Obituary: Sister Jean Arkenberg, SP

A funeral Mass was celebrated March 13 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., for Sister Jean Arkenberg, a former teacher at Our Lady of Providence School in Crestwood.

Sister Jean, 85, died March 8 at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Ind. She had been a Sister of Providence for 68 years,

A Chicago native, she entered the Sisters of Providence in 1941. She professed first vows in 1943 and final vows in 1949. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in St. Mary-of-the-Woods and a master’s in elementary education from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

Sister Jean taught for 55 years in schools in Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Missouri and Washington, D.C. She left classroom teaching in 1986 and served another 12 years as a school math specialist. In 1998 she moved to the motherhouse, where her efforts included serving as a seamstress.

In the St. Louis Archdiocese, she served at Our Lady of Providence from 1969 to 1980.

Survivors include three sisters, Sister Catherine Arkenberg, SP, of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Marian Domkowski of Chicago and Zita Andree of Lombard, Ill., and a brother, Raymond Arkenberg of Brookfield, Ill. Burial was in the cemetery of the Sisters of Providence, St. Mary-of-the-Woods.

Obituary: Sister Cecilia Rose Boucher, FSM

A funeral Mass was celebrated March 16 for Sister Cecilia Rose Boucher, a Franciscan Sister of Mary, at St. Mary of the Angels Convent in Richmond Heights.

Sister Cecilia Rose died March 11 at St. Mary of the Angels Convent. She was 80 years old and had been a religious for almost 60 years.

A native of Alton, Ill., she entered the Sisters of St. Mary on Aug. 3, 1949, and professed her final vows on Feb. 11, 1952.

The Sisters of St. Mary reunited in 1987 with the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville, Mo., becoming the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. Upon entering religious life, Sister Cecilia Rose received the religious name Sister Mary Clarence, but following the Second Vatican Council assumed her baptismal name.

For many years she cared for the sisters’ laundry and linens, both at St. Mary of the Angels Convent in Richmond Heights and at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Wis. She also served as sacristan and visited hospital patients. At the motherhouse in Richmond Heights, she made and repaired rosaries and helped in the activities department. In her later years she devoted her time to a ministry of prayer.

Survivors include a brother, Clarence, and two sisters, Anna Droste and Bernice Sumowski. Burial was in Resurrection Cemetery.

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.

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