July 16, 1961.

Sister Harriet taught elementary school in Seattle and Clinton, Iowa; and ninth grade in Glendale, Calif. She was a college math teacher in Chicago; Dubuque, Iowa; and Conception, Mo. She served as director of religious education in Springfield, Mo., and in spiritual formation on the college level in Conception, Mo. She was also a self-employed spiritual director.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sisters Alice Laura Holles and Geraldine Helen Holles. She is survived by nieces and nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 63 years.

Sister Harriet Holles, BVM (Agneda)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, June 21, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Harriet Holles.

Harriet Ann Holles was born on March 23, 1933, in Ladysmith, Wis., on her maternal grandparents’ farm. She was the first of three daughters of Harry and Agnes Fandel Holles and was followed by sisters Alice and Geraldine. Geraldine died at the age of 18 in a car-train collision; Alice died in 1991. Harriet’s father worked as a waiter in Chicago hotels where he met many celebrities and delighted in talking about his encounters. Her mother, who the oldest of nine children, began at an early age to help raise her siblings and do household tasks. Harry and Agnes met when she moved to Chicago to work as a maid for wealthy families. Agnes was a woman of deep faith and only agreed to marry Harry, a Lutheran, if he converted to Catholicism. Together they created a home where faith was foremost.

Harriet attended Catholic schools, but it was only after meeting the BVMs at Mundelein College that she considered a religious vocation. Two years later, on Sept. 8, 1953, Harriet entered the congregation. She received the name Agneda upon her reception on March 19, 1954, professed first vows on March 19, 1956, and lived 63 years as a BVM. “Religious life has been a vibrant and growth-filled choice for me,” she remarked during her golden jubilee. “I am thankful for the wonderful companions and the multitudinous opportunities. It is with a full and grateful heart that I celebrate vowed living.”

Harriet began her teaching ministry with elementary students at St. John in Seattle and St. Mary in Clinton, Iowa, and secondary students at Holy Family in Glendale, Calif. However, for most of her professional life, she taught mathematics to post-secondary students at Mundelein College, Clarke University, and Loras College.

After Vatican II, Harriet felt drawn to learn more about spirituality, especially prayer. While waiting for a study grant, she spent one year in parish ministry at St. Joseph Parish in Springfield, Mo. “It was providential that I waited,” Harriet said. “I taught adult theology classes, I worked in liturgy, I brought communion to people in their homes, I visited the hospitals . . . all things I had never done before. It was a wonderful preparation.” She completed a theological studies certification at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., and later she earned a master’s degree in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

In 1967, after reading about retreats directed by small groups of sisters at a time when preached retreats by priests were prevalent, Harriet, along with Sister Barbara Kutchera, BVM (George Mary), invited four additional BVMs to share in this renewal experiment. Together they designed and implemented a retreat at Clarke University, with then chaplain Father James Barta joining the group for daily Mass and a reconciliation service. Afterward, the participants continued as a prayer group with the four living members, including Harriet, last meeting this past March.

Harriet created many prayer services for the BVM congregation through the years. After the BVM Constitutions were approved, she gave retreats on them from Chicago to Dubuque to Fort Dodge, Iowa, and offered sessions to novices. “For the ongoing formation of BVM opportunities, guidance, affirmation and companions, I am so very grateful,” commented Harriet. She also served on retreat teams at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, Wis., as well for other women religious groups and gave several retreats at the Centre for Spiritual Renewal in Kumasi, Ghana.

Her work as a spiritual guide eventually led her to Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., where she combined her talents as a math instructor and a spiritual advisor. A seminary yearbook dedicated to Harriet praises her as “a person who has enriched our lives in the subtle mysteries of God, the Church, mathematics, and, most especially, ourselves in our walk with the Lord . . . Sister Harriet is one of these special ones who has gifted our community with her love, humor, concern, and her unique gift of the feminine perspective.”

Harriet continued to combine mathematics and spirituality for the next 20 years at Clarke University and Loras College. She excelled in creativity, innovation and depth in her teaching and presentations in both disciplines. In “retirement,” Harriet made herself available as a spirituality resource person and taught spirituality classes at the Roberta Kuhn Center where she presented the “New Universe Story” developed from her lifetime of learning.

Harriet was an ardent reader and a serious thinker, as was evident in her well-marked copy of the BVM Constitutions. Numerous tabs marked significant passages of underlined text and notes filled the margins, sometimes including a “YES!” all in capital letters with an exclamation point when she wholeheartedly agreed. Her copy was literally falling apart from her intense study.

While Harriet appreciated good films and theater productions and visiting places of interest, her relationships with a wide range of people were central in her life. She enjoyed offering hospitality, preparing delicious meals, and relishing in good conversation. It was her positive interaction with lay women and men that, in her words, “kept me off the streets!”

However, her most treasured relationship was with God. “God has done incredible things in me,” Harriet commented. “I continue to be astonished at how a fearful child born on a cold day in a Wisconsin farmhouse has grown in wisdom and grace, as well as age.”

St. Paul wrote, “For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in [Harriet’s] heart to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.” Filled with this knowledge, she guided many into a deeper relationship with their God. She has blessed us with her presence, her gifts and her humor for which we are deeply grateful. With joyful hearts, we celebrate that Harriet is now “gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord.”

Click here to read wake stories.

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


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Frances Dolan, BVM (Franciscus)

Frances Dolan, BVM (Franciscus) died Thursday, May 18, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation/wake will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a Sharing of Memories at 10:15 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 11 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on Nov. 10, 1916, to Fred and Frances M. Temske Dolan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1935, from St. Alphonsus Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1938, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1943.

Sister Frances taught music in elementary and secondary schools in Pasadena, Glendale, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara, Calif.; St. Louis, Mo.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Mundelein, Ill. In Chicago, she taught music at Mundelein College, was associate professor of music at Loyola University, and served as music/liturgy coordinator at Wright Hall, a BVM residence.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Cecelia Finnegan. She is survived by a cousin and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 81 years.

Sister Frances Dolan, BVM (Franciscus)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, May 23, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of Sister Frances Dolan.

Frances always liked the familiar Taize hymn, “Jesus Remember Me.” Although it is a hymn frequently associated with Good Friday services, it seems appropriate for this celebration of Fran’s life. How could our loving Creator not remember Frances Dolan, born in Chicago on Nov. 10, 1916, to her Irish father and dear German mother, Frederic and Frances Temske Dolan, joining her older sister, Cecilia.

Frances’ musical talents were nurtured by her mother, who insisted that she practice, practice, practice . . . even when Fran would rather have been doing something else. It was from her mother that Fran learned compassion for the poor, unconditional love, and grew in a healthy sense of self-confidence. Her mother had enough confidence in her youngest daughter to trust she could learn to drive long before her little legs could even reach the pedals. One of Frances’ favorite prayers was, “My Mother, my confidence.” Perhaps this prayer had as much to do with her mother’s confidence in Frances as it had to do with Frances’ confidence in her own mother, which overflowed to Mary.

By the time Frances entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1935, her mother had died, leaving a deep wound in Frances’ young heart and possibly creating in her the great sensitivity she felt for those who suffer the pain and sorrows of life. Frances received the name Franciscus upon her reception on March 19, 1936, and professed first vows on March 19, 1938, living 81 years as a BVM.

After her profession, Fran began her lifelong ministry as a talented and dedicated music teacher. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, Paul says, “I have done my best in the race.” She certainly did her best wherever she ministered. Her music ministry first took her to Mount Carmel in Wichita, Kan., then on to California to teach at St. Philip in Pasadena, Holy Family in Glendale, St. Paul HS in San Francisco and Bishop Garcia Diego HS in Santa Barbara. In addition, she was missioned at Xavier HS in St. Louis, Holy Angels Academy in Milwaukee and Carmel HS in Mundelein. Later she was a music instructor at Mundelein College and Loyola University, and a liturgical music coordinator at Wright Hall, all in Chicago.

Not only did Fran teach music, she also sewed costumes, constructed stage sets, planned the choreography, rehearsed with lead singers and chorus lines, patiently taught individual piano and voice lessons, gave numerous lecture-recitals, served as liturgist and even helped build a five octave concert Flemish harpsichord from a do-it-yourself kit! No wonder Fran thought it was time to leave this life, having run the full distance and kept the faith.

Among Fran’s few remaining possessions is a beautiful batik fabric from Ghana. It reads:

 Some people come into our lives and quickly go.

Others stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts.

And our lives will never, ever be the same again.

 Many of us here in this chapel, as well as her faithful students and friends, know that Fran has left her footprints on our hearts and our lives will never be the same. We remember her as an intelligent, sensitive, talented, charitable and gracious woman, who poured herself out for others. She had a good sense of humor and accepted everyone as they were. She was kind but did not make a big show of her good deeds. She worried about us and about our hurting world. She wanted us all to be happy. For all this, a great reward awaits her!

During this celebration, we will sing, “We remember how you loved us to your death, and still we celebrate, for you are with us here.” Those words are not only true of our relationship with Jesus Christ, but they are fitting words for all of us who have had the privilege and joy of knowing and loving and being loved by Fran.

Fran loved Mary Frances Clarke and read and prayed from the retreat book, Walking the Beatitudes, compiled by Sister Mary Frances Reis. Fran would say, “Mary Frances Clarke was some special lady! Her words were so direct and honest. She called a spade a spade. Sometimes I just have to laugh aloud at what she had to say. Other times I say, ‘You’re right on!’” One of the passages that Frances had underlined in the book was a prayer which can give comfort and hope to us this morning and in the days to come:

Mary Frances Clarke, and all you holy BVMs, associates, friends and saints in heaven. Walk with us.

Fran, we know that Jesus has not only remembered you, but has brought you into the fullness of Light and Love. We remember you with love and trust that you will always remember us until we meet again to sing the praises of our God in perfect harmony.

Click here to read wake stories.

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


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Carmelina Meyers, BVM

Carmelina Meyers, BVM died Thursday, May 11, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, May 16, in the Marian Hall Chapel, followed by a Sharing of Memories at 10:15 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 11 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Evanston, Ill., on Jan. 29, 1926, to James Peter and Catherine Johanna Wiltgen Meyers. She entered the BVM congregation Feb. 2, 1942, from St. Margaret Mary Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1944, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1949.

Sister Carmelina taught elementary school in Hempstead and Bellerose, N.Y.; and in Maywood and Grayslake, Ill. In Chicago, she taught elementary and secondary school and served in high school campus/youth ministry.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Beatrice L. Kalmes, and brother James F. Meyers. She is survived by a sister Patricia J. Krase, Northbrook, Ill.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 75 years.

Sister Carmelina Meyers, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, May 16, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Carmelina Meyers.

As two disciples walked on the road to Emmaus, Jesus approached and entered into their conversation. After recognizing Jesus in the breaking of the bread, they said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” For the two disciples, it was “all in the journey.” So too for Carmelina.

The earthly journey for Catherine Frances Meyers, known as Frances by her family, began on Jan. 29, 1926, in Evanston, Ill., as the firstborn child of James and Catherine Wiltgen Meyers. Two sisters, Patricia and Beatrice, and a brother James later joined the family. Frances remembered her father, a janitor and landscaper, as a very generous man, one who never passed a handicapped person without making an offering. Her mother, who worked at the parish rectory as a cook, was an outstanding baker. “Mom was an example of real faithfulness to all of us,” commented Frances. “Every day after work, she traveled to the nursing home to say the rosary with my grandmother who suffered from dementia.” While both of Frances’ parents were born in Illinois, their families originated in Luxembourg. She was very proud of her Luxembourg roots.

In her early years, Frances remembers longing to be in first grade. She recalls crying copiously as she watched the other children going off to school from her kitchen window. Apparently, the tears continued long and hard enough that her mother took her to school. After much consternation, the first grade teacher, who had an extra desk, said she would accept Frances. “I thought I was in heaven,” she remembered.

Before she finished fifth grade, Frances knew she wanted to be a sister and a teacher. This desire deepened in eighth grade. She remembers her teacher as “a strong, dynamic woman who influenced me in many ways. What was most obvious to me was her love for Jesus. Her class was alive; Jesus was real. [Jesus] made me think of the Pied Piper—he loved everyone and everyone tagged along with him. I could see myself mesmerized and tagging along too.”

Frances met the BVMs as a student at Immaculata HS in Chicago and knew she wanted to be one. “I loved it there,” she said during an interview, “there was such a friendly spirit between the sisters and the girls.” She left Immaculata after the first semester of her junior year to enter the congregation on Feb. 2, 1942. “I have never regretted that decision,” she wrote, “thanking God every day for his love, his grace, his forgiveness, my BVM community, my family and all those God has sent into my life.” She received the name Carmelina upon her reception on Aug. 15, 1942, professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1944, and lived 75 years as a BVM.

Carmelina was an elementary teacher for 45 years. She was missioned in Illinois at St. Dorothy and St. Ferdinand in Chicago, St. Eulalia in Maywood, and St. Gilbert in Grayslake; and in New York at Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, and St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose. Carmelina recalled that at Our Lady of Loretto there was no common lunchroom, so the children ate in the homeroom with eighth grade student monitors. The lunch girl for her room was Helen Maher Garvey!

It was at St. Gregory the Great that some of Carm’s most cherished memories were made. At the beginning, life there was very interesting because the school and convent were in the process of being finished. In the meantime, the sisters shuttled classes around from church halls to the vestibule and even outdoors. It was both a challenging and a fun experience that forged deep bonds between the teachers and the students.

For 27 years, Carmelina taught junior high students at St. Ferdinand in Chicago. With the encouragement of the pastor, she completed a two-year program at the Liturgical Institute of Chicago, laying the foundation for her service as campus minister at Madonna HS, also in Chicago. There she planned liturgies, prepared students for the sacraments and organized retreats while teaching morality and social justice classes. “The students were ethnically diverse and so interesting,” she recalled.

After retiring in Chicago, Carmelina volunteered at Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade shop featuring handcrafted articles from developing countries. She also did cross-stitch and painted birdhouses, which she donated to fundraising events. After she moved to Mount Carmel in 2009, she became a member of the BVM “Cut-Ups,” who make birthday and seasonal decorations for dining room tables, residents’ doors, and bulletin boards. In addition, she sewed old T-shirts into diapers for babies in Madagascar. A newspaper article described Carmelina as chuckling as she pinned fabric upon fabric while commenting, “This [diaper] will keep their little butts dry.” Carmelina also took classes at the Roberta Kuhn Center and continued to enjoy cross-stitch. Several of her creations brighten the guest rooms in the BVM Center. “Retirement also gives me extra time to pray,” she shared. Of course, she enjoyed keeping in touch with family and friends.

“It’s all in the journey” was the way Carmelina approached life. “I feel I’ve been very blessed and I’m grateful for all the gifts I’ve received. At those rare times when things seemed dark, a new dimension of spirituality often opened up for me. I’ve lived with, laughed with, and been supported by many wonderful people. Being a BVM is one of my most cherished gifts.”

With her earthy journey finished, Carmelina embarked on one final journey—the journey to her heavenly home to meet her constant companion, Jesus, face-to-face.

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


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Mary Kelliher, BVM (Maurita)

Mary Kelliher, BVM (Maurita) died Friday, April 14, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Natural Burial Rite of Committal was Saturday, April 15, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Sharing of Memories and Memorial Mass will be held on Thursday, April 20 at 10:45 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Casper, Wyo. on July 22, 1927, to Maurice and Mary E. Mahoney Kelliher. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1948, from St. Anthony Parish, Casper. She professed first vows on March 19, 1951, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1956.

Sister Mary taught elementary and secondary school in Des Moines and Council Bluffs, Iowa; Lincoln, Neb.; Butte, Mont.; Chicago; and Petaluma, Calif. She was religious education coordinator in Denver, Colo., and Gillette, Wyo. She served in parish ministry in Green River, Wyo., and in Hispanic ministry in Casper, Wyo.; Kankakee, Ill.; and Solola, Guatemala.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Rosaleen Webster. She is survived by sisters Rita Rochelle and Patricia Tripeny, both of Casper, Wyo.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 68 years.

Sister Mary Kelliher, BVM (Maurita)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, April 20, 2017

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

Mary Theresa Kelliher entered this world on July 22, 1927, in Casper, Wyo., as the third child of Maurice and Mary E. Mahoney Kelliher. She joined her sisters Rita and Rosaleen and was followed by her sister Patricia. Mary’s mother emigrated from County Cork, Ireland, and became a registered nurse in Chicago. Mary described her as “down to earth” and “stoically unsentimental.” “She had a good heart, but she didn’t like to show it,” said Mary. Her father emigrated from County Kerry, Ireland, and was the fire chief. “My dad, well his head was in the clouds,” commented Mary. “My dad loved socializing . . . I enjoy the traits of both my parents.”

Mary’s family moved to Wyoming, where she attended St. Anthony ES, which was staffed by BVMs. “Since the fifth grade I was very ‘holy,’” she commented. “I was a devil at home and an angel at school. I always wanted to be like the sisters. My father thought they were wonderful women. [He] had a very profound respect for them and I believe that they really did influence me.” Mary attended a public high school and worked as a nurse aide during World War II. After high school, she studied Latin at Clarke University for three years until the call to religious life compelled her to enter the congregation on Sept. 8, 1948. She received the name Maurita upon her reception on March 19, 1949, professed her first vows on March 19, 1951, and lived 68 years as a BVM.

Mary taught at St. Mary in Lincoln, Neb.; St. Joseph and St. John in Butte, Mont.; St. Cornelius in Chicago; St. Vincent in Petaluma, Calif.; St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, Iowa; and St. Francis Xavier in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She entered parish ministry, teaching religious education at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Denver, Colo., and was the coordinator of religious education at St. Matthew Parish in Gillette, Wyo. She also worked in parish ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish in Green River, Wyo.

Mary’s appreciation for Spanish and Mexican culture coupled with an increasing Hispanic population, compelled her to learn Spanish. In 1993, she began a Hispanic ministry volunteering in Casper, Wyo., and later in Kankakee, Ill. Through a BVM Ministry Grant, she traveled to San Andrés Semetebaj, Guatemala, where she taught the Hermanas Misioneras de la Eucharistia (Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist). The purpose of this religious community, comprised of indigenous women, was to bring the Word of God and the Eucharist to small villages in remote areas.

In her memoir, Mary recounts the trepidation she experienced as she arrived in Guatemala. “Fear, the right kind of fear, can easily turn to trust. My trust is in God; Her presence cushions my being. I felt Her with me, “your hand will guide me.” Yet fear swept over me as it does with every new beginning. My beginnings were merely in location, because my vocation has remained dually as Christ’s friend and as teacher.” Years later Mary would recall: “[I was] fueled with hope to impact the future missions of these indigenous women religious as they would pass on Christ’s love.”

After returning to the United States, she taught ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at Kankakee Community College and volunteered in Hispanic ministry at St. Theresa Parish in Kankakee. While at St. Theresa, Mary worked in a food and clothing center and helped to establish “The Mothers’ Cooperativa” where Hispanic mothers took turns providing childcare so other mothers could take English classes.

Members of Mary’s BVM community in Kankakee remember her “as one of the most generous, hospitable and caring persons they had ever lived with,” commenting that “there was never enough that Mary could do for you, serve you, or inconvenience herself on your behalf. Sometimes even to the point of annoyance! She would offer you 17 choices of drinks and snacks and with each ‘no response,’ she would elicit a whole new list of offers.” They also noted her amazing interest in and ability to retain trivia; she would come out with the funniest data. One time she read that if you soak raisins in gin and refrigerate them, eating seven a day would ease arthritis. One day when the refrigerator was crowded and others objected to a big quart jar with only three raisins in it, Mary took the jar and said, “Oh, okay, I’ll overdose.”

While Mary may have experienced internal fears when confronting new situations, those who watched her observed what appeared to be total fearlessness. Her limited Spanish was never an excuse for not getting involved with the most complicated situations in which Hispanics found themselves. If she didn’t know how to proceed, she would go to the ends of the earth to find out the best solution. It didn’t matter what time the phone rang, she was ready to offer her Spanish and compassion to those who sought her assistance. She was always cheerful and positive in her ministry and presence.

When Mary retired in 2008, she chose to live in Chicago because it was easier for her and her family in Wyoming to visit each other. After the sale of Wright Hall, she moved to Mount Carmel, commenting, “Home is the place where they take you in because they know and love you and you know and love them.”

Mary, St. Paul’s message to the Ephesians reminds us that Christ was alive in your heart through faith; planted in love and you built on that love. You knew and loved your family, your sisters, all those God placed in your life, and all in God’s creation. Now with all the saints you are filled with the utter fullness of God. Indeed, you have been called home to a place where they take you because they know and love you. In this Easter season, we celebrate you in your own poetic words.”

The circle of love a horizon unfurled
A sky rimmed with trunks and branches of black
stretching into filigreed twigs against blue.
And ahead in the west appeared a patch of different hue:
A stately yellow willow came into view.
Now, O my soul, isn’t that a graceful transition . . .
Maundy Thursday to Good Friday and thence to Easter.
Mary, your daughter rejoices. Your Son, my brother, is alive!

(From Walk Around the Block, Maundy Thursday, 2008)

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Therese Fox, BVM (Rita Maurice)

Therese Fox, BVM (Rita Maurice) died Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a sharing of memories at 10:30 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 11 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on June 17, 1930, to Maurice and Margaret Daly Fox. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1952, from St. Dorothy Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1955, and final vows on July 16, 1960.

Sister Therese taught elementary school in Grayslake and Chicago, Ill.; Hempstead, N.Y.; Waterloo and Dubuque, Iowa; and Kansas City, Mo. Also in Chicago, she served as elementary school principal and counselor.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers: Thomas Daly, Maurice S., William P., and John Robert. She is survived by sisters-in-law Audrey Fox, Oak Lawn, Ill.; Lorraine Fox, Long Beach, Ind.; and Therese Garvey Fox, Broadview Heights, Ohio; nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 64 years.

Sister Therese Fox, BVM (Rita Maurice)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, April 18, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Therese Fox.

Margaret Therese Fox entered this world on June 17, 1930, as the only daughter of Maurice and Margaret Daly Fox of Chicago. She joined brothers Thomas, Maurice and William and was followed by John. Her Irish parents had a strong Catholic faith and made the family their top priority. Her father had a family heating and air conditioning business. After he died from a heart attack at age 55, her mother continued the family business and was the first woman to sign a union contract. Therese was very devoted to her family, all of whom preceded her in death. We can only image the great joy at their heavenly reunion.

Therese commented that one of the greatest challenges in her life was her health. Diagnosed with scoliosis at age 13, Therese underwent surgery and was in a body cast for some time afterwards. She missed a year of school and had to relearn how to walk. Spinal issues continued off and on throughout her life, but she never viewed them as a handicap. While in her mid-30s, she suffered a stroke that left numbness on her right side. Much later, Sister Jean Ward, BVM, whom Therese described as a “most influential” person in her life, remarked, “although Therese has suffered from back trouble for many years, this has never interfered with her activities—she has learned to live with inconvenience in a beautiful manner.”

After graduating from Holy Cross ES and Loretta Academy, Therese planned to attend Clarke University. Grief over her father’s death, combined with homesickness, cast a shadow over what should have been an exciting time. Yet Therese persevered and graduated from Clarke with a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition and a minor in science. Her interest in food was not purely professional. Therese was a very fine cook, loved to entertain, and would host gatherings where everyone had a wonderful time enjoying a delectable meal.

During an interview, Therese commented, “As a girl there were two things I never wanted to be: a teacher and a nun.” Obviously, her view changed over time. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1953, received the name Rita Maurice upon her reception on March 19, 1953, professed her first vows on March 19, 1955, and lived 64 years as a BVM.

After four months at St. Mary High School in Chicago, Therese spent the next 19 years teaching junior high. She was missioned at St. Gilbert in Grayslake, Ill.; Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, N.Y.; St. Charles in Chicago; Our Lady of Victory in Waterloo, Iowa; St. Patrick in Dubuque, Iowa; and St. Catherine in Kansas City, Mo. She also served as principal at Our Lady of Lourdes in Chicago, where faculty described her leadership style, observing that “she made clear what her expectations of people were, and although they were very high expectations, they were never unattainable.” They emphasized that Therese had “very special qualities for bringing out the best in people, touching people in such a way as they were changed for having known her,” and always encouraging them to live life to the fullest.

Therese worked briefly as an educational researcher for The Immaculata HS, followed by an extended period of renewal at the St. Clare House of Prayer. Afterward, she ministered as an elementary school counselor at Our Lady of Angels, St. Ita and St. Constance, and later as a counselor for the Project REACH Program at St. Mary of the Lake ES, all in Chicago. Reflecting on her gifts as a counselor, a colleague stated: “Therese always acted with integrity, backed with good common sense and deep religious values. She created an atmosphere of love and trust among students, faculty, and staff.”

Therese remained in Chicago for five years after retiring until her move to the BVM Circle Apartments in 2001 and the Motherhouse in 2010. In recent years, she enjoyed card-making classes at the Roberta Kuhn Center. During last year’s end-of-year celebration, the class traveled to Otto’s Place in Galena, Ill., but only after verifying it was wheelchair accessible so that Therese could join them. Together they enjoyed a long afternoon of conversation and food. When mobility issues made attendance too difficult, she donated her personal card-making materials for the rest of the class to enjoy.

St. Paul wrote, “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Therese was a loving person deeply committed to her work and her Lord. Despite her health issues, she remained cheerful and willingly accepted challenging assignments. She made time for reflection and prayer a priority and continued to grow deeper in her love of God and community as she carried each burden. With deep gratitude and love, we rejoice for and with Therese. She is now truly free and where she has longed to be—in the loving arms of her God.

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Therese J. Jacobs, BVM (Therese Carmelle)

Therese J. Jacobs, BVM (Therese Carmelle) died Thursday, April 6, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 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 Des Moines, Iowa, on May 9, 1929, to Harry Franklin and Mary Josephine Mullahey Jacobs. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1947, from St. Mary Parish, Clinton, Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955.

Sister Therese taught music in elementary and secondary schools in Cascade and Davenport, Iowa; Kauai, Hawaii; Chicago and Mundelein, Ill; and St. Paul, Minn. She served as BVM regional in Davenport, and as formation director in Dubuque. She ministered on the college faculty and formation staff in Los Gatos, Calif. She served in pastoral ministry in Des Moines, Iowa; Jackson, Miss.; and Kumasi, Ghana.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers: Richard, Edwin, Bernard, Donald, Earl and John Paul; and sisters Mary Ellen Clark and Bernice Ann Iliff. She is survived by a brother, Francis J. Jacobs, St. Paul, Minn.; a brother-in-law, Stewart Iliff, Warrenton, Mo.; a sister-in-law, Marion Jacobs, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 69 years.

Sister Therese J. Jacobs, BVM (Therese Carmelle)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Wednesday April 12, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Therese J Jacobs.

Therese Josephine Jacobs entered this world on May 9, 1929, in Des Moines, Iowa, as the daughter of Harry and Mary (Mullahey) Jacobs. Her father’s first wife died, leaving three sons. He later married Therese’s mother and together had four more boys and three girls. After Therese was born, the family moved to Clinton, Iowa. Although they lived in several residences, the family always belonged to St. Mary Parish, where Therese also attended school. Therese had a very active childhood filled with parish and school activities, piano lessons, Girls Scouts, hospital volunteering, and even gardening.

The main family recreation, however, was playing cards. Therese believed that she picked up her card sense by watching her parents play cards with another couple. The family also enjoyed following the vicissitudes of the Chicago Cubs. In her autobiography, she wrote, “We had very little material wealth, but were blessed with the presence and goodness [of our parents] . . . I was given the foundation of love and identity which have enabled me to establish healthy relationships and good friends.”

Therese entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1947, received the name Therese Carmelle upon her reception on March 19, 1948, professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and lived 70 years as a BVM. On her profession day, Sister Clarice Hannaher, BVM gave Therese a medal of Thérèse of Lisieux with the following quote: “I want to love Jesus and to win Jesus’ love.” These words have motivated Therese to live a life full of gratitude and joy for all of God’s blessings.

Commenting about her 18 years of teaching music, Therese said, “I loved teaching elementary school music . . . Students loved a break from daily subjects so music was fun.” Therese was missioned in Iowa at St. Martin in Cascade and St. Paul in Davenport; in Hawaii at St. Catherine in Kauai; in Illinois at St. Gertrude in Chicago and Carmel Catholic HS in Mundelein; and in Minnesota at Our Lady of Peace in St. Paul. About her mission to Hawaii, Therese wrote, “[The] cultural diversity was a great richness in my life and gave me a breadth of understanding and experience that I have always treasured.”

Therese also served as a teacher and member of the formation team at Guadalupe College in Los Gatos, Calif., and as formation director at the Motherhouse. “It was a special gift to accompany women in their novitiate process of faith and deepened acceptance of themselves and God’s call and presence in their lives,” she commented. As a regional, Therese found herself involved with the sisters’ lives in very significant ways. “I was able to be a companion, elicit confidence and trust, and to be faithful to these women during stressful times as well as times of celebration.” Her experiences as formation director and regional coupled with encouragement from several friends helped Therese discern her next ministry.

In 1980, Therese earned a master’s degree in spiritual direction. “The studies were exciting . . . and energizing,” she wrote. “The real challenge came in owning my own strengths, personality and goodness and to believe in God’s fidelity and steadfastness even when I did not feel very faithful . . .” She subsequently served as a pastoral minister at Holy Trinity in Des Moines, and St. Richard in Jackson, Miss. While at Holy Trinity, she became a member of the Iowa Inter-Church Forum and served on the 1986 Iowa Pastor’s Conference planning committee. A friend from Holy Trinity wrote, “Let me acknowledge the important influence of [a] cherished BVM friend and mentor, Sister Therese Jacobs. We were on the RCIA team [together] . . . During this time I experienced a deep life-changing re-conversion . . . More than 30 years have passed and I value her support and friendship.”

During the summer of 1989, Therese traveled to the Centre of Spiritual Renewal in Kumasi, Ghana, where the faith of the people touched her deeply. “They are believers,” she wrote, “without God nothing would exist. I found their prayers full of praise, gratitude, dependence, trust, and joy—most of all, an attitude of praise and confidence.” She returned to Ghana in 2001 and spent the next nine years ministering there. A year after Therese left Ghana, a sign of her impact remained as the Easter liturgy was filled with a song she had taught the people.

For more than two decades, Therese enthusiastically encouraged the practice of centering prayer by training leaders and leading groups in Mississippi, Ghana and at Mount Carmel since her return to Dubuque. She led directed retreats and served as spiritual director to a countless number of individuals. “[My] ministries have allowed me into sacred places with others,” she commented. “My years were rich in seeing God’s action . . . and [the] power of healing and reconciliation in [people’s] lives. . . I know wherever I minister I will find God.”

In the area of social justice, Therese’s dedication and fearless initiative is evident in her numerous letters to newspapers and politicians in which she advocated for the disenfranchised and promoted the common good. She also was involved with Habitat for Humanity and visited women in correctional facilities. Therese was deeply honored to give the invocation before President Obama’s speech during his visit to Dubuque in 2012. “As I prepared the prayer I was very conscious of the desire to praise God for the gifts of life, freedom and faith.”

As a good listener with insight and keen sensitivity, Therese had the ability to relate easily and tenderly with others. Her gentle, kind spirit exuded warmth and wholeness. Someone recently commented, “She was a friend to everybody.”

In the Gospel, we hear Jesus say, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” Our deceased Sister Margaret O’Shea once complimented Therese, saying that she helped her realize that it is possible to carry out the Gospel and love everyone.

Therese has asked to be remembered as “a deeply spiritual woman, extremely grateful for a consistent sense of God’s personal care for her, for the riches of family, community and friends and for the wonder and beauty of creation.”

Truly, she was a gift to us all.

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Therese Mary Waughon, BVM (John Francine)

Therese Mary Waughon, BVM (John Francine), died Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. The Natural Burial Rite of Committal is at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 16, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A sharing of memories and memorial Mass will be held at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on March 7, 1931 , to John and Frances Smith Waughon. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1948, from Mary Queen of Heaven Parish, Cicero, Ill. She professed first vows on March 19, 1951, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1956.

Sister Therese Mary taught elementary school in Maywood, Round Lake, Chicago and Cicero, Ill.; Fort Dodge and Jesup, Iowa; and Bellerose, N.Y. She also volunteered at a hospital in Chicago.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Francis. She is survived by a cousin and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 68 years.

Sister Therese Mary Waughon, BVM (John Francine)
Memorial Mass Welcome
Marian Hall, March 21, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Therese Mary Waughon.

Therese was born on March 7, 1931, in Chicago, the first child of John and Frances (Smith) Waughon of Cicero, Ill. She was later joined by her brother Francis, who was born with cerebral palsy. He lived at home all his life and worked as a shipping clerk.

Therese was only three years old when her mother died. Martha, the family housekeeper, helped raise the two children and eventually became their very caring and loving stepmother whom they called Mom. Martha assisted Francis in learning many skills, including how to drive, and helped him to find employment.

In the early 1940s, the family had a Victory Garden in which they grew a large variety of vegetables including beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes and carrots. Therese assisted Martha with both the tending of the garden and the canning of its bounty. Some of Therese’s most treasured memories were of Christmas, putting up a real tree and setting out the manager. She also recalled that one year, instead of placing the tinsel on the tree one strand at a time as Martha had instructed, she threw all of it on at once.

Therese attended Mary Queen of Heaven school in Cicero, where the superior S.M. Callistus Schulte planted the seed by suggesting that Therese should become a BVM. Her call to religious life was solidified at St. Mary HS in Chicago. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1948, and received the name John Francine upon her reception on March 19, 1949. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1951, and lived 68 years as a BVM.

Therese taught in elementary schools for 43 years. Her gentle spirit was endearing to her students who loved her. She was missioned in Illinois at St. Eulalia in Maywood, St. Joseph in Round Lake, Mary Queen of Heaven in Cicero, and St. Ferdinand, St. Dorothy and St. Gertrude, all in Chicago. She departed from St. Gertrude, where she had served for 21 years, with a letter to the parish, writing, “I have been with you in times of joy, sadness and rebirth. You have been a source of growth, and your children have been an inspiration.” She also taught in Iowa at Corpus Christi in Fort Dodge and St. Athanasius in Jesup, and in New York at St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose.

Therese lived at Wright Hall for 36 years during her time at St. Gertrude and into retirement. Sister Catherine Dominick, a member of Therese’s set, would often accompany her to Cicero to visit her parents and brother. In 1981, Catherine Dominick moved into an apartment above Therese’s family. Soon after, Therese’s father died and then in 1984, her brother Francis died. Catherine would often visit Martha and bring her Communion and special treats. Therese was deeply grateful for these special kindnesses shown to Martha.

Therese retired from teaching in 1994 and began volunteering at Columbus Hospital and the Blind Society in Chicago. She supplied food, clothing and other assistance at Mary Queen of Heaven in Cicero. In addition, she faithfully and effectively covered the Wright Hall reception desk, substituting for retired sisters who found volunteering in the evening to be difficult. She was always generous with her time and willing to perform any task.

From her youth, she was a voracious reader, eventually developing a special love for children’s literature. Visiting her room at Wright Hall, one could find piles of books stacked everywhere, even on the floor. After moving to Mount Carmel, one of her favorite pastimes was listening to audio books. Sister Catherine Jean Hayen, who frequently visited Therese after her fall in 2015, remarked that Therese delighted in spending time listening to the audio books, so much so that she almost listened to the entire library.

Therese was a quiet, kind woman with a warm, welcoming smile, a gentle sense of humor, and a beautiful singing voice. Although the last several years were difficult ones for Therese, her beautiful voice could still be heard when she joined in sing-a-longs. Last Wednesday, her struggles ended when God called her home. Now she sings heavenly tunes of peace and deep joy. Reunited with her family and “knowing the love of Christ,” she is “filled with the utter fullness of God.” How beautiful the smile that now graces her face!

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Elaine Wojcik, BVM (St. Lillian)

Elaine Wojcik, BVM (St. Lillian) died Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9:30–10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, followed by sharing of memories and funeral liturgy at 10:30 a.m. in the Marian Hall Chapel. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on Feb. 14, 1928, to Stanley and Lillian Luczak Wojcik. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1950, from St. Mark Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1953, and final vows on July 16, 1958.

Sister Elaine was an elementary and middle school teacher in Mason City, Iowa; Chicago, River Forest, and North Riverside, Ill.; and Kansas City, Mo., where she also served as principal. She was a substitute teacher and nursing home/hospice volunteer in Melrose Park, Ill.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sisters: Dolores Frano, Adeline Salvinolo, and Patricia Lo Presto. She is survived by nieces, nephews, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Sister Elaine Wojcik, BVM (St. Lillian)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, March 22, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Elaine Wojcik.

Elaine Wojcik entered this world on St. Valentine’s Day in 1928 as the second of four daughters born to Stanley and Lillian (Luczak) Wojcik of Chicago. She joined her sister Dolores and was followed by Adeline and Patricia. Elaine described her father, who worked as a die caster, as a “sweet, gentle, loving man” and her mother as a strong, independent woman.

Elaine attended Our Lady of the Angels ES and Cathedral HS and worked four years after graduation as a statistician at Montgomery Ward. Growing up during the Depression created a certain asceticism within Elaine. She learned not to waste, disliked what she viewed as extravagance, and appreciated what she had. Her two prized possessions were a ring she received from her mother as a birthday gift and a cross from her sister Patsy.

On her application for admission, Elaine wrote, “The idea of entering the convent . . . has been with me for three years and the only way I can see whether or not this is my vocation is by giving the life a fair trial.” She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1950. According to a member of her set, when the other postulants saw her blond hair and beautiful tan, some commented, “She’ll never make it.” Yet “make it” she did. Upon her reception on March 19, 1951, Elaine received the name St. Lillian in honor of her mother. She professed first vows on March 19, 1953, and gave her vocation a “fair trial,” living 66 years as a BVM. During these years, the bonds formed in the novitiate among her set members remained strong, and nurtured by their frequent gatherings, deepened.

Elaine focused on intermediate language arts during her 38 years in education. She taught at Annunciation and Our Lady of Angels in Chicago, St. Vincent Ferrer in River Forest, and Mater Christi in North Riverside, all in Illinois; Holy Family in Mason City, Iowa; and St. Aloysius, St. Therese, and Holy Trinity in Kansas City, Mo. She also served as principal at St. Francis Xavier in Kansas City.

Her favorite mission was St. Therese, which, in her words, was “an excellent school.” She recalled that when the primary teachers were to implement a so-called “British Primary Program,” she teased that she could start a Polish Intermediate. Yes, she was very proud of her Polish heritage.

Elaine began every class with a short prayer. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of Christ Jesus.” She was an excellent teacher who creatively encouraged her students to do their best. Her friendly spirit and lightheartedness endeared her to her students and kept them engaged. A former student from St. Vincent Ferrer wrote, “Sister, you were always most kind to me . . . Academia was not as important to me as feelings and respect . . . There were moments when the serenity of your class was a tremendous blessing to me. You seemed to inherently understand things that I was yet unable and unwilling to articulate . . . You engendered an already burgeoning love of books and literature, which I have passed down to [my children] . . . Know that you are prayed for and remembered with a grateful and loving heart.”

Elaine was very devoted to her family. For years, the family played poker together every Friday night. A special relationship with her father deepened as they watched countless hours of football together. After his death, she moved into an apartment above her mother’s home in Melrose Park, Ill., and for many years, cared for her mother who was legally blind. After retirement from full-time teaching, she continued to work as a substitute teacher. She also volunteered in nursing homes and for hospice. After moving to Dubuque in 1995, she frequently spent her days visiting the sisters at Mount Carmel.

Elaine was a caring and compassionate woman with an outgoing, fun-loving spirit. She was true to her word and followed through on everything she promised or planned. While she enjoyed reading, basking in the sun, and playing computer games—especially Wii bowling—her favorite activity was watching football, basketball and baseball. As a native Chicagoan, she loved the Bears, the Bulls, and of course, the Cubs. She was elated to see them win the 2016 World Series.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks of the many dwellings in his Father’s house and of going to prepare a place for us. “I will come back again and take you to myself,” he promises. Reflecting upon her golden jubilee in 2000, Elaine wrote, “My retirement [is] filled with . . . enjoying these wonderful years I’ve been given to live and be.” Recently, however, life was becoming more difficult as her physical health declined. Then suddenly last week, Jesus came with wonderful news—her room was ready! As we fondly remember our dear sister, set member, and friend, we celebrate and rejoice with Elaine who now dwells in her heavenly home with the Lord.

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Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard)

Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard) died Tuesday, March 1, 2017, at Northwestern Hospital, Chicago. A memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Zachary Church, Des Plaines, Ill.

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug. 26, 1932, to John William and Lucille Lubbers Haas. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1953, from St. Paul of the Cross Parish, Park Ridge, Ill. She professed first vows on March 19, 1956, and final vows on July 16, 1961.

Sister Margaret was an elementary and secondary schoolteacher in Council Bluffs and Des Moines, Iowa; San Francisco; Lincoln, Neb.; and Chicago and Mundelein, Ill. Also in Chicago, she ministered as curriculum consultant for the Archdiocese of Chicago; was director of connections for a college adult education center, served in donor relations for a boys/girls home, and worked in parish ministry.

She was preceded in death by her parents: Lucille, Marian and John; and brother Robert. She is survived by a twin sister, Marilyn Haas, Chicago; and sisters: Monica Michelau, Des Plaines; Mary Kathryn Amaya, Genoa, Ill.; Carolyn Thompson, Park Ridge; Mary Beth Fitt, Genoa City, Wis.; and Patricia Bougher, Whitmore Lake, Mich. She is also survived by brothers: John Haas, Park Ridge; Thomas Haas, Des Plaines; and Robert Haas, Libertyville, Ill.; many nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 63 years.

Sister Margaret Haas, BVM (St. Leonard)
Liturgy Reflections, March 18, 2017
St. Zachary Church, Des Plaines, Ill.

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Margaret Haas. Together with Margaret’s family: her sisters Monica, Mary Kathryn, Carolyn, Mary Beth and Patricia, and her brothers John, Thomas, Robert and their families, I welcome you, my sister BVMs and associates, Margaret’s friends and former co-workers from Chicago Catholic schools, Malcolm X College, Mercy Home, adult literacy programs in Chicago parishes, as well as the many friends who have blessed Margaret’s life here in Chicago these many years.

We come together this morning to celebrate Margaret’s life and the gift she was to her family, to the BVM community, and to the many she served through over 50 years of ministry.

Margaret Lucille Haas and her twin sister Marilyn were born on August 26, 1932, to John William and Lucille Haas in Cleveland, Ohio. A third child, Robert, was born two years later and died at age three. A year later, when Margaret and Marilyn were six, their mother died of cancer, leaving John alone with two young children.

Three years later, in 1941, John Haas moved to Chicago and married Marian, who became a second mother to Margaret and Marilyn. Their small family of four grew to 12 as they welcomed eight brothers and sisters. With them, today, we remember and celebrate Margaret’s life among us.

In her own words, Margaret tells us, “I graduated from St. Gertrude School in 1946 and Immaculata High School in 1950. After attending Mundelein College for three years, on Sept. 8, 1953, I entered the BVM congregation.”

From the first day following her profession of vows in 1956 until 1972, Margaret’s classroom teaching career spanned all grades from second through high school, in Iowa, California, Nebraska and Chicago. From 1972–85 Margaret served as a curriculum consultant in mathematics for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. In later years, Margaret served at Malcolm X College and worked in adult literacy programs in Chicago’s Lawndale and Little Village communities, and finally served for 12 years as a donor relations specialist for Mercy Home. In retirement, Margaret served in volunteer ministry at St. Gertrude Parish in Chicago.

For us who gather today, Margaret’s leave-taking was abrupt. In the midst of planning and arranging for her and Marilyn’s move to Mount Carmel, Margaret felt the beginnings of a mild stroke or TIA and while apparently asleep in the taxi taking her to Northwestern Hospital, quietly went home to her God. As Margaret long wished, in a few short weeks, we will welcome Marilyn to her new home at Mount Carmel.

When asked how she wanted “to be remembered” Margaret wrote, “Say that I was someone who cared deeply about her family, who lived her adult life as a Catholic sister committed to her BVM congregation and its ministry, who ends her life peaceably waiting to return to God, the one who brought her into existence.”

Margaret’s twin Marilyn, when asked what her clearest memory of Margaret is, said that “there was no pretense about Margaret. She was always herself. You always knew what she was thinking.”

Margaret’s only final wish was to “donate my body to science, to be an organ donor as circumstances permit.” To that end, she consigned her body after death to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois. When available, Margaret’s ashes will be sent to Mount Carmel.

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Margaret Mollan, BVM (Laurice)

Margaret Mollan, BVM (Laurice) died Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2017, 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 March 22, 1922, to Herbert E. and Laura McMullen Mollan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1939, from Presentation Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1942, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1947.

Sister Margaret was an elementary and secondary school teacher in Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago and Mundelein, Ill.; San Jose, San Francisco and Glendale, Calif.; Kauai, Hawaii; Lincoln, Neb.; and Butte, Mont. She served in pastoral ministry in California in La Canada and Glendale, and as school volunteer in Pasadena.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers: Herbert, Ralph and Paul. She is survived by a nephew, grandnephew, grandnieces, and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 77 years.

Sister Margaret Mollan, BVM (Laurice)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, March 2, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Margaret Mollan.

Margaret Mary Mollan was born on March 22, 1922, the only daughter of Herbert and Laura (McMullen) Mollan of Chicago, Ill. Margaret had two older brothers, Herbert and Ralph, and a younger brother, Paul. Two of her brothers were ordained priests—Ralph in the Archdiocese of Chicago and Paul in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, since he was too old to enter Mundelein Seminary after being discharged from the Navy. “Our family was close,” she commented. “My parents were such good people.”

Margaret attended Presentation Elementary School. She was a great lover of books from the time she learned to read. Her Christmas list would include the works of Louisa Mae Alcott, the Nancy Drew mysteries, and so many religious biographies that she fantasized about following in the footsteps of Father Damien on Molokai. Margaret sought female companionship among the members of a family of five girls who lived down the block. Two of these girls became BVMs—Sister Mary Norette Fitzgibbon and Joanne Fitzgibbon, who later withdrew.

While a student at St. Mary HS, Margaret wrote, “I have long desired to serve God in a more special way.” Eventually, she came to see that the BVM community and teaching were a better fit than missionary work. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1939, received the name Laurice upon her reception on March 19, 1940, and professed her first vows on March 19, 1942. Reflecting back on her 77 years as a BVM, she shared, “It was all I ever wanted it to be.”

Margaret was an elementary school teacher for 30 years. She was missioned at St. Aloysius, St. Gertrude and St. Cornelius in Chicago; St. Ambrose in Des Moines, Iowa; St. Leo in San Jose, St. Brigid in San Francisco, and Incarnation in Glendale, all in California; St. Catherine in Kauai, Hawaii; Sacred Heart in Lincoln, Neb.; and Immaculate Conception in Butte, Mont. She also taught English and history for 14 years at Carmel Catholic HS in Mundelein, Ill. She was always interested in her students as individuals and quickly learned their names. Her gentle manner and voice was endearing to her students whatever their age. It is not surprising that her favorite teaching mission was Hawaii. “I loved it there,” she commented, “except for the lizards.”

In addition to teaching, Margaret was a parish minister at St. Bede Parish in La Canada, Calif., and at Incarnation Parish in Glendale, where she filled the roles of liturgical consultant, director of religious education, and adult ministry trainer. The closing of Incarnation left a big hole in her life. She moved to Pasadena, Calif., where she filled that hole by volunteering to teach computer classes to junior high students at St. Philip. She also served the parish as a prayer group leader and Eucharistic minister. One benefit of living at St. Philip was the special seating the sisters enjoyed as the Rose Parade passed right by the convent.

Margaret continued to expand her volunteering efforts during her time in Pasadena. She volunteered almost every day at the Pasadena Senior Center, where she staffed the reception desk and served meals. To become a more effective volunteer, she completed a Senior Advocacy Training Program and afterwards served as a member of the Senior Advocacy Council. Her volunteer work with the Pasadena Police Department was by far the most interesting. Through the Victim Counseling Program, she walked with senior citizens who were crime victims, offering them support, counseling, and even home security checks. Sometimes she had to ride with police officers in the squad car. On one occasion, there was a car theft where the perpetrators were “armed and dangerous.” She witnessed the capture, arrest and booking of the suspects. In 2003, the county of Los Angeles recognized Margaret as an outstanding volunteer. She simply commented, “I spend most days trying to serve God the best way I know how and to help God’s children.”

Margaret’s desire to serve continued after moving to Mount Carmel. For many years, she served in hospitality, as a sister-companion, and visiting the dying in the ministry of presence. Certain social justice issues earned her complete dedication. She opposed the death penalty and faithfully tolled the bell on the day of a prisoner’s execution. While serving on the Hunger Fund Committee, she embraced the Heifer Project and, with great animation and persuasiveness, gave a presentation of its positive outcomes. She even gave gifts to people in the form of donations to the project in their honor. Eventually, when health issues limited her involvement, she gracefully embraced a ministry of prayer.

Margaret was always realistic about her capabilities and limitations and chose to be proactive in determining her life course. The year before the St. Philip convent was scheduled to close, she decided to move to Mount Carmel. Realizing a need for increased care, she initiated her move from independent to assisted living two years ago, as well as her move to skilled care last fall.

Family was very important to Margaret. Through the generosity of her priest brothers, she was able to travel to Greece, Istanbul, the Holy Land and Rome, a dream for a social studies teacher. Moving back to Mount Carmel brought her closer to her oldest brother Herbert, her nephew Terry, and his family. Whether they came to Mount Carmel or she traveled to Rockford, Ill., she enjoyed the opportunity to visit.

In the first reading, St. Paul advises, “Your kindness should be known to all.” Think of Margaret and one word immediately comes to mind—kind. The little kindnesses that she did for others made life more pleasant. Being gracious, welcoming and affirming was as much a part of her nature as wearing a smile. She lived simply and was simply a delight. With deep appreciation, she summed up her years at Mount Carmel by saying, “I have been very happy here.” With gratitude for the blessing of her kindness, we celebrate Margaret’s risen life, confident that she knows eternal happiness there.

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Janita Curoe, BVM

Janita Curoe, BVM died Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. The Natural Burial Rite of Committal was held Feb. 11, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A memorial service will be held Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, with shared stories followed by liturgy. Burial was in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Bernard, Iowa, on March 28, 1929, to William Edward and Marie Powers Curoe. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1946, from Sacred Heart Parish, Fillmore, Iowa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1949, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1954.

Sister Janita taught elementary school and was principal in Davenport, Iowa; Chicago; Memphis and Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Clarksdale and Jackson, Miss. She served as county literacy coordinator and volunteer tutor in Canton, Miss.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Mary Curoe, BVM (St. Richard) and Catherine Pfab; and brothers: Robert, Richard and John. She is survived by a sister-in-law, Janice Curoe, Dubuque; a brother-in-law, Irvin Pfab, Iowa City, Iowa; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 70 years.

Sister Janita Curoe, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Feb. 13, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Janita Curoe. Special welcome to Janine’s family present with us today, her friends, set members, and all joining us through electronic media.

Jane Therese Curoe was born on March 28, 1929, to William Edward and Marie Powers who farmed near Bernard, Iowa. She was the third of six children—three girls: Mary, Jane and Catherine, and three boys: Robert, Richard and John—all born at home. “I thought my parents were perfect,” commented Jane. “They gave me a wonderful start . . . They were very good people.”

During Jane’s senior year at Our Lady of the Angels Academy in Clinton, Iowa, a nagging thought began running through her head, especially during the quiet of prayer. To avoid it, she pretended to fall ill before every Holy Hour. Eventually, her senior teacher caught on and Jane confessed her attempt to dodge a call to religious life. Following her teacher’s suggestion, she decided to become a BVM because a Dubuque motherhouse would make family visits easier. She told no one about her plans except her mother, who was doubtful because Jane loved clothes too much. Jane stood firm against her mother’s doubt; nevertheless, she secretly spent the summer praying for a sign not to enter. None came.

So on Sept. 8, 1946, Jane entered the congregation, joining her older sister Mary, who entered in 1939 and died in 2010. The two sisters followed in the footsteps of their aunt, Sister Mary Norbertus Powers, and their grandaunt, Sister Mary Maxima Curoe. Jane received the name Janita upon her reception on March 19, 1947, professed her first vows on March 19, 1949, and lived 70 years as a BVM. Throughout her life, Janita sought God’s guidance by asking for a sign. “Some days God works in mysterious ways,” said Janita, “and other days He knocks you over the head.” However, the best thing that ever happened to her was the absence of a sign that brought her to Mount Carmel.

Janita’s first mission was at St. Paul ES in Davenport, Iowa, where she remained long enough to see her first graders graduate from eighth grade, calling it “a wonderful experience.” She also taught primary grades at St. Eugene in Chicago; Fr. Bertrand Elementary in Memphis, Tenn.; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Chattanooga, Tenn. Janita was an excellent teacher. She had a way of effectively handling even the youngest disruptive child. She listened to children and talked to them lovingly. She cared about them and they knew it. It was her great love that made her such an inspiring teacher.

Janita also served as principal at Sacred Heart and St. Paul in Davenport; Immaculate Conception in Clarksdale, Miss.; and Christ the King Elementary in Jackson, Miss. Immaculate Conception was an extremely poor school. In the absence of support staff, Janita filled many additional roles such as secretary and janitor. Despite these extra responsibilities, she was able to establish a government-funded hot lunch program for the children at the school.

Pope St. John Paul II called illiteracy “a hidden evil which deprives a great number of poor people of many possibilities for progress.” Janita wholeheartedly agreed. For eight years, she served as the coordinator for Madison County Literacy Program in Mississippi. She helped inmates at the state penitentiary and the county jail earn their GEDs and tutored children at the Madison County Library and at two Catholic schools. She was passionate about education and never tired of teaching children to read. Even after retiring, she remained in Mississippi to volunteer in a public school. She was invaluable and achieved marvelous results bringing the children up to grade level. Education truly was her gift to others.

Her 32 years serving the African American community in the South did come with a personal price. She wrote, “Leaving my family . . . seeing them only once or twice a year, was a loss I had not considered. [I was] not around to see my nieces and nephews grow up . . . . I barely know some of them and they barely know me.” Yet, she said, “Those were good years living and working in a warm and welcoming community.” Finally, after moving to Mount Carmel, Janita was pleased to reacquaint herself with her extended family.

During the summer of 2000, Janita spent a week building a home in Honduras with Habitat for Humanity International. She continued to be engaged in outreach activities here at Mount Carmel. She shared her personal story as a participant in the “Sisters Oral History Project” and served as a panelist for the Mission Integration and Orientation Program for Mount Carmel employees. She also volunteered at the Mount Carmel reception desks.

Janita had the sweetest nature, like a genteel southern woman, and a beautiful smile that radiated peace. With a heart of service and love, she joyfully accepted every mission. As an introvert, she enjoyed living alone with plenty of quiet time for praying and reading. Yet, she was a great person with whom to live—kind, considerate, generous and patient. One of her greatest joys was being a member of a community and making wonderful BVM friends.

Janita deeply embraced the vow of poverty. Yes, she loved nice clothes, but never bought anything new. She either sewed her own outfits or shopped at thrift stores. She also felt a responsibility to stay employed, not only to support herself, but to send more to Mount Carmel to support the novices and the infirmed. She even turned down opportunities to travel because the trips would not directly enhance her education or her work. This was the one decision that Janita regretted—but only a little bit. “My whole life was a blessing,” she remarked. “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

Janita chose the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:34-40) for today’s Gospel. Through her ministries, she fed those who hungered and thirsted for the rich fare of an education. She cared for the downtrodden and the imprisoned by giving them hope for a better life. She welcomed all and turned her back on no one. Friday, Jesus came to her and said, “Come, Janita, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kin-dom prepared for you.” We rejoice with you, our friend and sister, as you celebrate new life in kin-dom of God forever.

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Kathleen Doherty, BVM (Patrick Louis)

Kathleen Doherty, BVM died Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, 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 Waterloo, Iowa, on Aug. 24, 1922, to Patrick B. and Mary Salz Doherty. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1945, from St. Joseph Parish, Waterloo. She professed first vows on March 19, 1948, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1953.

Sister Kathleen was an elementary and secondary school teacher in Sioux City, Iowa; Hempstead, N.Y.; and Chicago, where she also served as parish secretary and adult education teacher; and as alumnae association coordinator/treasurer.

She is preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by cousins and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 71 years.

Sister Kathleen Doherty, BVM (Patrick Louis)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall Chapel, Feb. 14, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of the life of our Sister, Kathleen Doherty. We welcome her friends, former students and, especially, members of the St. Mary HS Alumnae Association. We also welcome all BVMs and associates viewing this service on closed circuit TV or through video streaming.

Kathleen Rita Doherty entered this world on Aug. 24, 1922, as the only child of Patrick Brown and Mary Salz Doherty of Waterloo, Iowa. Her father emigrated from Ireland and worked as a janitor. Her mother was of German and Polish descent.

Kathleen graduated from Our Lady of Victory Academy in Waterloo and attended Clarke University for two years. She worked as a senior clerk for Metropolitan Life Insurance for four years before joining the community.

She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1945, following in the footsteps of her grandaunt Sister Mary Laurina Burchinsky, BVM, her aunt Sister Mary Rembert Salz, BVM, and a cousin, Sister Mary Letice Striegel, BVM. Kathleen received the name Patrick Louis upon her reception on March 19, 1946, professed first vows on March 19, 1948, and lived 71 years as a BVM.

Kathleen taught in both elementary and secondary schools for 28 years with missions at St. Jerome, St. Mary HS, and Holy Family in Chicago; Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, N.Y.; and Cathedral in Sioux City, Iowa. As an educator, Kathleen first taught business courses and later taught English.

After St. Mary HS transitioned into the St. Mary Center for Learning, Kathleen gracefully transformed her traditional English course into one of the first high school film study programs in the country. Her program attracted the interest of film industry celebrities such as actor/director Leonard Nimoy and director/producer Frank Capra. Students and faculty alike respected and loved Kathleen for her experience, wisdom and kindness.

For 17 years, Kathleen worked with economically and educationally disadvantaged adults. Her ministry began in the role of parish secretary and adult education instructor at the Holy Family Community Center in Chicago. The Jesuits who ran the center and the parishioners loved her, and the feeling was mutual. “I have received much more than I have given,” wrote Kathleen. “[My] years at Holy Family have deepened my faith and sharpened my awareness of the strength and wisdom that comes to suffering people.”

When the Westside Employment Education Center (WEEC) opened at the Holy Family site, Kathleen was the business department—teaching typing, business English, phone etiquette, and other related courses. She later served on the organization’s board of directors. “Unemployment is still the number one problem for minorities in Chicago, especially women,” she wrote. “The women coming to class now are slightly older, their children are in school, and they can begin to arrange their lives and look for relief from the stranglehold of welfare.” Kathleen worked diligently to build the women’s self-esteem and encouraged them to reach their greatest potential.

For two years after retiring to Wright Hall in Chicago, Kathleen chauffeured other residents, played piano for worship services, and enjoyed painting classes with Sister Eustella Fau, BVM. Several of Kathleen’s paintings now hang here at Mount Carmel. While at Wright Hall, there came the invitation to serve as the coordinator and treasurer of the newly revived St. Mary Alumnae Association. Kathleen really was the perfect choice for this task. In her own words, “the enormous responsibility [of this position was] eased by the generosity of alumnae, my own memories of my faculty time, and the appreciation alums have for the mentoring, education and friendships formed during their years at St. Mary.”

Often working late into the night from her basement office at Wright Hall, she made condolence calls after the death of a graduate or a graduate’s family member, published newsletters, and organized numerous luncheon reunions, memorial liturgies, and fundraisers. The St. Mary Alumnae Association raised over a million dollars for the Sisters of Charity, BVM during her 18 years of devoted leadership.

Every morning, Kathleen awoke, put on her delightful smile and, along with it, the compassion, kindness, gentleness and love of which St. Paul writes to the Colossians. She gave her all to whatever task was at hand. When she wrote the Region 10 newsletter, she called everyone in the region and expected to receive information. Her magnetic personality drew people into responding positively whether they wanted to or not. Yet, she knew she could not do it alone and was truly grateful for everyone with whom she worked. Her love of words made her a great communicator, but she also was an excellent photographer, pianist and artist. In addition, she loved to sing, especially those Irish songs at her great St. Patrick’s Day parties.

After her mother died in 1991, Kathleen discovered a collection of prayers, fragile and worn thin over time. The frailest one was “A Favorite Prayer of Mother Mary Francis [sic] Clarke.” As part of her 200th birthday gift to Mary Frances Clarke, she wrote, “What a surprise! My own mother had chosen a favorite prayer of my spiritual mother to be her favorite! I want [Mary Frances Clarke] to know that I have adopted her ‘favorite prayer’ as my own mother did.”

With words from that prayer, we now bid farewell to our sister and friend. “Jesus Christ crucified, Son of the most holy Virgin Mary, open your Sacred Heart, that seat of love and mercy, and receive [Kathleen] into it; make [her] wholly yours.” Amen.

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Rosemary Shaughnessy, BVM (Gerald)

Rosemary Shaughnessy, BVM (Gerald) died Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, 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 Oct. 24, 1929, to Edward Francis and Joan Marie Schmitz Shaughnessy. She entered the BVM congregation Feb. 2, 1950, from St. Jerome Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1952, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1957.

Rosemary taught elementary school and was principal in Chicago, Cicero and Berwyn, Ill. Also in Chicago, she worked in the business office and was associate/assistant director of financial aid at Mundelein College; and taught math at Madonna HS. She served the BVM congregation as administrative assistant to the secretary of the congregation and as volunteer in retirement. Sister was also a RUSH study participant.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Edward Shaughnessy. She is survived by brothers: David C. (Eileen) Shaughnessy (Schaumburg, Ill.); Terrence J. Shaughnessy (Arlington Heights, Ill.); and Rev. Thomas P. Shaughnessy, SSC (St. Columbans, Neb.); nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Sister Rosemary Shaughnessy, BVM (Gerald)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Jan. 31, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Rosemary Shaughnessy.

Rosemary Shaughnessy entered this world on Oct. 24, 1929, as the second of five children, and the only daughter, born to Edward Francis and Joan Marie Schmitz Shaughnessy of Chicago, Ill. She joined a brother Edward while brothers David, Terrence and Thomas followed. As was often the case during the Depression, her father lost his job, but fortunately found a new one with Railway Express. Meanwhile, her mother cared for the children at home, obtaining part-time employment at a bank when they were older.

Rosemary graduated from The Immaculata High School in Chicago and worked for two years as an IBM operator in the office of the Northern Trust Company. After several years of consideration, she entered the congregation on Feb. 2, 1950, and received the name Gerald upon her reception on Aug. 15, 1950. She professed her first vows on Aug. 15, 1952 and died just five days before marking 67 years as a BVM.

Rosemary was a very gifted teacher, especially in the area of mathematics. For 17 years, she taught junior high students at St. Agatha, St. Eugene, and St. Tarcissus in Chicago and at Mary Queen of Heaven in Cicero, Ill. She served as superior and principal at St. Odilo in Berwyn, Ill., and taught math at Madonna HS in Chicago. She also worked 19 years in the financial aid offices at Mundelein College and Loyola University.

A former colleague wrote, “I came to Mundelein to manage the financial aid office in 1984, and then took on the Weekend College as well. Rosemary was a wonderful colleague and a model for how to serve students. I had not managed an entire operation before and she was a huge help on many fronts . . . [She] inspired me to persist in this field and focus much of my efforts on supporting working adults, particularly women. For that, I thank [her].

For five years, Rosemary served the BVM community as the administrative assistant to the secretary of the congregation. Before coming to the secretary’s office, she closed St. Tarcissus convent. The pastor offered the furniture to the congregation, so she arranged to have much of it shipped to Dubuque to furnish the Circle apartments that were under construction. She later lived in the apartments with Sister Jean Monica Lanahan. Together they enjoyed hosting many dinner parties. A delightful evening with a beautifully set table and a scrumptious meal awaited their guests. For larger affairs, the party moved to 940 D with Rosemary’s brother, Father Tom, often providing the meat.

Family was very important to Rosemary. After her mother moved to a care facility, she assumed the role of family representative and managing her mother’s finances while continuing to work at Mundelein. This service was but one of the many ways in which she supported her brothers and shared her fondness for them. Vacationing with them brought her to the Philippines, Rome, and the Outer Banks of South Carolina. She also traveled to the Holy Land and Ireland and made annual trips to the BVM property, the Spiders, to enjoy swimming and boating. Her love of travel perfectly matched her sense of curiosity. Upon returning from visiting her brother in Maryland, she enthusiastically imparted information about the state’s history like a docent.

Rosemary was known for her candor as well as her calming, easy disposition that allowed her to take things in stride. Her wry sense of humor put all in perspective, but one had to be sharp to catch it. She could be quite strict but she also could be lots of fun. During her novitiate days, she shared many funny stories about working with Sister Mary Celsa Riordin, BVM in the Motherhouse chapel. After a blizzard closed St. Odilo School, Rosemary, along other sisters, went for a walk in the snow. “We stopped at teachers’ homes,” recalled a sister. “[We] said we were out collecting milk money [and] we all had a good laugh.” Rosemary was a person for whom service meant a great deal; she quietly cared for many in need such as reading for those who could not see the print. One friend commented, “[She] was a lovely person and a joy to live with and to know.”

In an open letter to her set on their golden jubilee, Rosemary wrote, “What has happened to me over the years? I have learned much, and hope that it has translated into greater wisdom. I have prayed much and hope that I have deepened and strengthened my spirituality. I have lived with BVMs over the years and they all have taught me by their very lives and deaths. I have worked and played and traveled. I have been to other countries and observed other cultures—such enriching and sobering adventures.”

With the words of St. Paul, we bid farewell to our sister Rosemary as she sets off on her greatest adventure ever: “[We] give thanks to [our] God always, remembering you in [our] prayers.” Rosemary, may you find great joy abiding in the loving arms of Jesus.

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