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Sister Joan (Gregory Ann) Tekulve

Sister Joan Tekulve

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

“Why Sister Joan chose this Scripture passage will become obvious in this commentary,” said Sister Betty Hopf in her commentary for Sister Joan Tekulve, who died Jan. 19.

The only daughter of George and Clara (Bischoff) Tekulve, Joan Elizabeth Tekulve had two brothers. She was born Nov. 5, 1929, in Plymouth, Ind., and attended St. Francis de Sales Grade School and St. John Academy, both in Indianapolis. She entered the Congregation Feb. 14, 1948, and professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1950, and 1955, respectively. Sister Joan earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a master’s degree in business education from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in pastoral theology from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Sister Joan began teaching in 1950 at St. Ann, Washington, D.C. In Illinois, she ministered at St. Agnes, St. Angela and St. Columbkille High School, Chicago; and Providence High School, New Lenox. In Indiana, she taught at Our Lady of Providence High School, Clarksville; St. John High School, Loogootee; and Schulte High School, Terre Haute. She also spent a year at Immaculata College, Washington, D.C.

In 1970, Sister Joan ministered in the business office at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. From 1974 to 1977, she served in the business office at John F. Kennedy High School, Manchester, Mo. She then returned to the Woods and ministered in the Office of Records and served as an administrative assistant.

“Sister Joan’s pastoral gifts soon led her to a year of preparation before serving six years as chaplain at Community Hospital, Indianapolis,” said Sister Betty. “She deeply touched many lives there. One young man who died of AIDS left her a letter to read after his death. One of his affirmations in the letter is as follows: ‘You always reminded me about God’s compassion and strength … . You helped me to recognize Christ’s mercy.’

“Sister Joan ministered from 1989 to 1996 as director of the Gerontology Program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and made a great impact upon the students. One student told me that he could never forget her faithfulness in visiting him at the hospital every day of his 35 days there,” continued Sister Betty.

“Following that, Sister Joan served as the assistant manager of The Gift Shop at Providence Center until her official retirement in 2003 at the age of 74,” said Sister Betty.

“Sister Joan touched many, many lives and affected people in ways she never realized. She was more of a quiet, behind-the-scenes, private person, generously reaching out to people who were ill, dying, jobless, poor and needy.

“Sister Joan’s friends and acquaintances have showered upon her praises for her many gifts, a few of which were: compassion, graciousness, loyalty, creativity, versatility, fun-loving, pastoral and forthright. She believed that what she was given was given to her to share,” said Sister Betty.

“Many who knew Sister Joan have received notes of gratitude for even the littlest act of kindness or gift given to her. In reality, she has in turn once again gifted each of you, for one of the greatest spiritual gifts is to walk with a friend or loved one on their journey home to their God,” said Sister Betty.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Joan was celebrated Jan. 24, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by one brother, Paul, of Indianapolis.

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