Sister Mildred Anne Dudine
“Sister Mildred Anne Dudine, no doubt, entered God’s presence with songs of joy that represented a 77-year lifetime of dedicated service as a Sister of Providence musician. The most frequent descriptive words I heard these past several days about Mildred Anne were, ‘She loved music; she was a happy person, always smiling; she was a very affirming person,’” said Sister Ann Casper in her commentary for Sister Mildred Anne who died Nov. 21.
Mildred was born Jan. 3, 1918, in Jasper, to Adam and Victoria Hoffman Dudine, and baptized Mildred Veronica in St. Joseph Church, Jasper. One sister, Doris, survives, while three other sisters and three brothers preceded her in death, one brother as an infant.
“To say that Mildred Anne came from a musical family is perhaps an understatement! Her father had no formal music training, but he frequently sat at the piano and played by ear while his wife sang. He encouraged each of his seven children to take music lessons and as a result, each played at least one musical instrument. A sister who lived with Mildred Anne in Jasper recalled that the convent rang with song and instruments whenever the Dudine family visited,” Sister Ann Casper said.
After graduation from Providence Juniorate at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Mildred entered the Sisters of Providence, Jan. 12, 1935. She made her first and her final profession on Aug. 15, in 1937 and 1943, respectively.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Sister Mildred Anne ministered as a music teacher for 66 years. She taught in schools in Evanston, Chicago, Galesburg and River Grove in Illinois; in Anaheim, Hawthorne, Alhambra, Gardena and Hollywood in California; in Fort Wayne, Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Peru, Evansville and Jasper in Indiana and in Washington, D.C.
“One sister recalled looking forward to the children’s recitals because Mildred Anne had prepared her students so well and always had clever ways of producing a real show that held one’s interest,” Sister Ann Casper said.
At age 80 Mildred Anne was still teaching 20 students at Precious Blood in Jasper.
In her retirement years Sister Mildred Anne could be heard playing the piano around 4 p.m. each day in Providence Hall. Even when residing in health care, she was quick and generous in sharing her piano skills. The story is told, however, that she did refuse to play a small, portable keyboard in health care once, “because it was not a whole piano.”
“Besides music, Sister Mildred Anne had three other great loves (well, four, if you include President Obama) — she loved her natural family and her Providence family and her God.”
In closing, Sister Ann said, “In a small black notebook containing her notes from her thirty-day retreat she had a page titled, My Plan for Death. ‘… Let my last breath be an ardent sigh for Thee and oh, let me awaken in eternity with your glad smile to greet me … Oh how I shall leap into your arms, into your Divine Embrace!! And then, for all eternity!!’
In the early morning hours of Nov. 21, at age 94, those words surely came true for Mildred Anne as did the words of the psalmist:
‘Yes, God is good,
God’s love is everlasting,
God’s faithfulness endures from age to age.’”
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Mildred Ann Dudine was celebrated Nov. 30, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by one sister, Doris Dirksen of Santa Maria, Calif.
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