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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

S. Janice Ernst
“The students at St. Vincent Academy in Albuquerque wanted to start a Student Council. I contacted Janice; she was extremely helpful, patient with my many questions, and very generous with her time. We remained friends throughout her life. Rest in peace, Janice - and thank you!” ~ Associate Mary Ellen Williams

“Janice was one of my retreatants two years ago for a directed retreat. I was inspired by her deep spirituality and her sharing of the challenges and graces from her struggle with cancer. It was a privilege to spend this holy time with her. Janice, you are healed, rest in the arms of God.” ~ S. Margaret Mach

“In 2017 beginning in January through mid-May, Janice, along with S. Mary Barbara Philippart, participated in S. Judy Metz’s SC history sessions for Romina’s Canonical Novitiate every Thursday morning. Janice had a little routine, having her hair done and then coming to our session. Janice always came in very bright-eyed. She listened, read, and shared some of her own experiences which helped bring the history alive. Her love of the Community came through very clearly. She seemed to enjoy each class fully. I feel this was a special gift to have this time with Janice and to get to know her a bit more. Now she is with all the saints we spoke of during those sessions!” ~ S. Donna Steffen

“I played Pinochle with Janice on a regular basis for years. She has been an excellent card player. A few years ago after she had been diagnosed with cancer she said to me that when she died I was to let people know that she played the hand she was dealt. We played cards in a casual group that often ‘talked above board.’ When you were bidding and taking a big risk, you might say to your partner, ‘I’m going out on a limb here.’ Janice went out on many a limb. When she made the decision to go with hospice and move to Mother Margaret Hall, she said to me, ‘You know, there are no more limbs to take.’ Janice, there are no more limbs to take, but you have played well the hand you were dealt.

“Janice had a delightful sense of humor. She shared with us what she did to the staff and patients where she went for chemo. She wore a little jacket over her blouse. She approached the nurse first and said she was having problems with her belly button. The nurse took her back to a room. Janice open her jacket to reveal a button she was wearing that read, “BELLY.” They had a good laugh as did the patients and pharmacists and other staff. When Janice came home she shared the same thing with some of us in the dining room and our card group. A few weeks later for a special event, Leadership was serving ice cream at noon. I had wheeled up to a table. As I was being served, Janice came up next to me. Picture the look on the servers’ faces when I said to Janice, “Have you told them about your belly button?” Better yet, imagine their expressions as she replied, “No, I took it off the other day.” 

“Janice, I’ve been blessed with watching you play out a very difficult hand, and doing it with your sense of humor. You will be missed.” ~ S. Joyce Brehm

“I saw S. Janice not long ago. She reminded me she had lived for a time in Sayler Park. I told her we were becoming quite well known with the new Thai restaurant, Buddha Barn. Always up for an adventure, she suggested we make plans to go. Alas, we didn’t make it. She was always fun and engaging. I will miss her quick wry humor, twinkle in her eye, and her wide grin! Rest now Janice, you have been good and faithful in your service.” ~ Associate Vicki Welsh

“I lived with Janice my first years of teaching high school in Jackson, Michigan, and lived next to her after I moved to the Mount. My favorite memory is traveling with her to Fall Congregational Days in Pueblo, Colorado. We stayed in the cabins and spent several days sightseeing. We had lots of memories.” ~ S. Mary Alice Stein

“I met Janice when she was in the West. She was always at Fall Congregational Days, and her humor brightened each day. She had a sparkle in her eyes that seemed to come from deep in her soul. I found her to be very supportive of the Associates, always welcoming. She kept track of all the birthdays in the West, and sent cards to everyone. It was a joy to receive the card each year, knowing I had been thought about and included in prayers. Rest in peace, dear Janice, safe in God’s arms.” ~ Associate Lee Hemminger

“Several years back when I was working as a secretary at the Motherhouse, whenever S. Janice was in town, she would stop by the office and tell me how grateful she was for the ‘change of address’ labels she would receive for the SC Directory. A small but appreciated act of kindness.” ~ Associate Rita Brandewiede

“I am saddened by Janice’s death but the sadness is tempered by the knowledge that she is in the arms of our loving God. I have a long history with Janice. One experience that is standing out for me this morning is our trip to Mexico City when we celebrated our 50th anniversary. We learned to ride the crowded subway and went to the basilica more than once. Also I watched her climb to the top of one of the pyramids.” ~ S. Laetitia Slusser

“Janice and I lived together in Columbus at which time she worked with the Ohio Student Council Association and then taught at St. Charles High School. She loved her ministry and was highly regarded by her students. She blessed my life with great joy.” ~ S. Suzanne Donovan 

“The entire DePaul Cristo Rey community is very sad to say goodbye to our beloved S. Janice! From the moment S. Barbara Hagedorn tapped Janice upon her return to Cincinnati to get involved with our fledgling school, Janice bounced into this place with a joy, practicality and bag of tricks that were critical to our start-up years. She loved high school kids! (Hard to believe, but not everyone does.) She was entertained as well as inspired by them. She approached them with gentle firmness, a sense of humor and a stern warning when absolutely required. That’s how we knew she was the real-deal high school teacher that her experience indicated she would be. 

“Janice became a friend to our young teachers, the unofficial head of our school fan club, an athletic booster, a generous donor, one of our key storytellers, and director of hospitality when our students visited the Motherhouse. I personally cherished her support during the very challenging years of getting this school off the ground. I will value and thank God for her friendship for the rest of my life. Godspeed, Janice. We know you’re at peace.” ~ S. Jeanne Bessette, OSF

“I had the pleasure and blessing of sharing the ‘early years’ of DePaul Cristo Rey with S. Janice while she was a regular volunteer and I was a staff member there. She loved the DPCR students and community so fully!  

“She also apparently had a gift for organization. She shared with me once that while visiting relatives, she organized their kitchen while they were at work and made sure all the plastic storage containers had matching lids and were stacked neatly in the cabinet. Every time I look at my messy kitchen cabinet at home, I can’t help but think of S. Janice and smile. Rest in peace and joy, dear S. Janice!” ~ Amelia Riedel

“Janice was the person appointed to help S. Ruth Bockenstette and me get settled in the Motherhouse when we moved in a few months ago. She couldn’t have been nicer, warmly welcoming us and always being ready to answer questions, happily showing us the ins and outs of life in the area. (The Intercom article showed her in this role.) Even when she was getting ready for surgery, later postponed, and with the painful onset of further cancer, she still was kindly being sure we were doing all right. Since I lived next to her, I’m so grateful she let me do small things to help her as she got weaker--get her a popsicle, for example. We’ll remember with love her last visit to the area with us at a party. Though she could take only a few sips of broth, she tried to make us all comfortable with her usual cheerful presence.” ~ S. Victoria Marie Forde

“I want to express my love and fond memories of S. Janice Ernst. I was a fellow teacher at St. Charles Preparatory School in Columbus, Ohio, with Sister in the early 1980s. She was always a good fellow co-worker. I admired her dedication and hard work. As moderator of Student Council, she always worked very well with the young men entrusted to her guidance. I will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in her memory and for her eternal rest.” ~ Fr. William L. Arnold, pastor, Holy Spirit Parish, Columbus, Ohio  

S. Jeanine Marie Holthouse
“[Jeanine and I] were college students together (Mount St. Joseph) and went horseback riding one Saturday morning and out of the blue Jeanine told me that she was going to enter the Sisters of Charity after graduation. I was surprised and told her I believed I should enter also but did not want to. She responded quietly that I ought to: pray for answers and that God would hear me. Sixty some years later we both were still grateful.” ~ S. Paula Mary Russell

“Sister tutored my Native American son, Patrick Joseph Clifford, from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Thank you for building my child’s self-esteem! He was asked to play in the all-star football teams for all Native kids. He’s thrilled!” ~ Patrick and Melva Clifford

“I was honored to see Melva Clifford reach out to us and thank Jeanine for tutoring her son Patrick Clifford. Just as background, Patrick had not passed one math class in 10 years of schooling. I brought my godson Patrick here two summers ago and asked Jeanine to tutor him. Since then, he has had all A’s in math! Jeanine worked miracles with many kids who needed a caring but tough teacher. Thank you, Jeanine, for making a difference in the lives of many young people.” ~ S. Tricia Cruise

“I met S. Jeanine Marie my sophomore year at Elizabeth Seton High School in South Holland, Illinois. Our friendship grew and deepened for the past 46 years. The following expresses my feelings: Some people come into our lives and quietly go, others stay a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. God love her, I sure do!” ~ Chrissy Howlett

“Sister was my homeroom teacher in 1988. I wanted her so badly for a geometry teacher because everyone knew that she was ‘the best.’ I unfortunately did not have her but she was always available for tutor time during homeroom even though I was not one of her math students. I was blessed to be her coworker. As the Director of Student Activities, she and I worked closely on Celebrate Seton and the chance drive. We sure had fun! Sister worked closely with my dad ‘Mr. Becker.’ They designed many Celebrate Seton T-shirts over the years. He loved her as much as I did! Thank you Sister for all of the memories! I am a better person because of you!” ~ Shawna Becker McQuillan ‘90

“S. Jeanine Marie invited a group of us from St. Vincent Academy in Albuquerque to go horseback riding. This was a totally new experience for most of us. Even though we were wearing the long black habits with black lisle stockings, S. Frances Anna insisted that we had to also wear the muddied bluejeans that the hired hands had hanging up in the barn ‘for modesty’s sake.’ My horse decided to take off for an alfalfa field. He stopped abruptly and began feeding. Panicked, I was trying to get Jeanine’s attention but she thought I was waving and waved back. After what seemed like an eternity, the horse and I made it back to the barn. It was the first - and last - time I ever rode a horse. We often laughed about it in the years since. Jeanine, your sense of humor and sunny disposition will brighten even heaven!” ~ Associate Mary Ellen Williams

“I met Jeanine when I began my professional career as a first year teacher at Elizabeth Seton High School in South Holland, Illinois. She was the assistant principal and became both mentor and friend. Over the years, she became part of my family and I became part of her family. To my nieces, she was the best Girl Scout cookie customer! May she now enjoy her heavenly rest.” ~ S. Mary Catherine Faller

“Jeanine taught me Math and PE 57 years ago at Cathedral in Denver. We absolutely loved her. She was in full habit except for her tennis shoes when we would play basketball. I love working with numbers because of Jeanine. It was a blessing for me to spend time with her especially these last 10 days.” ~ S. Lynn Heper

“Jeanine was a joy to work with – she was fun to be around and her energy was contagious! Jeanine approached every day, every one of her classes, her extracurricular assignments with wholehearted enthusiasm. All of us at Seton were blessed to know her and to call her a friend.” ~ S. Brenda Busch

“I was so saddened to hear about S. Jeanine Marie. She was an amazing woman who made such an impact on my life, as well as on so many Seton Saints! I am praying for all of you and keeping you in my thoughts. I always loved when S. Jeanine Marie made her famous coffee cake. Please know how grateful and blessed I feel to have benefited from the Sisters of Charity. I have learned so much from all of you and continue to experience so many blessings being back at Seton. I think of you often and will say some extra prayers for Sister Jeanine Marie. I know she is smiling down on all of us.” ~ Kathy Allen Ciarla, Seton High School president

“S. Jeanine Marie and I were missioned to Elizabeth Seton High School, South Holland, Illinois, in 1969. Soon we were working on the master schedule together and becoming good friends. I visited Richmond, Indiana, with her, and she visited Dearborn, Michigan, with me. Then we both came to Seton Cincinnati and lived and taught there for many years. Her enthusiasm and support of staff and students was wonderful, admirable and generous. She did everything wholeheartedly and happily.” ~ S. Mary Dolores Schneider 

“I've heard somewhere that people don’t really remember what you say; they remember how you made them feel. My Aunt Jeanine connected with everyone by radiating a feeling onto them. For me, sometimes she made me feel important, while other times she made me feel that I was interesting, happy, funny, smart, exciting, kind, thoughtful, etc. But I don’t just remember how she made me feel. I clearly remember her telling me I was these things! To convey such feeling and tell those around her how special they are is transformative. I can only explain her capacity for this from her deep appreciation and love of people and their individuality. I was so fortunate to have grown up with my Aunt Jeanine; her effect on me is carried out in me and the other lives she influenced. She really believed in me and loved me for who I am. The world I know doesn’t have civility and kindness all the time, so being with Aunt Jeanine was a miracle. She had endless kindness and so deeply cared about people. She propped others up with a genuineness that I never expect to find again. I’ll carry her memory with me and strive to follow her example and appreciation for humanity. Her loss is becoming more and more unspeakable and painful as I realize what she did for me. Words can’t describe this kind of sadness. She’s no longer here anymore to tell me how to feel about the future and about myself. But I will always remember the ways she made me feel. I love you, Aunt Jeanine, birthday twin.” ~ Greg Norwood

“[Jeanine] taught math at my high school and was probably the reason I joined the Sisters of Charity. We continued to correspond over the years and I did get to visit with her when I was there for the 50th jubilee celebration in 2016. I passed on the notice to my classmates; she was loved and highly respected.” ~ Jeanne St. Germaine

“Sister Jeanine Marie was my favorite teacher and I loved her dearly. She was always so kind, gracious, comforting when needed, and very funny.” ~ Patricia Lloyd

“As I believe I have shared before, S. Jeanine Marie was a primary reason for me getting into college and becoming an engineer. Unbeknown to me at the time I am Dyslexic, which was well known to all of my high school teachers. I also greatly appreciated all of the nuns who read the instructions to the tests out loud beforehand. Because, I didn’t read anything of any length until I was a sophomore in college, when I had to read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to pass my only college undergraduate English class. One of the hardest things that I have ever done. S. Jeanine Marie taught me math, which was good enough to get me into Colorado State University and into the engineering program. I have decided that my philosophy of life is: to make the world a better place – just by being in it and then fixing it one project at a time. And she really made my world a better place.” ~ John Hinterreiter

S. Linda Chavez
“I call S. Linda my spiritual mother. I met her in 1959 when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree at St. Louis University and she was doing graduate work. She waltzed up to me in the library one day and said I looked just like someone she knew. We became best buddies when she found out I had a sewing machine and she wanted to mend Fr. Fulkerson’s cassock. We kept in touch at Christmas over the years but I didn’t see her for 10 or so years when she popped into San Francisco for a visit with me and my family in someone’s private plane wearing slacks and a poncho. Our friendship deepened after I became an empty nester. I was coming to Albuquerque to visit her. She found a retreat for me. I tried to come to Albuquerque once a year. I liked to say I was there for spiritual enrichment at a Richard Rohr conference and jewelry shopping. I have some wonderful southwestern jewelry. She always called me on my birthday and I mentioned that I was going to be Rectora of a weekend in about six weeks. She responded, ‘Do you want me to come?’ Of course I wanted her to come. It was a complete blessing. My husband died two days before the weekend. My assistant took over. Linda was there with wisdom and guidance and support for the team and I could focus on what I needed to do and not worry about the weekend. I haven’t seen her since she returned to Cincinnati. She was always there for me at times in my life when I most needed her. I will miss her but know she will be there to greet me when my time comes. Thank you, God, for the gift of S. Linda in my life.” ~ Mary Laflamme, Douglas, Arizona

“S. Linda told me that in Albuquerque she had attended an enneagram workshop at the Center for Action and Contemplation directed by Fr. Richard Rohr. He told her she was a flaming ‘2’ (helper, giver). When in Cincinnati she met Fr. Joe Bruening, our chaplain then; kindred spirits. She invited him to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. He and another priest stayed in the rectory, had great meals at Linda’s with the Sisters, toured the sights, went up in an air balloon at sunset and saw the Sandia Mountains in all their beauty. So glad she is in the presence of that glory now. Lord send us more 2's like Linda Chavez and let me there." ~ S. Grace Gratsch

“On a trip to visit Associates in Albuquerque years ago, S. Linda and Associate Lynnessa Gallagher decided that I should visit Santa Fe as well. That morning, Linda came out of her room sporting a beautiful black cowgirl hat! She looked so amazing! It is one of my fondest memories and makes me smile when I think of her wearing it. We had a wonderful day besides.” ~ Associate Mary Jo Mersmann

"I have passed this on to our son and daughter-in-law who remember S. Linda dearly. She was a mentor for me to be able to teach at St Pius in Albuquerque. She was a visionary.” ~ Ellen Cummings

“Among my treasure trove of memories of my dear friend is this one from my sister: When she and her husband were staying with Linda and had to catch an early morning flight they begged her not to get up for them. They would be fine, driving to the airport. Of course at 4 a.m. Linda had the table set and a delicious breakfast waiting for them! Is anyone surprised?” ~ S. Victoria Marie Forde

“My memory is that S. Linda was our Home Economics teacher in senior year and taught us about the Impressionists. I was decidedly more interested in that than sewing. Also when I was a senior, my dad was hospitalized. S. Linda gave up snacks as an offering for his health. That was amazing to me. May she rest in peace.” ~ Peg Hilvert

“Linda was my mentor and friend. Coming to ‘The West’ just days after my first profession of vows, Linda taught me all things New Mexican. She took me to my first mananitas and shared with me her love for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mostly she taught me radical hospitality. How many of us found a welcome with Linda in Albuquerque? When we discerned the move to El Paso she said it just about broke her heart but she encouraged us to find our way forward. “I miss my girls,” she would always say when I visited her in Mother Margaret. How she loved all of us! We loved her, too, and will remember our Linda whenever we smell green chiles roasting for it was she who taught us how to prepare and enjoy it! ~ S. Janet Gildea

S. Jane Vogt
“S. Jane was the first superior of our Huancane, Peru, missionary group. I was honored to have been among them. Jane was perfect for the position! She was competent, caring and a joy to live with. The Peruvians loved her as did we. Because we had this experience in common, there was always a special bond. I never think of those many years without including Jane.” ~ Associate Jeanne Yonan (formerly S. Jeanne Rumler)

“My favorite story from her oral history is her helping a man in our St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, being deported. He had all his savings from work with him, but these would be confiscated. So Jane and nurses wrapped the money in plastic and put them in a cast on his arm (or leg), so he would be able to take his earnings to his family in Mexico!” ~ S. Victoria Marie Forde

“My first meeting with S. Jane was when she was assigned to pick me up from the airport on one of my trips to the Mount. She was so kind and I was grateful for her giving her time. The delightful part of knowing her is that she always remembered me on subsequent visits. She always welcomed me back to the Mount each time. Her kindness and generosity will always be remembered.” ~ Associate Lee Hemminger 

“S. Jane was a very good and faithful friend. She called me every day just to talk. She was a talker. I will miss our conversations. I will miss her. It is a comfort to know that she is with her creator and with many Sisters of Charity and her family.” ~ S. Bernadette Marie Shumate 

S. Joan Crocker
“I first met S. Joan in 1968, when she was working at Marjorie Reed Mayo Daycare Center in Denver. It was during the time I was volunteering for Catholic Charities, as an outreach worker in the project area, under the supervision of S. Michael Mary Eagan. After finishing my home visits, each day I would check in at Marjorie Reed and got to know the Sisters from St Joseph’s. Joan was always the highlight of my day, with her gentle, kind way. She would welcome me with such love and hospitality it kept me coming back. She gave me a book from the library on Elizabeth Seton, and that was when I first came to love Elizabeth. We didn’t come back in contact until after I became an Associate and started going to the Sisters meetings. Then I was invited to the meetings in Colorado Springs, where she was missioned. It was a marvelous and pleasurable reunion for me, and her gentle kindness had not changed. Joan was a gift to my life and I’m so grateful she crossed my path.” ~ Associate Lee Hemminger

“I will always remember dear S. Joan as wise, playful, loving, fun. She was one of the original members of our SC Centering Prayer group out in Colorado in the 1970s. In 1974, all our SCs were asked to create small groups around an ‘affinity.’ We choose Centering Prayer. Indeed, we took care of all the SC Community ‘business’ on the agenda, but only after we prayed first. And then we always built in a party. I can picture Joan in God’s loving embrace now with Sisters Mary Jean, Michele (Mitch), Mary Bauer, Marie Re, Margaret Donnelly. Wow! What a wonderful celebration.” ~ S. Cathy Cahur

“With so many I enjoyed and was blessed with S. Joan’s beautiful smile and that twinkle in her eyes. Joan was a wood carver and created some lovely pieces. She always asked me how I was doing with my current wood sculpture; she’ll see the final piece from Heaven, and may she guide me along the way with it! Peace is yours now, dear Joan.” ~ S. Patmarie Bernard 

“I ministered with S. Joan at Penrose-St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs for several years. She was an outstanding person and a very effective chaplain. I’m so happy to have known and loved her! May she enjoy peace and happiness with God, her family and her Sisters!” ~ Sr. Lou Krippel, OSF

“I was so sad to learn of S. Joan’s passing! What a special lady. I had the privilege of taking Joan’s oral history during my Novitiate. As many others have said, she had that gentle smile and those twinkling eyes, and she was so easy to be with. When I would come into her room, her face would light up, and she’d say, ‘My friend!’ She was such a humble woman, never thinking she had much of interest to share with me. Of course, that was so far from the truth! Once she got comfortable with me and got going, she had the best stories. I loved hearing about her life, especially her years ministering in Africa. I found out through our conversations that Joan loved shrimp. One of my favorite memories was S. Nancy Bramlage and I taking Joan out to Frisch’s so that she could get some shrimp! She had a ball that day, and so did we.” ~ S. Tracy Kemme

“S. Joan was a dear friend. I met Joan in 1990, when she and Mary Jean moved from Grand Junction, Colorado, to Colorado Springs, and ultimately St. Joseph Southgate. We had many meals together, and she and my husband became fast friends, when they realized a common bond – they didn’t do dishes. Skip made buttons for them that said, ‘We don’t do dishes,’ and they both appeared at our meals together with their buttons. I was introduced to Centering Prayer by Sisters Joan and Mary Jean, and practice it today. Joan was one of my mentors as I discerned to become an Associate in Mission with the Sisters of Charity, and for that I am forever grateful. Joan’s humor was infectious, and the twinkle in her eye ever present. When I went to Cincinnati for the Advisory Committee meetings, I could depend on Joan being at the door of the Halloran Room after the meeting so we could visit, walk, or have dinner together, sometimes all three. I love you Joan, rest in peace ‘my dear Sister.’” ~ Associate Pat Grubelnik

“Aunt Jay was hands down, no contest, my favorite aunt. She always had a smile and a playful laugh. One of my many fond memories was when she offered to run to the grocery store for my mom. My younger sister and me (both elementary school age at the time) went along. We ran out to the car and before she got in, we turned the radio full blast, the windshield wipers and turn signals all in the ON position. She started the car and all hell broke loose. She jumped, but immediately starting laughing. She was such a kick and we knew, of course, she had to forgive us. She made each of her nieces and nephews feel special. She was so easy to talk to, she listened and always gave sage advice. I loved her so much and will always keep her fun spirit in my heart.” ~ Eileen McDowell Lyle, niece

S. Louise Akers
“Heaven has gained and we have lost an important soul. She lived a life of witness to God’s love, peace and justice from deep within. I am sure that God is happy with her and I am happy that she is now home with no more pain or suffering. May her soul rest in God’s arms as God welcomes her home.” ~ S. Victoria Anyanwu 

“May S. Louise, in her new life in God, continue to bless and inspire us and all the people of God as we work for just, inclusive relationships and strive to live the Gospel.” ~ S. Noreen Ellison

“Remembering S. Louise for me is to remember the movie Pink Smoke. It was such a powerful eye opener regarding church and an introduction to me of a very brave and committed woman. My thanks to you Louise for opening my mind and heart to many things I have learned and still ponder today. My admiration for how you lived and how you suffered and died will impact me for a time to come.” ~ Associate Kathy Vogelpohl

“S. Louise was such an important part of my early community life. Through some very rocky years, she was always there to support and challenge me. Our paths have not crossed much in recent years but she remains a treasure in my life. I wonder if I would still be here, 42 years later, without her encouragement and vision.” ~ S. Joanne Burrows

“It was a gift knowing S. Louise. She was always so welcoming, when I saw her, infrequently, and when I called her. Louise was always happy to talk with anyone, always had a smile to share, as well as her deep faith. Her positive attitude during her illness was truly an inspiration, as was her work for justice and inclusiveness.” ~ Associate Lee Hemminger

“S. Louise was a woman of courage, seeking to speak the Gospel’s truth no matter the cost. Her strength in the face of pain and loss are an example for us. We rely now on her watching over each of us. Peace at last!” ~ S. Carol Bauer

“As much as I was inspired by S. Louise’s stances on justice and peace, as much as I admired her keen intellect, as much as I respected her love of community and valuing of friends, I loved Louise for her heart, for her laugh, for her ability to be so genuinely present to whomever she was with. I am grateful to have lived with her at Corpus Christi in Dayton. Louise was teaching at St. Joseph High School there. We had a lot of fun together and created good memories.  May all of us here on earth continue to work toward the goals of peace and justice you believed in so wholeheartedly.” ~ S. Delia Sizler

“S. Louise, we shall miss you and all you taught us by your life and by your work for peace and justice and the rights of women. Your heart, your works and your passion have enriched our community and the world. We miss your blog, your spirit, your smile and your love. You abide in our hearts!” ~ S. Marie Pauline Skalski

“When the community decided to open an Office of Peace and Justice, I was asked to be part of the Interview Committee for the director. When we interviewed S. Louise, I asked how she would handle it if she offered programs and nobody attended. She looked at me with a smile and said, ‘Mary Jo, I am relentless!’ And anyone who knew her knows that was true! For five years, Louise and I worked closely together imagining, planning and giving Immersion Experiences in Cincinnati. We spent a week with participants visiting ministries in Cincinnati where Sisters and Associates ministered to those in need and in advocacy for justice and peace. While I was prepared to do mostly the same program each year, Louise always found ways to make it better – new places, new people, new ideas. And each year it did get better! Her network of colleagues was infinite and everyone was always willing to work with her. During all of those immersions, I was so amazed at her willingness to share deeply, to confront those who challenged, and to teach more about justice and peace than anyone I have ever known. She was never stumped by a question or disconcerted by a derogatory comment. She handled it all with grace and respect for each person. I value all that I learned during those experiences.” ~ Associate Mary Jo Mersmann

“The paradigm has shifted, the universe has shifted, all the women for whom S. Louise Akers worked so hard have a new companion in the world beyond! When the Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation was here at EarthConnection the office hummed all the time. The conversations were amazing as were the people who wandered in and out. Louise didn’t just talk about peace and justice, she lived it! Now she lives it again in another space and no time. I will most miss her laugh and her determination.” ~ S. Winnie Brubach

“As I write this message, I am at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana, preparing to serve as one of two secretaries for their Chapter which begins this evening. Word of S. Louise’s death has spread quickly through this house. Many of the Sisters here knew Louise. As they have come up to me to offer their condolences, I have heard their words of appreciation for Louise’s life: ‘faithful servant’; ‘woman of courage and wisdom’; ‘spirit-filled enthusiasm’; ‘passionate for what she believed.’ The sentiments were expressed numerous times. Their memories mingled with those of our SC family and of countless others, near and far, make a beautiful mosaic of ‘our’ Louise.” ~ S. Barbara Davis

“S. Louise brought many gifts, and for me was a dear friend. It has taken me a few days to sense what I want to say. One of Louise’s ongoing favorite songs was, ‘Holy Now’ by Peter Mayer. The refrain, ‘Everything is holy now!’ speaks of how Louise lived and understood life and God. God is not separate, but in everything, from justice concerns, particularly with women and racism, developing programs - and centers - to educate, to laughter, celebrating with friends, or whatever the moment presented. Louise and I were together in Nicaragua in February 1996 when John Paul II visited and created hardship for the people, apparently not understanding the situation. Most of the poor did not get to receive Eucharist at the Papal Mass, after the chaos that emerged. The next day we met with a group of women in a Barrio. Louise asked the one woman, ‘Will you leave the Church?’ The woman looked confused, and said, ‘How can I leave the Church, I AM the Church?’ She had her Vatican II documents with her! Louise often referred to this ‘lesson’ she received. Louise herself, of course, knew she is the Church. Yet, she understood her identity as Church in a new and deeper way from this woman’s comments. No matter what transpires, this identity is not changed.” ~ S. Donna Steffen

“It has taken me several days before I could even think of writing. S. Louise has been a dear friend for many years. She was always a strong voice challenging injustice. While in our peace and justice office she not only provided up-to-date and factual information about injustices in many areas, but also actively participated in actions to call out injustice and challenged us to do the same. She truly walked her talk. May we follow in her footsteps.” ~ S. Caroljean Willie

“S. Louise, was a great lady that lived her beliefs of helping others in spite of her own pain and was always smiling and happy doing the Lord’s work.” ~ S. Juanita Marie Gonzales

“I will remember Sister for all the smiles she gave through the pain. For the laughter we shared. For all the times she would try to encourage all of us around her when she was the one who needed it more. For her wisdom. For all the times she didn’t tell us how bad it was because she didn’t want to ruin our day too. For her lack of computer skills. For all the times she pushed her body to the limit so she could spend more time with her family and friends. For all the phone calls just to say hello. For the day that she hired me to work with her at OPJIC. For the privilege of being her friend. But now I feel the silence, her absence is everywhere, feeling the pain of missing someone so loved by many.” ~ Associate Sue DiTullio

“S. Louise Akers was a prayerful religious. She loved God and God’s people. She was a person of conscience. Her beautiful influence will be missed.” ~ S. Mary Dugan

“I lived with S. Louise for two years (1970-’72) while we both taught at St. Joseph Commercial High School in Dayton. I remember her smile, her funny stories, and her chocolate chip cookies! But underneath all that was her deep spirituality, which showed both in her work for social justice and, especially, in the beautiful way she has faced illness and death these past few years. She has truly been an inspiration!” ~ S. Pat Wittberg

“Though S. Louise entered the Community a few years behind me, I never really knew her well until serving on her OPJIC Board. At our quarterly Board meetings, her reports of the things she had done in just one quarter would fill an entire single-spaced, typewritten page! She was passionate about peace, justice, truth, and equality; she championed the marginalized, the under-appreciated, the poor, and the oppressed - living what she believed throughout her entire life. A deep and wonderful friendship developed over the years. When we drove up and roomed together during the Call to Action Convention in Milwaukee the year after she had done a brilliant job as the keynoter, it was like being with a rock star! We shared many meals together and spent hours planning, commiserating, sharing, and laughing ‘beyond our lips.’ When FutureChurch offered her the Louis Trivison Award, Louise was determined to go to Cleveland, despite her very advanced melanoma and other serious physical issues. Though the trip was not uneventful, she was an amazing trooper throughout it all. To wheel her into that gathering, to see people swarming around her, telling her how much she meant to them and how she had changed their lives was a deeply moving experience. One night, when I was sitting at her bedside as she was dying, an aide came into the dark room. I don’t think she saw me – but she quietly made the sign of the cross over Louise’s bed; she knew she was in the presence of holiness. St. Louise, advocate, mentor, beacon for justice, beloved of so many, pray for us.” ~ Associate Mary Ellen Williams   

“When S. Louise came to Cleveland for the FutureChurch Trivison Award, she exuded sheer joy. It was a confirmation of all she worked for over many years. As I think of her, I muse:
   L ouise ~longing for the Gospel of love
   O utspoken advocate for the unheard
   U ltimate believer in the possibilities of change
   I ntimately grounded in the Risen Christ
   S eeker of truth, despite the cost
   E xample of strength and courage to the end.”
~ S. Regina Kusnir

“As I shared at FutureChurch’s award ceremony for S. Louise this fall, I first got to know her a few years ago when she taught Tracy and I about Catholic Social Teachings and Vatican II documents as part of our canonical novitiate. You can imagine how amazing that was! During those intimate sessions of breaking open the foundational principles of our faith and exploring the movement of the Spirit leading us to become a more just, inclusive, and authentic Church, I fell deeply in love with it. Louise spoke with such passion and conviction - she simply set my heart on fire! After all the required studies were finished and we still had some weeks to go before our canonical year ended, we were asked if there was anything we hadn’t addressed that we wanted to know about. Having heard about Louise’s history with the bishop who silenced her, we asked if she would be willing to share that experience more fully, and offer us her advice should we ever find ourselves in a similar situation. She graciously agreed, and in doing so helped us understand what the vow of obedience is really all about. It is about listening intently to the voice of God within each of our hearts, being so deeply in communion with God that it is easily discerned, and so in love with God that we find it irresistible. That will not keep you out of trouble, as she painfully discovered. But, that never stopped Louise and it shouldn’t stop us. I was again very fortunate to get to have one last conversation with Louise the Friday before she died. I couldn’t help getting emotional thinking it was the last time I’d have such an opportunity. I apologized saying it is just so hard to be losing all the spunky nuns. She said, ‘Well, it’s a good thing you’re pretty spunky yourself then!’ She told me she wasn’t at all afraid and was just very ready to go. Her clear blues eyes seemed to be looking beyond what was visible to me and a smile spread across her face. She said that it was simply remarkable to know you are about to transition into a new way of being and to look at your life in its entirety. What a perfect description of Louise and the life she lived: simply remarkable. And I am just so grateful to have been a part of it.” ~ S. Andrea Koverman 

“[S. Louise Akers] was truly a Gospel woman! This is a brief historical note: one time Louise told me that her grandmother actively supported women’s issues, especially women’s right to vote! Louise’s passion for social justice was in her DNA! Louise, rest in peace knowing that your strong sense of social justice and your courage to personally lead the way, will encourage all of us to continue to follow. Rest in peace knowing that you have inspired many others.” ~ S. Julie Deiters

S. Edith Louise Merhar
“S. Edith Louise was the first mathematics supervisor and consultant for the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit. While she was there, she was instrumental in getting a grant for Shrine High School in Royal Oak to purchase a computer terminal. This was way back in 1970! A few math teachers were able to teach Basic Computer Language to some of the students who would store their data on long strips of punched paper. The school only had 1½ hours per week of computer connection time with Honeywell. During this time the students could run their paper tape to see if their computer program was correct. Thanks, Edith, for all that you did for the education of teachers and students in math and computers!” ~ S. Joyce Richter

“S. Edith Louise was very dear to our family. Our parents, Joe and Gloria Montoya, always spoke lovingly of her, remembering her in many stories – some of them very funny! We knew she had been an important and memorable figure in their high school years. She taught them high school English at St. Mary’s High School in Albuquerque in the early 1950s. As they told it: She was almost as young as they were and they were the first class she ever taught. She came to visit our family over the years, staying with us in our home, always maintaining their friendship. My favorite memory of her will always be visiting her at Mother Margaret Hall on a trip to the Motherhouse for S. Patmarie Bernard’s golden jubilee. She told me stories about my mother, remembering that she assigned mom the task of creating the May Altar for the classroom. Mom took the assignment very seriously and had designed the loveliest of May Altars. I treasure that conversation, especially now, as my mother passed in 2016. They are together again, with all the saints and angels. What a wonderful thought.” ~ Lynn Montoya Cheek

“I first met S. Edith Louise when I was a postulant in a physics class with all professed Sisters. Although we were not supposed to converse, Edith always had something to say. Her birthday occurred during the summer and she went around handing out birthday cards for us to send her. She loved life and lived it to the full.” ~ S. Dorothy William Englert

“The wife of Sister’s nephew was an administrative assistant for the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland. She had asked me to visit Sister whenever I came to Cincinnati. I did so fairly often. Every time I appeared, Sister would immediately start singing popular songs of the 1940s and 1950s, never missing a word through all the verses. She said it was the music she danced to as a young girl. The first couple years of my visits, she remembered her nephew but as time wore on, she did not remember him, nor did she remember my name – but she never missed a word singing her songs. I loved it.” ~ S. Mary Ann Flannery