Sister Catherine Joseph Wilcox
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
“Someone has said that we all die the moment we are most fit to live. At 94 years of age, Sister Catherine Joseph completed, with the grace of Christ, her life work of transformation. She exercised her literary skill as a wordsmith crafting language as a tool for the propagation of truth in the tradition of the Divine Word whose mission was to be a light shining in the darkness. Her light, like his, led her to suffering and death, but our faith assures us that now she dwells with the Eternal Word in everlasting light,” said Sister Mary Roger Madden in her commentary for Sister Catherine Joseph Wilcox, who died Dec. 31.
Charlotte Alice Wilcox was born Nov. 4, 1913, in Chicago to Joseph and Catherine (Wiswald) Wilcox. She attended St. Andrew Grade School and Immaculata High School, both in Chicago. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from Mundelein College. After graduation, she worked for two years at the Chicago Daily News before entering the Congregation Feb. 11, 1939. Sister Catherine Joseph professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1941, and Jan. 23, 1947, respectively. She later earned a master’s degree in journalism from Marquette University.
In 1941, Sister Catherine Joseph began teaching at Central Catholic High School, Fort Wayne, Ind. From 1945 to 1968, she ministered at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College as a journalism professor, director of admissions, college secretary and director of publicity. In the late 1960s, Sister Catherine Joseph served as superior at Marywood Convent, Evanston, Ill., and also taught at Marywood School for Girls. For one year she served as the director of publicity at Providence-St. Mel and Mother Theodore Guerin high schools. From 1971 to 2004, Sister Catherine Joseph ministered in many publicity/communications roles at Mother Theodore Guerin High School, River Grove, Ill.
“Sister Catherine Joseph was recognized in 1949 by the Catholic Press Association for excellence in journalism teaching. ‘A medal and certificate [were] conferred for zealous efforts to encourage and instruct young men and women in the faithful extension of Truth and Christian Charity through the Catholic School Press,’” said Sister Mary Roger.
Sister Mary Roger continued about Sister Catherine Joseph’s service to Mother Theodore Guerin High School. “During these years she not only kept the activities of the school in the public eye, she won the recognition and appreciation of prominent and distinguished persons in both the civic and the ecclesial communities.”
“A hallmark of Sister Catherine Joseph’s spirit was her willingness to take on whatever needs presented themselves despite her own already heavy responsibilities. During the 1970s while serving at Mother Theodore Guerin High School, she also directed publicity for the Congregation and edited the very first Sister of Providence newsletter,” continued Sister Mary Roger.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Catherine Joseph was celebrated Jan. 4 with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding.
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