Sister Marie Agatha Vonderheide
Our God is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in loving kindness. Our God is good to all, our God sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. Our God is righteous in all ways and kind in all deeds. Our God is near to all who call, to all who call in truth.
Psalms 145: 8-9, 17-18
Psalm 145, along with several other psalms, describes God as gracious and merciful, rich in kindness and slow to anger. This beautiful image of God fills us with hope. Certainly, Sister Marie Agatha Vonderheide is someone who has exemplified to all of us the graciousness and kindness of God, said Sister Rosemary Schmalz in her commentary on Sister Marie Agatha, who died March 15, 2014, at the age of 92. Sister Marie Agatha had been a Sister of Providence for 73 years.
Agatha Clara Vonderheide was born April 24, 1921, in Indianapolis, Ind., to William and Philomena Kuntz Vonderheide. She was the fourth of five children.
She grew up in Holy Angels Parish and attended the parish elementary school, then staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph. She chose to attend St. John Academy where she met the Sisters of Providence. She graduated in 1938 and worked in an office of a downtown department store for two years before entering the Sisters of Providence in July 1940.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College with a major in English and a minor in commercial subjects.
She ministered as a teacher in Chicago (St. Genevieve, Providence High School), Washington, D.C. (Immaculata Seminary), Evansville, Ind. (Reitz Memorial High School), Costa Rica (St. Clare College) and New Orleans (Xavier University). She also served as a principal at John F. Kennedy High School in Manchester, Mo.
She also served as Dean of Women at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and while studying at Catholic University for her doctorate in higher education, which she completed in 1970, she served as president of Immaculata College for two years.
After her stint as a principal, Sister Marie Agatha took a position as a pastoral associate at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Tioga, La. While in Louisiana, she developed breast cancer, and after surgery, stayed with her niece in Atlanta.
At age 67, Sister Marie Agatha began a new career as a medical secretary, serving in Atlanta.
While in Atlanta, arrangements were made for her older sister, who was living in Indianapolis at the time, to stay with her due to health issues. Sister Marie Agatha and her sister moved back to Indianapolis in 1999.
After her sister died, Sister Marie Agatha retired and moved to Providence Hall, before staying at Lourdes Hall, Mother Theodore Hall south and Mother Theodore Hall east.
The funeral mass took place Thursday, March 20, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
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