A “fool for Christ,” Sister Adele Thibaudeau, ’67, spread her smiles and warmth throughout Cardinal Stritch University in her 27 years ministering to students as a teacher, director of Campus Ministry, and director of the Center for Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation. And, while her magnetic personality certainly left a lasting impression on everyone who met her, memories of her commitment to social justice, interfaith dialogue, service-learning, and Franciscan vocations serve as her true legacy as she served the poor, promoted peace, encouraged open communication and made the world better through her profound inspiration on generations of Stritch students.


Following Sister Adele’s death on March 30, 2016, people shared favorite memories of her and the ways she guided and inspired them to live lives of action, love and laughter.


“Sister Adele embodied a passion for social justice, both on the local and global levels. While at Stritch, her work was marked by this passion. She worked with students, faculty, and staff to examine the issues of social justice through the lens of faith in the classroom, on service learning trips, and doing service throughout the city of Milwaukee. Sister Adele will be remembered, not only for her remarkable work, but also for her joy and her optimism. She had a gentle spirit, a kind heart, and always had time to listen.” – Dr. James Loftus, president of Stritch


“She was a saint! Besides my mother and my wife, she was the most positive influence on my life. Because of her, I do my best to help those who are less fortunate. I was so happy that we kept in touch.”– alumnus Salvatore Di Stefano, ’98


“Sister Adele was so open minded and highly creative. She served the students with comfort and joy. She had this special flair for life and exceeded in the social justice and peace philosophies. She had been active in so many different programs for the students of Cardinal Stritch University that it was never easy to keep track of what she might be doing next. As a parishioner, she served just the same. The kind of love and joy she had can be recognized, because we really loved her the same at St. Benedict the Moor Parish. Peace and thank you, Sr. Adele, for expanding my own horizons. – Brian Hey, as posted on the Heritage Funeral Home website


“In our time of working and serving together – myself, an ordained Baptist minister and, herself, a Sister of St. Francis of Assisi. There came time in our moments, that she said to me, ‘Trinette, you are a Sister!’ And I said to Adele, ‘And Sister Adele, you are a minister.’ And we would enjoy our lives and time together in that way.”– The Rev. Dr. Trinette McCray, former campus minister for multicultural relations and director for the Center for Calling and Engagement.


“I credit her with really giving me an immersion into the Franciscan values and really demonstrating Franciscan joy. I also will always remember how she created an office where anyone could feel comfortable going in no matter what they were struggling with. And we had so many students who were just struggling, whose hearts were aching and yet they could walk into her office and they would feel loved, they would feel accepted and they would learn to accept themselves. So many students are walking around, feeling the presence of Sister Adele with them, really feeling the presence of God because of what she allowed them to be in her presence.” – Chris Robinson, former vice president for student development


“She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. She saw my potential to be a speaker, someone who could share God’s word in an oratory address. …The only thing I remember about her from 8th grade was her passion for God, and her passion for instilling confidence in us. She taught me something when I was nervous about giving a speech, and it was something that I remembered, that I always say to myself when I’m nervous about speaking. …‘I’m only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do some things. And what I can do, I will do.’ And Sister Adele taught me that over 40-some years ago. In this lesson, her legacy lives on.” – Brian, priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.


Read (and hear) all about Sister Adele – in her own words and through the perspectives of others:


We of Nojoshing biography, written in celebration of Sister Adele’s life by Sisters Marie Colette Roy, OSF, ’60, ’61, and Marcia Lunz, OSF, ’67


An April 5, 2016, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obituary, written by Crocker Stephenson: “Sister Adele sought to bring communities together.


An October 2015 profile published by Alysse and Kate on their People with Panache website.


“Our Stories” autobiographical reflection, titled “To Love is the Let Go and Believe,” written by Sister Adele and published by Dr. Meneo Afonso in 1998.


Winter 2014 Stritch Magazine story: “Sister Adele counts her blessings as she moves on from Stritch”


Companion piece to the Winter 2014 Stritch Magazine, a reflection written by Sister Adele


“A Franciscan Sister Who Plays Volleyball” August 2012 video interview from the Vocation Culture channel on YouTube, “a resource for Christians to help them find their vocation in life.”


Five videos Sister Adele helped create and narrate for St. Coletta’s of Wisconsin during their “L.I.G.H.T. Up the Mission” week in 2014, during which she also served as keynote speaker.


L.         Loving, Living, Listening, Laughing ( video #1)


I.          Identity, Individual, Incredible, Inclusive ( video #2)


G.         God, Giving, Generosity, Greatness ( video #3)


H.         Human, Helping, Humility, Holiness ( video #4)


T.         Team, Thoughtful, Thankful, Transforming ( video #5)