Benedictine Medal
Memorials of Sisters

2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013








2014 Memorials
  Sr.MaryBenetMcKinney Sister Mary Benet McKinney, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - September 2, 2014

Sister Mary Benet (Patricia) McKinney ‘s long career in education began by teaching in parochial schools within the Archdiocese of Chicago: Mother of God (North Chicago), St. Hilary, St. George, St. Joseph, Queen of All Saints and St. Lambert (Skokie). In 1960 she became principal of St. Joseph School near Cabrini Green in Chicago.

In 1966, she co-founded the Urban Apostolate of Sisters with Sister Mary William, D.C. and Father (Monsignor) John (Jack) Egan.   With other religious leaders, she was in the front lines in the March in Selma, AL.


She accepted a position on the staff of the Catholic School Office in Chicago, as Associate Director of the Administrative Service Department serving about 350 parishes. Until 1980, when she left that position, her major role was as consultant to parish school boards.  This administrative experience gave her rich background as she next ventured into free- lance work and eventually became an international speaker and facilitator. Sister Mary Benet used her expertise will as a school board developer and trainer.

Sister Mary Benet authored the book Sharing Wisdom: A Process for Group Decision Making.  In 1981, she was awarded the O’Neil D’Amour Award by the National Association of Boards of Education.              

That was followed by the Chicago manual for parish school boards, Shared Decision Making Revisited. Her deep belief that everyone has a “piece of the wisdom” will be a key element of her legacy.  That style of leadership was evident in her work with her own community and among many other Benedictine communities of women in North America with whom she served often as a facilitator.

Elected as the prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago, she served the community from 1986 until 1995 after which she returned to the ministry of lecturer, facilitator and retreat director. She worked with many dioceses and parish councils, boards as well as staffs, and with priests’ senates, and religious communities.

Over the years she was invited to be a guest professor at University of San Francisco, Notre Dame University, and the University of St. Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut.

Sister Mary Benet was, for all of her traveling, deeply rooted in her monastic community, of which she was a vowed member since 1949, and was always actively engaged in various committees and teams. For years she served or chaired the Ongoing Formation Committee and worked as Director and as the team leader of the lay Oblate program.

Funeral Mass Reflections from Sister Patricia Crowley, OSB



  Sr. Suzanne Zuercher Sister Suzanne Zuercher, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - June 14, 2014

Suzanne Zuercher, the fifth child of Charles Robert and Clara Kettenhofen Zuercher, was born on July 13, 1931. The family lived in Park Ridge, Illinois, and Suzanne attended the parochial school at St. Paul of the Cross Parish.

She entered St. Scholastica High School in the fall of 1945. Having already begun musical training of her extraordinary voice, she was granted a music scholarship.  In addition to being an honor student with high achievement in academics, she excelled as a soloist, became one of the strongest voices in glee club, was part of the special ensemble, and gave a voice recital before graduation in June of 1949.


In early September of that year, she became a postulant at St. Scholastica Monastery and was invested as a novice on March 19, 1950. She was given the name Sister Clare by which she was known for many years as she continued her education and began her teaching career.

Not unusual for that period, her undergraduate studies were pursued at a number of colleges and universities. The majority of her work was at Loyola University, Chicago and her Bachelor of Arts in English was awarded there. She also attended DePaul, Alverno College, Georgetown University, Quincy College, and Mt. St. Scholastica. She completed her MA in Clinical Psychology at Loyola University in 1967 and then went on to become a licensed clinical psychologist.

As a teacher Sister Suzanne served on the elementary level at Queen of All Saints Parish in Chicago and St. Lambert Parish in Skokie. She joined the faculty at St. Scholastica in fall of 1960. She taught English, religion, and Latin I. After completing her MA she taught psychology to seniors, and became school psychologist, Guidance Director, and College Counselor until 1972.

At that time Sister Suzanne began to serve as Campus Minister at the Water Tower campus of Loyola University. In 1976 she began teaching at the Institute of Spiritual Leadership of Loyola (ISL) and she ministered there until 1987, serving as co-director from 1979 until 1985.

After a sabbatical year, Sister. Suzanne’s life began to take a new turn, including more writing as well as more travel. Through contacts with men and women from abroad who had been students at ISL, she was invited by religious communities in many countries to teach, to make presentations, to direct retreats, and to facilitate workshops. Hundreds of people around the world have benefited from her sharing.  In many places afar, such as Wales, Tokyo, Germany, Indonesia, Hong Kong, as well as those closer to home like Omaha, Cañon City, New York, Nauvoo, and Racine, people remember her.

Sister Suzanne has had six books published, since 1991, her latest having come out in March: On the Ground of Truth and Love: Reflections on Thomas Merton’s Relationship with the Woman Known as “M”. Before her last illness, she had already received some congratulatory messages from those who read it. Many are of her articles appeared in Sisters Today, Living Light, Praying magazine and other publications.

Sister Suzanne was on the editorial board of Review for Religious for five years and was an active and contributing member of the International Thomas Merton Society. Of the many honors she received were a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow and Damen Scholar of Graduate School at Loyola University, Chicago awards.

From 1994 through 2006 Suzanne was President of St. Scholastica Academy, during which time she was active in Together for You, the network of all girls’ schools. Having completed that service she worked with Right Directions, consultants to faith based organizations. Most recently Sister Suzanne has had her own practice, offering executive coaching and many other services to business professionals. In addition she has continued to offer spiritual direction and direct retreats and workshops as she has for many years

Over the 65 years of fidelity within her Benedictine community, Sister Suzanne has been the First Councilor, Formation Directress, and assistant Oblate Director. She served on Monastic Council three times, and was active on Liturgy Team, On-Going Formation Team, the Schola, and many and varied committees over the years.

Sister Suzanne died in the infirmary of St. Scholastica Monastery on June 14, 2014.  Her siblings, Eleanor Holmgren, Robert, Paul, and Father Jack, S.J. have all preceded her in death. She is mourned by nieces and nephews, down three generations, her Benedictine community, and countless friends across the world.

Funeral Mass Reflections from Sister Patricia Crowley, O.S.B.



2013 Memorials


Sister Rosemarie Rupar Sister Rosemarie Rupar, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - August 4, 2013

Rosemarie Rupar was born in Pueblo, Colorado, on July 29, 1932, the youngest of the six children born to Anton Joseph and Katherine Elizabeth Rupar. Baptized at St. Mary Help of Christians Church, she was educated at that parish’s grade school, made her First Holy Communion, and received Confirmation there.

The Benedictine Sisters of Chicago were her teachers through the elementary grades. After graduating from Pueblo Catholic High School she worked for one year at the Crews-Beggs department store. Next she was employed by a group of physicians and became receptionist, file and billing clerk, doctors’ and nurses’ assistant, and manager of records.

At 21, drawn to the lifestyle of her grade school teachers, she entered St. Scholastica Monastery on September 7, 1953, to become a Benedictine Sister of Chicago. At her investiture she received the name Sister Helen, but. resumed the use of her baptismal name at the time of the renewal of religious life following Vatican Council II. Her triennial vows were professed on April 23, 1955. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1980 and her Golden Jubilee in 2005.

Having been seriously hearing impaired all her life, Rosemarie learned to read lips. Not able to hear clearly the speech of others, she had to work hard at correct pronunciation. When not understood, she was always remarkably patient any time she was asked to repeat herself.

Though she did not earn a college degree, Sr. Rosemarie completed 28 credit hours from St. Procopius College, in scripture and religious studies. Her remarkable career is a clear witness to her commitment to learning.

Sr. Rosemarie kept not only a list of her various ministries, but careful notations of the particular persons with whom she worked, doubtless people who recognized her potential and taught her skills she used in the service of the monastic community, its high schools, and the hundreds of people touched by the outreach of the Benedictine Sisters.

Hospitality, a Benedictine tradition, appears to have been a natural gift for Sr. Rosemarie. Her very first work as refectorian included assisting with guests. In every ministry in which she served over the years, she was always gracious and welcoming. In 1973 she was appointed to be guest mistress and she had that role for many years, often while she served in other positions.

Her duties in charge of the monastery dining room, prepared her for handling supervision of students’ dining hall at St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City. Next she was in food service at the monastery for ten years, with one interruption when she was assigned to live at her home parish in Pueblo to help with personal solicitations, fund raising for SSA Cañon. In 1968 she was asked to go back to this Academy to be in charge of the bakery where she remained until returning to Chicago in 1973.

Her early summer assignments included cooking for the Sisters teaching religious education in Alamosa. In summer of 1970, she combined a “change of occupation” (to ministry within a Kentucky parish) with an opportunity for spiritual renewal. Her daily duties ranged from preparing snacks for children to office work to household tasks. Designated evenings were set aside for the sessions to foster spiritual growth, and for Sr. Rosemarie this was a memorable life experience.
For fifteen summers she served as co-facilitator of the women’s retreats offered at the Academy in Cañon City. Her wonderful hospitality, her care with detail, and her sense of good organization made her a fine asset to this spiritual outreach.

Sister Rosemarie served St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago in many ways. In her work in the Development Office, student library, and Dean’s Office, as well as her handling of incoming and outgoing mail, she was meticulous. Within the monastery she handled mail for years and served as an assistant in the Archives. Hers was a most valuable contribution to the growth of the community’s Development Office in recent decades. Among many tasks, she coordinated bulk mailings, managed the database carefully and prepared memorial cards.

Sr. Rosemarie’s respect and appreciation for people was outstanding. When listing yearly assignments given to her, she consistently mentioned the names of those Sisters with whom she worked. On official thank you letters from the community to donors, often she would pen her word of thanks.

She treasured the prayer and liturgy of the Benedictine life, and carefully listed in her files the date when she first led a Communion Service, so important was that event for her.

In her last several years, Sr. Rosemarie had many serious health complications and she tried hard to maintain the strength to serve. Her final illness came suddenly, but she was blessed to have been able to be so much a part of community and to serve as she was able until shortly before her death

Sr. Rosemarie died peacefully with Sisters at her hospital bedside on Sunday, August 4, 2013. She was preceded in death by her only brother, Anton Rupar, Jr., and her sisters, Katherine Mihalick, Helen Perse, and Loretta Rupar.

She is survived by her sister, Marie Mutz, and three generations of nieces and nephews. Her devoted family, along with her Benedictine Sisters and many friends, mourn her passing. Sr. Rosemarie’s funeral Mass was celebrated on August 7, 2013, and she has been interred in All Saints Cemetery, in Des Plaines Illinois.

Sister Winifred Sommer

Sister Winifred Sommer, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - March 9, 2013

Sister Winifred Sommer died peacefully in St. Joseph Court Infirmary at St. Scholastica Monastery on March 9, 2013.

2012 Memorials
Sister Dorothy Van Alstyne Sister Dorothy Van Alstyne, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - October 12, 2012

Dorothy Van Alstyne was born in Cañon City, Colorado, on April 27, 1924, the first child of Sarah Mae Bower and Harry Allen Van Alstyne.  She was baptized at St. Michael Church and attended the parish school there where all of her teachers were Benedictine Sisters of Chicago.On the day of her First Holy Communion, Dorothy made a wish that she would grow up to be a Sister like her teacher, Sister Anita. Later she treasured a doll named for Sister Arnoldine who taught her in the middle grades.

Enrolled as a day student at St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, she again was taught by the Chicago Benedictines. Though the idea of becoming a Sister had long since faded, she was very much influenced by her teachers and enjoyed classes as well as the interactions with them in extra-curricular activities.


Sisters Walburg and Clement Marie were very influential, as was Sister Mary Kinney (Esther) who was not only her instructor for more classes than the others, but also served as Moderator of the Sodality, and was the person in charge of the Academy bookstore which became somewhat of a hang-out for Dorothy and others. At the time of the senior class retreat, Dorothy once again became very aware that she was called to religious life and she began the process of application. Though they supported her decision and were proud of her choice, her parents found it difficult to have their daughter moving so far away.

Dorothy entered the Benedictine Community in Chicago on September 11, 1941.  The following summer, she was received into the novitiate on July 11, 1942. She was given the religious name Sister Josephine by which she was known until the period of renewal when she and many others chose to use again their baptismal names.Her first vows were pronounced on August 15, 1943 and her perpetual profession was three years later, on August  16, 1946.  She celebrated her Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of her profession, in 1993 and her 60th anniversary in 2003.

Sister Dorothy’s college studies were begun at DePaul University in Chicago, but she completed her  BA degree at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Further courses, among them many in Business and Economics, were taken in Chicago at Mundelein College and in Colorado at Western State and Southern Colorado State colleges.Her many years as a teacher began in the parochial schools, at St. Hilary, Queen of All Saints, and St. Joseph in Chicago and St. Michael in Cañon City, Colorado. In 1953 she joined the faculty of St. Scholastica in Chicago and taught commercial courses there until 1957. That year she was assigned to St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City.

At that academy she served as a dormitory prefect, until responsibilities given her in the Business Office made that no longer possible.  In the 1974-1975 year the Royal Gorge Chapter of the National Secretaries Association International honored her as the area’s Secretary of the Year. She also was treasurer for the Academy for several years and a Notary Public in Colorado. Her next appointment was to the Development Office of SSA  in Chicago, a position she held until 1984 when, at Howard Area Community Center, she became office manager.  In 1988, she returned to Cañon City where she served as receptionist in the school office and was co-director of the school’s alumnae association.

Granted a mini-sabbatical in 1994, she spent a month at Shalom Prayer Center in Mount Angel, Oregon, an experience she found enriching. Sister Dorothy was active in the community affairs over the years, and served on several committees and as the Coordinator of the Chicago chapter of Benedictines for Peace.During her retirement, she was an avid reader, and remained interested in current affairs. As long as she was able, Sr. Dorothy was faithful to common prayer and community meetings though impaired hearing made this challenging.

Sister Dorothy died the evening of October 12, 2012 at St. Scholastica Monastery. She is mourned by her siblings, Betty Chess, and Joseph Van Alstyne, a number of nieces and nephews and her Benedictine Sisters.

For a copy of the reflections from Sister Dorothy's funeral, please click here.
Sister Mary Alice Setincar Sister Mary Alice Setnicar, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - May 26, 2012

Stephanie Helen Setnicar was born December 25, 1911, in North Chicago, Illinois, the third child of Anna Janśe and Matthew Setnicar, a hard-working couple who raised three daughters and four sons. As members of Mother of God in Waukegan, Illinois, they sent their children to the parish school, fostered the custom of the family rosary, and exemplified in their lives love of neighbor and concern for the poor.

Learning responsibility early in their lives, the children assisted their father by transporting by wagon his tools and materials to work sites. The three eldest accompanied their mother on the trolley, carrying buckets and cleaning supplies, and then helping her to clean a Protestant church and to assist her in doing various services for an elderly and sick woman.


Toward the end of eighth grade in 1927, Sister Eusebia, one of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago who staffed Mother of God School, took students for a visit to the Motherhouse in Chicago. When introducing Stephanie to the Prioress, Mother Imelda, Sister Eusebia said “I believe this girl would be a good nun.” What a prophetic statement that was!

Stephanie enrolled at St. Scholastica Academy the next fall and became an aspirant, which was the initial step toward becoming a Benedictine Sister. Recognized early as a capable student, always willing to assume responsible tasks, she was assigned to help care for younger boarding students while carrying a full academic load.

In her senior year she became a postulant, graduated in June, 1931, and on July 11 was invested as a novice, receiving the religious name Sister Mary Alice. She professed triennial vows on August 16, 1932, and made perpetual vows August 16, 1935.

She continued her education at DePaul University. As customary in that era, Sister took her college courses while holding a fulltime position as a grade school teacher often serving as parish sacristan and taking her turn with household duties.

Her first assignments were in Chicago parish schools, teaching middle grades. When transferred to Colorado to teach and do summer ministry, her college studies were delayed so her degree, Bachelor of Science in Education, was awarded in August, 1948.

Though a proficient teacher at several levels, in 1942 she first began teaching primary grades and soon was recognized as gifted in that area. She bettered her skills by further study at Mundelein College in Chicago, as well as at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee. Her natural love of children created an atmosphere in which her students enjoyed learning and did their best.

Sister Mary Alice was always an asset to a school’s faculty, involved in committees, and willing and ready to encourage and to share her teaching skills especially with new teachers. Chicago Archdiocesan Association of Primary Teachers, with a membership of over 700, elected her to serve as its Recording Secretary/Treasurer.

Schools which benefited from her service were St. George, St. Symphorosa, St. John Nepumocene, Queen of All Saints, St. Hilary, and St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago; Mother of God in Waukegan, Illinois; St. Lambert in Skokie, Illinois; in Colorado, St. Mary in Pueblo, St. Joseph in Salida, and St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City. In the 1980’s, she was a Minister of Care, visiting the sick, as well as bringing communion to patients at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago.

Retiring in 1985 from her long teaching career simply meant a change of ministry for Sister Mary Alice. She devoted her days then to doing clerical work for the Counseling Department at SSA, to assisting in the monastery bakery, to helping with the mailings from the Monastery, and to caring for a vegetable garden. The headline in a 1994 Sacro Speco article about Sister Mary Alice read “An Indefatigable Benedictine Worker”. Nothing could be truer.

Though she suffered from migraine headaches for years, spent months with no use of her voice, and was at one time thought to have tuberculosis, she lived actively in community until well after her 100th birthday. Because she loved people, perhaps her greatest suffering in life came on occasions when she feared she had offended someone unknowingly.

Sister Mary Alice was an example of someone who always put others first. All her life, her hospitable spirit and genuine love made her a treasured friend to countless people who felt her care and support.

Death came peacefully for Sister Mary Alice on May 26, 2012. She is mourned by her sister, Frances Setnicar, many nieces and nephews, countless dear friends and former students, and her Benedictine community.

For a copy of the reflections from Sister Mary Alice's Funeral click here.
2011 Memorials
  Sister Gregory Rohar Sister Gregory Rohar, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - September 16, 2011

Anne Rohar, daughter of Matthew and Pauline Hrosovsky Rohar, was born in Rouse, Colorado, on May 11, 1914. She was baptized June 14 of that year. Her large family included six brothers and three sisters. At age 18, she left Colorado to become a Benedictine Sister of Chicago. On September 8, 1932, she entered the community at St. Scholastica where her aunts--Sister Stephanie, Sister Anthony, and Sister Scholastica were already members.



On July 11, 1933, Anne received the Benedictine habit. At that time she was given the religious name Sister Gregory. Her first profession was August 16, 1934. She pronounced her perpetual vows August 16, 1937. Sister attended DePaul University in Chicago and earned the Bachelor of Philosophy degree. She majored in education and taught primary and intermediate grades in the parochial schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Southern Colorado.

With the education of little ones as her ministry for more than fifty years, Sister Gregory remained young at heart and was able to say at the time of her Golden Jubilee in 1984, “Today with so many changes, I find teaching interesting and challenging.” Her first teaching assignment was at Mother of God School in Waukegan, Illinois, where she remained for six years. Next she spent two years at St. Joseph School in Chicago and then moved on to St. Symphorosa.

In 1946 she returned to live in her beloved home state, Colorado, where most of her family lived. Her teaching positions there were at St. Leander School in Pueblo, St. Michael in Canon City, St. Michael in Delta, and then St. Mary in Pueblo. Then for two years, beginning in 1954, Sister Gregory had the opportunity to teach at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson, Arizona, during the period when the Benedictine Sisters were serving in that part of the Southwest.Sister Gregory spent many of her summers teaching religion classes in various towns both on the eastern and western slopes of Colorado where the children had no opportunity to attend Catholic schools.

When Sister Gregory celebrated her Golden Jubilee in the summer of 1984, she was still teaching at St. Symphorosa Parish in Chicago. There and wherever she served she always enjoyed getting to know parishioners, visiting with them and showing support and interest in their concerns.

After she left teaching, Sister Gregory lived for several years at St. Mary’s in Pueblo, Colorado, and then retired at the monastery in 1995. In addition to doing many services for the Sisters, she devoted hours to crocheting beautiful dresses and hats for dolls, which she designed and sold. An avid sports fan, Sister Gregory enjoyed watching games on television while cheering, giving commentaries, and prompting players and umpires .

At the community retreat in 1994, Sister Gregory designated as her favorite scripture text this from Isaiah: “Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” She answered that call by a life of kindness and service.

Sister Gregory died peacefully on September 16, 2011. The Mass of Resurrection was celebrated at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 19, 2011. Her interment, Tuesday, September 20, 2011, was at All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illionis.  Along with the Benedictine Sisters of her community, Sister Gregory is survived by many nieces and nephews and their families. 

  For a copy of the reflections from Sr. Gregory's funeral, click here.  
  Sr. Pierre Marie Moore Sister Pierre Marie Moore, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - June 23, 2011
  Alice Adeline Moore was born the fifth of six children of Charles Day Moore and Adeline Smith Moore on February 3, 1913. Theirs was a prayerful and happy family. All of the girls became Benedictines: Alice, Mary and Helen, in Chicago and Dorothy, the eldest, in Clyde, Missouri. Robert was ordained a Jesuit priest. David married.  

Alice was baptized in St. Ambrose Church and attended the parish school until fifth grade. She finished the elementary grades at St. Thomas Apostle School and also attended St. Thomas Apostle High School.

On September 7, 1932, she entered St. Scholastica Monastery, the first of the three Moore daughters to become Benedictine Sisters of Chicago. Receiving the religious name Sister Pierre Marie, she began her novitiate on July 11, 1933, and made her triennial vows on August 16, 1934.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in education at Loyola University in Chicago, she continued her studies at DePaul University where she was granted a master’s degree. She also studied theology at St. Joseph in Rensselaer, Indiana, with further academic work at Holy Cross Junior College and Pueblo Junior College in Cañon City, Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo, Colorado, Mundelein and Felician Colleges, the Institute of Technology, and at Resurrection Hospital in Chicago.

Sister Pierre Marie spent forty of her years of ministry teaching on elementary and secondary levels, beginning in the grade school of St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago where her versatility was noted and valued. She taught ten courses, including French and singing. Later, when teaching at St. Scholastica in Cañon City, she also provided instruction in gym classes.

Sister Pierre Marie served on the faculty of several parish schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago: as a teacher at Mother of God, (Waukegan), St. Hilary, and St. Symphorosa, and as a librarian at St. Juliana and St. Symphorosa. In southern Colorado, she was the principal and a teacher at St. Michael’s in Cañon City, and a teacher at St. Joseph in Salida where she was also the superior of the local convent. Additionally, she taught at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson, Arizona. Often, in addition to her classroom work, she served as parish organist, choir director, or sacristan.

She often taught ancient, modern and United States history in high school. In the summers she offered history courses at the Academy in Chicago, or taught religious education programs in Colorado, serving Alamosa, Ouray, Silverton, Eagle, and Minturn.

Her years of internal ministry included two as infirmarian at the Monastery, twelve as sacristan in the St. Scholastica Chapel, and eight as sacristan in St. Joseph Chapel in the monastery infirmary.

In addition, Sister volunteered her support by assisting with clerical tasks, including many years of preparing lunch passes for St. Scholastica Academy students in Chicago. Her handiwork included the making of rosaries as well as knitting projects - mittens and sweaters plus dozens of afghans for a local day care center.

Until her final illness, Sister Pierre Marie remained interested in local news, community activities, and the various ministries of the Sisters. She died peacefully on June 23, 2011, with her only living sibling, Sister Mercedes, at her bedside.

Sister Pierre Marie is mourned by family members, her former students in both Chicago and Colorado, friends, and her Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery.

For a copy of the reflections from Sr. Pierre Marie's funeral, click here
2010 Memorials
  Sr. Mary Cornella Sister Mary Cornella, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - December 5, 2010
  Mary Jane Cornella was born in Graycreek, Colorado on December 5, 1910, the only daughter of the eight children of Victor and Angelina Donini Cornella. Along with her parents and seven brothers, Virgil, Ralph, Louis, Severino, Robert, Victor, and Joseph, she enjoyed a close-knit family. She grew up in Florence, Colorado, where she came to know the Benedictine Sisters who taught religious education classes to the children of St. Benedict Parish there. Sisters Amelia Buscher and Margaret Mary Gaughan, in particular, had a special impact on her.  
  After attending the elementary grades at McCandless and Washington schools, she enrolled in and graduated from the Florence Public High School. On September 1, 1931, Mary Jane entered the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago at St. Scholastica Monastery. She entered the novitiate on July 11, 1932, receiving the religious name, Sister Clotilde. She was known by that name until the period of renewal following Vatican Council II, when she chose to simply use the name Mary that she had received at birth and baptism. Her first vows were pronounced on August 16, 1933, and three years later she made her perpetual profession, on August 16 of 1936.

In preparation for what would be a 42-year career as an elementary teacher, she attended DePaul University in Chicago where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in education. Her first years of teaching were in Chicago, at St. Joseph Parish, St. John Nepomucene, and St. Symphorosa. However, most of her ministry was in southern Colorado where she served at St. Michael School in Delta, St. Mary in Pueblo, St. Michael in Cañon City, and St. Leander in Pueblo. She taught either primary or intermediate grades and often was sacristan and/or one of the cooks.

Sister Mary frequently taught in the summer religious education programs of many parishes throughout Colorado where there was no Catholic school. Sometime she would teach in two, three, or even four towns in the same summer. Many summers she also assisted with the campers attending Camp San Benito, based in Cañon City. After most of the parochial schools in the diocese of Pueblo were closed in the early 1970’s, Sister Mary went to live at Saint Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, where she worked as receptionist and served as switchboard operator. She also assisted the boarding school staff in various ways, including teaching students the basics of needlecraft and the art of crocheting.

In 1979, Sister Mary was fortunate to spend three weeks on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Another summer during her time in Cañon City, she volunteered to serve in a reading program for inmates at the local prison in Fremont County.

After sixteen years at the Academy, Sister Mary moved to Saint Mary’s in Pueblo in 1988, where the parish convent had become a residence for several of the retired Benedictine Sisters. Their ministry was to the elderly of the parish whom they visited regularly in their homes or in local nursing facilities.

In 1992, Sister Mary retired to the monastery in Chicago where she continued to be of service to the community. She took charge of the “gift shop”, an attractive glass-front cabinet near the monastery front door where hand-made items and religious goods were displayed. She made many beautifully crocheted baby blankets and other items. Quiet service was characteristic of Sister Mary and she welcomed every chance to help with mailing projects or any other clerical tasks. She also spent hours each day in prayer or reading. Her last responsibility was the opening and sorting of the Prioress’s mail each day.

In the fall of 2006, the National Religious Retirement Office chose pictures of Sister Mary to be used in the publicity for the campaign before their annual collection. Her hands praying the rosary and her cheerful face were featured in posters and brochures distributed across the nation. She was affectionately named “our poster girl” by the community. For 79 years, Sister Mary prayed and worked, gently and faithfully, serving wherever she was needed. Her 75th jubilee was marked in 2008. On December 2, 2010. she died peacefully, three days before the anticipated celebration of her 100th birthday.

She is survived by her youngest brother, Joseph (Lena), of Pueblo West, CO, her sister-in-law Mary, many nieces and nephews, and her Benedictine Sisters all of whom now mourn her death, yet rejoice with her as she enjoys eternal life.
  Sr. Mary Martin Gehl Sister Mary Martin Gehl, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - March 15, 2010
  Helen Marie Gehl was born February 20, 1916, in Mason City, Iowa, the first of five children of William John and Mary Catherine Jansen Gehl. The family relocated several times, so Helen attended elementary schools in Dubuque and Sanborn, Iowa, and later in Chicago. After completing two years at St. Sylvester Commercial in Chicago, she enrolled at Josephinum High School where she completed her secondary education, graduating in 1934.  

On September 8, 1940, Helen entered the Benedictines at St. Scholastica. She received the habit on July 11, 1941 and the religious name, Sister Mary Martin. Her perpetual vows were professed on August 16, 1945.

Sister Mary Martin completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Mt. St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas, specializing in Home Economics. At Loretto Heights College in Denver she later studied theology.

Her first 28 years in ministry were in education. She taught in many elementary schools: St. Joseph’s, St. Hilary’s, and St. Symphorosa’s in Chicago; Mother of God in Waukegan, Illinois; St. Lambert’s in Skokie, Illinois; St. Mary’s and St. Leander’s in Pueblo, Colorado. Her secondary school assignment was at St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Colorado where she taught home economics and history. She also taught summer school classes in Alamosa and Westcliffe, Colorado, and was a craft instructor at Camp San Benito teaching leather craft.

In 1970, Sister Mary Martin was assigned as kitchen manager at the monastery. She took courses in Food Service Management at Loop College in Chicago to better serve in that position. Later she became the community seamstress and served in that role until she retired.

She was keenly interested in being of service outside the community. Answering an ad in the newspaper, she became a volunteer bookkeeper for UNICEF and later served on their board. Along with other Sisters she worked to set up housing for displaced Vietnamese families and taught them how to shop in Chicago. For many years she worked as an election judge and received a citation for public service from the Board of Elections. During her last active years, she crocheted afghans for use in the Day Care facility at Howard Area Community Center.

In the fall of 2005, failing health demanded that she take up residence in the infirmary. Sister Mary Martin died peacefully there on March 15, 2010. She is survived by her sister Loretta Gallagher, and her many nieces and nephews who now, along with her Benedictine Sisters, mourn her.

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2009 Memorials
  Sr. Jeanne Hegarty Sister Jeanne Hegarty, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - November 19, 2009
  Jean Ann Hegarty was born on October 16, 1926, in Nortonsville, Kansas, first child and only daughter of Carl Francis and Helen Diddle Hegarty. She and her brothers, James, Marvin, and Carl, spent five years living with other family members and for some years in an orphanage, while their mother had tuberculous and their father tried to save their farm through the hard times of the depression. Mr. Hegarty was finally able to take his wife and children to Cañon City, Colorado, where his employer, the Abbot of Holy Cross Abbey, arranged for Jeanne to attend Saint Scholastica Academy. She graduated in 1943 and entered the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago. At her investiture, she received the name Sister Mary Charles (later to be changed to Sister Jeanne). She professed her perpetual vows in 1948.  
  Sister Jeanne earned her PhB degree at DePaul University in Chicago and served in the field of education as an elementary teacher and principal for seventeen years, until she was asked to become director of the novitiate. In 1967 she was assigned to St. Scholastica Academy, Cañon City where she worked at building public relations and assisted in setting up their first advisory council.

She returned to Chicago in 1969 where she served in the area of development/alumnae relations at Saint Scholastica Academy, Chicago for six years. During this period she helped to set up the school’s initial development office and public relations program. The first President’s Council met in September, 1970.

In 1976 Sister Jeanne began a sabbatical and entered Professional Training for Pastoral Ministry at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario, where she earned a masters degree. Sensing a call to serve and a desire to share Benedictine hospitality and peace with the sick, the elderly, the lonely, and the dying, she accepted a position at St. Mary’s Parish in Pueblo, Colorado. She was the first person in the Diocese of Pueblo to be hired in Ministry to the Aged. She went on to complete the required three units of clinical pastoral education, one of which was focused on ministry to Alzheimer’s patients and their families. She devoted the next fifteen years to direct service to the elderly, mainly in Pueblo, while also educating others through workshops, conferences, a course on Death and Dying at the University of Southern Colorado and articles in many publications. She was a delegate to the Governor’s Conference in Aging in 1978, Liaison for Aging from the Diocese of Pueblo to the University of Southern Colorado, and a member of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. At the St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colorado, she helped to establish an Adult Day Care Center, and she assumed the duties of chaplain at various times in both St. Mary Corwin and Parkview Hospitals in Pueblo.

Sister Jeanne’s prime ministry as a Benedictine was her commitment to her community. Her sensitivity and compassion, her fidelity to common prayer, her genuine love and interest in each Sister will long be remembered. Even in her years as a resident in the infirmary, she served as minister of communion, as reader for liturgy and as visitor to the sick. She read to the visually impaired and wrote letters for those needing help to stay in contact with their families. As an active member of the On-Going Formation committee, Benedictines for Peace, Communications Board, and the Prioress’s Council of Elders she gave valuable input. She had a love for reading, learned to use the computer, and stayed abreast of current events and social justice issues.

Sister Jeanne enjoyed cooking, baking and gardening. In her final years, she spent time offering clerical help in monastery administration offices. Her death came suddenly on November 19, 2009. She is mourned by her brothers, Marvin and Carl (Madeleine), her sister-in-law, Marilee Hegarty (wife of her late brother James), many nieces, nephews and their families, and the Benedictine Sisters
  Sr. Joyce Gleeson Sister Joyce Gleeson, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - November 10, 2009
  Jalois Catherine Gleeson was born on November 28, 1930, in Evanston Illinois, the daughter of John Francis and Ellen Langen Gleeson. She and her sister, Mary Ellen, attended parish elementary schools and St. Scholastica High School. Jalois worked after school and in summers to help pay her tuition. After graduating in 1948, she entered St. Scholastica Monastery. Her maturity and competence were recognized and she was assigned to St. Hilary Parish where, under supervision of an experienced teacher, she taught fourth grade. When the school year was completed, she returned to the monastery and on June 26, 1949 received the habit and given the name Sister Joyce. She professed perpetual vows on August 17, 1953.  

She earned her Bachelor of Philosophy degree from DePaul University, Masters in Library Science from Rosary College and Masters in Religious Studies from Mundelein College.

Along with her sister Mary Ellen, Sister Joyce attended numerous Elderhostels in various parts of the country. Her travel took her to many of the 50 United States, Canada, Europe, the Holy Land and Turkey. Because her father was born in Ireland , she was able to obtain Irish Free State citizenship and carried an Irish passport, along with that of the United States .

As an educator for 47 years, Sister Joyce taught on both the elementary and secondary levels.  She taught in the parishes of Saint Hilary,  Queen of All Saints,  and St. Symphorosa in Chicago; Mother of God in Waukegan, Illinois and St. Leander in Pueblo, Colorado. At both Saint Scholastica Academy in Chicago and Saint Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Colorado, she served as a teacher and frequently, as librarian. Between 1970 and 1974, she worked with FOCUS, Friends of the Convicted United in Support, at a prison in Cañon City, where children of the incarcerated were provided care during visiting hours.

When assigned to parish schools, Sister Joyce frequently was given responsibility for keeping house accounts, planning menus, working in the church sacristy, and serving as catechist for children who attended public schools.  Her training in library science was put to good use, particularly at St. Symphorosa parish where she set up libraries in all three of its school buildings.

After leaving teaching in 1990, Sister Joyce worked for the Chicago Public Library. She was children’s librarian at the Austin-Irving Branch until she officially retired in 1996. Since that time she was in charge of the monastery library, did clerical work for various administration offices, and worked as a volunteer at St. Francis Hospital.

Sister Joyce will be remembered for her generous spirit and fidelity to community life, but also for her sense of humor, her interest in each Sister, her assistance to guests, her timely conversations, and the hours she spent playing games and being company for senior Sisters.

Sister Joyce died on November 10, 2009, after a brief illness. She is mourned by her sister, Mary Ellen Rybicki, her niece, Suzanne Dowell, her nephew, John Simmons, and the Benedictine Sisters of her community.


  Sr. Mildred Scheetz Sister Mildred Scheetz, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - October 14, 2009
  Mildred Scheetz was born March 31, 1918, in Delta, Colorado, daughter of Edward J. and Martha Dorie Scheetz. The couple, with their two daughters and six sons were members of Saint Michael Parish in Delta. Mildred attended the parish school where she came to know the Benedictine Sisters. At fifteen, she entered their community in Chicago. She received the habit on July 11, 1934, and began her novitiate year. In 1939 she professed perpetual vows. After being given the religious name Sister Dominica, she began to use her baptismal name again after the renewal following the Second Vatican Council.  

Her career as an elementary teacher lasted 53 years and found her serving in twelve parishes. In the Chicago area: St. Symphorosa, Queen of All Saints, St. George, St. Joseph, St. John Nepomucene, St. Lambert, and Mother of God (Waukegan, Illinois.) In southern Colorado, she was stationed at St. Michael, Cañon City, St. Michael, Delta, St. Joseph, Salida, St. Mary and St. Leander, Pueblo. During many summers she taught religion classes to children in Colorado towns where there was no Catholic school. She also served at St. Scholastica Academy, Cañon City. Sister Mildred loved working with small children. During her years as an educator, she generally taught primary grades and at some schools she also served as principal. After retiring from teaching, Sister Mildred lived at St. Mary Parish, Pueblo, Colorado for several years .

Sister Mildred, for much of her life, suffered crippling rheumatoid arthritis which necessitated several surgeries as doctors attempted to correct some of her bone deformities. She endured these patiently, always in hopes she could continue to be of service. In gratitude for her years of service to the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Pueblo, she was honored at a special service on December 3, 2002. Along with four other Sisters, she received from Bishop Arthur Tafoya a papal award, the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.

Her final years in community were spent as a resident in St. Joseph Court, the Benedictine Sisters’ infirmary at St. Scholastica Monastery. Having always loved reciting the Divine Office with the community, she continued to participate in that as long as she was able. She read and reread her favorite “spiritual reading” books and liked to quote passages to those who stopped to chat with her. She also enjoyed telling jokes and teasing.

Sister Mildred died on October 14, 2009, at St. Scholastica Monastery. She is survived by her brother Ray Scheetz, of Grand Junction, Colorado, a niece, Anne Scheetz, M.D. of Chicago, and many other nieces and nephews and their children. She is mourned by her family and all the Sisters of her Benedictine community.

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2008 Memorials
  Sr. Olivia Schaefer Sister Olivia Schaefer, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - December 23, 2008

Elsie Elizabeth Schaefer was born in Chicago on September 21, 1913, the daughter of Adam and Anna Noska Schaefer. She was baptized in St. George Church and later attended elementary grades in the parish school. Elsie was one of five children. Her siblings were Mary, Ann, Ed, and Tom.

At age eighteen, on September 7, 1932, Elsie joined the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago at St. Scholastica Monastery. The following summer, on July 11, 1933, she received the habit and was given the name Sister Olivia. She professed her triennial vows in summer of 1934 and began to actively engage in the internal ministries of the community.


Skilled in many areas and always open to serve, her assignments were varied. She was community seamstress for twenty years and also was the housekeeper for the community chaplain for fourteen years. The latter position included serving three meals a day in the priest’s dining room. As seamstress, she worked closely with Sister Henrietta Dutli, who was the community procurator. During the last eleven years of Sister Henrietta’s life, Sister Olivia was her close companion and nurse.

In 1951, she was assigned to her first teaching mission, at Sacred Heart School in Tucson, Arizona, where she taught large classes of 3rd and 4th grade students. After leaving Tucson, she served at St. Leander’s in Pueblo, Colorado and later at St. Michael’s in Cañon City, Colorado. Other schools where she taught were Queen of All Saints, St. Joseph, St. George and St. Symphorosa in Chicago; St. Lambert in Skokie, Illinois; Mother of God in Waukegan, Illinois. At several of these schools she was engaged at times in summer sessions of religious education and occasionally she taught remedial reading.

Many summers were spent in Colorado in towns where there were no Catholic schools and where the Sisters provided vacation schools of religious education. Her assignments included Minturn, Eagle, Redcliff, Alamosa, Steamboat Springs, Gunnision, and Brookside, Colorado. In 1977, Sister Olivia joined the staff of St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City where she taught sewing and other handicrafts to both middle school and high school girls. She also was a regular moderator at Study Hall and in the dining room. In addition she was one of those who spent weekends with the boarding students, supervising their chores in the Residence Hall, keeping track of their “comings and goings” and, as house mother, seeing that curfew was kept. She early on won the respect of the young women who recognized her genuine care for them. As an active participant of all the Academy activities, she raised many plants each year which were sold at the annual Smorgasbord event every March.

Between 1989 and 1992, when Olen Kalkus was principal and his wife, Kim, a teacher, at the Academy, Sister Olivia enjoyed the experience of becoming the grandmother figure for their two young sons, often babysitting for them. The family remained in contact with her over the years and visited Sister almost annually after she retired to Chicago.

In her final years, even as her sight was failing, she continued to make coifs for the Sisters who needed them and was sacristan for St. Joseph Chapel in the infirmary. She tried to keep up with current affairs, particularly with the community’s stand against the death penalty, ever faithful in her prayers for those scheduled to die.

Sister Olivia’s long life of faithful commitment to community and service to God’s people, witness to her trust in God. She once wrote,” I didn’t have all the education as did many of the members of the community. But the Lord gave me the knowledge of being a self-learner. He guided me in doing what I have done…for the community.”

A good and faithful servant, Sister Olivia was active up until just a few months before her death on December 23, 2008. She is survived by her sister-in-law Gloria, many nieces and nephews, and her Sisters in community.

  Sister Victoria Davis, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - October 20, 2008
  Victoria Davis, the youngest child of Victor and Rose Davis, was born December 27, 1947. She, her brother, Bruce, and her sisters, Jacqueline and Susan, grew up in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Chicago where they were active parishioners.  

After graduating from St. Scholastica Academy in 1965, Vicki attended Rosary College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. During her time in college she began to work on a part-time basis at Uptown Savings and Loan. A graduate diploma was awarded to her by the Savings & Loan Institute. Further degrees were a Masters in Education in Curriculum from DePaul University and an M.A. in Education in the field of Administration and Supervision from Dominican University.

On entering St. Scholastica Monastery in 1978, Vicki joined the faculty of St. Scholastica Academy. Previously she had taught mathematics for eight years in the junior high grades at Queen of All Saints Parish School.

Sister Victoria began her novitiate year with the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago in 1979, during which she continued her religious studies and deepened her acquaintance with the community’s history, traditions, and customs. Her volunteer work included serving as a tutor at one of the jails in Chicago where her genuine concern for each individual encouraged learning. In January of 1980 she traveled to Colorado and lived with the Sisters who were serving at St. Joseph Parish in the town of Salida. Her ministry there was visiting the sick and elderly.

Sister Victoria pronounced triennial vows on July 11, 1980. The following September she returned as a teacher of mathematics at St. Scholastica Academy. August 11, 1984, was the date of her perpetual profession. Later Sister Victoria was appointed to serve as the Chairperson of the Math Department. In addition, she was asked to become the moderator of the Student Council. After serving in that capacity for eight years, in 1995 she was offered the position of an assistant principal at the Academy. In that role she was dean of discipline and in charge of student activities.

Late in 2003, her health required that she leave that position. In addition to serving as a tutor, she then worked in the office at St. Monica Rectory, and taught religious education classes until 2005.

Within the community, Sister Victoria was known for her generosity and willing service. Over the years she served as a member of the community’s Communication Board, the Government Committee, the On-Going Formation Committee, and Monastic Council. She often planned the bi-monthly nameday parties for the community and enjoyed games, reading, and travel. Her quick wit made her always pleasant company.

Sister Victoria was esteemed by her students who valued her trust, her challenges, and her fairness. She insisted on their respect for themselves and others, and helped them to see how all of their actions affected the whole community.

Vicki was very close to her family and made many good friends over the years. Surrounded by these people, she celebrated her Silver Jubilee in August, 2005. She died October 20, 2008. She was preceded in death by her sister, Jacqueline (Joe) Kuruc. She is survived by her brother, Bruce (the late Tina), her sister, Susan Vigil, brother-in-law, Joe Kuruc, and the loving Sisters of her community.

  Sr. Ada Rico Sister Ada Rico, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - September 24, 2008
  Aloysia (Lois) Rico, daughter of Henry and Mary Ondrias Hrica, was born on April 4, 1918. In 1934, she entered St. Scholastica Monastery in Chicago, where an older sister, Sister Gemma, was already a member. Their beloved aunt, Sister Frances Hrica, was a Benedictine of this community also.  

When she received the habit on July 11, 1935, Lois was given the religious name Sister Ada. She professed triennial vows on August 16, 1936, and perpetual vows on that same date in 1939. Her Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 1986 and her Diamond Jubilee in 1996.

Sister Ada attended DePaul University in Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Philosophy degree. In her teaching career, she was particularly known for her work as a reading specialist. After many years as a successful primary teacher, she became actively involved in the Chicago Archdiocesan Reading Program and served as a Master Teacher in remedial reading.

Her ministry brought her to many of the community’s missions in Illinois, Colorado and Arizona. She taught in Colorado at St. Anthony’s in Pueblo and St. Michael’s in Cañon City. She was a member of the faculty of Sacred Heart School in Tucson, Arizona, when the Chicago Benedictines served in that area.

One of her assignments was to St. Hilary’s in Chicago where, in the late 1950s a number of children enrolled in a program for the blind, spent part of their day in her classroom. She also taught at St. Joseph’s and St. Symphorosa’s in Chicago and at St. Lambert’s in Skokie, Illinois.

Most of her years as a teacher were spent in the primary department of Queen of All Saints Basilica School in Chicago. It was here that she also taught remedial programs.

Especially in her years at St. Symphorosa Parish, Sister Ada took an active role in the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Program in the Archdiocese. She trained teachers of religion who held classes for students attending public schools. For twelve years she served as District Catechist.

After 51 years of teaching, Sister Ada retired and willingly accepted various assignments doing household chores at the monastery. One of her special charges was brewing coffee several times a day for the Sisters and the employees.

Sister Ada was gentle and hospitable by nature. She seemed always ready to share conversations about how she experienced God’s presence in her life and to listen with interest to others. Her smile continued to greet people even in the last days of her life.

Sister Ada died on September 24, 2008 and the Mass of Resurrection was offered for her on September 26th. Sister Ada is survived by her brother, Edward, a nephew, William, and the Benedictine Sisters of her community.

  Sr. Susanne Zeller Sister Susanne Zeller, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - February 8, 2008
  Sister Susanne (Majella) Zeller was born on October 6, 1917, to Joseph and Ita Killackey Zeller, she was raised and educated with her five siblings in Rogers Park in Chicago. A member of St. Ignatius Parish, she attended the elementary school there and then St. Scholastica Academy. For three years after high school she worked for Illinois Bell, and then entered the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago in September of 1938.  

Professional training at De Paul University, the National College of Education, and the Art Institute of Chicago resulted in her achieving a Bachelor of Philosophy degree and Master in Education. These along with many hours of post graduate work in science, certified her as both teacher and principal.

For thirteen years she engaged in what she later described as her most memorable teaching experience, providing a creative and broad kindergarten curriculum at Queen of All Saints Parish School in Chicago. She was beloved by youngsters and parents alike. The openness and receptivity of her young students always delighted, amazed, and energized her for the challenges of the task. In the early 1950s she set up a similar program at Mother of God Parish School in Waukegan, Illinois.

Moving from teaching tots to instructing teens, Sister Susanne joined the faculty of St. Scholastica Academy in 1957, to teach biology. After four years she was asked to return to Queen of All Saints, this time as principal and local superior. She served generously in both of these roles for two years, and then five more years as principal.

Returning to St. Scholastica Academy in 1968, she again joined the science department, team-teaching biology, and worked in conjunction with the Fine Arts Department. She was particularly noted for her expert instruction in calligraphy. Her extra-curricular tasks included assisting the drama department with props and costumes and helping faculty members with bulletin boards that enhanced classroom atmosphere.

In addition to responsibilities in the Academy, in 1979 she accepted the role of kitchen manager for the monastery for three years . An excellent cook and baker herself, she was able to plan menus, oversee purchasing, and help provide the community attractively presented and nutritious meals.

In 1989 she retired, but until her health failed, Sister Susanne served her Sisters not only occasionally as an expert in the kitchen, but also as a seamstress, hairdresser, color and design consultant, and resident artist.

Sister Susanne was an artist by nature as well as training, a woman sensitive and aware of the color, line, shape and design with which God has graced the world. She designed and did the lettering for Christmas cards, jubilee invitations, banners, and prayer cards.

Her sharp mind and quick wit helped her maintain perspective and her sense of organization and balance were evidenced in her calm demeanor. She could be counted on to be frank and direct in conversation.

On February 8, 2008, Sister Susanne died peacefully at St. Scholastica Monastery. The last of her immediate family, she is mourned by nieces and nephews and her Benedictine Sisters.

A Mass of Resurrection was celebrated on February 11.

  Sr. Christine Kulovitz Sister Christine Kulovitz, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - January 17, 2008
  Sister Christina Kulovitz died on January 17, 2008, in the infirmary of St. Scholastica Monastery. She was 95 years old and had been in the community for over 72 years. Born in Atzgersdorf, Austria, she was the eldest child in a family that emigrated to the United States and settled in Chicago where they were members of St. George Parish (39th and Wentworth).  

Serving in internal ministries of the monastery through most of her active years, Sister Christina evidenced a remarkable ability to learn new skills and assume varied responsibilities. Over the years, in addition to some early years as a housekeeper, her assignments varied from heading the Altar Bread Department to managing the monastery kitchen to serving as sacristan. She was an avid reader, a skilled seamstress, and a lover of poetry.

Sister Christina had a quick mind and a thirst for knowledge. In her mid-seventies she enrolled at Truman College to begin learning Spanish and computer skills. Though not a professional educator, she served as support staff at St. Scholastica Academy, Cañon City, Colorado, and taught for a time at St. Symphorosa Parish many years ago.

The Mass of Resurrection for Sister Christina was celebrated on January 20 and she was interred in All Saints Cemetery.

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2007 Memorials
  Sr. Celine Beck Sister Celine Beck, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - October 27, 2007
  Kathryn Mary Beck, daughter of Joseph Edward and Jennie Agnes Stock Beck, was born July 5, 1924. She grew up in Cañon City, Colorado where she later attended St. Scholastica Academy.

Following graduation, she worked for two years and then entered St. Scholastica Monastery. After completing her postulancy, she was received into the novitiate and given the name Sister Celine. The following year, on July 26, 1947, she professed triennial vows and on that same date in 1950, her perpetual vows.

She attended DePaul University pursuing a Bachelor of Philosophy degree with a major in Education. As a primary grade teacher, she served over twenty years in schools within the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Pueblo. She taught at St. Hilary, St. Symphorosa and Queen of All Saints schools in Chicago. In Colorado, she taught at St. Leander and St. Mary schools in Pueblo; and St. Joseph School in Salida.

Following major heart surgery, Sister Celine retired from the teaching profession in 1968 and moved to St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City. She was then able to be close to her family and, at the time of her mother’s last illness, she assisted her sister, Margaret, with her care. Sister Celine remained involved in education by serving as support staff at the Academy. Later, when asked to serve as the Academy’s archivist, she saw to it that there was a print and photographic record of the treasured artifacts that were part of the school’s century long history. In spite of failing eyesight she took interesting pictures of people at the Academy, activities, special events, buildings and grounds. When the school closed in 2001, she was able to share many interesting facts and anecdotes related to the school and its students.

Sister Celine retired in January, 2004 and returned to Chicago. Her interest in the ministries and activities of the Sisters, as well as her ability to get to the heart of a situation, were helpful in her adjustment. Eager to remain abreast of news and serious about her spiritual life, she filled her hours listening to tapes and “talking books”.

On her Diamond Jubilee, July 11, 2007, Sister Celine renewed her vows. After several weeks of illness, she died peacefully on October 27, 2007. Her Mass of Resurrection and interment was held in Cañon City, Colorado on November 26, 2007. She is survived by her brother, Thomas Beck, and two nephews, George Austin and Daniel Austin, sons of her sister, the late Margaret Austin Beck; and her Benedictine Sisters.

  Sr. Bernadette Harrison Sister Bernadette Harrison, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - April 2, 2007
  Josephine Bernadette Harrison was born January 8, 1914 in Chicago, Illinois to Bernard J. and Bessie Jilek Harrison. The couple had seven children: two sons who died in childhood and five daughters. The family belonged to Queen of Angels Parish where Josephine completed her elementary education before attending St. Scholastica Academy. Some months after she graduated in 1933, she joined the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago, entering St. Scholastica Monastery on her birthday in 1934.  
  On July 11, 1934, she received the Benedictine habit and began her novitiate. She received the religious name Sister Mary Bernard though she was known by her baptismal name again after the period of renewal following Vatican Council II. She professed triennial vows in 1935 and perpetual vows in 1938. Her Golden Jubilee was observed in 1985, Diamond in 1995 and 70th anniversary in 2005.

Sister Bernadette pursued her college education at DePaul University where she received a Bachelor of Philosophy Degree and later, she earned a certificate in theology at St. Xavier College. She also completed the program at the Catholic Charismatic Bible Institute, located at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas. She earned additional credits in education at Mundelein College and Chicago City College and she attended workshops at Mt. St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas and the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus.

Her teaching career brought her to positions on the faculties of several elementary schools in Chicago: St. Hilary, St. Joseph, Queen of All Saints, and St. George where she also served as principal. Other grade school assignments included Mother of God (Waukegan, Illinois), St. Lambert (Skokie, Illinois) and Sacred Heart (Tucson, Arizona).  When working on the secondary level, Sister Bernadette’s major field was social studies. At St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago, she taught American History, Anthropology, and World History, and her assignment included many summer school courses in history. She did some teaching, including religion courses, at St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Colorado, and served as an administrative assistant in that school’s office.

Sister Bernadette was very active in the Charismatic Movement and with her sisters she attended Pentecostal gatherings in Notre Dame, Indiana, Detroit, Michigan, and Texas. She participated in weekly prayer meetings whenever possible.  Very proud to be a Eucharistic Minister, she conducted Communion Services at Westwood Nursing Home.

A memorable event in her life was a trip to the Holy Land and to Rome in 1973.  A lover of dance, Sister Bernadette was also known for her vivacious personality and for her habit of breaking into song. Into her very last years when she became frail, Sister Bernadette was always one of the most cheerful residents of the infirmary, brightening up and ready to converse when greeted.

 Sister Bernadette died peacefully on April 2, 2007. She is survived by her sister, Lucy Henry, many nieces and nephews of several generations, and the Sisters of her Benedictine community.
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2006 Memorials
  Sr. Viola Trenhaile Sister Viola Trenhaile, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - March 12, 2006
  Sister Viola (Mary Alma) Trenhaile, a member of our Community for 74 years, died on March 12, 2006. Born in 1913 in Lamar, Colorado, to George and Minnie McElveney Trenhaile, Mary Alma had four sisters, Vivian, Eva, Elizabeth and Frances, and five brothers, George, John, Theodore, William and Cecil. After her father died, her mother remarried and three stepchildren joined the Trenhailes; Edna, Earl, and Glen Lovejoy. Later, Elsie Rose, Mary Alma’s half-sister, was born.  
  The family moved to Cañon City, Colorado where Mary Alma attended St. Michael’s school and was taught by the Benedictine Sisters. Over the years she came to know and admire their life and, at age 14, she left for Chicago to enter the aspirancy of St. Scholastica Monastery. She was enrolled in St. Scholastica Academy and at the beginning of her senior year, became a postulant. After graduation she was invested in the habit and received the religious name, Sister Viola.

Sister Viola earned a bachelor’s degree at DePaul University in Chicago and later received a Certificate in Theology from Xavier College. She taught at St. George and St. Hilary schools in Chicago and Mother of God in Waukegan. Other assignments included Sacred Heart school in Tucson, Arizona and St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Colorado.

In the early 1960’s, after completing a Masters degree at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sister Viola served as Reading Consultant for the Archdiocese of Chicago. She also taught an extension course for De Paul University, was co-author of a handbook of Information on the Carl H. Delacato Neurological Approach to Reading Problems, and helped compile the booklet, “Word Attack Skills”. Later, she became school supervisor for the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago and served as President of the Archdiocesan Supervisors Organization. In 1972, Sister Viola was employed by the Chicago Public School System, teaching in the Title One Program at Jenner School in Chicago's Cabrini Green community. Following that she taught English as a Second Language at St. Scholastica Academy.

After official retirement, Sister Viola served in various ways in community life. Her love for people was evidenced in her visits to the sick and her enthusiastic interest in and support of the younger members and their ministries. She enjoyed cooking and baking and continued to be an avid reader. Sister Viola’s ministry was rooted in deep faith. Her prayer was inclusive of all in need, particularly those neglected and forgotten; the homeless, the imprisoned, the elderly and abused. Sister Viola is survived by her sister, Elsie Rose, many nieces and nephews, and the Sisters of her community.
  Sr. Xavier Susman Sister Xavier Susman, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - March 3, 2006
  Sister Xavier (Barbara) Susman, a member of our Community for over 75 years, died on March 3, 2006. She was born in Farr, Colorado in 1911. Her parents, John Susman and Anna Mavretich Susman, both immigrants from Yugoslavia, had three other daughters, Anna, Mary, and Elizabeth, and a son, John. The family moved to Cañon City, Colorado where Barbara attended St. Michael Parish Grade School and later St. Scholastica Academy.


On September 5, 1930 Sister Xavier entered St. Scholastica Monastery in Chicago and made perpetual vows on August 16, 1935. She graduated from DePaul University and continued postgraduate work at Loyola University and Mundelein College in Chicago. In addition, she pursued theological studies at Loretta Heights College in Denver, Colorado.

Most often Sister Xavier taught in the upper grades in the parochial schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Southern Colorado. She had a special gift for working with boys, holding them to high standards of discipline and earning their respect. She gained a reputation for being an excellent addition to any baseball team during recess or lunchtime break.

Sister Xavier always proved to be an interesting conversationalist, ready with an incisive quip or a friendly retort. Her ministry included years of service at St. Symphorosa, Queen of All Saints, St. Hilary, and St. George Schools in Chicago, and Mother of God School in Waukegan, Illinois. In Colorado, she taught at St. Mary School in Pueblo, St. Joseph in Salida, and St. Michael in Cañon City. At St. George and at St. Mary, Sister Xavier also held the position of principal and was house superior for the community residing in the local parish convent. During her years as an educator she also served on the faculties of St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago and St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Colorado. Sister Xavier had the opportunity to spend time in the Colorado mountains when teaching summer classes in religious education. Mission churches she served were in Minturn, Red Cliff, Crested Butte, Alamosa, LaJunta, Nucla, Telluride, Ouray, Boulder, Rye, and Steamboat Springs. When Sister Xavier celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1982, she was working at St. Symphorosa Parish in Chicago teaching religion in their junior high division. The remaining years of her active ministry were spent there in pastoral work. Sister Xavier is survived by her two sisters, Mary Susman Walsh and Elizabeth Susman Barnhart, as well as her sister-in-law, Dorothy Susman, several nieces and nephews, and the members of her community.

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2005 Memorials
  Sr. Jean Marie Matern Sister Jean Marie Matern, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - December 4, 2005
  Sister Jean Marie (Minette Anne) Matern, 94, died peacefully on December 4, 2005, the day of her 75th anniversary of entrance into the monastery. She entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1930 where two of her older sisters, Sisters Walburg and Constance were already members of the community. Both of them, along with seven other siblings, have preceded her in death.  

An accomplished musician, Sister Jean Marie studied at the Busch Conservatory of music before becoming a Benedictine. She used her skills as organist and pianist, accompanying the choir in the recitation of the Divine Office and at Eucharistic liturgies.

After her profession in 1932, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree at DePaul University, with concentrations in the physical sciences and mathematics. Later, at Loyola University, she was awarded a Master’s degree in Education with Guidance and Counseling as her major field. She taught math and science at St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago and was also a guidance counselor. For many years she worked at St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Colorado, where she herself had graduated in 1929.

Sister Jean Marie’s administrative skills were recognized and she held several positions of leadership within her Benedictine community both in Chicago and in Colorado. She served as sub prioress during two administrations. In 1959 she was appointed local superior for the Sisters residing in Cañon City. During her term the first major building program was initiated and a Residence Hall constructed. She was elected prioress in 1965 in the period following the Second Vatican Council.

Convinced that the culture and needs of the times ought always to be addressed by contemporary monastic communities, Sister Jean Marie herself was an example of how that might be done. When the community sponsored two Vietnamese refugee families, she with others played a role in meeting their needs. Along with other members of the community’s chapter of Benedictines for Peace, she participated in a study of non-violence. In the 1990s, she volunteered for a time at Misericordia, assisting with the care of babies born drug addicted.

Her brother Raymond Matern, his wife, Willis, and many nieces and nephews and their children, as well as the Sisters of her community survive her.

  Sr. Catherine Lynch Sister Catherine Lynch, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - November 24, 2005
  Sister Catherine Lynch died on Nov. 24, 2005, at age 88. Born Mary Veronica on July 30, 1917, Sister Catherine hailed from Mazomanie, Wisconsin, the daughter of Gerald and Mary Elizabeth Murphy Lynch. She grew up with four brothers, Lionel, Gerald, Aubrey, and Marian (Brother Philip, F.S.C.). Mary, her only sister, died in infancy.

Though already discerning her vocation to religious life after graduating from St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago, she worked for Illinois Bell in Evanston for one year before she accepted a position at St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Colorado, where she served as a chaperone for boarding students.

Mary Veronica entered the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago on September 15, 1937 and received the Benedictine habit and religious name Sister Catherine on July 11, 1938. Her first profession was August 16, 1939 and her final commitment August 16, 1942. Sister earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at DePaul University in Chicago. Later at Loyola University in Chicago she was awarded a Master’s degree in Administration with Guidance and Counseling as her major field. The start of Sister Catherine’s long career in education was begun with her assignment to teach at St. Hilary Parish School in Chicago in 1939. In 1945 she joined the faculty of St. Scholastica Academy (SSA) where she taught Theology, English and Speech for many years before becoming the school’s guidance counselor. In 1965, she became principal of SSA. From 1972 until 1978, Sister served as the first President of the academy. After leaving that post she did extensive work in development for the Benedictine community, particularly in raising money for the construction of the infirmary in 1980. Later she became Director of Oblates at the monastery, serving as a spiritual guide for members of that group.Sister Catherine had a way with words that could inspire, challenge, persuade or entertain. Her wit and wisdom, creativity and cordiality endeared her to people of all ages.

Many nieces and nephews, their families, and the Benedictine Sisters of her community survive Sister Catherine and request prayers for her.

  Sr. Carolyn Glach Sister Carolyn Glach, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - August 5, 2005
  Sister Carolyn Glach, died peacefully in her sleep on August 5, 2005, at age 97. Sister Carolyn was born Angela on May 19, 1908 in Pueblo, Colorado. Her parents, Anton and Frances Pechnik Glach, had both emigrated from Slovenia. They were very devoted to the Church and belonged to St. Mary Parish where much of the liturgy was celebrated in their native tongue. Angela was one of nine children, five girls and four boys. At St. Mary’s Parish School Angela’s teachers were Benedictine Sisters. She early sensed God’s call. At age 17, before she had finished high school, Angela left for Chicago to join the community and was welcomed on September  8, 1925.   

The following summer she was invested with the Benedictine habit and given the name Sister Carolyn. She professed triennial vows in 1927 and perpetual vows in 1930. Sister Carolyn’s career as an educator was spent entirely with children in elementary school. Her first assignment was to Mother of God Parish in Waukegan, Illinois, a parish predominantly Slovenian. Chicago schools where she taught were St. Joseph and St. Symphorosa. Throughout her long years, Sister Carolyn endeared herself as a woman committed to the work of God and to service to all God’s people. Wherever she lived she embraced a simple lifestyle and was a cheerful and optimistic person. She was hard working, enjoyed a good time and engaging in pranks.

Sister Carolyn is survived by her sister, Helen Davis, her brother-in-law, Bill Davis, her sister-in-law, Lorraine Glach, and her devoted nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and her Benedictine Sisters.

  Sr. Laura Walker Sister Laura Walker, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - April 28, 2005
  Sister Laura Walker, O.S.B., died on April 28, 2005. She was a cherished friend of many whose lives she touched with her wisdom, love and understanding. Sister Laura was born Sara Margaret Walker on August 13, 1911 in Phoenix, Arizona. After moving to Chicago, her parents enrolled her in St. Scholastica High School where she found the life she wanted for herself. She entered the Benedictine Sisters on September 6, 1931 and received the name Sister Laura as she began her novitiate in 1932. She made triennial vows in 1933 and perpetual vows August 16, 1936.  
  Sister Laura earned two degrees from Loyola University and one from DePaul University. She taught English, French and Latin at St. Scholastica High School and was appointed the eighth principal of the school in 1944. She also served at St. Scholastica Academy in Canon City, Colorado. where she later led a campaign to build a new residence hall. In the summer of 1953, the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago elected Sister Laura Prioress and she served two terms. During that time, she initiated plans for the construction of the Fine Arts Building at St. Scholastica. Sister Laura will always be remembered for her keen mind, broad interests, humorous insights, idealism and commitment to community. She is survived by her brother Stan, her sister-in-law Dorothy, her nephew, Donald Walker, her niece Janice Kay Schmitz and the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery.  
  Sr. Miriam Russell Sister Miriam Russell, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - March 27, 2005
  Sister Miriam Russell died on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2005, at age 99. A native of Colorado, she attended the Academy of St. Scholastica in Cañon City. After graduation, she moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University where she had the unique distinction of being the last person to receive the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in Literature at that institution. She also attended Loyola University and the University of Colorado and did extensive study in French and Spanish.  
  Sister Miriam entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1926. She taught at St. Scholastica Academy and St. Hilary in Chicago until 1933 when she joined the faculty at the Academy in Cañon City.

Sister returned to St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago in 1948 and later taught a year in Tucson, Arizona. She then returned to Cañon City for the remainder of her teaching career. Also, many summers were devoted to religious education in programs throughout Colorado.

Because she ministered so long at Saint Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Sister Miriam has been held in great respect by several decades of alumnae. She was a good correspondent, had a fine memory for people, and, though a quiet woman, was a wonderful conversationalist. At 97, Sister Miriam returned to Chicago where she was cared for in the infirmary until her death.
  Sr. Fabian Garret Sister Fabian Garrett, OSB
Born to Eternal Life - March 5, 2005
  Sister Fabian Garrett, 91 years old, died on March 5, 2005. She celebrated her 70 year anniversary of vows in 2004 and was avidly involved in community affairs after her retirement in the late 1970s, until vision and physical limitations resulted in her living in St. Joseph Court Infirmary during the past few years. Sister Fabian worked as a teacher and principal, and served as an administrator for St. Joseph Monastery in Tulsa, Okla. and later as plant manager at St. Scholastica Monastery.  
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