July 25, 2014

33 Oldenburg Franciscan sisters celebrate jubilees

Special to The Criterion

Thirty-three Sisters of the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis in Oldenburg residing in or with ties to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis are celebrating jubilees of their entrance into religious life.

85 years

Sister Angela Benedict (formerly Sister M. Aloysia) taught at St. Louis School in Batesville, St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg, and the former Holy Trinity School and St. Michael the Archangel School, both in Indianapolis. She also taught in the Evansville Diocese and Ohio. She retired to Oldenburg in 1989, and currently resides in the St. Clare Health Facility.

75 years

Sister Wilhelmina Burkemper served 30 years as a teacher in various schools in Missouri and Ohio and taught Cheyenne and Crow children in Montana. In 1991, she returned to the Oldenburg motherhouse to serve as congregational archivist. Now semi-retired, she continues to serve part time and on-call in the archives.

Sister Mary Catherine Eschenbach (formerly Sister Clarence Cecile) is a native of Indianapolis. In the archdiocese, she served as a teacher and/or principal at St. Louis School in Batesville, the former St. Francis de Sales School and St. Michael the Archangel School, both in Indianapolis, St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg, and St. Vincent de Paul School in Bedford. She also taught in Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and in Papua New Guinea. In 1998, she returned to Oldenburg and now resides in the St. Clare Health Facility.

Sister Veronica Frederick ministered as a teacher and principal in Indiana for 21 years. Her assignments in the archdiocese included St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower) School in Indianapolis, the former Holy Family School in Richmond and St. Gabriel School in Connersville. She also served in the Evansville, Ind., Diocese, Ohio and Kentucky. She retired to Oldenburg in 2002. She is now a resident of St. Clare Health Facility, and continues her hobby as candymaker for special events.

Sister Frances Jean Sandschulte served as a music teacher and organist in schools and parishes in the archdiocese, including St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower), Holy Trinity and Our Lady of Lourdes, all in Indianapolis, and at St. Mary in New Albany. She also taught music in Ohio and New Mexico. She retired to Oldenburg in 2007, and served as accompanist to the sisters’ choir. Currently, she resides in St. Clare Health Facility.

Sister Mildred Speed (formerly Sister Charles Helene) taught in the archdiocese at St. Louis School in Batesville, St. Mary School in Greensburg, St. Vincent de Paul School in Bedford, and Our Lady of Lourdes School and Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School, both in Indianapolis. She also served in Illinois and Ohio, and served Native American communities in Montana and New Mexico until she retired to the motherhouse in 2005. She raises funds to support mission work.

Sister Virginia Ann Streit, a native of North Vernon, served as a teacher at St. Mary School in Greensburg, the former St. John the Evangelist School in Enochsburg, St. Joseph School in Shelbyville, and St. Mary School in Aurora. She also taught in the Evansville, Ind., Diocese and Ohio. She served at the Oldenburg motherhouse as a nursing assistant in the Health Care Facility, then as assistant coordinator of Olivia Hall, a residence and retreat center. She now resides in the St. Clare Health Facility.

70 years

Sister Angela Betsch taught in the archdiocese at the former Holy Trinity School in Indianapolis, and served on the nursing staff and in the Communications Office at Oldenburg. In recent years, she taught religious education part time in Oldenburg. She has also served in Missouri, Ohio and Illinois and Papua New Guinea. She retired to the motherhouse in 2009.

60 years

Sister Marian Boberschmidt (formerly Sister Marie Pius) taught in the archdiocese at St. Monica School and St. Michael the Archangel School, both in Indianapolis, and served as director of novices in Oldenburg. She has also served as principal, teacher, director of religious education and pastoral associate at various parishes in Missouri. In 1991, she became a founding member and director of the Sisters of St. Francis-supported Nia Kuumba, a women’s center in St. Louis, Mo., for support, spiritual and personal growth.

Sister André Burkhart, a native of Brookville, taught at the former St. Bernadette School in Indianapolis, the former St. Mary School in New Albany, and the former St. Andrew School in Richmond. She has also served in Arizona, Mississippi, Ohio and Kenya in East Africa. She now resides at the motherhouse in Oldenburg, does outreach ministry with senior citizens, and directs the Adopt-a-Sis program, which arranges conversation groups between Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception students and the sisters.

Sister Donna DeMange (formerly known as Sister Janet) taught in the archdiocese at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in New Albany, Our Lady of Lourdes School in Indianapolis, and the former Sacred Heart School in Clinton. She also served in Illinois and Ohio. She retired to the motherhouse in Oldenburg in 2014.

Sister Lucy Driscoll taught in the archdiocese at Most Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove, the former Holy Trinity School in Indianapolis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in New Albany, and St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg. Other assignments included teaching in Ohio, Missouri and Michigan. She retired from full-time teaching in 2007, and currently serves as an administrative assistant to the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province in Cincinnati.

Sister Mary Fliehman (formerly Sister Lauren) taught in the archdiocese at the former Holy Trinity School in Indianapolis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in New Albany and the former Holy Family School in Richmond, where she also served as principal. She also ministered in Ohio. In 1988, she returned to Oldenburg and served in a series of ministries.

Sister Joel Franks taught in the archdiocese at St. Mark the Evangelist School and St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower) School, both in Indianapolis, St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg, St. Mary School in Greensburg, and Most Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove. She served as principal at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in New Albany, and served as assistant treasurer and treasurer at Marian University in Indianapolis. She now serves at Marian as a library technician.

Sister Kathryn Holohan (formerly Sister Annata) was part of a group of four sisters to open mission schools in Papua New Guinea in 1960, where she served in various roles over the next 22 years. In 1982, she returned to Indiana after being elected to serve in the four-year role of councilor in the Oldenburg administration. She then served as congregational minister until 1996, when mission work took her to West Virginia. In 2010, she retired to Oldenburg and lives at Michaela Farm.

Sister Tecla Jaehnen has taught in the archdiocese at St. Mary School in Greensburg, St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in New Albany and the former St. Mary Academy in Indianapolis. She also taught in the Evansville, Ind., Diocese, Ohio and Missouri. After 20 years working as a freelance photographer, she returned to Oldenburg, where she continued doing photography for the congregation and for parish events. Now retired, she resides in St. Clare Health Facility.

Sister Amy Kistner taught in the archdiocese at St. Louis School in Batesville and St. Monica School in Indianapolis. She also taught and served in parishes in Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. In Oldenburg, she served as director of novices from 1978-84, and was elected to serve as congregational minister from 1994-2000. Since then, she has served as a pastoral associate in Kentucky.

Sister René Langenecker taught in the archdiocese at St. Mary School in New Albany, St. Anthony School in Morris (now a preschool), the former Holy Family School in Oldenburg and St. Louis School in Batesville. She served as principal at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in New Albany. She also taught in several schools in Ohio before ministering in Los Angeles. She is currently on sabbatical at the sisters’ prayer lodge in Montana.

Sister Joan Laughlin (formerly Sister Naomi) taught in the archdiocese at Most Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove, St. Mary School in Greensburg and the former Holy Family School in Richmond. She also taught in Ohio. From 1986-94, she served on the administrative council in Oldenburg, then served as part of a training team in Papua New Guinea. In 2001, she returned to Oldenburg to be co-director of the lay associates. She retired in 2011 and resides in La Clare House on Michaela Farm.

Sister Mary Walter Sokolic taught in the archdiocese at St. Louis School in Batesville and Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in New Albany. She also taught and served as a principal in the Evansville, Ind., Diocese. In Ohio schools, she served as teacher, librarian and administrator. She retired to Oldenburg in 1999 and served part time in communications.

Sister Elna Stemann taught in the archdiocese at St. Michael School in Brookville, St. Mary School in Rushville, the former St. Francis de Sales and St. Gabriel the Archangel schools, both in Indianapolis, St. Vincent de Paul School in Bedford, the former St. Mary School in New Albany and Oldenburg Elementary School. She served for 11 years at the motherhouse in Oldenburg as grounds supervisor and sacristan, then moved to Evansville to work as a teacher assistant in a preschool setting. Since 2009, she has served as a volunteer at St. Mary Medical Center in Evansville.

Sister Bernetta Stuhrenberg taught in the archdiocese at St. Louis School in Batesville, Most Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove and St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg. She also taught in the Evansville, Ind., Diocese and in Ohio, where she switched to parish ministry then to providing private in-home care. She retired to Oldenburg in 1999.

Sister Cleopha Werner, a native of Oldenburg, taught in the archdiocese at St. Mary School in North Vernon and St. Mary School in Greensburg, and served in parish ministry at St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. She also assisted at the archbishop’s residence and in kitchen services at various locations in the archdiocese. She has also served in various roles in the Evansville, Ind., Diocese and now resides at Oldenburg, where she serves as a convent tour guide and makes nature crafts.

Sister Rachel West (formerly Sister Audrey) taught in the archdiocese at the former St. Mary Academy, the former Holy Trinity School and St. Mark the Evangelist School, all in Indianapolis. She served as a history professor and archivist at Marian University in Indianapolis, taught in Illinois and Ohio, and worked in Detroit. In 2010, she returned to Oldenburg and now serves as an archivist.

50 years

Sister Bridget Arnold taught in the archdiocese at St. Michael School in Brookville and at schools in Missouri and Ohio. She served most of her years as a teacher and principal in the Evansville, Ind., Diocese, where she currently is in ministry.

Sister Sharon Marie Blank served in the archdiocese as an organist at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany for 26 years, and taught and served as a principal in the Evansville, Ind., Diocese and in Kentucky, where she now serves as a language arts teacher.

Sister Alacoque Burger, a native of Indianapolis, has ministered as a nurse in the Oldenburg Health Facility and served on the administrative council of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg. She is currently engaged in pastoral care at the St. Clare Health Facility in Oldenburg. She has also served in various assignments in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

Sister Julann Butz taught in the archdiocese at St. Mark the Evangelist School in Indianapolis, then for 32 years teaching math and computer science at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis. Since 2001, she has served as human resources coordinator for the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg.

Sister Donna Graham (formerly Sister Irene Mary) has served in the archdiocese as a teacher at St. Monica School and St. Michael the Archangel School and the former Holy Trinity School, all in Indianapolis. She also ministered as a counselor and therapist at Reid Memorial Hospital in Richmond and at Community Mental Health Center in Batesville. Sister Donna also worked in various roles in Ohio, and is currently director of the justice, peace and integrity of creation office with the Franciscan Friars in Cincinnati.

Sister Miriam Kaeser (formerly Sister Mary Willard) served in the archdiocese as president of the Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception, on the administrative council of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg for six years, and for two years as an education professor at Marian University in Indianapolis. She has also taught and been a principal in Missouri and Ohio, as well as served for 20 years as assistant superintendent for curriculum development in the Cincinnati Archdiocese.

Sister Kathleen Mulso (formerly Sister John Marie) taught in the archdiocese at Most Holy Name of Jesus School in Beech Grove, St. Lawrence School in Indianapolis, St. Gabriel School in Connersville and the former St. Michael School in Charlestown. She also taught and served as director of religious education at various parishes in Michigan. Now residing in Oldenburg, she serves as a substitute teacher at the Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception and as volunteer chaplain at Margaret Mary Community Hospital in Batesville.

Sister Noella Poinsette, a native of Indianapolis, served as a music teacher in the archdiocese at the former Holy Trinity School in Indianapolis and at the Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception. She served in a variety of ministries, including teaching, music ministry, a refugee program and campus ministry. She ministered in schools in Ohio, New York and South Dakota, and in Catholic social services in Kentucky. She recently moved to Michigan to start a new assignment.

Sister Margaret Rahe (formerly Sister Mary Richard) is a native of Batesville. She taught in the archdiocese at the former St. Andrew School in Richmond, as well as at schools in Illinois and Ohio. She currently serves as a social worker for Cincinnati Area Senior Services. †

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