Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi with ties to Stritch celebrate Jubilees
Sixteen of the 20 Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi who are commemorating their anniversaries of religious profession in 2020 have connections to Cardinal Stritch University. Due to COVID-19, they will celebrate next year with the 2021 Jubilarians.
The 80-year jubilarian, Sister Francis Marie DeLany, earned her bachelor’s degree in Latin from Stritch in 1942. In addition to teaching in elementary and high schools in Ohio and Wisconsin, including St. Mary’s Academy, she was employed by Stritch as the dean of residential students in the 1950s, and in the registrar’s office in the 1970s. She has been retired since 1993.
Of the four sisters marking 75 years, three are graduates of Stritch. Sister Humbeline Guenther earned her bachelor’s degree in English in the 1950s, and was an elementary school teacher in Illinois, Colorado and Wisconsin, and taught at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. She also was director of retirement for the congregation and then a volunteer until her full retirement in 2019. Sister Generose Willkomm, who obtained both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Stritch, also taught in grade schools in Wisconsin, Illinois and Colorado until 2003. At that time she became a tutor until her retirement in 2006. Another 75-year celebrant, Sister Irene Kundinger, also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University. Her initial degree was in education and biology, followed by a master’s in education for the mentally handicapped in 1962. After teaching for several years in the St. Coletta Schools in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, she relocated to Taiwan. There she continued her ministry until her full retirement and return to Wisconsin in 2013.
Five of the six 70-year celebrants either attended Stritch, ministered there, or both: Sisters Clare Ahler, Cor Marie Lowrie, Serena Halfmann, Felicia Schlechter and Eileen Wendt.
Sister Clare, who graduated from Stritch with a bachelor’s in education, taught in elementary schools in Wisconsin and Colorado until 1982. Between 1982 and 2000, she was the director of religious education for parishes in Colorado, and then became curator for the Stritch Franciscan Center until 2005. She retired to volunteer work in 2006, and fully retired in 2020.
Until her retirement in 2011, Sister Serena, spent her career as a teacher and a translator/interpreter. Her bachelor’s from Stritch was in Latin and French. She went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in French and Spanish at other institutions, and also completed a year as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Rennes in France. She taught Spanish and French at Stritch early in her ministry, from 1963 to 1980. She then went on to teach upper grades and at the university level in Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas, followed by ministry in the Chicago office for religious education working in evangelization for adult Hispanics. She retired in 1994.
Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education, Sister Felicia was an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin until 1971. At that time, after completing a master’s in reading at Stritch, she became a reading specialist, and then a learning and guidance counselor in the Milwaukee area until 2013. In retirement, she is a volunteer at the convent.
Sister Eileen, who graduated from Stritch with a degree in education, taught elementary grades, and also served a number of times as a school principal, for nearly 50 years. After her years in education in Wisconsin, California, Minnesota and Illinois, she became the director of religious education in Lombard, Illinois, from 1997 to 2004. She fully retired in 2019, after spending a number of years as a volunteer.
As a novice, Sister Cor Marie did general work at Stritch.
Sister Marcia Lunz, one of seven sisters celebrating 60 years of profession, earned her music degree at Stritch, and taught music and was the organist at parishes in the Milwaukee area until 1973. At that time, she became a music student in Salzburg, Austria. After returning to the U.S., she continued her music ministry at parishes and schools in New York and Illinois until 1983, when she was elected an associate director of the congregation for eight years. She joined the Stritch faculty in 1993 as a teacher of music and linguistics, and became assistant professor and chair of the music department three years later. She left her position in 1999, when she was elected director of the congregation and served in that capacity until 2007, and then again as associate director from 2015 to 2019. She has also been the author of letters and newsletters for the fund development office since 2008.
Five other 60-year jubilarians earned bachelor’s degrees from Stritch: Sisters Audrey Mozejewski, Veronica Marie Rueth, Marlene Stawski, Delores Theine and Rose Martin Weldgen.
Sister Audrey’s degree was in biology, and she spent her early ministry years as a medical technologist. After completing certification in clinical pastoral education, she became a chaplain at hospitals in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, until 2002, and she also volunteered in a Racine parish until her retirement in 2014.
Sister Veronica Marie, who earned a degree in psychology, ministered at St. Aemilian Orphanage as a child care worker for 28 years. She also worked in environmental services at the orphanage. Additionally, from 1965 to 1972, she was a group mother at the Kennedy School in Illinois. In 2000, she moved to Clare Hall, where she did housekeeping until retiring to volunteer work in 2011.
After 46 years as a teacher, Sister Marlene Stawski, who has a degree in English from Stritch, retired to volunteer work in 2009. She spent the majority of her ministry years in Milwaukee area schools, including 10 years at St. Mary’s Academy, but also taught in Jefferson, Wisconsin, and Wollaston, Massachusetts. In addition to upper grades and high school, she was an ESL teacher at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. From 1995 to 2009, she also served as director of the Clare Hall residence for the sisters.
With a bachelor’s degree in education, Sr. Delores Theine began her 35-year tenure of teaching in Milwaukee area parish schools in 1959, with 18 of those years at St. Agnes School in Milwaukee. Then in 1994, she spent another 19 years teaching at St. Boniface School in Germantown, Wisconsin. In retirement, as of 2013, she continues to volunteer at the school.
Sister Rose Martin Weldgen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in education, taught in parish grade schools in Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Franklin and West Allis, Wisconsin, and in Houghton, Iowa, until 1985. After earning a certificate from the Milwaukee Area Activities Professionals, she became director of a center for battered women, and then an activity therapist and director for nursing homes in the greater Milwaukee area. She retired to volunteer work in 2009, and fully retired in 2019.
One of the two 25-year jubilarians, Sister Theresa Wang, was born in China. Her family fled to Taiwan when she was seven. There she worked in bookkeeping and accounting before coming to the U.S., where she worked in management positions, became a citizen, and joined the congregation. After taking computer classes at Stritch, and ESL classes at Sacred Heart School of Theology, she became a liaison for the congregation in Taiwan until her retirement to St. Francis, Wisconsin, in 2013.
Photos of the Jubilarians can be viewed at this link.
Congratulations to these Sisters who have helped build the University's legacy through their studies, professional achievement and contributions to their communities.