Obituaries

Obituary: Sr. M. Peters, OP

A memorial Mass was celebrated March 8 at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis for Dominican Sister Marygrace (Ginger) Peters, who taught at Aquinas from 1994-2004.

Sister Marygrace, 66, died Feb. 21 in Houston of complications from cancer and pneumonia. A funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 27 at Holy Rosary Church in Houston. Sister Marygrace had been serving as prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Houston since 2004.

During her time at Aquinas, Sister Marygrace was assistant professor and then associate professor of Church history. A statement from Aquinas referred to Sister Marygrace as "a beloved teacher" whose life "was marked by her commitment to education as well as to leadership within her Dominican community."

In addition to her work, Sister Marygrace’s friends said she was known for preparing a gourmet meal, playing a game of backgammon, researching articles, swimming with the dolphins in Costa Rica, watching a Red Sox or Celtics game, singing the Kingston Trio’s "The MTA" or a song from "The Music Man" and "doing everything with gusto, love and compassion."

Born in Chelsea, Mass., she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in education from Regis College in Weston, Mass., in 1963. After college she and a friend joined an apostolic volunteer group and were sent to work at Sacred Heart School in Austin, Texas, where they shared an apartment and station wagon with the Dominican Sisters who taught at the school. She entered the Dominican Sisters in Houston in 1964 and received a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary's University in San Antonio in 1975 and a doctorate in religious studies/history of Christianity from Boston University in 1993.

She also studied at the University of Louvain in Belgium. She had served in Texas as an elementary and high school teacher and coach, a parish pastoral minister, a campus minister, a frequent retreat and conference presenter, and as formation director and then general councilor of the Dominican Sisters of Houston.

There were no immediate survivors.

Obituary: Sr. E. Menke, CDP

A funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 19 at St. Mary’s Parish in Alton, Ill., for Sister Elizabeth Menke, a longtime school teacher who this year was planning to celebrate her 75th anniversary as a member of the Sisters of Divine Providence.

Sister Elizabeth died Feb. 16 at St. Anthony’s Health Center in Alton, following a brief illness. She was 89.

Born Agnes Menke in Brussels, Ill., Sister Elizabeth entered the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1934 and made her final vows in 1942. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Webster College in 1965.

As an educator, Sister Elizabeth began her ministry at the former Mount Providence School in Normandy in 1937. She re-
turned to Mount Providence several times, including 1941-1956, 1984-1987 and 1988-1990.

In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, she also taught at the former Ascension School in Normandy and North American Martyrs School in Florissant. She was as a principal and teacher at Mary Queen of the Universe School in Lemay from 1971-1983. Elsewhere, she taught at schools in Madison, Ill., and Tipton, Mo.

In 1996, Sister Elizabeth ended her full-time teaching career and became a substitute teacher and tutor, which she continued until 2003. She entered a ministry of prayer in 2004 when she moved to St. Clare’s Villa in Alton.

"Through her life, Sister Elizabeth gave witness to her favorite scriptural passage, John 20:17," said provincial councillor Sister Ann Pairn. "‘Do not cling to me; you see I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them: I am ascending to my Father, who is your Father, to my God, who is your God.’"

"We give thanks for the life and gift of Sister Elizabeth, and like her students, remember her loving kindness until our own ‘ascending.’"

She is survived by a brother, Raymond Menke, of Brussels. Burial was at Calvary Cemetery.

Obituary: Sister Mary Bede Baeten, CSJ

A funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 12 at Nazareth Living Center chapel in South County for Sister Mary Bede Baeten, CSJ, a retired elementary school teacher.

Sister Mary Bede, 97, died Feb. 7 at Nazareth of congestive heart failure.

Born in West De Pere, Wis., she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1931. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Fontbonne College (now University) in Clayton in 1950.

Sister Mary Bede began her teaching career at St. Louis Cathedral School in the Central West End in the 1930s.

She taught at Holy Name School in North St. Louis from 1955-56. She also taught in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin. She was coordinator of a foreign language listening center at a school in Green Bay, Wis., when she retired in 1990. She moved to Nazareth in 1999.

There were no immediate survivors. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery.

Obituary: Father Joseph J. Portucheck

A funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 11 for Father Joseph J. Portucheck, former pastor of St. John Nepomuk Parish near the Soulard area of South St. Louis.

The Mass was at St. John Nepomuk. Father Portucheck died Oct. 7 at Mother of Good Counsel Home of respiratory failure. He was 85.

Father Portucheck grew up in St. Joseph Parish in Martinsburg, Mo. He attended St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and Kenrick Seminary, and was ordained by Archbishop Joseph Ritter in 1949.

Obituary: Sister Mary Gemma Maschek, SSND

A memorial Mass for Sister Mary Gemma Maschek, SSND, will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 8, in the School Sisters of Notre Dame motherhouse chapel, 320 E. Ripa Ave. in South St. Louis County.

Sister Mary Gemma, a former prison pastoral care worker and educator, died of cancer March 3 at Anna House–The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. She was 83.

Sister Mary Gemma donated her body to St. Louis University School of Medicine. A full obituary will be published in the March 14 Review.

Obituary: Father Daryl G. Cornish, SJ

A funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 26 at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in Midtown St. Louis for Jesuit Father Daryl G. Cornish, an artist who did retreat work and spiritual direction.

Father Cornish, 57, died Feb. 24 at Fusz Pavilion in Jesuit Hall in Midtown St. Louis.

Born in Kansas City, Mo., he entered the Society of Jesus in Kansas City in1972. During his regency he taught English and art at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City and from 1977-79 at St. Louis University High School in St. Louis.

Following theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, he was ordained in St. Louis by Bishop George Gottwald in 1982. He pronounced final vows in 1989 in Colorado.

Father Cornish grew up in an artistic family and developed his skills in sketching and painting. He studied art and Ignatian spirituality in the seminary.

Early in his life as a Jesuit he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), but he continued his pursuit of the priesthood. After his ordination he was assigned to Sacred Heart Retreat House in Sedalia, Colo., where he gave retreats and did spiritual direction.

When he lost the control of his hands, he continued to do spiritual direction and learned to use a mouth stick to paint and draw. When the MS became more physically debilitating, he moved to the Fusz Pavilion where he resided for the last 16 years.

"His courage in living with the disease has become legendary; and with the support of friends, family and nursing staff he kept his creative vision alive. His sufferings have been great, but his spirit has soared above them and he has been an inspiration to many," wrote Jesuit Father Michael G. Harter in a note about Father Cornish’s death.

Father Cornish is survived by his parents, Eleanor and Wayne Cornish of the Kansas City area; a brother, James of the Kansas City area; and four sisters, Diane and Judith of the Kansas City area, Susan of New Mexico and Shari of Los Angeles.

Burial was in Calvary Cemetery.

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