Sister Amadeus Rolinger
“ … I was thirsty and you gave me drink … .” (Matthew 25:35)
“The words of Matthew’s Gospel can be seen exemplified in the life of Sister Amadeus. We can safely infer from her life that she truly understood the message contained in Matthew,” said Sister Mary Roger Madden in her commentary for Sister Amadeus Rolinger, who died Aug. 10.
One of nine children born to Louis and Odelia (Schiestel) Rolinger, Emma Henrietta Rolinger entered this world April 18, 1910, in Freeport, Ill. She attended grade school and high school at St. Mary Parish in Freeport, graduating from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Academy. Entering the Congregation Aug. 15, 1928, she professed first and perpetual vows Feb. 26, 1931, and Aug. 15, 1936, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Sister Amadeus spent four decades in the classroom, mainly in Indiana and Illinois, with two years at St. Joseph, Hawthorne, Calif. In Indiana, she taught at St. Philip Neri, Indianapolis; St. Joseph and Sacred Heart, Terre Haute; St. John Loogootee; St. John, Vincennes; and St. Joseph, Jasper. In Chicago, she ministered at St. Mel, St. Mel-Holy Ghost, Our Lady of Mercy, Maternity BVM and St. Andrew.
“In 1971, Providence led Sister Amadeus to what was to be the ministry for which she was born. That year she returned to Freeport, the place of her birth. Her parents were elderly and in need of her presence. Their home, where she had grown up, was across the street from St. Vincent Children’s Home. For three years, Sister Amadeus worked at St. Vincent, tutoring children who were emotionally challenged,” said Sister Mary Roger.
“When the children’s home turned to educating people who were developmentally challenged, Sister Amadeus became involved in planning and organizing the St. Vincent Community Living Facility, a residential program for adults who were mentally challenged. Sister Amadeus spent eight years as program instructor for handicapped adults. During her last four years in Freeport, she was community supervisor for handicapped adults at the same facility. During this time she lived in a group home for women with mental challenges, supervising their daily living in a community established in a former convent at St. Mary Parish where as a child she had attended school,” continued Sister Mary Roger.
Sister Amadeus returned to the Woods in 1986, where she provided various services to the Congregation until her health prevented her from doing so.
“Sister Amadeus then took her place among the recipients of the care of others. There she lived patiently with the pain of increasing physical diminishment. No one would ever have guessed from her peaceful countenance that she carried the daily cross of profound deafness,” said Sister Mary Roger.
“Sister Amadeus, whose name means “love God,” lived her name with a quiet dignity and peace that was evident to everyone upon whom she bestowed her gracious smile. What a reunion that must have been on Wednesday evening when Sister Amadeus met her Lord face to face. Surely she immediately recognized her Lord whom she had served so faithfully in ‘the least of these,’” shared Sister Mary Roger.
The Mass of Christian burial for Sister Amadeus was celebrated Aug. 16, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by one brother, George, of Tucson, Ariz.
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