August 20, 1942 – July 5, 2022
Sister Mary Lapping, OSU, died peacefully July 5, 2022. She was a longtime resident of Kirkwood, Missouri.
The daughter of Vilray Francis Lapping and Roberta Iona Hamilton, she was born Aug. 20, 1942, in St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up in Kirkwood, Missouri, and was educated by the Ursulines at St. Peter Elementary School and Ursuline Academy. She entered the Ursuline community on July 19, 1961, and professed her vows on Jan. 20, 1964. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French from Webster University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University in New Orleans. She also completed advanced studies in liturgy and in environmental studies.
Sister Mary’s first ministry was in her home parish of St. Peter, where she taught in the elementary school from 1966-76. She then moved on to teach in other area elementary schools: Corpus Christi in Jennings from 1976-78 and Immaculate Conception in Arnold from 1979-82.
In 1983 she moved to southern Missouri to begin 15 years of parish ministry, serving in Verona, Shell Knob, Ozark, Webb City, Joplin and Springfield, and then served two years in the Kansas City diocese.
In the mid-90s, Sister Mary began to sense a push to something called “Earth Ministry.” Although she didn’t know exactly what it was or how to do it, she pursued the idea as a dream. She educated herself in several Earth systems such as organic gardening and forest ecosystem maintenance. She did several internships, one of which led her to cross paths with Brian Swimme, who became a life-long guide through his books and DVD series “Canticle to the Cosmos” and others. Her path led her from hands-on work at the Ursulines’144-acre property in Crystal City, Missouri, to an Earth spirituality office for the community, to an enduring and deepening love of Earth and care for ‘our common home.’
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her younger brother, Tom, and her older half-sister, Bobbie.
Burial is private. A celebration of life will be held later this month.