Sisters of Notre Dame Blog

Sister Joyce Shaub SNDdeN (formerly Dorothy Christine)

January 28, 2017

May 1, 1932 – January 28, 2017

My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress; I shall never fall.
(Psalm 62:2-3)

An only child, Joyce grew up three blocks from her grandparents and surrounded by cousins whom she dearly loved. When thinking of how God called her to religious life she said, “I think of my mother and father who instilled the love of God into me. I also think of my grandparents, and the rest of my loving extended family.” She first experienced “nuns” in grade school where her teachers were IHM Sisters. They were sure Joyce had a call to religious life and told her they looked forward to seeing her “in the blue” of their habit.

Then Joyce went to high school and met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. At the time of her Golden Jubilee, Joyce wrote: “I think of and pray for the Sisters of Notre Dame that I met during my high school years at Moylan. What many and varied personalities! They were all kind and loving and dared us to be different. The spirit that prevailed at Moylan attracted me to the Sisters of Notre Dame. Of course, now fifty years later, I realize that Spirit was the Spirit of St. Julie and Francoise.”

As strong as the attraction was, Joyce worked for three years as a secretary before entering at Ilchester in 1953. Remembering her time in the postulate and novitiate with a twinkle in her eye, she exclaimed, “We were devils!” Members of her ‘band’ became beloved friends as well as Sisters. Joyce was given the name Sister Dorothy Christine and prepared to teach, but her experience as a secretary was well known. She described how, when she was sent out for practice teaching, the principal put her to work in the office instead of in a classroom. The result was a rocky first couple of years of teaching. Eventually she became a Master Teacher of Social Studies and spent years teaching 6th grade and eventually 6th through 8th grade.

The changes in religious life brought about by the 2nd Vatican Council were not easy for Joyce. In a 2014 interview she said, “In looking back now I can’t believe I was that conservative.” She went on to describe how through prayer, reading, workshops, and lived experiences she did change “not just the habit but my life.” Part of the ‘lived experiences’ that helped her find a new inner freedom were three summers of study funded through National Science Foundation Grants. She spent two summers in Washington and Oregon climbing mountains and glaciers, and a summer in Tennessee exploring opal mines and gravel pits. Joyce loved every minute of it and through the process earned a Masters in Geology – a subject that she had always loved. Joyce shared her enthusiasm with students through science classes for many years.

Joyce was very grateful that, when her father was dying and her mother ill, the community supported her in going home to help. After her father’s death, she applied for a position at the Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova. At first she commuted from Chester each day, but eventually her mother was well enough that Joyce could join the Villanova community and help her mother on weekends. Later Joyce was asked to work in the College Guidance Department at Villanova. She loved working with the students, lay teachers and Sisters at Villanova. From her Golden Jubilee reflections we read, “I think of all the students and their parents who taught me the real meaning of life, love, and sacrifice. I can never forget the Sisters of my present community at Villanova. I thank God every day for each and every one of them. I have been graced for 25 years by their example, prayers, love and their concern for my welfare, whether it was teaching science in a junior school, working in a college guidance department, or as a corporate secretary.”

When the community at Villanova closed, Joyce went first to the Notre Dame community at Trinity Washington University and then to Villa Julie to help with driving. When illness put an end to her driving, she joined the Sisters of Notre Dame living at Emmitsburg, Maryland. When Emmitsburg closed she chose to join the Health Center Community at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati where she added her beautiful smile, gentle humor, and genuine interest in each person she met to the fabric of community life. She also added dashes of color to Mount Notre Dame through her decorative canes, socks and works of art created through adult coloring books. Joyce stayed in touch with much loved friends and family, and made new friends among the Sisters in Cincinnati.

Joyce wrote, “The greatest enrichment came from my traveling "In the Footsteps of Julie” in France, with other SNDs. To be able to walk the same cobblestones, worship in the same churches, visit her home and place of birth, was indeed a privilege and a joy.” She experienced real cultural differences between life in the East and Mid-West, but in community she recognized the charism that unites all Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Joyce’s experiences of God’s love and goodness in her life continued to deepen. She wrote at the time of her Diamond Jubilee, “I am so much more aware of God. I talk with Him like a friend. Every day. I'm more aware of the Trinity and see them as three friends. My love continues to grow each day through my faith.” Her sudden death leaves her Sisters, beloved cousins, friends and former students turning to the Good God in faith. As we mourn we give thanks for the gift of this wonderful woman’s witness to God’s goodness. We count on Joyce’s prayers for us as she is held in the loving embrace of her good God.

Bio Data
Born May 1, 1932 in Chester, Pennsylvania
Parents: Christian W. Shaub (born: Chester, Pennsylvania) and Dorothy Day (born: Roxborough, Pennsylvania)

Baptized January 8, 1933 at St. Michael Church, Chester, PA

Entered August 9, 1953 at Ilchester Maryland
First Profession: January 26, 1956
Final Profession: July 30, 1961

Education:
Notre Dame High School, Moylan, Pennsylvania, 1950
Bachelor of Science, Trinity College, Washington, D.C., 1957
Masters Arts, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 1971
Master of Science, Western Washington State University, Bellingham, Washington, 1972
Assignments Included:
1956-1961 St. Catherine of Genoa Parish School, Brooklyn, New York
1961-1967 Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova, Pennsylvania
1967-1968 St. Jerome Parish School, Hyattsville, Maryland
1968-1970 St. Camillus School Parish School, Washington, D.C.
1970-1977 St. Francis Xavier Parish School, Washington, D.C.
1978-2005 Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova, Pennsylvania
2005-2007 Driving, Trinity Washington University
2007-2008 Medical Driving, Villa Julia Residence, Stephenson, Maryland
2008-2010 Retired, Emmitsburg, Maryland
2010-2017 Ministry of Prayer and Service, Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Died January 28, 2017, Cincinnati, Oho

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
January 31, 2017

 

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Sister Nancy Gnau SNDdeN (formerly Ann Christopher)

January 09, 2017

June 22, 1930 – January 8, 2017

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song. (Psalm 100:2)

Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Sister Nancy Gnau was the oldest of Norman and Marietta Gnau’s five children. An early memory of Nancy’s centered on her parent’s commitment to Catholic education. It was the middle of what would become known as the Great Depression, but they were determined to make the sacrifices necessary to send Nancy to Catholic school. Because of their commitment, Nancy was part of the third generation of women in her mother’s family to be educated in Dayton by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Toward the end of Nancy’s sophomore year, the Sisters assigned an essay to be written about what each student planned on doing in her future. The essay was part of the efforts the Sisters made to make sure students took classes that would help them achieve their goals. Decades later Nancy remembered her mother talking her through it, “Would you like to be a secretary? A nurse? A teacher?” Nancy thought teaching might be a good match. Nancy would later say that moment planted a seed for what happened one Wednesday afternoon the following October. Nancy was walking home with friends and stopped to get a drink of water. She let her friends go ahead as she noticed the sun shining through the changing colors of the leaves on the trees. In that moment she felt and heard the call to be a Sister of Notre Dame. It literally stopped her in her tracks. She turned around and returned to school to talk to her French teacher. Sister advised her to pray over it and to keep the experience to herself for a while. Her teacher may have thought it was a passing fancy, but for Nancy it was a done deal. It led to a strong feeling of security – she knew what she was being called to do and did what she needed to respond. The clarity of that afternoon experience stayed with Nancy for the rest of her life.

The third family member of her generation to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame, her parents were pleased with Nancy’s desire to enter religious life, although her mother warned her life in the convent would be “upside down.” On her first day Nancy knew her mother had not exaggerated when she had hotdogs for breakfast and cereal for supper. Known as Sister Ann Christopher and already acknowledged for her gold medal pianist skills, Nancy prepared to teach music by studying at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. However, after a couple of years only teaching music when she wasn’t needed to teach something else, Nancy asked to move into either secondary English or History. The community agreed. Except for one chorus class where she was charged with preparing sophomore boys to participate in an operetta, Nancy spent the rest of her teaching career in social studies.

In 1963, Nancy was missioned to her Alma Mater, Julienne High School, to teach and serve as Assistant Principal and later Principal. By 1971, the Church, the Sisters of Notre Dame and Catholic education in Dayton had changed considerably. Two co-ed Catholic High Schools had opened while both Julienne (all-girls) and Chaminade (all-boys) were both experiencing diminishing enrollment. Nancy and the principal of Chaminade raised the question, “Can we afford to remain two separate institutions?” They decided they needed a committee to study the reality and come up with recommendations for the leadership of their respective communities. Two years later the decision to merge the two schools was made and it was time to implement it. Nancy was chosen to serve as the first Executive Director of the new Chaminade-Julienne High School. In that role, she was responsible for working with a team of four administrators in charge of academics, recruitment and development, student services and administrative services. The school was in a different location, had a melded student body, a larger staff, a new administrative model and was a collaborative effort with another religious community—all of which required constant adjustments on Nancy’s part. She met the challenge with grace and determination to ensure that both the Notre Dame and Marianist charisms and educational traditions would influence the school community. In 1973, Nancy was honored as one of the Ten Top Women of Dayton for her work in education, which included promoting Dayton as a community and as an extension of the classroom. She was determined that the education offered to young men and women at Chaminade-Julienne would “be quality education and meet their needs and provide the background for full human lives.” After three years, the school was stable and Nancy felt it was time to move on. For the rest of her life she would maintain a keen interest in the development of Chaminade-Julienne, including mentoring future leaders of the school, and was proud of how it flourished in the Notre Dame tradition as it continued to serve the city of Dayton.

When Nancy left Chaminade-Julienne, she and Sister Mary Lou Stoffel, who had also been serving in school administration, were sent to Notre Dame University’s Religious Leaders Program. It gave both Sisters the opportunity to re-energize and deepen their leadership skills. Their shared experience led to a life-long friendship, a blessing for which Nancy regularly thanked God. After the year at Notre Dame, Nancy joined the faculty at Notre Dame High School in Chicago and was soon made principal. At NDHS, Nancy implemented a team model of administration, oversaw physical improvements to the facility, encouraged staff involvement in the decisions affecting the life of the school and curriculum development, expanded opportunities for professional development and established an Office of Development. In 1987, the school worked with the city of Chicago to formalize “Sister Nancy Appreciation Day” as a thank you for her dedicated leadership.

When Nancy returned to Ohio, she expressed her openness to serve the Province wherever she was needed. The Province knew it needed to establish an Office of Development; would Nancy be willing to do that? She knew she was no good at asking people for money, but yes, she could serve the Province by laying the groundwork for the Office. Then the Province needed someone to serve at Chaminade-Julienne on the Administrative Team; would Nancy be willing to do that? Yes, she could serve in that role. Then the Province needed someone to take over Facilities at Mount Notre Dame; would Nancy be willing to do that? Well, she didn’t know much about maintenance and buildings, but she was willing to learn. Then the new Health Center needed someone to do Payroll and take care of the Sisters’ budgets; would Nancy be willing to do that? Yes, she was willing to serve there. At different times Nancy also filled the need of a SNDdeN to serve on the Board of Trustees of Mount Notre Dame High School and the Summit Country Day School. Nancy’s administrative skills, coupled with her willingness to listen to and collaborate with others who had the skills she lacked, proved applicable to situation after situation.

In community, Nancy was generous with her time and skills, available to her Sisters, supportive, an excellent listener, sympathetic but honest in her responses, patient and participative. Her natural disposition of experiencing, reflecting on the experience and only then moving to action helped Nancy see the bigger picture and keep mole hills from turning into mountains. Nancy enjoyed taking care of the physical space of places where she lived and took special joy in gardening. She appreciated sharing life with her Sisters: deepening connections with other Sisters living under the same roof and with Sisters in small communities as they gathered in small groups. Nancy appreciated having fun with her Sisters, sharing prayer, and doing so many other things that were part of supporting one another through life’s ups and downs. Nancy enjoyed sports, loved to read, knit, crochet, embroider and sew and at one point, she enjoyed creating beautiful stuffed dolls that were then given as gifts. Music remained a life-long interest. At the time of Nancy’s 50th jubilee, she had the opportunity to get an electric keyboard and renewed her skills on the piano. She described relearning music as a delight and a re-creation. The community delighted in opportunities to hear her play.

Nancy was living alone when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She later shared that the diagnosis “brought her up short.” Her prayer and reflection as she lived with the disease opened her to a call to become a resident in the Health Center that she had helped bring into being. Nancy decided it would be better to move to the Health Center before the Parkinson’s became too severe and later said it was a good decision for her to join the Health Center Community in 2007. She continued in her ministry and entered into community life, which included adding her good voice to community singing and taking part in the Chimes Choir. She gladly took responsibility for the enclosed garden off of the Marian Activity Room. It quickly became known as ‘Nancy’s Garden’ and Sisters delighted in the beauty Nancy brought forth there. When it became impossible for Nancy to till the soil herself, family members came and helped her with spring planting and other tasks. Another Sister became her hands and knees and gladly followed Nancy’s direction. As Nancy’s ministry responsibilities diminished, she had “a good time experimenting with free time in retirement.”

Nancy loved her family members deeply. She appreciated time spent with them, both in their homes and when they would visit her. She was “Aunt Nancy” to expanding generations of nieces and nephews and delighted in seeing a fourth and fifth generation taught by Sisters of Notre Dame in Dayton. The same openness that allowed Nancy to recognize God’s presence on a sunny afternoon, and allowed her to pull forth gifts within herself to meet so many ministry situations, also allowed her to recognize God’s goodness and presence in her family members, community members, friends and coworkers. In a 2015 interview, she said, “My family, the community, the people here make it easier for me to do what I’m able to do as best I can. I’m so grateful for all that is done for me and I’m doing my best to give some of it back. God is good in everything – evidence is all over the place and I thank him for that. God is more that the God I knew when I was 18 years old... and I’m delighted. I appreciate God’s supporting me and hanging on to me through all of this. God is much more real to me and I’m much more aware of God’s presence in my life.”

As we celebrate Nancy’s life her family, Sisters and friends delight with her in all the ways God’s goodness was made known to and through her. We pray that God will continue to open her to the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ that she may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Paraphrased from Ephesians 3:18-19)

Bio Data
Born June 22, 1930 in Dayton, Ohio
Parents: Norman Gnau (born in Cincinnati, Ohio) and Marietta Stomps (born in Dayton, Ohio)
Siblings: Norma Gnau Schewell, Edith Gnau Meyers, Mary Gnau Richard, Thomas Gnau

Baptized June 29, 1930 at the Church of the Holy Angels in Dayton, Ohio
Confirmed November 20, 1938 at Corpus Christi in Dayton, Ohio

Entered July 26, 1948 at Mt. Notre Dame
First Profession: January 27, 1951
Final Profession: August 13, 1956

Education
Corpus Christi Grade School, 1944
Julienne High School, 1948
Bachelor of Arts, Ohio Dominican, Columbus Ohio, 1957
Master of Arts, St. Louis University, 1964

Assignments Included:
1952-1954 Summit Country Day School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1954-1955 St. James School, Wyoming, Ohio
1955-1957 St. Mary of the Springs, Columbus, Ohio
1957-1961 Hartley High School, Columbus, Ohio
1961-1963 Notre Dame High School, Chicago, Illinois
1963-1973 Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio
1973-1976 Chaminade-Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio
1976-1977 University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
1977-1987 Notre Dame High School, Chicago, Illinois
1987-1991 Director of Development, Province Offices, Reading, Ohio
1991-1993 Chaminade-Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio
1993-2001Facilities Manager, Mount Notre Dame, Reading, Ohio
2002-2009 Payroll Clerk, Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio
2009-2015 Finance Assistant, Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio
2016 Finance Advisor, Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Died: January 8, 2017 at Mount Notre Dame Health Center

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
January 9, 2016

 

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Sister Rita Schirtzinger SNDdeN (formerly St. Clement)

January 03, 2017

September 19, 1928 – December 27, 2016

“One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life…” (Psalm 27:4)

The Schirtzinger family had been blessed with five boys by the time their first daughter was born. To their dismay the doctor told them he didn’t think the baby would live through the night. Little did he know! This little girl was small but determined. The love and care of her family helped her thrive. They baptized her Rita Odelia, and soon she was following her brothers everywhere and trying to do everything they did. By the time she was four years old, the country was in the throes of the Great Depression and their small farm was not providing enough for the family to survive. Mr. Schirtzinger found work in Dayton and moved the family to Holy Trinity Parish which Rita’s maternal grandfather had helped found.

At Holy Trinity Rita met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who were her teachers for 12 years. She loved the Sisters and first thought of entering when she was in the Sixth Grade. She later said, “I preferred Notre Dame because I saw their willing and generous ways.” Rita wanted to follow their example. She entered the summer after her high school graduation and became known as Sister St. Clement until 1968 when she returned to her baptismal name.

Rita started her teaching career with 1st and 2nd Graders. She later related feeling like she didn’t have a clue what to do with the students and how grateful she was for Sisters she worked with who, through word and example, taught her how to teach. Rita quickly discovered that discipline was important, but letting each child know that they were a beloved child of God was even more important. Her desire to help each child succeed led her to specialize in Reading. Rita would also teach 4th through 6th Grade Social Studies and coordinate school libraries. Her organizational skills naturally led to her being asked to serve as principal. Three separate times Rita was assigned as principal. Between each she returned to the classroom because she felt that when a person has been in administration for a while it was good for them to return to the day-to-day work with students. Rita appreciated both roles. She loved everything about teaching and found the pupil-teacher relationship particularly rewarding. Rita called seeing students succeed “a favorite pastime.” About administration Rita said she “enjoyed the interactions with students, parents, faculty members, senior citizens, youth groups, and those outside the parish.”

Participating in parish life energized Rita. She served on Parish Councils, Education Commissions, in choirs, as Lector and Eucharistic Minister and coordinated Parish lists of Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers. She also taught in, as well as sometimes coordinated, Parish CCD programs. Rita found great joy in preparing children to receive the Sacraments. Teaching grade school aged children in CCD was a natural fit, but she also reached out to secondary students by teaching in High School CCD programs.

When Rita “retired” from formal education she put her skills as a Reading specialist to work with adults by joining other Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Alliance for Work Based Education program at the University of Dayton. There she helped adults work toward their GED and gain computer skills. When that program closed, the GED program operated by the St. Mary Center was delighted to have Rita volunteer with them. Reflecting back on her life, Rita felt each new ministry situation called forth new talents and gave her a deeper understanding of her commitment to Christ and His Church. She felt that all changes were opportunities for growth for the soul and thanked God for each place she served and community with which she lived. She said, “Happiness and satisfaction really come from within so it is up to me to accept God’s way of showing His love for me here and now.”

Sisters in community described Rita as unselfish, observant, thoughtful and always willing to lend a helping hand. She loved community parties, sharing puns and tongue twisters, a good game of Dominos, Rummikub or Yahtzee, card games, singing Institute Songs and trivia. Once she moved to Mt. Notre Dame, she regularly helped lead evening prayer and visited Sisters in Cuvilly each evening after supper, often finding little ways she could be of help to them. She also appreciated quiet time in her room or chapel, opportunities to read a good book, catch up on email, play a computer game or watch TV. Rita joked about housecleaning being a “hobby” and adding her “muscle” whenever a house needed to be opened, moved or closed – and there were at least nine of these transitions that benefitted from her muscle! She would pitch in to paint, fix something, cook – whatever needed to be done. A special service to the Province was Rita’s willingness to replace another Sister at Logan who was dying of brain cancer. Rita helped the students deal with the mid-year loss of a beloved teacher. She also provided community support to the principal as they closed a convent where Sisters of Notre Dame had lived for 63 years.

Rita did not learn how to drive until 1971. After that “driving” was added to her list of favorite activities. Rita drove other Sisters to Notre Dame Education Conferences around the country. She loved driving to visit relatives – no matter where they were living, and took great joy in driving her dad places. Rita said, “My very special interest is travel.” She was delighted when her brother and sister-in-law invited her to join them on a 1976 trip to Europe. It touched her deeply that her brother added Namur to the itinerary so Rita could visit the Mother House of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She named her participation in the 1996 Footsteps of Julie Pilgrimage as the ‘greatest honor’ of her life. It reinforced her life-long love for Saint Julie, the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame, and Rita’s commitment to Julie’s ideal of educating the poor. When she moved to Twin Towers in Dayton after Holy Family Convent Closed, Rita was delighted to find members of the laity drawn to Saint Julie’s Charism. She worked with them to begin a Notre Dame Associates group.

Her extended family was very important to Rita. She stayed in touch through visits, phone calls and letters. Family members knew to let her know when someone needed prayer and counted on her immediately posting the intention so the rest of the community could add their prayers to hers for her loved ones. Her final illness and death took both her family members and her Sisters by surprise. When Rita was celebrating her jubilee she was asked why she became a Sister of Notre Dame. She replied, “Because of an inward knowledge that this would bring me happiness.” Her family, Sisters and friends know in faith that her birth into resurrected life is also bringing her happiness. We thank God for the gift she has been to each of us, and for the many ways she made known God’s goodness to each person she met. We know that Rita continues to hold us in prayer as she rests content in the presence of our good and loving God.

Bio Data
Born September 19, 1928 in Clayton, Ohio
Parents: Carl Louis Schirtzinger (born in Columbus, Ohio) and Marie Helen Barkmeyer (born in Dayton, Ohio)
Siblings: Louis Schirtzinger, Anthony Schirtzinger, Carl Schirtzinger, Clement Schirtzinger, Howard Schirtzinger, Ida Schirtzinger Dunkman

Baptized on September 23, 1928 at St. Rita Church, Dayton, Ohio
Confirmed on June 7, 1936 at Holy Trinity Church, Dayton, Ohio

Entered July 26, 1946 at Mt. Notre Dame
First Profession: January 29, 1949
Final Profession: August 13, 1954

Education:
Holy Trinity Parish School, Dayton, Ohio 1942
Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio, 1946
Bachelor of Science in Education, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, 1958
Master of Education, Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1971

Assignments Included:
1950-1951 St. Stephen School, Hamilton, Ohio
1951-1953 St. Robert Bellarmine School, Chicago, Illinois
1953-1959 St. Victor School, Calumet City, Illinois
1959-1963 Holy Angels School, Dayton, Ohio
1963-1964 St. Peter School, South Beloit, Illinois
1964-1973 St. Francis de Sales School, Lebanon, Ohio
1973-1974 St. James School, Wyoming, Ohio
1974-1986 Sts. Peter and Paul School, Reading, Ohio
1986-1987 Immaculate Conception School, Dayton, Ohio
1987-1988 St. John School, Logan, Ohio
1988-1995 Holy Family School, Dayton, Ohio
1995-2007 Tutor & Bookkeeper, Alliance for Work-Based Education Program, Dayton, Ohio
2007-2010 Volunteer Tutor for GED students, St. Mary Center, Dayton, Ohio
2010-2016: Ministry of Prayer and Community Service, Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Died: December 27, 2016 at Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
December 28, 2016 

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Sister Rita was such a good natured woman and a sweetheart. She was always trying to give me cookies after taking her to a doctor appointment . Many sweets were purloined from the cafeteria, all with good intentions.
Lisa Brackmann 3:35PM 01/03/17

Sister Noreen Joyce, SNDdeN (formerly Catherine Michael)

December 24, 2016

July 24, 1933 – December 20, 2016

Baptized Noreen Mary Joyce, this second daughter and youngest child of Michael and Catherine Joyce was born happy. Her father owned a small radio repair shop that supported the family through the depression, World War II and the years that followed. As a child Noreen dreamed of going to Arizona and running a cattle ranch. She described herself as being “wild about airplanes,” studying the different kinds of aircraft and gleefully calling out their correct names as they flew overhead. When Noreen was preparing to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur her parents dipped into their hard earned savings to buy her an airplane ticket. They thought it would be her only chance to experience flying. Little did they know the path Noreen’s life would take.

Noreen met the Sisters of Notre Dame at Notre Dame High School in Chicago. She liked the Sisters, and especially the sense of joy among them. Sister Helen Cecilia, her Freshman Math and Religion teacher, was transferred to another school at the end of Noreen’s freshman year. It was to her that Noreen wrote during her sophomore year asking for guidance. Not only did Noreen feel called to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, but she was very interested in applying to the Candidacy of the Sisters for her Junior and Senior years of high school. Sister Helen Cecilia encouraged her to follow her heart. Noreen’s parents were supportive and she entered the Candidacy in Columbus, Ohio at the beginning of her junior year. She loved it! So much so she entered in February of 1951 and finished high school as a postulant. When asked why she chose Notre Dame she replied, “I did not, God chose Notre Dame not me, but I thank Him every day for his choice.”

Noreen was given the name Sister Catherine Michael and began her teaching ministry at Villa Park, Illinois. She was always grateful to the Sisters at Villa Park whom she felt taught her so much about teaching and community life. Noreen loved teaching little children. She was able to have fun with them and found herself deeply touched by their simplicity and insights into the world around them. In her many years in the classroom she never taught a class higher than 4th grade. Her specialty was early childhood education. Noreen saw the potential for the Montessori Method and asked to be trained in it. Her work in Montessori included three years directing the Montessori Program at the Summit Country Day School. Throughout Noreen’s years in teaching she sought out workshops and courses that would help her be more effective with her young students. Early teaching years took her all over Illinois, but as she was quick to point out, “I taught all AROUND Chicago but never IN it.” Those years also took her to schools in Ohio where she came to love working with African American children.

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council Noreen answered the call to serve as Director of Religious Education at the parish where she was teaching. In addition to teaching her little ones, Noreen set up the CCD program and taught the 10th grade CCD classes. She tended to her personal renewal as well: participating in the Mini-ARC program in 1972, making a 30 day retreat in 1974, participating in the Global Spirituality Program in 1977-1978, in the Julie Renewal Program in 2000 and in Province sponsored study programs.

It was toward the end of her time in the Global Spirituality Program that Noreen received a letter from a Sister in Arizona asking if Noreen would consider replacing her the following year. Noreen took the request to Province Leadership and was missioned to Arizona that summer. She wasn’t going to run a cattle ranch, but her childhood dream of going to Arizona was about to come true! Arizona lived up to Noreen’s expectations. She was a person who was always cold, until she went to Arizona where she could finally warm up. Noreen welcomed the opportunity to enter into Hispanic culture, and a lively local Church. She earned an Advanced Liturgy Studies certificate and after nine more years in the classroom moved into serving as liturgist in a parish.
Then her mother fell and broke her hip.

By 1990 Noreen’s sister, Ileane, had died and Mrs. Joyce had been widowed. Noreen asked for and received permission to move to Florida to help her mother. The next eight years found her back in early childhood education and lovingly caring for Mrs. Joyce. Noreen, who had always loved community, was grateful another Ohio Sister was also in Florida to help with parent care. Holidays would find Noreen taking her mother to join Sister Gwen and her mother for a light-hearted celebration. Florida also gave Noreen the opportunity to do some flying. The father of one of her students had a small plane and would often take Noreen and his daughter with him on short trips up the coast. Once in a while he would even let Noreen take the controls and do the actual flying.

After her mother’s death Noreen returned to Arizona where she studied spiritual direction and worked as a teacher’s aide until 2010. Her last two years in Arizona she continued to volunteer in early childhood classrooms. In 2012 she moved to Cincinnati and started serving part time as a receptionist for the Province Offices and as a sisterly presence to the Sisters in the Health Center.

In community Noreen was known as light-hearted, fun loving, joyful, warm, friendly to all, interested in those around her and very affirming of her Sisters. Noreen loved people, was a good friend and a mentor to many, a great listener and dedicated to the Notre Dame Mission. She had the reputation for waking up happy, singing early in the morning, and having a pun or a song for every occasion. Noreen loved teasing community members, and she could joke about herself. She knew that non-morning people sometimes “grabbed their coffee and ran” so they wouldn’t have to face her morning energy. Commenting on the number of different communities she lived in Noreen said, “I always looked at it as the Provincial wanted to share good things with the Sisters – so I got moved!” She also said, “I have to say I’ve loved every house I’ve lived in. I enjoyed every mission I’ve been on. They were all so different.” For Noreen the size of the community didn’t matter as long as the spirit among the Sisters was positive.

Noreen enjoyed being out in nature: hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, tubing on the Salt River, horseback riding and exploring new places. It didn’t matter if they were simply sharing a meal or fulfilling a life-long dream and exploring Ireland, she enjoyed spending time with good friends. Noreen also loved her family. She stayed close to her sister’s children, taking great joy in face-to-face visits and Sunday night phone calls. With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye Noreen recently said, “I have to say I’ve had an exciting life – I can’t complain.”

When asked if she ever doubted her call to religious life, Noreen told of an experience she had as a novice. “In Chapel one morning I was reading John 16:15. The words were: ‘You have not chosen me, I have chosen you.’ They stuck in my heart so hard I never doubted. ‘You have not chosen me, I have chosen you.’ That’s what made me so happy: I knew I was His.” News of Noreen’s final illness took everyone by surprise. She faced it with her characteristic simplicity, positive attitude, and deep faith. As we gather to celebrate her life we miss her deeply but are consoled by our belief that our good God has joyfully welcomed his chosen one home to eternal life. We give thanks for the gift Noreen has been for each of us and ask her prayers that we may follow her example of making God’s goodness known, simply and joyfully, to all those we meet.

Bio Data
Born July 24, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois
Parents: Michael Joyce (born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and Catherine Hedderman (born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
One sister: Ileane

Baptized August 13, 1933 at St. Mel Church, Chicago, Illinois
Confirmed May 15, 1945 at St. Bartholomew Church, Chicago, Illinois

Entered February 4, 1951 at Mt. Notre Dame
First Profession: August 13, 1953
Final Profession: August 13, 1958

Education:
St. Bartholomew Parish School, Chicago, Illinois, 1947
St. Joseph Academy, Columbus, Ohio, 1951
Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, 1964
Master of Education from the University of Northern Illinois, De Kalb, Illinois, 1972

Assignments Included:
1953-1956 St. Alexander Parish School, Villa Park, Illinois
1956-1957 St. Victor Parish School, Calumet City, Illinois
1957-1960 St. Helen Parish School, Dayton, Ohio
1960-1966 St. James Parish School, Dayton, Ohio
1966-1973 St. Rita Parish School, Rockford, Illinois
1973-1977 Summit Country Day School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1977-1978 Participant, Active Spirituality Program, Mt. St. Joseph College, Mt. St. Joseph, Ohio
1978-1987 Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish School, Glendale, Arizona
1987-1990 Coordinator of Liturgy, Queen of Peace Parish, Mesa, Arizona
1990-1998 St. Coleman Parish School, Pompano Beach, Florida
1998-2000 Student in Spiritual Direction, Kino Institute, Phoenix, Arizona
1999-2008 St. Theresa Parish School, Phoenix, Arizona
2008-2012 Ministry of Prayer, Mesa, Arizona
2012-2016 Community Service, Mt. Notre Dame, Reading, Ohio

Died: December 20, 2016

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
December 21, 2016
 

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Sister Virginia Lacy, SNDdeN (formerly Michael of the Trinity)

December 06, 2016

June 29, 1931 – December 1, 2016

Raised as the youngest child in a large and loving family in Holy Family Parish, Virginia attributed her own faith to the deep faith passed on to her through her family and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Virginia “grew up” with the Sisters who were her teachers for twelve years. Virginia would later remember spending Saturdays at school, where Sister would set up the ping pong table so they could play a game or two. Virginia described it as experiencing the human side of the Sisters. As a 5th grader she went to her mother and asked, “Do you think I can go to the convent?” Her mother replied, “Well, we have a long time to think about this.”

During high school the Sisters made Virginia feel needed. She saw them helping others and readily contributed her help as a member of the Catholic Student’s Mission Crusade and Young Christian Student Union. Her desire to “go to the convent” deepened, but she didn’t talk about it because she didn’t want to miss the fun going on around her. She finally talked to her family in early 1949. With their support, Virginia entered that summer.

Virginia was surprised at the struggles she endured her first couple of years in community. She remembered, after one particularly difficult interview with the Novice Mistress, going to Chapel and praying, “O Lord I thought I had this and this and this to bring to you – but they don’t think I have it. Whatever I have left I’m going to bring to you.” It was a significant moment for Virginia that shaped a life-long attitude of giving all she had to give in service to God through service to her Sisters, students, and all those she met.

Virginia started her teaching career as Sister Michael of the Trinity. She would have the opportunity to teach every grade from Kindergarten through 8th and, with one exception, all of her teaching assignments were in urban settings. Virginia’s specialty was Math but, no matter what the subject matter, her focus was on teaching to the needs of the children. Besides being a good teacher, Virginia’s ability to deal with diverse situations and people made her an excellent administrator. She served as the first principal at St. Francis de Sales, a rural school where she, another Sister and a lay teacher were the entire staff; as principal at St. Peter Canisius where over 1,000 students were split between two buildings; as principal of St. James, Dayton where she helped successfully merge three inner-city parish schools into one; and as principal of Dayton Catholic Elementary.

In 1978 Virginia was asked to begin an Office of Gerontology for the Ohio Province. In that role she had the opportunity to meet with older Sisters and listen to their stories. She identified their needs and hopes for their senior years and planned activities accordingly. It was a natural development that, three years later, a consultation of the Sisters would lead to Virginia’s appointment as Coordinator of the Mt. Notre Dame Community. She encouraged each Sister to both take responsibility for her own life and be available and sensitive to members of the community. Virginia did her best to model accepting and appreciating each Sister and helped the Sisters accept and appreciate each other. She started small scripture-based faith sharing groups. For many Sisters it was the first time they had shared the fruit of their years of prayer. Virginia treasured the grace of their sharing and how it deepened her own experience of God. She also treasured the grace of walking with many Sisters on their journey through death to Resurrection. It was during this time that Virginia helped develop and then educate the Sisters in many of the US SNDdeN provinces about Durable Power of Attorneys. The process was a communal effort of facing the reality of death and it was not easy for the community to do. Virginia’s leadership in this area continues to reap benefits for our Sisters today.

After nine years of internal ministry, Virginia returned to formal education as Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the northern area of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Based at St. James Convent in Dayton, she loved the driving involved in her work and loved working with the principals. Virginia also worked with the Catholic Conference of Ohio on the Ohio Catholic Educators Association’s bi-annual program. She was given responsibility for the “paddlewheel” part of the program that required organizing 3,000+ teachers into groups with key teachers presenting practical ideas for the classroom. Virginia was also a prime mover behind the creation of programs to provide adequate and appropriate instruction for special needs students in the Dayton area’s Catholic schools.

In 2000 Virginia’s discernment led her to move into pastoral ministry full time at St. James Parish. From her arrival at St. James in 1973 she had been actively involved in the parish. It was at St. James that the African American Community and culture became so dear to Virginia’s heart. The people of St. James spoke to her soul and drew her to stand with them for the rest of her life. As pastoral minister Virginia made home and hospital visits, helped plan and participated in parish renewal programs, served on parish council and numerous parish committees, and worked with the people as St. James merged with other parishes to form and build St. Benedict the Moor Parish.

In 2004 Virginia closed St. James Convent and moved to Hoover Place, an African American independent living senior citizen community. She continued her work at the parish and took on the job of Assistant to the Manager at Hoover Place. Virginia helped create a homelike atmosphere where residents were happy, safe and secure. Her specific responsibilities included advocacy for residents, recording and banking rents, helping new residents with paperwork, assisting with community events, serving as the point person for all emergencies and providing a presence to residents – especially those who found themselves in painful situations.

From Hoover Place Virginia continued an outreach ministry that began in 1973 when a local businessman and friend wanted to do something to help people trapped in poverty. He gave Virginia $4,000.00 to aid people who needed food, help with the rent, utility bills, medications, etc. She visited the homes of people who expressed a need and often helped beyond what was asked for. The anonymous donor gave another $4,000.00, and another. Through 2015 he entrusted Virginia with up to $20,000.00 a year to help people in need. Each Christmas he would give another $20,000 to provide food and gifts for families that had nothing. Virginia’s relationships with the people she helped fed her own faith and sense of gratitude for all God had given her. It was no surprise to those that know her that Chaminade Julienne High School honored her as a Distinguished Alum in 1997. In 2007 Virginia received both the Mary Scott Nursing Center’s Legacy Award and St. Benedict the Moor’s Cardinal Bernardin Community Service Award. Part of their tribute read: “You display the epitome of our program’s theme, joyful in God’s work while “Making a Difference” in our community. For this we wish to acknowledge the generosity of your diligent and loving service.” The tribute continued: “Sister Virginia lives out her commitment to ‘serve the poor in the most abandoned places’ by continuing to live and work among those who need her most.”

In community Virginia was always a woman of integrity, a compassionate listener, a devoted friend and a hard worker. A high sensate, she noticed little things and did them for the Sisters. Virginia loved to read and knew how to apply insights at appropriate times. She often had just the quote needed to move a meeting toward productiveness. Virginia was an excellent cook, keen card player, enjoyed music and was willing to drive anywhere. She enjoyed a good conversation, shared a keen sense of humor, loved to tease and be teased and was a great team person. Virginia worked at her spiritual life through faithfulness to prayer, workshops, spiritual direction and retreats. Her 30-day retreat was a memorable experience that transformed how she saw God and herself. For 19 years Virginia shared the Notre Dame charism as a Chaminade Julienne Board Member. She started one of the first Notre Dame Associate groups in Dayton, and was the last Moderator of the Julienne Alumnae.

Virginia appreciated the different people God brought to her through each facet of her life. She had a special gift for building relationships with all of them. She valued time spent with her extended family, treasured friendships with co-workers, former students, parishioners and Sisters. Likewise she could reflect on how each ministry called for the growth of different gifts within her. At the time of her Golden Jubilee one friend said of her: “Without fanfare, but with a wealth of vision and vitality, you have labored tirelessly for your church…, you have proven yourself to be an instrument of healing, a learned spiritual leader, a compelling educator, a sensitive counselor, and a loyal friend. In each of these roles, you have conscientiously performed an array of duties, touching countless lives with sensitivity and skill….you have inspired and strengthened virtually everyone who has met you.”

Virginia was once asked if she was afraid of death. She replied, “Well, I hate good-byes and I hate starting over new and death includes both of those.” Virginia went on to reflect on how each time she changed ministries she discovered the new was as beautiful as the old. She joked about “God’s credibility” going up and faced death as one more good-bye leading to the new life of resurrection. Now we, Virginia’s family, friends and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, gather to celebrate her rich life and all the ways she made God’s goodness known to us. As we celebrate her resting in God’s faithful love it is fitting that we listen to a poem Virginia wrote expressing her faith journey:

Confidence
Seeking,
Seeking.
For God who is never far away.
Groping,
Groping.
For God who is ever near.
Striving,
Striving.
To be an empty fragile vessel.
Longing,
Longing.
To overflow with God’s love.
Waiting,
Waiting.
To hear God’s word in our world today.
Trusting,
Trusting.
In my Father’s steadfast love.

Bio Data
Born June 29, 1931 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Mother: Etheline M. Lacy (born in Dayton Ohio)
Family: Virginia was raised in the home of her grandparents’ (Walter Lacy and Bernace Plaspohl Lacy) as one of ten siblings: Edith M. Lacy Lange (Fred), Wilma Lacy Haas (Roman), Opal Lacy, Roy Lacy (Mary Lucas), Irene Lacy Newman (Noah), Rhea Lacy Thompson (Robert), Margaret M. Lacy Condy (Ralph), Eileen H. Lacy Link (Don)

Baptized July 12, 1931 at St. Joseph Maternity Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio
Confirmed November 24, 1940 at Holy Family Church, Dayton, Ohio

Entered July 26, 1949
First Profession: January 26, 1952
Final Profession: August 13, 1957

Education:
Holy Family Parish School, Dayton, Ohio, 1945
Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio, 1949
Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, 1961
Master of Science in Education from Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1967
Master of Science in Religious Education from the Athenaeum of Ohio, 1981

Assignments Included:
1952-1953 St. Aloysius Parish School, Columbus, Ohio
1953-1960 St. Peter Canisius Parish School, Chicago, Illinois
1960-1961 St. Mary Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1961-1962 St. Paul Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1962-1965 St. Francis de Sales Parish School, Lebanon, Ohio
1965-1973 St. Peter Canisius Parish School, Chicago, Illinois
1973-1975 St. James Parish School, Dayton, Ohio
1975-1976 St. James Parish School & Parish, Dayton, Ohio
1976-1978 Dayton Catholic Elementary School, Dayton, Ohio
1978-1981 Director of Gerontology, Ohio Province, Mount Notre Dame Convent, Reading, Ohio
1981-1987 Community Coordinator, Mount Notre Dame Community, Mount Notre Dame Convent, Reading, Ohio
1987-2000 Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Cincinnati Northern Area, Dayton, Ohio
2000-2014 Pastoral Minister, St. James/Resurrection/Benedict the Moor Parishes, Dayton, Ohio
2004-2014 Assistant to Manager, Hoover Place, Dayton, Ohio
2014-2016: Community Service, Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Died at Mt. Notre Dame Health Center December 1, 2016

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
December 1, 2016
 

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Sister Eileen Patricia Hegarty, SNDdeN

November 22, 2016

 May 28, 1932 – November 20, 2016

“I have become proficient in adapting to change,” Eileen Hegarty liked to say. Her list of ministries more than supports that claim. She transitioned with grace from full-time culinary service; to teaching 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in Maryland, New York and Virginia; to health- and elder-care in a variety of settings. In addition, her life as teacher and nurse was frequently seasoned with ample dashes of local-community kitchen duty. Eileen was, you might say, a Jill of all trades.

She loved her Irish-born father, her true blue Philadelphian mother, and her four siblings. She was proud of each member of her family – particularly her mother, who served in Philadelphia’s Archdiocesan Marriage Tribunal. Her strong family background was an excellent preparation for religious-community life.

As a Golden Jubilarian, Eileen remembered how her vocation to religious life had been strongly influenced by two vowed religious. The first was a Sister of St. Joseph: Sr. Helen Anthony, Eileen’s 6th-grade teacher. Her other memorable mentor was a Sister of Notre Dame. Following grade school, Eileen enrolled at West Catholic Girls High School. There, she encountered Sr. Marie Charles (Catherine Mary O’Malley), her sophomore homeroom teacher. Through her, the seed of St. Julie’s charism fell from the hand of God into Eileen’s heart. It would take deep root. She entered Notre Dame at Ilchester in 1950, and ever after loved being an SND.

From the outset, her versatility came into play. Her first assignments were to internal community service as a cook at Ilchester and Villa Julie. But she was soon out on the parochial-school circuit, teaching at various levels along the eastern seaboard, from Staten Island to Norfolk. Eileen loved teaching. Besides her professional training in education, she had another enviable credential: much loved aunt. In that capacity, she had learned to win children’s trust and share their fun. She relished the vivid memory of a particular romp with nieces at her mother’s house. The “game of the day” was to see who could jump up and down farthest and fastest – on a bed, no less, and without falling off! Eileen joined in –carefully! They loved her for the fun of it all.

How did she happen to move from teaching little ones into the world of health-and elder-care? We can’t be sure, but the attraction seems to have been with her for some time. Her sister Hannah’s work directing activities for residents at St. Francis Country House, a rehabilitation and nursing center in Darby, PA, may have been a catalyst. When Eileen moved from Norfolk, VA (her last teaching post), she took a support-staff position at the same care facility, and apparently what she found there fanned the flame of her “call into the ministry of nursing.” After five years at St. Francis and two more at Media’s Manchester House, a similar facility, she began full-time study at Villanova University’s College of Nursing. Though she never earned an RN, she proved herself to be a born caregiver with a remarkable hands-on bedside manner. Her final years of active ministry were spent as a Nursing Assistant, first in hospital settings (Bryn Mawr and Riddle Memorial, PA), and then in Private Duty (Delaware).

When she retired, Eileen’s eye for beauty, her skill in crafts, and her love of reading came to the fore. Painting sun-catchers and coloring intricate geometric designs with precision and taste were special hobbies. She loved showing her handiwork to visitors at Emmitsburg and Mount Notre Dame. Her broad interests and warm personality made her a ready conversationalist in both places, and an enthusiastic participant in the wide range of activities they offered. Along with crafts, she had a special love for parties. (Alas, her sweet tooth was a constant struggle!) She continued to nurture family ties, too. At Emmitsburg, for example, she delighted in being picked up for occasional home-cooked, family-style Sunday dinners by one of her nieces.

When Abram and Sarai set out from Haran, leaving land, relatives and their ancestral house, they had no road map. They walked in faith, trusting that God would show them the way, step by step, and bless them, as promised. So it was with Eileen. Her life is marked by a strong sense of God’s call – in 6th grade, during high school, throughout her Notre Dame life. There was no road map. It was one step at a time, in faith. She could not have imagined at the outset the extent to which she would have to become “proficient in adapting to change.” As in the case of Abram and Sarai, God blessed her, and made her a blessing to many others – SNDs, youngsters, sick people, elderly people, her wonderful family and many friends. Her homecoming on the Feast of Christ the King was God’s final gift to her. May she rest in royal, never-ending peace!

BIODATA

Born Mary Hegarty, May 28, 1932, Philadelphia, PA
Parents: Patrick Joseph and Winifred Marie Clark Hegarty
Siblings: 2 brothers and 2 sisters

Entered Notre Dame August 6, 1950 (Ilchester, MD)
First vows: April 5, 1953
Final Profession: July 30, 1958

Education

Our Lady of Victory, Philadelphia, PA
West Catholic High School for Girls, Philadelphia, PA
B.S., Trinity College, Washington, DC (Education)
Villanova University, Villanova, PA – Study, Nursing Program

Ministries include:

Community Service: 1950-54
Maryland Provincial House, Ilchester, MD (Cook)
Villa Julie, Stevenson, MD (Cook)

Parochial-School Teaching: 1954-76)
Sts Joachim and Ann, Brooklyn, NY (Teacher and Cook)
Little Flower, Great Mills, MD
Holy Rosary, Staten Island, NY
St. Ursula, Baltimore, MD
St. Martin, Gaithersburg, MD
St. Bernadette, Philadelphia, PA
Blessed Sacrament, Norfolk, VA

Health and Elder Care: 1976-90)
St. Francis Country House, Darby, PA (Support Staff)
Manchester House, Media, PA (Support Staff)
Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA (Nursing Assistant)
Riddle Memorial Hospital, Media, PA (Nursing Assistant)
Private-Duty Nursing Assistant (New Castle, DE)

Retirement
Villa Julie Residence, Stevenson, MD (2002)
St. Julie Hall, Emmitsburg, MD (Assisted Living, 2003)
St. Vincent Care Center, Emmitsburg, MD (Skilled Care, 2005)
Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Cincinnati, OH (2009)


Prepared by Mary Ann Cook, SND, with the assistance of Sr. Mary Adele White

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Sister Marguerite of the Sacred Heart Schoenung

November 15, 2016

 June 22, 1930 – November 14, 2016

Sister Marguerite was born Mary Catherine Schoenung. She and her twin sister were the fourth and fifth children and eldest daughters of what would grow to be a household of 12 children, two loving parents and their Aunt Marney. Mary Catherine and her sister had many happy memories of growing up just down the street from St. George Church. It was at St. George School that they met and quickly came to love the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Both her family and the Sisters instilled in Mary Catherine a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Eucharist. The call to religious life was solidified in the 2nd grade as the twins made their First Communion. Mary Catherine later described the experience: “We had Sisters in school and wanted to do God’s work, too. We always wanted to belong to Jesus.” After Mary Catherine and her sister finished their education they worked for three years to help ease the family’s financial burden. Mary Catherine worked first as a secretary in the payroll department of Red Tap Brewing Company and then as a typist for the Polk Company. In her spare time she took college courses to help prepare for her ministry of teaching.

By spring of 1951 their youngest siblings were well on their way to finishing school so Mary Catherine and her sister made plans to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The entrance application asked why Mary Catherine wanted to enter Notre Dame. She wrote: “I chose Notre Dame because…the devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of the principal devotions of the Order.” She added “...so that I may belong to the Sacred Heart entirely and that I may bring others to know and love Him.” The day the twins entered Notre Dame all of their siblings took off from school or work so they, with Mom, Dad and Aunt Marney, could accompany the twins to Mt. Notre Dame. It was a strong show of love and support that continued through the years.

As postulants, Mary Catherine and her sister became part of a band of 14 women who were encouraged by the Mistress of Postulants not to compete with one another but to love one another. They took her advice to heart and soon named themselves the GGG – the Greatest Group Going. Letters, phone calls and regular reunions have kept them close through the years. As a novice Mary Catherine received the name she was known by for the rest of her life: Sister Marguerite of the Sacred Heart.

Sister began her teaching career with 2nd graders. Eventually she would be able to say she taught every level from kindergarten through 8th grade. Her specialties were math, science and religious education, and at times she served as coordinator for all three areas in the schools she served. An excellent teacher, Sister Marguerite quietly and calmly handled her classes, giving plenty of attention and praise to students who tried hard. She said, “Nothing succeeds like success. If you can get the children to succeed at something and let them know you care about them, they can do anything. I find praise does a lot more than complaining about their behavior.” Sister Marguerite claimed to enjoy teaching no matter what grade she was assigned: “I do believe that for me it doesn’t matter so much which grade I have but the kind of people with which I work.” For her the goal was always to bring Christ’s love to those in need. When she had the opportunity to choose where she would teach, Sister Marguerite consistently choose inner city schools.

Sister recognized the growing needs among the children in our changing world and believed that starting school sooner would heighten their chances of success. She put her theory into practice by spending the last 24 years of her full-time teaching career with kindergarteners. It was no surprise to anyone that she was “fantastic with little children.” In 1999 Sister Marguerite received the Miami Valley Catholic Education Council Teacher of Excellence Award in recognition of her 45 years of full time teaching. Asked what motivated her in the classroom she said, “To let the children know that God loves them no matter what they do.”

For 25 summers Sister Marguerite and her sister extended their teaching to the neediest children in Cincinnati’s Millvale neighborhood where, through the Practical Family Living Center, they organized field trips, arts and crafts programs, and did some reading and math tutoring. In 1997 the twins began tutoring in the summer program at Corryville Catholic School. It was a natural transition in 1999, when they left full time teaching, to continuing tutoring at Corryville Catholic. For two years they served as full time tutors through the Notre Dame Mission Volunteer AmeriCorps Program. Sister Marguerite continued tutoring at Corryville through 2011.

Sister Marguerite and her twin, Sister Frances Mary, were happy being twins and were extremely close. For 17 years they were missioned to separate house, and often in separate cities. In 1971 Sister Frances Mary was given the opportunity to continue teaching at St. Helen’s but to live at Holy Family Convent in Dayton where Sister Marguerite lived. The twins were delighted to be back under the same roof and were inseparable from then on. The two sisters were best friends and thanked God for the blessing of being able to live in the same community. They claimed never to have had an argument. The twins described their life together as “our together way to God.” Journeying life together with God, they believed, allowed them to do many things that they might not have been able to do separately.

During their years at Holy Family Parish, the sisters worked together every Friday evening to clean the church and take care of other work in the sacristy. At their golden jubilee one parishioner said, “The piety, humility and dedication of these extraordinary women exemplify the characteristics of the hundreds of Sisters who have taught East Dayton children ….” Besides her work in the sacristy, Sister Marguerite served as a lector and Eucharistic Minister in the parishes where she lived. She also coordinated CCD classes and, at Holy Family Parish, she was a regular bingo worker.

Another “together” experience was the deep devotion of the twins to their niece, Francie. While they were devoted to all of their family, Francie was a special needs child. From her birth the twins accepted and loved her totally. For Marguerite a memorable experience of her life was teaching Francie to read. Francie’s mother left the family when Francie was 10 years old. The twins had already been offering emotional support and weekend help to Francie’s dad, a role they continued as long as they were able. When they moved to Cincinnati in 1999 the twins were given permission to live with their younger sister, Ruth, who had followed her own call to the religious life as a Sister of St. Francis. Ruth lived in a house owned by Francie’s father, Tom. Francie would join her three aunts for weekends and return home during the week. After Ruth’s death the twins continued living in the house and spending weekends with Francie for as long as they could.

In community Sister Marguerite was a loyal friend & a good listener. She was very interested in what is going on in the lives of the Sisters and her excellent memory helped her remember details. It should not surprise anyone that one year on retreat Sister Marguerite and her sister memorized the entrance date of every Sister in the Province so they could pray for each one on her anniversary of entrance. Marguerite took a special interest in Sisters who were ill, asking for updates so she could focus her prayers for each one. Sister Marguerite kept up with current events, enjoyed reading, a good discussion, movies and TV programs that offered some depth. She appreciated opportunities for intellectual development and spiritual growth. A special cross for Sister Marguerite in her later years was her hearing difficulty. Her first words on joining Sisters at table were always, “Were there any announcements?”

Sister Marguerite welcomed the changes in religious life brought about by Vatican II. She felt the changes improved her interaction with parents of children she taught, made her work at Millvale possible, enabled her to have closer relationships with her family and coworkers and made it possible for her to spend time with Francie. As Sister became less able to do for others she put more of her time and energy into praying for people and the problems facing our world. Besides participating in daily Eucharist, Sister Marguerite was very devoted to her daily rosary. As she prayed it, she mentioned many of her Sisters, and others in need of prayer, by name.

At the time of her 60th jubilee she wrote, “God has showered me with many blessings. God has exceeded my every hope, and I am so grateful to Him for all these gifts.” We, Sister Marguerite’s family, friends and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, are so grateful to our good God for gifting us with Sister Marguerite. We thank God for all the ways she made God’s goodness known through her life. As we gather to celebrate her life, we pray with her, as we know she continues to pray for us:

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song…Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name; good indeed is the Lord, His mercy endures forever, his faithfulness lasts through every generation. (Psalm 100)

Bio Data
Born June 22, 1930 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Parents: Martin Schoenung (born in Cincinnati, Ohio) and Frances Deters (born in Cincinnati, Ohio)
Siblings: Stanley Schoenung, Martin Schoenung Jr., Raymond Schoenung, Sr. Frances Mary of the Sacred Heart Schoenung SNDdeN, Hubert Schoenung, Sr. Ruth Schoenung OSF, John Schoenung, Jerome Schoenung, Julie Schoenung Reece, Joseph Schoenung, Thomas Schoenung

Baptized on June 29, 1930 at St. George Church, Cincinnati, Ohio
Confirmed on June 18, 1939 at St. George Church, Cincinnati, Ohio

Entered September 7, 1951 at Mt. Notre Dame
First Profession: March 12, 1954
Final Profession: August 13, 1959

Education
St. George Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1944
Our lady of Angels High School, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1948
Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, 1965

Assignments Included:
1954-1958 St. Robert Bellarmine School, Chicago, Illinois
1958-1959 St. Augustine School, Columbus, Ohio
1959-1962 Ascension School, Dayton, Ohio
1962-1965 Our Lady of the Rosary School, Dayton, Ohio
1965-1966 St. Augustine School, Columbus, Ohio
1966-1999 Holy Family School, Dayton, Ohio
1999-2001 Notre Dame AmeriCorps Member, Cincinnati, Ohio
2001-2010 Volunteer Tutor, Corryville Catholic School, Cincinnati, Ohio
2011-2016 Ministry of Prayer, Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Died at Mt. Notre Dame Health Center on November 14, 2016

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
November 15, 2016

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Sister James Marie O'Donnell

November 15, 2016


August 15, 1923 – October 26, 2016

“It was Julie’s charism that attracted me,” Sr. James Marie remembered at the time of her Diamond Jubilee as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. That same charism sustained her throughout her lifetime.

Julie had promised those who threw in their lot with her that their lives would be marked by the cross – a promise that proved true for James Marie. Physical pain was her constant companion; sadness often knocked at her door. Yet, SND friends remember her infectious, hearty laugh, her generous apostolic outreach and her gratitude for the smallest thing anyone did for her.

James Marie was especially grateful to her father for bravely giving his blessing to her decision to enter Notre Dame not long after his wife’s untimely death. “It must have been difficult for him,” she wrote. The same generous strength was to manifest itself in her own life. And there was to be an unexpected reward for both of them: “In the early 70’s,” she remembered, “I was among the pioneers who were privileged to be caretakers for parents. I looked after my father.” A favorite pastime for father and daughter alike seems to have been rooting for the other Notre Dame’s football team on TV. But the feelings ran much deeper: “You can imagine the joy this was for him and for me,” she smiled, “to be with him during the springtime of his old age until we said ‘Good bye until we meet again.’”

Most of James Marie’s active ministry was spent in teaching. “These were happy years,” she wrote, “and I loved every minute of them!” But her time with her father had awakened a realization that “there was much to do outside the classroom to alleviate the needs of the poor and suffering.” So it was that in 1981, she began twelve years as an in-home caregiver. She especially treasured her service of “a beautiful lady during her twilight years when she was very close to God.“ James Marie also reached out to the woman’s family and friends.

All her life, whether in full-time ministry or retirement, James Marie was what SNDs like to call “a community woman” - from head to toe. Wherever she hung her hat, “James-y,” as we loved to call her, wanted to know everything that was happening out in the houses! St Julie had resorted to letter-writing; James-y took to the phone! From Villa Julie, Emmitsburg or Mount Notre Dame, she opened lines of two-way communication, keeping all sides informed of the latest news. Was a Sister unwell? Out went the call to prayer! Had there been an SND guest from Africa or Latin America? Everyone should know the great work our Sisters are doing there! Yes, James Marie loved to talk; friends knew to allow a good half hour for her calls. But especially during her less active years, this was her way of living community and mission. A Sister who has worked for many years with migrants in Florida wrote, when she heard of James Marie’s death:  “She supported us in our ministry and always asked about the people we had the privilege to serve. We will miss her.”

James Marie was always ready to do what she could, whether it was teaching “a new class every six months” at Ridgewood (“an experience to remember!”); or helping staff the receptionist desk at Villa Julie; or helping the Tri-Province Development Office by writing thank-you notes to generous benefactors; or finding “real joy” in connecting with “pupils and friends of yesteryear.”

However rough the road at times, this valiant woman forged ahead. “I give thanks to our Good God,” she wrote in 2013, “for gifting me with 70 years as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur.” Her choice of readings for her funeral Mass reflects at one and the same time her suffering and her abiding trust in the God she served so well:

"The Lord GOD~will wipe away
the tears from all faces . . . .
This is the LORD~to whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
(Isaiah 25: 8 & 9)

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,~and I will give you rest.~Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 25: 28-30)

BIODATA

Born Mary Ellen O’Donnell, August 15, 1p23, Philadelphia, PA
Parents: James and Ella Marie McAleer O’Donnell
Two brothers: James and Joseph

Transferred from Marple Newton High School to Notre Dame Moylan, 1941
Graduated 1943
B.S., Trinity College, Washington DC

Entered Notre Dame January 31, 1943, Ilchester, MD
Received the habit August 1, 1943
First Vows: July 30, 1945
Final Profession: July 30, 1950

Educational ministries include:
St. Francis Xavier, Washington, DC
St. Stephen, Washington, DC
St. Martin (T. St.), Washington, DC
St. Catherine of Genoa, Brooklyn, NY
St. James, Mt. Rainier, MD
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Ridgewood, NY
St. Bernadette, Philadelphia, PA (twice)
St. Eleanor, Collegeville, PA
St. Albert the Great, Philadelphia, PA
Notre Dame High School, Moylan, PA
St. Maria Goretti High School, Philadelphia, PA (Library Assistant)

Home Care Provider
Initially, for her father, James O’Donnell (Drexel Hill, PA, early 1970’s)
Companion to Elderly (Philadelphia, PA, 1981-93)

Retirement
Julie Billiart House of Studies, Washington, DC, 1993
Villa Julie Residence, Stevenson, MD, 1999 (Volunteer, Tri-Province Develoment Office)
St. Julie Hall, Emmitsburg, MD, 2008
Mount Notre Dame, Cincinnati, OH, 2009

 

Prepared by Mary Ann Cook, SNDdeN
 

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Sister Lorraine Oswald, SNDdeN

February 12, 2016

February 3, 1933 – February 9, 2016

Lorraine Marion Oswald was born in Chicago to parents who had emigrated from Germany. Even though they stayed closely connected to relatives in Germany and spoke German in the home, the Oswalds were American through and through. The polling station for their voting precinct was in the basement of the Oswald home. Is it any wonder that Lorraine grew up to have a keen interest in what was going on in the world and a strong sense of civic responsibility? An equally important part of the Oswald family life was their Catholic faith. It provided the lens through which Lorraine viewed the world around her and a call to use her gifts to help make the world a better place. As she expressed in a recent interview, “I always felt that I wanted to be involved in prayer and service, that that would be my life.”

Mr. Oswald worked as an electrician to support the family, and was good at fixing things around the house. He passed on to both of his children his love of working with his hands, his skills with tools, machinery and his knowledge of basic maintenance, and a practical approach to life. He also passed on his love of fishing. Lorraine and her brother bought a lakeside lot in the Channel Lakes area and she had many happy memories of vacations spent fishing with her father and brother.

The School Sisters of St. Francis were Lorraine’s teachers throughout elementary school. Lorraine loved them and felt she was being called to be one of them. Ever practical, she thought it would be a good idea to test her vocation by going to a non-Franciscan high school. So she enrolled at Notre Dame High School and met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Lorraine soon read the life of Julie Billiart, the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and was immediately drawn to her spirit. Lorraine said, “Here was a woman, a real woman: down to earth, practical.” Lorraine joined the Sodality through which she learned to pray, to read scripture, and to meditate. She was invited to join the Good Counsel club which helped students think about their future life choices. In 2009 Lorraine wrote, “The Sisters I knew while I was a student at Notre Dame High School in Chicago had a spirit that filled the space around us. Eventually I recognized it as a spirit of love, joy, simplicity, and dedication.” It was a spirit that spoke to her heart and by the time she was a senior it was clear that her vocation was to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Lorraine entered the community in September of 1951 and became known as Sister Anthony Mary. She started her teaching career with the kindergartens at the Summit Country Day School in 1953. Working with an experienced Sister and 80 children, she experienced what teaching and learning were all about. Sister Anthony Mary went to the fourth grade boys next, and then fifth grade girls and the high school typing class. She loved teaching and community life, but her health was not good. When surgery did not solve the problem, it was decided Lorraine would leave Notre Dame, go home to her family, and focus on recovering her health.

It was not Chicago Lorraine returned to in 1956, but Itasca, Illinois where her father had built a home and moved the family. Lorraine found employment with Deinert Import Export Company as a secretary. At the same time she enrolled at DePaul University to continue her studies towards a teaching degree. She found a clerical position on campus to help with expenses but soon another path opened. Her mother told a census worker that Lorraine was living with them and working on her teaching degree. The census taker knew the Itasca Public Schools were very short of teachers and passed along the information about Lorraine. Soon she was recruited to teach sixth grade and quickly moved up to Junior High. She taught in the Itasca system through the spring of 1964.

During her years in Itasca, Lorraine completed her Bachelor’s and earned cum laude honors with a Master of Education. She made close friends among her co-workers, learned to drive a boat on the lake, and continued her hobby of photography, which had started in high school when she sold enough subscriptions to win a camera. Lorraine helped start a Girl Scout Troop in Itasca, taught in the CCD program at her parish, sang in the choir, served on the Welfare and Ethics Committee of the Illinois Education Association, and regained her health. Her life was filled with prayer and service, but she missed community and felt that Notre Dame was where she belonged. Lorraine entered again in August of 1964. After two weeks as a postulant she moved to the novitiate and was known for a short time as Sister Mary Anthony. She quickly learned that things were not the same in Notre Dame as the renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council was already beginning. One of the first changes was the opportunity to return to her baptismal name, which Lorraine did. She felt things were more open in Notre Dame. She appreciated the increased dialogue, and she felt freer and more able to express herself.

Lorraine continued teaching until 1998. She spent 29 of those years at St. Alexander’s in Villa Park teaching Junior High Language Arts and Religion. At various times during those years Lorraine was involved in curriculum development, oversaw the Safety Patrol program, and helped with administrative duties including scheduling. She was involved with the United Farm Workers and Network, serving as the Network coordinator for the 11th Congressional District for a couple of years. Many of the summers in the 1960’s and 1970’s found Lorraine doing coursework or workshops to maintain her teacher certification or running sports programs for children in Arizona and Mexico. She also kept up her relationships with her friends from Itasca and spent time with her brother and sister-in-law and her nieces.

After retiring from teaching, Lorraine participated in a sabbatical program and then was asked to move to Cincinnati to help in the Province Archives. She arrived just in time to help pack up the Ohio Province Archives and Museum and help set up a temporary workspace for the Archives as the building it was housed in was being torn down. Lorraine had thought she’d like archival work. She found that the moving process utilized many of her skills, but once the Archives was relocated to its current space, she discovered she needed something more active than what normal archival work provided.

Lorraine approached Sister Ann Rene McConn and asked if her skills might be of use with Cincinnati Housing Partners. The answer was a resounding “Yes!” Lorraine spent 13 years as CHP’s “volunteer extraordinaire.” She put her skills with tools, learned from her father, to work helping deconstruct and renovate homes for the program that were made available to low-income, first-time home buyers. Lorraine worked with many short-term volunteer groups who came from all over the country to help with the rehab projects. She enjoyed working with the young people who were part of those groups, finding her own energy renewed by their hope and enthusiasm.

Lorraine also shared her practical skills in community where she was known as “Ozzie.” She was a member of the St. Robert Bellarmine Community for 27 of the 29 years she taught at Villa Park, and a member of the founding community at St. Catherine’s in Cincinnati. Ozzie often took pictures of community activities – as she did for many school, parish, and ministry activities throughout the years. Once the pictures were developed she lovingly created annotated albums, many of which have been given to the Archives. With community members Ozzie shared her love of sports of all sorts, her interest in current events, her attentiveness to current issues that the community was grappling with, and her love of St. Julie. About that “spirit of love, joy, simplicity and dedication” she had recognized in the Sisters during high school Ozzie went on to say: “It was not until after I entered Notre Dame that I learned that these were some of the characteristics that Julie Billiart instilled in her Sisters. I am constantly influenced by our Sisters who exhibit these and other traits that characterize the spirit and charism of our foundress.”

Ozzie, too, lived out these traits as she entered into the lives of her Sisters in community. She served as local treasurer, as a member of the Province Finance Board, of Loreli Board, and of the Assembly. She also took great care setting many a table for a community celebration. For at least 20 years she worked with other Sisters to plan and implement vacation weeks at Lake Loreli for Sisters living at Mount Notre Dame. Special menus, games, and prayers would be planned. Sisters would come out for a day and Ozzie would help prepare the meals, guide the games, help Sisters fish if they so desired, and take the Sisters on boat rides. Her specialty was driving the pontoon boat and giving guided tours of the lake. She felt she really got to know the Sisters out at Loreli and she had so much fun in the process!

One of Ozzie’s favorite quotes from St. Julie was, “I wish for all of you the love of God above all things.” As we gather to give thanks for the life of Sister Lorraine Oswald we give thanks for the love of God and tremendous goodness of God we’ve experienced through her. Her Sisters in Notre Dame, her sister-in-law Sandra, her beloved nieces, Janice and Toni, and their families, her coworkers, and friends mourn her death and celebrate her new life. We take comfort from another of her favorite St. Julie quotes: “I can tell you that the good God is very good. God grants us many graces by calling us to his holy service.” May each of us, like Ozzie, strive to live lives of prayer and service, making known God’s goodness and love to all those we meet.

Bio Data
Born February 3, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois
Parents: Anton Oswald (born in Bavaria, Germany) and Mary Ann Nadworny (born in Danzig, Germany)
Sibling: Alfred A. Oswald

Baptized March 5, 1933 at St. Clement Church, Chicago, Illinois

Entered September 6, 1951 at Mt. Notre Dame
First Profession: March 12, 1954
Exit: February 5, 1956
Entered again August 13, 1964 at Mt. Notre Dame
First Profession: August 13, 1966
Final Vows: August 20, 1974

Education:
St. Philomena Parish School, Chicago, Illinois, 1947
Notre Dame High School, Chicago, Illinois, 1951
Bachelor of Arts in Education from De Paul University, Chicago, Illinois, 1959
Masters of Education, from the National College of Education, Evanston, Illinois, 1963

Assignments Included:
1953-1955 Summit Country Day School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1955-1956 Mt. Notre Dame Academy, Reading, Ohio
1965-1966 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School, Reading, Ohio
1966-1967 St. Peter Canisius School, Chicago, Illinois
1967-1969 Ascension School, Dayton, Ohio
1969-1998 St. Alexander School, Villa Park, Illinois
1998-1999 Sabbatical, St. Stephen Priory, Dover, Massachusetts
1999-2001 Assistant to the Archivist, Province Offices, Mt. Notre Dame, Reading, Ohio
2001-2014 Volunteer, Cincinnati Housing Partners, Cincinnati, Ohio
2014-2016 Community Service, Julie Community, Mt. Notre Dame, Reading, Ohio

Died: Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
February 10, 2016

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Sister Marguerite McHugh, SNDdeN (formerly Marguerite Michael)

February 09, 2016

 November 22, 1922 – February 6, 2016

Mary Catherine, the oldest of John and Marguerite McHugh's six children, grew up in Nativity Parish, just down the road from Mount Notre Dame. Her aunt, Sister Sarah Marie, lived at Mount Notre Dame when Mary Catherine was very little. Perhaps it was a family visit that gave Mr. and Mrs. McHugh the idea of placing Mary Catherine in the boarding school at Mount Notre Dame when she turned five. Years later she would tell the story, "All I did was cry! There was a Sister Lucy who would rock me and another little girl for hours." Mary Catherine was still crying at the end of the week when her parents came to take her home.

Mary Catherine loved music and loved to sing. At age sixteen she won a contest on an amateur hour by singing When I Wish Upon a Star. Mary Catherine was so encouraged by her music teachers that she actually considered training to be an opera singer. She later said, “The idea of going to the Metropolitan Opera thrilled me.” Instead, she followed the example of a cousin, dropped out of school and started working as a beautician in 1937.

When the United States became involved in the Second World War, Mary Catherine followed her two brothers into the Armed Forces. She joined the WAVES in 1942. Mary Catherine later said, “I thought maybe we’d win the war faster if I got in.” She was assigned as a gunnery instructor at the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia where she taught Marines and sailors how to fire the big guns on the ships. Mary Catherine remembered, “A lot of them had a hard time listening to a woman at first. Then, they would go out and lose a few men; and when they came back, they’d pay a bit more attention.”

After the war Mary Catherine returned to her work as a beautician. In 1947 she became a long distance telephone operator. Outside of work she became active with the Catholic War Veterans and served as their recording secretary from 1946-1951. Mary Catherine joined the Legion of Mary and became a Third Order Franciscan to nurture her faith. As a Legionnaire she regularly visited the blind, and as a Franciscan she was involved in other volunteer service to people in need. However, something still seemed to be missing from Mary Catherine's life. During a visit Sister Sarah Marie asked her when she would be joining the Sisters of Notre Dame. That question crystallized for Mary Catherine what was missing: it was time to respond to God's call to religious life.

At the age of 33 she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and became known as Sister Marguerite Michael. Her only regret was that she had not entered sooner. Growing up the oldest of six meant she brought natural nurturing skills with her to the community. Sister Marguerite loved nurturing Kindergarten, First and Second grade students. It brought her great joy to watch them develop new skills and sometimes excel beyond everyone's expectations.

Marguerite’s life-long commitment to people trapped in poverty and social justice issues became the central focus of her ministry after the Second Vatican Council. With other Sisters of Notre Dame she became involved in parish and social ministries. Her role models for working with the poor were St. Martin de Porres, to whom she had a special devotion, and St. Julie, foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Marguerite felt that Julie’s concern for the poor was part of what made her a “modern day saint.”

While serving at St. Aloysius Parish in Columbus, Marguerite also served as Vice President of the Holton Park Recreation Center Advisory Council, co-chairman of the Bishop’s West Side Pastoral Committee, a core member of the Volunteer Program of the South West Community Health Center and a core member of the Hunger Task Force. Parishioners wrote of the power of her example: "Sr. Marguerite has given her time and her talent to those people who had been neglected for such a long time – the sick, the elderly and the shut-ins. She has made the rest of us aware of these people and their needs, their concerns and their importance to the worshipping community. She has shown us these people can give us so much more than we can possibly give them."

Marguerite’s deep respect for the dignity of each person and her gentle, listening way of being present were so effective in ministry that she went back to school and studied to become a licensed social worker. Her work with Catholic Social Services and the St. Vincent De Paul Society put her in touch with those most in need of a gentle listener. She tutored at the Hamilton County Justice center to help inmates earn their GEDs. She helped staff a suicide prevention hotline for five years and even in her last years she helped others when she could through Volunteer Resources.

After the Second Vatican Council Marguerite also renewed her involvement with Veteran’s organizations. She held the post of volunteer coordinator at the Veterans Administration Voluntary Services of Ohio American Legion’s Fourth District and gave in excess of 10,000 volunteer hours at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center in a variety of programs. Marguerite held the post of commander of American Legion Post #644 for 12 years and continued to serve as chaplain until her death. She looked forward to the annual Veterans’ Day parades and served as Grand Marshall for some of them. In 2012 Marguerite was inducted into the Ohio Veteran’s Hall of Fame.

In community Marguerite was known for her humor, her dry wit and her simplicity in dealing with life. She remained an opera enthusiast, loved reading a good book, listening to music, rock collecting and just talking to people. Marguerite loved spending time with her family and especially enjoyed outing and trips she took with her sister, Margie and nieces and nephews.

In 1996 Marguerite started volunteering in the Baby Cuddle Program at Good Samaritan Hospital. She continued this ministry until shortly before her death. Perhaps it was the memory of Sr. Lucy rocking her for hours when she most needed a loving touch that motivated Marguerite to spend hours rocking newborns in need of a similar loving touch. Confident that Marguerite is now united more fully with our good God, her Sisters, family, friends and brother and sister veterans give thanks for the gift her life has been to each of us. We ask her continued prayers for us as we rejoice in all the goodness God has worked through the gift of her life.

Bio Data
Born November 26, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Parents: John M. McHugh (born in Cincinnati, Ohio) and Marguerite C. Schulte (born in Norwood, Ohio)
Siblings: Marie, John, Patrick, Sally, Marguerite

Baptized December 8, 1922 at the Nativity of Our Lord Church, Cincinnati, Ohio
Confirmed October 16, 1932 at the Nativity of Our Lord Church, Cincinnati, Ohio

Entered September 8, 1954 at Mt. Notre Dame
First Profession: March 9, 1957
Final Profession: August 13, 1962

Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Mt. St. Joseph College, Mt. St. Joseph, Ohio, 1980

Assignments Included:
1957-1958 St. Alexander School, Villa Park, Illinois
1958-1963 St. Robert Bellarmine School, Chicago, Illinois,
1963-1964 St. Augustine School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1964-1965 Most Holy Trinity School, Phoenix, Arizona
1965-1965 Summit Convent, Cincinnati, Ohio
1965-1967 Julienne Convent, Dayton, Ohio
1967-1968 St. Joseph School, Hamilton, Ohio
1968-1974 Adult Education, Millvale, Ohio
1974-1979 St. Aloysius School and Parish, Columbus, Ohio
1979-1980 Student, Mt. St. Joseph College, Mt. St. Joseph, Ohio
1980-1988 Catholic Social Service, Cincinnati, Ohio
1988-1989 Tri-County Day Care, Cincinnati, Ohio
1989-2001 Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Cincinnati, Ohio
1996-2014 Baby Cuddle Program/ St. Vincent De Paul at Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio
2011-2014 Volunteer Resources, Cincinnati, Ohio
2014-2015 Ministry of Prayer and Presence, Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Died: February 6, 2016

Sr. Kim Dalgarn, SNDdeN
February 6, 2016

 

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Sister Margaret Michael, SNDdeN (formerly Aimee Julie)

January 12, 2016

July 11, 1915 – January 11, 2016

Margaret Elizabeth Michael was proud of her rural roots in Gallipolis, Ohio. While her family spent many years in Columbus, Ohio, it was time spent at her maternal grandparents’ farm in Gallipolis that she often talked about. It was clear that the roots of her love of nature and gardening, her ease of finding God in the beauty of creation were nourished through her visits to Gallipolis. Margaret’s father was an electrician and moved to Dayton to find work during the Great Depression. Margaret’s mother worked as a cook for the Berry family on East North Broadway. Her position allowed her and her children to live in the Berry home and enabled Mrs. Michael to keep Margaret and her younger sister in school in Columbus. In spite difficulty of the times, Margaret was able to attend St. Joseph’s Academy where she met and grew to love the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Drawn by the example of their simplicity and compassion for people trapped in poverty, Margaret entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur after completing high school and became known as Sister Aimee Julie. She began a thirty-three year teaching career as soon as she professed vows. During those years she served in schools in Illinois, Ohio and even one year in Maryland. Sister taught every grade from first through eighth, and she especially loved her experiences in the inner city schools. In 1940 she was assigned to the Sixth Street Community to teach first and second grade at St. Xavier School in downtown Cincinnati. Sixth Street was the first house of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the United States, and Sister arrived in time to celebrate the Centennials of the arrival of the Sisters, opening of the house and opening of the first Notre Dame schools in the United States. She spent the next five years at Sixth Street and loved to tell of her experiences there. Margaret was one of the “young” Sisters in the house when it was closed in 1945, and she was the last living Sister who experienced life in the “Cradle of the Institute in the United States.” Sisters will be forever grateful for her willingness to be interviewed about her experiences and for her efforts to commit to paper her memories of Sixth Street.

In the early 1960’s Sister Margaret wrote about her desire to serve: “I have always had a desire to go to Africa, but never voiced it since this was out of our jurisdiction. I volunteered for the missions when I was young, but Sister Teresa of the Passion said my health would not permit it. The age limit regarding South America did not give me a chance to apply. The Indians and Negro races have always held my interest. I would like to be of help to them both in body and in soul.”

As the 1960’s came to an end, Sister Margaret saw two needs and began to think of a way to meet both of them. On the one hand she saw students in classrooms of every school needing extra help to succeed. On the other hand she saw older Sisters who no longer had the energy for full-time classroom ministry yet yearned to continue to teach students the skills necessary for a successful life. Sister Margaret received permission to open the Billiart Reading Center at Mount Notre Dame and thus began a twenty-four year ministry of matching the expertise of skilled Sisters with the needs of children struggling in the classroom to provide year round opportunities for private instruction in the language arts and math.

The motto for the Reading Center was “We teach the Student – not the Book.” The motto reflected how deeply Sister Margaret took to heart Saint Julie Billiart’s belief in the need to focus on each individual student. In Sister Margaret’s letter to parents announcing the closing of the Reading Center in 1994 she wrote:

“Since its inception the Billiart Reading Center has provided the ministry of forty-one retired Sister-teachers to over 1,000 children. All individuals in both groups benefitted from the one-on-one learning relationships that existed. Now, however, the increasing age and frailty of those available for instruction indicates that the time has come to terminate offering this arrangement.

“We thank you for your support over the years and assure you of the continued relationship through prayerful remembrances. Billiart Reading Center will be the happy memory of a place where children were reverenced and assisted in areas of learning difficulties and retired Sisters loved the hours of being with them, directing their growth.”

In community Sister Margaret was known for her bright smile. Sometimes seeming gruff in her interactions, she was generous with her time running errands for other Sisters and driving Sisters where they needed to go. Sister Margaret started a vegetable garden at Mount Notre Dame in 1980 and took great pleasure in the work of the garden and bringing the produce to the kitchen. She kept Sisters company in nightly viewings of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, both of which she described as “brain stimulants.” Her hands would be busy with needlework as her brain solved the puzzles and answered the questions. She loved all kinds of craftwork which she felt kept her mentally and physically active. She was known for creating entire Christmas villages that then became prizes at the annual Christmas Bazaar.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 was one of Sister Margaret’s favorite Scripture passages: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted.” It is time now to celebrate her more than 100 years of making known God’s goodness in all seasons. We rejoice with her as she is “plucked up” from among us and enjoys being reunited with so many Sisters and friends in Heaven. We thank God for the gift she has been to her Sisters, family, friends, students and co-workers. With her we proclaim, “Oh, how good is the good God!”

Bio Data
Born July 11, 1915 at Gallipolis, Ohio
Parents: Robert Michael (born in Dayton, Ohio) and Amy McHale (born in Gallipolis, Ohio)

Baptized on March 17, 1916 at St. Louis Church, Gallipolis, Ohio
Confirmed on May 8, 1927 at the Immaculate Conception Church, Columbus, Ohio

Entered September 30, 1934
First Profession: August 13, 1937
Final Profession: August 13, 1943

Immaculate Conception School, Columbus, Ohio
St. Joseph Academy, Columbus, Ohio
Bachelor of Science in Education, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, 1958
Master of Arts in Reading, Cardinal Stritch College, Milwaukee, Illinois 1971

Assignments Included:
1937-1940 St. Victor School, Calumet City, Illinois
1940-1941 St. Xavier School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1941-1943 St. Henry School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1943-1944 St. Paul School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1944-1946 St. Augustine School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1946-1948 St. Veronica School, Hamilton, Ohio
1948-1949 St. Robert Bellarmine School, Chicago, Illinois
1949-1950 St. James School, Wyoming, Ohio
1950-1951 Holy Angels School, Dayton, Ohio
1952-1953 Holy Family School, Dayton, Ohio
1953-1956 St. Agnes School, Dayton, Ohio
1956-1957 St. Aloysius School, Columbus, Ohio
1957-1962 St. Alexander School, Villa Park, Illinois
1962-1963 Holy Family School, Dayton, Ohio
1963-1964 St. Jerome School, Hyattsville, Maryland
1964-1970 St. Augustine School, Columbus, Ohio
1970-1994 Billiart Reading Center, Reading, Ohio
1994-Present Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Died at Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio on January 11, 2016

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
January 11, 2016

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Sister Mary Elaine Tarpy, SNDdeN (formerly Amelia)

August 01, 2013

August 3, 1924 — July 29, 2013

  

Sister Mary Elaine Tarpy was the daughter of an Irish father and a German mother from whom she inherited the strong characteristics of each nationality. This was demonstrated in her attention to the smallest details whether that of the arrangement of a room or to place settings on a table. On another level, she had an ever expanding heart that was concerned for any detail that could contribute to the comfort and pleasure of anyone who entered her area of responsibility. Elaine, daughter of David and Amelia Tarpy, was born in Columbus on August 3, 1924. David, straight from Sego County, Ireland, was full of Irish charm and humor; Amelia, from Stuttgart, Germany, had a strong, practical approach to the intricacies of everyday life. Together they gave their daughter the enduring charm of Irish-German descent.

Elaine was the thirteenth child born to David and Amelia. Eight of these children, including two sets of twins, died in infancy. As a result, she grew up as the youngest in the family with three older brothers and three older sisters. Elaine began her Christian Journey when she was baptized August 31, 1924, at St. Aloysius Church. Later, when she was a student at St. Mary Magdalene School, she was confirmed on May 10, 1933. Sister Mary Elaine liked to recall that her family lived a mile from the school: so she walked a mile to go to school, two miles to go home for lunch and to return to school, and another mile to return home at the end of the school day. Four miles of walking each school day! That was quite a schedule for a young student.

Sister Mary Elaine also cherished the memory that it was at the time of her First Holy Communion that she sensed that God was inviting her to become a religious sister. This idea persisted through her high school years at St. Joseph Academy in downtown Columbus. It was there that she met the Sisters of Notre Dame in a different way. Her older sister, Marie, was already a member of that Congregation so this was not an entirely new experience for her. What was NEW was the experience of personally interacting with these SNDs whom she came to appreciate and admire in a new way.

During Elaine’s senior year of high school, Pearl Harbor was bombed December 7, 1941. This deeply affected the Tarpy family since her three brothers were conscripted into the army. With so many leaving home at one time, Elaine postponed her entry into religious life. On January 6, 1943, the great day came for her to begin her long and varied career in Notre Dame. In August of that year Elaine received the habit of a Sister of Notre Dame and the religious name Sister Amelia in honor of her mother. (She was known by this name until 1968 when the Sisters were given the option of resuming the use of their Baptismal names.) Two years later, on August 13, Sister pronounced her first vows. Soon after this she began her long and varied service in the ministry of education and leadership.

Sister Mary Elaine began her teaching career at St. George School (now known as Corryville Catholic) in Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1946 to 1953 she taught grades 3,6,7,8. Next she went to Holy Cross School in Columbus, Ohio, to teach grades 5/6 for the year 1953-1954. Her next stop was St. Victor School, Calumet City, Illinois. There she taught grade 8 for three year, 1954-1957. Then it was back to Ohio to St. James School in the city of Wyoming for another three year term with eighth graders, 1957-1960. After this she returned to St. Victor School as Principal/Superior for 1960-1963.

After these years of close involvement with education on the elementary level, Sister Mary Elaine began an eight year term as Community School Supervisor, 1963-1971. Following this, she moved to Rome, Italy, where she served as the General Secretary for the Institute and as the Coordinator of ARC (Apostolate of Religious Community). This was a program of study in scripture and theology for English speaking sisters from various Congregations which was held in Rome 1971-1980.

After her service in Rome, Sister Mary Elaine returned to the States as Director of the Office of Life Development / On-going Formation 1981-1987. Following this, she was asked to return to Rome for short time service. From August to November, 1994, Sister Mary Elaine assisted the General Leadership team to locate living and office space in preparation for moving our Generalate. She was able to find and to recommend renting space with the Religious of the Good Shepherd in their Generalate facility. This proved to be a good location, thanks to Sister Mary Elaine’s expert advice and locating skills.

Finally, Sister Mary Elaine returned to the States to Columbus, Ohio, where she continued her service to assist in Province and Congregational matters from January to August 1995. She remained in the Columbus area for the next nine years, 1995-2004, as the active Convener of Notre Dame Associates of the Columbus area. In 2005, Sister Mary Elaine returned to Mt. Notre Dame in Reading, Ohio, to enjoy quiet time in the ministry of prayer. However, true to her nature, she was not idle! One of her delights was being involved in the Adopt-a-Sister Program of near-by Mt. Notre Dame High School. In this program groups of students are matched with sisters at the convent for regular get-togethers. The sister and girls in each group determine the agendas for their meetings. Sister Mary Elaine took great delight in being with the girls and sharing her rich background in many ways. Even after graduation, some members return to visit with Sister Mary Elaine to share their on-going life experiences with her.

This is only a short summary of Sister Mary Elaine’s full and active life. Now she is enjoying the unending rewards of a life of dedication to the needs of those she served. To borrow from the Liturgy of the feast of the day she went into the presence of the Lord, we can pray: that after serving Christ in others “may she merit to be received into the halls of Heaven.”


Sister Alma Grollig, SNDdeN
 

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