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Remember Sister Agnes (Alcantara) Goode, OSF

Agnes_GoodeHospitality and generosity permeated the life of Sister Agnes who, in her words, “took delight in the service of hospitality to all guests.” Born into a family of 11 children, Agnes wrote, “teaches a person to share, apologize and work together.” She enjoyed happy memories of each of her ten brothers and sisters and credited each with “giving me a gift of themselves.”

She was born to William and Ruth (Maechtel) Goode on October 25, 1928. The generosity of spirit of her parents fostered the same in her and her 10 brothers and sisters. They taught them about God and the Church.

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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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Remembering Sister Mary Wilhelmine Tikva, OSF

Mary_TikvaIn the fall of 1911, Adam and Mary (Ohman) Tikva welcomed into the world of Cleveland, Ohio, the first of their eight children, a precious baby girl whom they named Mary. The pride and joy of her parents and a devoted older sister to her siblings, Mary was a constant companion to her mother who was often in poor health, and an eager assistant to her industrious father whose home brewery and beer garden provided her with a lifetime of tales to tell. As a young girl, she applied herself as a diligent student at Holy Family school, ever-grateful for the education she received from the Sisters of Notre Dame. As an adolescent and a young adult, she contributed to the well-being of her family by working tirelessly for seven years in a nearby clothing factory both days and nights. Treasuring her Croatian immigrant roots and eager to know more of her family background, she accompanied her mother on a memorable three-month trip to Yugoslavia at her father’s initiative. In the course of her journey, she entered into the lives of loved ones whom she would never forget, embracing traditional customs and cherishing special foods and clothing, yet becoming painfully aware of the realities that had led her parents to immigrate to the United States in their youth. Declining a proposal for marriage, she came to a deeper awareness of her American identity and the unfolding future that awaited her upon her return.

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Remembering Sister Margaret (Jean Marie) Duffy, OSF

Duffy_Margaret_webSister Margaret Duffy (Jean Marie) was a native of Columbus, Ohio, and was one of eight children born to James and Susan (Handiboe) Duffy. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers: John, Edward, Joseph and Billy; and her sisters: Sister Mary Duffy, OSF, Catherine Hoffman and Terese Weisenbach.

Before entering religious life, Sister Margaret was a member of St. Thomas Parish in Columbus, Ohio, and attended the parish grade school. She graduated from St. Mary High School in Columbus and earned a bachelor of arts degree from the College of St. Francis (University of St. Francis) in Joliet, Illinois, and a master of arts degree from DePaul University in Chicago.

Margaret Duffy was a “go to” person in all her roles in life. Margie, as the family called her, was from her earliest days blessed with a pleasant disposition which she always attributed to the Handiboe genes. She would take life as it came and with a flexibility and straight forward, no nonsense approach that endeared her to many. When Margaret met the Sisters of Saint Francis from Joliet at Saint Mary High School in Columbus, Ohio, she immediately knew her calling to be a Sister. Mary Duffy, her oldest sister, was communicating with the Sisters about entering herself, but times were hard and Mary was, for a while at least, the only full time worker in the family, using skills honed in her business courses at St. Mary’s. Margaret knew that after graduation she, too, would have to help support the family, and she did so for two years working at the U.S. Army Depot as a secretary to Colonel Morrill. But in January of 1944, Margaret left home to enter the postulancy. The advice of her father that morning was, “Do what the Sisters tell you to do.” Margaret would recall those words many times during her nearly 70 years in our Congregation, and she rightly believed that she followed them.

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Remembering Sister Grace (Gretchen) Straub, OSF

Straub_GraceOn the afternoon of October 22, 2012, our Sister Grace Straub found herself counted among those blessed servants whom the Master found waiting upon his arrival (Lk 12:37). Returning to God with graciousness all that she had graciously received, she died as she had lived, welcoming the gift of God, revealing his handiwork, and entering ever more deeply into the mystery of what it means to be created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph 2:9-10).

Born to her loving parents, Edwin and Alta (Kirkpatrick) Straub, on November 10, 1934, Grace was the fourth of five children. Baptized and educated at St. Peter’s Parish in Mansfield, Ohio, she came under the influence of the Joliet Franciscan spirit as a child. From an early age, Grace, together with her sisters Rita and Helen, was mindful of the fragility and vulnerability of life. The death of her infant brother, Philip, and the special needs of her beloved sister, Patty, made her particularly sensitive to the preciousness of each person entrusted to her care.

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Remembering Sister Martin Hornak, OSF

Hornak_Martin_webOn Friday afternoon, May 4, 2012, as the Church concluded a week of prayer and reflection dedicated to the Good Shepherd, our Sr. Martin Hornak responded without hesitation to the tender voice she had longed to hear. Lovingly called by name, the Good Shepherd, to whom she had entrusted her life of consecration and mission, enfolded her in His arms, close to His heart, and gently carried her home for all eternity.

Born to her parents Johanna (Zalubi) and Martin Hornak on May 17, 1917, Julia entered a world where England and Germany were waging war, a world where miraculous events were taking place at Fatima, and where the Chicago Cubs triumphed over the Boston Braves four days in a row. Baptized at Sacred Heart Parish on Chicagoʹs west side, Julia was initiated into the faith and ethnic heritage of her Slovak ancestors and deeply influenced by the customs and character of a vibrant immigrant community. One of five children, she learned from an early age onward the importance of family and friendship, the centrality of religious commitment and cultural identity, and the necessity of education and the arts. Throughout her life, she would promote these values as she empowered others to cultivate them from one generation to the next, from one culture to another.

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Remembering Sister Johanna Didier, OSF

Johanna_webOn the evening of March 6, 2012, as the glow of Sister Moon filled the starlit night skies of Goiás, beams of light fell upon Saint Genevieve Hospital in Goiânia. It was there that Sister Johanna Didier was called forth by the Holy Trinity and Our Lady to embark on her final missionary journey. Dying as she had lived, she responded with readiness and confidence: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Let it be done unto me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). And so it happened that Sr. Johanna made her way to the gates of heaven with a smile on her face and a rosary in her hand.

Born to her parents Aloysius and Emma (Geimer) Didier, on March 19, 1918, in Evanston, Illinois, Martha Josephine was baptized five days later at St. Nicholas Church. The fourth of fifteen children, she attended St. Mary Parish School and St. Patrick Academy in Des Plaines, Illinois. On September 8, 1936, at the age of eighteen, she entered the Congregation as a postulant. In August of the following year, she was received as a novice and given the name Johanna in honor of St. John the Baptist her patron and model for mission. Two years later, she professed her first vows, went on to complete her undergraduate studies at the College of St. Francis and soon thereafter began her ministry of teaching. As time for her final profession drew near, Sr. Johanna included in her request to Mother Thomasine a solemn pledge that gave expression to the principle and foundation for her consecrated life: “I will strive to be a religious according to the heart of God and the spirit of our Congregation.”

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Remembering Sister Marie (Euphemia) Grunloh, OSF

Sr_Marie_Grunloh_webWhen it came to living the Gospel way of life, Sister Marie Grunloh was a Sister of St. Francis through and through. How appropriate that her soul would make its journey home to God on the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, where the words of the dayʹs Gospel concluded: ʺThe Kingdom of God is at hand for you.ʺ (Lk10:9) With a resolute and grateful heart, Sister Marie surely welcomed the arrival of Sister Death with great joy.

Born to John and Elizabeth (Schumacher) Grunloh, Marie was the fourth of six children. As a young girl in Green Creek, Illinois, Marie was intelligent and curious about the world around her. She received the faith passed on from her parents and extended family with eagerness and enthusiasm. Growing up at a time when two World Wars and the Great Depression shaped the lives and consciences of an entire generation, Marie was particularly attuned to Godʹs holy manner of working in and through her life. Inspired and influenced by the Franciscan Friars of the Sacred Heart Province as well as the Joliet Franciscan Sisters, Marie (as well as her dear brothers, Rev. Donatus, OFM and Rev. Melvin, OFM), was nurtured in her desire to embrace the Franciscan way of life.

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Remembering Sister Pamela Matlosz, OSF

MatlozPamela_webIn early morning hours of August 22, 2009, our sister, Pamela Ann Matlosz, was drawn into the fullness of God’s everlasting love, buoyed up by the words that had filled her heart with hope in the midst of suffering, she entered into the waters of that great Divine mystery where “Deep calls unto deep…” (Psalm 42:7), singing her song of love to the God of her life” Psalm 42:7‐8.

Born to Joseph and Alice Matlosz on June 14, 1944, Pam grew up on the southeast side of Chicago. Baptized at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish, she was educated at the parish elementary schools of St. Michael and St. Mary Magdalene. She graduated from Sts. Peter and Paul High School in June of 1962. During the summer of that same year, inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of the Joliet Franciscan sisters who were her teachers, she decided to follow the call of her heart. Pam shared with her parents and brother, Dennis, her decision to enter the Congregation as a postulant in September. In the company of her classmates, Pam began her studies at the College of St. Francis.

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Remembering Sister M. Armella Schuster, OSF

SchusterArmella_webIn 2001 as she was preparing for her Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of her profession of First Vows, Sister Armella noted that she had come full circle! In 1941 she was assigned to the kitchen and bakery of the Motherhouse and now 60 years later she returned to her original place of ministry! Army wasn’t much inclined to expressing her spiritual views but when asked to give her legacy she responded: “I leave my enthusiasm to all the Sisters who now have to cook, bake and prepare meals.”

This enthusiasm had long ago been noticed by her directors in the postulancy and novitiate. They described her as “markedly industrious” and “a very dependable domestic Sister.” Sister Eulalia reported her as “hasty”.

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