Sister Lucille Neu, SNDdeN (formerly Anna Charles)

Sister Lucille Neu, SNDdeN (formerly Anna Charles)

December 28, 1917 – September 27, 2015

Sister Lucille Neu was born and raised in Holy Family Parish, Dayton, Ohio, the parish that her father’s family helped found. It was there that she came to know the values of hard work and faithful prayer. It was there that she came know and love Saint Julie Billiart, foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Lucille’s father died in 1929, leaving her mother with two teen-aged sons and 11 year old Lucille. Her mother and brothers worked hard to see the family through the depression. Lucille learned to work hard right along with them. With her mother as an example, Lucille grew into a strong, independent and capable woman.

The Sisters of Notre Dame were her teachers all the way through school, providing more strong and capable women that served as role models for Lucille. At Julienne High School there was one teacher on staff that Lucille took a particular interest in: Sister Julia Frances, her father’s sister. Lucille found in Sister Julia Frances a kindred soul. They both loved Saint Julie and wanted to pass their love of her on to others. It was natural for Lucille to follow in her aunt’s footsteps and enter with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur where Lucille was given the name Sister Anna Charles in honor of her parents.

A true daughter of Saint Julie Lucille was happiest when she was ministering to children from materially poor families. One of Lucille’s greatest gifts was her ability to focus on the individual. Like Saint Julie she looked at each child as a manifestation of God’s goodness and did her best to help each one develop their God-given gifts. Lucille also did her best to get families the help they needed to survive in difficult times. Lucille served as principal of a parish school for three years and was delighted to be missioned back to full time teaching.

During her years of active ministry Lucille taught every grade from first through eighth. In 1966 she was missioned to St. Augustine Parish School in Columbus, Ohio, where she spent the next 25 years teaching junior high. Lucille believed strongly that learning came alive through doing. So she started a student council to give her students hands on experience with the Robert’s Rules of parliamentary law and democratic principles. Her experience had taught her that the students themselves were the best problem solvers for issues of student morale and discipline. Was the problem tardiness? The students suggested making their classmates make up the time after school. Lucille got the faculty to try it, and the number of tardies dropped dramatically. Students suggested taking on the responsibility to give classmates demerits for not following the school dress code. Lucille backed them, and dress code violations diminished while student morale rose. Lucille constantly stressed with her students belief in God’s goodness, the importance of thoughtfulness towards others, pride in themselves and in the appearance of their surroundings. She also taught her students to reach out to those in need, especially to the sick and lonely. Lucille believed education should be challenging and, at the same time, exciting and enjoyable.

The words “rest” and “retirement” were not in Lucille’s vocabulary. Saturdays found her in the community laundry running the mangle. Her choice for her silver jubilee trip was a visit to Boys Town. After leaving St. Augustine, Lucille became a full-time substitute at Immaculate Conception in Dayton. If they didn’t need her to sub on a given day, she made herself useful in the school office. When ill health forced her to step back from full-time ministry, Lucille volunteered with the Foster-Grandparent program and gave 20 hours a week to kindergarten students providing individual tutoring sessions. Besides improving reading skills, these sessions provided the students with important one-on-one attention from an adult who cared deeply about them. Lucille also served as the moderator of the Julienne High School Alumnae Association for 12 years and kept up extensive correspondence with former students and co-workers. She named as a talent “keeping in touch with many friends of Notre Dame.” In 1998 she was awarded the Distinguished Alumnae Award by Chaminade-Julienne High School for her work in education. In 2005 Sister Lucille was recognized by the Foster-Grandparent program as the top volunteer in a four county area.

In community, as in the classroom, Lucille focused on the individual. While she enjoyed community celebrations, she built relationships through sharing with one Sister at a time. Known for her loyalty, independence and strong opinions, Lucille was also known as the person to turn to when there was a need for a listening ear or a prayer for someone was urgently needed.

A serious fall in 2006 abruptly ended Lucille’s ministry with children and brought her to the Mt. Notre Dame Health Center. In 2011 she wrote that she spent much time praying to “our good and loving God. I am still working with Him when I can.” She continued, “Now my prayer is mostly ‘Not my will but yours, please Lord… Not my will, but Yours and help me always thank Jesus.’” As she became more fragile, she continued to minister through time spent praying for those with whom she could no longer correspond and for all those in need.

Lucille loved her family and valued time spent with family members. When she returned to Dayton in 1991, she was able to spend time with her sister-in-law, Marie. She thoroughly enjoyed the time she and her nephew Charles spent working on genealogy and looked forward to his visits after she moved to Cincinnati. Her family, friends and Sisters will miss her even as we celebrate her long life of making known God’s goodness. We rejoice with her as she accepts the invitation of her good Jesus from Matthew 11:28: “Come to me…and I will give you rest.”

Bio Data

Born December 28, 1917 in Dayton, Ohio
Parents: Charles Neu (born in Dayton, Ohio) and Anna Zwiesler (born in Ironton, Ohio)
Siblings: George J. Neu and Joseph Charles Neu

Baptized on January 16, 1918 at Holy Family Catholic Church, Dayton, Ohio
Confirmed on November 13, 1927 at Holy Family Catholic Church, Dayton, Ohio

Entered August 2, 1936 at Mt. Notre Dame
First Profession: January 25, 1939
Final Profession: August 13, 1944

Holy Family Grade School, Dayton Ohio, 1932
Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio, 1936
Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio Dominican, Columbus Ohio, 1950
Masters of Science in Education & Guidance Counseling from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio 1969

Assignments Included:
1940-1941 St. Paul School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1941-1945 Holy Cross School, Columbus, Ohio
1945-1947 Immaculate Conception School, Dayton, Ohio
1947-1948 St. Augustine School, Columbus, Ohio
1948-1951 Holy Family School, Dayton Ohio
1951-1966 Holy Trinity School, Dayton, Ohio
1966-1991 St. Augustine School, Columbus, Ohio
1991-1993 Immaculate Conception, Dayton, Ohio
1993-2003 Foster Grandparent Program, Immaculate Conception School, Dayton, Ohio
2003-2006 Foster Grandparent Program, St. Helen School, Dayton Ohio
2006-2015 Ministry of Prayer, Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Reading Ohio

Died September 27, 2015 at Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio

Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
September 28, 2015