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Sister Catherine Marie Qualters

Sister Catherine Marie Qualters

“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads … .” (Galatians 5:25)

“Advice such as this is exactly what Sister Catherine Marie followed in her life. She lived freely, animated and motivated by God’s spirit. She worked at serenity in her daily encounters, not only for her spiritual health, but to reinforce others who so often were motivated and encouraged by her dedication and sought her support,” wrote Sisters Ruth Johnson and Lawrence Ann Liston in their commentary for Sister Catherine Marie Qualters, who died Jan. 22.

Born Mary Catherine Qualters March 13, 1930, in Indianapolis, she was one of two children of James and Catherine Laffey Qualters. Mary Catherine attended St. Anthony Grade School and St. Agnes Academy, both in Indianapolis, and entered the Congregation Feb. 2, 1950. She professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1952, and 1957, respectively. She earned bachelor’s degrees in music and education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a bachelor’s degree in music (organ) from the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago.

Sister Catherine Marie’s early ministries were in music. She commenced this ministry in 1952 at St. Benedict, St. Ann and St. Joseph in Terre Haute, Ind. Her other Indiana music rooms included Central Catholic High School, Fort Wayne; St. Margaret Mary, Terre Haute; St. Joseph and Holy Family, Jasper; and St. Andrew, Indianapolis. In Illinois, she taught at St. Francis Xavier, Wilmette, and St. Andrew, Chicago. From 1971 to 2004, she served St. Anthony Parish and/or All Saints School, Indianapolis, as a teacher, liturgist, parish visitor and music minister.

“In addition to her active parish ministry, Sister Catherine Marie was very devoted to her family. Her parents were Irish immigrants and lived in St. Anthony Parish. She cared for them until their deaths. She cooked, cleaned, shopped, transported and visited them as well as her two uncles and an aunt. When her dad and aunt were in a nursing home, she visited at least once a day. She was proud of her brother, Joe, and followed or monitored the growth and development of her niece and three nephews with much interest and support,” said Sister Lawrence Ann.

“For numerous years, Sister Catherine Marie’s care and compassion extended to the patients at Central State Hospital. She went weekly to assist in Liturgy at the hospital. She was a source of comfort and a listening ear for them,” continued Sister Lawrence Ann.

Sister Catherine Marie received two special honors during her ministry in Indianapolis. She was presented an award for 30 years of outstanding service in education by the West Deanery. She was also honored by the firefighters at Station 18, the station where her father had served.

“Each time she heard the fire siren, Sister Catherine Marie stopped and whispered a prayer for them,” shared Sister Lawrence Ann. “As they would go by the convent, she would wave. She would also visit the station and take them treats to say thanks for their service. One day, three fire trucks and the fire chief’s car arrived at the convent. This day, they came to visit her and say thank you for her support of them. She was named an honorary fireperson of Station 18 and presented with a pin by the fire chief.”

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Catherine Marie was celebrated Jan. 27, with Rev. Msgr. John Ryan presiding. She is survived by her brother.

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