Mourning the Deaths of Franciscans

HNP Communications Franciscan World

The Provincial Office staff has recently learned of the passing of two friars from English-speaking Conference provinces and several Franciscan sisters.

Sr. Theresa Ann Kallimanis, FMSC, a member of the Peekskill, N.Y., community for 62 years, died on Nov. 9. She was 83 years old. After entering the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1957, she professed her final vows seven years later and went on to serve in education ministry as a teacher in Catholic schools in New Jersey’s Union City, Paterson and West New York – and in New York State in the towns of Peekskill, Yorktown and Irvington in Westchester County.

Sr. Mary Ellen Keady, OSF, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y., died on Nov. 16, three days before her 93rd birthday. The Massachusetts native had been a member of the Allegany Sisters for 70 years. She played the piano and organ to go along with a beautiful singing voice, using her talents to work with glee clubs and choirs at schools where she taught. She also played at Masses and special events at the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany. Sr. Mary Ellen spent more than 25 years as a teacher and principal at schools in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia before serving in health care as a patient service coordinator at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

John Rausch, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, died on Nov. 26 at St. Mary’s Home at the Felician Village in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, at the age of 74. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he was received into the Franciscan community in 1967, professed his solemn vows four years later, and was ordained into the priesthood in 1976. During his many decades in ministry, he served as a pastoral associate, pastor and hospital chaplain in St. Louis and Cleveland, Ohio, before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Melvin Wierzbicki, OFM, a member of Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Province, died on Nov. 26. He was 92 years old. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native made his solemn profession in 1949 and was ordained in 1953. He spent many years in ministry at Assumption BVM Friary in Pulaski, Wisconsin, helping at weekend Masses at churches in surrounding communities. One of his well-known hobbies was observing and studying birds on the Franciscan property.

Sr. Kathryn Miller, OSF, 98, died in Aston, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 3. She was a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 79 years, during which time her ministry was primarily in elementary education as a teacher and principal. She served for 35 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 30 years in the Diocese of Trenton in New Jersey, and a decade in the Diocese of Metuchen, also in Jersey. In addition, she served as coordinator of Our Lady of Angels Convent, the congregation’s motherhouse. Sr. Kathryn spent many years in congregational ministry that included serving on provincial and other leadership teams.

Editor’s note: Each month, HNP Today publishes news of the deaths of Franciscan brothers, priests, and sisters. Information should be emailed to the HNP Communications Office.

 – Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas