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Sister M. Michelle Blohowiak, OSF

{mosimage}Sister M. Michelle Blohowiak, OSF, of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis died July 11 at St. Francis Convent, Springfield.

ister Michelle, the former Valeria Violet Blohowiak, was born in Green Bay, Wis., on Jan. 30, 1916, the daughter of Michael and Mary Nitka Blohowiak. She entered the congregation on Feb. 1, 1936 and professed her religious vows on June 13, 1939.

Sister M. Michelle was a graduate of St. John's Hospital School of Nursing. She received an associate of arts degree at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby in 1971. She served the community as a nurse and in various other capacities at hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin. She also provided home nursing care while at Alverna Home Nursing Center in Chicago from 1948 until 1955. Due to failing health, she moved to the motherhouse in 2004.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Sylvester Blohowiak. She is survived by a brother, Wencil Blohowiak of Green Bay, Wis., several nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews as well as her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared her life for over 71 years.

The Eucharistic Celebration and Rite of Christian Burial was celebrated by Father Sylvano Pera, OFM, on July 13 in St. Clare of Assisi Adoration Chapel at the motherhouse. Burial was in Crucifixion Hill Cemetery.

Kirlin-Egan and Butler Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Sister M. Leo Abry, OP

{mosimage}Sister M. Leo Abry, OP, died July 19 at Sacred Heart Convent, the motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield.

She was born on a farm near Odell in 1921, and christened Elizabeth Catherine by her parents, George and Elizabeth Wolf Abry. She joined the Dominicans in 1939, making her profession of vows as Sister M. Leo on Aug. 8, 1941.

Sister M. Leo spent 48 years as an elementary school teacher and musician. She taught music at schools in Chicago, Aurora, and Springfield. In Hardin, Carrollton, East Moline, Rantoul, and Assumption, she taught music for the whole school while also serving as a classroom teacher. She often served as the cook in convents where she lived, and many of her summers were also spent cooking for her Dominican sisters or teaching crafts.

From 1971-1976 she taught seventh grade at St. Patrick School, Springfield, then was principal and junior high teacher at St. Mary in Litchfield until 1985. She returned to St. Patrick in 1985 to teach eighth grade and music once again. Her final teaching assignment was fourth grade at Our Saviour School, Jacksonville, in 1988. In semi-retirement, she served as librarian first at St. Agnes School, Springfield, and then at St. Patrick School. In 1993 she retired to Sacred Heart Convent, where she spent many years helping in the kitchen, quilting, and sewing.

Sister M. Leo earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Alverno College and a master's in education, with an emphasis in mathematics, from the University of Illinois.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Mary T. Abry and her brother Clarence Abry.

She is survived by her brother Leo G. Abry of Dwight; her sister-in-law Helen (Clarence) Abry of Odell: nine nieces, five nephews, several cousins, and her Dominican sisters.

The Mass of Christian Burial was held July 21 at Sacred Heart Convent with Father Peter Witchousky, OP, presiding. Private burial was July 23 at Calvary Cemetery, Springfield.

Kirlin-Egan and Butler Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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