"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

Sister Teresa Dutcher

 

Sister Teresa Dutcher died Nov. 5, 2023 at the age of 74 in Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati. Sister Teresa was born on Nov. 9, 1948 to Rex and Barbara (Winslow) Dutcher in Lansing, Michigan. She was the oldest of three children, having two younger brothers. She was a Sister of Charity for 52 years.

Sister Teresa grew up in Leslie, Michigan, graduating from Leslie High School in 1966. As a high school student, she had the opportunity to enroll as a full-time student at Michigan State University (MSU) for her senior year. She thought to herself why not? While at Michigan State Sister Teresa met a group of Sisters of Charity at the Campus Ministry Parish Center: Sisters Ann Seubert, Daniel Miriam (Helen) Flaherty and Annina Morgan. Not being a Catholic she wanted to learn more; they did not disappoint. She developed a friendship with Sister Ann and soon after became Catholic, all while pursuing her studies at MSU.

In the late 1960s, post Vatican II, the Sisters of Charity were not admitting new Sisters, particularly a convert to the faith. Sister developed a correspondence with Mother Mary Omer Downing and eventually was offered a living opportunity at the congregation’s St. Joseph House as well as a teaching positon at Marian High School. She entered the Sisters of Charity on Aug. 24, 1971.

Sister Teresa’s ministries spanned more than 50 years, all in secondary education in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. She began at Marian High School in 1971 teaching social studies. In 1974 she moved across town to Seton High School teaching history and remaining there until 1979 when she returned to Marian as an assistant administrator and social studies teacher. From 1981-’85 Sister Teresa was a part-time administrator and teacher at Purcell Marian High School.

In 1985 she returned to Seton High School; this time as assistant principal until 1993. She then began a 25-year stint as religion and social studies teacher at the school. She also held the role of chair of the religion department for many years. Sister Teresa enjoyed working with teens, especially juniors and seniors. It was their curiosity and energy that kept her young. She retired from the school after 39 dedicated years in May 2019. Two months later she began her four-year term with the Sisters of Charity Leadership Team, which she completed this past June 2023. 

A highlight for Sister Teresa occurred during the summers of July 1995 and 1996, when teams of American-based communities of women religious volunteered to teach English as a second language in Eastern Europe. Her first summer she was privileged to work with 56 Sister students from 36 different Polish communities; all had lived under Communism with their community buildings used to house Communist soldiers. She would say, “I cannot begin to measure the depth of spiritual experience we shared or gauge the effect of the intercultural exchange on our future lives.”

Sister Barbara Davis appreciated Sister’s gifts while working alongside her on the 2019 Chapter Planning Committee. “She often reminded us to listen to all voices, especially those who offered a different perspective. Her dry wit and sense of humor enlivened our discussions,” she recalled.

Sister Teresa is survived by her brothers Rex and Bryan as well as nieces and nephews.

Sisters and friends will greet visitors in the back of the Motherhouse chapel from 9-10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in the Motherhouse chapel. Sister Teresa will be buried in the cremains garden in the Sisters of Charity cemetery.

Memorials can be made in Sister Teresa Dutcher’s name to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Retirement Fund, 5900 Delhi Rd., Mount St. Joseph, Ohio 45051 or to Seton High School, 3901 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45205.

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