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In Memoriam Reflections

S. Mary Lou Knapke
“We’ve lost a devoted, unique SC. I’ve lost a dear, dear friend. She died like she lived – quietly and faithfully. I’ll miss you, dear Mary Lou.” ~ S. Karen Hawver

“Mary Lou, I will miss you and all your wonderful qualities. You inspired me with your spirituality, beautiful smile, your love for your truth, your welcoming spirit, generous heart, and open arms. Thank you for sharing your unpretentious self with us!” ~ S. Marie Pauline Skalski

“I am shocked and saddened about the death of Mary Lou. My most treasured memories of her include her poetic and articulate ways of posing a challenge or a question for us to ponder, often near the end of a Community meeting. Usually, her comments were brief and quite profound with a sense of inclusiveness. Mary Lou, I pray that you continue to be with us and help us walk the journey faithfully.” ~ S. Noreen Ellison

“I am shocked and very, very saddened to learn of Mary Lou’s death. We first met when she gave a week of service in Bedford to the former Vincentians by offering massage therapy during the last days of the merging process. She thought we were pretty stressed and anxious and could use her services. It was wonderful. I learned then that she had done this in New York City for firefighters and police officers during the 9/11 tragedy. We became friends. Over the years I thought of her as a mystical person who was comfortable being in another ‘zone’ but ever a dedicated Sister of Charity. She often shared with me her ideas of our mutual love for animals and nature, and people in general. We emailed almost daily. Recently, she brought her dog Bayley to meet me while I was at the Mount. We had a wonderful evening of discussion on spiritual matters, nature, the connection with animals, and the joy of life. Almost by premonition, she said she would make a list of Sisters who might take care of her cat and dog should she have to move to the Motherhouse. I agreed it needed to be done. I learned much from her. I will truly miss her. If anyone is reveling now in the overwhelming beautiful mystery of eternal life, it is Mary Lou.” ~ S. Mary Ann Flannery    

“I have for a long time thought of Mary Lou as a fellow spiritual journeyer. I appreciated her bringing forward a deep understanding of what was happening. I remember her talking about being part of ‘the organic flow.’ We would often remind each other of this. We called each other ‘sister,’ not an impersonal word. Rather, knowing that we truly are ‘sister’ to one another. During each of the Canonical Novitiate years, as we spent time with each of our Congregational virtues, I invited several Sisters to share some of their lived experience. Each time Mary Lou was part of our exploration of ‘remember that God is ever present.’ I knew Mary Lou had an appreciation of God’s presence in down-to-earth and real ways in daily life. Mary Lou’s sharings were gift and blessing to me. Mary Lou always acknowledged the various Novitiate updates I put out. For the Congregational retreat, Mary Lou, Anita Maroun, and I were teamed to prepare and lead two of the morning prayers. The mantra we have used, beginning with We enter into the mystery of this place ... emerged in our first joint phone conversation. We were all aware these words were ‘given’ to us. Then, Terry composed the music. Mary Lou had already invited me to work together on some of the Chapter prayer on the Liturgy committee.” ~ S. Donna Steffen

“I have admired and loved Mary Lou for many years because of an experience with her many years ago. When I returned from Italy and became principal by accident, I remembered little of anything I knew how to do as principal. However what I do remember was a special thing that I was gifted to do. Mary Lou had just escaped from the farm and came to St. Albert the Great to minister. I was privileged many times of Mary Lou coming to the office and sharing her experiences of that time in her life. I didn’t need to know anything about school administration just listen attentively to the pain, grief, creativity, joy and deep spirituality that Mary Lou shared about those times. Thanks for all the grace your life has shared with all of us and with me at St. Albert’s.” ~ S. Jean Miller

“Mary Lou was a woman of deep and constant prayer - especially for all the prayer requests that were posted on Charitynet. Every time I asked for prayers for my parents, my friends, or other members of my family, I could count on a response from her. I saved them and showed them to whomever I had asked prayers for. It meant so much to them.” ~ S. Pat Wittberg

“Mary Lou was one of the kindest people I know. Sixteen years ago, I barely knew Mary Lou. Yet she called me in the weeks after my brother and dad died (they died, suddenly, less than three weeks apart). I was touched that a Sister I hardly knew would call. But she did not stop at one phone call. She called again a few weeks later and then again. She called every few weeks for more than a year. And then monthly, for years. And I know that many others have similar stories of Mary Lou’s kindness and faithfulness as a friend and sister.” ~ S. Louise Lears

“I know Mary Lou best from the years of Book Club meetings, where we laughed and talked and shared deeply from the variety of books we read. It was her idea to start this club and I eagerly jumped on board. As the years went on, she would often remind us of the deep bonds we had created among us from all that we had shared. And indeed we did. This morning I came across one of the quotes from Annie Dillard, one of her favorite poets, and one I think we all came to love. I want to quote Annie because it speaks to me of Mary Lou: ‘This then is the extravagant landscape of the world, given, given with pizzazz, given in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.’ This was, I believe, how Mary Lou saw the world as well. Thank you, Mary Lou, for the insights you shared with all of us in the Charity community, and all the ways you showed us how to love.” ~ S. Nancy Bramlage

“Mary Lou was one of the few SCs I knew before entering. After college and before Peace Corps I taught at St. Jude School for a year. S. Jean Therese Durbin was also on staff and we became friends. Jean invited me to accompany her to St. Elizabeth Convent in Norwood for lunch one day where I first met Mary Lou. I still remember this absolutely vibrant woman recounting how she had received a speeding ticket the week before and the officer giving it to her was so nice that she wrote a letter to his commanding officer praising the officer. I remember thinking at the time, ‘Who writes a letter thanking someone for a speeding ticket?’ The answer, of course, is Mary Lou. Rest in peace, Mary Lou. Your infectious, vivacious personality will certainly be missed here.” ~ S. Caroljean Willie

“I first got to know Mary Lou when I was invited to come to a small group meeting by my Sister. The group was discussing, I think, ministry roles. They wanted my input as a lay woman. At the end of the meeting, the Associate program was brought up for discussion. Mary Lou asked if I wanted to become an Associate and as they say ‘the rest is history.’ I made my commitment as an Associate in October 2013 and became a member of their small group. Over the years I have been impressed by the insights that Mary Lou offered during our small group discussions and our various gatherings at large. Mary Lou lived a simple life, always concerned about the needs of others. How many lives she touched during her various ministries and daily encounters with others. I always enjoyed her stories, often funny encounters with people.” ~ Associate Carolyn Davis

“I will never forget the incredible expression of joy when I gave Mary Lou a painting of her dog, Charity. It only reflected the greatness and joy she brought to others.” ~ S. Shirley Le Blanc

“I remember years ago being worn out and having Mary Lou give me massages and how her gentle Spirit renewed me. I remember going to her office one dingy, winter day for I know not what reason. She had little bulbs and growing things on her window sill and lovey classical music playing softly. These brought my soul back to life. I remember being exhausted and having to move from Bethany House when Mary Lou arrived, she took a sheet and put it on the bed, took all my hanging clothes from the closet and wrapped them in the sheet, helping me to get my things moved when I had so little strength. I also remember her laugh and the many good times we had. When we were very young and things were tough in Community she said, ‘We have education coming out the kazoo, and no credibility.’ Mary Lou, your little boat has come safely to shore. I’m grateful to have been a sister sojourner and friend.” ~ S. Delia Sizler

“It’s been all too short a time that I’ve known you, but I appreciated the challenging articles you sent by Charitynet and our correspondence that sometimes ensued after your postings. In early September, you spoke so eloquently at the Fall Congregational Days in response to the workshop on lava ash and wild flowers on your concern for restoring peace, justice, civility and humility to society. Your intensity of thought and prayer was astounding. Please continue to pray for us. We need your fervent prayers now, more than ever!” ~ Nancy Bick Clark

“The world has lost a great compassionate woman of God. Mary Lou not only marched to the beat of a different drummer; she was in a completely different band. I always admired Mary Lou’s tremendous compassion, her deep listening, her gentle nature, and her fierce determination in working for justice. Mary Lou was a mystic, a poet, a woman who celebrated the incarnation of Christ in the sacredness of the ordinary. Most of all Mary Lou was a loyal friend and I give thanks to God for the gift of her life!” ~ Associate Karen Elliott, C.PP.S.

“In the Fall of 2003 Mary Lou sent out an email asking if any Sisters would be interested in reading and discussing Spiritual Questions of the 21st Century by Joan Chittister. Six of us responded. Little did we know that we would continue meeting for 15 years, choosing many more books to discuss, and getting to know one another in the process. The last book that Mary Lou chose was a book on poetry that was a challenge for most of us, but Mary Lou was amazing in guiding us through the meanings within the poems. Mary Lou, thank you for bringing us together, and for sharing your life with us. We will miss you!” ~ S. Joyce Richter

“We lost a wonderful, gifted Sister of Charity and I lost a dear close friend. It has given me joy to read all of the heartwarming remembrances and I can see her smiling in wonder of how much she was loved. We talked on the phone almost every day and I always felt better after our talks for she had a peaceful, loving way of being present. She is missed but I know she will be guiding all of us in the boat until each of us join her in heaven with our loving God.” ~ S. Marie Karen Sammons

“I will miss Mary Lou! I loved her unique perspective and prophetic way of calling us to remain centered and steadfast in our mission to be God’s compassionate love in a world drought with suffering. I will also miss her support and confidence in me and our newer members. Mary Lou called me at IJPC just a couple of weeks ago to tell me she had given my name and contact information to a woman she met whose son was just released from a six-year prison term for armed robbery. She was looking for help to make sure her son would be successful in making positive connections and finding a job that would utilize his artistic talents. Mary Lou said she knew that was not really what I do at IJPC, but she was sure I would be helpful. She said she couldn’t do much herself anymore and was resigned to be satisfied being a connector, and was turning it over to me. How could I refuse that! Thanks for your faith in us, Mary Lou!” ~ S. Andrea Koverman

“Mary Lou and I shared a unique bond – being the only two SCs from Mercer County, Ohio! She a Coldwater Cavalier, and I a Celina, Grand Lake St. Mary’s IC Spartan. A very ‘holy land’ for each of us with lots of good memories. I’ll miss sharing these memories - and many more within the SC Community with Mary Lou, but truly celebrate that she is now (no doubt) in fullness of peace!” ~ S. Patmarie Bernard

Shortly after 9-11 Mary Lou went with the Ohio Massage Therapy Association to Ground Zero to minister to first responders. Mary Lou, was so deeply touched by the experience that upon returning she spoke with our Leadership Team and formed the Sisters of Charity Crisis Response Initiative (CRI) Team. The Team’s first initiative was a trip during Holy Week of 2002 to
New York where massages, a listening heart, support, and Elizabeth Seton medals were given to the first responders. The responders put the medals in their pockets, rim of a hat or billfold, and would show us they kept them close, appreciating the prayers and support of the Sisters of Charity. I was privileged to be part of the CRI Team along with Sisters Martha Walsh,
Ramona Chisholm, Winnie Brubach, and four other massage therapists, Rena Slater, Marge Vehorn, Dianne Ward and Haleta Holmes. Mary Lou continued this ministry at various fire departments in Cincinnati, especially in Forest Park. Mary Lou’s example, gentleness, compassion, smiling eyes and prayerful concern were gifts to many people near and far. Rest in peace, Mary Lou, and continue to help us be a compassionate presence to others.” ~ S. Mary Fran Davisson
“I’ve been marveling at the variety of creative ways Mary Lou stayed in touch with so many people. Here’s another example: I have a collection of delicately crocheted snowflakes – Christmas gifts, each one unique, from Mary Lou over the years. Best of all, they’ll never melt, and, I hope, neither will my fond memories of our Band member. Thanks, Mary Lou, for the snowflakes and the love they represent.” ~ S. Joan Cook

“Mary Lou was a steady presence of love and delight in my life. May she delight in her Oneness in God. May we remember her with joy.” ~ S. Marie Tessmer
“I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3). These words are certainly appropriate as I reflect on the life of Mary Lou Knapke. We have been friends for 58 years and with my recent move to Cincinnati have been able to connect much more frequently. Mary Lou and I talked almost every day. We ‘solved all the world’s problems’ and then talked realistically about what we might do in our little corner of the world. Mary Lou had such a deep faith and care for all of God’s creation. Her gentle spirit touched countless lives! I will miss our frequent conversations, her insights and wisdom, her creativity, gentle spirit, and caring heart.” ~ S. Barbara Davis

“Such a good gift to so many of us Jesuits. I always felt on the same page with Mary Lou, or she was turning the page and calling me on. This is not the kind of person you ever think will suddenly just not be here.” ~ Richard Bollman, S.J. 

“My favorite memory with our Sister was an afternoon spent with Mary Lou and her dear friend Fr. George Traub, SJ. George had moved to a new room in the Jesuit residence at Xavier, and needed help unpacking his many books onto his shelves. Mary Lou called me, as a young able body, to help. It was a very Mary Lou thing to do - inviting and connecting. The time was so much more than physical labor. It was a time of rich storytelling with two people who shared equally colorful personalities. And the laborers were not without their pay - George treated Mary Lou and me to a nice dinner in exchange for our help. It’s a memory I will always cherish. The last time I talked to Mary Lou was two weeks ago when she called to tell me that George had died. It is comforting to know that George was there to welcome Mary Lou home. Rest in peace, dear Sister.” ~ S. Annie Klapheke

S. Elizabeth Cashman
“S. Elizabeth was Mary’s first ‘boss’ at The Mount. She was a gracious and wonderful woman who remained a dear friend to our family throughout the years. I would ask her frequently to tell me again the story about her trek up the hill from the river railroad depot where she left her family and began her journey as a Sister of Charity. And, how she cried her first night while looking out her window at the life she left behind. What courage she had as a young woman starting her long life of service and love. S. Elizabeth’s life attested the love of Christ.” ~ Chip Brigham

“I am proud to be an Elizabeth, but she was the more fitting bearer of that name. She helped ‘form’ me as a second-year Novice, and she has been my friend and role model since then: as members of the Farmhouse community, as colleagues at the College in so many roles, and mostly as a friend who shared every significant event in the life of my family—weddings, deaths and funerals, baptisms, graduations. I am the person I am today because of my family, Elizabeth, and other key Sisters of Charity.” ~ Buffy Barkley

“Elizabeth was principal of Holy Redeemer School in Kensington, Maryland, when I attended. She made a lasting impression on me. I loved her kindness, her words of wisdom, her fairness and her presence made me feel safe. The best lessons that carried me through life were learned from the Sisters of Charity. I am better for having known this wonderful woman.” ~ Colleen McCarty
“S. Elizabeth Cashman, as many of you know, was a woman of great intelligence, dignity and love. I consider it one of the privileges of my life to have known her. When she worked hard, I tried to keep the pace. She was a model who inspired me to be a better man. I will never forget the staring contest I had with this giant of a person over 32 years ago. I was thinking I would have to hypnotize myself to compete. Then I felt guilty about holding up all the Sisters watching. So I eased forward and kissed Elizabeth on the cheek which broke her stare, got protests of cheating from Elizabeth, and laughter from the Sisters. I am speechless to put into words what it meant to know a woman of such stature.” ~ Rick Sacksteder

“Elizabeth was my Novice Director in the early 1960s and I am so very grateful for her kindness, compassion, strength and love. She guided us through some very difficult times, walking a fine line between tradition and the changing Church, world, and community. But I am most grateful and indebted to her for what she did for me after my extremely painful and difficult first mission (right after Novitiate). When I returned to the Mount after that year, I was torn by my call and desire to be a Sister of Charity and the realization that if life on mission was what I had experienced during that year, I could not do that and would have to leave the Community. One morning Elizabeth slipped me a note in chapel: “ … I have an intuition (and I can usually trust that) that all is not well with you. I’ll be at (place and time), if you need to talk. I’m not pushing, just suggesting.” I still, of course, have that note. And Elizabeth did “put me back together” and remained a friend, model and mentor ever since.” ~ S. Annette Muckerheide

“Elizabeth had a big impact on Formation for religious life. She and Mary Ann Barnhorn, SNDdeN, had the vision for and set into motion an Intercommunity Novitiate program in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. This was at a time when religious communities were more aware of their differences than their commonalities. This was a significant endeavor. A form of this Novitiate program still exists today! Elizabeth also began the four-week National/International Preparation for Perpetual Vow program that eventually was housed in the college dorm during the summers. I still run into women religious who were participants in this program. Elizabeth also began some weekend programs for women religious in temporary profession.

“In a more personal way, when I was approved to profess Perpetual Vows, the then Provincial told me I was able to choose whoever I would like to receive my vows. I chose Elizabeth.
 I remember some of her words to me at that liturgy. Then, several years later, when I was ‘home’ in Cincinnati at Christmas during my second and last year of my study for an MA in Berkeley, I went to talk with Elizabeth about ministry possibilities in Cincinnati. Elizabeth steered me to my full-time parish Pastoral Associate ministry, where, for nine years, I learned so much, especially about who I was as minister. Elizabeth continued to ‘mentor’ me in simple ways as I moved into the retreat ministry at the Jesuit Spiritual Center doing spiritual direction and training spiritual directors. In the last years, Elizabeth shared some very significant insights with me during the time of ministering in Formation for the Congregation. Her personal support, quality of presence, and wisdom are gifts I will always be grateful for.” ~ S. Donna Steffen

“I met Elizabeth for the first time during my interview with the Mount in 2005. After going through the long interview process, I was brought to her office for the last interview about the mission of the University grounded in the spirit of the Sisters of Charity. I was tired. She looked at me and said: ‘You look tired!’ I said ‘yes.’ She said to me: ‘It will not take long.’ Then she began with the history of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and their Mission. My eyes were closing so she said, ‘Wake up!’ Little did I know that I was going to see her oftentimes and of course being a friend of S. Margaret McPeak, she was seen in the corridors of our department. S. Elizabeth, I will miss your smile and especially your motherly approach to things.” ~ Rev. John Amankwah

“What a valiant woman and friend! I had just made Final Vows and was sent to Kensington where S. John Christopher was superior and principal. I shared some part of her name. I was Jean Christopher. I was not courageous as she. After just four months there I was called to go immediately to the Mother General and fly there. I had never flown and was scared of flying and the Mother General. Elizabeth got me over that hump only to need to help me let go of fear of going to Rome. All the courage I have now I owe to a woman who could stand for women when needed, help others trust themselves and serve in loving ways. Thanks Elizabeth.” ~ S. Jean Miller

“Elizabeth was part of my life from the age of 6. She was principal of Holy Redeemer when I enrolled as first grader. From my vantage point at that time, she was as tall as the Washington Monument (only in black!) and she remained a tower of integrity, strength, wisdom, courage, commitment, and love throughout the years. I cannot imagine who I would be or where I would be today without her support, challenge, friendship, and care from the turbulence of my formation years through our years together as colleagues at the Mount. I cherish the memories of meals shared at the Farmhouse and at the Rapid Run townhouse. My ministries have taken me away from Cincinnati for 30 years and our visits have been far too infrequent but no matter how far apart, her welcome was always warm and gracious. I will never forget her great laugh and expressive eyes.” ~ S. Joanne Burrows

“Elizabeth is also responsible for my vocation. It is not for my entering, but for my staying. The first year in community was difficult and confusing. Elizabeth facilitated our local community in a group counseling session on a weekly basis. I also went to her for individual counseling. To a 23-year-old who was trying to figure out life, she was patient and wise. Regarding one of the crisis at that time, she said to me, “Can you understand that you are not going to understand?” In the years since then, that quote has applied to many things. Elizabeth, I have been blessed by your life. I thank you!” ~ S. Joyce Brehm  

“Elizabeth was my second-year Novice Director. She helped so many of us in our discernment after a tumultuous Canonical year. In later years, she always expressed interest in what I was doing and I felt strengthened by her support and affirmation. She was a true lady in every sense of the word. I am sure she is enjoying heaven with her delightful father (whom we got to meet) and her mother.” ~ S. Pat Wittberg

“Thirty years ago, when I first arrived at MSJU, I met S. Elizabeth and S. Margaret McPeak. They were among the first friends I made and both influential in my development as a teacher, scholar, and a person.” ~ Ronald F. White, Ph.D.

“I’ve been remembering that September morning in 1953, when our sixth grade class had the joy of welcoming the ‘new Sister,’ S. John Christopher, to Holy Redeemer School on her first day as our teacher. And today on Halloween I’m recalling the HRS Halloween parties, when we dressed as our patron saints for the vigil of All Saints Day. My saint was Elizabeth of Hungary -- Elizabeth Seton had not yet been declared Blessed -- because my middle name is Elizabeth. I love to remember how eagerly S. John Christopher coached each of us, to be sure we appreciated our patron saint’s special qualities as role models for us.  

“Today I’m appreciating Elizabeth’s special qualities: her loving graciousness to everyone, her enthusiastic interest in us students, and her eagerness that we all be our best selves. During my time as president I’ve been particularly grateful for her encouragement and affirmation, and as always, her eagerness for me to be my best self.” ~ S. Joan Elizabeth Cook

“My deepest sympathy to all of you in the loss of your beloved S. Elizabeth. I have so many fond memories of her. She was the Dean of Students at The Mount when I attended. She was one of the classiest women I’ve ever known. She started the football team at The Mount without knowing a thing about football! She contacted the coach and had a day-long classroom session to learn everything about the sport. Totally amazing. The Sisters of Charity can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! When I received her paperwork when she became a volunteer for Hospice of Cincinnati I called her and said, “Is this THE Elizabeth Cashman?!” I was so proud to have her as a volunteer and our friendship grew from there.” ~ Barbara Kitchen 

“I had the honor to get to know S. Elizabeth when I worked at Mount St. Joseph University as director of Service Learning. I also had the opportunity to talk with her when I saw her at different events at the Motherhouse. I respected her so much because of the love she showed especially for students and for everyone she met. I thought that she came across as quite reserved, and yet I couldn’t miss seeing the love that she had for others. I could see her face light up with joy that she felt when she saw others succeed. S. Elizabeth is another great Sister of Charity who will be missed.” ~ Dave Scharfenberger

“Two of the greatest growing years of my life was sharing the Novitiate in the late 1970s with my Sisters in Cincinnati where we experienced the beautiful love of S. Elizabeth’s directorship. I was deeply blessed knowing S. Elizabeth’s strong guidance and personal caring towards me as I struggled discerning my calling. Through this relationship I grew to understand the calling and the power of personal availability and kindness. That calling continues to challenge me today, while also bringing me peace as I seek to stay open to being, in small ways, the hands and heart of God wherever I am. Thank you Elizabeth!” ~ Sandra Stark

“The sadness on hearing the news of S. Elizabeth Cashman might be softened a little by the many happy memories of her being my sixth and eighth grade teacher at Holy Redeemer Grade School in Kensington, Maryland, as well as her being the second principal there for my three younger brothers and one sister (who has taught kindergarten there for the past 18 years). As one of the seven, I believe, founding Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, S. Elizabeth helped lay the foundation of our still-thriving school. My older grandson is currently a third-generation ‘Holy Redeemer boy,’ as well as were or are my son and daughter, a niece and many grandnephews and grandnieces. I told my children that my brothers and sister and I received the ‘education of royalty,’ and that they in turn were able to do so, also, thanks to the Sisters. Moreover, during the early years of the school, our ‘royal’ education was at ‘bargain basement’ tuition prices: $35 for the first child, $25 for the second child, and $15 for the third child. We memorized the questions and answers of the Baltimore Catechism, thanks to ‘Catechism Bees.’ We made the nine First Fridays many times over for which we received many graces, and continue to practice many years later. Also, we remember how when we returned from First Friday Mass to our classrooms, we had two glazed doughnuts waiting for us. Additionally, we mastered every English grammar rule and correct print and cursive writing, and punctuation, etc. Most of all, I remember that everything was fun and that we were happy and not forgotten. We were very grateful for S. Elizabeth’s returning to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary reunion and my 1956 class’s 50th anniversary reunion among other class reunions. Finally, it has been very special for our Holy Redeemer class of 1956 that our fellow classmate S. Joan Cook, who was also taught by S. Elizabeth has been and is now president of the order of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.” ~ Paula Sullivan O’Brien, HRS 1956

“For the gift that she was to me I give thanks. She showed me the road I was to travel and gave me the strength to know that I could walk the way. Rest in peace my friend and thank you.” ~ Rev. Maureen Doherty, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Band of 1964)

S. Marian Ruede
“Marian loved to play golf.” ~ S. Dorothy William Englert

“Many years ago, Marian was a fine and effective principal at St. Helen’s in Saginaw, Michigan. I visited there several times and Marian was a very welcoming and hospitable presence in the convent there. Years later she was a happy and generous pastoral minister in a parish in Eastern Tennessee and we SCs gathered there sometimes, always experiencing great hospitality! May Marian now experience the blessedness of her eternal home!” ~ S. Noreen Ellison

S. Jane Grosheider
“When I lived in Colorado Springs as the co-coordinator of the Justice and Peace Center, I had the chance to spend time with Jane. I knew her from the times we were on the Council together so I respected deeply her opinions, spirituality, etc. I was now interested in ‘knowing my place’ as environmentalists called it. I had lived in Trinidad, Colorado, earlier but was too young to realize I had so much to learn. I knew Jane was from Colorado so she could help me know Colorado in new ways. She said we could learn it together and suggested a historical novel by Margaret Coel on the Native American tribe that was nearly decimated in Colorado. We read, shared, and grieved the violence and loss of those early settlers. Later we visited their site. Whereas that didn’t teach me all the wonder there was to learn about Colorado, I got to know and love Jane in new ways. Thanks so much for all the quiet gifts you shared with me.” ~ S. Jean Miller

“What a presence S. Jane has been in the community of Colorado Springs. From the El Pomar Retreat Center, to the ministry at Penrose Hospital, to community leadership, she lent a quiet and holy presence I always appreciated. Heaven looks all the better for her arrival.” ~ Bishop Richard Hanifen

“S. Jane, then S. Mary Christopher, was my seventh and eighth grade teacher at St. Rose of Lima School in Denver from 1958-’60. She was an amazing teacher and she made sure that we all mastered the skills we needed for high school. Her faith brought us closer to God and each other. During those years, she was also the school principal and the convent superior. I will never forget her. She was a big influence in my desire to become a teacher.” ~ Sharon Schneible Newman

“S. Jane was one of the kindest and most caring women I have ever known. She treated me with compassion and forgiveness at a time when she must have felt betrayed by me. This Earth has lost a precious bit of stardust and we are all the lesser for her leaving us.” ~ Barbara A. Share

“I am very saddened by the news of S. Jane’s passing. She conducted the mission and ministry piece of my hospital orientation over 30 years ago, and I have never forgotten that experience! She really brought the mission to life for me then, part of what has kept me here for over 30 years. I then had the opportunity to work with her on several programs within our system, and enjoyed every experience. She truly met every stereotypical view I had of a nun, which was the best kind of experience for a non-Catholic whose daughter converted and entered religious life as well. The impact she made on me was truly life-changing and life-long. I will never forget her!” ~ Janet Reedy

S. Jane was a most effective chaplain at Penrose Hospital for 21 years. Her gentle, quiet, caring approach was outstanding in her ministry. Her very being created a spiritual presence. She was not only a co-worker but a very special friend.” ~ S. Lou Krippel

“Jane was one of the two most influential women in my life (the other was my mother). Jane was my second year novice director and what I learned from her that year has stayed with me my entire life. She taught us to be good critical thinkers and to synthesize ideas from an incredibly diverse array of sources. She drew lessons for us from poetry to the Wall Street Journal, from theologians to humorists. We kept in touch all these years and I am so grateful to have visited with her just last month. She meant the world to me.” ~ Mary Klecan

“Jane’s wisdom and compassion took root in me at a young age and grew and carried me through a lifetime. It continues to flow through me to those I encounter. I am ever grateful for all she gave to me and all with whom she crossed paths. She is a wonderful example of the ripple effect of loving kindness. Thank you, Jane.” ~ Associate Jackene Laverty

S. Terry Dery
“On Sept. 11 Terry’s body was no longer restricted by the confinement of a body in pain but was released to become more alive, as God always intended. Before Terry came to Mother Margaret Hall, she told Cory she wanted a room with a view. When she arrived after a difficult leave-taking from her Dayton home and was situated in room 711 she looked ahead and saw her view - her own face in the mirror opposite her bed. She, of course, laughed at the irony. Anyone who knows Terry knows humor was of high value for her. Terry used it often and well.” ~ S. Delia Sizler

“When I think of Terry, the mantra, ‘My soul is longing for you, my God,’ comes to mind. I was privileged to accompany Terry on a number of directed retreats. Her longing was to have a deeper relationship with God. It was her deep faith and trust in the Good Shepherd that sustained her in her pain and suffering, knowing that she was held tightly in his loving arms. She referred to herself as ‘Lil sheep.’  Now, ‘Lil Sheep,’ you are forever in the Shepherd’s arms, without pain and suffering and I rejoice with you, sure that the company of saints is enjoying your wonderful sense of humor. Rest in peace!” ~ S. Margaret Mach

“Terry became a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati when she transferred from a French Canadian Congregation to our Charity family many years ago. She became part of the Band of 1957 and usually joined us for our frequent five-year reunions. I am pleased that she enjoyed our 60th jubilee last August with her good, friend Cory Canon (SC Greensburg), and so many others. It was a type of reunion for her, I believe. Terry had a way of embracing what came next and seemed able to grow with each challenge. Terry, rest in peace dear ‘little’ Sister, and be an advocate for us as we move into the future. Thank you for your life and love among us.” ~ S. Noreen Ellison

S. Mary Corrine Schmidt
“I worked in the Maintenance Department at Dayton Good Samaritan Hospital and got to know Sister because she lived right behind the hospital. Her sidewalk led into our lot; she would call me if she needed anything and we, of course, always helped her! She was such a gracious and beautiful woman. She would in invite me over sometimes to sit and have lunch with her. I have great memories of our talks.” ~ Linda Caupp 
“Sister was a great friend and wonderful person. I worked with her at Dayton Good Samaritan Hospital and even after retiring we would share breakfast with Good Samaritan friends at a neighborhood restaurant. Sister always was upbeat and had a good sense of humor.” ~ Mary Schuman

“Her lunch, brought from home, always consisted of either a hot dog with hot salsa, carrots and celery cut up in a small dice, or a bag of microwave popcorn. I don’t think I ever remember her having anything else except during our carry-ins!

“During Christmas, she always decorated our bulletin board with an all-white background and a green construction paper Christmas tree and surrounded it with quotes and stories, how the Candy Cane came to be, different things like that. And she would have an ornament for every person in the department that hung there, and you were to take it home before you left for your time off before Christmas. She and Janet Rogers always put up a small table in our hallway and played Christmas music so the whole floor could hear; it was a wonderful time.” ~ Janet Roberts

“She was such a marvelous woman. She knew how to bring you up when you were feeling low. She loved her job and all her co-workers and at Christmas time she would have an ornament for all. She always kept my family in her prayers. Words can’t describe how I felt about her.” ~ Bobbie Morrison 

“Today we celebrate S. Mary Corrine Schmidt’s life. Corrine was dedicated to her ministry at Good Samaritan Hospital Dayton when I lived in Dayton in the 1970s. She extended hospitality to those of us in the area at big holy days by arranging dinner at the hospital. This meant a great deal for those who accepted the invitation. Corrine’s graciousness and kind welcome to me upon meeting always warmed my heart. I know the SC community on Sherwood Avenue still misses her though it’s long after her needing to move to Mother Margaret Hall. I pray that Corrine is now home in heaven where she, I’m sure, is welcoming other newcomers.” ~ S. Delia Sizler

“Corrine was a member of our Small Group after the merger. We were a group of about 14 if everyone came and we met in Columbus. She was a woman of gentle wisdom, the kind that comes from years of prayer and service. Every time I saw her after she was no longer part of the group, there was always an uplifting thought to share, even when health became tenuous.” ~ S. Regina Kusnir

S. Annina Morgan
“S. Annina would come to our house when our Spirituality Group would meet and sit in our big recliner. Generally she wore pink with a wonderful smile. Our golden retriever and doberman loved her and would climb into her lap. She would hold them and rock them with this ginormous smile on her face. She was the most kind and wisest woman I have met. I will miss her. I’m happy for her journey but I’ll miss her.” ~ Carol Wolf

“I met S. Annina 34 years ago when I returned to school at the Women’s Center at Mount St. Joseph College. It was the beginning of a beautiful, loving relationship. She was my teacher, mentor, co-student as we attended the Art of Spiritual Companionship classes together at the Jesuit Renewal Center, my spiritual director/mother, dearest friend, grandma figure to my six children and 11 grandchildren, and birthday buddy with my late son, Ray, sharing many March 9 celebrations together. I know she was many things to so many families like ours. She was a blessing, a wonderful woman who lived her life to the fullest. She will always be remembered and the extension of her love and goodness will forever be in our hearts. We will miss her so much. She made it to 102 and now her work is through. Rest in Peace, Annina.” ~ Associate Joanie Schaffer

“I was always amazed that no matter what was going on in Annina's life or how challenging her physical condition was, she always knew what was going on in the Community. I often got a response from her in regards to a post about an IJPC event, saying how she regretted not being able to be there in person but to know she was praying for us and about the issue at hand.

“But even more personally, I say Annina ‘saved my vocation’ at a particularly challenging time during Novitiate. I received an email summons from her that simply said, ‘I want to talk to you in person. Come see me.’ I thought, ‘What have I done now?’ as I made a bee-line for her room. Rather than having anything critical to say, she told me she knew what a difficult time I was having but not to give up. She said Elizabeth was bringing the kind of women the Community needs at this transitional time and I was one of them. Then she pointed to her statue of Elizabeth and said, ‘I'm always praying to her to take care of our girls!’ Somehow she knew exactly what I needed to hear; her words brought tears of gratitude and gave me the strength and courage I needed at that time. I can only imagine how many others she has helped like that! Keep praying for us, Annina!” ~ S. Andrea Koverman

“My best Annina story is secondhand but I have used it so often when talking with women in discernment and initial formation that it’s like I was there in person. Annina was living in the Novitiate community at Bayley House around 1980. She was a ‘wisdom figure’ even then! She came downstairs for a drink of water about midnight and the novices were having a hot discussion. They called out to Annina, ‘We are wondering when you finally get this celibacy thing figured out.’Annina was reported to have replied, ‘I think I’ll probably have it figured out about an hour after I’m dead.’ 

“Today after I received word of her passing I thought with a smile, ‘Well now you know, dear Annina!’ What a beautiful and healthy woman religious she was for us who knew her as a mentor and spiritual director! She was so positive and encouraging but she could also challenge. Though I will miss her, I am certain that she will continue to advocate for the future of our Charity family from her new vantage point of eternity. Pray for us, Annina!” ~ S. Janet Gildea

“Annina was so very kind and open about our merger. She always made it a point to go up to the former Vincentians and make us feel overwhelmingly welcome. Doing so, she and I discovered we were at Michigan State at the same time in the mid-1960s. I remember following two Sisters of Charity to Mass each morning at St. John’s Parish for the university, but we never spoke – we were deep in recollection and prayer – as some would think, but I recall this very fondly. I noticed that these two Sisters meditated before Mass and I was impressed with their fervor. I watched then from afar and I was very uplifted with their aura. I do not know who accompanied Annina and when I asked her recently, she could not remember. Who would have known that many years later I would become one of those Sisters in the hooded head dress that I followed to Mass before each day.” ~ S. Mary Ann Flannery

“Dear, sweet S. Annina was the closest I will ever get to God on this earth. She was so accepting and loving, but also not shy about pulling me up short when needed. It is such a blessing that God finally took her home which is what she has wanted for some time. It was such a blessing to just sit with her and hold her hand. It is in the small, quiet moments that God shines the brightest. She continued to teach us lessons even when she no longer spoke. Her imprint on the lives of countless people will endure forever.” ~ Associate Peg Thompson 

“My first visit to Southeast Alaska was with Sisters Mary Beth and Annina and Associate Linda Fry. Alaska was on Annina’s bucket list and then being able to meet and stay with our Associates in Juneau was the icing on the cake. Eileen Casey’s husband arranged a helicopter flight up to the Mendenhall Ice Field. I was Annina’s prudent companion for that. What an experience for both of us. We got to walk on the glacier and see the wild world with new eyes. Connie Trollan served glacier highballs ahead of time to prepare us. A glacier highball is Juneau water with a chunk of glacial ice in it. Annina, I know you wanted to move up there with me and your age prohibited you. I hope now you get to be wherever you want to be in Alaska, this time no age limitations. But I am grateful I was with you on your first visit.” ~ S. Delia Sizler

“I was on retreat and S. Annina happened to be my spiritual director. She helped me through a hard time. I am forever grateful.” ~ Marty Nuhn

S. Annina was my guiding light during the terrible time of my divorce. She gave me the support and wisdom to survive that difficult time. I will always remember her with very fond memories.” ~ Associate Joan Wiebell

“A few weeks before I entered the SCs, I was home from El Paso and took my mom to visit the Motherhouse. We were outside the chapel doors, looking at the banners and the EAS alcove, when the kindest woman happened to walk down the hall and greet us. I was thrilled when I realized it was Annina; although we’d never met, she had written to me several times during my discernment. And I’d heard wonderful stories about her, of course. Her eyes lit up, too, like she was just delighted to meet me in person. She exclaimed with her warm smile, ‘Tracy! I've been praying for you! Welcome to the Community.’ Then, she turned to my mom, embracing her tenderly, and said, ‘Thank you for your gift.’ We all had tears in our eyes. Annina, thank you for all your gifts to us! We’ll never forget you. We know you are praying for us and showing us the way.” ~ S. Tracy Kemme

“In the mid-1950s I had the good fortune to have Annina as my superior and principal in Chillicothe, Ohio. Her understanding and advice were invaluable for a new teacher. I really appreciated her wisdom. Fortunately, later in the 1970s, we lived together again at Delhi House. Annina was a blessing to all who knew her. Thank God for her long presence with us! Annina, enjoy your eternity of peace and joy with your God. Pray for us!” ~ S. Julie Deiters

“There are no words that can adequately express all that S. Annina has meant to me. I will forever treasure the friendship that we have shared and am grateful for her imprint on my heart. I can hear the Lord saying ‘Well done, good and faithful Annina’ as he welcomed you home. I can see you smiling at all the wonderful sights and sounds of heaven now that you can see and hear them clearly. Loving you and being loved by you in return has been one of my greatest joys and blessings. May you rest gently in the arms of our loving God.” ~ Associate Patrice Harty

S. Loretto Burke
“S. Loretto was a wonderful person to know! She shared deeply of her life and her great love for music. Here’s my story that involves Loretto, one I’ll always cherish. The year 1975 is approaching and the canonization of Elizabeth Seton scheduled for Sept. 14. I am teaching the chorus at Seton High School (Cincinnati). I expressed to my former college roommate, Pat Sand, that I wished we had something special to sing at Seton to commemorate this special occasion. Pat tells me of a musical work that her chorus performed at Marian High School when she was in chorus in the 1960s, a work which told the story of Elizabeth’s life. ‘Really?’ Yes, and her chorus teacher, S. Loretto Burke, wrote if herself. ‘No!’ I went to Loretto and asked about it. She was very modest and simple. Yes, she had this wonderful work. It was stashed away in her trunk and she’d be happy to share it with me. She helped me to duplicate the many handwritten pages which narrated Elizabeth’s life. There was a lot of variety including a song which began with “Who Shall Find a Valiant Women?” expressing Elizabeth’s love for nature, her happy married life, her devotion to Mary with a beautifully harmonized “Ave, and a concluding “Alleluia … O Blessed Eternity!” The work lasts about 20 minutes. I couldn’t wait to get back to school and share it with my choral classes that year. I asked Loretto to guest conduct and she agreed. I know what I called “The EAS Cantata” touched the hearts of the girls performing and our audience. We received an immediate standing ovation in the midst of Spring Concert that year. This work was also performed by our own Sisters at the College Chapel a couple of years later and also once more at Seton High School on a field trip to Washington, D.C.

“Thank you, Loretto, for sharing the beauty of your soul through music. And thank you for sharing yourself so simply and generously with me in the years I was privileged to know you at MMH. You are ‘A Valiant Woman’ and I know you enjoy with Elizabeth ‘O Blessed Eternity!’”  ~ S. Terry Thorman

“I have been visiting her the past several years and have really enjoyed spending time with her. She was always so happy to talk about all her memories of her years with our class. I thanked her often for sharing her incredible talent with us and helping us to strengthen our musical skills! I know that I attribute my love of music and theatrical performance to her support of me.” ~ Jackie Clark Messerschmidt

“I loved S. Loretto. She was such a talent and even wrote our new Marian alma mater and fight songs, I believe.” ~ Alice Beimesche Vockell

“I think about Sister Loretto often. She was an inspiration to all.” ~ Kathy Hennessy Ratliff 

“I had just started as a freshman at St. Mary High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1961 when I passed the open door to the gym where the orchestra was practicing. One of the older girls who knew I could read music grabbed me as I walked by and introduced me to S. Loretto. You couldn’t say ‘no’ to S. Loretto. First I played the drums, then the violin, then became first violin in the orchestra with S. Loretto teaching me. She also taught me piano. I went on to college, and continued to play violin each summer in the orchestra of a local Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Then I got married, had a daughter, and became too busy with my family and career in the pharmaceutical industry to continue to play. But the love of music instilled in me by S. Loretto was always there, and at age 65, I took up the piano again. That was six years ago, and I love playing now more than ever. Thank you, S. Loretto, for teaching me the importance of practice and enriching my life through the joy of music! My daughter plays piano, too, and I fully expect my 1-year-old twin granddaughters to start playing as soon as they are old enough.” ~ Catherine Kernen

“I will always consider it a blessing that I had S. Loretto for Glee Club in high school. We sang the Messiah, and her wonderful oratorio on the life of Mother Seton.  I can still sing parts of the Alleluia from that oratorio, and the haunting version of Psalm 23 that she wrote for it. Sometimes the Alleluia is a very welcome ‘earworm’ that fills my head for days - even today.” ~ S. Pat Wittberg

“Sister Loretto, as I still call her, led the orchestra and chorus while I was a student at Marian High School. I can easily picture her leading the orchestra, and swaying some with the music. We performed the whole Handel’s Messiah, including the spoken parts. I was in the orchestra for this. I was in the chorus for the performance of the Elizabeth Seton Cantata, which Loretto composed. Loretto was not shy about performing difficult pieces of music, and somehow conveyed to us that we could do well at this! I think the words ‘Valiant Woman’ that Loretto used to describe EAS, also describe herself. We have been gifted and blessed with Loretto’s presence in many ways.” ~ S. Donna Steffen

“Loretto was a happy, energetic neighbor in our apartment complex for years and a great companion at the College of Mount St. Joseph, but my most vivid memories are of her stories of her beautiful friendship with S. Blandina. Of all the four Sisters who were alive and had known Blandina and whose memories we were archiving, she was the one who knew Blandina best. As a postulant and novice she took care of her in the old Infirmary. Blandina gave her her book At the End of the Santa Fe Trail which Loretto hid under her cape to take back to the Novitiate to read. Blandina asked her to pray with, her which she did, kneeling at her bedside. Thankfully, we have these recollections in the Archives now, and they were preserved and sent to Rome. I can just imagine the reunion between these dear friends, both music teachers, enjoying the music of heaven.” ~ S. Victoria Marie Forde

“I am so sorry to hear of S. Loretto’s death. She was truly one of the most influential teachers in my high school career. I had her for both Orchestra and Acapella Choir. My thoughts and prayers are with her.” ~ Ann Hopkins Laake (Class of 1965)

“I have known S. Loretto since I was 14 years old and a freshman at Marian High School. She gave me piano lessons and taught me how to play the flute. To this day I play the flute with our parish music ministry and am very grateful to her for her patience so many years ago. In choir, I also sang Handel’s Messiah and the beautiful oratorio that she wrote about Elizabeth Seton. Those were difficult pieces, but Loretto challenged us to do our best and we met her expectations. In addition, Loretto was warm, welcoming, and willing to listen to us—qualities I didn’t fully appreciate until I became a teacher myself. There was always a group of students hanging out in the music room, laughing and enjoying Loretto. During my senior year, she got me ready for the Community, and when I decided to leave to pursue a different vocation she was very supportive. Despite her age and declining health, she always stayed interested in life and what was going on in the world. In one of our more recent visits, we talked about my family, former students that she had at Marian, and the very complex issue of immigration. Enjoy all the beautiful sights and sounds of heaven, my dear friend, now that you are home with your God whom you served so faithfully.” ~ Associate Patrice Harty

“Loretto was indeed an excellent musician as many have noted in their eulogies. I first met Loretto when we were both teaching in Chillicothe in the 1950s. In those days one of the high school teachers who was available at the time of Glee Club practice would be assigned to “monitor the students.” Usually, I dreaded this assignment, but for Loretto’s classes I looked forward to it. I remember especially a program that she wrote (like a patriotic oratorio) incorporating the history of the settlement of our country with appropriate songs for each area and time. All of this was masterfully woven together in a beautiful presentation. I am in awe of her talent in producing such a magnificent program. Of course all the student glee club members were thrilled to be part of this outstanding program. Thank you, Loretto, for sharing your talent so generously and graciously. May you continue to enrich and enjoy the heavenly choirs with your God.” ~ S. Julie Deiters