Sister Rose Therese Welp
“Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.” (James 3:13b)
“Who can read these words without thinking of Sister Rose Therese? If ever there was a woman who reflected God’s wisdom as described by James, it was she. She embraced the teachings of Jesus with her whole heart, and when she gave herself to God, it was without reservation,” said Sister Ruth Ellen Doane in her commentary for Sister Rose Therese Welp, who died Sept. 12.
One of seven children, Mathilda Welp entered this world Nov. 1, 1922, in Huntingburg, Ind., to Frank and Anna Loew Welp. She attended Bretzville Public School in Dubois County, Ind., and graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Academy. She entered the Congregation July 21, 1939, and professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1942, and 1948, respectively. Sister Rose Therese earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education from Indiana University.
Sister Rose Therese commenced teaching at St. Patrick, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1942. Her other Indiana grade school teaching ministries included Cathedral Grade School and Holy Spirit, Indianapolis, and St. Simon, Washington. She also taught at St. David, Chicago, and St. Patrick, Stoneham, Mass. In 1971, Sister Rose Therese served as a librarian and science teacher at Central Catholic, New Albany, Ind. From 1976 to 1983, she ministered as a librarian at Our Lady of Providence High School, Clarksville, Ind.
“While librarian at Providence High School, she had the students charmed by her personality and her gentleness — and also by her plants. Senior boys would come in to check on her beautiful spider plant,” shared Sister Ruth Ellen.
Sister Rose Therese’s health forced her to return to the Woods in 1983, where she ministered in the greenhouse. She later offered service to the children at Woods Day Care/Pre-School.
“Sister Rose Therese was a very peaceful, gentle woman who valued the presence of God in her life and witnessed to this by her prayer. Even on the day after she fell and broke her clavicle, she joined the group with whom she prayed each morning at 10 a.m. Community prayer was a very important element in her life. When she could no longer see to read the Breviary, she obtained the prayers on tape so that she could listen to them and pray with them,” continued Sister Ruth Ellen.
“Sister Rose Therese was so grateful for anything anyone did for her, whether it was a visit, a gift or simply a small favor. This same gratitude extended to the many gifts she received from God,” said Sister Ruth Ellen.
“Her ability to accept the disease with which she was afflicted which caused her blindness and other discomfort as it progressed was truly an inspiration to me. She didn’t complain or ask, ‘Why me?’ She never seemed to be in denial of the reality of the situation and its further ramification in her life, knowing from the beginning that it could eventually prove fatal,” continued Sister Ruth Ellen.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Rose Therese was celebrated Sept. 15, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by two sisters, Selma Hoing and Lauretta Verkamp, both of Ferdinand, Ind., and one brother, Aloysius of Huntingburg, Ind.
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