Sister Cecile Morse
“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.” (Matthew 25:29)
“It’s probably obvious to anyone who knew Sister Cecile Morse why I have taken the liberty to adapt the parable of the talents to fit her situation by selecting only the story of the servant who received the most talents and doubled them. No need to talk of wasted opportunities or poor management of gifts when recounting the life of Sister Cecile!” said Sister Adele Beacham in her commentary for Sister Cecile Morse, who died Sept. 2. The commentary was written by Sister Ann Casper.
“Sister Cecile was already a licensed union printer, following in her father and brother’s footsteps, when she entered the Congregation. Many sisters recall her beautiful singing voice, her moving solos of the Tota Pulchra Es and her strong, resonant alto voice in the choir. She also loved baseball, ice-skating and roller-skating. She excelled in basketball in high school, often hitchhiking to games with the other members of the team. She was a brilliant swimmer, joining the 5 a.m. swimming group at the Woods in her retirement years. No wonder Sister Cecile said her favorite spot on campus was the gym! Sister Cecile also enjoyed embroidery and crocheting for relaxation,” continued Sister Adele.
One of three children of Frank and Mathilda (Wallbaum) Morse, Mary Louise Morse was born Sept. 6, 1908, in Lexington, Ky. She attended Cherry Hill Grade School and Washington High School, both in Washington Court House, Ohio.
“When Mary Louise Morse entered the Congregation Jan. 14, 1935, the first Sister of Providence she ever saw was the one who opened the East Door to welcome her — her postulant director, Sister Rose Berchmans (RIP). Mary Louise had heard about the Sisters of Providence from a friend who told her she was entering the community, and who convinced Mary Louise that she should, too. But when the time came to enter, the friend backed out, so Mary Louise came by herself!” said Sister Adele.
“The first Sister Cecile (Campeau) died shortly before Mary Louise entered the Congregation. She had asked that the name “Cecile,” patroness of musicians, be reserved for another sister who sang alto. And so, it happened. Mary Louise became Sister Cecile, pronouncing her first vows Aug. 15, 1937, and her perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1943. Because her talents in printing were needed immediately in the Congregation print shop, Providence Press, studying for a degree was out of the question. But 43 years later, in 1978, she did earn a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College,” continued Sister Adele.
For 31 years, Sister Cecile ministered at Providence Press and then another 10 years in the Print Shop. For one year, in between these two ministries, she served in maintenance and as the convent bookkeeper at Ladywood High School, Indianapolis.
“In 1980, at age 72, Sister Cecile finished her printing ministry for good. Retirement would have beckoned many, but Sister Cecile continued her ministry,” said Sister Adele.
For the next three years, Sister Cecile ministered as the attendance office at Mother Theodore Guerin High School, River Grove, Ill. She also served as a clerical assistant and receptionist at Providence Retirement Home, New Albany, Ind. She provided parish service at Our Lady of the Greenwood, Greenwood, Ind., before retiring to the Woods in 1989, and serving as a receptionist at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She provided volunteer services to the Congregation until 2000 when her ministry focus became prayer.
“Sister Cecile was much more than her ministries. She is remembered as a great and loyal friend, a sister who was always present to the other and listened intently. Never demonstrative, she was described as a ‘gentle presence.’ In later years, she became more and more quiet as her hearing loss made her choose to be by herself more often than not. Her time for prayer was very important to her,” said Sister Adele.
“At the May Crowning earlier this year, Sister Cecile’s age earned for her the right to carry the crown. As she sat in her wheelchair, the crown was put on her lap. She looked up and inquired in a loud voice — several times, ‘Is it time for me to put this on?’ Well, Sister Cecile, it wasn’t your time then, but surely it is now. You have received the crown prepared for you by your master, the same one who gave you so many gifts, all of which you have shared so well, and for so long. What was parable has become reality for you, as you heard God’s call last Saturday [Sept. 2]: ‘Come, share your master’s joy.’ You have ‘used well what you were given.’ Now you have even more, and you have the abundance of life everlasting in God’s loving embrace!” concluded Sister Adele.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Cecile was celebrated Sept. 7, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. Sister Cecile was preceded in death by both her siblings.
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