Sister Maureen Cecile Palmer
“Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish.” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
“This Scripture reading was chosen because Sister Maureen Cecile portrayed so many of the characteristics of love spoken there. She has always been known as quietly going about helping anyone who needed her, loving the vocation that she had chosen and filling Earth with good music,” said Sister Catherine Livers in her commentary for Sister Maureen Cecile Palmer, who died July 18.
Born Dorothy Evelyn Palmer March 20, 1918, in Chicago, she was one of three girls of Theodore and Christine (Peiffer) Palmer.
“Sister Maureen Cecile lost her mother at a very early age which is always traumatic for a small child, but her stepmother was a wise, loving and prudent woman who united the two families in close bonds that have remained through the years. This has been very evident by the visits of her stepbrother, brother-in-law and her many nieces and nephews,” said Sister Catherine.
As a young girl, Sister Maureen Cecile attended Our Lady of Mercy, Chicago, and Providence Juniorate, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She entered the Congregation Jan. 11, 1936, and professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1938, and 1944, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Sister Maureen Cecile began teaching music in 1938 at St. Rose, Chelsea, Mass. In Indiana, she taught at St. Charles, Bloomington; Sacred Heart, Terre Haute; and St. Paul, Sellersburg. In Chicago, she ministered at St. Sylvester, St. Genevieve, Our Lady of Mercy and St. Francis Borgia. She also taught music at St. John, Robstown, Texas; Lady Isle, Portsmouth, N.H.; St. Patrick, Stoneham, Mass.; and Our Lady of Providence, St. Louis. She retired from teaching in 1986 and served as a volunteer in various ministries at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
“Sister Gloria Memering mentioned how very kind and helpful Sister Maureen Cecile always was to the young music teachers just starting out. Her love extended to her music students as well. On one occasion when a student did not have a piano, Sister Maureen Cecile gave up some of her free time to be with her so that she could practice after school at the convent. Eventually the parents were able to purchase a piano for the student,” continued Sister Catherine.
“Sister Maureen Cecile also loved chocolate in any form. Tom Klee, brother to the late Sister Alma Therese, found this out when he was her music student in Bloomington, Ind. So through the years, he would make chocolate-chip cookies himself and bring them to her or send them with someone who was coming to the Woods,” said Sister Catherine.
Sister Catherine concluded her commentary by saying, “So now, dear Sister Maureen Cecile, we send you home to your beloved whom you have served so well to hear the music of your heart for all eternity.”
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Maureen Cecile was celebrated July 22 with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She was preceded in death by all her siblings.
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