For family and friends unable to attend in-person funeral celebrations, FSPA offers live streaming. For anyone unable to join the live stream, an archive of our funeral celebrations is available here.
Sister Lydia Wendl, FSPA
Sister Lydia Wendl, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 101, died on Friday, January 27, 2023, at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the eighty-first year of her religious profession. Sister Lydia was born to John and Mary (Danzer) Wendl on January 11, 1922, in Willey, Iowa. At her baptism, she was named after her paternal aunt, Sister Lydia Wendl. Whenever anyone suggested that she would end up at the convent, she objected. She wanted to do things differently! At age six, Sister Lydia went to school with her two older sisters. When the weather was favorable, they walked three miles home, but always rode to school with their father or one of their neighbors. Since their grandparents lived near the school, the girls ate lunch with them. Sister Lydia preferred physical outdoor work, like herding cattle and pumping water, over housework.
After completing eighth grade, Sister Lydia wanted to attend high school. None of her other siblings had done so, but her parents allowed her to attend St. Angela’s Academy in Carroll, Iowa. She boarded with the sisters Monday through Friday and it was customary to make a retreat between the two semesters. During this time, the call to religious life was reawakened in her. Louise, her sister, spoke often about going to the convent and finally decided on the Benedictines in Missouri. How surprised, and disappointed, was Sister Lydia when Louise (Sister Joan Marie) entered FSPA in La Crosse. Eventually, Sister Lydia outgrew her “do things differently” attitude and two years later she, too, joined FSPA. Sister Lydia was received into the Novitiate on August 12, 1940, and was given her own name, Sister Lydia. She professed vows on August 12, 1942 and made final profession on August 9, 1948.
Sister Lydia earned a bachelor’s degree from Viterbo College (University) in education with double minors in philosophy and history. She taught primary and intermediate grades in parochial schools in Iowa (Milford, Coon Rapids, Richmond, Festina, West Point, Bellevue, Guttenberg, Willey, Dedham, Calmar, Mt. Carmel and West Bend) Washington (Spokane) and Wisconsin (Eau Galle and Halder) for 42 years. From 1984 to 1989 she ministered to the elderly in Las Vegas and was instrumental in developing Pastoral Care Outreach at Sunrise Hospital. Sister Lydia then served as Pastoral Care Minister at St. Anne’s Parish, also in Las Vegas, until she retired to St. Rose Convent in 2001. For six years she was the chapel tour guide coordinator at the convent. In 2013, she moved to Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse and in 2022 back to St. Rose Convent.
Community members, family and friends will remember the long and rich life of Sister Lydia, for her deep love of God and her faith, her loyal dedication to her work with little children and the elderly and her positive approach to life. Throughout her multiple ministries, she had a “can do” attitude. One of her favorite quotes was, “God does not ask us to be successful, but to be faithful.” And faithful, she was as she visited and brought communion to the sick and elderly—even organizing a potluck luncheon for seniors at her Las Vegas parish each month for 17 years.
Sister Patricia Tekippe, FSPA
Sister Patricia Tekippe, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, died on December 25, 2022 at 11:20 am. She was in the fifty-seventh year of her religious profession. Sister Patricia was born in Decorah, Iowa on March 22, 1944 to Paul and Seraphina (Timp) Tekippe. She was the eldest of six children. Growing up on the family farm, she enjoyed helping her mother with her five younger brothers. From her mother, she learned the importance of family as well as the artistry and necessities of cooking, cleaning, sewing and gardening. Her father taught her the importance of community involvement and environmental stewardship. Sister Patricia loved school; she excelled in her studies and was active in 4-H. After graduating from the eighth grade, Sister Patricia felt a deep call to become a sister and contacted the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who were the closest religious congregation to her home. Upon entering the FSPA community, she shared a religious vocation with an aunt and uncle who were both Benedictines. She completed high school at St. Mary’s Academy in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
Sister Patricia was received into the novitiate in 1963 and given the name, Sister Mary Owen. She later went back to her baptismal name. She professed her first vows as an FSPA on August 12, 1965. Sister Patricia began her ministry in the congregation as an elementary school teacher in Spokane, Washington (St. Ann, St. Augustine and St. Xavier Schools). She also taught in Blackfoot, Idaho and St. Paul, Iowa. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in education with a minor in biology from Viterbo College (University). During her time in Spokane, Sister Patricia was part of the Provisional Province, an experimental group within the congregation, for a few years.
After 13 years as a classroom teacher, Sister Patricia took courses at the Center for Pastoral Ministry in Kansas City and then moved into parish ministry in Davenport, Iowa, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Kansas City, Missouri. After earning a graduate degree in communications and journalism from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Sister Patricia served as Central Region secretary for six years in Hiawatha, Iowa. Her long-held desire to work with the disadvantaged then led to a position as a reading specialist in Maplewood, Minnesota and resource manager in Minneapolis. She served as a program assistant at Cabrini House in Minneapolis for 14 years. In 2003, Sister Patricia joined the FSPA membership team where she provided a listening ear to women discerning their future vocation. After suffering a mild stroke in 2014, she moved to St. Rose Convent.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Patricia as someone with a heart for the disadvantaged. Always interested in finding out what she could do to make life better for others, she was quick to recognize the goodness in others and reinforce it. Her work in Minneapolis was evidence of her compassionate and helpful nature. Diverse ministries serving the marginalized involved teaching English, providing transportation, helping with housing and offering support to those experiencing mental illness. At her golden jubilee in 2015, Sister Patricia noted that she had walked with more than 200 young women in her membership ministry. Because of her keen eye, one could also count on Sister Patricia to know the latest on political issues—and to encourage prayer and political action.
Sister Rita Jansen, FSPA
Sister Rita Jansen, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 94, died on Thursday, November 17, 2022 at Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the sixty-eighth year of her religious profession. Sister Rita was born on August 12, 1928 in Early, Iowa to Elizabeth (Faber) and Leo Jansen. When she was five, her family moved to another farm between Early and Schaller, Iowa. There she and her two brothers and three sisters grew up, helping with chores when they were not attending school at Sac County School. Sister Rita attended her freshman year at Sacred Heart School, then transferred to Early Consolidated School for the rest of her high school years.
After high school, she helped on the farm, as two of her brothers were in the service. Her family moved to a farm near Storm Lake, Iowa in 1947. Sister Rita then worked at Henry Field Store in Storm Lake as a salesperson and typist until 1952. The day after her 21st birthday she was in a serious car accident. This led her to think about what she would do with the rest of her life. She had been taught by sisters for two years, but in her earlier years was not attracted to their communities. She then visited St. Rose Convent, the motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA), in June of 1952—and immediately filled out the application. Sister Rita entered the FSPA community in September 1952. When she became a novice on August 12, 1953, she was given the name Sister Leocadia. She later went back to her baptismal name. Her first profession of vows was made on August 12, 1955.
With a bachelor’s degree in education from Viterbo College (University) and a master’s degree from Clark College in reading, Sister Rita was well-prepared for 39 years in the field of education. She taught primary grades in Wisconsin (Auburndale, Big River, Halder), Idaho (Blackfoot) and Iowa (Muscatine, Harper, Halbur, St. Lucas, Spencer, Bellevue, Mt. Carmel). While at Mt. Carmel, Sister Rita began thinking about ministering in a different environment. In 1986 she began teaching primary grades in Monroe, Louisiana. Two years later she moved to Camden, Mississippi, where she taught for six years. In 1994, she moved to Mobile, Alabama and ministered as a teacher’s aide and resource teacher for eight years before retiring to St. Rose Convent in 2002. She then moved to Villa St. Joseph in 2012.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Rita as always having a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone. Her personality radiated compassion. Every place she taught she loved her “little children,” especially teaching them to read. As a loyal companion to many, her interests focused on what was happening in other people’s lives, both family and community members. She loved spending time in the Adoration Chapel while at St. Rose Convent and often filled her retirement days making craft items for the gift shops at St. Rose and Villa St. Joseph.
Sister Michon Desmond, FSPA
Sister Michon Desmond, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 89, died on Thursday, November 3, 2022 at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the sixty-eighth year of her religious profession. Sister Michon was born to John W. and Vera (Duffy) Desmond on August 28, 1933, in Winona, Minnesota, the eldest of six children. Her father’s work, assistant sales manager for Auto-lite, led the family to move to La Crosse shortly after her birth. There she attended St. James School and Aquinas High School, both staffed by FSPA. After high school graduation, she felt a call to join the FSPA. Barbara Jane entered St. Rose Convent in the fall of 1951. On August 12, 1954, she made her first profession of vows as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration.
For almost 30 years she ministered in junior and senior high schools as a teacher and principal in Wisconsin, Washington, Guam and Montana. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history with minors in English and sociology from Viterbo College (University) in La Crosse and a master’s degree from St. Louis University in American history and Asian studies. In 1977, she received a Fulbright scholarship to India, an adventure, she said, that “enhanced my Asian Studies classes.” After a year’s internship in the Student Development Department at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Sister Michon was appointed Dean of Students at Viterbo College. She was instrumental in expanding student life programming since, at the time, the college was rapidly growing its enrollment of lay students.
In 1989, she was elected Regional Assistant for the FSPA Eastern Region (now Marywood Spirituality Center) in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin; four years later, she was elected Regional Leader. After a year’s sabbatical in 1998 at the Tau Center in Winona, Sister Michon moved to St. Rose Convent where she served as assistant administrator for the sisters. In 2007, she moved to Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, ministering as a volunteer to the community until 2019. At that time she retired to St. Rose Convent where her ministry was that of prayer and hospitality.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Michon for her loving presence. She was always ready to share something with whomever she met, including candy from the bag constantly over her arm. She was also a great entertainer, knowing how to make her audience laugh. She often talked about her wonderful five years in Guam, where she would say she learned more from her high school students than she probably taught them. In 1972, Sister Michon and her younger sister, Sister Rosemary, FSPA, spent a couple of weeks in England, Ireland and Scotland with their parents — reinforcing her Irish heritage. “It’s great to be Irish,” she would proudly proclaim.
Sister Rita Marie Bechel, FSPA
Sister Rita Marie Bechel, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 97, died Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-seventh year of her religious profession. Sister Rita Marie was born the eighth of 14 children to Mathias and Emma (Dettling) Bechel on March 6, 1925, on a farm near Plum City, Wisconsin. At her baptism, she was given the name Marie Magdalen. As a toddler, Marie would follow her mother around the kitchen and in the garden, picking berries, plums, grapes and whatever else was in season. She attended the newly erected St. John’s School. She and her older sisters walked to school and enjoyed the flowers and nature along the way.
Marie never knew two of her brothers: Raymond died of jaundice shortly after birth and Vernon was kicked by a horse when he was seven. Early in life, she had the desire to become a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration like her older sister, Sister Leone. On August 15, 1939, after graduating from eighth grade, she fulfilled that desire. Marie was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1943, and given the name Sister Rita Marie. She made her first profession of vows on August 12, 1945, and her final profession on August 5, 1951.
She was an elementary school teacher for the majority of her active religious life, teaching grades one through four. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Viterbo College (University) with a major in education and a minor in music. She also attended the Theological Institute at St. Norbert’s College over the course of several summers. She taught in Calmar, Mallard, St. Lucas and Balltown, Iowa and La Crosse from 1945 to 1962. Next, Sister Rita Marie taught at Holy Family School in Ashland, Wisconsin (1962-1966), then St. Henry School in Eau Galle, Wisconsin (1966-1969). Her teaching ministry continued at St. Paul School in Mosinee, Wisconsin (1969-1977) and St. John the Baptist School in Plum City, Wisconsin (1977-1982). After a one-year stint in the St. Rose Convent cafeteria, Sister Rita Marie moved to Villa St. Joseph where she assisted in many community service roles, such as receptionist, sacristan and organist. She continued there as a sacristan until 2015 when her health declined. Her final days of retirement were at Villa St. Joseph.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Rita Marie as a naturally curious person who asked a lot of questions and read many books on a variety of topics. She had a hunger for knowledge. Sister Rita Marie developed her creative talents by crocheting, embroidering, cross stitching, creweling and recycling greeting cards. She enjoyed the Bright Star theatre and La Crosse Symphony performances at Viterbo University. Until 2010, Sister Rita Marie had neither taken a pill, no been hospitalized. She attributed her good health to the daily walks/runs to the hermitages located on the Villa property. Playing cards and putting jigsaw puzzles together also gave her great pleasure. Her family was very important to her. She could name everyone in her family down to the third and fourth generations.
Sister Margaret Schmolke, FSPA
Sister Margaret Schmolke, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 96, died on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-fourth year of her religious profession. Born on November 26, 1925, in Buckman, Minnesota, Sister Margaret was the seventh of 12 children of John and Pauline (Beka) Schmolke. She was eager to go to school with her sisters. At St. Michael’s School in Buckman, Minnesota, they had Benedictines of St. Joseph, Minnesota, as their teachers. After eighth grade, Sister Margaret remained home helping her mother who was ill at the time. Sister Margaret and her sister, Helen, then began at St. Francis High School in Little Falls, Minnesota where the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls staffed the school.
As boarders, Sister Margaret and Helen got home one weekend a month. Sister Margaret worked at the hospital in Little Falls on weekends and during the summer. She liked the work and desired to become a nurse. By her junior year, she had decided to enter religious life. Her older brother, Father Joel, OFM, and her sibling, Sister Thomasine, OSF, were great influences in her choice. However, Sister Margaret did not enter the Benedictines nor the Little Falls Franciscans. To the surprise of her family, she chose the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, being drawn to the ministry of Perpetual Adoration. Sister Margaret was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1946, and was given the name Sister Mary Joel. Later she returned to her baptismal name. She made her first profession of vows on August 12, 1948.
Entering the field of education, Sister Margaret served as a primary teacher for 27 years in schools in Iowa (Carroll [St. Joseph] and Roselle) and Wisconsin (Greenwood, Marathon, Dodgeville, Halder, La Crosse [Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament], Odanah, Big River and Menomonie). After leaving the classroom in 1976, she was on staff at Northern Province House in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin with responsibility for food service and maintenance. For the next 21 years, from 1981 to 2002, Sister Margaret again used her teaching skills as a religious education teacher, tutor and parish visitor at St. Mary’s in Hurley, Wisconsin. Before retiring to St. Rose Convent in 2006, Sister Margaret also volunteered at Immaculate Conception School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In 2018, with her health failing, she moved to Villa St. Joseph.
Community members, family and friends will remember Sister Margaret as a fun-loving person, with exceptional graciousness. She was always ready to enter into conversation and had great stories to share. She kept up on the news of the world and the Church. She was very fond of Pope Francis and talked often about his vision and teaching. She was especially taken by his focus on care for creation; just last year she noted that she had reread and meditated on Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, several times. She loved her family and especially enjoyed visiting them and receiving visits from them.
Sister Evelyn Schlosser, FSPA
Sister Evelyn Schlosser, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 88, died on October 7, 2022 at Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the sixty-first year of her religious profession. Sister Evelyn was born on January 12, 1934, the seventh of eight children to Harold and Eva (Hamses) Schlosser in Yakima, Washington. She described her family as rich “when it comes to happiness and love.” She began school at St. Joseph’s Academy in Yakima, and completed her elementary education at St. Aloysius School after her family moved to Spokane, Washington. Her high school days were spent at Marycliff High School where she took clerical courses, “so that she could get an office job right after graduation.”
And that she did; she worked for five years for a local newspaper (The Spokesman Review), advancing to an assistant bookkeeper. She then moved to Boise, Idaho where she did bookkeeping for a construction company. During that time, her roommate responded to a call to religious life. This gave Sister Evelyn time to think if God might be calling her. She was living a good life, enjoying friends, family, nice clothes and her job, but was feeling an attraction to something else. On June 9, 1958, God did give her a call. After she initially applied to the Maryknoll Sisters, she subsequently met Mother Joan Kramer, FSPA, on a visit to St. Rose Convent to see her sister, Sister Jean (Carmelita), FSPA. Mother Joan invited her to join the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Sister Evelyn entered St. Rose Convent in the fall of 1958. She was received into the novitiate in 1959 and given the name, Sister Mary Leo (later going back to her baptismal name). On August 12, 1961, she made her first profession of vows.
Possessing excellent office skills, she was tapped for clerical work at Viterbo College (University) from 1962 to 1966. During that time, she took additional bookkeeping courses at Indiana University. In 1966, Sister Evelyn became a bookkeeper at St. Mary Hospital in Sparta, Wisconsin until 1973, when she became a bookkeeper at St. Anthony Hospital in Carroll, Iowa. Viterbo College called her back in 1974, again as a bookkeeper. From there, Sister Evelyn ministered in the office at Marycliff High School from 1977 to 1979 before being appointed regional treasurer for the Western Region of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration until 1989. Sister Evelyn also served as a part-time tax accountant for a local Spokane firm. In 1989, with the close of FSPA regions, Sister Evelyn was called to serve as assistant treasurer for the FSPA congregation in La Crosse. In 2000, another transition occurred in her life when she moved to volunteer in the finance office and kitchen at St. Rose Convent. In 2016, Sister Evelyn officially retired to a ministry of prayer and hospitality in La Crosse. In 2022, with her health failing, she moved to Villa St. Joseph.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Evelyn as a lively, generous person. She had a quick wit and always had a “come back” for everything. She thrived on helping people and especially loved her adoration hours. Her nieces and nephews were a delight to her. Her passion for animals was evident to everyone, with her constantly feeding the birds, rabbits and squirrels around the motherhouse. She specifically enjoyed “cat sitting” while family and friends would go on vacation.
Sister Geralyn Misura, FSPA
Sister Geralyn Misura, 88, died Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She served for 67 years as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. Mary Jane was born to Raymond and Stella (Bien) Misura on Dec. 16, 1933, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Her father was a cook by trade but later worked as a dock loader. Her mother worked as a stenographer. Mary Jane, her sister, Monica, and two brothers, Myllin and Mark, grew up in Eau Claire. She attended Sacred Heart Grade School there, taught by the FSPA. She then attended St. Patrick’s High School, run by the Benedictine sisters. By the time she graduated, it had become Regis High School. In her early years, Mary Jane began knitting and crocheting, a hobby she carried into her adult life.
In 1953 she was received into the FSPA novitiate and given the name Sister Geralyn. She professed first vows on Aug. 12, 1955. Sister Geralyn earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Viterbo College with a minor in music. She served as a primary school teacher for eight years in Iowa (Mallard and Dedham) and Wisconsin (St. Joseph Ridge, Eau Galle, Ashland and Edgar). In 1977 her ministry took her to St. Joseph School in Prescott, Wisconsin, as a first-grade teacher, choir director and organist. In 1981 Sister Geralyn became principal of the and later returned to teaching first grade. In 2001 Sister Geralyn retired from teaching but remained in the parish as sacristan and organist, roles she continued until she retired to Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 2017. From 2010 to 2017, she also served as a volunteer organist at Regina Hospital in Hastings, Minnesota.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Geralyn as a kind, quiet person who always loved children, music and the parishioners at St. Joseph. She was a “people person,” warm and giving of her time and helpful to anyone in need. As one parishioner said, “We have been blessed to have Sister Geralyn in our parish.” Sister Geralyn had a great devotion to Capuchin Father Solanus Casey from Prescott, whose cause is in consideration for canonization. She helped found a Father Solanus Prayer Circle and had organized several pilgrimages to Detroit, Michigan, where Father Solanus spent most of his religious life. She was privileged to attend Father Solanus’ beautification ceremony in Detroit.
Sister Anita Beskar, FSPA
Sister Anita (Mary Kenneth) Beskar, FSPA, died April 23, 2022, just shy of her 90th birthday, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the 70th year of religious profession as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA). Sister Anita Marie was born in River Falls (Big River), Wisconsin on May 2, 1932, to Leo and Mildred (Maier) Beskar. On Christmas Eve, three years after her birth, her mother died of tuberculosis. Her grandparents in California came to help her father, who by that time had three children below the age of four. Sister Anita returned to California with her grandparents and stayed with them, beginning school there. Two years later on Christmas Eve again, a change took place in the Beskar family when her father announced that he was marrying Leona Buberl. Their honeymoon was to travel west to bring Sister Anita back home and reunite the family. Soon there were three more children growing up on the small family farm in Big River. During the summer of 1946, Sister Anita shared her sense of call to become an FSPA with her parents, who were not too surprised since she had FSPA as teachers and a great-aunt, Sister Clarissa Heinz, and an aunt, Sister Genelda Maier, who were FSPA.
In 1950, Sister Anita was received into the novitiate and given the name, Sister Mary Kenneth. She later went back to her baptismal name. She professed first vows on August 12, 1952. She began her ministry of teaching in elementary schools in Edgar and Boyd, Wisconsin and Spencer, Iowa, before moving into high school. She received a BA in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from Viterbo College (University) and an MS in chemistry from Notre Dame. She taught high school and was assistant principal in West Point (1958 – 1966) and Lansing (1966 – 1973), Iowa. After the high school in Lansing closed, she remained there as a religious education teacher for two more years. This experience in religious education led her to a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program and further theological study. She served as a religious educator in Marion, Iowa for three years and as a religious education coordinator in St. Pius Parish in Cedar Rapids for three more years. While in Cedar Rapids, Sister Anita began doing youth ministry in the parish and vocation education in the congregation. Her work with young people was recognized by the Davenport Diocese, where she was invited to become the Diocesan Director of the Office of Religious Education and Youth Ministry, a position she held from 1981 to 1989. She then began a year of study at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where she had the opportunity for a three-month study tour in Israel.
In 1991, the FSPA sponsored a Chair in Global Education at Viterbo University. Sister Anita was invited to take this position, in which she served for 10 years. At the end of her time at Viterbo, Sister Anita was invited to serve as an FSPA representative on the inter-congregational coordinating team for the preparation and celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the congregation. Part of the celebration turned into a 20-year relationship with the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis in Cameroon, Africa, known as the Common Venture. Sister Anita spent various periods of time in the West African country with the sisters, providing workshops, spiritual reflection, and just listening to their stories of history, fear and hope. She once said, “The opportunities [in Cameroon] for creativity, reconciliation, leadership, inter-congregational collaboration and personal involvement have been a pure gift.”
From 2001 to 2009, while traveling back and forth to Cameroon, Sister Anita lived in the formation house of the congregation where, as she put it, she moved “from a ministry of doing to the ministry of being.” In 2009, she was invited to continue the “ministry of being” at Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin. Since she couldn't stop doing for others, a special aspect of her Marywood ministry was baking mini loaves of bread to welcome visitors. She saw the bread loaf lovingly placed on the guests’ cabin tables as a way of sharing Eucharist. She ministered there until 2021 when she moved to St. Rose Convent in La Crosse.
Community members, friends and family remember her for her gentle presence, soft voice and joyful laughter. They also remember her for her insightful questions and reflections, challenging others to think beyond the obvious and see the presence and action of God in our entire universe. She had a great passion for Ecospirituality, which she wove into most of her conversations and actions. Her love of those from other cultures enriched her and endeared her to many at home and abroad.
Sister Clara Mae Kuempel, FSPA
Sister Clara Mae Kuempel, FSPA, 90, died on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the sixty-ninth year of her religious profession. Sister Clara Mae was born in Guttenberg, Iowa to John and Hildegarde (Lake) Kuempel on March 25, 1932. She grew up in Guttenberg with her three brothers and two sisters, helping her father at the Kuempel & Lake Hardware Store. Her elementary school years were spent at St. Mary’s School in Guttenberg. High school years at St. Mary’s were filled with the usual high school activities including babysitting and working on crafts. Sister Clara Mae had asked her parents about going to the convent when she was a freshman, but they suggested she complete high school first. During her senior year, Sister Clara Mae and a friend visited St. Rose Convent, the motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. When she returned home she again asked about becoming a sister. Again she received a negative response, but a week later her father gave his approval. Two weeks later, she arrived in La Crosse to start her new life.
When Sister Clara Mae entered the novitiate of the FSPA she was given the name Bernadine. She later went back to her baptismal name. Her first profession of vows took place on August 12, 1952. After profession of vows, Sister Clara Mae worked in dietary services for one year in Sparta, Wisconsin. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Viterbo College in La Crosse. She went on to teach for eight years in Calmar, Iowa, and then in Wisconsin in Genoa, St. Mary’s Ridge and La Crosse (St. Michael’s Orphanage) before earning a Bachelor of Arts in Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Sister Clara Mae then returned to St. Michael’s Orphanage to serve as a registered therapist. She later worked at Mendota State Hospital (Madison, Wisconsin) and Wood County Health Center (Marshfield, Wisconsin).
Returning to her home in 1973 in Guttenberg to care for her father, Sister Clara Mae also ministered as an activities director and home care aid. In 1982, she moved to Waterloo, Iowa, to resume her ministry of occupational therapy, serving mainly children with severe disabilities at River Hills School. During her eight years there, she earned a Master of Pastoral Studies from Loyola University, New Orleans. In 1991, her father’s need again took her to Guttenberg where she worked for the North Eastern Iowa Rehabilitation Association, providing therapy to individuals and institutions in Clayton County. From 1997 to 2007, she continued providing support services to elderly in Guttenberg through volunteer work at River Living Center and St. Mary’s Parish. In her spare time she became very involved in woodcarving, a hobby she took with her to St. Rose Convent in 2008 when she retired there. With her health declining, Sister Clara Mae moved to Villa St. Joseph in 2015.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Clara Mae as always having a smile for everyone. She didn’t let her physical infirmities bring her spirits down. She always had a funny story to tell. Growing up she would often work with her father in his woodshop in the basement--thus her love and skill at woodworking. Sister Clara Mae gifted family and friends with beautiful wood carvings.
Sister Joan Hageman, FSPA
Sister Joan Hageman, FSPA, 82, died on February 20, 2022 at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the sixty-third year of her religious profession. Born on June 20, 1939, in Festina, Iowa, Joan Marie was the youngest of Nicholas and Rosalia Imoehl Hageman’s 11 children. She grew up on her parent’s farm. Her family ties grew deep and strong and continued through the years with Hageman family reunions almost every other year. She enjoyed attending St. Mary’s School in Festina. After her class of six boys and six girls graduated from the eighth grade, she spent the next year at home helping her parents. Her interest in becoming a sister was fostered by relatives in the FSPA congregation and her love of nature. In the summer of 1954 she visited St. Rose Convent on a Sunday, returned home, packed and again returned to St. Rose as an aspirant the following Monday.
Sister Joan was received into the FSPA novitiate on August 12, 1957, and was given the name Sister Vernamae. She later went back to her baptismal name. Her profession of vows was made on August 12, 1959, and final profession on August 10, 1964. Sister Joan served her sisters as a homemaker for 17 years, working in the bakery at St. Rose Convent for two of those years and at convent homes in Rozellville and Dodgeville, Wisconsin; Bellevue, West Point and Breda, Iowa and Provo, Utah. In 1976, Sister Joan transitioned to the ministry of activities director at Villa St. Joseph, a post she held until 1983. At that time, she studied occupational therapy in Des Moines, and served as activity director at Willis Adult Day Care. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Human Services at Grandview College in Des Moines, she went on to earn a Clinical Pastoral Education certificate at Mercy Hospital Medical Center in Des Moines. She served as chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia, Ill., 1991 to 1995. After a two year renewal program at Little Falls, Minn., Sister Joan began her ministry as receptionist, gardener and decorator at Villa St. Joseph. She continued these activities until her health began to fail.
Community members, family, colleagues and friends remember Sister Joan as a happy, joy-filled person, always ready for any invitation to explore something new. Her smile and hearty laugh were both infectious. She loved her family and didn’t miss a family reunion as long as her health permitted. She was quite an artist; doing beautiful rosemaling and also oil paintings and water colors which can be found around the Villa. Her creativity was expressed there in numerous ways, especially at times of the many holidays and feast days celebrated there as she decked the halls with flowers gleaned from the garden.
Sister Agnes Wernimont, FSPA
Agnes Marcella was born to Anthony and Agnes (Gehling) Wernimont on January 20, 1932 in Coon Rapids, Iowa. Sister Agnes loved growing up on a farm and being outdoors; her family grew vegetables and raised chickens to sell. She always felt sorry for the “city kids” who didn’t have the freedom and natural beauty available to the “farm kids.” Sister Agnes began her education at Providence County Consolidated School near her home, then transferred to St. Mary’s Catholic School in Storm Lake, Iowa, where she completed both grade and high school. Her favorite teacher (a Sister of St. Francis of Clinton, Iowa) had a deep devotion to Mary. “She made the Sodality of Mary a very active part in the lives of the teenagers” including Sister Agnes. Praying to Mary helped her make the decision about religious life. Sister Agnes learned about the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration from her aunt, Sister Anna (Bernadita) Gehling.
Sister Agnes was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1951 and was given the name Sister Ella. She pronounced first vows on August 12, 1953 and made final profession on August 11, 1959. She later returned to her baptismal name. Sister Agnes served her community as a homemaker in convent homes in Iowa, Mississippi, Washington and Wisconsin for thirty years. From 1983 to 1988 she was manager of the school lunch program at Holy Child Jesus School, Canton, Mississippi. Then, making a change in her career, Sister Agnes worked with abused children at Casa de Esperanza de Los Ninos, Houston, Texas, for five years and one year at Catholic Charities in El Paso, Texas, in emergency services. For four years she was a housekeeper and hospitality person at the FSPA Central Region Home in Hiawatha, Iowa. The last seven years, before her retirement to Villa St. Joseph in 2005, were spent in Hiawatha, Iowa, volunteering at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center and at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, where she worked with senior citizens.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Agnes as having a heart of gold for the sisters she served as a homemaker and for the children whose lives she touched in Mississippi and Texas. Her devotion for the missions remained with her long after she left the South. In her retirement years, she took every opportunity possible to get out into nature and take long walks. The twinkle in her eyes made one wonder what she was planning next. Her early devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary stayed with her all through her life. She always felt that her best friend was the Blessed Mother who accepted her for the person she was called to be. Her love of the Eucharist carried over to her dedication in taking Communion to shut-ins. She lived very simply and felt relationships were more important than material things. In her later years, she found comfort and gratitude in coloring and more importantly gifting her friends with her finished pictures.
Sister Patricia Sheridan, FSPA
Born on Oct. 7, 1927 in Sparta, Wisconsin, to William and Alice (Senogles) Sheridan, Sister Patricia grew up in Kendall, Wisconsin where her father worked for the Sheridan Lumber Company. She was the second eldest in her family which included two brothers and four sisters. Elementary school years were spent at Kendall Public School. Music was an integral part of the Sheridan family life. In the eighth grade, Sister Pat started playing trumpet in the high school band and later moved on to playing the trombone and baritone. She also participated in her parish choir.
Her older sister Eileen joined the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1943. Upon visiting her sister at St. Rose Convent one weekend, Sister Pat told her parents she wanted to stay at the convent with her sister. The following year she entered the community. She completed her high school at St. Rose High School in La Crosse. At entrance into the novitiate, she received the name Sister Alicita. She later went back to her baptismal name. Sister Pat professed her first vows in 1947.
Sister Pat’s love for music and keen musical ability served as the basis for much of Sister Pat’s ministry. She began her ministry as an elementary school music teacher in 1949: first in Spokane (St. Augustine), Wash. and then in La Crosse (Holy Trinity). After earning a bachelor’s degree in music education from Viterbo College (University), La Crosse, Sister Pat taught high school music for 21 years in Ashland (De Padua) and La Crosse (Aquinas) in Wisconsin and Carroll (Kuemper) in Iowa. During that time, she completed a Master of Arts in Music Education from DePaul University, Chicago. Later, she taught elementary school and parish music in Tomah, Wisconsin for five years. In 1995, Sister Pat became Director of Religious Education (DRE) at St. Joseph Parish (Kendall) and continued to serve as DRE and parish minister in Wisconsin at St. John the Baptist Parish (Wilton) and St. Patrick Parish (Elroy) until retiring five years later. Sister Pat continued to minister in Elroy as a private music teacher and parish volunteer until moving to Villa St. Joseph in 2008.
Sister Pat was known for the rapport she had with students and the quality of performance she was able to elicit from them. Her musical productions were outstanding. In later years, her contributions to liturgy, both work-related and in the FSPA community, served as major contributions to a Vatican II Church. Family and community members remember Sister Pat for her quick Irish wit—always with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. One never knew what mischief she would get into next. She never wanted to miss a party. She was a great baseball fan, which she kept up with weekly. Her gift of music was shared in many ways instrumentally, vocally and even to the point of creating enjoyable parodies for special occasions. In addition to her great devotion to education, prayer and spirituality, her family held a very dear spot in her heart. Sister Pat loved life and lived it to the fullest.
Sister Mary Myron Stork, FSPA
Martina Mary was born the fourth oldest of 13 children, seven sons and six daughters, to Henry and Helen (Julich) Stork on January 30, 1916 on a farm near Breda, Iowa. Growing up on the farm gave her a deep appreciation of nature, which stayed with her throughout her life. She attended Mount Carmel Catholic School, which included elementary and secondary classes. At the end of her junior year, she informed her parents that she felt called to religious life. She then moved to St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wisconsin and began her journey as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA), completing her secondary education at St. Rose High School.
In 1933, she was received into the novitiate of the FSPA and was given the name, Sister Mary Myron. She professed first vows on August 6, 1935. Sister Mary Myron’s entire active ministry of 70 years was in the field of education. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Viterbo College (University) and a Master of Arts in Education: Instruction and Curriculum from St. John College, Cleveland, Ohio. She ministered in schools in La Crosse, Plum City, Allouez and Stratford, Wisconsin; in Carroll, Calmar and Hiawatha, Iowa; in Bozeman, Montana; in Spokane, Washington and in David, Kentucky. Sister Mary Myron started teaching in grades one through three and ended up teaching high school. She served as principal in both Carroll (St. Lawrence School) and Calmar. From 1985 to 2005, she served as a remedial teacher at David School, a small alternative high school in the coal-mining hills of Kentucky. She loved her time and the people there and the people loved her. Upon her retirement, the executive director of David School, Danny Greene, summed up her impact, “Sister Mary Myron has truly been a gift from God. Her commitment to those less fortunate has been immeasurable. Her life of prayer, service and love for others has absolutely represented the Spirit of St. Francis.” In 2005, she retired to St. Rose Convent and later moved to Villa St. Joseph.
A highlight of her life took place in 1995, when she was invited to participate in a pilgrimage to Rome, where she had the privilege of meeting Pope St. John Paul II. Family, friends and community members remember Sister Mary Myron as a woman of prayer. Her adoration was always the first priority in her day while at St. Rose Convent. She was an excellent teacher who encouraged and inspired her students. One of her students from David School said, “She was always willing to help students make their projects perfect. My high school experience has been better having had her as a teacher.” When a new school was being built at David, the community took the opportunity to recognize Sister Mary Myron’s significant contribution to the area by establishing a Sister Mary Myron Remedial Reading Room. There was always a twinkle in her eye and a story on her lips. She never missed an opportunity to share the good things in life with others. She kept close contact with family, former students and friends via letters and phone calls, even visiting her adopted Greene family in Texas in her 100’s. When asked what gave her life, she responded, “Vitamin P (for prayer). That’s what I take.”
Sister Donna Weber, FSPA
Sister Donna Weber, FSPA, 91, died on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at St. Rose Convent, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-first year of her religious profession. Donna Jean Weber was born on April 25, 1930, to Reynold and Laura (Asher) Weber in Eau Galle, Wisconsin. She was the ninth of 10 children in her family, all born on the family farm. Sister Donna shared vivid memories of growing up in their beautiful farm home surrounded by rolling hills. One evening as the family gathered on the porch, next to a very full rain barrel, her father teasingly picked her up and saying he was going to put her headfirst into the barrel. His grip weakened and she later spoke of this as her “second baptism.” Separate from the happy memories of growing up on the farm, there was the time a cyclone picked up the barn and flattened it. At another time, the house burned down and the family was split among relatives and friends until they acquired a new farm house a few miles away. Donna’s grade school years were spent in six different schools, while living in six different homes. The family later settled in Menomonie, Wisconsin where Donna was in the first freshman class at the new St. Joseph High School.
Having a sister (Sister Mildred Weber, FSPA) and several other relatives in the FSPA community sparked the idea of a vocation in Donna. By the end of her freshman year, she responded to this call. She entered St. Rose Convent in 1945 and was given the name Sister Elreda at her 1948 reception into the novitiate. She later returned to her baptismal name. She made profession of vows in 1950. Sister Donna served as an elementary teacher for 14 years in schools in Washington (St. Augustine’s, Spokane [1952-1955 and 1963-1964]) and Wisconsin (Sacred Heart, Ashland [1950-1952]), La Crosse (St. Wenceslaus [1956-1963] and Blessed Sacrament [1964-1965]). For the next 20 years she ministered as an art teacher in high schools in Wisconsin (Superior, Green Bay, and at Viterbo College), as an art and religion teacher in Wausau, Wisconsin and Miles City, Montana. After attending the Creation Spirituality Program in Oakland, California, Sister Donna served on the retreat staff at Holy Cross Center in Merrill, Wisconsin. From 1990 until 2008, she was pastoral associate at Sacred Heart Parish, Wauzeka, Wisconsin. She retired to St. Rose Convent in 2008, where she continued sharing her artistic creativity.
Community members, family and colleagues will remember Sister Donna as a caring, creative person who loved life and loved her God. She often said that religious life was an extension of a gift that was nurtured in her home. She saw beauty in creation and in people. She shared her love of beauty in various ways on her missions and at the motherhouse—often being the mastermind behind decorations for special occasions. While at Viterbo, she was asked to create furnishings for the expanded St. Francis Chapel, situated below Mary of the Angels Chapel at St. Rose Convent. She designed the altar, chalice, tabernacle and credence table using the theme “You fill us with the best of wheat.” Creativity marked her life; even into her late 80s, she could be seen on a ladder in the dining room putting the final touches on Christmas decorations. While she spent 18 years in parish ministry, she would not be able to say she loved it more or less than her years teaching. She loved life and the gifts God gave her during each phase of life.
She was very social and loved visiting with people. She could often be seen at table long after most people had left the dining room. She could be counted on for a great conversation, often on politics, which she followed assiduously. When she could no longer travel, she visited with family by phone, even when she was near death, relishing especially visits with her only surviving sibling, her sister Betsy. Just two weeks ago, she joined in the Mass and dinner celebrating her 71 years of religious profession.
Sister Gertrude Daugherty, FSPA
Sister Gertrude Daugherty, FSPA, 93, died on Sunday, August 8, 2021, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-third year of her religious profession. Born in Bellevue, Iowa on Nov. 7, 1927, Gertrude Florence was the daughter of Cornelius Vincent and Teresa Mary (Keuter) Daugherty. She attended St. Joseph’s Grade and High School in Bellevue. She and her 10 brothers and sisters often found time to get into a little mischief after their chores on the farm were completed. Her favorite subject was American history. Gertrude was the youngest player on the basketball team when they won the Archdiocese of Dubuque tournament. During her junior year she began to think of entering religious life. Gertrude left home on Sept. 3, 1945 for St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Gertrude was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1946 and was given the name Sister Barbara Jean. She later went back to her baptismal name. Sister Gertrude made first profession of vows on August 12, 1948 and final vows on August 9, 1954. Sister Gertrude served her FSPA community as a homemaker in convent homes in Iowa, Washington and Wisconsin from 1948 to 1965. After completing licensed practical training at St. Anthony School of Nursing in Carroll, Iowa, she served as a LPN for 28 years at Villa St. Joseph, St. Francis Hospital (MCHS-FH) and St. Rose Convent, La Crosse, and Sacred Heart Hospital, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Mill Valley Care Center in Bellevue. During her time in Bellevue, she also took care of her aging parents. For a year she was a home health nurse in Claxton, Georgia. Even after retiring to St. Rose Convent in 2000, Sister Gertrude assisted in the wellness center, accompanying sisters to doctor appointments and helping as needed. In 2017, Sister Gertrude moved to Villa St. Joseph Community members, family and friends will remember Sister Gertrude as quiet, cheerful, and always having a smile and kind word for others. Her gentleness and sense of humor endeared her to her patients, family, sisters and many friends. Her interest in history remained current. Almost every day at St. Rose Convent, Sister Gertrude could be found in the Adoration Chapel praying for her family, friends, religious community and, of course, the needs of the world.
Sister Betty Shakal, FSPA
Sister Betty Shakal, FSPA, 87, died May 3, 2021 at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the sixty-seventh year of her religious profession. Sister Elizabeth Anne was born on September 12, 1934 in Boyd, Wisconsin to Leo and Frances (Schesel) Shakal. The eldest of 13 children, she remembers growing up on the farm with her younger brothers and sisters. Sister Betty learned all the skills she needed to be “mother’s helper”: cooking, sewing, baking. She once commented that she thought she learned how to rip the same afternoon she learned how to sew. Her mother called her Betty because she did not want her to be called Lizzie or Liz. Her early education was in a one-room school where the teacher’s husband brought wood to keep everyone warm in the winter. As the Shakal family grew, they eventually moved to a larger farmhouse, close to Holy Family School in Stanley where Sister Betty completed her elementary education. There she met the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) and the seed of her religious vocation was planted.
She joined FSPA in 1950 and was given the name, Sister Joene, but later went back to her baptismal name. She made her first profession of vows on August 12, 1954. Sister Betty ministered in the field of education, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics from Viterbo College (University) and a Master of Science in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame. She began her teaching career with middle grades in Carroll and Hills, Iowa and at St. Mary’s Ridge, Wisconsin before moving into high school teaching. Sister Betty taught high school chemistry and mathematics for 26 years in Wisconsin (Prairie du Chien and Stevens Point), Oregon (Salem), Iowa (Bellevue, Carroll, and West Point) and Texas (El Paso). During that time, she earned a Master of Arts in Theology from St. Catherine University in St. Paul and did pastoral studies at Loyola University in Chicago. From 1995 to 1998, Sister Betty was asked to serve as treasurer for the FSPA Central Region in Hiawatha, Iowa. In 2000, she moved to La Crosse where she was the assistant development director for FSPA until 2007. At that time, she retired and spent the next eight years volunteering, mainly as a math and science tutor. In 2015, Sister Betty made her home at Villa St. Joseph.
Sister Betty is remembered for her love of God, life and teaching. Her delight was combining two of her passions: teaching and working with international students, as she spent many hours in retirement helping solve a math problem or chemistry equation. She often said that her work in development began when she was teaching at Fr. Yermo High School in El Paso. She enjoyed helping raise funds for their science lab update and the school gymnasium addition. Eventually she was able to recruit an alumna to continue her work when she left. One could always count on Sister Betty for a welcoming smile and hearty laugh.
Sister Joanne McGoldrick, FSPA
Sister Joanne McGoldrick, FSPA, 93, died Sunday, April 18, 2021 at Sacred Heart Hospital, Spokane, Wash. She was in the thirty-fifth year of her religious profession. Joanne Patricia Lancaster was born on February 17, 1928 in Spokane to Emmett and Effie (Turpin) Lancaster. Her father served as Spokane City Treasurer until his retirement. Her mother was a homemaker, but as Sister Joanne would say, also an activist, who was involved in many civic and social justice activities as she raised Joanne and her two brothers. Joanne received her early education at St. Joseph Grade School in Spokane and graduated from eighth grade at St. Aloysius Grade School.
During World War II her parents moved to Seattle. After graduating high school from Holy Names Academy, Joanne wanted to become a sister, but her parents objected. Instead, she worked at Kaufer Catholic Bookstore in Spokane, then enrolled at Holy Names College (Fort Wright College) with a major in journalism and a minor in dramatics. During her third year in college, she was offered a position at the Spokesman-Review newspaper as a reporter. After three years in that position she resigned, was married and began raising her five children: Marianne, George, Pat, Susan and Tom. In 1974, she returned to Fort Wright College and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She accepted a volunteer position at the Eastern Washington Agency on Aging, wrote a grant for funding and was hired. When funding ended, she was invited to join the staff at the Salvation Army in Spokane as Family Welfare Director. During her time with the Salvation Army, she earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Whitworth College in Spokane. After raising her family, Joanne resigned from her position at the Salvation Army and entered the Benedictine Community at Mt. Angel, Ore. When her mother became ill, Joanne left the Benedictines to care for her until she died; subsequently, Joanne resumed her position at the Salvation Army.
In 1982, Joanne became an affiliate of the FSPA. After a year, she resigned again from the Salvation Army and formally entered the congregation and made first vows in 1986 as an FSPA. After entering the FSPA congregation, Sister Joanne continued her ministry as a family counselor, both at Salvation Army and at Love Church Services Network in Spokane. From 1994 to 1998, Sister Joanne served as co-director of the FSPA Clare Retreat Center in Spokane. She then became pastoral assistant at St. Peter’s Parish in Spokane until her retirement in 2005. At that time, Sister Joanne was living at Rockwood Lane retirement facility where she volunteered as a Bible study facilitator and home visitor. When her health began to deteriorate, she moved to South Hill Village in Spokane.
Friends, family and community members remember Sister Joanne as having a quiet, loving heart for the poor, especially the elderly poor. Her counseling skills aided many as she walked with them through difficult transitions. With a sense of humility and pride, she enjoyed many years of service to families through the Salvation Army. Her low-key personality, sense of humor and ability to go with the flow drew people to her.
Sister Cecilienne Goetz, FSPA
Sister Cecilienne Goetz, FSPA, 97, died February 4, 2021 at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-fifth year of her religious profession. Florence Catherine was born on September 26, 1923, to Frank and Dorothy (Tritz) Goetz in Bellevue, Iowa. When she was five years old, Florence began her education at St. Joseph’s School, Bellevue. “As most little girls are inclined to feel when first coming in contact with a real, honest-to-goodness Sister, I felt that I wanted to become a Sister, too,” she wrote in her autobiography. She started taking piano lessons in sixth grade and music became her major interest. During high school, Florence participated in orchestra, pep band and choir, several clubs and was editor of the school paper for two years. She learned to play the organ, violin and clarinet, but the organ was her favorite. What a thrill it was for Florence to play for Christmas Midnight Mass and Easter Sunday High Mass. She wanted to enter St. Rose Convent after graduation, but circumstances compelled her to wait until August 30, 1943. During those two years, she worked in her father’s bakery.
Florence was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1944 and was given the name Sister Cecilienne. She made her profession of vows on August 12, 1946 and final vows on August 9, 1952. Sister Cecilienne’s ministry was in the area of music. After receiving a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Viterbo College (University), La Crosse, she continued her education with a Master’s in Music Education from DePaul University, Chicago. Sister Cecilienne taught music in numerous elementary and secondary schools in Wisconsin at Blessed Sacrament School and Aquinas High School, La Crosse and elsewhere in Marathon and Ashland. In Iowa she taught at St. Lawrence School and Kuemper High School, Carroll, as well as in Breda, West Point and Spencer. She ministered at Sacred Heart School in Spencer, Iowa from 1973 to 1997 as music teacher and organist for the parish. In 1997, Sister Cecilienne retired to Cedar Rapids where she taught ESL classes and private music lessons until moving to St. Rose Convent in 2009. She made her home at Villa St. Joseph in 2013.
Community members, family, colleagues and friends will remember Sister Cecilienne as an excellent music teacher and a master organist. She was a quiet person who had an avid interest in world affairs. For recreation, Scrabble was her passion, along with a good card game now and then. She loved her family and had made an extensive family tree. Sewing was one of her hidden talents. After retiring, while teaching ESL, she began learning Chinese in order to better communicate with her students.
Sister Bernadette (Melissa) Prochaska, FSPA
Sister Bernadette Prochaska, FSPA, 88, died Wednesday morning, January 6, 2021 of pancreatic cancer at St. Rose Convent, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the 68th year of her religious profession. Sister Bernadette Milada Prochaska was born on June 15, 1932 in Montfort (Castle Rock), Wisconsin to Frank and Victoria (Roh) Prochaska, where she grew up with her nine brothers and sisters. She entered Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse before graduating high school. She made first profession of vows on August 12, 1952.
Sister Bernadette earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in music from Viterbo College (University), then earned a master’s degree in English with a minor in Latin from Notre Dame University, and finally received a Ph.D. in English from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She ministered in the field of education, often also serving as an organist and choir director. Her early years of teaching were in elementary schools in Wisconsin: Holy Cross (1952 to 1954), St. Mary’s (1958 to 1960), St. Wenceslaus (1968 to 1969), Cathedral (1969 to 1971) and St. James (1976 to 1981) in La Crosse; St. Joseph’s, Dodgeville (1954 to 1957) and St. Joseph’s Ridge, La Crosse (1960 to 1963). In addition to teaching, Sister served as principal at St. Mary’s, St. Wenceslaus, Cathedral and St. James. From 1963 to 1968, Sister Bernadette ministered as superintendent of Catholic schools on the island of Guam, returning there at the request of the Bishop in 1971 for another five years.
In 1981, Sister Bernadette moved to Milwaukee where she ministered as an instructor, associate professor, professor and assistant dean of the English department at Marquette University over 36 years. While at Marquette, she played the organ at Gesu Parish and after retiring from teaching English, she ministered as receptionist at the parish until she moved to St. Rose Convent in December of 2016. For several summers, Sister Bernadette served as lecturer at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu and Cardinal Stritch College (University) in Milwaukee. For almost 40 years, Sister Bernadette played background music once a month for televised Masses in the Madison Diocese as part of their Apostolate to the Handicapped. In 1992, she responded to a call by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to provide summer English classes to clergy and religious in the Czech Republic, a ministry she continued until 2015. She also enjoyed sharing her professional expertise through service on numerous boards, including Viterbo University’s Board of Trustees. She retired to St. Rose Convent in 2016 where she continued her organ ministry and began volunteering as receptionist at Catholic Charities.
Sister Lois Lobdell, FSPA
Sister Lois Lobdell, FSPA, 97, died Thursday, August 27, 2020, of natural causes at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse. She was in the 76th year of her religious profession. Lois Lorraine was born to Aubrey and Georgia (Carlisle) Lobdell on April 14, 1923, in Durand, Wisconsin. After completing elementary grades and two years of high school at St. Mary’s School in Durand, Lois expressed a desire to enter the convent, but her father resisted. Later, after finishing her third year of high school, she asked again. By then it was evident to her parents that her desire to be a sister had not diminished, but had grown stronger and they allowed her to enter St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wisconsin on August 15, 1940.
After completing high school, Sister Lois entered the novitiate on August 12, 1942, and was given the name Sister Caroleen. She later returned to her baptismal name. She made first profession of vows on August 12, 1944, and final profession on August 9, 1950. Upon completion of a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Viterbo College (University), Sister Lois entered the teaching profession. She taught for 33 years in elementary schools in Iowa, Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin. In 1978 she received on-the-job training as a dental assistant. Subsequently, she left the classroom and served as dental assistant for 11 years in St. Paul, Minnesota. Sister Lois’s last seven years of active ministry were in child care for two families in the St. Paul area. While in that locale, Sister Lois was a regular volunteer at the Mississippi Market Coop, doing most any task needed. She retired to St. Rose Convent in 1998 and to Villa St. Joseph in 2003.
Community members, family, and friends remember Sister Lois as a quiet, cheerful person, always ready to lend a helping hand. She was devoted to little children and prayed daily for the children of the world. She loved her family and visited them in Washington state as often as possible. When the FSPA congregation opened its spirituality centers, the facilities benefited from her excellent furniture upholstery work — a hobby she continued for years.
Sister Ladonna Kassmeyer, FSPA
Sister Ladonna Kassmeyer, FSPA, 84, died Monday night, August 3, 2020, of a massive heart attack at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the sixty-fourth year of her religious profession. Jeanette Mary Margaret Kassmeyer was born in Fort Madison, Iowa, to Frank and Leona (Krittenbrink) Kassmeyer on March 11, 1936, the oldest of eight children. Her family moved to a farm near West Point, Iowa when she was in the primary grades. There she met the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) at St. Mary’s Grade School. The seeds of being a Sister and a teacher were planted in those early years. She continued her education with the Franciscan Sisters at St. Mary’s High School, graduating in 1953. After high school, she entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse. At entrance into the novitiate, she received the name Sister Ladonna. She made first profession of vows in 1956 and final vows in 1962.
She began her tertiary education at Viterbo College (University) in the field of education. After a short stint as an elementary teacher at St. John’s School in La Crosse and Sacred Heart School in Mondovi, Wisconsin, Sister Ladonna completed her Bachelor of Arts in Commerce degree in accounting from St. Louis University, where she later earned a Master of Business Administration degree. In 1964 she began working at Viterbo College as Business Manager and Comptroller, a position she held until 1974. During part of that time, she was also Director of Resident Life at the college. From 1974 to 1977, Sister Ladonna served as treasurer for the FSPA Central Province in Hiawatha, Iowa. During this time, she began taking classes part-time at Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis. In 1977, she was appointed Director of Financial Affairs—and later Business Manager—at the institute, where she served until 1987, simultaneously earning there a Master of Arts degree in Theology, with a concentration in spirituality.
Sister Ladonna moved back into congregational ministry as FSPA Director of Development from 1987 to 2012, when she became Congregational Secretary and Director of Planned Giving. Upon retiring, Sister Ladonna continued to share her gifts as a volunteer treasurer for various organizations locally and nationally, including the Washburn Neighborhood Association, La Crosse City Vision Foundation and the Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious. Sister Ladonna made her home at St. Rose Convent in 2016.
Friends, family and community members remember Sister Ladonna as being a friend to everyone. During her time as Director of Development and Director of Planned Giving she would talk about working toward “friend-raising,” rather than fund-raising. She truly was a friend-raiser. She created connections among her family, friends and community. She always showed up—for events, parties, fundraisers, meetings and assorted other occasions. She served on numerous boards, including St. Mary’s Hospital (Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, Sparta, Wisconsin), St. Anthony’s Foundation in Carroll, Iowa, St. Francis Hospital (Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, La Crosse) and Viterbo University in La Crosse. Sister Ladonna was interested in helping others in any way she could, whether training someone to work in the business office, caring for students in the residence halls, teaching someone about bookkeeping, organizing the annual neighborhood picnic on the Viterbo campus or working toward improving a neighborhood with new street lights and a neighborhood garden. She was actively involved in the National Catholic Development Conference during her tenure as Director of Development. In 2009, she received the Bishop Robert F. Morneau Distinguished Service Award from the conference. A statement used during the presentation of this award epitomizes her life: “Sister Ladonna has continuously received God’s gifts gracefully, nurtured these gifts responsibly, shared these gifts justly and charitably, and returned these gifts to the Lord abundantly."
Sister Patricia Keating, FSPA
Sister Patricia Keating, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 91, died of natural causes on July 24, 2020 at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-first year of her religious profession. Born on Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1928, in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, Sister Pat was the daughter of Frank and Willa (Cherrier) Keating. It was a happy home filled with conversation and joyous laughter. The children would often ask their mother for a picnic supper on hot summer days. As soon as their dad came home from work, the question was put to him. He never refused and the family would drive out to a shady, cool spot in the country. Pat attended St. Gabriel’s Grade School and St. Mary’s Academy both staffed by the Notre Dame Sisters. During the annual three-day retreat of her senior year, she admitted to herself she was called to religious life. So on September 1, 1946, she entered St. Rose Convent.
Sister Pat was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1947, and was given the name Sister Paula. Later, she returned to her baptismal name. Sister Pat made first profession of vows on August 12, 1949, and final profession on August 9, 1955. For 25 years Sister Pat taught music in elementary and secondary schools in Iowa (Carroll, West Point, Bellevue) and Wisconsin (La Crosse, Prairie du Chien, Durand, Jefferson, Ashland, Jefferson). From 1975 to 1979, she was principal at Marquette High School in West Point, Iowa. From there, she felt called to a new ministry, one that would challenge her inner strength and resilience.
In 1979, Sister Pat moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to minister to the elderly. In December of that year, she was brutally attacked and burned in an assault that occurred while she was at home in the convent. No doubt her deep faith played a role in her healing and ability to move on. After recovering, she participated in a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program in Rochester, Minnesota and then served as assistant coordinator at St. Rose Convent. She provided pastoral care at Bethany St. Joseph Nursing Home in La Crosse from 1983 to 1987. She then returned to Tulsa, where she again ministered to the elderly at St. Mary’s Parish and served as campus minister at Tulsa University. From 1990 to 1993, she served as Director of Pastoral Care at St. Anthony Hospital and Nursing Home, Carroll, Iowa and then pastoral minister at St. Jude Parish in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 1993, Sister Pat returned to Tulsa as pastoral minister at St. Mary’s Parish until returning to St. Rose Convent in 1996, where she served in pastoral care to sisters retired there. She made Villa St. Joseph her home in 2004.
Community members, family, colleagues and friends remember Sister Pat as an excellent music teacher. She used her many talents to write parodies for celebrations at St. Rose Convent and at Villa St. Joseph. Everyone knew when Sister Pat was around because her hearty laughter carried through the halls. She always sought to make life better for others. Many remember her courage, strength and forgiveness as she overcame the traumatic attack in Tulsa. “Being a Thanksgiving baby has been a great asset to me,” she reflected.
Sister Kathleen Kenkel, FSPA
Sister Kathleen Kenkel, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 91, died Saturday, July 18, 2020, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventieth year of her religious profession. Sister Kathleen Theresa was born to Joseph and Antoinette (Blum) Kenkel on September 17, 1929, on the family farm in Earling, Iowa. Growing up on the farm, Kathleen and her seven brothers and sisters had many opportunities to learn and do everything from feeding the chickens, shocking grain, herding cattle, picking corn to multiple kitchen tasks. She attended St. Joseph elementary and high school in Earling. She and her siblings enjoyed the ride to school in their carriage in the spring and fall and on the bobsled in the winter. Her mother was quite musical and made sure Kathleen took piano lessons. After her father died, her mother remarried, expanding her sibling count from seven to 16.
Ever since she was small, Kathleen felt the desire to become a sister. After 12 years of schooling, the matter was settled and she entered St. Rose Convent in September 1947. She was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1948 and given the name Sister Laura. She later returned to her baptismal name. She made first profession of vows on August 12, 1950, and final profession on August 9, 1956.
Sister Kathleen taught elementary and junior high school from 1950 to 1963 at schools in Wausau, Superior, Mosinee, Platteville and Lima (Wisconsin), Guttenberg (Iowa) and Spokane, Washington. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in English from Viterbo College (University), La Crosse, she went on for a master’s degree in English from Marquette University, Milwaukee. Sister Kathleen taught at the high school level for the next 11 years in Cathedral (Superior, Wisconsin), Kuemper (Carroll, Iowa), Aquinas (La Crosse), Marquette (West Point, Iowa) and Marquette (Bellevue, Iowa).
In 1975, Sister Kathleen earned a second master’s degree, this one in theology from Notre Dame University. She used her collected skills and knowledge as the first director of the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse a position she held from 1984 to 1987. She then served as director of religious education at Sacred Heart Religious Education Center in Palos Hills, Illinois for four years. From there she moved to the Religious Studies Department at Viterbo College, where she ministered from 1993 to 2000. After a year’s sabbatical, Sister Kathleen volunteered at Villa Maria Retreat Center in Frontenac, Minnesota, then returned to the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse. She made her home at St. Rose Convent in 2006 and moved to Villa St. Joseph in 2015 when her health began to fail.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Kathleen as a true mystic. She was always exploring the latest spiritual book or philosophy. Her motto of “living life in union with Christ” was evident in her recent celebration of her 70th jubilee. She kept learning and teaching wherever she was. Her dedicated impact on the growth of the Franciscan Spirituality Center is still felt today, especially given the training of several hundred spiritual directors due to the Spiritual Direction Preparation Program which began under her leadership. Numerous university students credit her for their search into the world of spirituality.
Sister Joselda Hageman, FSPA
Joselda Hageman, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 94, died of natural causes on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-third year of her religious profession. Born on March 18, 1926, near St. Lucas, Iowa, Sister Joselda was the oldest daughter of Joseph and Catherine (Schmitt) Hageman. She entered St. Rose Convent in 1944 and professed vows in 1947.
Sister Joselda served her Sisters as a homemaker and housekeeper from 1948 to 1992 in Durand, Boscobel and La Crosse in Wisconsin and Coon Rapids, Iowa, with the last 15 years at her home parish in St. Lucas, where she also was able to assist her elderly mother. While in La Crosse, she served at St. Rose Convent for two years, Villa St. Joseph for six years and as dietitian at St. Joseph Nursing Home for three years. She also served from 1962 to 1977 as assistant housekeeper at Viterbo College (University). In 1992, she retired to St. Rose Convent and moved to Villa St. Joseph in 2012.
Sister Rosile Pernsteiner, FSPA
Sister Rosile Pernsteiner, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 98, died Friday, July 10, 2020, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-sixth year of her religious profession. On September 9, 1921, Sister Rosile was born to Kilian and Katherine (Hertert) Pernsteiner on a farm near Spokane, Washingon. At her baptism she was given the name Catherine Cecilia. Growing up on a farm she was exposed to a variety of experiences and learned responsibility early. She attended Glenrose Public Grade School, just a half mile from her home, until her graduation from eighth grade. She then attended Marycliff High School in Spokane. Circumstances prevented her from following her heart’s greatest desire, to enter religious life at the time of her graduation. She had taken several business subjects in high school, so she did secretarial work for three years before entering St. Rose Convent in La Crosse on July 29, 1941. She was worried about being the eldest in her class, but upon arrival Catherine learned that half of the class was older than she was.
Catherine was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1942, and was given the name Sister Rosile. She made first profession of vows on August 12, 1944, and final profession on August 9, 1950. Sister Rosile taught eight years in middle schools in Wisconsin (Wausau, Plum City and Ashland) and Iowa (Luxemburg and Festina) and one year at DePadua High School in Ashland, Wisconsin. She received a bachelor’s degree in business education with a minor in English from Viterbo College (University), then continued in the field of business at Mount St. Mary College in Milwaukee, College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, Indiana University and Notre Dame University. From 1953 to 1954, she served as cashier at Sacred Heart Hospital, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and from 1954 to 1958 at St. Francis Hospital (MCHS-FH), La Crosse. From 1958 to 1964 she served the FSPA community in the business office at St. Rose Convent. She was then appointed Congregational Treasurer of the order, a position she held from 1964 to 1983. During this time, Sister Rosile supervised all lay employees and building projects.
In 1983 Sister Rosile was elected Provincial for the FSPA Healthcare Province, whose headquarters was in St. Paul, Minnesota. Two years later, with the restructuring of the congregation, she was elected Regional Leader of the FSPA Western Region (1985-1993) located in Spokane. At the completion of her term she moved to Sun City, Arizona, where she served as parish administrator of St. John Vianney Parish. Three years later cancer prevented her from performing all of her duties there but she continued on as an assistant to the new parish administrator. In 2003 Sister Rosile retired and volunteered at Clare Center in Spokane. Over the years, Sister Rosile served on the board of directors for several health care institutions, including St. Francis Hospital, St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll, Iowa and St. Joseph Hospital in Hillsboro, Wisconsin. In 2010, due to her deteriorating health, she chose to move to St. Rose Convent and in 2014 made her home at Villa St. Joseph.
Community members, family and friends remember Sister Rosile as always having a smile for everyone. She loved exploring new opportunities and places. She managed to turn every business trip into an adventure. Every congregational visit became an opportunity to learn about her Sisters and the area in which they ministered. The FSPA community is grateful for her leadership, especially in leading the congregation into the world of social security and investment. Her keen mind could question and analyze any situation.
Sister Margaret Ann Mason, FSPA
Sister Margaret Ann Mason, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 92, died of natural causes Friday, May 29, 2020, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the seventy-second year of her religious profession. Born on April 4, 1928, in Ashland, Wisconsin, Sister Margaret Ann was the oldest child of Carl and Josephine (Rogalski) Mason. Her father was a lumberman and later worked for the railroad. She attended Holy Family Grade School and DePadua High School. As a child she enjoyed ice skating, hiking, bicycling and roller skating. In high school she was engaged in one-act plays and glee club.
Sister Margaret Ann entered St. Rose Convent in 1945. She was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1946 and was given the name Sister Mary Peter. She later went back to her baptismal name. Sister Margaret Ann made first profession of vows on August 12, 1948 and final vows on August 9, 1954. Sister Margaret Ann ministered as an elementary school teacher for 47 years throughout Wisconsin (Eau Galle, Mondovi, Odanah, Ashland, Eau Claire, Edgar, Athens, Superior and Ashland), as well as Blackfoot, Idaho and Milford, Iowa. She started out in the primary grades and quickly moved to middle and junior high, eventually serving as principal for seven years while at Holy Family School, Ashland and Sacred Heart School, Eau Claire. Sister Margaret Ann was involved in school consolidations, both in Ashland and Eau Claire. From 1986 to 1989, Sister Margaret Ann served as Director of Development of Catholic Schools for the Superior Diocese.
She received a bachelor’s degree in home economics and English from Viterbo College (University), La Crosse and did additional studies at Marquette University, Milwaukee. In 1998, Sister Margaret Ann officially retired from teaching, but continued to volunteer at the parish and school at Our Lady of the Lake in Ashland. In 2010, Sister Margaret Ann retired to Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse where she continued to volunteer until her health weakened.
Community members, family and friends will remember Sister Margaret Ann as gentle, kind and always with a smile. She loved her years teaching. Her connections with friends from Ashland remained with her throughout the years. She and eight of her former students from Our Lady of the Lake in Ashland participated in daily prayer with each other even during her retirement at Villa St. Joseph. She was an avid stamp collector and accumulated a large stamp collection over the years. After her retirement, Sister Margaret Ann was active in attending events at the Fine Arts Center at Viterbo University and community events at St. Rose Convent whenever possible. She could usually be found volunteering some place at Villa St. Joseph helping other sisters.
Sister Sandra DeMann, FSPA
Sister Sandra DeMann, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 72, died of cardiac arrest Friday, May 22, 2020 at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona. She was in her fifty-second year of religious profession. Sister Sandra was born to Carroll and June (Nicholson) DeMann on October 12, 1947 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the eldest of four children. In October, 1968, Sister Sandra professed her first vows with the Consolata Missionary Sisters of Turin, Italy. Realizing there were only 30 Consolata sisters left in the United States in the early 1990s, Sister Sandra began exploring American-founded Midwestern religious communities open to international missionary service. In 1996, Sister Sandra started the process of transferring to Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 1999, she was officially incorporated as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration.
As a Consolata sister, Sister Sandra received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Royal Lancaster School of Nursing in London, England and became a certified midwife through the Whipps-Cross School of Midwifery, also in London. Later, she received a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies in Chicago. Sister Sandra’s primary ministry prior to joining FSPA was serving as a midwife in Tanzania and Kenya. She brought her medical skills and missionary interest with her. While with FSPA, Sister Sandra ministered to the elderly in St. Paul for a couple years before moving to La Crosse, where she became the Justice and Peace Director for the FSPA. After a sabbatical, she studied to become a massage therapist, a profession she practiced for six years at the Idyllwild Help Center in Idyllwild, California. She then volunteered in Sun City, Arizona before assisting as a receptionist at Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse. From there she moved back to Arizona and worked as a medical support staff member and Initial Loss Reporting (ILR) claims associate for State Farm Insurance. Most recently, Sister Sandra had been a regular volunteer at Ryan House, an extension of St. Joseph Hospital, and at St. Vincent De Paul in Phoenix.
Friends, family and community members fondly remember Sister Sandra as a warm, gentle, caring person — with a heart for those in need, and a grand laugh. Sandy loved being a nurse in Africa. Her mission life there shaped her concept of community and service. Being one with all people was not just an idea for Sandy; it was the reality she sought. Even though she experienced permanent injury from a jeep accident while in Africa, she did not let that stop her from being of service to others. She had a deep and compassionate heart for the poor and had the most humble and human way of finding the poor in spirit and being one with them. Just last week, she shared with one of the sisters that she said a prayer every night during the pandemic before she went to bed and she would sing a lullaby to the earth and to all of its inhabitants that they would sleep well and safe. Alleluia!
Sister Karolyne Rohlik, FSPA
Sister Karolyne Rohlik, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 87 died of natural causes on May 17, 2020 at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the 66th year of her religious profession. Sister Karolyne Henrietta was born on December 31, 1932, in Seaforth, Minnesota to Charles and Helen (Kolander) Rohlik. She grew up on the family farm with her four brothers and two sisters, all younger. She attended a country school until grade six, when her parents, wanting to draw on the value of a Catholic education, enrolled her at St. Ann’s School in Wabasso, Minnesota. There, she met the Notre Dame Sisters and her interest in religious life began. In eighth grade she shared her call with her parents, who were very supportive. Her father thought nothing could be more perfect; he had an aunt, a sister and a niece in the convent, and now he’d have a daughter there also. Her brothers and sisters teased her that she would miss gardening, playing baseball and driving a car, but the call persisted. She didn’t enter religious life until after high school; ultimately, joining her aunt and cousin at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse.
She was received into the novitiate of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration on August 12, 1952 and given the name Sister Ida. Later she went back to her baptismal name, Karolyne. She made profession of first vows on August 12, 1954. Sister Karolyne began her ministry as a homemaker at various congregational homes and institutions, primarily in Wisconsin and Washington, before branching out into other areas. From 1964 to1967, she served as Marian Hall housekeeper at Viterbo College (University). She was head baker at Villa St. Joseph 1967 to 1976. She worked in the dietary department at St. Francis Hospital (MCHS-FH) 1977 to 1981. From 1981 to 1984 she worked as a baker in West Glacier, Montana, then three years at a university in Lockport, Illinois. In 1990, Sister Karolyne moved to Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin where she helped with hospitality and served as cabin manager.
Sister Karolyne continued to faithfully serve in a variety of ministry assignments that defined her loving commitment to religious life. After a year in support services in El Paso, Texas, she was called to serve as baker at St. Rose Convent. The Tau Center in Winona, Minnesota recruited her as their baker in 1997, a position she held for the next two years. After a year’s sabbatical at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, Iowa, Sister Karolyne stayed on as gardener and helped in the kitchen until 2005. For the next 11 years, she ministered as a volunteer and driver at Villa St. Joseph. In 2016 she moved to St. Rose Convent and she became a regular volunteer at the Franciscan Hospitality House. Villa St. Joseph became her home again, retiring in 2018.
Community members, family, colleagues and friends remember Sister Karolyne for her delicious baking and great love of the outdoors. She would often talk about her wonderful years at Glacier Park, “where nature was a natural yearning of connection and communion with the earth” and God. She was so well-known at Glacier Park for her pies that an Associated Press journalist wrote about her in an article that appeared across the country. She loved biking and walking — anything to be out in God’s creation. After a pilgrimage to Assisi she wrote, “In the language of mystic praise and amazement, earth and nature will always bedazzle, sparkle and glow of the Benevolent Creator.” On a clear full moon evening, you might hear her howl at the moon.
Sister Helen Keating, FSPA
Sister Helen Keating, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 93, died of cancer on May 14, 2020 at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in the 73rd year of her religious profession. Born on October 16, 1925, in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, Helen Cecilia was the second oldest daughter of Frank and Willa (Cherrier) Keating. Helen taught her younger brother how to wrestle, box and play football. Helen and her cousin Art were constant companions until he left for Maryhurst in the Philippines to become a Brother of Mary. This was probably the first time that any thought of a religious vocation entered her mind.
Helen completed eight grades at St. Gabriel’s School, then attended St. Mary’s Academy in Prairie du Chien. “I was into trouble almost constantly for skipping school, breaking rules and getting into things that were none of my business.” It was not until her senior year that she gave her future a serious thought. One of her girlfriends brought up the subject of convent life. Helen began to pray about it, but the following August she entered St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing. It was difficult and terrifying at first and then she fell in love with it. Helen again pushed the idea of a vocation out of her mind until December 1944 when she was assigned to the Sisters’ ward at the hospital. Sister Rosewyn Meyer, FSPA was there and spoke many times with Helen. When Helen came to a decision, Sister Rosewyn spoke with Mother Engelberta and convinced her to allow Helen to enter St. Rose Convent in January instead of waiting until August.
Helen was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1945, and was given the name Sister Ardette. Later, she returned to her baptismal name. Sister Helen made profession of vows on August 12, 1947, and final profession on August 9, 1953. After high school, Sister Helen completed coursework at St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing and served as an RN at St. Mary’s Hospital, Sparta, Wisconsin. Sister Helen taught one year at St. Mary’s School, Marathon, Wisconsin before devoting the rest of her life to the healthcare profession. She ministered at St. Anthony’s Hospital, Carroll, Iowa, Sacred Heart Hospital, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and was Medical and Surgical Instructor at St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing, La Crosse. Sister Helen served her FSPA community as Director of Nursing at Villa St. Joseph 1964 to 1965, prior to completing her Master’s Degree in nursing education at Columbia University in New York City, New York from 1965 to 1967. She then returned to St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing to teach and later assist with the transition of the school to the baccalaureate degree nursing program at Viterbo University.
Thereafter, she served as Healthcare Province Representative on the General Board, Coordinator of Formation at Healthcare House of Studies, and Provincial of FSPA Healthcare Province from 1972 to 1979. From 1980 to 1981, Sister Helen ministered as a nurse in Larned, Kansas. She then moved back to La Crosse where she was a nursing instructor at Viterbo College (University) School of Nursing from 1981 to 1984. Then she became the employee health director at St. Francis Medical Center (MCHS-FH) until 1991. For the next five years, Sister Helen served as a staff nurse at St. Rose Convent Health Center. Sister Helen retired and continued to serve as “on-call nurse” from 1995 to 2005, before moving to St. Rose Convent. In 2008 she moved to Villa St. Joseph and served as a volunteer there until her health began to fail.
Community members, family, colleagues and friends remember Sister Helen as an exceptional nurse and instructor. Her nursing students loved her; one wrote, “She gave me incentive to finish what I started and made me want to be a better person and also a better nurse.” She possessed a good sense of humor and loved to tease. With a twinkle in her eye, she was always involved in any mischief that took place.
Sister Frances Yanisch, FSPA
Sister Frances Yanisch, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 90, died on Friday, April 24, 2020 at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wisconsin after a battle with cancer. She was in the 69th year of her religious profession. Born on October 12, 1930 in Ellsworth, Wisconsin, Frances Lorraine was the youngest of six children of Fredrick and Catharine Estella (Murphy) Yanisch. In 1949, she entered the novitiate of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse and was given the name Sister Anysia. She later went back to her Baptismal name, Frances. She made her first vows on August 12, 1951.
The first 31 years of Sister Frances’ religious life were spent as a homemaker and dietitian at various convents in Wisconsin and Iowa, including periods of time at Aquinas High School, St. Rose Convent and Villa St. Joseph in La Crosse. After initially attending Viterbo College (University) for classes, Sister Frances went on to receive a certificate in dietary administration from Fontbonne College in St. Louis, Missouri. After Vatican II, Sister Frances felt the call to change her ministry. She moved to Rochester, Minnesota and began taking classes as a human service technician at Rochester Area Technical Institute. She then began working as a home healthcare aid for Olmsted County Public Health Department. She served numerous people for ten years through the health department before retiring. She continued her ministry serving part-time as a healthcare provider for another ten years for Comfort Home Health Care, also in Rochester. In 2009, Sister Frances moved to St. Rose Convent until her health required her to move to Villa St. Joseph in late 2019.
Sister Jean Moore, FSPA
Sister Jean Moore, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 67, died on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was in her 37th year of religious profession. Sister Jean Marie Moore was born in Chuquicamata, Chile on February 13, 1953 to Mary Ruth (Noll) and Joseph Aloysius Moore, Jr. Her parents moved to Chile five months after they were married. Her father worked there for a large U.S. copper mining company. Sister Jean, her sister Cindy and her brother Steve were all born in Chuquicamata. A second sister, Kathy, was born following the family’s return to the States. After five years in Chile, Sister Jean’s family moved to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin in order to ensure “proper schooling near their home.”
Her first two years of grade school were at St. Jude the Apostle School in Wauwatosa. Her family then moved to Brookfield, Wisconsin where she attended St. John Vianney School. After graduating from the eighth grade, Sister Jean attended Pilgrim Park Junior High for one year before moving to Brookfield Central High School. During high school, she participated in various sports and clubs. Her family hosted foreign exchange students from Iceland and Italy. Sister Jean maintained connection with her “foreign exchange brother and sister” throughout her life, even visiting them abroad. Upon graduating from high school, Sister Jean attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a concentration in Spanish. She especially enjoyed her junior year studying abroad in Spain.
Friends had always been important to Sister Jean. Family was considered her best friends. Sister Jean and her sisters (and often her brother) spent many vacations together exploring their family roots in Ireland, or just hanging out by the ocean. “My family is a source of strength and support for me in their love and understanding.” Sister Jean continued her education with a master’s degree in Spanish and Foreign Languages from Purdue University. With her graduate degree in hand, she began teaching Spanish at Woodstock High School in Woodstock, Illinois. There she met the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA). That is when she started to deeply listen to the many messages in life God had been giving her, ultimately calling her to religious life. After visiting numerous religious communities, talking with many sisters, and somehow being nudged by St. Francis of Assisi, Jean entered St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wisconsin. On August 6, 1983 Sister Jean made her first profession of vows as a FSPA. When reflecting on her choice of vocation, she said, “Upon visiting Maria Angelorum Chapel, I knew that I could never leave this.”
Sister Jean’s ministry as an FSPA centered around her love of teaching and St. Francis and St. Clare. She continued her education earning a Ph.D. in Second Language and Culture Education from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul and a Masters in Franciscan Studies from the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, New York. In her first year in community, she was Co-Director for the La Crosse Diocese Hispanic Ministry. She taught Spanish at Wayne State College in Nebraska for a year before transferring to Viterbo University in La Crosse as a Spanish instructor in 1985. After completing her doctorate, she returned to Viterbo as assistant professor of Spanish from 1990 to 1993. From 1993 to 1997, Sister Jean served as the Dean of the School of Letters and Sciences at Viterbo. She then became Vice-President of Student Development from 1997 to 2005. While at Viterbo, Sister Jean volunteered at the federal prison at Oxford, Wisconsin as a retreat leader, mentor and friend to inmates. After a year’s sabbatical, Sister Jean was appointed the Director of Mission Integration for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, a position she held until 2016. During that time she served as a pilgrimage leader (about 20 trips) for the Franciscan Pilgrimage Program in Assisi, Italy until 2018. From 2016 to 2019, Sister Jean was back at Viterbo University teaching classes in Franciscan Traditions and Values. Sister Jean’s most recent ministry was that of freelance writer and presenter. Sister Jean has been selected to be honored with the Viterbo University Pope St. John XXIII Award, the highest non-academic award bestowed by the university, in May 2020.
Community members, family and friends, remember Sister Jean as someone that always loved life in any of its aspects. Creativity and Franciscanism went hand-in-hand for her. She was in the midst of writing a book on Pieces of the Parchment-Rubrics for Daily Living. Her love of teaching, sports and cross-cultural experiences were always part of her life. This academic year she still served as chaplain for the Viterbo University women’s basketball team. She always had a story of St. Francis of Assisi to fit any occasion. From childhood Sister Jean “dabbled in arts and crafts” from woodworking to stained glass to photography to jewelry making. Many remember the fun time Sister Jean provided through her “Annual Doctor Sister Dean Jean Golf Scramble” at the end of each school year at Viterbo University.