2016 In Memoriam

We remember our sisters who entered into eternal life in 2016:

 

Sister Kathleen Barnes, OSU
Sister Ursula Binnette, OSU
Sister Rita Bourassa, OSU
Sister Nancy Fearon, OSU
Sister Mary Ellen Garvey, OSU
Sister Mary Virginia Graczak, OSU
Sister Alvina Marie Lorch, OSU
Sister Lorette Rancourt, OSU
Sister J. Emilia Villarreal, OSU
 

 
Sister Kathleen Barnes, OSU

Sister Kathleen Barnes, OSU
Jan. 16, 1921 – Dec. 1, 2016

Sister Kathleen Barnes died peacefully Dec. 1, 2016, at Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The daughter of George Sanderson Barnes and Agnes Phelan, she was born Jan. 16, 1921, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her father’s job kept the family traveling throughout her childhood and she attended eight different elementary schools. She received her secondary education at Ursuline Academy in Dallas, graduating in May 1938.

Sister Kathleen entered the Ursuline Sisters in January 1939 and professed her vows in July l941. She received a bachelor’s degree in math from St. Louis University, a master’s degree in math from the University of Notre Dame, and a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

Her ministries were teaching, school administration, parish adult education and Hispanic ministry in Dallas, Galveston, San Antonio, and Laredo, Texas; Kirkwood and Clayton, Missouri; and Springfield, Illinois.

In 2008 she joined the Queen of Peace Healthcare Community in Alton, Illinois, and in 2014 she moved to Our Lady of Wisdom in New Orleans.

The Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated at Calvary Hill Chapel in Dallas, where Sister Kathleen, spent many years of ministry, and she was buried at the Ursuline plot there.  


Sister Ursula Binnette, OSU
Sister Ursula Binnette, OSU
Sept. 14, 1928 – March 1, 2016


Sister Ursula Louise Binnette, 87, also known for a time as Sister Carolyn of the Sacred Heart, died peacefully at D’Youville Pavilion in Lewiston, Maine, on March 1, 2016.

She was born on Sept. 14, 1928, to Joseph E. Binnette and Henrietta Sirois. Sister Ursula, who returned to her baptismal name later in life, grew up in Old Town, Maine, where she attended St. Joseph Elementary School. She received her high school education at Mount Merici Academy in Waterville, Maine, where she was a boarder. In July 1945, she entered the Ursuline Novitiate and was sent to Beaugency, France, for training, making her vows as an Ursuline Sister there on March 15, 1948.

Sister Ursula pursued higher education at The College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, New York; Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine; Boston College; Providence College in Rhode Island; the State University of New York; and through a Tufts University program. She received a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and certification in Greek. She was known as a superb teacher of all 12 grades and especially classic languages. She taught in Waterville and Lewiston, Maine; Springfield and Dedham, Mass.; and New Rochelle, New York.

Sister Ursula’s students remember her for the wonderful trips she led to Italy and Greece.
 

 Sister Rita Bourassa, OSU

Sister Rita Bourassa, OSU
July 24, 1925 – Jan. 20, 2016


Sister Rita Bourassa, also known as Marie Rita Elise Bourassa, died peacefully in Lewiston, Maine, on Jan. 20, 2016.

She was born July 24, 1925, to Melinda Fontaine Bourassa and Jean Baptiste Bourassa, in Lewiston, Maine, where she attended St. Mary’s Elementary School. She attended high school at Mount Merici Academy in Waterville, Maine, as a boarder. Sister Rita entered the Ursuline Sisters of the Northeast in 1943 and made her vows in 1946.

Higher education for Sister Rita included study at The College of New Rochelle in New York, Regina Mundi in Rome, St. Mary’s in Indiana, and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She earned a bachelor of arts degree and two master’s degrees, and enjoyed advanced study of French at Grenoble University in Paris.

Her education and unique gifts prepared her for ministry in Springfield and Dedham, Mass., and in Waterville, Maine. She was a teacher and school principal. She also served in many leadership positions for the Northeast Province, including provincial leader, councilor, treasurer and secretary. 

Sister Rita died in the company of her Ursuline Sisters. One of her final joys was the simple acknowledgment of her 70 years of service in religious life at Mass on Jan. 16.


Sister Nancy Fearon, OSU

Sister Nancy Fearon, OSU
July 25, 1931 – Oct. 10, 2016

Sister Nancy (Mary Pacelli) Fearon died peacefully on Oct. 10, 2016, at St. Louis University Hospital.  She was 85.

The daughter of Charles W. and Rose McKay Fearon, she was born on July 25, 1931, in Oak Park, Illinois. She attended Ascension Catholic School in Oak Park and St. Mary’s High School in Chicago. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in July 1959 and professed her first vows in January 1962. After studying at Northwestern and DePaul universities in Chicago, she earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from The College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, New York.

She used her bookkeeping talents at the National Biscuit Co. and United States Blue Print Paper Co., both in Chicago, before joining the Ursuline Sisters. She taught elementary school in Wood River and Oak Park, Illinois, and Laredo, Texas, before using her skills as a treasurer for the Ursulines. She served as treasurer of Ursuline communities in Oak Park and Alton, Illinois; Laredo and Dallas, Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sister Nancy’s versatility and generosity led her to provide community service at Villa Maria Retreat and Conference Center in Frontenac, Minnesota, and assist the Ursuline Sisters at Christus St. Joseph Village in Coppell, Texas.

Sister Nancy returned to Alton in 2013, where she served in local Ursuline leadership and as community treasurer until her death. 


Sister Mary Ellen Garvey, OSU

Sister Mary Ellen Garvey, OSU
Feb. 28, 1923 – May 19, 2016


Sister Mary Ellen Garvey, died peacefully at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka, Mo., on May 19, 2016.

The daughter of John Garvey and Ellen O’Neill Garvey, she was born Feb. 28, 1923, in Credit River Township, Minn. She entered the Ursulines in 1939, making vows in 1942. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from The College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1945. She earned a Master of Arts degree in education from St. Louis University in 1958.

Sister Mary Ellen’s colorful history of ministries included service as teacher, principal and prioress in Springfield, Decatur and Alton, Ill.; Galveston, San Antonio and Dallas, Texas; and Kirkwood and Arcadia, Mo.

Even after a stroke took her to the Ursuline Queen of Peace healthcare center in 2000, she continued to tutor adult students in literacy. In 2005, at age 83, she won a trip to Tucson, Ariz., as Dollar General’s Pro Literacy Top Tutor of the year.


 Sister Mary Virginia Graczak, OSU

Sister Mary Virginia Graczak, OSU
June 29, 1926 – Sept. 17, 2016

Sister Mary Virginia Graczak died peacefully on Sept. 17, 2016, at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka, Missouri. She was 90.

The daughter of Joseph R. and Alice Hermann Graczak, she was born on June 29, 1926, in Ellisville, Missouri. She received her grade school education at St. Joseph School in Manchester, Missouri, and her high school education at Ursuline Academy in Kirkwood, Missouri. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in July 1944 and made her vows in January 1947. She studied at The College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, New York, and at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.

Sister Mary Virginia’s gifts, especially those for music, led her to minister as a music and piano teacher and choir director. She served in schools in Springfield, Illinois; Frontenac, Minnesota; New Orleans, Louisiana; and San Antonio, Texas. She continued to teach piano to a few fortunate students after she moved to Alton, Illinois, in July 2013.


 
 
 Sister Alvina Marie Lorch, OSU

Sister Alvina Marie Lorch, OSU
Oct. 13, 1922 - April 22, 2016


Sister Alvina Marie Lorch, also known as Sister Mary Helen Lorch, died peacefully at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka, Mo., on April 22, 2016.

The daughter of Joseph B. Lorch and Anna Giesler Lorch, she was born Oct. 13, 1922 in St. Mary’s, Mo. She received her secondary education at Ursuline Academy in Kirkwood, Mo., and entered the Ursulines in July 1940 in Crystal City, Mo. She made her Profession of Vows in July 1943.

Sister Alvina shared her gifts with her religious community in a number of service roles, including as seamstress, having been a professional tailor; dietary manager, as an excellent cook; and infirmarian, with a loving and caring approach to the sick. Her service took her to Alton and Decatur, Ill.; Kirkwood and Crystal City, Mo.; Galveston, Texas; New Orleans, La., and Frontenac, Minn. She retired at Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis in 2005 and moved to the Ursuline Queen of Peace healthcare center in Alton in 2011. She moved to St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in 2014.

Sister Alvina’s last gift was to give her body to science at St. Louis University School of Medicine. A Memorial Mass was celebrated April 29 at Ursuline Academy in Kirkwood.
 


 Sister Lorette Rancourt, OSU

Sister Lorette Rancourt, OSU
June 1, 1919 – Feb. 9, 2016


Sister Lorette Rancourt, also known as Sister Mary Henry, died peacefully Feb. 9, 2016, in Lewiston, Maine.

S
he was born on June 1, 1919, to Celina Rousseau Rancourt and Henry W. Rancourt in Waterville, Maine, where she attended elementary and secondary school. After study at Farmington State College, she entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1947 and made her vows in 1949. Subsequent education came through The College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, N.Y.;, Providence College in Providence, R.I.; the University of Maine in Orono, Maine, and Boston College. She also did special studies in Braille.

Sister Lorette’s education and her natural gifts made her a strong elementary teacher, serving in Waterville, Sanford and Skowhegan, Maine; Springfield, Mass.; and Bronx, N.Y.  She claimed proudly that there was no student she could not teach to read.

Many of Sister Lorette’s former students went to our Facebook page to share memories of her. “Such wonderful memories of Sister Lorette! She was spunky and so much fun! You are loved and missed!” wrote one. “Oh, my favorite . . . loved her to pieces! Always remembered her and her kindness throughout my life,” wrote another.
 


 Sister J. Emilia Villarreal, OSU

Sister Emilia Villarreal, OSU
Dec. 31, 1938 – Aug. 23, 2016

Sister J. Emilia Villarreal, OSU, died peacefully on Aug. 23, 2016, at Sunset Care Center in Union, Missouri. Her life journey included that of a mother and a member of the Ursuline Sisters.

The daughter of Juan Asencion and Genevieve Silvas Villarreal, she was born on Dec. 31, 1938, in Fort Davis, Texas. Among her survivors are her son, Henry (Sherri) Rios of Holly Lake Ranch, Texas, and her daughter, Deborah (James) Pendleton of Fort Worth, Texas.

Sister Emilia received her bachelor’s degree from Incarnate Word University in San Antonio, an associate’s degree from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, and clinical pastoral education training in San Antonio. She professed her religious vows in 1995. Her ministry as a chaplain took her to Corpus Christi, Laredo and Dallas, Texas; Springfield, Illinois; Caracas, Venezuela; Lima, Peru, and Billings, Montana. She most enjoyed her work as a hospice chaplain with a specialty in working with AIDS patients.