Remembering Sister Rosemary (M. Robert Therese) Small, OSF

Rosemary_Small_webLate in the evening of February 22, 2013, drawn by the powers of Heaven, with God’s wisdom to guide her, God’s hand to guard her, and the way to God lying before her, our sister, Rosemary, took leave of those whom she loved in this life and readied herself to proclaim the ancient words that would herald her entrance into eternal life: Thagann chun cinn agam inniu – “I arise today.”

From the day of her birth, on June 30, 1935, Rosemary took great delight in surprising others. Joined by her beloved twin brother, Robert, she truly amazed her unsuspecting parents, Michael and Mary Agnes (Mulligan) Small) as only twins can do. As the treasured daughter of first generation Irish immigrants, Rosemary was baptized at St. Leo’s Parish, dedicated to the Trinity, and entrusted to the care of Mary, Queen of Ireland. Full of wonder and curiosity, she possessed a keen intellect, a gentle sense of humor, a kind heart and a determined spirit. Welcoming the birth of her dear sister Nancy, she enthusiastically assumed the role of lifelong “big sister” and readily embraced the values of her faith-filled, devoted and hard-working family. Growing up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago’s south side in the aftermath of the Great Depression, Rosemary’s childhood was lived amidst the uncertainties and insecurities of a world at war. Ever mindful of her own Irish heritage and immigrant roots, she learned from an early age to be attentive to issues of justice and human dignity. Making the most of every opportunity made available to her at Sacred Heart Parish, Rosemary attached herself with great affection to the Joliet Franciscan Sisters who fostered in her a growing sense of her own vocation to religious life.

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Remembering Sister Marian (Louis Marie) Voelker, OSF

Marian_Voelker_webOn Saturday, February 9, 2013, our sister, Marian Voelker peacefully made her journey home to God. Sharing with her beloved Mother Alfred a lifelong devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, after whom she was named and whose feast day was close at hand, Marian rested confidently in the knowledge that at the hour of her death she would not be alone. Graciously living out her faith-filled “Fiat,” she quietly reached the end of her days and entrusted to the God of History the final chapter in the story of her life.

Born on October 18, 1935, Marian Bernadette Voelker was the sixth of ten children to be lovingly welcomed into the world by Robert and Marian (Schilling) Voelker. As a young child, Marian and her family lived in close proximity to her Voelker grand-parents from whom she acquired an inter-generational appreciation for “living histories.” Growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois, Marian’s inquisitive mind and historical imagination were stirred at an early age as she began to make meaning of the joys and sorrows of life as seen from the banks of the Mississippi River, the railway crossroads of the Midwest and a city that was an urban crucible of rapid social and economic change. Nurtured in the faith at St. Elizabeth’s Parish and educated by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ at St. Teresa’s Academy, she was drawn to religious life, yet uncertain as to where her envisioned vocational path would lead.

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