Sister Venard Sequence
“Rejoice always, never cease praying, render constant thanks; such is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
“Anyone who has been around Sister Venard much during the past several years in particular would think that she had these words engraved in her mind and heart for she certainly practiced them. My first memory of Sister Venard some five years ago was seeing her in her room in Lourdes Hall with her Office Book (Liturgy of the Hours prayer book) in her lap. My last memory of her before I left last Friday evening was again seeing her in her chair hunched over her Office Book,” said Sister Betty Hopf in her commentary for Sister Venard Sequence, who died July 22.
The only child of Joseph and Verna (Norbert) Sequence, Helen Veronica Sequence was born Aug. 30, 1918, in Chicago. She attended St. David Grade School and Providence High School, both in Chicago.
“Sister Venard was close to her parents and loved them very much. Her father was a conductor on a Chicago streetcar. As a child, Sister Venard would enjoy going along on his route, sitting up front with him and talking to the people. Here she learned many of her social skills that stayed with her all her life,” shared Sister Betty.
Sister Venard entered the Congregation Feb. 2, 1939, and professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1941, and 1947, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Sister Venard began teaching at St. Joan of Arc, Indianapolis, in 1941. Her other Indiana missions included St. Ann, Indianapolis; St. John the Baptist, Whiting; St. Joseph, Hammond; and St. Patrick, Terre Haute. In Illinois, she ministered in the following schools: St. Joseph, Downers Grove; Maternity BVM, St. Columbkille, St. Mel-Holy Ghost, Our Lady of Mercy, Providence and St. Sylvester, Chicago; and St. Alexander, Palos Heights. She spent two years teaching at Holy Redeemer, Berwyn, Md. Sister Venard also spent time ministering at Providence Retirement Home, New Albany, Ind. From 1976 to 1985, Sister Venard ministered in various clerical positions in Chicago. She returned to the Woods in 1985 and volunteered in a variety of ways.
“During one of her years at St. Sylvester School in Chicago, Sister Venard befriended Connie, a school crossing guard. Later, she assisted Connie’s daughter in selecting a wedding gown, and years later she showered love and kindness on Connie’s granddaughters. She loved telling the children little jokes. The cornier they were, the better she liked them. She had a beautiful smile and a deep laugh that was enjoyed by all. Connecting with Connie’s family is one example of how Sister Venard found her way into the lives and hearts of many families who adopted her as their mother, sister or grandmother,” continued Sister Betty.
“She was also ‘adopted’ as an ‘aunt’ by Sisters Mary Alice (RIP) and Ernestine (RIP) Matthews’ family, and this friendship continued through all her years. Even though Sister Venard was an only child, she was a big part of the lives of several families who invited her to family gatherings and showed goodness and kindness to her. She got close to people, especially the poor and less fortunate, because she truly cared for them and their welfare. Sister Venard’s talents were in her dear and caring friendships and love for God and God’s people. Sister Venard was a lovely lady who relished in the talents of others, giving herself no credit for talents of her own,” said Sister Betty.
Sister Venard endured frequent hardships in her early community life, but it was her sense of humor and love of God that upheld her pleasant personality. She got such a delight out of telling jokes because she liked to laugh and have fun. She kept a list of jokes and funny sayings at hand.
“One of the qualities mentioned by several people was Sister Venard’s graciousness. She was constantly expressing gratitude for everything, and she was so appreciative for anything that was done for her. She always said, ‘They’re so good to us here,’” said Sister Betty.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Venard was celebrated July 27, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding.
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