ST. LOUIS — Sister Barbara Becnel, OSU, known for a time as Sister Marie Sarto, died peacefully May 3, at Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center in New Orleans. She served in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois in the 1960s and 1970s.
The daughter of Albin J. Becnel and Ione Anderson Becnel, she was born Oct. 23, 1937, in New Orleans. She graduated from Ursuline Academy in New Orleans and entered the Ursuline Sisters in July 1955, making her vows in January 1958.
Father Robert T. Bolser, CSV, passed away April 28 at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas. He was 74.
Father Bolser was born April 1, 1945, in Urbana, the son of Catherine (Quinlan) and George Bolser. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Stephen Bolser and his sister Judith Ann Reale. He is survived by his brothers Father Charles Bolser, CSV, John Bolser and Joseph Bolser and his sisters Mary Catherine Bolser and Colleen Von De Bur.
ST. LOUIS — Sister Mary Margaret Prenger, OSU, died peacefully April 9 at Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center in New Orleans. She served many years in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. She was 96 years old.
The daughter of Frederick C. Prenger and Blanche Marcelle Marion Prenger, she was born Edna Marie Prenger on March 11, 1923, in New Orleans. Sister Mary Margaret graduated from Ursuline Academy of New Orleans and attended Ursuline College there. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in July 1942 and made her vows in January 1945.
Springfield Dominican Sister M. Alan Russell died May 2, at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield. She was born in Springfield in 1931, the only child of Leslie and Margaret (Cusker) Russell, who named her Audree Ellen. She made her profession of vows in 1951 at Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield.
Sister M. Alan will be remembered by hundreds of high school graduates as a favorite math teacher. She first taught junior high school and high school math at St. Augustine, Richmond, Mich., from 1966-1968. She taught math at Sacred Heart Academy from 1969-1983, and from 1983-1989, she taught at Rosary High School, Aurora. In 1989, she moved to Marian Catholic High School, Chicago Heights, where she taught math until 2005, interrupted in 1998 by a leave of absence for family care.
Springfield Dominican Sister Margaret Joanne Grueter, OP, died April 1 at Sacred Heart Convent. She was born in Carrollton in 1952 to Charles “Bud” and Rosemary (Johnson) Grueter. She made her profession of vows in 1977 at Sacred Heart Convent.
Sister Margaret Joanne was an educator who dedicated nearly half her 42 years of religious life to the students and faculty at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield. There she was assistant principal from 1994-1998 and principal from 2000-2016. In the interim, she completed a master’s degree in human development and counseling at UIS. From 2016-2018, she taught junior high school religion at St. Agnes School in Springfield, until illness required her retirement.
ST. LOUIS — Sister Wilma Wittman (Mother Mary Basil), OSU, died peacefully March 4 at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka, Mo. She spent most of her life ministering in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
The daughter of John Sigmund Wittman and Marie Augusta Myers Wittman, she was born May 2, 1924, in Alton, where she graduated from Marquette High School. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in Crystal City, Mo., in 1942 and made her vows in 1945. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the College of New Rochelle in New York and a master’s degree in education at St. Louis University.
AURORA — Springfield Dominican Sister M. Megan Farrelly died March 3 at Presence Mercy Medical Center, Aurora. She was born in Chicago in 1946, and named Elizabeth Agnes by her parents, James D. and Roberta Barclay Farrelly. She made her profession of vows in 1966 at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield.
Sister M. Megan dedicated her entire religious life to education, teaching primary and junior high students, college students, adults, and challenged teens over the span of 53 years. Before illness required her to cease ministry, she was interim principal at Rosary High School, Aurora. Prior to that she was assistant principal and curriculum director at IC Prep, Elmhurst, and an adjunct teacher at Dominican University. Sister M. Megan taught in schools in central and northern Illinois including St. John Bosco, Our Lady of Grace, and St. Christina, Chicago; St. Mary, New Berlin; and St. Paul, Odell, where she was also principal. Additionally, she was principal at Cathedral, Springfield, and Rosary High School, Aurora. She also taught at Waubonsee College, and Benedictine University. In the 1990s she relished the challenge of teaching at Garfield Alternative High School, Chicago.
Springfield Dominican Sister M. Paulita Philippe died March 16 at Sacred Heart Convent. She was born in Livingston, in 1937, and named Annette Mary by her parents, Paul and Emma (Martinelli) Philippe. She made her profession of vows in 1959 at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield.
Sister M. Paulita dedicated her life to education and pastoral ministry. She enjoyed especially her 15 years among Spanish-speaking Catholics in Rogers, Ark., east central Illinois, and Kankakee County during the final 16 years of active ministry. Early in her religious life, she taught elementary grades at St. Agnes, Springfield; St. Christina, Chicago; St. Bernadette, Evergreen Park; St. Francis, Jerseyville; and Holy Family, Decatur.
Springfield Dominican Sister Philip Neri Crawford, OP, died Feb. 26 at Sacred Heart Convent. She was born in Springfield, in 1931, and named Marilyn Marie by her parents, Louis and Florence (Christjansen) Crawford. She made her profession of vows in 1951 at Sacred Heart Convent.
Sister Philip Neri dedicated 62 years of religious life to Catholic education. From her first assignment at St. Thomas School, Newton, to her final 14-year teaching position at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, she never lagged in her commitment to or energy for encouraging students and teachers. She also taught at Catholic elementary schools in Evergreen Park, Chicago and Crystal Lake. Sister Philip Neri also taught at the religious education center in Carlinville before her first mission as elementary school principal at Our Saviour in Jacksonville. There and at St. Dominic School in Quincy, she taught eighth grade as well. After six years in the Springfield Diocesan Office of Education she was principal at St. Christina, Chicago, then Routt Catholic High School in Jacksonville, and St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond, La., where she was a pioneer teacher and the school’s second principal.
Sister Ann (Elizabeth Frances) Connolly, ASC, died on Jan. 12 at the Ruma Center in Ruma. She was 91 years old and had been a professed member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for 72 years.
Sister Ann was born on May 15, 1927 in Assumption. She was the only child of the late Ernest and Catherine (Shannon) Connolly. Sister Ann made her first vows on July 1, 1946 and her final vows on July 1, 1951.
ST. LOUIS — A memorial Mass was celebrated on Dec. 29, 2018, for Sister Colette Jokerst, OSU, who died peacefully on Dec. 22. She was a resident of St. Andrews at Francis Place in Eureka, Mo., at the time of her death. Sister Colette served in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for 30 years.
The daughter of Joseph and Josephine Huber Jokerst, she was born on March 7, 1927, in Crystal City, Mo. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in July 1946 and professed her vows in January 1949.
MILWAUKEE — School Sister of St. Francis Dorothy Petit, who lived her religious vocation as a homemaker and nurse for more than 60 years, died Nov. 29 at Sacred Heart in Milwaukee. She was 81 years old.
Sister Dorothy was born April 21, 1937, in Chicago. She was received into the School Sisters of St. Francis on June 13, 1955, made her first profession of vows in 1957, and final (perpetual) vows in 1963.
Albany, N.Y. — Sister Mary of the Incarnation Driscoll, OP (Mary Elizabeth), passed away on Nov. 15. She was the daughter of James and Nancy Driscoll of Yonkers, N.Y.
After graduating from St. Clare Academy in 1957, Sister Mary entered the Franciscans where she taught fifth-graders and studied history at Fordham before becoming a registered nurse. She transferred to the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1972. There she studied Scripture with Sister Kathryn Sullivan, RSCJ, worked in Bellevue’s emergency room, and went to Kenya as a midwife and with the aid of the people, built a dispensary.
Springfield Dominican Sister Mary Pauletta Overbeck died Oct. 13 at Sacred Heart Convent. She was born in Dieterich, on Jan. 4, 1915, and named Pauletta Madonna by her parents, Frank and Kathryn (Petry) Overbeck. She made her profession of vows in 1935 at Sacred Heart Convent. She had been the oldest professed Springfield Dominican and was inducted into the Sacred Heart-Griffin High School Hall of Fame in 2011. Springfield Dominican Sister Mary Pauletta Overbeck died Oct. 13 at Sacred Heart Convent. She was born in Dieterich, on Jan. 4, 1915, and named Pauletta Madonna by her parents, Frank and Kathryn (Petry) Overbeck. She made her profession of vows in 1935 at Sacred Heart Convent. She had been the oldest professed Springfield Dominican and was inducted into the Sacred Heart-Griffin High School Hall of Fame in 2011.
RUMA — Sister Emma Goeckner, ASC, a professed member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for 72 years, died Aug. 27 at the Ruma Center. She was 88 years old.
Born on June 9, 1930, she was the youngest of nine children of William and Rosa (Probst) Goeckner in Bishop Creek. Her five sisters also became Adorers.
Sister Marie Chang, OSF, of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, died on Aug. 21, at St. Francis Convent, Springfield. She was 94 years old.
Sister Marie, the former Filomina (Chinese name: Shih Min) Chang, was born in Beijing, China on Jan. 21, 1924, the daughter of Lawrence and Elizabeth Wong Chang. She entered the congregation on Oct. 8, 1945 and professed her religious vows on Oct. 4, 1948, in Chowtsun, China.
ST. LOUIS — Father Martin Whealen, SJ, died July 19 in St. Louis. He was 87 years old, a Jesuit for 68 years and a priest for 56 years.
He was born in St. Louis on April 13, 1931 to Martin J. and Lucille Haggenjos Whealen. Following his graduation from St. Louis University High School, he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., on Sept. 1, 1949. After pronouncing first vows and philosophy studies at the seminary, he studied at Saint Louis University, graduating with both a bachelor’s and a master’s in Latin. He studied theology at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kan., earning the S.T.B. He also received a master’s in education from Saint Louis University. He was ordained a priest at St. Mary’s College on June 12, 1962.
Springfield Dominican Sister M. Alice Mannix, 88, of Springfield, died on May 3 at Sacred Heart Convent. She was born in Little Falls, Minn., in 1930 and named Margaret Ann. She made her profession of vows in 1950 at Sacred Heart Convent.
Sister M. Alice ministered as a middle school and junior and high school teacher for 37 years, primarily in Illinois and in Minnesota and Michigan. She was director of religious education at Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Maryville from 1988-1998.
RUMA — Sister Mary Anthony Mathews, ASC, a longtime educator and missionary in China, died May 8 at the Ruma Center in Ruma. She was 102 years old and had been a professed member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for 84 years.
Born on May 1, 1916, in Coulterville, she was the oldest of 12 children in the family of John and Teresa (Peters) Mathews. She made her first vows on July 2, 1933 and her final profession on July 1, 1938.
MANITOWOC, Wis. — Father Richard Jeske, OFM, died on Feb. 13, at St. Mary’s Home at Felician Village in Manitowoc, Wis. He was 85 years old.
Father Richard was born on July 20, 1932, in Cleveland, to Gustav and Paula (Friedl) Jeske. He belonged to Our Lady of the Angels Parish and attended grade school there. After six years of seminary training in Westmont, he was received into the Franciscans of the Sacred Heart Province (headquarters in St. Louis) in 1952 and made his solemn profession in 1956. He was ordained a priest on June 24, 1959 in Teutopolis.
ST. LOUIS — Father Sylvano Pera, OFM, died Feb. 6 at St. Louis University Hospital. A retired priest of the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart, St. Louis, he was just a few days away from his 92nd birthday.
He was born Feb. 10, 1926 in Memphis, the son of Louis J. and Ida (Pisani) Pera. Father Sylvano entered the Franciscan Order July 4, 1945 and was ordained a priest June 24, 1952 in Teutopolis by Bishop William A. O’Connor.
WHEELING — Father William C. Mayer, CSV, was born Jan. 23, 1929 in Kankakee and passed away on Dec. 9 at Addolorata Villa here.
Father Mayer professed his first vows on Aug. 19, 1947 at the Viatorian Novitiate in Chicago and his final vows on Aug. 19, 1950 at St. Joseph Church in Springfield. He was ordained to the priesthood on Feb. 2, 1956 at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
St. Louis — Sister Christian Marie Ehrhardt, SSND, died Nov. 22, at Sancta Maria in Ripa in St. Louis. She was 68, and a former teacher, missionary, pastoral minister and tutor.
Sister Christian Marie was born in Quincy. She entered the congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1967. She professed first vows in 1970 and final vows in 1976.
SANTAREM, BRAZIL — Father Maurus Hawickhorst, OFM, died Nov. 12 at the friary of San Francisco in Santarem, Brazil, South America. He was 86 years old.
Father Maurus (Frank) was born July 10, 1931 in Teutopolis, the son of Albert and Mary Hawickhorst. He was ordained a priest in June 1958 and left in November 1959 for the mission in the Amazon Valley of Brazil, South America.
Sister M. Francis Kuo, OSF, of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, died on Oct. 24 at St. Francis Convent in Springfield. She was 97 years old.
Sister Francis, the former Mary Kuo, was born in Beijing, China on Jan. 12, 1920, the daughter of Joseph Kuo and Ann Shon. She entered the congregation on March 25, 1944 and professed her religious vows on Sept. 17, 1947 in Tsinan, China. Sister Francis had to leave her homeland in 1948 when the Communist threat became serious. She and the other sisters traveled to Springfield, leaving behind their ministry to the sick and poor in their hospitals and clinics.
Sister Helen Louise Schmitz, OSU, formerly known as Mother Mary Julian, died on Nov. 13. She was 98 years old.
She was born in Glendale, Mo., on May 26, 1919, daughter of Frederick William and Elsie Louise Boehm Schmitz. She entered the Ursuline Order in 1939, and professed her vows on July 16, 1941.
EUREKA, Mo. — Sister Darlene (Margherita) Fulgenzi, OSU, died peacefully at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka, Mo., on Oct. 11. The daughter of Adolfo and Margaret Daniele Fulgenzi, she was born on Feb. 28, 1938 in Springfield.
Sister Darlene attended St. Joseph’s School in Springfield and Ursuline Academy in Springfield, graduating in 1956. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in July 1956 and professed her vows in January 1959. She earned her bachelor’s degree in classical languages from the College of New Rochelle (New Rochelle, N.Y.) and her master’s degree in Latin from St. Louis University. She also studied Scripture and spirituality at the Ursuline Generalate in Rome, Italy during her tertian year of spiritual renewal in 1977-1978.