Sister Elizabeth Rose Weisenbach
“The Bible doesn’t tell one word of what his mother said that first glad Easter morning when Jesus arose from the dead. Great joy sometimes can make one dumb. I think Mary went back home to wait for him to come and speak to her in loving tones.” (quote supplied by Sister Elizabeth Rose Weisenbach)
“Like Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Sister Elizabeth Rose, too, waited for him to come and speak to her in loving tones. No doubt, she heard those tones as the Risen Jesus came to take her home,” said Sister Margaret Quinlan in her commentary for Sister Elizabeth Rose Weisenbach, who died Dec. 6.
Born Rosella Weisenbach July 18, 1922, in Indianapolis, she was one of six children of Jacob and Dora (Popp) Weisenbach. She attended St. Philip Neri Grade School, Indianapolis, and attended St. Mary Academy, Indianapolis. She graduated from the Providence Aspirancy and entered the Congregation Jan. 6, 1940. She professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1942, and 1948, respectively. Sister Elizabeth Rose earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education from Indiana State University.
For more than three decades, Sister Elizabeth Rose ministered in education. She began teaching in 1942 at St. Mary in Lafayette, Ind. Her other Indiana classrooms included Assumption, Evansville; Holy Spirit, Cathedral Grade School, St. Andrew, St. Joseph, St. Joan of Arc and St. Philip Neri, Indianapolis; and St. Jude, Fort Wayne. In Chicago, she ministered at St. Mark, St. Angela and Immaculate Conception. She spent four years in California at St. Joseph, Hawthorne, and St. Therese, Alhambra.
In the 1970s, Sister Elizabeth Rose changed her ministry focus by enrolling in a Clinical Pastoral Education program. She served hospitals in Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky. She served two years as a pastoral associate at St. John, Newburgh, Ind. In the early 1980s, Sister Elizabeth Rose served in a variety of roles at Cathedral High School, Indianapolis. In 1985, she returned to California where she served St. Joseph Parish, Hawthorne, as a pastoral associate and as the school’s secretary. From 1990 to 1992, she was the registrar at St. Bernard High School, Playa del Rey, Calif. Returning to Indiana in 1992, she ministered one year as a secretary at Ritter High School, Indianapolis. She retired to the Woods in 1993 and volunteered in several departments and ministries.
“Sister Elizabeth Rose was avidly interested in peace and justice issues. In fact, the last time I saw her was one morning last week as she was hurrying to her room to watch a political debate which was going to be on television. She was a little upset with me because of my apparent lack of interest in watching the debate!” said Sister Margaret.
“She was famous for her enjoyment of games, especially of cards. And how she loved to win! She was also a sports fan, especially when it came to Notre Dame and the Indianapolis Colts and, of course, the Pacers,” continued Sister Margaret.
“Sister Elizabeth Rose loved her family. She had listed, besides her siblings, seven nieces, 18 nephews, 30 grandnieces, 19 grandnephews and one great-grandniece. A few months ago, it was lovely seeing her one Sunday at Eucharistic Liturgy when she had company, going up the aisle in the entrance procession with them, carrying a candle as she was pushed up in her wheelchair. She obviously was enjoying the moment.
“And one last story,” continued Sister Margaret. “Last Wednesday evening [Dec. 5], quite late, Sister Elizabeth Rose called from the hospital to leave a message to wish Sister Rita Lerner a happy birthday. Sister Elizabeth Rose had forgotten to call during the day, but she wanted Sister Rita to get her message. Not a minute too soon! Even though she suffered a great deal from physical pain, Sister Elizabeth Rose still had reasonably good health — with excellent hearing and eyesight — and she was mentally alert. So her slipping away from us as she waited for a cup of coffee on Thursday morning was a shock,” said Sister Margaret.
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Dec. 12 with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by two sisters, Hilda Atkinson of Youngtown, Ariz., and Dorothy Woods of Gulfport, Fla., and one brother, James of Tudjoe Key, Fla.
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