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In Memoriam Reflections

S. Rose Virginia Brown

When S. Rose Virginia moved to MMH I had an opportunity to get to know her better.  We were neighbors in MMH and she was just getting used to a new living situation.  I remember how interested she  was in getting to  know everyone around her.  She was always interested in everything—our community, the world.  I enjoyed talking with her and hearing her opinion on everything.  She loved to share her ideas and always had good insights.  I’m glad  she is  beyond her suffering and can now enjoy  all her friends and family  as they celebrate together the joy of being in God’s loving presence.  Rose, rest in peace and pray for us! ~ S. Julia Deiters

“I knew [S. Rose Virginia] from many of the meetings I attended in Colorado Springs over the years. She was always friendly and welcoming. I loved her feisty personality and the fact that she was so open and honest about whatever you were discussing.” ~ Associate Carol Llewellyn

“What a gift Rose was to those of us in the West - her special hospitality, sense of humor, and love made life better with each encounter. Those of us who lived a distance from Colorado Springs could always count on a place to spend the night if it was too late to return home, and a good breakfast the next morning. I am grateful for her tremendous support and love of Associates.” ~ Associate Lee Hemminger

S. Barbara Huber
“Being part of the editorial board was a special treat, not least because it meant going to S. Barbara’s house at the rectory every month for a meeting featuring her wonderful cooking! Anyone who knows Barbara knows that she was not a hoity-toity person. She cooked from largely dumpster-dived vegetables, and lived a simple life. But what magic she made of those ingredients! I specifically remember eating ratatouille, turnip vichyssoise, and other delicious creations in Barbara’s well-kept kitchen. I also remember asking, “What is vichyssoise?” It didn’t matter. Whatever it was, it was good. Of course, I didn’t only learn about food from S. Barbara and the rest of the editorial board. The company was wonderful, and we batted around ideas for articles about issues like depleted uranium, weapons in space, and the integrity of resistance.

“When it comes to Barbara, the word that comes to mind is steady. She was very faithful and clearly held powerful ideals—and was a warm, open person, but also unsentimental and no-nonsense in her day-to-day activities. She took her principles seriously, and could be fastidious in everything from cooking to the rules of the house, but never took herself too seriously.” ~ Bijou community member

“So many of you have made comments to me about Barbara’s eyes when you visited her. It is certain that when she lost words her eyes displayed God’s love in magnificent ways. I believe her eyes always said so much so I am going to share this story from our time in Rome. During the summer our boys would go to a house on the sea for a week. We, Sisters, were able to accompany them for a week as staff. In the afternoon, while the boys were taking their nap, we could don our swimsuits and enjoy the water. This day a boy came running out to advise us of something that was happening in the dormitory. He ran into Barbara and could only say, ‘Sister, you don't have your glasses.’ It wasn't that she didn't have her habit but her eyes were not right. The boys knew how important her eyes were even then. Thanks, Barbara, for sharing God’s love through those eyes.” ~ S. Jean Miller

“The news of S. Barbara’s passing has deeply saddened all of us, former students of Villa Nazareth. Last year, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of Villa Nazareth, we were looking forward to seeing her again in Rome, along with Sisters Joan, Jean, and Grace Ann. Our desire was to share with them the joy of celebrating such a special anniversary. Unfortunately, though, because of the date change on the part of the Holy Father, the Sisters were unable to join us. We were extremely disappointed.

“For numerous years, a strong bond has been uniting Villa Nazareth and the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Such a bond only becomes stronger, as time goes by. [So many] are still in our memory as well as all the other Sisters who have supported them by staying at the Motherhouse in Cincinnati. In our youth, they were with us as mothers and older sisters. They taught us and shared with us studies and games, while taking care of the management of Villa Nazareth and generously contributing to its economic needs.

“Several years ago, during our last meeting in Rome, S. Barbara recounted her experience at Villa Nazareth: for all the Sisters, their life at Villa was a continuous encounter with values and customs, perhaps different than the American ones, but equally positive and fruitful for their culture and formation.

“We have been following, throughout the years, the activities of our Sisters in the world (in Colorado, New Mexico, Nicaragua, and at the UN) always in favor of the children, the poor, the immigrants, the clandestine, the outcast, and the marginalized, working for peace in the world, and against war.

“Knowing this, our hearts have always been filled with joy and we have been able to exclaim with pride to anyone who is near us: ‘These are our Sisters!’ S. Barbara is now with all the other Sisters who preceded her to the House of the Lord. All of us, who have known her, wish to express our solidarity and love to all of you with a special prayer for the repose of her soul and confident that she will always be with you as well as with all of us.”  ~ the Villa Nazareth boys

“S. Barbara Huber lived a poignant example of a life of simplicity and charity. I learned much about social justice from her.” ~ Associate Vicki Welsh

“Thirty-eight years ago I joined the Associates. It was called co-members then and there were only eight or 10 of us. Barbara was my first contact Sister. I didn’t know anything about spiritual direction. I just wanted to learn more about Scripture. She started my whole journey in my life. I never, never will forget her. I spent a month in Colorado Springs with her. She introduced me to all the people. They would stop her on the street and thank her and ask her how she was. It was the most wonderful month of my life. She led me in different Scripture readings and taught me journaling. It was just marvelous. I’ll never forget her. I loved her very much. Even when she was forgetful, I think she knew me.” ~ Associate Pat Schloemer

“Although I was aware of all the good Barbara did during her years of ministry, I was privileged to walk the last journey with her. Every day we shared a prayer and blessing. I was rewarded with a smile and look of gratitude from her beautiful eyes.” ~ S. Pat Hill

“When I started working for the Sisters, S. Barbara was one of the first Sisters that I met over at EarthConnection. We became fast friends. We were able to spend time together as she would come over to help out and, of course, our conversations would turn to justice issues. She had some great stories. She also had the best laugh and smile. It always brought a smile to her face when we started talking about our families. She loved telling me about her brothers and the rest of her family.

“S. Barbara always showed what it meant to be her friend. After I had gone through some family hardships she would send me cards or stop in my office to see how I was doing. One of the cards that she sent me was a card that she made. On the outside of the card was a picture of a dark cave – and looking out of the cave you could see the light. Inside the card, she wrote the word “COURAGE.” And when I asked her about the picture she said, “Sue, always remember when in the darkness always look for the light.” Another card that touched me was an anniversary card – it wasn’t so much that she remembered my anniversary but she wrote: ‘I am so glad I found you!’ I do believe she made everyone that called her friend, feel special.” ~ Associate Sue DiTullio

S. Jean Patrice Harrington
“Jean was the most fully alive person I know. My contact with her was our weekly bridge game which she continued up until three months ago. Even after her stroke, when I stopped by her room she was smiling and wiggling her fingers in response until about three days before she died. What a special person.” ~ S. Dorothy William Englert

“Jean was a valiant woman. She assumed responsibility of the Mount when it was operating in the red and worked hard to get it operating in the black. She worked hard to develop trusting relationships with the business community who contributed generously to the Mount. Jean was a valiant woman. She was the first College president to start Weekend College in the Cincinnati area. Jean was a valiant woman. She hired good people (like me). She dragged me out on Saturday night to the Symphony and the opera; we were so tired we’d fall asleep during the event. It was hard work to go to the lobby and socialize with generous contributors. She worked tirelessness for the Mount.

“Jean laughed a lot. She’d invite the administrators to Harrington Haven on a Friday evening. There was lots of laughter. One time we got into a fit of laughter such that none of us were able to speak for 20 minutes. Tears rolled down our eyes.

“Three weeks ago we laughed a lot again. We had lunch with her in the private dining room (Bedford Room) which she loved. I reminded her that she hired me 37 years ago. According to her reality, Jean said that she saw me coming down a hill. She asked me if she could help me. I said I needed a job, so she hired me as the first lay Dean of Students. We laughed with her. After having lunch, we returned her to her room, joined hands and sang ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling.’ There was laughter in her eyes. S. Jean’s Irish eyes will smile forever.” ~ Terri Logan 

“S. Jean Patrice gave me a helping hand in the 1990s when I was trying to get sufficient funds for our adult education program. She suggested contacts I could make with some of the charitable foundations in the city. I really appreciated her advice because Jean was well known by many of the important people in Cincinnati, whom she had worked with at the College of Mount St. Joseph and, later, in the Youth Collaborative.
   
“I got to know Jean best through enjoying many bridge games with her more recently. For the past year we often had a Sunday afternoon game when her bids sometimes sparkled with her eyes. But whether we won or lost, she enjoyed playing.” ~ S. Julia Deiters

“I first met Jean when she was the Provincial here in Colorado. With the distance issue I didn’t get to see her often, but when I did she always greeted me with a smile and kindness. I last saw her two days after she had a stroke and she still gave me a big smile and a hand squeeze. Her eyes continued to sparkle and said what she couldn’t.” ~ Associate Lee Hemminger

S. Agnes Ann Gardt
“We all loved Agnes Ann. She was the leader of our Band (first in priority). She kept us laughing. Thank you, Agnes, for all the good times.” ~ S. Grace Ann Gratsch   

“What a lovely Sister of Charity. From the time she got to know the Bedford contingent, she would leave a phone message of festal greetings, on the feast of St. Ann, for me and any ‘Anns’ up here. I know we will miss that call this year.” ~ S. Mary Ann Flannery

“S. Agnes Ann was our connector Sister here in Denver for quite a while, and I grew to love her for her gentle heart, great capacity for love, deep faith and wonderful sense of humor. She was a strong supporter of the Associates, and often would invite me to assist in planning our monthly meetings. We had many good times, and she was sorely missed when she moved back to the Motherhouse. I was fortunate enough to be at the Motherhouse in June, and have the opportunity to visit with her one last time, for which I am eternally grateful.” ~ Associate Lee Hemminger

“I have so many memories of S. Agnes Ann that it is difficult to choose one. Although we entered the Community together in 1948, our lives took different paths until I returned to Denver in 1975. While ministering in different parishes, we lived only one block from each other. Since then our friendship grew until the present day and will continue.

“One of my memories of ‘Ag’ was her gentle way of responding to those who came to her with their problems. While herself being a deeply prayerful and spiritual person, she would listen to them, pray with them and lead them to put their trust in God. Many of these persons became good friends of hers, and she shared many of her friends with me.

“Ag lived her spirituality; she loved life. One of her gifts was being a great hostess: she had a gift of bringing people together in her apartment to celebrate any occasion, and her parties were always fun and filled with laughter.” ~ S. Barbara Muth

Associate Margaret Olona
“Several memories of Margaret resonated with me. Her harmonica playing, her sweet and unassuming nature and her generous heart. I felt privileged to know Margaret personally and to speak to her during her recent journey toward eternal life. She never seemed to want to talk about herself unless pressed. Her main focus was always on the other person, inviting them to share their stories and lives. That always impressed me! She was truly faith-filled and through her goodness allowed Christ to shine.” ~ Associate Mary Jo Mersmann

“Years ago I had met a lively Margaret from SC/Associate meetings at the Albuquerque apartment of Sisters Linda Chavez and Rose Therese Wich, so I felt comfortable calling her when we needed a photographer for our part in the New Mexico Historical Marker dedication. She also gave us the name of an excellent professional photographer for another event in Santa Fe.

“Recently, Margaret and I had a long, beautiful telephone talk. She called after I had sent her a card. She was at peace in this dying process and spoke with gratitude about her life and the many people who were important to her, including each member of her family, one brother a deacon. I feel blessed to have known such a deeply spiritual woman.” ~ S. Victoria Marie Forde

“My memories of Margaret include many of her daily acts of kindness. Margaret was a Eucharistic Minister, first at St. Joseph Hospital, then it became Lovelace Hospital. She also served as Eucharistic Minister at her parish, Our Lady of Fatima including Home Visitation. It was not unusual for Margaret to help people move, help clean someone’s home who was no longer able to do so, take food to a retired college professor who was suffering from cancer and also clean his house. She seemed to always have time to drive her friend, S. Adele Baca, wherever she needed to go. When she met a homeless person who asked her for a cigarette, she not only supplied his request but sat on the steps of the homeless shelter and listened to his story giving him hope for the future. Margaret felt she was not worthy to become an Associate of the Sisters of Charity. When she was convinced that she could do this and made her commitment, Margaret almost never missed a small group meeting or Congregational meeting even after her diagnosis and treatment for cancer and she contributed to the discussion. Margaret had a delightful sense of humor. She also provided entertainment by playing her harmonica at our many gatherings in Albuquerque.

“Above all Margaret was a woman of prayer. When it came time to make end-of-life decisions Margaret did so courageously and prayerfully. She was not afraid to ask for prayer. When she was in the process of dying she became distressed saying she could no longer remember her favorite prayers. Finally she was convinced that this whole process was her prayer.” ~ S. Pat Sabourin

S. Rosemary Clare Eagan
“Rosemary is the sister of my long-time mentor, S. Michael Mary Eagan. On an early trip to the Motherhouse I visited and introduced myself. She was extremely gracious then and on each subsequent visit. Her welcoming spirit and amazing sense of humor always brightened my visit.” ~ Associate Lee Hemminger

“S. Martin Mary [Rosemary] Eagan was working as a social worker/case manager at Santa Maria Community Services’ St. Michael’s office in 1984 when I first came to work at Santa Maria. I was a very ‘green’ social worker, and I remember her kind demeanor and caring attitude toward those we served. I’m thankful that I was able to know and work with her for my early years at Santa Maria.” ~ H.A. Musser, president/CEO Santa Maria Community Services

“I’ve been involved with Santa Maria Community Services since I arrived back from the West. The staff at SMCS would ask me about S. Rosemary Eagan having deep respect for her and her Social Service outreach to clients during the 1970s and early 1980s. A few years ago, in showing a PowerPoint presentation regarding SMCS, S. Rosemary was present, and had a radiant glow upon her face. She said she remembered well her years of service there, and loved the name Santa Maria. Now she has a ‘radiant glow’, no doubt, in fullness of union with God!” ~ S. Patmarie Bernard

“I always called Rosemary, ‘Ross.’ She went to school at St. Mary’s many years ago with my sister, ‘Chick.’ When I entered the Community ‘Chick’ told me about all the different gals she knew who had entered the Sisters of Charity—so from the time I met Rosemary she was ‘Ross.’ Years later when my brother Dave was the director of Santa Maria Community Services, ‘Ross’ was a social worker there. Dave told me that ‘Ross’ was the best social worker he had the privilege to work with and Dave was himself a social worker. Every time I met up with her after that I would always remind her of what Dave said and she would just grin and say thanks and ask about ‘Chick,’ and always ask me to remember her to them. Thanks, ‘Ross,’ for taking such good care of God’s poor!” ~ S. Cookie Crowley

“Rosemary and my brother, Mark, were both in the eighth grade together at St. Matthew’s in Norwood. The janitor Mr. Schuler would write the class prophecy for each graduating class. For Rosemary and Mark’s class, he prophesized that Rosemary and Mark would marry, live on a farm and have many children. Well, what do you know! Rosemary became a very good Sister of Charity and my brother Mark a very good priest. I don’t know what Mr. Schuler saw, but he was right. They were both very loving people.” ~ S. Grace Ann Gratsch

“S. Rosemary and I became good friends when she was working at Santa Maria at St. Michael’s in Lower Price Hill. We commuted together; I would drop her off on my way to Winton Terrace Adult Education. We shared many good laughs about the happenings of the day. Rosemary had a good sense of humor that helped her be so successful in social work and in life. Enjoy the eternal love and peace of God—we miss you!” ~ S. Julia Deiters      

“When I entered the Community, Rosemary was the Novice at the head of our table in the dining room. She was a gentle presence, helping us lively teenagers learn the rules of silence and decorum. Again, as our dorm angel, she was an understanding Novice towards some who found it difficult to quickly become model postulants during Sacred Silence.” ~ S. Victoria Marie Forde

S. Rose Martin Morand
“I was surprised to receive a Facebook ‘friend’ request from a ‘Martie Morand’ some years ago. Only after checking out her page did I discover it was S. Rose Martin, ‘AKA (Also Known As) Martie Morand’. Forever after I called her ‘AKA Martie’ and I have so enjoyed the ways we have deepened our Sister-connection by sharing ‘virtual community’ across the miles on Facebook. From her surprising and spontaneous ‘I think I'll be a nun’ decision we can see how the pattern repeated in her life of service. AKA Martie, thank you!” ~ S. Janet Gildea

“I worked with S. Rose Martin at St. Joseph Orphanage when I returned from the Peace Corps. She is the one who invited me to attend Process 74 and meet the Sisters of Charity. She has been a mentor for many years and I will always be grateful to her for introducing me to the SCs.” ~ S. Caroljean Willie

“I got to know Rose Martin when we both attended a retreat/workshop at River'’ Edge in Cleveland and then as tablemates during one of our Chapters. I marveled at how much she was involved and committed to justice and reaching out in compassion. She has been and continues to be an inspiration to me.” ~ S. Margaret Mach

“After I retired I met Rose at St. Charles in Kettering. She encouraged me to join the McDonald’s coffee group and a Disciples in Mission group. Through her I met many wonderful friends and enjoyed good discussions. Sometimes she would call to see if I had any plans and we found many places to go, like the lavender farm. What adventures we had.” ~ S. Mary Alice Stein
“Rose Martin was our assistant postulant director back in 1966-’67 - a time of great change and upset. She always used to say, in later years, that she didn’t think she had done enough for us, but her smile and good nature was really all she needed to do and be. Much later, when I was living with the Daughters of Charity in Indianapolis, she came through on her way to visit relatives out West, and on her way back (by train) she fell and broke several ribs. I met her as she was taken off the train in Indianapolis and drove her to St. Vincent Hospital. She stayed with us several weeks after she got out of the hospital and was recuperating. It was so neat to catch up with her on what she was doing. How truly inspiring and so like her to be still ministering to the poor and marginalized up until the day she died!” ~ S. Pat Wittberg
“For our three recent canonical novitiates’ reflection on our Congregational virtues, Rose Martin shared her experience of the Peace Circles of Women in prison. She wanted us to know the gift these women are to her, how much she received being with them and learning from them. For her, this was a deep experience of God’s presence. Through Rose Martin’s presence, sharing, willingness to drive from Dayton, we were all graced. I know in her death Rose Martin fell more deeply into the arms of this living God she experienced daily.” ~ S. Donna Steffen

“Rose Martin (AKA Marty) is a Band member and friend. When I moved to the Motherhouse Rose gave me an African violet. She told me to give it a name and to talk to it frequently. I named it Marty and it has flourished in its spot on my windowsill. I have to confess that I didn’t talk to it much at all but when I think of it, I tell it how beautiful it is in honor of Marty. Rose was full of life in spite of several serious chronic conditions and never let her physical ailments stop her. Now she enjoys the fullness of life in the God she served so well.” ~ S. Katrinka Gunn

“Rose Martin was a special lady. I am so happy that she was able to be at our Golden Jubilee. She had a great sense of humor and a wonderful smile. She always made us laugh. I am sure she is smiling down on us and wants us to continue her spirit of love and laughter.” ~ S. Mary Alice Haithcoat 

“At our small group meeting on March 10, Rose Martin expressed the uneasiness she felt about the prayer said before Communion, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to receive you; but only say the word and I shall be healed.’ Rose shared with great passion her concern for those who have been told their entire lives that they are not worthy, not lovable, or no good: the prostitutes, the drug addicts, repeat offenders, and those with low self-esteem. I will never pray this prayer again without considering Rose’s challenge and concern for the ‘anawim,’ the poor of God. Rose through her words, her actions, and her attitudes was a witness to me of being urged by the charity of Christ. I give thanks to God for the inspiring example of this dear woman of faith.” ~ Associate Karen Elliott, C.PP.S.

“I have had the privilege of being in small group with Rose for about nine years. Her words of wisdom remain with me: we need to know one another’s stories and to affirm one another. Rose lived by this wisdom in a variety of settings – SC community, the women’s prison in Dayton, volunteer ministry at the Brunner Literacy Center and at Miami Valley Hospital, to name but a few. Rose shared the story of her ministry at the prison during a recent Fall Congregational Day. I remember the ‘visual’ of the ever-growing ball of ribbon – all colors, all lengths – which represented the lives of the women sharing in the peace circles. There was a sacredness in the room as the ball was passed reverently from person to person. As I reflect on Rose’s life, I think of the many ‘pieces of ribbon’ that she shared with others – in community, in a variety of ministries, and in the countless lives she touched during her years in Dayton. I am confident that there are many stories known to Rose alone. Yet all of those ‘pieces’ wound together reveal the tapestry that is Rose’s legacy to us. While we will miss your physical presence in our lives, we will be forever enriched by your wisdom and service.” ~ S. Barbara Davis

“It has been a real blessing and such fun to be friends with Rose Martin. Life was never dull when she was in a group. I am deeply touched by her love of the Community and the Sisters. I learned much from her with her interaction with all people. She lived the gospels and was so Christ like. Rose cared for each person as they were. There are many people saddened by her death and I am surely one of them. I will miss her zest for life, her sense of humor and her love and kindness. I am grateful she had a peaceful death and is now with her God and her loved ones.” ~ S. Marie Karen Sammons

“I got to know Rose when my sister, Barbara Davis, became a member of her small group. When I became an Associate in October 2013, I became a member of their small group. Since that time, I have gotten to know more about Rose and the various ministries she has participated in since she entered the Sisters of Charity - from teaching, to being a principal, working at the Infant Home, prison ministries - and the list goes on. From what I have observed, Rose quietly went about her various ministries - never judging anyone and telling them that they are loved by God. To use Father Jim Walsh's words: ‘You are a beloved son/daughter of God.’ I also appreciated the fact that Rose was very supportive of the Associate program. She welcomed me with open arms into our small group.” ~ Associate Carolyn Davis