May 06, 2013
April 13, 1925 — May 2, 2013
Carolyn Therese AmRhein began her earthly sojourn on April 13, 1925, in Peoria, Illinois. She was the daughter of Andrew and Clara (Hessling) AmRhein. Carolyn was the second child in a family of five. When the family was completed, she had three brothers: Bob, Richard, James; and one sister, Rosemary. A lively group!
On August 26, Carolyn began her life in Christ when she was baptized at Saint Mark Church. At that same Church in Peoria, in later years, she would receive the strengthening sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. When the family moved to Chicago, Carolyn was enrolled in St. Peter Canisius School to complete her elementary education. Carolyn’s life in her early years was surrounded by the strong faith of her parents and a history of family involvement in Church related activities. A major turning point in Carolyn’s life came in the seventh grade when her teacher asked her help for a special project. This request opened a whole new spectrum to her. She had talents that were valued by adults! This insight also led her to consider the possibility of becoming a Sister! What life changing power came through a seemingly simple request.
When Carolyn was a sophomore at Notre Dame High School, Chicago, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur announced the opening of a candidacy program for high school students. She was captivated by this announcement! In her junior year, 1941, she was accepted into this program at the Summit in Cincinnati. The next year, Carolyn’s senior year, the program was moved to Columbus, Ohio. Of course, she followed it. In January 1943 she applied for, and was accepted, into the Postulate of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Reading, Ohio. The rest is history! Later at the time of her 60th anniversary as a Sister of Notre Dame she stated firmly, “I never looked back!”
What a life to remember! In August of 1943 Carolyn received the habit of Notre Dame and the religious name Sister St. Clare (She was known by that name until 1968 when the Sisters were given the option to return to the use of their Baptismal name.) In August 1945, she pronounced her first vows. On August 13, 1950, she finalized her commitment by pronouncing her perpetual vows.
For 44 years Sister Carolyn was involved with direct ministry in the educational life of students. She was prepared for this work by achieving a Bachelor of Science in Education from St. Mary of the Springs College in Columbus, Ohio, in 1962. This was followed by a degree of Master of Reading Specialist from Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1965 Sister Carolyn began her teaching career at St. Joseph Academy, Columbus, Ohio, where she taught grade four from 1945 to 1951. Then she moved to Chicago to teach grades 1-2, 2-3 and 3-4 at St. Peter Canisius during the years 1951 to 1962. From there, she went to the Child Guidance Center in Columbus, Ohio. There she perfected her skills as a Reading Specialist during the years 1962-1967. The following year, 1967-1968, she returned to a traditional school situation at St. Christopher School teaching eighth graders. There, too, she continued to use her Reading Specialist background to aid her students to perfect their reading abilities.
Following these years of shifting assignments, Sister Carolyn settled into a concentration to work with students to improve their reading ability. If they were already doing well, she helped them to refine specific skills; if they were struggling she could demonstrate techniques to help to them to surmount their difficulties. In 1968-1969 she was the reading tutor at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School in Reading, Ohio. From 1969 to 1982 Sister Carolyn worked with the ESEA Title 1 in the following Cincinnati schools: Cutter Junior High 1969-1973; St. Francis Seraph and Saint Rose Schools 1973-1975; St. Francis Seraph 1975-1982. The next two years, 1983-1985 she worked with the ECIS Reading Program at St. Francis Seraph and St. Joseph Schools. Her later years in the classroom were at Hyde Park Elementary School, also in Cincinnati, from 1985 to 1990 where she again included emphasis on developing reading skills.
Taking a break from teaching was a good breathing space for Sister Carolyn. At Mount Notre Dame, she contributed a year of community service where she provided what was needed, at the time it was needed. After that year she was back in education. Sister Carolyn spent the next year, 1992-1993, working with the Alliance for Educational Development to produce programs and student materials to support the educational process. The year 1993-1994 was devoted to responding to requests from the Notre Dame Generalate and to developing and mailing Montessori publications and materials.
The final activity of her ministry involvement was undertaking the management of the Province tape library. This position was her focus for the next 18 years, 1995-2013. During this time the holdings of the tape library expanded substantially. Now there is a wide collection of tapes available to the sisters for professional and recreational use.
Aside from her assignments, Sister Carolyn enjoyed a variety of activities for relaxation. She was an active participant in the Adopt-a-Sister Program of Mt. Notre Dame High School. This activity provides MND students with the opportunity to meet monthly with a Sister on a plan of the students’ choice. Sister’s groups usually stayed with her for their three years of membership. Another interest for Sister was genealogy. She did a great deal of research for her family and together they gathered a quite a bit of information about their ancestors.
Sister Carolyn had a great sense of order. This was present in many details of her final time of life. Her Adopt-a-Sister girls of this year were seniors, so they are on to graduation. No traumatic break here! Sister Carolyn had begun to experience some weakening of her physical strength, so she requested to hand over the tape library to a successor. This was accomplished! 2013 is her year of Jubilee, 70 years in Religious Life. What a great way to celebrate by responding to the loving Lord’s invitation in the liturgy of the day on which she entered Eternal Life: “Remain in My Love. . .”
Sister Alma Grollig, SNDdeN
May 2, 2013
March 14, 2013
October 25, 1926 — March 10, 2013
Teacher, Principal, nursing assistant, Director of Montessori Matters, medical driving – Sister Helen Denise filled all of these positions with grace and dignity during her more than 60 years of religious life. In each of them she fulfilled her desire to be of service to her good God, to her Sisters, students and associates.
Sister Helen Denise began life in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of John and Anna (Hodapp) Somers, on October 25, 1926. Two weeks later, on November 7, she was baptized Norma Jeanne at Holy Trinity Church. With this beginning, she was on her life journey which would continue with a family that included 3 sisters and 1 brother. Her elementary education took place at Holy Trinity School. There she also received the next two sacraments of her Catholic faith: her First Holy Communion and the blessing of Confirmation. After completing grade school, Norma continued her studies at Julienne High school.
After her graduation in 1944, Norma entered with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Reading, Ohio, on August 14. The following February, she received the habit of Notre Dame and the religious name Sister Helen Denise. This was the name by which she was known for the rest of her life. On her application to enter with the Sisters of Notre Dame she was asked why she chose Notre Dame. She answered simply: “I studied under the Sisters for 12 years and admired them. I witnessed the peace and happiness that reigned among the Sisters.”
Sister Helen Denise’s ministry life began with 23 years as teacher and principal. Twenty of these years were spent with the first and second graders. This career in the classroom began at St. Stephen School in Hamilton, Ohio, 1947-1950. Then she was on to Chicago for three years at St. Peter Canisius, 1950-1953. After this, she returned to Ohio for the next 13 years. Her next assignments included: The Summit Country Day school, Cincinnati, 1953-1954; St. Helen, 1954-1955; Holy Angels, 1955-1957; St. James, 1957-1958 and St. Agnes, 1958-1963, all in Dayton. Then she went to southern Ohio where she taught grade five at Sts. Peter & Paul in Reading, 1963-1965. Next on her itinerary was St. Michael, Sharonville, 1965-1969, where she was Principal and second grade teacher. Sister Helen Denise completed her formal classroom career teaching intermediate grades at Most Holy Trinity, Phoenix, Arizona, 1970-1971.
The interval, 1969-1970, Sister Helen Denise spent at Julie Hall giving Community service and beginning work as a nursing assistant. Then in 1971, demonstrating her flexibility, she accepted the responsibility of Director of Montessori Matters. Her long teaching experience prepared her for that ministry. For the next 30 years she worked tirelessly at creating new materials for students in Mon-tessori programs and assisting other Sisters who were working on these materials. The major portion of her energies during this period, however, was spent in handling the shipping of these materials world-wide in an efficient and timely manner. This gave her a connection with students, a way to help them along their educational journey to being productive adults even though she never saw them face-to-face.
In addition to the Montessori Matters, during this time Sister Helen Denise was involved in medical driving and assisting in hair care. These last two activities she continued for three years after her time with Montessori Matters. All of these activities certainly helped to fulfill her desire to be involved with service to those with special need.
On the lighter side, Sister Helen Denise delighted in creating decorations for Community events, making Halloween costumes out of “available” materials, planning Community parties for Christmas and New Year celebrations. Each and every one of these activities had that “special touch” that identified her work! Sister was always available for anyone who needed assistance.
These many activities in ministry requiring energy, creativity and adaptability were an inspiration to her SND Sisters. However her final adaptation to the loss of her sight was, perhaps, her most impressive accomplishment. With great determination, Sister Helen Denise mastered the skills necessary to continue to live independently in the sudden darkness of blindness. In this darkness, however, her spirit remained bright. The day after she became totally blind, she calmly confided to a sister, “Now I have a NEW ministry.” Through the following years she maintained the ability to care for herself; to navigate the many halls of Mt. Notre Dame with agility and to be a cheerful companion to the Sisters with whom she lived.
It was most fitting that the liturgy on the day Sister Helen Denise entered eternity invited her to
“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord!”
Alma Grollig, SNDdeN
March 11, 2013
January 16, 2013
October 18, 1915 — January 12, 2013
Anne Elizabeth Feth was born on October 18, 1915, to Vincent Feth and Mary Agnes (nee) Flynn in Columbus, Ohio. She was baptized on November 7, 1915, in Sacred Heart Church, Columbus. On June 9, 1924, she was confirmed in St. Leo parish also in Columbus.
Anne began her long educational journey graduating from St. Leo School in1936. She kept her report cards from fifth to eighth grade undoubtedly as a memory of her happy days there. While at St. Leo she took music lessons at St. Joseph Academy in Columbus. In a 1922 recital, Anne performed Chopin's Valse Op. 34.1. It marked the beginning of her interest in music in general and liturgical music in particular. She went on to attend St. Joseph Academy, graduating in1933.
During her high school days Anne decided to become a Sister of Notre Dame. She said she did so for two reasons; “her desire to assist in the work of the Sisters of Notre Dame and because she liked the spirit existing among the Sisters of Notre Dame.”
Anne entered the postulancy of the Sisters of Notre Dame on October 1, 1933. She entered the community’s novitiate March 24, 1934, taking her father's name for her religious name. As Sister Vincent she would be known until 1968 when she resumed her baptismal name. Sister pronounced her first vows on March 28, 1936 and her perpetual vows on September 13, 1941.
Anne’s ministries found her very well prepared. Her first degree was awarded at the University of Dayton on August 1, 1940. An MA degree was obtained on January 12, 1958, from Xavier University in Cincinnati. The major in both degrees was in History. Sister pursued many courses at Ohio State, St. Louis University, Missouri, Xavier College, Chicago, Illinois and finally in a summer program visiting historical sites and studying American government in the Virginia, Maryland and the DC areas.
In 1937, Sister Vincent began her teaching ministry at St. Peter and Paul School in Reading, Ohio. She went on to teach in Dayton, in the Notre Dame Country D ay School,1938 to1939; at Holy Angels School, 1941 to 1942 and finally at Julienne High School,1949 to 1951. Columbus claimed Anne for many years, first at St. Patrick School, 1939 to 1942, and finally St. Joseph Academy, 1951 to 1962.
In that year Sister moved from the classroom into administration. From 1962 to 1966 Sister was principal at Notre Dame High School for Girls in Hamilton. Prior to 1966, the school for girls and Hamilton Catholic for boys were the only catholic high schools in the city. In 1966 until 1968, Sister Anne became Vice Principal of the two schools when they were merged into Badin High School. The Hamilton Journal described the merger in a January 2000 issue as “And then there was one.” Sister Anne’s quote had a slightly different take on the merger. She stated, “We had lots of hope in that building.” Today the new Baden High School continues to serve over 450 students.
After that administrative experience, Sister shared her gifts and talents of administration to her own community. First, Anne was local superior in the Rich Street Convent in Columbus, from 1968 to 1975 and then in the Notre Dame community in Chicago from 1975 to 78. Sister also served as a member of the province administrative team.
Throughout her long teaching career she was first and foremost an historian in the classroom. In 1944 she had written an article for the University of Dayton newspaper Exponent dealing with conditions in Puerto Rico. Her condensed version appeared later in the Catholic Digest. In the America magazine of December 6, 1952 her short article under the title “Feature X” appeared. Sister reflected on how the season of Advent had become so commercialized. Fifty years later substituting 2012 for the date her reflections were still relevant and even more so.
As a teacher of the Problems of Democracy course, Anne was able to share her deep concerns for those problems. She wanted o be sure her students were aware of the social teachings of the church. A former student, Mary K Hummel, wrote in her column “From the Margins” which appeared in the Columbus Dispatch what she had learned in that class. "…Sister Vincent SNDdeN at St. Joseph Academy in Columbus, Ohio was the one who introduced me to the social teachings of the church. I can still remember my shock when she introduced the church's teachings on just war. "It was then, for the first time, that I heard anyone suggest that the use of the atomic bomb might have been immoral.”
When sister was no longer involved in teaching, she found many outlets for her own concerns and hopes for the questions of social justice. She served as secretary on Civil Rights Council in Columbus areas. She was also active in the Office for Immigration and Refugee Settlement Services. Her contacts with many as a caseworker assistant were very valuable to her. As moderator of the Alumnae of St. Joseph Academy for many years she was able to keep in close touch with former students.
One great gift which Sister left to her religious community was her thesis when she received her degree from Xavier University in 1958. Entitled “The History of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Columbus, the First 50 years, 1855 to 1905” it is the definitive work on that chapter of Notre Dame in America. Its value was recognized not only by the Sisters, but in the Columbus Dispatch of March 5, 1967, Bill Carter in his column; “Columbus Vignettes” wrote expressing his appreciation for Sister’s work. “Sister Vincent Feth of the sisters of Notre Dame is the author of the well researched and beautifully written history of her order’s first 50 years in Columbus, 1855 to 1905. I am most grateful to her and to her work about the St. Joseph Academy, established a by the order in 1875.”
Anne, however, summed up her gift to us in the conclusion to her thesis. "Thus 50 years of the educational work of the Sisters developed into many faceted jewels whose brilliance reflected the efforts of some 170 women who were happy to remain anonymous as long as they did bring God's truth, beauty and goodness to part of the world.” In so many and very touching ways, Sister Anne Feth carried on that tradition which she had described so well.
The Sisters of Notre Dame embrace her family members, many friends and devoted students in their prayers, We will all miss her even as we rejoice with her going home to the good God she served so well.
Sister Louanna Orth, SNDdeN
January 12, 2013
January 02, 2013
January 17, 1943 — December 24, 2012
Janice Ann Bohn was born on January 17, 1943, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana to James H. Bohn and Nova Mae (nee Riggs) Bohn. She was baptized February 7, 1943, in Saint Patrick Church in Ft. Wayne and confirmed in Sacred Heart Church on March 10, 1952, also in Ft. Wayne. Janice attended St. Vivian elementary School in Cincinnati graduating from there in 1957. She graduated from Mount Notre Dame High School in Reading, Ohio in 1961.
It was her association with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur during her high school years which led her to enter their postulancy on September 8, 1961. On August 13, 1962, Janice became a novice and took Sister Mary James for her religious name until 1968, when she once again resumed her baptismal name. Her first vows were taken on August 13, 1964 and her perpetual vows on August 13, 1969.
Sister Mary James began a life of varied ministries for a period of 48 years. Her first ministry was at Our Lady of the Rosary School in Dayton Ohio, 1964 to 1965. While there she taught seventh graders and acted as catechist. From 1967 to 1971, Sister taught junior high students at St. Victor School in Calumet City, Illinois. She wrote that she was glad being involved in elementary education at St. Victor School, but already she felt that “our call involves education in a broader dimension especially with the poor."
During the summer of 1968, she had her first opportunity to test her perception of how she perceived her call as a Sister of Notre Dame. The summer she spent in Sonoyta, Mexico, gave her an experience about which she described as “one of the greatest educational experiences I have had”. From that time on, her remaining ministries mirrored her searching to find the answer she had posed to herself years before.
In 1971 until 1974, Sister Janice became involved in pastoral ministry and adult education in Igesia de la Sagrada Familia in Sonora, Mexico. The next 11 years her ministry did not change all that much as she worked twice in San Martin de Porres Parish in Phoenix and Blessed Sacrament Parish in Tolleson, Arizona.
Shortly after, another Hispanic ministry opened up for her when she was employed in the South Vicariate of the Phoenix diocese. Her interest in the Cursillo movement soon found her involved as Associate Spiritual Director at the Mount Claret Diocesan Cursillo Center also in Phoenix. Another opening occurred for her to serve as Pastoral Associate which involved Hispanic Ministry at Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa, Arizona, from 1987 to 1990.
In 1990 and until 1997, Janice was a member of the General Government Team of the Sisters of Notre Dame residing in Rome. During those years, Janice’s many varied services on the international level claimed her undivided attention. Surely there had to be some definite personal choices in where she served as liaison for the Congregation. Her visits took her to Brazil, Nicaragua, Peru, Japan and California. It was yet another immersion into some of the poorest ministries of Notre Dame. During those years, Sister continued her great interest in the Associate Movement and how it was becoming ever more important to Notre Dame. She became responsible for the Initial Formation of Associates and acted as their spiritual director. Sister Janice also served as facilitator for the 1992 general meeting of the International Superiors General, UISG.
The Sabbatical she pursued in Palo Alto, California in 1997 to 1998 prepared her for the last ministries in which she shared her expertise. The Associate Movement continued to attract her. She took the time to visit Peru and Nicaragua where she taught the newer members of the congregation. Janice also served as formation director.
Given the varied ministries in which Janice participated, one might wonder just how she was able to do so much so well. She earned her B.A. at the University of Dayton in 1967 and a Master of Arts from Boston College in 1985. During the previous years and those that followed she pursued many courses and workshops. The list is very extensive and indicates her wide interests. Included are many which provided her with such a comprehensive overview of the knowledge which ultimately prepared her to serve the poor of all ages in many ways. She studied to enable herself to do volunteer hospice counseling. She studied in order to become ever more effective as a counselor. She studied courses in Abnormal Psychology. She studied Popular Economics which seems like a strange topic, but probably was of help when she advised the poor.
Sister Janice grasped Saint Julie’s great challenge to her early Sisters that they were to be aware of what Julie had termed ‘Rapture in Action’. Because she did, Sister pursued those courses which fed her spiritual life. Many of the courses were in Scripture. Janice went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where she studied at the Center for Biblical Studies in Jerusalem. In spite of her busy days, Sister Janice became a woman of prayer. Her two great devotions included her love of Mary whose Sister she became, and her sense of the goodness of God.
Writing the Memorials of our Sisters at the time of their death is always a profound and bittersweet experience. Writing about Sister Janice who was also a student of mine at Mount Notre Dame High School was poignant as well. Even as a student it was impossible not to be aware of her enthusiasm for knowledge. Acknowledging her raised hand alerted one to the fact that at least two questions would follow.
During her stays after school I first learned of her devotion to Mary. Janice became a charter member of the Rosary Makers Club. She and her friends spent hours fashioning rosaries to send to the missions. As a teen ager she already was becoming familiar with the goodness of God and occasionally spoke of it.
It was much later during a Pilgrimage to Julie Land that we had some moments to share a mutual passion for Saint Julie and Notre Dame Institute History. That experience in visiting the places associated with Saint Julie deepened Janice’s deepest conviction about God’s goodness. In an undated publication entitled “God’s Goodness in Creation”, Sister Janice wrote:
How good! God IS!
God Is! This word speaks of the present moment, the eternal NOW. The great curve of space-time God brings to full circle in our present moment and in each NOW of human time, the revelation of Goodness. Every creature, every one of us, has a unique experience of living, individually and together, in the very center of God’s goodness.
In the beginning there was Good … And still is … And will be forever …
How good is the good God
As her Sisters of Notre Dame mourn Janice’s sudden leaving of us, we promise our prayers to Jane and Bob and their Families and Sister Janice’s many friends.
Sister Louanna Orth, SNDdeN
December 25, 2012
November 30, 2012
August 2, 1915 — November 27, 2012
Elizabeth Mary was born on August 2, 1915 in York County, Pennsylvania, to Francis and Rose nee Murray Walker. She was baptized on August 15, 1915. The family moved to Dayton Ohio when Elizabeth was just eight years old. She referred to herself as “an almost Daytonian.” She attended St. James Parish School and was confirmed there in November 1927.
Elizabeth enrolled in Julienne High School graduating from there on June 8, 1933. During her junior and senior years in high school she did secretarial work which in which she continued doing for two years until she entered religious life. At the same time she became involved in recreational guidance which she did not describe. Both these early experiences, however, began a lifelong interest of hers.
After graduation, Elizabeth was convinced that God was calling her to religious life. In fact she said God was hounding her. She had met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur both in grade school and at Julienne High School. She had been convinced that “something about the Sisters of Notre Dame attracted me at once, and that, I find, is simplicity. Another reason why I preferred Notre Dame was because it was a teaching order." Little did she realize that her teaching career would be a long and challenging one. When it came to an end, after 49 years, much of it spent in Dayton, she must have felt that she had become a real Daytonian!
After two years of waiting, which must have seemed very long to Elizabeth, she was finally able on February 2, 1934 to enter the postulancy of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Reading, Ohio. On August 13, 1934, Elizabeth entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Notre Dame and received for her religious name Sister Patricia Marie. In 1968 Sister began to use her baptismal name once again. On August 13, 1936 Sister Elizabeth professed her first vows and her perpetual vows on August 13, 1942.
Her first experience as a member of a teaching order began in 1937 and continued for 49 years. It included assignments from teaching first graders at St. Paul, 1937-1938 in Cincinnati and at Cardinal Pacelli from 1938-1947. In Dayton, from 1947-1954 Sister not only taught first, second, and third-graders but also was acting principal in the Country Day School at Villa Julienne. She continued teaching from 1954 to 1957 and at Julienne High School. From 1960-1963 Sister was a teacher and principal at Holy Trinity School. Her last ministry in Dayton elementary schools occurred from 1983-1986 at Holy Angels where she was a teaching principal once again.
Sister began yet another ministry at the University of Dayton which lasted for 20 years. It was there her educational vision was fully realized. Her role as assistant professor enabled Sister to develop her unique and Julie like vision for education.
Saint Julie had encouraged her early sisters to look upon their studies as so many nets to catch souls and take care to do them well. This Elizabeth did with great care and enthusiasm. She received her BA in Education from the Athenaeum of Ohio on June 12, 1946; a Masters of Education at Xavier University in Cincinnati on August 31, 1962 and finally her Doctorate of Philosophy from Ohio State University on August 30, 1974. The title of Sister’s dissertation summed up what she had already been doing and would continue to do. Its title was “Concentration in Curriculum and Instruction and Teacher Education.”
One of Saint Julie's broadest educational principles was her constant encouragement to her Sisters “Teach the children everything they needed for life. “ Elizabeth stated her vision of education in like terms. She wrote, “Education is such an important area to reach souls, individuals who need help in trying to develop their potential. The ideas of helping children discover their gifts from God, and to use them properly has been a desire deeply rooted in my life."
Saint Julie spent a great deal of time personally training her first Sister-teachers. Her constant reminder to them was to make them understand that “Education was the Greatest Work on Earth." One result of Elizabeth’s experiences was that she was able to “Teach teachers how to teach.” She soon gained a reputation among her students as being very helpful and supportive especially when they began their student teaching and beyond.
After 49 years of classroom ministry on many levels, Elizabeth devoted her skills: clerical, teaching and organizational to serving her community of the Sisters of Notre Dame. She was appointed as director for the community Juniorate. There she gave her best efforts to work with the younger members of the Sisters of Notre Dame. She was able to prepare the newer members for their ministry as teachers and in some cases in other ministries.
In 1987, Elizabeth moved to the Mount Notre Dame community in Reading where she directed yet another ministry very dear to her heart. She began what became the forerunner of an associate program. Women came to her did Bible studies and for theology courses which proved so valuable in their lives. This ministry continued for a number of years.
By 1998, sister was ready to move on to a more quiet and reflective lifestyle. She continued to direct the Saint Julie ministry of prayer. She found constant openings for ministerial services to her sisters. She soon acquired the title of volunteer par excellence for them. She served as receptionist for years both in the province offices and later in the newly built health center. Service to others had begun in 1937, when as a very young Sister; she spent her time in the summer cooking for the children in the free day care center in Cincinnati. She served as sacristan and as medical driver to take sisters to the doctors.
Elisabeth had loved to play tennis but got few opportunities later on. Instead she became an avid reader, a concertgoer and a traveller whenever she had the opportunity. One opportunity for travel occurred when Sister participated in a Pilgrimage to the early places of Saint Julie’s life in France and Belgium. It must have been the greatest joy of Elizabeth’s life. Sister seemed always to be the first one off of the bus, and the last to leave the site to board it.
Sister wrote a memory of how she first really learned of the goodness of God. It’s a Christmas story of an eight year old Elizabeth.
She recalled how her father had died in July. Her mother told her that she needed help when Christmas days arrived with the decoration. She was to take the place of her father. Surprised she was so happy to do so, especially when it came time to put the gifts around the tree after her younger sister and brother had gone to bed. Her joy was short lived since she found no gift with her name on it. Even on Christmas morning when relatives came to the home for the gift exchanges, there were still no gifts for Elizabeth. Her mother then told someone to go to another room for the last gift. It was carried out and placed in front of everyone. It was a small desk! Elizabeth had long wanted one. Everyone began to sing Merry Christmas in honor of her father who was with the good God. He had made the desk for Elizabeth! Elizabeth knew the goodness of God in her very young life!
Elizabeth went home to God so close to Christmas. We can only wonder what gifts the good God had in store for this devoted Sister of Notre Dame.
Even as we rejoice with Elizabeth, we shall miss her gracious and gentle presence among us. Our prayers are with her dear sister Mary, family members, students and colleagues.
Sister Louanna Orth, SNDdeN
November 27, 2012
November 30, 2012
October 25, 1914 — September 1, 2012
Sae Chin Therese was born on October 25, 1914 in Sayang, Hupeh, China, the daughter of Benedict and Agnes (nee Hsu) Peng. She was baptized on October 28, 1914 and confirmed on August 7, 1919 both in Sayang, Hupeh, China. Her First Holy Communion took place on December 25, 1920 in Ichang, China.
At the age of five, Therese became a boarder at the St. Mary Mission Elementary School on Hilltop in Sayang, Hupeh. Sister Pauline later shared how she studied French as a student there for 10 years. It was taught as the second language instead of English.
In April, 1931, she became a student at Good Counsel Girls’ Middle School in Wuchang, China known in Chinese as San Tao. It was there that she met the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur for the first time. In 1936, when Therese graduated in the first senior class of San Tao, she had already decided to enter with the sisters of Notre Dame.
When her granduncle Father Paul, probably the greatest influence in her life, learned of her decision to do so, he wrote encouraging her," to be a good religious, loyal to church, family and country."A prophetic wish and prayer to be sure!
On September 2, 1936, Therese left China for the United States. The CHINESE CERTIFICATE, an ID card of sorts, gave her permission to leave. The card listed the usual descriptive facts. Her height was 4 feet nine inches. The diminutive nineteen year old could not have envisioned how tall she would have to stand in the face of the challenges that she would meet throughout her life.
Therese arrived in Seattle, Oregon, on September 3, 1936 and after a long train ride reached Cincinnati, Ohio. Three days later on September 5, 1936, she became a postulant with the Sisters in Reading. On August 14, 1937, she received the habit. When she became a novice she took the name of Sister Agnes Pauline, but later changed her name to Sister Pauline. Her first vows were taken on August 13, 1939, at Mount Notre Dame in Reading, Ohio.
As Sister Pauline she professed her final vows in Wuchang, China on August 13, 1945. It must have been a bittersweet moment for her devoid as it was of the usual joy of such an event. Sister had returned to China where she had been teaching. The other seven sisters of Notre Dame had been sent to an internment camp in Japan, only she and Sister Marie St. Edward remained behind as their names were not on the list of the Japanese soldiers. Her vows were pronounced in the hospital chapel of the Sisters of Charity from Mount St. Joseph, Ohio, her only witness Sister Marie St. Edward.
Sister Pauline had previously interrupted her studies in 1939 when she returned to China. In 1949 at the time of her return to the states, she continued her studies at the Athenaeum of Ohio and graduated from there in June of 1953. Until 1967 in order to maintain her status as a" alien student", sister Pauline continued to study at the College of Belmont in California, Our Lady of Cincinnati and Notre Dame University in Indiana.
The courses she followed in all the schools were very focused on what would become her professional ministry for the rest of her life. Those she pursued included: ceramics; lettering; design and water color. But it was her concentration on those courses which dealt with Montessori training which became important to her, enabling her to become a very creative kindergarten teacher.
Sister Pauline’s professional years found her at The Summit, Cincinnati, 1959 – 1963; Most Holy Trinity, Phoenix, Arizona, 1963 – 1965 and Mount Notre Dame, Reading, Ohio, 1965 – 1977. During her years at Mount Notre Dame she and her sister, Sister Mary Paula Peng, a skilful carpenter, collaborated in creating all sorts of unique wooden materials for the Montessori program.
Sister Pauline for her part produced two volumes which she entitled" Mount Notre Dame Kindergarten in Action." She wrote them “to give a brief account of how the Sisters of Notre Dame endeavoured to apply the principles of the Montessori Method in their teaching." Sister dedicated the book to St. Julie Billiart using one of the Saint’s quotes describing her appreciation of teaching. To her young sisters she wrote, “When I see you occupied in teaching, you seem to me greater than all the potentates on Earth.”
Devotion to and trust in St. Julie was a thread of love woven throughout her life. It was the same devotion and trust she expressed when she and the two Sisters were left behind in China in 1943. They had to wonder what would happen to them. Would they remain in the convent? Who would know about their future and what was in store for him? They were sure of one thing however! Julie would have advised them “To go on as little blind women, their hand in the hand of the good God their Father."
In 2010, Sister Pauline retired at Mount Notre Dame, sort of. Her days were dedicated to a life of community service and a ministry of prayer. She became known as a fixer of small things. Her toolkit was among her small collection of personal memorabilia at the time of her death. But it was above all her ministry of prayer that most touched her Sisters. That prayer life could be traced in the small collection of statues, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Joseph, the Guardian Angel, and one of Jesus of Divine Mercy which were prominently displayed where she was able to see them.
Sister’s devotion to Mary was tender. For a number of years a Sister prepared many note books for her which were placed in the rear of the Chapel where anyone could write petitions they wished the Sisters to pray for. While the odd pages were meant for the petitions, the even numbered pages always contained some picture of Our Lady. She also began a Saturday Night Rosary club. Sisters who wished gathered at 6:45 to pray the rosary for the needs of the world. Her sisters were not surprised that Sister Pauline died peacefully in her sleep on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
To adequately sum up Sister Pauline's life of 98 years would require a book of its own. Sister Peggy Loftus, SNDdeN in her recent book “Call and Response: Sisters of Notre Dame in China, 1926 1951.” details not only the story of Notre Dame in China, but traces Sister Pauline's life in great detail, much of it obtained from personal interviews with Sister.
For all Sister accomplished in her long life, she left behind a very detailed description of what she wished for at the time of her death. She wanted “no memorial cards, no reflections, or any talk about me at all.” It would be OK if the archivist wanted to write a Memorial. And the archivist did.
Sister Pauline wanted no praise for what her presence among us had meant. Instead, she chose to tell us what all those who had been in her life meant to her in her own words.
With sincere gratitude and deep appreciation to ALL the Sisters past and present who have inspired, fostered and helped me to fulfil my religious life as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur.I wish also to thank especially EACH person - Priests, Sisters, Nurses and Friends who in any way helped me spiritually and physically to my final day, for all the services given to me in a most devoted, faithful and unselfish manner. I will continue to pray before the Throne of God, that He will bless and reward you abundantly now and forever in eternity. The Good God is indeed very good! I shall wait and welcome you when you will enter heaven where together with our holy Foundress, St. Julie, we will sing and praise and glorify our TRIUNE GOD for His infinite love and mercy for ever and ever.
All the Sisters extend their prayerful sympathy to the members of Sister Pauline’s Family especially to her dear sister Margaret.
Sister Louanna Orth, SNDdeN
November 30, 2012
February 1, 1918 — August 9, 2012
Patricia Mary was born on February 1, 1918 in Birmingham, Michigan, the daughter of William and Clara (nee Aren's) Guilfoyle. She was baptized at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Pontiac, Michigan, on March 17, 1918. Patricia was confirmed in Our Lady of Good Hope Church, in Miamisburg, Ohio, on June 5, 1931. She graduated from the parish school in June of 1932. Her high school years were spent at Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. Patricia's association with and admiration for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur led her to enter their postulancy in Reading Ohio, on August 2, 1936. When Patricia became a novice on January 30, 1937, she received for her religious name Sister Maura, and was known by that name for the rest of her 76 years in Notre Dame. Sister Maura's first profession occurred on January 25, 1939 and her final vows on August 13, 1944.
Sister Maura began teaching third-graders at Cardinal Pacelli School in Cincinnati from 1940 to 1942. From 1942 to 1947, she taught second, third and fourth graders and even kindergarten children in Columbus at St. Joseph Academy. During the years of 1958 to 1975, Sister was both principal and teacher of seventh and eighth graders at St. Stephen's school, Hamilton; principal and teacher of eighth graders at St. Susanna, Mason, 1962 to 1963; and principal of Ascension school in Dayton. At Ascension she was also the superior of the community. From 1969 to 1975, Sister Maura guided the merger of St. Stephen and Queen of Peace schools which became the Catholic Central community school in Hamilton.
During her career of 29 years of service to Catholic education as teacher, principal and superior of the sisters, Maura never wavered in her determination to be as prepared as she could for her ministry. She spent many years as a student herself. Sister obtained her BS in Education from the Athenaeum, and a Masters in Education from Xavier University. Sister also attended summer programs at Ohio State University in Columbus; The University of Dayton; Miami University, Ohio; Barat College, Lake Forest Illinois and St. Catherine College in Racine Wisconsin. Courses and workshops were an excellent mix of update in Theology and Biblical studies as well as current educational theories. But always the guiding principle for Maura’s teaching was the Charism of St. Julie. For Maura the challenge was to proclaim this Charism "How good is the good God" in many ways. And proclaim it she did!
A sabbatical year spent in the Credo Program held at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, was just what Sister Maura needed to catch her breath. That year of study enabled her to undertake two new challenging pastoral ministries. The first occurred at St. Victor's Parish in Calumet City, Illinois. It lasted for a decade and what Maura accomplished in those years was remarkable. An interesting coincidence occurred when Maura was leaving the parish. She was also celebrating her silver jubilee. It gave the parish an opportunity to say good bye with a wonderful celebration.
During her years at St. Victor's Maura had directed her attention to teaching and directing lay volunteers in the parish. So much of her time those years was spent with the laity that one might wonder if this interest came naturally to Maura. She may well have grown up with an appreciation of the role of the laity long before Vatican II. Her father had assisted Msgr.Thiel in founding the layman's retreat movement in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati many years before.
At the time of her departure from St. Victor's a very interesting evaluation of Maura’s ministry occurred in the parish bulletin entitled “From the Pastor's Desk”. Father Leo T. Mahon recalled how he and his assistant pastor had agreed to hire Sister for a position in the parish team sight unseen. From Gonzaga, Maura had written to him when she learned that the Sisters of Notre Dame were returning to the parish. She and her letter convinced them she would be the right and very valuable person to have on the parish team.
Father wrote. “It is now 10 years later. Did we make a mistake? All of us know the answer to that question. St.Victor has shone brightly in our time, a principal reason and shining star has been Sister Maura. Deeply spiritual, very friendly and extremely hard-working, Sister Maura has been the kind of person and nun who makes all of us proud to be Catholics. It would be nigh impossible to list all her accomplishments here but I shall endeavour to give a partial list.
She has directed the Jubilee weekends and given directed retreats. She has faithfully visited the sick both in hospitals and at home. Further, she has trained others for that ministry and our Eucharistic ministers as well. Her work for the poor has been nothing short of phenomenal. Who will ever know how many bills she has paid, how many clothes and food she has lovingly distributed? Her crowning achievement in the ministry to the needy has been the establishment of the Calumet City Resources.
Sister has worked for 10 years among us - so many hours that she has made a shambles out of the 40 - hour work week. Yet she has always been faithful to prayer, above all to the daily celebration of the Eucharist. No matter how busy she was Maura always had time to give all the rest of us a smile and an encouraging word."
Next Maura turned her attention to Hamilton where she went to work her unique practice of whole hearted immersion in ministry to the poor and needy just as she had given her same undivided attention while at St. Victor’s. She became actively involved in the Christ Renews the Parish. She served as spiritual director to many. She visited nursing homes. She spent time with those in the parish who were homebound. She directed retreats and evenings of reflection in the parish. She found time to produce a course of studies for the lay volunteers in the parish entitled “That Ministry of Care.” It was her way of enabling the parishioners to participate actively in the parish outreach programs and to do whatever they did effectively and with great care as they visited or served God’s poor. Maura had a special touch of caring and concern for the volunteers as she prepared them to replace her.
When Sister Therese Del Genio invited Maura to work with her as a volunteer at PADS (Public Action to Deliver Services), she accepted readily. She wanted to have one more chance to make a shambles of a 40 - hour work week. It proved to be a great challenge as the needs were so great. PADS had been founded to be of service to the poor and homeless on the Chicago streets. Maura became a special Sister volunteer in this ministry. She was given charge of three large rooms filled with clothing. She became responsible for organizing all the donations which came to pads. Before long the rooms looked more like a department store, with items of clothing neatly arranged according to size, color and the needs of clients.
This she did with great care and thoughtfulness for their needs. They were people of God to whom Maura wanted to show God’s goodness. How did she do it? Did they need a special something to go for a job interview? She found just the right thing. Did they need a new piece of clothing because something had worn-out? She always found other items of clothing from which they might choose. Did someone perhaps need a new coat to deal with Chicago winters? She found the warmest one on the racks. The challenges connected with this ministry introduced Maura herself to an even deeper realization God’s goodness in those who visited PADS.
In 1996, Maura went on a pilgrimage to Julie land. For her it must've been just the right moment in her life to get in touch with St. Julie in a very special way as she visited places which spoke to her of Julie. Since it occurred in her last hands-on ministry to the poor in PADS Chicago, the pilgrimage certainly gave her new insights into the Charism of St. Julie who told her first Sisters of Notre Dame they were to be for the poor only the poor. Sister continued her ministry for the next six years with new joy and gratitude. What made Maura’s ministries in which she had worked so hard was the fact that she did so while struggling for many years with brittle diabetes.
Maura pursued a number of hobbies with great interest. Sewing, water coloring, reading books whose titles all indicated her great interest in many genres gave her real joy. One hobby which became something of a trademark was the lovely table mats she created from greeting cards from all seasons and events. Her last one was a study of water scenes featuring a lighthouse, several smaller boats, and several imaginary sea animals. The day before her death, she expressed a desire to get back to cutting from cards just the right ones for new mats. After all the money which they earned was for the missions and God’s poor!
Sister Maura came to the Mount Notre Dame Health Center in 2002. The word retirement was not in her vocabulary. Her ministry would now be to her Sisters. She reached out with services to them in many ways. Did a sister need a letter written? Did they need to know the latest community news? Did they need some clothing repaired? Did they need a fourth player for a card game? Did a Sister need someone to watch the news with her? All of these kind sisterly acts Maura did over and over again.
During Maura’s retirement years at Mount Notre Dame, one of her favourite roles was to prepare special prayer services for community evening prayer. This flowed easily from a lifelong practice of preparing prayers and her spiritual reading in former ministries. They were used throughout the year for special liturgical feast days or some community event or even for a national holiday. November 2 seemed to be number one on Maura’s list however. She spent time to find different ways to arrange the pictures of the sisters who had died during the previous year. She always found the best frame for each one. She went out of her way to ask any of the sisters’ friends to read a short eulogy for each one and light a candle in the sister’s memory. Sister Maura and the prayer service she would have prepared will be missed this November 2. Someone else will have to remember Maura in a special way and be grateful for her presence among us for all those years.
Even as her sisters grieve for their loss of Sister Maura we offer our prayers to the members of her family and many friends who will know the same sorrow at losing her. But God will wipe away our tears. She is near the good God whom she served so well. Saint Julie must have greeted her already as one of her spiritual daughters. Is it permitted us to wonder just how Maura will make a shambles in an eternal forever?
Sister Louanna Orth, SNDdeN
August 9, 2012
We Will Always Remember
Each year on the Feast of All Souls, we remember the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who have gone home to God in the past year. To view complete obituaries, please click on the Sister's picture or name.
Memorial gifts may be made to The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 701 E. Columbia Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45215. To make an online memorial contribution, click here.
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