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Sister Rose Marie (Anthony Marie) Thole

Sister Rose Marie Thole

“I must decrease and He must increase.” (St. John the Baptist)

“These words of St. John the Baptist describing his relationship with Jesus seem to fit well with Sister Rose Marie and how she lived her life. She never wanted it to be about her; she preferred living in the background as she went about her life doing for others,” said Sister Nancy Nolan in her commentary for Sister Rose Marie Thole, who died April 20, 2008.

Born Sept. 15, 1937, in Evansville, Ind., Rose Marie Thole was one of two daughters of Paul and Sarah (Hoffman) Thole. She attended St. Benedict and Assumption grade schools, both in Evansville. For high school, she came to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to attend Providence Juniorate. After graduation she entered the Congregation Jan. 5, 1955, receiving the religious name Sister Anthony Marie. She professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1957, and 1962, respectively. Sister Rose Marie initially earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Sister Rose Marie’s first ministry was in the Infirmary. After a six-year stint there, she attended St. Xavier College, Chicago, and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She returned to the Woods in 1967 and for the next 10 years served in the Infirmary. Her other nursing ministries included surgical nurse at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill.; RN at the Christopher E. Center, Evansville, Ind., and the UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles; and area assistant, holistic health care for St. Elisabeth Convent, Van Nuys, Calif. Sister Rose Marie returned to the Woods in 1994 and served in a variety of supervisory positions with Health Care, including assistant director of nursing.

“Evidence of her dedication to helping others was her decision to help her nephew who was in need. Quietly, without fanfare, she offered him one of her kidneys. As a health-care professional, she would have known the seriousness of such a procedure. She did not count the cost,” shared Sister Nancy.

“I lived with Sister Rose Marie at the Provincial House in Park Ridge when she worked at Lutheran General Hospital. Who knew that she was the lead nurse for the surgical team of renowned eye specialist Dr. Vicantis? Again, Sister Rose Marie was not one to talk about her work,” continued Sister Nancy.

“Each summer, Sister Rose Marie and I made it a point to go to dinner together, and I cherish those moments when she would relax and be herself, even though she always tried to steer the conversation away from herself,” said Sister Nancy.

“Her influence in Health Care was great. Here are a few thoughts from her colleagues: ‘generous, kind hearted and great teacher. She was always more concerned with the needs of others than herself. She was always on the lookout for a good cup of coffee. You very seldom saw her without a cup of the good stuff. No decaf for Sister Rose Marie!’” quoted Sister Nancy.

“‘Sister Rose Marie was a beautiful woman — inside and out,’” quoted Sister Nancy.

“And words of praise from Health Care administrators: ‘Sister Rose Marie’s life of quiet discernment, of commitment and of a nurturing spirit complemented her vocation of nursing in many ways. Throughout her service to the community, she utilized compassion and caring. Her commitment to serve far outweighed time measured on the clock. She was a nurse on duty as need arose,’” shared Sister Nancy.

“All of these comments from her colleagues and the administrators of Health Care remind us of the important influence Sister Rose Marie exerted in Health Care as she went about quietly caring for her sisters,” said Sister Nancy.

“And so today, I hope and pray that as Sister Rose Marie enters into eternal glory, she sees clearly the worth she has always held in the eyes of God and in so many of us. May she, at last, rejoice and be glad in it,” concluded Sister Nancy.

The Memorial Mass for Sister Rose Marie was celebrated April 26, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by her sister, Sally Kroener, of Los Angeles.

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