SLW Deceased Sisters (date order)
Angelita Locher (Anna Marie), 1919-1986
Served in active ministry as teacher, principal, secretary, and hospital chaplain from 1940 to 1985;
For twenty-nine years, Sister Angelita served as teacher and principal in Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Louisiana. From 1976 to 1985 she was involved in chaplaincy work at the University of Illinois Hospital. In the spring of 1983, she began her own long struggle with cancer and her experiences as a patient helped her to understand the patients she visited.
Mary Leonore Schultz (Yvonne), 1935-1987
Served in active ministry as teacher and law student from 1956 to 1987;
Sister Mary Leonore taught in schools in LeMars, Iowa, New Ulm, Minnesota, and the Chicago area. She entered law school at DePaul University, Chicago in 1984 with the goal of helping underprivileged women and children. She completed her studies, but died of cancer before she could take the bar exam.
Consilia Balmes (Mary Wilma), 1925-1988
Served in active ministry as teacher, provincial councilor and secretary from 1946 to 1988;
During her 44 years of religious life, Sister Consilia served in the dioceses of Chicago, Detroit, Sioux City, St. Paul/Minneapolis and New Orleans. She was a native of Evanston, IL.
Dolores Pfannes (Mary Rose), 1917-1989
Served in active ministry as teacher, principal, and superior from 1937 to 1989;
Sister Dolores served many years in several schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago. After her retirement, she continued to tutor children and in other ways help teachers and pupils.
Judith Williams, 1951-1993
Served in active ministry as tutor, chaplain, and physical therapy assistant from 1981 to 1992;
Sister Judith was a graduate of Northwestern University and worked as a physical therapy assistant at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for eight years. She was the sister of Donna Williams, SLW.
Angelene Ogden, 1914-1993
Served in active ministry as teacher from 1935 to 1983; after retirement served as hospital chaplain;
Sister Angelene began teaching deaf children in 1957, and established a high school program for the hearing impaired at Holy Trinity High School in 1967. After retirement she served as a part-time chaplain at the University of Illinois Hospital.
Victoranne Manikowski, 1935-1994
Served in active ministry as teacher and librarian from 1954 to 1994;
Sister Victoranne was originally from Detroit, MI and was a graduate of Loyola University, Chicago. She was a librarian at several Catholic schools in Chicago, and taught at schools in Ohio, Missouri, Iowa and Michigan.
Mary Frances Fiasconaro, 1920-1998
Served in active ministry as teacher, school administrator, and associate director of social services from 1940 to 1988; after retirement served as a volunteer;
Sister Mary Frances taught in Catholic schools in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Illinois. She ministered in the Archdiocesan Social Apostolate in New Orleans, LA from 1973 to 1988.
Melanie Claverie, 1916-1999
Served in active ministry as teacher, school administrator, secretary and librarian from 1936 to 1986; after retirement served as hospital volunteer;
Sister Melanie spent most of her life as a teacher and administrator at parochial elementary schools in several states. She was the founding principal of St. Mary Magdalene School in Metairie, LA.
Helen Saffert, 1918-2002
Served in active ministry as teacher, administrator, and SLW leadership team member from 1939 to 1989; after retirement served as volunteer;
Over her fifty year career as an educator, Sister Helen served in Catholic schools in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. From 1975 to 1976 she served on the leadership team of the Sisters of the Living Word.
Bonita Brand, 1923-2002
Served in active ministry as teacher and school administrator from 1945 to 1996; after retirement served as volunteer;
Sister Bonita taught at Catholic schools in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. She is remembered for her story telling gift, her cookie baking skills, her musical talent of playing the guitar, harmonica and drum and her cheerful, welcoming personality.
Brenda Kelzer (Elizabeth Ann), 1948-2004
Served in active ministry as cook, pastoral associate, soup kitchen director, and President of the Kelzer Care Center from 1969 to 2004;
Sister Brenda started her life as a nun by tending to disabled children and the elderly. In 1987 she opened a soup kitchen at St. Martin Parish in Chicago, then in 1989 moved to St. John of God Parish, where she opened a kitchen and a transitional living home for men. She later founded Kelzer Care Center at the same location.
Mary Rose Solivay (Irene), 1923-2004
Served in active ministry as teacher, principal, and receptionist from 1942 to 1990; after retirement served as volunteer;
From 1942 until 1964, Sister Mary Rose was an elementary school teacher and principal. With her background in film study and English, she moved into the high school classroom and after an advanced degree in Theology, she taught at the university level.
She remained in the classroom until 1983, when she took her skills to adult learners and flourished in her work with the Associate Program and the Partners in Prayer group of the Sisters of the Living Word.
Annamarie Cook, 1914-2005
At age 21 Rita Cook entered Maria Immaculata Convent in Wilmette and a year later became Sister Annamarie, a Sister of Christian Charity. From 1938 to 1965 she worked in education; in 1965 she became the provincial superior of the North American Western Province of the Sisters of Christian Charity. She founded the Sisters of the Living Word on August 18th, 1975.
In 1983 the Sisters of the Living Word unanimously acclaimed Annamarie as the Foundress who gave direction and strong leadership to those first 90 Sisters. In some ways, Annamarie was a most unlikely stereotype of a foundress of a religious community. She was simple, unassuming, and shunned the limelight. It has been the experience of the Sisters that she was a blessing for all of the SLW community. She had the grace to let the community evolve, not by her own design, but by the way God seemed to be working in the Sisters’ lives. The Sisters of the Living Word have known and loved Annamarie Cook as a person of courage and fortitude blended with a gentle, affirming leadership.
Mariette Gillen (Marie Barbara), 1920-2007
Served in active ministry as teacher and director of religious education from 1939 to 2000 Sister Mariette taught preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. In 1972 Sister Mariette became Director of Religious Education at St. Joseph Parish in Rockdale, IL, and gradually expanded her ministry to adults over the many years she spent there.
Grace Thorp, 1932-2007
Served in active ministry as teacher, principal, organist, music director, pastoral associate, family care worker, and teacher’s aide from 1952 to 1999;
Sister Grace’s years of faithful ministry included teaching in several elementary schools, and then working in a few parishes as music coordinator and choir director. She chose to teach in poorer areas with children who needed the gifts of the music and lightheartedness. Sister Grace loved teaching them to express themselves in music, dance and games.
Mariata Hartmann (Mary Margaret), 1920-2009
Served in active ministry as teacher, special education instructor, teacher’s aide and coordinator of social services from 1939 to 2000; after retirement served as teacher’s aide Sister Mariata loved teaching, but it was in the 1960s that she found her niche as a teacher of Special Education in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Over the span of forty years, Sister Mariata educated children with special needs, counseled their parents and instructed new teachers in the field of Special Education. It was Sister Mariata’s life work to advocate on behalf of individuals with mental disabilities both within society, but more so, within the Catholic Church.
Leonilla Marque (Rita Mae), 1922-2010
Served in active ministry as teacher, principal, and homemaker from 1941 to 1982; after retirement served as seamstress, tutor, and volunteer;
Sister Leonilla ministered in various schools in Michigan, Missouri, Illinois and Minnesota. After 1966 Sister Leonilla ministered in the New Orleans area at St. Henry School, St. Francis Assisi School, Immaculate Heart and Mary Magdalene.
Lynda Rink, 1944-2010
Served in active ministry as teacher, director of religious education, director of development, and SLW leadership team member from 1967 to 2010;
Sister Lynda taught in various schools in Mississippi, Illinois, and Louisiana. She was the Director of Development for the Sisters of the Living Word and at the time of her death was serving on the SLW leadership team.
José Moos (Elizabeth), 1918-2010
Served in active ministry as teacher, nurse, and chaplain from 1940 to 2000; after retirement made quilts for fundraising;
Sister José taught elementary grades in Chicago and Detroit for fifteen years, then in 1955 began a twenty-year career as a high school teacher in Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago. In 1975 she completed studies to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. Quilting became a passion for Sister José and she used it as a way to give back to the SLW, offering handmade quilts for fundraising.
Virginia King, 1933-2010
Served in active ministry as teacher, principal, pastoral associate, and business manager from 1961 to 2003;
Sister Virginia ministered as teacher, principal, pastoral associate and parish/school business manager in Illinois, Louisiana, Texas, and Indiana. Outstanding in her final years was her devotedness to the students, parents and staff of St. Basil Parish and School in Chicago. Her quiet presence gave enormous encouragement and support to those to whom she ministered.
Christella Carbaugh (Catherine), 1930-2012
Served in active ministry as teacher, principal, spiritual director, co-director of spiritual centers and SLW leadership team member from 1951 to 2012;
Sister Christella served as a teacher and principal in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. She went on to serve as co-director of Wellsprings in Westmont, IL and on the SLW leadership team. She also served as a spiritual director, formation mentor and volunteer minister.
Louise Bauer (Lavon), 1943-2013
Served in active ministry as homemaker, cook, child care worker, secretary, teacher, nursing home aide, upholsterer, and seamstress from 1964 to 2010;
A home economics teacher at a Chicago high school for a number of years, Sister Louise also taught in elementary schools in Chicago and served in Texas. The last 27 years she was a seamstress, tailor and sewing teacher in her shop in St. Paul, MN. Each summer for more than a dozen years she taught more than 100 children to sew, starting with a tote bag and progressing to clothing items.
Mary Ambrose Wack (Dorothy), 1915-2014
Served in active ministry as teacher and social care coordinator from 1935 to 1986; after retirement served as social care and respite care volunteer;
Sister Mary Ambrose was a teacher, principal and librarian in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Michigan. After retirement from education, she ministered in social services and care ministry in Chicago and Arlington Heights, IL.
Mary de Lourdes Charbonnet (Agnes), 1923-2014
Served in active ministry as teacher and principal from 1946 to 2010; after retirement served as principal emeritus;
Sister Mary de Lourdes taught in St. Louis, MO, Detroit, MI and at St. Raphael and Immaculate Heart of Mary Schools in New Orleans, LA. She was founding principal of St. Edward the Confessor School in 1965, served as principal there for 45 years and continued as Principal Emeritus until her death.
Phoebe Marshall, 1921-2015
Served in active ministry as a teacher and principal from 1937 to 2010; after retirement served in prayer ministry;
Sister Phoebe was the founding principal of St. Edward School in Chillicothe, IL and principal of St. Gregory High School in Chicago. She served as Community Secretary for Leadership for 12 years. She also served in New Membership. Phoebe was an active member of St. Stephen Parish in Des Plaines and spent her final years as a resident member of Resurrection Life Center in Chicago.
Mary Imelda Fischer, 1932-2015
Served in active ministry as teacher, librarian, assistant and volunteer minister from 1953-2012; after retirement served in prayer ministry;
Sr. Mary Imelda Fischer taught in elementary schools in New Orleans & Gretna, LA, Detroit, MI, Minneapolis, MN, Westmont, IL, St. Louis, MO, and Morton Grove, IL. She then served as Librarian at St. Mary Madgalen in Metairie, LA. She also served at the Cardinal Ritter Inst. and DuBourg House both in St. Louis, MO; Sr. Mary Imelda also served at the Living Word Center as Assistant to the Director of Development; and with St. James Care Ministry in Arlington Heights, IL
Barbara Hawken, 1934-2016
Sr. Barbara became a Sister of Christian Charity in 1953 and in 1991 entered the transfer process to the Sisters of the Living Word. She was a gift to both religious orders as a teacher for many years in Ohio, Minnesota and Chicago. There were several times in her life where she served simultaneously as junior high teacher, principal and local superior! Two of her longer terms were in service to St. Teresa of Avila (1963-1972 & 1990 -1994) as a seventh grade teacher and later as principal, and at Josephinum High School as assistant principal and then principal (1978-1990)
As a Sister of the Living Word, Sr. Barbara continued teaching junior high at St. Hedwig School and St. Robert Bellarmine. In 2003, she shifted focus and worked in vocation ministries, providing administrative support at the Living Word Center, and proofreading and transcribing the oral histories of many of the Sisters in the Community.
At Resurrection Life Center, Barbara continued to spread the Word in many ways including being Chairperson of the Residents’ council, lector, editor and proofreader, coordinator of the SLW Advent reflection book each year and organizing events such as evening prayer and the SLW Jubilee celebrations.
Laurita Saunders, 1920-2016
Sr. Laurita spend four decades as a teacher, superior and principal in Detroit, Chicago, Sioux City, New Ulm, Minneapolis, and Palatine. She was delighted to teach junior high at St. Theresa in Palatine because she had the opportunity to teach alongside her two sisters Bea and Connie!
She made her vows as a Sister of Christian Charity in 1948 and in 1975 joined 89 other Sisters in forming the new community of Sisters of the Living Word. Sr. Laurita served as Director of Religious Education and Adult Education at three parishes in Illinois before returning to the classroom at Pope John XXIII in Evanston where she taught middle school math.
In 1988, she became the hospitality coordinator for the Living Word Center and also worked with the development office and assisted with many events.
When she moved to Resurrection Life Center in Chicago in October of 2011 she wrote, “I enjoy bringing Christ to others by being cheerful and helpful. When I came to RLC I saw an excellent opportunity to minister and radiate the SLW Spirit.”
Agnes Martinka, 1927 – 2017
Joan Marie entered the Sisters of Christian Charity July 11, 1945, was invested August 21, 1946 (receiving the name Sister Agnes), and made profession August 21, 1948, with her final profession occurring on August 20, 1954.Sister Agnes was a combination of a nurturing mother and a tough love guardian. She was a forward looking educator—working within the field for fifty years—because she was a life-long learner. In her total enjoyment of life she was child-like; this was balanced by her take charge manner. Her interests embraced people, architecture, the universe, her God, her community, her family, her church. The thousands of lives she touched in her 89 plus years are a testament to a woman who was a free spirit and who was able to help free others.
Betty Betzwieser, 1932 – 2017
It was clear to Betty that the Lord always came first in her family life; it was evident when Betty felt called to religious life and entered the Sisters of Christian Charity as a postulant in 1949. She began her novitiate on August 21, 1951 as Sister Augustine. After professing her final vows in August, 1957, Betty continued a long and varied ministerial experience that spanned over fifty years.
During Betty’s final days she mentioned that she wanted to celebrate Easter in Heaven. Her prayers were answered and she went home to Heaven at 11:00pm on April 13th, 2017…Holy Thursday.
Joyce Roehl, 1937-2018
Joyce made final vows on August 15, 1970 with the Sisters of Christian Charity. In 1975, she joined the newly formed Sisters of the Living Word. She says, “At that point I knew what God was asking of me and with full confidence in Him I made my decision to leave the SCC’s and to join this new group. I have never regretted that decision as I have never regretted leaving my family to join a religious community.”
Joyce’s first mission was at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Niles, IL, starting as an eighth grade Social Studies teacher from 1967-1973 when she became part-time Assistant Principal. The parish became a second family to her and helped her grow. She served as Principal of St. Isaac Jogues from 1977-1983. She was also principal and teacher at St. Jerome in Rogers Park, St. Priscilla, and St. Cornelius. Once she retired, she volunteered as receptionist three days a week at the Living Word Center in Arlington Heights.
Genevieve Shea, 1919-2018
Genevieve entered the Sisters of Christian Charity at the age of 14 and was known as Sr. Camilla before joining the Sisters of the Living Word. She taught at the elementary and high school levels in Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, and Iowa for twenty years, and she was a principal for eight years.
Sr. Genevieve was Librarian at Mallinckrodt College and East Vicariate High School in Detroit, MI. She ministered as a chaplain to the elderly for 10 years. In her retirement, as Community Archivist for the Sisters of the Living Word, she began to develop the website for the Community and continued in this ministry for 16 years.
In her mid-late 80’s she volunteered with the St. James Over 50 Group, and later became a permanent resident at Resurrection Life Center in Chicago. She was a very valuable member of that community. She also took up painting in her mid-eighties and had over 60 books on her iPad waiting to be read.
Mary Ann Grausam, 1940-2015
Born in New Ulm, Minnesota in 1940, Sister Mary Ann made her final vows in 1967. She joined the Sisters of the Living Word in 1975. She taught in schools in Iowa and Michigan, and served as a pastoral minister in Michigan, Mississippi, and Illinois. She was the Novice Director for the SLW for 14 years.
In the Diocese of Jackson, she was a pastoral associate at Carthage St. Anne from 1992–1994, at Canton Sacred Heart from 1992–2001, and at Holy Child Jesus from 1992–2001. She was a Social Service Minster at Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Holly Springs from 2002–2003 and Director of RCIA at St. Joseph in Holly Springs from 2012–2013. She also was a homeless shelter volunteer from 2012–2013, and in prayer ministry in Holly Springs from 2013–2015.
Norma Thelen, 1937-2020
Sister Norma (Jane P.) Thelen, SLW was born July 6, 1937 in Westphalia, Michigan to Norman and Mary Thelen. Sister Norma had been an elementary teacher for 25 years in Louisiana, Illinois and Michigan. Later she ministered in the field of gerontology for 27 years until she retired in 2013. Sister Norma was preceded in death by her parents and her step-mother Agnes Smith Thelen, brothers Dennis, Mark and David Thelen, step-brothers Richard and Raymond Smith and step-sister Diane (Pat) Luna.
She is survived by her brothers Clair (Catherine) Thelen and Thomas (Barbara) Thelen, her sisters Rose Mary (John) Nurenberg, Virginia (Melvin) Drake, Linda (Donald) Thelen, her sister-in-law Joni Thelen, step-brothers Jerome (Rose) Smith, Edward (Ann) Smith, Albert (Carolee) Smith and step-sisters Hilda (Michael) Schmitz and Kathleen (Ambrose) Fox. Sister Norma is also survived by 23 nieces and nephews, 78 great-nieces and nephews and 31 great-great nieces and nephews.
Charlene Baller, 1924-2020
She was preceded in death by her parents, John Aloysius Baller, her mother, Cecilia Schneider Baller, her stepmother, Elizabeth Yunker Springinsfeld, her stepbrother, Charles, and her two Sisters Lorraine and Jeanette, both BVM Sisters. Sister Charlene entered the Sisters of Christian Charity in 1938 and later was one of the founding members of the Sisters of the Living Word in 1975.
She was a dedicated teacher and principal, having taught in various schools in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, as well as St. Louis, Missouri, Michigan and Iowa from 1943 to 2002. Sister Charlene was gentle, kind, loved humor, and dogs. In her last years she resided at Resurrection Life Center, Chicago, IL, where she was lovingly cared for until her death.
Rosanne Stump, 1924-2020
Rosanne was born in Eagle, MI on November 29, 1924, the second oldest of seven siblings: Robert and Susann Koenigsknecht (both deceased), Joan and George Koenigsknecht (both deceased), Kathryn (deceased), Melvin (deceased), Alice (Fink) Stump, Leon (deceased), Theresa (Schafer) Stump, and Sister Julia Stump, SLW, 28 nieces and nephews and many great nieces and nephews.
Sister ministered in New Orleans, LA, for 20 years as teacher, principal and served as Secretary for the Archdiocesan Office for Religious Education. She also taught in Iowa, and Chicago and the surrounding area. In a second career she ministered as a receptionist, secretary, financial aid administrator, and GED/English instructor at various Community Colleges.