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Obituaries

Rita Mary Zander, BVM (Magdalene)

Rita Mary Zander, BVM (Magdalene) died Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9:30–10:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in the Marian Hall Chapel, followed by a community prayer and funeral liturgy. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on March 12, 1924, to Edward and Magdalene Gostomski Zander. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1943, from St. Viator Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1946, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1951.

Sister Rita Mary taught elementary school in San Francisco, San Jose, and Palm Springs, Calif.; Butte and Missoula, Mont.; and Las Vegas, Nev. She taught ninth grade math and served as high school treasurer in Butte.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Edward Zander. She is survived by a sister, Esther Gliot, Richmond, Va.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 74 years.

Sister Rita Mary Zander, BVM (Magdalene)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Feb. 9, 2018

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

Rita Mary was born on March 12, 1924, the eldest child of Edward and Magdalene Gostomski Zander of Chicago. A sister Esther and a brother Edward, who died in 2004, completed the family. Rita attended St. Viator ES run by the Sisters of St. Joseph. She graduated from The Immaculata and found a job for the summer in the office at Rock Wool Products.

Rita entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1943, and received the name Magdalene upon her reception on March 19, 1944. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1946, and lived 74 years as a BVM.

Rita taught in the elementary grades for 35 years. She was missioned at St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, Iowa; St. Philip, Most Holy Redeemer, St. Paul, and St. Brigid, all in San Francisco, Calif.; St. Leo in San Jose, Calif.; St. Ann in Butte, Mont.; St. Anthony in Missoula, Mont.; St. Theresa in Palm Springs, Calif.; and St. Viator in Las Vegas, Nev. Rita also taught ninth grade math and served as treasurer at Central High School and worked at the fine arts and learning center at South Central Junior High, both in Butte, Mont. Her favorite missions were those in Butte, Palms Springs, and Las Vegas.

Rita was a good teacher with high expectations for her students. She excelled in teaching in math and art. Mathematics came alive in her classroom through games and guest speakers who demonstrated how concepts applied to everyday life, such as purchasing a car and buying insurance. As an art teacher, she believed that students should create their own pictures instead of simply coloring within the lines. She gave workshops on teaching art and helped teachers decorate their classrooms in different and creative ways.

Rita retired to Wright Hall in 1992 where she served as sacristan and arranged flowers for the chapel. She enjoyed doing crafts with her dear friend Sister Ann Patrice Durr. Their creations were not the normal type found at craft fairs; they were quickly sold to sisters at Wright Hall as Christmas gifts for their families. After Ann Patrice and Rita moved to Mount Carmel in 2006 and 2007, respectively, they continued to make and sell their unique crafts, generously donating the money to sisters for use in their ministries. Rita also joined Cut-Ups, making favors for the birthday meals and table decorations for the benefactor meals.

Rita was a quiet, private person who remained faithful to daily prayers, including the rosary. She was pleasant and kindhearted. Every time she received a box of candy, she gave it to the BVM Life Facilitators to share with the other sisters at Mount Carmel. Whenever she visited the beauty shop, she insisted on tipping her beautician. Rita had a keen sense of humor and enjoyed a good laugh. Several sisters admired her interesting footwear, which included a pair of black and white saddle shoes and a pair of red shoes.

Rita delighted in eating out and having a good time. Unfortunately, participating in table conversations became very difficult as her hearing worsened over the years. She deeply loved her family, especially her sister Esther. They enjoyed visiting each other and traveling together as long as they were able. In recent years, they communicated regularly by phone.

The readings chosen by Rita for her celebration of risen life reflect her deep faith in God. “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17). She truly “Trusted in the Lord with all [her] heart” (Proverbs 3:5) and sought faithfully to follow the will of God. “This indeed is the will of my Father, that those who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life” (John 6:40).

Two days ago, as Rita quickly and quietly left this world, her greatest hope was realized—eternal life with her loving God. Let us rejoice for Rita, who now knows a joy beyond all understanding.

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Mary Johnellen Garrity, BVM

Mary Johnellen Garrity, BVM died Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, 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 Chicago on Jan. 11, 1927, to John Joseph and Mary Ellen Lonergan Garrity. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1945, from St. Andrew Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1948, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1953.

Sister Mary Johnellen taught elementary school in Chicago and Hempstead and Bellerose, N.Y. She taught secondary school in Dubuque, Iowa; Chicago; and Wichita, Kan.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers: John, Lawrence, James and Donald; and sisters Annamae Walton and Dorothy Sperath. She is survived by a sister, Irene Schultz, Wheeling, Ill.; nieces; nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 72 years.

Sister Mary Johnellen Garrity, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Jan. 12, 2018

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary Johnellen Garrity.

Mary Jane Garrity entered this world in Chicago on Jan. 11, 1927. She was the sixth of eight children born to John Joseph and Mary Ellen Lonergan Garrity. Her father worked as a stockbroker and, according to Mary Jane, her mother was “a fine singer.” They were both sweet, quiet, loving people who never raised their voices. They were also generous and graciously invited an unmarried uncle to live with them. They also experienced great heartache when their eldest son John, the second child, died as an infant.

Mary Jane was very proud of her family. She bragged how her younger brother, James, worked for the Chicago Fire Department while another, Donald, was a detective with the Chicago Police Department and a veteran of the Korean War. She was good to her family and present to them in difficult times. When her mother was ill, she provided care and companionship after school and on weekends. She also helped one brother with his children when his wife died suddenly.

The Garritys were members of St. Andrew Parish, where the pastor was Bishop Bernard Sheil, the founder of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). Through CYO, Mary Jane was able to enjoy sports and make friends with other Catholic youth. She loved to sing and dance and took dance lessons in ballet, acrobatic, and tap. Through a scholarship, she attended The Immaculata HS, where she participated in theater and even had the lead in the school play during her senior year. “I still know all the words to the songs,” she commented in a 2008 interview.

Mary Jane first met the BVMs at The Immaculata and recalled, “I was so impressed with all of them; loving, happy, good teachers . . . Sister Mary Joan Patricia [Reilly] had the greatest influence on me. I became a history teacher like her.” Mary Jane entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1945, and received the name Johnellen upon her reception on March 19, 1946. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1948, and lived 72 years as a BVM.

Johnellen taught 11 years in the primary grades and was missioned at St. Charles in Chicago, and in New York at Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead and St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose. At St. Charles, she had 42 first graders—all boys—and in her words, “I loved it!” Nonetheless, history was her favorite subject and she spent 35 years teaching history at Wahlert HS in Dubuque, Iowa; St. Mary HS, The Immaculata, and Madonna HS in Chicago; and Kapuan-Mt. Carmel HS in Wichita, Kan. A high school boy once asked her if she had taught little children. When she replied “Yes,” he said, “I thought so. You make the Sign of the Cross backwards.”

Johnellen was a strong disciplinarian who set high standards for her students, and they lived up to her expectations. She made the past come alive through reports, dramatic presentations, and guest speakers. Her students knew their history. Even though she was tough, the students admired her as a teacher. In 1988, while teaching honors history at Kapaun-Mt. Carmel, Johnellen received Outstanding Teacher Awards from the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. KMC graduates nominated Johnellen for being an enduring influence in their lives.

Johnellen moved to St. Constance Convent in Chicago in 1994. She taught evening English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for many years at a local junior college. However, every day she visited her sister Annamae in the nursing home, where the staff, especially the activities department, loved her. She made song sheets to lead the residents in song, demonstrated Irish dancing, and encouraged the residents to dance whatever their hearts desired. Drawing on her love of both musicals and acting, she enthusiastically created and performed her own shows for the residents.

Johnellen always seemed to be on the move. Singing and dancing remained her two favorite activities throughout her life and she wanted everyone to join in whether they wanted to or not. Some may recall how she would teach a dance or two at area and regional BVM gatherings. In her younger years, she almost appeared to be dancing while simply walking across a room. She had a great voice and a special love for Irish songs. Despite throat surgery in 2008 that damaged her vocal cords, she continued to sing, especially at the Friday night sing-a-long in the Caritas Center.

Johnellen loved life even in the tough times. The twinkle in her eyes and her smile were her signature features, even when she was walking along at a fast clip. She had a big heart and would do anything for anyone. She especially loved children and, upon seeing them, would immediately go to them and play. She was a strong, proud and loyal Irish woman. Even though she may have forgotten many things later in life, it is doubtful that she ever forgot she was Irish.

Johnellen could echo the words of St. Paul to Timothy. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. From now on, a merited crown awaits me.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8a). Johnellen has returned home to receive her heavenly reward. Can you see her dancing?

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Mary Paul Francis Bailey, BVM

Mary Paul Francis Bailey, BVM died Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 10–11:15 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in the Marian Hall Chapel, followed by a Sharing of Memories at 11:15 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:15 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Springfield, Ill., on July 21, 1926, to Earl Ellis and Ann Harriet Wanuka Bailey. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1947, from St. Vincent Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955.

Sister Paul Francis taught elementary school in Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; Chicago and Rock Island, Ill.; and Clarksdale, Miss., where she also taught high school typing and shorthand. In Iowa, she taught secondary school in Cedar Rapids and was college professor and student loan officer in Dubuque, where she also worked in student accounts. She ministered as high school treasurer and college professor in Chicago.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Virginia Harriet Bailey, and brother Earl Walter Bailey. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 70 years.

Sister Mary Paul Francis Bailey, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Jan. 5, 2018

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary Paul Francis Bailey.

Blanche Elizabeth Bailey entered this world on July 21, 1926, as second of three children born to Earl and Ann Wanuka Bailey of Springfield, Ill. Her mother was of Polish descent. At the age of 16, her mother ran away from the family to whom she had been sent to live and found work at the Nurses Quarters at Great Lakes Navel Training Station. There she met Earl, who was in the Navy, and they eventually married on the naval base.

Blanche’s father worked as a machinist after leaving the Navy and moved the family to Chicago to find better employment. Blanche’s sister Virginia died of pneumonia and diphtheria at the age of four. Although Blanche fell ill and was not expected to survive, she beat the odds. Her brother Earl, Jr. was only 11 months younger than Blanche, earning them the nickname “Irish Twins.” He died in 1997.

After attending public school in the primary grades, Blanche was enrolled in fifth grade at St. Vincent Grade School. More than anything, Blanche wanted to attend The Immaculata, but tuition was an issue. Despite earning the highest scores on scholarship tests, the scholarship was awarded to a girl whose father was deceased. Blanche spent the summer babysitting five days a week. Along with saving every penny of gift money, she was able to earn enough for tuition, a school uniform, and transportation costs. Her mother jokingly commented, “She is a real tightwad. In fact, she is so tight she squeaks when she walks.”

Despite the initial disapproval of her non-Catholic father, Blanche entered the congregation in September of 1944, but withdrew in November due to extreme homesickness. In time, she settled into her old way of life. However, thoughts of Mount Carmel never left her. Eventually, feeling that she had matured enough to commit to a religious vocation, she wrote directly to Mother Mary Josita Baschnagel to ask permission to re-enter, which she did on Sept. 8, 1947. Blanche received the name Paul Francis upon her reception on March 19, 1948, professed her first vows on March 19, 1950, and lived 70 years as a BVM.

“I really loved my years of teaching,” Paul Frances commented. “I taught all the grades from kindergarten up to bank presidents in college.” She served 15 years as an elementary school teacher and was missioned at St. Aloysius in Kansas City, Mo.; Holy Rosary in Milwaukee; Holy Cross and St. Tarcissus in Chicago; St. Joseph in Rock Island, Ill., and Immaculate Conception in Clarksdale, Miss., where she also taught high school typing and shorthand. Teaching shorthand at LaSalle High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, completed her secondary experience.

In 1968, Paul Francis transitioned to the college level. She was an economics professor and a student loan officer at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. She worked 19 years as an assistant professor of economics at Mundelein College and Loyola University, both in Chicago, and continued to serve as an adjunct professor at Loyola after her retirement. As an educator, she was organized, efficient, detail-oriented and creative. A former college student sang her praises. “Sister Paul Francis is a superb teacher . . . [She] has a way to make the principles of basic economics come alive and incredibly interesting. She never stops even for a minute and there is never a dull moment in the class . . . [The college] is very fortunate to have such a fine teacher on the faculty.”

Paul Francis reminisced about her missions during an interview several years ago. “I had volunteered for what was then called the ‘colored missions,’” she recalled. “I loved teaching in Clarksdale. So many were able to go on to college. One of my little students made an amazing discovery after several months. She said to me, ‘Sister, is you white?’” Continuing, she commented, “It is hard to pick a favorite mission. Each one had something wonderful! But, I guess I liked Clarke University the best. I felt the presence of Mary France Clarke there.”

Paul Francis retired to Wright Hall in 1998 and moved to Mount Carmel in 2007. A “Sister Spotlight” in the fall 2011 Currents of Change reads, “Her Halloween costumes are legendary, and she participated in the wellness program and activity projects like knitting caps for the local poor and making t-shirt diapers for babies in Madagascar and other underprivileged countries. She can be found folding sheets in Marian Hall, working at the switchboard, driving other sisters to appointments, ministering at Mass, and writing letters for others. She is a prayer partner, member of the Hunger Fund Committee and takes classes at Mount Carmel Roberta Kuhn Center. Though she usually has a twinkle in her eye, Sister Paul Francis is reflective when she says, ‘My philosophy of life is to live with integrity, faithful to my vows, walking with gratitude in the love of God, serving him as a Sister of Charity, BVM.’”

The article did not mention how Paul Francis, herself recuperating in Marian Hall in 2009, companioned her dying set member Sister Margaret (Peggy) Keefe (Paul Leone). Peggy had a passion for reading, but failing heath made reading difficult, if not impossible. Paul Francis read to her, sharing both spiritual readings and fiction. Forever loyal to her family and friends, Paul Francis always found ways to express her love and appreciation for them.

Sister Louise French beautifully honored Paul Francis on her golden jubilee, writing, “You, Paul Francis, live a life freely given to the service of others. You resonate with people. Yours is an other-centered life, a life of unbounded charity. You respond without fanfare to every request, every appeal . . . Yes, you are the epitome of a real community woman. You know no stranger; you turn strangers into friends. Your capacity for friendship is manifest in a wide circle of diverse friends to whom [you give] of [your] bodily energy, your mental acumen, and most of all, your large human heart. Paul Francis, you truly incarnate the love of Christ.”

Paul Francis’ poem about the potter was printed in the program for this morning’s wake. This verse readily flows from the reading from Jeremiah: “Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do to you as this potter has done? Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hands.” Paul Francis lived her life aware that the Potter’s nimble fingers were fully in control. Every joy, sadness and challenge was the touch of the Potter forming Paul Francis into a beautiful vessel—a woman of prayer, compassion and love. We love you, Paul Francis. May you rest in peace.

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Noella Cavallero, BVM

Noella Cavallero, BVM died Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, 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 San Francisco on June 2, 1919, to John Mario and Ernestine Reggiardo Cavallero. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1936, from St. Brigid Parish, San Francisco. She professed first vows on March 19, 1939, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1944.

Sister Noella taught elementary school in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Butte, Mont.; Kealia, Kauai, Hawaii; and San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif., where she also served as principal. In later years she volunteered in San Francisco.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Elda Saccone. She is survived by a brother-in-law, Joseph Saccone, Sr., San Rafael, Calif.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 81 years.

Sister Noella Cavallero, BVM
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall Chapel, Dec. 28, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of the life of our Sister Noella Cavallero.

Ida Cavallero was born on June 2, 1919, in San Francisco. She joined her sister Elda as a daughter of John Mario and Ernestine Reggiardo Cavallero. Ida graduated from St. Brigid HS in May of 1936. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8 that same year, writing, “I desire to give my life to God that He may do as He wills.” She received the name Noella upon her reception on March 19, 1937, professed first vows on March 19, 1939, and lived 81 years as a BVM. In an interview, Noella commented, “I always admired the nuns. Since around sixth or seventh grade, I knew I would like to be one of them . . . I just loved them, and here I am one of them.”

In her 50 years in elementary education, Noella taught every grade from kindergarten to eighth and never missed a day because of illness. Junior high was her preferred level, especially when teaching her favorite subjects, history and English. Noella was missioned at Immaculate Conception and St. Ann in Butte, Mont.; St. Francis Xavier in Council Bluffs, Iowa; St. Catherine in Kealia ("Kay-ah-lee-ah"), Kauai, Hawaii; and, in California—St. Leo in San Jose, St. Thomas More and St. Vincent de Paul in San Francisco, and All Hallows in Sacramento, where she also served as principal for 19 years.

In an article for the Diocese of Sacramento newspaper, the pastor at All Hallows remarked, “The BVM sisters have left their mark here at All Hallows and none more than Sister Noella. She has faithfully and conscientiously served the parish for a quarter of a century and has been dedicated totally to the school. During this time, she has exercised a strong, firm and fair model of leadership. She has been a very principled and hard-working principal who has a great feeling and passion for Catholic education.”

Noella was very conscientious both in and out of the classroom. She dressed professionally and spoke precisely at all times. Although she had a strict demeanor, she could perceive when tenderness and mercy were in the best interest of the child. As Jesus instructed, “Let the children come to me . . . for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” Noella saw the holy in all children and desired to help them live up to their God-given potential. No wonder she was so kindly remembered with greetings from former students on her 95th birthday.

In 1989, after 10 years as the only woman religious at All Hallows, Noella decided to retire. “I’m leaving on a sad but happy note,” she reflected. “The support of the parents here has been outstanding; they are special. The children are the main thing, and we all work together beautifully.” As a sign of their gratitude, the All Hallows parishioners gave Noella a three-week trip to Italy, the birthplace of her parents. It was a major highlight in her life, the trip of a lifetime.

Returning from Italy and anticipating her move to San Francisco, Noella commented, “The thing I’m really looking forward to most is living back in community. I’ll be going back to St. Paul convent and be with about 15 sisters and pray together and make community decisions.” She lived at St. Paul convent for the next seven years, teaching and volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul and serving as the secretary to her BVM Regional Representative.

When St. Paul convent closed, Noella moved to St. Philip in San Francisco and volunteered in the parish for several years. St. Philip was also the home of Schatze, a fluffy white dog who belonged to Sister Pat Lucy until her death in 1999. Noella loved dogs and quickly befriended Schatze. She, along with her housemates Sisters Dorita Clifford and Patricia Lynch, agreed to move to Mount Carmel in 2004 only after another BVM agreed to take Schatze.

Noella was kind and loving to all. Her gentleness and compassion touched many lives. One All Hallows parent in a troubled marriage found a dear friend in Noella. Noella hired her as an aide after her divorce, supported her when she returned to college, and again hired her as a substitute teacher when she completed her associate’s degree.

One of Noella’s teachers wrote, “She was always very encouraging. She made me feel good about myself again and that I could successfully accomplish anything that I set my mind to . . . [She] was someone I could always talk with . . . I can’t tell you how I love her.”

With gratitude, we celebrate our sister, Noella and the blessing she has been in our lives. We rejoice for and with her as she embarks on a new “trip of a lifetime,” joining her parents, her sister, and our deceased BVM sisters in God’s loving presence.

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Dolores O’Dwyer, BVM (Wilmetta)

Dolores O’Dwyer, BVM (Wilmetta) died Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, 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 San Francisco on Aug. 28, 1923, to William and Margaret Meaney O’Dwyer. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1941, from St. Paul Parish, San Francisco. She professed first vows on March 19, 1944, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1949.

Sister Dolores taught elementary school in Berwyn, Ill.; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Glendale and Los Angeles, Calif., where she was also principal and later served as school volunteer.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Rev. William O’Dwyer, and sister Mary Catherine O’Dwyer, BVM (Paul Anthony). She is survived by cousins and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 76 years.

Sister Dolores O’Dwyer, BVM (Wilmetta)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Dec. 21, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Dolores O’Dwyer.

Dolores Margaret O’Dwyer was born on Aug. 28, 1923, the third child of William and Margaret Meaney O’Dwyer of San Francisco, Calif. She joined siblings William and Mary Catherine. Dolores’ parents were born and married in Ireland before immigrating to the United States and settling in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Her father had a fun-loving personality, opposite yet complementary to the quiet, serious and pious personality of her mother. Both parents had strength at the foundation of their characters. The O’Dwyer family belonged to St. Paul Parish and Dolores attended and graduated from St. Paul elementary and high school, where she was taught and influenced by the BVMs.

Religious vocations apparently ran in the O’Dwyer family. Dolores was inspired first by her mother who belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis and instilled in her children that religious life was something wonderful. Her brother William joined the Lasallian Christian Brothers and later become a diocesan priest. Her sister, Sister Mary Catherine (Paul Anthony), entered the BVM congregation in 1932 and died in 2001. Dolores herself entered on Sept. 8, 1941, and received the name Wilmetta upon her reception on March 19, 1942. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1944, and lived 76 years as a BVM.

Dolores taught in elementary schools for 24 years. She was missioned at St. Odilo in Berwyn, Ill.; St. George, Christ the King, and St. John in Seattle; St. Clare in Portland, Ore.; and Holy Family in Glendale, Calif.

In the middle of Dolores’ teaching years, tragedy struck the O’Dwyer family. Dolores’ mother, who had been diagnosed with dementia, was exceptionally restless on Oct. 1,1956, so Dolores’ father decided to take his wife for a ride, which included a stop at the bay to gather sea grass as they used to do in their early days in Ireland.

After returning home, Dolores’ father fell asleep and awoke after midnight to discover his wife was gone. It is believed that she thought it was morning and had headed to Mass at St. Anthony Church, only to be struck and killed by a Greyhound bus.

In a letter to friends, Dolores wrote about the comfort the family received from the BVM community. “There was a special BVM rosary [in the afternoon] . . . My Dad was greatly impressed and [remarked], ‘I gave two daughters [to the BVMs] and got a hundred in return.’ My cousin who is a Sister of Mercy was there and was overcome by the charity and love of the BVMs . . . Please accept [our] thanks . . . for your part in making this tragedy easier to bear. All your letters and promises of prayers have made us all so happy.”

In 1968, Dolores became the principal at St. Bernard in Los Angeles and remained there for 36 years. She truly became the center of the St. Bernard community. The pastor wrote, “The greatness of your service to St. Bernard School and Church is not measured only in the number of years you have given, many as they are. Your service is measured especially by the love you have shown, the dedication that is always evident and the God-given talents you have shared with generations of students and families.”

Dolores was a woman of wisdom and grace as she face numerous educational challenges and proved herself an innovative leader. She received the Distinguished Principals Award from the Department of Elementary Schools of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in 1991. The executive director of NCEA stated, “Sister Dolores has a clear, integrated philosophy of Catholic Education, is highly regarded by peers, students and parents. She firmly believed that a Catholic School is a place where children are allowed to grow to maturity in finding God and contributing to society.” In recognition of this award, she was also honored as the “Principal of the Year for the Western States.”

As a member of the 1994 delegation of the NCEA and the People-to-People Organization, Dolores visited and studied Catholic schools in Australia and New Zealand. In 1998, Catholic Charities honored her with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her involvement in Catholic Youth Organization athletics. Dolores engaged with her students by attending all school activities and challenging the athletes to learn the skills of the sport and to play as a cohesive team, skills that helped them succeed later in life.

Dolores’ contribution to Catholic education was tremendous. Her determination, unselfish devotion, love, faith and skills as an educator influenced the lives of many students, parents, teachers and staff. She was a source of inspiration as she taught by example that every person is loved and cherished by God, and that we are all one family. She truly made a difference.

After retiring in 2004, Dolores volunteered as a tutor at St. Bernard and pursued her other interests, which included crocheting, cooking, reading, indulging her cats, and cheering on the Los Angeles Lakers. She had a delightful wit and a cheerfulness about her, and was honest to a fault. She loved to sing and dance, and enjoyed a good party, all of which fit quite well with her Irish heritage.

Dolores moved to Mount Carmel in 2012. It was a difficult transition at first, but eventually one could hear her singing, sometimes through the night. The last verse of “Amazing Grace” was a favorite tune: “When we’ve been there ten thousand years/Bright shining as the sun,/We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise/Than when we first begun.”

Dolores longed to join her parents, brother and sister. Finally, last Saturday, Jesus came for her. One can imagine Dolores speaking the words from Song of Songs: “Hark! My lover—here he comes . . . . My lover speaks; he says to me, ‘Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!’” With this invitation, Dolores followed her beloved to a new dwelling place; her voice joined the heavenly chorus. Sing on, Dolores! Sing on!

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Mary K. O’Brien, BVM (Jean Catherine)

Mary K. O’Brien, BVM (Jean Catherine) died Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 10–11:15 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel, followed by a Sharing of Memories at 11:15 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. 31, 1933, to John Philip and Katherine Gilmore O’Brien. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1951, from Our Lady of Angels Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1954, and final vows on July 16, 1959.

Sister Mary K. taught elementary school in Sioux City, Iowa; Bellerose, N.Y.; and Grayslake and Chicago, Ill. Also in Illinois, she was elementary school principal in Chicago and Wilmette, and served as elementary school resource person in Mundelein.

She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by a brother, John (Jack) P. (Mary Jean) O’Brien, Buffalo Grove, Ill.; a sister, Margaret (Peg) Connolly, Arlington Heights, Ill.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Sister Mary K O’Brien, BVM (Jean Catherine)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Dec. 4, 2017

Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary K. O’Brien.

Mary Katherine, the daughter of John Philip and Katherine Gilmore O’Brien, was born on Oct. 31, 1933, in Chicago. She joined her brother Jack and was followed by her sister Peg. Her father owned a grocery and meat market. Her mother cared for the children and the home, and at times helped at the store.

Mary K. knew the BVMs well from her years as a student at Our Lady of the Angels and St. Mary’s HS. She commented, “My original desire was wanting to be of service to people and to the church. The only way at the time was through a religious community. And I wanted to be a teacher, [so] I entered the [BVMs].” She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1951, received the name Jean Catherine upon her reception on March 19, 1952, professed her first vows on March 19, 1954, and lived 66 years as a BVM.

Mary K. taught first grade at Cathedral in Sioux City, Iowa, and St. Ferdinand and St. Dorothy in Chicago. She taught junior high at St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose, N.Y., and at St. Gilbert in Grayslake, Ill., before returning to St. Ferdinand where she later served as principal for nine years. In 1979, she moved to Wilmette, Ill., to accept a position as principal at St. Francis Xavier and remained there for 25 years. A good percentage of Wilmette families were financially comfortable. She strove to make students aware that not all children were so blessed.

Mary K. was a natural fit for a ministry in education. She loved and respected the students, faculty, staff and families and they held her in much esteem. She was innovative, sensitive to the needs of the students, and never was too busy to make a peanut butter sandwich for a student who forgot lunch. According to a friend and colleague, Mary K. “played her cards close to the vest,” but remained totally focused on the job at hand. While many Catholic schools were closing, she was making improvements in curriculum and building enrollment.

In honor of her 40th Jubilee, the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish wrote, “During her time at St. Francis the school population has more than doubled. St. Francis is generally recognized as a superior school thanks to Sr. Mary K., her excellent faculty, and the support of the families . . . But she is the one who brings it all together and makes it work. Our parish is deeply indebted to Sister for her selfless dedication to our parish community and the young people in our school.”

Mary K. served as president of the Principals Association in the Archdiocese of Chicago and as a consultant for the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). In 1988, she received the Distinguished Principal Award from NCEA. She responded by saying, “My greatest accomplishment, I think, has been to personalize learning for students and to create an environment where children learn how to make choices and to own values rooted in the Catholic tradition.”

When asked what made a good principal, she replied, “Care about kids. Have the ability to work with people, model the behavior you want teachers or [students] to follow. Have the ability to listen, to work hard and long hours. Real creativeness is important.” Her advice to young people encouraged them to “know who they are, their talents, and their limitations [and] respect the rights of all people, their talents and limitations. Know that God is present in all of us.”

During her retirement years, Mary K. continued her strong commitment to Catholic education by volunteering as a resource person at St. Margaret Mary ES in Chicago. For many years, she remained in contact with former students, faculty, parents and pastors, including our presider, Rev. Wayne Watts. The wonderful working relationship and admiration between Mary K. and Bishop William McManus, which formed when he was pastor at St. Ferdinand, continued through his appointment as the director of Catholic education for the Archdiocese of Chicago and his consecration as Bishop of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, Ind. In his final wishes, Bishop McManus requested that Mary K. be a lector at his funeral.

Of course, her relationships with her sister Peg, with whom she traveled often and far, her brother Jack, her nieces and nephews, and her friends meant the world to her. She greatly enjoyed many Friday night dinners with Peg and her BVM friends. She remained in contact with many of the Sisters of Providence with whom she lived in Wilmette. She truly was a dear and faithful friend to many.

Mary K. was proud to be a BVM and honored to have served on the BVM Trust and Stewardship Committees and on the Carmel Catholic HS Board of Directors. She was a member of the Sisters’ Development Network, a dedicated, but quiet, participant at congregational meetings, and a devoted cluster member, quite possibly with a perfect attendance record.

Being a very private person, Mary K. did not like to share her feelings or receive recognition for her achievements, but she certainly shared her knowledge and perceptions. Her philosophy was “to be as human as possible in the true sense of the word, with the added dimension of our Catholic faith. That includes praying, enjoying the beauty God has given us to enjoy, extending ourselves to other people in need or in fun, and living the Gospel so other people become more aware of it.”

As the two disciples encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus, so did all those whose journey crossed paths with Mary. We celebration and rejoice for Mary K. as she enters eternal life, knowing that her spirit continues to walk with us.

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Anne Marie Dolan, BVM (Cyrilita)

Ann Marie Dolan, BVM (Cyrilita) died Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A Sharing of Memories and funeral liturgy will immediately follow. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on Oct. 27, 1920, to Francis Bernard and Julia Kilbeg Dolan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1939, from Blessed Sacrament Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1942, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1947.

Sister Anne Marie taught at St. Athanasius ES in Jesup and St. Patrick ES in Dubuque, where she also served as formation director at the Mount Carmel Motherhouse. She taught elementary school in Casper, Wyo.; Milwaukee; and Chicago, where she also taught secondary school Spanish/Guidance. She served as formation director in Los Gatos, Calif.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Cyril Dolan. She is survived by a sister, Frances Andreoni, Elmwood Park, Ill.; a sister-in-law, Alice Dolan, Plainfield, Ill.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 78 years.

Sister Anne Marie Dolan, BVM (Cyrilita)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Dec. 1, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Anne Marie Dolan.

Anne Marie Dolan was born on Oct. 27, 1920, to Francis and Julia Kilbeg Dolan of Chicago. Ann Marie was the eldest of three children and was later joined by a sister Frances and a brother Cyril. They grew up across the street from Blessed Sacrament ES. “By the time of my first communion,” said Anne Marie, “I knew I wanted to be like the sisters who taught me. My parents’ deep faith and the BVMs who taught me at Blessed Sacrament and St. Mary HS served as an inspiration for my vocation.” She did clerical work at Montgomery Ward in Chicago before coming to Mount Carmel.

Anne Marie entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1939, and received the name Cyrilita upon her reception on March 19, 1940. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1942, and lived 77 years as a BVM. She was an elementary school teacher for 21 years and was missioned at St. Dorothy in Chicago; St. Anthony in Casper, Wyo.; St. Athanasius in Jesup, Iowa; St. Patrick in Dubuque, Iowa; and Gesu in Milwaukee, where she served as principal and taught kindergarten.

Anne Marie loved her pioneer mission to Jesup. The priest insisted on building a school and wanted BVMs to staff it because “they were hard workers.” Being a city girl, she was amazed at how the rural people provided for their needs. “We never had to purchase meat,” she commented. However, no matter where she taught, Anne Marie believed that teaching was a wonderful profession and considered it a privilege to instruct children “not only in reading, writing and arithmetic, but primarily to cooperate in the training of their wills, forming their characters, and bringing them to a knowledge and love of God.”

Anne Marie served as postulant mistress at Mount Carmel in Dubuque from 1963–64.The following year, she and part of the Set of 1963 arrived at Guadalupe College in Los Gatos, Calif., to open a second BVM novitiate. It was a tremendous challenge—from dealing with continued construction and lack of water at times, to discerning how to continue novitiate traditions but with a Guadalupe flavor, to navigating through the changes wrought by Vatican II—which Anne Marie wholeheartedly embraced.

Anne Marie encouraged her novices to dedicate themselves to academic, personal and spiritual growth. She supported their studies and provided opportunities to attend lectures by prominent theologians and to collaborate with other women’s religious communities in the area. They learned to be independent, critical thinkers, to be flexible and open to change, and to respect differences in others while standing up for their own values.

Anne Marie was a woman of strong principles and integrity. She was firm, but fair, as well as patient, compassionate and tender. She challenged and chided the novices as needed, but always with a deep respect for the individual, often including an affirmation with the correction. She knew how to laugh and have fun and loved to hear the novices sing.

Anne Marie’s commitment to religious life was strong and her love of the BVM community deep. Still, the spirit, not the letter, of the law was most important. She taught her novices to understand the difference between the customs of the time and the essentials of religious life. She taught from her own experiences, what she truly believed, and worked diligently to prepare them with realistic expectations for life on the missions and community living. Above all, she wanted to transmit her love of the BVM community to them and enable them to become women of prayer who, as we will pray in the responsorial psalm, “seek the face of the Lord and yearn for Him.”

Anne Marie took her congregational responsibility seriously and, at times, it weighed heavily on her, especially amid criticism that she was too conservative and strict. However, after attending a reunion of her Guadalupe novices in 2005, she wrote, “My heart was filled with gratitude to God. The seeds planted there have been in full bloom these many years. It was clear to me that each BVM has been walking with Mary Frances Clarke, and all under the gaze of Our Lady of Guadalupe.” Truly, Anne Marie made Guadalupe a joyful, loving community.

After completing a master’s degree in counseling in 1969, Anne Marie spent the next 25 years as a Spanish teacher and guidance counselor at Cathedral HS in Chicago. In response to the growing number of Hispanic students enrolled at Cathedral, she spent the summer of 1980 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, to immerse herself in conversational Spanish “that I may respond more fully and competently to the Hispanic [students and their parents]. . . . To me it is no longer a luxury, but an evangelical necessity.” She was well respected at Cathedral and played a key role in assisting students and staff through the school’s closing in 1994.

After the closing, she volunteered as a care minister at Northwestern Hospital and a liturgical minister at Holy Name Cathedral. She lived five years at Wright Hall before moving to Mount Carmel in 2011 where she served as a lector, participated in Taize prayer, attended classes at the Roberta Kuhn Center, and read for sisters with failing eyesight.

Anne Marie was a gracious and kind woman, a mentor and a gift to many. She faithfully lived her life doing God’s work, teaching others how to love and trust God. May she rest in peace.

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Marion Pasdiora, BVM (Jean Victor)

Marion Pasdiora, BVM (Jean Victor) died Friday, Nov. 24,2017, at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A Sharing of Memories and funeral liturgy will immediately follow. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Chicago on Aug. 29, 1928, to Victor and Barbara Bouland Pasdiora. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1947, from St. Andrew Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1955.

Sister Marion taught elementary school in Boone, Iowa; Lead, S.D.; and Wilmot, Wis. She taught secondary school business classes in Sioux City and Fort Dodge, Iowa; and Chicago. In Mundelein, Ill., she served on a secondary school office staff as bursar/treasurer and business manager, was a university secretary, and later volunteered as assistant sacristan.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers: Victor, Raymond, Robert, Lawrence, and Edward, Sr. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 70 years.

Sister Marion Pasdiora, BVM (Jean Victor),
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Nov. 29, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Marion Pasdiora.     

Marion Barbara Pasdiora entered this world on Aug. 29, 1928, as the youngest child and only daughter of Victor and Barbara Bouland Pasdiora. She joined four brothers: Victor, Robert, Larry and Edward. Another brother, Raymond, died from scarlet fever before Marion was born.

Marion’s father was born in Austria, but emigrated to the United States prior to WWI to avoid the draft. He found his way to Chicago where he boarded with a French family, the Boulands. He soon developed an attraction to the family’s beautiful, young daughter. “Unlike today when that would cause a young man to move in,” commented Marion, “my father decided to move out so that he could be free to date my mother.”

Her father worked for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad where he rose to the position of supervisor in the freight house. The Pasdiora family took full advantage of free train passes available to employees to enjoy many Sunday excursions to the Milwaukee Zoo. Marion grew up less than a mile from Wrigley Field and was an avid Chicago Cubs fan. What a thrill it was to have free tickets for the first night game at Wrigley Field on Aug. 8, 1988!

After graduating from high school, Marion worked in the office of a tannery for a year before entering the BVM congregation on Sept. 8, 1947. She wrote, “I wish to become a Sister because of my love of God, the desire to devote my life serving Him in a special manner, and because I wish to get closer to Him.” She received the name Jean Victor upon her reception on March 19, 1948, professed first vows on March 19, 1950, and lived 70 years as a BVM.

Marion was missioned as an elementary teacher at Sacred Heart in Boone, Iowa; St. Patrick in Lead, N.D.; and Holy Name at Wilmot, Wis. She taught business classes to students from St. Pius at St. Mary HS in Chicago, Heelan HS in Sioux City, Iowa, and St. Edmund HS in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She worked as a secretary at St. Mary of the Lake seminary in Mundelein, Ill., for 14 years. Prior to that, she was the financial officer for Carmel HS, also in Mundelein, for 16 years. She practiced good stewardship by being conservative in framing budgets, wise in facing unexpected expenses, and consistent in following purchasing procedures. Often she worked into the night checking the daily records for accuracy.

Lead was Marion’s favorite mission because of its uniqueness. Because many older sisters could not tolerate the altitude, when Marion was there, five of the seven BVMs were under temporary vows. The convent was built over a gold mine so the house often shook, even at night, as miners set off explosives around the clock. Once a crack in the roof shuddered opened to reveal the sky!

There were only enough beds for the sisters who were missioned in Lead. When the provincial came to visit, Marion was assigned to sleep on the enclosed porch. With the door padlocked due to a friendly pastor who simply walked into the convent to visit, the only way onto the porch was through a parlor window. It created quite a stir when the provincial caught Marion climbing through the window and thought she was leaving the convent in the middle of the night! Decades later, just the thought of that night could still make Marion laugh.

In her retirement, Marion was active in St. Mary of Vernon Parish in Indian Creek, Ill., where she served as sacristan at daily Mass, volunteered at the pick-up center for the needy, and was an attentive listener to members of her community. Her dedication and compassion were evident in all she did.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches, “When you do good to other people, when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it.” Marion would not want to hear all this praise. She was an extreme introvert who happily maintained a low profile. Quietly and secretly, she brought out the best in people and then graciously credited the goodness of others for enabling her to do good work. She was content and happy, and simply grinned when teased about her quiet nature.

Marion’s fidelity to her family was strong. For years, she visited her elderly mother every weekend to help her brother Victor who served as the primary caregiver. After their mother’s death, she and Victor took many wonderful trips in his camper.

Marion’s faithful devotion also extended to her friends, especially to Sister Mary K. O’Brien. Marion lived with Mary K. in Mundelein for 10 years and grew increasingly concerned as Mary K. became more confused and less able. As a loyal friend, she moved with Mary K. to Mount Carmel in 2014, visiting her daily to keep her company and share the news. Why should we be surprised that Marion went to ahead to be there to welcome Mary K. to her heavenly home?

As we celebrate her life, may our prayers for Marion echo the words of St. Paul: “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord.”

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Helen Kerrigan, BVM (Paulita)

Helen Kerrigan, BVM (Paulita) died Thursday, Nov. 16,2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A Sharing of Memories and funeral liturgy will immediately follow. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Davenport, Iowa, on March 19, 1921, to Joseph Patrick and Essie Stella Augustine Kerrigan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1940, from Cathedral Parish, Davenport. She professed first vows on March 19, 1943, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1948.

Sister Helen taught elementary school in Hempstead, N.Y., and Chicago, where she later taught art at Mundelein College. She taught secondary school music and art in Dubuque, Davenport and Marcus, Iowa, and San Francisco and St. Louis. At Clarke University in Dubuque, she was art teacher, department chair, and adjunct professor/artist in residence.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and sisters: Phyllis Kerrigan, BVM (Phileta), Lois Kerrigan, and Alice Kerrigan, BVM (Lois Ann). She is survived by a cousin, Jane Vorhes, West Des Moines, Iowa; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 77 years.

Sister Helen Kerrigan, BVM (Paulita)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Nov. 21, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Helen Kerrigan.

Helen Rose Kerrigan entered this world on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1921, in Davenport, Iowa, the third child of Joseph Patrick and Essie Stella Augustine Kerrigan. She joined older sisters Phyllis and Lois and was followed by younger sister Alice. “Our family was musical,” said Helen. “We all played instruments and even had a small orchestra. I played violin, and enjoyed this for many years in my religious life . . . [Music] has been an important part of my life.”

Helen graduated from Sacred Heart and Immaculate Conception in Davenport. She completed two years at Clarke University before entering the congregation on Sept. 8, 1940, following in the footsteps of two BVM relatives. Her cousin, Sister Leonilda Kerrigan, entered in 1918 and died in 1978. Helen’s sister, Phyllis (Phileta), entered in 1937 and died on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2007. Three years after Helen entered, her sister Alice (Lois Ann) also felt called to religious life and entered the congregation in 1943; she died in 2006. Helen received the name Paulita upon her reception on March 19, 1941, professed her first vows on March 19, 1943, and lived 77 years as a BVM.

After her profession, Helen taught primary grades at Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, N.Y., and at St. Jerome in Chicago, and taught music in Davenport and Marcus, Iowa. In 1946, she was missioned at St. Joseph Academy in Dubuque, where Helen not only taught music, but her favorite subject, art. She taught art at Mundelein College in Chicago for four years and then returned to teaching high school art, this time at St. Paul in San Francisco, and then Xavier in St. Louis.

In 1960, Helen began her long and accomplished career teaching art at Clarke University and occasionally teaching art to novices at Mount Carmel. She designed the original Clarke shield often displayed on podium and graduation rings. She served as department chair from 1967–70.

Helen started painting abstracts, or as she referred to it, “a dialogue with the canvas,” during her early years at Clarke. “Abstract [painting],” she commented, “is a reflection of the times and a most logical development. You don’t suddenly start painting abstract paintings . . . An abstract artist is interested in the formal aspects of art . . . color, line, form and textures.”

Eventually, she returned to realistic painting when her mother suggested that she paint a still life of a jar of marbles. She won a contest with her first marble painting, and continued to paint them. “I like marbles,” said Helen. “Each one is a very individual object that is fascinating and colorful. They’re joyous, I think; I suppose whimsical.” Huge pens and pencils, various cans, candy and Christmas ornaments all became “subjects” in her paintings, but her marble paintings continue to be among her most popular works.

In 1970, Helen experienced the sabbatical of her dreams, spending four months touring the famous art centers of Europe—Italy, Greece, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and London. The highlight of the trip was traveling to Ghent, Belgium, to see an altarpiece entitled “The Adoration of the Lamb,” a triptych by the 15th century painter Jan van Eyck. While describing the occasion for an interview, Helen vividly recalled the entire splendor. “I thought if I ever went to Europe I’d see it – no matter what . . . It’s a jewel . . . It is a great work of art . . . so intricate and in such detail. It glows.”

Helen was a highly accomplished artist, proficient in many styles and techniques, yet she always strived to learn more, to embrace a challenge, to grow in her craft. After her 1999 retirement, she served as adjunct professor at Clarke and later as an artist-in-residence. Art, Clarke and Helen Kerrigan will forever be synonymous.

Many of Helen’s pieces are on display at Clarke and here at Mount Carmel, but nowhere more prominently than in the “Portrait Gallery” on the ground floor of Caritas Center. Among the paintings are a four-generation portrait of Kerrigan women and a portrait of Helen’s father who worked as an assistant conductor on passenger trains.

For a Salt article, Helen wrote, “Finding the connection between spirituality and the arts may take a little time at first. Visual artists in particular will puzzle over such a task. Their experiences with art tend to be practical and down-to-earth, closely connected to material and processes . . . So where is the spirituality? What is the connection? The answer is so obvious—strange that we overlooked it. The spirituality is found where the masterpieces are found. All we have to do is search them out. This is the spirituality then, the magic that happens when you encounter a famous and powerful work of art.”

Helen once commented that teaching art forced her to think through the steps of a project. Her students were not unlike the blind man who called out to Jesus, “Lord, please let me see.” Helen painted what she saw, and tried to teach her painting students to look just as hard. “I try to get them to see,” she said. “I hoped that my enjoyment in making art would inspire them to do the same.” This worked well at Clarke where students could watch Helen drawing or painting during her free time between classes.

Even with failing eyesight in these last years, her enthusiasm for art never dimmed. Often a person of few words, Helen would light up when asked about her paintings and her joy resounded as she described her work. As Jesus gave sight to the blind, her enthusiasm and insights truly opened our eyes, enabling us to see the world in new and wonderful ways. We are forever grateful. Thank you, Helen!

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Mary Kay Dum, BVM (Meda)

Mary Kay Dum, BVM (Meda) died Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A Sharing of Memories and funeral liturgy will immediately follow. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

She was born in Tulsa, Okla., on July 12, 1933, to William H. and Mary Mead Langton. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1951, from Holy Family Parish, Tulsa. She professed first vows on March 19, 1954, and final vows on July 16, 1959.

Sister Mary Kay taught elementary school in Chicago; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Tempe, Ariz.; Carlsbad, Calif.; and Washington, Iowa. She was preschool director in Phoenix; and Montessori teacher in Carlsbad, Oceanside and San Luis Rey, Calif., where she was also Montessori director. She ministered in migrant Headstart Programs in Orlando and West Palm Beach, Fla.; Durham, N.C.; and Granada Hills, San Marcos and Carlsbad, Calif. She served as BVM Western Regional and later as Montessori school volunteer.

She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by a sister Elizabeth (Ned) Kennington, Durham, N.C.; brothers William, Jr. (Nola) Dum, San Antonio; and Michael Dum, Dallas; an aunt, Jeanette Langton, Enid, Okla.; nieces; a nephew; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Mary Kay Dum, BVM (Meda)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Nov. 16, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Mary Kay Dum.

Mary Katherine Dum was born on July 12, 1933, in Tulsa, Okla., the first child of William and Mary Mead Langton Dum. Siblings William, Michael and Elizabeth (Betsy) followed. “My brave young parents began their family during the Depression,” she wrote. “We lived a block from Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa and our lives centered around the church and school. Our maternal grandmother lived outside Tulsa on a few acres . . . and we loved to spend weekends and summers with her. We rode our bikes, climbed trees, and listened to stories of her childhood in Garryowen, Iowa. Never did she mention her Dust Bowl years in Oklahoma. We heard the happy stories of life on the Iowa prairie.

After her high school graduation, Mary Kay surprised everyone by announcing she wanted to be a sister like the ones her grandmother had known. “The prairie life appealed to me,” she wrote. “Real mission work.” Two of Mary Kay’s great-grand aunts and eight cousins were BVMs, including Cecilia Dougherty and Helen C. Flynn, who transferred into the community in 1973 and died in 2009.

Mary Kay entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1951, and received the name Meda upon her reception on March 19, 1952. She professed first vows on March 19, 1954, and lived 66 years as a BVM. Reflecting on her golden jubilee, she wrote, “For those of us who have experienced a life of consecrated celibacy lived in community and mission, this particular experience that is religious life is a treasure . . . worth everything, even life itself . . . . We learned that living this life brought blessings and that sharing the blessings brought immeasurable joy.”

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us, “Whoever welcomes a child . . . for my sake welcomes me.” Mary Kay welcomed and educated children for over 40 years. Her first mission was St. Gertrude in Chicago. Two years later, she and two other BVMs opened St. Charles Borromeo in Oklahoma City. Bringing BVM education and traditions to her home state was one of Mary Kay’s happiest moments. Missions at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Tempe, Ariz.; St. Patrick in Carlsbad, Calif., which she helped to open as well; and St. James in Washington, Iowa; followed. After 15 years as a primary teacher, she recognized the need for parental involvement in the education of young children. She was greatly impressed with Montessori schools and their belief that children have a natural curiosity and an eagerness to learn. “If we can help them learn how to learn,” she pointed out, “they will be self-educating for the rest of their lives.”

After completing additional studies and an internship, Mary Kay launched her first school in 1970, Barrio Montessori, at Sacred Heart Parish in Phoenix. After Sacred Heart School closed, Barrio merged with South Phoenix Montessori. Mary Kay taught at Casa Montessori School in Carlsbad, Calif., before establishing the Old Mission Montessori in San Luis Rey, Calif., in 1976, where she served as the principal and director for 10 years. Old Mission closed in 2016 after 40 years in operation.

After an enjoyable sabbatical with NETWORK in Washington, D.C., Mary Kay found a new calling in migrant education. As the program developer of the East Coast Migrant Head Start Project, she traveled up and down the coast to provide training and technical assistance for Head Start programs.

She was in South Carolina in 1989 when hurricane Hugo devastated John’s Island, damaging one of her sites and the temporary housing of migrant families. In a letter of gratitude for the generous disaster relief sent by the BVM community, Mary Kay wrote, “On behalf of the migrant families and residents of John’s Island, I thank you with all my heart. The residents . . . though financially poor, have homes and a heritage they prize. The migrants are forced into marginal lifestyles cut off from political, economic and social assistance. They are doubly grateful for your help and they echo the words of one of my colleagues, ‘your order really takes being Sisters of Charity seriously!’”

Eventually Mary Kay returned to California to work with the Migrant Head Start Program in San Diego County, including a short time as regional manager. She served the congregation on the Western Regional Team. Known for the low-key manner in which she handled problems, it has been said that she was “completely, absolutely fantastic” as a Regional. After completing two terms, she returned to the Old Mission Montessori on a part-time basis.

In 1993, as a member of the board of directors of the National Farm Workers Ministry (NFWM), she was among the estimated 35,000 people who attended the funeral of Cesar Chavez. Along with several thousand people, she walked the three miles from the gathering place to the United Farm Workers’ (UFW) compound. “The Mass was broadcast to the field and the feeling turned to a joyous celebration of Cesar’s life,” she wrote. “He was praised as a leader, a humble man, a prophet . . . I was privileged to represent the BVMs in a touching moment of history.”

Mary Kay moved to Dubuque in 2007 and spent her time volunteering at Mount Carmel and driving sisters on shopping trips. She later served on the National Election Board and the Shareholder Education and Advocacy Group (SEA). Reflecting on her move, she wrote, “When the time came to return to Dubuque, I felt I brought ‘the West’ with me. I’m not saying that the move was without trauma. As the months roll[ed] on, an awareness [was] growing within me that now we are forming a greater unity. Our connections are expanding. . . . We bring the gift of the West into the sacred circle of BVM life today. Dag Hammarskjöld said, and I agree, ‘For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, Yes!’”

Mary Kay had a wonderful sense of humor and truly enjoyed life. She was honest, caring and hospitable. The door of her aunt’s mobile home in Carlsbad was always open for sisters to stay and enjoy the beach. She enjoyed community gatherings and was very knowledgeable and articulate on community issues. As an enterprising person, she took great ideas and enthusiastically pursued them to fruition, deeply affecting lives and making friends wherever she went.

In her final wishes, she wrote, “Emphasize my gratitude for the love surrounding me all my life—love of God, of family, of friends. I have been blessed with great family and friends and wonderful experiences. Every day I enjoy[ed] my lifelong quest to find God in everything, the good and the bad . . . I have been loved by many good people and I am very grateful.”

Yes, Mary Kay, you were well loved and you loved well. You will always remain in our hearts.

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Mary Ellen Caldwell, BVM (Eugenio)

Mary Ellen Caldwell, BVM (Eugenio) died Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, 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 Milwaukee on June 11, 1920, to Francis S. and Helen Fitzsimmons Caldwell. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1938, from St. Michael Parish, Milwaukee. She professed first vows on March 19, 1941, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1946.

Sister Mary Ellen taught elementary school in DeKalb and Chicago, Ill.; and Wichita, Kan. She was elementary school principal in Dubuque, where she also served as theology, religious studies, and philosophy teacher and department chair at Clarke University. She taught at a seminary in Kumasi, Ghana, and later volunteered as ESL teacher.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, James Joseph Caldwell; and sisters: Mary Remi Caldwell, BVM; Sarah Marie Tyson; and Frances Mary Kilcollins. She is survived by a sister, Helen Smith, Waukesha, Wis.; brothers, Rev. Thomas A. Caldwell, SJ, Wauwatosa, Wis.; and Joseph Kerwin Caldwell, New York, N.Y.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 78 years.

Sister Mary Ellen Caldwell, BVM (Eugenio)
Funeral Welcome
Marian Hall, Aug. 28, 2017

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

Mary Ellen Caldwell entered this world on June 11, 1920, as the eldest of eight children born to Francis and Hellen Fitzsimmons Caldwell of Milwaukee. Her siblings James Joseph, Rose, Helen Margaret, Thomas, Sarah Marie, Joseph Kerwin, and Frances Mary completed the family.

Mary Ellen loved music, especially opera and the classics. For many years, she held season tickets to the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. She often told the story that in high school, she and her friends would go to the public library, check out operatic music scores and then gather around a piano and sing all the parts. After they saved enough money, they would attend a performance, sitting in the high balcony. Even in her later years, she could still sing the music. Later, while missioned at Mount Carmel Academy in Wichita, Kan., she asked Sister Grace Andrea Carolan, the voice teacher, to join her in the making of a record for her family, which was very popular at that time. She would often quip, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”

Mary Ellen graduated from Holy Angels Academy in Milwaukee and entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1938. She received the name Eugenio upon her reception on March 19, 1939, professed her first vows on March 19, 1941, and lived 78 years as a BVM. Her sister Rose entered the congregation in 1941 and received the name Mary Remi. She died on Feb. 21, 2008.

Mary Ellen began her teaching career in the elementary grades. She was missioned at St. Mary in DeKalb, Ill.; St. Vincent in Chicago; Mount Carmel in Wichita, Kan.; and St. Patrick in Dubuque, Iowa, where she also served as superior and principal. However, she will be remembered best for her 25 years in the religious studies department at Clarke University, including 11 years as the department chair. In May 1984, she returned to Dubuque after a year of study in Cambridge, Mass., to discover that she had lost everything in her office and bedroom in the Clarke fire. Through exchange programs, Mary Ellen taught courses at Mundelein College in Chicago, as well as at Loras College, University of Dubuque, and Aquinas Institute of Theology, all in Dubuque. She also facilitated scripture study groups for adults.

As a teacher, Mary Ellen touched lives on three continents. In 1983, she traveled abroad to teach Scripture classes at a secondary school for girls in Matunda, Kenya, as a third world experience. From 1990 to 1992, she taught religion at the St. Hubert Seminary in Kumasi, Ghana, West Africa. “This [experience] has been a time of special grace for me, and I am most grateful for it,” she wrote. “The balance of prayer and community and ministry has brought deep peace. The experience of people with so many dire needs leads me to wonder that I have been so blessed and to want the liberating word of God for all.” In 1993, she embraced the opportunity to teach English as a second language in Hungary. “I worked with women religious whose energies had been engaged in keeping their religious life secret; now they were engaged in learning to live it openly.”

In August 1973, Mary Ellen, Carol Frances Jegen, BVM and Betty Pleas, BVM, along with many priests and other religious, answered the call of Cesar Chavez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union, to picket California growers. They were arrested and held in a detention center for two weeks, refusing to accept release until the arrested farm workers were also released.

Mary Ellen commented, “I used to think of the law and justice going together, hand-in-hand. Then I realized that for many people they don’t go together . . . I felt really, utterly helpless. I was not frightened, but I was absolutely incredulous . . . I was angry about the treatments given to hardworking farm workers; they didn’t deserve to be treated as criminals. It was an honor to be with them and special privilege to spend time with Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, who came to California to join us.” Mary Ellen always remembered what Chavez said at a Mass on the night of their release. “We really are not free, just out of jail.”

The approval of the revised BVM Constitutions on Feb. 2, 1989, was a joyous moment for Mary Ellen. She served 13 years on the Constitutions Committee, including one year as the full-time chair, and traveled to Rome for the approbation of the revision. “When Helen Garvey and her Council went to Rome for approval of the document, they didn’t have to take me, but I loved being in Rome again and participating in the dialogue at the Vatican.”

A note from a BVM sister reads, “The committee deserves our gratitude and appreciation for their long years of work. I want to add my own personal note of appreciation for your contribution—your marvelous skill during the meetings and your courage in handling the situation. Your expertise, courage and spiritual depth added so much.”

In 1998, Mary Ellen moved to Mount Carmel, but did not slow down. She taught scripture classes at the Roberta Kuhn Center, privately tutored foreign students in English and, until recently, served as a lector at Mass. In 2005, she participated in the “Forum for Sisters,” an international dialogue among women religious held in Piliscaba, Hungary.

In the past two years, she helped two individuals with sacramental preparation. Via Skype, she instructed a father in Texas, enabling him to be baptized with his son at St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque, where he and his wife were married. Earlier this year, she prepared the grandson of a friend and former coworker to receive his first communion in Columbia in the presence of his extended family.

Mary Ellen may have been small in stature, but she had a brilliant mind, a great desire for knowledge, an adventurous spirit ready to face new challenges, and a listening heart—always sensitive to the hardships, hopes and desires of others. Her twinkling eyes and bright smile revealed a zest for life rooted in her deep trust in God. One of her favorite prayers was the Suscipe by St. Ignatius of Loyola. “Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will . . . Give me only your love and your grace; that is enough for me.” Mary Ellen was blessed with many gifts, shared them generously, reaped a bountiful harvest, and returned all to the Lord. Finally, she returned “the very breath that sang [God’s] praise.”* Mary Ellen, we love you and miss you, yet our hearts are joyful knowing that you rest in the loving arms of God. It is enough.

*From “These Alone Are Enough” by Dan Schutte.

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